Amid today’s diet wars, there’s one eating approach almost everyone can agree upon: Plants are good for you.
Adrienne Houghton, co-host of the talk show “The Real,” is using a vegan diet to manage two autoimmune diseases and, she said, hopefully improve her fertility.
“It is challenging, but I take it on as a fun challenge that is better for my body and the world,” said the 35-year-old former Cheetah Girl.
A step towards better health
Houghton was turned onto the plant-based diet through a friend whose skin rash responded well to celery juice but not the topical products and medications her dermatologist had prescribed.
On a vegan diet, you can’t eat any type of animal product, including beef and chicken, but also fish, eggs, and cheese. Research links a plant-based diet to lower rates of cancer and heart disease.
Houghton said a vegan diet is helping her manage Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, two autoimmune conditions linked to overactive (hyperthyroidism) and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), respectively. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck, and it controls essential body functions like breathing and heart rate. Houghton said she’s like a car that’s either constantly revved up or slowed down, and the meds help her control that speed.
She has been on medication for Hashimoto’s since she was 15. After switching to a plant-based diet, she’s cut her dosage by more than half, with her bloodwork improving at each doctors’ visit, she said.
A diet that makes a difference
While research on whether there’s an ideal fertility diet is conflicted, some research suggests eating more plants may help manage autoimmune conditions. Houghton said her doctor encouraged her to keep up her new lifestyle, as having a healthy thyroid can increase her chances of a healthy pregnancy.
She can easily find salads and veggie sides at any restaurant, and she enjoys meal-planning and always keeps vegan snacks on hand.
“I’m not doing this for the vanity purpose; I’m trying to do this to conceive a child,” Houghton said.
“This is more about my health and trying to leave the world in a better place than I found it.”