For three years now I’ve been running this occasional series of posts geared at making anyone with autoimmune disease feel less like a freak. It’s been extraordinary… I’d say more than half of all readers here came to this blog for the AI information. Even more extraordinarily, a huge chunk of the rest of you have later developed an AI or found out a loved one had. Add to this, so many of the like-minded bloggers who I’ve got to know around the world have AI’s. I’m talking Cannelle Vanille, Glutenfreegirl, Gabby Bernstein, Clare Bowditch, DeliciouslyElla, Louniverse and many more.

As I say often, we’re a “type”. We’re earnest, ambitious, solo operators and with a drive to communicate and help. It should come as no surprise to us that our thyroids, the site of communication, presents us with challenges!

A hike and hashi chat with Mickey Trescott in Seattle
A hike and hashi chat with Mickey in Seattle

Recently, Mickey Trescott came into my orbit and we hooked up for a Paleo breakfast – and an impromptu hike! – in Seattle. She began following my blog a few years back… and now has her own site where she shares incredible, dedicated information about how to heal AI. She’s also just self-published her own cookbook, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.

I figure you all might find her personal story and her tricks for dealing with thyroid crappiness helpful. She knows her stuff. Over to you Mickey…

I’m Mickey Trescott and I write about nutrition and autoimmune disease. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and Celiac disease when I turned 26 and have spent the last three years digging myself out of the deep, dark hole that was my epic autoimmune crash. I started my journey having been vegan for a decade, and ended up on the Paleo end of the spectrum after I figured out that grains, sugar, and a lot of other elements of my diet were doing me no good. I like to take a multifaceted approach to managing autoimmunity—one that takes into account not just diet, but stress management, movement, and living a more balanced life. Here are a few of my tricks to staying healthy and happy, despite autoimmunity!

Six ways I keep my autoimmunity at bay:

1. Mini rebounding trampoline.

Those of us with Hashimoto’s know how awful it feels to have lymphatic congestion—I get it mostly in my face and neck (which is quite unattractive!). Since the lymphatic system does not have a pump, it is dependent on the movement of our bodies for circulation. Mini rebounding trampolines are great because they vigorously circulate lymph with just tenminutes of gentle bouncing. I bought one from Rebound Air and keep it in my office for “bounce breaks”. Even on days where I am not feeling up to exercising, I can manage a little bounce to get everything moving, reducing puffiness and congestion.

2. Soil-based probiotics.

Since we now know that gut issues are at the root of autoimmune disease, I do everything I can to keep my flora balanced and happy. Our digestive tracts are home to thousands of different species of bacteria, not just the few strains found in regular probiotics these days (like lactobacillus). While I eat fermented foods and have taken traditional probiotics in the past, they don’t compare to the effect that taking soil-based organisms has had on my digestion and overall health. I personally recommend Prescript Assist. To learn more about how dirt can help our guts, read here.  A low-cost alternative would be to not peel organic veggies, as well as getting your hands in the dirt regularly (gardening is a great activity to make this happen!). This way you can naturally get some of the beneficial bacteria found in the soil.

 3. Walking. 

Movement is essential, but so hard for those of us who suffer from fatigue and joint pain. I gave up my years of chronic running and cycling and have taken up walking and hiking instead. At first I hated walking because of how slow it was… but I have learned to use it as a meditation, to be present, notice my surroundings, and take in my environment. On tired days I might take a stroll down a few blocks and sit for a while in a park and on better days I might go hiking in the mountains for an all-day adventure.

Mickey's liver pate - recipe link below
Mickey’s liver pate – recipe below

 4. Eating liver and bone broth.

I consume bone broth every day, either heated and salted in a mug or incorporated into a soup or stew. This isn’t the type of broth that can be bought at the store—it has to be made from scratch, cooked for a long time to extract all of the minerals, collagen, and gelatin that are so healing to the body (my recipe here). I also include liver in my diet at least once a week—more like 2-3 times when I am not feeling my best. Liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, being a good source of hard-to-get iron, b12, and zinc, along with the fat soluble vitamins A and D and glycine. I eat it as pate (recipe below) on slices of raw carrot, cucumber, or wrapped up in a collard leaf.

Bacon Beef Liver Pate with Rosemary and Thyme

  • 6 pieces uncured bacon
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound (half a kilo) grass-fed beef liver
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • slices of fresh carrot or cucumber

Cook the bacon slices in a skillet until crispy. Set aside to cool, reserving the grease in the pan to cook the onion and liver. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes on medium-high. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the liver, sprinkling with the herbs. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until no longer pink in the centre.

Turn off the heat, and place contents into a blender or food processor with the coconut oil and sea salt. Process until it forms a thick paste, adding more coconut oil if too thick. Cut the cooled bacon strips into little bits and mix with the pate in a small bowl. Garnish with some fresh herbs and serve on carrot or cucumber slices.

 5. Earthing.

I use an earthing mat when I sleep to ground any electrical charge I might pick up during my day—which is a lot, since I live a high-tech, city lifestyle full of computers and sidewalks (all that to say I have to try to find connection with the earth, which is a pity!). There is some conjecture on whether these work; Sarah outlines things here. Personally, the earthing mat helps me sleep more deeply, and my body feels more restored when I awake. If you don’t have access to an earthing mat, any way you can get outside and touch bare skin to the earth will accomplish this task—being barefoot in your yard or a park is a great solution.

 6. Circadian rhythm balance. 

Our modern lives do not lend themselves well to being in balance with the biological clock that takes its cues from the periods of light and darkness. Artificial light, cell phones, televisions, and computer screens all omit blue light, which confuses our bodies into thinking that it is natural light and setting off our rhythms. I make a conscious effort to rise with the sun and start winding down when the sun sets. If I can’t make that happen I will wear amber-tinted glasses at night to mitigate the effects of the blue light on melatonin production. I got mine from Amazon here. This helps me get to sleep when I need to!

You can get hold of Mickey’s book here.

Have you tried any of these autoimmune tricks? Do you have anything else to add to this list? Feel free to add a comment below.

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • Sophie

    Love these posts, although I don’t have an autoimmune disease as such, my body is very quick to tell me when something isn’t right and I find all Sarah’s tips keep everything in check. A huge thanks. With the pate, could pork/chicken/duck/lamb livers be used?

    • Hi Sophie, you can use any sort of liver you like, although I enjoy it most with liver from a mammal–beef, bison, lamb are all my favorites. 🙂

      • Sophie

        Thank you, it’s on the list of things to cook up this weekend.

  • Yes, I imagine so. Mickey will probably wade in and confirm.

  • Sarah, you are exactly right! When I was diagnosed with Hashi’s about 2 years ago I was desperate to find someone out there who also had the disease and who I could identify with – and I found you! And it was a huge relief at what was a tricky time.

    Through this website I also found other “normal” people (like Mickey) with Hashi’s and it has helped my journey immeasurably.

    You inspired me to set up my own blog which I hope will also help people – albeit on a much smaller scale! Thank you so much for everything you have done and continue to do 🙂

  • I love these tips! I wish I could stomach paleo recipes but I don’t have the heart for it. The one you posted sounds like cat food! 🙁

  • Jojo

    Just wanted to say, I love Mickey’s cookbook! I’ve never cooked so many recipes from a cookbook in such a short period of time. All of them have been quick yet tasty and most importantly have kept me organised and motivated enough to stay away from temptations.
    Highly recommended 🙂

  • Crystal

    I have done a lot of reading about 6 for my insomnia, and the amber glasses don’t work so well, the only thing that has worked for me are deep red tinted glasses from New Zealand called SleepWell specs. They knock me out!

  • Crystal

    If anyone wants to see the website for those glasses, it is here

  • Becky

    I’ve recently discovered this blog, it’s been so insightful, as has your book Sarah. It’s been suggested that I have Hashi’s but I’m struggling to get a definitive answer and find a consultant who listens. Having low t3, antibodies and a goitre I’m keen to know for sure. So many symptoms that you’ve described ring true Whilst I continue to push for answers I’m going sugar and gluten free. Thanks for all of the info!!!!!!

    • Keep pushing…many docs go by blood tests only…symptoms are what count. Find a doc who gets you. Are you in Sydney?

      • Becky

        I’m in the uk, I will keep pushing and researching as best I can. As I said your blog has been super helpful. If you’ve heard of any good consultants in the uk then feel free to let me know. Thanks x

        • Allison

          Thyroid UK for open, honest advice.

        • Rachel

          Hi Becky
          I live in London and have hypothyroidism. I see a wonderful specialist called Doctor David O’Connell (his clinic’s phone number is 0207584 9779). I couldn’t recommend him more highly – he will look holistically at symptoms, not just blood tests.
          Good luck!

      • Guest

        Hi Sarah, I’m currently going through the “do I have AI” jungle… MANY symptoms, low body temp, crippling fatigue and brain fog, family history etc. They found I am iodine deficient and have very elevated reverse T3 scores. Do you have a doc you could recommend in Sydney – I’m at my wits end. Thanks so much.

      • Kathy

        Hi Sarah,

        Could you please help out with any doctor recommendations in Sydney? I’m struggling to get clarification as to whether I have AI, hypothyroidism etc. Very long family history of graves and recent blood work has shown very elevated reverse T3 and other tests have shown iodine deficiency. The fatigue and brain fog has been crippling of late. Thanks so much, Kathy

    • Allison

      You are also probably low in iodine and selenium. The thyroid enlarges (and creates the goitre) so that it can capture more iodine from the blood. Seafood will give you both selenium and iodine. take care 🙂

  • Jenn B

    Great Article! I am going to try some of these things for my Hashi’s. Love Mickey and love her cookbook. I have the first version when it was only an e-book and I printed it out myself.

  • Great recipe! How long would it keep? (in the fridge?)

  • Martin Hammelmann

    Wow, I have some reading to do! Suffering from Hashi’s for many years and have been on a journey to recovery based on my own initiatives. No thanks to previous doctors and 4 endocrinologists. They were all useless to say the least apart from getting me motivated and seek a new direction. Nice to know I am not alone.

    • Wishing you luck on your journey, Martin!

    • P.O.G.

      MDs, endocrinologists and other “specialists” are all totally clueless when it comes to autoimmune conditions. In my experience, they have no idea what causes them but they’re super quick to discount all your own theories. “No, that’s not it,” they say after you give them your speculations and reassure them it’s not genetic.

      Bottom line is that if you wanna heal, you have to flip your lifestyle upside down. Most of what you’re doing is probably unhealthy in some way, shape or form. Consider what you’re not doing as well. Think about the people you’re around and how they contribute to your well-being, if at all.

      I’m with you, though. I get what it’s like.

  • jandy

    Even if you have Hashimoto’s as I do, the Paleo diet is impossible for me as I am a vegetarian for both ethical and health reasons. The amount of meat – aka dead animals – that you eat makes me feel quite ill.

    • Allison

      Have a look at Terry Wahl’s diet. It’s an incorrect assumption that most Paleo eaters eat too much meat. She eats TONS of vegetables.

      It is possible to gain benefits from a Paleo diet but remain vegetarian.

    • Jandy, I was in the same boat when I had my health crisis after my diagnosis–I had been vegan for 10 years.

      I’m not going to go into detail about how excruciating the transition back to eating meat was, but it gave me my health back. I was bedridden with the combination of autoimmune disease and nutrient deficiencies from my diet. While I used to see eating animals or not as a very “black or white” problem, I’ve come to terms with the fact that there is a proper way to raise animals that gives them a comfortable, happy life, nourishes the soil, and a respectful death.

      That being said, most of us that eat this way end up eating TONS of vegetables. I eat more vegetables now than I did when I was vegetarian, because there are no beans or grains on my plate.

    • Meat = dead animals? Gee! We didn’t know that! Thanks for pointing that out!
      You are doing a great job of living up to the annoying holier-than-thou vegetarian stereotype.

  • Samantha

    2 for 1 at Spec Savers? Lol

  • Martin Hammelmann

    Followin your blog, I never knew why I felt so good every time I ate liver. Thanks for the info Mickey

  • Monkeyfish

    With you on the yummy broth but eating dirt sounds like a fantastic way to contract ecoli, salmonella, worms and other parasites. There is a difference between beneficial bacteria and pathogenic bacteria and the soil contains a lot more of the latter than the former.

    • No one’s recommending eating straight up dirt. She recommended soil based probiotics. Look into them. Totally different.

  • Guest

    I am really interested in your first point related to lymphatic congestion- I have had Hashimoto’s (diagnosed) for the last 4 years, and I have had really terrible pains in my neck below my ears, inside my ears and all around my eyes and bridge of the nose. This last year has been the worst. I have had 5 different decongestion tablets from the doctor in the last 3 months and seen an ear throat and nose specialist. They said that the eustachian tubes are blocked and prescribed more decongestants. But they don’t help. Can you explain to me how Hashimotos causes the problem… and some more tips to help alleviate the pain… Thanks so much!

  • Guest

    Hi- I am really interested in the first point about lymphatic congestion. Can you explain to me why hashimotos causes this, and what other things I can do to help relieve it. I have been diagnosed since 2010. And I have terrible blocked sinuses, a lot of pain around my eyes, below my ears in my neck and inside my ears. The doctor and ear,nose and throat specialist have prescribed 5 types of decongestants, antihistamines, nasal sprays…but with no effect. I also tried acupuncture- no difference. Do you have any more advice? Thanks

  • Great tips here, Sarah. It can be difficult for anyone living with autoimmune disease to find their “normal” when everything feels so topsy turvey. I highly recommend rebounding to my patients. It’s great for the circulation and helps to detoxify the body. Keep up the good work on your blog!

  • Shelly

    You haven’t tried ‘everything’ until you have read Mickey’s site and followed the AIP diet. A must visit for recently diagnosed or people struggling with thier autoimmunity. There is a wealth of information, recipes and support. It really was an ‘AHA’ moment discovering the AIP diet as it made so much sense why some foods that we think are so healthy can cause inflammation.

  • Nikki

    Hi Sarah, I absoloutely adore the very important work that you are doing and just love the well reasearched information you present. I have had hashimotos for the past 6 years and despite embarking on your 8 week program and successfully quitting sugar and gluten a year ago (I am still sugar and gluten free) and doing “everything right” just in the last week I have been told by my GP that I now have an incredibly overactive thyroid and my antibodies count is at 950. This afternoon I have an appointment with my endo to discuss my recent further bloods/thyroid ultrasound and he will confirm if it is actually Graves disease and the way forward – it has come as a total shock and I am now feeling like I have absolutely no control over what is happening with my health. I am now more determined than ever to manage/overcome this illness – particularly since I am only 34 and have 2 very young children who need me to have more energy/vitality than I currently have. Do you think it is possible that quitting sugar/gluten and the change in my lifestyle/habbits (in accordance with your research/suggestions) has been enough to spur my thyroid back into action again and this combined with me still taking my regular dose of thyroxin (100mcg) has now made it go incredibly overactive? Or wishful thinking? (like my GP helpfully pointed out when I asked him?). Anyway, Thank you so much for sharing your beautifully researched and thoughtfully presented ideas. p.s A question for Mickey – would a regular kids 6ft spring trampoline do the trick just as well?

  • Zoe

    re computer screens and phones/tablets I use a fantastic free app f.lux – it makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. It changes
    gradually like the setting sun so you don’t notice it’s happening and
    can match you location, season, time of day

    here’s the link

    On another note, is there an appropriate place to ask questions about getting diagnosed? I’m looking for a good lab to do allergy and auto immunity tests such as Cyrex labs in the states and wondering if there are any in Australia.

    I’ve had 4 severe allergic reactions in the past 3 months and just got out of hospital yesterday from the last one.
    I’ve come to suspect though it may go beyond just allergies and would like to check it out. I’m scheduled to see the hospital allergy
    specialist but I hear from lots of people they don’t always dig deep

  • Billioniers Clubs

    I AM VANESSA, i got married to a man
    [JEROME],who had a wife [JOSEPHINE] already,then i was made the second
    wife,and this JOSEPHINE has a daughter for my husband,called
    CHRISTABEL,JOSEPHINE was suffering from leg pain,that later took her
    life. so Christabel was left to live with me,and my two kids,PATIENCE
    AND GLORY,Christabel was the eldest of them, so i was misusing
    CHRISTABEL,SHE is the only one doing all the house work,anytime she dose
    some thing wrong,i wouldn’t give her food to eat all through the
    day,and beat her up with anything close to me,but she never worry,or
    insult me.or report to my husband.because i told her if she did i will
    kill her,i did this to some extent that,one day,she was on her
    menstruation period, she was afraid to tell me, she was not having
    enough cloth,so the only cloth she had she put it into her pant,so that,
    the cloth would soak the bleeding,and the cloth,i was the one that
    brought it for her,that the only cloth i ever brought for her,then the
    following morning i saw her cloth on the ground,with blood stain,i
    called her,and ask her what is this, she told me every thing, but i beat
    her up, and force the blood in the cloth into her mouth,i over heard
    her,as she was crying,cursing me,but never bother to listen to the word
    she was using,but now my two daughters and my son are yet to give
    birth,PATIENCE,GLORY AND EXCEL,AT their age[37,34 and 31]but they are
    married no children,i had gone to many places to know the cause of the
    problem,and CHRISTABEL WAS LIVING HAPPILY with her husband and four
    kids, three boys and a girl.i don’t know how my children,came to know
    about this HIOYA TEMPLE,when they got there, they told them i was the
    curse of their, problem,so one morning they all came home,and ask me
    what have i done to disturb their lives,the question sound,funny.i told
    them i had done nothing to hold their lives back,they cried me,down to
    this Hioya temple,i saw the man.he ask me what,did i do to some
    one,over 19 year ago,i forgot everything.i said nothing,HE EXPLAIN WHAT I
    DID TO ME,and this CHRISTABEL was helping my children with their needs
    and always come and pay me a visit and she always called me mummy,so
    this MAN HIOYA told me to go and apologize to her,once she accept the
    apology,then he will cast a pregnancy spell on my children,we all went
    to CHRISTABEL’S house and apologize,she forgives me,so they went back to
    the spell caster, for the pregnancy spell,TODAY PATIENCE CALL ME AND
    TOLD ME SHE IS PREGNANT,but I haven’t heard anything from the
    others,maybe they are still angry.with me that’s why they haven’t

  • M

    Hi Sarah, I have Crohn’s disease and psoriasis and often take regular probiotics whilst I’m travelling just to support my gut. I have the following questions re: your recommendation of “Prescript Assist”.

    Do you find this more effective than say a generic brand of probiotic you can by at any chemist?

    Is it suitable for anyone just looking for gut support whilst travelling?

    Can this product only be ordered online or are there any stockists in Australia (Brisbane)?

  • Rebounders really make us easy , and more energy to work . great idea to buy a mini trampoline in the office