helping mommas

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

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

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

It's Liver time!

Spring is here! Can you feel it? I love the change of seasons. It brings a sense of renewal, wonder and anticipation. And right now, I am so looking forward to opening spring windows, smelling spring flowers and soaking up the sunshine.

In Chinese Medicine, spring is all about your liver. Your liver is a big, old workhorse for your body. It’s got over 500 functions- from regulating hormones to filtering blood. It’s a mover and a shaker, and when your liver is not functioning at it’s best it can get really bogged down.

Sometimes, your liver is known to “stagnate”.

Stagnate? Yuck!

How is your liver feeling this spring?
How is your liver feeling this spring?

When your liver “stagnates” it means that it gets stuck, it’s sluggish, it’s having a hard time getting it’s job done.

When your liver gets clogged up it can really feel like a quagmire- physically and emotionally. When it comes to hormones, if your liver is moving on the slow side, then you’re going to have a heap troubles like erratic temperatures, sore breasts, painful periods and sleepless nights.

Because your liver is in charge of so many functions, a lot can go haywire when it’s not at it’s best. Aside from the physical complications, your liver can have a pretty hefty hand in your emotions too. A stagnant liver can make a gal moody or cranky.

So, if you’re feeling yourself a little on edge, or you just want a little more spring in your step, then it might be time to put a little lovin’s into your liver. Here are my top three tips to get your liver moving again.

1. Just a squeeze of lemon in your water will get your liver groovin’. That bitter/sour taste of lemon can help kick your liver into action. Lemon is known to detoxify your body and wake up your system. You don’t need loads. Just a little squeeze in your water will freshen things up and give your liver a little perk.

2. Rub the tops of your feet. The liver meridian begins near the end of your big toe and goes up the top of your foot. There’s a few other meridians that are there too, but often tightness on the top of your feet will relate to your liver.

If your liver is stuck or bogged down, expect the top of your feet to be tight. If your liver is free and clear, then I bet your feet will feel pretty good too. Take a couple of minutes to rub the top of your feet. Working out any soreness will help stimulate your lymph and get your liver cranking.

3. Take a hike. There is nothing like fresh air and a brisk walk to help your liver out. Remember, your liver is like a general. It’s coordinating and telling all the other organs what to do. Gentle movement tends to help your liver get it’s message out.

In Chinese medicine, we say that movement helps to soothe your liver. Exercise can clear your head and help work out your emotions. But, be careful with this one. A gentle walk is far kinder to your liver, than an all out exercise catharsis.

With these three tips and a little bit of sunshine, your Spring is sure to be sweet. See you out there!

~ 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

Are Your Kids Driving You CRAZY?

I bet you can relate to this scene. It's 5:00 and you've had a fun day playing with your kiddos. Every one is a little tired and a lot hungry- and that's when it happens. Suddenly- the whole scene falls apart. Kids are crying, toys are flying, and mama bear is ready to pull her hair out.

Yikes! We've all had moments like this, but what does it have to do with hormones?

When we're talking about our own hormonal health, these times can really take the wind out of our sails. You see, hormones like the easy road. Hormones are just like ocean tides. They like to flow in and flow out- with their own smooth rhythm. These upsets- tend to put a damper on our day, and they also put a little wrench into our hormonal cycles.

Now I am no parenting expert, and with two rambunctious kiddos in my life, I have picked up on a few tips that help make my day run smoother.

Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Mother's Day!

1. Have Pillow Fights....(every day!)

We all need to blow off steam. Kids- in particular- are holding a heck of a lot in between their parents expectations and school. Unfortunately, when the pressure builds for kids, they tend to let off steam by crying, kicking, screaming, and/or hitting. All the things that we (their parents) just love. Regular pillow fights have been the saving grace for my family. Set the timer for 10-15 minutes, make sure everyone plays safe and have fun! The pillow fight stops when the timer goes off- and yes, I usually have to help with the transition.

2. Be Quiet

When kids get all riled up, words tend to add to the confusion. Stay connected, send them love, and please...be quiet. They just need to discharge some emotions. If someone is getting hurt, tend to the hurt child. Refrain from lecturing the child who is triggered. Hard to do, but it helps. And you can always talk to the triggered child when their emotions blow over.

3. Listen More

Every family I know is busy. Kids have a lot of important things going on in their lives too. And they really want us- their parents- to listen. This doesn't have to happen 24 hours a day- and it needs to happen enough that your child feels heard and respected. So when they come home from school and they want to tell you a story, turn off your phone, get away from your computer- and look them straight in the eyes and have a conversation with them. They will love you forever for this.

These are 3 tips have helped me be a more balanced momma. And when I feel balanced, I feel strong and healthy- and I'm way more in the flow. I'm less stressed- and less stress is just good medicine for any body.

Now it's your turn. Momma's need all the help that we can get on our parenting journey. What is your best parenting tip to handle situations like this? Tell us what's worked or what's left you feel high and dry.

~ Kristin