Six Types of Thyroid Dysfunction

Welcome to Episode 39. I’m so happy you are here. 

I spend a good couple hours cooking several things last night so I would have food to eat over the next week or so. I’ve been trying to double up on meals when I cook so we have stuff to freeze for nights I don’t want to cook. 

I made two whole chickens on Sunday night so I had leftover meat for making soup and for putting on salads. I made a double batch of chili on Monday and Tuesday was a big batch of Thai Beef Stew, braised cabbage and I tried out a meatless dish of grape tomatoes, garlic, basil, chickpeas and spaghetti squash. If you tolerate legumes it was an okay dish. I was hoping for more flavor from the chickpeas. I just sautéed the tomatoes in olive oil, smashed them, added the garlic and chickpeas and sautéed a bit longer. Then I added the spaghetti squash and basil and mixed it through. 

We are having venison chops tonight with sautéed mushrooms and roasted cabbage. 

What are you making for dinner these days?  Head over to my website and comment on this post to let me know what your cooking. Look for Episode 39. 

Today we are talking about the six types of thyroid dysfunction that cause or result in hypothyroidism so let’s get started. 

The thyroid gland is super sensitive to any changes in the biochemistry in our body. It’s job is to perceive even the tiniest of changes in the body and make up for that by changing how much thyroid hormone is released in the body. 

This is one reason you can see such different lab values over time. 

When these changes in our biochemistry become something that is chronic or constantly happening in the body then there begins to be problems with the thyroid gland and the communication between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. 

Things like constant blood sugar dysregulation, constant or chronic inflammation in the body, deficiencies in nutrients, poor liver function, toxic burden, low stomach acid, intestinal permeability, poor eliminations and even the use of hormones including thyroid hormones can cause thyroid problems. 

Hypothyroidism or low thyroid function can fall into six different types. Some of these may occur at the same time, and it may be that only one of these will require permanent hormone replacement. 

1.Primary Hypothyroidism. 

This is when there is decreased hormone production by the thyroid gland. So it isn’t making enough T4 or T3. One cause and the most common cause in the US is Hashimoto’s. Worldwide the most common cause of Primary Hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. (ref)  It is also caused by removal of the thyroid gland. 

This is a dysfunction of the thyroid gland and this is the one type of hypothyroidism that needs to be treated with thyroid hormone replacement. 

If you have Hashimoto’s, you may need medication due to the destruction of your thyroid gland but you also need to understand that this condition is an immune system issue first and a thyroid issue second. 

If you catch Hashimoto’s before too much damage is done, you might be able to support your thyroid nutritionally. Sadly, for me, I am still in need of medication.  If you do not have success bringing TSH down with diet and lifestyle changes, you will likely need hormone replacement. 

Your labs might look like this if you have primary hypothyroidism: 

  • high TSH

  • normal or low Total T4

  • normal or low Free T4

  • normal or low Free T3

  • normal Reverse T3

2. Secondary Hypothyroidism

This deals with your thyroid not putting out enough thyroid hormone due to an issue in the pituitary gland. Remember that the thyroid is regulated by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. When these two glands are not communicating and the pituitary doesn’t secrete Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) like it is supposed to. You may find your TSH at or around 1.8 but still having symptoms of hypothyroidism. 

Chronic stress in the body is usually at the heart of this one. Stress fatigues the pituitary and it can cause a failure to signal the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone. 

Stress: too busy all the time, not enough sleep, living off of coffee and processed foods, inflammation, viral or bacterial infections. All of these will mess with your adrenal function and your thyroid function and remember those two go hand in hand.

You can also have low thyroid function after pregnancy. This is a stressful time for women who tend to be the ones suffering with most thyroid conditions. Pregnancy in and of itself will put a high demand on the pituitary gland. 

If your blood tests come out normal but your doctor puts you on thyroid medication anyway, it can help you feel better for a couple weeks but then you might start to feel worse. You can develop thyroid hormone resistance at your cells much like insulin resistance. 

So your cells are refusing thyroid hormone because there is too much in the blood and you might be given a higher dose making things even worse. You have all this hormone running through your blood so your pituitary gland gets a message it can stop making TSH or it just stops talking to the thyroid altogether. 

You might need medication after enough damage has been done between the communication of the pituitary and the thyroid.  

If you have Hashimoto’s but it doesn’t get addressed, this can become you.

Your labs might look like this: 

  • 1.8 or less TSH

  • 6 or less T4

  • symptoms of hypothyroidism. 

3. Your T4 is not converting to T3

This happens when you have tons of chronic stress and high cortisol. So you are making T4 but your body isn’t converting it to T3 which is what your cells need. When cortisol is high, you will likely have some of this going on. 

If your body is dealing with infection or inflammation your cell walls can be damaged by that which also affects T4 to T3 conversion. 

You need to damper the inflammation or infection and support your body in dealing with cellular stress (free radicals). 

T3 levels won’t affect your TSH so your labs might look like this: 

  • Normal TSH

  • Normal Total T4

  • Normal Free T4

  • Low T3

  • Low Free T3

  • Low or normal Reverse T3

4. Your conversion of T4 to T3 is too high.

This would mean you have too much T3 being made and you also have less thyroid binding globulin (TBG). 

Too much T3 will overwhelm the cells and you find yourself in thyroid hormone resistance again. It is common in women with insulin resistance and PCOS. It is often caused by too much testosterone in the body.  If you have developed Type II Diabetes and are taking insulin for this, you may also find yourself in an over conversion of T4 to T3.

If you are using a testosterone cream you can over convert T4 and T3. 

You will have hypo symptoms with this one. 

A big help here will be to reverse the insulin resistance to reverse the thyroid hormone resistance and begin to feel better. 

You may have labs that look like this: 

  • Normal TSH

  • High or high normal Free T4

  • High or high normal Free T3

  • Normal Reverse T3

5. High Thyroid Binding Globulin

Thyroid Binding Globulin is a protein that carries thyroid hormones to the cells so they can use them.  You can develop antibodies to this protein in Hashimoto’s. 

You can find yourself in this situation if you take hormonal birth control or estrogen replacement therapy. 

If you are on birth control, you may have high levels of estrogen you will make too much TBG and thyroid hormones are carried to the cells on TBG so if you have too many TBG proteins in the blood bound to them, you can have less thyroid hormone getting to your cells. 

You have to work to get the excess estrogen out of the body. 

Your labs might look like this: 

  • Normal TSH

  • Low Free T4

  • Low Free T3

  • Normal Reverse T3

6. Thyroid Hormone Resistance

Again, similar to insulin resistance with a root cause being stress. Your pituitary gland and thyroid gland may be making just the right amount of hormone but it just isn’t getting into the cells. It feels like hypothyroidism to you and it is the high amount of cortisol in your body that is causing your cells to resist the thyroid hormone. 

You absolutely must manage your adrenals with this one. 

Your labs might look like this: 

  • Normal TSH

  • Normal Free T4

  • Normal Free T3

  • Normal Reverse T3

You have to make sure your labs are being tested regularly in all cases. 

Ok. That’s it for me. 

I want to remind you all that I have openings in my practice for a few more clients right now so if you are needing help navigating diet and lifestyle changes head over to Help For Hashimoto’s and fill out the contact form. You can also get my report on Five Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Hypothyroidism. 

One last thing, part of the diet and lifestyle changes are to look at what you are putting on your skin. I found Beautycounter to be a trusted source for skin care and make up for me. They ban over 1300 chemicals in their products while the US only has a ban on around 30 ingredients. So, you don’t have to think about safety with their products and I really like that so I became a consultant last year. I don’t work too hard at selling it because my focus is really on nutrition but if you have any interest in checking them out go to beautycounter.com/stephanieewals to shop. I would sure appreciate your support. 

I’m still on a social media break and have no desire to get back on anytime soon. I’m checking the Help For Hashimoto’s facebook group once a day. You can join that if you would like but all the action is in the newsletter which you can sign up for on my website. 

I’m grateful to you all. Please leave me a rating and review on iTunes so more people can find the show and get help. 

Until next time. 

Help For Hashimoto's Episode 8

Help For Hashimoto's Episode 8

Terrible heart burn !!What helps? Has anybody had any issues with Omeprazole or any acid reducer.


OMEPRAZOLE: aka Losec, Prilosec, Prilosec OTC and Zegerid


classified therapeutically as antiulcer agent and pharmacologically as a proton-pump inhibitor


Used for maintenance of healing in erosive esophagitis, duodenal ulcers with or without H.Pylori. Short term treatment of active benign gastric ulcer. The OTC or over the counter is for heart burn occurring more than or equal to 2x a week. 

Read More

Help For Hashimoto's Episode 2

In this second episode, we talk about how our immune system is affected by gluten and why it is important to avoid it to ensure our thyroid can stay healthy. We discuss how to go gluten free, how I went gluten free and where to find hidden sources of gluten. 

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I have Hashimotos and I’m hypo. 

I’m tired of feeling bad everyday. I wake up and go to bed feeling bad. I have no energy throughout the day and I have 3 children to take care of. I’m unable to work due to my anxiety and depression. I have no support at home. 

I haven’t my house in 3 days. I feed my children whatever is quick and something I don’t have to stand over the stove and cook. I’m tired of being this way. I’m tired of being tired. It feels like I don’t belong here. I need help—-

LITTLE BY LITTLE, A LITTLE BECOMES A LOT.  I have been there. When I was first diagnosed I had a 2 year old and a baby. I remember my tongue feeling heavy and it felt really hard to talk. I remember writing a check and feeling like it was so much effort to move the pen across the paper. 

My first best guess is that you are either not on the right dose of medication or you are not able to convert the T4 in your medication to the form your cells need which is free t3. 

If you can, search for a doctor willing to test more than TSH which is a test looking at what your brain is telling your thyroid to do. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is coming from the pituitary gland. When the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood is low, it is stimulated to send a message to the thyroid to make more hormone. When there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood it is stimulated to tell the thyroid to make less. So when you have a high TSH (mine was 150 when I was first diagnosed and then the doctor was happy with it around 5 despite the fact that I still felt terrible) it means you are in a hypothyroid state or your thyroid has been told to slow down. When your TSH is really low that means you are in a hyperthyroid state and your thyroid has been told to speed up. The reason why your number is what it is, is dependent upon your bioindividuality. TSH can vary from day to day as well so when you go in, you are getting a picture of how things are working at that moment. This is true of many blood tests.  The other problem here is the way the lab ranges were made. The “normal” range was set based on a group of healthy and sick patients. Some with thyroid conditions, and some without so the range is not necessarily based on healthy people. Most healthy folks have a range at or around 2.5. Personally, I am feeling much better at just below one. I am on compounded medication though and so that makes the TSH test result lower than normal. The problem is your doctor may have a lab range that shows 8 as normal which for most people will make you feel sluggish, tired when you wake up or need to sleep 10-12 hours or more, gain weight, lose hair, feel cold and generally not feel well. This is why it is so important to find a practitioner who will treat you based on your symptoms and not just on your labs. Take note that a normal or low TSH number doesn’t mean you don’t have low thyroid function. 

Free T3 and Free T4 measure the levels of the active hormone in your body. Free T3 is a more accurate indication that your thyroid is working properly. The free in these means they are available for your body to use. 

Depression is really common in people who are on T4 only medications. If that is the case for you, switching to a Natural Desiccated Thyroid Hormone Medication could help you out a lot. Before you even do that though, you really should take a look at your diet. If you body is not nourished it can’t do what it needs to do because certain biochemical processes in the body need certain nutrients to do their job. For example, the enzyme that makes T3 free for the cells to take up is very sensitive to things like malnutrition, inflammation and toxicity in the body and will not work as well. 

The major nutrients needed to make our thyroid work well are: iron, B12, vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium, selenium, zinc and iodine. 

TPO Antibodies (Thyroid peroxidase)- this is an enzyme that is needed to produce thyroid hormone. 

TG Antibodies (antithyroglobulin)- this is a protein carrier for your thyroid hormone. 

These two mean your immune system has produced antibodies to attack because they perceive a problem. When these are present, it can make using the other labs useless because an unmanaged autoimmune condition can cause you to swing between hyper and hypo. 

What are your symptoms?

What I am seeing here for your symptoms are no energy, basically tired all the time, and anxiety and depression. You also state you have no support at home. I’m sorry. That makes it especially hard and I get how you feel. I didn’t have a lot of support in the beginning either. I suffered for years and my family suffered because I suffered. My kids, between toddler and early teenage years had a mom who had zero energy. who was angry all the time, who didn’t sleep at night and therefore was totally crabby. Everyone felt like they had to walk on eggshells around me and I have a lot of guilt over that. It took changing my diet without support for me to really see a change in my mood and my energy. Figuring out which foods were sucking the life out of me helped a lot. 

So, diet first. You can manage the autoimmune portion of the thyroid (the hashimoto’s) with nutrition. Start with gluten free, then dairy free and then you would want to consider an autoimmune protocol diet/elimination diet. You probably will find that the changes in diet will be life changing for you. 

You may need to take some supplements as well. Get your vitamin D checked to see if it is low and if you supplement with it, monitor your levels to make sure you don’t over do it. 

A lot of us will have iron deficiency as well. Get a full iron panel, especially ferritin. You need a ferritin level of around 75 for T4 to convert to T3. If you have a ton of inflammation you might have high levels of ferritin so as you change your diet, and reduce inflammation in the body, you should have this checked as well. 

Almost all of us are magnesium deficient. It does a lot of stuff in the body. 

We need selenium for enzyme systems in the body that help the thyroid work well. Chelated selenium is recommended at a dose of 100-200mcg a day. 

Zinc- important for us to make enough HCl to digest our food but also important in T4 to T3 conversion as well. 

It is also very important to manage your blood sugar. This can be done with diet and I often find people need support to do this but if you can do it on your own, great. 

You may need fish oil and a B complex as well but I recommend working with someone to figure out just what your body needs. 

Best of luck to you on your journey. 

 

NEXT Q

Hi. My insomnia, fatigue, and short term memory problems have been really bad lately. I don't know what to do. My newest endo wants me to chase down a whole bunch of other possible reasons for my symptoms. I suppose there's always a possibility that I've developed another autoimmune disease that causes the same symptoms. But, I'm exhausted. I feel like I'm being sent down a rabbit trail that I'll never get off of. I need something that works. Tell me honestly, how much better did those symptoms in particular improve with diet and exercise? I hate always feeling this way.

Does anyone ever have issues controlling the temperature of your body? Like being too hot or too cold? Is this part of Hashi’s?

I was diagnosed with hashimotos after my daughter was born a little less than 3 years ago. My whole life I was a size 5 and now I’m a size 14 and can’t seem to lose weight. My levels seem to like to jump around a bit but currently are level.

What I want to know is what do you do about the lack of energy? I have no energy. I don’t even know where to start with diets or what to do. What are diets that have helped? Anything!!! My energy is so low that I can barely get up some days.  Also all I have currently is a family doctor. Should I be trying to get connected with another kind?

  1. Diet- yes diet helps. AIP, Paleo, gf/df, sugar free, managing blood sugar. Find a practitioner to help you.

  2. Diet will help with weight and energy

  3. Temperature issues can be related to the kind of medication you are on. Natural Desiccated Thyroid hormone can help with this. Either way you are probably not on the right dose of medication and/or it can be that your have low iron. Eating meat and liver especially is a great way to get liver from diet. Low iron is a big deal for us. I said earlier that ferritin is super important here but a full iron panel is very helpful. TIBC or total iron binding capacity is measuring the ability of transferrin to bring iron to parts of your body. This will be high when your total iron stores are too low. Serum iron measures what is circulating in blood on transferrin. Next you want to look at the percent of saturation. If this is low, supplementation may be needed. If you need to take a supplement of iron you should be monitored by your doctor as you can get too much.

    1. Another option here is that you could have an issue with your hypothalamus/pituitary axis. Working on your thyroid and adrenal health will help this a lot. Our adrenals are directly related to the HPA axis, play a big role in managing our blood sugar and also help us respond to stress. If you have any amount of chronic stress at all and consume the standard american diet then you likely will have an issue with this. Diet, again is so important here.

I see so many people struggle with making diet changes and I just want to say that you can do it. YOu have to want to be well more than you want to be sick. You have to want to let go of what is a crutch for some of us- we are not our disease, it doesn’t have us. We can manage it. 

Pork Patties with sweet potatoes recipe

Chicken Hashbrown recipe from The Healing Kitchen

Hidden Sources of Gluten in The Paleo Approach

Does Being on The Autoimmune Protocol Suck?

Autoimmune disease comes in all different forms. I have been on the autoimmune protocol for about 11 months.  I spent a whole year before going on it contemplating whether or not I should do it.

It is daunting. Overwhelming. A. Lot. Of. Work. All that cooking. I got used to it. 

I had questions. What will I be able to eat? Will I be able to go out to eat? Will I be able to have any fun? What will a social situation look like? I adapted. 

I have had such a love for food my whole life. It was my friend when there was no one else. It was love. It was comfort. It was my everything. It was the way I showed love or that I cared about someone. I cooked for them. I baked. I loved to bake. Bread, cake, cookies, brownies, muffins, more bread, more cake. What my kids didn’t eat I did. I love sweet things. I love chocolate. I loved sugar. None of this is allowed on the autoimmune protocol. So, you bet, I took a long damn time to decide to do this knowing what I would have to further cut from my diet. We can be positive and say, “Look at all the good stuff you CAN have.” Well. You can have a lot of stuff. Lots of vegetables. Veggies up the wazoo. You can have beef heart! And Liver! Yum! Do you hear the sarcasm? When 39 years of your life is consuming the Standard American Diet (SAD), this feels like kind of a big deal. Especially if you have emotional ties to food. 

I know I am supposed to be eating those nutrient dense offal things. I am not because I can’t get past the idea of what it is. The texture even. Gah! No thanks. 

When I did this. I was all in with what needed to be restricted. But I was not adding in any offal. So I didn’t and you know what? I still felt really good. My thyroid numbers got better. Then, as I started to feel better I added some foods back in. Not in the “proper” way but in a way that worked for me which was like this: You put pepper on that meat? Okay. Let’s see if I have a reaction to it…. No reaction. Okay. Pepper seems to work.  

One day in August I made plantain brownies with carob. The recipe called for 2 eggs. I ate half the pan in about 12 hours and had a major reaction but it wasn’t how I expected. Not even 12 hours in to eating those brownies did I become so irritable that I could not even stand myself. I couldn’t believe it. I was raging. My poor kids. So, no eggs for me. I reinforced that idea when I mistakenly ate some gluten free crackers that had egg yolks (no wonder they were so good) as a snack before bed and the next day became increasingly irritable. That really bums me out. I liked eggs. I know that I dot’ want to live life in a state of constant rage though so I am willing to cut them out. I am not happy about it. Don’t get me wrong. I am actually a little pissed. I have a pity party every so often and do the whole “why me?” thing but then I let it go. The more I do that the worse it gets. 

Now it is 11 months in and I have let some things slip. I have a vegan gluten free bread every so often and some Mary’s Gone Crackers crackers on occasion. They don’t seem to wreck my digestion and if I don’t eat them every day it seems to be fine. 

I have decided that if I am so restrictive with my diet, I am unhappy. I do my very best most of the time and on occasion I do enjoy something off the protocol and I don’t feel bad for it. I still always eat gluten free but occasionally have some dairy. Dairy and I don’t get along so if I have it, it is usually just a tiny bit. Like a lick of ice cream or a dab of butter. I definitely feel better when I stick closer to the protocol. I have not reintroduced peppers or eggplant but have done well with some of the nightshade spices like chili powder. I am not so sure on tomatoes though. I have to do a "real" reintro to know for sure. That would mean just eating tomato instead of adding tomato in to a recipe and wondering if that is what has caused the issue. I'm not very diligent about doing a proper reintro of a food. I let life get in the way. 

The real killer for me is sugar. I am addicted and I have intense cravings which are related to a yeast overgrowth which I am working on killing off. Too much sugar has resulted in me having to deal with psoriasis and this last go round with it gave me two new patches to deal with. Needless to say I got really mad when these popped up. I first got mad at myself for eating stuff I know is bad for me and then I got mad that I just can’t be normal. That is the most frustrating part for me. I just want to be like every one else sometimes and I can’t. When I look back on my life though it seems like I never have been able to be like every one else. When I try to be I find Idon’t feel like myself. So I have come to realize that my path is to take the road less traveled and see what I find. For me that is this new life of stress management, sleeping when I need to and eating so that I don’t continue to stay sick. Being well means different things for different people and my mission is to help you figure out what well means for you. 

What do you do that makes you feel good?

What to Expect When you Go On a Sugar Detox

 

Locally I teach a class called RESTART®. It is a five week long nutrition program with a three week sugar detox built in to it. I am a sugar addict and have been toying with the idea of giving up sugar for at least the last nine years. I used to work at a fitness center and one of the instructors there didn’t eat any sugar at all except for what was naturally occurring in fruit. None. At. All. I just could not get over how happy she was about it. It was a mystery to me at the time because sugar and sweet treats were my life. I baked almost every week and ate whatever my family didn’t finish. Muffins, cookies, cakes, bars. You name it and I baked it. Except croissants. My neighbor and friend made those and I never got around to making them before I gave up gluten. I always wanted to try to make them though. That and marshmallow’s from scratch. My husband thinks I am crazy but I find it almost meditative to bake. I loved it. Sugar became such a problem for me that I could not make any treats because I would end up eating the whole pan of whatever it was I made. 

So, this idea of giving up sugar sat with me and marinated in my head for nine years. It nagged at me occasionally especially when I started to look at how diet can affect well being. When I started to see a Naturopathic Doctor for my Hashimoto’s, she told me I needed to cut sugar out of my diet. I always said I would try or that I was trying but as Yoda says, “Do or Do Not, There is No Try.”. He was right. I did not give up sugar and didn’t even really try to do it until I was put on a specific diet to heal my gut. No sugar allowed. It wasn’t even that hard to do it when I was told specifically to stay away from it. That lasted for 3 weeks and the chiropractor that put me on it said I didn’t have to be on it anymore. That was all I needed to give myself permission to indulge in something sweet. I don’t remember what it was but I know I went off the deep end and ate too much sweet because my psoriasis came back with a vengeance. When that happened I got so mad and frustrated with myself for “screwing up” that I caused a flare. 

Fast forward a year and I became a RESTART® instructor leading a group of people to detox from sugar and learn about nutrition. I questioned how I could walk through a sugar detox if I didn’t give it up too. 

I gave it up with my first class. I went through the whole detox with them and for me, it wasn’t so bad. I had already given up most refined sugar but was getting my fix through potatoes and a lot of fruit. Yes, you read that right. Potatoes. I replaced my need for a sugar high from sweet treats to potatoes and other starches like sweet potatoes and plantains. Sugar is sugar and your body treats all sugar the same really. It converts the sugars in potatoes and fruits in to energy just like it would a piece of candy. Of course there are nutrients in the foods I was eating so it wasn’t all bad but my body still needed a break and RESTART® gave it just the break it was looking for.

It allowed me to regain control of that demon I had been dealing with my whole entire life. 

If you are wondering if the program is right for you, then keep reading.  On the RESTART® program, you will be cutting out all forms of sugar including most fruits. Preparation will be key to your success. You will be prepping all of your meals for the 3 weeks you are cutting out sugar. There is no way to do this while eating processed junk foods or convenience foods with some exceptions that we discuss in class. You will be given a list of what is allowed and what is not allowed on the plan. We will also share ideas of how to plan our meals so we aren’t left in a jam where we are starving and there is nothing to eat. 

A great tip to remain successful is to tell your friends and family about what you are doing so you can have lots of support. Better yet, enlist a friend to do it with you so you can support each other and be accountable to one another. You will also have the support of the other class participants each week as well as my private Facebook group that is just for RESTARTers. 

The RESTART® program is about adding lots of real whole foods to your diet and replacing all the processed foods in your life. We all have our go to’s and we can all give them up for 3 weeks. 

I am an emotional eater. When I am feeling down or stressed I want to sooth myself with a treat. It might even be a coping mechanism for me. This program forced me to take a look at the reasons I turned to certain foods like sweets. The RESTART® program has helped me learn and to develop a new relationship to food and my reasons for turning to sugar. It is an uncomfortable place to be at times but I came out okay on the other side. 

I have regained control of my sugar addiction. 

Treat yourself in ways that don’t involve food. Hikes or walks, relaxing baths, massages or a yoga class. All of these things can make you feel just as good as a pint of ice cream (better in the long run) without the guilt that usually follows. 

When you cut sugar out of your diet, you will likely experience the “sugar flu” or detox symptoms. It usually happens within the first two weeks and lasts for a couple of days. Mood swings, depression, issues with digestion, skin rashes, muscle or joint aches, less energy. This is the result of toxins leaving your body. You will feel so much better in the end. 

You will also find that things that didn’t seem so sweet before will taste sweet enough to you after the three weeks are up. I had a private client recently who I put on this diet and she did not like green apples. She refused to eat them while on the program because they were too sour. I encouraged her at the end to just try one before she had a naturally sweeter apple. She found that the green apple was significantly less sour to her after the three weeks and she actually enjoyed it. Most of us consume things that are extremely sweet and when we give those things up, our taste buds have a chance to reset and we are able to really taste our food. This reset allows our brain to reset too. It won’t crave the crazy sweet stuff like it used to. 

Real whole foods will be enough. 

We all slip up. It’s okay. There is no guilt in RESTART® about slipping up. Just move on. it doesn’t mean you have to start over. Be kind to yourself. Nobody is perfect. Our motto is “Whatever I eat, I choose it consciously, I enjoy it thoroughly and then I let it go.”

You will see positive changes. Everyone is different but you may experience weight loss, more energy, improved digestion, clearer skin and a clear mind. You just won’t believe how negatively sugar was impacting your whole body. By the end you will feel so great about how you have impacted your health for the good. All in only five weeks. 

Are you feeling ready to give your health a RESTART®? Classes do run regularly but sign up for my newsletter here to stay on top of when the next class is. You can even host one in your home or we can do one via the web. Contact me for more information. 

In Health, 

Stephanie

How isolated do you feel on the autoimmune protocol?

How lonely and isolated do you feel?

I have said it before and I will say it again. The autoimmune protocol is a challenge. I hate that it makes me feel so much better than a regular paleo diet. Believe me, that was way easier to manage than AIP. I have definitely decided though that it is worth the sacrifices I am making so that I can feel good again. I am struggling a bit with sleep this week and I’m sure some of that is residual effects from the “cheat” I had with the gluten free bun and the barbecue sauce on my burger a week and a half ago. We went out for dinner again this past Sunday for my son’s birthday. We went to a chain restaurant where chicken wings are the big offering. My son’s choice. I wasn’t going to make him choose something just so I could have some decent choices on the menu so the chicken wing joint was where the party was at. 

One thing that is super helpful when you are planning an outing such as this is to go online and look at the menu before you get there so you don’t have to worry. My standby at most restaurants is a burger with out a bun but reading the allergen list for this restaurant online showed soy in the burgers. I mostly avoid soy for the principle of it and not because it is something I should avoid. Most soy in the US is genetically modified and I try really hard not to support that industry. You do what you want. That is just my “thing”.  So a burger was out. The other option was the pulled pork with no sauce and no bun. So I brought my travel size olive oil bottle with and ordered the pulled pork and a side salad with no cheese and no croutons. I took the tomatoes off the salad and put olive oil on the lettuce. Then I topped it with the pulled pork. I probably had a spice or two that would not yet be allowed on AIP but I was willing to risk that. My meal was so so. The wings looked way better and while I am not a supporter of factory farming (your shopping dollars say quite a lot when you are purchasing your food) I would have rather had the wings. 

Everyone enjoyed the night out but if I were to be completely honest, I am not over feeling like I am stuck in this rabbit hole of not being able to enjoy food like I used to. Food was my life. I used it to comfort myself. I baked because it was therapeutic and I ate because it temporarily made me feel good. To me, baking and cooking for my family was a way to show I loved them. I enjoyed going out for dinner with friends. Food in some way or another is the foundation for so many social gatherings and I can no longer participate. We are invited to a birthday party in a couple of weeks and there will be nothing for me to eat. I will have to eat ahead of time or I will have to bring my own food. I don’t have a problem with that for the most part. I guess I feel a little envious that I can’t just be normal. If I am having a little pity party for myself I would even go so far as to say it just isn’t fair that I can’t live my life like everyone else. 

I made this choice to begin the autoimmune protocol. I knew in my gut it was the next step in my healing but there is still something missing. I just now have to decide if I want to spend thousands of dollars to figure out what is going on. My gut, again, will tell me that it is heavy metal toxicity. I grew up with a mouth full of mercury fillings and only recently had them removed and replaced with white BPA free fillings. I have been slowly and gently detoxing the mercury over the last year with a clean diet, high doses of vitamin C, regular infrared sauna and clay baths. 

Now, I guess I just have to be patient and wait. 

What if you are doing “all the right things” and still not getting or feeling better. What do you do then?  We have to take a look at the rest of our life and see what is going on. Our cells act the way we think. I often think negatively and my cells react to that. Have you ever forced a good mood on yourself by smiling even when you don’t feel like it? Try it once. You will feel uplifted. Your cells will also respond. Our minds are powerful things and we do have some control over how we feel. Fake it til you make it. 

What about your relationships? This is a big problem for me. I am alone a lot. I have kids to care for by myself a lot. My closest and dearest friend lives 4000 miles away. Needless to say, we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. It is difficult to call her up and meet for coffee. Being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely but I often am both of these things and that has affected my health big time. When I am with people, I have more energy and I feel better. When I am teaching my nutrition classes like RESTART®, I usually come home with a little pep in my step. This is a big clue to me that I need to have more contact with the outside world. 

How about you? What has been your biggest struggle in your health journey, autoimmune protocol or not? Do you feel isolated having to restrict so many foods? What keeps you going?

I would love to hear from you. Leave your answers in the comments or shoot me an email. 

I am about nine weeks in. 

All the best to you, 

Stephanie

RIP Glen Frey

A really big reminder as to why I will continue on this frustrating autoimmune protocol. 

Glen Frey of the band the Eagles died on January 18th at the age of 67. He had rheumatoid arthritis, colitis an pneumonia. He died from complications after being treated with drugs for rheumatoid arthritis. He had RA for over 15 years. He had an autoimmune disease. The drugs he took for his disease killed him according to his friend. This reinforces why I am putting myself through this process of the autoimmune protocol so I can find out what foods are indeed f-ing up my immune system and keeping me from feeling my best. 

I think I have yet to make it through a week without cheating on this diet. I have not. I did great until Sunday when my husband and I took our youngest out for dinner. She had been sick for a week and was finally feeling better. I was sick and tired of being home with her so even though it was -15 degrees outside we ventured out to a gluten free friendly restaurant and I had a burger. I ate it with a bun and forgot to tell them not to put BBQ sauce on it and so I ate it with the sauce. Yesterday I was thinking it was all okay because I felt pretty good. Then today came and I found myself increasingly irritable. I had to question if it was actually the food or if it might be the fact that both of my teenagers were gone for the weekend and were now home and being, well, teenagers. I think it is the bun or the sauce and I am really irritated about the whole situation. I don’t know if it is food that causes mood changes. I don’t even know if there is any science to back it up. I do know that without eating a gluten free bun or BBQ sauce (grains, eggs, tomatoes, pepper) I felt a lot better than I do today. I am also just plain feeling a bit sorry for myself that I can’t just wake up and eat like a normal human being. I eat really good, filling and tasty food but some days I really miss just enjoying some crusty f-ing french bread with loads of delicious butter on it. Those moments are often but fleeting at the same time. Today I am just feeling a little extra ticked off about the whole situation. Travel is more of a challenge and so is being social in general. Do any of you feel isolated on this diet? I know I do. It doesn’t help that my husband travels for his job and so is gone quite a bit so I am alone a lot. My close friend lives very far away and as my kids got older, my group of friends dwindled. Being alone a lot makes this lifestyle difficult too. No support but that of a group of people in a support group on facebook. 

I wonder if Glen Frey ever knew he had the option to at least try to curtail some of his symptoms with his diet. Did he know and choose not to? I can totally understand going with that option. It is not easy to eat like this and anyone who tells you it is should come show me. This diet involves a lot of cooking from scratch and a lot of cleaning up of dishes and a lot of grocery shopping. It is a challenge to be social, to go out with friends, to do the holidays with family. Maybe all he thought he had for options was the medications that conventional medicine has to offer. Who knows. I do know that I am reminded that if I don’t remain on this anti inflammatory diet and figure out which foods my body is reacting to, I could end up with more than just Hashimoto’s. It is so common for autoimmune sufferers to get more than one autoimmune disease and frankly, I am good with dealing with just this one. 

I have been reading more about my Hashimoto’s and how it affects the body and the immune system today. Yesterday I was helping my ten year old daughter clean out her closet and get rid of what doesn’t fit her. In her closet I found the outfit I had bought for my baby before her to wear home from the hospital- the one that died at 34 weeks gestation. I decided to donate that outfit still on the original hanger from the store with the tags on it. I was a little sad about that and it was a reminder of how my own body betrayed me 12 years ago and maybe that is why I am a little bit irritable today. It takes all I have within me to not be perpetually angry at my own self for killing that baby boy. Every time I do some research on autoimmune diseases or Hashimoto’s it reminds me that had I known what I know now, that little guy would be here. My son would have a brother to rough house with an my husband would have another grouse hunting partner (something he has always dreamed of was taking his kids out hunting). Our oldest daughter deer hunts with him but she is not one for doing the rest. I can’t help but think I could have saved him had I known to give up gluten. If I had known I was in the middle of a thyroid storm with him I could have done something. All of these are normal things to think and I do think them every so often but I don’t let them rule my life. I have done my grieving. I felt all the feelings and will forever have a place in my heart for the baby I didn’t get to know. I have to be grateful for all that his death has taught me and brought me. I have a wonderful little ten year old daughter that I would not have had he lived. I have knew knowledge about how to live my life to the fullest and healthiest and I have a deep passion for teaching others about nutrition and helping them on their own journey to health.

I have come a long way in the 13 years since my hypothyroidism diagnoses and in some ways have a long way to go. I will continue to get myself to the point where full on strict AIP will happen and I will discover just what those foods are that cause my terrible moods. Isn’t it crazy that food can affect your mood so intensely? I think so. Now if only I can figure out how to not let my teenagers affect my mood! 

Rest In Peace Glen Frey. I have always loved your music. May your family find peace. 

Please tell me in the comments what you struggle with when it comes to your diet. To food and your health. 

All the best, 

Stephanie

Are You on a Diet For Your Thyroid?

Diets.

Low fat, low carb, avoid goitrogens, paleo, primal, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slimfast, Whole 30, starvation, blood type. The list really goes on and on and on. What kind of diet have you tried?  

What does the word diet even mean?

The dictionary defines diet as “food and drink that is regularly provided and consumed”. You don’t have to be on a “diet” to have a healthy diet. Diets, in the way that we all know and love to hate, do not work.  Most diets tell you what you cannot eat before they tell you what you can eat. I have never been able to restrict my eating without completely obsessing over what I cannot have. That has always been a struggle for me and I would guess for many of you as well. 

When you hear the words “Paleo Diet” you would tend to think the same thing you have about every other diet out there. It is restrictive and meant for you to lose weight. Isn’t that why people diet? Depending on how you look at things, any diet can be restrictive, even the Paleo Diet. 

The difference between other “diets” and a Paleo diet is that the whole premise of eating Paleo is to feed your body nutrient dense foods. It emphasizes the highest quality of food one can afford. Nose to tail, local when possible. It is a healing diet to many and it can become the food and drink that is regularly provided and consumed.

It doesn’t mean you can’t eat anything else but what eating real food does is show you just how good you really can feel when you cut out all the processed sugary foods that we are so accustomed to having whenever we want.

There are some exclusions in eating a real food diet. The foods that are excluded are more inflammatory and are cut out for specific reasons. You may find that when you cut out grains, legumes, dairy and maybe even nightshades if you have an autoimmune disease that you will feel fantastic. If you choose to keep them out for at least a month, your body had time to heal a bit, calm some inflammation you didn’t even realize was making you feel like crap. Then, if you sneak in some pizza or a donut and you feel like you have been hit by a truck, you will know why. It’s the food. 

Food is medicine and food is poison. It just depends on what kind of food you choose to consume. Your average diet doesn’t make you feel better because you may feel crappy all the way through it and you never get to have that “aha” moment of “this food really makes me feel like crud”. Get in touch with your body. Listen to it when it speaks to you. 

Look. I have been there. It took me a lot of years to listen to my body. I waited until my body was screaming at me to listen to it. Actually, it screamed at me and I didn’t listen. My baby died at 34 weeks gestation because I didn’t listen to my body and my doctor didn’t have a clue. Cut to 4 or so years later and I finally listened when it was yelling at me again.  Dry, crusty, peeling lips that were sore and felt swollen. Itching arms and chest, all the damn time. I had red scabs all over my upper chest (fancy name = decolletage) and my upper arms. I probably had this issue for a year before I got so sick and tired of it that I started to do some digging. A google search led me somewhere, I don’t remember but in my mind I was thinking, I should give up gluten and see if that helps. Well that would mean I couldn’t eat a box of organic wheat thins in one sitting at my desk at work. That meant giving up bread and the love affair I had with it. Something kept eating at me to give it up though. I couldn’t shake it no matter how hard I tried. So, I decided one day to give it up cold turkey and never looked back. Two weeks later, the rash was gone. Something else happened too. My thinking was clearer and my mood was better for a little while. The rash, however, never came back. The itching on my arms though, creeped its way back in to my life when I consumed too many other grains (corn tortilla chips became my vice).  That was a whisper to which I ignored for awhile. You would think I would have learned my lesson. 

Going gluten free led me to learning about Brittany Angell since I was trying to replace all my old favorites with gluten free versions and she had a great website for that. I went a couple of months being gluten free before my naturopathic doctor told me I needed to cut out dairy and a few other foods. This led to me finding the Paleo diet. I don’t even remember now how that happened but I do remember stumbling upon Practical Paleo at Costco and picking it up. It is a great book which is located on my Resources page (and is an affiliate link) if you wish to check it out.  I started tinkering with recipes and feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t eat this or that. My life revolved around food and baking and eating so this whole change was tough for me. It has been five years and I am finally making peace with what is now my way of eating because it is what my body needs to be well.  I have cut out sugar and am slowly transitioning in to an autoimmune protocol which cuts out nuts, seeds, nightshades and eggs. 

So here you have it. Eating Paleo is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. It was never meant to be a short term fix for anything and even long term this way of eating isn’t a panacea but it sure can make a world of difference in your life, especially if you are consuming the Standard American Diet of processed and fast foods.

I was at the store today getting some things for Thanksgiving and came across a whole section of the store for your Thanksgiving table. Stove Top stuffing was there. I used to love that stuff. We ate it regularly when my kids were little and everyone gobbled it up. I read the ingredients. It has MSG listed on the label two different times with two different names. They call MSG a flavor enhancer because it makes crappy lifeless food taste better. Stay away from the boxes of “food”. Real food doesn’t usually come in a package. 

How can you make a lifestyle like this work for you?

If it works for you, you can create a food journal (at least for awhile). It is your best tool to help you figure out how something has made you feel and what it might do to your digestion. Write down each meal, snack and drink each day for a month. Write how each of those meals made you feel and what your digestion and eliminations look like. You will be able to make a correlation to which foods upset your system and which foods work for you. Another reason it is good to make a food journal is you will be able to tell immediately if you are eating enough and what you might be eating too little or too much of.  This is not for everyone (me included) but I can attest to how useful it is for me when working with clients to help them figure out what changes need to be made and what they are doing right. 

Drop the D word from your vocabulary. No more dieting. Just eat real food. 

Now, if you have Hashimoto’s like I do the Autoimmune Protocol is probably something you should look at. It took me a long time to admit that this is where I needed to be. I didn’t want to give up potatoes, peppers and especially tomatoes. I love all of those things. Sometimes though, those things you love and crave are because when you eat them, your body releases dopamine as a protective mechanism against the harm those foods are causing you. That really sucks, doesn’t it?!  I woke up with an aching hip one day in August of this year and I knew I had to seriously consider doing AIP. Still it was two more months before I bit the bullet and went for it. At the same time I went AIP, I went sugar free too. I have slipped up and consumed a pepper or a tomato here and there and honestly, have paid for it with my digestion being screwed up and the ache in my hip creeping back in. I also relied too heavily on nuts over the last year and now have a mouth reaction (swelling, burning sensation) and the feeling like influenza is about to hit when I consume any nuts. This happens when you have autoimmune disease and leaky gut. You can almost assuredly create new food sensitivities for yourself by consuming too much of one thing for too long. So, it was AIP or bust. I feel pretty good both physically and emotionally after cutting out even more and I can even look at my way of eating and really be thankful for what I can have. 

Don’t diet for your thyroid. Don’t diet to lose weight (especially if you have thyroid problems). Don’t diet to get healthy. 

Just eat real food. And love yourself no matter what. 

In health, 

Stephanie

Hashimoto's or Hypothyroidism Controlling Your Life?

Sunday night I took half of my NatureThroid because I had forgotten to take it during the day. I took it right before I went to bed and found myself wide awake at 1:30 in the morning. I never went back to sleep. This has been a regular pattern in my life for the last couple of months. I don’t want to commit to doing anything I don’t have to for fear I won’t sleep well and then won’t function well as a result. I just can’t take not getting a good nights sleep. 

My thyroid has been sluggish for at least a year. Higher TSH (the highest it has been is around 7 so not terrible but I still don’t feel optimal), normal T3 and lower T4.  I had been doing everything right or so I thought.  Turns out that even though my consumption of sugar is not much at all I STILL have trouble balancing my blood sugar. My problem is that I just don’t eat enough and I have fallen in to a vicious cycle. 

Why?

Because I have to cook everything from scratch. I am currently following the Autoimmune Protocol to see if I can help my body function better. Being on the Autoimmune protocol means you are cutting out all grains, nightshades (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants along with some other more obscure things that I probably wouldn’t eat), eggs and nuts. What I am left with eating is really a lot of great for me options including fish which I hate. Never have liked fish and when you are on such a restricted diet you are left with having to make everything from scratch. 

I don’t have the energy to do that. So, I don’t eat much at all. I could. There are lots of really wonderful things I could make but my energy is next to nothing. My storage iron or ferritin is low which doesn’t help. I don’t have pernicious anemia. My B12 is fine. I think my energy problem is related to me not managing my blood sugar as I said before. I also have a gut feeling I am living with a heavy metal burden due to a mouth full of amalgam (mercury) fillings from childhood to adulthood. I had all my fillings removed (safely) and replaced in 2014. The vapors from amalgam fillings are breathed in by you when you eat or drink anything and that mercury can accumulate over the years. So I have a liver very busy with heavy metal removal and blood sugar balancing with no time to make sure my thyroid hormones are being converted. 

Enter AIP as my last resort. I didn’t want to do it. I had done it for three weeks last April when suggested to do so by my chiropractor. I went to him for his thyroid protocol which did nothing for me at all. He put me on the Repairvite diet for three weeks and said I was fine and if my energy didn’t come back he didn’t know what to do but check my thyroid again. The only thing he did that did help me was put me on oxygen which was much needed. With low iron and low blood pressure I was in need of some oxygen. I did enjoy that but other than that, seeing him for 6 months regularly (3x per week for a month and then weekly after that) did nothing at all for my thyroid. Nothing. 

I am tired of spending money on people who do nothing to help me feel better were my thoughts for a long time. Then I started thinking. Do I want to be sick? I keep calling myself sick. My thyroid isn’t working right so I can’t do this. I can’t eat this, I can’t go here. I had become my disease. I don’t want to become my disease. Do you? It sure seems easier to identify with having hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s than it does to stand up and put out in to the universe that I just don’t want to be sick anymore. 

I am not saying that will make everything better but if you change your thoughts about all the crappy things that come with being hypothyroid and having hashimoto’s maybe your life will change too?!  

You may be tired and have no energy but don’t make that who you are. 

Your hair might be falling out but don’t make that about you or this disease. 

Your joints ache? Feel the ache and get up and do something anyway. 

Don’t let hypothyroidism and hashimoto’s take over. Don’t let it get you. 

I would be in a lot worse shape than I am had I not taken control of my life and what I could do to minimize the effects of this “disease”. I let it have full control over me the nights it kept me up, even this past weekend when I was up from 1:30 in the morning on. I vowed that day not to let it take control of me like that again. 

Gosh, my stomach was growling when I woke up at 1:30. I didn’t eat much the day before. My body was hungry and it was letting me know.  That is where I was going earlier with the whole AIP thing. I didn’t have anything prepared to eat. That is the biggest mistake you can make when making changes in your diet. You have to be prepared and I wasn’t. I didn’t have the energy to do it. That was the problem. I let the “disease” take over and tell me to just lay around and do nothing, or sit on social media. That is so much easier than making some food to eat. 

When you have Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism you HAVE to make changes to your diet. It is a must. It is easier to ignore that fact though and continue on with the same old ways. If you want to feel better and minimize those days when it takes full control over your life then you have to make changes. There is no magic pill. No potion. No one sized fits all answer for your problems with this “disease”. 

You can take control of your life and how you manage your chronic illness. Don’t let it manage you! 

Let’s work together to get you clear about what real health is for you! Fill out the contact form and let me know what your biggest issues are. 

Live your life empowered! 

Stephanie