14 08, 2017

Hypothyroidism diet – Foods to eat and avoid

2017-12-14T23:21:24+00:00

Hypothyroidism Diet – Foods to eat and avoid

Hypothyroidism foods to eat and avoid

     I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism back in 2010 and was prescribed 50 mcg of Levothyroxine. The doctor then advised me to have my thyroid hormone levels checked every year and pretty much sent me on my marry way with no other plan of action.

     At the time I didn’t know much about the condition, only that the people I knew had it always talked about how much weight they gained. From that point on, I decided to get informed and pursue a healthier diet to try to get this disease under control.

      Having hypothyroidism means that I have an under active thyroid gland, in other words my gland can’t produce enough thyroid hormone to maintain some of my body functions. As I learned about some of the symptoms,  I was baffled to discover I had been experiencing several (for a couple of years) without being aware of the cause.

     Below you will find a list of symptoms as well as food do’s and don’ts.

Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism include the following:

  • Fluctuations of body temperature
  • Slow metabolism and weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Bowel irregularity
  • Cold fingers and toes
  • Hair thinning/loss
  • Menstrual cycle changes and infertility

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 Hypothyroidism foods to avoid     I didn’t make huge changes to my diet but I made a list of some food items that compromise my thyroid hormone levels. I always try my best to avoid them since I know they are detrimental to my overall health.

FOODS TO AVOID

  • Soy: I consider soy my enemy number one. I found out it is safe to consume unless you have a thyroid condition or iodine deficiency, which I do. Soybean oil is listed as a main ingredient in several food items; Mayonnaise is an example. I always look at the label ingredients before buying anything and consider better options. Soy can obstruct the absorption of the thyroid medication and mess up with my treatment.
  • Raw cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and Bok choy, etc. contain a natural chemical compound called goitrogen. Goitrogens can also interfere with the thyroid hormone replacement therapy as soy does. The antioxidant and cancer protective benefits that cruciferous vegetables offer are enormous, so I don’t take them away from my daily diet. If I don’t eat them in large amounts, steaming and cooking them will make them safer to eat.
  • Sugary and fried foods: There is no denying that sugary and processed foods have lots of calories with very few nutrients. If consumed often, this type of food will expedite the issue of slow metabolism and weight gain.
  • Processed foods: Something I discovered recently is that people with hypothyroidism can suffer from hypertension. Eating too much salt causes water retention  which contributes to an increase in the blood pressure. Restricting sodium intake to 1500 mg/day, which is the daily recommended sodium intake for people with hypertension, will keep this problem under control.
  • Coffee:  The consensus is that drinking coffee within 60 min of taking thyroid medication  will block its absorption. From the beginning, I was advised by the pharmacist to take my meds on an empty stomach and to wait at least 30 min (preferably 60 min) before eating or drinking anything besides water. I have my medication and a glass of water next to my bed. so I created the habit of taking my levothyroxine as soon as I wake up.

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 Hypothyroidism foods to eat     One crucial modification I made to my diet was to add certain food items that nurture my body. These foods relieve some of the hypothyroidism symptoms, as well as decrease inflammation and strengthen my immune system.

 FOODS TO ADD TO DIET

  • Increase intake of water: This is the easiest and most recommended tip for pretty much any diet. With hypothyroidism comes slow metabolism and bowel irregularity. So I  increased my water intake to aid metabolism and digestion problems.
  • Coconut Oil: Consuming coconut oil increases the metabolism rate, so it helps boost the energy level. In addition, it has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antioxidant properties  that aid the digestive functions and inflammation. I usually cook my vegetables in coconut oil, it  also adds sweet and nutty notes to the dish.
  • Wild caught Salmon: Autoimmune hypothyroidism happens when a person immune system attacks the thyroid gland. Eating foods high in Omega 3, like wild salmon, assists the body in reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system to achieve better neurological function.
  • Rich  fiber foods like beans, lentils, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, apples, etc. My goal here is to aid digestion and constipation.
  • Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants: The goal here is to fight free radical damage and lower inflammation.
  • Seaweed: A deficiency of Iodine will disturb the normal function of the thyroid gland. The best natural source of iodine is kelp and nori. I usually buy dry  seaweed in the Asian food section at my local supermarket or enjoy it with sushi.
  • Probiotics: Having a healthy gut environment is important to keep my immune system in check.  Adding Kefir, organic goat’s milk, yogurt, kombucha and other fermented foods to my diet help to accomplish an optimal gut environment.

     Before being diagnosed, I was gaining weight without a change in lifestyle or diet. After taking charge of my diet I began to feel better. I am 5’6 and weight 125 pounds, so I can say that somewhat my changes have worked. There are times when some of the symptoms such as fatigue, bowel irregularity, slow metabolism and weird body temperature changes return. Usually when that happen its because I have gone away from what I know is good for my body; it is a reminder that I need to stay focused.

     I hope this article helps you in some way wherever you are in your journey with hypothyroidism. Please feel free to comment below with any questions or tips. I would love to know more about your story.

 

Hypothyroidism diet – Foods to eat and avoid 2017-12-14T23:21:24+00:00
8 08, 2017

5 Unique and Tasty dishes to try in Europe

2017-12-13T05:13:12+00:00

5 Unique and Tasty dishes to try in Europe

     One of my favorite things to do while traveling is trying exotic and unique dishes traditional to the area I am visiting . I love that first encounter with a foreign dish, the unexpected and captivating flavors and those one of a kind culinary experiences that will create a fascinating memory for the rest of my life.

     To share some of my experiences, I ‘ve created a list of 5 unique dishes that mesmerized my palate while traveling in Europe. Even though these dishes are not for the faint of heart, I invited you to give them a try on your next trip and expect the unexpected.

1. Beef Tartare in Paris, France

Beef Tartare at Les Deux Magots in Paris, France

     The first and only time I’ve tried Beef Tartare was in Paris at Les Deux Magots located in the Saint Germain quarter of the 6th arrodissement. Les Deux Magots café is a world famous destination for many tourists due to the fact that it is the place where several well known artists and intellectuals such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Julia Child, among others, used to hangout.

     When I ordered the beef tartar, the waiter very politely reminded me that the dish consisted of raw beef, just in case I didn’t know what I was ordering (I guess this happens often). I know the texture and look of raw meat are not very inviting at first, but once you get over the appearance, I promise you the punch of flavor you will experience is worth a try. I am happy I tried this dish here, not just because it was delicious but also because of the historical significance of the restaurant. If Beef Tartare is ever offered at any reputable restaurant I am visiting, I’ll have it again for sure.

2. Fast Food in Amsterdam, Netherlands

FEBO at the automats in Amsterdam

     While in  Amsterdam we visited one fast food establishment on the Damrak that has been on TV several times called FEBO. This place has a counter that offers hamburgers, fries and drinks, but the main attraction is the food being displayed at the automats. The mechanism is simple, money is inserted in the machine and you get to pick items such as krokets, burguers and all kind of snacks filled with a creamy and cheesy content. The fun part comes when you get to pick a kroket with a mysterious filling, so it is like blind tasting it. I know these snacks are not for all, yet my husband and I came back a couple of times to try different items. At times we were confused with the flavors, but for some strange reason we couldn’t stop eating them.

3. A Bouchon meal in Lyon, France

Bouchon dish at Le Petit Glouton in Lyon, France

     Bouchon are traditional meals specific to Lyon and have been a staple of the Lyonesse cuisine since the 17th century. They are hearty and heavy, made with ingredients that normally get passed by fancy restaurants such as liver hearts, calves feet, ground fish, etc. and meant to be a meal to recover after a long day of work in a factory or out on the fields.

     We had dinner at Le Petit Glouton on Rue Saint Jean. We started with a chicken liver salad, which is a dish I have never seen in any other menu. The dish depicted in the picture above is called Quenelle de Brochet and can be described as a fish mousse cake on a creamy sauce. This meal was rich and full of surprising flavors and textures, it was definitely an experience that will be hard to replicate unless we come back to Lyon.

4. Pickled Herring in Marken, Netherlands

Pickled Herring in Marken, Netherlands

     While visiting Marken in the Netherlands, we came across a food stand by the pier that offered fresh seafood from the area with herring being on display. We had seen Andrew Zimmern on TV trying different versions of herring, and always wondered about the taste so we couldn’t let this opportunity pass without trying it. The fish came with pickles and onions and it tasted so fresh like it had been just pulled out of the ocean. Even though it was salty, it had some sweet notes with the onion and the pickles which added spice and complemented the flavors. It was definitely a great experience for the memory book.

5. Anchovies in Vernazza, Italy

Anchovies at Belforte in Vernazza, Italy

     Anchovies are a local specialty of the Cinque Terre region where expert fishermen still use traditional fishing techniques to catch them. In this region, anchovies are eaten fresh and prepared in many different ways. We had the “Misto di acciughe delle 5 terre” in Vernazza at the Ristorante Belforte, which translates to “mix of anchovies of the Cinque Terre”. They were fresh, salty and sweet with different tones of flavors determined by the variety of spices and techniques used to cook them. They are definitely a treat and a explosion of flavor to your taste buds. If you ever find yourself visiting the Cinque Terre just give this dish a try, you will find it easily on most menus. So if you are looking for a fancy dinner with a great view, Ristorante Belforte is the place to be.

 

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5 Unique and Tasty dishes to try in Europe 2017-12-13T05:13:12+00:00
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