calcium sources in a dairy-free diet

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If you’ve gone dairy-free for healing food allergies and a leaky gut (a cause of autoimmunity and thyroid disease), you may be concerned about calcium intake and not getting enough to support your bones and teeth. Don’t worry — there are plenty of non-dairy sources of calcium full of taste and nutrition to incorporate or emphasize in your diet.

dairy-free calcium sources:

  • canned wild-caught fish (with the bones. the bones disintegrate when you cook/eat them)
  • greens and green vegetables
  • nuts and seeds, especially sesame seeds/tahini
  • seaweed (only if your thyroid can tolerate)
  • water kefir made with egg shells
  • bone broth (also happens to heal Leaky Gut — a cause for thyroid disease and autoimmunity)

There’s also evidence mounting that the amount of calcium a person eats in a day may not be as important as the other nutrients she’s eating it with. That is, co-factors like Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 (found in animal fats) are essential for calcium absorption. So be sure to eat adequate thyroid-stimulating and immune-supporting fats each day to maximize calcium intake.

food ideas:

(As always, homemade ensures better nutrition!)

  • baba ghanouj made with tahini
  • hummus made with tahini
  • grain-free salmon cakes
  • cup of bone broth as a snack
  • sardine salad (á la tuna salad) mashed with mayo, herbs, and lemon
  • homemade nut milks with the pulp
  • water kefir flavored with fruit of your choice
  • seaweed snacks (often toasted with sesame oil)
  • dairy-free cheeze sauce/dip made with hemp seeds, cashews, almonds, or macadamia nuts
  • raw dark greens salad topped with soft-boiled eggs and probiotic vinaigrette
  • green beans almondine
  • chili made with bone broth
  • water kefir “Icee”: blended with ice and frozen fruit
  • green juice made in your juicer
  • mock tuna salad nut paté
  • seaweed salad (using a gluten-free and/or soy-free “soy sauce” substitute)
  • almond flour pancakes
  • herb-only salad: parsley, basil, cilantro, mint tossed in a light dressing
  • smoothie made with homemade nut milk, nut butter of your choice, fruit and dark greens

 

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the best dairy choices for thyroid and autoimmune diseases

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Allergen-free eats are a hallmark of an effective thyroid or autoimmune disease diet. That is, eliminating foods your body is reacting to, such as gluten and dairy help to ease these illnesses and reduce symptoms. While giving up gluten and dairy is a therapeutic step in your health journey, it can also prove difficult for many people. After all, breads, pastas, baked goods, cheese, butter, milk — they’re the very foods we’ve grown up on and grown to love. They’re the common denominator in nearly every comfort food and it can be hard to imagine a cuisine without them. So, before you take the leap and go dairy-free for optimum healing, consider switching to these safer dairy choices:

  1. Ghee: Ghee is butter that has had the casein and lactose skimmed off. The resulting product is a clear butter oil that is great for high-heat cooking and baking. Use in place of butter or oil in any recipe. Ghee has been used as a food and medicinal remedy in India for thousands of years. Also, because ghee is a healthy saturated fat and contains cholesterol, as well as natural iodine (as do all animal products), it’s a very healthy choice for the thyroid. I suggest purchasing from Purity Farms or Pure Indian Foods.
  2. Milk kefir: Milk kefir is a homemade yogurt-like product that is made with the use of milk kefir grains — tiny cauliflower-looking balls that are a symbiotic balance of healthy yeasts and bacteria. These yeast and bacteria are probiotic and eat the sugars in milk. Simply place milk kefir grain in a glass of high-quality milk, allow to sit on the counter for about a day, and the end result is a tangy yogurt. Because the sugars in the milk are converted to lactic acid, milk kefir is a superior dairy product and highly therapeutic. Recent studies on lactic acid (as found in all fermented probiotic foods) have uncovered it’s ancient, yet medicinal wisdom. Purchase organic milk kefir grains from a small seller on Etsy or via Cultures for Health.
  3. Raw goats milk or sheeps milk cheeses: Milk from goats and sheep contain a considerably less amount of casein — the milk protein that is known to over-stimulate the immune system in those with autoimmune disease (note that all milk contains some casein, including human breast milk). Finding a milk with a lower casein ratio is what’s important here. Because sheep and goats are naturally smaller animals, they inherently have lower amounts of casein in their milk. Cows, and their milk and cheeses on the other hand, contain much more casein because they are larger animals — much bigger than humans. Choose cheeses that are raw and have not been pasteurized; pasteurization of dairy products distorts the proteins, confuses our bodies, and causes autoimmune attack. Most likely, the only raw cheeses you’ll be able to find are organic, grass-fed, or beyond organic so there’s no reason to worry about contamination.

Which of these new dairy products will you begin to use?

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?

“Healing Hashimoto’s” part 2 (my personal story of healing disease)

Part 2 of “Healing Hashimoto’s“, my personal story of healing disease hosted over at Naturally Knocked Up gets much more more personal as I reveal the startling truths I inevitably came to about the mainstream medical system and why I realized I just could not leave my health in its hands. 

Read the rest of my story, the kind of medicine I found my way into, the type of diet I found was best for me, and how this Hashimoto’s story comes to a close HERE!  Trust me, there is a happy ending — not just for me, but for you as well!