Thyroid

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.

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

Holiday Survival Guide

There’s nothing like the Holiday season to give good cheer, warm receptions and a whole lotta stress.

For women with a low-functioning thyroid this time of year can be particularly tricky.

Between colder temps and erratic schedules the holidays can put a damper on the thyroid

and leave us feeling a bit wiped out and exceedingly exhausted.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland found just below the Adam’s apple.

Just like a butterfly- it’s a sensitive one. The thyroid is sensitive to both internal and external stresses.

And, hypothyroid ladies tend be delicate ones- sensitive to the changes of the season, 

to different foods and to over-doing.

Here’s 6 tips to get your through the holidays and well into the New Year:

1. Eat Breakfast (and make it warm): Balance your blood sugar and heat up your bod

in one fell swoop by eating a warm breakfast. If you want to maintain your sanity throughout the day,

then start it right. Breakfast is a hormonal must and for those of us with a

low-functioning thyroid having a warm one is just the ticket.

During the cold months of the year, cut your thyroid slack by having your breakfast heat

boost your internal temp. Think outside the box and go for warm quinoa porridge,

simple scrambled eggs, or some warm chicken soup to get you going in the morning.

2. Schedule “ME” Time: It’s impossible to stay sane without getting yourself on the “To-Do” list.

Low thyroid folks tend to be caretakers and err on the side of overdoing. While it feels oh-so-good to tend to

someone else’s needs, it is absolutely necessary to take care of yourself.

Give yourself some TLC by scheduling it in. Whether it’s a hot bath or a crisp walk, get yourself on the list.

3. Perfect Schmerfect: The holiday’s can often bring out the worst of the worst

when it comes to self-judgment, doubt and and perfectionism. It’s hard for the body to glow

when the mind is chattering nasty words every time you catch your reflection. From the perfect dress,

to the perfect hair, to the perfect weight, all the perfectness can add up to impossible. And the feeling

of “not being good enough” is a downer for you, your hormones, and your health.

Give yourself a break and see what happens when you drop perfectionism

and replace it with kind thoughts.Find one thing that you love about yourself and highlight it.

See if you can go from “Do I really look like that?” to “Girl….I love your smile!”. Believe me, that little switch

will do your attitude and your mojo a big favor.

4. Check in Early: Sleep is key during the holiday season. OK, you might not get a lot of it on

a social night, but make sure that you check in early on the other nights during the week.

The darker months are tough on a low-functioning thyroid for two reasons: it’s cold and there’s not as much sunshine.

Getting good rest will help one other important gland in your endocrine system: your adrenals.

Strong adrenals pave the way for a healthier thyroid.

5. Get Good with saying “NO”: The thyroid is located right, smack dab in the middle

of your throat. Being able to “speak your truth” is vital for a healthy, functioning thyroid. It’s so easy for us

low-thyroid types to go into overwhelm and overload.Sometimes we just go along with what everyone else wants

because it’s easy. Saying “No” to what you don’t want is a big deal for thyroid types. But here’s the real trick.

When you say “No” to what you don’t want, you’re really saying “YES” to what serves you. Give yourself permission

and maybe even a little practice and go for the “N-O” when you mean it.

6. Connect with People (and enjoy the food): Party food and desserts are like the big

“elephant in the room” for low thyroid types. We tend to pack weight on or have reactions to food by looking

at a piece of cake. Parties are meant to bring people together to have fun and celebrate.

Make the party about the people and let the food be the icing of the event.

When it comes to dessert time there are some ways to keep it all in check. First, tune into your body

and let yourself enjoy dessert if you really want it. Note: at some events you might feel like skipping the sweets

and at others you might want to have some. Be in the moment and be true to yourself.

When you do choose the dessert, take your time to fully enjoy it. Taste the flavors and the sweetness-

let it roll in your mouth and make an impression. ENJOY it- rather than hide in deprivation or feel like

you’re sneaking something. There’s no need to beat yourself up for having something that feels

pleasurable in the moment. Less Guilt equals more freedom. More freedom is less stressful.

Less stress helps your hormones every single time.

Tips are Even Better when Shared

If any of these tips hit the “a-ha” meter for you, then make sure to pass ‘em along by using your

favorite social share buttons at the bottom of the post. And, if you’ve got a holiday tip to try,

make sure to leave a comment. I love hearing from you.

Here’s to spreading the cheer and let the Holiday season roll!

~ Kristin

Boost Digestion: Better Your Thyroid {and my favorite Chickpea Veggie Cakes}

chickpea cakes
chickpea cakes

One of the biggest brew ha-ha-ha’s for those of us with a low functioning thyroid is our digestion.

On one hand, it can be a big, ole pain in the tush.

And, on the other hand, it can be our brightest guiding light.

Pain in the Tush

I’m going to tell ‘ya from experience; a low-functioning thyroid tends to lend itself to a sensitive digestive tract.

We’re sensitive creatures. Eat the wrong thing and our tummies hurt,

our digestion slows and our energy tanks.

Sure, at times it can be a BIG pain in the rear.

Brightest Guiding Light

On the other hand, having a sensitive system can be a major plus.

Our bodies are great communicators. Unfortunately, they don’t talk using fancy words and philosophical phrases.

Our bodies communicate by how we feel.

Listening is the key to a long, healthy relationship with your thyroid and your body.

Give Your Belly A Boost

There’s three ways to dance around these types of sensitivities.

1. Food Fear. Simply avoiding the offending food. It works in the short term, but it doesn’t heal the underlying problem.

2. Strengthen the system. Bring on digestive aids like hydrochloric acid, fermented foods, and digestive enzymes. (Smart thinking.)

3. Make foods more digestible. Putting in a little prep time can make all the difference in your digestion.

Keep reading and I'll show you how.

Why Soak Beans

Beans are one of those tricky foods for low thyroid folks. They’re a great protein source,

and they’re also a digestive nightmare for tender tummies.

The Good Side: Beans are loaded with all sorts of nutrients from protein and fiber to

vitamins and minerals [like calcium, manganese and potassium].

The Other Side: Beans are loaded with anti-nutrients. These anti-nutrients found in the outer 

seed coat help protect the bean from the sun, insects, and predators. But the also make the nutrient loaded bean

difficult to digest and interfere with the absorption of nutrients.

The Good News: Soaking beans eliminates those anti-nutrients. In some ways, soaking mimics the

germination process that takes place in nature. It neutralizes the anti-nutrients while unlocking

precious nutrients and enzymes.

How to Soak Beans

Soaking beans is way easier than it sounds.

1. Cover the beans with more than enough water and a tablespoon of sea salt. Set on the counter overnight.

2. Rinse and strain. Add more water.

3. Pop ‘em in the crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours until beans are soft.

Now What Do You Do With Those Beans?

Add beans to soups and stews, toss ‘em in a salad OR make Chickpea Veggie Cakes! If you do prep your beans, make sure to stash some in the freezer.

You can pull them out when you're in a rush and wow your family with a quickie meal any time.

Recipes Taste Better when Shared

When it comes down to it, I sooooo believe that recipes are meant to be shared.

Go ahead, invite some friends over and share the love with these Chickpea Veggie CakesOR give your friends a

virtual hug and share these cakes in digi-form (just hit your favorite social share button below the recipe.)

To Chickpea Veggie Cakes and happy tummies!

~ Kristin

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

The ONE Habit that can Help Your Hormones for Good (...seriously)

adrenals rest
adrenals rest

Between my one-on-one clients and skype sessions, there is one question that

comes up in my office over and over and over again.

Even after going through the diet and the supplements, everyone wants to know,

“What can I do right now (to help my hormones)?”

Over the course of years (by years, I mean the 13 that I’ve been in practice- eeeeks where has the time gone?),

I’ve come up with one simple habit that can make all the difference in your hormones.

A Bit of Background Before We Start

When the “h-word” comes up, it’s really tempting to put all the attention on the thyroid gland.

Some may say the thyroid is a movie star of sorts when it comes to the endocrine system for two reasons:

1. Easy to Test. Blood tests are routinely used to check

thyroid status (...even if they’re not foolproof.)

2. Easy to Treat. There are meds that are easily prescribed to deal with

thyroid concerns (although the meds might not be the only answer for you.)

Even with this sort of “star power”, you need to understand that your thyroid is not your endocrine system.

Ahem….did you get that?

Your thyroid isnotyour endocrine system.

In fact, there are 8 glands in all that make-up your endocrine system, 

and 4 that are the big players. I call them the: 

4 Corners of Your Endocrine House. 

They are the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals and ovaries in childbearing women-

or the pancreas in menopausal ladies.

If you want to be the master of your “Endocrine House”, then all four of these glands need to be

communicating in a healthy way. In particular, the relationship between the

adrenal glands and thyroid is muy importante (note: too much cortisol depresses thyroid function in a snap.)

Get Your Legs Up The Wall

legs up wall
legs up wall

Getting your legs up the wall has many benefits:

• Calms the mind (Can I have an hallelujah?)

• Adrenals rest and recalibrate so that they can communicate with your thyroid gland better

• Takes pressure off the venous return (That’s fancy speak for, “it helps varicose veins".)

• The heart has to pump stronger to get the blood back up the legs (So, you’re exercising while resting.)

This is not one of those it-sounds-too-good-to-be-true tips. Trust me on this; it works.

Here’s what to do:

Set the stage: Make sure that you’re in a quiet place and you’ve got at least 10 minutes. You’re going to want to be able to close your eyes and deeply relax. Legs Up the Wall doesn’t have the same effect if you’re chatting away on the phone or flipping through messages, so make sure to create the space to give your adrenals the love that they need.

Step 1: Lay on your back with your hips about 6 – 12 inches away from the wall. Tip: Bend your knees and put your feet on the wall. If your thighs are at a right angle to your back, then your hips will be the perfect distance from the wall.

Step 2: Straighten your legs up the wall, so that your heels are making contact. Keep your knees straight and your legs relaxed.

Step 3: Place a pillow under your head. You should feel really comfy here.

Step 4: Clasp your hands and place them either under your head OR under the pillow.

Step 5: Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath. Inhale for a count of 2 and exhale for a count of 4.

Step 6: “Hang out” here with your eyes closed for 10 minutes and breathe in the adrenal love.

That's it. Now go ahead and give it a try, and make sure to let me know how it goes in the comments section.

Psssst…..pass it on

If you liked this post and you've got a friend who is overworked or has too much on their plate, make sure to spread the adrenal love by hitting the share button of your choice to the lower left. It's amazing how one little trick can make a big difference over time.

Here's to happy, rested adrenals!

~ Kristin 

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

Why your thyroid wants you to eat more seaweed [and a salad recipe you'll love]

Arame Seaweed Salad: loaded with iodine and a great lunch addition
Arame Seaweed Salad: loaded with iodine and a great lunch addition

If you knew that there was a food that was loaded with valuable nutrition 

for your thyroid, would you run out and grab some?

Sea vegetables (with exotic names like kombu, nori, and arame)

are a hot ticket to hormonal success.

Ounce for ounce, seaweeds are chock full of nutrition, including calcium, iron and B-vitamins that can help rev up metabolism. But the best part about seaweed is that they’re mineral dense, with 10 to 20 times the minerals of land plants.

Although they may not sound as warm and fuzzy as vitamins, minerals perform critical functions, acting as spark plugs for your body.

In fact, all nutrients—vitamins, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, carbs, fats—need minerals to help them do their jobs inside the body.

Minerals are necessary to build healthy bones, produce hormones, and transfer nutrients across cell membranes. Enzymes just won’t work without the presence of key minerals.

Minerals are not something that your body can make, so you have to get them in your food grown in proper soils. Essentially, minerals come from the earth.

Healthy soil is about 45% mineral rich.

Unfortunately, our modern farming practices have taken a toll. Based on a study done in 1992, U.S. soils contain 86% less minerals than they did 100 years ago.

Even if you’re eating a well balanced diet, your body could probably use a mineral boost.

Seaweeds are the answer. They’re loaded with iodine (aka, the thyroid mineral), calcium, magnesium and iron.

In Chinese Medicine and other natural healing modalities, there’s a very cool theory called the Doctrine of Signatures, which states that an herb or a plant serves the body in much the same way that the plant acts in its natural environment.

Here’s what I mean: Seaweeds are transformers. They are the magical plants of the ocean.

In Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford writes, “wherever seaweeds grow, they do not simply absorb and concentrate toxins. Rather they detoxify and transform a certain amount of toxic metals, converting them to harmless salts, which the body excretes through the intestines.”

This is exactly what seaweeds do in our bodies.

Seaweed consumption is known to soften hardened areas and masses (think fibroids, nodules or cystic tissues), and detoxify the body. Most likely due to their high mineral content, eating seaweed tends to get things moving in your body and kick biochemical reactions into gear.

Your thyroid needs iodine to be able to make thyroid hormone. So if your hair is getting a little thin, or you’d like to slim down just a bit, it’s a great idea to add foods like my favorite Arame Seaweed Salad (recipe below).

Arame has a subtle, semi-sweet flavor and firm texture. Most people find it to be quite tasty and easy to work with. This salad is a snap to make and it gets even better the next day. If you’re not a fan of the seaweed flavor, you can always tone it down a bit by serving it over a light bed of greens, such as Romaine leaves.

Now, I love hearing from you, seaweed fan or not. Tell me in the comments below, do you mix sea veggies into your cooking? If so, what’s your favorite veggie of the sea and how do you prefer to prepare it? And, if you haven’t dipped into seaweeds yet, what sort of recipe would you like to try?

~ Kristin

The #1 Secret to Easy Family Dinners—and Why Slow is the New Quick

Crockpot chicken~ super simple, super easy, and seriously yummy.
Crockpot chicken~ super simple, super easy, and seriously yummy.

If you’ve got low thyroid, you know there’s just not a whole bunch

of energy leftover—especially toward the end of a long day.

Often, the last thing that you want to do is cook dinner.

You know the drill.

Everyone is hungry.

Your house is a mess.

Kids are climbing up your legs.

Don’t you wish you had a kitchen helper?

Likely, you do, lurking somewhere in a cabinet: a slow cooker, or crockpot. To me, using a crockpot is almost like having dinner out, but you’re eating in the comfort of your own home. You know the ingredients are good and the flavors are going to be just how you like them. But you barely had to lift a finger.

Here’s my “little secret” when it comes to the crockpot: Don’t bother with special “slow cooker” recipes; use it as the world’s easiest way to cook your protein.

For me, it’s usually beef, bison, chicken, or turkey. Yes, it’s that simple!

Then, I use the meat in any which way I like. I can make tacos, Indian curry, Thai stir-fry, or plain old roast chicken, just by placing my meat and a few simple spices into my trusty crocker.

Here is one of my family’s all-time favorites. Honestly, it can’t get any easier. To sweeten the crock just a bit, it’s a two-for-one deal: Roast the chicken on day one, and make a no-work bone broth on day two.

Now it’s your turn. Do you love your crockpot, or is she just sitting there in the back of your cabinet? I’d LOVE to learn about your favorite crockpot recipes. Leave a comment below and while you’re at it, tell us a little story about how you manage to feed your family well with all the hustle and bustle of life.

~ Kristin

What burner are you on?

What burner are you on? I have a love-hate relationship with this question.

Being a momma of a newly 8 year old and a soon to be 4 year old, I will admit I often find myself on the back burner. Let’s face it. There’s a bit of a shift when you birth beings into this world. You kinda have to take the back seat for a little bit, don’t you?

Yes…and no.

Yes, our kids, our partners and our families are going to be a priority for all of us. It’s natural to be on the backburner when you’ve got kids and a household to manage. But, when the scales tip too far or for too long, the imbalance can have an effect on everyone’s health and happiness.

And no, being on the front burner all the time isn’t where it’s at either. Ever been around someone who only cares for them? It gets a little old after awhile.

The key is balance.

We all struggle with this from time to time. But the key to keeping it sane amidst all of the action is really in finding the middle road. The place where you’re feeling satisfied and you’re able to dole out some TLC.

two way arrow
two way arrow

Here are my 5 quick tips for finding the middle burner:

1. Schedule “ME” time Yep, you got it. Whip out your week’s calendar and make a date for yourself. Block off a little time for a quick walk, a gentle bath, or a date with your best friend. Do something once a week just for you.

2. Practice saying no Everyone’s life gets wonky from time to time. Saying “no” is a true art form. You don’t need to be ugly or aggressive. Just be honest. The best part about saying no to something is that you’re really saying yes to what you really need. When saying no gets hard for me (because it can), I focus more of my energy on what I’m really saying yes to.

3. Turn off the technology Technology can soak up all sorts of time. If you feel like you don’t have enough time in a week to grant yourself some “ME” time, then try and cut back on your screen time. Those minutes add up pretty darn quick and soon you’ll find yourself getting back to a few things that you really love.

4. Make lists, (and realize that you don’t have to complete ‘em!) Lists seriously up my productivity, but they can also make me a little anxious. There’s nothing like looking at a piece of paper with a whole lot of to-do’s to get my heart racing. So now I make lists, but I’m totally ok with not finishing them. My lists just roll from one week to the next and I don’t have any expectations as to when my to-do’s need to be done.

5. Plan only 40% of your time. If you’re feeling over scheduled and over committed, think long and hard on this one. There really is no need to jam-pack your day. Believe me, the time is going to get filled one way or another. Might as well have a little “cushion” for some spontaneity or even a little solitude. You’ll feel better by the end of your day, and more relaxed by your weekend.

Tell me, how do you get back on track? When things are getting all loopy and crazy, and you can tell you’re giving a whole lot more than receiving, how do you find the middle road? Leave a comment here. You never know who you might inspire.

~ Kristin

How's Your Rebound Factor?

The other day a colleague of mine asked me, “How are your clients holding up through this cold and flu season?” It took me a minute as I went through my mental file (yes, I have this uncanny way of recording my clients in my mind), and I said “You know, we’ve made it through pretty darn good so far.”

Sure a few of my clients have caught a cold here or there, but I couldn’t think of anyone who had a knock-down, drag-out flu. You know, the kind of flu that I’m talking about. The kind where you’re sick for weeks on end and you just can’t kick it.

Yep, my clients' have built up their “rebound factor”.

pulling hair with frame
pulling hair with frame

Good health isn’t about not getting sick. We’re all going to fall under the weather from time to time. Good health is about your “rebound factor”. It’s when you get sick, but your body is able to bounce back. Colds don’t last as long, they’re not as intense and they certainly don’t come back to haunt you once you’ve finally made it through the woods.

Now, I bet you’re wondering, “What does the rebound factor have to do with hormones?”

One of those hidden little signs of a poor functioning thyroid is your immune system. People with dysfunctional thyroids tend to get sick and stay sick. It can be a serious drag in more ways than one.

You see, all the blood in your body passes through your thyroid every 7 minutes. A super, happy, high-functioning thyroid is able to make use of one potent mineral: iodine. [For those of you who may not know, iodine is a natural antiseptic. Western doctors still use it as a prep agent for most surgeries.]

So here’s how it goes. With all the blood circulating through the thyroid gland every 7 minutes, your body is able to spritz a little antiseptic spray on any bugs, germs, or yucky stuff that may be already trapped in your blood. And iodine is known to kill that stuff on the spot.

Admittedly, there are more ways than one to get a microbe in your system. Often airborne pathogens sneak right in. This is why even those of us in the fittest of conditions will still “go under”. But, rarely do these illnesses just stay locked in your respiratory system.

When an illness goes deeper and starts to affect more of your body, this is when a healthy thyroid makes all the difference in the world. A healthy thyroid will sling that iodine around like it’s no one’s business. It will actually clean and sanitize your blood. But, a sluggish thyroid just can’t mobilize iodine efficiently enough to knock the bug out.

Ever since I started supporting my client’s hormones, this “rebound factor” has gone through the roof. Yes, the people that see me get sick from time to time. But, rarely do they stay sick.

So, now it’s time to take a moment and a deep breath. Every now and again it’s helpful to do a little check-in with yourself. When’s the last time that you got run down and wiped out? Were you in the “really sick” category or were you able to “beat” it? How would you rate your rebound factor?

There’s no need to stay sick and tired. No way, there’s just way too much life out there waiting for us. If you're feeling like your "rebound" needs a "reboot", then it just might be your time to make the leap and say “bye bye” to your hormonal blues.

As always, I want to know. Is your "rebound factor" a boon or a bust? Leave a comment and tell me, how have you bumped up your "rebound factor"?

~ Kristin