Archive for the ‘Goitrogens’ Category

Is There a Healthy Vegetarian/Thyroid Diet?

IMG_1917 (2)June, the month of long daylight hours and ever warmer temperatures. June in Minnesota is the month when gardens really get going and you might even be able to pick your first harvest of young greens. June for us is a harbinger of warmer, muggier days, so it behooves one to sit back and just enjoy.

June is also often the month when we spend some time in the great state of Idaho and this June was no exception. We have a small dollhouse size cabin that perches on the mountainside at 6000 feet and from there we can see frolicking elk and watchful deer. We can hear the plaintive yips of coyotes and the long slow howl of wolves.

When we open the windows at night the scurrying of a mother quail and her brood entertain us and sometimes I get a small shiver down my spine at the sound of flitting bats scooping bugs out of the air enjoying their nocturnal dining. I know, I know bats are very useful critters but when the toilet is outside and the urge to use it calls in the middle of the night I don’t want them in my hair nor anywhere near me.

Always and for reasons I cannot explain both my hubby and I feel a  sense of joy when once again we overhear the mating call of the bullfrog. I have never seen him (or her) but much to our delight when we overhear their mating harumphs rumble up towards us  from deep in the wooded areas that surround our springs we look at each other and smile. Some things never change and for those things we are grateful.

What can I eat?

I was recently contacted by a reader (thanks for the question Lilly) and asked to please list vegetarian foods that thyroid types can eat and thrive on. In my opinion, a healthy thyroid diet really isn’t vegan nor vegetarian friendly but that isn’t to say there aren’t foods that you can eat and do well eating. Mostly, you need to limit certain foods and perhaps increase your consumption of other healthier foods (By healthy I don’t mean foods that health experts praise endlessly or recommend for their cancer preventing properties. I mean foods you can eat that will make you feel better.)

The first food I can think of that would be healthy and a vegetarian could eat is the fabulous and amazing egg. It is an almost complete protein in and of itself and contains almost everything you need to thrive. You should try to buy eggs from pastured and organically fed chickens but mostly try to buy the freshest eggs possible from a local source. Many farmers are feeding with soy free feeds and these are ideal for our purpose but I find these eggs are often prohibitively expensive for the average household. If you can’t afford the elite soy free eggs just go for fresh and local eggs from chickens who get to romp around in an open field.

Cheese, especially raw milk cheese is a nutritious food that most vegetarians can eat. If you buy raw milk cheese that comes from grass-fed cows you are getting Vitamin D from sunshine and chlorophyll from the grass and all kinds of healthy and health inducing nutrients and even some protein. When I say cheese I am not referring to vegan cheese or any other kind of Frankencheese products that are sold as “cheese” I mean a block of real cheese from milk be it cow, goat, sheep, yak, water buffalo or camel.

Dairy products in general are okay on a vegetarian/thyroid diet (obviously not a vegan diet) and one can make kefir and yogurt from fresh milk or pasteurized. Not only will you get your probiotics you are able to consume protein and again the goodness of pastured animals. Dairy allergies may make this impossible but I understand that fermenting milk often makes it digestible even for those who think they were lactose intolerant.

Healthy fats. Coconut oil is a fabulous source of calories for a thyroid type and even a vegan would deem it an okay food. Butter from grass-fed cows (Kerrygold is from grass-fed cows) is an excellent and health source of calories. Olive oil (if it is pure olive oil and not mixed with canola, rape or other seed oils) and extra virgin red palm oil add good nutritious calories that will not punish your thyroid.

Vegetables, hmm, what vegetables can we eat? Mixed baby greens (romaine for instance) are a healthy vegetable  for anyone and celery adds crunch and satisfaction. Garlic and onion can be very nice additions to anyone’s diet. Green beans are good for us as are some root vegetables like carrots and parsnips and even organic potatoes. Colorful peppers add a rainbow to your plate and lots of nutrition. Fennel, raw or cooked is one of my favorites and we eat a lot of spinach, mostly cooked but raw as well and always organic (I love combining spinach with sautéed onions and adding sheep’s milk feta cheese).

Nuts, namely almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts are a good food for a vegetarian thyroid type. Seeds like pumpkin are high in magnesium and selenium. Sunflower seeds make a tasty seed butter and a healthy alternative to peanut butter which being a legume really isn’t the best choice (doesn’t mean I don’t love it).

Fruit, avocados are a good fruit and for many of us they are about as close to the fruit section as we should get. Berries are okay especially the more sour brightly colored berries, like raspberries, sour cherries, blueberries, etc.

Okay now lets talk about the limited or prohibited foods

Okay so you have some foods that are good and vegetarian but let us review some foods that are particularly harmful for thyroid types. For example and this is the most mentioned “bad” one, soy. Soy is often used to replace meat and soy is soy, soy bad for you if you have an under functioning thyroid. Unfermented soy in particular is just not a good food to eat when you have thyroid disease (really not at all thanks to GMO issues with soy).

My vegetarian friends use soy meat substitutes and they are bad in so many ways I cannot even tell you. Soy meat substitutes are often seasoned with hydrolyzed soy protein (MSG) not to mention, and I repeat, they are soy and soy interferes with proper thyroid functioning. (As an aside, some people I know are developing allergies to soy in any form and when they start looking for places that soy might exist it is ubiquitous. It is in shampoos, food items like mayonnaise, bread, etc. and even in their skin care products) So no soy, period.

Goitrogens are a food that should be limited. Can we eat them? Yes, and I do. I wrote a blog article some time ago about goitrogens and I was pretty condemning of them. I have since gotten my thyroid meds more regulated and all the “problems” that I thought might be related to goitrogenic properties of certain foods have disappeared. That said goitrogenic foods are not a great food for us to eat and the list of goitrogenic foods in a vegetarian or vegan diet are numerous. Three servings a week is often what is recommended (but I exceed that amount). I do try to steam those veggies that are known to be a problem and strictly limit the number of raw goitrogenic veggies I eat.

Another big issue with vegetables and fruit  is their sugar content and if, as some thyroid types do, you have blood sugar issues you have to be very selective about your vegetables and fruit. Root vegetables are high in sugar and they may or may not increase your fasting blood glucose (FBG), so check your FBG and see what effect vegetables are having on your levels.

Nuts and seeds can be a great food but some are high in phytic acid and others are full of oxalates. Nuts should always be soaked and dehydrated  to remove phytic acid. Vegetables high in oxalates may be good for blood glucose issues but bad for pain, so you need to listen to your body and pay attention to its reaction to the food you eat. For instance,  red peppers are good if you have blood glucose issues but if oxalates are an issue peppers, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and some summer squash are all nightshade vegetables and they can increase pain for those who have an issue with it.

Can you subsist on a few root vegetables, nut butters, cheese and good fat?

I think you can but I personally wouldn’t choose to and honestly I love meat and seafood too much. However, if your body tells you that a food isn’t agreeing with you, listen and follow its directions. Ignoring your body is the worst choice you can make. I was vegetarian for years and got fat and listless on the diet. I love beans and other vegetarian foods but my body was telling me something important which I ignored and I think it contributed to my problems now. If I seem down on vegetarian diets and vegan diets it is as everything is on Krisinsight, my personal experience and no one else’s. Listen to your inner voice and if it says a vegetarian diet suits you it probably does.

Suzy Cohen, a pharmacist who is on Facebook, posted a diet for people with autoimmune disease this week and I will post a link to it just so those who have questions about their diet and thyroid disease , especially autoimmune thyroiditis, can look it over and see if you could make the changes:

http://www.dearpharmacist.com/2013/05/21/the-best-diet-for-people-with-autoimmune-disease/

Krisinsight recipe

I am including a recipe this month that I created because I love savory items like cornbread or even better jalapeno/cheese cornbread but I want higher protein and less carbs and no gluten. This “bread” is made with almond flour, so not at all appropriate if you have oxalate issues. If you have issues with pain skip this section and visit again next month.

Gluten Free Grain Free Savory Zucchini Bread

IMG_20732 cups blanched almond flour

½  teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

¼ cup arrowroot powder

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

1 medium zucchini or two small zucchini, grated

¼ sun-dried tomato pieces, rehydrated

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

½ cup shredded Italian cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Combine egg and oil and add to dry ingredients. Grate the zucchini in a small bowl and to it add the spices and tomato bits. Add to dry ingredients and stir in grated cheese well. Dump into prepared pan and smooth the top slightly.

Bake for 40 minutes and remove from pan to cool. Cut up into small squares and enjoy.

Santé,

Kris

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You Gotta Have Heart

IMG_1917 (2)I nearly finished another blog posting when I found out that today, the first of February, is “Women’s Healthy Heart” day and red is THE color, so I revamped my blog and my photo and February’s blog was born again.

January in Minnesota has left us all a bit stunned and hidden. There is nothing quite like below zero to cause even the hardiest of  America’s citizens to stay inside. We have just had several of those days and they weren’t just cold, they were blustery, brutally cold. Now, on the first day of February, the thermometer read -17F at 6 a.m. this morning and even the bunny that lives in my landscaping was stepping gingerly through the icy snow.

It may be cold here in Minnesota but my heart is warm and ticking along very well with only the occasional blip. It has not always been the case and I had to do a lot of information gathering to finally improve these critical issues. Now with today being dedicated to healthy hearts, I can get to the heart of what is on my mind and clarify and expound upon two issues that I have dealt with before on Krisinsight, goitrogenic foods and breast cancer.

Goitrogens, do we or don’t we?

Some of my readers may not be aware that the original impetus for starting my blog was an almost unbearable heart issue that plagued me for years and no one wanted to deal with the underlying cause, so I took it upon myself to find the missing piece of the puzzle. My endless research and experimentation led to sharing what I had learned along the way and how things worked for me.

I get several questions, several times a year about one issue I studied carefully for some time, goitrogens. Goitrogenic foods and other items have the potential to interfere with our thyroids and its ability to utilize the T4/T3 that is necessary to run properly. My blog posting “No Goitrogens Please” catches the eye of new readers in particular who are looking for an answer to their still under-treated thyroid disease.

Over the course of several years I have concluded that goitrogenic foods and supplements are not the real problem, we can eat them in moderation, take them in moderation and do just fine. The real problem for those of us who never quite get it right is improper treatment of our thyroid dis-ease. Very few medical personnel understand thyroid resistance and even fewer understand how to properly treat with T3-only. Most doctors will include some extra T3 to see if that improves our “condition” but in almost all cases if they include a T4 medication with T3 we will not resolve our issues.

If a doctor doesn’t understand the high-wire act of balancing our electrolytes and adrenal hormones we start to fumble and then we fall. When that occurs we start looking for anything and everything that might be wrong. I looked at excitotoxins, goitrogenic foods and a host of other culprits but, in the end, I had thyroid resistance, stage 2 adrenal fatigue and totally out of balance electrolytes and no one caught it until I self treated.

Now that I am treating my thyroid optimally (or almost optimally, it still needs some tweaking) and things are more normal I can eat a modicum of goitrogenic foods and take some supplements that also can have some goitrogenic effects.  I am going to repost a quote from “No Goitrogens Please” because the undisclosed person who wrote it said it best about goitrogens:

“People who have resilient health while eating these foods should continue to eat them with impunity. However, people who have thyroid problems or other problems associated with iodine deficiency or cyanide exposure should consider experimenting with the following dietary restrictions: 1) eliminate millet; 2) moderate soy and only consume it with additional sources of iodine; 3) limit crucifer intake to five servings per week, only eat more than this if it is boiled, and match one’s crucifer intake with extra iodine; 4)avoid foods with cyanogenic glycosides unless they are extensively boiled or crushed and leached in running water for several days, and match one’s cyanogen intake with extra iodine and vitamin B12-containing foods or supplements (but not cyanocobalamin). These foods are not inherently unhealthy but simply contain chemicals that have the capacity to harm the health of some people under some circumstances; this is true of all foods. Experience always trumps theory, so the individual should use this information as but one tool with which she or he can experiment to find the most appropriate diet for herself or himself.”

The cure

Although February is “Healthy Heart” month for women another issue that affects we thyroid types, especially if we have an autoimmune form of thyroid disease, is illness of all kinds. If undertreated or improperly treated our autoimmune issues can make us more vulnerable to diseases like cancer, breast cancer in particular and we need to be very proactive doing everything we can to prevent the cancer in the first place.

I am bringing this up because this past month I had a close friend who was considered “cured” by those who do the curing (chemotherapy and radiation that is). She had made it past the dreaded 5 year mark when suddenly an unusual spot showed up on her treated breast. At first, she thought it was nothing but she had it biopsied. She and her family went from thinking she was “cured” to wondering what was next in the matter of one phone call and they were heartbroken (in fact we are all heart-broken).

She was informed that she had a rare form of cancer that was directly caused by the radiation therapy (this is straight from the horse’s mouth at University of Wisconsin Hospital). She had her breast removed on Wednesday. She cannot have reconstructive surgery due to the virulence of this particular kind of cancer and they would not remove her other breast, so now she has one large breast on her right side.

My friend will go down in the books as another cancer victim who was “cured” by chemotherapy and radiation and it simply is not true. She was not cured, she was poisoned and they even gave her another more virulent form of cancer. I am angry, I admit, but the best I can do is inform my readers of this travesty and then share with you some preventive things you can do.

First talk to your physician about doing two tests that will help determine if you are prone to breast cancer. One is the ION test and the other is Estronex.

If you are found to have too much of the cancer promoting estrogen, you can:

  • Take Indolplex daily (I am bothered by additives in this product and the soy content but it is recommended).
  • Take Calcium D-Glucarate twice a day (Thorne makes an additive free version and it is available at iHerb and others. For money off first time orders remember to use my coupon code YAN884)
  • Take one capsule of Triple Action Cruciferous Vegetable Extract (iHerb carries this and you can get money off your first order by using my coupon code YAN884)
  • Make sure your food (and your makeup, lotions) is clean. No hormones, no chemicals like BPA and other endocrine disruptive chemicals.
  • Teresa Tapp has a fabulous DVD available for healthy breasts and skin brushing daily will clean lymph and keep it that way
  • Find a reputable brand of Poke root tincture and take it either daily or take it the first month of every season to clean the lymph.
  • Check your CoQ10 levels and get them optimal if they are deficient.
  • Check your Vitamin D levels and get them optimal. For those of us with autoimmune disease between 90-100 ng.ml is ideal

These things can’t guarantee you won’t get breast cancer but they are a way of doing everything possible. I strongly believe that if I do all I can to prevent I will be better able to fight it if something does occur. What you believe can make or break you, so, as Teresa Tapp likes to say “Yes, you can!” prevent this disease.

Krisinsight

I am making a real effort to not be so verbose these days but try as I might my blogs always seem to go on longer than they should. I guess I always have a lot to share and now that I have limited myself to one blog entry a month it is hard to not have  a certain amount of prolixity. Oh well, sigh.

I look forward to seeing you back here on the first Monday of  March. In the meantime take care of your heart and your breasts but most of all treat your thyroid disease optimally. Do not settle for low body temperatures, unusual weight gain, constant state of coldness, dry hair or hair that is falling out, irregular heartbeats or unexplained heart disease. Get a full thyroid panel and at least once get an antibody test to determine if you have an autoimmune issue. You can order it yourself at Life Extension Foundation  if you can’t get a doctor to assist you. Remember sometimes doctors have their own agenda and sad to say it isn’t necessarily your good health.

Santé,

Kris