Adrienne’s Experience with Aviva Romm’s Adrenal Thyroid Revolution Program

Adrienne’s takeaways from completing Aviva Romm’s adrenal thyroid revolution program.

I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I got a full thyroid panel at age 20. This wasn’t a surprise, since my mom, dad, and two brothers all had it as well, but what I didn’t learn until years later was that I actually had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. When I got that diagnosis in 2017, it was the jolt I needed to finally dig into my thyroid health — and what ultimately led me to try Aviva Romm’s Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program. 

Ever since my diagnosis of hypothyroidism, I’d taken Naturethroid (albeit inconsistently), never really thinking to look up the instructions or understand anything about it. I can see now that because my naturopath had helped me cure my amenorrhea, I’d developed a bit of doctor-worship and so never really did my own research or asked the important questions. 

But after learning I had Hashimoto’s, I got curious. I began to look at root causes, to learn the things that make the thyroid function better and worse, the different medications available and pros and cons of each, how reversible Hashimoto’s is and how it connects to symptoms I had been feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally. I learned that Hashimoto’s is quite complicated and common (especially for women!), but that it is reversible. It’s difficult for most people to ever completely stop taking some kind of thyroid supplement, be it natural or pharmaceutical; but, having seen that it was possible, I made it my mission to reverse my Hashimoto’s and one day ditch my Naturethroid.

As it would happen, I’d recently had the privilege of sitting down with Aviva Romm, a wonderful functional medicine doctor and author of The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution. I decided to try the program myself as part of my journey to heal my Hashimoto’s, and the experience was eye-opening. Despite everything I knew about food, meditation, movement, supplements, and herbs, this program taught me so much, and brought to light all of my false beliefs: the things I’d convinced myself, or never thought about, or didn’t fully understand, or blindly assumed. If you’re thinking of doing the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program — or any kind of reset program or elimination diet — here are my seven takeaways that will help you better understand what to expect and what to look out for:

My Biggest Learnings from the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution Program

1) Food products are still food products and processed foods — even if they’re healthy!

Many “health foods”( i.e. foods sold in health food stores or organic sections of mainstream grocery stores) have preservatives, inflammatory oils like vegetable or canola oil, or additives like stabilizers (things that make things creamier for example). Somehow, I had been conveniently letting these items fall into my grocery cart (or maybe my husband did and I didn’t fight it) despite my awareness that whole foods or one-ingredient foods are always preferable.

This includes seemingly healthy food items like frozen organic cauliflower-crust pizza, “healthy” chips or crackers, granola and other cereals, certain soups, marinara and other sauces, nut butters, gluten-free and organic frozen chicken nuggets, coconut ice cream bars, dark chocolate bars, kimchi, hummus, salad dressings, nut milks, packaged bars, yogurt (even plant-based), and many more. I had wrongly assumed that because a product had the USDA organic label, or because it used coconut over dairy or cauliflower over gluten, that it was good for me. But I soon learned that many of these “healthy” products contain tons of ingredients that I definitely did not want to be consuming.

I had to come to terms with the fact that if a box of organic crackers is sitting on a shelf, then it’s highly likely it has preservatives, and that gluten-free organic chicken nuggets are still a fried food.

2) Almost everything contains added sugar and inflammatory oils and butter.

Before completing the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution, I didn’t fully understand how common canola and vegetable oils are in food products, so I wasn’t catching them on labels. I also wildly underestimated how many healthy-seeming food products had added sugar! Kimchi was the most shocking. In my mind, because I wouldn’t add sugar to kimchi or a nut butter, I mistakenly assumed an organic brand I trusted wouldn’t either. Not true at all. Sugar is added to things you couldn’t possibly imagine needing sugar, like cauliflower pizza. Why on earth does that need to be sweetened?! 

I also underestimated how many little bits of sugar I had been consuming throughout the day. From fruit in my breakfast smoothie to a coconut date roll in the afternoon to some dark chocolate or a coconut ice cream bar a few evenings a week, my sugar intake really added up. A coconut date roll isn’t bad for you, per se, but in conjunction with sugar from those other sources, I was consuming way too much. I encourage you to really think about all the sugar you consume in a day (including hidden sugar in things like kimchi or peanut butter and natural sugars in fruit). You might be surprised by your total intake.

3) Nightshade vegetables are everywhere.

 For the formal three-week program, I eliminated nightshades, a family of plants that includes tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes, among others. When I cut them out, I was shocked by how many recipes or dishes at restaurants include at least one nightshade! Tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes are ubiquitous in the standard American diet, even in healthier recipes. Reading about how inflammatory these vegetables can be for some people, and how anyone following a Western diet eats nightshades at least once or twice a day, I realized that it might be an easy thing to eliminate for anyone trying to get to the root of a chronic health issue. Trying to avoid nightshades was one of the many things that made it difficult to eat out while I was doing the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program. 

4) Eating out was nearly impossible.

 Speaking of eating out, in the nearly four weeks I was doing the program, I went out to maybe three or four meals at restaurants. The first thing I realized was that, as a New Yorker, I eat out more than I thought I did. The second thing I realized was that it is incredibly hard to eat in a healing way at restaurants or when ordering takeout. 

Simple dishes I assumed wouldn’t have any off-limits ingredients often did, and those ingredients could not be replaced with something healthier. Many restaurants only had canola oil, even those I specifically chose because I thought they would use cleaner oils like almond, avocado, or olive. Also, many restaurants couldn’t tell me much about the quality of their meat or whether certain vegetables were organic — and nightshades were pretty much everywhere, even when they weren’t listed on the menu (potatoes or tomatoes on the side, peppers in the sauce, chili flakes sprinkled on top). Finding gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice, or oats was also very difficult, and often the serving of vegetables provided in a dish isn’t enough to fill you up without some other side of grains. Butter, I found, was used more often than canola oil for cooking, which was difficult since dairy is excluded in the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution. Many sauces included butter or another dairy product, and often things were pre-marinated, which made it difficult to make them without dairy. 

The most difficult part by far was that for me — as I’m sure is the case for many — eating out at a restaurant is a shared, fun experience with people I love, whether it’s my husband or friends or family. While getting dressed to go out to dinner with my husband one night during the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program, I realized that I was dreading the meal. I hated how annoying I would sound asking a dozen questions about each part of my meal, and I felt like I didn’t have anything to look forward to because I couldn’t have a glass of wine or any sort of “treat” or “reward” food.   

5)    Alcohol plays way too big a part in my culture, society, and habits.

I gave up alcohol for 25 days during the program and realized how much of my social life, as well as habits to cope with long or stressful days, revolved around alcohol. It was incredibly eye-opening to realize that I equated fun and making something special with alcohol. I realized how routine it was for me to order a cocktail when I sat down at a restaurant, and how many sunsets created a longing for a glass of wine. I also felt bad for people socializing with me, as I know that the shared vulnerability and “letting loose” of drinking alcohol creates a bond, and not engaging in drinking made me feel like I was putting a wall up. Our culture celebrates drinking to the point where I believed fun and special occasions required it. 

After a few days without alcohol, I couldn’t believe how much better I felt when waking up in the morning. Even one drink impacts your sleep (or two if you’re a man or a larger person) and waking up feeling rested and without any cobwebs was amazing. I also learned to use other things to unwind, like playing music, stretching, or reading a novel. 

6)    Giving up the taste and ritual of coffee – not caffeine – left a void.

I had already given up caffeine the year prior, but when I was also forced to give up decaf coffee during the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program, it made me sad! I realized that the ritual of walking to get my one cup of rich, warm, creamy, flavorful decaf coffee with cashew or oat milk each morning was what I loved, not the caffeine fix. I began drinking much more herbal tea during the program and still did my morning walks with tea, but it just wasn’t quite the same. 

I loved that the program helped me incorporate many more wonderful organic herbs in the form of teas into my day, but once the program was over, I couldn’t have been more excited to re-introduce decaf organic coffee into my life. Yes, decaf still has a small amount of caffeine, but the amount in one cup is less than two squares of dark chocolate, and most importantly, I don’t feel that hyper, jittery, anxious feeling that comes after drinking caffeine when I choose decaf.

7)    It’s hard to truly give yourself permission to pause.

One of Aviva Romm’s signature phrases in this program is “permission to pause.” She emphasizes this because a lot of Hashimoto’s patients like me have fatigued their adrenals through too much stress and constantly being “on,” which impacts your thyroid health. Besides diet, supplements, and herbs, giving yourself permission to pause and do some self care and things that bring you joy is an important part of the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program.

One thing I incorporated into my life during the program that I really enjoyed was turning on music when the work day was done and it was time to cook and eat dinner with my husband. It lifted my mood instantly, got me singing along and away from thoughts about my to-do list. It felt like a weekend even when it wasn’t, and that’s what bringing joy back into your life is all about. Unfortunately, besides my nightly dance party while cooking, and a few minutes of breathing exercises in the morning, I didn’t do as much self-care as the program stipulated. It turns out, giving yourself permission to pause when you’re an entrepreneur and living in today’s 24/7 world is more difficult than anything else — and arguably the most important thing we can do.

My Results from the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution Program

After completing the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program, my thyroid panel blood test showed my TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) had come down from 14 to 7.5 and my thyroid antibodies (the sign of Hashimoto’s) from 48 to 38. Despite seeing these results, I haven’t stuck with all of the rules of the program. I’ve reverted back to my old eating and lifestyle habits in a few areas (like being less strict when I go out to eat), though many of the dietary changes I made have stuck. After completing the program and seeing my results, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to kick my Hashimoto’s to the curb for good!

If you’re struggling with thyroid issues or any other chronic condition and want help finding the right healing protocol (as well as help sticking to it), I can help! Schedule a call with me to learn more about my holistic patient advocacy services.

Have you tried the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program or something similar? I’d love to know what you thought or discovered, so let me know below in the comments!

The recovery story above is anecdotal and specific to this particular individual. Please note that this is not medical advice, and that not all treatments and approaches mentioned will work for everyone.

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