So, below is my insta-fix for my thyroidy days. But, really, it’s a remedy for crap days in general – if you’re premenstrual, toxic, hungover, over-worked or got another type of auto-immune disease or illness I reckon it will be of use, too.

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HAPPILY, after three years of trying EVERY trick in the book, I’ve got my auto-immune disease under some kind of control. But I’ve got to this point by managing it day-to-day with little tricks and techniques. Some days I’m great. The next I’m dead thyroidy.

Which can only be described as a cross between a hangover and being pre-menstrual, with a dose of food poisoning thrown in. And a sprinkling of a rash (enough to make everything feel like its burning).

In the past, when I felt this flat I’d push harder. Cummon ya lazy beast, fire up! Now, on these days I stop. And correct. It’s taken me ages to work out that I can actually steer things back to normal in about 48 hours. It’s a gentle steering. Nothing too violent, because that would just tip the boat.

Sooooo, this is how I do it:

  • Abort what I’m doing. This sometimes means dropping work or cancelling dinner with friends. Yep, people get the shits. And, nope, they don’t really understand (because the next time they see you, you look fine). I say, so what. This is what I have to do to cope. End of story.* Then I turn inwards (stay home, turn the lights low, go slow).
  • Drink dandelion tea. Loads of it. Then move on to some calming teas in the afternoon. One way or another I try to get as much warm water into me as possible. It soothes. It calms.
  • Take a teaspoon of licorice root and rehmannia (practitioner dispensed). This tonic calms the adrenals pretty much instantly and also reduces the damn inflammation I get.
  • Eat a lot of organic green vegetables. I cook up batches of soup (I boil a stack of green vegetables and root vegetables in chicken stock and then blend with a stick blender…see the details here) and freeze them so I can grab for lunch or dinner as required.  Or I steam a mound of kale, spinach, broccoli, zucchini (and frozen peas) and eat with some flaxseed oil or an egg. I literally eat three bowls of the stuff – it’s Operation Pack in The Nutrients.
  • Grate some turmeric on my lunch. I love it on eggs.
  • Walk. Don’t run. Some gentle blood-flow helps. But aggressive running doesn’t.
  • Or just do yoga. I exercise every day. On thyroidy days I simply do 20 minutes of yoga in my loungeroom. It diffuses the fuzz.
  • Lie still. Not meditate. Actually, meditating is good…but just lying on the floor. still and uncomplicated, works better on thyroidy days. I just rest, sink into the floor, and concentrate (gently) on soothing my insides as I breath in and out.
  • Don’t touch sugar or alcohol or smelly cosmetic products. And obviously gluten, coffee etc are off the menu anyway.
  • In the middle of the day, I go quiet. My Chinese doctor Lily Lui does this. She has hashimotos and is the most high energy person I’ve encountered. As she says, to operate at this (natural) level she has to retreat every day for an hour. She shuts her door. Turns off her phone. And sits in the quiet. This is allowed! Go forth. Shut your door! **
  • Stay out of wind (it whips up vata energy, which exhausts the adrenals) and don’t move too much (frantic flinging around in the car makes things worse; flying is murderous).
  • Stay off my mobile.

If it’s a particularly bad case, or I need to push through the sluggishness to “perform” (some days I can’t afford to be thyroidy, like when I’m filming), I do this:

  • Get acupuncture. I specifically request attention on my adrenal points, and in my head. It brings down the swelling and calms everything down.
  • Get a lymphatic drainage massage.

If I’m travelling (I often get thyroidy when travelling – extreme motion upsets the system; my whole body puffs up, especially on the right side, and I go really foggy):

  • I’ll get a cheap massage from one of those Thai places on main streets, or at the airport
  • Order in steamed vegetables at the hotel

Mostly, the next day I’m 70% better. Another 24 hours later and I’m back to my set-point.

Hope some of this helps you…and what do you do? I’ll post any good tips ‘n’ techniques.

* As an aside thryoidy types tend to be overachievers and do things superfast and are very reliable…so if we drop the load sometimes, well, it kind of balances out. OK?

**Thyroidy types also tend to only know two speeds. Superfast and stop. Embrace this. By doing the stop part regularly.

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • Vics

    Hi Steph, just wondering if you could give me the contact details for your doctor in Nz? Many thanks, vic

  • Cindy

    Wow, found this really interesting, especially regarding the wind! I live close to the beach on the Sunshine Coast QLD (yes lucky me!) and for years I have hated it when it gets really windy, even the sound of it really unsettles me. So I have to shut all the doors and windows just to block out the noise.
    I’ve been very ill for many years, just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a month or so ago so it’s a learning curve now to discern which symptoms are more associated with my thyroid flaring. It’s very complex!
    Does anyone else get swelling sensations in the thyroid? I’m noticing when that happens my energy drops further, I get a lot more anxious etc and my temperature plummets. Oh, and I’ve just started getting hives on my neck when my thyroid flares. I’m assuming it’s a presentation of the autoimmune attack.

  • Sam

    I know I’m pretty late to the party, but I thought I’d add my tuppence worth. I’ve had hashimotos for around 4 years (maybe longer, I’ve not felt right in years). My Hashis came from having epstein barr (apparently) and then basically working myself to the ground, working out and trying to lead a ‘normal’ life, while feeling like death warmed up. After many, many blood tests (that were all normal, if not a little bit down) I was put on a low dose of thyroxin (still not diagnosed with anything at this point, apart from underactive thyroid), I took iron supplements and waited. I felt ok for a while, and then I would be in bed at night, heart racing, unable to sleep – which was normal – but the racing heart was not. I then found this blog, and combined with a new doctor, I was diagnosed by Hashis. It felt like an epiphany. I changed my diet, cut out wheat and sugar, felt better, but not great, and still had the racing heart. After a lot of reading up on the matter, and a lot of soul searching I made the HUGE decision to cut out my thyroxin, much to my doctor’s disappointment (I had every side-effect of thyroxin, plus some). I know you’re all thinking I’m mad right now, but, like I said, I weighed it all up over months and months. What to do next? I slept ok after this, but still woke up many times a night – so I now sleep with ear plugs and an eye mask…yes, seriously, that sexy look. I then read up about elimination diets, and through this (rather long process) I realised that eggs were my main offender….I was eating two a day, no wonder I wasn’t feeling good. Since cutting these out, I cannot believe how much better I feel. I’m not saying that everyone should run out and stop taking their medication, I’m pointing out that I feel better now than I ever did on any medication – it worked for me – and I took back a little bit of control. I still have my off-days/weeks, but I can normally pin-point where I’ve gone wrong – late night, accidental gluten ingestion, sugar (I sometimes partake, life goes on and all that), stress at work, mosquito bites (not sure why they affect me). The most frustrating type of flare-up is the ‘no god damn reason’ one, but I think that goes back to the loss of control, which I’m sure a lot of hashis people can understand. I try to eat as many things that support my gut health too, which Sarah has spoken about at-length, bone broth is the easiest for me (I also take a dairy-free probiotic each morning). Yoga was another turning point, I was sceptical to be honest, as I just didn’t ‘see’ how it would work (you can’t read-up on everything, it seems), but it does, and I don’t care how. Sometimes it feels like the inside of my body itches and this soothes me and the ‘itch’. The things I’ve not been able to sort are: the muscle weakness (thinking it’s related to my adrendals so have now cut out my beloved coffee) and my weight gain…I suppose I’m on the wrong side of 30, so I feel at a lost as what to do with that one. Good luck fellow hashis people, it’s a bloody awful curse, but Sarah’s blog and sugar-free eating guidance has really helped. Sam

  • Sam

    Oh, and infrared saunas….get one immediately!

  • Alternate day fasting with a large dose of whole psyllium husks (100 ml/5 tbsp) on the fast days is easy and transformative. Mix the psyllium with a bit of lemon juice so it doesn’t gel up so quickly. You will not be hungry in an unpleasant way on the fast days. You get used to it quickly. Food tastes much better. Fast days I take up to 600 calories.

  • nadette

    Have you tried LDN (Low dose naltrexone)? It regulates the immune system. Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, eating good fats…. very important to feel well.