This is second in a series of three posts about healing Hashimoto’s disease through nutrition. Make sure you read my last blog post on the FAQs before you read this one.
In this post, Jeff Zorn from Nourishing Dubai and Lulu Alarmali, a registered dietician give me pointers on an ideal diet plan for Hashimoto’s sufferers. As with the other post, if you find this too text-heavy to digest then look out for the TL:DR pointer called Bott’om’line. At the end, I have included handy infographics so you can have a quick understanding.
Q: What’s an ideal daily diet plan for a Hashimoto’s disease sufferer to lose weight?
- Anti-inflammatory (night-shade free), gluten-free, dairy free, grain free – basically, paleo. A gluten-free diet, regardless of whether or not the individual has a gluten intolerance, noticeably improves symptoms of the disease, especially energy, mood, and weight. The same applies to dairy. Probiotics (whether they are supplemented or taken through probiotic rich foods) improve gut flora.
- Although gluten and dairy are common food insensitivities, different individuals may have specific food intolerances which can be discovered by doing a food intolerance test. Eliminating those intolerances could also result in a marked improvement of symptoms, and could decrease thyroid antibodies.
- In addition, food intolerances signify intestinal permeability – aka, Leaky Gut. The ultimate goal with any autoimmune disease is to heal a leaky gut as autoimmune disorders are highly correlated with gut dysfunction.
- A person who has thyroid issues may also benefit from taking digestive enzymes to enhance the absorption of nutrients, especially if nutrient deficiencies are a cause of the problem.
- Treating the hormonal aspect of the disease is key to weight loss – this is because thyroid dysfunction (especially hypothyroidism) massively affects fat/ weight loss – even if you’re doing everything right, including dieting, exercising, supplementing. Getting the hormones under control by treating the underlying cause will make the weight drop fast. Otherwise, excessive dieting and training may actually worsen the condition by causing more metabolic damage.
- Playing with carbohydrate intake and varying the amounts depending on daily activity also helps, because too much or too little can either cause weight gain or further damage metabolic function.
Bott’om’line: Eat paleo and avoid nightshades. I know what you’re thinking..what are nightshades?
Also, cure leaky gut! What is leaky gut?
Jeff: Nourishing actually gets a large number of clients looking to lose weight, both those with and without health issues. There is widespread misinformation in the health and fitness industry that calories or the amount of food intake controls weight gain or weight loss. The concept of nourishing (unprocessed, high quality food in controlled portions) is more easily accepted by individuals who are seeking to address a medical condition. This is because they already know that their issues are caused by an imbalanced diet, especially those with food intolerances of autoimmune issues. Part of our job at Nourishing is to help educate our clients on what the definition of health is in reality, as opposed to backward and indeed harmful misinformation of the mainstream industry and diet companies.
- Clients who’s main goal is “weight loss” have a tougher time understanding this because for so long, the mainstream thinking has been that calories control “weight” as opposed to hormones. Two important things to note at this point:
- Weight is a measure of gravitational pull between two objects (think gravity – you weigh more on earth than you do on the moon), and
- A calorie is a measure of how much energy is required to heat 1 gram of water by 1 °
Why then is the health food industry so dominated by talking about calories as a means to achieve that goal and most importantly, is it even healthy? Nourishing results in weight loss because it gets the client’s entire ecosystem healthy, which in turn improves the client’s hormonal profile, not to mention eliminates other factors that hinder weight (fat) loss such as inflammation and bad digestion.
As you can see from the example of Hashimoto’s, its not the amount of calories or energy that causes the health or weight issues but a regulation issue with the thyroid gland.
- The mainstream thinking is to eat controlled amounts of nutrient deficient foods in order to “lose weight” and be “healthy”. Nourishing’s model is to eat as much nutrient dense, beneficial foods as your body requires. At Nourishing, our goal for all our clients is for them to live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. The “weight loss” is simply a by-product of that life style, as the reduction in high glycemic foods reduces the amount of insulin produced and therefore the amount of body fat stored. Additionally, the diet is higher proportionately in healthy fats and proteins. This allows you to build lean muscle mass, produce all the hormones you need to properly regulate your body’s process including feeling full.
Aneesha: At this point, I’m going to show you another one of Nourishing Dubai’s epic meals:
Jeff: In summary Nourishing Dubai’s meals are designed to do 3 main things:
- Reduce the burden on your immune system by removing foods that you are intolerant to and are the root of other symptoms.
- Provide all the necessary building blocks required for your body to function optimally including healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
- Keep you happy and excited about eating without stress, guilt or missing out on inferior junk food (just check out our Instagram for some popular meals).
Bott’om’line: I’ve tried a series of Nourishing Dubai meals and I can vouch for them (more on my next post). Their food is not only visually appealing, it tastes pretty awesome!(Exhibit A, their epic pizza bombs are…well, the bomb.com)
Lulu: Jeff is right – there is a huge controversy about calories because your body processes calories from whole, unprocessed foods differently than it does processed foods, so the “energy” intake and output isn’t as straightforward as the dieting industry makes it seem. However, they do play a role in weight gain and weight loss. They’re by no means the main factor, but they should be kept in mind while addressing all other dietary issues because, at the end of the day, if you’re consuming a lot more energy than you’re expending (even from healthy food) it will hinder weight loss. There is a way to consume high amounts of food without gaining, or even while losing, weight, but it’s a process which begins by addressing many other issues first and cleverly building up to a high food intake.
Bott’om’line: Energy consumed<energy used = weight loss.
Q: How can Nourishing Dubai help in providing Hashimoto’s disease sufferers the right nutrition for their body? What options do you provide?
- Nourishing Dubai was developed as a means to help individuals with not only Hashimoto’s, but those with autoimmune issues in general. Our kitchen facility and all of our meals are 100% free from gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and genetically modified organisms which an heavily burden the immune system.
- In addition to being “free from” the above mentioned foods, Nourishing Dubai uses only the highest quality ingredients, from grass fed lean meats, organic chicken and local & organic produce when available.
- Nourishing Dubai relies almost entirely on fresh made, unprocessed ingredients, such as home-made almond milk, nut butters, and granola. We also ferment our own probiotic foods in house such as cabbage, salsa and ketchup!
- One major part of healing one’s digestive and immune system is eating a variety of foods. Nourishing Dubai’s monthly menu doesn’t contain one repeat. That means 24 days of unique breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Not only does this help prevent the creation of new food intolerances but makes it exciting for your taste buds too.
- Our food is prepared and delivered fresh everyday except for the meals for Friday.
- We offer 2 package that only differ in length. The first is a 6-day trial package (AED 1,400). The second is the 24-day month package (AED 5,250).
- Both of the above packages include 3 meals per day with a weekly snack and dessert. There is an additional AED 250 refundable cool bag deposit with each package.
- Nourishing Dubai is a turn key lifestyle solution, not a diet. The most important factor in a client’s success, both in terms of body fat reduction and improved general health markers, is consistency.
Being 90% gluten free is akin to being 90% pregnant, it’s really an all or nothing decision. Research shows that the smallest amount of gluten can trigger inflammation and autoimmune reactions lasting for up to six months. For this reason, Nourishing Dubai offers only complete packages of breakfast, lunch and dinner because the whole point of the diet is negated by having even a small amount of gluten.
Bott’om’line: My thoughts are summarised here below:
Jeff: We encourage client’s to experiment with their sensitivity to gluten by giving them a cheat day (Friday). On this day, its up to the client to eat whatever they want. Should the client intentionally or accidentally eat food that is contaminated with gluten it will be up to them to deal with the consequences and learn from the experience. Symptoms can include, bloating, gas, intestinal inflammation (often confused with a feeling of fullness), diarrhoea, headache to more serve reactions depending on other issues the client has, such as Hashimoto’s.
And there you have it folks! The second of three posts. The third is going to be a review on the delicious meals that Nourishing Dubai provided and how it impacted me!
Cover Image courtesy: Nourishing Dubai