Carrie Vitt is the author of the successful cooking blog Deliciously Organic, and has authored two cookbooks: Deliciously Organic and The Grain-Free Family Table. Carrie also runs a successful meal-planning business and an online 10-video course called Real Food Boot Camp that teaches how to reduce inflammation and find better health with real food. After struggling with health issues for years, she turned to an unprocessed, grain-free diet and has been able to overcome Hashimoto’s disease, chronic migraines, IBS, and eczema. You can also find Carrie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Sometimes life takes a turn and you end up in a place you never even imagined. That’s what happened to me. In 2008 I suddenly developed hives from the neck up that wouldn’t go away. My hair began falling out. I became very depressed and spent many days in bed with ice packs on my face because my skin was burning, red and peeling.
I spent nine months going from doctor to doctor without anyone really listening to me or running tests. I finally found a doctor who listened, ran the required tests and in the spring of 2009 diagnosed me with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
The doctor’s prognosis was unsatisfying: I could take medicine to potentially manage my symptoms, but my thyroid would eventually stop working and I’d be on medications for the rest of my life. I decided to look for another path.
Years ago, I overcame chronic migraines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and eczema by switching to unprocessed foods, so I called a highly recommended nutritionist and asked for her help with my new health issue. She helped me understand that when the body is taxed, grains and processed foods can cause inflammation. By removing the offending foods, I could let my body rest and encourage recovery.
This new path required a dedication to changing my diet unlike anything I’d experienced before. I couldn’t cheat at all – just one dose of gluten could have caused my body to start attacking itself again! I omitted all processed foods, grains and most sugars. I was allowed to eat small amounts of traditionally prepared fermented soy, though.
So what did I eat? I ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from pastured meats, healthy fats, eggs, unprocessed dairy (I never had an issue with unprocessed dairy, and in fact, it had a very positive effect on my recovery), seeds, nuts, lots of vegetables, small amounts of natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.
It sounds extreme; it felt extreme, too! I was determined to reverse my disease, though. Once I got going, it wasn’t as hard as I’d anticipated. More importantly, my hives eventually went away (I haven’t had any since November of 2009), my hair grew back, my disease is in full remission and I can now spend time with my family and friends. Changing my diet helped me get my life back!
Nourishing soups were the backbone of my diet for many years. My Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup is one of my favorites. It keeps in the refrigerator for a few days and you can easily pack some in an insulated thermos for a hot lunch.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or palm shortening for a dairy-free option)
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 1 large leek, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 4 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred)
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 (24-ounce) jar crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup heavy cream (or canned coconut milk for a dairy-free option)
- Melt butter in a large pot. Add carrots, leek, celery and garlic. Stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes.
- Add mushrooms and 1 teaspoon sea salt to pot. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in Italian seasoning and cook for 1 minute.
- Add stock, chicken, tomatoes and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken from pot, chop into bite-size pieces and add back to the soup. Pour in cream and season to taste. Serve.