Let me tell you a little about myself. I’ve been a trained chef for the past 14 years. I love good food and I love to eat. My husband and I saved up for seven years so I could pursue my dream of cooking in Italy almost a decade ago. ITALY, I said! Home of the most amazing, rich, pillow-like pasta you could ever hope to eat. When we lived in Italy, my day started off by walking down 104 stairs to the neighborhood “bar” (the place where you get breakfast), where I’d order a cappuccino and a pastry at the counter every single day. At lunch time, I would select some of the finest cheese, meat and olives I could afford and buy a loaf of freshly baked bread. I’d end with dinner at a little trattoria enjoying what Italy is world-famous for – perfect pizzas or a rich, delicious, pasta dish that was out of this world. We’d often end dinner with a doughy, sweet treat and an espresso or digestivo.
From this description, does it seem like I’m the kind of girl who could not only give up my coffee but my gluten too? Well, I did. And here’s why....
Gluten molecules resemble thyroid tissue. What does this mean to you? It means that if you have intestinal permeability (leaky gut) or a sensitivity to gluten, your body will mistakenly attack your thyroid, believing it is attacking the gluten molecules.
If you have hypothyroidism, it’s 90% likely that you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. This means that in 90% of all hypothyroid cases, it’s likely that YOUR body is actually attacking your thyroid, destroying its tissue. Sadly, Hashimoto’s is often misdiagnosed. You can have completely “normal” thyroid levels but have Hashimoto’s and often doctors won’t run the extra lab test to see if it is, in fact, Hashimoto’s because the standard course of thyroid care is always the same whether you have it or not – medication.
What happens with autoimmune disease is that the body is having an overactive immune response against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In addition, the thyroid gland is connected to so many of the body’s systems, including gastrointestinal function, stomach acid production, adrenal hormone metabolism, changes in brain chemistry and liver detoxification. So, when a gluten molecule escapes through the walls of the digestive tract and the body starts attacking the gluten, it inadvertently begins to attack the thyroid, continuing its destruction.
That’s pretty serious stuff. Some doctors and thyroid researchers insist that if you want to stop the destruction of the thyroid, you must stop eating gluten altogether.
You may have heard all of this before, but now is the time to start acting on it. If you truly want to heal your thyroid condition, you’ve got to put your hands up and drop the croissant.
“How can I give up my pasta or pizza? What will I eat instead,” you wonder? “Will I ever be full?” Yes, you will and there are loads of delicious, naturally gluten-free foods out there. Giving up gluten seems unappealing and daunting, I know. I’ve been through it and before I started living gluten-free, I wasn’t sure how I would ever succeed. But I did succeed. And I learned loads of tips and tricks and have a host of new recipe resources to boot. I began feeling so much better after parting ways with gluten that I don't even feel like I need it anymore. Sure, a piece of freshly baked bread smells delightful, but my body doesn’t actually crave it anymore. If I can do it, so can you. So go ahead ... just do it!