The Healing Kitchen Review and Giveaway

Note: In this post, you will find a link to a product that I recommend. These links are called “affiliate links.” These affiliate links may provide me with compensation for my endorsement of the product. Please know that I only endorse what I personally believe in. All compensation helps offset the costs of maintaining freethoughtfarm.com. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link on my blog, your out-of-pocket cost will not change – and you will support this blog!


Update: A giveaway winner was chosen using random.org. The winner is Kyta Willets! Thank you all for entering and for sharing your stories of kindness. I enjoyed reading them and was inspired by all of them.

 

Hey, errybody! It’s been a grand five months since I last posted. I’ve been quite interested in off-screen activities, so blogging has not been happening. Today, though, I wanted to do a brief review and giveaway of a new Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) cookbook called The Healing Kitchen: 175+ Quick & Easy Paleo Recipes to Help You Thrive by Sarah Ballantyne and Alaena Haber. You know what I love about AIP? Two things: the focus on nutritional density AND that it is the mother of all elimination diets! For years, I’ve been all about eating real food, and a few years ago when I found that I was reacting to a number of foods, AIP helped me begin to get a handle on what I was reacting to and what I was not. It has been incredibly helpful in my pursuit of improved health. On to the review and giveaway info!

The Healing Kitchen includes more than 175 whole food recipes. The recipes are simple, easy to follow and use ingredients that are commonly found at most grocery stores. If you’re into meal planning, this book has got you covered! You’ll find 12 one-week meal plans with shopping lists AND companion cooking videos, as well. Preceding all that content, you’ll find a wealth of information about AIP.

OK, y’all ready for a recipe preview from The Healing Kitchen?

THE HEALING KITCHEN 1000-222&223spread

 

Beautiful, right? I love me some real, whole foods.

Would you like to own a copy of The Healing Kitchen? I’m giving one away! Do something kind for someone and comment about it on this post. The giveaway will end at midnight, CST, on Thursday, December 17th, 2015 and a cookbook winner will be randomly selected and announced by the end of the week. Only commenters who live in the United States will be entered into the giveaway – I just can’t afford international book shipping. Sorry, y’all! Now, go do kind things and tell me about them!

Updates at Freethought Farm

In my previous post, I figured I’d probably be blogging about every month or so, and here we are about a month later. Lots has changed where I live, here at Freethought Farm, and my AIP lifestyle factors are being met in spades.

My husband finished fencing the pasture and, shortly after, we stocked it with four goats. Next, about a week or so later, came 19 sheep. The sheep rancher we worked with also had a miniature donkey in his herd. My son and I thought that guy was pretty adorable, and what do you know… a couple weeks later, we brought home two miniature donkeys from an equine rescue up the road. They serve as the ambASSadors of Freethought Farm.

Our four goats are Boer crosses, which means they are considered “meat goats.” Three are females, who we will likely breed in the future. The lone male will be butchered. His name is Cabrito (which technically means he should’ve been butchered about a month ago, but that’s ok). Cabrito’s mother, Dottie (pictured), has quite a large udder and the possibility for milking her may be there if I find that I tolerate goat milk. I plan to test that sometime soon!Dottie

Our sheep are called “hair sheep” and look quite different than the wooled sheep most people know. Hair sheep shed their coats naturally and when this happens, they look an awful lot like goats. The breed of hair sheep we have are Painted Desert. Our ladies are mostly black and white, as their previous owner had been selecting for that appearance over several years of breeding. Some of them look pretty similar to Holstein cows with their coloring and slicked off coats.painted desert sheep

Our ambASSadors are three-year-old sisters who had been living at a rescue for about nine months. Upon meeting them, we fell in love and adopted them on the spot. They were quite rotund and after a final vet visit at the rescue, we learned that they are both pregnant. The gestation period for mini donks ranges from 11 to 13 months, so we are due for some super small cuties here pretty soon.Ali feeding donks

My garden is growing well, thanks to the break in our Oklahoma drought this spring. So far, I have enjoyed varied lettuces, bok choy, radishes, strawberries, rainbow chard, and kale. The chard and kale are still growing strong and the potatoes (I’ve been able to reintroduce them successfully!) and onions are ready for picking now. Grapes (pictured), blackberries, and pole beans (I do well with green beans.), are growing nicely. And, the herbs are right out the side door for handy picking at meal time – chives, oregano, cilantro, and my favorite: basil!grapes

In addition to all this plant and animal goodness, we’ve added a klassy (yes, with a “k”) above ground pool to our driveway for the summer. It’s big enough for me to float on a raft (with kombucha in the cupholder!) and read old cooking magazines I found at a resale shop. I like to think of ways to reinvent recipes to make them AIP. Trouble is, I’m pretty bad at executing that kind of thing, which is why I have a dearth of recipes on my blog. I’m working on it, though!

I’ve attempted a handful of reintros lately and learned that almonds and coconut milk are still big fat NOs for me. With MCAS, in the past, I had to be very conscious of the histamine content of foods, but now I continue to successfully add high histamine foods in moderate amounts. Lately, I have been loving kombucha and sauerkraut. Soon, I will start home brewing kombucha and I’m pretty damn excited about that.

I’m continuing to work with my PA on finding an optimal thyroid hormone replacement dose. I think we’re close. My fatigue and several other symptoms have been in quite a state of flux the past several months, so I’m enjoying the good times and making the most of the bad.

 

 

 

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle – Ends May 25th

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle:

An Amazing Resource Available Only Until May 25th!

AIPbundle1

I am so excited to share this amazing deal with you! The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle contains 45 e-books (worth over $500) and 26 discount codes all for just $39! But hurry, it’s only on sale until May 25th!

If you aren’t familiar with e-book bundles, they typically include a variety of e-books as well as discount codes, all for a huge discount and sold for a limited time. Not all bundles are a good deal and I only support those few that provide a large variety of the best-quality resources for a truly amazing deal–and the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle definitely delivers!

This is the very first bundle to focus on exclusively autoimmune protocol-friendly resources! And it contains all of them! Yes, every single AIP e-book ever created–including cookbooks, meal plans, and guides–are included in this bundle! Even better, this bundle is full of lifestyle guides to help you tackle all the other stuff too, like stress management, sleep, body image, and movement. Need help troubleshooting the autoimmune protocol? Then you’ll love the collection of included e-books that takes you beyond the basics to help you hone in on root issues and regain your health. Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, autoimmune expert and author of The Paleo Approach has personally vetted every single resource included in this bundle. The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle is quite simply the best AIP resource on the planet! And it’s only available until Monday! Check out all the details here.

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle features 45 e-books and 26 discount codes for just $39. That is over 92% off what you would pay if you bought each e-book separately! Plus, you could save hundreds more dollars by taking advantage of the coupon codes!

Included in this bundle:

  • 15 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $188)
  • 15 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $207)
  • 15 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $136)
  • 9 Brand-new e-books
  • Best of AIP Cookbook, exclusive to this bundle!
  • 26 Discount Codes for AIP-friendly vendors and products

And, it’s only available for six days! Yes, this amazing sale ends on Monday May 25, so go grab it right now!

And if you buy it right now you are automatically entered to win a new giveaway every single day remaining in this sale! That’s six amazing giveaways if you buy it right now, each with fabulous prizes including two chances to win a Kindle Fire HD and the grand prize of an All-Expense Paid Trip for Two to Paleo F(x) 2016 worth $2600! Act now for the best chances to win! Every giveaway is international and no restrictions apply! No purchase necessary. Click here for more details.

Even if you don’t follow the autoimmune protocol, you will love the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle! The cookbooks included are filled with delicious recipes that everyone will enjoy and the majority of the additional resources are useful no matter who you are!

As if a great collection of e-books wasn’t enough, the bundle also includes exclusive discount codes from all my favorite companies and authors that make AIP-compliant foods, products, and programs! In addition to getting 45 e-books for only 87¢ each, you could save hundreds more dollars by taking advantage of these coupons! The potential value of these discounts and coupon codes hasn’t even been added to the advertised value of the bundle! But you could easily recoup the entire cost of the bundle just by using one or two of these coupons!

This bundle is also your first opportunity to purchase NINE brand-new e-books! Yes, 9 e-books were created specifically for The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle! What an opportunity to be the first to get your hands on these new resources for a price that just can’t be beat! This includes the Best of AIP Cookbook, a NEW e-book that can only be found as part of this bundle! Created by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, the Best of AIP Cookbook contains over 160 recipes from the best autoimmune chefs in the community! It’s a fantastic book and you can only get it here!

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle is an entirely digital product, which means you can get instant access by purchasing it right now! It’s compatible with your computer, tablet and smartphone! (Instructions are at the bottom of the bundle website if you need them.)

Now you see why I’m so excited about this bundle!

Wait! How can you offer so many resources at such a steep discount?

E-book bundles typically include a variety of e-books and other digital resources sold for a price far lower than what you would pay for each e-book individually. How does this work? There’s two major incentives for authors to donate their e-books to bundles: expanding their audience and affiliate commissions. Chances are good that you won’t be familiar with every e-book included in a bundle sale. This is what’s in it for the authors: the large number of people who look at their e-books (but normally wouldn’t have) and become new fans. When bundles have a strong theme like this one, this advantage goes both ways: you are the perfect target audience for the e-book contributors and they are great resources for you! Contributing authors also become affiliates for the bundle so there’s still a mechanism for financial compensation for the hard work they put in to creating a great resource.

Bundles also typically contain discount codes. Again, this is what’s in it for the companies: you might try out a new product and become a new regular shopper. Because bundles are such great deals, the excitement is very high, sales tend to be fantastic, and this amounts to substantial exposure to new markets. And hopefully, the huge range of discounts included in this bundle will alert you to some great AIP products you didn’t know about yet!

This model only works when bundles are very thoughtfully organized, provide unique and high quality content, and are sold for a very limited time. The excitement over a legitimately amazing deal means lots of sales and lots exposure for the contributors. When bundle sales last too long or when there’s too many very similar bundle sales to choose from or when the advertising for a bundle includes overinflated values, then the excitement fades and so do the benefits to the contributors. The organizers of the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle are fully honoring the contributions from so many authors and vendors by doing this right! That’s why this bundle was so carefully crafted and is only available until May 25th!

Bundle Details

When I’m trying to decide on whether to buy a bundle, I look at which books I would enjoy, total up the value, and then see if that’s more than the cost of the bundle (then I treat everything else as a bonus). I mean, it’s great that this bundle includes 45 e-books and is being sold at a 92% savings, but that doesn’t really mean anything if there’s only two books in the whole bundle that I’m interested in! So, here’s the nitty gritty of what’s in this bundle. Have a look and see if this bundle would be a great resource for you.

Here’s what’s included in this bundle:

15 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $192)

  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott ($17 value)
  • The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook by Angie Alt ($17 value)
  • 85 Amazing AIP Breakfast Recipes by Eileen Laird ($13 value)
  • *The Best of AIP Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne ($25 value)
  • The He Won’t Know It’s Paleo Cookbook by Bre’anna Emmitt ($15 value)
  • The AIP Paleo Cajun Cookbook by Tara Perillo ($10 value)
  • We Can All Scream for Ice Cream by Jennifer Robins and Vivian Cheng ($10 value)
  • Butter Your Broth, the AIP Version by Kiersten Peterson ($6 value)
  • The Paleo Approach Dinner Club by Sarah Ballantyne ($17 value)
  • AIP Paleo Snacks and Quick Lunches by Jo Romero ($7 value)
  • 28 Days of AIP by Christina Feindel ($7 value)
  • 28 Days of Low-FODMAP AIP by Christina Feindel ($10 value)
  • Holiday Feast (AIP Edition) by Cassandra Garcia ($10 value)
  • *The Paleo Approach Quick-Start Guide by Sarah Ballantyne ($18 value)
  • The FODMAP Free Paleo Breakthrough by Anne Angelone ($10 value)

15 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $202)

  • The Primal Connection by Mark Sisson ($10 value)
  • *Go to Bed by Christina Feindel and Sarah Ballantyne ($17 value)
  • *Accessible Workouts by Peter Hirsh ($10 value)
  • Stress Solutions by Evan Brand ($27 value)
  • *Relax by Michele Spring ($15 value)
  • Healing, Humor, and Hashimoto’s (excerpt) by Stacey Robbins ($5 value)
  • 30 Days of Prayer: Healing Autoimmunity for Women by Ruschelle Khanna ($5 value)
  • My Butter Life Personal Care by Renee from Hard Lotion ($5 value)
  • REM Rehab by Evan Brand ($29 value)
  • Yoga for the Everyday Flow of Life by RX Yoga ($12 value)
  • How To Biohack the Ultimate Healthy Home by Ben Greenfield ($6 value)
  • Getting Started with Your Vegetable Garden (Excerpt from “The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook”) by Diana Rogers ($7 value)
  • The Paleo Miracle 2 by Joe Salama ($10 value)
  • *21 Step Body Image Remix Excerpt by Summer Inannen ($39 value)
  • Stretchsitting (Excerpt from “10 Steps To A Pain-Free Back”) by Esther Gokhale ($5 value)

15 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $132)

  • The Autoimmune Paleo Breakthrough by Anne Angelone ($10 value)
  • *Essays from 2014 by Terry Wahls ($10 value)
  • *The Paleo Approach Reintroduction Guide by Sarah Ballantyne ($13 value)
  • Biohacking Autoimmune DIY by Petra Chambers-Sinclair ($9 value)
  • Birth Control Unlocked by Stefani Ruper ($9 value)
  • How To Interpret Your Lab Tests for Optimal Levels by Jamie Koonce ($20 value)
  • Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol by Eileen Laird ($9 value)
  • *Fantastic Fiber by Sarah Ballantyne ($15 value)
  • Brain Health and Stress (excerpt from Why Isn’t My Brain Working?) by Datis Kharrazian ($5 value)
  • The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Foods to Include and Eliminate by Anne Angelone ($5 value)
  • The 10-Day Paleo Transition by Anne Angelone ($5 value)
  • The Causes of Autoimmune Disease (Excerpt from “The Paleo Approach”) by Sarah Ballantyne ($5 value)
  • Quit PMS by Lauren Geertsen ($9 value)
  • Overcoming Hashimoto’s Fatigue by Izabella Wentz ($5 value)
  • Why Hormones Matter (Excerpt from The Hormone Cure) by Sara Gottfried ($5 value)

*Books released exclusively with this bundle! Yes, there are nine e-books launching with this bundle!

The Best of AIP Cookbook was created exclusively for this bundle! Enjoy an amazing diversity of exquisite flavors while you embark on the autoimmune protocol with this NEW resource, only available here! With contributions from more than 30 leading Paleo and AIP bloggers and authors, this cookbook includes the best of the best 100% AIP recipes! Fill your plate with flavor and enjoy every bite on the road to better health! This 193-page e-book includes: a summary of the autoimmune protocol, and over 160 Best Of recipes, all 100% strict AIP!

Want to know more details about the included books? Simply go to the bundle website and click on any book image for a full description!

Now, you can see why this bundle isn’t just for those with autoimmune disease! Even just a quick glance at the resources included is enough to know that this bundle is filled with amazing resources that everyone will enjoy!

Exclusive Discounts and Coupon Codes

To give you even more value and support for your health journey, The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle also includes discount codes for 26 discount codes for AIP-friendly vendors and products!

Because the bundle organizers don’t want to assume that you’ll use every coupon code, the huge amount of money you could save by taking advantage of these discounts hasn’t even been calculated into the value of the bundle! That’s right! The bundle is worth over $500 NOT including the coupons and discount codes!

This is another way that I determine if a bundle is a good deal for me. I see whether any of the included discount codes and coupons are for products I normally buy or have been meaning to buy. If a good coupon (or two or three) will save me the cost of the bundle just by purchasing items I would have anyway, then I get to look at all the included e-books and other discount codes as a bonus!

It’s fantastic to see so many discounts and coupons for AIP-friendly products, services and programs!

Discounts and Coupon Codes

  • AIP Batch Cook $20 off
  • Bare Bones 10% off
  • Barefoot Provisions 10% off
  • Ben Greenfield Fitness Systems 10% off
  • Chrisal 30% off select products
  • Delicious Obsessions 10% off
  • Dr Ron’s 10% off
  • Fatworks 20% off
  • Footloose and Chairfree 5% off
  • Gokhale Method 15% off regularly priced items (excluding chair)
  • Kasandrinos 15% off
  • Klio Tea 10% off
  • Kombucha Kamp Free gift with purchase
  • Morrocco Method Free gift with purchase
  • One Stop Paleo Shop 10% off
  • Paleo on the go $20 off
  • Pete’s Paleo $10 off
  • Primal Life Organics Starter package for $49
  • SAD to AIP in 6 Weeks $20 off
  • Step and Go 10% off
  • Clear.Heal $100 off
  • The Eczema Company 10% off
  • ThePaleoMom Consulting $25 off
  • US Wellness Meats 15% off
  • Vital Proteins/Corey 20% off + free shipping
  • Wild Zora 10% off

Daily Giveaways!

AIPgiveaway

Another reason to act now? As if the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle wasn’t enticing enough, if you buy it right now you are automatically entered to win a new giveaway every single day remaining in this sale! That’s six amazing giveaways that you’ll be entered in if you buy the bundle right now, each with amazing prizes including two chances to win a Kindle Fire HD and the grand prize of an All-Expense Paid Trip for Two to Paleo F(x) 2016 worth $2600!

Every giveaway is international and no restrictions apply! Yes, you can enter this giveaway from anywhere in the world! And the prizes will be shipped anywhere!

Here’s the details of what’s being given away each day of this amazing bundle sale:

May 20: Kindle Fire HD 7 16GB ($160 Value)

May 21: $200USD Amazon Gift Certificate (winner may choose which country’s amazon site)

May 22: AIP Print Library ($260 Value), includes physical copies of:

  • The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
  • The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
  • The Wahls Protocol by Terry Wahls, MD
  • The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers, MD
  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott, NTP
  • Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook by Angie Alt
  • Nourish by Rachael Bryant
  • He Won’t Know It’s Paleo by Bre’anna Emmitt

May 23: Kindle Fire HD 9 32GB ($400 Value)

May 24: Two Premium Paleo F(x) 2016 tickets ($800 Value)

May 25: All-Expense Paid Trip for Two to Paleo F(x) 2016 ($2600 Value)

  • 2 premium Paleo F(x) 2016 tickets
  • 3 nights stay at a nearby hotel (shared room)
  • 2 $400-travel vouchers
  • $200 in gift certificates to local Austin restaurants
  • AIP Travel Food Gift Baskets in your hotel room when you arrive ($200 value)

The sooner you buy, the greater your chances and the more you could win! Every purchase enters you automatically for all remaining giveaway of this bundle event! Of course, no purchase is necessary. Click here for more details.

So, what are you waiting for?

Pretty amazing deal right? Probably the best part is that every single resource has been specially selected and vetted by the bundle organizers to create the highest quality bundle possible! This really is the ultimate resource for the autoimmune community or anyone looking to heal their bodies and enjoy optimal health!

This is a VERY limited time offer so go here and check out all the details and see just how much you are getting for the awesome deal of $39!

If you bought every e-book in this bundle separately, it would cost you over $500! But, it’s available for a short time for only $39! That’s 92% off the retail price!!! And that doesn’t include the hundreds of dollars you could potentially save with all the amazing discount codes! Plus, the quality of each item in this bundle is outstanding! This is a great bundle!!!

Yes, Hypothyroidism.

I haven’t been posting much over the past few months. At first, that was due to an increase in symptoms that seemed consistent with hypothyroidism. And now, it’s due to improvement in those symptoms and the ability to get off the damn couch! I figure I’ll shoot for a blog post a month for now so that I can spend less time staring at a screen and more time outdoors gardening, playing with my son, and helping my husband on our property – as well as a bit of travel!

388px-Thyroid_gland-fr.svgIn early March, I visited an endocrinologist to discuss my symptoms that seemed attributable to hypothyroidism and had a full thyroid panel done (well, everything except RT3). My TSH came back at 2.8 mIU/L, which might look fine to many healthcare providers (due to outdated lab reference ranges), but is indicative of hypothyroidism. My endo told me she typically treats symptomatic patients who have a TSH at 2 mIU/L or higher. Some information on the controversy surrounding TSH lab ranges can be found here and here.

When my lab results came back, I immediately started taking thyroid hormone replacement and have already begun to experience improvement in fatigue and mood. I’ve been able to care for my son alone for an entire week – something I have not been able to do in nearly five years. I’ve been able to travel out of town to visit family two weekends in a row. Previously, a visit or two a YEAR was doable – and afterward I’d typically have a symptom flare for a week or more. I have a long way to go, but am hopeful that the gains I’ve made with AIP combined with thyroid hormone replacement will yield ongoing and increasing improvements in my functioning.

 

Laughter

quotations_vonnegutOne of the pillars of the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) is engaging in lifestyle factors that have been scientifically shown to regulate the immune system. Published research supports the use of laughter in improving immune function across varied populations. In people with RA here. In people with GI cancer here.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to see the comedian, Maria Bamford. If you’re wondering who that is, you might remember her as the crazy shopping lady from the Target holiday commercials. Seeing her live, I laughed until I cried. Multiple times. A big part of her comedy focuses on her experience of living with and managing bipolar disorder and OCD. Funny, right? It is when she talks about it.

Check out Maria Bamford’s website and watch her 20-episode series, The Maria Bamford Show. Her stand up show, The Special Special Special, which can be seen on Netflix is stellar. She performs in her living room for an audience of two: her parents.

George-Carlin-Quotes-5 After this outstanding night of laughter I shared with my husband, I’ve been consciously seeking humor in my daily life. I’ve been reading Brain Droppings by George Carlin, one of my favorite comedians. Last Friday, we watched the new Aziz Ansari standup show on Netflix. Many laughs to be had. And, I downloaded a few FREE comedy albums by Maria Bamford and Louis C.K. through Amazon Prime. I laughed til I cried at some Louis C.K. bits while batch cooking the other day. He brought it full circle with a joke about the importance of eating real food and cutting screen time. AIP pillars FTW.

What do you do for laughs? Got a favorite comedian? I’d love to have some fresh sources to check out!

Hypothyroidism?

So, I haven’t been feeling too well lately. Like, for the past month or two. I’ve been extra fatigued, irritable, super swollen in my face and around my eyes, and more. I’ve been following AIP for over a year now – my one year anniversary was December 10th – and have been thrilled with the gains I’ve made in managing MCAS. However, my lingering symptoms are still disabling at times – and for the past couple months, those symptoms have kept me housebound about 3-4 days per week.

My most troubling symptom has always been crushing fatigue. That’s primarily what limits me and glues me to the couch. Severe fatigue can be a symptom of MCAS, no doubt about it. However, most of my other MCAS-related symptoms have improved dramatically. And, it isn’t uncommon for people with MCAS to also be diagnosed with one or more autoimmune disorders. Given these factors and a few others, in the back of my mind, I’ve been wondering about hypothyroidism for some time.

Illu08_thyroidWhat led me to consider hypothyroidism more seriously? A couple weeks ago, Sarah Ballantyne (author of The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook) wrote about her recent diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in this blog post. She also discussed it in a couple of episodes of her podcast, The Paleo View. Sarah’s discussion of her experience spurred me to look further into the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

I knew fatigue, depression, and constipation were symptoms. That was about it. What did I learn?

Turns out, nearly all of my ongoing symptoms are consistent with hypothyroidism. And, while many symptoms of chronic inflammation are common across disorders, there are some associated with hypothyroidism that I have not seen linked to MCAS. The ones I appear to have that are not associated with MCAS are dry, cracked, coarse skin; facial swelling, greatest around the eyes (edema is common in MCAS, but I’ve not seen it discussed as being concentrated in the face), carotenemia (skin turning orange in places on palms and soles), and macroglossia (enlarged tongue – mine is scalloped along the sides from where it gets compressed by my teeth). (Source)

Then, I learned that not only is it not uncommon for MCAS to be diagnosed alongside autoimmune disorders, but hypothyroidism specifically is often found in people with MCAS. (Source)

After that, I remembered that I saw an endocrinologist in January 2011 during my quest to find a diagnosis. I dug out those lab results and found that my TSH was 3.3 mIU/L at that time. I did have a few other tests done, including thyroid peroxidase antibodies, but they were all within the “normal range.” Later that year, in November, during my weeklong stay at the Mayo Clinic for POTS assessment, I had another TSH lab run. It was 4.8 mIU/L at that time.

I’ve been doing some reading on diagnosing hypothyroidism and have learned a few things. First, several labs should be run in addition to TSH to really show what’s going on with your thyroid. From what I understand, a full thyroid panel would consist of TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, and both antibodies – thyroid peroxidase (TPO Ab) and thyroglobulin (Tg Ab).

Second, the “normal range” for TSH is controversial. My endo’s upper limit was 5.1 mIU/L and the Mayo Clinic’s upper limit was 5 mIU/L. This NIH page indicates that normal values can range from 0.4 -4.0 mIU/L and that ranges can vary slightly between labs. Other data indicates that a TSH in a healthy person might be closer to 1.4 mIU/L with a possible upper limit of 2.5 mIU/L. (Source)

restI just found this guideline for treating hypothyroidism, as well. One interesting point that stuck out to me was the indication that women who are planning a pregnancy be treated if their TSH is 2.5 mIU/L or higher. Hmmm. Lots of interesting information to learn about thyroid function.

I’ve made an appointment with the endocrinologist I saw in 2011. Soonest I could get in is early March, so we shall see what the numbers show then. For now, I will continue focusing on rest, mild exercise when I can manage it, outdoor and social exposure, and nutrient density.


Note: This post contains affiliate links. Take a look here to see what that means.

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook GIVEAWAY!

Update: This giveaway ended on January 31st, 2015.

The winner was selected via random number generator at random.org. Congratulations to Alicia!

If you didn’t win, please consider purchasing The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook for yourself. It’s a great resource!


When I first started blogging back in October 2014, one day I emailed several AIP bloggers I’d been following to let them know I had started an AIP blog, too. Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Paleo was one of those bloggers.

aip cookbookThat same day, I ordered a copy of Mickey’s book, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook on amazon.com. Two days later, as I was excitedly tearing into my package, I received a kind response from Mickey, offering support for my fledgling blog and a free review copy of her cookbook. Great timing, on my part, right? Really, though, while I am ultra frugal in many ways, I was more than happy to have spent money to support Mickey’s work.

I was so impressed by The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook that I posted a review on both amazon.com (my first ever) and here on my blog. I also added it to my amazon.com store where I stock products I wholeheartedly enjoy and recommend. I love to support people who create such wonderful resources!

Mickey was also kind enough to offer a copy of her awesome cookbook for a giveaway here at Freethought Farm. And, now is the time for that giveaway!

To enter the giveaway, you’ve got two choices of what you can do: “like” Freethought Farm on Facebook or subscribe by email to my blog. You can subscribe in the sidebar (or at the bottom of the page on a mobile device). Feel free to “like” and subscribe for two giveaway entries. After you’ve entered, leave a comment on this post letting me know how you’ve entered and one entry will be randomly selected as a winner to receive a free copy of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook! Please note: this giveaway is open to United States residents only. The giveaway will end at midnight on January 31, 2015.


This post contains affiliate links. Click here to see what that means.