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Paleo- Ain’t Nothin’ but a “Another” Thang?

That’s what I used to think about Paleo..that it was just another “thing” , another “diet” another “fad”.  I’m a Registered Dietitian and my conventional and traditional education taught me that no food was “bad” unless there was some disease state associated with it-  Liver Disease, Kidney Disease, but even Heart Disease never really had a “bad” food….” Every thing in moderation”.   I never really tried the Paleo Diet for more than a few weeks at a time.  Mostly because I was trying to lose weight  and I just felt that it was another option. since being diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis I have found it nearly impossible to regulate my metabolism and lose the 20 pounds that I gained a few years ago before I was first diagnosed. Again,  in my undergraduate and graduate studies I was trained a certain way, but also trained to have research backing everything up.  So here I go…

So , on my journey for “wellness” from the  inside out”  this will be one in a series of posts exploring research studies on different meal plans and autoimmune disorders.

 What Are Auto-Immune disorders

An autoimmune disorder is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. Autoimmune diseases are characterized by the body’s immune responses being directed against its own tissues, causing prolonged inflammation and subsequent tissue destruction. There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disorders.


  •  Addison’s disease
  • Celiac disease – sprue (gluten-sensitive enteropathy)
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Graves disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Type I diabetes

What is Paleo?-

There are many eating plans that are very similar to Paleo,   but I’m tackling that one first.

Paleo is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed diet of Paleolithic humans. Based on the premise that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture, which marked the end of the Paleolithic era, around 15,000 years ago, and that modern humans are adapted to the diet of the Paleolithic period. (Wikepedia)

What does The Meal Plan include:

  • Grass-produced meats
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)

What does it exclude:


  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Processed foods
  • Salt
  • Refined vegetable oils


Hashimotos Thyroiditis:

There are quite a few studies out there in support of the Paleo Lifestyle for those with Thyroiditis.  For those that do not know what it is, it is an autoimmune disorder caused by the body mounting an attack on the thyroid gland in an attempt to destroy it, the thyroid is a major part of the endocrine system. It is a gland that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate at which food is converted into energy. Thyroid hormones are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body.

Needless to say “hypothyroidism”is just one in a host of other symptoms that can take place.

There are thousands of testimonials but I need proof along with it.


As I was researching this week this is what  I came across :

1) Chris Kessler(licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine)  explains the connection- It’s a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have AITD and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid

2)PubMed – Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1998 Nov;10(11):927-31– “The association of celiac disease with autoimmune thyroid disease is not surprising as they share common immunopathogenetic mechanisms. It is advisable to screen autoimmune thyroid disease patients for coeliac disease as there is an increased risk for gluten intolerance.”

3) J Clin Gastroenterol.- 2010 Jan 15. Przegl Lek. 2009;66(7):370-2.  “A total of 111 patients (40%)  diagnosed with additional autoimmune diseases…autoimmune thyroiditis was the most common concurrent disease (28 patients, 10%). Other concurrent autoimmune diseases comprised vitiligo (5 patients), rheumatoid arthritis (5 patients), Sjogren syndrome (4 patients), ulcerative colitis (4 patients), conjunctivitis (4 patients), celiac disease (3 patients), systemic lupus erythematodes (2 patients), type I diabetes (2 patients), multiple sclerosis (2 patients), polymyalgia rheumatica (2 patients), and urticaria (2 patients). One patient each was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, autoimmune gastritis, collagenous colitis, hypophysitis, and sarcoidosis.”


To be honest there are too many studies to cite.  I just picked a couple that I thought summed up their conclusion well.

Here is my challenge-  I don’t feel sick when I eat Gluten…my stomach doesn’t hurt etc.  However, there are  too many research articles to ignore…I will be going completely Gluten Free and charting my journey.

I look forward to updating you on my progress.


I am not a doctor, please consult your physician when attempting any new eating plan.