I have always been active and was a conscious eater during my teen years, but my profound interest in health and wellness began to strongly develop after I was diagnosed with thyroid disease-specifically, hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a thyroid disease that basically means one’s thyroid gland is under-active. The thyroid gland controls regulation in your body, so this means some serious stuff!
This condition is hereditary (my great-grandmother had it) and causes one’s metabolism to be slower than the ideal rate, among many other issues. Symptoms include fatigue, sluggishness, inability to lose weight, unexplained weight gain, puffy face, constipation, hoarse voice, pain, stiffness, or swelling in joints, depression, brittle hair and fingernails, heavy menstrual periods, and a few others. I’ll keep the details to myself, but I had about 7 of these symptoms. I was put on medication and have been on it for about three years. However, within the first few months of my diagnosis I became increasingly health conscious.
Like I said, I was always active and an athlete (basketball, softball, field hockey, track), but I didn’t have something that was a part of me. I didn’t have something that became part of my regular routine. I got myself back into the gym and outside to run. By the end of my sophomore year of college I had fallen in love with outdoor running and was running my first 5-k in New York City; I finished in 26:02. This past spring I ran my first 10-k and finished in 53:26. I now run 4.5 miles 3 times a week and one 6 mile run. I am so proud of the progress I have made in my running, but even more so in my eating habits.
2 years ago I made the effort to avoid processed foods and any refined products. I chose all-natural foods over anything else and started to read up on healthy foods and the effect food has on our bodies. I now opt for organic and whole foods but consider myself a follower of the 80/20 rule: eat 80% clean and 20% dirty. I think food is one of the great pleasures in life and is something to be enjoyed. So if I’m eating somewhere and they are known for their unbelievable gelato, you can bet anything that I am trying that gelato. I like to make my 20% really count. I use it when I’m eating out at amazing restaurants or in the presence of a fabulous cook. I do not refuse good food. But I am particular with what I consider good food. Still, you have to enjoy life and eating is a big part of life that I do not want to miss out on.
Even though my “Aha Moment” came as a diagnosis that has seriously lousy side-effects, it showed me to door to the amazing world and field of natural health and wellness. So to thyroid disease, I say, “AHA!”