I had the incredible pleasure of interviewing Sue Peters, an inspirational woman who is very knowledgeable about nutrition. Sue Peters is a woman who was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with both of her kids. After her pregnancies, she was pushed by doctors to take medication for her diabetes. She took it for a while but it was making her feel worse. It made her wonder why, so she started doing her own research. 15 years of research! Along the way, she developed high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, IBS, depression, and anxiety. These issues became full-blown in 2015 where the doctors changed her medication every 3 months for 3 years and nothing was helping.
She felt she was getting worse. As she was doing her own research she looked at her gut health, nutrition, and fitness. This is how she got into Beach Body. The program gave her the tools to help her find balance in her life. After 6 months of cleaning up her nutrition with balance and becoming active, she was able to go off the medications! The program helped her so much that she is now a Beach Body coach! She has a large social media platform, 16,000+ followers, with an online course and a nutrition master pack that help women become knowledgeable about nutrition and fitness when it comes to hypothyroidism and Hashimotos.
Nutrition and Habits
Wellness With Ash: What's your take on nutrition and habits? How do you think they tie together?
Sue Peters: They tie together in some really massive ways. It's mind-blowing when you look at all of the little pieces. Literally, the leading cause of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's can be connected to food in some way, shape, or form. Whether it's nutrient deficiencies, your gut health, liver health, stomach acid. Every single one of them can be a root cause of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's. Eating too much sugar can lead to nutrient deficiencies and low vitamin D can lead to calcium deficiency. When you're getting into a calcium deficiency, now you're starting to affect the liver. The liver can start to push calcium and vitamin D out of your body and that can interact with your parathyroid glands, which are the ones that regulate your calcium. A lot of people look at our thyroid gland and they think it's just this tiny little gland in our neck that's pumping out a hormone. And that couldn't be further from the truth because everything starts in the brain. Your brain is where you get the signal and your hypothalamus is saying, Hey, we are short on the hormone.
Your hypothalamus then has to talk to the pituitary gland to say, Hey, tell the thyroid that we need hormone, then your pituitary gland talks to the thyroid. And then once the thyroid creates the hormone, your body's got to convert it, find it, and use it. So it's like there's so much more to the puzzle than just your little thyroid glands pumping out this hormone. And I want to first preface by saying I'm not knocking down the keto or low carb environment because it has its place in the world, 100%, but for hypothyroid people, it can actually tank your T3 hormone and create some really awful symptoms. It can be a good jump start in building some different habits and eliminating certain foods and things like that, but not as a long term lifestyle overall. It's just not great for our hormones. That's just speaking to people who have hypothyroidism.
How Nutrition Connects to Thyroid Health
Wellness With Ash: What are some specific foods and how do they connect to the thyroid?
Sue Peters: I find that when I talk to a lot of women, they pretty much always tell me they're nutrient deficient. And one of the most common ones is vitamin D. And what a lot of people don't realize is that there are two other ones that kind of work in tandem. That's iodine and selenium. So literally your thyroid cannot even function without iodine. So first of all, if you're not eating a diet that has adequate iodine, then there's a good chance that you can be deficient in iodine, which basically prevents your thyroid from even working in the first place.
Selenium helps to activate the iodine. So if you're not getting enough selenium, then you might not actually be activating the iodine that your thyroid needs. There is a subset of foods that are really healthy foods. They contain a natural chemical compound. It's not dangerous. It's not poisonous. It's just a natural chemical compound that competes with iodine. So if you're eating a ton of these foods and getting too much of this chemical, now you're blocking your thyroid from even absorbing iodine that you might even have. We're talking broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peanuts, strawberries, flaxseed. It's not that you have to eliminate those. But if you are someone who is hypothyroid or on the bubble of throwing your hormones off, then you have a very good chance of slowing down your thyroid gland. If you love those vegetables, just lightly cook them because when you cook them, it helps reduce down that chemical compound.
My second suggestion is to have no more than 2-3 servings of these foods a day. So if you have raw broccoli and cauliflower for lunch, don't come home and have strawberries or peanut butter. Save it for the next day. One thing that most people don't realize is that people assume that hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's is genetic and they assume that they have it because my mom has it or my grandma has it or it's in my genes. To me, this just means you are predisposed. It means that you are susceptible to getting it, but it doesn't mean you're going to get it. Sometimes you still must trigger the action to happen. That's why those connections to food are so important because all of these different areas that are connected to food can trigger that hypothyroidism that you are susceptible to.
Importance of Magnesium
Wellness With Ash: I found you through searching for people who take the calm magnesium powder. What benefits have you noticed from taking it?
Sue Peters: I would say more than anything, my sleep. I feel rested. Magnesium is probably the second most common deficiency of hypothyroidism. Essentially anybody that's reading your blog, if they struggle with sleep, need magnesium. It's also really good for gut health. It's important for thyroid health as well for the process of creating your hormones. Every cell of the body needs magnesium. It's one that's really important to our overall health. My sleep is night and day difference since taking it and I've been using it for a long time, even before I knew it was connected to hypothyroidism.
Insomnia and difficulty sleeping is some of the common symptoms that we get as hypo women. That's always one of the first things I tell people is you need magnesium. Just go get some, try it. I personally don't like using the pill form. Unfortunately, there's a ton of studies out there on the supplement and pill forms that show that a lot of these typical brands that you find at the store do not have the dose that they claim on the bottle. Calm Magnesium powder goes through third-party testing.
Recommended Habit for Overwhelmed People
Wellness With Ash: What's the first step or habit that you would recommend to somebody to start who are feeling overwhelmed with all the things that they have to do?
Sue Peters: I would say they have to sit down and really be intentional. They have to evaluate their priorities, evaluate what it is that they can say no to? It's okay to say no. If you just simply don't have the time or the ability, it's okay to say no. But they have to really set the plan and set the intention. And I think that's what it comes down to because we all get the same 24 hours in a day. We have to decide how we're going to use those 24 hours and if we start becoming intentional about what it is that we want to do, it helps to become a little bit more organized and a little bit more structured with what you're doing. And you know, at times it feels like mass chaos.
Before I started coaching, I was working 70 hours a week at a mortgage company. I worked in the office, I brought work home with me, it's all I did. By the time, the kids went to bed, I was done. I thought I didn't have time to take care of myself. It got to the point where I had to have a conversation with myself. I had to start being intentional and I had to start prioritizing better. It's a habit you have to begin to build and it's a discipline that you have to put in place.
If it means making a list and prioritizing, then that's what you do. If it means having a book and a calendar of every single task of what needs to be done, then that's what it means. If it means a written plan on what foods you're going to be eating at every single meal, then that's what that means. But it means being intentional with what you're going to do with your time. And it means being disciplined as it continues on until it simply becomes a habit over time. What are the priorities? What can I say no to, to clear off my plate a little bit, and how am I going to be intentional every single day with my time? The moment you quit is the moment you have to start over. If you stick with it and stay with it, those disciplines become habits and habits become your goals, and then you can create bigger goals and keep going and moving forward.
Wellness With Ash: What is one habit that you have not been able to break?
Sue Peters: I would probably have to say dark chocolate after I eat. It's one of those foods where your body can think that it's an invader when it's not, like gluten. One of the big reasons why we need to have gluten out of our day, but there's a lot of different foods that mimic gluten or the body thinks that that's what it is and it's not. And chocolate is one of those.
Wellness With Ash: Speaking of sugar, what's your take on your erythritol? What's your take on those kinds of sugars?
Sue Peters: I think Stevia, honey, and erythritol are probably the best replacements. I do use Stevia anytime I need to have something sweetened. The one thing with erythritol is a lot of people can get some digestive issues from them and get diarrhea and that kind of thing. If they're not used to it I would say start really small and work your way up a little. But other than that, I think it's fine. I haven't uncovered anything that's dangerous about it. And the artificial sweeteners like your Splendas, those are a no, no. The thing is, when you are hypothyroid, your blood sugars are naturally unstable. So if your blood sugars are unstable it affects your thyroid functions. and it becomes that much harder for us to stay away from craving. That's why it's important for us to stay balanced with our nutrition. And it's hard. I mean it's definitely hard, but you can tell when you get to that point where your blood sugars are balanced, you feel different, you're satisfied when you eat. There are several golden rules but I would say one of the biggest keys to balancing blood sugars is balanced nutrition. It goes along with what I call the golden rule with sugar is if you're going to eat something that's very carby or if it's a birthday and you're going to have a cookie or a piece of cake, don't eat it by itself.
Never ever, ever have carbs on their own. You always want to balance it with a form of protein and healthy fat if you can. But protein, ideally, because that slows down the spike of your blood sugars and when you can stabilize those blood sugars, it really helps someone defeat those cravings. It takes about 5-7 days to balance your blood sugars. So once you become disciplined and don't go down the craving cycle, 5-7 days.
Balancing it out, a sweet with a protein, I still get to enjoy my life. I still get to eat sweets. I'm just doing it in a balanced and smarter way so I don't go down the cravings cycle all because I had a piece of cake at a birthday party.
Wellness With Ash: If you were only allowed to add one more positive habit to your daily lifestyle, what would it be?
Sue Peters: I would probably say a form of meditation. It's not something that I do like, I don't do it intentionally. I'll do it in the sense of sitting there. So I'll stop and kind of sit there and breathe and close my eyes and just kind of think for 10 or 15 minutes or whatever. But it's not something that's scheduled in my day like I have gratitude, my goal setting, and personal development scheduled in my day.
But it's not something where this is my corner where I sit down and I just literally sit there and close my eyes and think. I don't do that. So if I were to add one more positive thing, it would be a form of meditation. Being intentional about it. Having a special spot with a special process.
How Do You Help Others
Wellness With Ash: What do you help people with specifically?
Sue Peters: I help with a combination of things, but primarily, nutrition and fitness. I love being able to help women who have hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, see the connections that food has, to help them put things in motion, put all that in place, and to help them ultimately just build a thyroid healthy lifestyle. This includes a combination of nutrition, fitness, and mindset. This isn't a short term fix.
This isn't something I want you to do for 30 days. I want you to come in and I want you to have that mindset of we are focusing on the healthy forever lifestyle. Whether it's losing weight, getting your nutrition on track, learning the concepts of nutrition, or learning the foods that are poisonous to your body personally. I help women uncover these, essentially becoming an investigator for their own health, building a solid foundation for a healthy long-term lifestyle.
Looking for Answers?
Go check out Sue Peters and follow her right now! She's inspirational, she's knowledgeable and she's funny! If you are struggling with balancing out your hormones, are struggling with Hashimoto's, need answers for your nutrition, and how it all ties together or need help kicking sugar in the butt... she's your woman! You can find her in many places; Instagram, Facebook, and her main website.
Nutrition master pack: www.healthythyroidliving.com/hypothyroid-nutrition-master-pack
Your Certified Brain Health Coach,
Owner of SustainaBRAIN