Clean Eating and Autoimmune

Clean Eating & Autoimmune

Guest post by: Andrea Dahlman

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune diseases enable multiple foreign bodies, like viruses and bacteria, to attack your body at the same time, and render your immune system unable to fight it off. They can lead to thyroid disease, psoriasis, celiac disease, sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis diseases, and lupus. It is estimated that approximately 80 of all diseases are categorized as autoimmune diseases, and the list is growing. 

Autoimmune disease form when your body begins attacking your healthy cells, disabling them from fighting against disease or infection. The immune system becomes hostile to healthy cells and begins promoting antigens, which lead the development of a disease.

Solutions for Autoimmune Conditions

There is no one set way to cure an autoimmune disease. Some people try doctor after doctor looking for the right answer or solution and still come up empty handed. Here are a few ways that can cure an autoimmune disease and leave you thriving.

2. Change Your Diet

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, some of the first advice your doctor will give you is to adjust your diet according to the disease. The food you consume plays a significant role in two major components of an autoimmune disease—inflammation and gut health. You will most likely be recommended to start eating clean, which includes developing clean eating habits, increasing supplements, and avoiding junk food and processed food.

You may also be required to eliminate gluten and dairy from your diet plan, and you should consider avoiding foods that are laden with additives, preservatives, and sugar. Foods like eggs, soy, grains, and corn can also contribute to gut inflammation and leakage, so you should take special care to watch what you eat.


Autoimmune diseases cause severe inflammation and can be agonizingly painful. Supplements that contain traces of anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the symptoms of your autoimmune disease. Food like fish, salmon, berries, oranges, sweet potatoes, and nuts contains traces of anti-inflammatory and are often recommended to those suffering from autoimmune diseases. You can also consider incorporating anti-inflammatory herbs like rosemary, turmeric, and ginger in your diet.

3. Implement Supplements

Moving toward healthy and clean eating habits to calm the symptoms of an autoimmune disease will take time, but you may see results quicker if you also consider switching to supplements that help you better meet your nutritional requirements. Supplements do not help in the treatment of symptoms of an autoimmune disease, but they may help alleviate or reduce them. Consult with your doctor or nutritionist for guidance on the supplements that can benefit you most.

It is often recommended to increase intake of Vitamin D, Vitamin C, probiotics, and fish oil to reduce the symptoms of an autoimmune disease, and adding supplements like rutin, grape seed extract, and quercetin.

4. Develop Clean Eating Habits

It could be challenging to be selective when it comes to developing clean habits and eating healthy food, but it will benefit you in the long run. Avoiding junk food may speed up your treatment routine and may also lessen the number of visits to the hospital. When it comes to developing healthy and clean eating habits, consistency and education are key. Take time to learn about the nutrients and meals that will most benefit your immune system.

You don’t have to suffer. Knowing what can help you just some small easy fixes can make all the difference in the world to your health and overall quality of life. You matter, and your family matters so do it for everyone!

Written by: Andrea Dahlman |

Break Up With Bad Food

Break Up With Bad Food

We have a lot of relationships in our lives. Some are loving, supportive, healthy, encouraging. Some, not so much.Some of them we just have to make the best of because there are other people involved. We also have relationships that we are completely in control of because they aren’t about people.

One of the biggest relationships we have is with our food, which in turn affects our overall health. We usually don’t give it much notice, until… our bodies start rebelling!

I used to just eat whatever sounded and tasted good. I never gave a thought to what it was doing to my body, how it was nourishing me, or anything else other than the fact that I was hungry, I ate, then I wasn’t hungry anymore. I gave in to unhealthy cravings, not knowing that my body was craving more sugar because I was feeding bad bacteria! I started having a lot of health issues, again, not realizing it was related to what I was eating. How many of you have been, or are there? Wonder why you’re always tired, bloated, suffering from inflammation, headaches, gut issues, bowel problems? Take a look at what you are eating.

For me, it took a few years of getting sicker and sicker before I started seeing a correlation to what I was eating. I had depression, anxiety, adrenal depletion, inflammation, kidney stones, gallstones (actually ended up having the gallbladder removed),  high cholesterol, and a severe case of leaky gut (diagnosed as IBS). I had no energy, couldn’t control my bowels, was bloated and miserable, slept poorly, I could go on and on but you get the idea. I thought that’s just the way I would live the rest of my life. I’m not one to give up though, so I decided to start researching my symptoms and get some testing done.

I found out I had allergies to the proteins in gluten and dairy. I had autoimmune thyroid Hashimoto’s, and all the other symptoms were because of those! As I learned to eat clean, whole foods, mostly plant based, I began to heal. It’s taken a couple of years, but I am now medication free, mostly symptom free, and living an adventurous, fun filled life.

It is very obvious when I eat things that aren’t healthy for me, so I have learned to stay away from those. At first, I felt like I couldn’t eat anything! I learned to change my mindset to “I chose to not eat these” over “I can’t eat these”. My relationship with food has become one of great love. It’s challenging to find new “legal” foods that are healthy and delicious, but I love a good challenge. It is so rewarding to find how delicious healthy food can be. The more I eat healthy, the more I crave healthy. Oh, I still love the occasional dark chocolate treat (no dairy) and a yummy coconut or oat milk decaf latte. A glass of wine every now and then is good for my digestion, too!

If you are struggling with health issues, try journaling what you are eating. Note how you feel after you eat. What makes you feel light and energetic? What makes you feel heavy and sluggish? Consider seeing a functional medicine doctor or nutritionist/dietitian to have some testing done. It can completely change your relationship with food if you feel better after you eat. Think of it like spending time with someone you love and enjoy versus someone you dread and who drags you down emotionally. Good nutrition feeds your body, your soul, and your emotions. 

I have several years experience of working through the tough changes and I’m here to say it isn’t easy but it is very well worth it!

*To know more about how to change your relationship with food, feel free to reach out. I love helping others learn how to heal and fall in love with their food!*

Thyroid Nutrition

Thyroid Nutrition

If you have been following me, or if you have read about my health story, you will know that I have suffered from autoimmune Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It caused a lot of my health problems until I began treatment and making changes in my diet. I have learned to control my symptoms and get the disease under control by diet and lifestyle. While I am more than willing to share with you what has worked for me, the truth is, everyone is different and what works for one may not really work for another.

Registered Dietitian Nicole German specializes in thyroid so I asked her to share information with us. Here are her suggestions on the basics for thyroid nutrition.

Read full article here

Hashimoto’s Diet: Learn the Basics

June 14, 2019 By ngerman8

The most common question I get asked is, “what should I eat?” for a Hashimoto’s Diet.

I never have a clear, exact answer since each person is so unique and has a completely different medical and social history. It takes me a good hour long session with someone to understand their background and be able to give clear and specific recommendations. However, there are a few key foods or food groups that are more likely to help or hinder the thyroid condition.

Hashimoto’s Diet

Next, what I am about to describe are generalities and should not be thought of as a diet therapy. The foods mentioned below are the foods that we currently have the most research on regarding autoimmune nutrition and thyroid nutrition. Always check with your own healthcare provider before beginning a new plan.

Foods I Avoid


Research explains that soy may interfere with thyroid hormone, and overall be likely to cause lower T3 levels in those who consume soy consistently. I generally avoid soy protein fortified foods, processed fake “meat” soy products, edamame, and tofu. In addition, soy is a food that may carry much higher levels of pesticide residues which may impact thyroid health.


This a controversial topic. Some practitioners theorize that gluten appears similar to thyroid tissue, and the body may falsely recognize it as thyroid tissue and increase the autoimmune attack. For some, gluten may be a food that generally causes inflammation as it is a common food allergen. Other research and health experts argue that gluten deteriorates the health of the intestinal tract, and avoiding it may help improve the health of the intestinal tract, and therefore, improve an autoimmune condition. In addition, a small percentage of people who have Hashimoto’s may also have Celiac disease. So, I recommend Celiac testing before going 100% gluten free to rule this out. I highly recommend this article and video about Dr. Fasano’s point of view on gluten to learn more on the topic. Here is an article on gluten and Hashimoto’s.

I continue to avoid gluten, and it has taken my body a long time to heal after 25+ years of gluten ingestion.

What do I often tell my clients? At the least, trial a gluten free diet for 30 days. Journal and record symptoms and what you eat. Ideally, do this under the care of a Registered Dietitian who can help guide you with this. The majority of my clients report they feel significantly better and do not want to go back to eating gluten.

Added Sugar

I strive to avoid added sugar daily. I make conscious decisions. Why? Because excess sugar leads to excess inflammation. Limiting excess sugars can help promote better blood sugar balance and more optimal insulin levels which promotes longevity and lessens inflammation as well. This also helps to manage cravings and supports a healthier intestinal tract!

What counts as added sugar? Check food labels for one of these: cane sugar, anything with the word “syrup” like corn syrup and brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, agave. I continue to stevia to sweeten a few things here and there like a smoothie or a recipe.


Research has shown that millet, a type of gluten free grain, lowers thyroid hormone. Millet also does not contain much nutrition.

Foods to Use Caution With


This is a common food allergen and/or intolerance for many people in the general population. Some have sensitivities, in particular, to the casein protein in dairy (dairy is made up of casein and whey protein). Others have lactose intolerance to some degree which can cause issues with digestion and nausea. Do you feel you are sensitive? You can get tested with MRT LEAP, or keep a food symptom journal as you eat to see if you notice a trend of increased symptoms with dairy consumption.

Many functional medicine practitioners recommend avoiding dairy for autoimmune thyroid conditions, however, I am on the fence. I do not believe that it is a must avoid. I believe it should be avoided on a case by case basis. Why? I know that I am able to tolerate dairy and still feel my best. However, I do not eat excessive amounts. And, I recommend the same for many of my clients: maximum of 2-3 servings of dairy per day, and choose high quality dairy from grass fed animals and organic varieties.

Less than 4 cups of raw cruciferous veggies daily

There is anecdotal research that more than 4 cups of raw cruciferous veggies may impact the thyroid enough to cause thyroid enlargement due to goitrogens. And, if we cook cruciferous veggies, the goitrogens are reduced. Cruciferous vegetables include brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and bok choy, for example. That being said, I highly recommend eating these veggies since they contain many amazing health benefits, but not overdoing it on the raw form.

Nuts and Seeds

The main issue here is that I find nuts and seeds can be a common allergen or food sensitivity. Or, they can be difficult to digest for those with more severe bowel disease. However, they provide excellent nutrients and excellent healthy fats and should not be avoided if there is no allergy issue. I did not discover I was extremely sensitive to almonds until I was tested! So, this is one area where you may want to test and not guess.

Foods to Eat More of

Sweet Potatoes

These days it seems everyone is on a form of a low carb diet. However, this is one starchy veggie not to skimp on as it contains loads of vitamins, minerals, great fiber, and phytochemicals that are all healthy for thyroid support. One neat fact about the sweet potato is that is is less likely to raise blood sugar as much as other refined carbohydrates like white rice!

Carrots are another excellent food to include as vitamin A in this food form may help improve thyroid levels!


Especially organic varieties… Spinach is not a goitrogen, and contains loads of nutrients like iron which I find many women with thyroid conditions may run a little low on. This leafy green is easy to eat in salad form, cooked as a side with garlic and olive oil, and tossed into a smoothie for added nutrients.


Pineapple contains bromelain which is a nice enzyme that aids in digestion in our stomachs. Those of us with autoimmune thyroid conditions can get all the help we need for our digestion! Last but not least, pineapple adds a nice sweetness to meals when we are avoiding the added forms of sugars as well!

High Quality Proteins

Next, proteins like non-processed chicken (pasture raised is ideal), turkey, grass fed beef in moderation, eggs (if not sensitive), low mercury fish like salmon, and plant proteins (quinoa, sprouted legumes) provide excellent vitamins and amino acids to support thyroid function and to help maintain nice lean muscle mass to support optimal health. A Registered Dietitian can also help give you specific recommendations on how much protein you need in a day.

Thus, there are many more foods that I encourage eating, but it depends on the individual and their health history.

Avoid Extreme Low Carb Diets

You can read more about this here, on another blog post that I wrote about avoiding the extreme low carb.


In conclusion, this is not the end of the list or a complete guide for how to eat. However, I hope that this gives you are starting point for where to look next in your quest for optimal eating and optimal health!


  • Gaitan E, Lindsay RH, Reichert RD, et al. Antithyroid and Goitrogenic Effects of Millet: Role of C-Glycosylflavones. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1989;68(4):707-714. doi:10.1210/jcem-68-4-707

  • Farhangi MA, Keshavarz SA, Eshraghian M, Ostadrahimi A, Saboor-Yaraghi AA. The effect of vitamin A supplementation on thyroid function in premenopausal women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012;31(4):268-274.

  • Mori, K. Does the gut microbiota Trigger Hashimoto’s Disease? Discovery Magazine, November 2012

  • The Immunology of Immediate and Delayed Hypersensitivity to Gluten  – European Journal of Inflammation Vol 6 No. 1 1-10 (2008) Editorial – A. Vojdani Beverly Hills, CA (now Los Angeles, CA) T. O’Bryan, Warrenville, IL,( now Chicago, Il), G. H. Kellermann Neuroscience, WI, USA

  • The Immunology of Gluten Sensitivity Beyond the Intestinal Tract – European Journal of Inflammation Vol 6 No 2, 0-0 (2008) Aristo Vojdani, PH.D, M.T., Thomas O’Bryan, D.C., CCN, DACBN

  • Fasano A. Leaky Gut and autoimmune disease. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2012 Feb;42(1):71-8.

  • Ulluwishewa, Regulation of Tight Junction Permeability by Intestinal Bacteria and Dietary Components. The Journal of Nutrition. March 23, 2011

To hear more about my health story and and how I have managed to control my Hashimoto’s and all the symptoms through a diet, including whole food plant concentrates, click “Learn More”.

Hormones, Can’t live with them -- Can’t live without them

Hormones, Can’t live with them -- Can’t live without them

Hormones, kind of a nasty word among women. They are one of the most controlling things in our lives. We would love to not have to deal with them, and yet, we have no choice. They don’t have to be that enigma that we just want to ignore. The more we learn about them, the more we understand them, the more control WE can have over them.

While it’s true that they are ever changing during our lifetime, we can learn how to manage them so the effects are less debilitating.  Some things we can do is to eat as healthy as possible (meaning lots of plants!), drink plenty of water, get some exercise (even if it’s a short walk) daily, and learn about the natural plant-based products that can help regulate those pesky but very necessary little buggers.

Changes in life are inevitable. We grow up. The body goes through changes. We have different stages, pre-menstrual, menstrual, child-bearing, post-partum, perimenopause, menopause...A lifetime of changes! I have passed through all of them and survived, although there were times I thought I might not.

I experienced most of the unwanted symptoms from cramping to migraines to depression and anxiety. I had 6 pregnancies, and 5 live births over a period of 10 years. I nursed each of the 5 babies for at least a year before becoming pregnant again. What a toll it took on my body! Then I went straight into perimenopause. It was quite the emotional roller coaster ride. I opted to not use hormone replacement because my mom had estrogen induced breast cancer and I didn’t want to chance it.

I decided to do some research and find the best natural options. Admittedly, I had to try several different remedies to find the right combination, but I finally got it worked out. It is possible. Don’t give up with your first try. Find a good functional medicine practitioner, someone who specializes in women’s health, and work with them. You will not regret it!

I also belong to a very private facebook group that is all about hormones. If you are interested in an invitation to the group, contact me and I can invite you to join. (We have to be facebook friends for me to invite you, it’s that private!)

Don’t suffer alone with your hormone issues. Talk to other women. You are not alone. This is not a battle you have to fight by yourself. We are a tribe and part of that means we help each other through the tough and the good times. We share our wisdom and support each other. Please contact me to hear more about how I have managed to survive the hormonal storms of life!