I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about the Autoimmune Protocol I followed for two years to put Hashimoto’s into remission. When I began the AIP I knew it as the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol which was put together by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. It stood out to me amidst all the other healing protocols for these reasons:
- Sarah Ballantyne is a mom so presumably her ideas would fit a family lifestyle.
- She holds a PhD in Immunology and she could explain fairly complex biology in clear and straightforward ways.
- She pulled in pieces of research and information that seemed connected to her autoimmune diseases and built a protocol around it that other people had success with. One of her initial followers, Mickey Trescott, had reversed Hashimotos using the protocol.
- The protocol bore some resemblance to the initial diet my endocrinologist had me try to level my blood sugar and get some energy coursing through me.
After seeking to follow the protocol for 18 months I had normal thyroid numbers and much better self care. I was off my Synthroid medication. Now I could call it the Almost Impossible Program. Almost impossible because most people that I talked to (doctors, friends, family) couldn’t believe I was doing it (especially for so long) nor could they believe it would actually deliver results. Despite the fact that it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I’m really grateful I invested time, resources and energy into learning more about how to live well in this body of mine.
Each day we breathe we’re invited to increase our capacity for experiencing life, for really living. We can choose to use our experiences to support this goal of being vibrantly and fully alive. Many times we notice this invitation when we feel sadness, grief, guilt or sorrow. We may shy away from these experiences or cover the emotions and avoid processing them because they are uncomfortable. In the thick of a challenging moment it can be soothing to remember that you are simultaneously deepinging your channels for feeling joy and peace. So navigate your way through struggle with as much grace and support as you can access and then look for the deeper joy and peace that are now inherently yours as well.
Do you think there are other ways to heal besides the diet you tried?
Yes, I think there are lots of different ways to heal! I think the important thing is to determine your objective, and then work toward it consistently. There will be setbacks but if you can heal a little everyday amazing things happen! For me the Paleo AIP seemed like the best fit and my goal was to stick with it until I was off my meds. I liked that the approach incorporated motherhood, a PhD in immunology, nutrient dense eating, and common sense with lifestyle modifications too. Then Ayurveda seemed like a good transition to more balanced and sustainable nutrition that aligned with my values. I’m still tinkering with it and I don’t claim to have perfect health but learning to read my body’s cues has been huge and my outlook is different now. I think life will get better in this body of mine the longer I live in it because I’ll keep learning how to care for it and use it to live fully and thrive!
I love questions, feel free to comment with one and I’ll answer in an upcoming post! At the same time, let’s all remember that I’m not a doctor, just a fellow-traveler. If you need medical advice, please seek the support of a professional. If you live near me, I have the names of some great ones!
Family council is a quick weekly meeting with everyone in the household. It’s best to have it regularly but even if you just do it once a month your family will learn to communicate, coordinate and cooperate with more ease. The most basic meeting would include a schedule review and a discussion of individual/family needs. As you practice meeting together you might find that you’d like to incorporate some other topics into the practice. I recommend starting small and firming up the habit before adding more items to the agenda. Just practice being together, talking openly and being as patient with each other as you can. This week’s agenda will help you have a well-rounded meeting in just a few minutes. Holding the space for family council each week breathes life into the home and gives the family and its members room to heal, grow, and become a strong team.
I have been off my synthroid medication for 8 months. I had my 6 month follow up in February and my antibodies were the lowest they’ve ever been, my thyroid hormones were were great. I’m telling you this to give you hope because bodies can heal. I have been told (repeatedly) by all manner of individuals that this doesn’t happen. I have been told by a small handful that it can. Anything is possible.
I remember sitting on the living room floor with Ritchie 2 years ago. I’d just been to the doctor where they suspected I had celiac disease. I was devastated because autoimmunity can be a slide and once you have one disease it’s easy to start collecting disorders until eventually your body is just mired in dysfunction. I sat there feeling so disheartened at the prospect of that and also humble. Like, well, if this is what God wants I will accept it. But, like many of you, I had other plans! Mainly living with and loving my family having adventures, using my gifts and skills to help other people grow. These last few years have been an interesting adventure in cultivating a deeper understanding of the interesting tapestry that is woven from personal choice and God’s will. Sitting on the floor in tears, I didn’t feel like I had filled the measure of my creation, there was more for me to do. And not in a self-aggrandizement kind of way, just in a mothering-give-back-to-humanity kind of way. So I asked God to help me figure out a way to do that, to fill the measure of my creation. I remember praying to be healed and then over time I changed my prayers to ask for the gift of healing. Instead of relying on something external to change my circumstance, the gift of healing meant asking God to teach me about this beautiful creation of his (the body) and to help me understand it and how to work with it’s natural tendency to heal. I think sometimes we think of the gift of healing as something we have and use for other people but in my experience asking for the gift of healing to heal myself has been a different kind of prayer leading to a beautiful journey. Like any artist, I have found my Heavenly Father to be more than willing to share the intricacies of His creations with me. Tune into your inherent strength & divinity, be brave enough to seek it and see what happens!