Hypothyroid

3 Exercises to Boost Your Libido

There are three complaints that come strolling through my office on a regular basis:

1. Weight gain (you can read more about how to lose 5 pounds here)

2. Hair loss (want thick, beautiful hair and wrinkle free skin? Check this out)

3. Sex drive

Of the three, numbers 1 and 2 are fairly straightforward; number 3 on the other hand is loaded.

Sexuality and libido is a complicated topic. There are many layers of ourselves that go into our sexuality. There’s personal issues (history and trauma), power struggles within relationship, metabolic and hormonal factors, as well as structural factors (whether the pelvis and hips are open or locked) that can overlay our desires in the boudoir.

The trick to dealing with libido is by being gentle and kind with ourselves and approaching each layer as we can.

Want to learn how to open your pelvis safely? Read on.

It’s All Connected

Tight hips can have an impact on your hormones and your desire because darlin’, it’s all connected.

Tight hips can restrict blood flow. The femoral artery is a major artery that runs just inside the pelvis and provides blood for the ovaries and uterus. Tight hips will decrease the flow of blood to this area. Less blood flow means less hormonal input.

Less hormonal input, means less desire.

Now, it’s not just less hormonal input to the ovaries. There’s a bigger picture here. Because, you know from reading my work that your hormones are made by the endocrine system. Now when I say “system”, I mean system.

There’s not one gland that’s more important than another when it comes to your endocrine system. They all work together.

Often, practitioners will point to the thyroid or even the adrenals when a client says, “my sex drive is not what it used to be”. Honestly speaking, it takes all the glands [thyroid, pituitary, adrenals and ovaries/pancreas] to be functioning well to feel “in the mood again”.

An under-nourished ovary due to the lack of blood can be a big player in a hormonal meltdown. Your thyroid and adrenals can’t take all the blame.

Opening the Pelvis Can Be Key

There’s no denying that the pelvis is a hot spot when it comes to sexuality.

The pelvis is the seat of our reproductive organs and the center of the 1st chakra. It’s our foundation and in groovy terms, it can be viewed as the “seat of our soul”.

We tend to store our emotional/ sexual baggage here. Sometimes it’s hard to know if our stiffness and guardedness is a result of our lifestyle and inflexibility, or if the tightness is a result of our thoughts and traumas.

Sometimes it doesn’t really matter what tipped off the restrictions, sometimes it’s just more important to open the pelvis and get back in the flow again.

The following three exercises should be practiced as a sequence. Start with the first one and end with the last. All together, the exercises should take about 15 minutes. Be patient with the exercises and hold them. Stretching in and out (also known as “bouncing”) doesn’t create lasting change for the structure. Gently holding a pose will relax the nervous system and allow for a deeper shift in the system.

Practicing these 3 gems, 3 times a week will begin the process of unlocking your pelvis and boosting your desire.

Here's to open hips, connection, and  romance

~ Kristin

PS. Feel free to pass this tip along to a close friend. Because more love in the world is a good thing. XO

legs up the wall
legs up the wall

Legs Up the Wall

1. Lay on your back with your hips anywhere from 6-12 inches away from the wall. If your hamstrings are very tight, you might need to be further away from the wall.

2. Legs extend up the wall with the knees extended straight.

3. Support your head with a bolster.

4. Clasp your hands under the bolster if you can. If you can’t clasp your hands, hold the sides of the bolster.

5. Close your eyes, relax and breathe. Rest in the pose for 5 minutes.

spread legs up the wall
spread legs up the wall

Spread Legs Up the Wall

1. Switch the interlock of your hands (if your hands are clasped, otherwise just leave them as is holding the sides of the bolster.)

2. Spread legs into a V shape.

3. Relax your feet. Rotate your inner thigh so that your heel is in full contact with the wall. Your foot should not be rotated.

4. Close your eyes, relax and breathe. Rest in the pose for 5 minutes.

bent knees
bent knees

Bent Knees Spread Legs up the Wall

1. If your shoulders are sore, remove your arms. Do not stretch your arms or massage your shoulders, just bring them down to your side. Let your shoulders adjust. If there is no pain in your shoulders, then slide your hands under your bolster and extend your arms along the floor overhead. Stretch your hands and fingers under the bolster and extend your arms straight.

2. Bend your knees so that the soles of your feet contact the wall. Knees will be spread. This position is like a squat at the wall.

3. Close your eyes, relax and breathe. Although this pose can be uncomfortable for many, relax into the pose and hold for 3-5 minutes.

Want to Lose 5 pounds easily? Get started with this 1 quick (thyroid) tip

Let’s not beat around the bush.

The number one complaint that women with a low-functioning thyroid complain about is: weight gain.

It’s a controversial topic that no one really wants to talk about it. Aren’t we supposed to love ourselves through and through even with those extra lbs?

Surely, “it’s not about the weight”. Feeling good isn’t about the numbers on the scale. Feeling good certainly comes from the inside out.

Aaand…… most of us start to cringe when we’re 5 to 10 pounds above our normal because it just. doesn’t. feel. good.

If you’re like the women that I see in my practice, likely you wouldn’t mind losing a couple of pounds. Keep reading and check out this thyroid tip to lose a few pounds (quick!).

5 pound weight loss
5 pound weight loss

Hormones and Weight Gain

Oh hormones.

They are beautiful and threatening all in the same sentence.

On one hand, they grace us with the ability to have children, give us energy and spark our creative cycles.

On the other, hormones drive us up-the-wall emotionally and have the ability to bring us to our knees within minutes.

There are 4 glands at work that balance our your hormones; pituitary, thyroid, adrenals and ovaries (pancreas in menopausal women). Granted all 4 work together, but two tend to get the spotlight (especially when we’re talking LBs): adrenals and thyroid.

These two glands, the adrenals and thyroid, are all about energy production and metabolism. The adrenals make the energy for your body and your thyroid doles it out.

To keep it simple, think of your adrenals as the energy producer and your thyroid as the energy manager. If either of these glands is on the down low, then energy tends to sag and pounds can add on quite easily.

A Little More Specifics For You

Your amazing human body has two adrenal glands located at the top of each kidney. Each adrenal gland is composed of two parts: the outer part called the adrenal cortex and the inner adrenal medulla. Both areas of the adrenals secrete specific hormones to affect many different bodily functions.

Cortisol is a glucocorticoid that is secreted by the adrenal cortex.

Cortisol is involved in our body’s stress response and helps regulate metabolism.

When stress goes up, cortisol levels rise too. Higher cortisol levels in the blood make us feel more hungry and increases cravings for “comfort” foods.

Cortisol also has a sweet relationship with the thyroid. The thyroid gland needs just the right amount of cortisol to function properly.

Too much cortisol (cause by a stress response of the adrenal glands), causes your body cell’s to no longer respond to the thyroid hormone signal.

Whew…..that’s a big deal.

In essence, your adrenals are making energy, but your body can’t respond to it. And sooner than later, your system needs more and more thyroid hormone to get the same metabolic effect.

If your system can’t provide the thyroid hormone, weight gain is sure to follow suite (whether we like it or not).

The Not-So-Crazy-Works-For-Everyone Secret to Weight Loss

Are you ready?

Listen closely.

Eat. More. Veggies.

I know most of us think that we eat enough veggies, but honestly you can never have enough. 

Let's make sure that we've got this straight. I’m not suggesting that we become vegetarians. It’s really important to get a balance of proteins, fats, and carbs. Yet, most of us can benefit from the idea of being a “vege-phile” [a person who loves veggies, grabs veggies and goes for more veggies]. We don't need to eat like monks, but eating more veggies fuels our system and helps our thyroid in ways that we can not even imagine.

Vegetables are your power-packed, guilt-free, I-love-me food. Because they are so loaded with all the good stuff and easy to digest, you can virtually eat as much as you want without putting a drag on your metabolism. In fact, the more veggies you eat, the more you’ll rev up your metabolism.

Sneak in More Veggies with these EZ Tips

1. Chop Ahead: For some reason, veggies just aren’t as easy to reach for as cheese and crackers. Here’s what one client did when she heard the eat-more-veggies tip; she cut veggies on Sunday and put them in a clear Tupperware container for the week. That way she could see them and grab ‘em easily. [By the way- she’s dropped 8 pounds in a 4 week time period….not bad, ‘eh].

2. Have Veggie Snacks: Research shows that it’s hard to get enough veggies in at meals alone. Go ahead and beat the research by having veggies when you’re hankering for a snack. Here’s the good news: veggies are guilt-free foods so go ahead and munch away on as many as you want.

3. Go for Ferments: Veggie ferments are power packed for two reasons. #1: They are ready to go. Just add as a side condiment to your meal. #2: They are loaded with good probiotics for digestion. It’s like getting a bonus with your veggie package.

4. Veggies After Dinner: It can be easy to munch away on any old thing after dinner. Eventually one snack turns into another and suddenly we’re four snacks down the road. Think veggies after dinner and get the munchies out while you’re crunching on red peppers, carrots, or cucumbers.

If You Care, Make Sure to Share

If you’re digging the eat-more-veggie idea and thinking that it just might help you shed a couple pounds, then pass this post along to a friend or two.

Click on your fave social share button, or forward this post along in an e-mail. 

Here's to fresh veggies and a healthy thyroid

~ Kristin

The Number #1 Mistake When Supplementing Your Thyroid and Trying to Balance Your Hormones

There are buckets of information out there when it comes to supplementation and living a healthy lifestyle, but all this information makes it hard to know what is “right on” or what’s “just another trend”?

When it comes to thyroid health, we have to know the in’s and out’s of what is RIGHT otherwise we really could do more harm than good.

Want to know the #1 Mistake when supplementing a thyroid? Read on, because this not-so-little mistake happens way too often.

the number 1 mistake
the number 1 mistake

The #1 Mistake When Supplementing a Thyroid and Balancing Hormones

Plain and simple, clear as day- this mistake happens all the time. Whether you’re working with a seasoned health care practitioner or if you’re supplementing on your own, most people do this one thing that actually sets their hormones back.

Most folks take products that boost the hormone, not the gland.

There are loads of products out there in pharmacies and trusted practitioner offices that work on the hormonal level. Think of products like DHEA, melatonin, progesterone, pregnenolone (and, this is just a partial list). All of these products work on the hormonal level.

This might feel good in the short term. You might get a boost of energy and feel more clear-headed for a bit, but the positives are sure to wane over time.

Why?

There are two reasons why it’s not a good idea to supplement hormones over glands.

[Reason #1] The body is L.A.Z.Y.

This is fact.

We know that when we use a crutch for our body, that area of the body tends to work less and overtime that area can even atrophy.

This law applies to any area of the body. Use a cast for too long and the muscles will atrophy. Use glasses to improve eyesight and our eyes tend to weaken. Use a cell phone to store phone numbers and it’s harder to recall even the simplest of numbers (sound familiar).

And, this premise holds true for our glands too.

If there are more hormones circulating in the blood stream, then your glands don’t have to produce as much on their own. And, because our body is lazy, if that gland doesn’t have to produce as much on it’s own, it will atrophy over time.

[Reason #2] Your Hormones Won’t Equal My Hormones

This is also fact.

In the Western world of medicine, we’d like to think that hormones are calculated and static. We’d like to think that the amount of hormone that is necessary to help one person is the exact same amount of hormone that will help another. And, it’s simply not true.

When we supplement the hormone (and not the gland), we override our hormonal individuality and skip on over to dosages.

Depending on height, weight, heritage, pregnancy status most of us will varying amounts of nearly every hormone out there. When we supplement at the hormonal level, we’re taking out hormonal individuation.

Rather than supplementing at the hormonal level, supporting the gland is the way to go in nearly every case.

Introducing Team Vibrant!

Born out of my own truth.

There was a time in my life when I struggled with a low-functioning thyroid gland.

My hormones were a mess and (in some ways), my life was even messier. I was tired, frustrated, and sick….a lot.

It wasn’t until, I until I started supporting my glands (with whole food concentrates) that my thyroid and hormones made a dramatic shift for the better.

I went from sick all the time- to being able to kick a cold or flu pretty darn easily.

I went from painful, irregular periods, to clock-work cycles.

I went from pure exhaustion, to being able to wake up with the best of ‘em.

Over the last 13 years, I have literally helped hundreds of women break free from their hormonal duldrums (and their medications), so that they can finally feel like their best selves again.

Does it happen overnight? No. Way.

But with the right support systems, a bit of patience, and whole food nutrients that support the glands- anyone can shift their hormonal story. That’s why I created Team Vibrant.

Want to know what I recommend?

Here’s the bottom line.

I would love to tell anyone and everyone what nutrients to take to support their thyroid and help balance their hormones. But I know, to make this kind of lasting change in a person’s endocrine system that it takes consistency, understanding and commitment. And, from my end of things, I take a whole lot of responsibility.

There can be some ups and downs on the way to big success. You need to know what you’re taking and why; and I need to hold your hand and guide you.

A blog post listing formulas just isn’t going to hack it and get you the results you deserve. We can’t create big hormonal change on a whim.

Team Vibrant is a select, private membership community for those of you who want to learn the step-by-step plan and take the nutrients that truly support your thyroid gland and balance your hormones, so that you can live your best life again.

Aaand… I’m giving some big perks to those of you who are ready to join the team. (Click here to find out more.)

In Team Vibrant, I give you my all. The step-by-step plan that has worked for literally hundreds of women, just like you. I’m talking about women who have come to me because they’re struggling with their energy and their hair is falling out. They’re moody and their cycles are erratic. Some are swollen and bloated and others can’t sleep a lick- or can’t manage to wake up. Most have low sex drives and are limping along, sort-of getting through the day, bummed about their weight and those last few pounds that they can't seem to shake.

And, these women have turned it around using solid guidance and whole food concentrates.

Nope, I’m not a miracle worker- but I do understand one thing that is hard to find with any practitioner: You have to support the glands if you really want good hormonal communication in your body. It is the only way that’ll give your body lasting support and significant change. Anything else is simply guess work.

Here’s to hormonal freedom…now, let’s get going!

~ Kristin

Go Ahead: Eat Your Brassica's

Why cruciferous veggies should be included in a hypothyroid diet.

Brassica’s [informerly known as cruciferous vegetables: as in the likes of cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and more] are often admonished in the hypothyroid community.

First, comes the hypothyroid diagnosis.

Second, comes the list of veggies (mostly of the cruciferous type) to avoid.

Why?

Because Brassica’s are known to be high in naturally-occurring goitrogens and are often encouraged to be avoided.

In this post, I’m going to tell you why it’s important for you [even if you’re hypothyroid] to include Brassica’s in your food choices and why you might even want to eat lot’s of ‘em.

brussel sprouts pic
brussel sprouts pic

First, What the hay are Goitrogens?

Goitrogens are known to be substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by getting in the way of iodine uptake. Eventually, this suppression can be so great that it can cause swelling around the thyroid (also known as a goiter).

Your thyroid gland needs iodine to be able to make it’s thyroid hormones {T3,T4 and calcitonin}. Decreased iodine absorption equals less thyroid hormone.

Now, goitrogenic substances are most often found in drugs and chemicals, but they can also be found in food.

Here’s a partial list of some foods that contain goitrogenic compounds:

Soybeans, pine nuts, peanuts, flax seed, millet, strawberries, pears, peaches, spinach, sweet potatoes, bok choy, broccoli , Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, turnips.

It’s a long list of foods {mostly of the Brassica type} and it doesn’t even cover the gamut. Nixing out all these foods seems like a shame. After all, most of ‘em are vegetables that we’re talking about.

Unfortunately, most practitioners forget to tell mention that lightly steaming or cooking brassica’s is enough to neutralize goitrogenic compounds. Cooking is all you need to do so that you can have your brassica’s and eat ‘em too.

Second, what’s so great about Brassica’s

Ounce for ounce, brassica’s are some of the most loaded veggies out there. They’re loaded with conventional nutrients like vitamins A, C and K, as well as folic acid and fiber. Brassica’s even have a significant amount of protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids. For a full brassica nutrient profile: click here.

Brassica’s are helpful for hypothyroid women for 3 reasons:

1. Crazy high in Fiber: Brassica’s are known to be unusually high in fiber. All this fiber helps with digestion and elimination. This is critical for hypothyroid women as we generally tend towards slow digestion which can build a higher toxic load in our system. Keeping our systems flowin’ with high fiber foods works in our favor.

2. Detoxify the Liver: Brassica’s are known to be potent detoxifiers for the liver. See #1. Because our digestion and absorption is a little on the slow side, detoxifiers become significant. Anything that can lower the toxic load on our system is going to help in the long run. Keeping the liver free and clear, will help our liver be the smooth hormonal regulator that it wants to be.

3. Anti-inflammatory: There is loads of research out there on Brassica’s and their amazing anti-inflammatory capabilities. Researchers are not sure why {maybe because Brassica’s are high in vitamin K or because they tend to be blood sugar stabilizers}, but paper after paper confirms that these veggies reduce inflammation and thereby help nearly every dis-ease in the human body- including a low-functioning thyroid.

Third, My Favorite Brassica Recipe

I love brassica’s in all shapes and sizes, but I will admit- Brussel sprouts have a fond place in my heart. I’ll cook ‘em up any which way and my kiddos are right there chomping at the bit. Sometimes I sauté them in butter, often I’ll cook ‘em in bacon grease, and every now and then I’ll roast ‘em in the oven.

Make Sure to Pass the Brassica's

Hey....can you pass the brassica's, please? If you love your brassica's as much as I do, share this post with your friends with your fav social share link below OR send 'em a "Savory" treat via e-mail. Thanks for spreading the word and sharing the love.

Here's to healthy hormones and brassica's for all!

~ Kristin

Your Thyroid and Food Allergies:

What's the Connection and What You Can Do About It

When a new client comes into my office and they know that they’re hypothyroid, the next thing that usually comes out is this:

“My digestion is awful and I feel like I’m sensitive to everything!"

Low Thyroid and Food Allergies

There’s one piece that goes along with hypothyroid that none of us can avoid.

Low thyroid = lower levels of hydrochloric acid.

It’s just part of the definition of having decreased metabolic function from the general (aka….your thyroid).

Hydrochloric acid is that invaluable acid that is made in your stomach. It helps with the initial breakdown of food in your stomach {as a side note: hydrochloric acid also protects us against bad bacteria, so there is a relationship to our immune system as well.}

When you’re low in hydrochloric acid then you’re likely to have a sensitive tummy because you just can’t break down your food with a whole lotta ease.

your Thyroid and food allergies
your Thyroid and food allergies

Slow Transit Time

Slow transit time is inevitable when our HCL levels dip. Food tends to sit in our tummy for a longer period of time and is not broken down efficiently.

When this happens, two looming digestive issues lurk (and create the perfect condition for food allergies to pop.)

1. Relux: Yep…..that burning feeling that can happen when you’ve eaten too much or if you’ve eaten the wrong food. It is well-documented that reflux tends to happen when there’s not enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach.

Now, hear me through on this one. In the Western world, we’re petrified of acid when there’s that burnin’ feeling. BUT- If your HCL acid levels are too low, food sits in your stomach too long and ferments (sort of like old trash.)

This fermentation process creates an acid that bubbles up and creates pressure. When we test for acid in the digestive tract- we can not distinguish whether that acid is from fermentation or from excessive levels of hydrochloric acid.

In the case of low functioning thyroid (and women with hormonal issues), it’s often due to low levels of HCL and poor transit time creating a fermented acid.

2. Leaky gut: When there a tiny holes in the small intestinal wall, larger food particles can pass directly into the blood stream. Over time this situation (known as leaky gut) can lead to food allergies, inflammation, and poor digestion. Often, it is started by the simple fact that food is not broken down well enough due to low levels of hydrochloric acid.

Reflux and leaky gut are no fun in and of themselves, and they create the perfect environment for a food allergy to start because they put a significant strain on the digestive tract. And, it all begins with low hydrochloric acid.

Why Removing the Food Isn’t Enough

When we’ve got a hunch that we have a food allergy, must of us want to get rid of the item and stay off of it {maybe even forever.}

It’s a smart reaction, and it’s a reasonable reaction to some extent. Aaaaand…….we can do better.

Removing the offending food helps {because we’re taking out the problematic food}, but if we don’t address the underlying digestive issue- low stomach acid, then our body is going to create the same reaction to another food. Suddenly, we’ll have a long list of allergies. Sound familiar?

Sure sounds familiar to me. I was in this same situation not so long ago, until I found out about the low thyroid- slow transit time connection. And, here’s how I improved my digestion over time.

Kristin’s Top Tips to Improve Transit Time

1. Take hydrochloric acid. Get a simple hydrochloric acid supplement at your local health food store. Taking this with meals will help improve your transit time, take a load off your digestive stress, and will kiss acid reflux goodbye.

2. Warm Apple Cider Vinegar first thing in the am before eating. Apple cider vinegar is one of the easiest and most affordable remedies out there. The malic acid in ACV helps to improve stomach acidity over the course of time. It’s not a quick fix, but every little bit helps.

3. Use Gelatin. Gelatin is a collagen builder. Now, truth be told, it will not improve transit time, but it does improve digestion. Gelatin is essentially collagen in a can and will help those tiny little holes in the intestinal wall- that we call Leaky Gut- heal. Here’s my favorite way to drink it (yep….I drink one of these a day.)

4. Chew Your Food Well. Believe it or not, chewing your food well does improve transit time! Increasing the surface area of anything will help it digest better. Take your time and chew well.

Now, It’s Your Turn (...pass it on!)

I love passing on my quick tips to help you support your hormonal health and get more out of life. If you’ve got a close friend that you know would benefit from this post, pass it on OR share it with the whole gang by clicking your favorite social share button at the bottom of the page. I sooooo appreciate it.

Here’s to happy tummies and digestive freedom!

~ Kristin

How Spring Can Affect Your Thyroid and Your Hormones (for most of us….it’s good news!)

Spring has got be one of my favorite times of year.

I absolutely love the fresh smell in the air, the new growth, and the sense of new beginnings.

spring tips
spring tips

When it comes to our hormones (and especially our thyroid), there’s two important reasons why Spring is a welcome relief:

There’s more light!

Yes- by the time spring rolls around there is a heck of a lot more light. It’s almost like a huge sigh of relief for those of us who struggle with a low-functioning thyroid.

More light = more energy.

It seems like a simple equation (and it is). But most of us don’t fully grasp how hard winter can be for low thyroid types.

All that extra light that comes with Spring brings a much needed boost to our system. We feel more energy because there’s way more energy available to us from our environment- the sun!

It’s Liver time (according to Chinese Medicine)

In Chinese Medicine, every season has an element and an organ association. Spring brings with her all the newness of the wood element and relates to the liver and gall bladder.

Spring is all about new growth, new ambitions, and having the gumption to get ‘er done.

Your liver is absolutely amazing. Seriously, there’s no better words for it.

Your liver is in charge of over 500 biological functions and works like a champ 24/7. One of it’s most important functions is as a hormone metabolizer. Yes, your thyroid makes thyroid hormone: T3, T4, and calcitonin.

Of the 3 hormones, T3 is known to be the big fish in the hormone community because there are T3 receptors in every single cell of your human body.

T3 just might be the big reason why your thyroid plays such a big role in your overall health. But guess what…

Your thyroid doesn’t make all that much T3. Nope- your thyroid makes quite a bit of T4. And, that T4 is converted to T3 , by your liver!

If your liver is up to speed, spring time can bring a hormonal boost. 

How to Get More out of Spring to Help Your Hormones

Want to get the most out of spring to help set your hormones straight? Try one or two of the following tips. No need to feel like you have to do everything- do what feels good and make sure to spread the love (hit your social share button of choice) and pass this list along to a friend.

1. Lemon and/or Apple Cider Vinegar water first thing in the mornin’. Now I l.o.v.e. my apple cider vinegar warm or even hot in the morning. Often us low thyroid types are chilled in the am, so this little number can do double duty.

2. Rub your spring toes. Your liver meridian runs right between your first (aka. big toe) and second toe. Rubbing along this area between the two bones helps to soothe and soften an overworked liver.

3. Spend some time outside. OK folks. It’s spring, get out there and start soaking up some sun. Skip the sunscreen and the sunglasses (for at least 10-20 mins) so that your skin and eyes can soak up some of them healing rays.

4. Start a new project (one that makes you feel accomplished). Your liver loves to check things off the list. Spring is just the time of year to brush off the cobwebs and start something new.

5. Try dry brushing. Dry brushing can help soothe the liver by getting the lymph moving a long. Dry brushing helps with detoxification and it’ll help wake you up in the morning. Dry brushing is best right before a hot shower or bath.

6. Go for gelatin. Gelatin is loaded in amino acids. It’s a natural detoxifier and a helpful liver soother. You can use gelatin as you cook, or try my favorite hot, comfort drink by clicking here.

7. Take 100 paces After Dinner. A brief walk after dinner gets in a little more fresh air and a bit of movement. It’ll help your liver start the digestive process, and it'll help you unwind after a long day.

Here's to longer days and warmer weather!

~ Kristin

Thyroid Tests: What Tests Should I Get?

This happened to me this past week.

A client that I’ve been working with over the past 4 months said this;

“My endocrinologist has never felt my thyroid.”

What?!@#

Now, I don’t want to point fingers or spread bad rumors, but this drives-me-nuts is concerning.

Too often in the Western model of medicine we rely solely on diagnostic tests without really understanding, knowing, or feeling what is going on for the client. [And, too often in the alternative medicine model, we rely on intuition without really knowing what ‘s going on in a person’s chemistry…..]. To be successful, we need to account for all: diagnostic tests, palpation, and intuition.

In my last post, I shared with you some “blood test pitfalls” when it comes to diagnosing hypothyroid. Blood tests are like snap shots. They give a distinct picture of what is happening in the body’s blood chemistry at a specific time. Blood tests do not account for fluctuations that naturally occur throughout the day, week or month.

A TSH test (a common general screening test for hypothyroid), can catch some issues with the thyroid gland, but it will not catch every hypothyroid out there.

thyroid tests- order
thyroid tests- order

If you’ve got a gut feeling that your thyroid might need some support, here’s some testing ideas for you to consider:

1. Blood Tests: Get the blood tests! [But not just-any-old-blood test.] Most docs will order a TSH test if you ask them. But, keep in mind, TSH tests are not going to pick up every low thyroid case.

Get the blood tests, but ask for a full thyroid panel. You’re going to want to numbers for your TSH, T3 and T4, Thyroid Antibodies, as well as Reverse T3. Lots of docs have a hard time jumping to the full thyroid panel because insurance companies may/may not cover the costs.

If you’re having a hard time getting these tests through your doctor, then you can order tests directly through sites like this.

2. Consider Tissue Analysis: You might need to special order this (through an alternative practitioner), but there are tissue analysis tests (ie. hair and nail) out there that can be helpful in determining whether or not your thyroid is functioning up to par.

Because blood is a high priority system, your body will try to protect it. Your hair is a different story. Your body can do pretty darn well without protecting your hair (that’s one of the reason’s why we lose our hair with hypothyroid and other hormonal issues).

Tissue analysis tests aren’t necessarily perfect, but they can be helpful in putting together a picture in conjunction with blood tests and at-home tests.

3. Keep a Thyroid Journal: Way too often in the Western model, we have to be our own health advocates. Doctors are so rushed in appointments that we need to clearly lay out the picture for them. Keeping a thyroid journal can be just the overview that a doctor needs so that you can get the appropriate testing.

I like to keep my Thyroid Journal in an excel spreadsheet. I record the date, my symptoms, and my cycle (this piece is very important) so that everything is easy to read and overlaps with natural hormonal changes throughout the month. Often, I’ll go back and color in or highlight transitions times like ovulation and the onset of my cycle. It’s so important for your practitioner to be able to see the rhythm that’s going on in your body.

Last, but not least:

4. Feel Your Thyroid: Make sure that you are touching your own thyroid! Massage your thyroid, get to know your thyroid- you must be able to describe how your thyroid feels so that you can get your doc or endocrinologist to understand your thyroid.

It’s very challenging to make an accurate diagnosis by relying solely on tests. Make a note in your Thyroid Journal about any changes that you might feel throughout the month. Remember, your body is not static. So….. any swelling or irregularities that you feel today, will likely shift and change throughout the month. And, if something persists, you’ll know.

Getting the appropriate tests is half the battle in getting the right diagnosis. These 4 steps will get you going in the best direction. If you’re still finding yourself confused, scattered or not-sure-what-to-do; then consider scheduling a free 15-minute consult with me. I'm here to help.

Here’s to knowing your thyroid, understanding your hormones, and living your best!

~ Kristin

What's Your Thyroid Test Missing {and what you can do about it}

This scenario happens in my office all too frequently.

Picture this:

A new client walks in.

She’s been struggling with her hormones for quite some time.

She's talked with her medical doctor and went ahead and

ordered a TSH blood test to check her thyroid.

The results have come back and everything is “normal”

[even though she’s exhausted, losing hair by the handfuls,

and her moods are making her bonkers].

She comes to me because she can’t understand why the tests say that there’s

nothing to worry about, when she knows in her heart-of-hearts that she feels like

the very definition of a low-functioning thyroid (aka: a crazy, hormonal mess).

What's your thyroid test missing
What's your thyroid test missing

Blood tests are the go-to test when it comes to taking a first

step towards a thyroid diagnosis, but are they always accurate?

We’ve come to rely on blood tests, because they seem like they

should be able to catch everything. Right?

Well…….blood tests might be our “gold standard”, but they certainly aren’t perfect.

When considering blood tests here’s a couple of points

to keep in mind.

1. Your Blood is Precious: Seems simple, I know- but let’s think about this one together.

Blood is such a precious fluid in the human body.

It brings oxygen, hormones and other vital nutrients to your brain, your organs

and your muscle tissue. It delivers nutrients to the cells and ferries waste away.

Your blood chemistry is pretty darn important for the overall function, health of your body.

Now remember, your body loves homeostasis- meaning your body will do whatever it can

to keep your system within a set, narrow margin.

And because your blood has such an important job (ie. feeding your brain),

your body will do whatever it can to keep the blood at a specific chemistry.

Because your body will compensate around your blood chemistry,

it can take years for a low-functioning thyroid to show up,

even though your symptoms show classic thyroid disorder.

2. TSH is Only A Part of the Picture:From reading my most popular article to date,

you know that your thyroid is just one gland in a very intricate system known as the endocrine system.

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is a hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland.

TSH levels infer thyroid function.

High TSH levels indicate a sluggish thyroid. When a thyroid isn’t responding to

thyroid stimulating hormone, the pituitary releases more TSH increasing the amount of

TSH circulating in the blood. On the other hand, low TSH levels suggest hyperthyroid-

meaning that the thyroid is working too fast.

There is one big caveat with diagnosing a thyroid solely on a TSH test. Ready?

The pituitary gland is not the only gland that determines thyroid function

nor does the pituitary gland determine the effectiveness of the thyroid’s hormones.

You might have a low functioning thyroid because the thyroid hormone is not being 

received at the cellular level, you might have a hard time converting the T4 hormone to T3,

or you might have antibodies built up against your thyroid.

All of these situations lead to poor thyroid function and they do not affect TSH levels.

3. Hormones Change: Perhaps this is one fact that blood tests just can’t get around.

Your hormones (TSH included) are like the tides in an ocean.

They have a rise and a fall and they’re known to change throughout the day.

Dr. Philip Young author of Thyroid: Guardian of Health writes,

“the output of thyroid fluctuates significantly throughout the day. This is just what

is to be expected if the body has to adjust to the differing metabolic challenges

throughout the day. Digestion, exercise and stress all demand differing energy outputs

and thus different amounts of thyroid hormone.”

Bottom line: your hormones are not static. In fact, they have to change and fluctuate to deal with the

different demands of each day. Think about it. The metabolic demands of a relaxing Saturday morning

are very different compared to the metabolic demands of a crazy Tuesday morning.

Blood tests do not account for day-to-day fluctuations, let alone seasonal changes.

So, if blood tests aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be,

how do I get an accurate diagnosis?

Again, Philip Young, MD writes,

“I believe Hypothyroidism may be the single most important health problem of today;

certainly it is the most important problem that is not being diagnosed. Every aspect of

bodily function is touched when hypothyroidism is present, and mild degrees of hypothyroidism

are very common. Dr. Broda Barnes believed that in the Denver area, where he practiced,

about 40 % of the population would benefit from being on thyroid hormone.”

The key to getting a solid diagnosis is knowing your body.

Self-checks, temperature tests, and good, old-fashioned symptom

checklists will help you get the answers you deserve.

How to Test Your Thyroid: 3 Easy Ways goes over the steps to check your thyroid at home.

These home tests might not seem high tech (because they aren’t), but they sure do give you

valuable information to bring to your doc.

I know this whole temperature test thing seems like a drag.

Most of us wonder how a temperature test can trump a blood test.

But time and time again, Broda Barnes [who developed the temperature test] proved that checking

temperature upon rising was, by far, the most effective method to catch any type of hypothyroidism.

So, if you’ve got an inkling that your thyroid might be lagging (even just a little bit),

check out these at-home tests so that you can bring some extra info to your next apt. These days, when we’re talking

about quality healthcare, we’ve got to come prepared and understand that just because we’re taking a “test”,

it doesn’t mean that it’s going to catch everything.

Make Sure to Pass This Along

Empowering ourselves and getting to know our bodies is one thing, but helping a friend is another.

Hypothyroidism affects a person on so many levels. It can affect our moods, our learning abilities, our reproduction,

as well as our digestion, metabolism, elimination and sleep cycles. Pass this article along to a friend who you might think

is in need or share it on your social media platform of choice (by clicking the quick links below).

I wonder how many of us have been told that our tests show everything is normal,

when indeed our systems [and our thyroid in particular] needs support.

Here’s to understanding our bodies and getting to know our thyroid just a little bit better!

~Kristin

My Go-To Sleep Trick to bring on More Zzzzzzz’s

Ahhhhhh sleep…….

For so many of us with low-functioning thyroids,

we have a bit of a love::hate relationship with sleep.

Either, we sleep so hard that it’s impossible to drag ourselves out of bed.

OR

Sleep evades us. We have a hard time falling asleep, it’s challenging to stay asleep

and all we really want is a good night’s sleep.

And it all seems to get a bit more aggravated as we age.

Toss in the stress of work, a couple of kids, mis-communication with a partner and

you’ve got a sleep quagmire. (Can you relate?) 

get more zzzzz's
get more zzzzz's

Benefits of Sleep for Thyroid Types

The benefits of sleep have been touted for a looooong time.

Sleep is known to:

• Boost the immune system to stave off colds and flus

• Better weight control

• Help with memory and learning

• Improve mood

But there is one thyroid factoid that is particularly important when we’re talking

about sleep and how it affects your hormones.

Here’s What YOU Need to Know...

Your endocrine system gives your body a certain rhythm. It helps us to ramp up

during the day and it also helps us to calm down in the evening. Just like the tides of the ocean,

our hormone levels have the tendency to rise and fall throughout a day’s cycle.

Most people don’t know that our TSH (the hormone your pituitary releases to stimulate your thyroid)

is no exception. Your pituitary releases TSH in spurts.

Even though we’ve come to know (and love/trust) TSH values, they are not static throughout the day.

In fact, TSH output tends to be highest at night! Dr Philip Young- author of Thyroid: Guardian of Health- notes that

many hypothyroid patients actually will test hyperthyroid in the evening hours.

Bottom line: A good night’s sleep will help your body’s natural rhythm and improve thyroid function over time.

So……What To do?

Even with all the pre-sleep rituals, quality zzzzz’s can evade us. Every now and then, in the middle of the night

we find ourselves staring at the clock like it’s our worst enemy- just counting down the hours

until we need to be up and at ‘em.

If you find yourself tossing and turning, here’s my two-step formula to lull yourself back to sleep.

1. Relax:Waking up in the middle of the night is one of the easiest ways to trigger panic.

Suddenly, all sorts of debilitating thoughts creep in. Most sound like this:

Oh my gosh, I’m going to be sooo tired tomorrow.

I’ve got so much to do, I can’t believe this is happening or

I have got to get back to sleep…..

and then those thoughts roll over and over onto each other as if we can’t press the stop button.

Sometimes the anxiety of not sleeping just makes matters worse. Step 1 of the two-part formula is to

take a breath and re-wire your thoughts. Rather than go into panic mode, fall into acceptance.

Instead of going off on the stress, blame, get mad at yourself-for-something-you-really-can’t-control train,

shift your thoughts to something like this:

OK I’m awake. I trust my body and I trust that I am getting the perfect

amount of sleep for me. Then, go into this simple meditation practice.

2. The Practice:Clasp your hands behind your head. Close your eyes and soften your brow.

Just breathe. Rotate your head to the left, keeping your eyes closed and soft.

Gently hold this rotation for 3-5 minutes (sometimes I even doze off here).

No need to time it, just hold the rotation. When you feel ready, go ahead and slowlyrotate

your head to center, pause for a moment and then rotate your head to the right.

I’ve used this quick little practice time and time again with no-fail. Rotating the head in this way

calms the nervous system and relaxes the mind. Eventually, it will eventually bring you into a peaceful slumber.

Share the Zzzzz’s

This past year- I realized that I just can’t do it alone. I put social media on hold so that

I can focus 100% on my true-blue followers [the peeps who have signed-up here to be part of my on-line tribe].

Soooooo, if you found this post helpful, interesting or even inspiring, please take a minute

and share it with your friends by clicking on the links below. Sharing is one of the best ways that

we can spread the zzzzzz’s and keep the tribe going and growing. Thank YOU!

Sending you peaceful nights and sweet dreams!

~ Kristin

How do you want 2015 to feel?

It’s that time of year {…already?} when everyone is coming up with their yearly resolutions.

I loooooove a good resolution.

Not the kind where you’re supposed to lose 15 pounds or go on a strict diet,

or even the kind where you start working out for the next 364 days of the year.

I heart the kind of resolutions that address how I want to feel.

new year 2015
new year 2015

Can it be that simple?

OK folks, Let’s get honest.

When you’ve got a low-functioning thyroid or your hormones are as unpredictable as a

roller coaster then you know that you just don’t have the energy to put into a major New Year overhaul.

Reality is, we’re kinda maxed out as it is.

But don’t fret. Rather than put your attention on what you want to do this next year,

put a little bit of thought into how you want to feel.

Do you want to feel adventurous?

How about in tune or in charge?

Do you want to feel in love? Or connected?

When you focus on feelings, the “to-do’s” fall right into place.

Here’s what happened for me {and my surprising Aha moment}

Ever since I started Danielle La Porte’s Desire Map- I’ve focused a lot less on doing and a lot more on feeling.

This year, my hubby and I sat down by the fire {like we do every year}, got out the paper and started

our New Year’s process. By the end, I nailed down my 2015 feeling.

I aim to feel free.

{Spoiler alert: what happens next is the real eye opener so keep reading.}

Once you nail the feeling, then all you do is have fun brainstorming the actions.

What actions will bring you closer to your feeling?

If you’re like me, and you want to feel free then go ahead and make a list

of everything that brings on that free feeling for you.

Maybe hiking helps you feel free. Maybe wearing lipstick, or leaving work a bit early on Fridays,

or planning spontaneous dates with your girlfriends helps you feel free.

Maybe trying new foods or travelling brings the free feeling home.

Don’t worry about editing yourself here. Just keep writing down activities/behaviors

that bring you closer to your New Years feeling.

As I was writing and conjuring up freedom feelings, one activity kept coming back

to the top of my list. It was time for me to start clearing out. As in, get rid of stuff, clean out the cobwebs,

donate, trash, purge, whatever you want to call it. Cleaning out was my quickest path to freedom.

What…Sounds boring right?

I would have taken before and after’s, but that would be wayyyyy too embarrassing.

Like most low thyroid types, I too can get a little obsessive.

So, with a whole lotta support and a kick in the rear from my friend- Tamara Star and

her 40 Day Personal Reboot program, I started purging like a mad woman. Seriously, no corner went untouched.

[If you’re ready to clear out the cobwebs and start fresh, I highly recommend Tamara’s Reboot Program.

You can find all the deets right here. She’ll give you all the how’s, why’s and when’s to make it happen.

From Day 1 she kicked my rear in gear and boy, am I glad that I listened.]

Once the stuff started hitting the appropriate box [donate, gift or sell]-

I started feeling free! Lighter, more energy, yep….the whole deal felt free.

This is major when you struggle with hormonal swings and low energy. Having my space clear has literally

made it easier to move around in my world. My head is thinking clear, my memory is better,

and I’m telling you…I’ve got more mojo. Now that’s a Reboot (Tamara style;)).

How Can The 10 Day Sugar Free Challenge Help?

By the time New Years rolls around, nearly everyone is ready to hop on a new diet,

try another exercise program or lose 10 pounds in a snap.

And while those intentions are well and good, our intentions have a hard time sticking unless we can

feel into our bodies. You see, our bodies are great communicators {to read more about how your body talks click here}.

Yes, in the 10 Day Challenge we cut out the sweet stuff for a few days so that we can finally feel

how we’re relying on food to medicate, soothe and get through the day. There’s no pressure to

stay off sugar forever, there’s just a whole lot of tools from recipes to techniques (and one stellar Facebook community)

to get you to feel your body again.

Are YOU Ready to Take the Challenge?

Do you want to feel like this:

fb testimonial 2
fb testimonial 2

Or like this?

fb testimonial
fb testimonial

Come on over, and join the Challenge. It's amazing what we can do when we clear out the junk

and connect with a community of people who all want the same goals~ to heal themselves with the

power of their plate.

Don't miss out. Get all the deets and the dates right here.

Here’s to a new year and starting fresh!

~ Kristin

PS. As always~ share this little number (with the share button of your choice) with a friend or a special loved one

because challenges are always way more fun when we do them together. XO

Your Thyroid and Your Immune System: {plus, FIVE tricks to get you through cold and flu season}

This time of year is a challenging on the thyroid. Oh, yes it is.

Nothing like flip-flopping temperatures to put a big, strain on your thyroid and put a damper on your immune system.

sniffle free
sniffle free

Tidbits About Your Thyroid [that you might not know]

Your thyroid is that sweet, butterfly shaped gland just below your Adam’s apple.

It’s got four lobes that mirror each other and it’s extremely sensitive to internal and external stressors.

To keep it simple, you can think of your thyroid as a control tower of sorts,

constantly adjusting and reacting to different input.

Internally, your thyroid is sensitive to stress that comes from within us.

It reacts to things like amount of sleep, thought patterns, nutritional status, and infections.

Externally, your thyroid will be affected by factors outside of us.

Environmental toxins, relationship stress, even parental stress can be a contributing factor.

Fall’s fluctuating temps challenge your thyroid and can be a just one more reason why up-and-down weather brings on nasty bugs.

Your Thyroid and Your Immune System

There’s a lot of talk about your thyroid being important for immunity, but do you know why?

1. It’s all about calcium.

Now I’m guessing that this might be a new consideration for a lot of folks.

When there’s talk about boosting the immune system, most people give a big shout out to remedies like Echinacea or zinc. And while there’s nothing wrong with those immune builders, they’re not the “King Pin.”

Calcium (and how it’s transported in the body) is the real deal.

Calcium- the most abundant mineral in your bod- tags germs so that your immune system knows what to attack.

In fact, tissue calcium saturation is the sole determining factor whether an acutely ill person will get better. Poor calcium levels equals poor prognosis. Here’s the study so you can take a look.

Your thyroid and parathyroid are big players in calcium metabolism and regulation. If they’re not functioning up to par, then you’ll have a harder time metabolizing calcium, and your immune system will have a harder time tagging germs.

Improve your calcium metabolism, and you’ll ace cold and flu season.

2. Your blood circulates through your thyroid every 7 minutes.

In Folk Medicine, DC. Jarvis writes about the connection between your thyroid, iodine and immunity.

He notes that all the blood in your body circulates through your thyroid every 7 minutes.

Your thyroid is soaking up iodine so that it can make hormones, and it also uses iodine as a handy antiseptic “wash”.

The iodine in your thyroid literally sterilizes your blood.

Boost your iodine status and you’ll be more likely to fend off any old bug.

What Can You Do About It?

Taking a little bit of time and effort during the fall to support your thyroid is so worth it.

I like to say, “less sneezing is more pleasing.” Here’s what YOU can do:

1. Get more rest: Nothing helps your thyroid more than rest.

I wrote about the thyroid-adrenal connection in my most popular post yet.

Click here and check out the ONE habit can help your hormones for good (and put it into action).

2. Eat your sea veggies: Iodine is 100% essential for your thyroid to be able to make

hormones (T3, T4, and calcitonin). Boost your “antiseptic” status by loading up on sea veggies.

Sprinkle a “sea veggie shake” like gomasio over eggs, soup or salad. Or, go for the gusto with this simple seaweed salad.

3. Dress for the season {not for the weather}: It can be tricky dressing for fall.

Mornings are chilly, afternoons are hot and all too often you can get caught in a brief sprinkle of rain.

Layer up and make sure that you’re dressing for the season and not for the weather. A light scarf around

your neck will help take a chill off your thyroid and keep your body temps more stable.

4. Consider taking calcium. It’s not called the “King Pin” for nothing, and not all forms of calcium are made the same.

Bottom line: Calcium lactate (made from beets) takes only 1 biochemical step to be usable for your body.

~ Kristin

Carbonates take a dozen steps. Ditch the carbonate, reach for calcium lactate, and you’ll be good to go.

5. Drink garlic tea: When worse comes to worse and you feel like you’re coming

down with something, garlic tea is your go-to remedy. It works like a charm- Every. Single. Time.

Just add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic to your favorite tea and sip on it throughout the day.

Sharing is Caring

Let’s face it, no one likes being sick. So, make sure to take a second and click on the social share buttons to the bottom left.

Your support is so important to me and I bet your friends will thank you for helping them go bug-free this season.

Aaand...I'd love to hear some of your favorite cold and flu remedies in the comments section. What do you go tucked up your sleeve?

Now, let’s get out there and be in the magic of this season (without all the sniffles and sneezes).

Wishing you a Kleenex-free Fall~

kristinsavory_signature
kristinsavory_signature

Because there's no need to guess...

Something has happened in the last few months.

The on-line side of my biz might be relatively new, but even I know when a cord has been struck.

Over the last few months, the traffic to my site has doubled, tripled- and last week- it honest to goodness quadrupled.

there's no need to guess
there's no need to guess

Whatever you put your attention on grows… right?

I had no doubt that this would eventually happen, but at the same time,

I didn’t think it would happen this quickly.

It seems to me that this is an indication [or maybe a “sign”] that we’re ready to take a big step together.

A Little Background Before I Ask

There was a time when my thyroid was so wonky that I could barely get out of bed.

My cycles were painful and erratic, my hair was falling out, and

I felt like I was clinging onto the edge of a very big mountain.

My hormones were literally- a giant mess.

Now, bear in mind, every Western test that I ever took came up negative.

My docs couldn’t find a problem and the only solution that they could offer involved a pill.

I knew I had to get to the bottom of this situation because I just couldn’t go on living this way; exhausted, cranky, and miserable.

So, I dug deep and buried my head into alternative therapies. I studied Chinese medicine and whole food nutrition. I learned as much as I could about supplementation and stress management. I made it my mission to understand the in’s and out’s of hormones and the thyroid, in particular. Heck, I had to… my health depended on it (and so does yours).

The Good News {…I’ve got the answers}

After putting in the time, wading through the myths (believe me- not everything out there is good info) and making plenty of mistakes. I’ve stuck with only the most effective tips to get the results that you need to support your thyroid and live your best life possible.

But before I can move ahead and create top-notch programs, posts and content to help you on your way to hormonal freedom- I’ve got to know what you don’t know.

What You Can Do

Because it’s time to stop guessing, I’ve made the world’s shortest survey (I promise- it’s only ONE question). As a big thank you to those of you who take the extra step to answer my one-and-only question, you’ll be at the top of my VIP list and join my “Inner Circle”.

You’ve got to know…I LOVE giving back.

Answer the question, join the “Inner Circle”, and you’ll be seeing some sweet surprises, discounts, and offers when the time comes for sharing. Don’t worry. I’m not into hijacking your in-box. I’m here to help you take control of your thyroid and get your life back.

Take the world’s shortest survey by clicking right here  (yep, it’s only one question).

Let’s Help As Many Women As We Can

Listen, no one wants to keep living in a thyroid slump. It’s miserable to not have energy to engage with family and friends.

It’s humbling to have clumps of hair falling out. And, it’s downright depressing to feel like you’ll gain weight just by looking at a piece of cake.

Guess what? We’re not alone.

If you want to help other women understand their thyroid so that they can be their best, then hit the social share button at the bottom of this page to pass this post along to as many girlfriend’s as possible. The more ladies who take the time to answer “the question”, the more people we can help.

Go ahead and share it on Facebook, send it out on Google +, e-mail it along. Heck, shout it out at the grocery store or send it via smoke signals. Let’s help as many women as we can.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank YOU for taking the time to answer my burning questionand for passing it along.

I am so looking forward to helping you solve your hormone mystery.

With so much love!

~ Kristin

Want to get more out of your Vitamin D? Try these 3 Tips

Fish and cod liver oil contain vitamin D naturally.
Fish and cod liver oil contain vitamin D naturally.

Vitamin D is one of the most popular supplements these days. Most people test low for it, most docs recommend it, and people are taking D supplements in droves.

But is the high- dose vitamin D you’re taking working well for your body?

High-dose vitamin D therapy might feel good in the short term. You might experience an increase in energy or a shift in your mood. Maybe you’ll feel a little stronger, or more resilient. Most people feel better with high dose therapies in the short run because of severe deficiencies in our diets and lifestyles.

But over the long haul, dosing with a synthetic nutrient- in particular vitamin D- may have unwanted consequences (read more about the differences between whole foods and synthetic supplements here).

When considering supplementation, it is wise to understand a few critical points about vitamin D.

1. The RDA for vitamin D is between 200 and 400iu. Doses of 50,000iu can be toxic. These days, it is common practice for professionals to recommend 4,000- 10,000iu units on a regular basis. Now, I’m not one to throw around RDAs because those numbers generally reflect isolated compounds. But when it comes to the miracles of vitamin D, more is definitely not better because of factor number 2.

2. Your body stores vitamin D. You’ve got a smart body, yes, you do. You can make this nutrient in the sun and you can also get some D’s from food. Yet, your body “knows” that vitamin D is not always readily available due to cloudy days or a deficient diet. To even things out, your body stores vitamin D in fatty tissues like your liver, skin, brain and bones [note…vitamin D is not stored in blood]. That’s good news if you’re getting your D from food sources, but if you’re taking high doses of D that means you’re at risk for toxicity over time.

Vitamin D toxicity is nothing to joke about.

Vitamin D is a big helper in calcium absorption and metabolism, so it goes to follow that too much vitamin D often leads to symptoms involving too much calcium. Symptoms can include, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, kidney stones, calcium deposits in the soft tissue (i.e. kidneys, heart, and lung), as well as hypercalcemia. [Hypercalcemia is a fancy word for too much calcium in the blood, which can put unnecessary strain on the kidneys.]

Because vitamin D is stored in fat, toxicity is going to vary from person to person. Unfortunately, young kiddos and babies are most at risk.

Research has indicated that your body reacts differently to synthetic and food sources of vitamin D. According to Judith DeCava, CNC, LNC, author of The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants,:

“One of the effects associated with taking excessive amounts of the chemically isolated, synthetic vitamin D is high blood pressure. Yet studies with cod liver oil, a source of natural vitamin-D complex, report a reduction in blood pressure if previously elevated.”

After comparing synthetic and natural sources of D, researchers-Barnes, Brady and James- have concluded: “It would seem that we are not justified in considering rat units of vitamin D in irradiated ergosterol [a synthetic form of vitamin D] as being equivalent to the same number of rat units of vitamin D in cod liver oil [a natural source] as a curative or prophylactic remedy for rickets.”

Does this mean that you should ditch vitamin D?

Heck no, D is critical for mineral metabolism, bone growth, proper cell permeability, and a healthy nervous system. And, as it turns out, vitamin D may also have a critical role in hormone production through the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

A healthy body stores extra vitamin D for cloudy days.
A healthy body stores extra vitamin D for cloudy days.

Instead of relying on a high-dose vitamin D therapy, consider siding with Mother Nature and get your D’s in with these 3 low-cost alternatives:

1. Eat foods high in vitamin D: Our bodies can’t make vitamin D on it’s own, but we can get significant amounts from our food. Higher levels of vitamin D are found in fish, butter, cheese, liver and eggs. Fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, rank the highest in vitamin D.

2. Take a break in the sun: A young, healthy body can make up to 10,000iu of vitamin D in one day of sun exposure. For most of us, plenty is made within 10 minutes of sitting in the sun. Skip the sunscreen and peel off the sunglasses, and give yourself the gift of 10 glorious minutes of vitamin D therapy in the sun.

3. Supplement with cod liver oil: If you’re still not convinced on the amount of D that you’re getting in any one day, cod liver oil might be your best bet to cover your bases. Look for an oil that is not tampered with or processed with peroxides, with a ratio of 10:1 vitamin A to D. You can find a high-quality, fermented cod liver oil here.

When making changes in how we think about a particular supplement (especially one that is touted as often as vitamin D), it can be helpful to seek inspiration and reassurance. Weston A. Price, DDS, author of the revolutionary book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration wrote:

“Nature has been making normal birds, butterflies, and animals for millions of years. If wild animals can do it why cannot we? Is it because they, by their instinct, select the right foods and do not meddle with Nature’s foods by changing them?”

Switching the high-dose Vit D to low-dose-but-works-like-a-charm cod liver oil may not seem like a big deal, but your body undoubtedly knows the difference.

Now, I’ve got a question for you. I want to hear your story. How do you get vitamin D? Have you been taking a high-dose supplement or are you already a fan of natural sources?

~ Kristin

Sources: DeCava,CNC, LNC , The Real Truth About Vitamins and Anti-oxidants, pp. 97-106.

D.R. Fraser, “Vitamin D,” The Lancet, Vol. 345, No.8942, (14 January 1995), pp.192-198.

D.J. Barnes, M.J. Brady, and E.W. James, “Comparative Value on Irradiated Ergosterol and Cod Liver Oil as a Prophylactic Antirachitic Agent When Given in Equivalent Dosage According t the Rat Unit of Vitamin D,” American Jounal of Diseases in Children, Vol.39, (1930), p.45.

R.A. Buist, “Vitamin Toxicities, Side Effects and Contraindications, “International Clinical Nutrition Review, Vol. 4, No.4, (1984), pp.159-171.

How to Test Your Thyroid: 3 Easy Ways

Self-testing is an easy and inexpensive way to get more clues about your thyroid.
Self-testing is an easy and inexpensive way to get more clues about your thyroid.

Wouldn’t it be handy to be able to monitor your thyroid from the comfort of your home?

Inexpensive and convenient, self-tests are not necessarily accepted diagnostic material,

but they do give you some solid information.

Once you get familiar with a few of the self-testing options, you can start to track your thyroid over time.

And getting into a routine of self-testing helps you develop a closer relationship with your body.

My three favorite home thyroid tests are:

1. Feeling your thyroid 2. Basal body temperature 3. Iodine patch test

These tests are pretty darn straightforward. You can start with just one,

or play around with a few. Best of all, bringing notes on what you learn to your next office visit

will help your primary health care provider do a better job.

Feeling Your Thyroid- This is the most intuitive test, giving you the opportunity to learn where

your thyroid rests in your body, and how it feels. A swollen thyroid often indicates

that the thyroid is under functioning.

Your thyroid is located in the neck just below your Adam’s apple. The lobes of the thyroid fall on either side of your trachea.

1. Stand in front of a mirror so that you can see your neck and thyroid. Make sure to remove any scarves or necklaces.

2. Lift your chin a bit to stretch your neck.

3. Using your dominant hand, run your fingers down the front and side of your neck, being careful to note any swelling or bumps.

4. If you do feel bumps or a swelling near your thyroid, it’s a good idea to follow through with more tests.

Temperature tests

Your thyroid is in charge of your metabolism. If your body temperature is too high or

too low, that can be a sign that your thyroid isn’t functioning well.

To do this test accurately, visit the drugstore and buy a basal thermometer. It should

be able to read your temperature to the 10th of a degree; i.e., 97.4.

You can take your temperature orally or under your armpit.

1. Keep your thermometer by your bed. Your temperature needs to be taken upon waking before you get out of bed, eat, drink or go to the bathroom.

2. When you wake up in the morning, put your thermometer deep in your armpit. Hold it there for up to 10 minutes. Record your temperature. If you’re taking your temperature orally, do so for 5 minutes. Then subtract ½ a degree from your result. This will account for the difference between your oral temperature and your body temperature. The normal underarm temperature averages 97.8–98.2 degrees F.

3. You’ll want to repeat this test for at least four days to get an average. If your average temperature is below 97.4 degrees, consider more testing,.

4. Menstruating women should test their body temperature starting on Day 2 or 3, to account for increased temperatures that come during the second phase of your cycle.

Iodine patch test

Although this test does not directly test thyroid function, it does give an indication

on iodine levels. Iodine is a critical mineral for your thyroid. Your thyroid uses iodine to

make its own hormones, T3 and T4. If your thyroid isn’t able to T3 and T4, you’ll most likely experience low thyroid symptoms.

1. Get a bottle of 2% iodine tincture at the drugstore.

2. Using a Q-tip, paint a 2-inch square on the inside of your forearm, just below the elbow. The skin here is fairly absorptive, while the skin on the back of your arm is more protective.

3. Let the patch dry. Do not shower, bathe or swim until the patch fades.

4. If the iodine patch fades away in less than 10–12 hours, it indicates that your body needs more iodine.

Now I’m curious, and I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever tried any of these self-tests at home? 

If so, let us know how self-tests helped you navigate your thyroid health.

~ Kristin

Supplements: Could They Be Harming your Health?

whole foods vs. synthetic supplements
whole foods vs. synthetic supplements

I don’t know about you, but I grew up in the “Flintstone generation”.

Yep, when I was a kiddo, I saddled up to the breakfast bar with a Pop Tart in one hand

and tiny, rainbow-hued Pebbles and BamBam in the other.I was hooked.

As I grew older and started my own health journey, I remained committed

to taking supplements daily for lots of reasons:

  1. I wasn’t always able to eat the perfect diet.
  2. I knew nutrients were lost as food was trucked or flown to stores
  3. I’d heard about poor soil quality lowering the nutrient quality of foods.
  4. I had a deep faith that I needed supplements to be healthy, dating from my Flintstone era.

I took supplements all throughout acupuncture school and during the first few years of my practice.

And although my life was grand, I was getting sicker all the time.

My hair was falling out. My energy was dragging. My husband would literally have to push me out of bed

because I would sleep through my alarm. At one point, my hormones were so off-kilter that

I had a cycle for three months straight.

I wasn’t exactly the picture of good health.

Keep in mind that at this point, I was rockin’ a diet based on Sally Fallon’s cookbook, Nourishing Traditions. I was eating home-cooked meals of grass-fed beef, lots of veggies, and even a good amount of fermented foods. Nutritionally speaking, there was no reason that my health should have been failing.

I started wondering about the supplements I was taking.

Are your Supplements Synthetics?

We don’t hear much discussion about synthetic supplements. Even as a health care professional, I assumed the nutrients in the high-end brand of supplements I was taking—and selling to patients—were extracted from a natural source. The Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) I was taking must have been from oranges or some other food, so that it was in a form my body could easily absorb.

Boy, was I wrong.

There’s a big difference between nutrients from whole foods and the nutrient ingredients used in the vast majority of supplements. After all, supplements are a billion- dollar industry aimed at maximizing profit. With modern day marketing, many popular supplement recommendations, from the necessity of a daily multi to high-dose vitamin D, are being sold to us.

Take a carrot for instance.

Carrots are loaded with nutrients. Bigwigs like beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), as well as lesser-known players like folicin and mannose. In fact, scientists have isolated about 200 nutrients and phytonutrients in the humble carrot.

These 200 nutrients work together in mysterious ways. The little guys help get the big guys and vice versa, There are enzymes, coenzymes, co-vitamins , minerals, and other factors that help the nutrients work together synergistally.

Scientists don’t know how all this works, and they probably never will. It’s the magic and mystery of nature.

Take a look at the standard multi-vitamin label. We’re content when we see 20 ingredients listed in high percentages. Now think about that carrot again. There’s over 200 known nutrients in that carrot. Foods are complex in their nutrients because nutrients need each other to be properly absorbed and integrated into our bodies.

In our culture, we’re used to the idea that “more is better.” If beta-carotene is good for the eyes, then a whole bunch of beta-carotene must be really good for the eyes.

This type of thinking is not how Mother Nature works when it comes to nutrition.

Foods are balanced. Foods are loaded with lots of nutrients but never in megadose quantities. You’d be hard-pressed to find a food with 1,000 mg of ascorbic acid, let alone the 5,000 mg–10,000mg doses often sold at stores or from health care professionals.

Whole-food whiz Judith DeCava, CNC, LNC writes in her book The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants:,

   Natural food concentrates will show a much lower potency in milligrams or micrograms. This is frequently interpreted

               to mean they are less effective, not as powerful. Unfortunately, the "more is better" philosophy is far from nutritional truth.

And this:

             Vitamins are part of food complexes and must be associated with their natural synergists (co-workers) to be properly utilized and

             be a potent nutritional factor. In other words, a minute amount of a vitamin that is left intact in its whole food form is tremendously

             more functional, powerful, and effective nutritionally than a large amount of a chemically pure, vitamin fraction.

In the case of nutrition, “more” definitely isn’t better.

So where are supplement manufacturers getting the nutrients to make their pills?

Most of what’s being sold to us (even the supps with the healthy folks and rainbows on the label) are chemicals, repackaged in creative ways.

Most supplements contain mega-dose vitamin isolates without their little guy partners, also known as vitamin fractions. Others are simply chemical compounds made in factories, also known as pure, crystalline vitamins.

Both are synthetic and both are a detrimental to long-term health because they’re man-made, not nature-made.

Mother Nature knows best. Nutrients need each other to work effectively in our bodies. The big guys need the little guys just as much as the little guys need the big guys.

When we take supplements in high doses or in isolation from their natural counterparts, there will be consequences. Initially, our bodies might do well with these synthetics because of our extreme deficiencies. But over the course of time, synthetic vitamins can create even deeper deficiencies.

DeCava notes that synthetic Thiamine (B1: a common chemical ingredient of most standard multivitamins) “will initially allay fatigue but will eventually cause fatigue by the build-up of pyruvic acid. This leads to the vicious cycle of thinking more and more Thiamine is needed, resulting in more and more fatigue along with other accumulated complaints.”

But perhaps this story of a medical doctor held captive during the Korean War [1950-1953] is the most telling example.

After a period of time with a poor diet, his fellow prisoners of war began to show signs of beriberi, a disease that results from a severe thiamine deficiency.

After contacting the Red Cross, they sent him some vitamin B1 in the synthetic form, Thiamine HCL. What happened to his patients with the pure-crystalline fraction? They continued to decline.

In fact, the plague worsened until that same doctor listened to a couple of guards who told him that rice polish (known today as rice bran) could be used to alleviate the symptoms. The doc started feeding his patients the rice polish one teaspoon at a time. Within a short period, his patients’ improved and the beriberi plague ceased.

Bottom line is that nature’s nutrients are packaged to perfection. A simple teaspoon of rice polish outperformed a high-dosage, synthetic compound.

Does this mean we have to throw out our supplements altogether? Not so fast.

First we need to know the difference between whole-food concentrates and synthetic supplements. It’s all in the label.

Read the ingredients. The ingredients tell it all. If a nutrient is listed as a food like liver, pea vine, or alfalfa, you’re good to go. If there are chemical names like niacin, thiamine, or tocopherols, throw it out. In nature, B vitamins come from the likes of nutritional yeast and liver, not niacin or thiamin. Vitamin C comes from green leafy vegetables, citrus, and buckwheat juice, not ascorbic acid. You’ll find vitamin E in wheat germ oil and pea vine, not in tocopherols.

Look at the DV percentage. The percentage of Daily Value is based on chemically pure vitamin fractions. If the nutrient on the label is listed at 100% or more, you know you’ve got a synthetic product on your hands. Remember, nature is low dose but highly potent. Beware of singular vitamins. Mother Nature works in tandem. Her nutrients are never found alone. If you’re taking a supplement all by itself, such as vitamin E or D, it’s guaranteed to be synthetic.

Don’t buy the hype.The supplement industry is an industry just like anything else. Major supplement manufacturers often sponsor studies and/or donate money to research programs at universities likely having some influence on both the study design and the results and conclusions reached.

The simple truth is that profit margins are much higher when manufacturers replicate standardized compounds rather than go through the careful, labor-intensive, more expensive process of compounding whole foods.

When it comes to supplements, it’s safer to stick with intuition and follow Hippocrates’ advice: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

As always, it’s great to hear from you in the comment section. I wonder, what’s your experience with supplementation? Tell me, have you had great success taking a supplement or have you noticed your health starting to slide?

~ Kristin

Do You Have Low Thyroid? 10 Telltale Signs

Do you suspect your thyroid is low,

Do you have a hunch that you might be hypothyroid?
Do you have a hunch that you might be hypothyroid?

but aren’t sure how to decipher a laundry list of possible symptoms?

I’ve seen the gamut in my 13 years of private practice as an acupuncturist and whole food nutrition consultant. Low thyroid can cause just about anything and everything to go wonky in the body.

Your thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland located in your throat just below your Adam’s apple, is your body’s control tower.

The thyroid gland is a big part of the hormonal brigade.

It works right along with the pituitary, adrenals, ovaries and pancreas.

Because of this overarching role, it can seem like almost any symptom could relate to a thyroid issue. And that impression is not all that far from the truth.

But, if you experiencing one or more of the signs below (regularly),

then you might be a candidate for low thyroid.

These are the 10 telltale signs of an underactive thyroid:

1. Low energy. Your thyroid and adrenal glands work hand in hand.

These glands are all about energy production and output. Low energy is a big, red flag, for a hormonal glitch.

2. Hair loss. Your hair growth follows a natural cycle of growth and resting phases.

Think of it as “growth spurts.” Because the thyroid regulates hair growth, abnormal changes in thyroid hormones will lead to hair loss.

3. Weight gain. Your thyroid is the master of metabolism. If you see the lbs. creeping up, it’s likely your thyroid is dragging its feet.

4. Poor concentration. Two of the three hormones made by the thyroid (T3 and T4) have been shown to have a major influence on your brain’s activity. If your thyroid isn’t able to make enough of these hormones, you’re brain is going to have a hard time connecting the dots.

5. Lagging libido. Your thyroid communicates directly with your sex glands. So if you’re not feeling the mojo lately, you might want to take a closer look at your thyroid.

6. Irregular cycles. If your cycle is having it’s ups and downs then you might consider checking in on your thyroid. Painful cycles- either long or short- can be due to a disruption in thyroid hormones.

7. Poor immune system. Because your thyroid helps with calcium absorption and assimilation, it’s a key player in your immune system. If you find yourself getting colds and flus way too often or they’re too hard to shake, than your thyroid could be involved.

8. Cold hands and feet. Your thyroid is involved with energy production and heat for your body. Cold hands and feet, irregular body temperatures, even heat flares tend to point to a weak thyroid.

9. Feeling moody. Most gals know that hormones run their emotions. If feelings are running amok, it might be your first clue to a thyroid imbalance.

10. Disrupted Sleep. Having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep? Insomnia can throw off your hormones and vice versa. If you’re unable to go into a deep rest at night, your thyroid could be a contributor. If a couple of bells rang for you while reading this list, check out my guide to thyroid testing, including self-tests, blood tests, and hair tests.

Now, a question for you… Have you had a feeling that your thyroid isn’t up to par?

What were the first signs that made you think that you might have an issue with your thyroid?

Please share in comments below.

~ Kristin