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Low Metabolism – Lazy Person or Lazy Thyroid? Part 3 of 3 (Guest blog post by Chris LeBlanc)

Low Metabolism – Lazy Person or Lazy Thyroid? Part 3 of 3 (Guest blog post by Chris LeBlanc)

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Part 3

Now that we know some reasons as to why the thyroid function can diminish and some potential side effects that may present themselves, it’s best to know what you can do to boost your thyroid function. The following is a list of alternative solutions to help improve the function of the thyroid. Before moving on though I should mention that if you do find yourself suffering from some of the symptoms mentioned it part 2, it is best to schedule an appointment with your doctor as medication may be needed in combination with these recommendations.

One of my favorite sayings is one man’s food is another man’s poison. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to diet pertaining to the thyroid. Although coined as healthy, many of the cruciferous vegetables have been found to interfere with the thyroid function. These include: Brussels sprouts, raw broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, spinach, turnips, white mustard, radish, horseradish, and kohlrabi. Although it is not optimal to consume these foods, if eaten, it is recommended that they be cooked.

Other foods that have been linked with issues directly or indirectly to the thyroid are almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, soy, sorghum and millet as well as excessive caffeine. On top of these, you may have other food intolerances or allergies. It is recommended that you undergo a food allergy test to identify these potential culprits and eliminate them from your diet. A prescription from your doctor is needed to have a food allergy test and there is a cost of a few hundred dollars, which in my opinion, is money well spent.

Now that I’ve talked about all the food items to eliminate, let’s look at what to add into the diet. Having plenty of nutrient rich, whole organic foods with protein, carbohydrates and fats at every meal is the ideal way to go. In conjunction with this, supplementing your diet with extra iodine in the form of kelp is highly recommended. Kelp can be used as part of a dish with fresh or dried forms and kelp noodles are available. As well, kelp can be ground and used in a salt shaker as a condiment instead of salt.

A highly recommended supplement would be an essential fatty acid such as a Carlson`s fish oil. As well, even with a fantastic diet, some additional vitamins and minerals have been shown to be effective. These include vitamin D, B complex and C and minerals such as selenium, iron, and zinc. Lastly, adding some herbs such as peppermint, spearmint, chamomile and licorice can help support thyroid function. Having these as herbal teas is a great way to consume them and maybe offset any other beverages that have caffeine, which is a nice 2 for 1 deal.

Detoxifying your liver, gall bladder and colon will improve your thyroid function as it is intimately related. A proper detoxification isn’t just about adding a shake or pill to your daily routine but rather a full diet overhaul that matches you with your metabolic needs and involves eliminating any food intolerances and harmful chemicals often found in our food supply. A great acronym that I learned from my mentor Paul Chek is SAD CRAP. This stands for Standard American Diet comprised of Carbohydrates (simple) Refined Sugars Additives and Preservatives. If you eliminate these from your diet while adding a detox kit or product to your routine, your organs will never be happier. However, cleaning out the garbage bin for a week or two just to fill it right back up seems like a pretty silly way to treat the body. I recommend following the concept of Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning Constant Steady Improvement. In my opinion, it is far better to make small but steady changes than huge drastic ones, as the small ones are more likely to stick and become your new routine or comfort zone. As for
drastic changes, they usually lead to feelings of being deprived and are not usually maintained for a long period of time as they are not realistic to the individual. In no time at all, a few small changes will add up to the same impact as a drastic one but will be a lot more manageable.

A high energy demanding exercise program is hard to accomplish for most people let alone someone with hypothyroidism, as low energy is a typical side effect. As such, ideal exercise programs involve more activities such as walking, yin yoga, tai chi or other low impact rhythmic movements and minimal resistance/strength training, running or high intensity exercises. When looking at a weekly fitness schedule, the high intensity workouts should be off set with more low intensity movement activities or work-ins, which are energy building movements instead of energy demanding ones. This weekly ratio could be a 3:1 to 5:1 ratio depending on the individual’s severity of symptoms. Performing daily activities is best as it helps increase the body’s metabolic rate, which using the furnace analogy from part 2 is like setting the thermostat to a higher setting in the winter.

The best time of the day to perform your activities is the morning for two reasons. The first, and most obvious, is that it will cause more energy expenditure or in other words a higher metabolic rate throughout the entire day instead of just a few hours if performed in the evening. The second reason is that performing activities in the evening can negatively impact your sleep. Every evening relaxing hormones are released to slowly wind down the body and prepare it for sleep. If activities are done in the evening such as those that breakdown tissue such as strength training, the relaxing hormones gets delayed which either reduces our sleep time or decreases the quality of sleep. Since an individual with a hypothyroid has low energy, adding a poor night sleep will only exasperate the situation. It’s best to treat sleep as importantly as you treat diet and exercise.

So, for a great holistic plan to help support and boost the thyroid function slowly integrate your diet with great quality, nutrient rich foods, add a few supplements for some support and implementing more energy cultivating movements alongside some exercise.

References and Resources

The Super Health Diet by KC Craichy
The Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wolcott and Trish Fahey
How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! By Paul Chek

Chris Leblanc, B.P.H.E, is a certified exercise, nutrition & lifestyle and golf performance coach and owner of CHI Training Studio. He is certified through the C.H.E.K Institute, a globally recognized professional school teaching in corrective, holistic, exercise kinesiology. Chris has been working in the fitness industry since 2003 and is currently the highest accredited C.H.E.K Practitioner in Ottawa. For more information about Chris and CHI Training Studio, please visit or contact him at .


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