Hypothyroidism and the Sun

I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’m not sure exactly how long I’ve had it for, but I’m pretty sure it was at some point in my teens when it first set in. I’ve been managing my symptoms and helping others to do so using my immunology background and nutrition training.

Recently though, I’ve been marvelling at how well I felt while I was away on holiday in Costa Rica.

I’ve been feeling well overall for a long time now, but usually it is something that I have to constantly manage. If I slip up with my diet or get too little sleep, then I really pay the price – there isn’t much of a buffer.

But apparently this is not the case in the tropics!  I was able to manage jet lag (with two jet lagged children) and big dietary changes (from very high veg and low carb to high carb and low veg…) with no problem at all. I was even waking up refreshed after a very little sleep!

Amazing.

So what was going on?  I’ve always loved the tropics and I am convinced it’s the temperature, humidity and the sunshine that help my body work better. Even though I didn’t sun bathe – I was either in the shade with the kids, in my rash vest attempting to surf or walking around with suncream and a hat – I got a light tan and felt the difference.

Vitamin D plays a huge role in moderating our immune systems, and that it is really important (but usually deficient) in people with autoimmune conditions (like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).

I can help you get your thyroid condition under control and to feel your best as soon as possible!  Email me now to book your Free Discovery Session EMAIL CAROLINE

Getting that extra bit of sunshine (carefully of course) definitely helps me.  I also acknowledge that getting away from it all and being on holiday undoubtably makes things better!

So what does this mean for those of us in temperate regions?  Interestingly autoimmune conditions are more prevalent in temperate zones.  I’d suggest getting out in that sunshine, or even daylight, as much as possible and in a safe way and keeping warm by layering up, especially when it’s breezy!

Have you been on holiday this summer? How did you feel?

Caroline xx

Don’t forget to check out my coaching HERE.  I can help you get your thyroid condition under control and to feel your best as soon as possible!  Email me now to book your Free Discovery Session EMAIL CAROLINE

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Going chemical-free improved my health

It’s suspected that allergies, asthma, some cancers and reproductive disorders are increasing, in part, due to the use of chemicals in our homes and on our bodies. For 99% of common chemicals (i.e. those used in household and beauty products), there is too little information on their safety – we don’t know their effects on our health or on the environment.

When I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) I made big changes to my diet and to my lifestyle and I felt a lot better. But, it wasn’t until I switched to chemical-free living that I completely recovered.  I believe that was because my body could finally stop having to process and eliminate the various irritants and toxins I was inadvertently exposing myself to.

Also, I think going chemical-free helped settle my hormones. So many beauty products (including shampoos, conditioners and moisturisers) have hormone-disrupting chemicals in them.  This should be a HUGE red flag for everyone, but it should particularly concern people with hormone problems such as thyroid disorders and adrenal problems.

Cancer has also darkened our doors, so using chemicals when water and a special cloth with do the job just as well, if not better!

Also, any chemical you use in your home will go straight into the environment. So going chemical-free also helps the planet – win-win!

Going chemical-free is a bit of a lifestyle change, and can seem daunting – I know only too well. It’s hard to figure out how to clean your house without cleaners (right!?) and what about your body products?!

Here’s what I did, and it’s actually really quick and simple to make the switch – and TOTALLY WORTH IT!

I first made the switch when I was living in Australia, and there was a lovely local shop that made and sold their own plant-based beauty products, which was perfect. At that time I used a combination of traditional cleaning concoctions, like lemon, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. It was alright, but a bit of a pain and not quick and easy.

Now I live in the UK have discovered better ways to be chemicals-free. I use various brands of organic, chemical-free shampoo and conditioner. I use organic coconut oil, sesame oil or this cream to moisturise and I use a range of body cloths (microfibre so no need for soap!), organic soap and shower gel.  I find the Norwex make-up remover cloths to be fabulous – they remove all make-up with just water, and gently cleanses your face without stripping it, so great even if you don’t wear make-up. I use them everyday!

Chemical-Free_Badges_GreenFor my home, I exclusively use Norwex products because they are the best I have found and I like the company’s ethos. I haven’t looked back. Norwex has made the transition to chemical-free living so much easier, because cleaning with their products is so quick and easy! (No really, it’s almost addictive and I am not a compulsive cleaner!).

Since I switched to Norwex EnviroCloths (and stopped using chemical cleaners) and Norwex Washing Powder my health has improved, son’s persistent nighttime cough has gone and I’m not freaking out about giving my kids Cancer by using chemicals on and around them (I know that sounds dramatic, but when it’s that close to home, these fears are real).

I also wouldn’t do without the Blue Diamond Bathroom cleaner, which is a natural product that gives that extra clean to the areas that really need it!  You dilute it down so much that it lasts for ages.

I’ve also just had first hand experience of the amazing Odour Eliminator, as our cats used the cupboard under the stairs as a latrine while we were on holiday – nice.  I’ve cleaned it all without using chemicals, and there is no cat pee smell – amazing.

I haven’t come across anything that I can’t clean chemical-free.

Still have your doubts?  Get in touch if you have any questions!

Be healthy!

C_14Caroline xxx

caroline@flourishwellness.co.uk

Blood tests, hypothyroidism and vitamin D

I’ve recently got back from a fabulous holiday in Costa Rica, Central America. I am super lucky to be able to go there; I have amazing family and friends there, it’s beautiful, very biodiverse, the people are delightful and you can walk into a lab like a highstreet shop and order any blood test you like.

I know that this is quite a privileged thing to be able to do, and I wouldn’t advise that you do it unless you know how to interpret the results or have a doctor who can help you with it (I also saw an endocrinologist while I was there).

In the UK getting your own blood tests done isn’t possible. Here your GP has to order the blood tests, which means they first have to think that the tests are worth ordering and that the NHS should spend money on them. Even then, the lab tech running the tests can decide not to bother if they don’t think it’s relevant (I’m not kidding, this has happened twice with my Husband’s tumour markers!). It’s therefore quite uncommon for vitamin deficiency tests to be run, for example.  We also don’t get the full thyroid panel, or levels of antibodies. This lack of monitoring can make it hard to determine whether the changes you are making to your lifestyle and diet are having a positive effect on your hypothyroidism.

I can walk you through the diet and lifestyle changes you need to help your thyroid in a safe and systematic way, that’s unique for you! Click HERE

So I went with a plan. I wanted to know whether the vitamin supplements I have been taking are A) having an effect on my vitamin levels (i.e. being assimilated properly) and B) whether I should continue to take them.

I try not to take vitamins unless I really need to. In a lot of cases it’s unclear what a high dose of some vitamins can do, and there has been a fair amount of bad press out there. On the other hand, we know our bodies need certain vitamins, and for hypothyroid people, vitamin deficiencies are common and often undermine the health changes you’re making. For me Vitamin D is an important one – many hypothyroid people assimilate vitamin D poorly, yet it has such a huge role in moderation our immune systems. We don’t really get it from our food, and in the UK, getting it through sun exposure can be challenging.  Personally, I take a high dose Vitamin D3 supplement. In doing so, I need to watch my calcium levels as these can drop. SO I was curious to see what my test results showed.

Interestingly, despite this high dose supplement, my vitamin D levels were right on the boundary of being deficient. This means one of two things 1) that my VitD levels without the high dose supplements are ridiculously low or 2) that the supplement isn’t being assimilated. I don’t know which is the answer, though I do know that I start to feel tired, lethargic and brain-foggy when I skip my Vit D for a few days.

Luckily my blood work showed perfect Calcium levels, so no worries there.

Of course I had anti-thyroid antibodies, as you’d expect with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and my white blood cells were slightly low – again common with my thyroid condition.

So, I’m sticking with the Vitamin D supplements and continuing to eat right and be well!  I’ll be back on the calcium-rich bone broth ASAP!

Caroline x

Tips for eating out gluten-free

A lot of my clients come to me well aware that they need to cut gluten out of their diets. For some it is because they know their body reacts badly to it – they can feel it with bloating and cramps (read gluten intolerance symptoms HERE). Some may have been given a diagnosis of Celiac’s disease (an autoimmune where gluten triggers the body to attack the gut), other autoimmune diseases, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or have irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowl disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s.

Going Gluten Free isn’t a cure-all and it isn’t going to help everyone, but for many people in the above groups, it is definitely worth a try to see if symptoms diminish.

However, the number 1 reason people tell me that they can’t go gluten free is because of eating out. Many of my clients are “90%” gluten free – but that doesn’t work (read HERE for reasons why).

I am gluten-free because gluten causes my thyroid disease to flare-up. My husband and son are also gluten free, and therefore, by default, so is my daughter. I’m also dairy, egg and soy-free (as these also caused adverse reactions, common for those with Hashimoto’s).

So, eating out can turn into a whole lot of aggravation and not a lot of pleasure. This is particularly the case with gluten-free kids. They want to have a good time and I don’t want to deprive them, but most kids menus have ZERO vegetables, or if they do it’s a token portion of grey peas with fish and chips. Everything on a kids menu comes with chips (which OK are technically gluten free…), and/or in batter or in a bun. I have to admit, this does annoy me – what example are we setting our kids about healthy eating? Anyway, that’s not what this post is about…

I have noticed recently that more restaurants are onboard with gluten free eating. I think this is probably because of a change in legislation surrounding food allergies.

My biggest gripes about eating out with intolerances/allergies are:

  1. The lack on information on menus – if the chicken comes with a cream sauce, write it on the menu!  If the kids sorbet comes on a bed of biscuit crumbs (even when you have told the staff he is gluten-free), write it on the menu!
  2. Being handed a ring-binder folder of spreadsheets documenting all possible allergens that may be in the kitchen, which doesn’t correspond to the meals on the menu, is not helpful. I didn’t come out to study.

Think you should be Gluten Free?  Check out my online Go Gluten Free coaching package. Provides you with the information and tools to go gluten free and determine if you have a problem with it.  CLICK HERE for more info. 

It’s true, while others are getting drinks and catching-up with old friends, I am usually scanning the various menus and spreadsheets for something to feed my family.  Do I get irritated every now and then when something turns up coated in breadcrumbs or slathered in butter, when I have spent half of my evening discussing gluten-containing ingredients with staff? Well yes. And for that I am sorry.

But, is being gluten free worth this hassle?  YES, absolutely.

So, my Top Tips for eating out Gluten-Free:

  1. Announce your intolerances when you book the table or at least upon arrival.  I still don’t enjoy doing this. Sometimes I just want to be “normal” and to not have the wait staff surreptitiously pointing at me and talking.  BUT, it can save you a lot of hassle at the restaurant. Some places like you to choose your meal ahead of time. This slightly takes the spontaneity out of the event, but could save you from being ill – it’s a trade off (as ever).
  2. Be prepared to be flexible. There may be one dish on the menu that they can adapt for you. It probably won’t be your first or even second choice, but try to go with it.
  3. Be aware of menu misinformation. Thinking I can get away with not announcing my intolerances has got me into gluten-trouble many times. I have fallen into the trap of ordering what reads on the menu as a simple chicken and vegetables or nut roast with seasonal veg.  This usually comes with some hidden allergen, like breadcrumbs in the nut roast or vegetables cooked in butter – see point 1, it’s best to announce your intolerances.
  4. Know your allergens/gluten-containing foods. Even though wait staff and chefs are now supposed to be trained in this, do not rely on them. On many an occasion I have been offered a “gluten-free” meal, which contains barely or rye or even breadcrumbs! Sausages, unless specifically stated, will contain gluten.  Crisps/chips with flavouring usually contain gluten. Most sauces and gravies also contain gluten, though some are thickened with cornflour. If you are in any doubt then avoid it.
  5. You can usually get an extra side of vegetables – ask!  I have noticed that once over the shock and fear of having to deal with someone with an intolerance/allergy, restaurant staff are keen to make a good impression (especially if they have handed you a folder and asked you to piece together your own meal). I often ask if I can swap things, such as a a side of garlic bread for an extra portion of vegetables. This is also often the case if they have to take something gluten-containing out of the main meal.
  6. As a last resort, if you are very worried that there won’t be anything you can have, then eat a small meal before you go out. Then order a starter or salad.

It can be hard, and challenging and frustrating, but sticking to your gluten-free diet when eating out is really important for your health. If in doubt, don’t have it.

Need some help with your Gluten Free diet?  Email me caroline@flourishwellness.co.uk or CLICK HERE for my Go Gluten Free package

Pre-launch offer “Go Gluten Free” online package – don’t miss out!

Do you think you may have a problem with gluten?  Yes, going gluten free has become a bit of a fad and many of us are sick of hearing about it.  But, if you have digestive issues, a thyroid disorder or any autoimmune disease, the evidence for going gluten-free is stacking up.  Go gluten free safely and healthily and reduce your symptoms – it’s NOT about swapping to the Free-from food section.

Read my Gluten posts HERE

It’s suggested that everyone with an autoimmune disease can benefit from going gluten-free. This is because gluten causes the release of a substance called Zonulin in our digestive system. Zonulin is responsible for the tight junctions between the cells of our gut lining. Tight junctions control the substances that pass through the gut lining and into the blood stream. When zonulin is high, the tight junctions are loose, meaning that large molecules and microbes can pass through into our blood and be detected by our immune system.

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“Leaky gut”, and therefore gluten, is arguably the root cause of autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (hypothyroidism), Grave’s disease, Celiac’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In fact, for thyroid conditions gluten causes the immune system to attack the thyroid tissue through a processed called molecular mimicry – your immune cells mistake your thyroid cells for gluten and destroy them.

In my Go Gluten Free package, I provide you with the information and tools to safely and easily go gluten free in a healthy and sustainable way.

Click here to get the Go Gluten Free package for the EARLY BIRD Price.

Here are just some things you have the potential to gain:bread-399286_1920

  • Better digestion
  • Better concentration
  • Better weight management
  • Fewer joint aches and pains
  • More energy
  • More stable blood sugar levels
  • Better mood
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease 

If you struggle with gluten, by completing this 4-week coaching package you’ll be healthier, have more energy and may have reduced your risk for chronic illness!

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Love your microbes

I heard Tim Spector’s talk at the College of Medicine’s “Food. Food the forgotten medicine pictureThe forgotten medicine” conference earlier this month. He is mad about gut microbes and health, and has written a book about it The Diet Myth.

We are covered in microbes – single-celled organisms that are invisible to the human eye and the oldest form of life on Earth. These micro-organisms live on us and in us – with a wealth residing in our digestive tracts. Each of us has a unique gut microbial blueprint – passed, in part, onto us by our mother during a natural birth, but dependent upon our genetic make-up (Goodrich et al. 2014). When we are healthy our microbes are diverse and abundant, and responsible for immune system development and long-term health (Romero et al. 2014).

99% of our microbes are beneficial. 

These “friendly gut microbes”, if you will, enable us to breathe, to digest our food, manage our weight, regulate our immune system and resist disease (Stearns at el. 2011).

Altered gut microbial diversity, or dysbiosis, plays a role in chronic and systemic disease, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, IBS, Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (Kinross et al. 2014), autoimmune disease e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s diseases (Amy et al. 2013) and cancer (Schwabe and Jobin 2013).

It’s therefore worrying that we have grown-up being afraid of “germs” and systematically kill-off these life-giving, protective microbes with hand sanitiser, bleach, antibiotics. We can also cause dysbiosis through infection, lifestyle and diet.

Killing-off or not looking after our microbiome has long-term health consequences. In children, for example, taking antibiotics between 0 and 2years old is linked to increased chance of childhood obesity, growth impairment and allergies (Cox and Blaser 2014). We’ve likely all had antibiotics, and kids are given them routinely because of the plethora of infections they tend to get. If you must have antibiotics, you can buffer the effects by using a good probiotic and ensuring a diet and lifestyle that promotes the re-establishment of a healthy microbiome.

coral 3Our gut microbiome can be thought of as an ecosystem – a biological community of organisms that interact with one another and respond to the physical environment.. A high biodiversity of organisms, relative to climate, is characteristic of a healthy ecosystem – be it a coral reef, tropical rainforest, lake, field, desert or our guts. A high diversity of organisms ensures that each niche, or need, is fulfilled and gives back to the system. As such, an ecosystem is more resilient to short term environmental change and stresses, and therefore less susceptible to disease. Optimal climate is necessary for maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

 

The same is true for our guts.  To ensure optimal health, we need to nurture our gut microbiome by providing a favourable environment for the long-term (Xu and Knight 2015). In general, this means a whole foods diet including a diverse range of vegetables – including the pre-biotic containing ones such as Jerusalem Artichoke which help to provide the food for our microbes. The phytonutrients found in plants are irreplaceable and essential for good health – make sure you eat a high diversity of vegetables. Include some nuts and seeds, fish (for your omega 3 essential fatty acids) and whole grains and dairy. Limit red meat.

burger-1140824_1920A diet high in processed food is high in sugar, trans fats, saturated fat, additives and refined carbohydrates and is undeniably bad for your health, and your microbiome.  A bad diet can can drop your gut microbial diversity by 40%, which of course compromises your health and sets you up for disease.

Want to know what your gut is doing? It can be really useful if you have a chronic illness. I had mine done by a naturopathic doctor when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  It certainly helped me understand my health and take control of my health.  Though it seems like you need a referral by a doctor, which can be very difficult to get, visit www.mapmygut.com to find out what’s going on with you’re microbiome.

In the mean time, look after your microbiome!

Email caroline@flourishwellness.co.uk to book a FREE discovery session to talk about your health how diet and lifestyle changes can help.

Did you see my post about inflammation and your health? Have a read HERE.

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Top tips for healthy eating

Last week I attended the College of Medicine’s conference “Food. The Forgotten Medicine.” It was really interesting and uplifting to hear that some doctors are now acknowledging that food is a cornerstone of good health.  They also recognised that the 0 – 6 hours of nutrition training doctors get in Medical school is insufficient (and could explain why your doctor is reluctant to discuss any dietary interventions).

I’m hoping that the role of the health coach will soon be accepted and respected by the medical profession. As a health coach (PhD) , I have the time and expertise to talk through your diet and lifestyle. To hear your concerns and to understand your unique experience.  I can then work with you, as an individual, to find the right dietary and lifestyle changes so you feel better for the long-term.

It was a shame that only one patient had a voice at the conference and that she was the very last speaker. Carrie Grant gave an brilliant synopsis of her story with inflammatory bowel disease, and how hard it is to take control of your health in the current health system. It’s difficult to be a knowledgeable patient – as I know only too well.  As Carrie put it, the consultant hold the power, “and they kind of like it”.

It was highlighted again and again at the conference that the typical “healthy’ diet that many people have been following for decades (due to government guidelines) is wrong and even dangerous.  The NHS recommends you “Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates” – do NOT do this…

Top tips:

  1. Carbohydrates cause problems. Carbohydrates (e.g. flour, pasta, bread, rice etc) cause chronic low levels of inflammation that ultimately lead to disease e.g. Cancer, heart disease, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases (IBS, Crohn’s, thyroid disease, arthritis, ulcerative colitis etc). Carbohydrates therefore should NOT form the main component of a healthy diet (contrary to the NHS eat well guidelines).
  2. Fats are good. We need them – 60% of our brain is fat, what do you think happens to that on a low fat diet? But, we need the right kind of fats, ones that reduce inflammation rather than cause it. We need the omega 3 fatty acids found in nuts, seeds, olive oil and fish, and smaller amounts of  omega 6 fatty acids found in animal products. Processed food should be avoided at all costs as these are unhealthily high in omega 6 and trans fats, which are toxic.
  3. Fruit Juice is NOT healthy.  Fruit juice, fresh or otherwise, contains a lot of sugar. Without the fibre you get by eating fruit, this sugar goes straight into your blood and causes a stress response in the form of insulin production.
  4. Wholegrain is only wholegrain when it is the whole grain. You might want to read that again. Basically it means that a wholegrain ceases to be whole once you mill it. Milled grains are easy to digest so the sugar that it digests down into rapidly goes into your blood.  Wholegrain is more difficult to digest and so releases sugars slowly.
  5. Refined sugar alternatives are often no better. Sugar, in any form, will cause a stress response in your body. Many alternatives, like agave syrup, contain up to 75% fructose, which can alter the insulin pathway. It’s unclear exactly what sugar substitutes, artificial or otherwise, do to the body. You should avoid eating anything artificial. Natural sweetness that trick the brain are likely to cause problems with signalling.

If you’re suffering from a chronic inflammatory or autoimmune condition, making these few adjustments to your diet could have a big impact on your symptoms. There are lots of positive dietary and lifestyle changes you could make so that you can live symptom free, or even reverse your condition (as with type 2 diabetes).

Seek the information, make healthy choices, live well and feel better!

Caroline x

Ignoring your gluten intolerance

I believe that every one is unique, and has a unique set of foods that promote health and equally has foods which encourage disease. I don’t believe that gluten is the root of all evil and that everyone should stop eating it, but ignoring a gluten intolerance could have long-term consequences.

I have spoken with a lot of people who know that gluten doesn’t agree with them. They get bloated after they eat it, they have aches and pains and sometimes get cramps, yet they don’t want to stop eating “like a normal person”. I hear this time and time again, and I can completely relate to it. Change is difficult. It takes energy and effort, and when we are ill or fatigued – or suffering from the symptoms of gluten intolerance – it’s difficult to muster the will power.

I get it. I’ve been there. I have also been desperately ill. I was virtually housebound  at 27 years old for nearly 18 months. I ached all over, I had no energy and simply talking was draining. All the doctors I went to said that I was a healthy 27 year old. I needed to make a big change and to take matters into my own hands. I drastically changed my diet, my lifestyle and grew as a person.  Going entirely gluten free was a significant part of getting my health – and my life – back.

You may not be as ill as I was and you may find your symptoms manageable. But what is it doing to your body? If you have symptoms of dis-ease, your body is telling you something.

If you ignore your gluten intolerance, you may be setting yourself up for future health problems. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Increased risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes

Our digestive system is responsible for absorbing food as well as detecting and mounting an immune response to things that may harm us – usually bacteria or other mircoorganisms.

70% of our immune system is located in our gastrointestinal tract (Faria and Weiner 2005).

If you are gluten intolerant, immune mechanisms in your gut recognize gluten as an invader that needs eliminating and so your body activates an immune response designed to kill-off the invader. It’s a misdirected response as gluten is not an infectious agent. Mounting such an immune response is not only exhausting, but also dangerous – these first immune responses are designed to be temporary toxic storms to efficiently protect us from infection. Constantly or repeatedly activating this system leads to chronic inflammation – something that is directly related to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.

  1. Nutrient deficiencies – malnourishment

Continuing to eat gluten when you are intolerant to it can cause the lining of your digestive tract to become inflamed, damaged and stripped of the protective mucous coating (villous atrophy). This damage stops nutrients from being absorbed properly and can lead to malnutrition, usually in the form of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Symptoms can include fatigue, dry skin, brittle hair, poor concentration, frequent illness and failure to thrive in children – the list extensive. It’s worth bearing in mind that you can be nutrient deficient and over weight.

  1. Increased risk of autoimmune disease

In addition to being inflamed an unable to absorb nutrients effectively, zonulin (derived from gluten) can cause gaps to form in your gut lining. This is known as intestinal hyperpermeability or leaky gut. It means that food particles and bacteria can pass through your gut wall straight into your blood stream. If this happens, your immune system will go into overdrive to get rid of the invaders – and it stays on high alert for weeks, which is exhausting, depleting and potentially harmful. Leaky gut can lead to chronic poor health and the development of more intolerances, such as to the milk protein casein, and autoimmune diseases – where the immune system attacks the body. Most people with an autoimmune condition feel better on a gluten-free diet. Interestingly, components of gluten have a similar structure to protein structures in our bodies – particularly those within the thyroid. If you have an autoimmune disease, consuming gluten will cause your immune system to attack your body – there is a well-studied link between Celiac disease and thyroid conditions.

Autoimmune diseases include: 

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Grave’s disease

Celiac disease

Addison’s disease

Psoriasis

Rheumatoid arthritis

And many, many more!

I hope you’ve found this informative! If you’re considering going gluten-free, check out my Go Gluten-Free online coaching package. For just £10 (US$14.50) a week, this 4-week package provides you with the tools and guidance so you can make informed choices about your health and instigate positive and lasting change.

Launching June 24th 2016! Early Birds get a 25% Discount, so register today by emailing me now: caroline@flourishwellness.co.uk!

Look after yourself!

Caroline x

P.S. Don’t forget coach One2One – helping you to reach your health goals and to feel better.  I offer a FREE Discovery Session wherever you are in the world! Drop me a line HERE!

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Sleep has always been an important part of my life, and I’ve been able to sleep in some pretty spectacular situations – from a sun-warmed stone on a mountain top to the bouncing bow of a boat in the cold, driving rain. In hindsight, my ability  – or need- to nod off was probably a symptom of my thyroid disease.

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Recently I have met a lot of people with hypothyroidism, or suspect they have it despite their blood work being normal. Many of these people have a long list of symptoms that they have never associated with their thyroid condition and have lived with them for years. They are are used to feeling less than optimal and easily put these, often non-specific, symptoms down to age or lack of sleep.

But what if you could feel better? What if you could get rid of those aches and pains?  Today I want to give you a more comprehensive list (but by no means exhaustive) of the symptoms you may experience with hypothyroidism – there may be more than you may realise.

Chronic symptoms of hypothyroidism can be reduced or eliminated through changes in eating habits and lifestyle.

I’m walking proof of this. I have gone from being bedridden, aching all over and barely able to move to, on the whole, being fully functional!  I still get the odd flare-up, but there is usually a clear cause, such as over working, catching a horrible bug or letting my sugar consumption creep up. When this happens I know I have to go back to basics and “Reboot“, to get back on track. And it works.

If you have hypothyroidism, particularly Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and suffer from chronic symptoms it’s important you know that they are an indication that your body is not functioning at it’s best. You have those symptoms for a reason.

Masking symptoms with pain killers and supplements without addressing the cause can compromise your long-term health.

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If you have these symptoms please know that you can feel better. It may take time. It may take effort, but it is possible! With no help or guidance from medical doctors as to how to manage my diagnoses (first CFS and then Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), just a prescription for Thyroxine, for a long time I thought I was going to be virtually house-bound for the rest of my life. Thank goodness I took control of my health and made the necessary changes to feel better.

I read and researched. I used my background in Immunology to understand the science behind my disease, then I listened to my body and used my knowledge of nutrition to heal and get as healthy as possible.

Here is a list of some of the symptoms you may have, even if you’re taking thyroxine. How many of these do you have?

  • Palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Slow speech
  • Slow movements
  • Brain fog/confusion/forgetfulness
  • Liver tenderness
  • Insomnia (yes, even with hypothyroidism)
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Muscle and joint stiffness
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pins and needles
  • Puffy, itchy, scratchy eyes
  • Puffy hands and feet
  • Cold extremities/ low basal body temperature
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Tinnitus/hearing problems
  • Restless legs
  • Hair loss
  • Eczema/ dry skin
  • Migraines
  • Blurred vision
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to cope with stress

I had more than 75% of these symptoms and I was misdiagnosed for 5 years. Now I live largely symptom free!

Get in touch to hear how we can work together to improve your health and get rid of your symptoms.

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If you have some of these symptoms and haven’t got a hypothyroidism diagnosis, then it’s advisable to talk to your doctor. These symptoms don’t mean you DO have hypothyroidism and are not meant for diagnostic purposes. If you are at all concerned about your health, then make an appointment to see your doctor.

I am happy to help you make positive dietary and lifestyle changes alongside your medical doctor.

Take control of your health and feel better!

With warmth,

Caroline x

P.S. Have you signed up to my mailing list? Click here for information and offers straight to your inbox, including FREE Pukka Tea when you register for The Reboot!

P.P.S. Interested in health coaching but not sure what to expect? Have  read of THIS page or send me an email HERE.  You can have a FREE Discovery Session with no obligation to sign-up for coaching. Remember, I can coach you no matter where in the world you are!

How much sugar?

Sugar has been in the news a lot recently, and maybe you are sick of people talking about it. Maybe you don’t want to feel guilty for that glass of coke or that extra slice of cake, and fair enough – it’s your choice. But what if it is seriously affecting your, and your family’s, longterm health?

It’s easy to listen to the news and think that sugar is a “fat” person problem, or that you don’t drink sugary, carbonated drinks, so you’re ok. But unfortunately that’s not the case.  Sugar, in any form (fruit sugars, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup..), is potentially harmful – yep, you read that right, but hear me out.

Sugar types

The negative effects of sugar are numerous and far reaching – to the point that it was recommended by scientists years ago that it be regulated like tobacco and alcohol. The effects are that serious. It is that toxic.

I know that when I’m having an autoimmune flare-up – fatigued, headachy, joint ache, big puffy eyes (all because of my thyroid disease), the first thing I need to do is check the amount of sugar in my diet. And I generally don’t eat much sugar at all.

Sugar causes:

  • Metabolic Syndrome: diabetes, hypertension, liver problems, cardiovascular disease and non-alcohol fatty liver (Read more HERE).
  • Fat stores – when consumed in high doses, fructose overwhelms your liver’s ability to process it, so it gets stored as fat to stop it harming your body.
  • Hormonal mayhem – For a start, fructose suppresses gut hormones that tell you you are full (leading to over eating). Secondly, glucose causes your body to flood with insulin (a growth hormone), which is good and normal, but over stimulus can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. If you have a condition that involves the endocrine system e.g. thyroid disease, then you need to have a think about sugar.
  • “Bad” gut micro flora bloom, leaving you bloated, sluggish and unable to digest food properly.
  • Tooth decay
  • Cancer risk and poor prognosis (read HERE).
  • Chronic Inflammation – all those underlying, background symptoms -aches and pains, arthritis, headaches – may relate back to sugar.

So, am I suggesting you never eat anything sweet again, including fruit? No.

I am suggesting that you take a look at how much of each sugar type you currently eat and whether the risks are worth it. Learn how much your body can tolerate and chose the types you consume wisely.

Of course I’m not telling you to stop eating fruit, just don’t under estimate it’s sugar content – always go for the whole fruit, which includes fibre and water to help your body deal with the sugar, rather than juices or dried fruit.

What should you do? Here are some absolute basics:

  1. Stop drinking soft drinks, fruit juices and squash/cordial – swap for tea, vegetable juice or water with lemon or lime.
  2. Start checking labels. Anything with more than 5% sugar is not a good option.
  3. Get in the kitchen – Clear out your cupboards and start cooking.  Get rid of your packaged, processed food. Buy fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses and lean meat. You don’t need to be a master chef to put together a quick and healthy meal.
  4. Stop buying low fat foods – fat is not bad. Sugar is bad, and sugar gets turned into fat. Low fat foods are full of sugar.

Confused or don’t know where to start? Send me an EMAIL.

Or start The Reboot and start feeling better fast!

Flyer for webWe have made big changes as a family. I want to reduce the chances of more Cancer in my family and to keep my Hashimoto’s disease under control.

Sugar is at a minimum. We eat some fruit each day and have dark chocolate or homemade granola or muffins as a treat every now and then. It is difficult and sometimes we have to Reboot.

It is hard to live a low-sugar life, because it’s become the norm to consume a lot of sugar on a daily basis. It’s normal for kids to have sugary snacks throughout the day, and to top-up on sugar-fill fruit juices or squash. In fact, if you “deprive” your child of these tasty, toxic, treats you are considered slightly strange and probably a bit mean. I try to make it as easy for my kids as possible, and am usually ready with a healthier alternative, but it takes planning and motivation.

I think it’s worth it – I’m sticking at it for our long term health.

Are you on a low-sugar eating plan? How has it benefited you?