Hillary and I met just over a year ago, we hit it off immediately. We bonded over autoimmune diseases and our love for health! Hillary and her husband own CrossFit Bloomfield in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Hillary is also a nutrition coach. You can follow Hillary on Instagram @bisselofthisandthat where she shares photos of her many delicious recipes. You can also check out her website http://www.bisselofthisandthat.com for more health and nutrition motivation! Hillary and I both felt that sharing her story would help others take a step forward in taking back their health.
As a child there definitely was focus on healthy eating. My mom was and still is an amazing cook. She was never scared to push the boundaries with recipes to incorporate as many fruits and vegetables as possible in us. We never had soda in the house. If we wanted something like mac & cheese, it was Annie’s Organic. I didn’t know what Kraft mac & cheese was until I had it at friend’s house and I just knew I was eating something terrible for me.
I have always had stomach issues. I was also constantly sick with sinus and flu like symptoms. I was often tested for mono and the Epstein Bar Virus. Finally, there was a doctor that suggested I remove dairy from my diet. I was immediately better. My parents also decided to keep our home vegetarian. I still spent many of my days bloated. I didn’t realize that legumes and soy products were not good for my personal system, but my family was always willing to try any changes in our diets to better our disposition. I think the thought of being a vegetarian sounded better than what it was physically doing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think veganism and vegetarianism are both wonderful ways of life. What I do have a problem with are the fake animal products that are conjured up out of words I can’t even pronounce that shouldn’t even be in our systems to begin with. Or, when people say they don’t eat meat or fish and then just live off of pb&j sandwiches because they don’t like veggies. I have seen it! On the contrary, I have also seen people that are paleo think that it is okay to eat bacon at every meal and totally eliminate greenery. OMG I totally got off subject! My point is, growing up there was a lot of learning involved to find out what was the best way to eat as my body was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Middle school was the time I realized I needed to make a change in terms of dairy. That was also the time we went vegetarian.
4 years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimotos’s Thyroiditis is basically an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system literally starts attacking the thyroid. Because of this you end up with constant inflammation. It affects the joints, stomach, brain, etc. I was told I had arthritis and fibromyalgia and IBS. Both of these things were due to the Hashimoto’s. Once my diet was on point, both of these things kept at bay. Most often if you have Hashimoto’s you will have hypothyroidism. However not everyone who has hypothyroidism has Hashimoto’s. This means your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. I was paleo during the week and would have a cheat day on the weekends. A few months before my diagnosis I started breaking out in hives head to toe. My hair was thinning. My voice was hoarse. I was always exhausted beyond belief. I couldn’t heal from any injury. I gained 25-30lbs out of nowhere. I could eat air and water and gain a million lbs. It was insane. I was getting angioedema in my lips, contractures in my hands, etc. It was at that point that I realized I needed to go paleo 24/7. Not even paleo but, autoimmune paleo. It wasn’t just a cool CrossFit thing to do. This was real life. MY LIFE! My endocrinologist put me on thyroid medication and I researched how to use food as well as spices to help heal my body. Since then I have lost all the weight and I feel like a totally different person.
Aside from everything above, I knew that whatever steps I needed to take couldn’t just be for immediate relief. The physical pain and emotional pain it was causing was so intense I needed to take drastic actions to make sure I would never revert back to where I was ever again. I would never wish that kind of pain on anyone. I looked like a monster and I felt like one. I still have tiny flair ups every now and then. I know they are due to the fact that as I get older, my body is changing and stresses are different. I stopped sweating a few months back and my doctors and I decided to get myself off of birth control after being on it for 17 years. Now when I get hot, I itch and it feels like little knives are stabbing me. The idea is hopefully my body will start regulating itself and that it doesn’t need all the extra hormones being pumped into my system any more. Since I have been off my birth control, I got my period and my forehead gets a little moist and slightly sweaty when I workout which is MAJOR! I still get itchy though. Hopefully that part will stop soon. Those are the types of flair up situations I have.
I eat a lot of kale, spinach, cauliflower rice, sardines in water and olive oil, smoked mussels in olive oil, red and golden beets, daikon, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, blueberries, bananas, arugula, homemade cashew cheese, curry powder is a MUST, coconut oil, green curry paste is also a must, ginger beet kraut, Garden of Life raw unflavored protein powder, organic chicken, matcha tea. These are the staples you will find in my house….oh and dates (I have a sweet tooth!)
Soo…. normally for breakfast I would have a bowl of cauliflower rice with with wilted kale, arugula or spinach, sardines, cucumbers, beets curry powder and pumpkin seeds and a cup of tea. Mid day I would have a shake that would have Garden of life Raw unsweetened protein powder with some blueberries, banana, beet, maca powder, cacao powder and water. I might make a soup that has bone broth, daikon, chicken, beets, some coconut aminos, curry powder, carrots, celery, and a billion other veggies and serve it with ginger beet kraut on top.
When asked what advice Hilary would give to other looking to make a change:Have a piece of humble pie and truly take care of yourselves. If you need to go gluten free then do it. Don’t say you sort of do it. That’s like saying you are sort of pregnant. Same goes for removing refined sugars or dairy. There are plenty of ways to go about doing things so you have foods to make you feel like you aren’t feeling deprived. Be your own advocate. How you feel doesn’t just have an effect on you, but everyone around you. If you want to feel your best, then hold yourself accountable and take action. We have one body. We aren’t a car that we can trade in and exchange for a new one. Make the best with what you have.