A Natural Approach to Thyroid Health by Dr. Andrea Hillstad

Dr. Andrea Hillstad

Dr. Andrea Hillstad is a Naturopathic Doctor, practicing in West Fargo, ND and Pelican Rapids, MN. Dr. Andrea was born and raised in the Fargo/Moorhead area. She received her bachelor’s in biology from Minnesota State University Moorhead. From there she went on to complete her medical degree at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Andrea specializes in digestive disorders, auto-immunity, detoxification and family practice.

There are numerous people with thyroid disorders today. It seems that everywhere I turn I run into someone who says they’re on thyroid medication. Maybe you’re one of those people or know someone who is. On the flip side, maybe you’re one of the many people I come across who have all the symptoms of low thyroid (fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair, constipation), but they were told their blood test came back normal. This is because your doctor is only looking at one hormone, your TSH, and not the whole picture. This is where a Naturopathic Doctor can really help.

For the thyroid and all its hormones to function properly, many things need to be in place in order for that to happen. Quick biology lesson. The TSH your doctor is testing stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and it is made in the Pituitary. The TSH tells the thyroid to make T4. In order to do this, the thyroid needs ample supply of Iodine and Tyrosine (an amino acid founds in proteins). T4 then goes out into circulation and converts to T3, the most active thyroid hormone. In order for this to happen properly, the body needs the mineral selenium. Other essential nutrients needed include zinc, vitamins A, B12, C and E. Continue reading

Bye Bye Water Jugs – Hello Filtered Water from Home Again

After switching our drinking and cooking water from our own filtered water at home to store bought bottled water, we are once again making a change back to our own home’s filtered drinking water. We were surprised at the processing of bottled water and quickly made the change.

Water from our own well tasted slightly like rotten eggs at times and left rust in the washer and shower so we figured that was not good for us. Plus we softened our water with salt pellets which made us wonder if it gave us elevated salt levels. Nevertheless we started buying seemingly harmless water in gallon jugs at the store. For my family of four plus our dog, I was buying about six to eight gallons a week. Even if I was buying natural spring bottled water it was still a problem. Continue reading

Chia Seed Pudding – Great Dessert

I love to invent recipes and this week’s recipe is one of my favorites. I had to actually stop making it. 🙂 Although it is healthier I would eat spoonful after spoonful after spoonful and say wow that is so good after each bite (LOL). Needless to say I needed a break from my favorite treat.

This pudding to also a great way to use up any raw milk that is about to turn into yogurt. That is one of the many benefits to raw milk. It does not spoil. It just morphs. 🙂

The formula to make chia seed pudding is 3 parts milk to 1 part chia, plus any flavorings you want to add. But I do have a written recipe for you too.

3 cups chia seeds organic
1 cup raw milk grass fed
1/2 cup cane sugar organic
1 T. Cinnamon organic
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Whisk all ingredients together. Stir occasionally before leaving it in the fridge overnight for chia to absorb all the milk.

Fast Food No More – Grocery Store Run Instead

We did it! When we were out running errands with our kids and everyone was hungry, we chose not to go to a fast food restaurant! Yeah!!! We picked out fast foods from our local grocery store deli instead. That was a big victory for us. We broke from our old mind set to just get fast food because the fear of not getting food quick enough.

In our old life we didn’t think twice about going and eating anything we wanted from fast food which included three refills of soda. I know! Right! But this time was different. We had in the back of our minds all the miserable problems we would feel tomorrow from eating wheat, sugar, grease, and processed cheese made us second guess getting it.

My husband and I were discussing which fast food restaurant to go to. What place were we in the mood for. The kids were also voicing there picks. I quietly said what if we don’t go there. We debated a bit and my husband made the decision that he could do without the bloating later that night and the next day from a quick burger. Yeah!! I was so excited. We were actually doing this. We were actually going to shop for our supper instead.

At the grocery store we got a satisfying big snack that actually filled us all up full. We felt happier and satisfied for our choice. We felt a victory for finally turning away from the pull to just get fast food.

No, it wasn’t perfect. Yes we picked foods that eventually we will have to weed out of our life. But for that day that time we chose right and healthier.

Here is what my family picked:

Deviled Eggs were our favorite. We should have bought more of them. Creamy and very filling. This was great for my husband who is doing more of a ketogenic diet. The higher the fat content the better.

Sausage and cheese tray. This may be a bit controversial for how processed it is but it was going to satisfy us. Also it saved us from mindlessly going to a restaurant for equally bad choices. Remember don’t feel quilt for making small changes now that will add up to permanent changes.

Dessert was a natural chocolate bar. Each person was surprisingly satisfied with about three squares of chocolate.

Our drink was a Synergy kombuncha drink that was shared too. Our kids are used to having less sweet drinks. This kombuncha is still a bit too vinegar tasting for them but they drank it.

I let the kids have a small bread roll to make a sandwich with their sausage and cheese. Cringe! They would have had a hamburger bun if we stopped for fast food. I just wanted them to get used to this new lifestyle change.

Big changes! We did it. In a pinch we could be very satisfied shopping for fast food at the grocery store. 🙂

Tuna Lettuce Wraps – Quick Summer Lunch

My son is a meat eater. Tuna is certainly on his list of must haves for lunch. It is so quick. Also I can hide many herbs and other healthy additions in it.

Our favorite tuna for taste is Wild Planet from Costco. While I am there I grab these cute and tiny romaine lettuce leaves to wrap them up.


This tuna salad mixture is just one of my famous “throw the cupboard doors open and just start adding every spice and oil that will taste good together” recipes. 🙂 But I can tell you what I had on hand to add.

1 can tuna
1/4 c. Raw organic grass fed cream (oh yah baby!)
1 T. Dill organic
1 T. Nutritional yeast
1 T. Chives organic
1/2 t. Black Himalayan salt
1/2 t. Chili powder organic
1 t. Parsley organic
1 t. Dulse
Pinch of Black pepper
1/4 t. Lemon juice organic
1 T. Olive oil (Bellucci Tuscano organic)

Mix it all together. Stack up four lettuce leaves or more to get as many greens in them. Add the tuna salad. Enjoy!

Broccoli Soup – Quick Lunch

Yum! My husband said it had a good flavor. Cool! I wrote down this recipe so you could see what I added to today’s soup. Most times I just follow the formula of stock/broccoli/spices as my recipe. The seasonings are up to you. I always wing it. I open up my cupboard and add all the spices that might taste good in that soup. LOL yes it is that simple for me. 🙂 Here is my recipe:
16 oz. of broccoli florets (That is half a bag from Sam’s Club. $4 a bag, crazy cheap. This is about all that will fit in my Dutch oven soup pot.)

(2) boxes of stock (I used one beef stock and one chicken stock. Organic from Costco is my favorite.)

4 garlic cloves (Don’t worry about the kids because I use an emersion blender to blend it all smooth.)

2 t. Onion powder

1/4 c. Chives

2 t. Black Himalayan salt

1/2 c. Tomato paste

1/4 c. Nutritional yeast

1/4 c. Dulse (a seaweed for iodine)

1/3 c. Raw milk (This gets added when I am ready to serve up the soup. I fill each mug 1/3 full of raw milk, whisk with a fork to smooth out any lumps, and then fill the remaining 2/3 of the mug full with soup.)

Simmer this until a knife can easily pierce one of the thicker broccoli stems. Use an emersion blender to make it smooth. Add the raw milk to each mug. Done. So easy! So healthy! Enjoy!

Kid’s Quick Lunch – Our Fast Food

We are usually rushing out the door to get activities.  To get there in time I try to have fast foods ready to  pull out of the fridge.  These days those “fast foods” are looking and tasting  very different.

In our old life, before getting serious about what my family eats, we wouldn’t think twice about stopping at a fast food restaurant first. We loved it so much.  Today my kids like their new fast food choices that we keep stocked in our fridge for a quick lunch, snack, or midnight snack.      Continue reading