The Importance of Buying Quality Supplements

Prior to when I began this nontoxic journey in 2012 and added several vitamins to help relieve my hypothyroidism symptoms, I didn’t think it mattered much which brand of vitamins I bought.That is, until I went to buy some vitamin C at a big box retailer and noticed a suspicious ingredient: sodium laurel sulfate! In case you don’t know, sodium laurel sulfate is a cleansing agent used to cut through grease in things like shampoo and cleaning products.  What the heck is that doing in a vitamin?  Not something I want to ingest!  Seeing that on a label for a vitamin was eye-opening.

From then on, I vowed only to buy quality vitamin supplements. Here are a few brands I feel good about recommending.

  • Now Solutions – their supplements are free of unnecessary ingredients and most are also free of many common allergens like gluten, dairy, soy, etc. Now Solutions also has a wide array of vitamins, minerals and herbs and they are sold in the most bio-available form. Prices are reasonable – although a bit higher than the junk that sits on the shelf of many big box retailers. But, remember if it’s not in a form your body can use it’s a waste of money anyway. Most of the vitamins I buy are made by Now Solutions. They also have great personal care products!
  • Solgar – another quality supplement brand. They are made in the USA, in bio-available forms, and free of many common allergens. A bit more expensive than Now Solutions, but easier to find in my area, and they have a great selection of all types of vitamins, minerals, etc.  I buy mine at Vitamin Shoppe
  • Central Market – this is a brand that is available in limited markets (I believe only in southern United States). It’s available at HEB and Central Market stores. Before we moved away from Texas, many of my vitamins and supplements were made by Central Market. They are free of unnecessary chemicals and many common allergens. Many of the supplements are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans, too.
  • Puritans Pride – value vitamin brand that also sells some snacks, personal care, and beauty items. Great if you want to buy in bulk. There’s almost always a deal that saves you money the more you buy. Because I take so many different vitamins and supplements and we don’t have a huge pantry, I stopped ordering from them as much due to our limited storage space. I still recommend using them if you have the room to store the bottles, because they offer great deals and sell high quality vitamins.

Once again I want to throw this out there:  none of these companies paid me to say these positive things about them.  If you’re going to take supplements, make sure you do some research buy the most bio-available form of the vitamin.  Otherwise your body won’t be able to use it and you will be wasting your money.   Of course, you always want to make sure to talk to your health care provider prior to taking any supplements.

I hope you found this helpful, and as always, thanks for reading!

Exercise Accountability for Week Ending 11.22.15

Because I missed a few workouts last week, I had to make them up this week. I even added an extra back and bis workout on Monday because I felt guilty for missing three days in a row. I slept wrong last Saturday, so I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of that pretty much all week. Because it feels like I have a pinched nerve, I had to scale back on the amount of weight I was lifting. I went back down to 15 lbs as my heaviest weight on my shoulders and chest. I also was sure to reduce the weight I lifted for reverse flies since that’s where my muscles are bothering me the most. That’s a weak area for me, so I don’t lift much to begin with but I went from 8 lbs at the heaviest to 5lbs at the heaviest. While I do want to get caught up and get back on track, I definitely don’t want to injure myself. I’m too close to finishing the entire program to have to stop now!

One thing I have to be careful of is overdoing exercise – it’s not good for my hypothyroidism.  If you overtax your body and you have Hashimotos, it can sap your energy and the stress can cause your immune system to over react to everyday stimuli.  Friday I did three workouts, which really made my body feel very stressed, so I did a short amount of yoga to calm my body down.  It seems to have done the trick because I was able to complete the remaining workouts without incident.  Now I can focus on doing only the workouts that are on the schedule since I’m back on track.

Here are my workouts for the week:
• Monday:  Body Beast Build Back & Bis – 50 minutes
• Tuesday:  Body Beast Build Shoulders – 38 minutes
• Wednesday:  Body Beast Cardio & Abs – 38 minutes & 10 minutes
• Thursday:  Body Beast Bulk Chest – 30 minutes
• Friday:  Body Beast Build Legs, Beast Cardio & Abs – 38 minutes, 38 minutes, 10 minutes 15 minutes of Easygoing flow Yoga from This is Yoga by Tara Stiles which is available in my Amazon store:
• Saturday:  Body Beast Bulk Back & Bulk Shoulders – 29 minutes & 35 minutes
• Sunday:  Body Beast Cardio, Abs & Bulk Arms – 38 minutes, 10 minutes, 35 minutes

This week was also my last 2 PiYo Live classes on the schedule for right now. One person showed up on Tuesday and no one showed up on Thursday.

There are a few likely reasons why I had such a low turnout:
1) I didn’t advertise in enough different places
2) I didn’t invite my local friends to each separate event I created on Facebook
3) it’s close to the holidays, and many people stop or cut back on working out during this time of year

In any case, I plan to try again after the beginning of the year. For now, I plan to focus on writing my ebook and finishing up my personal training certification.  Those two things are going to keep me quite busy!

Thanks for reading and have a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!

Crock Pot Review

Recently I’ve been posting quite a few slow cooker recipes, so I thought I would share with you which slow cooker I use to make these yummy meals in! Whether it’s chicken soup, pork loin, chili, or quinoa dressing for Thanksgiving, the slow cooker is an essential kitchen tool! It’s a great way to make easy, healthy, delicious meals the whole family will love!  Once I finish my ebook guide to nontoxic living, I’ll be releasing another one with slow cooker recipes.  Can’t wait to share it with you!

When I rented my first apartment, my mom gave me a small 1 quart Crock Pot. It was an old one with an ugly print, but it worked and I was a broke college student, so I didn’t complain. It was perfect for me as a single woman and even a few years into married life. When we got to the point where we needed to do meal prep for an entire week, though, the small slow cooker wasn’t working.

At different functions I attended, I kept seeing these large slow cookers where the bowl was removable from the base. That was one of the bigger selling points for me aside from the size. It was always so awkward to try to wash the old-style cooker where it was all one piece and I was trying to avoid getting the controls/wiring wet. This was pretty difficult with a 1 quart pot, so imagine how much more difficult that would be with a 6 quart pot! While there are several brands of slow cookers to choose from, I chose to buy the Crock Pot brand since that’s what I had before. I think the one I had was the 1970s version and was still working in 2012 when it was time to upgrade. For that reason I felt that I could trust the Crock Pot brand and decided to stick with it. Late 2012 was the time when I reached my breaking point with hypothyroidism and decided to change my eating habits. The problem was that my husband and I both were commuting two hours a day. My husband was doing pretty much all the household chores because I was pretty exhausted most of the time. We really needed something that we could use to make easy, healthy meals for the week. It became a Sunday ritual for us (him) to make a healthy Crock Pot meal and we that’s what we ate for the majority of the week. It really was a life saver for us.

We purchased the 6 quart version so that we could make large meals for the week, for pot lucks and/or family gatherings. It’s all black and the design is sleek and modern. The base is metal, the bowl is ceramic, and the lid is made of glass with metal trim around the edges and a plastic handle. There are also handles on the side of the cooker which make it easy to carry even when the cooker is hot. There are rubberized feet on the bottom of the cooker that help keep it in a sturdy position while it’s sitting on a flat surface. The definitely thought of everything with this product! It’s really been a life saver when it comes to meal prep. I’m so happy that we decided to get this cooker.

If you have a need for quick, easy, tasty meals (who doesn’t?), you need a slow cooker! The Crock Pot brand is the original and in my experience a trustworthy brand and the price is very reasonable for such a useful product. You can get one here: .

Hopefully you found this review to be helpful.  Thanks for reading!  Wishing you a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!!

Hypothyroid Guide to Nontoxic Lifestyle

Back in 2012, I reached a point where I was tired of feeling like crap all the time and had basically hit a brick wall with my doctors. Since being diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2009, I had been on increasing doses of synthetic thyroid hormone.  My blood work was normal, but I continued to feel worse and worse and I’d had enough.  While my gynecologist seemed to really care and want to help me, she had done everything she knew how to do.  What I needed help with was beyond the scope of her practice.  My primary care doctor treated me like a number & wanted me on 125 mcg of Synthroid no matter how bad it made me feel!  He ignored my complaints of worsening symptoms and didn’t even look at the list of supplements I was taking.  At that point I felt like I was out of options, so I knew it was time for me to take control!  You can read the full details here if you have time and care to know all the gory details that brought me to my breaking point.  It’s a long read though, so make sure you have a few minutes and really want to get to know me better.

Because I was completely fed up and I am VERY stubborn, I decided I was going to find a way to feel better.  We couldn’t afford to pay for a naturopathic doctor out of pocket, and those type of services are not covered by our insurance.  So I did the next best thing – I bought a stack of books and got to reading.  Every night I would read before bed, and at work I would read blogs every time I had a few minutes (and even sometimes when I didn’t!).  Over the course of about 8 months I slowly began to implement changes, one area at a time.  When I decided it was time to change one area, though, it was a complete change!  When we switched to nontoxic personal care, we gave away all the toxic stuff all at once & replaced it with nontoxic versions.  Each time we implemented a change, the toxic stuff was purged and replaced with nontoxic items.

Here we are approximately 3 years later, I’m 95% symptom free, off medication and in sub-clinical hypothyroidism.  Do I still have some issues?  Yes.  They usually surface when I don’t follow my diet for multiple days in a row.  Losing weight and seeing results from exercise is still an uphill battle, but I simply remind myself that it takes my body longer to respond to those things.  I’m happy to say that I feel much better.  Best of all, I have the drive to go after the things I want out of life again.  I’m much more present when I’m with my family and friends, and I enjoy life much more than I did back then.

One thing that I wished I would have been able to find when I started this journey is a single guide to help me get started into a nontoxic lifestyle.  If I had known about some basic things in each category by reading a short and to the point book, I believe I would have achieved symptom relief much sooner!  For example, I was about 6 months into making changes before I discovered a thing called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome (also known as MCSS).  At that point I had already made most of the changes I needed to make, but it would have been nice to know about it right away!

Well, I’ve decided to fill that gap! I’m really excited to announce that I am in the process of creating an ebook to help other people who need to clean up their home environment quickly.  This book is going to be just what I wish I’d had back in late 2012 to give me a jump start into nontoxic living.  It’s a condensed version of information it took me months to compile.  When you have hypothyroidism it’s difficult to find energy to do anything, even reading and trying to decide what changes to implement.  If I can make it easy for people to make changes and feel better quickly, it would be a dream come true!  I can’t wait to help people with hypothyroidism with this ebook.

I would really love to hear your feedback.  Please share your thoughts!

  • Are you aware of all the areas in your home where there are toxins that can be affecting your health?
  • Is there a particular item you know is toxic, but aren’t sure how what to replace it with?
  • What would you be willing to pay for a book that would save you months of reading and give you examples of changes you could implement quickly?

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Exercise Accountability for Week Ending 11.08.15

This week I increased the weights I was using. For legs, back & shoulders I increased to 20 lb dumbbells as my heaviest weight. Since I wasn’t ready to go up 5 lbs on my arms, I added 1 lb weighted gloves & 1 lb ankle weights. I thought I ordered 2 lb each, but it was 2 lb total, so I’m going to stick with the size I bought. Mostly because I didn’t notice the weight until after I opened the package & it was destroyed. Lesson learned! When I’m ready to go up again I’ll make sure I order 2 lbs each!

After adding an extra week due to missing several workouts when I was dealing with cold/allergy symptoms, this was my final week of Block 2 of Body Beast.  Last week I mentioned that I was taking measurements & considering posting pictures of my progress. Well, I chickened out on sharing the pictures, but I did check my weight/measurements.  Since starting the program in September I have lost 3 inches & 5 lbs. I am 3 lbs from my goal weight, so this is huge! However, part of me always hopes for better progress than I get. 5 lbs is a great amount of weight to lose when you are so close to your goal weight. Even though logically I know this, I was still a little disappointed that my results weren’t happening faster. I also have to remind myself that because I have hypothyroidism my bodily functions are slower, including metabolism!  The layer of fat I have is much more stubborn thanks to Hashimotos, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up. I’m still seeing progress, no matter how slow. I had to stop checking my progress weekly because I know it’s going to take longer, and not seeing results each week was messing with my head. Waiting longer to check in means that I’ll see bigger changes & be encouraged to keep going.

Here are my workouts for the week:

  • Monday: Body Beast Bulk Chest – 30 minutes
  • Tuesday: Body Beast Bulk Legs – 41 minutes
  • Wednesday: Body Beast Bulk Arms – 35 minutes, practiced PiYo – 45 minutes
  • Thursday: Beast Cardio – 38 minutes & Beast Abs – 10 minutes, practiced PiYo – 45 minutes
  • Friday: Body Beast Bulk Back – 29 minutes, practiced PiYo course – 45 minutes
  • Saturday: PiYo Live Class – 45 minutes
  • Sunday: Body Beast Bulk Shoulders – 35 minutes

I spent a lot of time this week practicing for my PiYo Live class. Much of that time was building the class & marking the moves with the music. However, I did complete many of the sections multiple times to see if I would be able to remember the moves without looking at my notes. The times I noted above was the actual amount of time I spent doing moves, they do not include the time spent writing notes and marking. The first class went fairly well. My husband and one of my friends showed up, which worked out because I had trouble remembering the choreography. We all worked up a good sweat, and my friend said she’s coming back, so I consider that a win! I have more classes coming up in the next two weeks, so I can’t wait to see what happens.

As always, thanks for reading!

Young Living Bamboo Diffuser Review

For those that haven’t read my bio, here’s a quick history about me.  In 2009 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, put on synthetic thyroid hormone & told I would feel better within a few weeks.  Not only did I not feel better I felt progressively worse.  In 2012, after many doctor visits and being told “I don’t know why you still feel bad”, “it’s not your thyroid”, I’d had enough!  I decided to research what lifestyle changes I could make.  When I first started making lifestyle changes back in 2012, I did so after reading a book called “No More Dirty Looks” (available in my Amazon store here: ).  Once I got to the point where my personal care products were free of toxic chemicals, I wanted to clean up the household products.  The first thing that came to mind was getting rid of synthetic fragrances, especially since I knew they were affecting me.  How were they affecting me?  When I was using personal care products with synthetic fragrances, my jawline would break out in hormonal acne that was cystic in nature, painful & itchy.  It cleared up when I stopped using synthetic fragrances.  It recurred when my husband started using an old product that had fragrance in it.  It also recurred when I inadvertently bought a product with synthetic fragrance.  I say inadvertently because I purchased a different line by a brand that I previously bought that didn’t have fragrance & I didn’t check the label of the new product line I purchased.  When I started to break out again, I decided to check the label and you guessed it, there was “fragrance” on the ingredient list.  When I stopped using it, the acne cleared up!

One of the first things I did around our home was to pull out the plug-in fragrances and stop using traditional air fresheners.  Because I didn’t really know where to start, I simply didn’t take action in the fragrance department in our home.  I hung on to my candles in case of an odor emergency in the mean time.  In 2013 I found some candles made of beeswax & scented with essential oils, at which time I threw out the old paraffin wax candles scented with synthetic fragrances & lead wicks.

Until last year, I hadn’t really found a replacement for the plug ins.  When I attended a natural health symposium, I came across a representative of Young Living essential oils.  They had a diffuser and starter oil kit, which I purchased because I absolutely loved the scents of all the oils, even the lavender, which I normally abhor!  Things got busy and I didn’t really use the diffuser or oils much.  The exception was that I used the oil called Stress Away in a diffusing necklace to help me deal with the stress of my commute & job.

We moved off post right around the time that I left my full time job and I made it a point to put the diffuser in the living room.  It’s very modern looking with clean lines, which I love!  Since it’s visible, I’m using it quite a bit more and I absolutely love it!  My favorite scent is Thieves, because it is very spicy.  Lots of cinnamon & clove notes, which is my favorite scent of all time.  Most of the time this is the type of scent that it impossible to find when it isn’t the holiday season, but I like to use it all the time.  Because cinnamon has antimicrobial properties, Thieves oil is great to help support the immune system.  I have been battling seasonal allergies for the last several weeks so I’ve been using it a lot, and I do feel better on the days when I use it.

While the oils are expensive, they are definitely of higher quality than some of the other brands I’ve tried.  I’m  not saying that other brands are bad, just pointing out the difference in quality.  Young Living is the only company in the world that has their own farms from which they produce their oils.  The farms are available for the public to visit.  I really admire the way they do business.  I’m a fan of transparency and caring for the earth and the people on it, which aligns with Young Living’s values.  Actually I’m such a fan that I signed on to be a distributor!  Please feel free to contact me if you’re interested in trying their oils.

As always, thanks for taking time out of your day to stop by My Crazy Nontoxic Life!

How to Unleash Your Inner Beast

Unleash your inner beast when you workout!  How do you do that?

The answer will be different for every person.  For example, sometimes people who are paralyzed in an accident and are told they will never walk again will somehow find a way to walk.  Other times, people with serious health conditions that are given only a short time to live not only outlive their timeline, but they go on to compete in a sporting event such as a marathon, triathlon, or even a show like American Ninja Warrior.  These are things they were told were impossible, yet somehow they made it happen!  That is one of the most amazing things about the human spirit in my opinion.

For me personally, I get motivated when I’m having a difficult time exercising and I think about the limitations that I’ve encountered because of hypothyroidism.  Since being diagnosed in 2009, there have been so many days where I had pain, no energy, no motivation to do anything, no desire to speak, feeling like a shell of a person, getting sick every few weeks, having horrible menstrual side effects, and so many more issues.  When I think back on those days, I get really fired up!  I start to think “f**k you hypothyroidism – you’re NOT going to keep me down!”  Once I get into that mode, I kick it into high gear and try even harder. When I finish a workout after getting fired up like that, I feel even more accomplished than I do when I complete a workout on a typical day.  I have always been the type of person that doesn’t just accept that life is a certain way.  If you tell me “that’s just the way it is”, that motivates to prove you wrong.  Not because I’m competitive or confrontational (quite the opposite), but for my own peace of mind.  This trait has come in really handy for me when it comes to my health!  Without this determination I would probably still be on synthetic thyroid hormone and feeling terrible.  Because I refused to accept that I had to be on hormone replacement therapy for life and that there was nothing I could do to feel better, I researched, changed my diet & lifestyle, and I feel like a new person because of it!

You may know right off the bat what your “why” is.  It may be a disability, a disease, or perhaps you’re simply motivated by wanting to be healthy.  If you don’t know your why, you may have to do some soul searching to figure it out.  Everyone has a “why”, it’s just a matter of determining what it is.  My suggestion is to think of something that you want to do but feel you can’t.  Why can’t you?  Is it possible that you can, but you fear failure?  Perhaps you can use that as fuel!  Overcoming a fear may end up being your why.

Think of something you view as impossible.  Has someone else done it?  If so, then it’s not impossible at all!  If the answer is no, has someone come close?  Break it down into small steps.  Can you achieve the small, individual steps?  Maybe you can easily knock out a few, but not the others.  Do you need to learn a new skill to get through some of the tasks?  How long will that take?  The time and effort is usually what scares people away from trying something difficult.  Rather than admitting that, though, often times people just say “it’s impossible”.  Sometimes your life circumstances make something difficult seem unachievable.  But remember that you didn’t learn to walk the first time you tried!  You have to fail before you succeed.

Often times what we think is impossible is actually possible, it’s just extremely difficult.  As Audrey Hepburn once said “nothing is impossible.  The word itself says I’m Possible.”

I hope you find this post helpful in finding your inner beast.  Thanks for stopping by!