I suffer from an autoimmune disease called Graves’ Disease. And thanks to it, my thyroid gland has a mind of its own. For those of you who fell asleep in high school biology, the thyroid gland controls your body’s metabolism, and indirectly, your weight. When I was untreated, I looked dangerously anorexic at a weight of 38KG, but ate like a cow with 6 high-fat, high-sugar meals a day – and yet I continued to lose weight. After treatment, I now look like a cow at 70KG while eating like an anorexic with 2-3 low-sugar meals a day. And all medical professionals I’ve talked to just shrug me off with a nonchalant “cut the coke and go do some exercise and you’ll be fine” comment.
But I haven’t touched real coke for years, and I go to the gym.
And as an ENTJ, it doesn’t help that I feel the need to be in control everything. So I resent the fact that I cannot even control what is my birthright – my own body.
Caveman Diet: Holy Grail Diet for Graves Disease patients?
Out of this resentment and frustration, Google (or perhaps, God) finally decided to answer my searches. I stumbled upon a few sites talking about how the Paleolithic Diet aka Caveman Diet has helped people to treat and, in some cases even cure their autoimmune diseases.
The paleolithic diet says that we should eat like our evolutionary ancestors, the hunter-gatherers. So that would mean no grains, no dairy. Just meat and vegetables. The science of it seems a little dubious, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. Besides, I have nothing to lose – except my weight. 😀
And it has been nothing short of amazing! It’s only been 5 days and my clothes are looser, my skin is smoother, my goiter is smaller and I feel like I have the energy to run a marathon everyday! Best of all, it doesn’t feel like a diet at all. I eat 3-4 meals a day, I’m never hungry, and I even eat fast food junk (albeit a highly-customized version of it).
So I plan to do this for a month, and then see my family doctor for a check up. If the tests says I’m all clear, then I would love to able to do this for life, since it’s not just a diet for me, but a change in my lifestyle in hopes that I could regain control of my body.
Should you try it too?
Despite my disappointment and frustration with medical professionals, I don’t think you should try it before seeing a doctor – especially if you’re perfectly healthy.
And if there’s anything I’ve learned from this revelation is that that perhaps each person’s body responds differently to different diets and exercise habits. My mum, for example, has a diet that’s extremely high in sugar and carbohydrates and has no problem maintaining a healthy weight of 45KG. Whereas, a medium-high carb diet seemed to have affected my thyroid function, my skin and my general health…
My “theory” on diets and exercise
…which leads me to believe that what we eat in our childhood greatly affects how we maintain our bodies in adulthood. My mum came from a family impoverished by the Japanese occupation in Asia. She did not grow up with the luxury of dairy and meat. Her childhood diet consisted of vegetables, roots, rice and sugar. Essentially, carbs, carbs and more carbs! 😯
And perhaps that is precisely why she suffers no illnesses and have maintained her weight from putting 6 teaspoons of sugar in her daily coffee for the past few decades.
As for me, I grew up on a diet of chicken and eggs. As a child, nothing could come in between me and my KFC. And when I was hungry in the middle of the night, I ate omelettes. I never had a penchant for rice, vegetables or sugar. So perhaps the paleolithic diet suits me precisely because it mirrors how I ate as a growing child.
But all this is my very untested, very unscientific, very layman observation. And if there is a chance that my observation is scientifically true, it could potentially debunk many of the current theories that we staunchly believe in, since most of these theories are done on the premise that all humans respond similarly to the same diet and exercise regimens.
And that is why, I cannot possibly recommend this diet to anyone. For me, I decided to give science a rest, since it has done nothing but exacerbate my thyroid problems in the last decade. But if you are fortunate enough to have a fully-functioning body then, please take less risks and take better care of your health.