Effects of Goitrogenic foods

Simon

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Hello all,

I'm a nearly 50 year old male, 5'11" 73kg, who went vegan overnight in June of last year, for ethical reasons, simply couldn't be complicit in what was going on anymore.
I was a vegetarian (simply ignorant of the dairy and egg industries practices) in my 20's but slipped when I spent 18 months travelling the world and never went back, just never entered my consciousness again.
I was very excited when reading about all the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and believe in it 100%, will never return to eating animal produce again.

I have gained a bit of weight in the last 7 months, a lack of exercise and eating larger portions. But at least 70% of my diet is cooked from scratch and whole foods.
I did my research and take a B12 every day and a tablespoon of ground flax seeds in my breakfast porridge oats in the morning.

I must admit, that I haven't had any sort of energy boost, feel exactly the same as I did as a meat eater.
7 months in I'm still suffering with a very volatile stomach. Terrible rumbling and lots of trapped wind/gas, Yes I wash my legumes. I've recently started taking gastric enzymes but haven;t noticed any difference.

I have had trouble with a varicose vein for a couple of years now and went to my GP recently as I someone I know mentioned Diabetes, which I knew wasn't the case but went along anyway.
I had a blood test and the results showed everything was fine except I had low Thyroid function.
I was shocked and asked if my vegan diet would have anything to do with it, GP said no.
I was immediately put on a daily dose of Levothyroxine and told that I would have to take it for the rest of my life.

After a couple of weeks, I had a second blood test. Results indicated Thyroid hormone was still low but on it's way back to where it should be compared with the initial test, but now raised antibody levels were showing, which I don't think were tested for in the first test. So it appears I am suffering from an Auto Immune issue. I have been referred to an Endocronologist, but not until April.

I obviously did a bit of Googling after learning of all this and thought I may have Hashimotos disease.

This evening, I have just seen a video on youtube by Dr Michael Greger entitled "Should we avoid Goitrogenic foods like Kale, Broccoli and Cauliflower".
I was completely ignorant of the possible problems these vegetables can cause. It appears that problems will only occur if you don't get enough iodine in your diet. I don't know if I do or don't, but it's suggested that Dulse flakes be included in your diet everyday.

TBH I'm finding it really disheartening, although won't turn away from veganism. We are told that being vegan is the most natural thing to do, physiology points to the fact we are herbivores. Constantly being told that a wholefood, plant based diet is the way to go. Whoever I tel about my thyroid/auto immune issue immediately asks if it's because of my diet. I say no, but honestly I'm thinking yes.

Just wondered if there is anybody else out there who has dealt with a similar issue?

Thanks for getting this far.
 

museumgirl

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Hi, sorry to hear you are having such issues! I had many symptoms of Hashimotos before I went vegan but was never diagnosed. I went vegan (after being veg two years) last May and have never looked back. Before I was vegan, I had frequent rashes, swelling of my hands and face with welts all the time, aching joints, depression and horrible allergies to everything...I could go on and on!
I did have digestive issues in the beginning of going vegan, so I took some lemon juice in warm water every morning, it helped a lot.
But I basically eat all those vegetables you mentioned, so maybe that was not at the heart of my issue.
I'm happy you are determined and I highly respect Dr. Michael Greger. I think you could avoid those particular greens/vegetables for a while without detriment to your health and see how it goes? Dr. McDougall says you can be healthy on a potato diet, so perhaps you could base your diet around sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes - I don't think those are goiterogenic?
Sorry I'm not terribly helpful, but my thinking is, just maybe, as your body eliminates things from your previous diet, it may have less of an immune response to other things and you can broaden what you eat. Even a limited vegan diet is going to help eventually. My husband went vegan straight from omnivore in January - he didn't experience any increased energy until just recently. I think you are on the right track, I hope you get an answer to the thyroid issue, which is probably part of the energy issue, too. Veganism doesn't always "cure" everything we have going on with our bodies - but it doesn't make it worse, and the knowledge that I am doing less to contribute to suffering, and doing what is right and natural is worth it, to me. Good luck, Let me know if you get any answers.
 

Sally

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Being vegan doesn't promise perfect health for us, just a better life for the animals. There are so many things that can cause health problems, not just diet, but lack of exercise, too much sugar, stress, not enough sleep, overwork, allergies to gluten, etc... the list goes on, sometimes it's genetic or just bad luck. I noticed no difference to my health when I went vegan, I'm just in a happier place mentally. It's easy to attribute things to changes in diet, etc, that might well have happened anyway. Do what makes you happy and, hopefully, your body will settle down. :)
 

Simon

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Thanks for reply.
Glad to hear things are working out for you.
Having done a little more research, it seems that soy may contribute to thyroid malfunction, this would actually make more sense than the goitrogenic issue.
As a meat eater, I didn't knowingly consume any soy and then overnight, soy milk, tofu and a few soy based meat alternatives were introduced to my diet.
I was so disheartened with my hypothroidism diagnoses that I decided to stop taking the Levothyroxine I had been prescribed. I was feeling no benefits, having to wake an hour earlier than usual to take and hated the thought of having to take drugs for the rest of my life. Just never thought I would suffer with a chronic illness. I had convinced myself that when I had my initial blood test, I must have been suffering with something else that had affected the results. However recently, I've noticed a dip in energy and a sensation in my neck where the thyroid is located, so I've decided to start taking again.
Will see what the Endocrinologist has to say at the end of April, whether diet is even mentioned.
As I've said, I won't ever return to being a meat eater, even though it has isolated me and certainly doesn't make life easier.
A friend only this week subtly suggested, I was doing it because it had become fashionable and elitist, his perception.
 

Simon

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Being vegan doesn't promise perfect health for us, just a better life for the animals. There are so many things that can cause health problems, not just diet, but lack of exercise, too much sugar, stress, not enough sleep, overwork, allergies to gluten, etc... the list goes on, sometimes it's genetic or just bad luck. I noticed no difference to my health when I went vegan, I'm just in a happier place mentally. It's easy to attribute things to changes in diet, etc, that might well have happened anyway. Do what makes you happy and, hopefully, your body will settle down. :)
Veganism is promoted with improved health benefits though, at least the films I've seen and the books I've read, but yes no promises can be made.
Of course, this could all be completely coincidental and bad timing, I've no idea how long the thyroid issue has been going on, it was just luck that it was picked up with the unrelated blood test.
In some respect I feel better knowing that I'm no longer contributing any where near as much to animal cruelty(but no one can be a perfect vegan) as I did before, but with that knowledge comes a frustration that everybody else doesn't see the point and that the cruelty still continues on a daily basis. You can't erase what you've already seen.
I think vegans simply see the bigger picture and are able to override the selfishness that meat eaters have.
 

Sally

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My friend has an underactive thyroid and has to have it checked regularly and her medication for it adjusted if necessary. I think it is something that you have to take always, so far as I know. Why do you have to take it so early, can you not take it an hour later?
 

Simon

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My friend has an underactive thyroid and has to have it checked regularly and her medication for it adjusted if necessary. I think it is something that you have to take always, so far as I know. Why do you have to take it so early, can you not take it an hour later?
Yes, it's chronic illness that needs medicating for the rest of your life, it is one of several conditions that entitles the sufferer to free medication, (even unrelated medicines for other maladies).
The thyroid hormone replacement, has to be taken in the morning on an empty stomach at least an hour before having breakfast. Actually this isn't a problem anymore, luckily I work from home and have changed my routine and even though I'm starving on waking, I now take the dogs for a walk first and delay my breakfast by at least an hour.