Thyroid Basics

The 8 Daily Rituals of Thyroid-Healthy Living

By: Ginny Mahar

If you’re a thyroid patient in search of ways to feel optimal, you’ve probably heard a LOT of recommendations. Eat this, not that! Avoid fluoride! Drink bone broth! Take this supplement, avoid that supplement! Exercise but not too much! Ask for these 6 tests! Meditate! Manifest! And avoid broccoli! Wait! Never mind, eat the broccoli! (Just steam it first.) In other words, change your whole life, but whatever you do, DON’T stress about it because that’s bad for you.

The overwhelm is real, friends.

It can become a full-time job just to sort through the chaff, find reliable, not to mention current resources. There’s a whole lot to the pursuit of thyroid-healthy living. We have to consume and digest a world of knowledge in the form of books, medical studies, docu-series, courses, webinars, and more.

Here at Thyroid Refresh, this IS our full-time job. And simplifying your thyroid-healthy lifestyle is our mission. That’s why we took the common core recommendations from the world’s leading experts on thyroid health and boiled them down into something that can fit on a 3 x 5 index card. We call these tenets of thyroid-healthy living, “The 8 Daily Rituals,” or The 8 Rs for short.

Today, we’re going to introduce you to The 8 Daily Rituals, and explain the WHYs behind them. Below each one, we’ve included links to resources for each.

The 8 Daily Rituals of Thyroid-Healthy Living

1. Remember: Take your meds and supplements regularly

Remembering to take your medications and supplements is an important step in feeling better. Some thyroid medication must be taken daily at the same time and on an empty stomach. For many, this is an easy daily ritual. For others, it’s a struggle that can have an impact on the benefit you’re getting from your meds. Skipping doses can have a detrimental effect on how you feel, and what your labs show. Labs help doctors decide what dose of meds you should take; thus, these need to be as accurate as possible.

Many of us are also taking targeted supplements (determined with the help of your health care provider), adding another thing for us to remember. Setting yourself a daily reminder can be a major factor in getting you on track with medications and supplements.

Further Reading:

2. Refuel: Give your body the food & drink it needs

What we eat and drink has a massive impact on our overall well-being. Good health doesn’t come in a bag, box, or bottle. It starts with real, whole, and organic foods. While there is not one single thyroid diet that’s right for everyone, the goal is to eliminate foods that cause reactions and inflammation in those with thyroid disease. Gluten, dairy, and soy top the list, followed by sugar, grains, eggs, nightshades, and alcohol. Which of these foods you should eliminate for good, really depends on the individual. Eating for your thyroid health is what we call a bio-individual endeavor, because each of us has our own unique triggers and symptoms.

It’s important to factor in where you are on your healing journey. Someone who is newly diagnosed and eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), may do well to start by simply eliminating gluten. Another participant might be a few steps further down the path, and ready to commit to a strict elimination diet like the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Choose the approach that’s appropriate for you, right now. 

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3. Reactivate: Move your body regularly

Physical activity has numerous benefits for those with thyroid disease. It can help boost energy levels, improve emotional and mental health, and help with weight-loss. However, over-exercising can have a negative effect on people with thyroid disorders. Less is often more for thyroid patients. Factors like inflammation, hypermobility, joint pain, and fatigue all factor into choosing exercise that’s appropriate for your body. Find the amount and the level of difficulty that’s right for you

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4. Repair: Nurture your gut health

Good health begins in the gut. Intestinal flora (the gut microbiome) plays an integral role in maintaining the mucosa of the intestines. When this mucosa is compromised, leaky gut follows, and that can lead to multiple problems throughout the body. Leaky gut has been linked to (among other things) food sensitivities, thyroid disorder, skin problems, and weight gain. Healing the gut is an essential part of the overall healing process. Gut health can be improved by cutting out certain foods (like gluten), eating foods containing probiotics, taking probiotic supplements, increasing your fiber intake, adding a collagen supplement to your morning beverage, sipping bone broth, or eating soups made with bone broth. Adding this ritual to your day can be foundational to your health and healing.

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5. Rejuvenate: Incorporate daily self-care

Caring for and nurturing ourselves through the stressors of life is vital to thyroid health. Too much stress can affect our cortisol levels, lead to adrenal imbalance, throw off our thyroid hormones, and affect our metabolism. Becoming mindful of how we cope with stress is going to be one of the most powerful aspects of the healing journey. Even 10 minutes a day of daily, stress-reducing self-care can rock your world. Whether it’s an Epsom salt bath, a quick sauna at the gym, or a guided meditation before bed, you’ll reap benefits galore from this Daily Ritual. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy, and that fits into your life.

Further Reading:

6. Reduce: Avoid environmental toxins

Thyroid disorder and autoimmune disease have been linked to heavy metals and environmental toxins. Modern life, especially with thyroid disease, demands that we be mindful of what we expose our bodies to, and how we support our built-in detoxification systems (like the liver). We’re not talking about the kind of “detox” that comes in a bottle or requires weeks of consuming only juice—the stress of intensive detoxes can actually be harmful to the thyroid. We’re talking about simple, daily tricks you can use to make protecting and purifying your body part of your daily thought process. A cup of hot lemon water in the morning, an extra helping of cilantro on your meal, replacing harsh cleaning chemicals with something like vinegar-water—these are all examples of small steps you can take to improve your thyroid health.

Further Reading:

7. Relish: Find connection & support

Connecting with others is a crucial element of your success. One of the most powerful aspects of THYROID30 is being able to share tips and tricks, ask questions and chat with other thyroid warriors facing similar challenges. We encourage each other, share resources, and we are always focused on the healing journey.

In seeking an online support community, it’s important to look for a group that is positive, and healing focused. Avoid the groups where giving unqualified medical advice, or spreading negativity and fear is accepted. You could also make it easy on yourself and become a member of our community! We don’t engage in any of that baloney : )

Relish each victory along this path, no matter how small, and you will truly make the most of your healing journey.

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8. Recharge: Make sleep a priority

Sleep is of paramount importance for a thyroid-healthy lifestyle. Many thyroid patients suffer from brain fog—the inability to focus and remember things clearly. A lack of sleep can contribute to this mental sluggishness, and make it more difficult to make good choices throughout the day. Poor sleep can also lead to poor food choices, mess with your hormones, and hinder your efforts at weight loss. In today’s fast-paced world, sleep is neglected more and more. For thyroid patients, not sleeping enough can have adverse effects, and aggravate your symptoms. 

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Which of the 8 Rs are You Crushing Right Now? And Which Do You Need to Work On?

The answer to that is different for everyone, and it changes over time.

The 8 Daily Rituals are the road map and guide for our THYROID30 wellness adventures. During 30 days of gameplay, players score themselves on each of the 8 Rs. It’s actually not about getting a perfect score every day, but moreso about bringing more awareness to our daily habits and choices. As we gradually peel back the layers of our health and habits, we sustainably and successfully adopt a thyroid-friendly lifestyle. That’s how we get our lives back, reduce symptoms, and THRIVE.

THYROID30 provides a framework in which to apply the real-life practices of thyroid-healthy living; which gives us an opportunity to make meaningful life changes that help us reclaim our health from symptoms like weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, joint pain, depression, anxiety, and sleep issues (to name just a few). Each player is given the accountability, motivation and metrics to honestly answer the questions: “Which of the 8 R’s are you crushing right now, and which could you stand to put some intention towards?”


LEARN MORE ABOUT THYROID30

Remembering the 8 Rs

If you’re wondering how to remember the 8 Rs each day, we’ve got you covered! This handy 3 x 5-inch printable is perfect for your purse, desk, bathroom mirror, or wherever you need it.

 

 


DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE 8 Rituals 3 x 5 QUICK REFERENCE CARD

About the Author

Thyroid Refresh Co-founder Ginny Mahar is the mom and recipe blogger formerly known as Hypothyroid Chef. After struggling with the residual symptoms of Hashimoto’s for over four years, she embarked on her own process of adopting a thyroid-specific diet and lifestyle. Within one year, she restored her vitality and lowered her thyroid antibodies by half. Ginny is a passionate advocate of supporting others on their journeys toward better health. She is a Cordon Bleu trained chef, cooking instructor, writer, and entrepreneur.