In episode #24 we are learning how to heal thyroid naturally part 2 with Dr. Eric Balcavage. In over 20 years of practice, he has successfully helped thousands of people suffering with chronic health conditions. Dr. Balcavage trains and consults with hundreds of doctors on topics such as thyroid physiology, organic acid testing, methylation, and GI physiology. He also lecturers locally and around the country on various health topics including; Stem Cell Therapy & Regenerative Medicine, Thyroid dysfunction, Methylation dysfunction, and more.His clinic has always been on the cutting edge of the health care industry. Currently, he devotes his practice to treating patients with degenerative joint conditions, chronic pain syndromes, hypothyroidism, GI disorders, diabetes, autoimmune & inflammatory disorders, peripheral neuropathy, and other neurological and metabolic challenges.
Dr. Balcavage graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1995 and has been in practice since 1996 in Glen Mills, PA. He also is Board Certified in Integrative Medicine, a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and a Certified Nutrition Specialist. He has been a guest on numerous podcasts and health summits. He also co-hosts the Thyroid Answers Podcast which is available on iTunes.
It’s summer and I want to share with you how to make the best green smoothie recipe! I LOVE smoothies- especially if they have greens in them or are packed full of veggies. As a busy mom a green smoothie has been a must. It keeps me full, is quick to make, and works for on the go. Plus, I’m getting a serious nutritional punch!
So many of you have asked me for my green smoothie recipe- I had to share with you! I always typically have my smoothie in the morning, but you can make your smoothie whenever it works for you. Let me first explain how this green smoothie inspiration got started!
How to make the Best Green Smoothie that tastes good and packs a nutrient punch.
I was making smoothies for a while, I mean years but I never thought of my smoothie how I do now, until reading Kelly Leveque’s book,Body Love: Live in Balance This book changed my life and thinking about food in general. But it also changed my whole mindset on smoothies. I had been reading things here and there about smoothies and how they weren’t necessarily the best. People were saying you need to eat meals and the nutrients were so much better. I was bummed because I LOVED my smoothies! It was such a convenient way for me to get a quick meal in and feel satisfied. I don’t know about you but as a mom cooking every single meal can seem daunting. Fortunately, I read Body Love: Live in Balance and the negative smoothie connotations had quickly been debunked by Kelly. Hurray!
Now that I was back on the smoothie train I was so excited to learn about her smoothie method and how it was different. With her smoothies, there are 4 components that create the perfect smoothie nutritionally, fat, fiber, protein, and greens. Having all these components in your smoothie is going to give you the perfect ratio for your body to stay full, not raise your blood sugar and give you all the nutrients you need. It makes so much sense! I had never heard someone explain it as she did in the book.
Green smoothie love!
A lot of times I would feel hungry within an hour or two after drinking my smoothie. Looking back I can see I was missing some good fat in my smoothie. Fat is your friend and so good for you! It helps you feel full and keeps your blood sugar in check too.
Healthy Fat Options-
Sunflower Seed Butter
Another ingredient I didn’t think about before was fiber. I would include fiber often with chia seeds but I didn’t understand the amazing benefit in can have besides good omega 3-‘s. It also helps keep you full, aids in healthy digestion and it also helps to slow the release of blood sugars into the blood stream.
Healthy Fiber Options-
Psyllium Husk Powder
The Best Organic Protein Powder. A clean protein that doesn’t make you feel bloated.
I always added a protein powder. This is one that I knew I needed! If I didn’t have the protein my smoothie would often be just carb heavy. My favorite clean protein powder is Activ Whey Protein Powder. The protein powder comes in a vanilla or chocolate. Instead of cow’s whey, it’s a goat’s whey. It makes smoothies taste SO good! I always add 1 serving.
*Protein Tip- Always blend all your smoothie ingredients first and then add your protein last. If you add it with all the other ingredients and blend it for a while it will expand, causing the smoothie to get huge and may cause you to have an upset stomach. Throw it in after everything is blended so you only have to blend it for a few seconds.
Healthy Protein Powder Options-
Active Whey Protein Powder (goat’s whey) Read my full blog post on why I love this protein, how it’s no allergenic, anti-inflammatory and helps with digestion. I never feel bloated after taking this protein! Also read why it’s important to know where your protein comes from.
Finally let’s talk greens. You know the leafy vegetables that are SO good for you! They offer good fiber, and a serious nutrient punch. Greens are going to give your skin a glow, revitalize your cells and just feed your body pure health! Plus, what’s a green smoothie without some greens!
Beets(though not technically green they offer a nutritional punch)
Really any veggie that you like. Some go better in smoothies, some don’t but at the end of the day you are the one drinking it. If you like it then throw it in!
This last one is the fruit portion! A little fruit goes a long way in adding flavor to any smoothie. You just don’t want to overdo it though. Kelly Leveque explains in her Body Love book so well the downsides of adding too much fruit- which is essentially sugar. Your blood sugar spikes and you can be left with excess sugar that makes you feel wired initially but then makes you want to take a nap an hour later. Not too mention, if there is too much fruit in your smoothie your body will end up turning storing it as fat. Her book explains it in further detail. Highly recommend you get it.
Bottom line: you don’t want to overload your smoothie with excess fruit! Fruit isn’t bad it’s all about moderation. I’ve also found most protein powders are flavored(naturally) so you don’t need a ton of fruit really since you get flavor from the protein powder. Kelly recommends about 1/4 cup of fruit. I’ve seen recipes that say 1 cup- which is crazy!
Below you’ll find some fruit options to put in your green smoothie. I typically do a half of a frozen banana. Bananas I’ve found offer creaminess and thickness to my smoothie, plus a great flavor.
A green smoothie filled with all the greens!
Ok, so now that you know what makes a powerhouse smoothie, let’s talk about some other ingredients.
Nut Milk- I love adding some coconut milk, hemp milk in mine. You can also use almond milk or whatever nut milk you like. This will add some creaminess to your smoothie. I also love making my own nut milks with my Almond Cow nut milk maker! Seriously makes the creamiest nut milks and it’s so easy to use! It’s been a game changer for making nut milks without a nut milk bag. Save $15 off your Almond Cow and free shipping when you use coupon code: gurlgonegreen. Shop here!
Water- If you don’t want to do any nut milk, you can just use some water for the liquid.
Fresh Ginger- A great addition to any smoothie. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, aids digestion, good for the heart and gives smoothies a bite with it’s punchy flavor. Add a little chunk or lot depending on your flavor palette.
Fresh Tumeric- Another good addition to smoothies. It’s also anti-inflammatory- pretty much an all star food! Add a 1/2 inch cube.
E3Live- This is a wild grown blue-green algae. I’ve been taking this for over a year and can’t recommend it enough! It really is a nutritional rockstar. It helps with energy, immunity, and focus just to name a few. I add a tablespoon to each smoothie. Click Here to check out all that E3Live has to offer!
Cinnamon- A great addition for flavor but also is anti-inflammatory, lowers blood sugar, and is loaded with antioxidants.
Herbs- I know I mentioned herbs above but wanted to also mention mint! A favorite of mine for flavor but also because it’s a calming and soothing herb.
Super Greens Powder- There are a lot of super greens powders out now. Obviously do your research and make sure the powder you have is a reliable resource and clean. This is a great addition to even more potent greens!
Superfoods- So many superfoods you an include. From maca, camu, spirulina- all come in powder form and you just add a teaspoon typically. Be sure to understand why you’re adding them to your smoothie and talk to your health professional.
Collagen Powder- It is a protein, but I also consider it an additive. Great for hair, skin and nails and joints.
Toppings- I love a good topping on my smoothie. From cacao nibs, coconut flakes, granola, goji berries, bee pollen, nuts or seeds- the list is endless!
Can you see how having a smoothie packs a serious punch of nutrition?! Your body will literally be glowing, you’ll feel good and you won’t feel hungry! Plus, when you are blending up the greens or veggies it makes it so much easier for your body to digest them because they’re already broken down.
Also, a couple things to consider. If you like your smoothies thick, freeze your fruit, and veggies. This will give your smoothie that creamy consistency and have it be more like soft serve ice-cream versus liquid. I prefer my smoothies thicker, so that’s what I do. It also makes it easier to eat your toppings on your smoothie if they’re thicker as well. Another thing to consider is to make smoothie packs and keep them in the freezer. That way you have everything you need in one spot and all you have to do is add some liquid. This is great when you’re in a hurry!
This is a meaty topic and I have no intention on swaying you on a blender either way! I just want to give you a few tips. I’ve had a Blendtec Total Classic Original Blender for 4 years and love it! Not to say I wouldn’t love a Vitamix too. I think any higher powered blender is going to be amazing. I have a friend who has a Vitamixand loves it, another who has a Nutri Ninja Blender– a little more affordable option. I even have a friend who has a KitchenAid Blender and Loves it too. I just encourage you to shop around and find what might be best for you. The Blendtec has been great for me. They even offer a smaller jar you can get for an additional cost that can make nut butters in minutes and sauces. I actually use it to make my smoothies. It’s called a Twister Jar. I can’t recommend it enough. A high powered blender really is going to make a difference when making a smoothie. It will ensure all the ingredients are blended up well and smooth. You don’t want to be drinking your smoothie and get a chunk of ginger!
I love taking my smoothies in mason jars! I have some mason jar straw lids from the mason bar company that makes it so easy to just pop a straw in.
I would love to hear how you make your green smoothie! Tell me your favorite ingredients!
Want my tried and true recipe for making the best green smoothie?
Then hit the button below to get access to my two recipes and where I get all the ingredients!
I finally wrote my AIP Journey down. If you’ve followed me for even a minute you know I’ve been doing AIP now for 5 months. I started in August 2017. It’s now January 2018. So many of you may be wondering what is AIP? Well, it stands for Autoimmune Paleo or Autoimmune Protocol. It’s the paleo diet with some modifications. Specifically removing nuts, alcohol, seeds, butter, ghee, eggs, chocolate/cocoa, coffee and nightshades(tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, all chiles(and chile spices), sugar alternatives like stevia, xylitol. I found these guides from Paleo Autoimmune Protocol really helpful. The purpose of the AIP protocol is to heal the gut, reduce inflammation and lower antibodies. Now that you know what it means, you may be asking another question- why did I do it?
Ahh yes, why avoid SO many foods! Well I have an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s. Hashimoto’s is a condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid. Literally your body is attacking itself- not cool! Your thyroid is part of your endocrine system and produces hormones. Overtime people can develop hypothyroidism(an under active thyroid) as a result of Hashimoto’s from an inflamed thyroid.
I ended up reading Hashimoto’s Protocol by Izabella Wentz and it really opened my eyes to what Hashimoto’s was, how I could get it under control and didn’t have to succumb to it. I ended up following her protocol she lays out in the book. I extended mine past the 90 days per my naturopath’s recommendation.
There are many different autoimmune conditions out there, not just Hashimoto’s. Many people who suffer from an autoimmune condition from rheumatoid arthritis, to lupus, celiac, graves, IBS, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis, could possibly benefit from an AIP protocol. Although there is no cure for autoimmune disease, it can be put into remission.
*The information discussed in this blog post is not a substitute for your own physician- please always seek a medical professional.
Symptoms Of Hashimoto’s-
Pale Dry Skin
Sensitive to Cold
To be honest the only symptom I had was fatigue. Even that I questioned because I had an infant and a toddler, which any mom knows accounts for sleepless nights. I also had some hair loss but it seemed normal since I had a baby in the last 6 months and it followed what had happened to my hair with my first child. Many people who have Hashimoto’s will tell you their symptoms are blaring and so obvious. Mine were not. I’ve never felt any weird digestive issues or had stomach problems either. Sure, if I have a big bowl of ice-cream I don’t feel the best but who does? I really don’t think anyone should be pounding straight up dairy ice-cream on the daily.
I really don’t think I would have discovered I had Hashimoto’s if it wasn’t for my blood test. My naturopath did a complete thyroid panel on me. When I say complete thyroid panel here is what I mean:
So once I got my blood test results back I learned I had antibodies in my blood. My antibodies were at 374. So 0 antibodies is the ideal of course. People can range all the way up to past 1,400. They say the higher the antibodies the more noticeable your symptoms may be. Which may explain why I may not have symptoms. The thyroid is tricky too. Some people may have really obvious symptoms but their test results come back and they have little or no antibodies. However, their friend could have hardly any symptoms and have antibodies. From what I’ve read this shows that the person with symptoms and no antibodies, may have a very compromised/weak immune system. You actually need some antibodies and sometimes your immune function is so weak to produce any.
The bottom line- I wanted to bring down my antibodies and figure how what was triggering an inflammatory response in my body. Once you have an autoimmune disease it’s easier to to get more in the future if you don’t address it. I really wanted to get to know my body and understand what was happening. So often I’ve just relied on doctors but for the first time I wanted to take control of my health. Food is a powerful tool in healing your body and I knew the first step was to eliminate foods so I knew what was happening in my system.
That is why I started AIP. In a nut shell AIP takes out all the foods that may cause an inflammatory response in your body. This gives your body a chance to heal. You can’t heal if you’re constantly putting out fires. Even healthy foods for some can produce an unhealthy immune response and trigger inflammation in the body. The elimination phase of AIP can last anywhere from 30 days to 6 months for most people. Once you’re done with the elimination phase and are starting to feel and see improvement you can start reintroductions slowly. It’s really about getting to know what works for you. Some people may go through AIP and when they reintroduce foods they can tolerate most foods again. But other people find out what foods were bothering them. Who wants to eat eggs if every time after eating them you feel nausea and your joints hurt? Not me! It gives you the power back to know your body and how it works best.
AIP is all about healing your gut. When inflammation goes down and your gut begins to heal your antibodies will start to go down. It really varies from person to person. Be patient and trust the process. Besides diet, stress and sleep are huge when it comes to overall healing of your body. Don’t neglect them! I know for myself, stress and sleep are the hardest for me. I can follow a diet easily but my management of stress and getting enough sleep can be poor. Throughout these 5 months my stress has gotten better but I still need to work on my sleep.
Was AIP Hard?-
Probably one of the questions I get asked the most is if AIP was hard. It really wasn’t for me. As I mentioned, I ate paleo for the most part before transitioning to AIP so it wasn’t a complete 360. The hardest part was making sure I had food prepared as you can’t just grab a bar. But once I found a system and knew snacks I could have it really helped. I didn’t eat out at all hardly. There were times I just brought my food to the restaurant if I didn’t want to miss out on something. However, for the most part, restaurants are really accommodating. You can order a salad almost anywhere, so that helps. I just customize the salad and then ask for olive oil as the dressing.
I would prep at the beginning of the week and that helped me to know I had some things on hand. I also knew I could have a smoothie if I was in a pinch as well. Snacks were hard to find at first but then you realize what you can have and you just make sure you have things on hand.
Raw Veggie Bread(I make mine in the dehydrator, all recipes from @realfoodlab E-book/Course)
AIP Muffins(I get my recipes from a lot of blogs)
I also liked making a cup of tea. I would use Traditional Medicinals Peppermint or Ginger a lot. I would add a little honey and some coconut milk for extra pizazz! I really like this Aroy-d Coconut Milk 100% .
So after doing the AIP protocol for 5 months I noticed significant improvement in my overall health.
The next step as far as medical procedures is to do a stool test. My naturopath recommended this as it helps to really see what’s going on in the gut. I may also do a food allergy test in a couple months. I don’t want to be consuming foods, even though they may be good, if it’s causing my body inflammation. I’m realizing the more time goes on that there isn’t a finish line but a lifestyle and mindset shift. Not that I think the AIP diet is forever. From what I’ve read, AIP isn’t meant to be a long term diet. Avoiding that many foods for so long can actually cause more problems. Obviously everyone is different and should consult with their doctor. I’m not where I want to be but I am better than I was. I’ve learned it’s about getting to know your body and giving it what it needs in each season.
My next focus is to incorporate foods slowly and see how I react and feel. Do a stool test, and focus on getting quality sleep each night. Sleep is the hardest thing for me and something I know needs improvement.