Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder, which means it occurs when immune cells attack healthy tissue instead of protecting it. In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, immune cells mistakenly attack the healthy thyroid tissue, causing inflammation. If your thyroid tissue is destroyed to the point that the gland can no longer produce enough thyroid hormones for your body to function correctly, you may develop hypothyroidism.
One way to reduce inflammation with an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto's is with the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet. The diet consists of a strict elimination phase followed by a slow and intentional reintroduction phase. The goal is to figure out which individual foods contribute to adverse autoimmune responses.
During the elimination phase, you start by removing grains, gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Many people will also eliminate other possible dietary triggers like nightshades (potatoes and tomatoes), caffeine, alcohol, and legumes.
College student, and food & wellness blogger, Juliana Martinez has years of experience living (and thriving) with Hashimoto's disease. Ahead, she shares the five resources you need if you're doing the autoimmune protocol in college.
The autoimmune protocol (AIP) and Paleo diets are possible for anyone, even during college! Of course, everyone's college experience is different. The following advice may not apply to some students who do not have access to a public or personal kitchen.
My experience with AIP during college
I did not start the autoimmune protocol until my sophomore year of college. I even took a semester off to focus on my health. In a matter of months, I went from hardly being able to walk across campus to being active again. This protocol dramatically improved how my condition impacts my daily life. However, I still have to work at my diet consistently to keep symptoms under control.
I lived in an apartment with two roommates when I returned to school for my second year. Unlike the year prior, where I shared a kitchen with more than 60 girls in the dorms, I now had a full kitchen.
Shopping and dining choices are few near my college in a tiny farming town in northwest Iowa, so I made nearly 100% of my food. Certainly, I could have talked with the chef about food sensitivities and concerns, but I decided that it would be best to cook my food to limit cross-contamination while seeking remission from Hashimoto's.
Resources you need for AIP in college
Costco or Sam's Club membership card
To support my autoimmune condition, I do not have the freedom to walk into the dining hall or nearby McDonald's and eat whatever I want. I have to plan for meals, and often, buy food in bulk. I could not survive without a Costco membership! Prices better than your average grocery store, and the quality of food is excellent. Costco carries many organic types of meat and veggies, and even find AIP-compliant treats like Bare Apple Chips, coconut rolled dates, and bone broth. Even though the nearest Costco to my small town is over an hour away, I make it a priority to go once every two weeks to stock up on meat, veggies, and treats.
Food processor or high-speed blender
Blenders are useful to make cashew butter, paleo coffee creamer, and morning smoothies. I would also highly recommend finding a blender or food processor if you like to enjoy desserts as many AIP and Paleo treat recipes require a blender. (I don't have just one sweet tooth… I have a mouth full of sweet teeth!)
Good knives and cutting boards
An inexpensive set of knives from Walmart is probably the go-to for college students. However, I recommend getting quality knives and cutting boards that will last more than three months. After all, you will be cutting up meat and veggies more regularly than the average collegiate Joe.
Tupperware Snapware® containers
Some of the chemicals found in plastic can disrupt your endocrine system. Consider swapping your plastic containers for glass, which will not only support your thyroid health but last longer, too.
Snapware dishes have been a total game-changer for me! They are leak-proof, fit well in the fridge and freezer, and are microwave and dishwasher safe—if you are so blessed as to have a dishwasher in college!
A mini-fridge with a freezer
Because of my dietary requirements and cook-from-home habits, my food tends to take up more space than my roommates'. Investing in a separate mini-fridge is super helpful, and I don't feel bad about using more space than my roommates.
A note from Paloma Health
Many nutritional and lifestyle factors play a role in optimizing thyroid function. Paloma Health offers you the opportunity to work with a nutritionist in collaboration with a physician to determine nutritional status for optimal thyroid health and build healthy habits.