Thyroid disease and “fifth chakra” problems

This week, I met with a lovely client who has been seeing me for the last 4 or so years on and off for nutritional support for Hashimoto’s disease. As life goes on, our nutritional needs change and so she’s been sure to meet with me to adjust her diet accordingly.

Food intolerances can come and go as you work to heal your leaky gut or methylation problems, so many people don’t need to eat a restricted diet the rest of their lives, thankfully. Or, sometimes you need to go on emergency antibiotics and afterwards you develop new food intolerances or symptoms that you didn’t have before. And so we need to adjust then too.

This time though, my client came to me for mind-body support. She’s was at an apex of stress in her professional and personal life and her body was beginning to show lots of signs of distress. She even had to be hospitalized for the anxiety and irregular heartbeat she had experienced. She was scared of eating because any food seemed to cause more heart palpitations. On top of that she was not happy in her relationship or job and wasn’t sure which direction to take.

A sensitive and creative woman, I knew she had trouble expressing herself and standing up for herself. She said she often felt the need to metaphorically “hide” because the people around her were so abrasive and insensitive.

Although she had come to talk about her boyfriend and job, I asked her to begin to deconstruct the patterns she learned in childhood. Namely, how her parents interacted with one another. She explained that although she loved her parents and knew they had tried their best, her dad was emotionally callous, cruel, and relied solely on anger to communicate. Her mom on the other hand had been sick for years and retreated into crying and solitude every time her dad got this way or things became difficult.

My client said because of witnessing this as a kid she learned to either hide and be totally quiet or to explode in unhealthy ways when things reached a breaking point. I explained to her that it was understandable for her to act this way because she had only ever learned extremes from her parents. She had never learned a way to communicate reasonably, moderately, or find a middle ground. And she went into every interaction expecting to not be heard.

I told her that while it was understandable for her to adapt in this way, it also wasn’t healthy or helping her.

In the holistic health world, we know that tension and unresolved emotions can “build up” in certain areas of your body and lead to unhealthy patterns both emotionally and physically. In this case, she had never learned how to appropriately regulate her voice, also sometimes called the “fifth chakra”.

You don’t have to believe in eastern religions to benefit from understanding the fifth chakra. Think of it as how you express yourself, and coincidentally this is right at your voice box aka thyroid gland area.

After years and years of withholding your voice, you create palpable tension which can cause a buildup of unhealthy soft tissue called Fascial adhesions. It’s like you literally begin to calcify that area from improper use.

Once she realized she had been operating in these extremes (anger on one side of the spectrum and hiding on the other), she had an “aha” moment. She said she wanted to begin speaking, expressing herself and standing up for herself when she needed to, instead of internalizing all of the frustration and tension.

I also encouraged her to begin practicing myofascial release on her neck and clavicle area where she held all of her stress and that flared whenever she was upset. Myofascial release is a technique you can do at home or find a trained practitioner to help you with which releases the unhealthy build-up of the soft tissue that keeps you restricted. This prevents blood flow to the area, which can mean nutrients and immune cells can’t do their job properly. It can also mean you feel like you are “choking” on food, can’t breathe properly, or get sinus blockages easily.

If you have a thyroid disease, chances are you also have some degree of fifth chakra problems due to how you learned to communicate or express yourself early on. Even if you had an ideal childhood, you can develop such problems later in life due to stress.

While I consider nutrition to be the number one priority when clients are working to improve their symptoms and lab work, the mind-body connection is also something you need to seriously consider. If you have a thyroid disease, start working through your fifth chakra imbalances. 

Ready to figure out the perfect diet for you? Ready to improve your lab work and daily symptoms? Click here to book a consultation.

How generational wounds keep you sick and stressed

How stress affects your thyroid and immune system

Your stress response affects your hormones and immune system. It can cause thyroid and cortisol imbalances, as well as immunosuppression, leaving your susceptible to infections that cause Leaky Gut.

Stress hormone release is affected by the patterns of tension in the body — trouble breathing, which can lead to anxiety, which can cause the brain to not receive enough oxygen, which can prevent muscles and glands from receiving adequate blood flow, over-production of stomach acid, muscle pain and more. It’s a domino affect. 

Sometimes stress comes in the form of our daily life experiences — difficult relationships, difficult decisions to be made, feeling sick from a diagnosed illness, financial troubles, and more. But I want to challenge you to also recognize that GENERATIONAL WOUNDS can keep us sick. 

What is a generational wound?

Generational wounds are the patterns of thoughts and behavior that we inherit from our family members. We learn how to think about the world and how to behave from our parents (or caregivers). And they learned how to think about the world and how to behave from their parents, and their parents learned from their parents, and so on and on and on. 

The problems is that most often, generational patterns are never broken and we inadvertently inherit them from our family. So the way that your grandmother always worried herself sick (literally), or the fact that your great-great grandfather was an alcoholic, or that your great grandmother was ashamed of her figure and was always putting herself on unreasonable crash diets, or that your father never learned positive communication and instead only knew how to yell, or that your great-great-great grandmother suffered in poverty, are likely all still reflected in your thoughts, actions, and how you feel about yourself, even if you don’t know their stories.

The sum total of the lessons we have learned from our caregivers is a direct result of what they have learned over the course of their lifetime — and what their caregivers taught them. The anger, shame, frustration, poor communication, anxieties, fears get passed down. So although you are not living in poverty, you still feel shame that you are not in a better place financially. Even though you are not an unhealthy weight, you still impose strict calorie restrictions on yourself because no woman in your family has ever been happy with her appearance so what gives you the right? Or, although you don’t want to fight with people, you never learned how to communicate in a clear and healthy way so you aren’t sure why your conversations always end in anger. And, even though you aren’t in an abusive relationship, you still feel like you are always walking on eggshells because you learned that anyone can become angry at you at any moment and for anything.

Think of generational wounds as the memories we subconsciously pass down to others. And because life can be painful, pain is very often what we pass down and our brains and nervous systems choose to remember most. Remembering pain is a survival technique, after all. It’s the brain’s attempt at avoiding anything that can jeopardize our safety. Unfortunately, these wounds also keep us locked in figurative cages. We hold ourselves back, don’t allow ourselves happiness, choose pain and suffering over joy, recreate our own cycles of shame and anger, and live our lives to please people who are no longer even alive. 

How to break the cycle

To break this cycle, start by recognizing your own generational wounds. What is the behavior you recognize in your parents that isn’t/wasn’t healthy? Now think back to their parents and try to recognize the wounds and unhealthy patterns that were passed down to them and how it must have affected them as people. We want to have empathy for our ancestors, instead of blaming any one person for how they may have acted in this life. The idea isn’t to point blame, but to see the struggles and events that led up to the dysfunctional behavior. Then we can distance ourselves from the pain of the generational wounds, instead of being triggered by them. We can recognize problems in our own lives that we inherited and work to change them. We can stop the stress patterns and stress hormone release. We also need to identify where in the body we store tension from these generational wounds. Is it a tensed stomach? Tensed muscle or shoulders from fear and stress? Clenched jaw? Shallow breathing? Everyone will have different wounds and different patterns of tension in the body. Identifying them is the best way to start to heal.

Ready to figure out the perfect diet for you? Want to work through your mind-body hangups? Ready to improve your lab work and daily symptoms? Click here to book a consultation.

what i learned from Dr. Mark Hyman, Sally Fallon, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman this past weekend {and how it relates to your thyroid}

One of the most wonderful things about the nutrition school I attended is that they offer professional enrichment opportunities even after students graduate. And this school is very well-connected. That means amazing opportunities for me to continue learning directly from the famous doctors, physicians, activists, authors, and nutrition gurus and bring their cutting-edge information right back to you.

This past weekend, I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition fall conference in NYC and was so delighted to be lectured by Dr. Mark Hyman (who often specializes in thyroid and autoimmune disease), Deepak Chopra (formerly an endocrinologist, now a mind-body guru), Dr. Joel Fuhrman (a vegetable, anti-cancer advocate), Joe Cross (of the film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead), Kathy Freston (author and vegan advocate), Dr. Dukan (of the famous Dukan Diet), and my personal favorite — food science heroine and founder of the Weston A Price Foundation, Sally Fallon.

All of this information will be healthy for you to incorporate into your life. But, I have specifically highlighted things that will be directly beneficial to your thyroid and autoimmunity, in green.

Here are the highlights from the weekend.


Dr. Hyman

This man is a Functional Medicine rock star. He helps his patients get to the root of why the illness is happening. He has helped many people heal their autoimmune disease, and has a penchant for nutritional approaches that easing thyroid disease.

Some of my favorite quotes of his:

  • We have a social disease: chronic disease and obesity
  • We need a social cure [for health problems]
  • You [holistic health counselors/coaches] are the community health workers of the future

Dr. Joel Fuhrman

The focus of his lecture was immunity and cancer. Specifically, those eating a “Standard American Diet” will have very low (scary low!) immunity and be extremely susceptible to cancer and infectious diseases.What does a Standard American Diet look like? Hot dogs, grocery store bread, non-organic fruits and vegetables, ketchup with high fructose corn syrup, Doritos, soda, ranch dressing, grilled cheese sandwiches, conventional yogurt and cheese, etc. etc.

His main points:

  • Greens are healing and inhibit cancer growth and the AIDS virus
  • We are dependent upon green vegetables for our well-being
  • Mycosinase and glucosinolates = anti-cancer compounds in greens. But these compounds must be liberated before being cooked: either by chewing the food with healthy oral flora/bacteria, or by blending in a blender before cooking. [“Chew”/agitate greens before you cook them]
  • The average person needs 500 mg of greens daily (several cups)
  • Lutein or Alpha carotene are both blood markers for greens intake
  • Mushrooms are an integral part of the immune system
  • Antigen-binding lectins in mushrooms = inhibit growth of blood cells in (fat or cancer) tissue; ie: help with weight regulation
  • Aromatase inhibitors in mushrooms = reduce estrogen levels in the body

Some of my favorite quotes of his:

  • The body is self-healing.
  • All S.A.D. [Standard American Diet] -eaters are immune depressed

Sally Fallon

This woman is a food science genius and a true role model. I probably also like her and her message (Weston A Price Foundation) because as she describes it, “It’s the most subversive nutrition literature out there.” Ohhh yeah.

Sally spoke on the USDA guidelines for eating and how they are psuedo-science, deficient in many essential nutrients, and how this leads to major health problems.

Her main points:

  • Choline, as found in eggs, protects against EMFs (Electro Magnetic Frequencies; the bad electronic pollution that pulls down the thyroid and harms the brain)
  • People feel guilty for eating fats because fats have been vilified. But fats are essential to health! This guilt can lead to obesity and eating disorders.
  • The Standard American Diet is heavy on bad fats (trans fats, vegetable oils) and otherwise very lean/low-fat
  • Liquid industrial oils (canola, soy, etc.) produce uncontrolled reactions within the body — including autoimmunity
  • Dietary cholesterol has little-to-no impact on blood cholesterol
  • Cholesterol is the mother of all hormones; we need to be eating lots of health sources of cholesterol for normal hormonal health. 
  • Protein depletes vitamin A in the body. So we need to eat vitamin A with our proteins to supplement.
  • Protein always comes with fats, so eat the fat.
  • The four food groups:
    • 1). Animal foods from pastured, wild-caught or grass-fed animals (including bone broths, cheese, meat, and fish)
    • 2). Grains, legumes, and nuts that have been prepared properly (soaked, sprouted, fermented, etc.)
    • 3). Fruit and vegetables that are either raw, cooked, or lacto-fermented (ie: probiotic)
    • 4). Animal fats and healthy vegetable fats, including but not limited to lard, tallow, cod liver oil, coconut oil, palm oil

Some of my favorite quotes of hers:

  • Aristocracy of the healthy = the idea that people who care for their bodies and diet will be more happy and  successful than those who do not
  •  There is a shortage of people in the jobs that require brain power. This is because due to poor diet, many people suffer concentration, emotional, and clear thinking issues
  • We cannot have a grocery store system and at the same time have a healthy diet. In other words, make it yourself if you want to be healthy!

So what did you learn here? What is most interesting to you? Which of these speakers resonate with you?