Friday, October 5, 2012

Your Thyroid on Paleo

Hey guys!  I'm spending the weekend traveling to San Jose to run the San Jose Rock N Roll Half Marathon with my mommy and some of her crazy runner friends.  I couldn't leave those of you who enjoy my blog without something to read, so I've scheduled a few updates while I'm gone.  If you're interested in tracking my race, you can choose to use Runner Tracking at  Just search for me, Juri Peterson.  I look forward to sharing my 5th half marathon and first Paleo race experience with you all!

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Thyroid health is a subject near and dear to my heart.  For you see, I don't have a thyroid.  I was diagnosed with goiters on my thyroid in Late 2009.  A surgery in early 2010 revealed that I had Thyroid Cancer and my entire thyroid and 2 lymph nodes in my neck were removed.  The process of learning to live on synthetic thyroid hormone has lead to a healthier and more active lifestyle.  Paleo is a new addition to this lifestyle, one that has brought changes that I didn't think were possible.  

My Paleo friends who do have a functioning thyroid should know that the Paleo Lifestyle does put them at risk of hypothyroidism.  As Sebastien from A Paleo Diet Lifestyle writes: "Iodine is a mineral that is really important for proper thyroid functioning and most people today have very low levels of iodine. You’re at risk of being even more iodine deficient on a paleo diet if you eliminated conventional salt from your diet. In fact, salt started to be iodized because goiters in North-America were a major health problem and most people were deficient in iodine because the soils are now almost universally deficient in iodine. Chronic low levels of iodine lead to the enlargement of the thyroid that we call goiter. Seaweeds are a great source of iodine." 

From my experience with hypothyroidism, you feel lethargic, have short term memory problems, weight gain, bloating, joint pain, hair loss, mood swings and depression.  I had all of those during a 30 day period before I started my synthetic thyroid hormone.  

It seems the iodine and the need to supplement is still debated in Paleo circles.  The folks over at Paleo Plan asked the question "Do you need to Supplement Iodine?".  Their article is inconclusive, but does state that "The recommended intake of iodine per day is 100-150 mcg."  They also link to a website that lists foods high in iodine.  

Measurement is based on a 100 g or 3/4 cup portion
  • 1 cup seaweed (hijiki) - 47000 micrograms
  • 1/4 lb sea fish - up to 350 micrograms
  • 1 cup Basil - 42 micrograms
  • 1 cup watermelon seeds - 24 micrograms
  • 1 cup Parsley - 22 micrograms
  • 1 cup daikon radish - 19 micrograms
  • 3 eggs - 15 micrograms
While most people following the Paleo diet do eat eggs regularly, you can see that good sources of iodine that fit into our lifestyle are few.  To get the iodine you need, you'd have to eat large amounts of certain herbs OR you can eat fish a few times a week.  Another option is to use iodized salt in your cooking.  Keeping your thyroid working properly is essential for you to be successful on the Paleo Diet.  You'll feel all the benefits of being healthier and stronger.

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