Thyroid issues are the leading cause of belly fat. You even see it in young gals — they’re thick around the mid-section in a way that used to be reserved for menopausal women and they are, of course, frustrated!
Besides frustration however, this increased belly fat issue carries with it countless health problems such as heart disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. Throw in the fact that thyroid problems are now being directly linked to infertility in both men and women and it’s little wonder the diet and fertility business is booming!
One of the first questions I ask clients who are struggling with digestive issues and stubborn belly fat is: “Do you eat soy, corn or use fluoridated toothpaste or drink fluoridated water?” Their eyes immediately pop open in disbelief that these “health” ingredients might actually be to blame for their increased girth and bottomed-out energy levels!
Few of us like change, but the truth is that dietary changes are going to be necessary — but only if you want to turn back the clock on aging, increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally and enjoy an energetic and enthusiastic life.
Recently I listened to a fantastic interview with hormone expert Lorna Vanderhaighe on my favorite health radio show One Radio Network, hosted by Patrick Timpone. From that interview, coupled with my experience as a health coach, here’s a list of the top 10 strategies:
1. Avoid processed/pre-packaged foods — especially soy- (it all but paralyzes your thyroid gland) and corn-based ingredients. Nearly all of these bad boys are genetically modified and that fact alone wreaks havoc on your digestive tract.
What this means is you’ll need to become a label reader because these bad-ass ingredients are everywhere! Of course following strategy #1 is going to prove a lot less frustrating than scanning ingredients only to see soybean oil, soy lecithin, corn syrup, corn starch, etc. on nearly every list.
If you’re like me and you like to buy prepared salad dressings rather than make your own from scratch most days, then look for ones made with olive oil — they’re out there, I promise.
Bottom line is processed foods are void of nutrients but loaded with sugars, soy, and other ingredients that increase belly fat and decrease vibrant health … nuff said?
2. Iodine is absolutely essential to our health – after all, iodine deficiency has been linked to certain cancers such as thyroid, prostate, breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer as well as autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and poor eyesight, to name only a few of the potential health risks of ignoring the need for this element.
Unfortunately iodized table salt is not the answer — it’s loaded with chemicals such as bleaching agents to make it white, plus aluminum (which has of course been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease) to keep it from clumping … hence the slogan “when it rains it pours.” Yikes, at what expense to our health are we willing to go to prevent a little clumping of our salt?!
Lugol’s or Nascent iodine is my personal preference, applied topically in a discreet area such as your abdomen daily or mix 1 to 3 drops to 8 oz of spring water three times each day.
3. Avoid refined carbohydrates. If you follow strategy #1 you’re already well on your way to slimming down and feeling great (which is why I made it #1) — but in case you’re not clear what a refined carb is let’s just say it’s pretty much anything that’s undergone manufacturing and packaging and is now loaded with dangerous chemicals such as artificial sweeteners and flavorings. The list includes, but certainly isn’t limited to:
- Breads (including gluten-free)
- Cakes / Muffins / Pastries
- Packaged cereals, etc.
4. Eat the best quality protein, veggies and fats you possibly can. Your plate ideally should contain 80% fresh and colorful veggies, 10% (approx. a palm sized serving) grass-fed, free-range, humanely raised or wild fish/animal protein, 5% grass-fed ghee, butter, coconut/olive/walnut oil etc. 5% fermented foods such as unpasteurized sauerkraut.
5. Improve your gut health with high-quality probiotics such as unpasteurized fermented sauerkraut/veggies or pickles (I like Bubbies brand) and you’ll find these in the cooler section of your grocery/health food store. If you can find fermented coconut water or raw-milk yogurt/kefir these are loaded with probiotics (which all pre-digest and break down the sugars). At the very least supplement with probiotics containing a minimum of 20 billion live bacterial cultures.
6. Keep your blood sugar and insulin levels balanced. Avoiding the dips and dives that come from eating refined carbs and simple sugars (meaning refined as opposed to complex varieties found in fresh, whole fruits and veggies) will help keep your brain healthy and young.
7. Supplement with Chirositol™. According to Lorna V, it has plenty of research proving its ability to put blood sugar and insulin back into range … Nirvana!!!
8. Supplement with CLA, a fat that burns fat (more Nirvana), and Green Tea extract. Lorna recommends 5,000 to 8,000 mgs. Foods that naturally contain CLA are grass-fed butter or ghee.
9. Don’t be fooled by low-fat marketing. According to the copious amounts of research, and in this case Lorna V, the No-Fat/Low-Fat diets that became the craze in the early 90’s are killing us! Your brain is over 70% fat — it needs good fats, such as grass-fed butter, ghee or yummy coconut oil to keep it humming along with clarity.
10. Avoid fluoride. This is always a shocker to my clients but it’s also a nightmare to your thyroid and brain. Switch to fluoride-free toothpaste (fluoride by the way does NOT strengthen your teeth, it hardens them – there’s a big difference – hardened teeth are brittle teeth, strengthen teeth are supple – think oak tree versus willow tree, which holds up better in a storm?)
Following the top 10 strategies is certainly going to give you a great head start, but there’s more great information on balancing hormones naturally, dealing with hot-flashes, and kick-starting your thyroid by getting your iodine levels up in the interview with Lorna Vanderhaeghe. You can download the interview for yourself right here.