Find your tribe in your healing journey

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It’s all too often these days that we aim to conquer our goals or problems single handedly.

This can be for a whole variety of reasons such as embarrassment, not wanting to burden others or even for the glory of ‘single handed success!’

But we must not forget the power and the importance of connection.

We are, by human nature, social creatures, so to cut ourselves off from others (particularly when facing adversity) can actually feel really isolating. From an evolutionary perspective connection is important to our survival.

This mindset of ‘going it alone’ is prevalent in western culture, but over time, it’s also super taxing on your body and mind.

This was a lesson I learnt very early on when I was stuck in the thick of my symptoms from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (fatigue, joint pain, gut issues, brain fog….)

I tried the single-handed approach at the start of my healing journey and eventually found myself stuck in a standstill feeling powerless. I felt like no-one else could really understand or relate to what I was going through, and I felt like my Doctors couldn’t hear me. I felt like I was ‘going it alone’ and it felt pretty isolating.

But then I realised that what I’d created was a mindset block. I realised that to move forward I had to reverse my self-limiting thoughts.

So I acknowledged that I actually did hold power and I could take charge of my health.

In order to find the healthy that I was searching for – taking charge meant that I had to pull together my own ‘circle of support’ and lean on others.

A ‘circle of support’ is a ring of all the people that YOU select to help you and join you on your journey.

People that you feel will be willing to work with you, hear you and support you.

It is absolutely empowering when you realise that you have the power to select the people that you feel will be a positive light in your journey to improved health.

The following list are an example of some of the people that you may bring together to form a part of your circle:

  • Family/Friend

  • Significant other

  • Medical practitioner

  • Naturopath/Dietician/Nutritionist/Health Coach

  • Groups – Yoga/Sport etc.

  • Other agencies – psychologist, acupuncturist etc.

  • The Alice in Wondrland (AIW) Community

  

Seeking the right wellness practitioners is a vital part of your healing journey.

This was not always easy as my doctors didn’t always agree with each other but as the newly appointed CEO of my health, I did a lot of reading, reflection and asked a lot of questions in order to find out who would be the best fit for me. So I  found healthcare practitioners that I felt I aligned with, that were attentive and that focused on ensuring the best positive outcome for my health.

Only you truly know you. Only you know how you really feel. It is ok to select your practitioners or find new ones if you feel unheard or if you feel like your current one can’t help you any more. Some research even shows that a positive patient centered approach from your healing practitioners can have a direct positive effect on your symptoms and outcomes.

I also had to open myself up to being vulnerable (cue: monkey emoji covering eyes).

I asked others for help (eek this was a toughie) and shared my feelings with my close family and friends. It was actually a relief and a powerful way of getting my feelings off my chest. Journaling can also be a really good way to identify and release your emotions in a safe space

In all honesty, I couldn’t have done it without the support of others – no one truly can.

You deserve the best care – and by aligning with others that will help you on your journey – you can feel supported.

You may have a huge Circle of Support or you may have just 2 or 3 key people.  You’ll also find that you will switch and change between people as you continue down your health path. There is no right or wrong.

The bottom line is to remember that you do hold power in your journey and you are never truly alone.  

Now is your time – so start connecting!

Do I have Adrenal Fatigue?

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Are you the kind of person who is constantly doing a million things? Moving at a 100 miles an hour? Do often feel burnt out, out of it and resort to caffeine drinks to fuel your waking hours? Perhaps your brain can never quite shuts off?

If you can say yes to those questions… then, you may be setting yourself up for a crash of epic proportions.

Hi! I’m Alice and I have a Type A personality while also having Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. After much trial and error with debilitating health symptoms, I’ve learned that your adrenal health is vital towards managing any thyroid condition. And especially, your overall well being.

Little do people know but many of today’s people suffer from adrenal fatigue, a condition in which the body's adrenal glands do not make sufficient hormones in response to stress. A huge fight with your loved one or a giant coffee are both stressors to which your adrenal glands must respond. However, when you call on their services too frequently, as many do, the stress of adrenal fatigue grows.

We typically associate adrenal fatigue with chronic tiredness, but Type A people who are prone to impatience, aggression, ambition, and competitiveness may be moving too fast to realize they suffer from adrenal fatigue. Even the Type A person with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism who also struggles with thyroid-related fatigue may be ignoring her body’s need for a more sane pace.

Now, some common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are…

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue

  • Feel exhausted often; Type A's typically push through this

  • Feel overwhelmed, constantly stressed out

  • Crave sweets, salty foods, and caffeine or nicotine

  • Crash around 3 or 4 p.m.

  • Feel more awake and energetic in the evening

  • Poor sleep patterns

  • Difficulty waking in the morning

  • Slow to recover from illness, injuries, wounds, or exercise

  • Frequently sick

  • Assailed by allergies

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Lightheaded or blacking out momentarily when rising from a seated or reclining position

  • Shaky, lightheaded, and/or irritable when going too long without food

The Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism crash: when adrenal fatigue wins out

Sure, you can push through adrenal fatigue. Athletes do it routinely; overtraining often causes adrenal fatigue. That doesn't change the fact that adrenal fatigue depletes your immune system, hormone function, and brain health. It also can exacerbate your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism condition. What the Type A person most fears losing is productivity, and nothing stops productivity like an adrenal crash.

Adrenal fatigue means that any major stressor accident, major illness, divorce, sickness or death of a loved one can cause an epic crash. The consequences of such a crash can include chronic fatigue, a harrowing transition into menopause, or some other chronic health disorder. It can trigger or exacerbate autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, and recovery can be a very long, slow road.

Lasting health requires major lifestyle changes. The most challenging thing I learned is that the moment I started feeling a little better, I cranked up the pace, which put me right back where I started. Although racing around frantically may feel productive, the truth is you can accomplish more, make fewer mistakes, and irritate fewer people when you operate with better adrenal health. You don't have to sacrifice your competitive edge to act with more purpose, deliberation, and forethought, all hallmarks of a more relaxed, adrenal-friendly approach.

Overcoming adrenal fatigue and managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism includes:

  • Removing dietary stressors: sugars, caffeine, junk foods, excess carbs, and food intolerances

  • Addressing any lingering health imbalances: hormonal, immune system, or gut

  • Exercising regularly, but not over exercising

  • Working with your practitioner to use customized nutritional therapy to support your adrenal health



    Grab yourself a piece of paper or jot in your notes portion in your phone… and ask yourself these questions:

    ARE YOU AT RISK OF ADRENAL FATIGUE?


    Do you have trouble sleeping, or wake up feeling unrefreshed?
    A Seldom or never

    B Sometimes (1-2 times per month)

    C Frequently (1-2 times per week)

    D Waaay too often (most days)

    Do you suffer from a lack of energy throughout the day?

    A Seldom or never

    B Sometimes (1-2 times per month)

    C Often (1-2 times per week)

    D Waaay too often (most days)

    Do you become stressed at the drop of a hat by little things?

    A Seldom or never

    B Sometimes (1-2 times per month)

    C Often (1-2 times per week)

    D Most days (and it's affecting my work/relationships)

    Do you feel frazzled, anxious or easily startled?

    A Seldom or never

    B Sometimes (1-2 times per month)

    C Often (1-2 times per week)

    D All the time! (People remark on how jumpy I am)

    Do you suffer from PMS or menopausal symptoms?

    A Seldom or never or I am a man so no

    B Sometimes (occasional months here and there)

    C Often (most months)

    D Every month (I'm so over it!)

    Do you experience brain fog or forgetfulness?

    A Seldom or never

    B Sometimes (usually when I'm run down or super busy)

    C Often (1-2 times per week or more)

    D All the time (sometimes I don't even know what day it is!)

    Do you find yourself craving sugar or caffeine to get through the day?

    A Seldom or never

    B Sometimes (1-2 times per month)

    C Often (1-2 times per week)

    D Every. Single. Day. I find it hard to stop myself

    Be honest now... Do you have a sex drive?

    A Seldom or never

    B Occasionally (once I get going I'm ok, but I usually don't initiate it)

    C Average (sometimes I'm on, sometimes I'm off)

    D I'm fine in that department, thank you ;)

    Do you catch more colds and flues than you used to?

    A Nope - I'm super healthy and hardly ever catch anything

    B I catch the usual amount (1-2 per year) and recover quickly

    C Yes. 3-4 per year, and they sometimes go to my chest/ears/sinuses

    D Yes! It's a constant barrage, and every year I seem to get worse

    Have you gained weight that won't budge, no matter what you do?

    A Nope, I don't put on weight

    B A little - I find it harder to lose compared to when I was younger

    C Yes. It's creeping up slowly and steadily.

    D Yes. I've experienced rapid weight gain and I can't shift it

IF YOU ANSWERED MOSTLY A’s - Low risk for adrenal fatigue
Lucky you! You may experience stress, but you handle it well.

Healthy adrenals are crucial for digestion and metabolism, the production of the right amount of thyroid and reproductive hormones, and an immune system that can ward off illness and disease.

Your adrenals also affect your moods, so keeping them in tip top condition may help to ward off anxiety, depression and mood swings, and help you to cope better with stressful situations as they arise.

And so far... you're doing great! Keep it up!

To keep those adrenals functioning at their best, it's important to nourish yourself with whole and nutrient dense foods, create space in your schedule for rest and reset (hello... self care!), move your body (gently) every day, and cut the amount of toxins that you absorb in your everyday life.


IF YOU ANSWERED MOSTLY B’s - Your stress hormones may be rising

Looks like your adrenal glands are a little under the pump.

The pressures of your everyday life are starting to show - a niggly symptom here, an extra cold or flu there, or maybe you're relying on caffeine and sugar a little more than you used to.

In short, you are stressed.

Your adrenal glands are working overtime to help you deal with emotional strains, bad sleeping habits, wrong food choices, and environmental toxins.

At the moment you probably think that you could go on like this forever to maintain your productivity level, but you need to take heed of your body's warnings because you are actually on the path to adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue will not only leave you exhausted, but will have a much bigger impact on your body. So take action now to prevent things sliding even more!

To keep those adrenals functioning at their best, it's important to nourish yourself with whole and nutrient dense foods, create space in your schedule for rest and reset (hello... self care!), move your body (gently) every day, and cut the amount of toxins that you absorb in your everyday life.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for delicious recipes and tips for staying healthy, head to my recipe sections for more recipes!

IF YOU ANSWERED MOSTLY C’s - Warning - You are heading towards burnout

Things are starting to look more serious - Take action now!

Not only do you need to reduce stress, you need to pay attention to what you put into your body in order to prevent illness and disease.

You might not be at burnout yet, but consider this:

  • Where are you headied if nothing changes?

  • Are you becoming forgetful? Have you missed meetings or events? Do you find yourself having to write absolutely everything down?

  • Are you suffering from a lack of sleep? What does this do to your moods?

  • Are you walking around in a constant fog? How does this affect your day?

Maybe you're frustrated because you keep gaining weight, even though you exercise regularly.

Or perhaps it's the aches and pains that annoy you and stop you from being active, or running around with your kids.

Don’t wait for things to get worse. You are heading towards burnout...

But there is a way back. I will show you how. Details in the red below.



IF YOU ANSWERED MOST D’s - Your health is already suffering
This has been going on too long - Take action now to avoid chronic illness.

You are either super busy, or under a lot of stress (or both!).

And because the stress has been around a while, you have a tendency to accept it as a normal part of your life, a permanent fixture, something that you believe will always be there. But because of this, your adrenal glands are now overworked.

Take a moment to consider how this might be showing up for you:

Are you becoming forgetful? Have you missed meetings or events? Do you find yourself having to write absolutely everything down?

Are you suffering from a lack of sleep? (I’ve had clients who were so sleep deprived that they were unable to drive long distances the next day).

Are you walking around in a constant fog? How does this affect your day?

Maybe you're frustrated because you keep gaining weight, even though you exercise regularly.

Or perhaps it's the aches and pains that annoy you and stop you from being active, or running around with your kids.

You are at a very high risk of burnout (if you're not already there).

But there is a way back. I will show you how:




Join me for a FREE discovery call if you are:

  • A woman/man with fatigue

  • Have started to address your symptoms

  • Are ready to fast-track your results

  • Are motivated, friendly and coachable

Then book your 45 minute discovery call today.

Together we'll look at how you got into this mess in the first place, and put a solid plan in place to get you out of there and on the path back to better health.

You will come away with actionable steps that you can implement immediately, that will make you feel empowered and energised.

And all in 45 minutes.

But I only do a limited number of these calls each week, so email me at alice@aliceinwondrland.com. Meetings come at a first come, first serve basis to avoid disappointment.

In love + health,
Alice

How To Heal & Balance Your Gut Garden

The gut microbiome (or gut garden as I like to call it) is the diverse community of bacteria that lives in our digestive system. Just like the soil of a garden needs to have the right mix of nutrients and nourishment – so does our gut! With around 70% of our immune function found in the gut, it is no surprise that a well nourished gut helps to keep our overall system working to it’s full capacity.

Developing a healthy gut is one of the most important steps we can take in improving energy and immune health. During my healing journey, when I was able to address and treat my leaky gut, I was able to remove a whole range of symptoms and turn my health around. I haven’t looked back since!

Your gut garden will generally need a little (or often a whole lotta) love and nourishment to keep it balanced, particularly during sickness, antibiotic use, high-stress periods, or if you are facing an autoimmune condition (like I have.)

You have the power to positively alter your gut health and improve your overall wellbeing – so check out the tips below….

Some simple tips to begin healing and balancing your gut garden:

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

Anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, avocado, low GI fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, omega-3 rich fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil and spices including turmeric, garlic & ginger.

Eat high-fiber whole foods

Focus on high fiber foods like whole grains, beans, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Soluble fiber acts like a powerful broom that works to sweep waste and toxins from your digestive tract.

Reduce (and try to avoid inflammatory foods)

This includes ingredients such as food additives, refined sugar, processed meats, fried foods, high fructose corn syrup, and white flours/gluten.

Boost the gut with probiotic-rich fermented foods & drinks

By increasing our intake of fermented foods, we can ensure our gut bacteria are thriving, diverse and well populated.  Probiotics found in fermented foods, increase and balance the gut bacteria to a healthy state. This can help the immune system realign itself. Just a spoonful of fermented foods every day can ensure that you are providing your gut with trillions of bacteria. This can include fermented foods like cabbage and beetroot, or fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha. Introducing too much probiotic-rich food or drinks too fast, could lead to symptoms like bloating, as the gut bacteria balances. So be sure to start slow, and build up gradually, to allow your gut garden to slowly rebalance.

Boost the gut with prebiotic foods

Your gut bacteria use prebiotic foods as fuel to grow and multiply. Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber compounds that help probiotics to thrive (essentially they are like food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.) To keep your gut bacteria thriving and well fed – eat prebiotic foods like carrots, bananas, asparagus, garlic, onion, pears, leeks, and Jerusalem artichokes.

Consider supplementing with a good quality probiotic.

Although research is still in its infancy, probiotics have been studied for a wide variety of conditions including IBS, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression and even skin disorders like eczema. Some of the research has shown that probiotics can help to remove symptoms from the above-mentioned conditions, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, increase nutrient extraction and also balance the immune system. If you choose to use a probiotic, I’d be sure to grab one that has a large variety of strains, and a high amount of viable bacteria (known as ‘CFU’ – Colony Forming Units).  Once again, it can be helpful to speak with a naturopath or nutritionist about which probiotic would be most beneficial to your individual situation.

Check for Underlying Infections

Underlying infections from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yeasts can trigger an immune response and cause an unbalanced gut garden (which can result in a wide variety of symptoms.)  A functional medicine practitioner or naturopath/nutritionist can help you with identifying and removing (or keeping these infections in check.)

Check for Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities (or food intolerances) are different from food allergies. They are thought to present with symptoms such as bloating, IBS, joint pain, headaches, anxiety or reflux – either a few hours or up to a couple of days after, consuming trigger foods. This inflammatory response then becomes triggered every time the reactive food is consumed. It is thought to lead to malabsorption of nutrients and produce further intestinal permeability (leaky gut.)

Food sensitivities vary person to person, however, gluten and dairy are commonly associated trigger foods for leaky gut, particularly in autoimmune conditions. Many people see a huge reduction in symptoms of joint pain, lethargy, brain fog, skin breakouts or gut symptoms after they remove the foods they are reactive too.

A functional medicine practitioner or naturopath/nutritionist can help you with implementing an elimination diet to identify reactive foods, or they can run a food intolerance test.  

Remember healing and rebalancing your gut can take time.

As you go through the above list, try to resist the need to implement everything at once.  Just pick one or two points that you think you will be able to fit into your lifestyle and try them out.  Note down how they make you feel and see whether you feel any health improvements. Writing a health journal can help with keeping track!

I use (or have used) each and every one of the above tips in my (& my family’s life). I have no doubt that they have played a huge role in improving our overall energy, immunity and digestive health.

I hope you find them beneficial too!

Big Support, love and light to you! xx

What does "Detox" mean?

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DETOX. This word get thrown around a lot but what does it really mean and how do you know if you’re experiencing it?

To detox means to rid the body of unwanted toxins. Toxins such as heavy metals like mercury, aluminum, copper, lead, cadmium, arsenic, nickel. We are exposed to these heavy metals through pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, environmental exposure, and they even get passed down through our bloodline (this is one of the things that actually causes symptoms that people associate with “bad genes” or genetic disorders). Another type of toxin are neurotoxins from viruses which are basically the viruses byproduct aka poops!

The way one experiences detox is unique to each person, their level of sensitivity, and their toxic load. For some people detox symptoms can be as simple as feeling more fatigued, but for others, it could mean feeling foggy, achy & flu-like, and experiencing headaches. Even further detox symptoms can include but are not limited to feeling anxious and frazzled and having changes in bowel movements. Detox doesn’t feel good sometimes because it irritates our nerves and if we are sensitive to chronic viral and bacterial caused illnesses it can be a difficult thing to go through. I don’t want this to scare you though and there are ways to ease the detox experience.

If you feel as if you are detoxing and want to slow it down and calm your nerves here are some tips!

1. Take b12 with adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin.
2. Magnesium - especially magnesium glycinate can help calm the nerves.
3. Eating more potatoes, squash, and avocado.
4. Drinking plenty of lemon/lime water to flush toxins out as quick as possible.
5. Connecting with whatever makes you feel calm and centered whether that is spending time in nature, prayer, meditation, journaling, being with loved ones, and laughter.
5. Make sure your pathways of elimination are open and that you get your lymphatic system pumping.

I hope that helps you understand detox a little better! I will be posting more on this topic as I think its so important to our individual health, collective health, and future generations health.

Need extra support and guidance with detoxing and regaining your health? Email me at alice@aliceinwondrland.com ! 

Why You Should Heal Your Gut

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Healing my gut has been one of the most important parts of my healing journey over the past 3 years and it has literally been life-changing.

The gut microbiome (or gut garden or gut flora) is the diverse community of bacteria that lives in our digestive system. Just like the soil of a garden needs to have the right mix of nutrients and nourishment – so does our gut!

Our gut needs to have the right balance of ‘flora’ and nourishment to keep our overall system working to its full capacity.  With around 70% of our immune function found in the gut, it is no surprise that having a balanced healthy ‘gut flora’ provides us with improved health and increases our body’s ability to fight off diseases, inflammation, bacteria, and viruses.

An unhealthy, unbalanced gut garden can result in ‘leaky gut’ (intestinal permeability in the medical science world). This occurs when the intestinal lining (which usually acts as a barrier) becomes inflamed and permeable (leaky). This then allows substances like food proteins and bacteria to pass through, into your bloodstream which results in your immune system becoming ‘activated’.

Some of the factors that can alter your gut garden and make it ‘leaky,’ include diet, antibiotics, infections, stress, early childhood experience, genes, yeasts, and toxins.

A leaky gut can lead to inflammation throughout your body which has been attributed to a variety of symptoms including:

  • Digestive issues – discomfort, bowel problems etc.
  • Food Intolerances
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches

Although gut health research is still in its infancy, there is increasing evidence to show that maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria and yeasts in the gut can help improve digestive health, boost the immune system, improve mental health and reduce the risk of disease.

Changes and imbalances in the gut structure, particularly in genetically susceptible individuals, has been implicated with an increased risk of a variety of conditions such as autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, allergies, eczema, psoriasis, and IBS. Some findings even indicate that changes in our gut bacteria can influence our mood and brain function.

Let’s just not skip over that paragraph above. This is BIG. Although much of the research is still new, the current studies, coupled with my own trial and error, is evidence enough to ensure my family’s gut health is optimized.

This comes from a personal place because I was a healthy kid, born vaginally, without any allergies or health issues. But by my formative years, I had learning disabilities in the form of "ADD"/"ADHD" and just low cognitive function. By my teens, I also developed digestive dysfunction. By my early twenties, I also developed allergies and an autoimmune disease.

This tells me a couple of things…

First, that our gut garden is a unique environment, that is not stable and has the ability to malfunction under the right (or wrong shall we say) set of circumstances.

Secondly, it tells me that due to the gut's ability to change, we also have the power to positively alter our gut health and improve our overall wellbeing.

The easiest and most influential way that we can alter our gut garden is through the foods we eat.

I didn’t want anyone to head down a similar path as I did, and for that reason, I now try to ensure that everyone's gut garden is healthy and balanced.

Although I know that I cannot control all of the environmental exposure that could affect my health, I can ensure that I am eating gut supporting foods.

My diet and lifestyle really revolve around gut health as a way of optimizing overall health.  I’m also not saying that I eat like a 100% certified organic queen who sits on their throne of optimal health all the time. 

Sometimes I don't. I have a balanced real-world perspective and follow the idea that what I do most of the time determines my overall health. So that means that I indulge if I want to and I don’t beat ourselves up about that. It’s about balance. I honestly believe that as human beings, we are all doing our best with what we know in this life. There is no need to add extra overwhelm.

So in this life, we should all strive for balance and just try to ensure that the majority of the time I am eating real, whole, preservative-free foods that support gut health. By eating this way, I can keep my body well nourished and healthy – and the gut gardens balanced.

I now refuse to allow my health diagnoses to disempower me… and I really feel empowered by the fact that I can actually play a positive active role in my own health.

What are Hashimoto’s Triggers?

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I gotta admit.  

When I first started researching healing and found out I could possibly recover from my autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s and my digestive issues, it felt like I had walked into a new land.

Both out-of-this-world exciting and how-on-earth could I do that scary!

I mean… I’d previously been told by my endocrinologist that my Hashimoto’s was a lifelong condition and that my thyroid would eventually destroy itself. But there I was sitting at my computer reading stories and credible medical studies about people who, through various interventions and practices, had managed to remove symptoms. Some even manage to put their condition into remission.

I just couldn’t believe the amount of research out there… on healing the gut, rebalancing immune health and reclaiming thyroid health! Information that I had never even been made aware of before!

Wouldn’t my Doctor have informed me of this?

As a broad overview of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis your triggers may include:

  • Gut problems

  • Nutrient Deficiencies

  • Infections

  • Food sensitivities

  • Toxins

  • Stress

While some may actually be able to balance their immune health through their nutrition, I had to dig deeper and deal with every point on the list above.

It turns out that I became a ruthless researcher.

I don’t think that I actually even read anything else other than health-related articles and medical journals for the next couple of years.

My boyfriend was literally bombarded with tiny pellets of information on a daily basis. It’s fair to say that he learned to smile and nod very well whenever I came at him like an excited puppy!

My passion was ignited. I would be my very own healing guinea pig. I would recover my health!

Although it took years of commitment, relentless research and a lot of trial & error, I did finally reclaim my health!

But I’m gonna be honest, the reality of my healing journey was very winding! There were high highs and low lows. I often felt lost in the vortex of information as I navigated it alone and without the support of a mentor who’d been through what I was going through. I had huge successes and I hit roadblocks, I learned to pivot often, but I came out wiser and most importantly healthy!

But this isn’t about doing it alone – it’s about becoming an informed and active member of your own healthcare team, forming a circle of support and working together with practitioners!

If you too have an autoimmune disease, I get it! It’s easy to feel disconnected from your own body when it feels like it’s turned against you.

Though and please know that your body is indeed helping you. The common misconceptions with research with Hashimoto's are that your body is essentially attacking itself – so it’s easy to feel totally upset and frustrated when it’s not doing the basic functions it’s supposed to do. I was there before! I was hating myself with what was happening. Though, it's being exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which has gotten into our bloodstream, into our thyroid and clouding our immune system's judgment of this foreign virus. 

But the truth is, your body still has your back (it’s just a really confused system!)

If we think of the body as our ally (that is actually constantly trying to protect us) and if we work toward strengthening and balancing our system, we can rebuild a positive connection again with our body. We just have to show commitment to healing and dig a little deeper to find our underlying triggers.

We also need to be really kind and patient with ourselves as we begin our healing journey. Taking on too many lifestyle modifications at once can be really stressful and counterproductive (especially when stress is often a part of what got us here in the first place!)

We really want to reduce the overwhelm!

So as you look through the list of underlying triggers above, have a think about which ones you feel might be effecting you.

With both autoimmune and digestive issues, try keeping a journal to track symptoms. Note how your body feels on different days (do certain foods cause symptoms? Or does lack of sleep cause a flare up?) By keeping track, you learn to start listening to your body, which is such an important step towards improved health.

Ways to Heal Your Gut

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I started my health journey when I was diagnosed with depression then eventually Hashimoto’s. I thought that that’s what it was always going to be about… healing Hashimoto’s, healing mental health along hormones, and balancing my thyroid. I was in denial that I had digestive issues my whole life… I thought they were normal, and that it had nothing to do with my thyroid. However, nothing changed with my Hashimoto’s until I took control of my gut health and started the journey to heal my gut. I read all of the books, listened to all of the podcasts, saw all of the doctors, went to school to take nutrition classes, and slowly but surely, my very being morphed into a lifestyle rooted in gut health! Thus, gut healing Goddess (heeeey girl), here to tell you how to do the same with these ways to heal your gut!

The common misconception is that gut health only relates to digestive health, and that if don’t have any obvious digestive issues like bloating or reflux, our gut health is fine. This is far from the truth! Our gut health is connected to everything in our body, such as…

  • Mood
  • Mental health
  • Weight
  • Energy
  • Joint health
  • Hormones
  • Skin
  • Cravings
  • Digestive issues
  • Autoimmunity like Hashimoto’s
  • And more…

It’s not just folks like me with chronic illness who need some gut healing! We could all benefit from some short-term gut healing, and a lifestyle that’s more conducive to maintaining a healthier gut in general!

It’s not easy, and the path isn’t always clear! That’s why I’m sharing this list of all that I’ve learned through my own experience with leaky gut:

1. Sip bone broth  

I cannot emphasize this enough, I grew up drinking this and it strengthened my body along with my immune system. Bone broth is a gut healing powerhouse! It’s only of the easiest ways you can support your gut health with fairly minimal effort. I make homemade bone broth weekly and encourage my clients to do the same. Making your own perfect bone broth is a process, but here’s my favorite recipe for bone broth.

2. Feed your good gut bacteria

Feeding the good bacteria in your gut is crucial to the gut health process! Balancing the microbiome in our gut is at the center of keeping our gut healthy, and protecting us from illness. We need to feed our good gut bacteria with foods like sauerkraut, kefir, homemade yogurt, beet kvass, and other fermented veggies.

It is important to note that many with severe overgrowths or histamine intolerance may not be able to tolerate fermented foods. It’s fine to avoid fermented foods if necessary, but the goal is to heal to the point where they can be reintroduced.

3. Feast on easy to digest foods that are gut healing and nutrient rich

This I can’t stress enough. Not all food is easy to digest… even healthy foods. Just because veggies are good for you doesn’t mean that raw veggies are a good choice for your gut in particular. It’s very common for those with gut issues to have trouble with a myriad of veggies, and how you cook them matters!

For vegetables, try experimenting with them well cooked and pureed. I highly recommend introducing pureed veggie soups with are much easier on your digestion.

For proteins, go with meats that are slow cooked in a broth like pot roast or beef stew as these are much more broken down and easier to digest.

4. Be a nutrient seeker first, before anything else

It’s sexy to cut out foods like gluten and soy, and less sexy to talk about adding in sardines and liver. However, sustainable wellness has so much to do with what you do eat rather than what you don’t.

View food as nutrients, nourishment, and something to be grateful for. Our hormones, our enzymes, and our very body are made up of the food we eat! If you’re eating to heal your gut, keep the mindset that food is nourishment and that your meals should be giving your body something that it needs.

5. Stop consuming gluten, soy & processed foods

These are just three of huge offenders when it comes to gut health, but they’re worth calling out on their own. Gluten, soy, and processed foods are all harmful to the gut lining and are best avoided for the long haul if possible.

Processed foods are clearly far from real food, and contain additives, sugars, oils, and more that do anything but nourish our gut. Modern gluten and soy are both often GMO, and also tear up our gut lining.

6. Chew your food mindfully - like 10-20 times per bite.

I know, I know that sounds like a lot… but your stomach doesn’t have teeth! Not chewing thoroughly can cause poor digestion and absorption of food, and incomplete enzyme and acid production.

7. Focus on proper preparation of foods    

We should consider how food is prepared. Raw almonds are very different than soaked and sprouted, and fried meats are very different than slow cooked.

Focus on meats that are slow cooked, or cooked on low temperatures, vegetables that are very well cooked, and nuts/seeds that are soaked and sprouted. Not only are these foods easier on our digestive system, but the nutrients are easier to absorb.

8. Consider ushering in temporary gut healing approaches like AIP, GAPS, or Low-FODMAP, and then customize further! This journey is your own!

There is no one size fits all when it comes to gut healing protocols. We’re all bio-individuals and need to customize our approach! Here are just three templates worth mentioning…

AIP = Designed for autoimmune disease.
GAPS = Designed for autism, and used for many other gut issues.
Low-FODMAP = Beneficial for IBS.
Though these are all great templates to follow, they’re just that… templates. I implore you to customize each approach further to fit your needs. If you have other intolerances, other needs, or need to combine approaches, do what you need to do to heal. You don’t need to fit into a box!

9. Sip raw celery juice first thing in the morning (and/or WARM water with lemon/ apple cider vinegar)

Raw celery juice is great for influencing the stimulation of stomach acid production for better digestion, as well as ACV and lemon diluted in water! I recommend drinking 16 oz of celery juice in the morning on an empty stomach, and monitoring how it helps your digestion.

10. Find good sources of high quality, pastured meats

“Organic” isn’t enough when it comes to proteins. Organic really only suggests that the animals ate organic feed, however, we ideally don’t want animals eating feed at all. Just like people, animals get sick from processed foods like feed… we want them eating their natural diets! What you want to look for is grass-fed and pasture raised meats. Many areas have great local sources, but you can also source yours online.

11. Eat organ meats & wild caught fish regularly and well-cooked veggies and healthy fats daily.

Organ meats like liver from high-quality sources are packed full of nutrients, and healthy fats and wild caught fish are the same! Eat these often to give your body what it needs to heal.

Even if raw vegetables aren’t your friend, eat well-cooked vegetables daily, and at every meal if possible to give yourself the phytonutrients and vitamins necessary to thrive.

As for healthy fats, focus on foods like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed ghee (if tolerated) and high-quality animal fats. Fats are necessary to help control inflammation, and poor quality fats like seed oils influence more inflammation.

12. Moderate your fruit intake

If you’re dealing with some sort of gut bacteria dysbiosis, you want to be careful with even natural sugar like fruit. First, you need to get at the root cause to see if this is your issue, but regardless, try and limit fruit to 1-2 servings a day.

13. Don’t eat the same foods every day.

Our bodies weren’t made to eat apples every single day like the modern grocery store allows. The true paleo way of eating is eating seasonally. Eating the same foods day in and day out while having compromised gut health can lead to reacting to those very same foods that you’re constantly eating.

Eat with the seasons, and try to rotate your foods on about a 4-day rotation or only eating the same foods a couple of times a week. For example, if you eat lots of sweet potato on Monday, try and wait until Friday until you eat a sweet potato again. This isn’t about perfection… it’s fine to deviate here and there. What’s important is to stay mindful that you’re getting a variety of foods every week!

14. Learn how to balance your meals

Balancing your macronutrient ratios within your meals so that you’re not spiking your blood sugar with too many carbs, or dropping it with too little fat and protein is important for digestion and long term satiation. This is an ongoing process that’s very individual to tweak, and there’s no one size fits all. You can start by filling up 40% of your plate with vegetables, 30% with fat, and 30% with protein, and go from there. Monitor how you feel, how hungry you are between meals, and how your digestion feels after eating.

15. Stop chugging water with meals

Diet culture tells us to chug water to control our appetite, but this actually dilutes our digestive juices and can interfere with digestion. Take small sips with meals, and drink the bulk of your water in between meals.

Gut Healing Lifestyle Interventions


16. Eat in a relaxed state & stop stressing around food. 

This is easily one of the most important pieces of gut healing! We need to be in a relaxed, parasympathetic state to properly digest our food. If we’re watching a frustrating news story, driving in traffic, rushing out the door to work, or eating with unpleasant coworkers, we’re immediately impairing our digestion.

Create a routine to eat in a relaxed state. Turn off your phone 10 minutes before meals, take a few deep breaths, say a prayer or blessing, and be grateful for your food!

Focus on learning how to stop feeling left out & enjoy your new way of eating

17. Eliminate unnecessary stressors

Stress is one of the hardest things to tackle, but one of the most important. Stress is everywhere, so start small. What is the lowest hanging fruit of stress in your life that you can get rid of? Finding a new route to work? Hiring a sitter on Friday nights for a date night? Start there, and keep working to eliminate unnecessary stress going forward.

18. Practice daily/ weekly self-care

Self-care is an incredibly important part of any healing journey as our body needs to be relaxed to heal. Practice a small, daily self-care routine like a 15-minute walk with your family, or 10 extra minutes in the morning to yourself and a larger weekly practice like going to a yoga class alone, or taking yourself out for tea.

19. Focus on something bigger than yourself

When I think of what has truly helped me heal and stop stressing over my own sickness, it’s been looking outside myself. Whether that be my relationship with SPIRIT or any higher power (who is SO much bigger than me) or helping thousands of others with my blog, it offers incredible perspective to realize that there is so much more out there than ourselves.

20. Practice gratitude

There’s always something to be grateful for. When we’re focusing on the good, we have less energy to focus on the bad. I’ve recently started a weekly gratitude journal, and it’s been such a blessing!

21. Take potential adrenal fatigue seriously

22. Shift your mindset when it comes to gut healing

23. Adopt a healthy mindful movement (exercise) routine

This is different for everyone, but movement matters for a healthy body. Find what works for you and make space to do it a few times a week. That could just be walking, taking a yoga class, or light weight lifting, but whatever it is, make it something that you enjoy!

24. Socialize with others on the same journey

Support each other, share ideas, and build community! The internet creates an amazing space to find others who are on the same journey as you. Even just by searching hashtags on Instagram, or emailing fellow bloggers, I’ve made great friends with others who are on a gut healing journey.

25. Socialize in general

Human beings are social creatures and we need the community to thrive. Maybe you’re introverted like me and the thought of people around all the time makes your head spin, but I like to find ways to create family time, time with my husband, or just go out for tea with a friend every so often. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming amount of socialization to make a difference in your life.

26. Find a way to make the lifestyle sustainable for you

No two people have the same journey. Though advice from others can be invaluable, I urge you to customize your journey to make it work for you! If something isn’t working, change it. It’s better to make changes to a lifestyle for sustainability than not live the lifestyle at all.

One of the best ways to make this lifestyle sustainable is to find fun recipes that you love to eat. That’s why I focus on putting out comfort food recipes that are fun to eat, easy to make and still compliant with a healing lifestyle.

27. Try Castor Oil Packs

Great for liver/gallbladder support which is important for fat digestion.

28. Take sleep seriously

29. Switch out toxic home care products for natural yet sustainable home care products

30. Switch out your toxic makeup and self-care products for natural yet sustainable


Now I'm not telling you to do them all at once but pick several that you can implement to your daily routine, try those out for 1-2 months until it becomes a habit and then it becomes routine. Once you have that down, I would say try adding one or two more habits.

Remember healing and rebalancing your gut can take time.

As you go through the above list, try to resist the need to implement everything at once.  Just pick one or two points that you think you will be able to fit into your lifestyle, and try them out.  Note down how they make you feel and see whether you feel any health improvements. Writing a health journal can help with keeping track!

I use (or have used) each and every one of the above tips in my life. I have no doubt that they have played a huge role in improving MY overall energy, immunity and digestive health.

I hope you find them beneficial too!

Best Tests For Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism

Has your thyroid been checked? 

One of the most common conditions for both physical and mental health is thyroid gland dysfunction. Hypothyroidism (or sluggish thyroid) and Hashimoto's disease underlies many other conditions and presents with a broad array of symptoms- constant fatigue, debilitating exhaustion, poor motivation, mood disorders & depression, brain fog, difficulty losing weight, unexplained weight gain, cold sensitivity, female pattern hair loss, sluggish bowels, hormonal issues, constantly getting sick and fertility issues (especially an increased risk of miscarriage in the first trimester). And, the sad thing is that it is one of the most commonly missed and poorly diagnosed conditions.

I think the most common sentence I hear from people is “my thyroid has been checked and the doctor said that its fine”. That is usually followed by something like, “My doctor would ask me later - Are you sure you’re not just depressed or making this up in your head? Here’s a script for Prozac or Xanax”

Well, I’m going to tell you it usually hasn’t been checked properly. Standard medical exam for thyroid is a blood test for TSH. To have your thyroid fully checked and to be able to rule out thyroid issues with confidence, a Thyroid Panel is the only way- TSH, T3, T4, Reverse T3 & thyroid antibodies. TSH is, in fact, the last thing to change and is checking your brain, not your thyroid!

This is in support of all of those who have been told time and time again that their thyroid is fine, and ‘maybe you’re imagining how tired you are’, or ‘it’s all in your head, here’s a script for an anti-depressant’ 😩

When your General Practioner “tests your thyroid” on a blood test, the starting point is TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is made in your brain and stimulates the thyroid to make free T3 and free T4. So, it’s actually testing your brain, not your thyroid. If TSH is in range (0.5-5) then you are told your thyroid is fine. So one patient can have a TSH of 0.55 and another 4.65 (huge difference) and they’re both fine?? I don’t think so!!

The problem is, if you are in range, then no further testing of the actual thyroid hormones gets done 😖🤬!

A thyroid panel is much more thorough and complete. It gives a rounded picture as to what is actually happening with thyroid function and usually, the answers lie within it. It is very seldom that it all comes back ‘normal’. For most, it is an enormous relief to know that something is actually going on biochemically, hormonally, and it’s not just in their head. There is a reason for their constant exhaustion, inability to lose weight, weight gain despite eating very little, depression, cold sensitivity, sluggish bowels, headaches, dry skin, chunks of hair loss, poor concentration, irritability...

Plus, we can then be more specific in how to fix it!
 

My Story

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis after years of facing a wide range of symptoms: dry skin, fatigue, digestive issues, brain fog, aching joints, headaches, heart palpations, temperature changes, constipation, recurrent infections and constant sore throats.

When I was first diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, I had thyroid antibody levels at 701 IU/ml (normal is under 34) and a normal TSH level (but my symptoms were obviously anything but normal). I, therefore, was not put on medication but just told to carry on as I was until my thyroid would eventually ‘give up’.

In 2015, when my thyroid did finally ‘give up’ – I was put on medication which in part was good as it normalized my TSH levels – but I continued to experience a whole swing of symptoms.

I didn’t make the link straight away that I was feeling the way I was as a result of Hashimoto’s. I’d seen many doctors about how I was feeling and they’d never linked my symptoms to my underactive thyroid. I naively assumed that because I was on medication – I shouldn’t have any Hashimoto’s symptoms.

Little did I know at the time, was that even though the medication was balancing my thyroid function, my antibodies were still high. This meant that the autoimmune attack and therefore inflammation was still going on in my body – causing symptoms.

Through my research what I found was that many people (including myself) can go years before they are diagnosed, as most doctors don’t run comprehensive thyroid panels. Many doctors will often just check your TSH which will not show if there is an underlying autoimmune component. You will need your Thyroid Antibodies (Thyroid peroxidase antibodies – TPOAb and Thyroglobulin Antibodies – TgAb) checked to determine this.

 

What Testing should I know about?

 

TSH, T3, T4 Testing

Your TSH is generally the screening test that most doctors will do as a marker of thyroid function. However this can fluctuate, so it may not always show abnormalities straight away, especially in Hashimoto’s. This can mean that Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is not always picked up until it has advanced.  However, if Hashimoto’s is left untreated, it will eventually present with elevated TSH.

Most functional medicine physicians suggest TSH should actually be around 1 and 2 IU/ml for patients to feel their best.

Other tests I would have checked to give you the big picture would be Free T3 and Free T4 levels. These reveal the amount of circulating hormone available to the body.

N.B. In pregnancy – TSH levels that don’t fall within the optimal range can have serious implications on a baby’s IQ, miscarriage, preterm delivery and even the ability to fall pregnant. There is also an association between increased risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery in those displaying thyroid antibodies. Current 2017 American Thyroid Association Guidelines for pregnancy can be found hereThe ‘Australian Thyroid Association” recommends that if you are planning to conceive, ensure that your TSH is not over 2.5 IU/ml and that you are monitored throughout your pregnancy if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Be sure to talk to your practitioner if you have any concerns.

 

Thyroid Antibodies

Many doctors will only check TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) for thyroid function, however, if you suspect Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis it is imperative that you get tested for thyroid antibodies –  thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb).

These thyroid antibodies can become elevated years before TSH is affected, and are associated with the whole range of Hashimoto’s symptoms. (This is why I had been symptomatic for years prior to diagnosis – as my TSH was still within range and I had never been checked for antibodies.)

There are some cases where antibodies are not present but the patient actually has Hashimoto’s. This is generally when there has been so much thyroid destruction and autoimmune inflammation that the body no longer produces thyroid antibodies. In this case, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can be picked up via thyroid ultrasound.


Why did my doctor only check my TSH?
 

Many doctors simply don’t test their patients for Hashimoto’s because the conventional medical model treats autoimmune thyroid disorders in the same way as they would treat someone with a nutrient deficiency induced thyroid disorder.

If you’ve been told that you have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) then you should ask your doctor whether they can also test for Hashimoto’s.

Medications are a great tool and can be imperative for many in overcoming Hashimoto’s. But while medication helps replace the hormones that the thyroid is no longer making, it doesn’t repair the underlying attack in Autoimmune Thyroiditis.

Only you know how you truly feel so chat with your practitioner if your TSH lab results are falling within ‘normal’ range, but you still do not feel right.  

Don’t be afraid to speak openly with your doctor to ensure that you are treated from your symptoms and not just from your lab values.

Lifestyle modifications really helped me on my healing journey – to greatly reduce my thyroid antibodies and eventually remove symptoms.



So, tell me ; have you had your thyroid checked?