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Helen Mallaburn is a hashimoto’s recovery specialist and nutritional therapist. She lived on the adrenaline of a high stress job, doing lots of sports, working out, and having a very active social life – until her health made her slow down when she developed hashimoto’s. She had to reframe her thinking around her health and how to heal herself.

She shares her story about how she did it, nutrition – and some really approachable ways to change what we eat – something that can be pretty intimidating. Helen breaks down what she learned about inflammation and its effects on our bodies – and ways we can soothe it.

Guest Spotlight: Helen Mallaburn

podcast guest Helen Mallaburn sitting at a desk in front of a bookcase

Helen is the Hashimoto’s Recovery Specialist. After struggling with debilitating hashimoto’s thyroiditis symptoms for many years and not getting the help she needed from the medical community, she decided to study nutritional therapy and health coaching to find those missing answers. With the knowledge she learned, she’s living symptom free and is back to feeling great again. 

By combining this knowledge, her own personal experience, the skills learned from her HND in Biomedical Sciences and her work as a personal chef, Helen is able to help others struggling with Hashimoto’s turn their lives around through simple diet and lifestyle changes, guiding them towards a full recovery and the life they’ve dreamed of, but haven’t been able to achieve. Recovery is possible!

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Helen Mallaburn

, that feeling where it suddenly hits you that the year is almost over. It's like this cross between a flash forward. To how little time is left in the year, and then a flash back to wondering how did so much time just fly by. Sometimes it feels humbling. Sometimes it's exciting. And sometimes it feels like a betrayal.
That's so much time just flew right by. Well, I had one of those feelings this morning. When I was looking at the calendar and I was planning the last quarter of the My first thought was holy crap. I still have so much that I want to do before the year ends. And then I took a breath and I said, Holy crap. I have done so much this year and it's not even over yet.
And when I did that. My body instantly relaxed. With just one simple and true. Reframe of how I was looking I was able to change my feelings and then all the chemical reactions, the hormonal reactions in my body that go with them. Changed as well. Stress relaxation, worry. They all feel a certain way. Right? Our body is releasing corresponding, chemical and hormonal reactions to each one of those feelings. Stress and worry releases, adrenaline cortisol. Relaxation also has corresponding hormones That calm your body, slow your heart rate.
All of this happens. When you just reframe something a little bit. You can go from releasing one. Set of chemicals and hormones. To really sing another It's pretty amazing.
And this week's episode, I am talking to Helen Mallaburn . She is a Hashimoto's recovery specialist.
And nutritional therapist,
she has an amazing story about living on the adrenaline of a high stress job and doing lots of sports and working out a lot and staying out all night with friends. This is something that I think a lot of us can relate to. But her health made her slow down. And she had to reframe her thinking as well around what was going on with her body.
And how she could heal herself because she wasn't finding a lot of answers. She shares so much with us about her journey, healing herself and what she's learned about nutrition. And she has some really approachable ways to change what we eat. Something that I think can be pretty intimidating, right. Changing what we're eating.
. So please enjoy this week's episode.
And visit Andrea Hanson, for more. On Helen Mallaburn. Resources that we talk about in the show. And transcripts from today's episode. Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. To you inspire you To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free. Listener discretion is advised
[00:03:25] Andrea: I'm talking today with Helen Mallaburn helen is the hashimoto’s recovery specialist
after struggling with debilitating Hashimoto's thyroiditis symptoms for many years and not getting the help she needed from the medical community, she decided to study nutritional therapy and health coaching to find those missing answers.
With the knowledge she's learned, she's living symptom free and is back to feeling great again. By combining this knowledge, her own personal experience, the skills learned from her H N D in biomedical sciences and her work as a personal chef, Helen is able to help others struggling with Hashimoto’s turn their lives around through simple diet and lifestyle changes, guiding them towards a full recovery in the life they've dreamed of, but haven't been able to achieve.
Welcome, Helen. It's so good to have you.
[00:04:12] Helen: Thank you for having me. It's good to be here.
[00:04:15] Andrea: So I have to say, because listeners can't see where you're from, and I d I don't have the mountain background that I was expecting, but you are coming from the French Alps.
[00:04:26] Helen: Yep, that's right. I've been here quite a while now, but 15 years permanently now, so yeah.
[00:04:31] Andrea: ,
[00:04:32] Helen: It's a stunning area,
[00:04:33] Andrea: I bet. Yeah. I'm, I'm a little bummed you're not in front of like a picturesque window. I love the mountains. They, I mean that, that's definitely where my, my heart is for sure. So I love talking about where somebody was before they started either developing the symptoms or before they got diagnosed. I think that is, it's an interesting place to start, because I think our story is not our diagnosis.
Our story is much more than the diagnosis and a lot of times it starts before then. So what were you doing before you were diagnosed with either with Hashimoto’s or you've said that you have a couple of other autoimmune disorders, so maybe you were diagnosed with those first.
[00:05:20] Helen: Yeah, that's right. I was diagnosed with celiac disease. That was the first one I was diagnosed with. And I was probably struggling with symptoms for about six years before I was diagnosed with that. So, at that point I'd been through university. My symptoms started at university. I was studying biomedical sciences.
I was then working as a laboratory supervisor for a large pharmaceutical company. So there's quite a lot of pressure with my job. Obviously the studying had been quite high pressure. I'd had a lot of, , stress and bereavement. And I think the combination of that and my nonstop lifestyle, I put quite a lot of pressure on myself.
Quite competitive and perfectionist. Perfectionist or recovering, should I say?
[00:06:00] Andrea: Yeah. Recovering academic
[00:06:02] Helen: Yes, exactly. So I think the expectations I had of myself were quite high. So from my studying from my job, my hours were crazy. I played a lot of sports. I was very sporty. I loved sport. And I would say that was one thing that I found, I defined myself by was my ability to kind of be able to thrive on that stressful lifestyle, that nonstop lifestyle.
So I'd be kind of working, I'd be doing the sports, I'd be going out, socializing. I just never stopped. Basically, I didn't sleep until the early hours of the morning. I was up early for like shift work with the company I worked for. It was just, I think, a combination of things that ended up triggering me into the kind of illness, just overloading my system basically, and just not giving myself.
Downtime and chances to kind of recuperate. So I would say that, yeah, I was, I was, I was quite ambitious. I was, , very, yeah, yeah, very sporty. I wanted to do well at work and kind of, I was looking for promotion constantly. I was kind of like taking on one more kind responsibilities, taking on the extra sports extra kind activities.
And there was a lot of things going on with my family at that point with my, , with my brother not being so well. So yeah, it, it was a lot and I was just, I think, slowly pushing myself over the edge and just didn't realize what I was doing.
[00:07:20] Andrea: Yeah, because we get, we get so used to it, especially if that's just the lifestyle we've been in and we're accustomed to it. A lot of times our family is the same way. So we're surrounded by people that are doing the same kind of thing. And it doesn't really feel like we're taxing ourselves as much as we are until something forces us to slow down.
Which a lot of times is either a diagnosis or just our body starting to act a little strange. Which, , is, is the precursor. What were you, what track were you on? What were you hoping to do career-wise?
[00:07:51] Helen: So I was wanting to work in sciences and kind of work, use my. My background in biomedical sciences and work for the, in research and pharmaceuticals and that kind of area. And obviously I did that for a couple of years before we moved out to the Alps here. And I found it was just relentless.
The stress, the pressure, the kind, the, I was never off even on my off times. The phone was always going, even on holiday, my phone was going, , and I was, I was just, I never said no. I never kind of turned around and said, No, kind of, I need to draw a line. This is my personal space. This is my personal time.
Which kind of looking now, I, it would've been a helpful thing to do to kind of say, No, there needs to be and yeah, so that was the track that I was looking for. I, after losing a really close friend at university, , I took a year out and that's when I did my, , first ski season and got the bug for the skiing and the kind, the lifestyle over, over here and the, the environment.
It's such a beautiful place and I think that impacted my change in career, I think. And I, I met my husband through working seasons.
[00:08:59] Andrea: So you're saying that you, changed the, the trajectory of where you wanted to go and how you were working. Not necessarily because your diagnosis, but because you just got this bug and you took a year off and you were like, what, this is just a, another lifestyle that I want to pursue.
[00:09:16] Helen: Yeah, I wasn't in the right head space to go back and finish my final year of my degree after losing my friend. And I wanted to take the time out and, , basically I didn't want to sit at home, by taking that time out. If I was going to take that time, I wanted to do something constructive with it. And I skied, , in my late teens with school.
It was something that I loved and I thought, Well, why not do a ski season? And, and, and yeah, that was the start of the whole change. It didn't go down so well. Yeah. It didn't go down so well. My parents haven't had, , the study in and then deciding to complete change everything. They, they get it now, but initially it was, , a big adjustment.
[00:09:54] Andrea: I understand. I came from a very academic family, so I totally understand . The, I'm, I'm taking another turn away from academia. It's like, what, what do you, what does that even mean,
[00:10:06] Helen: Yeah.
[00:10:07] Andrea: So where in that were you diagnosed? Or where in that did you start noticing, , this go, go, go. Lifestyle is actually not necessarily working.
Or maybe you didn't connect the two, Maybe you just noticed some different things, changes within your body.
[00:10:23] Helen: Yeah, I didn't connect the two initially. I, I just kind of took the kind of view of, okay, I'm sick, I just need a little bit time to recover. And as soon as I recovered, I was back straight back into everything that I'd been doing before I came down with fever at universities, which seems to be kind of the tipping point of like everything, it seemed to be the thing that tipped it over the edge.
And I had probably a couple of months where I struggled with my energy and kind of had digestive symptoms. And that, I would say was the start of kind of the downward spiral. But I recovered, recovered from that and just kind of, like I said, just dove straight back into the lifestyle I'd had before.
And it was only when my symptoms started to become really quite debilitating that I literally couldn't do what I'd been doing before I had to stop. I hadn't a choice.
[00:11:09] Andrea: What kind of things were you seeing?
[00:11:11] Helen: so, my energy was affected massively. So I found that all the sports that I'd love, like the martial arts, the kind of things like the Brazilian jujitsu the football that I used to play, all of those things that I just couldn't do anymore.
Even living out here, the skiing is what we came out here for, and I found that that was just extremely difficult. I could only do it very occasionally. Which impacted me socially as well, because obviously when you live in an environment where everybody's sporty, where they're either skiing, they're out on the bikes in the summer, they're hiking, and I couldn't take part in any of those things.
That was when I really started to notice. But I would say the other symptoms that really I struggled with massively would be the brain fog. So it affected my speech. It affected my memory. So I'd slur sometimes when I spoke, when I got particularly tired. I struggled to recognize people, places even people that I knew well at times, I couldn't connect how I knew them.
, and it made me quite reclusive socially. Because holding the conversation was quite difficult. I couldn't find the right words. I'd use the wrong words for things quite a lot or I'd just lose thread of the conversation halfway through and I couldn't get it back. So that was quite difficult to like get around and I would say it affected my mood quite severely.
So the hypothyroidism can do that. It can affect your mental health quite severely.
[00:12:30] Andrea: Oh, that's, so it's the actual, it's the hyperthyroidism that affects your mood, not necessarily. The going through all that brain fog, because I know when I have issues with brain frog, brain frog speaking of when I have issues with brain fog I get it.
It's like that in itself
can kind of make you depressed.
[00:12:52] Helen: Yeah, definitely. For sure. And I would say that it's the inflammation from the disease that contributes to the brain fog. So it's not something that is just confined to hash mos and hypothyroidism. Any disease that is linked with that, , inflammatory process. So most chronic diseases, most autoimmune diseases.
[00:13:11] Andrea: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:12] Helen: Kind of brain fog and kind of mood issues can be a huge part of it.
[00:13:16] Andrea: So is that something that you can say, Oh, I can tell my, my body is probably really inflamed right now because I am having this brain fog and actually we can address our, our inflammation in our body a little bit more acutely to, to stop that. Is it that much of a connection
[00:13:34] Helen: It is, it is now. It wasn't at that point, I didn't realize that that was kind of, that was the process that was causing it. And obviously the brain fog comes from a lack of energy as well. So the, the thyroids slowing down your metabolism and you're not producing the energy that you should be. Your brain needs energy just like anything else.
It uses about a third of your, your body's total
[00:13:54] Andrea: Yeah.
It uses more energy. than
[00:13:57] Helen: Yeah, that the brain and the liver, the two of them are quite energy hungry. So if, if you're not getting that energy, if you're not kind of creating that energy crossing, metabolisms being slowed down from the hypothyroidism, then it is going to affect your like speech, your memory, all of those kind of things.
And poor memory is, is highly associated with hypothyroidism. And I would say it was intermittent initially for me, but then it became to a point where it was just a constant, It was just how I was
[00:14:25] Andrea: Yeah. I think that's really interesting because that's something that. I hesitate to say all because I know we're not all everything, but a lot of people with various autoimmune disorders have things like that brain fog and , energy depletion and inflammation in our bodies. And so it's really interesting to hear how that interplays and thinking like, Oh wow, maybe when I notice I have brain fog, I need to conserve my energy and really focus in on the energy and focus in on the inflammation.
And that could be a way to, to help it.
[00:15:01] Helen: Yeah, definitely. Another thing that I see a lot and I, I experience myself was, was muscle and joint pain. And that again is driven by that inflammatory process. So that can be another key indicator. You are struggling with those kind of joint pains, those muscle pains. It's probably, , a case of your inflammation.
It's quite high and a lot of that comes from that kind of your gut. It tends to be where it starts. The information starts there and it then becomes systemic from things like the intestinal permeability, the like leaky gut. If you kind of like, it allows things to pass through from your digestive system into your bloodstream where they shouldn't be.
Your immune system has to respond and part of that response is that inflammatory process. So kind of gut health is, was a massive part of my recovery for, for kind of helping with the brain fog, helping with the pain in my muscles, my joints. I, I was having digestive symptoms, but not everybody does.
But they quite often have all the other symptoms, but don't realize that the thing that's underpinning it is quite often the gut health got help.
[00:15:58] Andrea: Yeah. Oh my gosh. Okay, so we will talk so much more about this in a second, but I do want to get back to your story because I think it's really fascinating that you take this year off, you go to the French Alps, which is just amazingly gorgeous, and you're skiing, and you also, is that when you became a private.
[00:16:17] Helen: , yeah, so my first season I worked as a chef in a chalet. I hadn't worked as a chef before. So it was quite a steep learning curve, I could cook, but yeah, I'd not done any catering or any hospitality work at all. So it was, it was a steep learning curve. Yeah, it was, it was absolutely amazing season.
, I absolutely loved it, but again, the lifestyle I led, one, I was there was probably quite destructive. I. Obviously worked very hard, worked split shift, so up early in the morning kind of to get the breakfast ready, clean the chalet and then I'd be asking until kind of the end of the lifts and then I'd be back for preparation for the evening meal and service of the evening meal.
Then I'd be out kind of drinking and partying with my friends. And it was just like that for the whole five months I was there. It was pretty hardcore and I start to have quite a lot of digestive symptoms. I put a lot of weight on. And kind of, I think the reason I didn't crash so much with my health was because I just never stopped.
But as soon as I got home and stopped it, I noticed massively that things were not right.
[00:17:18] Andrea: Right. Going from school where, , academia is tough, especially , where you were in biomedical , and working in that same field and always being on call for things and then going into. First glance, you would think it sounds really really quaint that you're in the French Alps and you're a private chef and working and, and I just want to say that for people who have not worked in the hospitality industry, it is tough.
It is tough, especially being a chef is so tough. And it's almost like out of the frying pan into the fire as far as what you were doing for your, , your working part. and then it sounds like everything else was kind of the same. It's just that you were doing different sports, you were in a different environment, but it was still very much a, wherever you go there you are kind of a situation.
[00:18:11] Helen: Yeah, it was, I completely transferred my kind of patterns of thinking from my biomedical side of things over to that side. It's like, , if you're going to do it, you need to do it properly, you need to work hard. And I just, yeah. Never stopped and just wore myself down basically. I think when I got back, I pretty much slept for two weeks, just like my parents were like, Are you ever going to get out bed? I just, I just hit it so hard that I was, I just was struggling to kind of find balance again.
[00:18:43] Andrea: What was that like? Your, once you come home again and you are sleeping for two weeks and you're realizing like, this is not going to work and your body is telling you with, , out a shadow of a doubt that this is not going to work. What was your thought process? What were you, what were you thinking about at that point as far as what your next steps were?
What needed to happen?
[00:19:09] Helen: At that point I was, I would still say that I wasn't aware of exact of what I was doing to myself. And as soon as I recovered from that about, I was straight back into it again. I was back into martial arts, back into like cycling, the swimming. Cause I put quite a weight, bit of weight on, hadn't realized just how much until I got home., And I was horrified. , I was like, Okay, you need. Need to stop kind of with the lifestyle. And so I, I would say I wasn't kind of out partying as much as I had been, but I was still doing that on the weekends, but just not every day. , And I, I was basically, I was eating whatever I wanted, whatever junk I wanted, it didn't matter.
Cause I was like, Well, I can just exercise it. I obviously now know that that isn't the case. You cannot e out exercise a bad diet. And yeah, I, I just thought that I was young, I was fit. I could just basically climb my way straight back.
[00:20:07] Andrea: I, One of the things I love about getting to talk to so many different people about their story is that there's always parts of their story. And I know the listeners feel the same way, where I'm like, you were in my head. Like, this is, this is totally, I, I totally resonate with this idea of your mindset is go, go, go.
Like you said before, if you're going to do it, you gotta do it right. You gotta do it well, and you get used to that level of activity and. And just attacking things, right? Everything that you do, I, I practice jujitsu as well. Actually. I know what you're, it's so much fun, but it's a lot of work and you're so used to it that once you start to realize, even if you don't know where it's coming from or what it's a symptom of, you think, Okay, something's wrong.
I need to fix something with my body. Be it if it's your, , your weight has ticked up, or maybe your digestion's off, or maybe you're noticing some other things. because our mentality has always been, and it has always worked for us, the let's get after it. Let's figure this out, let's go. That's how we attack a, , a problem with our health
And so we think, let's just attack this. Let's go, what can we do? What's going to happen? Let's start exercising more. Let's start doing, , that's why people sometimes jump into these crazy diets. It's going to be hard, but it's going to be worth it. And it just shows that that mindset is still there. And so even when, now I'm sure you look back, I look back and I'm thinking, Okay, the answer was to slow down The answer was to find that root cause.
When you're in that mentality, if you don't switch that mentality, the irony is that you're going to, you're going to go after the problem with the same gusto that created the problem.
[00:21:53] Helen: Yeah, exactly. Completely. I was still at that point kind of back and forward to the doctors and looking for all my answers from kind of the medical system, I would say. And I would say one of the things that I see with, especially with the hypothyroidism with clients when they come to me and they're complain about the weight and the energy issues that the doctors are kind of recommended, basically you just need to eat less and move more.
And I know that doesn't work basically. And that was at that point, that was my thing. Well, I can just basically eat less or actually I can eat whatever I want as long as I up the exercise. And not realizing that actually that doesn't give you the results you're looking for. It just actually puts more.
Strain, more pressure on your system. So yeah, I was not, I was just like looking for the answers with a, I would say like a pill and just thinking, Oh, well I can kind of take whatever they give me and I'll just carry on as normal.
[00:22:46] Andrea: So what was that tipping point? Or maybe not, it wasn't a point, It was, maybe it was a process, but what, What was it that helped you realize this is not working? I need to change everything.
[00:22:58] Helen: I would say when I was trying to get diagnosed with a Celiac disease, I was having IBS type symptoms. That's what they said was, and I'd had the conversation with the doctor. Well, surely if. I've got an irritable bowel, something more irri, irritating it. Is it what I'm eating? Is it something I'm eating, something I'm doing?
And the answer I got was like, absolutely not. Just some people have kind of
[00:23:21] Andrea: No kidding.
[00:23:22] Helen: This is kind and I
see it a lot. Yeah. And I see it a lot in my clients as well. There's no link with your diet and kind of your digestive symptoms and it's like, how can you say that? I mean, I know that doctors aren't trained in nutrition typically.
But surely what you put in there is going to have an impact on kind of how your digestive symptoms appear. And it was actually a client that I had stay in, in one of the Shelleys I was working with, with my husband. And she'd been recently diagnosed as celiac and I think I was ill one afternoon and my husband had just said, Oh, she's just having a bit of a lay down.
She'll be back in this evening and just got chatting to the client and the client was like, Oh, her symptoms sound very similar to mine and you should ask her to get chest. Tested for CEL disease and, or, or tried putting the gluten out. So I tried putting the gluten out and the difference was amazing.
Within a week I was just like, Oh my God, this has been what's causing me all these problems. And when I went back to the UK and I saw my doctor it turned out that I had been tested for it and they'd lost the results and they later found them and I was celiac , but they hadn't obviously relayed that to me cause I'd been out in the country in a way.
So I'd pretty much diagnosed myself with the help of my client. And the doctors obviously confirmed that and I thought, okay, I stopped eating gluten and I can carry on as normal. So all the other things I still kept doing and just cut the gluten out and slow. Bit by bit, the symptoms basically started coming back again.
So I started reacting to more and more foods. , I became more sensitive. My fatigue became more pronounced. So I knew at that point there was a link with what I was eating, and I started to really look at my diet much more. But I would say it was eight years between that celiac diagnosis and my hash MOS diagnosis.
And at the time for my celiac diagnosis, I had abnormal thyroid results. And knowing now they should have tested my antibodies to check if I had Hashimoto’s. They retested my tsh, which is a standard test for the hypothyroidism, and it came back normal. But with Hashimoto’s, especially initially, that can fluctuate quite a lot.
If they'd have test my antibodies at that point, then I could have made a lot of different changes and I wouldn't have ended up as, ended up as ill as I did in the end.
[00:25:35] Andrea: Oh,
[00:25:36] Helen: yeah, it was a little bit of a frustrating process.
[00:25:39] Andrea: I hear that a lot that just the normal thyroid test is not enough.
[00:25:43] Helen: No, unfortunately not. Hypothyroidism is generally for most people caused by Hashimoto thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease. So the problem isn't your thyroid itself, it is your immune system attacking your thyroid, and the end result is that if it nothing is done about it, it will result in hypothyroidism.
So initially you can have the antibodies in your tsh, which is your standard test, will look. And it can take quite a while for that to change, but you'll be having symptoms for most people throughout that period. And increasing symptoms and going backwards and forward to your doctor and complaining and kind of in my case and in a lot of cases being dismissed while your test results look fine.
So there's nothing wrong. And , you can feel that there's something very wrong. But obviously when you're constantly being told that no, it's normal, you start to doubt yourself. You start to question, actually maybe am I imagining some of this? Cause that has definitely been suggested by doctors, that it was in my head and that I wasn't actually ill, that I was manifesting some, a lot of my symptoms.
And I think it's only cause I'm so stubborn that I refuse to accept that. And from the biomedical science, this is when I start to bring the science in and start to read books and research papers looking for answers. Cause I wasn't getting the answers from
[00:26:55] Andrea: Mm-hmm. It's disappointing, I guess is, is the best word I can use that a lot of us, when we walk in and we say something's not right and the test results look fine, and usually the test results that we get in, at least the beginning of coming in and talking to our doctors are going to be the standard,
[00:27:15] Helen: Yep.
[00:27:15] Andrea: you said, like the, the what was it? Th.
[00:27:18] Helen: tsh.
[00:27:19] Andrea: tsh and it doesn't it, , Then it kind of goes into, well, maybe it's just that you're stressed. Well, I did have this big project that I was working on. Maybe that's why I'm more tired. And it becomes like this feedback loop sometimes if you're, if your doctor is not going to look further and you're not necessarily knowing where to look further and your doctor is saying things that might seem logical, because sometimes these things logically can be explained away as being something else.
You just start to believe that story of, maybe it is in my head, maybe it is something else, maybe it's not. And I, I love the idea of just being stubborn. I was the same. I just didn't want to listen. And you attack it from that research point of view, and I know that research point of view is, , let's look for the answer, because the answer's going to be there.
We just have to maybe switch the thesis a little bit. And so my doctor's giving me this thesis, I know that's not right. What else can it be? And it's attacking it in that way to where you can start to get out of the, maybe it's in my head, and start to really look at, maybe it's what I'm eating.
Maybe it's autoimmune disorder.
[00:28:34] Helen: Yeah, completely. I think prior to every diagnosis I've had with the autoimmune side of things I've been offered antidepressants as part of kind of, well, you're testifying, maybe you're stressed, maybe you're depressed. Maybe you should try anti, anti-depressants. And there were times I would say I was depressed, but depression is a symptom of all of those autoimmune diseases that I have struggled with.
And I knew that there was something more than that because the symptoms I was having, yes, some of them you could have put down to stress and depression and stress can have a huge impact on like the, your physical health. But it just didn't add up. The picture didn't add up, and I, I kind of refused to obviously take the medication because I didn't think it was right.
And I felt that if I took the antidepressants, that the look, the kind of searching for the answer would stop there. And that was something that. I don't have anything against antidepressants. I think they're amazing in the right
But obviously for me, that wasn't what was causing the depression.
The depression was coming as one of my symptoms from my autoimmune illness.
[00:29:35] Andrea: it's, yeah,
[00:29:36] Helen: and,
[00:29:37] Andrea: it can be really easy to treat the symptoms and not actually look for the
[00:29:41] Helen: exactly. Yeah. And that is exactly kind, I would say what was happening as well. We'll treat the symptom or we'll have some kind of painkillers for the joint pain and the muscle pain, and, and obviously they have a massive toll on your digestive system and kind of they can wreak havoc with kind of all of that side of things.
So you can end up with, with getting yourself into a real mess with just taking more medication and more medication for symptoms and also finding that. Basically those medications can start to interact with each other. They can produce side effects of their own, which can then increase your symptom burden.
So yeah, trying to look for what is going on on underneath is really, really important.
[00:30:28] Andrea: So take us on that journey with you. What did you start to look at? You said you went gluten free because you were, , talking with somebody when you were still working and skiing and , all that fantastic things. But when you came home, there was still more to be found, so you weren't necessarily getting the answers through your doctor, Where did you start? What were you, what were you looking for? What were you thinking about?
[00:30:57] Helen: So once I'd got the diagnosis with the Hashimoto’s, again, I started reading, I kind of read different books and found that certain nutrient deficiencies are common with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism. So I started supplementing for those deficiencies. I didn't test and I didn't address it through diet.
I just hoped that obviously the, the supplements would be sufficient, obviously. And now know that supplements on their own aren't going to fix the problem. But I would say that was my first point of call. I realized maybe where the issues were coming from, but I was addressing it through the wrong kind of avenue, I would say.
And it was only later, I think it was a friend who actually brought me a nutritional therapy session for my 40th birthday. With the help of that nutritional therapist, I managed to get rid of my digestive symptoms I manage, which I'd had for years. It helped with the fatigue. It didn't get rid of it.
It, and the brain fog again, it helped, didn't get rid of it. It helps with the, some of the pain that I was experiencing, The insomnia that I'd had for 20 years disappeared within weeks. So I started to see those improvements and that's when I suddenly started to realize, hang on a second, I'm looking at it from the wrong point of view.
Instead of medication, instead of supplements, I need to be looking at what I'm pointing into my system that's causing the problems and what I'm not putting into my system that I'm lacking. So the, the foods that kind of my body needs to function, the nutrients that my body needs, what aren't, what am I not giving it?
So that was. When I decided to study nutrition myself my nutrition nutritional therapist retired and I wanted to find out more. I was like, If I've come this far, if I've got rid of this insomnia, if I've got rid of the digestive symptoms completely and I'm starting to see some improvements in other areas, how much further can I go?
Kind of what other the changes can I make that are going to make a difference?
[00:32:43] Andrea: Wow. Anytime I hear people talking about diet changes, I think about just about every conference, everything that I've gone to when it comes to autoimmune disorders. It sounds like there's always somebody there talking about, like, I just went to one, I was just speaking at one a couple of weeks ago, and there was somebody talking about a diet that was very, very restrictive.
Like extremely restrictive. And so I think whenever people hear someone say, Yes, I want gluten-free, and I was looking at my diet and I was doing all these changes, they think, Holy cow, this is going to be so restrictive and so crazy. Tell me how you thought about that, how you went into it. Were you surprised at it not being, I mean, I have no idea, so I'm just kind of asking from the, the context of knowing that a lot of times these can be very, very restrictive.
Were you surprised that maybe it wasn't as restrictive or it was easier to do?
[00:33:35] Helen: It was very restrictive initially. My nutritional therapist put me on the autoimmune paleo protocol , which does cut a lot of foods out. The gluten obviously was already gone, but it cuts kind of the dairy out, all the other grains out. It cuts nuts and seeds out. What else is out there? I can't, there's a lot of things that nightshades.
, So it is very basic and I would say I struggled probably the first week or two. I hadn't got the right balance of kind of the proteins, the fat. I was quitting all the things out and then I was feeling hungry, so I hadn't got the balance right. It's not something I do with my clients. I don't automatically go to a set diet that's super restrictive.
What I will do now is I will look at individual things. When I look at their food diary and their symptoms, I'll look at what are the most likely problems for that client. Which foods are the most likely. Because I know it is very difficult, and especially when you are struggling so severe with the brain fog and the fatigue.
To get your head around a whole new diet is very difficult. And you don't want to strip too many nutrients out there. You want to keep as much as you can in there. So it's looking at basically what you take out, but what can you replace? It was so that you are not kind of restricting it too far, I would say.
And I would say I got stuck in that autoimmune paleo kind of fa the kind of reintroduction phase. I couldn't reintroduce things. Every time I tried to reintroduce anything, I got symptoms back. And it was because I hadn't done any of the gut healing. I'd just taken everything out, but I hadn't replaced things and I hadn't kind of addressed the gut healing.
I hadn't kind of supported my immune health, my kind of my liver function and things that tend to get impacted quite heavily from the kind of gut not being right. it was only when I looked at that side of things and when I started to look at the lifestyle side of things that I had completely ignored and start to make those changes that I really started to see the big changes.
But you are right, it is very restrictive initially. And it can be, and it can be very daunting. I can remember feeling the same, but my nutritional therapist initially said it's going to be for a month. And I was like, Well, I can do anything for a month if it's going to make me feel better, I can do anything you ask me.
Had you told me that at that point that I wouldn't be able to drink again, that, I dunno if I would've done the diet.
[00:35:46] Andrea: Really?
[00:35:46] Helen: Because at that point I couldn't socialize. I didn't go out, I didn't do any sports. I could barely work. Kind of. My life was pretty minimal and very restrictive. I was tired and exhausted all of the time.
The only kind of social thing I had was the occasional like gen to or glass of wine, and the thought of taking that away permanently, I think at that point would've just been too much.
[00:36:09] Andrea: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:10] Helen: Yeah, I see the same with my clients. And I won't often say this is going to be permanent.
I will say, Well, let's try taking this out and we'll do it for three or four weeks, and then we can have a look at how that's going, if you want to reintroduce it. But it's usually the client's decision not to put it back. When it comes to things like the gluten or the alcohol, because they see such a massive change in their health and how they feel.
They don't want to go back to feel and how they felt before. So they're quite happy not to have the gluten, They're quite happy to avoid what are their triggers. And it's not the same for everybody. And it's not as restrictive for everybody as it was for me initially. But yeah, quite often it's, it's that realization.
It was the same for me when I saw the changes, I was like, Okay, this is worth doing.
[00:36:51] Andrea: Yes. And that's often the mindset shift that that happens. That needs to happen. I think when you're doing some kind of a change to , any part of your lifestyle. Nutrition is certainly a big part of it. But I love that you talk about, and I think , this is the approach we should have to anything.
It's like, look, try it for a month or for two weeks. Let's just try this one thing because I don't think we should do a lot of different changes at once anyway, because then you don't know what made the difference. And so it's just the idea of like, let's just try this one thing for just a little bit and then see,
And then once you feel how it is affecting your body, it's so much easier to just cut it out and it's no big deal anymore.
And, and that's I think what people. Can miss. And I think quite honestly, I think sometimes it's, it's missed when it's being talked about from, , different practitioners they feel like people are coming at them with a, well no more bread that's off the, off the menu for the rest of your life.
And it's like, what? , No more alcohol that's off the menu. You can't ever have this again. And some people are, like when I was diagnosed, I was in my early twenties and so people were telling me these bizarre things that I could no longer do for the rest of my life. I was like, Hell no, I'm not going to do that.
But once you look at it with that other side of look, , , it could be totally different for you versus somebody else. Just try it, see how it feels. And once how it feels and if it feels drastically better, it's actually not that big of a deal
[00:38:30] Helen: no, exactly, and I would say I gave it a good year, and then I tried reintroducing.
And I tried with different, I tried with spirits. I tried with wine. Wine just did not go well. It affected my sinuses hugely. I felt like I'd be punched in the nose. It was so painful. And I tried different things like gluten beers, and all of them had the same result of making me feel absolutely horrendous.
And it wasn't the digestive symptoms. It, it was my mood and it was my energy that it absolutely tanked. And I would feel that way for probably about a week to 10 days afterwards, after one drink. And I was just like, This is ridiculous. It is not worth feeling like that to the point of kind of tears for no reason.
I would say extremes at times, kind of on the verge of like suicidal kind of thoughts. And it was just like, I do not want to feel this way. Just because I want to have a drink of alcohol. And I will say that none of my clients I've worked with have had to quit it completely. But for me, I was in such a kind of, I got to such a point and was so, so ill that I think it was necessary.
And now maybe now that I've rebalanced everything, I could probably have the occasional drink and it not be a major issue. But often going so long without it, I really don't, I don't miss it at all. So I don't, I don't see the, the need for it now.
[00:39:47] Andrea: You touched on this earlier, and I think it's, it's something. To kind of dive into a little bit. You changed your nutrition, you cut different things out, , you were getting that working, but then you said there was the other side to actually, and I'm going to say it wrong, because I, I just, I actually want you to talk more about it, but aside from the nutrition, there was a separate thing that you had to start
[00:40:10] Helen: Yeah.
[00:40:11] Andrea: looking at in healing.
Talk a little bit about that.
[00:40:13] Helen: So obviously a lot of people when they're looking at autoimmune and chronic illness, they'll start to look at diet and removing foods, but they very often don't look at what they're missing and what is going to help heal the damage that's already been done. So if you're thinking about that digestive process and you're thinking that that's kind of the inflammatory foods that you're eating, the foods that you're sensitive to, that you're eating are causing an imbalance in the bacteria in your gut, which is impacting your immune system, it's causing inflammation, It's causing that leak gut and allowing kind of the food proteins to pass through into your bloodstream.
Your immune system is then having to be like regulated to deal with that. Your liver then has to deal with all of that. Everything that goes to your digestive tract, goes to your liver, your immune system, kind of the food kind of antigen. Antibodies that kind of, it forms. In order to try and get those food proteins out there out of where they shouldn't be, it has to go through your liver so it impacts your liver hugely.
So obviously when you're looking at diet, there's a lot of foods that you can introduce that are going to support your gut, that are going to support the gut war so that it can start to heal, that are going to start to basically support your liver so that you can detox, , properly. And your thyroid hormones are also converted in a large part in your liver.
So if your liver is struggling with kind of the byproducts from your digestion and from your bloodstream and from your immune system, then it is going to be focusing mainly on that and not so much on the conversion. So that conversion process into the active, the active thyroid hormone that you need is going to be impaired.
So you're going to feel more hyperthyroid. It's, it's a whole system approach. When, when you look at clients like this, you are not just looking at kind of one thing. You can be looking at one particular symptom, and it could be three or four different systems that are in, that are basically causing that symptom.
It could be poor liver kind of function. It could be an overburdened immune system. It could be that digestive health, your adrenals. It, it could just be that combination. It generally is a combination. So you do need to look at how you can support your body, what nutrients it needs, what you can give it, get rid of the empty calories, the things like the the sugars, the refined carbohydrates, the refined oils that basically don't provide a great deal of nutrition, but kind of provide a lot of calories.
So look at those whole foods that you can include that are going to give you those vitamins, the minerals, the phytonutrients that you need in order for your body to kind of do its job. Food is so much more than just energy. It is kind of, all of your reactions in your body need certain vitamins, they need certain minerals, they need antioxidants clear up any kind of inflammation and damage afterwards.
So it's really important that you are looking at what you replace kind of those foods with, that you're taking out and how you heal your system. And that doesn't just back down to diet either. It comes down to your lifestyle as well. That stress that we mentioned before, that can have a major impact on, on your digestive function.
It can impact your liver, your adrenals kind of the whole, the whole system basically. So you have to look at stress management and I was a very stressy person. And I would say until I addressed that last bit and I was very resistant to that side, I think maybe because I've been told it's in your head and.
[00:43:18] Andrea: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:19] Helen: by doctors. I was resistant to looking at the stress side of it because I had that, like, that negative connotation with it of like, Well, no, I'm not imagining this, but stress can create very real physical symptoms and it can close your digestion down. It can basically overburden kind of your adrenals that's going to affect your kind of balance of your sex hormones.
So it's going to affect your fertility, all sorts of things. It has a huge, huge impact. So you do have to look at sleep, you have to look at stress, you have to look at exercise, kind of toxin exposure, things like that.
[00:43:52] Andrea: So
as as a recovering academic and someone who was just go, go, go all the time, how did you address the stress in your life? How did you address? I know part of slowing down was that your body just makes you slow down. But we can still stress in other ways, , and a lot of times if we're not stressing ourselves in one way, our mind will just kind of shift and start to stress out in another way.
So how did you address that with, with you, with your own stress?
[00:44:22] Helen: So I started to introduce different techniques and it's not about eliminating the stress, it's about learning different methods of like coping with it so that you can, Yes, you kind of, you feel stressed, but you can shut that stress response off. So that's what you want to be doing. You want to be able to shut it off rather than it being on, Even if it's on low grade and it's un constantly, then it, it's going to be causing a lot of information and a lot of problems.
So you want to be able to kind of. When you encounter a stressful situation, you want to be able to go, Okay, what techniques can I use to kind of drop that stress to kind of turn it back off? I've, I've dealt with the initial, like the initial response, now how do I turn it off? And things like meditation for me, kind of introducing that was helpful.
And I don't just rely on one thing, so I will look at the like tap in the emotional freedom technique, tap in. I find that can bring my stress down very quickly. , breathing exercises visualization, journaling. I tried all kind of different things and then worked, which ones worked for me best And everybody will be different.
Some people all loved journaling. I found it wasn't my thing, but I found if I could do the meditation on a daily basis, I found it difficult to do, but I did notice an effect once I kind of kept at it and kept doing it. So, so yeah, it's just how you deal with it and how you retrain your brain to kind of react to that stress differently, I think.
[00:45:44] Andrea: It absolutely is that everybody has their own way that's going to work for them to bring their stress down. And it's funny that you mentioned the journaling because journaling, like I do like writing. I mean I'm an author, but I found that when I was trying to journal it, it somehow would turn into like a to-do list
[00:46:03] Helen: Yeah.
[00:46:05] Andrea: And I'm like, this isn't working, this is turning into what I need to do And I'm like, No, no, no, no, no. So for me it was also, it was the, the meditation that really, and it was so difficult for me at first. Because there's so many different types of meditations, I'm always talking about that and, and finding the type of meditation that worked for me that was a game changer.
[00:46:24] Helen: Yeah. And people quite often will say, like, clients will say, Oh, I've, I've tried meditation. I'm no good at it. And it's like, it's not something you have to perfect, It's something you practice. And some days you'll find that it's very difficult and you have to keep bringing your mind back over and over again to kind of refocus.
And other days it's easier. It's about practicing it and doing it so that you're switching that stress response off. So yeah, it's, I found the same. I was like, Oh, I didn't, I didn't hold with it. I didn't kind of, initially I was quite dismissive. And then again, it was a nutritional therapist and I think you should give it a go and kind of try and do it for a, a set period of time.
And before you decide that it's not your thing.
[00:47:05] Andrea: I, I had such a turning point time when I was doing yoga and I've, I've never been a big yoga person. I just happened to be in a, in a yoga class and the teacher said, , not every day, you're not going to be the same every day. Sometimes your balance is going to be different.
Sometimes your flexibility is going to be different. Sometimes it's going to work for you, sometimes not. And that was such a game changer for me because I always thought the reason why sometimes my balance would be off and sometimes it would be great was because of my ms, or because I was sick in some way, and that everybody else was totally normal and totally great every single time they go to yoga class or try something.
And so to hear somebody, , a yoga teacher talking to their class of just, , people saying, As a human, you're not always going to have the same balance. You're not always going to have the same flexibility. Meditation is not always going to work for you on one day versus the next. That was such a game changer because it gave me permission to have a bad day of working out or, or a day of trying to meditate and having it just not land.
And it made me realize like, okay, that's just, it just wasn't working today. But tomorrow, get back into this because it might be totally different tomorrow.
[00:48:23] Helen: Yeah, completely. And yoga's another thing that I included as well in my routine. It was something that I, all the sports I did were quite, I would say, high octane, quite high energy. And when I couldn't do that, I was, I didn't really want to do the yoga because I got my buzz from that adrenaline. But obviously living on adrenaline already wasn't wasn't conducive to my health.
So I needed to look at something that, and that would rebalance that. And the yoga was part of the the stress management as well. I found. I find it quite relaxing once I got into it. But again, I was not keen to try it initially. It just didn't fit, I would say with how I perceived kind of what I wanted to do as a sport.
But obviously I realized that wasn't the whole point of it. It was about helping lower that information and helping kind of focus my mind and kind of basically gaining some more of that flexibility and that energy for my.
[00:49:16] Andrea: Mm-hmm.
[00:49:17] Helen: yeah, it was, and I think part of the stress management side of things is, is having a toolbox of techniques as well.
Cause like you say, one day, one thing will work for you, then another day you'll find that that's not doing it for you yet. One of the other things that you've got in your toolbox is going to be effective. So, yeah, I have quite a few things I will, like, Getting out with the dogs in nature is something else that I'll do.
Time for yourself is something that I, I never allowed myself before. I, that was wasted time before and now it's like I, I get the benefits of it, that it's downtime, it's that recharging didn't get the, the idea of that before.
[00:49:54] Andrea: What are your go-to? Like, do you have things on just a daily basis that you use because you're very successfully, I should say, managing what's going on with your body.
You also have a successful business that you're running and , a life outside of that. So there's a lot of things going on. Are there certain tools that you use on a daily basis or that are go-to tools that help you just check in with yourself and make sure that you're still keeping an eye on everyth?
[00:50:25] Helen: Yep. There are certain things that I try and include every single day. One of the first things I'll do when I wake up is I will do 10 minutes of the whim h breathing technique before I even get outta bed. And that's a recent thing. Before that I, it would've been meditation, but I've kind of replaced that a little bit with. The whim breathing technique. At the end of my shower, I will have a cold blast. So initially it was just on my thyroid and that was to help with the increase of free T3 and free t4 like thyroid hormones. But now I, I kind of do the whole body cold kind of immersion and try and do that for at least kind of a minute, two minutes, and that is quite a challenge some mornings.
So they are my definite that I do. And then I try as, as often as I can, depending on my schedule, I try and then fit in my, , kind at least 10, 20 minutes of yoga. If my schedule allows and some kind of meditation as well. Quite often I'll, I'll have if I'm working and I'm finding that I'm kind of resistant to getting on with or procrastinating of and kind of talking myself out of doing what I'm supposed to be doing when it comes to my studying and kind of client load and things like that, I will kind of incorporate five or 10 minutes of EFT as well.
[00:51:31] Andrea: Mm-hmm.
[00:51:32] Helen: I would say they're my definites. I'll throw in there as well. Kind of on the weekends I'll get out with the dogs, with my husband. Get out in nature. Obviously I'm surrounded by it here, so I'm quite lucky. I will occasionally do the cold water again, the whim H method cold water dips, and that's something that is, is, is new.
I did a whim h method, , retreat day this summer with friends of mine who run, , Yoga in Nature and they do retreats here in the French arts and in the UK Beha. Jim who is kind of is the whim H method instructor. It was the first time I'd done that. I'd already been doing the cold showers, but it was the first time I'd done the breathing techniques and the, , immersion and understood all of the theory behind it.
So I have been doing the cold water dips, not as often as I would like, but they have been in there sporadically since the semester.
[00:52:21] Andrea: I learned about W Wim H through a personal trainer that I worked with for a very long time, and I've always been fascinated, and I have to say, I'm totally chicken. I've tried to do the cold shower and I'm like, I can't. I just can't do this. It's been very, very hard. So the breathing is, I think, a good entrance
[00:52:41] Helen: Yeah, Yeah, definitely. And, and if you're looking for it, you can find it free on YouTube if you want to have a go at it. So anybody can have a go at it. And, and I think he has an app on his website as well that you can do it through. I will say the cold water immersion in, in kind, in the rivers here, I find hard, easier than the shower.
[00:53:00] Andrea: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:00] Helen: shower is quite a shock kind. , it
is very invigorating. Yeah. And I think because you're getting hit at different points as you're moving that that kind of shock continues. Whereas when you are immersed in the water kind of down to your shoulders, it's like one shock and you're in. And then it's not constantly like contacting your skin.
You're, you're in that cold water and, and the shock's done. So I will say that the immersion is easier, I think, than the actual cold shower but obviously the cold shower is something that's available to me every day and the
[00:53:27] Andrea: Yeah,
[00:53:28] Helen: the dips aren't so, yeah.
[00:53:29] Andrea: right. A lot more accessible. So I know there are people who are listening and they're thinking, they've probably had a hunch for a while that what they're eating isn't great. They, they don't know if they have a leaky gut. It's something that people talk about. It's something that I know people are interested in looking at, especially if they have an autoimmune disorder or any kind of chronic illness.
So if somebody is listening and they're like, what, I've always had a hu. That this is what's going on. My doctor said the tests are normal. I don't know that they are what is just kind of an easy step into, , maybe changing things a little bit to see if it helps, or maybe it's just like another test that they need to look at.
Like what's something that's easy and accessible, just a baby step that they can do to start to really understand what's going on with their body.
[00:54:21] Helen: , I think you mentioned it earlier, is, , is not trying to do everything at once, is it, is kind of. Look at the things that you can, what's going to be the easiest for you when you're looking at changes? Is it going to be the lifestyle change? Is it going to be the diet side of things? And for each client I have, I can guarantee that they'll find one side easier than the other.
They'll find the diet easy and can't get their head around the lifestyle changes or vice versa. So start with the bit that's going to be the easiest for you to make that change. Start with small changes and kind of just see how it goes. If you are struggling with energy, you're struggling with brain fog, trying to get your head around doing the whole kind of change.
Everything if at once is, is it's going to put you off. You're going to stop doing it. So look what you can do that is going to be easy. Look at maybe going gluten for keeping a food diary so that you can see where your symptoms are cropping up. Which foods are likely issues for you. Gluten, , dairy and soy tend to be common issues for Hasher.
Motos. So again, they'd be three good places to start, but don't cut all of 'em out at once. Just cut one out at a time and see how it works for you. And then you can also see if you want to try reintroducing it, if your symptoms come back, if they've disappeared or if kind of it makes no difference for you.
I mean, gluten does drive the autoimmune kind of process. It does tend to drive that leaky gut. It regulates something called onlin, your gut wall, which basically opens the gates between your cells and allows things through. So, That has been shown in kind of research, and it has also been shown that kind of molecular mimicry can sometimes happen.
So the protein structure for the gluten can be very similar to the protein structure for one of your thyroid enzymes. And so if your body's producing antibodies against that gluten to get it out of your bloodstream where it shouldn't be, then it can then start cross kind of reacting and cross kind of attacking your, , thyroid enzymes.
So that is something that most of my clients find at gluten. It makes a big difference taking that out of there. So that is probably where I would start. And again, keep a log of everything you're doing and because it's, when you've got that brain fog and the lack of energy, it's difficult to look back and remember what happened and, and what sequence did it improve things, Did it make things worse?
So basically keeping a log of it can, can be helpful for you. And it can also be helpful if you go in to ask for the tests and on the basis of kind of the symptoms you're experiencing that you can say, well, kind of. I've kept this, , diary and when I eat this or when I do this, I find that this is worse and I'd like to be tested for whatever you're asking to be tested for.
There are tests outside of the medical system that you can look for. But again, I would ask, I would say work with a nutritional therapist. Most of the online labs you need a nutritional therapist or a doctor to order those tests. So like the stool tests and things like that can give you a huge amount of information.
But if you dunno what to do with that information, once you get it, it, it can be more daunting than actually not having it done,
I did the same. I had a, some hair mineral analysis done. , when I was ill. I had DNA testing done and then I got the results and I. Trying to decipher those results.
When I was feeling that ill and didn't really understand everything, it was really difficult. Looking at it now with the training, I can see patterns and I can see kind of what needed to be done, but at that point I just couldn't, It was just, it was just too overwhelming.
[00:57:38] Andrea: And I think you touched on something that I want to highlight that when you're looking at a food journal, and I get it, like I hate a food journal, but it's, it just can be helpful . But. . It's not just looking at what you're eating, it's also looking at, okay, where was my brain fog today? Where was my, where was my energy?
Where was my, If you have aches and pains and keeping that as part of your journal, because that can help. Because looking back and thinking like, Oh, I ate gluten every day last week. Where was I on the brain fog? Was I energy? Like, it's like you can't, you've gotta match it up and, and just take I like to just say like, here are the symptoms that I'm kind of experiencing and, and questioning and just doing like a simple like one to 10, where was I here?
And that's when you can start looking at the patterns and things like that. But I think that's a good part of a food journal
[00:58:31] Helen: Yeah.
[00:58:32] Andrea: sometimes people don't think about. They think it's just the food tracking,
[00:58:34] Helen: No, it's like
the food, the moods, your symptoms, all of it. And not just your digestive symptoms. If you're getting headaches, if you're getting sinus congestion, if you're getting skin issues , whatever your symptoms are, log them because it isn't just digestive symptoms that your food is causing. So it's a lot of other things.
If your pain is off the scale for like your, your joint pain, things like osteo arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis type symptoms can be made much worse by the food you are eating. So, and it goes for, it's just that inflammation again. So make sure you're logging all of, like you said, all of those, those symptoms and your moods as well.
Are you feeling particularly low while you're feeling really anxious? Make sure you logging all of that, cause what you are eating can have an impact on all of that.
[00:59:17] Andrea: And in the same vein for kind of what we've been saying this whole time is you don't have to do this for the rest of your life. Your food journal is not every day for the next 10 years,
[00:59:26] Helen: I don't do it now. Cause I'm a place where I can quickly spot patterns. If I'm slipping back into things, I know my symptoms will start to come and I'll think, Okay, what am I doing that I wasn't supposed to be doing? Or that it's not helpful kind of, and I can quickly spot what that is because I've already done that work.
But yeah, initially it's very helpful.
[00:59:44] Andrea: Mm-hmm. . Well, Helen, I could talk to you for another three hours because this is so fascinating and there's so many more things that I want to, I want to dive into. But I, I'm going to have links and things in the show notes. I will link to Wim h for people who are interested in learning more, tell people where they can find you.
[01:00:00] Helen: So you can find me on my website and it is helen malliburn dot com. You can also find me on Instagram, and again, that's Instagram slash helen malliburn. I have a Facebook group specifically for those with hash motors and hyperthyroid who are wanted to make the diet and lifestyle changes. So I kind of share my tips and advice and kind of do q and as and things like that in there.
And that is, oh, that is Facebook Facebook groups. And that is Hashimoto's Nutrition Health. ,
[01:00:26] Andrea: All of those links are going to be in the show notes, so, Well, thank you so much for coming and sharing your story, which I think so many people can relate to and talking about a little bit of a journey. And I think, I think demystifying the idea we have to make these crazy, huge changes for the rest of our lives right now, or else we're done for
[01:00:47] Helen: Yeah.
[01:00:48] Andrea: I love that, , you, you helped to ease that
[01:00:54] Helen: Yeah,
[01:00:55] Andrea: So where people can maybe feel like, no, this, it doesn't have to be forever. It doesn't have to be these huge draconian things that you're doing, kicking and screaming. It can actually be a very gentle, very helpful change that you're probably going to be welcoming once you look at the actual results in your life.
So thank you for coming and, , easing that pain.
[01:01:20] Helen: No problem. Thank you for having me.
What a great conversation. I am so glad Helen went into some ways that we can just dip our toes into changing what we eat for our health. I'm willing to bet that changing something around with our diet is something that most of us have thought about. But so much of the advice out there. Is to do all these massive changes at once or else it won't
And it can get so frustrating, right. Because that's not necessarily what we have to do really. And framing it in such an all or nothing way. Just puts us in the wrong head space from the very beginning. And it makes change. A complete uphill battle. So I love how Helen talked about just doing something for a few weeks or a month, but not making it something that you have to do forever and ever.
And I'm sure you can relate, right. Once we start making changes that we clearly see the benefit of it makes it much easier to stay with. And so it's that little mindset reframe that can make all the difference when tackling potentially big changes in our lives. Let's face it changing. What we eat is pretty big, especially if it's not just, you.
A lot of us have partners. We have families. And changing what we eat means. Changing what they eat as well. And they might not be willing participants. So I just love how she talked about doing something on. , really short-term basis just to try it out at first.
After talking with Helen, I looked at some of the changes that I wanted to make in my nutrition. And then I got curious about what I was telling myself about those changes. And I did see some things that I wanted to do, but was putting off. And the reason. Was that I was thinking in that all or nothing mode I have to start and do it for the rest of my life.
And that of course makes me want to push And not maybe do it immediately.
So I just put a time limit on it. I'm going to do it for a month. And then that's A month and then I'm going to see how it goes and I'm going to reevaluate. And that was so much more doable.
So are there changes that you've been putting off? What are you telling yourself? About those changes. Are you going into that all or nothing for the rest of your life? Kind of thinking. What is that conversation in your head? Like when you're thinking about adding something to your diet or taking something away from your diet or really doing anything.
Try putting a time limit. On those changes first. So that there are a lot more approachable, do it for two weeks, do it for a month. And And then see how it goes.
Now next week. Dr. Francesca Owoo is returning to talk about the dynamics. When a family member has a chronic illness and how we can better communicate and ease the stress. Look, we know that having a chronic illness isn't isolated to the actual person with the diagnosis. It affects the whole friends and family unit that surrounds us.
And that can be a lot of pressure on our shoulders, as the person living with a chronic illness and also on their shoulders, as the people who want to help. But may not know how. I talked to doctor. In episode, number 36 on Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis. We talked about her personal story.
Which was an amazing episode. She is such an amazing storyteller. She has so much to say. So I absolutely. Urge you to go check out episode 36. And hear Dr. Owoo personal story. And then next week, Dr. Owoo is going to bring her professional expertise as a therapist. Who works with couples and families navigating the world of chronic illness.
To make sure you don't miss it, or really any of the amazing conversations that we have here on the podcast. Go ahead and follow the show
and then you're not going to miss any of these amazing conversations that we're having.
And as always. I love to hear from you. So if you have somebody that you want to hear If you have questions that you want discussed or topics that you want discussed. Let me know. I love hearing from you. You can always reach me at hello. At Andrea Hanson, I will see you next week. And until then,
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About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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