Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Food Shall Be Our Medicine, Our Medicine Shall Be Our Food

Wow, I can't believe it has been over a month since I last sat down and updated how I am feeling. It is amazing to me that summer is nearing an end and soon we will be bundling up to brave the cold. I was brutally reminded in July just how much food dictates our well being and existence. My sister came in town to celebrate her 40th birthday with all of her family. This is my sister that lives in North Carolina and is Vegan slowly weaning herself off Gluten as well. She suffers from Fibromyalgia and Sjogrens and battles daily to feel "normal".

One might think she would be the perfect partner in crime when having to eat a certain way and avoid specific foods. Well, that would be far fetched, she is actually the one who holds your hand gently and leads you down the path of lollipops, Iowa Chocolate Cake, Cherry Cobbler, cheese saturated nachos, tasty "adult" beverages, just to name a few. So while she was here I indulged in some of my favorites, well ok, a lot of my favorites that have been off limits since I started this natural approach in April. I assumed I would feel run down and lethargic and might have the normal upset stomach followed by numerous bathroom visits but boy did I underestimate that by a long shot. And I guess I can't blame my sister although I would like too. It isn't her job to keep me on track but man, it would be nice if she would throw my a bone once in a while. :) Just kidding Bubbles.

I digress. Anyways, I am still reeling from the effects of an indulgent splurge performed nearly a month ago. My energy was effected but not to the degree I assumed it would be. Where I am feeling it most is the pain in my body. My hands have started to ache again, I constantly have a dull ache in my head and my neck and back are tight. My tailbone has started to hurt to an extreme again to where it is evident every time I sit down and my feet ache all the time. I had for the most part gotten rid of most of my symptoms after doing the elimination/detox for 21 days. Don't get me wrong, I still had aches here and there but nothing like I what it was before April. I guess splurging one meal every once in awhile isn't as noticeable for me like splurging for a week on almost every meal is. I have had the occasional slip up and maybe had the upset stomach or felt sluggish the next day but never have I had all the symptoms return and last this long.

With that being said, I am going to undergo another 21 day elimination/detox without the Clearvite SF and remove all red meat and get back to the basics of veggies and clean proteins. I have also up'd my supplement dosage to aide in helping my body recover per Dr. Pickel's instruction.

All that to learn a hard lesson, Our Food Shall Be Our Medicine and Our Medicine Shall Be Our Food. Hippocrates must have known a little something about something because I couldn't have said it better myself. If you think what you eat doesn't greatly effect every fiber of your being, THINK AGAIN!

The ailments we suffer from are happening for a reason and I believe that those reasons can many times be solved with simply changing the way you eat and the things you allow in your body. You can choose to try on a new band-aid for every little ailment you suffer from or you can become proactive in figuring out why you are the way you are and what you can do to change it. It starts with you, so what are you waiting for?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Milk. It does a body good, or does it?

Here is an interesting article on Milk I found. I am a firm believer that milk is something that should not be drank by humans as we are the only species that continues to drink milk after being weaned from our mother and we drink the milk of an animal which isn't even our own species. I have switched to Almond or Rice milk and have made my family do the switch too. My kids protested initially but guess who won that battle? That's right, she who does the grocery shopping. :) It is an acquired test but a beneficial one and for those who suffer from different ailments, removing dairy alone can sometimes make a huge difference in how you feel. Read on and you may find this article interesting and a reason for some of the issues you may be experiencing today.


Despite having a low Glycemic Index and Load, milk (even fermented milk such as yogurt) has been shown to elicit a very high insulin response. This has been shown repeatedly in intervention studies (*1-6).

You may ask, "What's wrong with causing this high insulin response?". Constantly increasing insulin levels may make the insulin receptors less sensitive (Type 2 Diabetes). This can lead to insulin resistance. This is the primary defect causing The Metabolic Syndrome, and can also be a driving force in Obesity. In addition, a chronic state of high insulin levels have also been associated certain cancers, acne and juvenile myopia, among other diseases.

As you will read below, studies show that the negative affects of dairy outweigh the positive. How much damage has dairy done to your body over the years? We can provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your blood tests that will show how much internal damage has been done, and provide recommendations on reversing and repairing the damage.

Various studies have associated dairy consumption with Type 1 Diabetes (*7-14), especially when the initial exposure begins in the first months of life. In addition, studies have repeatedly shown a strong correlation between cow's milk consumption and Multiple Sclerosis (*15-19) as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis (*20).

What may be astonishing to some, case studies have shown that elimination of milk and dairy products from the diets of patients with RA improved symptoms, and the disease was markedly exacerbated on re-challenge. As if this weren't enough, cow's milk is also appears to have adverse effects in other auto-immune diseases, such as Crohn's disease (*21), Sjögren's syndrome (*22), IgA nephropathy (*23-25), and even Celiac Disease (*26).

While milk does contain proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins and minerals, it also contains various growth-stimulating steroid and peptide hormones.

Cow's milk, as well as human milk (and presumably milk from all mammals) contains insulin (*27-31). Bovine insulin - BI (which differs from human insulin) survives pasteurization.

We know this because immunity to this hormone is common in children who consume cow's milk or who have been exposed to infant formulas containing cow's milk (*32-35). Moreover, there is evidence that BI survives the human digestive processes and crosses the gut barrier intact. This is especially troubling for infants because they have higher intestinal permeability than older children and adults. Chronically high insulin levels have been associated with insulin resistance and Metabolic Syndrome.

IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1)
Cow's milk contains active IGF-1 (*36). While pasteurization and fermentation appear to reduce its content, cow's milk consumption, compared to various foods, is associated with higher plasma IGF-1 concentrations in both children (*37-40) and adults (*41-45). In addition, to containing active IGF-1, milks effect on insulin levels could lead to higher plasma IGF-1 (*58). IGF-1 is a hormone similar in molecular structure to insulin. It plays an important role in childhood growth and continues to have anabolic effects (increased body size) in adults. Several studies have shown that increased levels of IGF lead to an increased risk of cancer (*55).

Betacellulin (BTC) is quite new in the realm of investigating issue with dairy. It belongs to the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) family of hormones, and it is found not only in cow's milk and whey, but also in cheese (*46), so it survives pasteurization and processing. Although no direct evidence exists yet, bovine milk contains peptidase inhibitors which prevent human gut enzymes from degrading EGF2 (and most likely BTC). A low ph, such as may be found in the gut, does not impair or prevent BTC from binding its receptor and there are EGF receptors in the gut, through which BTC may enter circulation (*47). BTC has a significant growth stimulatory effect on pancreatic cancer cells (*56).

Steroid Hormones
Most milk for human consumption is obtained from cows in the latter half of pregnancy. This is when estrogen metabolites are greatly elevated (*48-50). The next question is "do the estrogens survive pasteurization?". US researchers have measured estrogen metabolites in various milks and found that buttermilk contains the highest total amount of estrogen metabolites, followed by skim milk, 2% milk and whole milk (*48). This confirms the estrogens do in fact survive pasteurization and therefore are consumed when one drinks milk. Consuming milk and dairy products can account for 70–80% of the total estrogens consumed in the human diet (*48-49). Estrone sulphate has high oral bioactivity and is the most prevalent form of estrogen in cow's milk (*48-49). You should also know that estrone sulphate comprises 45% of the conjugated estrogens in Premarin and Prempro, the most frequently prescribed hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women (*49).

The evidence is accumulating concerning the adverse health effects associated with dairy consumption. Although evidence doesn't always show how dairy consumption can cause the adverse effects, dairy avoidance is highly recommended.

Milk has a very high calcium/magnesium ratio and may contribute to some micronutrient imbalances.

The role of calcium in preventing and treating osteoporosis is unclear — some populations with extremely low calcium intake also have extremely low rates of bone fracture, and others with high rates of calcium intake through milk and milk products have higher rates of bone fracture. Other factors, such as protein, salt and vitamin D intake, exercise and exposure to sunlight, can all influence bone mineralization, making calcium intake one factor among many in the development of osteoporosis (*82, 83-85, 89).

Calcium intake in the U.S. is one of the highest in the world, yet the US has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. Bone mineral content is dependent upon calcium intake and calcium excretion. Most people focus upon the calcium intake side of the calcium balance equation, however few consider that calcium excretion is just as important.

Bone health is very dependent on dietary acid/base balance. Simply put, generally speaking a high protein diet is ‘acidic' and a high fruit/vegetable diet would be considered "alkaline". When you consume food that's highly "acidic", the acid must be buffered by the alkaline stores in the body. Calcium salts in the bones represent the largest alkaline stores in the body. These calcium stores are depleted and eliminated in the urine when the diet produces a high acid load. Because the average American diet is loaded with acid producing grains, cheeses, salted processed foods, and fatty meats, it produces a net acid load and promotes bone de-mineralization. Don't get us wrong, you need protein! But you must consume plenty of green vegetables and fruits so your body doesn't use excess calcium from the bones to neutralize a highly acidic diet. In addition, consider your status of Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Magnesium levels. You may be missing something! Get tested to determine your status.

Elimination Diet & Detox

I have people ask me how to go about doing an elimination diet and detox. There are many options out there if you simply Google Elimination Diet or Detox but here are the steps I followed from my doctor to complete a 21 day elimination diet and detox. I was using a powder as well that I would drink everyday call Clearvite-SF that helped my liver process and eliminate toxins more efficiently. I am not sure if this is something that can be purchased without being under the supervision of a doctor or specialist or if there is an alternative in the event that it can't I will ask my doctor if it is something he sells to people who aren't patients but suffer from auto immune disorders and want to complete a detox before changing their eating habits. You can always Google Clearvite-SF and see if you find a retailer that sells it or check eBay. As always, you should always consult your physician before starting any dietary changes. I will put the servings I followed for the Clearvite-SF while doing my detox in here so that you can see how much I was taking and how often. If you do not use Clearvite-SF you can simply follow that instructions for eating to help determine if you have any food sensitivity or allergies during the reintroduction phase.

Days 1-4: Preparation Phase 1

One serving daily of Clearvite-SF just before Breakfast

A serving size for me was 1 scoop with 8 oz. of Almond or Rice Milk

Days 5-7: Preparation Phase 2

Two Servings daily of Clearvite-SF one before Breakfast, One before Dinner

Dietary Plan to follow during days 1-7:

Foods to Avoid:

*Any food that you are allergic to.
*Dairy (milk,cheeses,yogurt,butter), eggs, margarine, and shortening
*Foods prepared with Gluten containing cereals like wheat, oats, rye, barley, normally found in breads, pasta, etc.
*Tomotoes and tomato sauces, corn, peanuts
*Alcohol, Caffeine (coffee, black tea, sodas)
*Soy or products made from soy, such as soymilk or tofu
*Peanuts or peanut butter
*Beef, Pork, cold cuts, bacon, hotdogs, canned meat, sausage, shellfish, meat analogues made from Soy

Foods To Eat:

*Drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses daily or more), Vegetable juices
*Consume grain foods made from rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat or tapioca
*Fresh fruits, vegetables, beans (navy, white, red kidney, etc.), peas (fresh, split, snap)
*Consume mainly fish (not shellfish), and moderate amounts of chicken, turkey, and lamb. *Please note, only buy unseasoned plain meat and check your seasoning or marinades for Gluten as this is commonly added to seasonings and marinades*
*Use mainly Olive Oil, Canola and Flax seed oil in moderation

Days 8-14: Detoxification Phase

Three servings daily of Clearvite-SF, one before Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


*Avoid all foods in the "Foods to Avoid" section listed above
*Use all foods in the "Foods to Eat" section listed above EXCEPT ELIMINATE ALL ANIMAL PRODUCTS FROM THE DIET (including Fish, Chicken, Turkey and Lamb)

Days 15-17: Completion Phase 1

Two Servings Daily of Clearvite SF, One before Breakfast and One before Dinner


*Avoid all of the foods in the "Foods to Avoid" section listed above
*Use all of the foods in the "Foods to Eat" section listed above adding back into your diet ALL OF THE ANIMAL PRODUCTS (Fish, Chicken, Turkey and Lamb)

Days 18-21: Completion Phase 2

One Serving Daily of Clearvite SF just before Breakfast


*Avoid all of the foods in the "Foods to Avoid" section listed above
*Use all of the foods in the "Foods to Eat" section listed above adding back into your diet ALL OF THE ANIMAL PRODUCTS (Fish, Chicken, Turkey and Lamb)

ONCE YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE 21 DAY ELIMINATION AND DETOX, YOU WILL START REINTRODUCING ONE FOOD AT A TIME EVERY 3 DAYS. If you have an adverse reaction to a food, your body will flare up and let you know within 3 days of eating that particular food so it is important that you only introduce one food at a time every 3 days so that you can be certain any negative reactions are coming from that particular food.

As always, it is preferred that when choosing fruits and vegetables, organic is the best option. If you don't want the added cost, choose non-organic fruits and vegetables that have a thick skin or peel but try and stick to organic for ones that don't. If possible, always try to buy organic, free range meat with no hormones.

Use Almond or Rice milk as a substitute for Cows Milk and there is Egg Replacement you can purchase at Whole Foods or Health Food stores to substitute with when a recipe calls for Eggs.

I hope this helps you get started to detoxing your system and helping your immune system correct the inflammation it's been battling. Remember, this is a lifestyle change and once you complete this elimination detox, it is important to eat clean and avoid Soy, Dairy, Gluten, Corn, Chicken Eggs, or any other known allergies you have to keep your immune system from flaring up again. And keep in mind that this 21 day process can be done anytime you have gotten way off course and feel you need to give your body a break and start over. I wouldn't recommend using Clearvite-SF or any other supplement you may use without direct supervision of a doctor but the eating is a great way to redirect your immune system and give it a break while you start over again.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Looking Good

So it's been awhile since I last posted which I did intentionally so I could give myself some time to report on any changes I have noticed. I completed the 21 day detox and began reintroducing foods back into my diet. I chose to start with the 4 supplements I will be taking including an emulsified Vitamin D liquid, an emulsified Omega CO-3 liquid, a Glutathione/Superoxide cream and Methyl-SP supplement. I introduce one new thing every 3 days as your body will have a reaction to something within 3 days of eating it. Once I finished introducing the supplements I began introducing foods such as tomatoes and corn first. These two items were forbidden during the detox phase as they can often times be a food that people with immune conditions can be sensitive too and they can trigger immune reactions in someone with a weakened system. I was glad to have no adverse reactions after eating these items as it means I can now return to eating chips and salsa and corn tortillas.

One thing I have noticed when checking labels to find food that is Gluten Free, Soy Free and Dairy Free is that a lot of items that are Gluten and Dairy free often times contain Soy. Companies seem to be using Soybean Oil a lot more these days for cooking since Corn is being used for Ethanol in gas more and more. That has proven to be frustrating as it limits me from a lot more foods than expected. Even things that I would never suspect Soy to be in has Soybean Oil commonly listed as an ingredient. Some labels will say that it may be cooked in Corn, Vegetable, Canola or Soybean oil but it is to risky for me to chance that it may not have been Soybean Oil that particular time.

Needless to say, Whole Foods and Hy-Vee have become my 2 most commonly used grocery stores. I bought some Salmon the other day from Whole Foods and I have not had any desire to eat Salmon for quite a while now. I used to eat it at least once a week but haven't eaten it in many, many months. Needless to say, I bought some and grilled it with some of the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil from the Tasteful Olive and added some Montreal Salmon seasoning and a slice of lemon on top and it was wonderful!! I don't know if it is just better quality coming from Whole Foods but I don't plan to buy Salmon from the local grocery store again. I know I will pay more but it is a compromise I'm willing to make. I am still restricted from any type of fruit due to the sugar in it until we get my blood sugar under control which is the next phase.

So, now that I have completed my 21 day detox and started my induction diet I have to tell you how I am feeling. I noticeably have more energy which has proven to be a catch 22 for me lately. I often times find myself doing more than I should because I feel good and than at night I am wiped out and lethargic and it sticks with me for the next 2 to 3 days. This would be the exact reason why I am not allowed to work out or do any strenuous activities until given the go ahead. Nonetheless, it feels great to not be dead tired all day and I don't even have those mid day slumps that demand me to take a catnap like I used too. I might still get tired, but I still function well and don't have to lay down and sleep for a half hour to feel normal again.

I also have had my Psoriasis clear up that has been lingering for over a year now!! I have a spot on my back that has been there for many years that is finally going away and is almost completely gone. You don't even know how exciting this is for me and is physical evidence that my immune system is responding and making progress in the right direction. I have also had many people comment on my skin glowing and looking healthy and rich, especially in my face and I have noticed that I'm not getting pimples hardly at all like I used to before. I wouldn't get major breakouts but it seemed like I always had a pimple at any given time and now I rarely have any and if I do they are very small and not very noticeable. Can't complain about that one can I? And last but not least, I have managed to lose 5 lbs. and fit into jeans that I haven't worn since before I had my 6th child almost 4 years ago. I did a happy dance the day I put them on and was able to actually button them without laying down and sucking in every inch that I could. I know I have lost several inches but I didn't measure myself before but many people have noticed and commented that I look like I have lost weight. So, to have accomplished all that and never have to step a foot in the gym or see a dermatologist or plastic surgeon is pretty awesome in my book and makes the money I am spending well worth it!!

I am excited to see how much further I will go and how much better I will feel as I continue down this path. I'm only 6 weeks in and already see and feel a major difference. I wonder what the results will be in 6 more weeks!! Can't wait to tell you all about it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day by Day

So I have to tell you that I am noticing a difference in my energy levels. I still have my mid day slump sometimes but not like I was on a daily basis and I am sleeping much better. Come 10:30 at night I am ready for bed and that's saying a lot for this night owl. I am waking up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to face the day and not groggy and struggling to get started as much.

One down side is that I have had a lot of pain and discomfort in my hands, wrists, shoulders, neck, back, tailbone and feet. My doctor said that is a sign of my immune system being triggered as a result of the detox and we will keep an eye on it. I have never had the discomfort and stiffness to this degree before in my hands and I have never had my wrists hurt this way. On Sunday I had stabbing pain in my right arm that radiated down and my chest started hurting and had it been in my left arm I would have thought I was having a heart attack that's how intense it got. It happened a few times on Sunday and again on Monday but hasn't happened since then. Hopefully it won't ever happen again. I'm back to my feet aching every morning when I first get out of bed which I dealt with last year when I was taking Spin classes at the gym daily but it subsided when I cut back.

My biggest concern with these symptoms is that my sister who has Fibromyalgia said that she experienced these exact same symptoms when she was first diagnosed. I can only hope that is not what I am dealing with but rather just my body getting acclimated to my diet change and adjusting while I purge myself of gluten, casein, and soy.

I have been drinking my shake and really look forward to it daily as it gives me my chocolate fix and is tasty. I am eating only veggies, beans, rice, lentils and quineoa right now and can't have meat for the next 7 days. It will be interesting to see if I notice a difference in how I feel from eliminating meat all together and then reintroducing it. I have been doing good with staying on track food wise and am getting better at detecting labels for gluten and learning which foods to buy. It is definitely hard to find gluten free products that are also soy free, egg free or dairy free. In my experience many of the products that are gluten free contain soy. As I find foods that I can eat that fall into the category of Gluten free, Soy free, Dairy free, Egg free I will post them on here to hopefully help others spend less time in the aisles reading labels.

I am seeing a pain management specialist on Monday and will follow up and let you all know how that goes. Hopefully they will have some answers for me and not just prescription medicine. Til then enjoy your weekend and Happy Mothers Day to all you moms out there!!

The Tasteful Olive

So I have to tell you about this cool little specialty shop right around the corner from my doctors office. It is called the Tasteful Olive and they carry a vast array of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. They have traditional olive oil as well as many flavored ones as well as traditional aged balsamic vinegar and flavored ones. I stopped in there and they have all the oils and vinegars in steel barrels where they have little paper cups for you to taste each flavor before you buy. THEY WERE ALL AMAZING!

I tried the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil which I had to buy. It is naturally flavored with Oregano, Basil, Rosemary and Garlic and is YUMM-O. I also bought a bottle of the traditional EVOO and a bottle of Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar. I can't even describe how good they are, you have to try it for yourself. The neat thing about this store is they have gourmet items like Olive Tampenade, Artichoke and Piquillo Pepper spread, flavor infused Sea Salts, Spices, Pastas, Jams, Jelly and Sugars and recipe cards sprinkled throughout that you can help yourself too. They even have skin and hair products made from Olive Oil.

I can't say enough about this place. It is one of my new favorite places to go and is an amazing find for me since I will be using natural seasonings now. I used the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil the other day to make skillet potatoes and they were delicious. My kids and husband loved them as much as I did and I didn't even have to add much seasoning because the flavor of the Olive Oil was so good.

I went back last weekend with my mom and sisters and picked up a bottle of their new Toasted Almond Oil which literally tastes like toasted almonds. I made fresh green beans last night with toasted almond slivers and instead of using butter I used the Almond Oil and it was better than ever and a lot less calories. I also tried their White Peach Balsamic Vinegar and it tasted exactly like a peach Jolly Rancher. Just think how good that would be on a fresh bed of greens. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

Be sure to check them out if you are local as they are in Historic Downtown Overland Park at 7945 Santa Fe Drive. If you are out of town and want to experience yumminess at its best you can visit their website at to order. You can also find them on facebook by searching for The Tasteful Olive.

The Farmers Market is also in that area on Saturdays and the store opens at 8 am so you can always drop in after picking up fresh local produce.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Understanding Hashimoto's

When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's I didn't understand what it was other then it was an auto-immune disorder. To be honest with you, I didn't really even understand what exactly auto-immune meant when it came my Thyroid. I understood it as I had a Thyroid problem. After learning about Dr. Pickel, I was introduced to a book written by Dr. Datis Kharrazian called Why Do I Have Still Have These Symptoms If My Lab Results Are Normal? Dr. Kharrazian teaches other health practitioners about Hashimoto's and Hypothyroidism arming them with the knowledge to control it with no medication. He is also the one that my Dr. studies under.

I read his book and gained so much knowledge that I had never heard before. For starters, Hashimoto's is not a Thryoid condition, it is an immune condition which means that it can be corrected and controlled with the right treatment. It isn't your Thyroid that is the problem, it is your inflammed immune system that is constantly fighting itself. Once an auto-immune disorder has been switched on, it can never be switched off. It can, however, be halted and in some cases reversed. One of the testimonies in this book talks about a gentleman with Hashimoto's getting better with the same kind of treatment plan I am on and after doing so the hypopigmentation (Vitiligo) on the back of his hands that he had for 20+ years reversed and started to pigment again. I have NEVER had a doctor tell me that Vitiligo can be reversed. That is amazing to me and gives me hope that not just my thyroid condition but all my conditions can get better.

Another important thing to know about Hashimoto's is that the thyroid tissue looks almost identical to the gluten protein. Therefore, if you have Hashimoto's you should NOT eat gluten because when you do your body will attack itself more because it cannot differentiate between the thyroid tissue and the gluten protein. You don't have to have a gluten sensitivity although most people who suffer from Hashimoto's do have a sensitivity to it and should stop eating it all together forever or in some cases until they control their immune system. My opinion is that if you have Hashimoto's why eat something that will encourage your body to attack itself and go straight for your thyroid which is your bodies engine. More often than not, Hashimoto's and Gluten Intolerance go hand in hand and usually if you have one, you have the other. I personally have full blown Celiac Disease which is where my body has antibodies for Celiac. Having antibodies is not a good thing when you already have auto-immune disorders because it increases the inflammation and your body begins fighting to correct those antibodies creating a viscious cycle that pushes the progression of your conditions making them worse. People with Gluten Sensitivity or Intolerance can possible eat Gluten down the road after correcting their immune system but not always. If you do start eating it again you have to be careful not to digress and create inflammation again which could result in Celiac Disease.

There is so much to learn about Hashimoto's if you have it or think you could possibly be suffering from Hypothyroid. Wrapping your brain around it and understanding what is happening internally is imperative so that you can begin to listen to your body and respond accordingly.

If you know that you suffer from Hashimoto's I strongly encourage you to read the book Dr. Kharrazian wrote. It is eye opening and will answer many of the questions you have and give you hope that the future can be different and free of Synthroid or other Thyroid Replacement Hormones. There is so much to share so I will have information sprinkled throughout each post I write but this is the basic info I want you to know and understand now. As I said before, if you have Hashimoto's and still eat Gluten, I strongly encourage you to stop as it is just increasing the rate at which your Thyroid is being destroyed. If you have symptoms that coincide with Hypothyroid, you can ask your Dr. for a simple blood test that can determine if you have Hashimoto's or not. Please be aware that it is common to have a false negative and if you feel as though your negative results may in fact be inaccurate, you can request to be tested again. Never take no for an answer.

Kale Chips Recipe

So this is a super easy snack that tastes great. You can season it however you like and experiment with different things to change it up a bit. Kale is usually located in the produce department near the fresh Parsley, Cilantro and other herbs. If it is not there then check near the various types of lettuce and spinach.

Buy one to two bushels depending on how much you want to make. One bushel is usually enough for 1 to 2 people. Wash the bushel in cold water and shake dry. Break leaves off into smaller pieces but not tiny. Probably the size of small post it note or a little larger. Line baking sheet with foil and lay Kale out on it. Spray with Pam Olive Oil cooking spray or you can choose to drizzle EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) on it. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. I prefer sea salt but you can use regular table salt. You can also experiment with Garlic salt, paprika, seasoned salt or anything you can think of. If it is something new you haven't tried before maybe try it on a small portion of what your making so that if it doesn't turn out good you won't be wasting a whole bushel.

Feel free to comment on here if you try something new and really like it. Enjoy!

What will I eat?

Oh this is a question I know I will ask myself many times over. What will I eat? It surely won't be what they are eating. I started my detoxification process on Easter Sunday and let's just say that probably wasn't the best day to start. I had initally wanted to wait until Monday but decided that I would challenge myself with the temptation of restricted food and see how I fared. I think I did pretty good but wasn't totally successful.

We had lunch at my moms house where she had her famous potato salad, fresh fruit and wonderful dip, veggies with ranch dip, black olives, ham, pea salad, deviled eggs and chipotle bread. My biggest temptation was probably the deviled eggs. Just looking at them and knowing that I could not eat those little buggers drove me crazy. They looked decadent. I did have one but managed to avoid eating the forbidden items suprisingly well. I had a lot of raw veggies without the dip and a lot of fresh fruit without the dip. I also enjoyed some black olives. I did have a tiny bite of ham off my child's plate before I caught myself and threw the rest away. I also caved and had a bite of my moms potato salad that she rarely makes and is a favorite from childhood.

I will say this, I am happy that I did as well as I did and didn't say oh well, and pile high a plate of food that I knew would make me suffer later. I did have a few bites but for it being day 1 on Easter I think I managed to restrain myself greatly. You are talking to a total foodie here. Now if there had been chocolate cake we may have had a problem. :)

Afterwards we went to my mother-in-laws where the selection was bring your own meat to grill, pasta salad, skillet new potatoes and fresh fruit. I enjoyed another helping of fresh fruit, brought turkey burgers to grill with no bun, and enjoyed some of the new potatoes. I did have a tiny piece of strawberry shortcake for dessert that was smaller than small. It was also one of my recipes I shared with my sister-in-law that I absolutely love and is fresh and light and makes the perfect spring or summer dessert.

So all in all I would have to say that it was a success for me especially knowing that I couldn't eat most of it and really wanted too. I did do much better on Monday being at home in a controlled environment and avoided the easter candy completely. I have been feeling very run down and tired which I'm sure is a result of me detoxing my body. It is very common for people to get sick during a detoxification process ranging from fatigue to vomiting and everything in between.

So here is a simple rundown of what I ate for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner yesterday so that you have an idea of what I can eat. While I am doing the detox phase I am taking a powder supplement that is like drinking a protein shake called ClearVite. It is a systemic nutritional and detoxification support program and for my treatment plan I am having one shake in the morning on days 1-4.

8 0z. Almond Milk
1 scoop ClearVite

30 mins later:
Handful of Fresh Fruit

Mid-Morning Snack:
10 Natural Almonds


4 slices Turkey Bacon
3 pieces of raw Broccoli
5 baby Carrots

Afternoon Snack:

Kale Chips


1 Chicken Breast seasoned with lemon, dill, salt and pepper to taste
1 c. Frozen Okra cooked
1/4 c. Lentils seasoned with lemon and salt and pepper to taste

Evening Snack:

12 Walnuts

You might be wondering why I am eating so often and that is because this is what I was told to do. It is important for me to eat regularly to try and level out my blood sugar as I have insulin resistance. Anyone should eat this often just to keep their metabolism burning at a consistent rate. I will post recipes for some of the things I make such as the Kale Chips which are a tasty snack, super easy to make and even my kids love them. You can also check out for more great gluten free, vegan recipes and ideas. It is a farely new site but much more will be added so keep checking back often. You can find it on Facebook too, just search for The Freedom Chef.

I have ordered some gluten free vegan cookbooks and as I try new recipes and find ones that I like I will share the books I found them in. Since I am on such a limited diet for now I won't be indulging in any of the good stuff like cupcakes or muffins but in due time. Another website you can find yummy cookies at is and is operated by a woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and went gluten free and ended up being cured. My sister-in-law who doesn't have to eat gluten free tried her cookies and said they were delicious. You can also check out and for more info why changing your diet and lifestyle may be to your advantage.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Make It Happen

I have been struggling for years to feel "normal" with no solid answers as to why I feel like a stranger in my own body. I am a 32 yr old mother of 7 who is happily married. I had my first child shortly after I turned 18 and made a trend of having another baby every 2 years thereafter. I had my last baby when I was 30 and came to the conclusion that no one was missing anymore so it was time to tie my sweet little tubes. It was shortly after having baby number 7 that I noticed I wasn't losing weight very easily and I was tired and fatigued all the time. I had also started to miss my periods which was not normal for me and I harassed my Gynecologist relentlessly to draw blood and check for a pregnancy inspite of several negative at home tests. Luckily, my blood test was negative but in the process of testing me for a pregnancy I had a thyroid panel ran as well which showed that my TSH levels were in the high normal range. It was at that time that I began seeing an Endocrinologist and started taking the lowest dose of Synthroid which is a thryoid replacement hormone. It was discovered that I had an auto immune disorder called Hashimoto's which is where your body attacks your thyroid. My concerns were raised because I already suffered from another auto immune disorder called Vitiligo, aka the Michael Jackson disease. It is where your body attacks your melanin cells causing hypopigmentation turning your skin white. If you have ever seen a person with white spots randomly placed on their body while other areas are of normal skin tone, that is Vitiligo. It struck me as odd that now I had another auto immune disorder that effected my thyroid and was the reason for my fatigue and struggle to lose weight. All I could do was wonder when will it stop and how can I be a catalyst to make it better.

After starting the Synthroid in January of 2010 I felt great. I was hitting the gym every morning and losing weight. I had more energy than normal and didn't have the afternoon drag that I had lived with for over a year. One thing I did notice is that when I would leave my house and be in an environment where there was a lot of people I would start to feel nervous and overwhelmed and want to go to home. I would often times scope out the nearest bathroom just in case I got sick. It didn't take long to realize that I was suffering from anxiety attacks. After filling my prescription for Synthroid one day I happened to read the side effects on the pamphlet that came with it and sure enough, anxiety was listed. I called my Endocrinologist to inform them of how I was feeling and what I thought it stemmed from only to be told that I was on the lowest dose possible and that if I didn't want to keep taking the medication there was nothing they could do for me. Really? That's all you can say? I was livid and couldn't believe that the person I put my trust in to help me didn't have an answer. I opted to stop taking the Synthroid for 10 weeks to see how I felt once it was out of my system and then decide if I would start taking it again or not. I noticed a decline in my anxiety level and the frequency in attacks when I left the house but it was still there to some degree. I made the decision to stay off the Synthroid completely rather than continue taking it while pairing it with Xanax to control the anxiety.

In July of 2010 I caught up with an old friend who told me about a Naturopath Doctor who specialized in Hashimoto's and could help me with my auto immune disorders. I was ecstatic as I hadn't been able to get any results from my traditional doctors and felt I was headed towards a dead end. Later that week I caught a commercial on TV of that very Doctor talking about Hashimoto's and how to control it without the use of prescription medication. I was convinced that it wasn't coincidence and called to schedule an appointment. I went and had my initial consultation with Dr. Jason Pickel in Overland Park, KS and was blown away at the amount of information he shared with me regarding auto immune disorders and hypothyroid. Prior to the appointement I filled out a packet of questions which gave him an idea of how far my auto immune disorders had progressed and what parts of my body were being effected. I had never been told by any of the other doctors I had seen that auto immune disorders were progressive, meaning if you have one you are likely to acquire more as the inflammation in your body starts to attack new areas. I also felt like I had answers as to what caused the unexpected death of my father at the age of 57. As he was connecting the dots as to how auto immune disorders effect various parts of the bodies he mentioned the term "leaky gut" which is what they referred to my father as having hours before he passed away. I left his office overwhelmed with emotion as to just how serious my conditions were and could become if left untreated and yet I felt relieved because for the first time in my life I felt like someone listened to me, heard my health complaints and validated them. He gave me hope that I could get better and that my body was capable of reversing the conditions I suffered from with the proper treatment. The catch was that because he is a Naturopath doctor, insurance would not cover the cost of his treatment. Drug companies rule the roost and if you don't hand out presciptions you don't take insurance.

I couldn't afford to shell out the several thousands of dollars it was gonna cost me to seek 9 months of treatment with him so my husband and I decided we would wait and I would keep searching out traditional doctors. I was hoping I would get lucky and find someone who could help me and take insurance. Over the next several months I noticed I was becoming more and more fatigued with no motivation to go to the gym or even get out of bed most days. It took everything in me just to care for my 7 kids and maintain my household. I surely couldn't expend any extra energy on anything else as I didn't have it. I had come down with Strep throat from one of my kids and started noticing little red, dry patches of skin on my arms and legs. I wasn't sure what it was so I went to see a dermatologist who informed me that I had Psoriasis and having a Strep B infection can make you have an outbreak. Guess what, Psoriasis is also an auto immune disorder. Now I had 3 total and was becoming worried that things were progressing in a negative direction for me and quickly. I tried several prescription ointments and nothing seemed to clear up the Psoriasis. I couldn't get rid of it for the life of me and was becoming overly frustrated that nothing seemed to work. The dermatologist wanted to prescribe systemic antibiotics to which I refused. I knew my immune system was already failing me and the last thing I wanted to do was wipe it out completely. I decided I would keep using the ointments I was given and see if I could get it to keep the progression of the Psoriasis at bay and take my chances.

Finally in December I went to see my family care doctor because of a constant dull ache in my tailbone that never went away and left me unable to sit directly on it. It felt like someone had taken a steel toe boot and kicked me in my tailbone leaving it sore and bruised. She ran a battery of blood tests on me for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac, Auto Immune Disorders and Thyroid and well as an allergy test for the 32 most common allergies. All the tests came back negative. I was amazed that not one of them came back positive, especially knowing I suffered from auto immune disorders already. Finally, my husband said it was time to bite the bullet and start seeing the Naturopath doctor. I had my first appointment with Dr. Pickel in March and brought my husband along so that he could ask questions and gain understanding as to what was going on inside my body and how we would effectively treat it. We made the decision to delve in head first and see where this journey would take us. We are determined to regain my health and make it happen.

What It's All About

Thanks so much for your interest in my blog. I hope to enlighten others about Auto Immune Disorders and Celiac Disease. I currently suffer from 3 auto immune disorders such as Hashimoto's, Vitiligo and Psoriasis. I have recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and can no longer eat Gluten. I also have a sensitivity to Soy, Cows Milk and Chicken Eggs and have to remove them from my diet completely for the rest of my life.

I have sought out many traditional doctors over the years looking for answers and a way to feel better but the only answer I ever received was, "take this pill". I was tired of trying various "bandaids" that ultimately led me to other side effects or symptoms in the process of treating another condition. I was tired of chasing my tail and felt like I was given the run around every time I sat across from a doctor looking for answers. Dare I question there method of treatment or voice information that I had researched on my own. The concensus was always that it was ok to take a pill the rest of your life and there was always another pill to take care of any side effects that may result if needed.

Finally I said enough is enough and made the decision to seek out treatment from a Naturopath Chiropractor/Endocrinologist who specialized in Hashimoto's and auto immune disorders. I have never felt like a doctor listened to me and understood how I felt and validated why I felt that way. After one hour of meeting with the Naturopath Doctor I knew that he was the answer I had been looking for.

Please join me on my journey to reclaiming my health and taming the auto immune beast. I believe that God has given us everything we need to heal our body, mind and soul right here on this earth and know for a fact that our bodies are an amazing creation that have a way of correcting any conditions it might suffer from with the right treatment.

I hope that I can encourage those who are looking for answers and trying to understand why they feel the way they feel even though they might look healthy on the outside. If sharing my journey can lead one person in the right direction to changing their health and overall well being than this journey is worth it for me.

I strongly encourage you to listen to your body and never take no for an answer. No one can know how you feel on a day to day basis and if you feel like a stranger in your own body than listen while it screams at you and choose to be proactive in finding the reason why. I lost my father at the young age of 57 and it awakened me and made realize that I had to take control of my own health and never stop looking for the right answer that would make me better. If his premature death can prolong or save the lives of others than it wasn't in vain.

I know you can feel better and I believe that you can have the answers you need to know where to start on your road to wellness. Remove the bandaids and get to the root of the issue. It is possible and you can make it happen. Good luck and I look forward to sharing my journey with you.