Chicken Liver Pate

Liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods out there! Full of B-vitamins, minerals, and protein, it’s a superstar food to include on a weekly basis. If you naturally love liver, I’m jealous! Pate and hiding it in meatloaves or other dishes is the only way I find it palatable. Most of the time, I’ll even buy the pate because I’d rather not prepare it myself. Or, at least that used to be the case. Enter this recipe. For whatever reason, I have no problem cooking up this pate and eating it straight away. It was even delicious warm. I know, I wasn’t expecting that either. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Chicken Liver Pate

1 pound chicken livers, preferably pasture raised
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup butter, divided
1/2 cup red wine
4 cloves roasted garlic*
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon lemon juice
sea salt

Method
1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add chicken livers and shallot and cook until browned.

2. Add red wine, roasted garlic, dijon, thyme & rosemary to the skillet and cook until most of the liquid is gone. Add lemon juice.

3. Transfer liver mixture and butter to a food processor and process until smooth. Add sea salt to taste.

4. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week. I usually freeze half the mixture in smaller mason jars.

Serve with almond flour or flaxseed crackers, apple slices, salami & raw cheese. Also delicious heated in pan with steamed or roasted vegetables.

*Roasted garlic: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Take a full head of garlic and chop about a 1/2-inch off from the top. Drizzle exposed cloves with olive oil and wrap the head of garlic in tin foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes.

Wander Well City Guide: Bend

Whether you’re a local or visiting, Bend has a lot to offer when it comes to offering nourishing food and services that have your health in mind. Here’s a list of my favorite places in town to eat and spend time.


Restaurants & Cafes

Lone Pine Coffee Roasters
845 Tin Pan Alley, Bend, OR 97703
My all time favorite coffee shop in Bend. Tucked away in Tin Pan Alley downtown Bend, these guys not only roast the best coffee but also use locally-sourced non-homogenized, small-batch pasteurized milk from Gary’s Meadow Fresh. If you don’t do dairy, they also make homemade cashew-almond milk for their drinks. So good! Their vanilla-bean whipped cream is also whipped by hand, so extra style points for that too. Lone Pine is definitely worth a stop if you drink coffee. Even their decaf is delicious.

Jackson's Corner
Westside: 845 NW Delaware Ave, Bend, OR 97703
Eastside: 1500 NE Cushing Dr., Ste #100, Bend, OR 97701

Jackson’s Corner was actually the first place I worked when I moved to town in 2009. They do an amazing job sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers. Their fresh salads and pizza are the best in town. All the wheat-based products they make are made using organic, locally sourced grains and the breads and pizzas are also sourdough. They have both an Eastside and Westside location that are super family friendly and they make amazing seasonal specials that rotate weekly.

123 Ramen
1289 NE 2nd Street, Bend, OR 97701
This is a little tucked away ramen shop that is definitely worth seeking out. There are generally 3 ramen offerings and several other seasonal menu items that seek to capture the products that Central Oregon has to offer in the moment. Hyper-seasonal and seriously delicious, the ramen broths are true bone broths and organic wheat noodles or yam noodles are available. If you’re not feeling ramen, you cannot go wrong with any of the special menu items which are often salads or other wholesome bowls. Follow them on Instagram to be notified of any upcoming special events and brunch pop-ups too.

Fix & Repeat
55 NW Arizona Ave, Bend, OR 97703
Located in the hip and happening Box Factory, Fix & Repeat is a beautiful plant-based restaurant offering organic juices, smoothies and various acai and macro bowls. I love the Rice Bowl with brown rice, black beans, sweet potatoes, avocado, walnut pesto, kale, basil Mama Lil’s peppers and a cashew cream sauce. Yum! I also like that most of their smoothies include healthy fats like coconut milk, cashew and avocado rather than just fruit and greens. They have a generally fun vibe and a nice patio in the summer months.

Sunny Yoga Kitchen
2746 NW Crossing Dr., Ste 120, Bend, OR 97701
SYK is sometimes a restaurant and sometimes a yoga studio and as strange as that sounds they do a wonderful job with both. The restaurant sources a majority of their produce from local farmers and creates delicious bowls, veggie burgers and tacos as well as fresh juices and salads. The Pork Tacos and the Sunny Burger are my favorites! If you’re into a yoga class followed by breakfast, you’ll really be making the most of this sweet stop.

Scoutpost
310 SW Industrial Way, Bend, OR 97703
This food cart is located outside of Spoken Moto (where you can bring your food inside if it’s cold outside) and they have amazing grass-fed burgers and pasture-raised fried chicken sandwiches. I always order my burger bunless and it comes served over fresh mixed greens to make a super satisfying lunch. They usually have a really good salad offering with ingredients that cycle with the seasons. I don’t eat at a lot of food carts but this one is always reliably delicious and does a great job with ingredient quality.

Plantd
1900 NE Division Street, Bend, OR 97701
Fairly new to the Bend scene, this plant-based cafe has an incredible menu full of nourishing gluten-free and vegan options. Love salads and bowls full of veggies? Or an occasional gf/v pastry? This is the spot! Despite the slightly industrial location, this cafe is a little haven with a lovely little patio to enjoy your meal. 

The Humble Beet
1124 NW Newport Ave, Bend, OR 97701
The Humble Beet is in the old Devore’s Good Food Store on the westside. While so many people were sad to see Devore’s close, there is so much to be excited for in the new ownership and vision of what The Humble Beet is doing. With beautiful organic and locally sourced produce, a coffee shop, groceries, as well as many of the old favorite grab-n-go items in the coolers The Humble Beet is offering many reasons to stop in. Their prepared foods are all non-GMO and moving towards using all organic ingredients. They are also in the process of finding the most sustainable to-go and prepared foods packaging solution available (think Pickathon Music Festival token program).

Spork
937 NW Newport Ave, Bend, OR 97701
Spork is a solid choice and has many gluten-free options and with a focus on a diversity of global street food, there is something for everyone. My top three favorite menu items are the Lomo Saltado, the Thai steak salad and the fried chicken (always gf). The vegetables curry is also delicious and perfect for a cold winter day. Expect a line because this is a popular spot but it’s almost always worth the wait.

Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House
1044 NW Bond St, Bend, OR 97703
A Bend staple, Deschutes does a really good job with their food menu. All the potatoes for their fries come from Casad Family Farms, their beef comes from cattle fed some of the spent-grain from the brewery & much of their produce comes from local CO farms. They also bake all their own bread and make everything else from scratch. That’s pretty amazing for such a large volume restaurant.

Pure Joy Kitchen
519 NW Colorado Ave, Bend, OR 97701
Pure Joy is located in the same building as Cafe of LIfe chiropractic office and has an extensive and thoughtfully created smoothie list and menu full of plant-based and keto-friendly items.

Boone Dog Pizza (Sisters, OR)
223 East Hood Ave, Sisters, OR 97759
This is another amazing cart worth mentioning. These guys are parked at Euro Sports in Sisters, OR. They also make sourdough crust pizza and frequently change their toppings to reflect the season’s abundance coming out of the local farms in the area. Also offering salads, eaters working with special diets are also sure to be pleased.


Food Shopping & Sourcing

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Bend Farmer’s Markets & Northwest Crossings Farmer's Market
Downtown: Brooks Alley behind the Tower Theater, Bend
Eastside: 
Whole Foods East Lot, Bend
Northwest Crossings: Northwest Crossings Drive

Wednesdays (2-6pm) in downtown Bend, Thursdays (2-6pm) on the eastside or Saturdays (10am-2pm) in Northwest Crossings, these two markets offer wonderful products grown and made in Oregon. The Wednesday markets is more geared towards food products and the Saturday market has a blend of food, crafts, music and prepared food
vendors.

Central Oregon Locavore
1841 NE 3rd St, Bend, OR 97701
Self-described as an indoor farmer’s markets, Locavore stocks locally-made/sourced products from a variety of farms and craftspeople. Lovely produce and a wall full of freezers holding thoughtfully-raised protein mean you can be sure what you’re buying is of the highest quality. This market also offers a membership program and community events, such as a weekly breastfeeding support group for local mamas.

Agricultural Connections
Online & Pick-up at Central Oregon Locavore (see above)
Agricultural Connections is an online farmer’s market and year-round CSA. You can sign up for weekly produce boxes to be picked up at Locavore and there are many other products that can be added to your order each week, such as meats, eggs, dairy and select additional produce. I love this option for when the farmer’s market isn’t running and they offer several sizes of produce boxes to suit your family’s needs. I love that you can place an order each week or sign up for a subscription that can be cancelled anytime in case you’re heading out of town or want to take a break for a bit.

Paradise Produce
1234 NW Galveston Ave, Bend, OR 97701
Love this produce stand just outside of Primal Cuts Meat Market. They have a mix of homegrown produce as well as locally and globally sourced products to fill in the gaps. Open all week, it’s a great option if you want to grab some seasonal produce as well as some bananas and citrus but would rather avoid heading to the grocery store. I also love that it’s outside and they’re always playing reggae.

Natural Grocers
3188 N Hwy 97, Bend, OR 97701
Most people are familiar with this grocery store for their affordable organic options. Their produce is also generally fresh and pretty reliable in terms of consistency and quality. I love that they keep the nuts and seeds in the refrigerator but I do with you had the option to fill your own container for their bulk goods.  They have great sales and a nice list of events featuring local wellness experts throughout the year. Check their website for current offerings.

Whole Foods Market
2610 Highway 20, Bend, OR 97701
Just included this one for the sake of completeness. The Bend location does a pretty great job of supporting local businesses and sourcing from local producers. They've also partnered with Bend Farmer's Market to host the Eastside market, which is a great thing for that part of town. 


Healthy Shopping

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Fettle Botanic Supply & Council
19570 Amber Meadow Dr #120, Bend, OR 97702
When I moved back to Bend, I thought to myself "If only we had an herb shop." And then the best possible herb shop opened a few months later. Thank you, Universe! The location is a touch outside of downtown but completely worth the drive if you're looking for bulk medicinal or culinary herbs, teas, tinctures, soaks, balms, etc. They carry tea ware and books and some other lovely gifts as well. Some of my favorite products are the teas, tinctures, soaks and balms for new mamas. Check out their events for free classes
by local practitioners too!

Wren & Wild
910 NW Harriman St, Bend, OR 97701
This place is wonderful if you're in transition, or fully transitioned, into clean skin care and beauty products. They carry some of my favorite products like hair products by Innersense Organic and mascara by TrueGlue. The items they carry are sure to be healthy for you and healthy for the environment and their staff is a wealth of knowledge for helping you select products for your unique needs.

Angelina's Organic Skin Care
838 NW Bond St #1, Bend, OR 97701
Angelina's has been around for a long time, making organic beauty products that work. I love their Rose & Cardamom Cleanser and their Skin Doctor Hand Salve. I haven't yet tried their Ayurvedic line of products but they might be next on my list. Check out their shop if you're cruising around downtown.  


Self-Care

Anjou Spa
1835 NW Pence Ln #120, Bend, OR 97703
Just walking into this spa you'll immediately feel relaxed and pampered! They use top of the line skincare products and have a full menu of services to choose from. I love their hot sand room that is the perfect thing on a cold winter day! You can drop-in for just a "Heat & Steam" or check out their membership options if you're local. It's such an amazing deal that'll help make sure your self-care happens on the regular!

McMenamins Old St. Francis School
700 NW Bond St, Bend, OR 97703
The soaking tub at McMenamins is an apres ski favorite in town. For that reason, it's often packed but totally worth making happen if you can. The open ceiling allows for peeks of sky through the steam and magical snow fall if you time it just right. At just $5 a soak, this is a water treatment at it's most affordable. It's worth noting that the water is chlorinated, if you're sensitive. 

Barre3
70 SW Century Dr, Bend, OR 97702
If you're looking for a Barre class of haven't yet tried it, Bend's Barre studio is the place to go! The body positive message and balanced, functional work out is often just what a lady needs. I also love that workouts are just an hour, making them really easy to work into a day. They have a super sweet new mama special, $3 childcare and often pair with Athleta in the Old Mill offering occasional free classes throughout the year. 

The Yoga Lab
550 SW Industrial Way #170, Bend, OR 97702
Owned by longtime Bend yoga teachers, Ulla, Aleta and Rebecca, The Yoga Lab is one of my favorite studios in Bend. The teachers are amazing and they do a great job of offering a variety of classes in a super welcome atmosphere. In addition to her alignment-focused and thoughtfully sequenced classes, Ulla also offers classes appropriate for those who have experienced Traumatic Brain Injury (TMI).

Groove Yoga
1740 NW Pence Ln, Bend, OR 97701
I don't make it to Groove often because they are located on the other side of town from where I live but I try and make it to as many of Cynthia LaRoche's Tuesday Rejuvinating Groove classes as I can. They are pure magic. Shanan Kelly is another one my favorites. Check out their extensive workshop offerings as well - they always have fun things going on. 

Tula Movement Arts
2797 NW Clearwater Dr #100, Bend, OR 97703
Tula is fairly new to the Bend scene and is tucked up in Northwest Crossings. The warehouse space housing their studio is beeee-utiful. They offer all kinds of classes from Aerial Yoga to Baby & Me, acrobatics, hula hooping, and so much more. Also, look out for their open studio times if you're looking for more self-directed movement. There really is something for everyone. I personally went for the Baby & Me classes and it was such a great way to connect with other moms and get out of the house with my babe in the early months. Also highly recommended is the big pile of bean bags of various sizes and shapes for lounging. Not to be missed!

Painting by Sheila Dunn

Boosting Progesterone Naturally

So maybe you've been tracking your cycle and you notice you have a short luteal phase, which is generally less than 10 days between ovulation and bleeding time, or you just had your progesterone tested and it came back low. It's possible your doctor recommended progesterone cream and maybe you're looking for other ways to increase your own production of progesterone. Here are my top progesterone production boosting tips!

Natural ways to increase progesterone production

1. Get better sleep

Getting good rest is not entirely specific for increasing progesterone levels but it is important for allowing your body to heal, period. So, sleep is an important place to start if you're experiencing any kind of imbalance and this should be the number one focus before implementing other kinds of supplementation. Sleep issues can stem from an overexcited nervous system, liver stagnation, adrenal imbalance, poor sleep hygiene, or many other reasons and if the reason you're not resting well is unclear to you, I encourage you to work with someone to figure out how to help you figure out what is preventing you from sleeping well. 
 

2. Eat more cholesterol & fat

Progesterone is one of several hormones produced from cholesterol. While not everyone absorbs large amounts of cholesterol from their diet, consuming enough cholesterol and fat is important for hormone balance and the integrity of your cells walls and therefore tissues. Fat is also important for blood sugar balance and insulin resistance, which plays directly into the health of your hormones. Make sure you're looking towards high quality sources of fat and cholesterol, such as egg yolks, avocado, coconut, pasture-raised, 100% grass-fed animal meats and fats, sardines, wild salmon, anchovies, and oils from things like olive, coconut, avocado. 
 

3. Castor oil

The liver processes all of our hormones and helps clear excess hormones from the system. Excess estrogen can contribute to progesterone deficiency and topical castor oil packs are a great way to help support the liver in clearing the extra estrogen. Symptoms of estrogen excess include breast tenderness and fluid retention, often seen just before your period starts. Estrogen disruptors are very present in our environment in plastics and many skincare products and can also be caused by excess abdominal fat and blood sugar imbalance. Daily rituals like castor oil packs on the abdomen are an amazing way to support daily detoxification and promote regular self-care. 
   

4. Seed cycle

Seed cycling is when you rotate flax/chia/hemp seeds in the first half of your cycle and sesame/pumpkin/sunflower seeds in the second half of your cycle to support the balance of estrogen and progesterone, which is the foundation for a healthy menstrual cycle and fertility. I often add fish oils and evening primrose oil and sometimes homeopathic remedies throughout the cycle to additionally support hormone rhythms throughout the month. It's amazing how something so simple and cost effective can be so effective in correcting hormone imbalance. 
 

5. Vitamin B6

This B vitamin is essential in the production of the corpus luteum, which is formed in the ovary after ovulation. The corpus luteum then releases progesterone, which is why progesterone is higher in the second half of your cycle, after ovulation. Foods high in B6 include liver, all animal meat, salmon, eggs, avocado and pistachios. I rarely supplement B6 alone and generally recommend a B-complex to make sure those vitamins are being consumed in balance. 

6. Vitex 

Vitex agnus castus, or Chaste Tree, is a wonderful hormone balancing herb for women. It works by increasing Lutenizing Hormone (LH), which is required to stimulate ovulation, which then helps increase the release of production and release of progesterone from the ovaries. Vitex also reduces prolactin levels, which is a hormone that can effect progesterone levels. Just to create realistic expectations, Vitex can take some time to be effective so long-term use is generally required. 

Think you might need more support?

If you think you could benefit from some guidance in working to balance your hormones, improving your fertility, dealing with infertility, PCOS or whatever symptoms you're experiencing that you think may be hormone related, I'd love to work with you. I see patients in Bend, OR and work with people long-distance as well. Click here to learn how to become a patient. 

Photo by Andressa Voltolini

Progesterone Cream for Fertility and Hormone Imbalance?

Progesterone cream is often the recommendation when a woman has low progesterone. It's easy to find over the counter and it makes sense that if you're low in progesterone, it's probably worth supplementing. I like to take a few steps back from that thinking and consider why you might not be producing enough progesterone and start building up the system that way. Let's first take a look at what progesterone does for you body and why it's important.

Progesterone versus progestin

Before diving into what progesterone is, let me first explain what it is not. Progesterone is a hormone produced in your body or produced in a lab from a medicinal herb, generally Wild Yam. Progestin is a synthetically produced compound that is commonly found in hormonal birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies. Progestin does not have the same effect in the body as progesterone. Over-the-counter progesterone creams usually contain manufactured progesterone, not progestin. Got it? Ok, let's move on to what progesterone deficiency might look like in the body.

Progesterone in your body. 

Progesterone is a hormone produced from cholesterol and is important in the second half of your menstrual cycle in order to create the ideal environment for implanting a fertilized egg in pregnancy. It's super important in fertility and also other conditions like PCOS, hypothyroidism, PMS, Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation and many other types of hormone imbalance. After ovulation, the corpus luteum forms in the ovary and starts releasing progesterone. So, if ovulation isn't happening, then progesterone isn't happening so well. Recent research is also highlighting the effects of progesterone in breast, cardiovascular and nervous system health. Needless to say, progesterone is essential to our whole health picture.  

Symptoms of progesterone deficiency

  • Hot flashes
  • Low libido
  • Headaches 
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irregular menstrual cycles (particularly short luteal phases, which is the time between ovulation and when your period starts)
  • Poor sleep
  • Thyroid hormone imbalance

    Progesterone levels can be measured with a simple test that can be run to see if it is contributing to your symptom picture. Keeping track of your menstrual cycle and when you ovulate is another great way of determining general progesterone status.

Is progesterone cream the answer?

Like I said above, progesterone cream does treat the progesterone deficiency but misses the deeper underlying meaning of why you might be deficient in progesterone in the first place. It might be a lack of nutrients like cholesterol or magnesium in the diet, chronic stress or elevated estrogen. I would much rather see an increase in the natural production of progesterone rather than supplementing, if possible. That being said, if a woman were to not be interested in waiting to increase progesterone levels naturally and is interested in becoming pregnant or becomes pregnant, progesterone cream could be beneficial in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. That might be my one exception. Not my first choice but, there's the ideal scenario and then there's real life, right?

So, what is the best way to increase progesterone? 

If you know you're progesterone deficient, check out my post on ways to increase progesterone naturally

If you suspect you may be progesterone deficient and are looking to for a practitioner to help identify and treat the root cause of your symptoms, click here to find out how to become a patient. I work with people locally in Bend, OR and long-distance.

Photo by Nicole Mason

Cauliflower Fried Rice

This is a super-quick and delicious meal if you're looking to pack in a ton a vegetables and healthy fats, while avoiding grains. You don't have to be completely avoiding grains in your diet to appreciate a grain-free meal from time to time and this one is really satisfying and easy to throw together on weeknights, when you're looking for something comforting, yet nourishing.

Traditional fried rice often uses cheap, vegetable oils and is heavy on the rice, which can spike blood sugar and increase inflammation. By using high-quality oils, pastured eggs, and organic produce, this is a really healthy alternative. Cauliflower is full of cancer-fighting properties and helps support healthy detoxification pathways. Dark leafy greens contain folate and tons of minerals. And garnishing with cilantro helps naturally clear toxics and heavy metals from the body. Each ingredient in this dish has a purpose in helping feed you well. Enjoy!

GRAIN-FREE CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE

INGREDIENTS
1 head cauliflower
4 slices pasture-raised bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2-3 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 cups chopped dark leafy greens (chard, kale, spinach, etc.)
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Avocado
Cucumber

METHOD
1. Start by cutting cauliflower into florets. Add to food processor and pulse until broken into small, rice-sized pieces.
2. Heat a large sauté pan (preferably cast iron) on medium heat and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and add oil, garlic, zucchini, riced cauliflower to the pan. Sauté until cauliflower and zucchini begins to soften, 5-8 minutes, stirring periodically. Add greens and peas and cook another 3 minutes, until greens are wilted and peas are soft.
3. Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro, avocado, and cucumber.

Serves 3-4

Grain-free Granola

Granola for breakfast or an afternoon snack in the summertime is such a treat! But un-soaked and barely cooked oats can be tough on anyone, especially folks dealing with any kind of digestive weakness, which is common in chronic illness, pregnancy, and many functional health issues. I replace rolled oats with flaked coconut and came up with this grain-free granola recipe that will make your house smell amazing and keep your tummy happy. Plus, by ditching the oats, and adding extra nuts and seeds this granola is full of healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. By using soaked and dehydrated or sprouted nuts and seeds, digestibility and bioavailability will be even greater.

I love this recipe for my patients working to reduce inflammation as well as those looking for a quick, healthy option that will leave them feeling satisfied until the next meal. I like to serve this with homemade hemp milk (but any milk will do) and fresh fruit. I also like to add the appropriate seeds for the phase I'm in for a simple way to keep up my seed cycling. 

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GRAIN-FREE GRANOLA 

1.5 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups slivered almonds
1 cup raw pecans (soaked & dehydrated, if possible)
1 cup raw walnuts (soaked & dehydrated, if possible)
1 cup sunflower seeds (soaked & dehydrated, if possible)
1 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked & dehydrated, if possible)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dried apricots or figs, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries or cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix coconut flake, almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, cinnamon sea salt and coconut sugar in a large bowl. Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add maple syrup and vanilla.

Add oil mixture to the bowl with nuts and seeds and stir to evenly coat the nuts and seeds. Pour mixture on to a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, stirring once or twice during the baking time. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let cool without disturbing. Once cool, mix in the dried fruit and transfer to glass jars for storage. Will keep 1-2 months, but it probably won't last that long.

Makes about 2.5 quarts of granola. 

5 Natural Treatments for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

 

A diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis generally means supplemental thyroid hormone will be needed long-term but there are absolutely things you could be doing to reduce your antibody levels and keep you on the lowest possible dose necessary to feel well.

#1 Selenium

Selenium plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormone as well as in many aspects of the immune system. That is why even a mild selenium deficiency can contribute to increased antibody levels. Selenium status can be improved simply by consuming 2-3 Brazil nuts each day. So simple!

#2 Get Good Sleep

Sleep sets the foundation for all of our physiological rhythms. The thyroid, like all of our endocrine glands, releases hormones at a different rate during different times of the day and in different situations. We also do a majority of our healing at night, which means if sleep is disturbed the potential for healing is greatly reduced, if not eliminated. By establishing a strong foundation of sleep, the endocrine and immune systems can begins to rebalance and heal.

#3 Release and Reframe Your Stress

Building stress release into daily life is an important means of bringing the body into a more parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. Stress is an inevitable part of modern life and it is how we deal with our stress that will effect our health the most. Meditation, walking, deep breathing and allowing for rest are my favorite ways of managing stress. Although learning to release stress is important, I also like to remind people that stress is not always a bad thing. It enables us to address the task at hand. Simply viewing your stress as a purposeful tool can reduce the harmful effects of stress on our physiology.

#4 Reduce Your Exposure to Hormone Disruptors 

Even though we talk about the thyroid as an isolated glad, it is part of a greater whole within the endocrine system. The thyroid is most directly linked to the adrenal glands and the sex glands (ovaries/testes) so anything that effects those other these organs also effects the thyroid. I’m mostly talking about hormone disruptors as substances that mimic estrogen in the body. The list of hormone disruptors that are a part of most people’s lives every day is astounding. So many chemicals are allowed into our homes, onto our skin, in the air we breathe, and in the food we eat. The most effective ways of reducing daily exposures to chemicals is by eating organic, whole foods, drinking filtered water, and utilizing skin care and cleaning products that are chemical-free. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a couple wonderful platforms, Skin Deep and Dirty Dozen, to help make the world of chemical avoidance so much easier.  

#5 Heal Your Childhood Trauma 

The thyroid matures when a child is between 4 and 7 years old. Any trauma experienced during that time can affect how well the thyroid gland functions for the rest of one’s life. Traumas are can be anything that your nervous system wasn't not prepared to handle at the time and can include things like moving, the death of a friend or family member, abuse or being teased or bullied at school. Addressing the lasting effects of childhood traumas can be an incredible way of supporting the body to heal itself. Homeopathy is my favorite of gently supporting a person’s release of long-held trauma, no matter how significant. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) can also be helpful in this process.

If you are looking to address the root cause of your autoimmune condition, I'm here to help!

Apply to become a patient today!

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)

What is Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)?

FAM is a reliable method of tracking fertility that can be used in preventing or attempting to achieve pregnancy, in addition to providing a deeper understanding of gynecological health. It is also so much more than that. Your body has an amazing monthly rhythm of hormones that translates into signals that you can pick-up on in order to understand your fertility status as well as the health and balance of your hormones. The main measures that are used are a daily morning temperature taken even before your feet hit the floor, as well as cervical fluid and cervical position.

Understanding your monthly cycle

The first half of your menstrual cycle is from the first day of your menses until ovulation, which is around day 14. This is called the follicular phase. During this time, estrogen is high and the morning temperature should be lower (generally below 98.0F). The second half of your cycle is higher in progesterone, which causes the morning temperature to be at least a few tenths of a degree higher that the first half. This second phase is called the luteal phase and spans from approximately day 15 until the day before your menses returns. If these daily morning temperatures are charted throughout the month, there should be a clear shift where the morning temperature rises, which indicates ovulation. Commonly, the whole cycle will be around 28 days and the luteal phase should last at least 14 days. If your cycle is much longer or shorter than 28 days or luteal phases that are less than 11 days it could mean that there is some degree of hormone imbalance. Tracking this information shows you exactly what is going on with YOUR body each month and that is priceless!


Something you were not taught in sex-ed class: you can really only get pregnant about 6 days each month, which means there isn’t really any need for birth control for the rest of the month. FAM helps you understand which of those days are your fertile days so you can either avoid having sex or use some form of non-hormonal birth control during that time.

How can I get started with FAM?

If you’re ready to understand your hormones better and are psyched to start using this method for either birth control or fertility support, there are a couple different ways to go about it. Learning a little bit more of the theory and practice of FAM is the best way to use it with success.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler is the go-to reference for understanding all things FAM. It's a really amazing read if you get nerdy about the whole thing, like I did. The methods taught in the book are basically the "old-school" way of charting with a basal body thermometer and a paper chart. Many apps also exist now help make charting easy. Kindara is my favorite if you want to go that route. 

The simplest way to get started with FAM is to use Daysy!

Daysy is a FAM device that you take your temperature with each morning and it indicates your fertility status for the day with either a color-coded light. Daysy also has an app, called DaysyView, that will show the chart of your fertility throughout the month.

How effective is Daysy?

To best understand the effectiveness of Daysy, I want to bring up the Pearl Index. It’s a way of rating the effectiveness of birth control methods. If 100 women used a certain kind of birth control method and 1 of them were to get pregnant, the Pearl Index number would be 1.0. Birth control pills have a Pearl Index of between 0.1 and 0.9 and IUDs a Pearl Index of 0.1-2.2. Well, Daysy’s Pearl Index is 0.7, which is pretty darn good! That means that it is 99.3% effective.

Think you might need more support?

If you really want to dive into this method and get some additional support with your charts, I recommend finding a Fertility Awareness Educator that can help further explain how to chart and can look at your charts to help you understand and read what is going on with your own cycle.  

A personal note about FAM...

I’ve spent a lot of time training in FAM and used it myself for 2.5 years to prevent pregnancy and then had great success using it when I was ready to get pregnant. I have a history of hormone imbalance associated with Post-Birth Control Syndrome and FAM played a major role in helping me heal my hormones and have a healthy baby. In my dream world, all my female patients would use FAM so I could see their charts and understand what’s going on with their hormones without the need for ordering any specialty testing (in most cases). If you're looking for a practitioner who understands FAM and can help restore your hormone health, I'm here for you! Find out how to work with me right this way