I’d like to start out by wishing you a happy New Year! For those who are following a natural thyroid treatment protocol in an attempt to restore their health back to normal, there are numerous factors which will play a role in accomplishing this. For the first blog post of 2014 I will discuss five factors which are important in restoring one’s health back to normal. This doesn’t necessarily mean that following the advice given in this post is all you need to do in order to restore your health back to normal, although I can almost guarantee that those people who do follow the recommendations given below will have a much healthier 2014.
With that being said, here are five factors which can help greatly in restoring your health back to normal:
1. Eat at least five servings of vegetables each day. Just about everyone reading this knows that they should eat mostly whole foods while avoiding the refined foods and sugars. But most people still don’t eat enough vegetables on a daily basis. In fact, eating more vegetables is probably the most frequent piece of advice I give after reviewing the food diaries of my patients. You want to eat a minimum of three to five servings of fresh vegetables each day, and ideally it should be at least five to seven servings on a daily basis. I realize this might not be an easy transition for some people who are only eating one or two servings of veggies per day, but it is an important change to make not only in order to help restore one’s health back to normal, but also to maintain one’s health in the future.
I’ve mentioned in previous articles and posts how I use smoothies to add a few servings of vegetables per day to my diet, and I know many people reading this also have smoothies every day. In fact, my average smoothie has approximately three servings of vegetables, and I have one or two smoothies each day. In addition to this I try to have an additional one or two servings of vegetables with lunch and then again for dinner, and so on most days I’ll eat at least five servings of vegetables per day, and many days I will exceed this. So if you’re not already eating at least five servings of vegetables per day then I would make this a goal for 2014. I would also attempt to add a variety of different vegetables, as for optimal phytonutrient intake you want to eat a variety of different colored vegetables, as well as fruits.
2. Spend at least 15 to 30 minutes per day on stress management. In the near future I’ll be releasing a separate blog post on stress management, and so I won’t go into great detail here. But this is yet another area that most people don’t focus enough on. I do have some patients who tell me that they do things such as yoga or meditation for stress management, which is great. But it’s important to be consistent, as while doing yoga a couple of times per week will help with managing the stress, you really do want to do something on a daily basis for stress management. This is true even for those who already feel they do a good job of managing their stress without dedicating any additional time on improving their stress handling skills. One problem is that many people think they do a good job of managing their stress but don’t do a good job. Another problem is that some people currently don’t deal with a lot of stress in their life, but if an acute or chronic stressor were to come along they wouldn’t be prepared to handle it since they haven’t been in the routine of improving their stress handling skills. So make it a goal in 2014 to block out at least 15 minutes per day to manage your stress, and 30 minutes per day would be even better.
3. Don’t underestimate the impact toxins can have on your health. This is yet another factor that most people tend to overlook. Perhaps the reason for this is because most people know when they’re not eating well, and many people also realize that they aren’t doing a good job of managing their stress. But from a symptomatic perspective it can be difficult to know whether toxins are adversely affecting your health. Plus, with all of the toxins we’re exposed to I’m sure some people think there isn’t much they can do to avoid the negative impact these toxins have on their health. While it is true that you can’t eliminate your exposure to toxins, you can still do a lot of things to reduce your exposure to them. The home environment is a big source of toxins for many people, and in most cases this can be dramatically improved. So another goal you should have in 2014 is to do a few things to minimize your exposure to toxins. And if you haven’t done a liver detoxification then you might want to consider making this a goal as well. In fact, even if you have done a liver detoxification in the past it still would be a good idea for most people to do another one sometime in 2014. After all, since we’re continuously being exposed to toxins it makes sense to do regular detoxifications.
4. Focus on reducing the inflammation. Most thyroid conditions have an autoimmune component. And autoimmunity is associated with inflammation. In fact, chronic inflammation is associated with many different health conditions, and so one of the primary goals should be to do things to help lower the inflammation in the body. Diet of course plays a big role in this, as eating a lot of processed foods causes inflammation. Ideally you want to eat a diet consisting of whole foods and try to cut out common allergens such as gluten and dairy. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help greatly with the inflammation, as can certain herbs such as turmeric and ginger.
But just eating well and taking supplements frequently isn’t enough to eliminate the inflammation. For example, if someone has an infection such as H. Pylori, Candida, or another type of pathogen, then this needs to be addressed. Chronic stress can also lead to inflammation, which is another reason why it’s important to improve your stress handling skills. Having a leaky gut will cause inflammation, and this is common with autoimmune thyroid conditions such as Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
5. Try to keep a positive attitude. Although from time to time I talk about the importance of having a positive attitude, the truth is that I don’t bring this up enough. Obviously one can have a positive attitude and not receive good results if they don’t eat well, do a poor job of managing their stress, etc. But the reverse holds true as well, as if someone eats well, works on improving their stress handling skills on a daily basis, and does other things to improve their health, yet they constantly have a negative attitude, then this very well can affect their recovery.
I realize it’s not easy to have a positive attitude at times. This is especially true when someone is dealing with a health condition such as a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid disorder. I know from self experience that it’s difficult to have a positive attitude when dealing with such a condition, as when I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease there were times when I felt down, and perhaps even depressed. But even though I didn’t know what the future would bring regarding my health I tried to remain confident that natural treatment methods would work. Would I still have received good results if I had a negative attitude while following a natural treatment protocol? Maybe, but I still believe that those people who are constantly negative are less likely to receive optimal results.
In summary, restoring one’s health can definitely be a challenge. But those people who follow the advice given in this blog post will have a much greater chance of accomplishing this. And while some people reading this post are already doing everything I mentioned, I’m sure many people aren’t incorporating all of these factors. If this is the case then I don’t expect you to immediately begin eating five or more servings of vegetables per day, to block out 30 minutes to focus on stress management, etc. If you can make these changes immediately that’s great, but if not then what I would recommend is to focus on something different each month. For example, if you’re only eating a couple of servings of vegetables per day, make it a goal to increase the number of daily servings to at least five by the end of this month. Then next month you can focus on blocking out time for stress management, and then the following month focus on minimizing your exposure to toxins, etc. Whatever approach you take, the key is to go ahead and take action, and if you do this then there is almost no question that you will experience some positive changes in your health.