Gosh, how I love Instagram! While checking my new followers, I saw one called @paleocollegestudent , which of course stood out to me! After chatting with the girl, Ali Stahl, I came to find out her amazing story! Ali has been curing hypothyroidism with Paleo and actually was able to stop taking her medication. Watch the Youtube video or read below to hear more about this health transformation. (Oh and I forgot to mention, she’s adorable too!)
Growing up as a vegetarian, grains, legumes, “healthy” sweets, and processed foods comprised the large majority of my diet while soy provided my main source of protein. I still believed my dietary intake was balanced and healthy, yet my hypothyroid symptoms later contradicted this flawed assumption.
My symptoms ranged from non-existent energy levels and insomnia to freezing extremities and a slow metabolism. After starting a prescribed hypothyroid medication coupled with iodine supplements, my symptoms slightly decreased initially, however, I knew there had to be a solution or root cause to my thyroid problems without being on lifelong medication.
After switching to the paleo lifestyle, I was able to stop taking my medication within the next year and was relieved to find that my TSH blood levels were back within the normal range. I believe the largest contributor to the closure of my thyroid issues was the removal of soy and replacement of animal based protein sources. Since soy contains high levels of goitrogens, these can inhibit the body’s ability to utilize iodine, possibly leading to hypothyroidism with long-term intake.
Rather than focusing a diet around foods that promise weight loss yet, my true focus of an optimal diet has shifted to whole ingredients, rather than packaged foods with a list of ingredients. I’ve also learned to embrace ample amounts of healthy fats, since these are actually crucial to the absorption and utilization of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K).
Just like my dietary intake, my training has also changed dramatically. Often referred to as a “chronic runner”, I’d run anywhere from eight to ten miles a day without much addition of strength training. Not only was this detrimental to my joints, but I necessarily wasn’t “fit”. With the addition of Crossfit, my fitness became more diversified while keeping day-to-day training unexpected yet interesting. I believe Crossfit shifts the prior notion of exercise equaling weight loss to exercise equaling increased ability, mobility, and strength; comprising such a positive message to women of all ages.
Throughout this journey I’ve learned that there isn’t a shortcut to optimal health, it truly is a lifelong process. As a college student, the key to my success has been preparation and planning. Although I prepare all my meals for the entire week usually on Sunday evening, I’ve found that cooking at least your protein and carbohydrate sources like sweet potatoes saves ample time during the busy week. Food truly is fuel for increased energy in both sport specific training and Crossfit, in addition to internal health deposits that last a lifetime.