India is famous for its curries, chats, and desserts. During the festivities, we forget our hypothyroidism diets and, more often than not, regret our diet choices once the festival of lights is over.
Firstly, we know how difficult it can be for anyone with thyroid issues to find the perfect Indian diet for hypothyroidism.
Secondly, we know how tempting the tray of gulab jamun, jalebi, chakli, gajar ka halwa, and kheer can be during Diwali!
But does that mean you have only two options? Either munch on all your favorite snacks and sweets during the festive season and undo all the good your hypothyroidism diet has done. Or, sacrifice the cravings and need to satisfy your taste buds just to stick to a healthy diet for hypothyroidism.
Thankfully, our experts have found a middle ground for you. Enjoy this Diwali with your family and friends without any compromise on diet or taste.
Here’s an Indian diet for hypothyroidism you can follow during the festive season -
Ideal Indian Thyroid Diet Breakfast during the Festive Season
Begin your day with at least a glass of normal to lukewarm water. If you want you can add the juice of freshly squeezed lime. Avoid adding table sugar or honey to this mix if you want proper detoxification.
Avoid drinking caffeine first thing in the morning. Even if you have straight black coffee or breakfast tea, the caffeine is enough to increase the acid content of an empty stomach. So reserve that cup of tea or coffee for later in the day.
Next, it's time for the main breakfast meal. You can have a mixed fruit bowl with a generous sprinkle of chia and sunflower seeds. Include fruits high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Pick a different mix of oranges, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, grapefruits, plums, pears, and apples for your fruit salad. Avoid adding sugar. You can choose to add salt to the mix (unless you have high blood pressure problems in addition to hypothyroidism).
If you like your fruit juiced please include the pulp as well. The fruit pulp is very important since it has a lot of fiber and vitamins.
We actively discourage all our readers from consuming packaged juices that have preservatives, added flavors, added sugar, and no pulp.
The Meal between Breakfast and Lunch during Diwali
During Diwali, you will have guests come over. So, here are a few great ideas for cooking up a meal between meals –
- Dry fruit laddu for your family and guests
- Dry fruit katli
- Moong dal halwa
- Baked Chakli
- Roasted Poha Chivda with Dry Fruits
Whenever possible, try to use pure desi ghee when the recipe calls for clarified butter or butter. Contrary to popular belief, desi ghee from cow's milk has tons of good fatty acids that help in boosting immunity, fight inflammation and pain, and provide nutrition.
Before choosing the nuts you want to include in these recipes, you may want to go through the ‘Nuts to avoid during hypothyroidism’ section to keep you safe and healthy this festive season.
Lunch for the Perfect Diwali Diet
If you don’t have guests over, you can always go for a bowl of salad or steamed veggies, a small bowl of mixed dal, some raita, and roti or rice. The exact quantity of each item will depend upon the nature of your lifestyle (sedentary, moderately active, and active). You need to talk to a thyroid specialist and dietician to find the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
When you have guests over for lunch, you may want to opt for fancier and tastier recipes.
Keep things traditional and spicy with healthy options like baingan ka bharta, palak paneer (tofu), dal makhani, panchdaal fry, and multi-grain flour paranthas or rotis. When eating your favorite festive foods for lunch moderation is your key to health and well-being. Make sure you consume the same quantity of carbs, protein, fat, and fiber as you do on any other day, even if that means eating smaller portions.
Try to include spices like methi, kalonji, black sesame seeds, garlic, and ginger in your recipes. These spices have therapeutic properties that help individuals with hypothyroidism.
You can end the lunch by serving chaas (Indian spiced buttermilk), or rose thandaai at least 20-30 minutes after lunch. Drinking any fluid immediately after a meal will cause disturbances in digestion and proper absorption of nutrients.
Evening Snacks during Diwali for Hypothyroidism Diet
The smart thing about the items we have mentioned in the meal between breakfast and dinner is that you can also serve them as evening snacks.
Munch on the dry fruit laddu or katli, moong laddu, and roasted poha chivda without any guilt. Enjoy a cup of nettle tea or green tea with your snacks.
These are yummy festive treats that you can share with guests of every age. Even children love dry fruit laddu and baked chaklis due to their lip-smacking goodness.
Dry fruits are packed with calories. If you have had them in the morning already, we would suggest you stick to chivda without dry fruits or sugar for the evening. Add some ground pepper, salt, and even chaat masala if you want a flavor-packed evening!
Dinner for Maintaining the Diwali Diet
Diwali dinners have to be gala! However, that doesn’t mean Diwali Diet has to be unhealthy.
You have tons of options. For example, cream and dairy-free mushroom vegetable soup with roasted veggies and naan. You can also opt for paneer (tofu) kebabs, vegetable kebabs, tandoori rotis, and raita.
Some spicy mixed dal, with a light preparation of paneer or tofu with rotis (made from gluten-free flour) and rice, takes the cake when you want to have a simple dinner. It is the ideal dinner for anyone following an Indian diet for hypothyroidism.
Foods to Avoid: Following the Indian diet for hypothyroidism
Those who have been struggling with weight problems due to hypothyroidism already know that the diet for hypothyroidism comes with tons of restrictions. During Diwali, many of us give in and forego these restrictions. Now, a little indulgence is okay, as you have seen in the sections above.
However, there are a few items you must entirely avoid if you have hypothyroidism.
Here’s a comprehensive list of all foods you must avoid while following a hypothyroidism diet during Diwali -
Avoid gluten and ultra-processed flour for Your Diwali Diet
White flour is stripped bare of almost all nutrients. You will not find vitamins or trace minerals in most white flours. Nonetheless, we do not encourage the consumption of wheat flour either.
Several studies have linked poor thyroid health and increased inflammation with high gluten content. Those with Hashimoto's disease exhibit increased inflammation and oxidative stress with gluten consumption. In India, the most common sources of gluten include wheat, barley, and rye.
During Diwali, even when you are making or eating rotis, naan, and parantha, ensure that you use gluten-free flour.
Vegetables to Avoid for Hypothyroidism
Goitrogens are substances that can disrupt normal thyroid function. Several vegetables are natural sources of goitrogens. Consuming too much of these vegetables can worsen your hypothyroidism symptoms.
Tons of times traditional dieticians and doctors recommend including green vegetables in one's diet. However, they forget to mention that eating too many cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, edamame, mustard greens, horseradish, plain radish, and turnips can be harmful.
You can eat all of these vegetables in very small quantities if you love them. Or, you can altogether avoid them as well. You can find similar nutritional values from other vegetables such as carrots, beetroots, tomatoes, papaya, different types of gourd, and even legumes.
Nuts to Avoid with Hypothyroidism
When we say nuts, we mean tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts. Tree nut allergy is not common in India. Sadly, if you are allergic to one tree nut, you may be allergic to them all.
It is important to get an allergy test and food sensitivity profile before you know for certain which Nuts to avoid with hypothyroidism. Research shows that walnuts can interfere with thyroid function and hormone absorption.
Although tree nuts are rich in fatty acids and help reduce inflammation, consider including an equal proportion of every type of nut such as cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts in your dry fruit mix. Eating only one type of nut for prolonged periods can cause unexpected flare-ups especially if you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
If you believe that nuts are causing gut issues or worsening your inflammatory issues, you should avoid nuts from the hypothyroidism diet for around 4 weeks. If the symptoms improve, continue with a nut-free hypothyroidism diet.
Avoid Peanut to Steer Clear of Allergies during Diwali
Peanut grows underground and isn't seeds. They belong to the legume family. Peanut allergies are rapidly growing in and around India. Symptoms can range from swelling of the soft palate and gums to severe breathing issues.
It may be difficult for you to notice the milder symptoms of peanut allergy. However, they can wreak havoc inside your gut. It can cause inflammatory reactions and digestive discomfort. It is crucial to avoid peanut and peanut products from your diet if you have the slightest hint of allergy.
Stay Away from Dairy to Stay Healthy during Diwali
This is a tricky one! Most dessert recipes in India call for the inclusion of dairy and dairy products. If you are allergic to cow's milk, there's a good chance you will be allergic to the milk of other domesticated animals as well.
Lactose intolerance and dairy allergy are quite common. In case of dairy allergy, you should avoid butter, ghee, cheese, and curd. Cottage cheese, whey supplements, and casein supplements may not have lactose, but they have the milk proteins that cause your allergic symptoms.
This Diwali, follow the Indian diet for hypothyroidism perfectly. Replace the kulfi, kheer, ras malai, and gulab jamun with kaju or almond kaltis, moon or besan laddus, and vegan ice cream.
Try to replace milk and milk products with nut-based milk and butter in your recipes.
Omit Simple carbohydrates from Your Diwali Diet
Thyroid experts, dieticians, and nutritionists always urge people with hypothyroidism to avoid simple carbohydrates. Now, does that mean you avoid everything that contains simple carbs? Absolutely not!
Several fruits and veggies have simple carbs. But they also have fiber, vitamins, and trace minerals like magnesium, selenium, zinc, calcium, and potassium which are very important for our health.
So, you should avoid simple carbs with empty calories. For example, caffeinated cold drinks or energy drinks, sports drinks, candies, artificial syrups, packaged fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, baked good, packaged cereals (especially the ones with frosting), milk chocolates, and table sugar.
Replacing white granulated sugar with brown sugar rarely helps. However, you should not replace sugar in your diet with artificial sweeteners unless a doctor recommends you do so. You can use natural syrups and preserves or even honey when a recipe calls for adding refined sugar.
Alcohol: Drink in Moderation This Diwali
Although alcohol doesn’t interact directly with hypothyroidism medication, it does affect your metabolism. It causes dehydration, electrolyte disbalance, and even acid reflux. Most importantly, alcohol interferes with natural thyroid function in your body.
Too much alcohol can further reduce your blood's T3 and T4 contents and subdue the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) feedback to TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone).
Try to avoid overly sweetened and fizzy cocktails during the Diwali party this year. Several times, the sweetness masks the flavor of alcohol, and people end up drinking more than the quantity allowed for people with hypothyroidism. Moreover, the presence of simple carbohydrates and carbonic acid worsens the digestive issues already present due to hypothyroidism.
Is the Indian diet for hypothyroidism ideal for Everyone Celebrating Diwali?
Every person has different metabolism rates, allergic profiles, and food sensitivities. The Indian diet for hypothyroidism is supposed to be a guideline for everyone struggling with hypothyroidism.
However, as our doctors will tell you, even two people with the same levels of T3, T4, and TSH can have entirely different root causes, symptoms, and issues. So, before you drastically change your diet, you should talk to an expert dietician or nutritionist who specializes in hypothyroidism.
You can chat with experts on the Jeevam Health app to learn more about hypothyroidism diets. Our experts can tailor an Indian diet for hypothyroidism that can reduce your symptoms including joint pain, weight gain, hair loss, skin problems, and fatigue.