Messing with my diet --anyone else?

barb_roselover_inJanuary 12, 2014

I'm trying to make some changes in my diet to help rev up my metabolism because of the thyroid and watching my hemoglobin,-- some things counter-act against the other. Have any of you ever heard about a diet that deals with changing foods to help your metabolism? Appreciate any help. Listened to a couple of doctors this afternoon and they were saying they thought the Mediterranean (sp) diet was one of the healthiest. I understand there are thoughts all over the place about this, but just trying to change things a little. Not easy. Thanks Barb

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Look up "The Plan" by Lyn Genet Recitas. She talks about thyroid issues, ways to boost thyroid function, lists goitrogenic foods, and I believe she is working on a book about thyroid function. I make sure I get enough protein & healthy fats, minimize dense carbs, and of course lots of veggies, esp. green ones!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:13AM
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I followed the Mediterranean Diet very closely back in the 90's (when it was first hyped as being healthy - but not for a thyroid condition, but because it was supposed to be so "healthy"), and there are many healthy aspects of it that are great - especially if you are of Mediterranean ancestry. But, "diets" are never one-size-fits all. Unfortunately for me, it's way too high in empty carbohydrates, and overall too much food and too many calories. I felt awful. My gallbladder rebelled.

Why does a diet adapted to any people/tribe work for those people? Introduce a standard American Diet, and observe what happens after a generation or two. A good read on the subject is, “Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine” by Ronald F. Schmid, N.D. So I figure the Mediterranean Diet works well for people from that area, just as the Okinawa Diet, another so-called “healthy” diet, works well for natives of Okinawa. I read with interest in the book, “The Magic of Chia” by James F. Scheer about the rise in diabetes post-WWII to tribes of Arizona. When they revert back to their traditional diets, the problem with diabetes goes away. Anyway, I went back to following the old “Basic-4” (fewer total calories) and stayed with whole foods and good fats, and so far, so good for me.

I’d also suggest reading Broda Barnes book “Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness”. I checked this book out from the library many years ago. After reading it, I kept telling a friend she should ask her physician to do a full thyroid panel on her. Each year she mentioned her thyroid symptoms, but he never did a test and never did any treatment. Fast-forward to a new physician and she is being treated for thyroid cancer. The new physician asked why she didn’t say anything to her former physician - it shouldn’t have gotten to the level it did if her physician would have treated the symptoms years before. It was sad because I suspected the thyroid condition many years earlier just by reading a book. I was the first person my friend called after her diagnosis saying I was right. Too bad her physician wouldn't have been.....

Just last night I was reading some information about coconut oil (The Everything Coconut Diet Cookbook” by Anji Sandage with Lorena Novak Bull, RD) you may want to delve into a bit more for yourself. It’s always good to get more information about these things.

“Adding coconut oil to your daily routine can also have a positive effect on the thyroid, and can even reduce or eliminate hypothyroidism.”

“Coconut oil has the effect of balancing thyroid production, whether you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. One theory is that perhaps coconut oil, with its unique medium-chain fatty acids, improves the body’s ability to use fats and sugars by raising the metabolism and stabilizing blood sugar levels in the body.”

“In her book ”Eat Fat, Lose Fat”, Dr. Mary Enig (copyright 2005) writes, “While no studies have investigated how coconut oil affects the thyroid gland specifically, the fact that it raises body temperature and causes weight loss indicates that it supports thyroid function.”

Evidently, eating whole, unprocessed foods and adding real fats (coconut oil, lard, butter) to the diet may have a profound effect on a thyroid disorder, but coconut oil is especially beneficial to the thyroid, according to some who have studied the subject.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:41AM
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I should have asked if you have ever had a gluten sensitivity test? A general blood test will not necessarily show if you have a gluten sensitivity. There are 17 proteins in wheat and you can be sensitive to any one of them, and most tests only test for the most common one and skips the other 16. An elimination diet may be in order. There is some good evidence linking gluten-intolerance and thyroid disease - both auto-immune diseases. -Grainlady

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 10:18AM
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People are so variable, genetically speaking. I am a mix of both Mediterranean, and northern European ancestry, practically opposite kinds of diets, lol! I don't think you can go wrong with whole foods. It's really a constant struggle for me to avoid sugars and refined carbs, since I love them so! But that's what I'm trying to do. Today, I ran across a Web site the recommended the "Specific Carbohydrate Diet" for intestinal health. I'm not going to totally forgo all complex, whole carbs, but it certainly has encouraged me to up my fruit and vegetable consumption. I know I personally feel better on a high fiber diet, but one high in natural fiber.

Here is a link that might be useful: Intestinal health with the specific carbohydrate diet

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 11:16AM
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I have the cookbook, "Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet" by Erica Kerwien and have made quite a few recipes out of it, including our favorite recipe for gluten-free Banana Bread. The Pumpkin Bread is great. I make the recipe for "Sandwich Rounds" and keep them in the freezer for occasional use.

My older sister (65) is on the GAPS diet (Gut & Psychology Syndrome), and is seeing improvement WHEN she sticks to it. As an Air Force Veteran, she gets health care through the VA, which means DIY (when at all possible). She also makes recipes from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet book.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 1:12PM
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There are many doctors/people out there that specialize in this. I am currently seeing one in Illinois for various issues including an under-functioning thyroid. I am also working on "leaky-gut" issues and insulin intolerance.

I am on a one-year protocol with him. He 'prescribes' various supplements and dietary limitations.

I am currently about 6 months in and I have eliminated so many things from my diet that it's probably easier to tell you what I CAN eat. LOL

I will retest my blood in another 10 weeks to see how things have improved (hopefully).

This is what I have eliminated and for the reasons (at least what I can remember off the top of my head):

Dairy (I was already lactose intolerant; it is very hard to digest; full of hormones - this relates to your thyroid) I do eat eggs.

Grains (along the line of gluten-intolerance, it aggravates my already unhealthy digestive track)

Nuts (phytic acid and something else that I can't remember that is more important than the acid)

Seeds (can't remember, but I think digestion related)

Alcohol (sugar)

Medium/High glycemic index fruits (sugar)


Nightshade vegetables (lechtins)

Corn and potatoes (except sweet potatoes)

Vegetable, canola, hydrogenated oils

Carrots, beets (sugar)

Meats that are not grass-fed

NOTHING processed

Yes, it has been difficult, but I'm looking at it as an investment in my health for the long-term. I need to heal my digestive track and get my hormones in order, of course, not becoming a diabetic is quiet a factor too. Hopefully as things improve I will be able to resume some (certainly not all) of the things that were eliminated.

I suggest finding someone that specializes in metabolic issues and get well tested. He did testing on me that my GP had never heard of. To test your hormones you need a saliva test. Blood tests do not seem to accurately measure all the hormones that need testing.

As always we just want a quick fix, but these issues took a lifetime to culminate and unfortunately the healing takes time as well. It's a slow road, but I do feel much better and ALL my digestive issues have been resolved. That alone was a huge blessing.

Good luck and hang in there.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:22PM
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A true Mediterranean diet is one with no industrial rubbish, not a lot of carbohydrates, tons of fresh fruit, veg and fish, lean meat in small quantities, little can't go wrong IMHO. To increase your metabolism, try doing a Kathy Smith walking regime 5 times a week. That has transformed my fitness levels and metabolism. Eating well is very simple if you get away from faddy diets and over-complicated thinkings! Just think Greek!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:36AM
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I definitely think that a good diet doesn't include a lot of carbohydrates. A few years ago I did not a diet but 'healhy eating' where I tried to cut down on my carbohydrate intake and ate more fish/fruit and vegeatbles. It really did work, not only did I lose weight but my skin also cleared up and I had more energy. It's a hard plan to stick to but it really does work.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:07AM
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I'm also of mixed ancestry - Mediterranean and Eastern European - and whenever I hear the recommendation to stick to ancestral diet I think this may be an increasingly irrelevant recommendation as people of different origins seem to mix more and more.

I have a great liking for Mediterranean food and a no less great liking for the very un-Mediterranean bacon and ham. The best of both worlds actually.

I agree with Islay Corbel that daily (or near daily) walking is the best way for revving up one's metabolism.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:08AM
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strawchicago 5a IL

Hi Wintercat and Barb: I'm glad to see rose-growers here in Cooking Forum. Roses are NO longer important to me ... already have too many (60+ roses). My focus is taking care of my family through healthy cooking.

I agree with everyone that daily exercise boost up the metabolism. Yesterday I spent 1 1/2 hour shoveling the ice .. was sweating & hot for hours afterwards.

Grainlady has a good point that healthy fats like Coconut oil raise metabolism. Omega-3 is used to treat Raynaud syndrome: defined as excessively reduced blood flow in response to cold, or extreme pain with cold temp.

My kid eats at least 1 cup of walnut per day, plus 2 tablespoons of flax oil (high in Omega-3 and Omega-9). My kid is always warm. Studies show that Omega-3 increase the "brown fat" storage with higher metabolism.

My kid hates it when school made her wear her coat during recess. She never wear gloves nor hat, even in our freezing zone 5a winter. I notice the same effect when I have walnut or flax oil for dinner: very warm at night, so I only use that during the winter.

The "China Study" is a landmark book by Dr. Campbell. According to Wikipedia, "Dr. Colin Campbell, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician. It was first published in the United States in January 2005 and had sold over one million copies as of October 2013, making it one of America's best-selling books about nutrition."

I read that book twice, it showed that a vegetarian diet resulted in higher metabolism than a high-protein diet, plus reduced rate of cancer & heart-attack. The book included lab. studies on rats which showed they are much more active on a vegetarian diet, than a high-protein diet.

Here's an explanation from Wikipedia "... consuming diets high in protein and fat transfers calories away from their conversion into body heat to their storage form as body fat."

On sensitivity to cow-milk, Wikipedia explained, "... autoimmune diseases are more prevalent among people who live at higher geographic latitudes, and also among people who consume a diet high in animal protein, particularly cow's milk. ... Vitamin D is important for the proper regulation of the immune system, and that for people who live at higher geographic latitudes, a lack of exposure to ultraviolet sunlight can result in a deficiency. The consumption of animal protein, especially casein in cow's milk, results in higher concentrations of calcium in the blood, which inhibits the process by which the body activates vitamin D in the kidneys to a form that helps repress the development of autoimmune diseases.[21]

Here is a link that might be useful: The China Study book by Dr. Campbell

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 9:44

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 9:30AM
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2014 will be six years since DH and I revamped our diet for a combined weight loss of about 70 lbs., which we've still maintained. Our eating plan is very simple. Stop reading diet books and Internet articles and use your common sense. As a friend told us when we were ready to make changes, "Stop planning and start doing".

Who can't figure out that a glass of water is better than a soft drink or a broiled fish fillet is better than fried? You know your weaknesses better than any author and already know what you have to do to correct them.

We were snackers so we started eating three full meals a day, no snacks at all, and a cup of tea and a sweet treat at 8 P.M. It took a while to find the balance of how much food it took to satisfy us until the next meal without making the portions overly large. We ate more vegetables, less meat and some carbs to keep us from getting hungry. As our diet improved and we started losing weight, our activity levels automatically rose.

In the beginning, we had Fat Fridays, where we could make stupid choices in foods, like a doughnut for breakfast or French fries with lunch. As time progressed, we settled down to eating a balanced diet with larger portions of "good" foods and smaller portions of "bad" foods but no "forbidden" foods, which we usually save for dining out or dinner invitations. If you've seen my WFD posts over the years, you would rarely see fried foods or rich sauces but you'd find lots of creative vegetable dishes.

A diet that makes you feel deprived and grumpy might work in the short term to start you on the path to healthier eating but listen to your body because it will tell you exactly what to do.

One caveat if you are battling thyroid issues: If you are taking any thyroid hormones (synthroid, etc.), note that calcium renders them basically ineffective. A thyroid pill in the morning followed by a multi-vitamin containing calcium or a bowl of cereal with milk should be delayed for two hours after the pill. This info. is usually somewhere in the midst of the pages of printouts attached to the the prescription.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 11:24AM
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Can you believe that I had to read that thyroid information (about the link between taking thyroid hormones and calcium) in some ladies magazine one day when I was doing laundry at the laundromat?!! I had been on the pills for many years and never heard a word about it from my doctor or pharmacist. And there are lots of things about vitamins and absorption that never get mentioned when someone is recommending this or that supplement. I'm a firm believer in a varied diet, so I will never jump totally on the "no carb" or "low carb" bandwagon, but I do know I need to watch it because it is very easy for me to slip into eating too many carbs and sweets. It takes a lot of work to consistently eat whole foods. I love whole foods but its often hard for me to spend enough time preparing them, on a daily basis. And it can be costly to buy already prepared things that are healthy.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:28PM
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lpinkmountain, many whole foods needn't and shouldn't be prepared on a daily basis. Legumes, for instance. I make them from scratch - sort, wash, soak, cook VERY slowly without salt of course. I'm talking beans and lentils. I make a huge pot, let it cool, sent it to the fridge and the next day I divide into meal-size portions and freeze - without adding any seasoning whatsoever. Not even salt.

When I need to make a meal, I thaw the necessary portion(s) and season them as my fancy takes me.

My favourite seasoning: As I wait for the beans/lentils to heat, I put some olive oil in a tiny pot, add sweet paprika, ground cumin and a crushed garlic clove. Then I put the pot on a low flame, stirring slowly. The minute the oil starts sizzling and it's possible to smell the aroma of the spices - I turn off the flame & pour the whole thing on top of the bean/lentil portion that's already in the serving dish.

Alternative seasoning: plain yoghurt (with lentils), yoghurt with crushed garlic, or just freshly ground black pepper, or croutons.

With the exception of salads, which are a LOT of work IMO, whole food isn't time consuming at all.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 3:26AM
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I guess I was doing everything wrong according to the Plan. Everything I thought was healthy is a trigger. Didn't know about the calcium either. I am reading all of the books and pick out the best advice. Have too many side issues,, I guess. My medicine is interfering also with my inability to continue losing. By the way, when you talk about "whole" foods, do you mean without additives? Sorry to be so dumb. I have stubbed my toes a lot in this quest. Want to get some of that seasoning. Love to read this thread. One of our stores are handling a meat source free of the nitrates. Thank you. Barb

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 1:18PM
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From my understanding whole foods means "real food" - fresh meat, veggies, fruit, seeds, etc. So yes, it would be food without any artificial ingredients.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 9:41PM
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I think of "whole foods" as being as close to nature as possible. You can still recognize it as the original form it was found in nature. I have a friend who says you shouldn't find your food in a bag, box, or a can.....

Apples rather than a product that has been heat processed with added sugar such as applesauce, or apple juice which has been heated, sometimes sweetened, but all the pulp, peel, fiber, and much of the nutrition has been removed.

A whole grain/seed/bean without any portion of it, such as the bran or germ, being extracted first. Nothing removed, nothing added - such as flour milled by removing the germ and bran first, and then it's "enriched" with chemical forms of vitamins and minerals.

I always consider whole foods nature's original "fast" food because so much of it requires little more than washing, perhaps removing the outer skin or shell in some cases, and then portioning. If it's cooked, it can be cooked quickly, such as a stir-fry.

It may also be noted, the farther from the original whole form of the food a product gets, the higher the glycemic impact it has. A whole orange doesn't increase blood sugar as much or as quickly as orange juice because of the fiber found in the orange.

In his book "In Defense of Food" An Eater's Manifesto, Michael Pollan distills it to this:

Eat Food (meaning real food as found in nature). Not too much. Mostly plants.

Another interesting book: "Read It Before You Eat It" How to Decode Food Labels and Make the Healthiest Choice Every Time - by Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN

Rebecca Wood has a wonderful book "The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia" which is a comprehensive resource for healthy eating - an A to Z of selection, preparation, and storage for more than 1,000 common and uncommon fruits, vegetables, grains, and herbs.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 5:12AM
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I have read so much the last several days that I can't remember what I read where. Somewhere I read about the celery and I thank whoever. I knew celery had sodium but they continually were talking about taking snacks consisting of celery sticks and carrot sticks, so I was doing just that. Whoa--quit and lost two pounds. (definitely retaining water and affecting my rheumatoid arthritis) One step ahead. So many of my go-to vegetables contain triggers and when I went online to see what vegetables made you retain water, it came up with a million types of diets but no help online.About exercise, I go to the 'y' twice a week and we do chair aerobics and do work with weights , ropes and balls. At home I ride the exercise bike but with rheumatoid troubles in tendons and plantar fasciitis, I cannot do plain walking. I take my thyroid around five o'clock in the morning so I don't have to worry about mixing my other meds, but later in the day have to take a calcium-magnesium supplement twice a day along with my D3. So much help, you have given me., and , Grainlady, you are a walking encyclopedia. I'm working on it. Also found out from my pharmacist that one of my meds for blood pressure also definitely affect weight. Barb

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 1:09PM
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