As I promised in my previous post, here's my personal story with using Finnish super foods in treating and dealing with two autoimmune diseases.
Hindsight is always perfect, but looking at my childhood, I now understand that my thyroid has been causing me issues since childhood. Constantly being cold, low immune system, weight gain, and learning difficulties to name a few symptoms were the ways that the illness was showing itself. I made it to adulthood in the early 2000's before work place stress made my health nose dive.
I had over 70lbs weight gain in one year with no changes to my diet, my hair was coming out and I was sleeping 16hrs a day. I was constantly making mistakes at work and I lost my ability to envision things which made my line of work, design, very challenging.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism with very low values which meant my thyroid basically was not producing any hormones. I believe that in addition to our genetic make-up, our emotional state and things happening in our life effect the conditions/illnesses that we may suffer from.
I received T4-hormone replacement medication. Even with continuous dosage increases, my symptoms were not getting any better, in fact, I was feeling worse. At this point, nobody had shared with me how much digestion health and adrenal glands can affect hypothyroidism treatment.
I moved to China for my husband's work from 2008-2010. At this time my work stress decreased and I was able to start feeling better. I can't say I was back to "normal" but at least I had some weight loss and I felt better and more energized. From our stint in China, I was infected by the E.coli bacteria that reared it's head with continuous urinary tract infections. I had 6 different rounds of antibiotics before the doctor decided to look into my symptoms further. I was prescribed the controversial antibiotic Cipron that finally destroyed my health completely.
After years of ineffective T4-medication and multiple rounds of antibiotics, my digestion system was in bad shape and finally my adrenal glands stopped working. I was at a crossroads with my health.
I heard from a friend that she was helped by a functional medicine practitioner and the plan she was following for improving her digestion health. I decided to try it out and set up an appointment. This totally changed my life! The doctor explained to me that my body was exhausted from everything that had happened and that recovery could take few years after such drastic imbalance.
I started new medication that actually worked. I take a combination of synthetic T3-medication Cytomel and a natural thyroid drug, Thyroid Erfa. In addition I also started to take medication for very low functioning adrenal glands.
My doctor showed me how important diet and supplements are in the healing process. I started to learn more about diets and foods that were recommended for people suffering from autoimmune diseases and continuously found more information about berries. I learned that our systems can suffer from oxidative stress and why outside antioxidants can be critical.
Wild berries grown in Finland, Omega-3 fatty acids and chaga mushrooms high antioxidant levels were shown to help in multiple studies and research. I was stumped by this. Studies showed that the wild berries in the woods in my back yard were the best nutrition for people suffering from autoimmune diseases. The same berries that I ate as a kid in my oatmeal and drank as a juice in the winter time to help me get over a cold. So I decided to "go back to my roots" and made these super berries and chaga part of my daily diet.
I made that decision 2 1/2 years ago and I can say I feel better than ever. My lab work this spring has proven that how I feel is in fact reflected in the numbers. My doctor commented that I am as healthy as a 43 year old woman can be! That's amazing for someone who 30 months ago was in bed all day with no energy or will to go on. My adrenal glands have recovered and I have been able to discontinue that additional medication. My doctor had though I would need it for the rest of my life when I started this journey.
My diet has seen a total overhaul. I live gluten free and no longer use any processed dairy products. My diet is almost totally paleo- a lot of healthy fats, vegetables, fruits and berries. I have also fallen in love with chaga! I start each morning with a smoothie that consists of at least one of our berries (as a powder or juice) and tablespoon of camelina sea buckthorn oil. I often use chaga tea from the previous day as the base. I drink two large glasses of one of our berry juices each day and 1/4 gallon of chaga tea either warm or cold. The caffeine boost I used to need in the afternoons is now replaced with chaga! I also take a few vitamin supplements and probiotics. The probiotics in addition to the chaga have my gut feeling good.
Good digestive and immune health are a key for thyroid patients. Without them, we are not receiving the key nutrients from our diet and we are more exposed to potential allergies, over sensitivities and the autoimmune diseases we are struggling with. Digestion health is a cornerstone to treating thyroid issues and that's why clean, unprocessed nutrition is critical!
I want to challenge you! Will you start on the journey with me to discover how well you can feel even with your autoimmune disease? We are starting a search for a person that is currently suffering from an autoimmune disease that wants to use Finnish superfoods to aid them in feeling better and to start the healing process. This person will use our products and recipes and will share their experiences and progress with others.
Let us know if this person could be you! Send us your contact information and your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can change your life and help others suffering from autoimmune diseases feel better!