Back in April of 2015, shortly after giving birth to my second son, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, to be exact. It’s a condition where my immune system has basically gone haywire and started attacking my thyroid gland. Sounds fun, right? Right after my delivery, I started having some difficult symptoms, digestive and otherwise. It was concerning enough that I went to my primary care doctor, and also saw a cardiologist. I really didn’t know what was going on, and it was starting to freak me out a bit. Thankfully, after getting a recommendation to see a holistic practitioner nearby, I finally had a diagnosis. So because of this, I had to change my lifestyle. I mean a complete overhaul. This included lots of supplements, less stress, gentle exercise, and giving up gluten.
When I got my blood tested, the results didn’t only show Hashimoto’s. The results also showed severe vitamin deficiencies, suppressed liver function (too many toxins in my body), and very high levels of CRP. The CRP (C-reactive protein) is produced by the liver, and rises in the body as inflammation rises. So not only was I sick, but I was sick and inflamed all over.So I decided I was changing my life. Giving up gluten, sugar, soy, & dairy (they all cause inflammation in the body), and focusing on healing. Giving up the old ways, and starting everything fresh. Personally, I have to do this all at once. I’m not one of those people that has the willpower to give things up little by little. It has to be all or nothing, and it has to be drastic.
I’ve found that if I’m making a big change like this one, then it’s good for me to start with some sort of cleanse. For some reason, having a strict plan to follow for so many days is super helpful with helping me succeed. And it’s even better if I’m doing it with other people (accountability, y’all!) because then I’m afraid of letting everyone else down (or falling behind).
With this particular lifestyle change, I began with the Metagenics 10 Day Cleanse. It came with a specific menu plan, a protein shake, and some supplements. It was easy, and I loved it. And by day 10 I was down a few pounds, and I felt so much better. From that point on, going gluten free wasn’t as difficult because I had already gotten the cravings out of my system with the detox. Also, when you’re giving something up for health reasons, it’s an easier decision than just giving something up.
Giving up gluten didn’t make me feel any different. I didn’t suddenly have more energy, I didn’t lose a lot of weight, and I didn’t have anything big or amazing happen suddenly. But I did start sleeping better, my anxiety lessened, and my brain started working a little better. They happened so gradually that I didn’t notice, but it didn’t mean it wasn’t happening.
After 6 months of being gluten, dairy and soy free (sugar has been much trickier for me), I went back to the doctor to have my blood work taken again. Overall, it was much better. I still had Hashimoto’s, but my mineral levels were more normal, I wasn’t deficient in as many vitamins, and my CRP (inflammation levels) went from 5x the normal range, to within the normal range! I couldn’t believe it. My inflammation was gone.
So if you have an autoimmune disease, you really should give up gluten. Give your gut and immune system a chance to heal. Just because you don’t feel the change, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. If you haven’t tried it for at least 6 months, then you haven’t tried it long enough. If you’re serious about overcoming chronic illness and giving your body a fighting chance, then give up gluten. You’ll be so glad you did!
Have you had to give something up to heal? What were your results like?