Patient Journey: Graves’ Disease

  1.  What health issues were you struggling with when you began to work with Dr. Angela?

I had just gotten diagnosed with Graves’ disease, and I also just had an open surgery to remove a benign tumor the size of a cantaloupe, as well as one of my ovaries.  My symptoms were fatigue, racing heart, high blood pressure, hand tremors, excessive sweating, and more!

2.  What treatment methods had you tried prior to Dr. Angela’s program?

I had just started on an anti-thyroid drug after seeing an endocrinologist.

3. What health benefits did you gain from working with Dr. Angela?

I feel like a completely different person than I did before starting this program.  I feel so much better when I ate real whole foods compared to processed foods I was eating before. (Also, got pregnant of first try even when the medical doctors told me it would be a problem for us. ;) )

4. What did you find most beneficial to you in the program?

Dr. Angela does a really good job of educating her patients.  It’s easier for me to follow through with something when I know the “why” and not just instructed to do it.

5. What was your biggest struggle during the transition to a healthier lifestyle?

Wanting to have cheat meals!!

6. Did you food options taste good?

Yes! There are so many good meals we could make and most were more satisfying than our previous meals.

7. Did you have an ah-ha moment that helped you commit to the change?  If so, what was it?

I know that if I didn’t try this, I would have to most likely have my thyroid removed or destroyed, and I did not want to have to do that.

8. If you were going to give a piece of advice to someone on the fence of following a program like Dr. Angela’s, what would you say to them in order to help them decide?

Anything is worth a try, especially before taking medications with harmful side effects, or having a definitive surgery.  Dr. Angela really cares about her patients and devotes everything to help them heal naturally.  I would recommend her to anyone!

Dr. Angela side comments:

Graves’ disease is a very serious condition, and this patient speaks about food and natural healing, but there were also components of medications and supplementation that played a role, too.  These patient journeys are for me to help anyone trying to make decisions about their health get answers to the questions from a patient perspective.  I have every patient do this voluntarily, and I do not alter any of their words.  I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this person’s health journey, and wish her all the abundance moving into motherhood!

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Use an Infrared Sauna

Every winter I make my way to the sauna and I would go everyday if my schedule allowed!  For me, it started with the desire to be warm to the core and sweat during a season where it didn’t matter how many layers I worked out in, there was not a bead of sweat.  While the sauna certainly helped me warm up, and allowed me to sweat, I started to realize there was more to it than that.  There is valid research on the health benefits of the sauna, thermogenesis, activation of heat shock proteins, etc, but I just want to keep this simple.  After all, if you’ve never been to an infrared sauna, you are problem wondering whether it’s worth the time and effort.  I’m here to tell you that if I had one therapy in my office that wasn’t delivered by a person, an infrared sauna would be it.

Here we go…

  1. Detoxification– Sweating is one of the body’s ways to detoxify through the largest organ: the skin.  When I am working with patients that have chronic diseases, there is always a need to provide detoxification support. Heavy metals, pesticides, endocrine disruptors…they can all keep you from healing.  Sweat it out!
  2. Cardiovascular health– Cardiovascular events kill more people than any other disease.  It’s a real thing. Just like exercise gets your blood pumping, so does heat.  That means you get some of the same exact cardiovascular benefits from using an infrared sauna as you do hitting the gym!  That also means it’s a great way to continue “training” when you have an injury that keeps you from pushing your limits.  It has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events in men due to having positive effects on blood pressure and vessel pliability.  The more the men used the sauna, the greater they reduced their risk in a Finnish study that has been following people over the course of a lifetime to study impacts of sauna use.  They aren’t quite sure yet, but it appears that 20 minutes or more is the magic threshold.
  3. Energy-It’s no surprise that getting your blood pumping to tissues like your muscles and brain make you feel more alive, alert, and energetic.  When I leave the sauna, I can honestly say I feel rejuvenated!  I’m starting to sound like an infomercial, but this is the real deal.
  4. Weight management– Ok, I have never used the sauna for weight management, but there are a few reasons why saunas help do this: metabolic expenditure, increased growth hormone, increased nutrients to organs that regulate metabolism like the thyroid, and increased mitochondrial activity. Let’s call it the lazy man’s weight loss program not just because of lost water, but because of the cellular influence and hormonal impacts.
  5. Sleep– I have always been a deep sleeper, but I have many patients that struggle with sleep.  There are tons of things that impact someone’s sleep quality, but drastic changes in body temperature is one that has an amazingly positive impact.  Exercise can do the same thing.  Think about a hard day’s work of manual labor, or how wiped out the kids are after a day in the sun, or how sound you sleep on the days you do heavy lifting.  Outside temperature or physical activity have an influence on core body temperature that helps you fall deeper into restorative sleep.

Hair Loss: What Ladies Need to Consider

Did you know that 30% of women report substantial hair loss by the time they are 30?  By the time they are 50, the stat jumps to half.  Half of women have a complaint that is somewhat of a vanity concern, but it could very well be a real health condition , as well.  I want to visit a few reasons why women may be dealing with hair loss, what you may do to address the root cause, and what you may want to do in the meantime to keep those strands on your head.  Before we start, I just want to say, you would still be beautiful if you were bald.  Ok.  I’m ready.

Causes of hairloss in women:

  • high androgens (male dominant hormones)-do you also have acne? deflated breast tissue? increased body odor?
  • low iron-are you also fatigued?
  • thyroid conditions-do you have TSH levels above 2.5?  Have you every had antibodies tested? Are you also constipated? Dry? Weight gain?
  • insulin resistance- Do you have belly fat? PCOS? diabetes?
  • stress-induced-Do you find yourself with lots of anxiety?  Putting too much on your plate? Emotional frequently?
  • autoimmunity- Have you ever had your ANA levels tested?

Tests you can run to decide if any of these things are your issue:

  • ferritin levels- this assesses your iron stores
  • TSH, T3, T4, reverse T3, both antibodies- these will look at thyroid function and rule out autoimmunity
  • cortisol panels- this can peek into your ability to handle your stress
  • glucose levels or A1C- these are pictures of how your blood sugar is doing
  • hormone panels- this can tell you if you are dominant in testosterone

Depending on what the root cause is, there will be some things that are important you could start regardless of knowing a definitive diagnosis:

  • increase fiber- this important for the removal of excess hormones like testosterone so they can be removed by the body and not reabsorbed
  • decrease sugar intake- this does nothing good for your blood sugar
  • start some type of exercise- weight loss can be important because it’s often associated with PCOS, diabetes, and hormone imbalance
  • eliminate dairy- dairy and even eggs can drive inflammation, which can pump up androgens like testosterone
  • consider supplement support or eating liver to cover your bases of minerals and iron

Let’s say you are in the process of identifying and treating the root cause, but don’t want to be bald and beautiful while you’re patiently waiting, here is a list of some things you can consider:

  • topical therapies that stimulate oxygen and blood flow to the scalp
  • get a massage and have them do some work on your head
  • use products that don’t have chemicals
  • drink red clover tea, spearmint tea, and decrease caffeine- these could have positive influence on hormone imbalance if androgens are the cause

Just like anything, the best solution is based on a good diagnosis.  If you have positive results with some topical stuff, keep searching for the root cause, because the hair loss is likely just one symptom of a bigger problem. To some extent, it’s somewhat normal to have some fluctuations in things like hair and skin as you age.  Don’t neglect your lifestyle, because that is often the last thing people look to but has the largest impact.  Hope this helps!

Kale, Peach, and Avocado Salad

This recipe was born out of the necessity to use massive amounts of kale, basil, and parsley in addition to having peaches that needed to be used before they went bad.  I used my Brussel sprouts and avocado salad as a foundation and switched things around as I needed to based on what I had available! Instead of straight sesame seeds, I also opted to use seaweed Gomasio, which is a combo of sesame seeds, seaweed, and salt.  This is an awesome opportunity for those trying to support their thyroid function to use food as medicine! Kale is a hearty green, so leftovers hold up nicely in the fridge if you don’t eat it all in one sitting.
Kale, Peach, Avocado Salad
5 cups of kale, chopped
2-3 avocados, diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil
2 peaches, diced
1 Tbsp seaweed Gomasio (or sub just sesame seeds)
Combine all the ingredients and enjoy!  Feel free to mix and match ingredients based on what you have, what was on sale that week, or what is in season!