Lesson 7. Nutritional management of Hashimoto’s disease

Nutritional guide for Hashimoto’s disease series

Somebody who has Hashimoto’s disease and is just starting to adjust their diet to a new dietary requirement may feel that these numerous restrictions are difficult to follow. A great thing is that you actually do not need to reinvent a completely new diet.

There are currently 4 diets which can be suitable for people with Hashimoto’s and can be used temporarily in the healing phase:

1. Diet that is used by Karen Brimeyer to heal leaky gut and digestive issues that are associated with autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s

2. The Introduction GAPS diet is intended to restore the gut integrity and is excellent for healing for those who feel very ill, have multiple symptoms that can be attributed to many health conditions and need to start to rebuild their health starting from the basics.

3. Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. While the proponents of Autoimmune Paleo Protocol advocate for a lifelong adherence to this diet, it rather works best for people with Hashimoto’s disease when it is used temporarily only for the healing phase. I will explain why in a minute.

The advantage of GAPS and Karen Brimeyer method is that after the healing phase is over you can re-introduce many foods back into your diet and the most important you can tolerate them again without any problems.

For example, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends to follow with a Full GAPS diet after the completion of the gut repair phase. While Paleo diet suggest to avoid a long list of foods for life. But the truth is that by just avoiding some foods alone you don’t achieve a gut healing and with time are at risk to develop reactions to foods that are on the healthy Paleo foods list.

The optimal health diet for Hashimoto’s disease patients is the diet that contains foods that are genetically best suited for us and don’t cause inflammatory response. All three diets mentioned above are based on simple whole foods and was free from gluten, dairy and common allergens.

DNA evidence shows that basic human physiology and our dietary needs did not change much during the last 40 000 years. As for any other species existing in the nature, it takes a very long time for humans to adapt to any new food. We are predisposed genetically to eat certain foods that are optimal in nutrition and make us healthy, lean and fit.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had much better health than following generations. Humans started eating grains containing gluten, at the earliest 10 000 years ago. With introduction of agriculture and grains diseases started to arise. High intake of whole grains and in particular gluten has caused nutritional problems which contributed to serious health issues including the autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

7 Simple Rules Of Paleo Diet

1. Eat lots of lean meats, fish and seafood

2. Eat fresh fruit and non-starchy vegetables

3. No cereals

4. No legumes

5. No dairy products

6. No processed foods

7. No grains

The diet of our earliest hunter-gatherer ancestors was very different from our modern one. They hunted animals, caught fish and shellfish, gathered nutrient rich plant foods, vegetables and small amounts of berries and nuts.

The Paleolithic ancestors did not consume any of the new foods of typical modern diet such as processed foods, alcohol, dairy products, legumes, sugars, refined carbohydrates and any grains.

Paleo diet was based on real whole foods and was higher in protein, significantly higher in vitamins, phytonutrients and minerals and lower in carbohydrates. About 55% of calories came from lean meats, organ meats, fish and seafood. It contained more healthy fats such as omega-3 and monosaturated fat.

The typical Paleo diet consisted of 19 to 35% protein, 28 to 47% fat and 22 to 40% carbs from unrefined sources. Our ancestors ate almost twice as many animal foods as plant foods.

Paleo diet provides 100 percent of the nutrient requirements. It contains many nutritional elements that protect against heart disease and cancer.

Why Paleo Diet Works

Paleo diet is considered to be a low-carb diet. However, it contains more carbohydrates from unrefined sources as any popular low-carb diet. In fact, low-carb weight loss diets are really high fat diets that contain moderate level of protein with typical 18 to 23% protein, 4 to 26% carbs, 51 to 78% fat.

Almost all of these low carb diets permit unlimited consumption of fatty, salty processed meats and dairy products while restricting the consumption of fruits and vegetables. This dietary pattern is completely different from that of our ancestors and does not provide the health benefits that the Paleo diet does.

In comparison to other most popular diets, the Paleo diet involves other sources of carbohydrates. Instead of starchy grains and vegetables with high glycemic index, the carbohydrates in Paleo diet come from wild fruits and vegetables with low glycemic index that produces more favourable minimal to gradual rises in blood sugar. These non-starchy carbs normalize the blood sugar, promote weight loss and long lasting energy.

The principles of the Paleo diet are based on scientific research and proven over millions of years by our ancestors. This diet naturally incorporates all the dietary requirements and limitations you learned in previous lessons that are necessary for successful management of Hashimoto’s disease. Dr. D.Kharrazian recommends the Paleo diet as one of options for gut repair phase and maintenance for people with Hashimoto’s disease in his thyroid book.

Paleo Cooking Made Easy

A Paleo diet is a life-time program of eating and it has a lot of flexibility according to your individuality. People with chronic pain, fatigue, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, celiac and other autoimmune conditions do better on a personalized Paleo diet.

Although you will be eliminating foods you used to eat a lot on a daily basis such as grains, dairy products, refined sugars and processed foods, you will be pleasantly surprised that there are many delicious and healthful Paleo diet recipes. You will notice that avoidance of certain foods that you, for example, are allergic to will not compromise the taste of food and at the same time will make you feel better overall.

You will need some time to create a new menu and adjust to the new eating habits. An easy way to avoid frustration and questioning yourself “What am I going to eat?” is to use Paleo cookbooks for your meal ideas. Currently, there are two most comprehensive sources for Paleo recipes available as downloadable e-books:

  1. Paleo Cookbooks with over 300 recipes. You will learn how to adjust your diet using 100% natural, healthy ingredients with exciting flavours that will boost your enjoyment for eating truly healthy meals. As a bonus the author of the books, Nikki Young provides you with a 30 days meal plan at absolutely no extra costs.
  2. The Paleo recipe book with 370 simple every day recipes comes with an 8 week meal plan and Herbs & spices guide. The cookbook provides you with healthy Paleo diet recipes easy to prepare for everyone.
  3. The Paleo Hacks Cookbooks include 6 books that you can currently get at 80% off here

Using these cookbooks you will soon discover the diversity of tasty and healthy foods that the Paleo diet has to offer. There is a wide variety of foods you could choose to prepare the Paleo meals which are made with fresh ingredients. Eating healthy has never been so delicious!

Does Paleo Diet And AIP Work For Everyone With Thyroid Conditions?

As with any diet Paleo diet doesn’t work for everyone. When some people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s experience dramatic improvements of their symptoms, increased energy levels and weight loss others see these changes only temporarily.

thyroid healing diet

The main reason is too low carbohydrate intake that is thyroid suppressive over time and will also increase reverse T3 more than comparable calorie reductions with adequate carbohydrates. So while any low-carbohydrate and Paleo diet may result in initial weight loss, most thyroid patients are prone to regaining weight unless the reverse T3 issue is addressed with T3 medication.

The 3 main reasons why Paleo doesn’t work for everyone:

– It is too low in carbohydrates and cannot be tolerated long-term by many people you can read about exact reasons here 

– It is very restrictive making it difficult to comply long-term

– Some people fail to heal their intestinal damage and unknowingly continue to eat “healthy foods” that trigger an autoimmune response . GAPS diet and Karen Brimeyer  method provide better results in terms of healing than Paleo diet because they are more customized for needs of each patient.

If you remove all starches and grains as it is required by Paleo guidelines it becomes very difficult to get your carbohydrate intake above 100 g per day. Anything below this level is considered  to be a low carbohydrate diet.

We are all different and respond differently to foods. In fact many thyroid and Hashimoto’s patients are sensitive to carbohydrates due to their metabolism being impaired by hypothyroidism and can benefit from reducing their carbohydrate intake. Others cannot tolerate carbohydrate restrictions because their bodies see any drop in the carbs intake as a stress. This can result in the impaired T4 into T3 thyroid hormone conversion, lower body temperature and adrenal issues.

There is a fine line in terms of how much and what type of carbohydrates you need to support your thyroid function and don’t get any undesirable effects. If you aim for optimal thyroid health both high and low-carb diets are not a long term solution for your health concerns and weight loss. The truth is that a certain amount of carbohydrates is needed in your diet to improve cold intolerance, metabolism and body temperature regulation which many people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease struggle with.

So what can be your best choice if you want to heal on your own and avoid being on a very restrictive diet such as GAPS and Paleo? Check out this diet #4 that addresses all issues mentioned above and could be the optimal solution for you.


If you got here from Twitter or a link from a friend, why not pick up the whole series? This is one of the lessons in a free e-mail course Nutritional guide for Hashimoto’s disease.

You can find out more about it and sign up here.


The Paleo diet: lose weight and get healthy by eating the foods you were designed to eat by L. Cordian, Wiley, Rev Upd edition, 2010

The Paleo solution: The original human diet by R. Wolf, L. Cordain, Victory Belt Publishing, 2010

The Paleo diet for athletes: A nutritional formula for peak pathletic Performance by L. Cordain, J. Friel,  Rodale Books, 2005

Primal body, primal mind: Beyond the Paleo diet for total health and a longer life by a Certified Nutritional Therapist (CNT) and Board-certified in Holistic Nutrition Nora T. Gedgaudas, Healing Arts Press, 2011

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Dr. C. Shanahan, L. Shanahan, Big Box Books, 2008

Why do I still have thyroid symptoms? When my Lab tests are normal: A revolutionary breakthrough in understanding Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism by D. Kharrazian, Morgan James Publishing, 2010