Naturally Healing the Thyroid, part one: getting blood sugar under control

heal the thyroid naturally

WHY?!?!

Why does every health issue in my life necessitate cutting out and cutting back on sugar? Heh.Years ago I told a coworker of mine that I wouldn’t cut back on sweets and sugar unless someone told me that I’d die if I didn’t. And while I won’t die tomorrow, due to eating sugar, it was slowly destroying my body.

I don’t eat near as much sugar as I used to, but I could definitely focus a bit more time on making sure my meals are well-rounded, so as not to give me problems with my blood sugar balance. Because of my many, many years of too much sugar consumption, this area of my body is weak and very sensitive to a lot of sweets and refined carbs.

As Americans (and you Canadians and other international readers that live in ‘modern’ countries) we are addicted to sugar. My (free) Sugar Detox Challenge is insanely popular this time of year as people try to tame their sweet tooth yet again. And I won’t lie and say I don’t have a taste for the stuff, I still very much enjoy some of my old favorite treats; when they’re around it can be extremely difficult to keep my hand out of the bowl.

Dr. Kharrazian  has an entire chapter in his book about taming the sugar beast, and states.

“My experience shows that attempts at successfully managing a person with hashimoto’s or functional hypothyroidism are futile as long as he or she indulges in a sugar-laden high-carbohydrate diet.”

Come to find out, an increase in the consumption of sweets not only directly affects the production of our reproductive hormones, but also affects the production of thyroid hormones. Because the endocrine system works as a whole, and not separate from each other.

One of the problems is when we do indulge, our pancreas secretes insulin into the blood stream to deal with rising glucose levels. Once this happens the glucose level drops, causing low blood sugar, which then causes the adrenals to go in to their “fight or flight” mode. The adrenal hormones help to bring the blood sugar back up to normal levels, and these hormones cause stress in the body.

When all of this is happening in the body, because it’s important for our survival, the rest of the hormone production takes a back seat.

“Dysglycemia is a condition loses the ability to keep blood sugar stable………….it’s effects on adrenal function are at the heart of numerous health imbalances that frequently end in hypothyroidism: Dysglycemia weakens and inflames the digestive tract, weakens the immune barriers of the gut, lungs, and brain, drives the adrenal glands into exhuastion, sets the stage for hormonal imbalance (PMS, PCOS, miserable transition into menopause), clogs the body’s attempts at detoxification, impairs fatty acid metabolism, and fatigues metabolism.” – Dr. Kharrazian.

Low blood sugar, or reactive hypoglycemia (reacting to foods consumed), hypoglycemia, and insulin resistance all affect the adrenals, and therefore the thyroid as well.

So how do you begin to control and balance your blood sugar?

  1. Cut out all refined sugar and severely limit sweets. It’s best to cut out all sweets entirely until you’ve been able to control your cravings. (if you’re having a tough time cutting out sugar, you can download the Sugar Detox challenge for free once you subscribe to the newsletter)
  2. Start your day out on the right foot; with a protein rich breakfast. Skip the cereals and coffee, instead focusing on a healthy protein source like pastured eggs or grass-fed sausage. Carbohydrates are important of course, they are an essential nutrient, but have them as a small side instead of the main dish. I also find that eating a breakfast like this ensures that my hunger doesn’t come back ravenous in just a couple of hours.
  3. Stop drinking coffee. Whether or not the actual caffeine in black coffee affects your blood sugar levels, I know from personal experience that it plants the seed for craving sweets as the day goes on. Plus, caffeinated drinks are hard on your adrenals.
  4. Include quality protein, fiber, and good fats in every meal or snack always and along with any carbohydrate consumed. People who have issues with their blood sugar regulation may find that eating a small amount of protein every few hours is very helpful at first.
  5. Do you ever get tired after you eat? I do sometimes! And it’s not because you ate too much turkey, it’s because you ate over your carbohydrate limit. Each of us have a set amount of carbohydrates that our bodies can handle and it’s really important to listen to the cues of our body and pay attention to how much is too much for us. Because all the dietary advice in the world (low-carb, high-carb) isn’t going to help until we can figure out what our bodies need. So if you feel fine before and while you’re eating, but get very tired about an hour later, you may have consumed to many carbs. Make a note of what meals make you sleepy and after a couple of weeks you should be able to figure out your carbohydrate limit. (as a side note – food sensitivities also show up as sleepiness and lethargy after eating, so if you ate a lower carb meal and are still tired, figure out what ingredients were in that meal and try cutting them out for a week before reintroducing. Common sensitivities are dairy, eggs, wheat, and soy)
  6. Do not eat sweets before bed! Dr. Kharrazian mentions that this is one of the worst thing you can do, and it makes complete sense. When you eat a high carbohydrate meal, or indulge in desserts, your insulin level will rise to counteract the blood glucose level, which will then drop to low. When this happens you still have hours to go before your next meal, so the adrenals have no choice other than to begin producing hormones to help fix the problem. (3am wakenings or restless sleep is often tied to blood sugar and insulin issues)

In his book “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?” Dr. Kharrazian has a fast for unwinding insulin resistance that you may find beneficial if you have a bad case of insulin resistance. Magdalena’s Thyroid Detox Program also addresses the blood sugar issue.

But otherwise focusing on making sure your meals consist of vegetables, meats, and some fruit will go a long way in helping your body learn to better control your blood glucose levels.

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.

Comments

  1. You’re on a roll! This is such good advice for thyroid healing, whether hypo or hyper (which is what I have recovered from but tend toward if I slide into the sugar swamp.) The tips about feeling sleepy after eating? Yes, I will be paying attention to that now; thanks so much for bringing that to light!

    donielle Reply:

    @Jamie, Thanks! :-)
    I never realized the whole “sleepy” thing until we went completely grain free for a few months (working on some digestive issues for family members) and it was then that I figured out why I was getting so tired after breakfast. It was the big bowls of oatmeal causing me to fall asleep by 10am! I started paying attention to the type and amount of carbs and my reaction afterward and it’s been really helpful.

  2. Do you think that the thyroid detox program is worth every penny and necessary? Or are there some other sources (aka library books) that contain this same information?
    Thank you very much
    Leann

    donielle Reply:

    @Leann, I always tend to start with library books first. :-) The one I reviewed yesterday is really good: http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/why-do-i-still-have-thyroid-symptoms-book-review/ as is:http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/autoimmune-the-cause-and-the-cure-a-book-review/
    A lot of the information is the same, but what I’m finding nice about the detox program is the menus and such that are already done, so I don’t have to think about it. Basically, you’re paying for convenience and having someone who’s been through it help you figure it out!

  3. Dede Owens says:

    OK, can I tell you that I actually started crying when I read this text.? Aside from the “knocked up” portion, LOL, which I think is hysterical, I am wayyyyyy past getting KO. My dh and I have 4 wonderful kids, who are all teens: job done! But,,,,,, I have been on a VERY HIGH dose thyroid med. since I conceived my eldest (19 year old). They cannot seem to get my dose down, and everyone keeps looking at me like I’m some sort of medical wack job!! I am 46, weigh 130 at 5’5″, and am a marathoner, so I am fairly fit, but this thyroid thing has everyone crazy! I think I see the answer: SUGAR! This article is me to a T. Thank you for sharing this information with me, I hope to take the next big step towards my health, which includes a gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, and vegetarianism… I’m a hot mess on the way to recovery…

  4. This is excellent information. Although, I have not struggled with thyroid issues, my daughter and I both have yeast allergies and too much sugar can also cause eczema flare ups for us due to yeast sensitivity, especially if we have accidentally consumed yeast recently! However, we do sparingly use sugar and when we do, rapadura sugar is most often my sweetener of choice. It still has mineral content and can fully replace table sugar in recipes. I’ve got a blog post about it here: http://counterculturalmama.blogspot.com/2013/01/rapadura-sugar.html?m=1.

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