Mickey’s Recovery – Part I

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If you are starting here, you might want to read Mickey’s story, parts III, and III

Once I found the thyroid book” by Dr. Kharrazian, I knew that there was much more to my Hashimoto’s that I didn’t know and I would hopefully be able to find some help. I stumbled across one of his trained practitioners, and began seeing her as soon as possible. On my first appointment, however, I was extremely surprised to hear her opinion that my current problems were most likely not as a result of my thyroid – her theory was that I was deep in adrenal fatigue. All of the stress and worry about my health, combined with the financial strain of loosing my job and the chronic virus I had been fighting for months were really taking a toll on my body. This would explain all of the bizarre symptoms I was having, and made sense given what  I had been through. Our plan of action was to get rid of the virus while working on some lifestyle changes and supplementation to help the adrenals. The best thing that this practitioner gave me in my first visit was HOPE that I would be able to see some positive changes. I had been through so much and was beginning to think I would be sick the rest of my life.

From here it was a long road spanning many months of slow progress. Many supplements were started and stopped when we found that I didn’t tolerate them. One thing that was working was supplementing HCL for low stomach acid. I was still seeing my regular doctor to get blood work done, and much to my dismay, my vitamin and mineral deficiencies were not budging despite aggressive supplementation (Iron, vitamin D, b12). When I told my practitioner about this, she told me that she never had success in bringing clients in situations like mine back to good health when they were vegan. Slowly she broke it to me that she thought the best thing for me would be to start eating animal products. I was extremely offended at first, but when I thought about it I decided to give it a chance. I had tried almost everything to get better except for that, and I wasn’t going to stop my progress now.

I started with fish, and then I ate eggs. In the first two months of eating them I made slow but steady gains. I could now stand long enough to cook for myself and go on short walks. I kept increasing HCL as advised by my practitioner, and was amazed at the amount I could tolerate. I came to the realization that hypochloridia (low stomach acid) was a huge thing for me. I read about how vegans and vegetarians were often low in stomach acid because meat was the best source of the vitamins and minerals needed for HCL production. Even though I was eating fish and eggs, I was still anemic and it wasn’t until I started eating red meat that those numbers began to change. I was extremely reluctant to eat red meat since I had been vegan for 10 years and it was such a huge part of my life. I decided that if this was the ticket, that my life was not worth suffering so that an animal could not suffer. There is suffering everywhere all over the world, humans and animals alike, and all I can do is make the best choice that is available to me. So, that was going to be eating red meat. I was afraid it would rot in my stomach like the rumor that is passed around in vegan circles, and exactly what happens to your protein when you have low stomach acid (like most vegans probably do). What I found was that not only did my body digest it easily, but it made me feel good after eating it. I had this mental clarity and energy that I had not felt in months.

Through working with my practitioner I found out that I was sensitive to most grains and that beans made my stomach ache. Since I already didn’t do dairy and was practically there, I decided to adopt a Paleo diet on the premise of getting only good, nutrient-dense food back into my body. I felt that for the first time, I was giving my body what it needed, and it was actually digesting it! After introducing red meat back into my diet, it was a pretty quick month back to a functioning normal. I was a little upset that I had suffered almost six months of being confined to the house and bed when most of my problems would have been fixed by eating meat! A couple of weeks after eating red meat, I only needed half of the many HCL pills with my meals. After a month I didn’t need any at all. It was very clear to me that my practitioner was right, and that the nutrients in the meat were enabling my body to make the right amount of stomach acid. I was quickly weaning off my supplements and I had my first good blood test since my crash. All of my deficiencies had been fixed in a month of eating red meat and 3 months of eating fish and eggs.

After this long healing journey, I still felt a little sick and tired, but I was so excited and inspired by my progress that I decided to start looking for work. I found a situation that was perfect for me – a family in my area needed a personal chef part-time to help prep and cook healthy food for them. This was the perfect next step for me, and it really boosted my mood knowing that I was capable of working again.

And so I took the job, and my healing journey continued. Stay tuned for part II where I detail the final piece, how I got from there to where I am now!

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a cook and one of the bloggers behind Autoimmune Wellness. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, a guide and recipe book for the autoimmune protocol, and AIP Batch Cook, a video-based batch cooking program. You also can find her on Instagram.

22 comments

  • Rachel says

    Thank you. This is inspiring. I’m more convinced that dropping animal protein is not going to help me.

    • Yes, I would say that those with autoimmune diseases are way more likely to have compromised digestion and gut health, making it even more essential that we get good animal fat and protein. I don’t eat chicken mostly because it doesn’t really have any nutrients I can’t get from fish (and the omega 3/6 ratio is far better with fish than with chicken). Red meat was key for me and I consider it a big healing part of my diet. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • […] If you are starting here, you might want to read my story, parts I, II, and III, and my recovery part I. […]

  • Jill says

    hi I’m very much struggling with adrenal fatigue. Can’t get grass fed beef though. Low weight, brain fog, sluggish, heavy legs, poor digestion…I’m not paleo, but was never and am not a vegan. Lots of lower back pain too (kidneys? adrenals?). Insomnia. You name it , I got it. Not sure what to do…especially since I’m lower weight and cannot afford expensive food and supplements. Jeesh 🙁
    Low iron (very very low) and low vitamin D, etc. I cannot afford to lose weight. At all.
    I eat a ton of eggs, fats (avocados, olive and coconut oil), dark chocolate, yogurt, brown rice cakes, fruit, veggies, chicken , lots of fish, nuts, nut butters, flax, some protein powder (either hormone free whey or a brown rice gentle one), coconut milk, etc…
    I don’t know what to do. But I want to start feeling alive and RiGHT now 🙁
    My lower weight and energy is not cool..and my family wants me to gain (i’m 31, but they’re pressing). I’m not a cook and need SIMPLE. thoughts? You can email me . Thanks.!

    • Hi Jill,

      Sounds like you have lots going on! I have a couple ideas for you.

      First, my experience with adrenal fatigue is that you can go very far healing from it with lifestyle changes. The first thing you need to figure out is why you aren’t sleeping. For me, I got tested and found out it was from a serotonin deficiency – taking 5-htp made all the difference for me. It could be a different factor for you, which is why in this case it might be a good idea to see a practitioner. Once you can sleep, doing so for a long time (8-10 hours a night) in a completely dark room at the same time interval every day will help your body get back on a circadian rhythm. I know this sounds impossible for someone with insomnia, but it was my experience that nothing I did until I started sleeping properly was helping the adrenal fatigue. Next, you need to figure out how to de-stress and relax. Adrenal fatigue happens to people who are type A, stressed out and don’t slow down. I was in denial and didn’t believe I was one of these people, but I now know that most of my problem with stress in my own creation. Meditation and mindfulness exercises are amazingly effective. There are other things you can do for adrenal fatigue, but this is where I would start.

      As far as the nutritional deficiencies, I think with the low iron you really need to get some red meat into your body. Since you are on a budget, I would prioritize food items that have the nutrition you are looking for and go from there. I took care of my anemia by eating beef and beef liver. If you are sick and can’t afford grass-fed, get hormone-free, I believe that not eating the meat is going to make you worse than not eating the highest quality because you can’t afford it. I buy grass-fed beef liver at my farmer’s market for $4 a pound. Organ meats are not very desirable and inexpensive, and they happen to have way more nutrients than muscle meats. You can also buy the cheapest cuts of beef – they have more fat and are more nourishing. I would focus on buying red meat instead of whey/rice protein or chicken – neither of those are doing anything to heal your body. After you have your good protein and fat sources figured out, the trick to weight gain is the carbs. Although its not “paleo”, rice is cheap and effective for this purpose. My husband is in the same boat, very athletic and always needing to find more calories. I cook him a big batch of rice and sweet potatoes every week to supplement with the meat and veggies that I cook for myself.

      Lastly, be patient with yourself as healing takes time! If you stress out about not being where you want to, you fuel the adrenal fatigue which gets you right back where you started. I know it is hard because you want to feel better and not have to deal with this, but if you take it one day at a time with an attitude of acceptance you will have a much better time.

      Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

      • Jill says

        Thanks….but I have no hormone free stuff…its just the crap beef, so its pointless to buy and eat that….i can’t do that, its full of hormones.

        Another thing: my doctor wants me on remeron + zoloft (SEROTONIN)…i feel badly cause i’ve refused the last 2 years…IF i ‘d taken it maybe my body and life would be different…i’ve sunk REALLY low in life…BUT i’ve SO STUBBORN about antidepressants…i took 5-HTP a couple times, didn’t notice much…

        but if i’m not exerciseing, eating a ton of carbs freaks me out 🙁

        meal plans? I CANNOT lose weight u see
        and its too overwhelming to get rid of things

        i do smoothie in morning simply becuz i cannot stomach food

        i feel so regretful and lost 🙁
        ever see the book “are you tired and wired?”

        also…lots of lower back pain and CONSTANT left sided stitch…docs just say GAIN weight…

        also: for you r recipes, can you give serving sizes, thanks.

  • […] great that I was finally open to the idea of changing my diet. As I have written about at length in this post, when I started eating meat again I recovered very quickly in a lot of areas – it only took a few […]

  • […] of my recovery from autoimmunity involved recovering also from adrenal fatigue, which I will write about in another post. Back then I had a very dysregulated cortisol pattern […]

  • […] If you are starting here, you might want to read my story, parts I, II, and III, and my recovery part I. […]

  • […] tuned for posts detailing my recovery, in parts I and […]

  • […] This article has moved to a location on my new website (autoimmune-paleo.com), click here to read it! […]

  • […] Further reading for those who are interested in some of the arguments that convinced me to give the paleo approach a try: Why going from vegetarian to paleo works (it’s as much about giving up the grains as eating the meat) The story of a vegan with long-term health problems much more severe than mine who healed herself th… […]

  • karen says

    Good day Mickey,
    I’m looking for vegan autoimmune recipes. Any advise on cookbooks or websites you can recommend.

    Thank you.
    Karen

    • Mickey says

      Hi Karen,
      Unfortunately the Autoimmune Protocol does not layer with a Vegan diet. It is possible to do the protocol only if one is willing to eat a lot of fish and shellfish to make up for the protein and nutrient needs while on the diet. I would check out Sarah Ballantyne’s book, The Paleo Approach for the scientific explanation of why this is the case. Wishing you luck,

      Mickey

  • Jenny Peace says

    Hi Mickey I came from a long long way improving my health as I had lots of health issues and now I am on 21 days sugar detox and felt much better but still something is missing so could you pls recommend me a ND or practioner asap as I am going crazy with my brain going on recycle as I have diabetic, hastimo thyroid, many food allergies, candida, toe fungus, leaking gut, psorasis, memory loss so I really need help to get well fast cuz soon I will on process of divorice unforttualey. I need the name and phone # asap to make appt. Greatly appreicated for ur hard work on the new cookbook.

    • Mickey says

      Hi Jenny,
      I recommend checking out paleophysiciansnetwork.com or primaldocs.com to find a paleo-friendly practitioner in your area. I am also available for nutritional consulting at thepaleomomconsulting.com. Wishing you luck!

      Mickey

  • Christina says

    I also live in the Pacific Northwest and am dealing with adrenal fatigue. I would love to know who the practitioner is that you saw if you wouldn’t mind sharing. Still struggling to find all the pieces to my puzzle. So happy to have found your blog. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Becky says

    Hi Mickey,

    Thank you kindly for sharing your story with us. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s two years ago and recently found out I am Coeliac, with very low Iron and B12. I have been vegan for 8 years, and with for my own health feel the Paleo diet is worth a go. I started eating fish a couple of weeks ago, and re-read above, I noticed you took HCL. If you don’t mind, would you be able to recommend a good brand of HCL (preferably available in the UK) or one that has worked for you?

    Thank you again for the time and energy you have put in to your site/book that has been able to inspire autoimmune sufferers like me.

    • Mickey says

      Hi Becky,
      There are many suitable brands of HCL, I would recommend looking for a capsule with betaine HCL and no other fillers. I’m happy you resonated with my story, and I wish you success on your journey!

      Mickey

  • […] I found a voice of reason on the internet. Mickey Trescott’s story is even more dramatic than mine, and she has had the same ethical challenges with eating meat that […]

  • […] I heard about the paleo diet, I thought it was another one of those trends.  This girl’s story about her health and recovery though has been really interesting to me.  Especially the part about her being a […]

  • […] see her blog series on the topic here, here, here, here, and […]

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