All posts by Marc Ryan

Hashimoto’s Health Tip: Pesticides and Hypothyroidism

Farmer spraying pesticide on soy field

Produce with Highest Levels of Pesticides

One of my favorite organizations, the Environmental Working Group, released their 2014 list of produce with highest amount of pesticides.

This is a real concern for those of us with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism because studies have linked pesticide concentrations with a significant increase in thyroid disease. 

Link Between Thyroid Disease and Pesticides
One study (see the link below) looked at the prevalence of thyroid disease in spouses of pesticide applicators (people who work on farms and applied them.)

They found an association of organochlorines and fungicides with hypothyroidism. And a 12.5% higher increase in thyroid disease than in the general population.

According to the study “Exposure to these classes of pesticides and thyroid dysfunction is plausible given that the main effects of these compounds are thought to be elevation of TSH levels and reduction of circulating thyroid hormone (T3 and T4).”

An Apple A Day Doesn’t Keep The Doctor Away Anymore

Nonorganic apples once again topped The EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce report, making it the fourth year in a row that the fruit that has the reputation of keeping the doctor away, may now be having the opposite effect thanks to better living through chemistry.

Kale, collard greens, and hot peppers were frequently contaminated with insecticides that are particularly toxic to human health, prompting their “Dirty Dozen Plus” status.

The moral of the story? Grow your own in an organic garden and/or buy organic at your local farmer’s market.

The 2014 “Dirty Dozen”

1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
8. Nectarines (Imported)
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas (Imported)
12. Potatoes
+ Hot Peppers
+ Kale/Collard Greens

2014 “Clean 15”

It’s not all bad news! This produce contained the lowest pesticide levels.

1. Avocados
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Papayas
10. Kiwi
11. Eggplant
12. Grapefruit
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Sweet Potatoes



Today’s Hashimoment: How to Build Resilience

Magnifying Glass on Word Can Vs. Can't Positive Attitude

Resilience is Key to Overcoming Setbacks

One of the biggest challenges about living with Hashimoto’s is that there can be many set backs.

And if you do not have the ability to bounce back quickly and be resilient, then this may compound your suffering.

Because if you have multiple setbacks, one after the other, and you are still having trouble getting over the first, then you can become mired in gloom, despair and defeat.

Practice Mindfulness and Detachment

One of the best ways to develop resilience is to practice mindfulness and detachment. The more you strengthen your detachment muscles, the easier it is to bounce back.

Detachment allows you to view your emotions from a bit of a distance.

This way you can see that feelings are not facts and emotions are not emergencies. They are just feelings and emotions and they come and go.

And you have a choice about how much importance you are going to give them. It’s all about your perception of them.

Meditation Can Develop Detachment

A great practice for developing detachment is meditation. Simply sitting, breathing and observing your thoughts.

Even as little as 5 minutes per day can help you develop the ability to observe your mind.

And as you watch it, you will observe thoughts and emotions rush in. Instead of holding onto them, return to your breath or to observing something in your physical body and let those thoughts and emotions go.

It can be challenging at first, but it gets easier.

Get Yourself Free

And once you get a glimpse of the world outside of attachment to these feelings, thoughts and emotions you realize what a prisoner you can be to them.

Getting some degree of freedom from them can have a big impact on our ability to heal.

Sit, breathe and let go.

Please share with us your thoughts, experiences or tricks for finding detachment.

Hashimoto’s Health Tip: Stress Is Not Your Friend

Adrenal Collage

Did you know that low thyroid function is often caused by some other condition first, and often adrenal gland stress is the culprit?

Chronic adrenal stress can:

* Affect communication between the brain and glands that produce hormones. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are the directors of hormone production and chronic adrenal stress can mess up communication with the thyroid.

* Increase thyroid binding activity, keeping thyroid hormones from getting absorbed by the cells of the body.

* Interfere with the conversion of T4 to active forms of T3 that the body can use.

* Affect detoxification pathways that clear out unnecessary thyroid hormone, when these get stuck in the body you can develop thyroid hormone resistance making cells lose their sensitivity to thyroid hormones.

* Weakens the immune barriers of the gut, lungs, and brain and weaken the immune system, in general.

When this happens, you can have more immune flare ups and this can trigger your Hashimoto’s and make it worse.

So, what are doing about stress?

Here’s the tricky thing about adrenal stress: it’s almost always caused – at least in part – by something else.

These causes include anemia, blood sugar swings, gut inflammation, food intolerances (especially gluten, dairy and soy), essential fatty acid deficiencies, environmental toxins, and of course, chronic emotional and psychological stress.

Sound familiar?

These are also all the things that make Hashimoto’s worse.

We can’t ignore them or pretend like they aren’t there like so many doctors do. We have to deal with all of them.

Here’s the thing, we have maxed out our stress cards (like our credit cards for stress).

With Hashimoto’s your body is under so much physiological stress, all the time, that extra emotional stress will often totally wipe you out.

This happens because we’ve emptied our accounts and now we have to reinvent our lives and this means what you do everyday.

We have to start putting relaxation and fun back into our “stress savings” accounts.

Seriously, you have to replenish this account. It’s not enough to say “Yeah, I have nothing in that account.”

Because just like your bank account if you aren’t putting money back in and you’re always just taking money out, what happens?

Eventually, you go broke and you got all these creditors after you and lose your house and your car and eventually, you wind up on the street.

Talked about stressed out!

That’s what’s happening in your body. You wind up with the functional equivalent of being homeless inside your own body.

Here are 5 common mistakes people make when dealing with stress in their day to day lives.

And, really, we have plenty of opportunities to take positive actions regarding stress every day, and often these wind up being missed opportunities and actually lead to more stress.

Here are 5 common mistakes people make every day dealing with stress.

The most important thing you can do is start becoming aware of this.

Are you…

1. Working through lunch (or other meals)?

This is a really common problem. many people don’t take the time to relax and enjoy their meals. This is a huge opportunity to relax and if you are stressed during your meal, it has a big impact on your digestion and absorption of food and vital nutrients.

2. Using your break time to vent and complain?

What you focus on is what becomes reality. Put that energy into manifesting something positive, like healing.

Go for a walk, appreciate the things around you instead.

3. Doing too many things at once?

Try slowing down and doing one thing at a time. So many people spend their days multi-tasking themselves into a totally stressed out state of mind (and body).

4. Not asking for help?

How often do we let our pride stop us from asking for help when we really need it? There’s no shame in admitting you need help and reaching out to someone and asking.

5. Denying there’s a problem?

So many people pretend they have stress under control when they really don’t, at all.

It is a very powerful trigger of autoimmunity. It can completely torpedo your progress.

You can’t just pretend it’s not here.

It’s here and it’s here to stay, so you need effective strategies for having less of it.

Every day.

Please share with us your best stress relieving practices.

Hashimoto’s Health Tip: Remission

In today’s health tip, I’d like to talk about remission from Hashimoto’s.

Remission should be the goal for all of us. We should all strive to get Hashimoto’s to a place that can allow us to have our lives back.

And we should all work hard to stop the progression and the proliferation of the underlying autoimmune process.
The stakes of not doing this are just too high.

But how do you define remission? And what happens when you get there?

The problem with focusing on this as a goal is that this implies that once we reach it, we’re done.

And this begs the question: How do we know when we get there?

One way that some people define remission is normal blood work including normal or undetectable antibodies.

There are several problems with this.

Many, many people have normal blood test results and feel awful.

And antibody numbers are not static, they are changing all the time. Getting them into a normal range is not a guarantee that they will stay there.

And there are lots of reasons why blood tests can look normal and you can still feel terrible. The immune system can release TSH and thyroid hormones all by itself, and this can throw off your results and make them less meaningful.

Also, your pituitary absorbs thyroid hormone differently than the cells in the rest of your body, so it may be getting enough thyroid hormone while the rest of your body is not.

Again making your blood test results less meaningful.

So, blood test results aren’t a great measure of success. As I have said repeatedly, how you feel, on the other hand, is diagnostically important and clinically relevant with Hashimoto’s.

This is actually a really important measure of success.

And the other problem with viewing remission as an end point is that if we do get there, it is a natural tendency to get complacent and to just go back to the same old behavior and diet that contributed to you being sick in the first place.

That’s just human nature.

So, I invite you to see remission as a journey and not as a destination. And to view it as a path and not a place you reach.

If you think about it his way, it involves a higher level of acceptance and commitment. Because it’s not conditional and it’s not something you’re ever finished with.

Remission is an ever evolving journey and if you are committed and vigilant and open to the possibilities of personal growth and transformation then it becomes like a kind of garden that just keeps rewarding you with new gifts.

Because here’s the other thing, you never know how good it could be and if you just settle for normal blood test results, then you might be putting a cap on this that stops you from going to a much higher place.

The possibilities are endless, people, when you think of it this way.

What we need to do is to create a lifestyle that supports healing and remission every single day. And strive to do that at every opportunity.

That’s a whole different ball game.

What are your thoughts on this? Please share them with us.

Hashimoto’s Health Tip: Glyphosates and Gluten


Yet Another Reason Gluten Is Not Your Friend

A recent study published in the the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology (Vol. 6(4): 159–184. by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff looks at the health impact on glyphosates, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s marquee product Roundup.

This is a popular herbicide used for many purposes including domination of the world’s seed supply.

Here what they found.

This stuff is everywhere and it is used by farmers on wheat crops 2-3 days before harvesting to dry everything out and make it easier to harvest.

Wheat Is Soaked With This Chemical

Why let it dry in the sun when you can spray it with toxic chemicals?

This is now also used on all grain crops, rice, seeds, dried beans and peas, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and sugar beets.

It is also used on genetically modified crops like corn and soy, extensively.

Well, it turns out that glyphosate is a known endocrine disruptor, not good news for all us thyroid hormone fans and it has a lot of other really bad effects on our bodies.

Samsel & Seneff have carefully researched the known (published) effects of glyphosate along with the known (published) pathologies associated with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.

They have identified chemical and biological pathways where glyphosate can be the cause.

Roundup Has Been Linked to Many Health Problems

These are: disruption of the gut bacteria; breakdown in the junctions of the intestinal wall; depletion of vital minerals, vitamins and nutrients; and impairment of cytochrome enzymes that aid the liver in detoxifying environmental toxins, thus multiplying the negative effect of other environmental toxins to which we are exposed in increasing amounts.

Translation: Glyphosate may lead to leaky gut, which allows glyphosate soaked gluten to get into your blood stream and your brain, where it does major damage.

This begs the question, is the problem gluten or Roundup?

The answer for you and me?

It doesn’t matter, because they are now one in the same. Go 100% gluten free people.

It’s just not worth the damage it causes.


Today’s Hashimoment: Living in the Moment

Hashimoments are affirmations and positive thoughts for people with Hashimoto’s. I started to write them because after reading research on the role of stress and emotions on the immune system, I realized how important what you think about and how you feel can be for your health.

I think one of the most challenging things about having Hashimoto’s is having to accept that there is no end point in dealing with this disease.

We can make tremendous progress in getting it under control or, hopefully, in remission. However, keeping it there requires daily commitment, discipline and vigilance.

And when you slip up, you pay.

And (forgive my language) sometimes the payment puts you on your ass and you are reminded, painfully, of what you can not do.

The point I’m trying to make is that this is a journey and while you make stops along the way, like any trip, you’ll never arrive at that place with no consequences.

Everything You Do Has Consequences

This is true of regular life, but it is especially true with Hashimoto’s.

What you do has special importance because of the challenges your body already faces.

What you eat, what you think, how much stress you have, what you drink, you name it, it all matters.

So, we’re faced with how we experience this.

It’s All About the Way You Look at It

Is it a crushing defeat or an incredible blessing?

This is the very definition of living in the moment.

This is what many saints and mystics strive for. Something to keep them present. What they often add is the element of detachment. That is their goal, to be present in every moment but to not be attached to that moment.

Be conscious of the decisions you make. Live in the now. Make those decisions count.

Because whether you like it or not, they will anyway.



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