Eating With Graves Disease

When I was about 18 years old, I had a strange experience. I’d actually call it an ‘out of body’ experience. I was riding up to the Northwoods of Wisconsin with my family. As I looked out of the car window at the green trees and rolling hills, I slowly floated outside of myself. I actually felt like I left my body and was floating above it looking down at myself. As I floated back in I stopped and looked through my eyes as though I was peering out a window. That for me was a deep realization that my body and soul were two separate things. I saw for the first time that my body is simply a house, and my soul lives inside of it. Pretty deep huh? I do realize I sound completely insane, but it really did happen!

I’ve been thinking about that day recently because of the house analogy. My soul still feels very young and healthy. But lately, just like my actual house, my body is in need of repair. And, if I want to continue living comfortably inside of it, I have to fix it up and maintain it. Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve made some changes to the way I eat. My endocrinologist told me that changing my diet won’t make a bit of difference. She’s a super smart lady and her approach to everything is very scientific. I appreciate that. She prescribes my medication and I take it exactly like I’m supposed to. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything she says though or that I can’t try to help myself. So much of the information I’ve read about Graves Disease says that it’s triggered by stress; emotional but also physical. When we eat unnatural things that are hard for us to identify like, food additives, preservatives, and pesticides, it puts a big strain on our body. This makes a lot of sense to me so I made a switch to eating as much Organic food as possible. That’s a pretty big change on its own. Then, last month I saw my OBGYN, who originally initiated my blood tests, for a follow up visit. She’s also super smart. She practices Functional Medicine which I completely believe in especially in the case of Graves Disease. My thyroid effects my entire body so I believe I should be treating my entire body. Anyway, she told me that it was absolutely necessary that I cut Gluten out of my diet. I told her that would not be possible as I am Italian and I must eat pasta and pizza. Do you know what she said? She said that pasta and pizza are not food. No really, she actually said that! I just stared at her, completely shocked, and asked if she was absolutely certain. So, she took the time to explain what Gluten is and, how a person with an autoimmune disease reacts to it. She recommended a great book which I have already read and re-read called, The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor’s 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease by Susan Blum MD MPH. Based on my new understanding of Gluten, and my fear of feeling icky, I am also making the change to eating Gluten Free. There’s no guarantee that it will actually help me. But If not eating it will reduce the chances of things flaring up again, then I’m willing to give it a try. None of the changes I’m making are easy. Here are some things that I’ve learned…

~ Organic Food is very expensive. Did you know that Organic chicken breasts are $12.99 a pound? A pound! I never gave it a second thought before, but how is it that if I want to eat something that is free of harmful chemicals I have to pay a premium for it? Sorry, but that’s messed up!

~ Non-Organic Food is very scary. If you Google ‘Definition of Organic Foods’ this is what you get: “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones”. I ask you, what does that say about all of the other food in the grocery store? And, ‘sewage sludge’? Really?!

~ Not everyone eats the way I do. I can’t expect to find Organic, Gluten Free food anywhere else but in my own home. Let me tell you, it’s a real shock to the system when you go on a vacation or eat a meal out. I won’t go into detail but once your body gets used to the good stuff, it gets really p—-d off when you stray.

~ It’s hard to find Gluten Free foods that are also Organic. I get the whole concept of what I need to be eating. I need ‘real food’ like meat, veggies, and fruits. And I do eat plenty of those things. But, there are other things that I really enjoy and would like to find them in an Organic and Gluten Free form. Unfortunately, it isn’t working out that way. Like, I love to start my day with a big bowl of cereal or toast and jelly. And sometimes for lunch I don’t want a nice salad with fruit. I want a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Cereals that are both Organic and Gluten free are really hard to find. I did finally find a great Gluten Free, Organic granola that comes in several yummy flavors. It also comes with a seriously ridiculous price tag of $5.99 for THREE CUPS of cereal. I also found some great peanut butters and jellies that are both Organic and Gluten Free. But that doesn’t help me because I still haven’t found an Organic, Gluten Free bread to spread it on. Sometimes I just have to settle for one or the other. When that happens, I usually end up with something that is Gluten Free but not Organic.

~ Most foods labeled as Gluten Free contain almost no fiber. You’ll notice that many Gluten Free breads, pastas, etc. are made with rice. Which is yummy but contains absolutely no fiber. For a while I was eating Cream of Rice cereal twice a day just because I think it’s delicious and it’s so filling. Not a good idea!

So, here’s what I want. I want to find everything that I enjoy eating in an Organic and Gluten Free format…at my regular grocery store…not costing a small fortune. :-)

I must be doing something right though because after just a few months I’m already on the lowest dose of anti-thyroid medication and I’m feeling (fingers crossed) amazing well!

I’m still in the process of altering recipes and testing things out. It won’t be long before I’ll be posting some delicious recipes. So please don’t give up on me! I’m still adjusting to this new life and I have to love eating it before I’ll pass it on to you! :-)

A Holiday Tradition Dessert

Holiday Flavor Flashback

This recipe was originally made to be put into a 9 inch pie plate. As our families grew, it was easier to adjust the recipe and make it in a 13x9 pan so it would feed more people.We always used to use Kosto brand pudding for this but they no longer make a butterscotch flavor. Whatever brand you use is fine, as long as it's "Cook and Serve" and NOT Instant. This is a really great flavor combo. It's also perfect to serve after a big holiday meal because it's not a heavy dessert. I hope you'll give it a try! :-)