Proper nutrition can make a huge difference in how a person with Hashimoto’s can feel. Most of my clients with Hashimoto’s present with food sensitivities, poor digestion and blood sugar abnormalities, which can perpetuate thyroid autoimmunity as well as cause many unpleasant symptoms like anxiety (especially due to gluten and blood sugar issues), fatigue (all of the above, but poor digestion is especially a huge factor), breakouts (often related to dairy, nuts or eggs), as well as weight gain. Not many people are aware, but food sensitivities can cause gut inflammation, preventing us from properly absorbing nutrients from our food, and thus putting the body in a “conserve” and “hold onto resources” mode, leading to weight gain or weight loss resistance.
Many people with Hashimoto’s are sensitive to gluten, dairy, soy and sometimes even eggs! This takes many popular breakfast options off the plate, and can make breakfast meals challenging.
Before I realized that dairy was causing me to have severe reflux, I had a smoothie every morning filled with “healthy” whey protein and Greek yogurt. Within three days of cutting out dairy and gluten, my acid reflux, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome vanished!
I didn’t really know what to eat for breakfast so I began to have rice cereal with rice milk every morning. Gluten free and dairy free, right? While the reflux was gone for good, I quickly found myself being “hangry” (hungry +angry), due to blood sugar swings, and found that my thyroid antibodies more than doubled- blood sugar swings can worsen the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland!
It wasn’t until a few months later that I began to think back on the breakfast smoothie. I was taking a certification course for pharmacists in Advanced Diabetes Care, where I learned about the effects of proteins, fats and carbohydrates on blood sugar.
Fats slowly raise blood sugar and keep it stable for up to 4 hours, proteins cause it to rise a little faster, and keep blood sugar stable for 2-3 hours. Carbohydrates, on the other hand raise our blood sugar quickly, and one can see a decline in blood sugar in as little as 30-60 minutes (assuming the same amount of each eaten) after eating carbohydrates.
I realized that while the dairy based smoothie was horrible for my reflux, it did a better job of stabilizing my blood sugar due to protein and fat content, while the carb-rich rice cereal and rice milk sent me on a blood sugar rollercoaster.
I set out to find a comparable protein that I could use with my smoothies, and came across egg white protein. I enjoyed the taste of the egg white protein, but it made me bloated. Testing showed that I became sensitive to eggs (a common reactive food in Hashimoto’s), so I had to continue to search for alternatives.
I then came across pea protein, which removes the carbohydrate component of the peas, leaving just the protein.
At that point, the “Root Cause Green Smoothie” was born.
This green smoothie is packed with nutrition for your thyroid, helps to reduce inflammation and can help with detoxification.
It combines a hypoallergenic protein source with fat (from coconut milk) and fiber from veggies.
As the smoothie is blended into tiny particles, it is much easier to digest compared to a regular breakfast for people who have digestive issues (always “chew” the smoothie anyway, to help activate your digestive process), making the nutrients more readily available and leaving them with more energy.
The base of coconut milk is a hypoallergenic source of fat, and can help reduce inflammation and stabilize blood sugar due to its (good) fat content. Adding an avocado increases the fat/blood sugar stabilizing content, and gives the smoothie a “pudding” like consistency.
Veggies add fiber and micronutrients which are more readily available due to using a blender to break the fiber and nutrients apart.
Sea salt (added to taste), can help with supporting the adrenals, which are often stressed in people with Hashimoto’s.
People who have tried the “Root Cause Green Smoothie” have said that it helps them feel less hungry, more relaxed and calm, and gives them plenty of energy.
If needed, you can even double the recipe to make enough for lunch!
Here’s the base recipe:
1 cup mixed baby greens
2 large carrots
1 ripe avocado
1 stick of celery
1 bunch of basil leaves (optional)
1 cup coconut milk
1 scoop Pea Protein ( I use the NOW Foods brand or the PurePea from Designs for Health)
(1 tablespoon each)
Camu powder– to boost vitamin C
Cod Liver Oil– anti-inflammatory
Coconut kefir (I use Tula’s Coconut Kefir)- probiotics
Maca root powder-helps increase body temperature and stabilize hormones
Turmeric powder- anti-inflammatory
While most people who have tried the green smoothie love it, there are some people (ahem, my husband Michael) who may not like the pudding-like texture/consistency and the warmth of the smoothie.
In his case, he prefers the smoothie to have a thinner, milk-like consistency, and he also prefers it to be “cold and tropical tasting” (his words :-)).
For Michael’s green smoothie, I make the following taste/texture modifications…
1) Skip the avocado and add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds instead, chia seeds are a less creamy source of good fat
2) Add the juice of one lemon or lime (to a make it more tropical and support digestive juices),
3) Blend the contents with 1 cup of ice cubes to make the smoothie cold and give it a more “milky” consistency
While the carrots and coconut are usually naturally sweet enough, if you are coming off the Standard American Diet, you may want to add a boost of fruit, like ¼ cup of berries or ½ green apple as your taste buds transition to appreciating the natural sweetness in coconuts and carrots.
Blend together in Vitamix or other blender and enjoy as low glycemic breakfast, lunch or snack!
Try out the Root Cause Green Smoothie for a few days, and let me know how you like it and how it makes you feel. If you’re looking for more healing recipes…
Last week I announced that I was giving away a free Thyroid Cookbook to my entire tribe! The cookbook has my Root Cause Green Smoothie recipe as well as a few of my other favorite healing foods including the Root Cause Green Juice, bone broth, as well as 80+ gluten, dairy and soy free recipes.
You can get the cookbook until July 22nd at midnight Pacific. When you download your free cookbook you’ll also have an option to get the Thyroid Bundle, which is a collection of resources specific to improving thyroid health, including my new eBook on Optimizing Thyroid Medications!
Wishing you all the best on your thyroid journey!
Your Thyroid Pharmacist,
Dr. Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP