by Andrea Baines
Eight years ago, at the age of 35, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, an auto-immune disease of the thyroid gland. This came somewhat of a shock to me because I had always considered myself to be pretty healthy and had enjoyed a healthy vegetarian diet for over ten years.
The diagnosis came about after a series of blood tests that my GP undertook after I told him I had been falling asleep during the day for some time, had mad sugar cravings in the middle of the night, had put on a stone in weight and had become irritable and irrational! He checked me out for diabetes at the time, but found it was the Thyroid gland that was the culprit. He solemnly informed me that this was a serious condition that does not usually heal and, because the gland (situated in the throat area) had begun to deteriorate, I would have to take medication for the rest of my life to help balance the TSH levels in my blood that my thyroid gland was no longer producing enough of.
It was a scary prospect. I wanted to find a natural alternative but at the time, probably due to my hormone levels being off balance, I was feeling quite “out of sorts” emotionally and lacking in mental clarity. I found it hard to concentrate on anything and felt a sense of apathy about life in general. Taking the medication was the easiest option for me. Things did begin to improve, but I never felt right in myself and the tablets made my head feel a bit fuzzy.
I had been to see an amazing Iridologist in England who suggested I try the Blood Type Diet. This was another challenge as it meant, being an O-type, I would have to go back to eating meat – and lots of it! I bit the bullet and decided to give it a go for the sake of my health. I do have to admit to feeling much better on this diet, better than before anyway. My energy levels improved somewhat and I stopped craving sugar so much. I managed to stay on fairly low doses of meds, to which I do attribute to the new diet. I also learned a lot about how I had been damaging myself so much from all the years of eating lots of soya, wheat, dairy and highly processed vegetable protein products that pass themselves off as meat alternatives. Not good for anyone by the way!
After nearly 4 years being on the medication, I came across a raw food stand at a health fair and tried the most delicious chocolate dessert I had ever tasted! I nearly fell over when told what it was made of – nothing but whole foods, fruit and natural sweeteners! This immediately inspired me to find out all I could about raw foods. The whole concept was just so intriguing and it made complete sense to me that when vegetables were cooked they were left with little or no nutritional value.
I went out and brought a cheap blender and started making green smoothies every day, eating lots more green salads and introducing raw vegetables into my diet in interesting and delicious ways. I learned about some of the super foods, and about how sea vegetables can help support the thyroid due to their iodine and high mineral content.
Within less than 3 months of starting to follow a raw food diet (and believe me when I tell you I was only doing it about 50-70% back then) my energy levels shot right up, my acne rosacea was gone and I was suddenly no longer experiencing the painful menstural symptoms that I had since a teenager!
I lost the extra stone in weight that I had not been able to shed, I felt much better than I had done in years, my mental clarity and emotional stability had returned, I felt calmer and more alive than ever and started exercising again. I decided to stop taking my medication and see how it goes. (This is NOT something I advocate anyone doing without a doctor’s support by the way – it just felt right for me).
But here’s the biggie. I returned to my GP to tell him I had not taken my medication for a few months. I told him what I had been doing with my diet and that I felt so much better without the pills. He smiled, rather wryly, and sent me off for blood tests. They came back ok!
He continued to monitor me for a while and told me that he didn’t feel I needed the medication anymore, but that if my symptoms returned I should return to him for further tests. That was nearly 4 years ago and to this day I have not had to return for ANY reason.
I can whole-heartedly recommend eating a high raw food diet to anyone to help improve any health problem, but make sure you do some research and concentrate on eating the foods that support YOU and YOUR health issues. This is so important. For me it means sticking to about 80% whole raw foods and making sure that I eat raw sea veggies a couple of times each week and take kelp as a supplement. Up until several months ago I was still occasionally eating meat, perhaps about once a month, if I felt I needed it. But I am now experimenting with not eating it at all.
I have learned to love nori rolls and dulse flakes on my salad!