I have been asked by many clients if eliminating meat is a good option in the healing process for Hashimoto’s. It is a complicated topic because eliminating meat can be beneficial to help the body detox and to support healing for other illnesses.
Unfortunately, eliminating meat is not the best decision when healing the body with Hashimoto’s.
Before I talk about why meat is necessary, it is important to understand that you won’t be healthy just living off an only meat diet. Eating meat alone will create a very acidic environment in the body. A variety of vegetables is needed, with a good percentage being leafy green. You also need your healthy fats and healthy carbs. The balance is important to help heal your body.
Why is meat necessary for thyroid health?
Glutamine and Tyrosine are both amino acids that are needed for thyroid function.
Glutamine provides energy to the digestive tract cells and helps with their production. As we have talked, if you have autoimmune, your gut and digestive system is not healthy. To truly put Hashimito’s into remission, you have to heal your gut so Glutamine plays a very large role in the healing process.
Glutamine can be gotten from other sources of course.
- Barley – gluten
- Corn – possible cross reactivity
- Cabbage – goitrogen
- Raw spinach – goitrogen
- Cottage cheese – dairy
- Yogurt – dairy
- Egg whites – carry bacteria across the gut/blood barrier
- Milk- dairy
- Peanuts – Food allergy/sensitivity increased potential
- Soy – GMO
- Poultry, Beef
- Raw Parsley
As you can see from the list, it is hard, when you have autoimmune to give your body glutamine naturally without eating meat. From an Autoimmune Protocol Diet perspective, all of the foods but meat and raw parsley can affect the healing process negatively. Meat is required to help support your body and heal your gut.
Tyrosine comes directly from meat and helps create thyroxine (T4) with is the thyroid gland hormone and it helps make epinephrine, dopamine, norepinephrine in the body. It helps the brain communicate with your organs and it can affect mood and sleep as well. Low levels of thyroxine can also create hypothyroidism.
Saturated fats, B12 and iron all support the T4 (thyroxine) to T3 (Triodothyronine) conversion giving energy to every cell in the body.
B12 and Iron is hard to get from grains and vegetables. The body can get B12 and Iron from meat, however.
Saturated fats are needed for cholesterol production which is needed to create critical hormones in the body including thyroid hormones. They also help with a healthy immune function and digestive tract. They also help to carry the fat-soluble vitamins E, A, D, and K. Deficiencies in these vitamins affect the conversion of T4 to T3.
Tryptophan is an amino acid also derived from meat and is needed to help with serotonin production in the body. It helps with mood, sleep, pain, inflammation, nerve and brain function. Tryptophan can also be gotten from other sources like cottage cheese, milk, soy, and peanuts but again, these do not promote healing from a Hashimoto’s perspective so again, you are left with meat.
As I said before, living solely on a vegan or raw vegetable diet can be beneficial when dealing with certain illnesses or when trying to improve detoxification in the body. And it could be beneficial for short periods of time but B12 and iron must be supported.
A semi-vegan diet might also be beneficial as long as meat is part of at least one meal per day.
The most important thing is to listen to your body.
If you are participating in a vegan diet and aren’t feeling better, even with support of vitamin B12 and iron, then you should make changes to your diet Add the meat back in and see how much better you feel.
If you are on a semi-vegan diet and aren’t feeling well, then it might be time to pick up the meat intake and see how much better you feel.
Make sure that when you are eating meat, you are doing your best to make it mostly free range and antibiotic free. That way, you are keeping your body as clean as possible and supporting it with the best nutrient value.
For all of you vegetarians and vegans, it is not the best possible news, I know. If you truly read and understood what I have said, you get that you don’t have many choices at this point if you truly want to heal.
The workings of the body are all intertwined. Systems support systems and your adrenals and hormones are at the center of all the systems. Hence because your thyroid is critical in the making of hormones, your thyroid plays a pivotal role in the way that your body works. And, you have to support it properly for your body to heal and your thyroid function to improve. Something to consider if you do have Hashimoto’s.