Hashimoto’s and Dietary Changes

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Additionally, any information contained in this post is not intended as a substitute for a medical professional's advice.
Hashimoto’s and Dietary Changes

This blog seems to be turning into a journal of my health journey. My goal has always been to document it for my own personal reasons, but also to put it out there for anybody else who may be chronic Googlers (see #2) like myself.  So, if you are one of those; keep reading…

Hashimoto's and Dietary Changes

So You’ve Got Hashimoto’s Disease

I was recently diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s disease. I had a feeling for many years that I had something wrong with my thyroid, but for whatever reason didn’t get the testing done to verify it.

A few weeks ago that changed when I requested lab work from my doctor. My TSH levels were 38 times the normal level.

I was immediately put on a starter dose of synthetic thyroid hormones. I was amazed at how quickly they began to work and how much more energy I had. I actually felt rested after sleeping for a decent amount of time and wasn’t requiring 10+ hours of sleep each night and still feeling exhausted. My need for a nap everyday decreased too.

Thyroid Medication for Hashimoto's Levothyroxine
Levothyroxine – Thyroid Medication

And then my body adjusted to the medication. I began having a hard time sleeping at night and felt fatigued during the day. My symptoms seemed to have returned as if nothing was ever done in the first place.

And that’s where I am now. I’m pretty sure the dosage will need to be increased, but I haven’t had my labs drawn yet to check the levels.

Researching Alternative Treatments

In the meantime, I started researching the medication and treatment. Call me naive, but I was slightly surprised to find that most people who are put on medication are on it for their entire life.

Y’all, that’s a long time!

I don’t want to rely on medication my entire life so I have been researching alternative treatments. While there is no cure that I have found, I have come across many articles where people were able to get their Hashimoto’s in remission by making lifestyle and dietary changes.

This book, Hashimoto’s Protocol in particular helped me. It has an incredible amount of information to get you started on your own journey.

Lifestyle & Dietary Changes

My lifestyle isn’t the healthiest and I’ve known for a long time I needed to make some changes, but I’ve always felt overwhelmed when trying to make those changes and ultimately giving up.

So, here I am. Changing everything, starting with my diet. Saying “Goodbye!” to some of my favorite foods.

This is the first step into trying to treat this disease without medication.

For the record, I will continue taking the medication, until I have completed all of the steps needed in order to start weaning off to test my levels off of the medication. 

Going Gluten Free

I’ve realized that in order to make it manageable and something I can stick with without getting overwhelmed, I need to take it slowly and begin with just 1 meal everyday. While there is a whole list of trigger foods, I am beginning with just one: gluten. I know I won’t see immediate results with this method, but it will help me get used to the new dietary changes over a period of time.

I am beginning with gluten as that is the biggest trigger for Hashimoto’s. For 1 week I will only eat breakfast foods that do not contain gluten. I typically just eat fruit for breakfast, but will sometimes have foods containing gluten like biscuits, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, toast, or cereal.

Slices of Bread
Dear Bread, I’m going to miss you…

After a week, I will begin eliminating gluten from snacks and other meals. I figure as time goes on, it will get easier.

Since this is my beginning, I’d love any “been there, done that” advice. What are some of your favorite gluten free breakfast foods? 

 

Sickness Survival Kit

How To Survive Any Illness: The Sickness Survival Kit

Y’all, I recently went through hell.

Of course I don’t mean that literally. But I felt like my entire body had betrayed me. It started, innocently enough, as a slight fever and a headache. I thought it would be one of those “here today, gone tomorrow” types of illnesses.

Oh boy was I wrong! 

I had a non-stop fever for days.

Days, y’all! 

I don’t have time to be sick. I’m a single mom and when I’m sick, my entire life stops.

This recent illness kicked my butt! I was too sick to even go to the doctor. Luckily, I have some family in town and they made sure I didn’t need anything and that the kids had plenty of food. They mostly survived off of Pop-Tarts and cereal amongst other forms of junk food. That’s when I started thinking about the things we should keep on hand when sick. I’m going to call it the Sickness Survival Kit. Here is what I would put in mine:

Pop-Tarts, Cereal, and other “Feed Yourself!” foods

If it weren’t for Pop-Tarts, Lucky Charms, and Doritos, my kids may have starved while I was sick. That’s only a slight exaggeration. They may not be the healthiest foods, but they worked.

Don’t Forget Chicken Nuggets

Kids cannot live off of breakfast/cold foods alone. Even kids get tired of their favorite foods. If they are old enough to cook, then have something hot they can make themselves. Chicken nuggets is a huge step up from cereal for the 7th time today.

Cash

Seriously, you will need this to pay the delivery person who comes to bring your kids dinner for the 5th night in a row.

Extra Tylenol / Ibuprofen

During one of the first days I realized I was allergic to the tylenol I had on hand and ended up running out of Ibuprofen. Here I am, days into the sickness, finally feeling well enough for a shower.

Sidenote: This is the thermometer I use to track my fertility and menstrual cycles

Netflix / Streaming Video

When I wasn’t sleeping, I was watching Netflix. I have never binged watched so much TV in my entire life. I watched so much that I ran out of things to watch. It’s good to keep your options open.

Rok, our husky, enjoyed breaking the rules and getting on the bed with me. He watched the chickens while I watched Netflix.

Amazing Family

Between my mom and the kids’ grandpa, we didn’t lack anything. They came over, made my kids clean up the mess that was masquerading as my house, and even brought the kids food.

I’m glad to say that I am finally feeling better, though still have a headache. I’m waiting to hear from my doctor to see if the labs they ran showed anything. They said it could be a couple weeks. In the meantime, my kids are enjoying some proper home cooked meals, but would probably rather not be cleaning.

Update July 15th, 2017: Turns out that sickness was pretty bad! I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, one of the most severe tick borne illnesses there is with approximately a 20% mortality rate which drops to 5% if treatment is started within the first few days of illness. Luckily I was put on the exact medication needed and didn’t need to be hospitalized.

5 Reasons I Have Body Hair

5 Reasons I Have Body Hair

Due to the overwhelming popularity and positive messages I received regarding a video I posted on YouTube about my body hair, I wanted to share 5 Reasons I Have Body Hair.

Ewww! That’s gross! 

If you are like most people, then those were probably your first thoughts when reading that I – a girl – have body hair.

5 Reasons Why I Have Body Hair

Yes. That’s right.. I have hair on my body.. Hair that most girls shave off. And I am okay with it! Here are some reasons why:

5 Reasons I Have Body Hair - Girls with Natural Hair

Shaving is Uncomfortable

I am allergic to the lubricants in most razors and get a terrible rash when using them. The re-growth of hair is itchy and uncomfortable. And have you ever had an ingrown hair? They are no fun!

Why should I have to subject myself to something that is uncomfortable just because society has objectified women’s body hair?

Not Shaving Saves Time & Money

On top of all of the uncomfortable things associated with shaving, it’s time consuming. I don’t have time to shave every single day nor do I want to. I’d rather save my time (and money) and spend it elsewhere.

Woman with Armpit Hair - Natural Body Hair

I Am Not Trying To Please People With My Body

It truly sickens me that we live in a world where women are told to keep their body a certain way or they won’t be attractive. What happened to being attractive because of your character? What are we teaching our daughters?

I remember when I started going through puberty and growing hair and being shamed because of it. I don’t want my daughter to feel like her body, in its natural state, is anything to be ashamed of.

I Am Okay With My Body Hair

I totally get that it isn’t for everybody, and just because I am okay with having body hair doesn’t mean that you have to be okay with it, or even want it for yourself.

I, like most females, shave certain areas of my body, but not as often as most girls. I tend to grow my arm pit hair out for 1-1.5 months before shaving it. I let my leg hair grow for 1-2 weeks before shaving it. My hair is thick, dark, and coarse over my entire body, so while 1-2 weeks of leg hair growth may not seem like much to some, it’s actually quite noticeable on me.

Girl with Leg Hair - Natural Body Hair

Not Shaving Is Empowering

I don’t view myself as a feminist and I’m not obsessed with all things natural, but leaving my body in its natural state is empowering. I think it takes a very confident person to wear clothes that reveal their body hair in public, but at the same time, it builds confidence in those who may be lacking it.

Being comfortable in your body – whether with or without hair is all that matters. And I am comfortable with mine.

Have you ever grown your body hair out? Or shaved something you don’t normally shave?

Mommy Med Spa Day – A Day Of Pampering and Pedicures

This post has been sponsored by Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa. All opinions are my own.
Mommy Med Spa Day

You guys want to know a little secret?

I love to be pampered.

Hello?! What girl doesn’t?

When Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa invited me and a few other bloggers to enjoy a day of pampering, I couldn’t say “Yes!” quick enough.

Single mom. Three kids. Need I say more? 

SingleMommyWarrior and AdukeSchulist
Fellow blogger and single mom, SingleMommyWarrior and I on our way to the clinic.

The Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa was the first day spa to open in Little Rock and just so happens to be owned and operated by the first aesthetician licensed in Little Rock, Arkansas, Mrs. Mahvash Kamran and her husband Jim. This clinic has been around since the beginning, so they legit know what they are doing.

Not only is it a day spa, they have a complete med spa side too. The med spa includes treatment performed by board certified doctor Bob Young, MD with the help of registered nurse, Sara Molsbee. Combined, they have over 30 years experience working in the med spa industry, making treatments safe and effective.

Med Spa Treatments

Long gone are the days when only those in their late 30s and beyond got med spa treatments. Med spas these days are geared towards men and women of all ages. Some of the treatments include Botox, Hydrafacials, Chemical Peels, Microneedling, and more.

These treatments erase signs of aging, skin damage, acne scars, and make your skin look and feel as fresh as it should.

Pampering Pedicures and a Med Spa Day

I’m counting down the days until I can schedule my Hydrafacial. The process involves shooting a blast of hydration and moisture into your skin all while simultaneously removing impurities within the skin.

Whether hyper-pigmentation, signs of aging, wrinkles, acne scars, or fine lines are your worry, the Rejuvenation Clinic med spa has a treatment that is just right for your needs.

Exclusive Product Lines

On top of the amazing treatments, they have some incredible product lines to choose from. Some of their product lines are exclusive to the Rejuvenation clinic like Ultraluxe. Ultraluxe is a vegan, non-toxic, natural line of skincare products. They have this amazing Eucalyptus Mud Wash that I highly recommend you try. They also have nourishing complexes like this Omega-3 Repair Complex.

Ultraluxe Omega-3 Repair Complex At Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa in Little Rock

Along with the Ultraluxe line, Rejuvenation Clinic carries other brands like Natura Bisse (only two spas in Little Rock carry this line), Eminence, and more. If you schedule a massage or facial, you even get a piece of chocolate from Eminence in your own, personal locker.

Chocolate - Yes Please
Chocolate? Yes, please!
Pedicure to Pamper my Feet

The day I went, I took advantage of the day spa side and got treated to a fabulous pedicure. Norma, my nail technician made me feel so comfortable and relaxed through the entire process. It was pure bliss.

Getting My Pedicure On At Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa in Little Rock

I picked out a deep pink color and am happy to say it is still going strong, even two weeks later! I have the cutest feet in town.

Pedicure Courtesy of Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa in Little Rock
Freshly painted nails and wearing my reusable pedicure sandals available for purchase at the clinic.
Gifts to Share

Now for the fun part… Mother’s Day is coming up and I wanted to invite all of you to give the gift of health and pampering. Rejuvenation Clinic and I have teamed up to share their goodness, in the form of a gift card, with one of you. It could be to your own mother, or just a friend in need. To enter in the drawing for a gift card to Rejuvenation Clinic, comment below with your answer to one of the following questions. Be sure to follow me on social media, because there are other opportunities to enter there:

Aduke Schulist on Facebook
@AdukeSchulist on Twitter
@AdukeSchulist on Instagram

How are you pampering your mother this year? 

Have you ever been to a day spa or med spa? If so, what service did you get?

Visit Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa’s newly updated website and tell me which treatment you would like to get. 

Fertility Awareness Method Explained and Tracking for Health

Fertility Awareness Method Explained and Tracking for Health

If you cringed when Rupi Kaur posted about her period on Instagram then this post is for you. And if you have ever been caught off guard by your period, then this post is for you. Going along with my last post on my health, I want to talk about something that is taboo for most: Reproductive Health.

More specifically, fertility awareness.

Fertility Awareness Method of Birth Control

Yes, that means this post may have some “TMI” included. It’s a little long, but worth every word.

How did I get here?!

When I was younger I learned that people could track their temperature and cervical fluids to help them conceive. One day I thought “If they can achieve pregnancy, then I can AVOID it” and thus my search for a new birth control began. I seriously thought I was a genius with this idea.

I wasn’t entirely sure how it worked as I had never been taught such basic things about my body. I knew that periods happened and the gist of them, but beyond that, I was clueless.

I was determined to make it work though. I have PCOS and Endometriosis and periods are no fun. Besides being painful and heavy, they don’t follow the text-book pattern we have been taught, and are irregular.

I’ve tried multiple forms of birth control including shots, pills, and even an IUD. For me, the synthetic chemicals provided by more mainstream forms of birth control were not working for me.

I wanted a more natural method that wouldn’t make me gain so much weight and feel yucky constantly. That’s when I found the fertility awareness method.

What is the Fertility Awareness Method?

It’s a natural form of birth control not to be confused with the rhythm method or natural family planning. The fertility awareness method is in a league all by itself.

First of all, it is not a guessing game (like the rhythm method is). And it doesn’t require that you completely abstain from sex while fertile like the catholic version of family planning. While the fertility awareness method is a “natural family planning” method, it isn’t quite the same.

There are a few different versions of the fertility awareness method, but most follow similar rules. I use the Sympto-Thermal Method which combines a few different methods. The basic idea is to be aware of and track your fertility at any given moment to help you make certain choices.

How is it done?

Upon waking in the morning you take your temperature and record it on a chart. This is called your basal body temperature. Your BBT varies depending on which part of the cycle your body is currently in. It is lower prior to ovulation and increases after ovulation. I set an alarm for 6am every day to do this. This helps me be consistent because I don’t always wake up at the same time on my own. Being consistent with temperatures is important to get a good reading. Taking your temperature at the same time every day is your best option.

Throughout the day, you check your cervical position and fluids and record those too. The most basic types are none or a dry day, sticky, creamy, eggwhite, and watery. When you piece all of this information together you get something that looks like this:

Interpreting a Cycle

Ovulatory Cycle using Kindara for Fertility Awareness Method - Natural Birth Control

This is a real chart of mine. I use the Kindara app to record all of my observations, but there are multiple other apps or even paper printables to use.

The numbers at the top coincide with the cycle day. So day 1 is the first day of a new period. The numbers on the right represent temperatures. I choose to track in fahrenheit. Some days I did not record a temperature.

Cycle day 1-5 was my period with some spotting on cycle day 6. As you can see, the day I start my period, I quit taking my temperature for a few days after. It’s a nice break from the alarm clock. Since my cycles are usually 5-7 days, I start taking my temp again around the 5th day.

Cervical Fluid

Cycle days 8-11 I recorded creamy consistency for cervical fluid. Days 12-17 are eggwhite. 18-20 I recorded watery. 21 was eggwhite, and 22 and 23 were creamy.

Eggwhite and watery cervical fluid are considered super fertile, but at the first sign of any fluid, one is considered fertile. Because sperm can live 7 days inside the vagina, even creamy or sticky fluid can be fertile.

Following the Rules

Because I am tracking for health purposes, this is pretty much all I chart. Depending on the rules you follow you may want to track more or less. I do check my cervical position, but don’t record it.

The P on cycle day 21 stands for Peak. This is the LAST day of fertile fluid. This does NOT mean the peak fertility day. The numbered blue circles are considered “days past ovulation”. Based on this chart above, I ovulated around cycle day 21 or 22. Despite what some may tell you, there is no way to chart WHEN you ovulated, just to confirm that you have.

Temperature Shifts and Ovulation

Remember when I said my cycles don’t follow a text-book pattern? Text-books state ovulation happens on day 14. This has never been true for me. I typically don’t see a shift, indicating ovulation until day 20 or beyond.

You can see two distinct temperature ranges in this chart. On cycle day 23 I had a temp shift. My temperature increased by at least 0.2 degrees above the last 6 temperatures which is what is required for a shift. In order to confirm ovulation, this rise in temperature must be sustained for at least 3 days.

Some people may experience a slow rise in temperature, but mine are usually sudden. After an egg is released, it dies within 24 hours if not fertilized.

Anovulatory Cycles

Sometimes I don’t have a temp shift at all, even though I experience fertile fluid. This means that I did not ovulate despite my body trying. This is a result of my PCOS, but anovulatory cycles can happen to anybody. This chart below is an example of an anovulatory chart. You can see that I observed fertile fluid, but nothing came out of it.

(Side note: The peak day is not marked correctly on this chart below. It should be day 41.)

Anovulatory cycle using Kindara and the Fertility Awareness Method of Natural Birth Control

On cycle day 44 of this chart I started bleeding. A bleed that happens after an anovulatory cycle is not a true period. If you are following rules like the Doering rule, you must remember that you are still considered fertile after this bleed and rules like the 5 day rule don’t apply. You can only use those rules if you confirmed ovulation in the pervious chart, along with some other requirements. Jennifer breaks it down in The Rules of the Sympto-Thermal Method.

Unprotected vs Protected Sex

When using this method to avoid pregnancy, you can have unprotected sex as long as you follow the rules. Because the egg dies within 24 hours after ovulation, once you have confirmed ovulation with a temperature shift of at least 3 temperatures 0.2 degrees above the last 6, you can have unprotected sex without risk of pregnancy.

For example, in the first chart above I could have had unprotected sex on cycle day 26, after ovulation was confirmed. In the second chart, since ovulation was not confirmed, unprotected sex on the 26th cycle day would have been risky.

In the first chart I also could have had unprotected sex on cycle days 1-5, 7, and from 26-34. The other days, protection would be needed to avoid pregnancy. Some of these days are based off of the dry day rule and Doering rule mentioned above and may not apply to you. Be sure you meet all criteria in order to use these rules.

Benefits of Fertility Awareness Method

Because I have charted for many many cycles, I am very in tune with my body. I know how long my luteal phase is and I can pinpoint the day I will start my period as soon as I have confirmed ovulation. Anovulatory cycles don’t apply.

Charting can also give you insight into problems such as low progesterone, anovulatory cycles (remember, bleeding doesn’t always mean you ovulated), thyroid function, and more.

In Conclusion

This method takes some work. If you can’t remember to take a pill every day, then you probably won’t be good at this. And just like a birth control pill, you can’t blame it’s effectiveness on a user that doesn’t follow directions. If you miss a pill, you could get pregnant. That isn’t the birth control pill’s fault. The same is true for this method. In this method, if you don’t follow the rules, you can have an unintended pregnancy. That is a USER error and not a result of ineffectiveness of the method.

If you are using this as a method of birth control, it is imperative that you follow ALL of the rules. I recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. This book goes in depth and teaches you way more than this post could.

You can get it on Amazon using my affiliate link below:

Taking Charge of Your Fertility

Have you heard of this method before? 
Do you have any questions about it?
Do you use it or know somebody who does?