Thyroid Levels Normal After Just 30 Days of Primal Eating

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real_life_stories_stories-1-2I’ve always been active and in relatively good physical condition. Growing up we ate reasonable home cooked meals, which primarily consisted of meat and vegetables. I danced ballet two to three nights a week from the age of four, in addition to cheerleading, as I got older. I continued this lifestyle up until high school, and, despite the occasional illness usually associated with or aggravated by my allergies, I was quite healthy. I had no choice but to continue with my fitness regime once I joined the US Navy at eighteen. I served until I was twenty-two when I was honorably discharged. Once I left the Navy, I did have a period where I gained about 15-20 pounds, but I quickly realized it was because I had become more stagnant as I enrolled in university to pursue a career in science. Within a matter of months I had lost the weight again, was eating more consciously, and regularly going to the gym. I managed to maintain a good fitness level and physical condition throughout my twenties.


At the start of my thirties, whilst I was pursuing my PhD at Oxford University, I became much more sluggish, depressed, and fatigued. I was still doing all the same routines I had previously—eating the same type of foods, going to the gym, and sleeping well. Yet I couldn’t shake the state I was in. I then thought I was doomed like the rest of my family. My three younger siblings had all been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease since high school and my mother, who was one of eight children, had had her thyroid removed at age thirty because they simply could not keep her levels under control. Given the way I felt at the time, I was somewhat anticipating the same outcome for myself.

Theresa age 30, 1st childGoing to the physician confirmed my fear that I had begun producing antibodies, but my levels weren’t yet at the stage of requiring medication. Then a few months later I fell pregnant. I didn’t think so much about feeling horrible and as I moved into the second and third trimester, I improved with the exception of having high blood pressure. As a result, I was induced and had my first child a week early. In turn, I had a five-day stay in the hospital to ensure I didn’t have any further complications.

On and off over the next several years and with having my second child, I struggled with depression and weight gain, despite being an active working mother and eating what I thought was a balanced diet. At the beginning of last year, after dizzy spells, chest pain, bloated belly, insomnia, weight gain, depression, eczema, thinning hair and skin peeling off the soles of my feet, I had had enough. I went to the doctor, who again confirmed my thyroid levels were out of balance. I was producing even more antibodies, but they wanted to wait until my levels soared before putting me on medication. I decided to take matters into my own hands because, frankly, I couldn’t go on living that way. It wasn’t a life at all to me. I did quite a bit of research on a thyroid diet and read how it had helped to improve the lives of other people. The most important factor seemed to be the elimination of gluten and the reduction of a number of goitrogenic foods as well as my caffeine intake. I did this and began to feel incredible. My symptoms almost vanished over night. I still had not lost all the weight, but I had lost some and that was a start. Unfortunately, that only lasted for about five to six months and yet again I was feeling sluggish, depressed and gained weight as my thyroid levels yet again crept up. Despite my desperate pleas to my physician to see a nutritionist, they always declined me and I simply couldn’t afford the hundreds of pounds they required for privately conducted blood and sample tests as well as consultation fees. I set out once again to find an answer.

Theresa age 36, last summer

This time it appears as though I have found it. I am now 17 weeks pregnant and a little more than a month into primal eating. I’m feeling great, full of energy and am sleeping well. I lost 10 lbs within the first two weeks of changing my eating habits despite being 12 weeks pregnant at the time. The greatest news I have had this week is that by changing to not only a gluten-free but also a grain-free diet, my thyroid blood levels in four weeks have all returned to normal. No more high TSH, antibodies, and low free T4. I am right where I need to be in my second trimester of pregnancy. I’m absolutely thrilled with the success of that alone. I have no doubt that once I deliver my lovely little one, I will be on my way to shedding even more pounds and still feeling great.

Thank you so very much to Mark and The Primal Blueprint for contributing to my success story so far and my new way of living.


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42 thoughts on “Thyroid Levels Normal After Just 30 Days of Primal Eating”

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  1. Great to read your ailments have a natural remedy. Nice pastoral picture too. Is that a lavender field? Perchance Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula? (An educated guess based on your navy background).

      1. Hi Paleo Bon Rurgundy,

        I have lived in the UK since 2007 when I came here to pursue my PhD. I live just on the outskirts of the Cotswolds. The lavender fields are in Broadway and called Cotswold Lavender.

        Thanks for the lovely comments,

        1. We drove through the Cotswolds last summer on a trip to the UK. I envy you – it’s absolutely gorgeous there.

    1. Another great story. Beautiful photo . . . I too am wondering where it is???

      1. Hi ???? it’s Cotswold Lavender fields in Broadway, England.

    2. Sequim is nice. We lived in neah bay for a while. Lots of halibut.

    3. Sequim? Very pretty place, we would go as a family 50 years ago. Brings back memories of Hood Canal, rivers named Humptulips and Hamma Hamma, Lilliwap, Port Angeles, Forks and Deception Pass.

      1. Awww. Yer makin’ me cry! I SO miss the Pac NW… Been stuck in the South for nearly 20 years… CRAVE a return to the forests and fjords! (And even the drizzle. {wink})

        One time, my mom and I took a picnic lunch out to the bottom “hook” of Hood Canal. (Amazing beautiful spot!) As we laid out our lunches, a couple guys looking to be in their late 20s pulled up; asked if minded if they practiced with their sport kites (the wind had come up, so they quit work for the day because of an upcoming competition! (We’d never heard of sport kites — but apparently some folks object to the noise! We were VERY happy to watch!)
        (This view, add kites! And this is what the guys looked like: The kites were strong enough to drag them down the sand! Major beloved memory of Washington!

  2. Congrats. Now that your body isn’t attacking itself, I hope you have smooth sailing in the years to come. Love the lavender field.

  3. Congrats Theresa! I really appreciate you sharing your story as similar health issues run in my family. Good encouragement for me to keep trying to eat primal.

  4. My doctor has always told me I have a larger than normal thyroid but says the tests they run always come back normal. No matter the fact I hate it I still try to eat one sheet of nori everyday. I treat it as a supplement not food, I just eat it plain and do it fast lol. However egg yolks, himalayan salt contain a good amount of iodine too. Strawberries, cranberries, bananas, tuna, shrimp, and baked potatoes all contain traces of iodine as well.

  5. I’m so happy that you’re feeling better. I love Mark’s Daily Apple. I learn so much from his blog. Congratulations to you and your beautiful growing family. I have a friend with Hashimoto’s disease, and I’m going to have her take a look at your post. I’ve never been diagnosed with it, but I feel so fatigued when I try to resume eating grains. I spent years as a single mom of three feeling like I could fall asleep at a moment’s notice. Although I’m about 20 pounds overweight at the age of 56, I feel better than I did in my younger child bearing days. I’m glad you’ve learned about primal eating while your children are still young. You’re going to need the energy!

  6. Wow, that’s wonderful! Do you limit foods like well-cooked broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and cabbage? I eat a lot of those, and wonder if they affect my thyroid.

    1. According to my endocrinoligist, brassica vegetables are OK as long as they are cooked. Too much of them raw can mess with your thyroid levels. I wish I could eat coleslaw every day but alas, I limit myself to a bowlful every 10 days or so.

      1. Thanks, that helps! I eat them well cooked, but several cups at a time, almost every meal. Sounds like that’s alright.

    2. I do try to watch how many goitergenic foods I eat each week. As with anything its always best to keep a healthy balance. I also keep away from tea as most are grown in fluoride rich soil and that is counteractive to thyroid activity and I avoid caffeine too.

  7. It’s amazing what food can do! I wish more doctors would consider nutrition as a starting point for treatment of chronic conditions. This story was a pleasure to read, thank you for sharing it.

  8. You are glowing in your final picture, and it’s wonderful to hear of your return to good health. I wish you all the best with your new little one, and hope you can continue on the path to excellent health for you and your family in the future.

  9. Wonderful story. I agree with others, the lavender field picture is lovely. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your pregnancy. 🙂
    I do wish more people would give just a slight insight into what exactly they are eating. I know primal is mostly meat and vegetables, but there are many ways it can be done, so it’d be great to see more people giving examples of what and how much they ate that brought about their success. Just my thoughts.

    1. Hi TF and thank you! Whilst I can not scientifically prove exactly what has brought about my success, I am happy to share my dietary changes with you.

      Aside from not eating gluten and grain. I have found balancing the amount of goitergenic foods you eat each week, eliminating tea because of fluorides and avoiding caffeine helps.

      I do eat diary in the form of full fat Greek yogurt a few times a week for breakfast. I also have feta about once a week and mozzarella on gluten free, grain free pizza once a week.

      I do eat eggs and additional nuts and seeds but only those considered paleo- so no peanuts.

      I also try to include a good variety of selenium rich foods (tuna, salmon, brazil nuts, goji berries) into my diet each week to help keep thyroid antibody levels down.

      Any juices I have are usually a smoothie or freshly squeezed orange juice or lemonade. Otherwise its water all day long.

      I start and end each day with a hot water with two slices of lemon.

      It can take anywhere up to 6 months to eliminate gluten since the last time you ingested it so not everyone will see a change so quickly.

      1. Thank you for sharing that, I appreciate it. I too am pregnant (only 9 weeks), and breastfeeding, and I’ve adopted a lot of primal principles since my first was born 13 months ago, but haven’t fully cut out the junk (I live with someone who buys it and man right now I’m weak :p). I cut out gluten the day I went into labor with my first, and since then have started loving broccoli, kimchi, raspberries, and lots of other good primal foods I’d never eaten or liked before. I plan on getting back on track entirely soon, and your story is inspiring.
        I wish you the best with your family and your soon-to-be new little one. 🙂
        Have a lovely day!

  10. Well done. It’s excellent that you have done your own researched and worked through the problems on your own. I developed Graves as a stressed out post-partum mom and fortunately resisted the nuclear iodine treatment that they offered me. I just couldn’t imagine that it could be a good thing. I am mostly medication free 17 years later, although things can get out of whack when my stress gets to high.

    1. Thank you Vanessa and congrats to you on becoming medication free too!

  11. Congratulations! I loved hearing this story! I am a mom of three with Hashimoto’s as well. The Autoimmune Protocol is what finally brought my thyroid bloodwork back into the normal range 3 years ago (primal without eggs, nuts, seeds, or nightshades). Just thought I’d drop that into the comments in case anyone out there doesn’t get results with straight up primal.

  12. Thank you for your story Theresa. It’s encouraging to hear another case of food is medicine.

    Now you can enjoy your youth and that of your family, it passes so quickly.

    1. Cheers 2Rae! I plan on it and I hope my children don’t have to face the same problems in the long run as I’m teaching them to eat this way now.

  13. I too have Hashimoto’s. After reading that selenium helps thyroid function, I started eating 1-2 Brazil nuts per day. After a few months, I had to lower my dosage of levothyroxine (after 10 years of taking the same dosage).

    My next goal is to give up gluten entirely … having a hard time with that one.

    1. Yes Margaret, there are several foods you can eat that are rich in selenium. Brazil nuts, salmon, tuna, goji berries. I too incorporate these in my diet every week.

      I found giving up gluten and grain quiet easy because there are tons of tasty alternatives.

      The hardest transition for me was the first few food shops and finding all the ingredients I needed to make the delicious baked goods like breads, muffins, doughnuts and cakes. Once I got that down it was easy.

      My whole family now eats this way.

      I highly recommend the easy paleo meals cookbook especially if you are planning meals for a family for the month.

  14. So glad it worked well!

    I’m not one of the thyroid people that was magically cured by going gluten free/primal (still fighting the levels all the time!) but I know it works for some people and I love hearing the positive stories of it working out! Pregnancy definitely wacks my thyroid out—I too had to be induced a week early thanks to hypertension—but we’re getting it back together again. 😉 Changing to natural, desiccated Armour helped a ton!

    Maybe there’s hope in the future! Thanks for sharing your story and giving me some inspiration.

    1. Hi Katie, Thank you and I’m sorry to hear you are still struggling with your thyroid levels.

      Aside from not eating gluten and grain. I have found balancing the amount of goitergenic foods you eat each week, eliminating tea because of fluorides and avoiding caffeine helps.

      I also try to include a good variety of selenium rich foods (tuna, salmon, brazil nuts, goji berries into my diet each week to help keep thyroid antibody levels down.

      It can take anywhere up to 6 months to eliminate gluten since the last time you ingested it so not everyone will see a change so quickly.

      I wish you all the best.

  15. I love reading success stories of any kind- WTG! I hope Theresa enjoys continued health.

    That being said…. these type of stories are a bit infuriating because they perpetuate the myth that if you eat just right you will not need thyroid meds. At the time I was diagnosed with Hashimotos I had been strictly gluten free for 6 yrs and primarily grainfree/Primal for 9 years (prior to that I was into traditional foods). Once I was diagnosed I embraced the auto-immune paleo diet and adhered strictly for 9 months, with scant reduction in antibodies and no reduction in my need for meds.(I don’t do tea, caffeine or raw goitrogens either and supplement with a whole slew of things including selenium) Now at nearly 2 yrs after diagnosis I’m still mostly on the AIP after adding back in some foods that were not problematic for me. There are many factors that effect the need for medication but needing medication is not some failure, it doesn’t mean you didn’t do things right, this mentality kept me from pursuing treatment and suffering for far too long.

  16. Hello Mark > Big Fan > Stay the Primal Course & don’t let the Haters wear you down

    Question for my Favorite Wife ( 43 Yr ) 🙂 > Susan is now on Synthroid Automatic Pilot in that she had her Thyroid Removed ala Cancer ..

    She / We are experiencing Dry Mouth / Dry Brittle Hair .. otherwise OK ..

    Can You pls offer your Thoughts / Suggestions

  17. These testimonies are so awesome! I have struggled with thyroid issues for years too but I began taking a supplements a little over a year ago which has made a difference but it is still not enough. I am thinking of switching over to paleo. I have been gluten free for a while but now it is time for another change. These stories are encouraging me. Thanks!

  18. This is an incredible story. I love that you never gave up. That determination is inspiring to all of us, especially myself. It’s crazy to me how changing the way we eat can truly change our lives and prevent so many dis-ease. Thank you for sharing this story.