Hashimoto's: My Story

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff

[This post is co-authored by Lisa Markley and Jill Grunewald.]

Many of our Essential Thyroid Cookbook newsletters and blog posts have been about our process – the long and winding road that has brought us to this point of being merely 15 weeks from our pub date.

Sure, we’ve shared some sample chapters (1, 2, 3, 4) and recipes along the way, including our sneak peek, our “mini book” but several of our recent updates have been about the journey of birthing this book. As I’ve told Lisa, my co-author, I had to write those posts – it didn’t matter to me who read them. I had to “get it out.”

This is Lisa. >

Today is June 1. It feels like a turning point in many ways – summer is upon us and we’re becoming deeply entrenched in moving from “process” to “Let’s change lives with this cookbook.” (Aka our marketing plan.)

Lisa Markley, MS, RDN, is one of the smartest people I know. And I’m not just saying that because she’s going to read this. She’s a Bastyr-trained culinary nutritionist – and she’s brilliant.

We are the yin to each other’s yang. There’s no one else I could have or would have taken this journey with.

And with that, you all deserve a reintroduction to Lisa. 

You’ll hear much more from her this summer – she’ll be sharing her culinary nutrition wisdom that will not only highlight some of the “behind the scenes” action in creating her mouthwatering recipes, but also some seasonal ingredient highlights from our cookbook.

And recipes! Yes, we’ll be sharing more recipes from our cookbook.

Lisa’s story:

In late 2012, I was struggling with a sudden worsening of symptoms of Hashimoto’s.

The debilitating whole body fatigue and malaise, brain fog, and joint pain I was feeling were surely due in part to a recent diagnosis of chronic Lyme’s disease (more on that another time), but I had also known for a few years that my thyroid antibodies were elevated. My thyroid felt swollen and inflamed, warranting further investigation.

I also had many of the other typical signs/symptoms (sensitivity to cold, hair loss, and a strong family history of Hashimoto’s), but had been left untreated up until that point because my doctors were focused narrowly on my “normal” TSH levels.

In retrospect, by functional medicine standards, I would’ve been considered to have subclinical hypothyroidism and could’ve benefited from treatment and targeted lifestyle changes.

At the time, however, I lacked the tools and information to be a better advocate for my health around my thyroid dysfunction and I blindly chose to ignore these red flags. Up until this flare, I had led a very active, healthy life…I guess things hadn’t been severe enough for me to really tune in to my body.

Thankfully, I had finally found a doctor (after firing at least five) who was able to help me put the pieces of my health puzzle together. I began thyroid replacement medication and began to feel some relief, but my body was still screaming at me – I knew I needed something more.

I reached out to Jill, my good friend and respected colleague, for help. I knew she had years of experience under her belt successfully coaching women like me with thyroid disorders. Even though I had a background and education in nutrition, I valued that Jill was one of the few practitioners I knew who was fully immersed in and practicing the latest information on targeted nutrition and lifestyle approaches for thyroid health.

Serendipitously, I found out she was preparing to launch a 4-part educational teleclass series focused on this very topic later that month. At the time, I only had a cursory understanding of the topic, so I knew this course was for me – its timing could not have been better! I immediately signed up and each week benefited from Jill’s thorough, methodical guidance and step-by-step instructions on simple changes I could implement to help recoup my health.

After the final class of the series, I was left impressed and empowered by the content but felt like it was missing one important thing…

Throughout Jill’s course, one of the key things she educated us about were the specific nutrients (and their food sources) that supported important pathways in the body that drive thyroid health.

But, what I was left hungry for were food-as-medicine recipes that readily incorporated these thyroid-supportive foods and nutrients. I was left wondering how could I apply all that I had learned to the kitchen and to my plate in a more tangible, practical, and delicious way?

I thought to myself, “If I’m feeling this way, surely others are too.”

As a culinary educator, the kitchen is my natural habitat, so my wheels naturally began to turn. I started cooking up health-supportive recipe ideas in my mind that could potentially be of help. And right after the last night of Jill’s course, I immediately sent her a message that said, “Whenever you’re ready to translate your thyroid nutrition recommendations to the plate, let me know. I’d love to share some recipe ideas with you.”

And thus, our journey into writing this cookbook began.

Essentially, our cookbook is a collaboration of two very close friends who have suffered firsthand through the ups and downs of Hashimoto’s, having to learn in our own way how to become advocates for our health. As soon as we recognized the crucial need for a whole foods cooking resource for the millions, like us, suffering from hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, we also recognized that by working together, Jill and I could harness each other’s unique talents to create a well-rounded, user-friendly guide for those wanting to become better advocates for their thyroid health, by using food (and lifestyle) as medicine.

Jill and I think Dr. Aviva Romm expresses it best in the foreword of our cookbook when she says, “One of the fastest, most effective, and most empowering ways to [take back your health] is to take back your kitchen by preparing whole foods-based, fresh, unprocessed meals that satisfy and delight your taste buds while healing your body.”

We’ve worked tirelessly to make our cookbook an indispensable resource to help you (and others), no matter where you are on your journey. We truly appreciate you joining in with us to learn more and are thrilled to continue sharing more of our story, “behind the scenes” action, and some delicious teaser recipes in the coming months as we get closer and closer of our long-awaited publication date of September 19.

(And if you’re wondering how I’m doing today, I’m happy to say that I’m remarkably better, so much so, that my husband, Jim, and I are expecting our second child, a girl, mid-August!)

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff


I started with a new doctor and have seen him twice. My thyroid TSH is higher than it has ever been at 3.77,  but he says it is within normal limits. My three sisters and mother all have hyperthyroidism. I have all the symptoms you have mentioned and many more signs including, just today, being diagnosed with osteopenia. I have suffered for 12 years and am a 66 yo female.  I was diagnosed the past 8 years with fibromyalgia (among other overlapping disorders)  until recently I I had the FM/a test done.  They ran it through twice and both times it was negative. So now I learn I do not have it. Anyway I could go on and on, but I am wondering how I can find a functional medicine doctor to help me.  I live in northeastern MN, zipcode 55792. Thank you so much for your time, Barbara 

Barbara, our go-to resource for finding a functional medicine doctor is through the Institute for Functional Medicine’s directory: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117

Great article!  Thanks for sharing this personal story.  I love reading how food has changed peoples lives in a positive way!  I can't learn enough about autoimmune disorders and how nutrition can positively or negatively impact it. 

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