When I was first diagnosed with Hashimotos, I had no idea where to begin my healing journey. I just knew I needed to do something. I’ve reduced my diet to almost nothing hoping that it would help reduce my inflammation. I’ve had expensive IV treatments, had a root canal tooth removed (which was so needed), completed an intensive liver cleanse in Switzerland and have gone through so many different supplements I lost track years ago and now it’s just a big blur.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a dozen doctors from endocrinologists and dermatologists to naturopathic doctors, a variety of therapies and spent literally tens of thousands of dollars over the past 10 years. It makes me cry just thinking about how nonlinear my journey has been.
The thing is that it doesn’t need to be such a winding and sometimes looping journey to health. It’s only in the past year that I’ve discovered how somewhat straightforward a healing journey can be. Not to say it’s easy for everyone. Your journey still might be long but at least it doesn’t need to FEEL like you’re on the world’s slowest and longest roller coaster ride.
Not everyone will be ready to take a deep dive into this and that’s ok! You start with where you’re at. So I’ve laid out my 3 step plan that I use in my own health journey.
Step 1 – Take Out Inflammatory Foods
Though there are some foods that tend to be inflammatory for a significant portion of the population, each and everyone one of us is different not just right now but also over time.
This can vary based on how often these foods are eaten, the condition of your gut lining and microbiome and your stress level.
But by eliminating troublesome foods from your diet temporarily and/or long term, you start to reduce inflammation and your reaction to those foods.
You can do this either with a food sensitivity test (IGG test) or you can try an elimination diet. If this is the first time you’re reading about inflammatory foods, Autoimmune Sisters is hosting a 21 Day Anti-Inflammatory Plan starting November 2nd. This is a great way to start!
Step 2 – Find Out What Your Deficiencies Are
Your body needs optimum levels of vitamins, minerals, Omegas, enzymes, hormones and even stomach acid in order to do everything that it needs to do.
Sadly, the Standard American Diet (SAD), is woefully deficient in nutrients . Industrial farming has resulted in soils depleted of nutrients . This means that our food today isn’t as nutrient dense as it might have been before commercial agriculture.
Starting with a simple nutrient analysis test through blood work (ordered by your doctor) or via functional medicine lab testing can indicate not just what you might need more of, they can also give clues in what else might be going on with your body.
Note that if you order labs through an MD, request a copy of the results so you can compare these with functional medicine ranges. Or better yet, work with a functional medicine doctor or a naturopathic doctor who will compare your results with optimal ranges.
If you’d like to check your nutritional deficiencies without scheduling an appointment, there are some at-home functional medicine labs you might consider. An Organic Acids Test will give you several vitamin markers as well as test for pathogens (see Step 3). A Mineral and Metals test can tell you what minerals and heavy metal levels you have.
Your follow-up actions will depend on your results.
Step 3 – Find Out What Your Toxic and Pathogenic Burdens Are
Over time, toxins build up in your body from many different sources. Heavy metals, plastics, pesticides and petrochemicals are all a part of our daily lives. And many of them leave the body very slowly.
Your detox pathways can only process and eliminate so many toxins at a given time. And with the abundance of toxins — at least 84,000 chemicals  according to EPA inventory — we’re exposed to, our body just can’t keep up.
You can think of it like a rain barrel that gets filled over time, and eventually, it overflows. So you might be fine for a long while, but at some point, you’re not.
Add on pathogens such as yeast overgrowth, parasites, bacterial overgrowth as well as chronic infections due to root canals or cavitations, your body begins to struggle to stay functional.
Toxin burden can often be evaluated through the use of a symptom checklist like one in The Rain Barrel Effect by Dr. Stephen Cabral which is available on Kindle as well as paperback.
Toxic burden as well as pathogenic burden can be confirmed through Functional Medicine Labs as well. My favorites include the Organic Acids Test, Gut Bacteria and Parasite Stool Test, Mycotoxin Test, Minerals and Metals Test and GPL – Tox Profile from Great Plains Laboratory and can be ordered through your naturopathic doctor.
Just like in Step 2, what you do next will be dependent upon your lab results. My recommendation is to start with the Organic Acids Test if you could only choose one to start with.
Step 4 Follow Up
Retesting is something you might consider, especially if you find yourself tackling pathogens and high toxicity. Once you’ve gone through a protocol based on your lab results, wouldn’t it be great to see if there’s anything else you need to do? If not, you’ll feel accomplished. If there is, then you’ll have clarity on your next steps. Either way you’ll be able to cross something off your list.
As you move through the tests and protocols, you’ll begin to see positive changes. That’s because you’re addressing subclinical imbalances in your body that can often be a root cause for specific symptoms you’re experiencing. When you start to rebalance your body, you give your body a chance to start healing. Your healing journey starts with you.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nor do I diagnose, treat or cure disease. This is for education purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare provider before you consider supplementation as some may interfere with medications. As an Integrative Health Professional and Health Coach, I am an ambassador of Equi.life and the at home labs I’ve recommended are what I use in my practice and for myself. These labs are reviewed by a doctor and IHP coaches at Equi.life before being shared with you during your consultation.