Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid Condition

Podcast Episode #323: Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid Condition

Diane Sanfilippo Featured, Paleo and Primal, Podcast Episodes 3 Comments

Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid ConditionTopics

  1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:59]
  2. Thanksgiving and holiday stress [13:17]
  3. Schedule your time [18:30]
  4. Speak up for what you want [25:03]
  5. Upcoming gift guide episode [29:31]
  6. Don't stress about the stress [31:14]
  7. Listener question: Thyroid and high intensity workouts [35:13]

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Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid Condition Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid Condition Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid Condition Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid Condition Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid Condition Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Dealing with Holiday Stress & Working Out with a Thyroid Condition

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 323.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and the 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids.

Liz Wolfe: I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a farm in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City.

We’re the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we’ve been bringing you this award-winning podcast for more than 6 years. And we look exactly the same as we did 6 years ago. We’re here to share our take on modern paleo living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at or watch the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram account for our weekly calls for questions. You can ask us anything in the comments.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Vital Choice seafood and organics. Purveyor of premium sustainably sourced seafood and a certified B corporation. Vital choice offers a wide range of fish, shellfish, humanely raised meat, protein rich bone broths, and paleo friendly snacks like organic dark chocolate, super antioxidant trail mix, and bison jerky. My favorites are the salmon and the tanner crab. is your source for real food.

Liz Wolfe: Alrighty rooty. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: That was difficult.

Diane Sanfilippo: That was an intro of all intros.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm. I’m a little rusty. A little bit rusty. So, hi Diane! How are you?

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s up? I’m doing pretty well. I showered and everything today. Put on the real clothes, and socialized in real life. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: That’s lovely. I’m so happy to hear that. I think that is appropriate. Because this episode I think is going to air perhaps around on Thanksgiving. So we’ve got people socializing and hanging out with friends and family and maybe traveling to see their family and whatnot. So that you are in a social mood is appropriate.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Yeah. Hopefully; I feel like I always listen to podcast. I bank them up for when I’m doing chores or when I have a lot of travel coming up. So if you're on your way to see your friends and family, or on your way home. I don’t know; just glad that we can be there for your ride.

Liz Wolfe: Let us be part of your journey.

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally.

Liz Wolfe: Indeed. Drive safely. Buckle up. Stop at yellow lights. Don’t speed through them.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:59]

Liz Wolfe: Don’t be a backseat driver. Etc. Etc. So, anyway. So, Diane. Tell me about this book tour you’re going on.

Diane Sanfilippo: So much going on. We are in the final stages of planning the tour; #21DSDTour for the 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. I’ve got, as of right now; I mean, I think as of the airing of this episode there will be more confirmed dates. A lot more are going to get confirmed after we record this. But January 2nd in San Francisco. January 9th in Atlanta. The 12th in Kansas City, with you. Yay! {laughs} The 14th in Denver, and the 18th in Phoenix. There will more dates mixed in there. So obviously from the 2nd to the 9th there’s a whole week that hasn’t been hammered out yet.

Looking at Orange County, I believe. I think we’re going to end up in Huntington Beach. I know that was a tricky location for some people, but that’s the location that Barnes and Noble is offering up. It’s actually really tough; sometimes the location that’s more central or easier to get to isn’t always the best venue for hosting an event, and that becomes apparent when you're in the store that they do select and there’s just more space with chairs and an easier set up with the mike and all of that. It’s just more comfortable for everyone.

But anyway, stay tuned for more dates. If you didn’t hear a city near you, definitely check out I link to it all the time in my Instagram stories. But there are more dates. So I’ll be going all over the place so you can definitely check that out.

What else? I’ve got some really great preorder gifts for those of you who are not coming to an event. And actually if you are coming to an event, you can totally still preorder your book from the store that you're going to go to. And don’t worry; if something ends up coming up and you can’t get to the store that night for some reason, you can still pick up your book after the fact.

But let’s just say you're going to come to the event in Denver. Obviously, that’s on January 14th, after the book releases so it wouldn’t be technically a pre-order by January 14th. So you can definitely call the store; in that case it’s Tattered Cover. You can get the location and all of that. And they’ll go ahead and process your order, and you’ll get a receipt and order number from the receipt. I’m sure there’s a number on there. Or you can just send us your receipt, and I’ll send you Diane’s Salad Madness eBook as well as Practical Paleo Holiday; another eBook with tons of recipes. So definitely come check that out. And yeah. I think that’s pretty much it.

So the other thing that’s going on is, until January. For the next 2 months. I know there are lots of folks; there are some of you who want to do a 21-Day Sugar Detox, and many more who don’t. Which is totally fine. I personally will not be on a 21-Day Sugar Detox during November and December. But a lot of you, I know, want to remain healthy and balanced through the holidays. A lot of what we’re going to talk about today is warding off holiday stress and all of that. But every week in my healthy for the holidays Facebook group, I’m going live on Tuesdays. Just talking about different topics; ways to handle different situations. Recipes to bring to parties and all of that.

We have a really nice, engaged group in there already of folks who are just kind of talking about what’s going on with them and different challenges and presumably we’ll also be talking about lots of wins in terms of; “Hey, I went to this party. It was great. I had a couple of glasses of champagne.” Like, everything’s fine. Life did not fall apart. I want everyone to just be able to enjoy themselves, and enjoy some indulgences, but not have all this guilt as a result. So anyway, come check it out. Healthy through the Holidays. It’s We’ll put a link in the show notes. You can also find that linked, I believe I’ve got it linked through my Instagram profile, as well.

So what’s going on on the other side of the computer? What’s going on with you?

Liz Wolfe: Well. I’ll start with this; I sound like my kid with a British accent. I’ll start with the most important thing, which is we have confirmed our Nutritional Therapy Association pre-conference workshop. Which will be taking place the morning of March 1st. And it’s in Vancouver, yeah? Vancouver.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it’s in Vancouver; what is that? Oregon?

Liz Wolfe: No it’s Washington. But it’s right over a bridge.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s in Washington, right.

Liz Wolfe: It’s like right there.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s not Canada.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s very confusing. What, it’s confusing? Vancouver sounds like we’re going to be in Canada.

Liz Wolfe: it does, doesn’t it? It kind of does.

Diane Sanfilippo: And you don’t have to actually be in the NTA or related to the NTA

in any way to come to this event. So if you're a listener who lives in the Portland area and you want to come to this event, I’m pretty sure you can just register for this in isolation. I don’t know if you need to have a ticket to the event as well. I think you can just come to that.

Liz Wolfe: Well, plan your travel accordingly. Don’t get there on March 1st. Get there whatever is the day before that. Is it leap year? I don’t know.

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t think so.

Liz Wolfe: We’ll put the onus on other people to check their calendars rather than telling them the exact perfect date to arrive in town. Anyway. March 1st. It’s going to be really, really fun. What are we calling it; we’re just going to call it a business success workshop?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. You and I; we have been talking about wanting to share this kind of information with folks in our community for a long time. We didn’t have this cooked up; here’s the perfect name. It’s just we know what we want to share. {laughs} So I don’t think the name of it was coming to us with any sort of magic.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Marketing magic; we haven’t hit it just yet. But it’s going to be awesome, and I think a lot of people are very curious about how we’ve built our businesses. Especially around our lives. And continued to build them as things have changed. As you’ve moved coast to coast several times, and as I’ve had a kid. We don’t do things the way every other nutrition coach does. We’re not completely relying on one-on-one’s, but we’re also not completely relying on the internet. So I think we have a ton to share with people that maybe folks haven’t gotten from any other place before. So this is going to be a really, really great workshop and we would love to see as many people there as possible. And if you want to bring your books, we’ll sign those too. Why not?

And I’ve got a personal update, too. Which is just; it’s always a saga with me. It’s never something simple and straightforward. But I haven’t been able to record with you for a couple of weeks because my freaking mouth wasn’t working. I had a horrible flare of TMJD. Which I’ve never experienced before. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction. So a lot of people just call it TMJ. But it’s not something I’ve ever had before. And after that experience, I have the smallest glimpse into what chronic pain sufferers deal with. And I absolutely cannot… it’s unspeakable. And it doesn’t help for me to say; wow, I really have empathy for you.

But it was absolutely the most painful thing I’ve ever had happen in my life. I was taking my medicine from my C-section two and a half years ago, that I did not take one single one after my C-section. Not because I was trying to be a hero, but because I guess I have a high pain threshold. And I really couldn’t; I could not stand it. It was really, really difficult.

So the reason I’m sharing that is because the one solution that I really found that folks use that was not narcotics was a TENS unit. And I know very little about it. But if you are struggling with this kind of thing; number one, look for a neuromuscular dentist. And number two; get yourself a TENS unit. They’re very affordable, and they can help manage pain. Again, I don’t know a ton about this, but I thought it would be a bummer not to just share the few little tidbits that I did gain over the past couple of weeks. So go off, do your own research, look into that.

I know that Hayley Mason, from Primal Palate, is really the one that told me about neuromuscular dentistry. And the person that she’s seeing in Pittsburg I believe trained under the gentleman that we have, very luckily for me, in Kansas City who deals with TMJD, and who is a neuromuscular dentist, and a leader in the field. Dr. Prabu Raman. And his practice is really amazing. I was able to get into them last minute, and they gave me a lot of insight and a lot of ideas. The long-term work has a very hefty price tag, and I’m not sure it’s something that I need right now. But it definitely helped me understand a lot of what’s going on with the body and the jaw as a system. And kind of what the mainstream approach to TMJD is lacking, so that was really interesting.

I’ll tell you the background of how it all happened. It’s so ridiculous. I’m just such a ridiculous human. I got really, really excited about flossing some time over the summer, and I kind of started to feel like more was better. So I over flossed on this one tooth. It was hurting, so I was thinking; gosh, I need to floss harder. Because if it’s painful, that means I have an infection up there. So I over flossed for a very consistent and prolonged period of time and ended up irritating the ligament on this molar. And it hurt so bad; did not connect the two that maybe I was causing it instead of trying to fix it. It hurt so bad that I started chewing only on the left side for probably two or three months. And it just whacked out the alignment of my jaw so profoundly that it ended up kind of spiraling into TMJD. {laughs} The only thing that fixed it was basically two weeks of a liquid diet and not talking.

But I feel like I’m back in business now, with an altered perspective and some good, interesting new resources. Which I will keep in my back pocket, should this ever happen again. Which I really, really hope it doesn’t.

Diane Sanfilippo: Me too.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. That was not fun. Not fun to try and parent a rambunctious toddler, being unable to speak. Anyway.


Diane Sanfilippo: So, as it’s Thanksgiving today {laughs} you might be feeling a little bit stressed about the holiday season, and it’s important that you are making time for yourself. It’s a really busy time of year, and it’s really easy to put others first all the time. And we get it; it’s definitely tough. And there are only so many hours in the day on top of family commitments, and life, and work, and all of that. So we just wanted to talk about some different ideas that we have that can be simple, and ways to maximize your time while getting the full benefit of some time that’s just for you. Win-win, right? Everybody’s looking for ways to kind of destress.

I think a lot of times it’s also about planning ahead and just not waiting until you are in the moment to try and deal with the stress. I think planning ahead for it. Knowing how the holiday season feels for you each year, I think it’s really important. So, I guess we’ll just throw a few things out there.

I can mention one thing that I’ve definitely done in the last few years. And I’ve probably talked about it on some past episodes we’ve had. So many; I think we’ve done this every year almost. Or almost every year, we’ve done an episode about surviving the holidays, or holiday stress. So you guys can check back episode 14, 115, 270. They’re all over the place.

But the big thing that I actually do; and I know not everyone can do this. But there have to be some of you who have smaller families where it may not be as much of an ordeal to kind of recommend this. But we actually don’t always travel to see one another exactly on the holidays. And I think that’s not going to fly for a lot of folks. But I think for a lot of people, it’s worth considering for several reasons.

One, I just personally travel a lot other times of the year, and I know how hectic the airports can get. I have no reason to force myself to go through all of that stress of travel in and of itself on the busiest travel days of the year. So I think there’s just something about that that if you can avoid it; if you're family is like; yeah, let’s do this early November, or early December. Do a joint Thanksgiving/Christmas, whatever it is. Like I said, I know that’s not something everybody will want to do, because I really want to do things specifically at a time. Or, obviously you might have time off from work specifically because of the holiday. Totally understandable. But when and if it’s a possibility, I say strongly consider it.

So for example, my parents are coming to visit here; it will be a week before Thanksgiving, and it’s just a few days to see Scott and I. And that’s kind of our little time. We haven’t seen each other in a while, and that’s going to be our, marked by sort of around the holidays time together.

But I don’t know, what do you think about that? Is that something that your family would ever go for, it’s probably like; nope. Not going to happen.

Liz Wolfe: You know; oh yeah, they’re fine with it. They’re fine with that type of thing. And we almost kind of fell into this routine by accident because when my husband and I got married, he wasn’t hope for a Christmas or I think a Thanksgiving for years. He was always gone. So we just kind of ended up having to plan around that. Then we realized; this makes life so much easier. And at times, you can garner favor with your employer for working the days closer to Christmas, and then maybe you get an extra day off. If you start your celebrations a little bit earlier.

So, my husband will also not be here for Christmas this year, so it makes things a little bit more low-key. A little bit lower stress. Especially with the kid. So yeah, I think I probably never would have realized all of that if I wasn’t forced to. So yeah, happy to spread the word about how much more awesome it is to plan that way. And how much lower stress. And you can kind of prolong the holiday season a little bit, which is really, really fun. You start earlier, and maybe end it a little bit later.

Diane Sanfilippo: So for anybody who is a new listener and doesn’t know that Liz’s husband is in the military. So {laughs} that’s kind of why he hasn’t been home for those holidays.

Liz Wolfe: He didn’t just decide not to be here.

Diane Sanfilippo: He’s like, “Meh. I’m not going to be home.”

Liz Wolfe: You’re a lot of work in December. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: So, he’s been away, not by choice. But you know what’s funny? The way you were just talking about it reminds me of just why in general sometimes; not every weekend, but a lot of weekends I don’t mind working on a Sunday, because it just feels less stressful to do work that day. It’s like, people aren’t all clamoring around trying to get in touch with you, because no one else is working that day. So it just feels more chill. That’s kind of the same feeling of celebrating the holidays not on the actual holiday.

And I mean there are Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations available {laughs} pretty much at Halloween. So we can all get in the spirit at whatever time. So that’s my number one way to avoid more stress; definitely to try and celebrate slightly off the day. What’s one of your favorite things to avoid some of that stress?


Liz Wolfe: Well. It’s maybe kind of a corollary; maybe kind of an extra bullet point to what we were just talking about. I refuse to engage in all of the standard BS arguments that pop up over the holidays of, whether Starbucks cups should look like this or that. And whether we should say happy holidays or merry Christmas. Or when we should start listening to Christmas music, and when is too early and when is too late. I just kind of celebrate in my own way on my own terms. I like two or three Christmas songs, so I just listen to those whenever I want. I think that we get so petty around this time of year, for some reason. I don’t know why. There must be some kind of psychology to it. But I just try and choose to enjoy the good parts and willfully ignore the stressful parts. And I think that is an entirely acceptable strategy for approaching the holiday season. Just be that kind of person, who just doesn’t feel any of the stress.

Practically; like a practical thing I like to do, is to schedule your time. And I think, as a mom, we stick to nap times pretty religiously, like parents do. So give yourself your nap time. Your checkout time. Like, this is what I’m doing for an hour. I’m going to go watch the game for an hour. I’m going to go take a nap for an hour. And just kind of make it one of those non-negotiable things where you're going to go get your manicure. Or you're going to go grab a coffee. Or whatever it is, and just own that, and just put it out there. With the spirit of a 2-year-old’s nap. There’s no question that this is happening, so everyone find something to do without me. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s so funny. I think that spirit of, “This is what I’m doing and everyone just deal with it.” I think that, when you say a 2-year-old’s nap; I feel like a lot of Rebels, we are inherently that way. Or maybe it’s Rebels with other personality traits combined. And some people see it as this immature thing. I’m like, actually it’s very self-protective when I say I’m going to do this. You can do whatever you want in response to that. But here’s what I’m going to do. It’s very non-Obliger-y. And I think it’s so great to hear; we know that you're an Obliger type. So it’s so great to hear you say; I’m going to lay down, here’s what I’m going to do; lay it out for people and tell them, here’s what to expect. And hopefully they won’ try and push that boundary. Because I think it’s really hard for Obliger’s and other, maybe even Upholders to kind of set those boundaries. I think that’s kind of a big thing when it comes to the holidays, are those boundaries.

Liz Wolfe: I think I have a motherhood subtype; like a motherhood alter ego where it’s like, I can turn that on if I need to.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Generally, that is not me at all. But I can definitely step into those shoes and just be like; no. This is what I need. And I’ve done that in many different ways since my daughter was born. Especially when I kind of realized that I was struggling, really mightily, with anxiety, it became; I don’t want to say life or death. But it became very much rise up or fall apart further if I don’t start finding these little ways.

And that’s why we’re talking about this. This episode is not a time waster. This is really, really important stuff. At some point; and we’re all juggling so much. At some point, you have to come at this with intention. Don’t just say; “I think I’m going to try and fit it in. I’m going to try really hard not to get stressed out.” How are you going to manage that? How are you going to not get stressed out? Where are you going to find these times? Are you going to insist on them, or not? It’s really, really important.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s almost like the way people approach food and their choices and their nutrition. They’re like; well I’m definitely going to be having my wine, or not having it. I’ll go through the holidays and be gluten free or not. They’ll have these rules about how they’re going to eat, but not have any sort of rules or structure or boundaries when it comes to behaviors that feels acceptable for them in a way that is sane. And I think that could go for exchanges; like you were saying about arguments. And I think a lot of that can happen online, or on the internet people just kind of get heated about things.

But this stuff can happen around the Thanksgiving table. Politics comes up or different conversations. I mean, you better believe, if that stuff comes up and I just don’t want to have the conversation, I will remove myself from the table. Because it’s not important to me to be right. It’s more important for me to be happy. {laughs} Just walk away from that craziness, you know. So I think that’s something to keep in mind. What is your plan going to be for staying sane, and having perhaps a preformed notion of; ok, if this starts to happen and uncle Joe starts to talk about XYZ, and aunt Patti is doing this. These are totally made up names, I don’t have these people in my family.

Liz Wolfe: Aunt Patti. Poor aunt Patti, she’s always the victim.

Diane Sanfilippo: But you know, it’s like we know the tendencies and the habits, and the personality types and the triggers and all of that of the people that we know what’s going to happen at all of these meals. I definitely have family members who; this has been years now. Who just don’t agree with what I do with nutrition. And they have medical backgrounds, so they have an attitude of like, I know better. And again, that’s not to say that everyone with a medical background has that attitude. However, they do. {laughs}

So I just, if they start talking about all the things that are wrong with healthy eating as I see it, I just don’t engage. And frankly that kind of pisses people off more, which I’m like; that’s fine. Feel free to upset yourself over there, I’m just going to keep eating this paleo pumpkin pie, or whatever it is. And I’m happy. But you seem to be getting worked up.

Liz Wolfe: It’s almost better that way, you know what I mean? Yeah. It’s kind of like; well I kind of wanted you to feel mixed up and angry in the first place. And if me not stressing achieves that more quickly and easily, then alright.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think people just want to be heard, and they want to be right. And I think if you just don’t care {laughs} just don’t care. I think that really goes a long way.


So practically speaking, here’s something that I also love to do. I like to be really specific. You can’t always do this; there are always going to be those people around you in your family. Maybe they’re not as close to you who will give you gifts that you just are like; ok, I’m probably going to return this. Or, thank you and be gracious, and moving on.

But if it’s your; I don’t know. I feel like we should be able to get to a point with our parents; our direct parents, maybe not always with in-laws or what have you. Where we should be able to talk to them about is a gift something we actually want or not. And I think the older we get, it’s probably easier, maybe. Maybe not for everyone. But I am very direct, shocking, about what is and is not a useful, welcome gift. I don’t want anybody wasting their money. I know I’ve said this to you about certain things. I’m like; ok, just don’t send me this.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: And it’s not to be like, I don’t want the extension of kindness that I know somebody wants to extend. That’s what their intention is with the gift. However, I like to be very genuine in my response to gifts. I like to tell people. I’ll tell my parents; “Don’t give us anything. Come see us if you want to see us. If you want to pay for dinner one night, and that’s the experience that we share together and that’s your gift. That’s totally cool for us.”

So for us, experiential gifts are really great. Whether it’s pitching in to travel; that was our wedding gift. Folks were mostly pitching into a honeymoon fund. We had specifically named it for Costa Rica; which we haven’t gotten to yet. However, we have traveled. And so for us, that’s something that we enjoy, makes our life better, and doesn’t physically take up more space in our house. I think a lot of people are feeling overwhelmed with stuff more and more. And I’m getting this; I don’t know if part of it is just living in San Francisco in a quasi-hipster city. Where it’s just more and more about having fewer things that aren’t useful, or things that we love, or things that really deserve to be in our space.

So I like things that have great utility. I like things that I’m using, or are consumable. I was thinking, for example, {laughs} of course we all know I’m obsessed with cosmetics and skincare these days. And those things get used up. It’s like, you have them, you use them, and then they’re gone. Something like a book or a cookbook, where there’s a utility to it, and you get to learn something from it. And use it in your life to make your life better.

And then perhaps it’s art at a certain point. We have tons of books that we don’t reference anymore, but they’re beautiful on our shelves and we’re happy looking at them. But it’s not just another sweater for the sake of another sweater just because someone wanted to give you a gift.

So if there’s a moment where you can really share what you actually want with someone, remember that people want to give you something that you want. So take a moment to maybe make a short gift list. Even if you're like, “I really didn’t want anything.” But maybe it’s a gift card to Target, or Amazon, or something that you would really use. Not everyone is going to abide by that, but at least they know that that’s something that’s super welcomed. And I personally like that. I would rather give something to someone that they want, than what I want them to have. You know? Unless it’s chocolate. I’ll force chocolate upon anyone. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Ugh. The worst is when the relatives that kind of know you, and they’re so thoughtful.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well meaning.

Liz Wolfe: They’re like; hey, I know you love chocolate! And they bring you some kind of child slavery, you know, all the bad extra additive ingredients. That stuff is so hard. It’s so hard. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s well meaning. I get it.

Liz Wolfe: What’s that movie where they make the guy eat the thing, because he wants to see him enjoy it? Oh, Wedding Singer? With the meatballs? “Take a bite so I can watch you enjoy them.” {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: But those were good meatballs, I think.

Diane Sanfilippo: Adam Sandler. That’s amazing. But she puts the meatballs and sauce in his hands. That was awesome.

Liz Wolfe: I know. And she’s so excited.

Diane Sanfilippo: She’s like, here, take them!

Liz Wolfe: I love that lady. Hey Linda!

Diane Sanfilippo: Amazing.


Liz Wolfe: Ok. So what else? What else do we want people to remember over the holidays?

Diane Sanfilippo: Honestly, if you are going to be buying a lot of gifts; Cassy Joy and I are going to be doing a; I can’t just call her Cassy, by the way. I have to call her Cassy Joy.

Liz Wolfe: I know, I can’t either. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Because she is so joyful. But we are going to be doing a gift-guide episode that should air probably next week I think? That should be next weeks’ show. If it wasn’t going to be next weeks’ show, it should be next weeks’ show.

So we’re going to do a gift guide, and we’ll talk about different ideas. I honestly, I would say as much as you can do one of the two types of shopping; either online or local small businesses. Those are the two. Online to make your life easier, and local small businesses or shops that are Etsy or something like that where you can really; if it is a product or a service where there’s an independent person that you can support in their business.

I just went to the Renegade Craft Show here in San Francisco; I mean, it took me back to the days where I made jewelry and did craft shows. Those people are hustling so hard, and they spend so much money to be at those fairs and shows. They spend a lot of money to be able to have their stuff on sites like Etsy. And I just want us to support them when and if we can.

If there’s a cute T-shirt you're looking for and you can buy it at Target; or somebody on Etsy is selling something that you like just as much, if not possibly more, even if it’s a couple of bucks more I would says really try to support those independent businesses.


Liz Wolfe: Love it. And in the spirit of an Instagram post I just created, I would like to do my yearly reminder to just; I really want folks to give themselves permission to enjoy the holiday season. Whether that means you eat something you wouldn’t normally eat. And I know you and I have had this conversation in several episodes. Where we talk about being a Moderator versus an Abstainer, and how you approach your happy medium is dependent on whether you’re a Moderator or an Abstainer. Knowing your own personality and knowing yourself well enough to make the choices that work for you.

But the last thing I want people to do is make a choice and then beat themselves up for it. Just enjoy the fruitcake, or enjoy multiple fruitcakes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Do people enjoy fruitcake? {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: I don’t know. I’ve actually never had fruitcake. It’s a tradition in some families, I think. No?

Diane Sanfilippo: I have no idea.

Liz Wolfe: I don’t know either. But enjoy a gut buster. Eat all of the food. Anything that you want. You might feel like crap the next day, but I think it’s really powerful to give yourself permission to have the type of experience you’d like to have over the holidays and not be constantly thinking about; “Is this compliant. Does this follow the rules.” Whatever, what have you.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Just enjoy yourself, and then move on. These things are reversible.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And that’s the big reason why we did this Healthy for the Holidays group, too. Because it’s like; I get it. Folks kind of want to be on track with themselves. A lot of people don’t want to let one holiday party snowball and get so far for themselves that then come January they’re feeling so defeated and like they’re digging out of a huge hole. I think what you're saying, not placing all this guilt on yourself, actually makes it easier to then pick back up the next day. You're eating your normal food, no big deal. And carrying on with life. And the next party that comes, maybe you kick back a little. You kind of just go through that cycle. But yeah, I think that’s a huge point.

Liz Wolfe: And I’m to the point, now, where the pizza; Domino’s pizza doesn’t look great to me. You know; I shouldn’t attach. I don’t what Domino’s is doing these days. Maybe they’re making amazing crap-free pizza. But I don’t gravitate towards the really wonky choices. I’m not really interested in that, because there’s probably trans fats in it, and that just doesn’t sound good to me. So it doesn’t sound good to me.

Maybe some folks aren’t too that point yet. Maybe a lot of folks are like; oh my gosh, that really horrible thing sounds great. And that’s one thing. But whether you're having a paleo-friendly indulgence or not. I mean, there are a ton of things that can be made paleo friendly. Like paleo-friendly pumpkin pie. Paleo-friendly apple crisp. You have a million recipes on your website on stuff that you can enjoy with a little less crap in it. And I think that’s ideal. But if you choose differently, then it’s exactly the same thing. Just move on. Because it’s a lot harder to climb out of it when you're mired in guilt.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, go to There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, so chances are you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you.


Liz Wolfe: Alright. So this question is directed at you, Diane. But there’s a lot to talk about here. So I’m sure we’ll both have our thoughts. Here we go. “Practical Paleo suggests that people with thyroid disorders; Hashimoto’s, etc., should avoid high intensity exercise. It seems CrossFit would fall under that category. What reference do you have for making that recommendation? I’m curious as a person with hypothyroidism about the link between systemic stress, TSH, hormonal imbalance, etc. I’ve been doing CrossFit for over 7 years with no problems, until last December when I developed anxiety, a pounding heartbeat, a chest ache, and elevated blood pressure. The internet is too nebulous for me to diffuse and nail down. Any insights on this specific concept would be greatly appreciated.”

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So I’m actually going to try and keep this a bit brief in terms of where I’m going to point Kelly and how I want to address this. Because we have talked about this a lot in a lot of different ways. I would definitely recommend that Kelly listens to any episode where we’ve talked previously about cortisol and stress and adrenal fatigue and perhaps thyroid and any other hormone issues. So going back to the podcast archives and checking those out, I’m sure there’s definitely something on adrenal stuff. And then there’s probably thyroid as well.

So the reason that I’m mentioning adrenal is that; actually was I just talking about this with Leann Vogel on a recent interview that I’m not sure will air before or after this episode. But I think the thing that we either forget or are not aware of or just haven’t all put our finger on yet is that our cortisol and stress response system is directly tied to what is then going to happen with our thyroid. And what I see happening anecdotally; and this is stuff that you can go look at research from Dr. Datis Kharrazian is probably one of the best who has done so much work on thyroid health. I know Liz will probably have a couple of more references as well. But his main book, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Test Are Normal? That’s the one where he was really talking a lot about Hashimoto’s. Because a lot of folks with Hashimoto’s, for years, couldn’t get a diagnosis. And that’s because it was autoimmune, and they weren’t finding out what was going on there.

But when our stress system is taxed too much for too long, the thyroid will then take the hit. And what she’s describing is kind of exactly; it’s sort of, I don’t know, a classic or a textbook situation. Where it was fine until it isn’t fine. And that situation is sort of the problem where we have a hard time wrapping our heads around the fact that we did something for so long without issue. And I think the strongest reason why we’re able to do that is that our body’s ability to adapt is so amazing. And we adapt to things.

I think I talked about this with; shoot, I can’t remember. It was a female; oh, Dr. Brighten. Dr. Jolene Brighten and I talked a lot about how, especially women, our hormonal system will adapt so hardcore for so long. And it hits a point where it’s just not willing to adapt anymore. And it adapts in a protective way.

So Kelly’s system has probably been adapting in terms of stress response and cortisol for years. And keeping her in this place where she’s able to feel somewhat balanced and productive and have the energy to do the workouts. And then it’s just; enough is enough. And your system is like, I’ve been adapting for too long, and it’s not going to work anymore. And that’s why you hit that wall.

Crossfitting for 7 years; I think, I would like to question her a little bit on crossfitting for 7 years with no problems. I have a feeling there were some smaller signs and symptoms that perhaps she may not have tuned into. And that can look different for everyone. But I would be willing to bet that there were some things in there that were at least minor red flags. If this is the brick wall that’s sort of stopping her and really pushing her back, I would just be willing to bet there was something else. There were days where it took her longer to recover than it should have. There were days where her appetite wouldn’t stop. Or there were injuries that lasted longer than they should have. Like not being able to recover from injury in a timely fashion is definitely a sign that your system is just taxed.

So there are a lot of different signs. But this is really the HPA adrenal axis, and looking at what happens with stress response. And then understanding that the thyroid; the delicate balance of what our thyroid does to manage our metabolism is going to be directly affected and impacted by our stress system. If we are under too much stress, we are going to suppress our thyroid function. It’s just, that is what will happen. Everything is interconnected. You can’t say, “Well, I’m stressed but my thyroid will be fine.” Maybe it will for a certain period if time, but at a certain point it will not. Because we just can’t expect the body to handle all of that without pushing it.

So that is the reason why I don’t recommend CrossFit style workouts for people with thyroid disorders. It’s not that you could never do a CrossFit workout. It’s just, if I were to recommend that as a way to train, that would be pretty negligent of me. And I think it would be very misleading. And people would take that to mean, “I can do CrossFit three to four times a week.” Versus “I could do a high intensity workout once or twice a week, or for a very short duration.” When you give people an inch with exercise, they will take a mile. That’s just what will happen.

So I would much rather see people who have a thyroid disorder lifting weights and finding ways to do low intensity cardio, like walking. Even jogging. Jogging for a short amount of time; not at that heartrate where you can’t talk. I’m talking, you have your friend and you're just talking about your week and it’s super casual. It’s maybe a little more than a walk, but it’s like a 20-minute jog. It’s not a big deal. And your heartrate is still pretty low. You're not at the place where you can’t breathe or talk.

And just lifting weights. Or yoga. Or swimming. Anything that’s just much lower in intensity. I think for longevity purposes, that’s a much better way to go. And pushing our system; it’s just, I just don’t think it’s worth it.

It was interesting talking to Mark Sisson, a couple of months ago now, I think. He kind of made an offhand comment about crossfitting a couple of times a week being probably ok for the general population; but all these folks who are doing 4, 5, 6 days a week of CrossFit or similar style workouts. And it’s not a hate on CrossFit type of thing. It’s just that it’s too intense for most people for a long period of time. The 20-something guys who are doing it 5 days a week, and they’re training. Even some of the women who might be training for the Games and things like that. It’s just; we don’t all see what’s happening on the other side of that, and I think we get this picture of, “Well it’s fine to train that hard for that long.” But I just don’t think that that’s a healthy, balanced way for us to kind of proceed. Especially if we’re having those imbalances.

So, I know you did a bunch of digging on some stuff around thyroid health within the last couple of years, Liz. Are there a couple of more places you want to point her to?

Liz Wolfe: Well. Yes. So a lot of the thyroid stuff that I; I kind of got into it a couple of years ago. I guess maybe around the time I got pregnant. But realizing interconnectedness of the thyroid with our entire hormonal cascade. And I don’t; you and I, Diane, we do our best to synthesize. Anecdotal evidence, with what we know of science, little s. Like biology and physiology. And Science with a big S, meaning actual studies. And also, of course, calling on people with credentials that we don’t have. Clinical and scientific credentials that we don’t have because you and I never want to be the smartest people in the room. {laughs} We want to always be calling on the wisdom of people who know more and have different experiences from us.

But I think the truth is, we can’t always pull that one chapter in the human biology textbook. Or that one study that proves an exact outcome from whatever set of circumstances we find ourselves in. And I spend, and have spent, a disproportionate amount of my time looking for the smoking gun for myself. It’s exhausting, and it drives me nuts. And what I’m trying to come to peace with is that it is never just one thing. And that’s why we can never find that one study. Or that one chapter. There’s always a multitude of things, and then the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

And we don’t always know that the back is close to breaking. But like you were saying, looking back, maybe we can kind of pinpoint some things. Like maybe your sleep was not so good, or your stress went up. There was a crick in your neck that just wouldn’t get better. Or winter came around at the time that you were dealing with all these other things. And then you got low vitamin D, and seasonal affective disorder and anxiety. And genes. And age. You get older. And really, none of that; it might not even matter. Because I feel like at some point, we just have to look at our own experiences, and what is happening. What the reality is right now. And maybe we worry about the most plausible explanation for it. But only in so far as that helps us decide how to get better.

Because I think dwelling on how this might have happened is kind of a waste of time unless you're going to say; “Oh, CrossFit might have contributed to this, so I will pull back on the CrossFit.” So that’s my thought on it. As someone who always wants that study, or that chapter, or that perfect piece of already crafted, understanding and explanation of what’s going on. And that’s just not always findable.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right. And, because we don’t know everyone’s whole picture of their health. Including potential traumatic experiences in their life. Which I think we vastly underestimate the impact of that. And things we may never know, even if we were to say, “Let’s get a full intake from Kelly and look at her health picture.” There’s still going to be missing pieces to that about her emotional situation and thoughts and feelings and all of that.

But you know, one thing I do want to essentially commend anybody who has this perspective of; “Where can I look to understand what went wrong. What did I do wrong.” Or like you were saying, really looking for that smoking gun. The thing that I think is extremely commendable is, it gives me a sense that Kelly wants to take responsibility for what happened, and she wants to find; what is this so that I can see it and understand and so that I can change what’s happening in the future. And I think anybody who is listening to this show; you guys all kind of have that mindset. You want answers. And I think the reason we want answers is that we want to then be able to take action in the future based on them.

I think the toughest part is that, it’s very hard when it comes to health, and balance, and food choices, and the way we should move or take rest or all of that. There is just never one right answer for everyone. But the right answer for everyone is that everyone is different and we need to do things that our body responds to positively. So you may have had a friend who was doing CrossFit for 7 years, exactly the same way you are, and she’s doing fine still. And maybe she’ll never not be fine. Or maybe in another year or two, she won’t be fine.

We can’t always say one root cause, one solution. Because we all are these whole people who are not a car that works mechanically and driving down the same road. It’s just not like that. But if she does want to dig in on hormonal systems, and how the stress response system works and may break down and how that impacts thyroid hormone, I think that’s the way she could go and looking to that type of research. Dr. Brian Mowll might have some, too. I think it’s; no wait. It’s not, he does diabetes research. I’m mixing up Brian; {laughs} I’m mixing up my doctors. Sorry you guys.

Liz Wolfe: You’d be terrible at a meet and greet.

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s a meet and greet?

Liz Wolfe: I don’t know. You meet people and greet them. You're supposed to know who they are. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, and say their name. Sorry you guys, I’m totally spacing on this name. This was so many years ago now, when I was doing more research on cortisol and stress response and all of that. It’s going to come to me, and then I’m going to be annoyed by it. But I really found his work to be helpful, because he was talking about sometimes it’s not just a mounting effect, a cumulative effect, like you were saying, Liz. It could be this one little thing on top of that. Or it could be like she had an infection that then now the stress of CrossFit is too much. Or one winter of too little vitamin D. It could be one thing that just upsets that neurotransmitter balance, and now stress response is totally off. It’s honestly really annoying, because we could think we’re doing everything right. She could be taking recovery days, and eating well, and getting carbs, and kind of doing everything “right”, and still have this experience.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Now I need to go search our own old episodes and figure out who it was I was trying to reference.

Liz Wolfe: This episode of the Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored by Primally Pure Skincare. Primally Pure makes skincare products that are truly natural and nontoxic. Using ingredients like tallow from grass-fed cows; organic and fair trade coconut oil, and organic essential oils. In addition to being safe to use, their products also provide users with real, noticeable results. At, you’ll find their bestselling natural deodorant that actually works; face mists made from locally sourced and organic hydrosols, and their newest product, nature spray, an all-natural insect repellant.

You’ll also find Diane’s favorite Primally Pure product, dry shampoo, and my favorite, the Everything Spray. As a special bonus for you, Primally Pure is offering a free lip balm, which we need come winter, with your first purchase of one item or more. Simply add a lip balm to your cart along with any other one item, and use the code “balancedbites” during checkout to receive one of their lip balms for free with your order. Head to and check out their range of safe and effective all natural skincare products.

Diane Sanfilippo: It was Dr. Brian Walsh. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I was like; I could not. It was irritating me. So it’s Dr. Brian Walsh. I think that’s a good place to wrap up this episode. I think we’ve covered a lot of great topics this week. So want to close us out for the day?

Liz Wolfe: Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Diane Sanfilippo: Happy Thanksgiving everybody! {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} Alright, that’s it for this week. You can find me, Liz, at and Diane at Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

Comments 3

    1. Post

      There are time stamps as you can see on this post – many of our listeners have been with us for the 6+ years of the show and tell us they LOVE our personal and work updates to feel more like they know us rather than just ‘all facts.’ You are more than welcome to tap the button on your app that skips time or just start in at the stamp you prefer Or, maybe we just aren’t the show for you! Whatever suits you! 🙂

  1. Hi!

    You two are too amazing. I was born without a thyroid and I am and have been a CrossFit Coach, as well as an athlete, for several years. This was interesting. A tad frustrating but interesting! I think those with congenital thyroid issues would like to agree, it’s all on how you attack the day. Stressfree habits, nutrition and fitness. If that’s in line, everything should (not always, because…life) check out. I find that my levels are only “off” when something major in my life occurs i.e. moving, professional jumps, marriage, etc.

    I feel like, in my non medical opinion, those with chronic endocrine worries, should be the first ones in the Crossfit gym doors to be set up for a healthy, functional and fun life into their later years! Stress from figuring out WHY is everything crazy on my labs could be the EXACT thing messing it up!

    Awesome podcast episode!

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