#90 Thyroid, Periods & Gut Health Q&A (Part 1)

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast


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"Gut health treatment strategies need to be very individualized, if you're looking to achieve any kind of immediate constipation relief. I generally recommend my clients get more testing done first for conditions like SIBO, otherwise you could try a million different diets and none of them may work for you if you haven't found the root cause of your constipation. That same philosophy applies for just about any health condition, whether you're looking for an effective Acne treatment, Thyroid healing, or achieving a healthy period."

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In Episode 90 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss holistic treatment options for immediate constipation relief, effective Acne treatment and common questions around Thyroid health.

  • Thyroid Goitres/Nodules and understanding the types
  • Advocating for yourself with Thyroid Issues
  • Tips on treating acne after stopping the pill 
  • Emotions leading up to periods
  • Tips to fight constipation 
  • Best vitamins/probiotics for toddlers
  • Ways to assist immune function
  • Kate’s opinion + decision around Chemo versus natural Cancer treatment 

Intro 0:00
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, with your hosts Natalie K. Douglas, Thyroid Healer, and Kate Callaghan, The Holistic Nutritionist. Nat and Kate are degree-qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors. If you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers, and authentic heart-sharing, then we are your ladies! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and get ready for our latest tips on living your healthiest life possible.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:37
What’s up people. Welcome back to the show. Kate, hi. So good to have you here.

Kate Callaghan 0:43
Hi. I love that you change every time.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:49
I know. Well, variety is the spice of life. I remember I used to be like really formal when we very first started because I wanted to be like, these people need to know that I am professional. Now, I’m like, what’s up y’all? I did one. Do you remember that time I tried to be Sean Croxton on the interview? I feel like I did a really bad butcher of that. Butcher? Butch?

Kate Callaghan
You butchered it?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. Butchered. Thanks. You got my back.

Kate Callaghan
I used to love Sean Croxton’s podcast.

Natalie K. Douglas
Same. When I very first started getting into paleo, like back when we were at uni even. I remember just listening to him. But do you remember how bad the recordings are when he very first started because he did, he used to do them live?

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
But I was like, I’m dedicated, I want to listen. And the Balanced Bites Podcast, I used to, I used to listen to that when I very first got into the whole paleo-ish movement back in the day.

Kate Callaghan 1:46
I was a fan of Chris Kresser.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Also Robb Wolf’s podcast, Paleo Solution.

Natalie K. Douglas 1:54
Yeah. And like Chris is so intelligent, but his voice does make me want to snooze a little bit in a really lovely way. But then Robb is really funny. So I really enjoy that. And Robb used to have that funny guy, Greg on, Greg Everett?

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
The Olympic weightlifting guy. And he was so funny. Oh, my gosh. Anyway, back in the day, back in the old days.

Kate Callaghan 2:18
How’d it be like? 10 years ago? No, not quite.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:23
Um, when did we finish? 2013 or 14?

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas 2:28
All the way now. Yeah. Wow. Doesn’t that feel ages ago?

Kate Callaghan
It does.

Natalie K. Douglas
Crazy. All right. Well, as much as reminiscing for this whole podcast would be amazing because it’s, I love like looking back at memories. We’re actually doing a Q & A because you guys apparently have a shit ton of questions, which is amazing because it gives us content and means we’re answering what you’re asking. So what we’re actually going to do, there was lots and lots of different topics that kind of came through. And instead of doing a theme for the whole podcast, which may make sense, we prefer going for variety. So what we’re going to do is jump around to a few different topics and just ask a question from each, that way everyone gets a little bit of something, something from the podcast. So Kate, do you want to start with the first question, which I believe was a thyroid-related one?

Kate Callaghan 3:23
Yes. So I will ask you miss thyroid expert.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
So, this is a question from someone. This is not about me personally. So, I’m speaking as the person asking the question.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:35
Thank you for clarifying. We will do that the whole time just so everyone is not confused.

Kate Callaghan 3:41
Okay, I have a goiter, which indicates a thyroid issue but my TSH levels are quote-unquote, normal. This is confusing?

Natalie K. Douglas 3:50
Okay, so I think the very first thing to point out is that like for those listening that don’t know what that is, a goiter is like a nodular growth in the thyroid gland. And they actually happen in up to 50% of the population, but they are more common in people with Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease, but not all thyroid nodules will actually affect TSH but some can. So that’s probably part of the confusion is assuming that all nodules or goiters will affect the TSH level. So there are different types. So there’s a multi, there’s multinodular goiters, which are usually genetic or environmentally triggered, and are very commonly caused by like iodine deficiency and in that case, usually, TSH will increase. Then there are inflammatory nodules usually present in Hashimoto’s and can potentially indicate that there is an autoimmune attack still happening on the thyroid and sometimes we do also see a TSH being affected but sometimes we don’t. And then there are also cysts, which can be further classified as simple, simple colloid cysts, or adenomas, and we won’t go into the details of that at the moment, but they’re different again. So I think don’t be confused. I think what what this person needs to do is get further information on a, what type of goiter or nodule or growth is there, usually via an ultrasound. And if it looks suspicious, then I’ll usually ask you to do a biopsy as well. And then have someone interpret your results for your thyroid hormones and TSH, etc, with what is optimal in mind, because often normal is a really loose term. So that would be what I do and also check your iodine status.

Kate Callaghan 5:44
I think because goes for everything thyroid related. I think TSH alone means sweet at all really. As you’ve spoken about a lot in the past, it’s really important to get that full panel of thyroid hormones done, TSH, T3, T4, and reverse T3 all the things, thyroid antibodies to actually get a full picture of what’s going on rather than just looking at one piece of the puzzle and trying to figure it out because it wouldn’t make sense to anyone.

Natalie K. Douglas 6:14
Yeah, no. And also not taking what, unless they’re someone who knows a lot about thyroid stuff and is looking and is like looking at it from an optimal perspective. Don’t take it at face value if someone’s like, no, it all looks fine if you feel not well. Like if you feel great, and they’re like, everything looks fine, then I wouldn’t be as worried. But if you’re feeling unwell, then that’s when I’d be like, I’d be wanting someone to interpret it that is going through it with a fine-tooth comb and knows what they’re talking about.

Kate Callaghan 6:44
Yeah, agreed.

Natalie K. Douglas 6:46
Awesome. So next one we’re going to talk about is the question as the person asking is acne after stopping the pill, any suggestions to help?

Kate Callaghan 6:59
So this is actually really common to get acne after stopping a pill because the pill essentially shuts down your normal production of hormones and a lot of the times women will go on the pill during puberty, when their body’s trying to establish those communication pathways between the brain and the ovaries, and you might have some kind of skin fluctuations then, but you shut it off with the pill. And then you’re essentially just delaying the whole process until you come off the pill. And so then your body kind of has to go through another puberty and all this roller coaster of, I was going to say emotions but that’s irrelevant, but that happens to your roller coaster of hormones can cause these skin breakouts for a lot of people. There’s also the direct depletion that the pill has on things like zinc on your beneficial bacteria in your digestive system is a really strong connection between the gut and the skin. So there’s micronutrient deficiencies, the deficiencies and disruption to your gut bacteria all can play a role in these acne coming out. So I would say, first and foremost is you need to support detoxification of your body from the pill. So this means really going gung ho with your diet in terms of cutting out inflammatory foods, things like dairy, grains, and possibly legumes for a little while, depending on if you tolerate them or not. Really, really upping your vegetable intake to help boost detoxification and elimination. Making sure that you’re pooping regularly so you’re getting those waste products out. Aiming for you know, 8 to 10 cups of veggies per day, if you can, is really going to speed that process along. Getting in some really wonderful omega-3 sources of food or even a supplement. So oily fish, or a good quality fish oil products, or cod liver oil. Cod liver oil probably actually my number one choice because it’s got your omega-3s and vitamin A and vitamin D, all of which are really important for skin. Repleting your nutrients, so getting a good quality multivitamin, multi-mineral, and a probiotic or focusing on prebiotic foods, potentially doing a stool test to see what’s actually going on with your gut and how much you need to pay attention to repopulation of that gut bacteria. And then managing stress levels as well, it’s going to be really important because when we are really highly stressed that’s going to deplete your or that’s going to shut down your body’s own production of sex hormones, and we really want to get those flourishing. And then you wanted to take out things that your endogenous, no, sorry, exogenous sources of hormones, or your your xenoestrogens from the environment. So looking at your personal-care products, looking at what you’re putting on your skin, if you’re using perfume, really taking out all of those chemicals that are going to disrupt your hormones or be sources of those external estrogens. Plastics, go on to the EWGs, so Environmental Working Group, and have a look there at all of the ingredients that you really want to avoid and keep it simple. I mean, make your own face serum with a simple carrier oil, and some beautiful essential oils, again, making sure your essential oils are high quality. So again, you’re not getting synthetics in there, because that would just defeat the purpose. Same with cleaning products, make simple, cheap, cleaning products with like vinegar, water, lemon, it’s super easy. But really going through your whole house and making sure that you’re avoiding all of these synthetic sources of hormones, anything to add?

Natalie K. Douglas 10:54
No, I think that’s amazing. The only thing I’d say is be patient because usually, it can kind of get its worst, about three to six months after you stop the pill, but then your efforts will still pay off. So that’s happened to a number of my patients where they’ve come off the pill. And then we’ve been doing all of this groundwork, groundwork, groundwork, and it kind of takes a while for that to pay off, and sometimes it can kind of peak at that three to six-month mark, and then it starts to get heaps better. But you have to be able to just hold in there and trust that that will happen. And it’s the same when it comes to like hair loss too actually. So just be patient and know that your efforts are going to be worth it but they might not. Like for some people it happens quite quickly but for I would say for most in most of my experience, it can just, it can take some time to rebalance everything.

Kate Callaghan 11:52
Hmm. Saunas can help as well, actually.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan 11:58
Anyway. Okay, so next question, we’re going to move on to gut health. So the question is, I’ve cut down grains, still eating carbs, high protein, but bowel movement still aren’t regular. Help.

Natalie K. Douglas 12:10
Okay, so I would say that, like, it’s such a hard question to answer for starters, because gut health is something that is quite individual. I would be wanting to know, you know, have you had any testing done? If you haven’t, I, if it’s mainly constipation, that is the issue. I don’t know that like, eating higher protein is actually going to be of benefit. Sometimes that can be more constipating than less, but it depends what’s going on in your gut. So I would be starting with getting more testing done, because you could try a billion different diets and they may none of them they work if you haven’t found the root cause. So for me, this would look like either testing for SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, if you also have other signs of it. So other signs would be bloating, that happens quite soon after meals, abdominal discomfort, or pain that is there associated with the bloating. And I would also say if that’s not the case, as in if you’re just constipated, but you’re not necessarily feeling like you’re getting bloated quite soon after meals, it’s more just something that happens gradually throughout the day that’s associated with not having had a complete bowel evacuation, then that’s when I’d be more looking at testing for, testing your gut microbiome as a whole, like what species of bacteria there and what balance is there, because that can be a driver of constipation, as well. There are lots and lots of different ways to test your gut and I think gut health is one of those areas where it’s really good to work with someone who is educated in it because you can waste a shit ton of money on the wrong test if you just go out and get whatever. If so that’s where I think like I would start. If you did really want to try something for yourself first, from a kind of trying to heal constipation point of view, I would actually lower your protein a little bit, adding some more fibers but like kind of cooked and cooled potatoes and sweet potatoes. I would actually try and do some like gentle, more gentle starches, even from some gluten-free grains just don’t go like nuts. And then I would also make sure speaking of nuts that you’re not having, you’re not overdoing them, because they can be quite constipating. And making sure you’re drinking enough water, making sure that you’re actually making time to have a bowel movement. So making sure that you actually schedule that in your day, which sounds crazy, but if you don’t make time to do a poo, it probably won’t happen, or there’ll be a message from your brain being like, come on, we’ve got a rush, rush, rush and you’re not going to be able to relax. I’d also make sure that you are using a footstool to go to the bathroom, and potentially even seeing a pelvic floor physio to see if there’s anything happening from that angle to that’s preventing you from having complete bowel motions, or having, or struggling there too. What else? I don’t necessarily think I’d go straight to supplementation because its probiotics are great. Prebiotics are great, but I’d want to know why, like, why are you constipated or why are bowel movements not regular. And then stress is always another one, and thyroid function. So if you’ve got other signs of an underactive thyroid, like if you’re tired, if your hair’s falling out, if you have a bit of brain fog, if you’re having difficulty losing weight, then know that being constipated can also come from not having enough thyroid hormone. So I think in my opinion, I would speak. I would work with someone first to like, allow them to help you figure out where about your recourse is probably lying in, and then start to do some testing to get to the bottom of that. Pun intended.

Kate Callaghan 16:25
I just done some stool testing this week.

Natalie K. Douglas 16:27
I love stool testing. I did. Huh?

Kate Callaghan
Elected my poop.

Natalie K. Douglas
Elected your poop. It’s fun. I just I love it. I mean, I don’t love collecting my poo. I mean, it’s not bad, but I like analyzing it. After they’ve analyzed it and given me the written paper. Not, I don’t collect poo and look at it. Not yet anyway. And maybe a gap in the market. Just kidding. Do you have anything to add to that one, Kate?

Kate Callaghan
Chew your food?

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, that’s such a good one. Yes. Eat properly.

Kate Callaghan 17:02
At least 22s per mouth full.

Natalie K. Douglas 17:05
So funny when we actually do do that. Have you ever? I mean, I do it sometimes. I’m like counting. And I, I look so funny because I think whenever I do something like I do it really like, like too much. You know, I can probably just chew normally but I chew like a cow. If I’m trying to count, but you don’t have to do that.

Kate Callaghan 17:25
No, you just chew normally.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah. No, no, Nat, it’s all good. Okay, cool. All right. So next question is, what are the best vitamins or probiotics for toddlers?

Kate Callaghan 17:42
Okay, so I, first and foremost they like to try and start with food. I find that probiotics are generally easier to get in than necessarily the vitamins because kids are fussy with their eating. So probiotics. If you start them young enough kids will love sauerkraut, coconut kefir, I love, my kids love coconut water kefir, coconut yogurt, there’s really good brands out there now. I know there’s heaps in Australia and New Zealand. I love Raglin coconut yogurt. They’re sugar-free and you can get like berry flavored or you can just get plain within some berries yourself. So food first if you can. With the vitamins this, you probably get turn your nose up but it’s not you Nat but everyone listening and make some pate and see if they will eat that.

Natalie K. Douglas
Everybody loves pate.

Kate Callaghan
Everybody loves pate.

Natalie K. Douglas 18:39
You know, I think we say that every time we say pate.

Kate Callaghan 18:45
Think that I broke. And so if you can get some pate into them, obviously always encouraging them to eat their vegetables. Sometimes it might be okay to hide the vegetables in say, a pasta sauce or I made, I made a vegan lasagna last night.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Yeah. So we put layers of zucchini and eggplant. And in the tomato sauce, we added in more silverbeet and onions and garlic. So you can you can hide veggies. I don’t like to hide veggies all the time because I think it’s important to educate our children on why, what they’re eating and why they should be eating it, and what it’s going to do for them. But every now and then especially if you’ve got the real stubborn children which sometimes my children can be as well then hide some in your other foods. I’ve got a zucchini banana bread recipe on my website which is delicious. You can also throw frozen zucchinis and frozen cauliflower into smoothies, kids love smoothies but if you probably is going, just tell me the friggin brand. Okay, so probiotics for kids. There’s a couple that I like, I really love the doTERRA PB Assist Jr. it tastes delicious and my kids love it. I also love BioCeuticals Baby Biotic which is suitable from zero onwards, that would be my two picks for probiotics. The vitamins again, I do love the A to Z chewable from doTERRA. I don’t like their the omega-3 for the children because it has I think sunflower oil in it. So yes to the vitamins, no to the omega-3 that doTERRA do. Any others that you would suggest for vitamins?

Natalie K. Douglas 20:40
I’d say then Nordic Naturals do a really nice children’s product. I’m pretty sure it’s Cod Liver Oil based as well and has the omega-3s in it. So I really like that one.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
But I wouldn’t add anything else. No, I think it’s great.

Kate Callaghan 20:57
I think MegaFood. MegaFood do some kids one as well.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:00
I’m not familiar with them. But I will.

Kate Callaghan 21:04
Just make sure you check the ingredients. So rather than just looking at the price, just have a look at their actual ingredients and make sure that there’s not too many excipients, or extra ingredients, or dodgy things in them. Make sure there’s no sugars obviously or artificial sweeteners as natural as possible. Go to the health food, if you’re not sure, go to the health food store and ask them for some options. Don’t buy it at supermarket.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Shitty ones in the supermarket.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:32
Yeah, and be, like be cautious about what brands you buy. Like I, I’m a fan of using where possible, for those of you listening Australia and New Zealand based supplements that are TGA approved because they have to go undergo more stringent testing. That doesn’t mean that I never recommend or use ones that are US-based or whatever, especially since I have clients over there but I would say you know if when you can, it’s best to use ones that have got more testing around them and any like of the practitioner brands for example, and a lot of the ones that are sold in Australia and New Zealand do have to go through TGA if they’re a supplement.

Kate Callaghan 22:14
Yeah. BioCeuticals is generally a good one.

Natalie K. Douglas 22:19
Yes, it is. All right. Next question. Are we doing the bottom category or are we skipping it?

Kate Callaghan
Ah, maybe we can do it. We can do it.

Natalie K. Douglas
Okay. All right.

Kate Callaghan
Oh, wait, no.

Natalie K. Douglas 22:33
Not number one, but number two, or just skip back up to the top?

Kate Callaghan 22:36
Well get, I’ve got a wild card. That’s somewhat blends in.

Natalie K. Douglas 22:41
Okay, I can read your wild card.

Kate Callaghan 22:43
Who was your childhood crush?

Natalie K. Douglas 22:46
Oh, like as in a actual like human that I knew or? Pardon?

Kate Callaghan
Famous person.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, famous person. So I had a few, the guy for Tim from from Hi-5 and also Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys, those were probably the two that first come to mind for me. Don’t judge me. I didn’t wear my glasses as I should have back then. But I own that Nick Carter one, man. Every girl had a crush on him.

Kate Callaghan 23:27
Everyone likes Nick Carter. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, and you?

Kate Callaghan
Mine was Ed, Eddie Furlong. Terminator days.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes. Judging.

Kate Callaghan
JTT, Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

Natalie K. Douglas 23:40
Yeah, that one I totally approve.

Kate Callaghan 23:42
And also John Stamos.

Natalie K. Douglas
Who’s that?

Kate Callaghan
Some Full House I think. Yeah. Like the black hair.

Natalie K. Douglas 23:51
Oh, the dad, like the the cool dude?

Kate Callaghan 23:53
Uncle. Uncle. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 23:54
Yeah. Okay. All right. Yeah, I could. I could say that. Fair enough. But I’m still judging the first one.

Kate Callaghan 24:01
I reckon there’s gonna be others out there who like yeah. Aye, pretty hot.

Natalie K. Douglas 24:06
Oh, boy. Well, I think I definitely had way more like celebrity crushes than that. I had an obsession with like Chad Michael Murray at one point, but I don’t know that I was a child then I feel like I was like, 13 or 14. I was like convinced. From One Tree Hill and from A Cinderella Story.

Kate Callaghan
I don’t know.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, my gosh. I can’t. You need to google it often.

Kate Callaghan
How do you?

Natalie K. Douglas
I don’t rate him as much anymore but and also Brad Pitt. I still have Brad Pitt.

Kate Callaghan 24:35
Of course, Brad Pitt always. He’s very hot.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, yes.

Kate Callaghan 24:39
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, know who he is?

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas 24:44
Yep. I think there’s a bit of a theme to the people that that I find attractive. And it’s really funny because.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, blonde, blue eyes, but then not like none of the people I’ve ever dated except for maybe like two actually look like that. And none of the people I’ve been in long-term relations nor do does my husband fit that. Look, so there you go, it was interesting.

Kate Callaghan
Well, my husband has a crush on Beyonce and I’m definitely not black.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:21
No. But not many of us are so it’s all good. Imagine if you guys came out with like, some of a huge orange, should like 10, like strap some buttons on to your butt.

Kate Callaghan
No. We’re happy that most people come like that has. Yeah, very cool.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. It’s true.

Kate Callaghan 25:41
All right, let’s go back to the start, walk through again. Okay so, how to advocate for yourself when something doesn’t seem right? Thyroid specifically.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:52
Okay, so I think this is a really common one because, you know, it’s very very often that people are dismissed when they’re wanting more comprehensive thyroid testing, or, you know, being frustrated by being told that nothing’s wrong when they feel the exact opposite. So I think when it comes to the being an advocate for having proper comprehensive thyroid testing done, there are a couple of things that I recommend, for a starter like, like, and you can use these together or separately, I would say, trying to do some asking around your local area for a doctor that is at least more open-minded. They don’t have to be integrative necessarily, but at least you’ve heard feedback that they are open, because that is one thing that you’ll get shut down straightaway if if a doctor is closed-minded, so trying to ask around for that. The second is if you’re working with a practitioner already, like as in like a naturopath, or nutritionist, or someone like that, asking them to write a referral fee to take with you to the doctor to request the testing with backup reasons for that. That can be another thing that helps you in in the way of getting proper testing done. The other one is, so it’s like letting them know that you’re willing to pay for some that aren’t covered by Medicare, if that’s what you need to do, and sometimes that can help as well. If you’ve got a family history of Hashimoto’s or any kind of thyroid issues, then making sure you let them know that because that can also provide them a reason as to why you are should be tested for at least thyroid antibodies and a little bit more comprehensive testing. If you’ve had thyroid levels that are out of whack in the past, also let them know that, and let them know, hey, I’ve been you know, doing some tweaks to my diet and supplements and been working really hard to try and improve my health. Last time I was tested these T-4 and T-3 out, for example, I’d really like to see if what I’m doing is having an effect. Can I please have these retested and that also can give them a reason for testing because they’re seeing progress or something like that. So there’s a few different ways that you can do that. The other thing you can do is go armed with some research, but not too much and it has to be proper journal research. I would say this is probably like one of the lower options down the list just because it would require you knowing how to find the right research, and I wouldn’t recommend taking big long papers, I’d recommend taking abstracts, they’re not going to sit there and read whole papers in your seven minutes that you get with them. So just be mindful of that. So that is where I would start. And I’d also say, try to not have your defenses up straight away when you go in there. Know that although it not might not feel like it for the most part they’re doing their best. And no, I don’t think that it’s good enough it from a patient care perspective and a lot of play in a lot of instances. And also, I recognize that they aren’t taught some of this stuff. And there are arguments for and again for both sides. So I just think remember, they’re still a human being and remember to still be kind because they’re much more likely to work with you if you are kind rather than defensive and go in there with a well, I’m entitled to this, you owe me kind of attitude, which I totally, I really, really understand. And I’m on your side, but I just think from the perspective of getting what you, getting them to do what you want, it’s really important to speak to them nicely and to be kind basically. Kate, do you have anything to add because this goes for anything when you’re being an advocate for your yourself?

Kate Callaghan 1:53
Yeah, no, I think I think what everything you said, I 100% agree with, just don’t be, don’t feel bad for asking for something other than what they have suggested. And I mean, in the camps around specifically, I’m seeing this. We put so much so much in there, the oncologist, and what they know, and they know a lot. They know a lot about chemotherapy and radiotherapy and surgery and, and all the different types of cancers and how they work. But that’s what they know. And there’s a lot to know in that. They don’t know about complementary therapies as much. So get as Nat said, you know, get some research together and say, I’d really, I really like to talk to you about this and even about your your treatments, they might, so with cancer, specifically, they would say, all right, we’re going to do surgery, and then we’re going to do chemotherapy, and then we’re going to radio, radiation therapy, you can do that but that’s your choice as well, you don’t have to do that. So don’t feel pressured into doing something that you don’t want to do, what you really don’t want to do. I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of things we can say we don’t want to do, but we have to do anyway but give yourself a little bit more time to do a bit of research around how you can support your body through each of the treatments and, and discuss other options because chances are they won’t know. So yeah, go to them and say this is what I want to do. Have a conversation. They get paid a lot of money. Don’t feel bad about it.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:28
Yes, I love, I like that. Because I think a lot of the time we can feel like they are you know, we have to ask permission, like we don’t, you know, we’re we’re so lucky to be well, I don’t know if that’s the right word. But I just I agree with what you’re saying. Don’t be scared of asking questions like you do have a right to ask questions and advocate for yourself. I don’t think we need to do it in a way that is like, like, cruel, or speaking down to them just as they don’t, they shouldn’t speak down to us, either. I think we’re all just humans, and we all want to be healthy and feel well, and you absolutely have the right to to ask questions. And it’s their like it’s their choice to be defensive or not. So just know that. Yeah, I’m just going to stop there because I think we’ve covered it.

Kate Callaghan
Your body, your body, so.

Natalie K. Douglas
Absolutely. All right, so next question is, why do we get so emotional leading up to period time, and what can help?

Kate Callaghan
Okay, so not everyone will get emotional leading up to period time. If you get really really really emotional, not just kind of a bit tired, then that can be a sign of hormonal imbalance which I think we’ve done a whole podcast on.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, we have and we’ve done a few different. I’ve done a couple of different interviews as well in the in recent weeks. So go back and have a listen to all of that because we’ve definitely talked about this.

Kate Callaghan 5:02
Yeah, so I will be looking at hormonal imbalance, specifically, if you’re getting more anxious and more irritable, I’d be looking at low progesterone, and or estrogen dominance, so high estrogen in relation to progesterone. So maybe as Nat said, go back and listen to the other podcasts that we’ve done on hormones and periods, and because there’s lots of information in there and get yourself tested. So go and get a DUTCH test for your hormones to see what’s going on because that will not only give you an insight as to what’s going on, let’s say in progesterone and estrogen, but all the different pathways as well, which can give you a bit of an indicator of your overall health and well being.

Natalie K. Douglas 5:44

Kate Callaghan 5:46
Oh, what can help? What can help? Balancing your hormones, obviously. Stress management is really good for getting progesterone levels up, vitamin C is helpful for getting progesterone levels up, again, removing all of the external sources of synthetic hormones, and estrogens like plastics, and chemicals in your cleaning products, and your skincare and fragrances. All of the things that we spoke about in regards to acne, using some essential oils can support as well. So frankincense, lemon, wild orange, all of these citrus oils are really wonderful for mood-boosting, and Frankincense is great for any anxiousness.

Natalie K. Douglas 6:30

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
And I think looking after yourself throughout your whole cycle, and not just in that week, leading up to it is really important which we’ve spoken about every time we speak about periods and hormonal health as well that it really you know, your cycle really is like your monthly report card. And so it’s important to make sure that you’re doing things that are conducive to having a healthy period throughout the whole month. And I did an interview with Nikki from who is the creator of Moonbox, a few weeks ago, or a few episodes ago and you can listen to that. We go through supporting yourself through all the different phases of your cycle and that can really help. There was also an interview done a couple of weeks ago as well with Amy, who is a PT, and we talk about actually training with your menstrual cycle as well which which can help. So lots and lots of different tips on that already. So go back and have a listen and that will definitely give you some more information.

Kate Callaghan 7:38
Fabulous. Okay, moving on. Ways to assist immune function.

Natalie K. Douglas 7:44
So I would say really basics would be eating well consistently and prioritizing that sleep 100%. That would probably be my number one. Managing stress, decreasing your toxic load as Kate’s already mentioned a few times here with the tip she gave. And then I would also say making sure that your vitamin D levels are optimal. So getting that tested, trying to get some sunshine, if they are low than supplementing with vitamin D. Other than that, I would say from a from like a supplement point of view, actually, one more I’d add is cold therapy. So having like a cold shower daily or like just like a 30 second last or one minute last at the end of your hot shower can be really helpful for immune function, or if you can do ice baths, then doing that once a week or so depending on how things, were things wrapped with your cycle. I wouldn’t do them when you actually have your period. And then supplement wise, I would say cod liver oil can be really helpful because it’s got a nice balance of vitamin A and vitamin D and omega-3s. Zinc is amazing. So my favorite forms would be zinc picolinate, citrate is another okay form as well. And then I would also say making sure that you’ve got really good gut health because most of your immune system is in or around your gut. So if you’ve got any gut issues, or you just feel like or that’s an area that you could probably optimize, then I’d be really working strongly on that as well. Those are like the first things that come to mind. There are plenty of herbs that can help with supporting your immune system as well but I personally would first go to food and lifestyle type interventions, and then I’d layer in nutrients and then I’d layer in herbs after that particular to what’s going on. So I, I will just leave it there because I think that’s plenty. Kate, do you have anything to add to that?

Kate Callaghan
Did you say mushrooms?

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh yes. Thank you. I don’t know, I didn’t say that. It’s like one of my daily immune supports. Yes. I love mushrooms. So, I love Reishi, and Turkey tail, and cordyceps, and lion’s mane, all of them are just so good. So yes, and I use those daily actually. I just use, you know, a combination of them in. I actually just put them in like a hot cacao or in my coffee and blend them because personally, I think they taste that shit in water, but they can go in smoothies or, like anything that has, like an extra flavor that’s that’s strong. Otherwise, yeah, I mean, you can totally try it in water, but I personally think it tastes disgusting.

Kate Callaghan 10:40
Yeah. No, I have them into coffee,

Natalie K. Douglas 10:41
Yeah. Good one. Mushrooms are amazing. Okay. So glad. All right. So next are we oh, other, or no we just did other, back up to the top?

Kate Callaghan
We can do the bottom.

Natalie K. Douglas
Okay, the bottom. All right. Since your story, I’ve been following. This is not me, this is the person speaking. Since your story, I’ve been following some people at Hope4Cancer and I’ve noticed some of some of declining traditional treatments in favor of holistic/nontoxic only. What do you think of this approach, in particular, one lady has a treatable early-stage cancer but has declined chemo?

Kate Callaghan 11:20
Mm-hmm. Okay, so this is, it’s a big, big question, but I’ll try and wrap it up. So what do I think about that approach? I think, especially if I had early-stage cancer, I definitely be going that non-toxic approach as well. 100%. I only, so I guess I can answer both of these questions. So that next one is for my decision-making process when deciding on chemo not. So I originally didn’t want to do chemotherapy at all. Which was why, you know, I went to here to Hope4Cancer. So that the, I wasn’t saying never to chemotherapy, I was just saying, I don’t want to do it. But I went to Hope4Cancer to strengthen my immune system, to see what results I could get, and then to put my body in the best position possible if I needed to have chemotherapy when I got back. While I was there with Hope4Cancer, they do extensive testing. And while my my tumors shrunk, they did some cancer markers, some tumor marker testing, and which showed that the type of cancer that I have, is very aggressive, very, very aggressive. And so even they recommended chemotherapy there, which is not something that they usually recommend to just kind of knock it on their head, they did recommend a low-dose chemotherapy, but it was a bit I couldn’t really get it and I’m on a more of a gentle chemotherapy at the moment anyway, and it’s fine. And it’s having positive impacts on my on my system because obviously there’s some negative impacts as well. But overall, we’re making progress, but it wasn’t an easy decision for me to make. I mean, when they said that, you’ll probably need chemotherapy when you go back to New Zealand, I cried the whole day, I cried real hard that whole day. It broke me because chemotherapy is it’s a really hardcore drug. And while it is effective at getting rid of a lot of cancer it doesn’t target the cancer stem cells. So it’s essentially buying you time, it’s not curing, it’s not much fixing anything, it’s not putting you in a remission. It is, it is just buying you time, and you need to be aware that you still need to protect those stem cells if you want to prevent the cancer from coming back, and potentially coming back even more aggressive than it was in the first place. So yeah, so I had a big internal conversation and then we asked, talked to my husband about it. And I thought, you know, there’s heaps of people that have had success with chemotherapy. I am in a good position with my immune system. I know how to support my body through it. I know how to protect my healthy cells while I’m having chemotherapy. I know how to enhance the effect of the chemotherapy on the cancer cells. So I’m just going to do it. If to the, as for the people that just do holistic I’m all for that. That has worked for a lot of people. And I, I don’t think it’s our position to say what someone should or shouldn’t do. It’s really so individual, and holistic and natural treatments are incredibly effective. It just depends on what’s going on in your body and how quickly you need to act because often those holistic non-toxic treatments will take a little bit longer to knock things out, but at the same time, you’re not going to have the full out that you would have with chemotherapy. So the lady who had the early-stage cancer that have been declined chemo that I would have done that as well. If I didn’t have stage four aggressive cancer, I would have declined chemo. It is what it is.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes, is.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah, I think we just don’t. A lot of people are scared of going outside the norm, venturing outside the box, because there’s not as much. Not as many people speak about it. I mean, I know a few people so there’s a lady Kate Malvenan, she’s, it’s_not_kates_time on Instagram. And she went to Hope4Cancer a few times. And she is, she just had her PET scan, and one year after being diagnosed with stage four terminal lung cancer, she has no evidence of disease in her body. Which is basically she’s cancer-free. The cancer gets freed, the cancer cured. In the whole cancer field, you see no evidence of disease. And she’s just gone gung ho with the holistic treatments and she’s done it but she gets trolled a lot, because it questions people’s ideas of what we should do.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
And it makes people’s heads spin like, no, we can’t go against the mainstream model of chemotherapy but we can’t, and we should.

Natalie K. Douglas
Exactly. I think everyone has. Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
So, while the other is, well, I don’t think we should do just chemotherapy. I think it should either be holistic, nontoxic, or a blend of chemotherapy with the holistic nontoxic because if you do just the conventional, I think you’re setting yourself up for long-term damage. And the cancer’s coming back with a vengeance.

Natalie K. Douglas 16:59
Yeah. And I think people are so quick to judge without knowing anything about it as well. Like, people assume, oh there’s no research, there is research. People assume oh there’s, you know, to where that people get cured without or put into remission, or whatever you want to call it without chemo. And that like, as you’re saying there’s plenty of people that it works for. And I think, like, above all, everyone has the right to make their own choice. Everyone has the right to share their story if they wish to share it, and I just, I don’t get trolls, which I’m sure no one listening to this podcast is a troll. But I just think why, like, if you don’t have something constructive to say, why you there if it’s not, like if you don’t like. Like, for example, if when people have asked you in the past, like, oh, why are you sharing? Why are you on social media when you have cancer? It’s like, why? Why the fuck not? Like, it’s just don’t get it?

Kate Callaghan 18:06
Yeah, it is interesting. And you know, some people, when they get those messages, they would take it really hard and be really deeply affected by it. And in the past, I probably would be as well. But since I got a diagnosis of terminal cancer, I have less fucks to give. I’m like, whatever. Um, but just think before you write things, and then reread it after you write it, and think is it actually appropriate to send?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. Right.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas 18:41
Yeah. Yeah. It’s just something missing there. That’s okay. I agree with you. I think you just kind of, I think it’s part of now these days. Unfortunately, it’s part of having a big audience or sharing or having something to say that is not, you know, going with the majority. It’s just it’s, it’s part of kind of what just kind of happens and you, you just learn to deal with it. But you’re right, I think it’s very, there’s this assumption that words don’t hurt and I think that you would be a rare exception to like an exception to the rule of people being like most people are affected by what they read and say and get like feedback on. And I think that it’s it sucks that people do that because it’s just so unnecessary.

Kate Callaghan 19:32
It’s really unnecessary. Okay, is there a better use of my time? Oh, yeah, I can go and just stand outside and stare at a wall.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:46
So funny, true.

Kate Callaghan 19:48
And joy to the world.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, yeah.

Kate Callaghan
Joy to the world.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:55
Something, something, something. Yeah, I don’t know. I probably should. Alright, should we leave it there or do one more?

Kate Callaghan 20:03
What? What? What? We’ll do, we’ll do. What’s the first concert you attended?

Natalie K. Douglas 20:10
Oh, okay. Mine was actually Good Charlotte. And it was in like, the park like, like just some park near the beach. And I think I would maybe in like, oh I don’t know, actually I lie I think I went to Hi-5. I went to a Hi-5 concert. But in terms of like a concert for adults or like teenagers then I went to Good Charlotte and Taking Back Sunday was the other one that happened around the similar time which was like a more of like an alternative emo band. Yeah, back when those things existed. I wouldn’t go again.

Kate Callaghan 20:48
I was thinking my first concert was Robbie Williams but it totally wasn’t because I went to the Big Day Out on the Gold Coast when I was 16. And I saw Powderfinger.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, Cool.

Kate Callaghan
Killing Heidi and Limp Bizkit.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:04
Oh, nice. I would love to see Killing Heidi. Were, like, was it good live?

Kate Callaghan 21:09
Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. I love Powderfinger.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:13
What was your, what’s the best concert you’ve been to?

Kate Callaghan
Robbie Williams.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Kate Callaghan 21:18
Or U2, maybe.

Natalie K. Douglas 21:21
Oh, yeah. I reckon mine would have to be either Coldplay or Celine Dion. She was amazing.

Kate Callaghan
It would be good.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, she’s she’s such a great performer as well but Coldplay put on. I actually didn’t like Coldplay before I went to their concert. And I went for like one of my friends. It was her birthday and we’re all going as her birthday present. And they just yeah, they sound way better live than they do just in your earholes when you’re listening.

Kate Callaghan
Are they less whingey?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, like, because that’s what, that was my problem. Two hours, like, truly depressing. And just, yeah, like whiny or something. But then when I listened live they sound incredible. And the show they put on was amazing. Like, it was really cool. So from like, it wasn’t until I listened to that concert that I actually liked their music, which was interesting. But Celine Dion, I’ve loved her since I was born. I’m sure.

Kate Callaghan 22:21
Yeah, me too.

Natalie K. Douglas 22:24
Yeah, she was she was really incredible. And her yeah, her voice is just as amazing as it is when you listen to it, you know, recorded or whatever. So good. The only thing I don’t I don’t love concerts from like being in like. I used to go to concerts where you’re in like a mosh pit, but I really don’t like it because I’m so small and I just get stuck in people’s sweaty armpits and I get like, knocked around so much. I can’t say shit it sucks. So, if anyone listening. I’m like, just over five foot so I’m very small and it just does not work for me. And then one time that I was just like fed up with being like, like pushed and shoved in people’s armpits, this dude has had his head like back in my face. And he had heaps of hair. And I just like pushed it out really aggressively and he turned around. He’s like, oh, so sorry, I was just trying to get some fresh air. My little heart sank. I was like, oh I’m so sorry. I’ll never try and get space, personal space again in a concert. And I just haven’t gone back to those kinds of ones. I’m all about the seated. You know, I’m all about giving me my seat, my personal space. Let me like enough room to dance. But like, yeah, I don’t. I can’t do the, I hate festivals.

Kate Callaghan 23:44
I used to love a festival. Love them.

Natalie K. Douglas
I always hated it.

Kate Callaghan
I couldn’t do it now. I’m too old but festivals where my thing in my 20s.

Natalie K. Douglas 23:53
Yeah, I wanted them to be. I used to, I forced myself for a little while to try and like them. As soon as I got there, I was like, how long until I can go home? I just didn’t like them. But also I didn’t, I was like, quite into health back then even at that stage, and I didn’t drink, and I didn’t take any drugs. And like, I like to go to bed early. And I got tired easy because I didn’t eat enough. So it wasn’t my place. I didn’t set myself up for a successful festival experience.

Kate Callaghan
So yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
Well, we obviously still have quite a number of questions. So we will continue doing these Q & A podcast until we get through them all. So if your question didn’t get answered, and you did send it through, then rest assured we will get to it eventually. And yeah, I hope you enjoyed that podcast and some answers, and if you have any extra questions, feel free to send them through to myself or Kate and we will add them to the list. Otherwise, Kate, anything to add before we wrap up?

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas 25:07
Amazing. I have one thing to add actually. I forgot to say at the beginning. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Thyroid Rescue and when the next round will be, so we’re looking at about May for the next round, late April, early May. So if you do want to get on the waitlist for that, either contact me directly or you can go to my website and click on the thyroid rescue tab. And if you sign up to watch the masterclass recording that will automatically get you on the waitlist to be notified when the next round is open, and that’s all. Well, always a pleasure. And I will, well we, will speak to you soon.

Outro 25:52
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, just submit them to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friend. And if you’re looking for more info about how we can accelerate your journey to your optimal health, you can find me, Nat, over at NatalieKDouglas.com, and Kate, at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time!


The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

If a professional, polished, well-edited podcast is what you’re after…then we’re not for you!

But if you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers and authentic heart sharing then we are your ladies.

We also have the most practical tips on holistic and alternative health care too 😉

Have a question that you want answered on the podcast or want to be interviewed? Get in touch!


Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.

Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.


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