Every story has a beginning; my wellness story begins during my pregnancy with Big Brother. Having always eaten on the healthy side and been fairly active (I have an on-again, off-again relationship with fitness facilities – but I’m also no couch potato), I thought I was doing alright with the whole wellness thing. I did have a tendency toward natural methods, but wasn’t very dedicated; like many people in their twenties, I hadn’t yet experienced anything to open my eyes more or motivate me to delve deeper.
Enter my first trip to the endocrinologist; she tells me she’s concerned about my thyroid levels and is ordering a special test for antibodies…at the follow-up, she tells me it’s been confirmed that I have Hashimoto’s disease. Basically, my body is mistaking my thyroid for an outsider and is attacking it as such; I have an autoimmune disease. Her opinion is that I will be on medication for the rest of my life and there is no cure. I had actually heard of this disease before and asked her (more to gauge our future relationship than to ask her actual advice) if there was anything I could do as far as dietary change that may help. She gave me a look and said “No”.
I’m a reader. If something interests me, I will happily read about it for weeks to gain a more complete understanding of it. The diagnosis was certainly interesting, especially as I was about to embark on a new chapter in my life, one that would last for the rest of my life and grow and change with me: motherhood. My husband and I had just gotten married, and being the supportive man he is, he encouraged me to keep learning and didn’t balk when I mentioned going gluten-free once I had the baby. He did draw a line, though – I was more than welcome to change my diet, but he wasn’t about to give up garlic bread and pizza. Understandable; I once adored those foods as well.
Big Brother arrived, beautiful and perfect and healthy. I kept taking the medication, but also began to eliminate gluten from my diet – a tedious undertaking which made me realize it was actually a lifestyle change I had signed myself up for. [“Wait, she’s not talking about Celiac disease. Why gluten? What’s that got to do with her thyroid?”] During my research, I discovered that we are still learning about the immune system, and apparently, when the wrong things happen in the right way, they can change your DNA. I’m talking about epigenetics, which is a concept so new, my spell-check wants me to write about epi pen ticks. Ha. Long story short, my immune system can’t distinguish between a gluten molecule and a thyroid molecule, so the best way to slow the attack is to stop instigating it by putting gluten into my body. Then I work to reseal the lining of my gut, because that’s a huge part of (apparently all) autoimmunity, and ensure my adrenals are being properly supported.
Fast forward to present time: Big Brother is three and a half, Little Brother is nearly five months old, life is pretty good. I’m feeling good, and though my journey is nowhere near over, I am very optimistic about my ability to find balance and achieve real wellness for my body. My husband still isn’t gluten-free, but hardly eats the same as he used to, either. Both boys are being raised gluten-free until further notice.
So there is my beginning; some posts will fill in the blanks a bit. Next up: my essential oils story! Subscribe to avoid missing blog posts, and I hope you’ll stop by again soon.