Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis


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Foods eaten: Eggs, Hollandaise sauce (egg yolk, butter), Cream, Jersey cow milk, Cashews, Leeks, Celery, Potato, Swede, Beef.
Kcals: 1989, Protein: 64g, Fat: 178g, Carbs: 33g.
Weight: 8st 13.0 (125 lbs)
Body fat: 26.1%

It seems the second day of spring is frog spawning day. We went up to the organic farm for our meat and there is a pond on the country lane that was full of leaping frogs, and some squished ones around too! This weekend has been gloriously warm and sunny for the first time since the autumn and there were children, cyclists, and hikers everywhere.

I’ve had a bad week for reactions this week, starting with the bread, followed by the air fresheners, then stopping the vitamins, then going out to a restaurant. I don’t think there’s been one day that I’ve been fully clear.

It’s also been the week in my menstrual cycle when oestrogen is very high. Oestrogen is the worst for bloating the body. I’ve noticed before that it makes me eat more, especially carbs, but I’m going to pay more attention from now on. I’ve eaten approximately 1,000 more calories in total this week than the last two weeks, yet magically gained 3 pounds, including almost a pound of fat. Things started to go wrong very early on in the week after eating bread. Some people say it is only calorie count that matters, which it does, but I just can’t ignore this data. In order to gain that much fat I must only have been burning 1,600 kcals a day, compared to maintaining my weight (including water balance readings) on 2,000 kcals a day for the previous two weeks. Like I say, “go figure”. Oestrogen does depress the thyroid. Maybe I’ll have a better time controlling my weight if I dip my calories when my oestrogen levels rise. Thank heavens I’m not on the pill anymore. I guess I’m going to have to observe for another couple of months before I come to a conclusion on that one.

I have a sore throat today for unknown reasons, and I feel quite tender. My belly is tender. I think that’s hormonal. That patch of eczema is starting to look better, less raised and bumpy.

It’s been a month since I started failsafe. Because of the bad reactions last week, I’m going to wait at least another week to clear any remaining crap in my system (including getting used to not taking vitamins). I’m in two minds to leave it even longer and wait for the eczema to go. Anyway, if I manage to stay clear for a week, then I’m going to start doing the food challenges that Joan Breakey describes in her book.

There are different ways of approaching the food challenges: on a food-by-food basis for suspected food groups, or based on their salicylate and amine content. You are supposed to do each separate challenge for a minimum of one week, gradually increasing the amount of chemicals that you eat and noting when the reaction starts to happen. Then, after a little fine-tuning, you know your tolerance level. It may be that I can cope with a few carrots and parsnips every week, but that broccoli and berries are a bad idea. Or that I can cope with one or two servings of dairy or wheat every day, but more do bad things to me (bread, certainly).

Since I’ve noticed different reactions to different amines before, I’d like to do separate challenges for different ones (serotonin, dopamine, tyramine, histamine, etc) but that may be impossible due to the overlap in foods. I’m pretty certain that I have a problem with both amines and salicylates. I’ve been picking up clues to that all month. I have a list of stuff that I’ve been noticing for years. One clue is that overripe bananas make me incredibly hungry (serotonin/histamine), and organic green/red apples make me crazy-bitch (salicylates). I’ve been perfectly fine eating pears, no hypoglycaemia.

My mum can’t eat raw apples because they upset her stomach, but she’s fine with cooked. What’s that about? Fructose?

I also need to examine bread and dairy products, but there are numerous complications with these. I’m fairly certain that my bread related problems are caused by lectins or opioids rather than ‘allergy’, as they only seem to consist of constipation. I’m not sure about dairy, but there are a variety of variables to take into account from different protein fractions, lactose, pasteurised or raw, dairy fat, and a potential hypersensitivity to the small amounts of tyramine in sour milk and yoghurt. Cheese cannot be included in a dairy trial due to amines. I’m going to do an article on intolerances and bread and another on dairy shortly, when I get myself together.

Much as I am dreading these trials, they are necessary, or I will be eating this way forever and may be including unnecessary restrictions that would otherwise make my life easier. Something else Joan Breakey warns against is that after a few months the diet can start to seem like it has stopped working. This is because people experiment in an off-hand way and start adding individual foods back in when they don’t appear to react to them, even though they should be considering their total chemical load. After a while they have accumulated so many individual foods in their diet that they are eating nearly as many salicylates as before, whilst still thinking they are below their tolerance level, and not understanding why their problems have come back.

Caution: minor Atkins rant approaching

This is rather like the observation that low-carbers make when they have friends who are claiming to reduce carbs by just cutting out bread and pasta, then they go and eat more potato and root vegetables instead. I have three female friends whose daft idea of going on Atkins was to:

  1. Eat Special K with skimmed milk for breakfast, the dreaded banana-and-an-apple combo for lunch, and some kind of skinless chicken breast concoction for tea.
  2. Eat Weetabix for breakfast, and eat six eggs and an apple for lunch.
  3. Be vegetarian and eat yoghurt and fruit for breakfast and cheat with bread, cake, and alcohol at the weekend, and then claim eggs make one constipated after eating them for one week, in spite of having just stopped eating Bran Flakes and started a low carb diet.

I was left cross-eyed by this at the time. I didn’t tell them to do Atkins, and I’d rather they didn’t do Atkins at all than do it badly! Sigh. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t stop it eating carbs or being scared of fat.

And as an aside, what is it about pasta? How come every single female I know thinks that Atkins is boring because all meat and vegetables are boring, and that pasta is a really exciting “healthy” food? Why is pasta exciting? It can’t be down to flavour, because it doesn’t have any. Is it because it comes in pretty spirals and bow tie shapes? Is it a tomato sauce thing? Are they all addicted to passata?

There was a study last year and apparently most people who think they are reducing their carbs aren’t actually reducing them at all, they’re just substituting one carb for another. That’s why counting is so important.

It’s a shame FitDay can’t count total salicylate and amine loads, life would be so much easier. Now there’s an idea for a website!


Written by alienrobotgirl

26 March, 2006 at 8:35 pm

Posted in Failsafe Diary

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