Want to speed off unwanted pounds and get glowing before summer arrives? Woman’s World cover girl Eva LaRue swears by the Paleo diet. And top experts do too! The approach uses modern ingredients to mimic ancient eating patterns — a trick that does amazing things for our thyroids.
“As you improve thyroid health, you essentially reset your metabolism so it can help you reach and maintain an optimal weight, increase your energy and enhance your health overall”, says University of Iowa’s Terry Wahls, M.D., who regularly prescribes Paleo-style eating at her functional medicine clinic.
Dr. Wahls adds that during a recent study on the approach, women slimmed down so rapidly, “we had to keep doing safety reports to be sure there were no negative side effects.” There weren’t. “People get back to what they weighed as young adults. They come in saying, ‘This is the best I’ve felt in decades!’”
Dr. Wahls says it’s common for women to drop up to 10 pounds a week after going Paleo. The key is stocking up on staples a cavewoman might have hunted or gathered. “Things like veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs and grass-fed meat,” notes The 30-Day Thyroid Reset Plan ($16.37, Amazon) author Becky Campbell, DNM, DC, who personally used Paleo eating to heal her thyroid and shed 30 pounds. Once you have your supplies, just eat as much or as little as you need to feel pleasantly full. It’s that easy!
Scientists first came up with the strategy after reasoning that the foods that allowed humans to survive before farms existed would also help us thrive today. Dozens of studies now prove that the Paleo diet — packed with about 800 percent more nutrients than a traditional diet — triggers benefits like natural appetite control, improved blood sugar, better hormonal function and reduced risk of countless health problems.
Dr. Wahls herself, once wheelchair-bound, used her version of Paleo to get her multiple sclerosis in remission. Within months, she could walk again and finished an 18-mile bike tour! “I’m both a doctor and a patient”, she says. “I know firsthand how powerful this diet is!” And that’s especially true when it comes to our delicate thyroids…
The Paleo Diet and the Thyroid
Not long ago, a Swedish team found that the Paleo diet is far better at reducing a type of hidden inflammation in our bodies that suppresses thyroid function and is a common trigger for thyroid disease. “A standard American diet is full of foods that worsen inflammation, whereas a Paleo diet emphasizes foods full of anti-inflammatory nutrients, like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids,” notes Dr. Wahls.
Perhaps even more important, Paleo eliminates grains and dairy, two of the main culprits behind inflammation. “It’s very common for people with thyroid issues to have an unrecognized sensitivity to gluten”, Dr. Wahls reveals. Gluten, a protein in wheat, “will often be the main trigger for autoimmune attacks, which are the most common cause of thyroid damage and disease.” Adds Dr. Campbell: “Staying away from foods that increase inflammation helps optimize thyroid function so much that people can’t get over the difference. Metabolism speeds up, which means weight loss and more energy. The thyroid also helps regulate a lot of other functions, so when it’s healthy, people often eliminate digestive problems, brain fog, joint pain, thinning hair, insomnia, low libido. The benefits are endless!”
Bonus: If you take prescription thyroid meds, Dr. Wahls says that going Paleo means you can work with your doctor and likely get off them.
5-Ingredient Paleo Meals
These recipes prove that boosting your thyroid to melt spare pounds can be both delicious and super easy.
Paleo dieters eat foods like those hunted or gathered before farms existed—veggies, roots, fruit, nuts, seeds, eggs, seafood, poultry and meat. Skip sugar, grains, beans, and anything highly processed. Eat as much as you need to feel lightly full. We’ve got great fuss-free recipes here; find more at PaleOMG.com and PaleoLeap.com. Always talk to your doctor before you try any new diet. Suspect a thyroid problem? Ask to be tested; you may need Rx meds to protect your health.
Breakfast Bake — Mix 10 whisked eggs, 1 lb. browned sausage, 2 cups diced cooked sweet potato, 1⁄2 cup diced roasted veggies and a pinch of salt. Bake in greased 8” square casserole dish at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until firm, 30–40 minutes.
Stuffed Sweets — Bake a sweet potato at 350°F until soft, 45–60 minutes. Split, scoop out slightly and fill with Paleo-friendly meat, veggies and dressing. Bake again to warm through, 3–5 minutes.
Energy Bites — In food processor, blitz 1 cup salted nut butter, 1⁄3 cup maple syrup and 1⁄2 cup coconut flour. Freeze mixture 15 minutes, roll in 20 balls and dredge each in coconut or toasted sesame seeds.
Meatballs — Mix 1 lb. ground beef, 1 egg, 1⁄4 cup almond flour, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt to taste. Form 16 balls; bake at 425°F, 15–17 minutes. Serve with no-sugar marinara.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.