Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Thyroid Health Uncovered

What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that sits just below your Adam’s apple. It is a master gland that secretes hormones and is responsible for regulation of metabolism, growth and development, and influences nearly every physiologic process in the human body. When thyroid levels are out of balance, so is our health and well-being.

How Does the Thyroid Gland Work?

In order to create balance, the thyroid communicates with two other glands in the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT axis for short) aka thyroid homeostasis, is an entire neuroendocrine system responsible for the regulation of metabolism. One might imagine the hypothalamus as the person who regulates the thermostat. It releases Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and tells the pituitary gland where the thyroid should be set. The pituitary gland (the thermostat), then releases Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid gland, which acts as the furnace, producing thyroid hormones, Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). Thyroid hormones are like heat. When there is enough heat, the thermostat turns off, the room cools (thyroid hormone levels drop) and the process starts again as a negative feedback loop.

The thyroid gland itself uses iodine to produce the two main hormones, T4 and T3. The thyroid produces 80% T4 (inactive) and 20% T3(active). The body must convert the inactive hormones into an active, unbound, usable form.  Certain conditions, factors, and nutrients must be present, not only for the thyroid to produce these hormones but for this conversion to take place.

What Are Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Thyroid?

A wide array of symptoms can stem from either an under or over-functioning thyroid gland. Nearly every system in the body can be impacted so symptoms should not be ignored.

 

How to Treat a Thyroid Disorder

Often times when a thyroid condition is diagnosed, little is done to determine the underlying insult to this essential “master gland” of our body. Rather, treatment often stops at replacement hormones without determining where the imbalance has occurred. Simply replacing hormones, does not address the immune system dysregulation, which is often the root cause. Some considerations in a thorough work-up include;

  1. A FULL thyroid panel. Many times, only TSH, T3, and T4 are tested.  A full panel would include the following markers: Free T3, Free T4, Total T4, TSH, Anti-thyroglobulin Ab, Anti-TPO Ab, Thyroglobulin, Thyroxine-Binding Globulin (TBG) and Reverse T3
  2. Thyroid lab ranges vary. “Normal” can be a wide range with optimal functioning in a narrower window.
  3. Assess for specific nutrients that facilitate thyroid health
  4. Assess for potential factors (lifestyle, toxins, medications, etc.) that inhibit thyroid
  5. Heal the gut! Over 70% of the immune system originates in the gut. Gut bacteria also assist in hormone conversion
  6. Determine the most appropriate replacement hormone based on the patient’s specific needs

Want to optimize your thyroid and overall health? Kelli is currently accepting new patients. Call us to schedule! (614) 888-HERB (4372).

About Leaves of Life, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Meet Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner

Hi, I’m Kelli, a Family Nurse Practitioner that is beyond thrilled to begin my work at Leaves of Life, one of the most well-established healing clinics in the Columbus area.

My journey all started as a student nurse at The Ohio State University Medical Center.  I quickly realized that I was on the right path when I looked forward to sitting at my patient’s bedside learning more about their story. I received my BSN at OSU and worked ten years in critical care. Ten years and two kids later, I returned to graduate school to fulfill my longtime goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. In 2014, I had the pleasure of working with an amazing medical team at a large family practice. During this time, I cared for patients of all ages and ailments. I was pleased to have the opportunity to initiate real change using an integrative, patient-centered approach.

Today I hold close not only the valuable professional and life experiences I have gained overtime, but my internal desire to become part of the exciting and evolutionary change in healthcare. I am currently completing a post-maters certificate in Functional Medicine and it is my desire to sculpt the paradigm of healthcare through education, prevention, and wellness.

I have a husband and three beautiful kiddos, 2, 8, and 10. My side job is their personal uber driver and lover of all their sports and recreation. Our community is everything. I find peace in my faith, my village, and always…on the lake. I still love to choregraph a good dance routine, sleep in whenever I can (usually once a year), and belt a tune like I am Beyoncé. (I’m terrible…but my kids think it’s hysterical). I believe balance is key. That…and tickle time.

How Can I Help You?

At Leaves of Life, I’ll help you better understand your health and how to move it in the right direction. I strive to improve whole body wellness by identifying the root cause of inflammation or imbalance. Every patient is unique and biochemically diverse and therefore a comprehensive history is essential. We review symptoms, conduct a thorough medical/surgical/family history, review lab work and other diagnostics, discuss lifestyle (including nutrition, stress, sleep hygiene, toxic burden, etc.), and physical exam. I will work alongside your primary care physician and communicate identified imbalances based on my extensive work-up and make suggestions accordingly. I believe in collaboration and value the importance of integrating traditional medicine with functional medicine. It is an extension of evidenced-based practice that allows us to treat more than just the symptoms by treating our patients just as uniquely as they were created.

If you’d like to take charge and work toward your best health yet, I’d love to partner with you and your primary care physician on your journey!
Keto Dairy Free, Uncategorized

Salted Chocolate Macadamia Fat Bombs

Photo & recipe courtesy helloglow.com

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 2 tsp avocado oil or macadamia nut oil
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup powdered erythritol sweetener
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • Flaked sea salt, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with 10 parchment paper cupcake liners or silicone liners. Set aside 10 of the macadamia nut halves for garnish.
  2. Grind the remaining nuts in a food processor or blender until they resemble coarse crumbs. Add the avocado oil and continue to process until the mixture becomes a smooth butter.
  3. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, combine the macadamia nut butter, chocolate, and coconut oil. Stir until melted and smooth.
  4. Whisk in the sweetener, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and fine sea salt. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cups, filling each one about one-third full. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then gently press a macadamia nut half into the top of each cup. Sprinkle lightly with flaked sea salt.
  5. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tips:

If you want these fat bombs to be a little firmer and able to stay out of the fridge for a few hours, replace the coconut oil with 1/2 ounce of cacao butter. They will travel much better.

Keto Dairy Free, Uncategorized

Buttermilk Keto-Cakes

Photo & recipe courtesy thecastawaykitchen.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut flour (5 tablespoons)
  • 1 tbsp golden flax meal
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Ghee or coconut oil for cooking

Instructions:

  1. Measure out the coconut milk and add the vinegar to it. Set aside.
  2. Put the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix with the whisk attachment on medium speed until the egg whites become thick and begin to stiffen, about 5 minutes. They should look like clouds and cling to the whisk, with soft peaks, but not be completely stiff like merengue.
  3. Set a skillet or griddle to heat on the stove over medium heat.
  4. In the meantime, sift together the coconut flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  5. Whisk in the flax meal.
  6. Stir the egg yolks into the buttermilk and then slowly add that to the dry mix while you whisk until fully combined.
  7. Let the flour mix sit until the egg whites are ready.
  8. In this time the flour mix will become very thick. If it doesn’t add in coconut flour by the tsp (1-2 usually) to the batter until it does thicken.
  9. Fold the egg whites into the flour mix until fully combined. To do this, empty half the bowl of egg whites into batter and use a spatula to mix it in, in a folding motion, from the bottom of the bowl, bringing the batter over the egg whites and in. Do this until fully incorporated, then add and repeat with the remaining egg whites.
  10. Brush the griddle with fat. Use 1/4-1/3 cup to measure out the batter for each pancake.
  11. Cook 2-3 minutes a side. Flip when the edges are dry.
  12. Serve hot with your favorite add-ons!
Keto, Uncategorized

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Pecans and Gorgonzola

Photo & recipe courtesy kalynskitchen.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1/2 lb. fresh brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (more or less to taste)
  • 4 tsp olive oil, plus a bit more to brush the baking sheet
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • If not using Gorgonzola, you can toss hot Brussels sprouts with 1-2 tbsp butter.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Brush roasting pan or dish with a small amount of olive oil, using a pastry brush or paper towel.
  2. Trim ends of Brussels sprouts if needed, then cut each lengthwise into fourths or halves if they’re small. Don’t worry if some leaves fall off, because the loose ones will get a bit more crispy when they roast and add a lot of flavor.
  3. Chop pecans with a knife and measure out desired amount.
  4. Put Brussels sprouts and chopped pecans into a plastic bowl, then toss with olive oil and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. (I use a generous amount of salt and pepper since there’s no other seasoning.)
  5. Arrange Brussels sprouts and pecans on roasting pan, making a single layer as much as you can. Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until the sprouts are tender and starting to brown on the edges. I stirred several times so different sides of the Brussels sprouts would get browned.
  6. Toss hot Brussels sprouts and pecans with Gorgonzola (or butter) and serve hot.
Keto, Uncategorized

Chocolate Chip Keto Cookies

Photo & recipe courtesy gnom-gnom.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp konjac powder (i.e. glucomannan) arrowroot powder, or more coconut flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2/3 cup grass-fed unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 7 tbsp golden erythritol to taste
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup Lily’s Sweets dark chocolate bar broken up (or chips)
  • 1 cup coarsley chopped pecans
  • flakey sea salt to garnish

Instructions:

  1. Add almond flour, coconut flour, konjac powder (or arrowroot/more coconut flour), salt, baking soda and xanthan gum to a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside.
  2. Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add in sweetener and molasses (optional), and continue to cream until light and fluffy (about 8 minutes).
  3. Add in vanilla extract and egg, mixing until just incorporated. The mixture will appear slightly ‘broken’ (i.e. not thoroughly smooth).
  4. With your mixer on low, add in half of your flour mixture- mixing until just incorporated. Mix in the rest.
  5. Fold in chocolate and pecan bits. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper
  7. Divide cookie dough into 18 rounds for 3 1/2-inch cookies (or 12 for jumbo style), and flatten them slightly. The cookies will spread somewhat during baking, but you still need to pre-shape them slightly (i.e. the more you pre-flatten them the more they’ll spread = crispier cookies, so if you like them cakier, don’t flatten too much).
  8. Place cookie dough on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 9-10 minutes for smaller cookies and 12-13 minutes for the jumbo, flipping tray around 180° half way through.
  9. Garnish with flaky sea salt and allow the cookies to cool completely on the trays (sugar alcohols can take a few hours to crisp up, so don’t despair!). Store in an airtight container for three to four days.

Tips:

The shaped dough can be frozen for up to 3 months, and the cookies can be baked straight from the freezer (just add 2-3 minutes more to the baking time).

Want to explore possible substitutions for the flours and sweeteners? Visit www.gnom-gnom.com.

 

Keto, Uncategorized

Rainbow Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Photo & recipe courtesy www.gimmedelicious.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower – should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp basil or rosemary minced (or dry)
  • ½ tsp oregano minced (or dry)
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers yellow, orange, red, green, or any combo of your choice
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup canned corn (optional–not Keto or Paleo)
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes diced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Remove the stems from the cauliflower and cut into chunks. Place the cauliflower into a food processor and pulse it until it resembles the texture of rice. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a cheese grater or chop it very finely.
  3. Microwave the processed cauliflower uncovered in a microwave safe bowl for approximately 4-5 minutes on high. Remove it from the microwave and allow it to cool for at least 4-5 minutes (don’t rush this step). After the cauliflower is slightly cooled, place it in a kitchen towel and squeeze all the liquid out of it. Be sure to squeeze as much liquid as humanly possible.
  4. Combine the cooked cauliflower, egg, garlic, cheese, and seasonings. Stir until a dough texture forms. Spread the cauliflower mixture onto lightly greased parchment paper or a pizza pan in the shape of a pizza crust.
  5. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven), or until the crust is golden and crispy.
  6. Remove from the oven and top with pizza sauce then cheese then chopped veggies.
  7. Place the pizza back in the oven and bake for another 12-15 minutes.
Keto, Uncategorized

Eggplant Lasagna

Photo & recipe courtesy primaverakitchen.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants — sliced 1/8″ thick (a mandoline creates perfect eggplant slices)
  •  Coarse salt
  •  15 oz part-skim ricotta
  •  1 large egg
  •  1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese — save some for topping
  •  4 cups homemade tomato sauce or your favorite sauce
  •  16 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese — shredded
  •  2 tbsp parsley — chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on a clean surface.
  3. Sprinkle some coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Remove the excess moisture with a paper towel.
  4. In a greased skillet, place some eggplant slices and grill each eggplant slice for about 3 minutes each side.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and an egg. Stir well.
  6. In a 9×12 casserole, spread some tomato sauce on the bottom.
  7. Layer 5 or 6 eggplant slices to cover.
  8. Spread some of the ricotta cheese mixture all over the eggplant slices and top with the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers until all your ingredients are all used up.
  9. Top with sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
  10. Bake 40 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered.
  11. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.
Keto Dairy Free, Uncategorized

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Photo & recipe courtesy www.cottercrunch.com

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups of cauliflower florets (about 3-4 cups when “riced’).
  • 2- 3 tbsp curry powder or curry seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil for roasting
  • 3/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • 8 kale leaves with stems removed and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 cup almond milk, cashew or coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper or chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste after cooked

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a small bowl, toss cauliflower florets with curry powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and 3 tbsp oil.
  3. Spread the cauliflower florets on a baking dish or roasting pan. Place in oven and roast for 20 -22 minutes until tender but slightly under cooked.
  4. Remove and set aside.
  5. While the cauliflower is cooling, prep the rest of your veggies by chopping them up on a cutting board.
  6. Next place cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until the cauliflower is chopped or “riced.”
  7. Once all the cauliflower is riced and kale/veggies are chopped, prepare your cooking pot.
  8. Place onion, 2 tsp oil, and minced garlic in large stock pot. Sautee for 5 minutes until fragant.
  9. Next add in your broth, milk, veggies, cauliflower “rice,” and the red chili pepper and black pepper.
  10. Bring to a quick boil (make sure milk doesn’t get too hot), then simmer for another 20 minutes or so until veggies are all cooked.
  11. Add dash of sea salt if desired once ready to serve.
  12. Garnish with herbs and nut/seeds.

Tips:

If you don’t have a food processor, just finely chop the cauliflower. You can also buy pre-riced cauliflower and roast it. Be sure not to over process the cauliflower when cooked. You don’t want to make a puree. Just lightly chop.  Feel free to use other veggies besides kale and carrots. All work great.  You can also add in cooked chicken or meat.

Keto, Uncategorized

Mediterranean Roasted Cabbage Steaks

Photo & recipe courtesy inspectorgorgeous.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cabbage, sliced into “steaks”
  • 4 oz basil pesto
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 small tomatoes, sliced
  • 5-6 marinated artichoke halves
  • 1 tbsp Mediterranean seasoning
  • Fresh basil, to garnish
  • Optional toppings: olives, mozzarella, mushrooms, roasted red pepper, etc.

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 and spray a large sheet pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Arrange the cabbage in a single layer on the sheet pan so the edges are all touching. Slather pesto on the steak halves and be generous as a lot will melt into the cabbage folds.
  3. Top with cheese and tomato and bake until the edges of the cabbage are crisp and all of the cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with seasoning and basil. Serve hot with an extra scoop of pesto for dipping!