I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) by my integrative doctor in March 2016, and about 6 months later, metabolic syndrome (prediabetes) was added to the list.
If you’re not aware of what an autoimmune disease is, it’s where certain proteins in your body change shape slightly, and your immune system no longer identifies them as your own. Immune cells think the proteins are foreign matter which could potentially be dangerous, so they attack them. In my case, my immune system has attacked my thyroid and due to a lack of thyroid hormones, my reproductive system turned off, and my pancreas no longer produces enough insulin. These issues produce a range of symptoms including fatigue, lethargy, hair loss, acne, eczema, excess body hair, brain fog, poor memory, poor concentration, anxiety, depression and more (aka a shit time).
Although there is no main understood cause of autoimmune diseases, they are largely due to lifestyle factors including diet, stress, activity level, and toxin exposure. According to Dr Terry Wahls, if you are genetic predisposed to an autoimmune disease (or any disease for that matter – cancer, heart disease, etc), for that gene to be expressed, it needs the right environment to cause havoc (aka unhealthy insides).
I believe my autoimmune diseases are the result of the following….
In 2011 I began taking hormones to stop growing… Sounds so fucked up and in hindsight it totally was, and I wouldn’t recommend it to ANYONE. I was medically predicted to grow to a height that would be too tall for me to model, so my endocrinologist gave me a super high dosage of estrogen (female contraceptive pill). This fucked up my cycle big time (no one wants to hear the details of that) so I was then prescribed testosterone to counteract the side effects of the estrogen… that fucked with my skin, which hasn’t had a break since (apart from break OUTS lol). Studies now show that autoimmune diseases in women commonly arise at times of hormonal fluctuations (eg. pregnancy, peri-menopause), so this could’ve been a big game player.
If that doesn’t sound hellish enough, the estrogen caused me to pile on the kgs. After a couple of months I began losing weight after lowering my food intake and amping up my exercise, but instead of tapering off when I’d returned to a normal weight, I was in such an unhealthy, anxious headspace that I couldn’t. I got down to a weight that was 20kg lighter than my starting weight and looked like a twig, but if anyone ever told me I looked super skinny I would’ve taken it as a compliment.
Sooo hormonal fluctuations + mental health issues and top notch stress/anxiety/depression + restrictive eating and starving my body of the nutrients it needed + gastrointestinal tract damage from vomiting = a great environment for diseases to start brewing.
If anything good came of the eating disorder, it was my new found passion for nutrition. This firey passion has only grown over time, and a lot of the gas that ignited this fire was thrown on by conventional doctors, who do nothing but give you fucked up synthetic drugs to cover your symptoms instead of targeting and healing the cause.
As of last year (2016) I decided to follow my passion for natural health and began studying Naturopathy. I am now a happy little health nerd on a mission to learn all I can about the human body and how to nourish it, so that I can heal myself and then help as many others as I can.
Autoimmune diseases are becoming more and more common as processed diets become the norm, toxin exposure sky rockets, and stress levels and mood disorders surge. Through this blog I aim to increase awareness of autoimmune diseases, and educate both sufferers and non-sufferers on the importance of nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and chemical avoidance. I’ll also share easy, delicious recipes to flood your body with nutrients and dodge the nasties.