Thyroid—you might have a problem and not know it

All estimates I’ve read are that 25 to 50 percent or more of American women have significant thyroid issues. Possibly over half of women over 40. Most of these women are undiagnosed. If you have low thyroid, which is the most common thyroid problem, symptoms may be low energy, slow metabolism / weight gain, dry skin, bags under your eyes, fatigue, hair loss, depression, poor circulation, low immune function, and insomnia.

My best friend since childhood, on the other hand, has the “auto-immune” condition of hyperthyroidism, which is just as miserable. Her thyroid is always revved and overproducing. She goes the drug route. The symptoms are a racing heartbeat, weight loss, increase or decrease in appetite, insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, mental disturbance, infertility, thinning hair, itching and hives, heat intolerance, and tremors / shakiness.

All the endocrine disruptors in the environment and food supply affect thyroid function. Don’t eat soy! Don’t expose yourself to pesticides, or plastics, or heavy metals. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and unchecked stress.

Doctors will likely put you on synthetic hormone. Remember that the drug thyroid is not bioidentical to the thyroid produced in your body. It’s been molecularly altered, each drug different from each other, to earn a patent.

If you find a clinic that specializes in bioidentical hormone, the cost is far less, and your body can assimilate and utilize the hormone effectively, like the hormone your own thyroid produces.

I spent four years on a synthetic thyroid drug, many years ago, before I knew any better. It helped me drop the 40 lbs. I’d gained in a year since I became hypothyroid. But it increased my risk for cancer. I happily transitioned to bioidentical and have been on it ever since. Recently I went completely off thyroid to test whether perhaps my good diet compensated, and maybe I could produce hormone effectively by myself.

The good news is, my baseline was much better than it was 10 years ago when I first was tested. The bad news is, I got ugly bags under my eyes. I made some videos last summer in Denver when I was completely off thyroid, and I can’t even look at them. Ugly. My body makes about 60% of the thyroid I need. I take a few drops of nascent iodine each day, now, and my bioidentical thyroid keeps me happy and balanced.

You can read whole books on the thyroid phenomenon by Mary Shomon, a bestselling author. Too many women are hypothyroid and going without treatment. Remember to google “bioidentical hormone” rather than starting with the standard M.D.’s practice of automatic drug-oriented HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

And remember, having an M.D. check you for T3 will not give you the whole answer. When I gained 40 lbs. because I was very hypothyroid in my mid-30’s, I was tested for that and the doc told me it was “normal.” I knew I was NOT feeling normal, but what was I to do?

You must get the full blood panel and have a highly specialized bioidentical practitioner look at the interplay of T3, T4, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and a variety of co-factors. When I did that, my life changed dramatically because they could treat my whole body, rather than just drug one element, throwing other critical elements into imbalance.

If you’re feeling healthy but want to make sure you’re getting enough iodine, using refined salt with chemical, synthetic iodine enrichment, is harmful. If you want ways to get more natural, bioavailable iodine in your diet, to enhance your body’s ability to make and utilize thyroid hormone?

Talk to your holistic practitioner about whether you should take nascent iodine (available online, google it) or Lugol’s solution (prescription). My practitioner had me paint a 1”x1” patch of my inner forearm with drugstore iodine, and if it disappeared in an hour, she said that was a sign my body needs iodine. (However, I believe others dispute this test as valid.)

Food-based sources are kelp (which you can take in tablets, or it’s a wonderful salt replacement seasoning), or dulse, or nori sheets (seaweed). Those are high-iodine sea vegetables. If you take too much, you would notice being jittery, anxious, shaky, so if so, you could back off those foods. But generally, you’d have to eat an awful lot of sea vegetables to create an imbalance.

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 1 of 7]

Many health food nuts like me have a mental list of ingredients they know are nutritional powerhouses, and we want to get them in our diet but often fail to do so, because we don’t know how or don’t fit it into the day’s menu. Green smoothies are the perfect way to do that–just toss some stuff in! Be adventurous. Use those exotic, high-impact nutrition items if you can afford them. If not, please don’t worry about it–you’re getting tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from the simple greens and fruit combinations. Smoothies don’t have to contain expensive, exotic ingredients. But not all of the “other ingredients” discussed in this section are expensive.

Kelp and dulse

If you don’t mind the seaweedy taste of sea vegetables like kelp and dulse, use those high-impact foods in your blender. Just a little bit is enough, and they are more thyroid nourishing than any other food. So if you are hypothyroid (as about 25 percent of women are in America, many of them undiagnosed), consider getting one or both of these foods in your daily diet. Green smoothies are an easy way to do that. Those who suffer with low energy and slow metabolism often have low thyroid problems. (And diagnosing it can be difficult, involving full-panel blood testing done by a hormone clinic, examining the interplay of several different variables.) Taking a thyroid hormone causes disease risk and can burn out the thyroid even more over time, especially the synthetic drugs such as Synthroid and Cytomel. Sea vegetables nourish and support the thyroid rather than sort of jab and poke it to perform.

Flax oil

If you don’t know how to get flax oil in your diet, minerals from greens are absorbed better when eaten with some fats, so putting flax oil in your green smoothie is a great idea. You’ll never even notice it, used in this form. A tablespoon daily is a good dosage for an adult to avoid inflammatory ailments, and protect healthy cell membranes needed to keep toxic elements out but allow nutrients in. Flax oil has wide-ranging benefits uncovered in research in the past decade involving the immune, circulatory, reproductive, cardiovascular, and nervous system. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, including the rather rare omega-6 and omega-9 nutrients that your body cannot manufacture itself and must receive from outside sources.

Using flax oil, you can avoid taking fish oil with all its attendant risks (fish being tainted with mercury and other pollutants). Flax has more lignans by 80 times than the next-highest food, which cut your risk of breast and colon cancers dramatically. Research connects it to reduction of PMS symptoms, improvement in multiple sclerosis treatment, reduction in allergies and arthritis and diabetes, as well as eczema, asthsma, and loss of eyesight. It increases fat burning and allows you to recover from sprains and muscle fatigue more quickly.

You should never heat flax oil, which damages its nutritional properties, and you must purchase it refrigerated and use it very fresh, as it becomes rancid in only a month or two. This is one of the more expensive ingredients you can add to smoothies. If you prefer, you can grind a small amount of flaxseed instead. This is inexpensive, but the whole seed is mucilaginous, thereby making your smoothie thicker and bulkier, so if you add ground flaxseed instead of oil, you may want to add more water to compensate. Use freshly ground flaxseed, as it oxidizes and becomes rancid quickly once ground. You can use your BlendTec Total Blender, or a small $10 electric coffee grinder from any store like Target or Walmart.

If you add interesting things to your GS, let us know! I’ll be posting more of my additions over the next 6 days.

how do you have the time?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl.com: I’m a working single mom.   I know you are, too.   How do you make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your family?

 

Answer: I don’t spend a lot of time doing things that don’t matter.   I’ve just learned the high-impact things that ARE worth my time.   I also teach my kids how to cook and clean up, and we all pitch in and take turns.

 

Green smoothies are a high-impact item.   Once a week making a gallon of kefir, and a big roasting pan of granola, also high-impact and worth my time.   Making a salad for dinner is another 5-10 minutes that is worth the effort.   Those are the things I do every day.   Sometimes, but not always, I’ll make a quart of salad dressing, something from Ch. 3 of 12 Steps, to last several days.   If I don’t do that, then a splash of raw apple cider vinegar and olive oil dresses the salad, with maybe a sprinkle of Trocomare and/or kelp.   I spin my romaine in a salad spinner so that the salad dressing “sticks” instead of getting diluted with water at the bottom of the bowl.

 

And then, I keep my dishes simple when I do cook, and I often double batches, having some for a second night, and some to freeze.   Before I go to work, I take a pint of pesto sauce or an 8″x8″ pan of wild mushroom rice bake or a Tupperware of vegetarian chili out of the freezer.   Once a week we end up having “leftover night.”

 

Whichever child I need to spend some time with, I’ll often call into the kitchen to help me.   I have a child who loves potatoes, and she likes to come in and scrub some potatoes while I make a salad.   While we do that, we catch up on what happened to her that day at school.  

 

Speaking of that, I have a brand-new YouTube video out about how to get your kids invested in nutrition.   They have to care about it, themselves, if you want them to leave home and do what you’re doing (prepare and eat whole plant foods).   Here it is:

 

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=R-O0voLkxBI

 

(If you subscribe to my videos, then when I release new ones, you’re notified via email.)

recipes to use your raw almonds

Those of you who subscribe to 12 Steps to Whole Foods (http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/12-steps-to-whole-food-eating.html) have recipes to use raw, germinated  almonds in Ch. 7 and will have more in Ch. 11.   But here are two more recipes for you:

SPROUTED ALMOND PATE (WRAP FILLING)

2 cups almonds, soaked overnight and drained

3 carrots

handful of fresh basil, chopped

1 small yellow squash, diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. kelp granules

Put almonds and carrots through the Champion Juicer with the blank (homogenizing) plate on.Stir in other ingredients well.Serve a generous portion in a sprouted-wheat tortilla with cucumber spears (and optionally, any homemade dressing from Ch. 3 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods).You can send this to school or work by rolling the wrap up tightly in plastic wrap.

SPROUTED CURRY ALMONDS

4 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained

1 Tbsp. red curry

1/3 cup water

2 tsp. Original Himalayan Crystal Salt (or sea salt)

2 tsp. agave

1 tsp. kelp granules

1 tsp. cayenne

Dehydrate soaked and drained almonds for several hours until mostly dry.Blend remaining ingredients in a bowl, and stir almonds in well, allowing to sit for a while to absorb liquid.Dehydrate below 116 degrees until dry and crunchy.Keep in fridge if almonds will last you more than a week.

Good, Better, Best . . . Part III

I have more stuff to say (and photos to blog) about traveling and eating right, but by request, I interrupt:

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl, will you please continue the good, better, best discussion, specifically covering pasta, seasonings, nut butters, and fats?

Pasta: white-flour pasta doesn’t belong in the kitchen of a health-conscious cook. The more coarsely you grind your wheat, the more nutritious it is, since the blood sugar uptake is slower. Good: whole-wheat pasta Better: whole-spelt or -kamut pasta (ancient, unhybridized grains) Best: homemade pasta made from ground whole grains, soaked 8-24 hours in advance (too time-consuming for me, but some like to do this)

Nut butters: grocery-store peanut butter has trans fats and sugar added. Good: organic, natural peanut butter Better: roasted almond butter Best: unsalted, homemade raw almond butter made from soaked, raw, dehydrated almonds (I put them through the Champion Juicer with the blank plate on)

Fats: almost everything sold in the grocery store is refined, high-heat treated and rancid. Good: extra-virgin olive oil, other unrefined oils (mostly found in health-food stores) Better: virgin/organic coconut oil, refrigerated flax oil, unrefined grapeseed oil Best: whole foods high in good fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds

Seasonings: many in the grocery store have MSG added even if you don’t see it on the label, as well as sugar and refined salt, and other  chemicals. Good: unrefined sea salt (50+ trace minerals, still actually very slightly refined) Better: Original Himalayan Crystal Salt (84 trace minerals), Mrs. Dash Best: Kelp, herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, salt-free and chemical-free organic seasonings like anything by Spice Hunter at your health-food store