We recently had a chance to connect with Caitlin Weeks – cookbook author, nutritionist and the blogger behind Grass Fed Girl – about health, Hashimoto’s, and more! We’re excited to share that she’ll be hosting our next webinar later this month – RSVP HERE! – and to share her newest book, !
We asked Caitlin some questions about her own journey, which includes seeking wellness and becoming a nutritionist – all before finally receiving a Hashimoto’s diagnosis. Her Q&A begins below.
1. You were already well into your journey to find the right diet when you received your Hashi diagnosis. Did that increase your determination or feel like a roadblock?
Receiving an actual diagnosis of Hashimoto’s did make me more motivated to really stick to a way of eating and to get to the root cause of my Hashimoto’s. The fact that a therapeutic diet could be beneficial was also a confirmation that going to holistic nutrition school was the right choice for me.
I was in school at the time of my diagnosis, and the basic plan that they taught was the elimination diet. When I discovered Paleo it really harmonized with what I was learning. And with Hashimoto’s, a Paleo diet could eliminate the most common food sensitivities so it was just a great fit.
Personally, when I tried Paleo it really helped me control my blood sugar. I’d had a lot of issues with moodiness and irritability from hunger and thinking about food all the time. For the first time, I could go for four hours without eating and still feel good.
2. How did that diagnosis drive your decisions to begin helping others address their issues with health, diet, fitness and other aspects of wellness?
I was a personal trainer for seven years because I successfully lost weight and wanted to help others do the same. That’s what initially led me to go into nutrition. But when I got my Hashimoto’s diagnosis, I saw that I really had my priorities in the wrong place. I was so focused on helping people just look better on the outside and not addressing what makes us healthy on the inside.
After my diagnosis, my focus shifted and I was inspired to help people find health inside and out. My whole approach veered away from calories in/calories out and exercising for results to a approach that was designed to help people feel good, find health, and use exercise as stress relief.
3. For those with Hashi, do you feel that there’s a one size fits all diet that promotes health or do you feel a tailored approach is best?
Paleo is a good starting point for people who are new to Hashimoto’s because it removes the foods most commonly associated with autoimmune sensitivities. It also helps people shift away from counting calories and helps them not be afraid of eating fat.
But then over time as people regain health, I do think that they shouldn’t be afraid to add foods back in and see how they feel if they’re eating dairy or certain grains. Eating for health isn’t about being perfect or giving up. If it works for you, you can take a vacation and then go back to eating healthfully again.
Whatever dietary changes you make, it has to be sustainable for you. The best results come from lifelong changes and so people should absolutely experiment to find out what helps them feel best, whether that’s less meat or more meat or more vegetables. And they need to understand what they’re willing to stick with. So in that sense it’s very personal.
4. What’s your personal approach to supplementation? Do you have any advice for people with Hashimoto’s?
When you’re first diagnosed, before you start trying supplements, get your food on track first. Eat the most nutrient dense foods, like bone broth or liver or seafood, and see how you feel. When eating a nutritionally dense diet has become a habit, then you can look into supplementation – preferably with the guidance of a practitioner.
There are some basic supplements that can definitely help people with Hashimoto’s – like zinc and selenium – but as with food, it should be about what helps you. It’s easy to fall into the trap of just taking stuff without considering whether it contains fillers you react to or whether it’s right for your body at this time.
I’d say if supplementation is stressful because of the huge range of options out there, focus on food. Obviously getting your thyroid medication figured out is more important so do that first. And more importantly, healing your gut is huge because if your gut isn’t healthy you won’t absorb any of the nutrients you’re putting into your body, whether it’s from food or supplements.
5. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning their Hashi journey and feeling discouraged?
The first thing I’d say is that you have to slow down and get quiet because your body probably knows what to do if you’re willing to listen. Don’t just listen to your doctor – especially if you feel like you’re not being heard or you have people telling you you’re find when obviously you don’t feel good. Order your own tests if you have to.
Listen to yourself – you know best if you don’t feel right. And don’t be discouraged when you discover that it can be a long process to get well. You may never feel exactly the same again. You have to just look for little improvements and not huge, fast changes.
6. Can Hashi actually make someone’s life better in the long run?
I think it can because Hashimoto’s makes you more aware of what your body is saying. Especially when it comes to food, Hashimoto’s forces you to look at your own wisdom instead of buying into fitness magazines or Hollywood diets.
And if you aren’t where you need to be in life, your body is going to tell you when you have Hashimoto’s. You can’t stay in situations that aren’t positive for you. If you’re doing something every day that’s stressing you out or making you sick, you will have to make a change.
What it really comes down to is that Hashimoto’s can make you reassess your life for the better.
Caitlin Weeks, will be joining us on August 30 to talk about her journey
and how Hashimoto’s can change your life for the better!
RSVP free here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/82271342092930818