3 reasons Hashimoto’s made me a better human being in 2016
Last year I did a lot of things I am happy about, I am proud of following my dreams and my passions. I used the complexity of my own health as a motivator to contribute to building a better future for all of us.
Hashimoto’s made me a better human being in 2016 through:
1. Sharing health insights with other people
Having Hashimoto’s has given me an opportunity to learn more about how human body is supposed to work if textbook perfect, and how it works in a real life setting: if I am sick or as I age. Uncovering innovative solutions to avoid flare-ups forced my brain to work in a way it did not for a long time.
I found no more shame in my condition, and I was not afraid to share what I learned about it. It made me more ready to listen to other people’s stories without feeling exhausted and helpless, but to become solution-driven.
At some point last year, my disease stopped being a burden and an excuse for missing out on life and became a motivation for braving into the future.
2. It was an almost dairy-free and a fully chocolate-free year
Avoiding diary started as a necessity for me, since it causes a massive worsening of my health. As a lifelong avid lover off all the things made of cheese, it was a very hard choice to start with. Even the appreciation of my own health did very little help to stay off dairy. Instead, what helped me was reading about the issues surrounding dairy production: animal welfare, sustainability of production, ecology and global warming*.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 2010 report, about 2.7% of total worldwide greenhouse gases come from milk production**.
Chocolate did not directly cause a flare-up of my Hashimoto’s. Sugar intake through chocolate caused an increase in my weight, making me less mobile and that in turn worsened my Hashimoto’s. I removed the chocolate off my menu at the end of 2015, and continued throughout the entire 2016.
I learned that in order to make a cultivable land for cacao production, many thousands of hectars of biodiverse and carbon rich Amazon rainforest are cleared up. Apparently, the same type of deforestation already happened in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria. I have found this report, with lovely representations of how environmentally costly is each chocolate bar.
I would not have considered going off dairy and chocolate if not forced by Hashimoto’s, but now I think it is one of the best things I have done to contribute making our planet a healthier place.
3. I decided to build an app for Hashimoto’s
When I write “to build”, what I mean is: to build it together with a group of talented and dedicated people, which understand that all the diseases should be tackled early on; patients should be empowered to take full control of their health; and doctors’ burden should be reduced by providing data-driven tools.
Knowing I am not the only one with the disease, and also experiencing the complexity of it, I decided to use all I have learnt in the past decade as a patient and as a researcher and to provide a tool for making sense of autoimmune conditions for all of us having them.
Curious to use the app? You can sign up for BOOST beta.
*I do very occasionally sneak in some dairy, mostly when friends forget I am dairy free, or if no other food choices are available
**Methane contributes most to the global warming impact of milk to greenhouse gas emission