Jill Grunewald's picture

Functional Nutrition and Hormone Coach
Founder, Healthful Elements LLC
Minneapolis / St. Paul

Practice areas: Alopecia, Hypothyroidism / Hashimoto’s, Autoimmunity, Adrenal Dysfunction, Peri/Menopause, Digestive Health

[Photo credit: Chris Bohnhoff]

After a longer time than I want to remember of slow weight gain, little motivation for exercise, brain fog, and wanting to crawl under my desk for an afternoon nap, I started to take a hard look at what foods I was fueling my body with. I got my hands on some sound nutrition information, which was contrary to what the media was feeding us at the time. 

It was then that things turned around for me and friends and family starting coming to me for advice. After fumbling and stumbling through a short-lived career in architecture and later owning a design and manufacturing business, I headed to nutrition school to deepen my knowledge and passion for food-based medicine.

Later, in early 2008, to my surprise, I was diagnosed Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism), a scary-sounding but common (the most common) autoimmune condition. After refusing the recommended thyroid hormone replacement, my then-doctor stated with shock and raised eyebrows, “Well, you can do whatever your little heart desires.” 

I did just that. My head and heart knew that being on thyroid drugs for the rest of my life was not the answer for me and my Hashimoto’s is now in unmedicated management.

To back up about 35 years, I’ve also suffered from alopecia (autoimmune hair loss) – I’ve displayed many bald spots over the last three decades, some small, some not so small. Fortunately, they always grow back with the same texture and curl as the rest of my hair.

In immersing myself in learning the whys and wherefores of autoimmunity (including the critical role of digestive health), thyroid nourishment, adrenal dysfunction (thyroid/adrenal issues often go hand-in-hand), what it takes to signal the hair follicle to re-grow hair (the follicles aren’t “dead,” contrary to what the conventional medicine community will tell you) and learning how to manage these conditions with health-promoting foods and other natural therapies, my Hashimoto’s is managed and my bald spots rarely hang around for very long. I’m so honored to share this life-changing information with my clients and students.

I’m a 2006 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York (live program) and am a member of the Minnesota Natural Health Coalition. In 2009, I participated in Dr. Janet Lang’s Restorative Endocrinology course for healthcare practitioners and in 2013, completed Dr. Sara Gottfried’s year-long Professional Hormone Mastermind program. I’m currently enrolled in the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy program (with Laine) that’s in collaboration with the prestigious Institute for Functional Medicine. Over the years, I’ve also participated in numerous online trainings from leaders in the functional medicine community. 

There’s no doubt that holistic/functional healthcare has gone mainstream. It’s not a trend, but a movement that’s steamrolling conventional medical practice. I’m proud to be a part of this revolution.