Hello, if you are a new visitor, I’d like to invite you to my new location at Small Kitchen Big Love where the adventure continues!







I’m glad you’ve been visiting and I thank you so much for reading.  My blog is moving locations as of September 4, 2016 and I wish you would come along with me!

Please visit me again, where I’ll be continuing the series “One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s” on my new website Small Kitchen Big Love.  You can find it here www.smallkitchenbiglove.com

I can’t wait to see you there!




One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s. Day 19: Scored a sweet deal!

Aldi’s.  I never would have expected!  Recently I was given a tidbit of info that has changed my perception of shopping…Trader Joes and Aldi’s are apparently owned by the same German company!  I never knew.  My husband and I regularly make Trader Joes stops even though it’s a 40 minute drive.  Sometimes if he’s working in that area he’d interrupt his workday, or tack it on at the end of it, to get there and buy some things for our family’s special diet.

After that mind blowing revelation, I stopped into our local Aldi’s just a few days ago and scored a mother load of chicken…Price?  Originally around $11 each.  Manager marked them down $2 off in an attempt to sell them.  Still unsuccessfully moving the birds out, they replaced that sale (not in addition to) with a 50% off discount!


Certified Humane.  USDA Organic. Non GMO.  Aldi’s!?

So.  I got eight of them!  I loaded up my cart.  Now I have to say that these chickens were laying in some nasty juice on that bottom shelf that had leaked from somewhere.  Upon arriving home I filled up one bucket of soapy water to baptize the prepackaged birds in and  an additional bucket of clean water from our rain barrel to rinse and check packaging for leaks.  None of my hens had a problem.  Truly, now, these chickens were glazed by rain water–from my barrel (just like the back of this Organic Red Wheel Barrow, whole young chicken package speaks of…).

Seven of the eight were put in the deep freeze and one was left out to roast.  I prepared to roast it by milling my own herbs in an electric coffee grinder (trial run went well) using organic basil and rosemary.


Next I had three of my kids help put olive oil, the milled herbs and some salt all over the rinsed and patted-dry chicken.  Making sure to take out the extra parts from the carcass, I stuffed it with lemon halves and a couple garlic cloves.  It was roasted at 375*F for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  I stuck a meat thermometer in to register 180*F.


Ding, roast is done.

It.  Was.  Delicious.

Do you find great healing foods at your local Aldi’s?  Where do you buy your groceries for a good price?

Although I don’t get chicken from Thrive Market*, I can find lots of great Paleo items to stock my shelves.  Check them out.



I am an affiliate which helps support my blogging habit, and I stand behind their products and services.

One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s. Day 18: Danielle, Diagnosed Young

Diagnosed when she was 19 years old after years of “being watched” by her doctor for years prior to that, my guest blogger today has embraced the healing diet that I am about to begin this coming month: the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).  Anyone wishing to begin a healing diet for autoimmune disease can savor these guest stories and slowly digest their personal testimonies.  Sharing hope, their journey from difficult symptoms-to lessening those-and even to remission, they inspire me.

Seeing that many of us are diagnosed later in life, I find her story intriguing.

Now then, please welcome Danielle!  She is now the creator of Key to the Cave, a paleo blog.  Let’s hear her story now:

Ever since I was young I always had extreme bloating and IBS.  I was constantly uncomfortable and afraid to eat.  The doctors chalked it up a “sensitive stomach” and so I pushed the discomfort to the side and tried to ignore it.  As time went on, my hormones went crazy and I was constantly having yeast infections, intense bloating and debilitating stomach pain.

Finally, I received a diagnoses.  I have Hashimoto’s Disease, and while it’s not curable, just having a name for all of my symptoms meant so much to me.  I was put on Tirosint (a thyroid replacement) and my energy levels started to increase, but I still experienced bloating, anxiety and stomach pain.

I knew I needed to take my health into my own hands and not just rely on medication. That is when I came across the Autoimmune Protocol.

Two years ago, when I changed my diet, It really changed my life. Suddenly I was able to eat without the fear of insane pain. I am 22 years old now, and while it is hard to eat so differently than my peers (and not drinking when my friends and I go out on the weekends) my health is so much more important.  I truly believe my quality of life trumps my desire for gluten and dairy.  While in the beginning, my cravings for mac & cheese and ice cream were strong, over time I have developed cravings for carrots and a good crunchy piece of salmon.

I now crave those foods that nourish my body.  All around me, on Facebook, on Instagram, and all over TV, I constantly hear and see people saying “YOLO” (you only live once) and consume foods that are detrimental to their body.  But the truth is, we do only live once, shouldn’t we live a healthy life?

Turning to the Autoimmune Protocol has totally changed my life and there’s no turning back.

Danielle, thank you so much for sharing your story with me!Danielle-guest blogger

You can reach Danielle by visiting her website, Key to the Cave, at keytothecave.com.

Danielle’s website name was inspired by her desire to create a blog that would give people a “key” for easing into the Paleo world with everything: food, lifestyle, reviews, interviews, etc.

One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s. Day 17: Perfect Birthday Gift


Photo on 8-25-16 at 2.05 PM #2

I finally got it!  August 25, 2016

This came in the mail today: The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.  And I hugged it.  I might have also squealed like a little girl.  I am so excited!  This gem is a gift to me from my husband and it is so perfect.  It’s a healing manual, it’s nutritional guidance, it’s going to be my companion in the coming months.  Praise the Lord from Whom all blessings flow!

I cannot contain my enthusiasm because this year has been monumental.  I see where I’ve been, and I can see where I’m going.  That Hashimoto’s thyroiditis diagnosis at the end of July this year has been a Godsend because I have a direction now.  I’m no longer wandering in the dark trying to find my way.  There is light!

Going from sick, fatigued, full of joint pain and seeking answers, I am voluntarily grasping at this chance to be well.  My health was taken away.  Quality of life made low.  One baby prematurely born (healthy) and one was tragically miscarried.  Energy sapped.  Vitality muted.  Pain radiating from joints, unable to exercise.  Once health and youthfulness are taken away, man…just how incredibly grateful I am to be SO close to reclaiming it.

You guys, let me just be my own health coach and pump myself up a minute here.  Preparations have begun in the kitchen with much more adventure on the way.  I’ve got my manual for eating now.  Supportive family members cheering me on.  Oh!  And I can’t forget that I have the *correct* type of jars to freeze my batch cooks in (batch cooking is simply cooking a lot at once to stock up and make life easier).  In Mickey Trescott’s AIP Batch Cook video, I watched her teach me how to multitask AIP recipes in the kitchen.  I was right about using a wide mouth mason jar in the freezer…aaaaand my ears heard wrong about *only* using pint size wide mouthed jars.  FYI: tall half-gallon mason jars bust a big set of cracked glass in the freezer.  Lesson learned!

Back to my bedtime reading.  My birthday present: the huggable hardback book.




One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s. Day 16: The Disasters of Brain Fog


Sweet potatoes cooked in coconut oil.  Will be frozen as preparations begin for AIP.

I’d reach for something, try to pick it up, and it would slip.  Dropping things and incoordination or loss of balance became a daily occurrence.  I need more rest, the baby has been keeping me up at night.  It’s just that I need sleep.  She was only a few months old, and convinced it was sleep-deprivation–and part of it probably was– I continued on.  Then…

Scenario #1: It’s a good idea to prep supper.  However imperfect my kitchen is, I give it my best shot with lots o  Busy family, busy evenings, call for some planning ahead.  I placed a pot of water and vegetables on the back burner of the stovetop.  Usually beginning on high, I would turn the pot down to simmer after a few minutes.  About a half an hour later I heard the smoke detector beeping in the kitchen.  I had gone upstairs and completely forgotten about the cooking.  My feet thumped off the uncarpeted wooden staircase as I briskly brought myself downstairs.  Retrieving the pan just in time, I avoided a fire.

Scenario #2:  I was giving the baby a bath.  Steadying her with one arm I maneuvered the soapy washcloth with the other hand.  Lightly scrubbing her back, she was slightly leaned forward.  I gathered clean water soaked up in the washcloth, and like a good mother I gently squeezed a rinsing flow onto her back, washing the suds away.  How relaxing this must be for her just before bedtime.

Then I suddenly realized, her face had leaned into the tub water!  As I was carefully washing her, she had lowered her neck down fully planting her face under.  I did not feel like a good mother at all now!  As quickly as I noticed it, I had pulled her up, and she began to gasp and cough.  My heart sunk, and I talked softly and briskly to her.  Are you alright?!  I am so sorry!  It’s okay, breathe.  She did.  She was alright, she was breathing…but now I was not alright or breathing.  What is wrong with me?  My chest tightened.  It was an honest mistake, but of course I scolded myself, and felt like a horrible mom.

Scenario #3:  The dryer wouldn’t start.  That’s just great, another thing around here is broken!  I pressed the button.  To double-check the door, I opened it, and my pointer finger pushed the little springy lever in the dryer opening.  That latch seems to work alright.  Shutting the door, I tried again and pushed the button on the top of the dryer once more.  Nothing happened.

Open dryer door.  Shut.  Push button.  Silence.  I called my husband.  Hon, the dryer won’t start, I have to call the repairman.  He told me to wait until he got home and looked at it.

In my typical “let’s just get this thing done” way, I get on the phone basically as my husband walks in the door to look at the dryer.  I jump the gun.  So I’m sitting there on a tan chair by the phone stand, legs crossed, looking out towards the back porch where my husband stands inspecting the machine.  The repairman on the other end of the telephone says hello, and I begin to explain to him that our dryer suddenly quit.  As I’m explaining, I hear my husband say, “Hon, uh…the dryer just started up.  It’s working.”  What?  Sir, I’m sorry but my husband says the dryer’s working.  Tongue-in-cheek he says, “Tell him to stop that.”  After hanging up, I walk to the back porch baffled at how it effortlessly kicked on for my husband.

What did you do?  How’d you make it work?  He says, “Uh, I just pressed the start button.”

Oh.  My.  Word.  Let’s do a little math here.  Using an average, and not scientifically documented…11 years of marriage multiplied by usage of 5 loads per week, times 52 weeks in a year = 2860 usages of that machine.  And during those 11 years of marriage I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right out of two buttons: one on the left and another on the right.  Never before had I chosen wrong before this date.

Yes, that day I was pressing the settings dial, which will not turn the dryer on at all.

What does brain fog look like to the outsider?  Like you are losing it.  What did it feel like to me during those months of an undiagnosed Hashimoto’s disease flare up that also included joint pain, shakiness, extreme fatigue and irritated bowels?  Scary.  Frustrating.  Lost.

Thankfully, that brain fog has passed from earlier this year when the weather was still thawing out from wintertime.  A diagnosis was achieved in summer on 7-21-16 and I’m almost 4 weeks into adjusting to thyroid meds (Praise the Lord!).  In addition I am prepping to start the AIP or Autoimmune Protocol for next month to address the disease itself at its core.

Brain fog is no joke.




One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s. Day 15: Claire’s our guest, for part two.

guest blogger-Claire

Welcome back.  We are continuing an interview with our guest, Claire Moffatt of Nutrient Dense Eating by Claire.  Recently, she shared with me her journey to a diagnosis but today Claire tells how choices with food affect her symptoms and quality of life with this disease.

Let’s get back to Part 2 with Claire from our conversation on August 16, 2016:

Around this time, in early 2011, we started our move to NYC.  I was pregnant again and just wanted someone to get me through the pregnancy.  My doctor in Brooklyn refused to continue the Cytomel (T3).  During my pregnancy I started looking into holistic health coaching through IIN. This opened my eyes to various diets and lifestyles. I took this information and dug in deep. I found an acupuncturist that led me to one of the top endocrinologist on NYC who, for the most part did talk to me about nutrition. Although at that point I really knew much of the research.  Over the next five years, we moved twice, had a second child and I saw three endocrinologists.

During this time I started looking into the paleo diet and then found AIP (Autoimmune Protocol).  At that point I wasn’t eating gluten but still ate seeds, nuts, grains, dairy, etc. so it still was a big shift for me.  A few years into it now, I eat mostly AIP still with the exception of eggs which I think I’m fine with.  When I do eat those other things it creates massive inflammation for me.  I look like I’m 6 months pregnant after eating it.  I can go up 5lbs over night.  When I’m on a good dose of my thyroid meds I can tolerate these foods a bit better, but not daily.  And sometimes I indulge daily and then pay for it!  It’s always a decision.

But to this day I feel much better following the AIP diet.
I’m now taking Armour and I feel the best I’ve felt in ages.  It’s not perfect and I feel like I have to work twice as hard as healthy people.  The doctor I see now is also the best I’ve seen.  He treats me based on my bloodwork but also on how I feel.  He’s confirmed that I’m not typical and treats me as such.  I think doctors often assume we fall into the masses and thus treat based on that.

Yet, some of us are the exceptions whether it’s diagnosing Hashimoto’s or treating Hashimoto’s.  I once thought that if I simply changed my diet I could conquer this disease and I think some people can.  However, I think I was too far along and that I can’t sacrifice my life with my children to go through the downs before the potential ups of being off the meds.  When I’m under-treated, I am exhausted (way more than parent-tired).  Extremely exhausted.  I don’t want to miss my kids’ lives because of this disease.

In hindsight, none of the doctors questioned my low pulse (often in the 40’s).  They believed it was because I ran and did yoga.  But now I know it’s a sign that I’m not on the right level of meds.  Very few actually talked to me about my diet outside of questioning my honesty.  No one said “Hey, some of these healthy foods like nightshades, might actually be harming you.”  Most of that realization came from when I researched on my own.

So, now whenever a friend gets diagnosed, I encourage them to ask for a full thyroid panel, to actually reveiew their own test results and tell them about the Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP).

*It can be a big shift but I think the bigger shift is believing that you deserve to feel healthy.*

You deserve health vs. a certain food item that will wreak havoc in your body.  Also worth mentioning is that with AIP, and all eating methods, you have to really eat a ton of veggies still.  Meat is fine as long as 2/3rds of your plate is veggies. I think people forget that.

Thank you for sharing your story with me, Claire!  You are an inspiration by having found your path and how you continue to work through it all.  I can relate so well to the search.  Not only that, but the frustration of being misunderstood by the doctors you trust and the symptoms that are so complex it drives you to investigate deeper until a diagnosis (and proper treatment) is found.  So, to my fellow IIN graduate, thanks again.

What part of Claire’s story sticks with you?  Please comment!

Get in touch with her here at Nutrient Dense Eating by Claire.

I am so happy you’ve joined us, please visit again, and Follow my blog to keep in touch with my series, “One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s.”  Cheers!




One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s. Day 14: Welcome, Claire! Her story.

guest blogger-Claire

Please welcome my guest today, Claire Moffatt.  Like others who have searched for answers over the course of many years, she tells a story you might find echoing your very own.  She has always been interested in health and wellness, but after not feeling well for many years Claire was propelled to dive deeper with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  Not only do we share a Hashimoto’s disease diagnosis & health coaching certification from the same school, it seems to me we are both determined women.

This is our interview on August 16, 2016.  I am happy to relay her diagnosis story and, following that, how food has become a part of her healing.  Now let’s hear from Claire:

I have Hashimoto’s disease. It’s been over 15 years since I started questioning my health or lack there of.  It was slow at first: weight gain, exhaustion.  I thought I was working too much.  I thought that I was just getting older (in my 20s).  I was still running, eating okay – not too many overly processed foods.  I finally checked in with the campus doctor during graduate school.  They basically told me that I was lying about how much I exercised, what I ate and told me I needed more sleep.  That response really started me heading down the rabbit hole.  I felt a little crazy.  I felt like I wasn’t over eating.  I was sleeping a lot.  I was exercising but things were getting worse.

I knew something wasn’t normal but I didn’t know what.
As an aside, when I went back and reviewed my bloodwork from that time I was already trending toward Hashimoto’s just based on my TSH levels. And none of my doctors ever thought to do a comprehensive thyroid panel.  As I said, I wasn’t overeating but I sure was eating the wrong thing…gluten.  I was in graduate school and it was cheap.
Through all of this, I managed to receive my MPA, get a job, get promoted, and get married while feeling like I was in someone else’s body.  I’m lucky that I achieved what I did.  I expect that most people with this disease, especially when it’s undiagnosed, can’t imagine getting up in the morning.  It’s debilitating.  I remember explaining it to someone like there was always this huge weight on my chest.  While good things happened, I lost a lot of who I was.  My confidence was often diminished.  I wasn’t a very good friend, wanting to withdraw because again I felt like a different person.

All the while being told that nothing was wrong with me.
“Luckily” in 2008 I had chest pains one day.  My doctor, who always had the excuse that I was working too hard, ran bloodwork and an EKG.  The EKG was normal, thankfully, but my TSH level was elevated-not super high but higher than the normal back then (which is higher that the normal is now) and trending up.  She put me on 5 mcg of synthetic thyroid (T4) and said that I didn’t need to see a specialist.

I don’t remember feeling much different. Several months later I miscarried, probably because I was under-treated.  I didn’t know to flag the thyroid condition as an issue and no one asked.  I then sought out an endocrinologist.  My synthroid prescription was raised and eventually added in a low dose of Cytomel (T3).

I felt a bit better but it never lasted.  I brokeout in hives on my arms, legs and torso that would last several days then go away for a couple of days and then reappear.  This lasted 15 months.  I thought I was losing my mind.  The dermatologist couldn’t explain it.  I finally saw an allergist and she said I had a gluten sensitivity.  This is the first doctor to even broach the subject of nutrition!

Thank you, Claire for sharing your story up to the point where an exploration on nutritional healing is about to begin.  We’ll continue with Part 2 of her journey next time.

Does her story resonate with you?  Get in touch here at Nutrient Dense Eating by Claire.

Till then, cheers.




One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s. Day 13: The difficult road


August 2016.  I pull the car over to catch the contrast: just how close can the uphill journey bring me to the sky?

Steep, dark and unknown.  I feel around in blackness trying to make my way one step further and upward.  Steep.  Dark.  Unknown.  One stride forward, I place my foot on the next inch of rocky incline, hunched over so as to catch my balance with lowered hands.  Another stubbed toe.  Dang it.  A skinned knee.  Just keep going.  I’m looking for that place I used to be.  It’s got to be here somewhere.  Instead, around and around in circles, I keep walking and stumbling.  But I want to go up!  Searching for that place I remember, near the clouds and colors in the sky.  I could touch it.  Because I remember feeling so vibrant beyond this darkness, at the summit, when every thing didn’t ache or cause an ache.  When I was weightless next to the colors of the sinking sun.

Today is a down-day.  Working through pain, and what other people might find to be normal activities, I get discouraged.  This is one of those days.  No one is here to lean my head on their strong shoulder, or to cup my face in tender palms and reassure me.  No friends dropping by for company and to sit with coffee.  A hardworking husband is out earning his pay and I stay here serving, giving, offering myself to the little ones who depend on me.  In those solitary moments, I remind myself (and am reminding myself as I type) to not get pulled down that swirling drain to the abyss of stinkin’ thinkin’.

As I pour out to others, Lord I call on your name for help.  I need you.  Fill me up.  Only you can.  Amen.

I lift my eyes up to the mountains-where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. -Psalm 121: 1-2

Here where the earth meets the heaven, where darkness meet illumination, I’m reaching up.






One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s. Day 13: Policeman’s Heel

This here Hashimoto’s stuff is a bag of tricks, right?!  -Itis this, and -itis that. That suffix means inflammation.  I am inflamed.  All the more reason for me to be prepping for the Autoimmune Protocol I’m beginning in September.  I’ll get the kids settled into school, and begin carving out time to remedy some of this -itis with a properly targeted intervention into every detail of the food I eat.  It’s going to be challenging, but I expect great things.

Today was my 3-month checkup at the doctor’s office after having been diagnosed with tendon-itis and burs-itis in May.    I’ve been with limited activity because of the pain in both of my knees.  Keeping up with the housework and kids is quite a lot of work, on my feet most of the day.  But like I mentioned in a recent post, I haven’t had a proper extended walk until just a few days ago, and it was glorious.  The doctor confirmed at my follow-up appointment today that it does take several months to feel renewed, so supposedly I’m right on track.  

Giving these knees a break has been useful and I am having less pain there.  Success so far.

This “exercise induced injury” was picked up while lifting & stretching with my digital personal trainer, Chalene the PiYo lady from Beachbody online.  Up to six days a week I was on the floor in my carpeted living room mixing up an infectious Pilates & yoga combination that made me feel great!  I mean I was *serious* about it.  The kids would join in with me.  I kept a printed out calendar of which day was Sweat, which was Core, and so on.  At 8-weeks postpartum, late winter this year, I was a completely devoted Beachbody gal, and I would visualize myself enjoying shorts and sandals in my toned and tanned skin later on this year.

Well.  That didn’t happen.

Less than 2 months later I was. in. pain.

The knee thingy was addressed eventually, as I’ve described before.  But my feet have ached.  And burned.  And throbbed since that time.  Waking up in the morning, you know when you first put your tootsies on the floor?  It was like pressing my sore bare feet into sharp rocks.  Every bone in there hurt.  My husband would rub them sometimes, although who could get enough of that?  I mean, is there ever enough foot rubs to go around?  But the pain would return within a few hours.

I was introduced to a new -itis today in the doctor’s office.  Also known as “Policeman’s Heel”, my doctor said I have plantar fasciitis.  Hello -itis.  Nice to meet you.  I know some of your cousins.

Supposedly, it’ll get better in about 10 months, thankfully it’s not permanent, according to Mayo Clinic, who also said:

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.

Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.

People who are overweight…hmmm.  That would be me, yes.  And who wear shoes with inadequate support?  I am barefoot most of the time.  That would be why my doctor recommended three things to me today:

  1. Get supportive shoes to wear around the house.
  2. Do a few specific stretches, slowly and gently, to ease the pain.
  3. Freeze some water in a water bottle laid horizontally in the freezer.  Then roll your feet over the bottle when in pain.  Cool idea, I thought.

Speaking of being overweight, it seems a bit of body baggage might be resolving itself.  The nurse’s scale read 206 when I hopped on.  Due to my injuries, I’m not exercising, but trying to manage with diet and newly prescribed medication (progress not perfection, i.e.: birthday’s don’t count.)