Overcoming Hypothyroidism with Caroline Harland: Inspired Health Journey
Jonathan Hunsaker: Welcome everyone to another episode of Inspired Health Journeys. I am your host Jonathan Hunsaker joined by TeriAnn Trevenen.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Hey everyone.
Jonathan: And we have a very special guest, Caroline Harland. Caroline is our Director of HR, and she’s going to share her inspired health journey with us.
Jonathan: Do you want to give us a quick bio?
TeriAnn: So, Caroline is an experienced HR director, previously with Better Health US Airways, also known as American Airlines and Circle K Corporation. She is an accomplished, results-focused business and team leader with an outstanding record of success. She is known for driving strategic enterprise-wide planning and project execution, systems processes, and service delivery. She has led vital HR initiatives including: leader supervisory development; succession planning; performance management; benefits administration; culture change; employer relations; diversity and inclusion; labor relations and compliance.
TeriAnn: She is focused on uplifting employee engagement, effectiveness, and performance. Caroline currently resides in Fountain Hills, Arizona, and is the mother of three children, and her running partner, Howard, the family’s four-legged member.
TeriAnn: She is the daughter of a decorated Air Force Colonel. Her mother, a career family engineer, along with her four siblings, she grew up moving around the world before attending college at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, graduating with a degree in Human Resource Management and Organization Communications. She’s a Certified Professional in Human Resources and a Senior of Certified Human Resources Professional.
TeriAnn: Caroline and her family live a healthy, holistic lifestyle. Her personal values of healthcare, fitness, and nutrition align perfectly with what we believe at Organixx, and we’re excited to talk with her more about her health journey today.
Jonathan: That’s an impressive bio.
Caroline Harland: Thank you.
Jonathan: So thanks for joining us, Caroline.
Jonathan: Just share a little bit about your health journey. What are we going to talk about today?
Caroline: Well, I think my health journey started before I … right after I had kids actually. My mother, she was sick, when I had my first daughter, and she ended up having a liver transplant. So that changed how I dealt with health in my family. My siblings, my sisters especially, the women in my family really rallied around each other to try to figure out how we were going to prevent what happened to my mom, which was liver disease due to pesticide exposure. How to prevent that from happening to us. So we really started to focus on how were we going to limit that exposure in our homes in the things that we ate, in the things that we put in our bodies, and so that’s how it really started.
Caroline: At the same time as that happened to my mom, after I had my first daughter, I suffered from Post Natal Thyroidism, so my thyroid actually went out. Because of that, I had to really learn how to operate with this failing thyroid issue that I had, so I’m losing massive amounts of hair, I’m gaining weight, and I was feeling really not well. Because of that thyroid issue, I really … it triggered me to have to address a lot of what was going on with my own personal health, and it started when my kids were very, very young.
Jonathan: So can you give me just a 30 second idea of how were you living prior to this? Were you living organic? Were you working out? Were you running? What was, even weight, if you’re willing to share? Just kind of share. Give us a little idea of where you were.
Caroline: Absolutely. So prior to having kids let’s say prior to 2004, I would say I wasn’t living an organic lifestyle at all.
Caroline: I ate what I wanted. I drank what I wanted. I used the products that I wanted to use, mostly the ones that were being sold to me through marketing campaigns and media that we all are exposed to everyday. I would say that, I’m almost 5’10”, I was probably. I gained almost 90 pounds with my first daughter, so I was 100 and maybe 90 pounds when I had my daughter. And that was, in part, due to my thyroid going out, but I was not healthy and not in a good way. I felt pretty bad health-wise.
Caroline: Within the first year of my daughter’s birth, I really, I mean, changed. I flipped the world upside-down. Once I started doing research on what I was actually doing to myself nutritionally, as well as exposing myself to the chemicals I was exposing myself to, it became really apparent that I needed to flip my world upside-down and stop what damage I had already created.
Caroline: I started literally in 2004, and it was all in. I did not really do it halfway.
Jonathan: Do you remember the moment that you made that choice?
Jonathan: That it’s time to make a change? Was it a gradual thing or did you … what was it like it’s time to just change it all?
Caroline: Well, the food portion changed pretty quickly because I realized how not well I was with food, and I realized that if I didn’t change the nutrition that I was eating that I was not: A) going to be able to drop the baby weight and that I wasn’t going to be able to really start feeling better. So what I ended up doing was I immediately changed a lot of things in my diet like I dropped dairy completely from my diet.
Caroline: For me, personally, it didn’t make me feel well, and so I just to stop eating dairy. I stopped eating red meat. I had done a lot of research on how my blood type reacted to certain kinds of meats and proteins, and so, for me, I definitely changed that.
Caroline: As far the chemicals that I put on my body, I was telling a story recently about this event. My sister and I, I had a newborn, my mom had been sick, and we went for a very rare spa day. And we were having facials done and this technician was like, “You know, there are certain chemicals that are really bad for you to put on your body.”
Caroline: And I’m like, “What?” I had no idea what she was talking about, none. And she ended up going through this list while she’d doing my facial, and I was like, “Oh my goodness.” So I literally went home, printed this list out, and started hunting in my house for these chemicals in my house. I ended up collecting every bottle, tube, every dispenser of these products that I could, and started replacing them with products that didn’t have those chemicals in them. So it was all in.
Caroline: It was definitely, literally, I cleaned house. So that’s pretty much when it started. It was all pretty much in the summer of 2005 that it all began. 14 years ago I guess.
TeriAnn: So apart from the things inside of your house, what were some of the other big changes that you made, once you realized that? What came next for you?
Caroline: I really started to … I had to adjust my thyroid issue. I really did a lot of things to try to control what was happening to my thyroid and trying different medications. The first route I took was really allopathic medications. I did the synthetic versions of thyroid replacement, and my body didn’t really like that as much, so I ended up going to a more natural version of that same medication to try and help control my thyroid. I tried to get off of my thyroid meds about in 2010 or so. I wasn’t equipped to do that, so my hypothyroidism came right back.
Caroline: Fast forward to now, we have an amazing iodine product that I’ve been using, and I’m really discovering that I can really start to taper back on that actual prescription medication, so I’m super excited about that. Allowing my body to just use that supplement to bring itself back around, but there were times when you are under a particularly large amount of stress, and there’s that kind of cyclical for all of us, but I could see where my thyroid would just immediately react. I would lose clumps of hair, like literally clumps of hair would come out. I would have just no hair in certain spots. I could tell that something was wrong and I needed to regulate again.
Caroline: So there were times like back in 2013 where I would say that was the new crisis at that point. So you just, kind of, you have to listen to your body. Really [inaudible 00:18:39]. Know where your weights at. Understand how you’re feeling, and then react to it. That would be my biggest lesson in all of that is just reacting to what I was experiencing physically, emotionally.
Jonathan: I can’t even imagine. Yeah. Imagine what you were going through.
Jonathan: It sounds like it’s been a journey. It’s not just a change everything in 2005, and it’s all fixed, right? It’s a constant playing with things, trying different things out, finding what works.
Jonathan: What are the three health tips that you’d like to share with the listeners to inspire them, and inspire them to be able to create change in their life?
Caroline: I think the first thing would be to make sure that you know what you’re eating, what nutrition you’re eating and taking great supplements. I think supplements have a really important place in our life, and I think that, used wisely and used with understanding what you’re doing, and having support to take them wisely, is really smart. So trying to get rid of some of the junk that you eat. Not all of it, we all need balance, and we need balance in every way.
Caroline: I have three kids. They wouldn’t tolerate me feeding them holistically every single minute, so I have to be realistic. But then I also supplement them, and give them a headstart, and give them that opportunity. So that would be the first thing.
Caroline: The second thing is: is really what I kind of referred to before is what are we exposing ourselves to? What are we putting on our body? Including how much sun exposure are we getting? I used to, you know, back in 70’s and 80’s I would lay out with baby oil on. We know so much more about that sun exposure and what that can do, and then also the products that we put. Just really giving ourselves an opportunity to be healthy by what we’re putting on ourselves. I think that’s the second biggest thing.
Caroline: And then the third biggest thing is: listening, like I said, listening to how you feel. How you feel is going to tell you whether you’re in a healthy place or whether you’re having a problem. Simple things like if your hair is weird or if your skin is itchy, or just strange things. Your mouth could be super dry or something going on that you really just have to recognize that there’s something happening there, and it’s happening for trying to tell you something. Then allowing yourself an opportunity to react to that. That would be my … those would be my biggest things.
TeriAnn: So Caroline, tell us, and those are all great tips of sure, tell us what a day in your life looks like now because you’ve been on this journey of health. What are your typical daily things that you think contribute to your overall health and living a healthy life full-time?
Caroline: I live a really busy life. I’m a single mom with three kids, and I work full-time. All my kids have their stuff, their sports and whatnot.
Caroline: The first thing I do in the morning is, I’m a morning person personally and some people are evening people so that you can flip this, but because I’m a morning person, I get up and I really try to take care of me first. So I steal time from everybody else in the morning and give it to myself. Whether it’s if I go for a run, or I might go work out. So depending on what my day sizes up, I will take that time for me because not only does it keep me physically fit, but it helps me keep my head calm. So I do that for myself in the morning.
Caroline: Once I start pulling my kids awake and getting everybody ready, then I’ll take my, I’ll make my smoothie with my bone broth, and I’ll take my greens, and I’ll take my supplements in the morning. I really just give myself that really good, you know, it’s a great place to leap off my day. I get myself really all settled and stable, and I know that I have all this good stuff in my system, and I’m ready to go because the rest of the day from nine o’clock literally five or six is kind of crazy. And sometimes you have to eat on the run, so the rest of my day I prepared to really take that on. Once I’m kind of doing things with the kids in the evenings and they have sports and swim and dance and all their stuff, I will try to grab a healthy snack or a juice or something for myself. In the evening, all the while by the way I’ll drink a lot of water, I will try to end my evening as early as possible so that I can get really good rest because that another big thing is if you’re overtired, you’re just going to fall.
Caroline: No matter how healthy you are. No matter how much supplements you take. If you’re overtired all the time, it’s going to be a really big struggle to stay ahead of that. That’s a day in my life.
Jonathan: I love what you said in the very beginning is that the first thing you do is take care of you. I think that’s something that gets missed so much. I mean, when you explained your day, it sounds probably like most people’s days. Once the day gets started you go off to work, it’s craziness. All day, it’s crazy at lunch when work ends, and kids get out of school, and now it’s time for gymnastics or dance or swim or whatever the sports are. Before you know it, it’s eight o’clock at night and you’re exhausted and when was the time for you?
Jonathan: I’ve talked about this a lot inside of our company in our company culture and all of that. If you don’t give to yourself first, you can’t take care of anybody else, and so I love that was your first, just the first thing that you do every single morning.
Caroline: Yeah. And like I said at the beginning, some people are not that person. They don’t like to get up early. So when you flip that, it looks like they’re giving themselves that to look forward to. It’s the end of their day and it’s their time and they’re just feeling really fantastic that they have that to look forward to. And that’s equally as powerful as long as you take that time for yourself. And as long as you’re making it a priority. I think that’s huge.
TeriAnn: Yeah. Absolutely.
TeriAnn: So one other question for you that I have is: I talk with you a lot about health and what that looks like and what that looks like for you. What is your typical protocol now if someone in your house is sick or, you know, or there’s something going on as far as health, an issue with health? What’s your first few steps in the process? What was it before versus what is it now?
Caroline: What is was before, and this is another piece of how this all started, I would probably have tried to assess what was going on and, you know, depending on what was going on I would have probably medicated. Whether if it’s a headache or fever, I would have given them Tylenol or Motrin of sorts. If was a stomachache, I might have would have tried some sort of tummy remedy for them more over-the-counter type medication, and if it was escalated, I would take them to the doctor. That was it. It was very regimented that’s how I would do it.
Caroline: Now, it is so completely different. What I try to do now, I really try to assess what are the symptoms of who has what? And kind of what’s going on? What have they been exposed to? I really do treat my kids way more naturally than a lot of folks. Depending on if it’s viral, I will try to give them a lot of fluids and I will try to allow them to let their systems work through that on their own. I will give them homeopathy, which is a more holistic approach to how you want to treat, it’s remedies for how you want to treat certain ailments that anybody might have. So I do do a lot of that in the house with the kids. I use a lot of natural things like Epsom salts or salt therapies, or vaporizers, or I use a lot of aromatherapy in the house. I will go full-on natural approach before I take them to the doctor, and if I do take them to the doctor, it’s because I feel like they’re really sick, or I’m tapped on my ability to take care of them.
Caroline: My go-to doctor is a naturopath. I go there first. And he has referred me to an allopathic, a regular M.D., many, many times he’s done that. I heed his advice, but I will do everything that I can do first to allow them to have their systems recover. My kids haven’t had the flu in probably seven or eight years, and they just have robust immune systems because we give them more opportunity to really heal up from within, I think.
Jonathan: And that’s what makes our immune system stronger, right, is getting an elevated temperature so that we can beat out the virus, so we can do things. I think a lot of times we are very quick to just hurry and shove the Tylenol and the Motrin, and my girls are younger than your kids, but it’s that same fight.
Jonathan: If their temperature get too high, absolutely, they’re going to get some Tylenol or some Motrin, but if it’s a little bit warm, if they’re 100 degrees, let their body fight it. This is what makes their immune system strong. Never let anything get into the risky place, but definitely encourage them with healthier foods and more nutrients and different things like that to just let their body fight it. Because the more we can let their body fight it naturally, the stronger they’ll be moving forward to the next that they get it the next time. It’s just how we build a super robust immune system.
TeriAnn: I think it’s an important part of your story because I think we talked a lot in the past about there’s a place for modern medicine, but there’s a place for natural medicine in our bodies being in tune with what they need and being able to naturally heal. Our bodies are amazing, and we don’t realize and recognize that enough, so I love that part of your story, and it’s why I wanted to ask.
TeriAnn: The last question we have today is if you could leave only one message with the world when it comes to your own Inspired Health Journey what would that be?
Caroline: I think that anybody can live a healthy lifestyle, no matter what your lifestyle is.
Caroline: It’s not going to look the same for every person, but it can look healthy for every person. It doesn’t take much. Small little things can make such a huge difference. If you were just to eliminate all sodas from your life and replace it water, you would quadruple the way you would feel just right out of the gate.
Caroline: I would say find what your healthy is, and what does it feel comfortable for you. And if it feels comfortable, stay with it. Don’t drop it because it’s not convenient. It is a little inconvenient sometimes. It can be a little inconvenient, but so well worth it because it’s going to save you ten-fold in the long run. I would just say find what your healthy is and do that.
Caroline: You don’t have to compare yourself against anybody. You have to compare yourself against how you feel, and as long as you’re feeling better, or you’re feeling healthy, then you’re on the right track absolutely. Then you add as you go. It’s like seasoning, right? You just add little bits as you go, and then you start to really get that full flavor of what it can look like for you.
TeriAnn: I love that.
TeriAnn: It’s good imagery too in the way that you explained that for sure.
Jonathan: I think it’s the right advice. I think that often times people feel like everything needs to change at once or, “This is the one way I’ve got to do it, and I’m trying to do it, and I’m fighting to make it work, and I’m fighting to make it work, and I don’t feel good, but everybody else is doing is this one thing, and they’re feeling good, so there’s something wrong with me.” It’s just not the case. The way that you said it, and I know that I’ll probably butcher it, but everybody’s health looks different, but everybody can be healthy. That’s what I love about that statement, and I love the seasoning. Its try little stuff out. Again, we live in a world of quick fix. We live in a world of instant gratification. Everybody wants it now. Everybody wants to lose 30 pounds over the weekend. Everybody wants to just be healthy right away, and consider how long it took you get unhealthy. It’s going to take time to get back healthy and to find what works.
TeriAnn: We talked with someone yesterday about their natural health journey, and how over time things change for us too. Our bodies are constantly changing. They change with the seasons. They change with age, and so that seasoning of your body like you explained is going to change over time too. A lot of people look at their health like, “Oh I have to deal with this again.”
TeriAnn: But really I think people need to change their mindset to look at it as a gift to be able to understand their body and put the pieces of the puzzle together, figure out what seasoning we need for this time in our life, and it will-
Caroline: So true.
TeriAnn: … it’s an art form. I say that many times, and we need to figure out what that art form looks like for us and figure it out for our own body. I think that’s a beautiful gift that we need to embrace.
Caroline: Agreed. As I get older and I move into another phase, I can feel myself as it goes through that, and it is 100% true. I’m going to have to really address that again, and I can feel that coming, and I can feel myself needing … I mean, I didn’t wear glasses until literally four months ago. The muscles in my eyes just aren’t keeping up, so it’s constant that we’re constantly having to adjust and tweak depending on where we are. It’s just a process.
TeriAnn: We just need to embrace it. I think it’s a beautiful journey.
Jonathan: Excellent Caroline. Thank you so much-
Caroline: You’re welcome.
Jonathan: … for spending this time with us. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being vulnerable. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely inspiring, and this is what we wanted to do here with the Inspired Health Journey, so thank you for being one of our very first ones to participate.
Caroline: My pleasure.
Jonathan: For those of you watching this on YouTube if you want to see more of our Inspired Health Journeys go to organixx.com. Click on the link at the top. It will say Inspired Living. There’ll be a dropdown menu where you can click on Inspired Health Journeys. You can also see all of our recipes there. You can see tons of articles with our 8 Pillars of Health; all kinds of wonderful, free information to help you on your journey to getting healthy.
Jonathan: So TeriAnn, thank you for joining us.
TeriAnn: Thank you.
Jonathan: Caroline, thank you once again.
TeriAnn: Thanks Caroline.
Caroline: Thank you.
Jonathan: Thanks everybody for listening.