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No Recovery Necessary? Hypothyroid Ultra-Cardio Training While Eating a Paleo, Primal, Wheat-Free Diet.

eebee's picture

Immediate disclaimers:

I don't consider myself on a 'diet'. I just put that in title. 

I'm not 100% sugar-, corn- or potato-free, and those foods don't fall under Paleo or Primal. I also eat dairy: cheese, eggs, milk, butter. 


I wanted to write a follow up to my previous posts about my long-term dietary changes and how they are affecting my ultra-cardio lifestyle. Sorry, but I love to skate! All day if possible! It makes me nice! We're not gunning it the whole time so it's all perfectly doable without too much physical depletion. 

My most gob-smacking news since starting my quest for better health 7 months ago, is that this past month's back-to-back 54- and 40-mile skates at Tanglewood, and 61 mile Tour de Tammy, did not cause me any leg or muscle pain and swelling for three days afterwards. I didn't even have it for one hour afterwards. I certainly felt the usual muscle taxation and occasional leg cramps on those uphills during the skates, but what's different is the recovery: I don't seem to need it. Post long-distance leg pain and swelling had worsened for me over the past five years, to the point last year when I was starting to think my long-distance skating days would soon need to come to a close. 

Weighing less might have something to do with this happy outcome. I have lost 17 lb since Jan 1st this year. 10 lb of that is my usual Winter sloth vs. Summer training weight difference. Perhaps the extra 7 lb weight loss this year has pushed me over some kind of power-to-weight ratio threshold, favorable for my height, weight and body type? 

My intuition (brain-fog intelligence for hypothyroids) is slurring at me that it's something more - especially since I gave up drinking tea. 

Yes. I gave up drinking tea. 

I have quit eating certain food items in stages this year (grains, legumes, all soy products) and the latest thing to go has been my lovely strong, scorching hot English tea with milk (perhaps I'm doing my gullet a favor, too?). Growing up in Great Britain, tea flowed through my veins, not blood. So it never occurred to me after drinking a couple of mugs of strong Tetley, that it might just be the tea (fluoride) doing that to me, and not gravity getting stronger or my body naturally wanting to crash each day at 4pm. I'm hardly bouncing off the walls here without it either, though, but just having energy levels up to normal throughout the day makes all the difference. Sure, it could be the weight loss, but I lost most of it before giving up tea (fluoride), and still felt the post-tea-crash. 

If my fluoride-reduction plan is indeed helping my thyroid gland get back to normal functioning levels on its own, it makes sense that the dependent bodily functions would also improve: faster recovery, less depletion, better alimentation, etc.  

My fuzzy hypothyroid thoughts (hunches) make me consider the effects of wheat on my system, and the mysterious not-lung-but-surrounding-membrane breathing problem I used to have before quitting grains, and its even more mysterious and sudden disappearance afterwards. Internet searches linking symptoms with tested food reactions and/or hypotheses suggest to me a possible hypothyroid-grain-kidney-edema link. If eating grains caused those swollen, drowning sensations, perhaps grains were also causing my leg swelling via a kidney onslaught? I don't know for sure of course. All I know is that for ME, it's working well and in the absence of weird leg pain, I feel great. 

After the 94 miles at Tanglewood and 61 miles of Tammy, I only ate the chicken and greens, and drank a Sprite or two. No pasta, bread, brownies or cookies. My ultra-cardio world didn't fall apart, and I didn't really even feel hungrier than usual afterwards. Again, I found the skates plenty taxing and did my fair share of ditch-time on uphills, so it's not like I found the whole thing a breeze - just the recovery periods. 

Unfortunately I can't blame lace bite on fluoride, and even with the collective experience of hockey players, figure skaters and the internet, there is apparently still no fast recovery cure for that, yet. 


Edit: I'm wondering if my current improved recovery - or absence of leg pain and swelling - is what everybody else has always experienced, so I'm not getting any magical or revolutionary results here, just achieving normality. These previous troubles seemed to be symptomatic of things like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, which are very real and debilitating conditions yet to be taken seriously by the medical profession. 


roadskater's picture

Quite a Journey and Well Done Along the Way

I just wanted to add that I've lived through these changes to some extent (I eat much like I did before but have changed a bit of what I do based on eebee's results), and it is amazing to see someone REALLY change their diet (not on a diet). As with so many related diet issues, it's not so much having to not eat and not feel full, but to change what you eat (sometimes knowing the new food will help you to feel full, somewhat). 

I still eat wheat, but after hearing about the Wheat Belly book comments and listening to eebee describe the difference, there are many times now where I eat none or less of the bread I see around me. Before I would eat every bit of bread in sight! 

Also, for me, reading How We Get Fat last year helped me see that I might test another way of eating at least for certain weeks of the year. For me, eating more fat and protein and less carbs (except 30 minutes before and during workouts) was the way for me to drop some pounds without feeling punished or denied.

I'd like to add that I still have the weekly half of a medium pizza split with timv (either garlic & onions or cheese) as we have done for so many years on Tuesday nights after inline skating at the park. I still occasionally (every few weeks) have a subway sub. I allow myself more at restaurants when I'm with people I don't usually see, because it is festive and special. 

Another switch has been due to a couple of restaurants where lunch and dinner can be had at decent prices. I love the lunch special at La Bamba and I get the steak fajitas without the wraps there for $5.99 including a drink (and switching to Diet Dr. Pepper is tolerable). I still eat the rice, beans and some of the chips, so I'm getting plenty of bad carbs there, but fewer than before. Also, the new Ichiban Buffet in town has a Hibachi Grill where the meat and vegetables are there for you to plate and hand to the chef. When I go there, I have been able to avoid all of the buffet items except fresh fruit sometimes, and ice cream (awesome bad) even fewer times. I still eat a lot, but I am focusing on the healthier carbs and proteins.

Overall it adds up to less sugar, and guess what, that seems a bit healthier. 

It's important to reiterate that when I'm on the way or just arriving at the park I try to remember to drink some skaterade or a goo (gel, powergel, gu), especially if I have not had much food that day. And I try to keep fueling the workout as I go, with one of these items every 45 minutes after that. 

Great job on this, eebee, and thanks for sharing it online

eebee's picture

Thanks! Willpower not Required

I wanted to add that I did not set out this year with the thought that I was going to 'ban' myself certain foods or food groups. I have tried that before and it just doesn't work for me. 

I read about something, identified with it, tried what helped others, and if it worked for me, I stuck with it and enjoyed even further benefits. I continued reading, found more suggestions (scientifically tested or suspected by other sensitive folk), tried that on myself too, it worked, so I carried on with that too.

I don't seem to be able to do willpower.

You are doing better at that than I did, Roadskater. I was always unable to 'just' eat one item, one evening a week and not want to go out and eat it every day thereafter.

But the Ichiban Grill is perfect! Enjoy it while it lasts, or is affordable. The stuff on the buffet trolleys is appetizing too, but a minefield for someone like me with all these aversions to common ingredients such as soy & wheat. So it feels good to be able to pick my own raw ingredients (much like the Mongolian Grill type places) & have my own plate cooked. 

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