Looking for Rapid Relief? You may need Magnesium.

One way to get more magnesium is by bathing in Epsom Salt baths.

One way to get more magnesium is by bathing in Epsom Salt baths.

According to The Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, being deficient in this one critical mineral makes you twice as likely to die than other people.  This might seem like a stretch, but I assure you, it’s not, and it’s one of the most depleted minerals in the American population.

Deficiencies in this mineral can cause or attribute to symptoms such as:

  • Muscle cramps

  • Twitching

  • Muscle pain

  • A feeling of tightness

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Anxiety

  • Autism

  • Asthma

  • Constipation

  • Headaches

  • Migraines

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Diabetes

  • High Blood Pressure

  • ...and many more

This life changing mineral is: MAGNESIUM and it’s quite possible that you might get rapid relief from adding more of it to your diet.

Often overlooked as an essential supplement, it’s safe to say that most everyone can benefit from some intentional addition of it whether it’s in food form or supplement form.  ***Caution here lies with individuals who have any type of kidney dysfunction. In that case, you must be in an active partnership with a physician who can guide you in this matter.***  

Some foods high in magnesium are kelp, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, millet, pecans, walnuts, figs, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans and garlic.

While some may wish to get their intake from food sources, it can be difficult with an autoimmune diagnosis, like Hashimoto’s, since there is usually an impaired ability to extract and absorb minerals from whole foods eaten due to gut issues.  If you have Hashimoto’s or a thyroid dysfunction, look into my Thyroid Alive! Program where we discuss in detail how to get your body back on track.

Magnesium is also needed for thyroid-pituitary communication.  If we are deficient in this mineral it makes the job of the pituitary gland and the signaling to the thyroid gland more difficult, which suppresses activity.  

Foods that inhibit absorption are coffee, soda drinks, salt, sugar and alcohol.  Stress will also inhibit absorption so learn how to practice active relaxation. Some prescription medications will also have an impact.

The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate, or taurate.

Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate and oxide.  They are poorly absorbed.

You can also apply magnesium topically through a magnesium oil solution or through an Epsom Salt bath to help restore levels.

The RDA for magnesium is 300 mg a day and most of us are getting far less than 200 mg per day.  Some may need much more than 300 mg depending on their condition and bio-individuality.

So if you’re coping with symptoms, take some serious consideration into learning more about magnesium! It really is needed for vibrant health!

If you’re looking for answers and want to chat or check out my Thyroid Alive! Program, I’d love to meet you. It’s my passion to spread this much needed message so we can, collectively as a whole, start living the lives we were meant to live.


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When Your TSH is "Normal", But You Still Have Symptoms

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If you’re reading this, you’ve been told your thyroid looks fine because your TSH fell within the normal lab range, BUT you still feel like garbage. Like something is weighing you down. Like there’s something wrong inside, but you have no idea what or where to start.

There are so many low thyroid symptoms and you could be experiencing any number of them. Mine were fatigue, irritability, brain fog, muscle soreness and lack of motivation…just to name a few. I was also told my thyroid was fine. I was even handed a business card from my doctor to go talk to someone because, “It’s all in your head, sweetie. You’re healthier than you think you are.”

I created this intro video for my membership group, but I’m sharing it here so that you can get some answers…and help.

Thyroid function does not depend on a TSH marker alone and in this video you’ll learn why.

Things to consider when your TSH marker comes back "normal", but you're still having ALLLLL the symptoms.

If you’re looking for answers and want to chat or check out my Thyroid Alive! Program, I’d love to meet you. It’s my passion to spread this much needed message so we can, collectively as a whole, start living the lives we were meant to live.


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Is Your Cookware Making You Sick?

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The holidays are upon us, which for many, means more time spent in the kitchen cooking, baking and creating.  But the kitchen can be source of highly toxic chemicals that contribute to air pollution in the home, free radicals in the body (more on that in a sec), and you guessed it, thyroid imbalance.

There are many environmental hazards that we can’t control, but the cookware we use isn’t one of them.  It’s a great place to start when transitioning to a healthier lifestyle because the domino effect of the toxic exposure from unsafe cookware is frightening.  If you suspect you have a thyroid issue or hormonal imbalance, it’s important to know what’s safe and what isn’t safe in your home because the exposure and ingestion of these chemicals create an imbalance of free radicals in our body.  Free radicals are unbound single molecules floating around in our system that, when they remain unbound, will contribute to inflammation and excess estrogen levels. Our body is equipped to properly handle the free radicals that occur from our natural internal processes, but becomes overwhelmed when there is an abundance of them - which is what happens when exposed to environmental toxins.  These heightened levels of inflammation and higher than normal levels of estrogen in the body (especially coming from an artificial source) contribute to thyroid imbalances, hormonal issues, hormonal cancers and autoimmune conditions.

Below I’ve listed the two biggest offenders in the kitchen:

Teflon coated cookware

When heated, Teflon breaks apart and emits a deadly chemical called PFOA - a known toxin categorized as a carcinogen by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). PFOA is also used in food packagings like pizza boxes, microwave popcorn packages, French fry containers and more to prevent food from sticking. The off-gases from this chemical are very fatal to birds and have a very long half-life in the human body, once absorbed. In a National Health Survey conducted back in 2004, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) found serum levels of PFOA in 100% of the 2,000+ people tested in the US.  This is a widespread global issue and one of the largest exposures listed was using products that contain PFOA - Teflon cookware.

Plastic containers

Storing and heating food in plastic containers causes chemical components to leach out of the plastic into your food.  BPA (bisphenol-A) is the most well-known chemical (which acts a lot like estrogen when introduced to the body) has gained the most attention over the past few years, but I avoid all plastics at all costs.  BPA is also found on receipts from stores, paper towels, and the epoxy resin used as a coating in metal food and beverage cans, as well. Of all food tested by the EWG, chicken soup, infant formula and ravioli had the highest BPA levels.  The CDC discovered BPA in 93% of 2,000+ children and adults tested in the US.

To help with navigating toxic and cookware, I’ve put together a Healthy Cookware Guide, free to download, to learn about other popular cookware that I find toxic and links to ones I highly recommend.  

No email necessary :) Download here.


I’d love to learn about the swaps you’re making in your kitchen!  Feel free to comment below!


***My signature program, Thyroid Alive!, is now enrolling participants for the January 2019 session and I couldn’t be happier to offer a FREE Blood Chemistry Analysis Session to the first 3 people who sign up!***

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Thyroid Immune Health + The Powerful Vitamin No One is Talking About

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Thyroid Immune Health + The Powerful Vitamin No One is Talking About


There’s an unsung hero among us that doesn’t have the mainstream attention that Vitamin D does when it comes to immune health, but this vitamin is as equally powerful and we are just as equally deficient.  


Say hello to Vitamin A.


What it does:


Let me guess...you probably haven’t given Vitamin A much thought because once upon a time you heard it was toxic and potentially dangerous.  Research has shown that Vitamin A can be toxic in high doses, so there is some validity there. Unfortunately, what many don’t know is that Vitamin A deficiency is profound and widespread and impacts many systems and functions in the body, including overall immune system health.  Specifically, Vitamin A helps to control inflammation, balance immune response and prevent auto-immune activation.  If you’re putting two and two together, you just figured out that suboptimal levels of Vitamin A can cause loss of immune tolerance, which puts you at an increased risk of catching the cold or flu.   


Are you deficient?


A blood draw from any physician can reveal if you’re deficient in Vitamin A or not.  Ideally, you’d like to be in the upper half of the reference range. If you’re not, speak to your physician about possible supplementation.


Start getting Vitamin A from real, whole foods:


It’s not lost on me that the food God chose to put into season at the onset of cold and flu season has a lot of beta-carotene in it.  Plant based foods high in beta-carotene:

  • Carrots

  • Squashes

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Dark leafy greens

  • Cantaloupe

  • Red Bell peppers

  • Apricots

  • Broccoli


However, it’s not quite as simple as just eating more of these foods.  


Beta-carotene needs to be converted in our bodies into Vitamin A before it can be absorbed and used.  Unfortunately, many of us do a very poor job of converting and absorbing beta-carotene due to a whole host of factors including but not limited to gut dysbiosis, genetics, parasite infection, digestive enzyme imbalance, and even hypothyroidism.  The health of the T3 hormone is very important to the conversion of beta-carotene into the whole, fully formed Vitamin A.


Due to these challenges, many people have more success getting Vitamin A from animal sources, since it’s already available in its fully formed state.  Animal based foods high in Vitamin A:

  • Eggs (including the yolk)

  • Butter

  • Beef

  • Oily fish


If you have had past experiences of getting sick often or can’t shake a cold or flu for a long time after, ask your physician to check your Vitamin A levels!  Most of us are walking around in a suboptimal state without knowing it! Start today by adding more plant based and/or animal based sources of Vitamin A into your diet to strengthen your immune system and to set your body up for combating illness this season.

I’d love to know what else you’re doing to boost immunity either for yourself or for your kids!  Leave me a comment below!

Thyroid Alive! Is now enrolling participants for the January 2019 session and I couldn’t be happier to offer a FREE Blood Chemistry Analysis Session to the first 3 people who sign up!

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Celebrate with Summer Salads

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THERE'S NOTHING FOR ME TO EAT!

I hear it a lot and I've also felt the same way.  You're invited to a cookout or BBQ, scan the options and realize there isn't a whole lot you can eat. So instead of feeling unprepared - take one of these delicious hearty salads with you or make a beautiful spread for your own summer get togethers.  You'll be happy you did because the recipes are beyond simple and full of the brightest flavors the season has to offer! 

Avocado Topped Strawberry Salad

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Base

Mix together the following:

GREEN LEAF LETTUCE

SPINACH

MICRO GREENS (optional)

Toppings

TOMATOES

STRAWBERRIES

1 can GARBANZO BEANS

CUCUMBER

AVOCADO

Dressing

Drizzle with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Squeeze of ONE LEMON 🍋

salt & pepper


From the Farm Summer Salad

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*This is a favorite from my summer cleanse program*

Base

BUTTER LETTUCE

Toppings

GREEN BEANS

1 BEET, shredded

1 NECTARINE OR PEACH

PISTACHIOS

BASIL, chopped

Dressing

Drizzle with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Squeeze of ONE LEMON 🍋

salt & pepper


Caprese with a Twist

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Base

TOMATOES, sliced

MOZZARELLA CHEESE

Toppings

WHOLE BASIL LEAVES

MICRO GREENS

Dressing

Drizzle with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

AGED BALSAMIC VINEGAR 

salt & pepper


Strawberry Spinach Salad w/ Basil Mint Dressing

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Base

SPINACH

Toppings

STRAWBERRIES

1 can WHITE BEANS, drained and rinsed

CUCUMBER

AVOCADO

PINE NUTS

Dressing

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped basil

1 tablespoon chopped mint 

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and dress your salad.


Come follow me over on Instragram @thewellsideoflife

The Benefits of Infused Water

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Everyone knows they need to be drinking more water.  

In fact, when I ask potential clients what the number one change is that they already know they should make, the answer is usually, "I know I need to drink more water."  This is also sometimes followed up with, "But I don't reallylike water!" Let me introduce you to the concept of infused water.

Infused Water
 

THE BASICS

  • Infused water is a combination of fruits, herbs and water

  • Gentle daily detox

  • Delicious substitute for soda or other sugary drinks, which also helps to cut caloric intake if you're trying to lose weight

  • Drink in the morning before your coffee

  • There is no right or wrong way to infuse water

SIMPLE GUIDELINES

  • Use a mason jar or a simple water pitcher designed specifically to infuse water.

  • Place fruit mixture and water in container the night before and place in refrigerator overnight.

  • Your water is ready to drink upon waking.

  • This is subjective, but you can choose to use re-use the same mixture of fruits and herbs throughout the day by continually adding more water.

HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Depending on the fruits and herbs used here are some of the health benefits associated with drinking infused water:

    • gently detoxes liver

    • flushes toxins

    • improves skin appearance

    • helps immunity

    • aids digestion

    • fights inflammation

    • can aid in weight loss

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FRUITS & HERBS

  • Any combination of fruits and herbs can be used, but here are some of my favorite:

    • Citrus fruits (with or without the rind)

    • Berries

    • Cucumber

    • Watermelon

    • Culinary herbs (mint, rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon)

Try whatever you have on hand and make this a daily practice to reap the full health benefits!  Download your free printable, which includes some of my favorite combinations + specific health benefits for certain foods.  Hang it on your fridge for daily inspiration!  

Two Things Holding You Back From Feeling Better

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Are you getting the results you need?

There's a lot that holds true to the saying, "You don't know what you don't know." A decade ago I knew very little about the impact that diet and lifestyle could have on overall health.

I was working 40 hours a week and struggling every single day to wake up and get out the door. I was young but dealing with arthritic joint pain, muscle pain, chronic rashes (including a butterfly rash that would appear across my face) and utter exhaustion.

I suffered from brain fog and lack of clarity so it took me three times as long as it should have to complete tasks. I would come home from work and some days I would fall asleep on my couch with my coat and shoes still on because my body was shutting down and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. 

I was scared and the handful of specialists I saw didn't have any answers for me.

My choices were to try some medication that may or may not work (but they would have side effects), come back and get reevaluated when my situation got worse, or go see a counselor (because obviously I was making this stuff up - insert eye roll-).

I knew there had to be a better way.

Back then health coaches were almost unheard of, so, I did what everyone did. I Google'd my symptoms over and over again until I found information that resonated with me.

I stumbled across the works of Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Mark Hyman, and T. Colin Campbell. I drank in everything they said and started to make small shifts in my perspective and lifestyle. I read their books, I watched documentaries and I started talking to people about what I was learning.

I was so inspired by my new knowledge of functional medicine and the improvements I felt in my own life, that I enrolled at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition to learn how to completely embody a more natural approach to healing.

The funny thing is this: according to the traditional lab ranges of the blood work I had done, all my results were normal so no one took me very seriously.

When I had my blood work evaluated from a functional perspective (see more info on that below), my ranges were not optimal at all and I had antibodies present. Today, I function symptom free most every single day with hypothyroidism and an autoimmune condition that, if not for changing my diet and lifestyle, I would still be suffering instead of thriving.

One lesson learned from my experience is that talking about your symptoms will only get you so far.

There are two major things that could be standing in your way:

First, the proper blood work needs to be ordered.

Then, the blood work needs to be evaluated from a functional perspective, not just through the traditional lab ranges and here's why: you don't know what you don't know. The traditional lab ranges that you're up against include results from a group of average people whereas the functional lab range, a much narrower lens, sets you up against a result of healthy people functioning at an optimal level - which is what we all want. You'll receive more answers because patterns and deficiencies will be caught because the data will be interpreted differently. The more common broad interpretation of your blood work could be the reason you aren't seeing the results you want.

If you want to know how to get better using something concrete - the data of your blood work - find a functional minded practitioner who can help you interpret the results. Trained by a functional diagnostics program that trains naturopathic doctors and functional medicine doctors, I've also recently completed this same coursework and have added Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis to my list of services so that I can help people get answers.

Are you ready to start feeling better? When you’re ready, here is a link to my newly added Blood Chemistry Analysis session.

I walk you through the tests I recommend ordering from your doctor and then I help you see what’s really going on inside your body through a functional lens. This is how we determine the diet, supplements and lifestyle factors moving forward! We use your data!

Do you have a story like mine? Let me know! I'd love to hear about it!

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Layered Peanut Butter Cups

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Layered Peanut Butter Cups

Serves 12


INGREDIENTS FOR BASE

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil 1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. coconut flour

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BASE

  1. Line 12 spots in the mini muffin tin with muffin liners.

  2. Combine all the base ingredients together with a whisk and pour evenly into the muffin liners.

  3. Place into the freezer for 1-2 hours or until completely hardened.

INGREDIENTS FOR TOP

3 tbsp. coconut cream
1 tbsp. melted coconut oil

1 tbsp. maple syrup

pink Himalayan Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk the top ingredients together and place evenly over the frozen base. Sprinkle with the pink salt and place back into the freezer for 1-2 hours until completely hardened.

  2. Remove from freezer and enjoy! Keep any extras stored in the freezer.

Natural Sports Drink Alternative

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In college, I went on a full scholarship to run track at Bucknell University and I think I drank my weight in Gatorade every weekend there was an invitational.  Blue Frost, or something like that, was my favorite and it was one of my “must-haves” for race day.  Oh boy, if I knew then what I know now…that Gatorade was doing me more harm than good…I would have stayed away from it and probably would have run faster and felt stronger as a consequence.  

I recently had the privilege to speak to a group of 7th grade basketball student-athletes and I shared my collegiate experience as well as healthier sports drink alternatives (the ones I wish I knew about).  

You may be wondering why it even matters.  

The problem is that Gatorade is flooded with sugar.  

Here is the nutritional label from the Blue Frost Gatorade that I used to consume on a regular basis.  There are 34 grams of sugar in one 20 ounce bottle.  Let’s do the math and convert it into something a bit more recognizable.  

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There are 4 grams of sugar in each teaspoon of sugar. 

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34 grams / 4 grams = 8.5 teaspoons 

**Take a pause and visualize that for a second.  Drinking 8.5 teaspoons of sugar.**

Even the ingredient list highlights sugar and dextrose (hidden form of sugar) as its main ingredients.  

What we know now is that sugar - specifically refined sugar - will drain energy, wreak havoc on the liver, weaken the immune system and contribute to chronic inflammation.  This is not the best source of fuel for an athlete or anyone, really.  

However, dehydration is a very real concern and athletics and hydration go hand in hand.  If you eat too much sugar, you’ll feel low energy, but at the same time if you feel dehydrated, you’ll also feel low energy.  As an athlete, I was sure to drink sports drinks before my races and lots of water to recover afterwards so I don’t believe I was dehydrated, but I was drinking an inefficient sports drink.

The star of this new and improved energy drink is coconut water. 

Coconut water has naturally occurring electrolytes, vitamin C, B vitamins and protein - it’s the perfect sports drink alternative and I will also give this to my kids when they are sick instead of Pedialyte. 

Coconut Water Sports Drink

In a pint size mason jar (with a lid), mix together the following:

1 cup coconut water

Juice of one lemon

Juice of one lime

1 tsp. maple syrup

1 cup filtered water

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One of the 7th grade basketball players all ready to go for game day with her new and improved sports drink!

One of the 7th grade basketball players all ready to go for game day with her new and improved sports drink!

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Have you tried coconut water before?  What are your thoughts?

Acorn Squash Bowls w/ Quinoa, Apple & Kale

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Acorn Squash Bowls w/Quinoa, Apple & Kale

You can also view my Acorn Squash Bowls on the cover of edible Allegheny and on their website here along with three other of my favorite holiday recipes! 

Have you ever tried making acorn squash bowls before?  What are your favorite ingredients to use for the filling?  

I would love to connect with you! Email me or say hello below!

xoxo,

Stephanie