A Truce with my Thyroid and a Truce with Food

I am the anti-Paula Deen. I like to think that the green smoothies and delicious fresh vegetables prepared by my clients, me, and the growing legions across the country go one-for-one with Deen’s nationally televised demonstrations of combining fried items for deep-frying.

Still, Paula and I, we have similar secrets. The “I-have-type-II-diabetes” kind.

I’ve watched her model the toxic and fatal co-dependent relationship between the American food, medical and drug industry: Excess, unhealthy food, defiance, the  doctors who push expensive, side-effect laden drugs, the strain on our health care system, the countless other social costs that are carried by all. I cringed as she shirked responsibility and played the genetics card on the Today Show. But I also understood that changing her diet was greater than just losing her brand. She would also be losing unwavering faith in her doctors and drug companies. If there’s no authority, are we ever safe?

This is where our secrets are different sides of the same coin. In July 2010, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroid. Then, I had reversed my asthma, acne, depression, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and fluctuating weight after medication didn’t work. I had watched diet and lifestyle turn around my life and the lives of my clients. My clients were enthused, my practice was busy and growing rapidly, I was increasingly being called upon professionally for advice and expertise. With the seeming “miracles” I had witnessed, I had unconsciously begun to see self-directed diet and lifestyle changes as an absolute answer.

Despite my care in eating a fresh, organic, local-as-possible diet and limiting my exposure to toxins, my health wasn’t perfect. Like Paula, my diagnosis challenged my values, my life’s work. I wondered, “am I a fraud?”

Like Paula, there were other factors working outside of my belief system. My mother, my grandmother, and many other family members are on synthroid, the leading medication to regulate hypothyroid. I grew up in Pittsburgh, a hotspot for thyroid problems with its steel city history lingering in environmental contamination. Rounding out the trifecta, the area encapsulating my thyroid was radiated when I was 14 as part of my cancer treatments.

The peace of absolutes dissolves as realities happen. For the Paula’s of the world there is foot amputation and blindness. For the “health-as” of the world there is the fit runner who drops dead from a sudden and unexpected heart attack at 40, the woman with the “perfect” diet who receives a terminal Cancer diagnoses and racks her brain for “what she did wrong” while her neighbor a lifelong smoker and drinker celebrates his 88th birthday. Completely shirking responsibility for your health as well a taking “radical” responsibility for your health and believing that you have absolute control can be equally extreme positions.

This important lesson is why I’ve waited to tell you my previous diagnosis. My hypothyroidism has reversed. Through a combination of an Integrative Doctor, Functional Medicine, and of course doing extra research into diet and lifestyle to tweak my diet for optimal thyroid support, my thyroid is stronger than ever (I’ll be sharing more over the next month so you can expect 3 more newsletters on how to support your thyroid). My enthusiasm for Functional Medicine—which I have seen reverse countless autoimmune conditions and other things conventional medicine calls hopeless has grown—as has my enthusiasm for medical doctors that are open to and/or trained in Integrative approaches.

Still, was this absolute or guaranteed? No. Did I strike a bargain with even my Integrative Doctor that I would agree to some alternative to Synthroid if my thyroid didn’t improve? Yes. If my diagnosis would have been something more life-threatening would I have relied solely on these types of treatment methods? Probably not.

“D. none of the above” was yet again the answer to the multiple choice question that life asked me.  You can’t deny responsibility for your health with a cheerful “yes ma’am” act and swallow the message of the conventional food, medical, and drug industry. You also have to accept that many things are out of your control. If you find a doctor that is open to nutrition and holistic treatments, consult a functional medicine practitioner, and do your own research into diet and lifestyle for your unique issues and vulnerable health hotspots you increase your odds at an unpredictable, high-stakes dice game. I am proof of this. But sometimes, you’ll still get snake eyes. You also have to strike a truce with the universe, your genetic predispositions, and a polluted environment. While doing everything in your power to maintain and improve your health, you also have to make peace with the lessons that life and the universe teach you along the way (it’s also the secrets sauce to weight-loss).

Processing this very personal and professional lesson has coincided with another milestone. My Truce with Food Program, the groundbreaking entrance into the world of transformative living will be available exclusively in downloadable format later this year. For those who want one last chance to experience the virtual live version, the final live Truce with food will begin on March 6. I think that Adrienne, a previous participant best expresses the “ahas” of previous participants in her comment that, “I can’t believe the progress I’ve made in the past few weeks compared to 10+ years of unnecessary dieting…” To read more success stories and buy yourself a Valentine’s Day Present of Self-Care click here. I am excited to make this program widely available because of its impact. And, I look forward to leading the final live session and experiencing the amazing exploration, questioning, transformation, and peace that unfolds over the weeks.

To embracing uncertainty and exploration,

Ali

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