Kristianne's Health Journey

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Dear friend.

If you are wading through the waters of anxiety and depression, you will be so encouraged by Kristianne's unique perspective on self-care, surrender, and true health.  She speaks with such warmth and will, perhaps, open up a new avenue for you to explore on your own health journey!

If you resonated with Kristianne's story and would like to reach out to her, you can find her in the following places:

https://www.facebook.com/MomsHappinessBlueprint/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/motivatedmamaswithKristianneRushton/

http://momshappinessblueprint.blogspot.com/?m=1

 

Holly's Journey with Crohn's Disease

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The minute you hear Holly talk, you will feel empowered and encouraged! I loved sitting down with her as she shared her perspective over how she has approached and taken the initiative in her own health in bold ways!

After receiving a Crohn's diagnosis, Holly started the process of understanding true self-care and freedom.  Whether you are dealing with similar digestive symptoms or another chronic illness, I guarantee you will benefit from her story.  Enjoy!

If Holly's story resonated with you and you'd like to get in touch with her or explore more, below are a few places to follow along with her!

https://www.facebook.com/holly.wade.35
 

https://www.facebook.com/HollyWadeWellness/

 

https://www.instagram.com/hollywwellness/

 

www.hollywadewellness.com

3 Hormone-Balancing Breakfast Ideas (VIDEO!)

3 Thyroid and Hormone Balancing Breakfast Ideas

 

* Scroll down to the video to dive right into the breakfast ideas, or take a peak at some of the written benefits listed here:

PMS. Thyroid Issues. Menopause. Etc. 

Whatever hormone issues are plaguing you, the be best way to handle the problem is through the food you eat on a daily basis!

 

What better place to start than the first meal of the day!

 

Once you get the hang of it, there is no reason for you to spend more than 5 minutes on a healthy breakfast, unless you WANT to make something more elaborate.

 

So, what makes these breakfasts particularly great at balancing your hormones? Let’s take a look at some of the key players:

 

HEALTHY FAT AND PROTEIN SOURCES:

Coconut

Almond Butter

Hemp Seeds

Chia Seeds

Oats

How they benefit:

Stabilize blood sugar

Balance the stress hormone, cortisol

MINERAL SOURCES: (Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Potassium)

Leafy Greens

Chia and Hemp

How they benefit:

soothe adrenal glands

nourish the thyroid

support detoxification

These are just a few of the benefits to starting your day with a nutrient-packed breakfast! You may also notice that your energy soars throughout the morning, as you’re fueling your body with what it needs to thrive!

Click below to see 3 of my go-to breakfast recommendations!

Looking for more guidance on how to address thyroid issues holistically?

Take a look at my signature course, "The Beginner's Blueprint to Thyroid Balance." It's a 5-module self-paced course that you gives you a detailed overview of they key components to thyroid balance.

Click the button below to view details!

The Beginner's Blue Print to Thyroid Balance

3 Reasons Your Thyroid Medication May Not Be Helping You Feel Better

3 Reasons Your Thyroid Medication May Not Be Helping You Feel Better

It can seem like a never ending science experiment trying to figure out the right thyroid medication and dosage, sometimes!  It makes matters worse if you're still not getting the results and symptom reduction you want even with all the experimenting!

 

There are some key reasons why your medication may not be bringing you relief. By implementing some of the strategies below, you can increase the effectiveness of your medication and work toward addressing the root cause of the issue altogether.

 

Here are 3 reasons why your medication may not be helping:

 

1. You may not be converting the inactive form (T4) to the active form (T3).

You can be taking all the medication in the world, but if your body is not converting it to the form it needs, you won't feel better. This is especially tricky, because it can show up on lab work that you have enough T4, but this doesn't tell if your cells have access to the usable form that will actually decrease your symptoms. 

What can help:

Focusing on liver and gut health. A large percentage of this conversion form T4 to T3 happens in the gut and liver.  When you are balancing your gut flora and supporting your body's natural detoxification pathways, this conversion will happen much easier!

 

2. Your cells may not be healthy enough to receive the thyroid hormone efficiently.

Almost every cell in your body (some research says EVERY SINGLE cell) has thyroid hormone receptor. These cells + thyroid hormone act like puzzle pieces, the cell receiving the hormone and putting it to work in your body.  When your cells are unhealthy and "warped" due to poor nutrition and other lifestyle factors, they are not in a state to receive that thyroid hormone well. 

 

What can help:

Focusing on antioxidant-rich foods full of vitamins and minerals will nourish and cleanse your cells.  When your cells are getting rid of waste products that are harmful and bathing in peak nutrition, they have everything they need to function well and receive the thyroid hormone your body systems are begging for!

 

3. You may have an autoimmune component that your medication is not addressing.

Unless your doctor has tested for thyroid antibodies and is incorporating an autoimmune protocol into your treatment, many thyroid medications alone are not doing much to address the autoimmune response occurring in your body.  You may NOT have an autoimmune component instigating your hypo/hyper thyroid, but it is very common and crucial to make sure this is not a contributing factor. If you've been diagnosed with Hashimoto's or Graves Disease, these are the common autoimmune diseases that often go along with thyroid imbalance.

 

What can help;

Identifying and eliminating potential troublesome or inflammatory foods from your diet is a great place to start. This can vary from person to person, but common problematic foods with autoimmunity include dairy, soy, gluten and high amounts of sugar.  Healing and supporting gut health does wonders for addressing the underlying cause of the autoimmune attack, as well.

 

The encouraging thing about all of this is that by focusing on a nutrient-dense diet and reducing toxin exposure in your environment will address each of these 3 issues.  If you're not sure how to get started on applying these principles to your own health plan, let's chat!

I always offer free 30 minute Thyroid Health Consultation Phone Calls. Sign up for a free phone consultation below!

2 Things Holistic Health IS and 2 Things It ISN'T

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H O L I S T I C.

What do you think of when you hear that word?

Maybe hippies?

Herbal remedies?

Idealistic methods of healing?

It can be a controversial and unnerving definition to approach, so I want to share what I have in mind when I say "holistic". After all, it IS part of my company name, and I feel like it's important for you to know what the word means to me.

Two Things Holistic Health IS:

1. The belief that the systems of the body are interconnected and rely on the proper functioning of each other to thrive.

This is the nuts and bolts concept of holistic medicine. Sometimes it goes by the name "functional" or "integrative" medicine. 

Here's a practical example of how I see this play it out in thyroid disease:

Thyroid patients are often prescribed medication that is in the form of T4. This is the inactive form of the hormone. Conversion to T3 (the active hormone that your body actually uses) occurs largely in our digestive systems and livers.  By ONLY addressing the thyroid and not looking at the rest of the body, even the medication will only go so far in it's effect.

Treating any body part in isolation doesn't work long-term because it's just not functioning independently. The body as a WHOLE must be healthy for a single organ to maintain health.

 

2. The incorporation of a person's life as a WHOLE when addressing wellness. Emotions, relationships, AND physical health are not independent of each other.

Don't agree with me?

How'd your stomach feel the last time you were nervous for a big work meeting?

Did that cold or flu you got last year come on the heels of a stressful financial situation or a difficult relationship issue?

Sometimes I joke that I would rather my clients eat junk food while in a good mood rather than a plate of kale while feeling stressed and worried. Health goes beyond the food we eat and paying attention every aspect of our lives is crucial for sustainable well being!

Two Things Holistic Health ISN'T

1. A Quick Fix.

Honestly, I think this is what hangs most people up.  We are SO used to getting a quick band aid cover-up, a pill to temporarily subdue the symptom, or a convenient method so that we are void of any personal responsibility for our own health. 

Let me be clear.  I absolutely believe that there is a time and a place for medication and other interventions.  Actually, many of my clients find a happy balance of both correct medication dosage and sustainable lifestyle changes! 

The problem that I am referring to is when we don't give lifestyle and food strategies a shot because they just aren't working as quickly as the pill we can pop.

Guess what? You're body didn't get out of balance overnight and it's not going to come back into balance that quickly, either.  

But I'll tell you this:  Consistent action of putting the right things in and leaving the right things out will restore your health in a way that was the worth the wait.  I can confidently say this because I've experienced it on a very personal level. (More on that in a future post!)

 

2. Ineffective and non-researched.

To be sure, there are scams and gurus out there that are not to be trusted and do, indeed, waste your money.  Don't do those things.

On the other hand, there is a rising network of functional doctors and researchers that are putting scientific evidence to the role of nutrition and lifestyle health in the treatment of disease. This particular blog post is meant to be an overview of the definition, but you better believe I will be sharing more on this in future posts.

In addition to this research, I have operated most of my life under the idea that "people can't argue with your own story."

The proof is in the pudding for me.  A holistic approach transformed my sick body and restored it to vibrant health.  I also get a front row seat every week to the same thing happening to my clients and the people they influence because of their own transformations.

Here's my challenge for you...

If the word "holistic" has  you feeling skeptical, list out what connotation it has.  Could you perhaps be operating under a misconception that is  preventing you from seeing the potential of the REAL definition of the word?

Opening the possibility up to trying a new approach might be just what is needed to see the change in your health you've been longing for all this time.  I definitely did for me.

My dear, I wish I could reach out through my Macbook and ask you how you're processing this information.  Could we settle for a phone call? I always make space in my schedule each week for a few completely free 30 minute Thyroid Health Assessments. I want you to get your questions answered and your personal situation addressed.  Click below to schedule a free phone call!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adrenal, Liver, and Gut Connection to Thyroid Disease

Adrenal, Liver, and Gut Connection to Thyroid Disease

Have you ever gone to the doctor about your thyroid symptoms and been told things like this?

  • "This is just a normal part of aging."
  • "These things just happen."
  • "We don't really know what causes it."
  • "There's no way to fully fix it."

I don't know about you, but if there are things my body is doing that it wasn't previously doing, I want to know why!

Can you relate?

Your thyroid did not randomly go out of balance. There is a reason. Once you understand that reason, you take back the power to be proactive about the solution. Let's talk about some of the reasons, shall we?

Your thyroid doesn't function in isolation. It relies on other parts of your body to work optimally. In order to balance the thyroid, you must address your body as a whole--most importantly 3 key areas:

  • Adrenals

  • Liver

  • Gut

Let's briefly break down these categories so you can start to understand the connection to your thyroid and related symptoms.

1. Adrenal Glands

Your adrenal glands are part of your Endocrine System, just like your thyroid. They are responsible for producing stress hormones that different metabolic processes in your body need in order to function correctly. The most common of these hormones is cortisol. When you are experiencing stress of any kind (physical or emotional), your adrenals are signaled to pump out cortisol. while a balanced amount of this hormone is good, most of us are in a chronic state of stress, causing cortisol levels to rise to an unhealthy amount. When this happens, your body is trained to prioritize the stressor and put other systems on hold, like: digestion, immune response, healing, and thyroid function. Are you starting to see the connection?

2. Liver

Your liver is your largest detoxification organ. In today's world, it's hard to quantify just how many toxins your liver is having to process on a daily basis through the food we eat, the personal products we use, and what we are breathing in the air.  One of the main connections to thyroid imbalance is the fact that conversion of the inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to the active, usable form (T3) occurs largely in the liver. If your liver is burdened with toxins and poor cleansing function, you will be unable to convert thyroid hormone effectively and symptoms will remain.

3. Gut

With most autoimmune diseases, there is some level of "Intestinal Permeability" or Leaky Gut. This is when the lining of the gut becomes weakened, and harmful particles of food and other substances enter into the blood stream. This leads to inflammation, which is another root cause of thyroid disease.  The gut is also where a percentage of T4 is converted T3, just like the liver.  It is also where nutrients are absorbed. This means that you could be eating nutrient-rich foods, but if your gut is out of balance, your body won't properly absorb them.  When your gut is healed and balanced, your thyroid will, in turn, balance. They are a great duo!

So, what now?

It's one thing to understand the connection and another thing to take steps toward addressing these root causes. In the weeks to come, I will be breaking down each of these 3 categories and offering tips to move toward balance in these three areas.

The encouraging thing is that once you start treating your body with care, these systems will balance out and treatment of symptoms becomes sustainable and simple!

Ready to get answers now instead of waiting for the next post? Let's dive in right away to your personal situation!

I'm offering FREE 30 minute thyroid health assessments via phone or Skype. Click below to schedule your free call!

 

 

 

 

How to Decipher Food Labels

How to decipher food labels and make healthy choices at the grocery store.

Do you get headaches and decision fatigue at the grocery store? I definitely used to!

Once you've decided to start making healthier food choices, it can be overwhelming trying to sort through nutrition claims and food labels on all the products on the shelves. 

In addition to hindering thyroid function as a whole, here are some key things that are affected by additives in our food:

  • digestion issues
  • appetite control
  • brain function
  • weight gain
  • quality of sleep
  • energy levels
  • deficiency of nutrients
  • toxin overload leading to skin issues, hormonal imbalances, and poor immunity

The first step to making better choices is to simply be aware of what we are eating! The next time you are shopping, just turn the package over and take a look at the ingredients.

Here are some of the main offenders for which to be on the look out:

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup: damages immune function, speed aging process, weight gain, and low energy.

Common sources: crackers, bread, chips, yogurt, sauces

2. Refined Sugar: weight gain, fatigue, migraines, low immunity, cardiovascular issues depression, and osteoporosis

Common Sources: breakfast cereal, cookies, bread, chips, sauces, energy and sport drinks, soda, packaged or frozen meals, etc.

3. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): Neurotoxin that attacks nervous system

This one is sneaky and often goes by other names, like: yeast extract, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, carrageenan, sodium caseinate, soy protein, and "natural flavors

Common Sources: Soups, sauces, crackers, chips, salad dressings, etc.

4. Sulfites/Sulfates: Destroy B vitamins, disrupt mental clarity and heart health

Common Sources: processed lunch meat, beer and wine

5. Artificial Flavors and Colors: Red #40, Blue #2, Yellow 8; hyperactivity in children, linked to forms of cancer, poor immune function

Common Sources: Sports Drinks, frozen treats, flavored chips, fruit snacks candy, etc.

6. Artificial Sweeteners: Hormonal imbalance, can decrease good gut bacteria by 50 %, Toxin buildup, weight issues, poor immunity

Common Sources: Splenda (sucralose), Aspartame, High Fructose Corn Syrup

You may feel like there's nothing left in the grocery store to eat, right? The good news is there are many wonderful brands coming out with healthier versions of common food items. Don't feel like you have to quit your favorite products cold turkey. It's all about baby steps.

Here are some final tips to healthy shopping:

1. Use the app "Fooducate." This allows you to scan the barcode and learn more about the ingredients listed.

2. Don't read health claims on the package like "Low fat" and "All-natural."  Manufacturers can put whatever they want on the package. Instead, look at the ingredients list! That's where the true info. is located.

3. Choose more products WITHOUT packages at all. The least processed food items include things like:

  • fruits and veggies
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains
  • well-sourced proteins

Keep this in mind the next time you go shopping and give yourself a pat on the back for every small step you take toward healthy food choices. It ALL makes a difference, and I promise that your body will thank you!

Looking for more help on balancing your thyroid? Make sure to snag my free "5 Pillar Guide Thyroid Guide" below to get started on your path to optimal health!

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Support Your Liver and Heal Your Thyroid (Here's How!)

support your liver and heal your thyroid

The typical model of treatment for disease goes something like this:

You have a heart issue? Take some medication for your heart.

You have a skin issue? Put some of this medication on your skin.

You have a thyroid issue? Take some medication that targets your thyroid gland.

Has this been your experience?

Sometimes addressing the isolated body system in this way gets the job done, but most of the time there are other factors in the body contributing to the problem.

Have you ever considered how one part of your body affects other parts? For years, I thought if I just found the right cream or lotion, my skin issues would heal. It turned out that my gut and liver health were having a profound impact on my skin, and the secret was to address these issues FIRST. Once I supported these body systems, my skin cleared up and has been healthy ever since.


The same is true for your thyroid. Your thyroid gland depends on other systems of your body to function properly, so just treating that single location is leaving gaps in your healing plan.  One of the major organs that contributes to thyroid healing is your liver. 

Some key functions ofyour liver include:

  • processes nutrients to be absorbed by your body
  • regulates blood sugar
  • stores minerals
  • removes toxins from blood (largest detoxifying organ in your body)
  • helps convert T4 to T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone that the rest of your body needs to function properly)
  • and many more

As you can see, if your liver is overburdened with toxins, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies, poor digestion, unbalanced blood sugar, and lack of thyroid hormone production.  These just happen to be some of the main root causes of thyroid disease! 


A few other symptoms that indicate sub par liver function include:

  • bloating
  • acid reflux/heartburn
  • constipation
  • high blood pressure
  • chronic fatigue
  • acne/eczema
  • etc.

The good news is there are easy ways you can support this crucial part of your body, which will lead to healing in other areas. Here are some tips for including more liver-cleansing foods in your daily diet:

  • lemon water in the morning
  • "spa" water (add some berries, cucumbers, mint, etc. to a pitcher of water overnight---so good! )
  • leafy greens (green juices or green smoothies are great ways to sneak these in)
  • apples
  • garlic
  • sweet potatoes
  • avocados
  • turmeric and ginger
  • cilantro
  • broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower (some thyroid patients have issues with cruciferous veggies when eaten raw. If this is a problem for you, you can get many of the same benefits by lightly steaming or cooking.

Getting good exercise, managing stress, and deep sleep will also rev up your liver healing power.  Some key supplements such as milk thistle, turmeric, MSM powder, and dandelion root can give you an extra kick start on cleansing, as well. 


The very first thing I start my clients on is a gentle liver cleansing eating plan. (No crash cleanses or fasts necessary!)  If you are struggling with thyroid imbalance and accompanying symptoms, supporting your liver will do wonders for kick-starting your healing. If you would like some FREE support for getting started, I offer complimentary 20 min. Health Consultation phone/skype calls to getting you headed in the right direction!

Request your FREE health consultation by clicking HERE. I can't wait to help you move toward a healed thyroid and a thriving body! It's totally possible for you!

 

 

 

 

 

Why Your Thyroid Lab Work Keeps Coming Back as "Normal" (even though you have symptoms)

Why your thyroid lab work keeps coming back normal even though you have symptoms

"I'm experiencing all the symptoms, but my thyroid lab work keeps coming back as normal."

Are you one of the many women who are feeling this way?  I have multiple people tell me every week that their doctors keep telling them everything looks "fine" when though they definitely do not feel fine!

Are you experiencing one or more of the following symptoms?

  • fatigue
  • brain fog
  • digestive complaints
  • hair loss
  • skin issues
  • weight gain
  • anxiety
  • depression

Your symptoms are probably not just in your head, regardless of what you have been told.  You know your body better than anyone and are the best person to determine if something is feeling off.


In this post, I want to equip you with 2 things:

1. An understanding of WHY your blood work may come back "normal" even in the presence of symptoms

2. A thorough list of lab work to perform (that you may need to specifically request from your doctor OR order yourself)


Number One: Why Your Blood Work May be "Normal" even in the Presence of Symptoms

There are two main reasons for this: 

The first reason is that abnormalities in blood work do not always show up at the early stages of thyroid disease.  Here is a quick snap shot of the 5 stages of progression, as adapted from Dr. Izabella Wentz' book Hashimoto's Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back.

Stage One:  Genetic Predisposition to Autoimmune Response on Thyroid Gland (Hashimoto's)

Stage Two: Symptoms start arising, although typical lab work will not show abnormalities in tests like T3, T4, or TSH

Stage Three: TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) may start to show up as elevated and symptoms progress

Stage Four: Continued elevated TSH, as well as low T3 & T4 begins showing up on blood work. Most doctors will start prescribing medication at this stage.

Stage Five: Autoimmune Response may develop into other diseases such as lupus, MS, etc.

You will notice that most blood work abnormalities do not start showing up until stage 4, although symptoms start as far back as stage 2.  The reason your lab work may be reading as normal is because the disease has simply not progressed enough to start showing up in the biomarkers.

The second reason your blood work is coming back as normal may be because the standard range of "normal" is too broad, depending on where you receive the test. Let me explain:

Currently (as of 2017), most labs consider normal TSH range to be between .2-5 (some even go up to 8) micro-international units/ml

However, 95% of people WITHOUT thyroid disease measure TSH BELOW 2.5 micro-international units/ml  

Many functional Medicine Doctors are finding that most people feel best at the range of .5-2.0 micro-international units/ml.

Do you see how the standard of "normal" can vary from doctor to doctor?

 


Number Two: A thorough list of lab work to perform (that you may need to specifically request from your doctor OR order yourself)

 

Typical thyroid lab work usually includes the following:

1. TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)

2. Free T4

3. Free T3

These three basic tests will most likely tell you if you are currently producing enough thyroid hormone, as well as if you are converting T4 to T3 effectively.  Like I mentioned above, however, a thyroid imbalance doesn't always show up in theses specific markers until further along in the progression.  Getting the following additional tests (especially antibodies) can often indicate imbalances quicker. 

A few other tests to ask for:

1. Reverse T3

Elevated Reverse T3 can be an indicator of poor T4 to T3 conversion, which is often due to stress or nutritional deficiencies.

2. Thyroid antibodies:

-Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO)

-Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TG)

Thyroid antibodies can be an effective measure of the autoimmune response against your thyroid gland.  Elevated levels can even show up before other tests, providing early detection.  If you can catch an autoimmune attack before it progresses, nutrition and lifestyle interventions can often prevent the further need for medication and other medical procedures. 

There are multiple sources to order your own tests, including Ulta Labs and Direct Labs. You may also be able to request these from your doctor. 


Please continue your day knowing that:

  • you are not crazy
  • your symptoms are not made up
  • and most importantly, there are powerful ways to address your imbalance through nutrition and lifestyle strategies

If you are not quite sure where to start or are wondering if your symptoms might be indicating the early signs of thyroid imbalance, I offer free 30 min. health consultations over phone or Skype.  I would love to listen to your story and support you in your movement toward restored health.  Click on the button below to request a free session:

 

6 High Quality Probiotic Recommendations

6 High Quality Probiotic Recommendations to heal yoru gut and restore your health.

You've probably been hearing the buzz about the benefits of probiotics and how gut health affects every other area of health. Maybe you are even convinced that they can help you with your health goals. Then, you go to look up a quality brand and get utterly confused by the thousands of options, claims, contradictory opinions, etc.

Sound familiar?

While there are always new, quality brands coming on the market that I will be trying with myself and my nutrition clients, let me share some of the top brands that I currently use personally and frequently recommend to the people I serve. 


Before getting to the brands, let me refresh your memory on why probiotics are so powerful for your health! Here are a few things probiotics influence and support:

  • supports immune system
  • weight control
  • fights infections
  • lowers cholesterol
  • produces vitamins like B12 and Vit. K2
  • calms digestion distress
  • prevents food poisoning
  • soothes inflammatory bowel issues
  • promotes clear skin
  • a crucial factor in thyroid and hormone balance

I could go on and on with more benefits, but hopefully you get the point. Probiotics are crucial for optimal health.


Here's where things go wrong:

Our bodies have a balance of both good and bad bacteria.  The problem with most of our lifestyles is that they are killing off the good guys, causing something called "Dysbiosis" to occur. Simply put, things are out of balance in our guts and it's causing major health problems!

A few factors that kill probiotics include:

  • antibiotics and other medication
  • tap water
  • sugar
  • stress
  • processed food

While limiting these factors can go a long way in restoring your gut health, most of us need to fortify with additional sources, like supplements and probiotic-rich foods. 

Personally, I love probiotic foods such as:

  • coconut water kefir
  • sourkraut
  • tempeh
  • miso
  • kvass
  • etc.

I know these foods are not everyone's cup of tea, and that's where a quality supplement can plan a powerful role.


Just like with any supplement, you truly get what you pay for.  Buying a cheap version can be a waste of money over the long haul if they are not working anyway! 

I tried to include somewhat of a variety of price points, while still maintaining the following standards:

  • No artificial colors, preservatives, or fillers
  • High CFU count (colony forming unit---a.k.a. "high amounts of the good guys"
  • Survivability (meaning they survive the trip through your stomach and are still alive when they arrrive in your gut)
  • user results---I'm all about doing the scientific research to find a quality brand, but if it's not getting results from the people using them, I'm not going to waste my time. Each of these brands has a high amount of success stories from people with a variety of health challenges and goals.

With out further ado, here are some links to probiotic supplements I recommend:

If you are not avoiding dairy and gluten:

1. Beeyoutiful 60 capsules $19.00

(non-dairy but contains trace of gluten)

No refrigeration necessary.

Daily Dose: 1-3 Capsules with or before meals

2. Garden of Life 90 Capsules $28.95

(gluten free but may contain traces of dairy)

No refrigeration necessary.

Daily Dose: 1-3 Capsules per day without food

3. Biokult 120 capsules $36.07

No refrigeration necessary

Daily dose: 1-2 capsules once or twice daily with food.

(gluten-free but may contain traces of dairy)

 

If you are avoiding dairy and gluten:

(I know, it's a bummer that these are higher priced.  I've found ways to save money by taking them every other day, eating more probiotic foods, etc.)

1.   LyfBiotic 52 powder servings $39.95

Best refrigerated or in a cool, dry place.

Daily Dose: 1-2 servings of powder in full glass of water or juice with or without food.

2. Prescript Assist 60 capsules $49.00

No refrigeration necessary.

Daily dose: 1-2 capsules per day with or without food. 

3. MegaSporeBiotic 60 capsules $60.00

No refrigeration necessary.

Daily dose: 1-2 capsules with or right after meal.


Some final tips on getting the most out of probiotics:

1. Start gradually by taking half the recommended dose. Too much at one time can cause digestive discomfort, as your body adjusts.

2. To save money, take a quality probiotic every other day. In my opinion, this is way more effective that taking a cheap version every day.

3. Include more Pre-biotic foods in your diet such as bananas, garlic, artichokes, etc. These foods feed the good bacteria in your gut, making supplements all the more effective.

4. Rotate your brands.  When you run out of one brand, purchase a different one the next time and alternate between them.  Different brands have different bacteria strains, and it works best if you expose your body to the most variety as possible

5. Lastly, food choices play a major role in how well your body responds to probiotics and other supplements. If you're stuck on how to prepare whole food meals for you or your family, I've designed a complete 4-week "real food" meal plan for you including recipes, grocery lists, and diet modifications.

Get a free 4-Week "Real Food" meal plan sent to your inbox today! Tell me below where to send it:

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5 Things that May be Causing your Thyroid Disease

5 Things that May be Causing your Thyroid Disease

If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disease, you know first hand how frustrating and life altering it can be. Perhaps you or someone you know has been diagnosed with:

  • Hypothryoidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hashimoto's
  • Graves' Disease
  • Or another type of illness affecting the thyroid

Maybe you haven't been officially been diagnosed or your blood work keeps coming back as normal, but you are still experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • extreme fatigue
  • stubborn weight gain
  • anxiety or depression
  • acne or eczema
  • hormonal imbalance
  • hair loss
  • menstrual irregularites
  • Etc.

These are all signs that your thyroid is not functioning optimally.

Conventional treatment typically involves options like medication, radioactive iodine (intentionally destroys thyroid tissue), or surgical removal of the thyroid.  The problem with these treatments is that they are addressing symptoms rather than the root cause of the illness.

There is a reason that your thyroid got out of balance in the first place, and it usually involves one or more of the following root causes:

1. Food Sensitivities

If your body is having a reaction to a certain food, it can cause inflammation and rev up the disease. Some common food sensitivities concerning thyroid disease include dairy, gluten, soy, corn, and night shade vegetables. It is usually not the same for every person, so it is important to figure out what could be your individual issues.  Once those foods are removed, your body has a chance to rest and restore. 

2. Nutrient Deficiencies

Eating nutrient depleted processed and not making the bulk of your diet nutrient-dense, whole foods can quickly cause your body to become deficient in crucial vitamins and minerals.  When this happens, imbalances in hormone levels and thyroid function is very common.  Some common nutrient deficiencies in people with thyroid disease include selenium, zinc, Vitamin D, and Iron.  This is not an exhaustive list, and it is always most effective when all the vitamins and minerals are working together.  I recommend getting nutrients from food first, but supplementation may be appropriate, in some cases.

3. Gut Imbalance

Our digestive systems have a balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria. Lifestyle factors like stress and sugar consumption can cause this to get out of balance. When our guts are lacking probiotics (good bacteria), it can trigger autoimmune and inflammation responses in the rest of the body.  Taking a quality probiotic supplement or eating probiotic-rich foods are great steps toward balancing gut health.

4. Inability to Handle Toxins

Toxins are simply things that our bodies do not recognize and can interfere with its normal functioning. Reducing toxins in personal care products, cleaning supplies, water, and air impurities takes the burden off our bodies and can speed up healing.  Thankfully, there are several amazing product lines on the market today that make this much easier. 

5. Inability to Handle Stress

I saved the best for last. Stress is the toughie, because it's pretty much impossible to avoid stress in our busy lives. There are, however, simple ways to help your body cope with stress so that it relieves the ill-effects it can have on your thyroid health.  For 3 simple ways to manage stress, check out last week's blog post: 3 (Mostly Free Ways to Reduce Stress and Speed up Thyroid Healing.

When you are able to get to the root cause and address the whole reason things got out of balance in the first place, healing becomes much more simple! 

If you are stuck on how to identify what the root cause is for you or how to proceed with an effective action plan, I always offer free 20 minute health assessments where I can help you do just that.  I'd love to point you in the right direction!  Click the button below to request a free call: 

3 (Mostly Free) Ways to Reduce Stress & Speed up Thyroid Healing!

3 ways to Reduce Stress and Speed up Thyroid Healing

 

This past week, I had the choice between stressfully making a home-cooked meal last minute and effortlessly picking up Thai takeout on the way home. I choice the latter.

While I am ALL for whole food, home-prepared meals, sometimes the stress factor trumps everything else!

Both the thyroid and the adrenals (responsible for a large part of energy and stress response) are located on the endocrine system. We cannot address thyroid health without addressing the adrenals.

Managing stress is the way to do that.

We can't always avoid stressful situations, but we CAN train ourselves to cope and reduce the harmful effects that it has on our health.

HERE ARE MY TOP 3 (MOSTLY FREE) STRESS MANAGEMENT IDEAS:
 

1. DON'T OVER-EXERCISE!

Since thyroid function regulates metabolism, many thyroid patients experience this scenario:

They go to the doctor and are told they need to lose weight. So, they do the things they are told will help them lose weight: portion control and exercise.
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And if the weight doesn't come off, then they exercise harder!
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The truth is that hard exercise can actually become a stressor to thyroid function, causing it shut down even more, continuing the cycle of metabolism malfuncion and weight gain.
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Exercise is vitally important for a healthy body, but you need to approach it with balance. Try bringing in gentler forms of exercise into your routine rather than focusing just on those intense "calorie burning" sessions.

2. FORTIFY WITH B-VITAMINS

This is probably the quickest way I have personally experienced stress relief!

B-Vitamins are water (not fat) soluble, meaning we easily excrete them from our bodies instead of storing them. Stressful situations can snatch up our B-vitamin stores, causing our nervous system to get even more out of whack.
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You have two options for getting more B-Vitamins into your life:
1. Take a quality B-Complex Supplement
2. Increase intake of B-Vitamin Rich Foods (start here!) Some options include:
-Bananas
-Sunflower Seeds
-Dark Leafy Greans
-Avocados
-Broccoli
-Mushrooms
-Lean meats
-Eggs

3. TRICK YOUR BODY WITH DEEP BREATHING

Marc David, The founder of The Institute for the Psychology of Eating says it so well:
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"When you breath deeply, it's like your body is saying, ' I'm in the middle of a stressful situation, but I'm BREATHING like a relaxed person. I must be relaxed!"

I love that no matter where I am or what is going on, I always have access to deep breathing which slows the stress response and calms my nervous system.

Try taking 3 deep breaths the next time you are in rush hour traffic or when you feel like you are drowning under a pile of stressful tasks! This will do wonders for speeding up the healing of your thyroid.

GIVE SOME OF THESE A SHOT THE NEXT TIME YOU ARE FEELING STRESSED, AND START EXPERIENCING THE HEALING BENEFITS OF A CALM NERVOUS SYSTEM!

 

 


Want some more ideas on how to balance our thyroid naturally? Get started with some REAL FOOD recipe ideas by downloading my FREE 4 Week Customizable meal plan!

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Why you Feel Worse When you Eat Better

Why you Feel Worse When you Eat Better

Headaches. Fatigue. Stomach Aches. Irritability....

Aren't these all things you're trying to AVOID when eating a healthier diet?

Here are 3 reasons why you sometimes feel worse when eating better--at least at first. Take heart, because this is only temporary.  I promise you will come out on the other side full of vibrant energy and lasting health!


 Reason #1 Detoxification

What's happening: When you transition to a more pure way of eating, your body starts dumping out toxins from poor food choices, environmental pollutants, etc.  This is a sign that you're body is starting to cleanse itself of what is harming it.  Unfortunately, this can mean some temporary discomfort while your body learns to process & eliminate all that junk that's starting to creep out of your cells. 

Think of it this way: You know how when you clean out your closet, and you drag everything out into a pile? It looks way worse before it gets tidy and clean.  The same is true for your body! It's going to get a little "dirtier" right before it's pure and clean. 

How to minimize the discomfort:

-Drink lemon water upon rising.  This stimulates your liver and digestive system--your top teammates in this detoxification process.  And it gives you a boost of Vitamin C to keep you healthy all day!

-Transition Slowly.  When you go from processed box foods and refined sugar to fresh fruits and vegetables, you might start "cleaning" a little too fast.  Instead of overhauling every part of your diet, focus on one thing at a time. Focus on one meal a day that you can makeover into whole food items, and give yourself a little time to adjustbefore you focus on the next meal change.

Reason #2: Withdrawal Symptoms

What's happening: Sugar & processed foods are addictions. They can give a false sense of energy and well being. It's only natural that your body will start to miss those stimulants and respond with fatigue and irritability.  If you can power through the transition, your body will start to learn how to draw energy from real, wholesome food.  The amount of energy you feel from this approach won't even hold a candle to your old sugar rush!

How to minimize the discomfort:

- Drink Water! This will flood yourselves with hydration, leaving you less prone to headaches and exhaustion.  Get in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you at all times, and sip on it throughout the day.

- Find healthy replacements for your favorite comfort foods. I'm a firm believer that (almost) everything can be made into a healthy form. Gooey antioxidant chocolate brownie bites, anyone?

 Reason # 3: Increased Fiber

What's happening: If you are coming from a previous diet of low fiber and nutrient rich food, this can cause some temporary discomfort: Bloating, Atypical Digestion, Stomachaches. Your body is adjusting to the new "tools" it's being given.  Once you get into a rhythm of including these foods, your body will balance out and your digestion will be as good as ever!
 

How to minimize the discomfort:

-Balance fiber intake with water consumption. Dehydration+increase in fiber=bloating.

- Take a quality probiotic. This helps balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut and leads to healthy digestion.

-Sip on peppermint tea. This soothes the stomach and can provide quick relief and comfort.


If your new healthy habits have left you discouraged and confused, press on! You are embarking on a new lifestyle that will be worth every ounce of discomfort!

 


 

Want personalized help to power through the transition period of healthy eating?  I'd love to offer you a FREE 30 minute call where we will get specific about how you can make these transitions with minimal discomfort!  Let's get you on the fast track to vibrant health! Click the button below to request a free call!

 

 

 

4 Healthy Chocolate Christmas Desserts

 

4 Healthy Chocolate Christmas Desserts

I am not sure if I could stick to a healthy diet if chocolate had to be banned!  

Thankfully, you and I do not have to experience such a tragedy, because there are hundreds of ways to enjoy chocolate without sacrificing the health factor.  Raw Cacao powder is loaded with iron, magnesium, and antioxidants. When you tweak old sugar laden recipes by adding a few other wholesome ingredients, you get a dessert that you can feel great about eating!

Here are some chocolatey Christmas favorites: 


1. Antioxidant Hot Chocolate (Dairy-Free)

Ingredients:

1-2 cups Almond milk

2-3T Cacao Powder

1 T maple syrup, honey, or stevia

Directions: Heat almond milk on stovetop.  Just before boiling, remove from heat and gently stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Pour into your favorite Christmas mug and enjoy! 


2.  Skin Glowing Chocolate Bark

Ingredients:

2/3 Cup Cacao powder

1/3 Cup Coconut oil

1/3 Cup Maple Syrup

pinch of sea salt

optional add ins: pistachios, pomegranate, cranberries, etc.

Directions:

1. Heat Coconut oil on stove top until melted and remove from heat. 

2. Stir in Cacao, maple syrup, and sea salt.  Pour mixture into a parchment paper lined backing dish.

3.Sprinkle any toppings on top. 

4. Place in freezer for 20 minutes or more to harden.

5. Gently break into smaller pieces and enjoy!  Store leftovers in freezer.


3. Chocolate Brownie Energy Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup dates

1 cup walnuts

¼ Cup Cacao

pinch sea salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. (Add a little water if it is too dry to blend.) Scoop mixture out onto a plate. 
  2. Roll into 1 T balls and harden in the fridge. for 30 + minutes.  Store leftovers in air tight container in refrigerator.

4. Tummy Soothing Peppermint Patties

Ingredients:

For filling:

1 C Shredded coconut

2 t Melted coconut oil

3 tpure maple syrup

1 tsp. peppermint extract OR 1-2 drops peppermint essential oil (food grade)

For chocolate coating:

¾ cup melted coconut oil

5 T cacao powder

3 T maple syrup

Directions: 

  1. Blend all filling ingredients. Add water or dairy free milk as needed. 
  2. Form into small patties on parchment paper lined plate. Freeze for 20 min. 
  3. Melt coating ingredients on stove top and remove from heat.  
  4. Dip patties into melted chocolate with a fork. Freeze again for 10 in.
  5. Enjoy! Store in airtight container in fridge for 5 days. 

I hope this helps restore your faith in a healthy diet and reassures your chocolate-loving self that you do not have to give up the decadent treats you crave this Christmas! 

 


For more healthy living support, click on the button below to schedule a FREE 30 min. healthy consultation. Let's get you headed in the right direction of reaching your health goals for the New Year! 

How I Eat Healthy Without Spending all my Time in the Kitchen

Trying to eat healthy meals can feel like a full time job.  In the past, I would sit down to map out my week and be overwhelmed by the shear time commitment I felt needed to be put into healthy living.  I’d shuffle things around my priority list and decide I would just have to sacrifice my social life, sleep, hobbies, or all 3 in order to keep eating well.

Something had to change. 

 

I hit my breaking point when I realized that I didn’t want to give up any of those other things just so I could keep eating well.  I had to find a way to make this work for my life.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by the time it takes to make healthy meals, try giving one of these a shot! 

 

1.    Take 30 minutes to plan

 Choose one time each week and try to stay consistent .  I do this in my pajamas on Saturday morning.  You can us a meal planning app or good old-fashioned pencil and paper.  I prefer to use my daily planner so I can write the meals under each specific day of the week.  Hop on Pinterest and pick some recipes! By taking a few minutes up front, you can eliminate the mental stress of the “What should I make for dinner?” dilemma.  Let’s say you take 10 minutes every day to ask yourself this question after work or run through the drive through.  By taking 30 minutes up front, you are saving approximately 40 min. per week. 

 

 2.    Design a meal category template

 This has been the biggest game-changer for me.  With the hundreds of recipes at my fingertips, I used to waste hours scouring everything and being indecisive about what to make.

Let’s say you want to plan for 5 meals.  Your 5 categories could look like this:

 

1 Salad

1 Pasta dish

1 Mexican meal

1 Chicken entree

1 Soup

Simply find one recipe for each category rather than getting distracted by all the options.  It’s hard to estimate how much time this has saved me, but I’m going to (conservatively) guess that I spent an extra 30 min. each week wasting time looking for random recipes. 

 

3.    Build a Healthy Pantry and Purchase Online

This one saves time AND money.  By building a list of healthy staples, you can design your meals around what you already have on hand.  This cuts down on indecision, because your pantry helps guide your choices.

For example, I had some extra brown rice noodles in my pantry yesterday, so it was a no brainer for me to create a 15-min. cauliflower Alfredo sauce to add to it.  Broccoli was already in my fridge, so I paired those to make a great Sunday dinner.

 

Ordering these staples through Amazon or Thrive Market can save bonus time by eliminating the need to run around the grocery store.  All in all, I’ve saved around 40 min. each week by implementing these strategies.

 

4.    Make Simpler Meals

I’m all for breaking out the culinary skills when friends come over or when my hubby and I are celebrating something special. During our busy weeks, however, simplicity is key.

 

This is the beauty of eating real food.  3 or 4 ingredients mixed together and you’re set! I rotate between a few of my favorites and stick to the recipes that I could make with my eyes closed.  Find your top 5 that you can turn to when you’re cramped for time. The time I’ve saved by realizing I don’t have anyone to impress is hard to measure, but I’ll estimate 30 min. each week. 

 

5.   Prepare in Bulk

Rather than spending 30 minutes to an hour making dinner and prepping lunches each night, I choose to set aside a couple hours on Sunday to get everything together.  I make big batches of salads, soups, and other simple meals.  

So, crank up your favorite Pandora station or turn on Netflix and enjoy yourself!  I used to spend around 40 minutes each night making meals. Now, I spend 2 on the weekend and a few minutes heating things up at night. By doing this, I easily save over 2 hours each week.

 Total time saved: over 16 hours per month!  

While healthy meals aren’t just going to magically appear on your table, it is possible to create a simple plan that fits around your schedule.  Experiment with what helps keep this sustainable for you.

What has saved YOU time in the kitchen? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Transition to Real Food

5 Simple Ways to Transition to Real Food | Hannah Parker, Holistic Health Coach

Life changes don’t happen over night.  The year I finally decided to explore this concept of “real food” was the epitome of “5 steps forward, 10 steps backward.” I was eating green smoothies and Oreos in the same sitting.  The same day I celebrated the victory of making my own salad dressing, I split a box of Auntie Mae’s cinnamon rolls with my husband after eating Old Chicago Pizza.  (Note: that’s approximately 3 ½ cinnamon rolls each.) 

 

I felt guilty. Then super exhilarated by a good decision. Then guilty again.  Then motivated. Then discouraged. This cycle had me wondering if I were making any progress at all. Then, I sat down and looked over the past year. I took note of what I was eating currently, what my pantry looked like, the progress I was making in my health—and I realized that I was right on track.  I was inching closer and closer to a real food lifestyle of wellness and nourishment.   And it was okay that it wasn’t all happening at once. 

 

Maybe I can take some of the guess work (and guilt) out of the equation for you.  Here are 5 simple ways that you can make this transition to a real food lifestyle.  Choose one or all 5. It’s totally up to you! The important thing: resist feeling overwhelmed by taking the FIRST STEP that feels comfortable for you. Then celebrate! You’re right on track.

 

1.    Finish up a pantry and fridge staples and replace them one by one.

Don’t waste your stuff by throwing everything out at once!  Start with the next thing. For example, if you use mainstream ketchup, it most likely has high fructose corn syrup or refined sugar added in. When you run out, just replace it with a more quality brand!  If you can find a brand that uses cane sugar, that’s a great step in the right direction!

A couple other examples:

Salt.  Iodized table salt is stripped of beneficial minerals. Replace it with a sea salt (pink Himalayan is my favorite!). 

 

White pasta.  Replace this with a whole grain pasta that will be much gentler on your blood sugar and digestive system while providing more nutrients and fiber.  Personally, I love the Tinkyada brand of brown rice pasta.  Before you know it, you’ll have a fridge and pantry that is stocked with more and more real food items!

 

2.    Choose one consistent meal to makeover. 

Eating non-processed food in today’s world is just plain hard.  Take some of the pressure off by just focusing on ONE meal that you can consistently makeover.  Set a goal to make one meal each day entirely out of one-word-items.  Ex. Brown Rice, Black Beans, Sweet potatoes, lime, tomatoes.  (Delicious, easy lunch)  Then, if you need to use some packaged food for dinner because you just don’t have time to make something from scratch, that’s okay! Baby steps. 

 

3.    Upgrade your beverages.

Sodas, sugary fruit juice, energy drinks, etc. can easily slip into our day-to-day and cause more harm than the quick energy fixes they temporarily provide.  Slowly phase these out by upgrading to fruit infused water or green and herbal tea. If you’re feeling adventurous, I’d love to share about my personal love affair with Kombucha. : )

 

4.    Implement Real food Wednesdays. 

Maybe cooking a non-processed meal each day sounds a little overwhelming.  Start with one each week!  Make Wednesdays or Tuesdays or Sundays or any day the one day that you make a real food meal!  If you are looking for recipe inspiration, you can sign up HERE to get a #realfoodwednesday recipe sent to you each week.  (Laken---I thought this may be a good opt in to add to my site for people who don’t want to take time to watch the videos)

 

5.    Practice reading labels

Get used to taking a quick peek at the back of each item you buy. Do you recognize the ingredients? Can you pronounce them?  Is sugar the first thing listed? Even if you still buy the item, just start familiarizing yourself with what most items contain.  You just might be motivated enough to find an alternative!

 

If you would love some personalized support to help you make these changes in your life, I  offer FREE 30 min. health consultations, and I would love to point you in the right direction. Click on the button below to schedule a call!