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088: How to Take Care of Your Thyroid with Elle Russ

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Thyroid issues have exploded in the general population, so how can you take care of your thyroid and avoid the same fate? Elle Russ is back to talk about her own healing journey and more on today’s Awesome Health Podcast.

Elle is the author of Confident As Fu*k and the best-selling book, The Paleo Thyroid Solution. This book has helped thousands of people around the world reclaim their health the way Elle did. In addition to being an incredible author, speaker and coach, Elle is also a TV/Film writer and the host of two podcasts: The Primal Blueprint Podcast & Kick Ass Life Podcast.

On this episode, Elle shares how she healed her own thyroid issues. She moved to LA to go into acting and was auditioning for lots of roles, and trying to lose weight and stay thin. This was 20 years ago and there was no Paleo movement or anything like that, so she ate a low fat, low carb diet and worked out as hard as possible, thinking that combination would help her get lean and fit. It had the opposite effect: she gained weight. In fact, it threw her body out of whack so badly she gained weight, began losing her hair and developed cystic acne: all conditions she had never experienced before in her life.

She had developed hypothyroidism, but the medical world was no help at identifying the causes. Doctors simply wanted her to go on medications to cover up the symptoms. She goes on to explain additional symptoms she experienced, as well as common ones for men and women who may have thyroid issues, and how she got to the bottom of her own health issues on her own by getting medical tests but ignoring everything else from Western medicine.

To understand the process and journey she went on, Elle first explains how the thyroid works and then goes on to tell us why you don’t need to be on thyroid meds permanently but they can help in the short-term.

She tells us how nutrition influences the thyroid, especially the science behind avoiding gluten and other grains, as well as inflammatory oils like canola oil. To know which foods are best find a list of Paleo foods or Whole 30-approved foods and stick to those.

You’ll also hear us weigh in on the importance of being diet agnostic and finding what works best for you but also being open to changing your dietary and lifestyle choices as you go through life.

This is one amazing episode that is so full of knowledge and science, you won’t want to miss it! Listen in to Elle Russ share her insights, grit and passion about taking care of your thyroid on today’s Awesome Health Podcast.

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. It's Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers with another edition of the Awesome Health Podcast and returning to the show is none other than Elle Russ. If you haven't listened to the last podcast, doggone it, I forget what number that was, but it's in there and it's 'Confident As F u c k'. Great, great interview.

Wade Lightheart: We really wanted to talk about 'The Paleo Thyroid Solution', which is such a great book, but we got onto this topic on the last one that I think everybody needs to listen to that, and everybody needs to listen to that book. It's amazing, one of the most brilliantly done books, and we had so much in common in the last one, but I'm really excited today. Because today I was going to break down how she was able to overcome a very serious thyroid condition, how this condition has just gone absolutely ballistic in the population and the general medical community is totally lost. And you toughed it out, you went through like all of these doctors and you went on your own and you didn't give up. You didn't say no, you transcended what most people would have just said: ah, nothing I can do.

Wade Lightheart: It's just the way it is. My doctor said this, or whatever. You blew through all that crap. You smashed through all those barriers. You solved the problems. Now you're working with like the who's who that are talking about this, and you've written this incredible book. There it is, folks. You can check this out. This is an amazing book, by the way, it's 'The Paleo Thyroid Solution', and we were talking just before the podcast, because Elle is such an amazing communicator, your background in film and television and all that sort of stuff is, you've just done such a great job and I am delighted to bring you back to the show. So hey, welcome to the Awesome Health Podcast.

Elle Russ: Our last conversation was so much fun. I am so excited to chat with you about this today, and then also have you on our podcast, The Primal Blueprint Podcast. Welcome again to, you know, California, and maybe we'll get some hikes in. We were just talking before the show maybe we'll do a couple of excursions. I told, Wade I'd show him some secret Malibu spots. So we'll see.

Wade Lightheart: That was actually a dream of mine when I was 15 years old to hang out at a beach house in Malibu. And being in Canada, in the cold, like that just doesn't happen for people. Basically this is just one of those things that don't happen, but here we are now it's gonna happen. So that's great. So let's talk about this. For those who don't know, because you know, you're beautiful and you're fit and you look so great and all this sort of stuff, but that wasn't always the situation, you ran into this thyroid problem, so tell me in your own words your background story. Because I think a lot of people look at people like you and they say: Oh, she doesn't understand. She probably just eats whatever she wants and she just lives this lifestyle. And she's always fed and all this. But that's not the case.

Elle Russ: No, absolutely not. Well, I guess I'll start off with saying that there were times throughout my life, I was a kid, I never had issues with weight or any of that kind of stuff and never felt any weird issues or weirdness and then, you knowpuberty happened, but it was like in the eighties, a lot of bagels, a lot of cheese bagels and stuff. It was like: Hey, don't eat fat, but it's okay if you had all these carbs. So, I grew up in downtown Chicago, I was eating a lot of cheese BS and whatever. Any weight that I gained during high school years, I don't know what to chalk that up to, okay? Anyway cut to I get out of college and I come out to pursue acting in Los Angeles and I'm doing all of the things that I think should be done in order to be fit, because all of the casting director, you know,the way that I look, I was in the ingenue category when I got here 20 years ago, I'm not going to be your like funny quirky friend, right?

Elle Russ: So in order to be a leading lady type, you just kind of understood that you had to be fit. You had to. Now nowadays, thank God, it's not as crazy. Because there are so many funny women out there and people in sitcoms and stuff with kind of a normal body type and I'm like: Oh, thank God. But back then, it was like, you had to look like Jessica Biel or that's it. And I remember, you know, I interned for a lot of casting directors and I remember hearing a casting director on the phone and she was like: yeah, your client's at an eight, I need her at two. I mean, it's just that brutally blatant, you know? And so I knew like, okay. So what I did to get fit was the opposite of what anyone should do to get fit, because it'll crash on you at some point, but it kind of worked, but what it did was it breeded carbohydrate dependency and also hypoglycemia and all sorts of stuff.

Elle Russ: What I did is, I was overworking out. I was doing what Mark Sisson and the Primal Blueprint calls - chronic cardio. I was lifting weights and I was really under eating in terms of fat. I was eating like low fat and low carb, which is a terrible combination in a lot of ways especially over the long-term when you're exercising at the rate that I was. And I really struggled. It was like I had the body, but I was freaking out in my head. I couldn't go three, four hours without food. I'd be driving from Hollywood to Malibu and I'd be like: Oh my God, my brain. I'm hungry. I'm mad. And my brain feels empty and I got to go and I'd have to like pull over to a grocery store and like grab an apple and some meat from the counter. I mean, that's not how humans should be living. That's not right.

Wade Lightheart: I can relate, because way back in the day as the classic bodybuilding diet, which will get you ripped… Here's how bad it was, before I became a vegetarian. I used to carry a can opener and a can of tuna in my jacket pockets. I would go to the movie theaters and watch a movie with my girlfriend and open a can of tuna in the movie theaters… It was that bad.

Elle Russ: Yeah, no, for real I mean, it was. This attention to, every two four hours, I gotta to eat small meal. Oh my God. Totally disaster for insulin, for everything else in my opinion. So anyway, it kind of ruined me. Then all of a sudden I started to get really fat. It's uncontrollable. No matter what I do. I'm working out to try to get out of it, now, my hair is falling out. Now, I'm all of a sudden getting crazy acne and if you're watching this and you look at my skin, like I had perfect skin my whole life, there was no reason why I was getting like cystic acne at age 30. You know what I mean? It was a total mess. And all these symptoms started rolling. I got my period, like every other week and I kept going to the doctor and they did the classic Western doctor 'Let's patch it up with a pill'.

Elle Russ: We'll give you the birth control pill to control the symptom without looking into why this was happening. And I didn't know better, and there were no podcasts, and there was no fucking paleo primal, and there was nothing out there except for literally like the zone diet, that was about it. Atkins. Atkins was what I tried, because I thought: oh, you know, and that's like the old keto. I tried that. I got super fat on that, because that makes sense when you don't have any thyroid hormone, which is the fat burning hormone in the body, then you're eating a high fat diet and you can get really fat on that and extra fat on it, especially if you don't have anything to burn it. So I was so confused and here's the thing, Wade, I lived in this world where I was like, what do I do?

Elle Russ: I called personal trainer friends and I was like: so do I eat a banana before I work out and then within an hour afterwards I eat? Like, it just seemed like so much hell and so many rules and no one had the right answer. And I was so confused, man. I just tell you. Anyway at that time I worked out a lot probably overworked out and was doing chronic cardio and then again, not satiating myself probably enough with the right fats or whatever I was doing. And this led to really like an eating disorder type of thing too, because it was like sacrificing and then wanting to pig out and then, you know, back and forth. Long story short, hypothyroidism really hit my ass hard and then I had over like 30 symptoms. I think I list like 40 in the book I had like 30 of them.

Wade Lightheart: Can you describe just briefly? Can you describe what hypothyroidism actually is for our listeners to understand what that is?

Elle Russ: Yeah. So before I fixed it, I'll just tell you what it is. The thyroid is a gland that's at the base of your neck. If you're a man it's under your Adam's Apple and it is the master gland of the human body, not because I said so, because it is. And what does that mean? Well, it is in charge of the production regulation of all of your sex hormones, your heart rate, your temperature, which is why hypo patients get freezing cold and get super fat. They got no metabolism, nothing to keep them warm, heart rate is either super low or it can be extra high, because the heart in the absence of thyroid hormones has to work harder. We'll get into that in a minute when we talk about some of the details. So your thyroid, for example, you can not live with… If you did not have a thyroid, it's very rare that someone's born without one. Like one in a bajillion. I have actually had a couple of people contact me who were. One of them was like: thank God they caught it quickly, because they would have been, not sure what the proper word is, because nowadays intellectually disabled, mentally retard, whatever.

Wade Lightheart: We've always changed. Every 10 years, we changed the labeling. Because when you classify people, on an IQ base that are on the lower end of the IQ, it's now seen as a pejorative. And I think that's a very big issue comes up. And you see, if you look at the history of language that we don't have a way of designating and allocating proper designation for that, the same thing is that we overemphasize maybe some of the aspects of high IQ. And no matter how you slice it, people are on a bell curve and this is the way it is, and there are performance-related capabilities from it, and why that is so much in denial, I have no idea. I'm not going to play center in the NBA. I am not seven feet tall. We are not equal, me and Shaquille O'Neal are not equal on any level. We're both valuable, important as as people, but it's just like, come on folks. I don't understand this reality issue. I have a problem with it.

Elle Russ: Yeah. George Carlin had a bit way back in the day, right. Like first it was shell shock, then we went down…

Wade Lightheart: That was beautiful. I know that one.

Elle Russ: He's one of my favorite comedians. So anyway, if you are born without thyroid, one in a bajillion, they better catch it right away, because if they don't, you will have mental retardation issues. Literally, you will.

Wade Lightheart: So going back to that, cause' I want to add to this, because I know when they added iodine back in around 1900 to the food supply, cause' we had a deficiency in iodine, the average IQ increase in America, went up 15 points.

Elle Russ: I'm not surprised about that. The iodides, they iodized salt, right, back in the Midwest. They call the Midwest, the goiter belt, because there's not any like seeds around, you know, there wasn't a whole food shipping and Amazon fresh or whatever. So a lot of people would get goiters, which is a large thyroid, like a basketball on your fricking neck, or it could be, you know, some people…

Wade Lightheart: Inside. Yeah, I had a relative that had that actually.

Elle Russ: It's crazy. That is related to iodine, although that's not necessarily the fix for it, but that is part of it. So the master gland. I mean, if you don't have one or let's say you had thyroid cancerand you've got it removed, you'd have to be administered thyroid hormones immediately and if you were stranded on an Island, without them, you're done. You're not going to last long at all. So if you're going to die without a thyroid gland, what do you think life's going to be like when you have sub-par, you know, output and metabolization of those hormones? It's a slow death. It's exactly what it feels like. It's accelerated glycation. That's why your hair starts falling out. You look older, you get wrinkles, your skin's dry and cracked. You're constipated. There's a million symptoms from being freezing cold.

Elle Russ: For men, it would be not getting erections in the morning. It would be low testosterone issues and we'll get into that, but here's the thing. So you've got one of these symptoms, you'd go to the doctor and you're 30 years old and you're a dude and you have a low testosterone. The doctor's like: oh, we'll just give you testosterone. No. You check the thyroid. You fix that shit first, because then the testosterone is going to naturally go right back up, because the thyroid is the precursor and again, the production and regulation of all the sex hormones, that's what it controls. So you always go to this first. Same thing with bipolar depression.

Elle Russ: If you don't have enough T3, and I'll talk about the thyroid hormones in a minute and give you the whole lay down. But if you don't have enough T3 in your brain where we have most receptors for it, then again you've got like cognitive issues and other things. And again, you're just not going to be thinking right. You're going to have depression. And then a doctor is going to treat you with Prozac and it'll work for three months and then it won't work. And the same goes for the testosterone or anything else. Oh, you've got terrible lipid panel. Let's put you on a Statins. Nope. You fix the thyroid. So no matter what, anyone listening out there, no matter what your problem is, I don't care what the problem is, you always have to comprehensively check the thyroid first to make sure that that's not the thing that's sending the domino effect of all of the things to go wrong.

Wade Lightheart: Quick question on that, because I've looked at this a lot and by the way, I've got a vast array of young men in their thirties, early thirties, and they're all on testosterone replacement therapy. Most of them are internet marketers. They're on their computers all along, they're running high cortisol, estrogen is going up, testosterone is going down. Thyroid is all messed up. They're on totally messed up sleep cycles. And they say: Oh, you know what? Just get on TRT. I always say, you want to save that powder as long as you can go. Do when you're 50, do it when you're 60, do it when you're at whatever, but the average male, cause' I know you're relating a lot to females and there might be some male listeners, but guess what, the average male today in their twenties has the testosterone levels of a 70 year old man in the seventies.

Elle Russ: That's a damn shame, everybody. That's not how it should be.

Wade Lightheart: And I think, and we're going to get into some of the reasons, but I think when you look at the chemistry table and you look at the halogens, and you look at fluoride, and chlorine, and iodine, they're the halogen group. And of course, fluoride and chlorine bond onto the thyroid, which can interact in a negative way. And there was a guy by the name of Dr. Tennant, who looked at some CDC testing in America and the correlation with obesity with the States that used fluoride in the water and he thought it was an interaction with the thyroid. Do you know anything about that? Or have you seen it?

Elle Russ: All of those things are totally antagonistic to thyroid and for example… I'm a swimmer and I just swam today earlier. I take thyroid hormone to live, but because what I know about thyroid and iodinewhat I will do is, before I swim, I'll put coconut all over my body as much as possible, kind of gives me a good 30 minutes of coating. I don't know if it's helpful, it's doing something better than nothing. I'm just doing what makes me feel better. And I take iodine. I will take iodine a couple days a week.

Wade Lightheart: What iodine you take by the way?

Elle Russ: I take i-Thyroid 6.25 milligrams, which is the lowest of that. There is Lugol's iodine, where you take a drop or whatever and water, but I just take the i-Thyroid. And I do it only, because like, I'm not worried even about the thyroid hormones that I take being affected.

Elle Russ: I'm just talking about body and just the whole thing. I take a couple of the, you know, in your general multivitamin, there might be a 125 micrograms of iodine or something like that. So this is a little bit more substantial. And I do that to offset the chlorine. I wouldn't be swimming as much right now if I felt comfortable at my gym and other things, but I'm not doing that. So to me, I'm swimming a lot. That's what I do to try to protect myself and offset that. And yes, you don't need fluoride toothpaste, usually past a certain age. And the fluoridation of water… They've put some of this stuff in breads and things like that. I mean it's just nasty. So yeah, you gotta factor all these things in doing a detox.

Elle Russ: Absolutely. Because some people just get toxified and that's what screws up their thyroid. It could beThere's so many things that can screw up a thyroid, right? So, I mean, unless you're planning on doing like a walking tour of Chernobyl to see, but still there are so many things that would really screw, on that case swallow a whole bottle of iodine on the way through that tour. There's so many things that can displace and screw up the thyroid. And again, it's because it's the master, it has to be checked and assessed before you start this game of implementing bio-identical sex hormones, because often it's just not going to solve the problem and you have to go again on the functional medicine route and go: what's causing this 30 year old man to have low testosterone?

Elle Russ: That's so wrong that shouldn't ever happen. Same with women too. Women shouldn't have all these crazy hormonal imbalances and stuff. Sure, you start to get to your mid, late forties. Yeah. We all have something called menopause, that happens and everyone's going to go through that shit at some point. Yeah. Stuff's going to get thrown off, that's the time. And I'm not saying there aren't other time for women to do it, but for the most part, you rule this out first, before you go do all that other stuff. That's what psychiatrists have to start doing and they don't testify very comprehensively and regularly and they're just dispensing all of these medications and again, they work for three months, and then they won't work. So I don't know where to go from here, what you'd like to know? I'm happy to give a whole entire tutorial on how the thyroid works or talk about the hormones or whatever, you just let me know.

Wade Lightheart: This is so awesome. So let's go back in your story, okay? So you're struggling in this sort of stuff and then your doctor's giving you all this sort of stuff and…

Elle Russ: They failed me. So I went to like over two dozen endocrinologists and doctors in Los Angeles, and we're talking the best city in the world for medicine, and nobody knew what they were doing. They misdiagnosed me. Again, here's a perfect example. I got misdiagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS
Wade Lightheart: And you hear this all the time?

Elle Russ: Right. So someone would say: well, how'd you get misdiagnosed? Like how dumb was that doctor? No, no, no. I mean, if you and I looked at that ultrasound, you would have said: Oh yeah, that's right out of the textbook, but again, no one said why? No one said: why is a healthy 30 year old with no gynecological bad history, why is she all of a sudden bleeding all the time and has polycystic ovary syndrome? They were ready to treat me with Metformin, which by the way, I think I read something recently that Metformin is being recalled, because it's got like cancer causing agents in it or whatever.

Wade Lightheart: Right, and that was part of the whole longevity community, which is interesting.

Elle Russ: Exactly. So they wanted me to do that. Now here's the thing. I didn't have it. I've never had a problem since it was a thyroid induced gynecological issues. So it manifests itself in women and men gynecologicly, meaning like either lack of erections in the morning with men and would be breaking up their sleep at night too, low DHA, low T all of the symptoms that go along with that. And for women, it would be infertility, heavy crappy periods, periods all the time, or inability to get pregnant, miscarriages, things like that. So again, I'm led down all these wrong paths. So now I think like: Oh my gosh, do I have a hormonal imbalance, because everyone's telling me my thyroid's fine, because they're taking a test from 1973 that no doctor worth their weight would even use as a standalone test to test the thyroid.

Elle Russ: And so I'm sitting here sifting through all of this. And again, no podcasts, nothing at the time. Podcasts didn't even exist. And so I was like: what the hell? It wasn't until I actually connected with fellow patients who were online in a Yahoo group for free, that were just offering their time to help patients, cause' they had gotten screwed and they were like: you need to check this, you need to check that, and that's when I was like: I'm listening to these ladies. I'm going to start going down this rabbit hole and what they're telling me to do. And I ended up fixing myself twice in 10 years. Twice in 10 years, I had two bouts of hypothyroidism. One was standard hypothyroidism and then I took medication. Well, thyroid's hormone replacement, I hate calling it medication, cause' it's really not, but you know, thyroid hormone replacement for it.

Elle Russ: And then that thyroid hormone replacement did a backfire job on me, called reverse T3, and then I had a reverse T3 problem, which even more doctors don't know about. So twice in 10 years I was left in the dust and had to be my own doctor, dude. I used doctors for tests. I wouldn't listen to anything they had to say. And then I ordered my thyroid hormones on the internet black market action. I had to fix myself. This was the loneliest fricking place you can imagine. I have a philosophy degree. This is the last thing I wanted to do, Wade. I was like: I don't want to even know, just help me. You are a Harvard MD, just why don't you know? But they all didn't. And I went to Harvard MDs. I went to famous doctors. It wasn't until finally I paid $600 for some famous anti-aging doctor in Beverly Hills, who had been quoted in like a Suzanne Somers book or something, that just took the right test. And it took the right tests and finally when I looked at him I go: that's my problem. I am a seriously hyperthyroid. Thank you very much, everybody for finally giving me that answer. And then I thought y'all screwed me. No one's helped me. I'm doing it myself. And so I did, and I succeeded. So that's how I became an expert.

Wade Lightheart: Wow. That's beautiful. You know Hippocrates suggested a long time ago that the best doctors in the world were not those who had the best of health, but who had challenges with their health that develop the fortitude and the empathy for those who have those conditions. And I've seen that over and over.

Elle Russ: Yeah. And the bestselling thyroid books are written by patients, which I am not shocked about.

Wade Lightheart: So let's talk about the reverse T3 situation that you had, cause' I think that's, you know of course I can't imagine what that's like, how many years did it take you to solve the initial issue?

Elle Russ: Well it took me about two years the first time, but I would say that about six or seven years of my thirties were completely screwed to dealing with thyroid issues.

Wade Lightheart: Wow. And then you got it fixed. And so then, how long did it take you to kind of get the benefits till you felt like back to your old self? Or back to your young self?

Elle Russ: The first time around, when I took natural thyroid hormone replacement to fix my thyroid it only takes a few months. You keep feeling better and better, if you're doing it the right way. If you're doing everything the right way, it just takes a few months to keep getting better and better. Probably a good three to six months. And again, I was doing this on my own, just hacking this thing and then I'm like: great, I'm doing great. Now I still don't know, I'm still overworking out. So I still don't know about any of the things I learned later. I don't know about paleo. I don't know any about this stuff. So I just go by my life. I'm like: Oh, thank God, this fricking thing is over. And then at some point later on, several years down the road, I started to get hypothyroid symptoms and I thought: how is this possible?

Elle Russ: I'm on thyroid hormone replacement. That doesn't make any sense. What's going on? I kept getting fatter and fatter, dry, cracked skin, all the stuff and I'm like: what is happening? And this is when again, fellow patient and fellow author JanieBowthorpe 'Stop the Thyroid Madness:' said: you know what El, I think you have something that we've kind of newly discovered in our world, cause' this was like 10 years ago or something. She's like: I think you might have a reverse T3 problem. And she said: luckily for you, there's this guy out of England named Paul Robinson, who is a patient, who wrote a whole book about what you might need to do to solve it. And I was like: okay, I bought this guy's book and here I am again. Here I am again, trying to find the medication on the internet.

Elle Russ: I am hacking this myself. I am like using his book as a Bible, I'm trying to figure out what to do. And again, that one took a little bit longer to figure out, because it was… A Reverse T3 hypothyroidism is really insidious. It's still hypothyroidism, but, and I can get into the details later, but essentially we look at it like reverse T3 is sort of standing in front of your cells, blocking T3 from getting in there and doing anything. So it's just like swimming around your blood. That's the metaphor. Not saying that's exactly what happens, is just how you can think about it. And so it can take 8 to 12 weeks, even for those sorts of receptors to clear before you can like actually reap it to get the benefits. Not that you won't feel better taking the medication as you're going forward, but the full like symphony of everything to start kicking into gear, it can take a little longer than someone who's just hypothyroid and starts that thyroid hormone replacement and goes forward.

Elle Russ: There's not always a need for hypothyroidism to be solved through thyroid hormones at all. You can do it through diet, lifestyle. There's so many ways - nutrient optimization, cleaning out heavy metals. There's a million ways to do that, my book is not about going on thyroid hormone as an immediate answer. Not at all. But when that all natural stuff has been exhausted, you don't have a choice. It is such a disease state. This is what happens. You will eventually get something you otherwise would not have gotten, because you're in that disease state. So then again, you start to get diagnosed. I'll probably stick a better decision of… Oh, you have a restless legs. Nope. Usually low ferritin, usually low thyroid. You know, so you can be patched, worked up by doctors on all these symptoms that are caused by this one main thing that just has to be right for all humans, because it runs our lives.

Elle Russ: And without it, we're screwed. Same goes for hyperthyroidism. When it's overactive, that's a disaster. That's actually a lot more dangerous. You can have a heart attack. Honestly for a lot of those patients, if they don't fix it through like diet and lifestyle and get it under control, what happens is, is there's no other answer really for, is that you zap the person's thyroid, essentially killing it and making them hypothyroid and then you have to give them thyroid hormone replacement, because that's a better place to be than to be constantly out of control hyperthyroid. So we are Goldilocks. Not too hot, not too high, not too cold, not too low. It's really this perfect balance and it's individual for people. You don't ever go by numbers. You go by numbers, symptoms, diagnostics, and all sorts of things to assess this.

Elle Russ: But the reverse T3 thing was really bad and I was really on my own, because the way to treat that is using a thyroid hormone. That's the last choice. It's like the last resort. And most doctors are very scared of it. They kept telling me that I'd give myself a heart attack. I was going to kill myself. No one would prescribe it to me. Again, I had to order it from Mexico. Then Mexico ran out of it and I was literally freaking out. I'm like sitting here in Los Angeles going: I could die, because all these ignorant doctors and no one's helping me. And I have to… I had a friend who born and raised in Mexico, had to have her driver go around to like 20 pharmacies in Mexico. They couldn't find any. And I mean, I was really having like a meltdown and I started ordering it from like other parts of the world.

Elle Russ: God knows what kind of crap I was getting involved in there. One time got ripped off, didn't get the package. I mean, this is a really like terrible plan, like I was very knowledgeable about it at this point. You know, I still hadn't written the book, but very scary place to be. And so when I fixed it all, I'm actually glad I had both of those problems, because now I can really coach people on both of those problems. I've also been hyperthyroid by being on too much medication. I know what that feels like. I've been low. I understand the differences between reverse T3 and I'm one of the only authors on T3. The other one would be Paul Robinson, who's alive at this point, but other than that, most have not experienced what it's like to be on T3 only which I've been on for eight years now. Most of the time for patients, you want to be on a T4 T3 combo. And if that sounds confusing, I'm happy to go through how the thyroid works and explain this stuff so it's clear. So you just let me know.

Wade Lightheart: That would be great. Let's do that. And then I want to segue into some of the lifestyle changes that you've made an integrated that kind of led to also the book and an lifestyle and that sort of stuff. Because at the end of the day medications are one thing or supplements are one thing to kind of like offset whatever lifestyle choices, or genetic inheritance, or whatever's going on in your life, but at the end of the day, it's all about what you're doing on a day-to-day basis and I think you talked about what kind of got you into problems or challenges. Also I'd love to hear what you ended up doing now as part of your program and why it's so important people check out your book. But let's talk about how the thyroid works first and then how that maybe correlates with the lifestyle choices that you suggest for people to integrate into their lives if they're challenged with thyroid issues?

Elle Russ: Sure. I'll start off by saying that 200 plus million people in the world have thyroid issues, 25 plus million Americans. The number one prescription in the US is just one brand, of one brand name of one thyroid hormone. Number one prescription in the US. 60% are undiagnosed. So there's probably a lot more to those numbers than we think. So that's how bad it is. Medications are not always the answer, but thyroid hormones are giving you what your body needs, just like if you are 70 and you've got no testosterone or something like that. But let me describe how this works. So basically the thyroid is at the base of your neck. It starts with the pituitary, which is at the base of your brain. And the pituitary, you could just imagine that it's like a signal, just like a signal for this situation.

Elle Russ: And when it senses that your body's starting to get low in thyroid hormones, it sends a signal to the thyroid to say: hey, time to wake up and produce more thyroid hormones. That signal is called the TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone. Now here's the problem, the problem for ever, for all years, and if you're out there listening and you're still have a thyroid problem, or you're on thyroid medication, you still don't feel right and your doctor's giving you a bunch of bullshit about like: oh, it's not your thyroid. Check your blood tests. I bet you, a guarantee you a million bucks, they didn't take anything, but the TSH and T4 for your entire run of your time with that doctor. So once I'm done explaining this feedback loop that we call it, you'll see why testing the TSH and that's how I was kept sick, because doctors kept testing the signal being sent to the thyroid, not did she get the damn package of the delivery. I'm going to get to it. Pituitary senses your blood is low in thyroid hormones, it sends out a signal TSH: yo-yo thyroid, wake up.

Elle Russ: I'm going to talk about a scenario where everything's working perfectly. Okay? So in the scenario where you're normal, probably you, Wade, and this is what will happen to you. Your body senses low in thyroid hormone, sends a signal 'wake up thyroid'. Thyroid goes, cool, thanks, got it. And it pumps out 80 to 90% or more of something called T4. And it pumps out 9 to 20%, we're not exactly sure, of something called T3. What the hell are these two things? T3 is the biologically active hormone. That's the thing that we need to have a metabolism, to think, to have fat burning, to have our heart working properly. It's also the thing in hyperthyroid patients that they have too much of, because it makes their heart go absolutely bazonkers, they're hot, they're pooping and sweating all the time, they can't gain weight. You know what I mean? It's like actually sounds like: Oh, that sounds cool.

Elle Russ: I'll just take a bunch of T3. Nope. Bodybuilders, as you know When I was first starting to research T3, all I could find were a million bodybuilding websites that came out. I'm like: what the hell? It's because body builders before competition to burn as much fat as possible, jam themselves with as much T3 as they can pretty much in about six weeks. And they have to do other things to offset the catabolic nature of T3 and those amounts. This is what they do. They can script their thyroid. It's stupid, I don't suggest it. It's just what people do. But I was surprised to hear that. But just to show you how potent of a fat burner T3 is. Now, because it's so potent, it's like putting gasoline on a fire. Okay? Because it's so potent, there's this genius thing called a storage hormone, T4. T4 by itself, useless. Useless, unless it converts into the thing that matters, which is T3.

Elle Russ: So T4 is a storage hormone and your thyroid pumps out a lot of that and a little bit of direct T3. And then throughout the day, as you need it, Wade, that T4 is going to convert into T3 as you need it. Lets say you have a crazy workout. Sometimes the demands of exercise might create a need for T3. Then your TSH would send the signal again, after a crazy workout. Convert to T3, right? Then let's say, God forbid, you get into a horrible rollerskating accident in Venice on the Boulevard and now you've got broken legs or whatever. Now in that case, T4 is going to probably dial back and go: let's not throw any metabolic fuel onto this fire that's happening in his body, cause' he's got 10 broken limbs or whatever. And we're going to start to convert it, not into the active form, but the inactive form called reverse T3.

Elle Russ: So TSH sends a signal to the thyroid. Thyroid pumps out a lot of T4, a little bit of T3. During the day the T4 as you need, it will convert to T3. And also just in general, whatever's not used aside from a threat that could happen, whatever's not used, just gets flushed out through this reverse T3 process. It's a very elegant feedback loop and it's there for a reason. It's there to save your life. Reverse T3 is like an emergency brake. Again, here's another emergency brake situation. You're under-eating and over-exercising, essentially people, who are starving themselves kind of to some degree, right?

Elle Russ: Or let's say you were legit starving, you're on an Island. Okay, same scenario, the body is going: Oh, she doesn't have any food. She's starving. There's no nutrients. And again, they're going to not let that T4 convert into the active fat burning T3, cause' it's like: she can't burn any more fat right now, we've got to save her life, let's dial it back. So it's this elegant feedback loop, but so many things screw up the feedback loop. Sometimes the message is sent, the thyroid doesn't act. Sometimes a message is sent, the thyroid acts, the stuff doesn't convert. There's so many things that can happen in this feedback loop, but that is essentially it. And so let me just throw it out, I do have a free thyroid guide on my website elleruss.com, which gives you every test to get, how to maybe suss out a doctor, how to find a doctor in your state or country.

Elle Russ: But I'll just list the six main, like, do I maybe have a thyroid problem kind of initial assessment. And that is TSH free T3, free T4 and reverse T3. That's the main four. And then you always want to rule out Hashimoto's and I can get into that, but Hashimoto's is just the kind of same thyroid problem, it's just autoimmune inspired and there are other things you can do for that. And it's important to know whether or not you have Hashimoto's. Hashimoto's has two antibodies. One is called TPO, which is thyroid peroxidase. The other one is called TG antibody stands for thyroglobulin. So those six tests are the ones that anybody should just get to go. Do I have a problem? Is there anything weird here? So those are the main ones. Now there's lots of other factors, right? You could do heavy metal tests and all sorts of stuff, but is my thyroid screwed?

Elle Russ: And then you go from there and go, how did it get screwed? What's screwing up, right? And then you can go down that rabbit hole, but that is the basics. For years, the bane of thyroid hormone patients' existence has been that doctors only test the TSH. They're only testing the signal. Well, sometimes that signals low. Now, for example, here's why we still take it, because this whole feedback loop it's important to see. For example, if someone were having… For example, my friend's wife has been on thyroid hormone for many years. She decided one day to just go off it. Don't know why, she just stopped taking it. And then months go by and she goes to the doctor, they send me her labs and her TSH on a scale of zero to five, which is always usually roughly the reference range. It was 150.

Elle Russ: That means her pituitary brain is screaming, it's like: help her. Wake up, thyroid, wake up, dammit, wake up. So that would be like an obvious scenario. You see 150 TSH. Well, it also went along with a zero T4 and a zero T3, free T3 and free T4. We use free T3 and free T4 versus total T3 and all that kind of stuff because free T3 and free T4 is what is free and unbound and available in the bloodstream. And it usually really corresponds the free T3 with how people are feeling. That's just the number. So, all those doctors who kept me sick all that time were just testing my TSH, hit my gym shoes and said: you're just going to have to work out more and eat, less. I just want to… I'm putting on my middle finger up… I'm like: are you kidding me?

Elle Russ: So here's the thing. When I finally got my tests, because my TSH was in range… If they had just tested my free T3 and free T4, they were below the range. They were done. I had nothing. I had nothing, I'm running on pure adrenals at that point. That's another reason most thyroid patients, if it's gone on too long and they've suffered, they get adrenal fatigue, because then the adrenals become the only like energy giver. And then it's outputting cortisol, you're getting fat around your middle and now you're super stressed out and all the complications that come with super wonky cortisol and then it just kind of says: F-you, I'm done. So this feedback loop is very important. But most endocrinologists and doctors will only test the TSH and the T4.

Elle Russ: My friend who's also a success story in book. She suffered two miscarriages, gained 30 pounds in a year. She goes to the doctor. She had been on Synthroid, which is T4 only, as a thyroid hormone replacement. And again, that's not endocrine mimicry, our thyroids don't just pump out T4. They pump out T4 and T3. So that's a sort of endocrinologist or sort of Synthroid T4 only Nazis. It often fails people. It can work for people, but it often fails a lot of people and that's why they end up searching for answers. She had two miscarriages, all this kind of stuff she didn't have to go through and then I said: well, let's go back and look at your blood work. For 10 years with this endocrinologist in Los Angeles, they had only tested TSH and T4. So they tested the signal. They tested the T4, which is the storage hormone, but they didn't test is the T4 converting into the thing that fricking matters.

Elle Russ: Because I've had almost no T4 in my body for eight years. Cause' I'm on T3 only. I am on the last resort. And that's why it's the last resort. Because when I take T3 only I am cutting out the middleman and this feedback loop. Now I have entered into, I am a human being, trying to decide cellularly what I need versus allowing T4 to do it. But for some reason I can't convert T4. Now I had heavy metals. I cleared them out. I tried to get off thyroid hormone again during the pandemic, didn't work. I have been on very high doses and now I'm on low. That can happen. You know, you start off metabolically f-ed and not in a good space and you get better and better, you might need less over time to function. Absolutely. But the reason it's the last resort choices, I'm cutting out that great emergency brake that needs to be there.

Wade Lightheart: And then I'm the human gauging it. You don't want that. Ideally you really want a T4 T3 combination, just like our thyroids give and let it do its job. That's why you always have to test the reverse T3, because someone could have a good look and free T3 and if the reverse T3 is bad and then we usually do a ratio between the free T3 and reverse T3, there's just like automatic online calculators for that. Ratio of 20 and higher is healthy. 17 is not like: Oh my God, they need to go on T3 only, but if your ratio is like 11… Yikes. If something doesn't work in eight weeks with certain supplementation, some other things, then yeah, you would be a candidate like me to go on T3 only, because T3 only is the only thing that doesn't convert into reverse T3 so it's saving my life.

Elle Russ: Now, some people also have a genetic mutation or what you want to call it for D one and D two. These are two enzymes that are responsible for the conversion of the T4 to T3 and Paul Robinson who wrote a book the definitive book on T3 only called 'Recovering with T3', and he's amazing, and I've interviewed him a couple of times. He spent his whole life miserable, ruined his marriage, his relationship with his kids, got fired from every job, just suffered forever, because everyone kept giving him T4. He finally realized he can't convert it. And then later on, when genetic testing came out, he has the mutation, the D one and D two, like he was screwed from day one. He would have never been able to tolerate T4 and no one knew this and he suffered forever. And so the only thing that's saving his life, is what saving mine, which is taking T3 only. Does that mean maybe one day I can go back on a T4 T3 combo?

Elle Russ: Hey, Wade, I'd love to. It's easier. Believe me. It's way easier. It's consistent. You don't have as many fluctuations and things you have to account for when you're taking T3 only. So T3 only is a pain in the ass and no one should ever go on it unless they absolutely have to. But thank God it's there, because it's saving my life. So that's what a reverse T3 problem is. It's converting more into the inactive form, not the active form and even though your labs look good, you're seriously hypothyroid. So you might have a doctor who's testing, TSH, free T3, free T4, but if they're not testing reverse T3, they are still an uninformed doctor. By the way, reverse T3 is just a general marker of wellness and unwellness in any given human being. Two stories, from two different clients, two parts of the world. Both ask their doctor to test reverse T3. The doctor said: no. They came back and said: please test my reverse T3. They said: we only do that if you're in the ICU. I mean, you don't even need to know anything about thyroid hormones and listen to that. If it's something they test when you're dying and you're in the intensive care unit, why the F when you tested before I got in there? Does that make sense? I mean, it's just logic people.

Wade Lightheart: It's a reactive model to medicine as opposed to a proactive model for health.

Elle Russ: Absolutely. And it's also something, I tell story in the book. I went with a patient one time didn't speak good English, she worked for a company and I went to an endocrinologist and I said: listen, I think they have a reverse T3 problem. I would really like you to test their free T3 and their reverse T3, cause' the doctor had them on Synthroid, had never tested anything, but the TSH and T4, and I just knew intuitively. So I asked her and she said: we don't test reverse T3, that's old school. And I said: well, it's funny, cause' I just got over a reverse T3 problem, which is pretty new school to me. All I'm asking is for you to take a test. She goes: well fine, but I don't know how to evaluate it. And I said to her: did you just patronize me for asking you to take a test that you are now telling me, you know, nothing about?

Wade Lightheart: So that's why you need to read her book 'Confident As F u c k'. You can stand there amid someone who is quote unquote an authority in their area and not take a soft ball answer that doesn't get you the result you want and expose the lack of information that your quote, unquote authority or capabilities that they might have. And that doesn't make that person wrong. What it makes them is incompetent. And as a patient or as someone who is hiring an expert to help you in an area, it's not a question: I want to go in and empty a clip and be a dickhead with the person that's helping me. It's like: okay, what do you got? Can you solve my problem? And are we getting to an area where you're just throwing your authority down on me or do you have the humility to say: we don't know, and we need to find someone that does?

Elle Russ: That's right. That's right. And that would be just as insane as me being like: Wade, do not see the last Star Wars movie and you go: Oh my God, was it that bad? And I say: Oh no, I didn't see it.

Wade Lightheart: Yeah. I heard. I heard, yeah, got a bad rating.

Elle Russ: So then this woman, this endocrinologist was such a joke. So then she goes: well fine, I'll take it. Guess what happens? The patient has a reverse T3 problem. A very severe one. I was right. I don't want to be right, not my businesses being right, but dammit, I'm right again. Stupid endocrinologist. I'm trying to convince her to give the patient a little bit of T3, because if patient keeps taking T4 and they have a reverse T3 problem, the T4 is just going to keep converting into the thing that doesn't matter and the person remains hypo, even though they're on thyroid hormone replacement. If that makes sense? If it doesn't, I want to clear it up.

Wade Lightheart: No, it is, because this is happening all the time. People are like: well, I did what my doctor, I'm taking the T4 nothing's happening. I'm still got the same problems.

Elle Russ: And then you'll go to the doctor and you go: I'm depressed. They go: oh, well depression is a symptom of hypothyroidism. It's a symptom of untreated hypothyroidism and hypothyroidism is fixable. And if anyone listening, you have to get that in your head. Right now, everyone listening. I even heard Oprah one time saying: well, my doctor said, I'd always struggle with weight, because I have Hashimoto's. And I was like: dammit girl, that's because you haven't had anyone treat your Hashimoto's right. We've all seen Oprah's weight issues over the years. If I could get to her… And people would go, but Oprah is worth a bajillion dollars. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how much money you have. Lisa Bilyeu and Tom Bilyeu, Elisa Bilyeu and Tom Mueller are billionaires. She's still struggling with gut issues. She's gone to all.

Elle Russ: Money doesn't solve it, you know? I mean, she's gotten better, but again, she's thrown money at it too. It doesn't matter. You still are going to get all these uninformed doctors, particularly when you're talking about like the top endocrinologist at a hospital. Classically endocrinologists are the most uninformed and they should be the most informed, because that's their job, the endocrine system. But they aren't the most informed when it comes to diabetes, when it comes to thyroid hormone replacement or just thyroid treatment as well. So that's sort of the whole feedback loop and there's a lot of things that can go wrong there, but that's why those things need to get tested. Reverse T3 when you're in the ICU, the reason they test that is, because it's a serious sign of potential heart failure. And hypothyroidism does affect the heart.

Elle Russ: And that's why, if you ever reverse T3 hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism in general, your heart is suffering. And again, you're slowly dying. That's exactly what it feels like too, by the way. I mean, let me explain something for people that are out there. You can look up a list of symptoms, go: okay, cold hands, feet freezing, low body temperature, tired, exhausted, brain fog, all that stuff. But the cognitive stuff is no joke, Wade. So basically when you have really like low T3 and we have more receptors in our brain than anywhere else, you have real cognitive issues from messy handwriting, because brain to hand dexterity is really off. I'm extremely coordinated athlete. I would be tripping over everything, bumping into stuff, knocking over my water at home. That kind of stuff where you're like, what's wrong with me?

Elle Russ: Like I'm so uncoordinated. And then also not really being able to retain stuff for getting numbers, for getting things, reading a paragraph, having to read it over, not even really being able to remember it. So what happens is the reason I bring this up is, because it's a very silent thing that no one wants to express. It's a hard thing when this is happening to you and you're feeling like: I'm getting dumb, I'm getting dumber, I'm getting older. There's something wrong with my brain. And that's not something you're so quick to, you just think maybe I'm getting old. Oh, my aunt Mary, she kind of was a reckless maybe… Maybe aunt Mary had untreated Hashimoto's right? Let's not relegate ourselves to her life. But these are the kinds of things that go through your mind.

Elle Russ: So if you know any, and it's a jet central general malaise or serious depression, it's being unmotivated to work out, you don't have any energy to do anything. You become a total party pooperSensitivity to light, sound and smells, which is usually a related to the adrenal stuff that's happening. Just being an emotional wreck, being overwhelmed by multitasking when normally you were like: I got it. I got, I got. And then next thing you know, you got two things to do that day and you just want to cry thinking about it, cause this is so overwhelming. These are the things that happen. And so again, I have all these listed in my book, but the brain stuff, I always like to kind of detail that, because if you're out there and you're thinking this way, it's kind of a scary, and the reason I say it is, cause' one time I was talking about this on the phone while my friend was in the background and I got off the phone and tears were on down her face and she said: that's me.

Elle Russ: She's like: I didn't know that was a thyroid. And I was like: Oh my God. It turns out she had Hashimoto's. The whole time she'd been my friend for around ten years. She saw me go through all the thyroid stuff. No idea. So I always talk about that, because that's the one that a lot of people are afraid to express or don't understand, or they're just kind of, again, chalking off to like: Oh, it must be my age or something's happening. But it's really scary. The other thing too is, I'm obviously like a fast articulate speaker and there are times when clearly I'm going to mumble my words or not say the right thing. But when I am hypothyroid and when people are hypothyroid, sometimes they have the cognitive issue of like verbal dyslexia. Like I wouldn't be able to find the words right.

Elle Russ: Say the words wrong all the time or I just couldn't get them out. I'd stumble in a way that was… It's a scary thing, man, because it's like this internal thing in your brain, that's like: what's happening to me, you know? And it's frightening. So I always like to mention that, because if that's going on, you know, that's a part of it. Even something like restless legs. I had restless legs, something like that. People would be like, Oh yeah. Anything that's happening in your world, you rule out the thyroid first. It's the number one thing, because from it spawns every reaction and again, if you're not the right body temperature, certain enzymes aren't doing its job, detox pathways, all sorts of things are just going wrong and so you may have one problem, but again, it goes back to the master.

Elle Russ: So we always check that. Now in terms of thyroid hormone replacement. Say someone needs to get on thyroid hormone replacement. People are always scared. They're like: well, I don't want to go on medication. First of all, it doesn't have to be forever. You can always go on thyroid hormone, get optimized, detox, do all the stuff you need to do from a non hypo baseline of your body, get everything right and then go: all right, let's try to get off of this and see if my thyroid recalibrates within three months and if not, okay, well back on the thyroid hormone. So it's not necessarily a life sentence, but even if it is, that's okay, because thyroid hormone, even though it's technically a medication, it's not. I look at the difference between hormones and medications like this medications come with a laundry list of side effects, because it is usually like birth control pill for example.

Elle Russ: The birth control pill is manipulating a body to do something it should not be doing, right? Thyroid hormone replacement or hormones are giving your body what it needs. Again, people are very scared of that, but they don't have many side effects and complications, because it's just replenishing what you need versus this crazy manipulation of a system that shouldn't happen. So a lot of people were afraid of it and they really shouldn't be, cause' you can be on it for the rest of your life, you can have children with it, it doesn't matter. You live a totally normal life forever on thyroid hormone replacement, as long as it's being dosed right and synthesize right in the body and getting to where it needs to go and metabolize properly and like getting into the cells. The thyroid hormone that you would take, the first order of business that every endocrinologist or dummy doctor is going to give you, the brand name Synthroid, or we call it Synthroid, but it's T4, which is level thyroxin.

Elle Russ: That again often fails people, because it's not endocrine mimicry. The optimal choice is a T4 T3 combination that is sort of in the similar ratios. That could be in the form of natural desiccated thyroid, which is chopped up desiccated pig gland. If people have issues with that, whether you're vegan or vegetarian, or religious issues, then you don't have to do that. You can do compounded thyroid hormone, where they have really less fillers and it's good for sensitive people or allergic people. And the compounding pharmacist compounds the same ratios as they do in the natural desiccated thyroid of T4 T3. Then there's also the other option of just taking Synthroid and Cytomel, T4 and T3. Those are the best options right there. Last resort, T3 only, which is what I am, and also last first resort, T4 only.

Elle Russ: So really a T4 T3 combination. And look, there are people that take, let's say natural desiccated thyroid, but then they add a little T4 to it or add a little T3 to it, but for the most part, people seem to be great and do well in a standard T4 T3 combo. That backfired on me because it had T4 in it. When I had a reverse T3 problem, I went to a doctor and I was trying to explain this to him and he didn't understand it. And he said: well, we just need to keep giving you more armor, more natural desiccated thyroid. And I said, don't you understand, you're giving me more of the thing that's converting into the thing that doesn't matter? That's screwing me up. If you give me more T4 and I have a reverse T3 problem, I'm going to get worse and more hypothyroid, which is why you always rule out the reverse T3. You always check it

Wade Lightheart: Beautiful. Well said. And I feel like we just had the 50 caliber gun that Arnold Schwartzenegger had in Terminator and was like - bullets and bullets and bullets. So for our listeners, I would like for you to go through these in detail, because you've basically got the whole process of what literally happened over almost a decade, really. You've summarized in like 40 minutes about all every POVS, like what could be the potential diagnosis, where the air is going to be, what you need to do, how do you go pass that, what you need to tell the person to do and all that sort of? Beautifully said, well done. We will have show notes on all of these pieces to make sure that you are clear about what you need to do moving forward if you feel that you are in the situation that Elle has described today.

Wade Lightheart: Thank you so much for that. Let's talk a little bit about some of the lifestyle things that came in, because your book is called 'The Paleo Thyroid Solution' and I'd like to get into some of the eating habits, cause' we talked about what got you into trouble. Well, what are you doing now that you feel is really great for people who want to integrate some of the lifestyle components of what do I eat, how do I work out, what do I do, how do I go on this if I want to optimize my thyroid function? I'd love to hear what you have to share with us.

Elle Russ: So while it would be difficult to be a vegan and be primal, it wouldn't necessarily… By the way, are you a vegetarian strictly, or do you eat eggs at all?

Wade Lightheart: Well, I hate labels because...

Elle Russ: Do you eat animal anything?

Wade Lightheart: I'll have eggs occasionally and I'll have cheese occasionally, cause I like a good pizza, you know?

Elle Russ: Nice. So even if you ate eggs, it would be okay as a vegetarian to do this. It's not to say that you have to be paleo in order for all of these things to happen, but I'll explain why I believe so is the best, but you can still live a great life and be on thyroid hormone, have it work for you. But here's the caveat. One of the things we need to talk about, and this is related to nutrition, so I just want to bring it up, which is Hashimoto's. Hashimoto's is autoimmune form of hypothyroidism, so it's just autoimmune induced. So we've got like MS an autoimmune disorder that affects the myelin sheath and screws up people's nerves. Right? Then you've got rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune means to make some mistakes starts attacking the joints. You have Hashimoto's, your immune system makes a mistake and starts to kill and attack your thyroid and try to murder it.

Elle Russ: And antibodies show up. You always want to get those two antibodies tested, I mentioned earlier, because you can be positive for one and not the other or both. And one's kind of worse than the other to have that you'd want to really deal with. One of the things we know for sure about all of the autoimmune disorders that I just mentioned are that grains, particularly gluten, ignite the antibodies. So I don't care what your diet is, if you've got Hashimoto's, you can't be eaten gluten, and gluten is in everything. We just know this for sure, because gluten has a protein in it that kind of mimics thyroid tissue where the immune system again makes the mistake. So we've even seen like, again, a success story in my book and in general, by just following a grain-free diet, particularly gluten-free, but grain-free, if you've got Hashimoto's, and even dairy, cause' that can cause some inflammation in that scenario, your antibodies can go down from a thousand to 25.

Elle Russ: The idea is that when you have Hashimoto's, you want to get those antibodies down to lowest possible levels or even undetectable where it's kind of in remission. I have a friend who cured herself in rheumatoid arthritis doing this because she has no RA, doesn't even show up on the blood work now. You can say remission or not and same with all the other people that have written books about curing their ms, or what, Terry Wahls, other people. Gluten is usually like the biggest offender for all autoimmune disorders. So that would be a problem if you were a vegetarian and you're eating a lot of beans and rice, because you're eating a lot of lectins and you're eating a lot of like the stuff that can really cause these problems with autoimmune disorders.

Elle Russ: So it might take an extra level of eating specifics if you have an auto-immune version of this. I don't have Hashimoto's. I just have hypothyroidism. We don't know what caused it, doesn't matter, it's there. Let's talk about lifestyle. Well, first of all, overworking out. I'm part of, a host of, 'The Primal Blueprint' is a book that Mark Sisson wrote. And essentially the idea behind paleo is we have a set of DNA blueprint that we were born with that sort of dictates how we should operate. One of the things we know for sure about is that it's not meant to be operated solely on carbohydrates. That's why we have such a horrible type two epidemic in our world and country, cause' people are just over carbing the hell out of it. Not that carbs are bad, but I mean, it's an excess, right? So the bottom line is no matter what food you're actually eating, I mean, you can look at a paleo primal list, if you're vegetarian and you just try to cut out some of these pseudo grains and grains, and then you're sticking to the vegetables and the nuts and the other things that are healthier and getting rid of some of the inflammatory again. I'm sure you, I hope you don't eat canola oil. I don't, but you might be a vegetarian.

Wade Lightheart: It used to be called rapeseed.

Elle Russ: That's right. Should have labeled that way.

Wade Lightheart: Dr. Tennant in his book 'Healing is Voltage' goes really in depth about the complications that come from canola oil. And I highly recommend people checking that out, because it is serious, serious business of the cascade effects. I remember contacting Whole Foods during that whole transition just before I don't know if you guys remember there was an election a number of years ago and one of the things on the ballot was about food labeling. And all of a sudden Whole Foods started putting canola in everything at the salad bar. This is kind of a segue, but I think it's important. And I was like: I go to Whole Foods, because man, it's something that's important and I believe in their philosophy, and then all of a sudden something's changed and there's just canola in everything.

Wade Lightheart: So I actually called up. I called up the head office and I said: you know what the heck's going on? Like Mackey, seems like a great guy, he seems like he started this for the right reasons. Like I've been going to Whole Foods for 15 years. What the heck's with the canola thing? And there was an editorial in every single newspaper in America of why people needed to vote this thing and when that vote went through and it looked like you were voting for the right thing and all of a sudden canola oil just came out everywhere. I talked to their marketing director and she goes: let me give you the straight goods. And I said: what's going on? She says: there were individuals within the government that said to Mackey 'if you don't push this through on your food stuff, we are going to close down Whole Foods for a variety of reasons. We are going to throw the book at you for everything.' And it wasn't long after that he sold that company. I don't know the backstory, but I believe he got very frustrated and he also came up with that book 'Conscious Capitalism' and talked about the impact of crony capitalism.

Wade Lightheart: And so there is movements on a global scale that are impacting our elections, our decisions, our healthcare, our stuff, where a lot of good and well-meaning people get in these regulatory boxes and people behind the screens carry big sticks and walk very softly, influence things. And as an individual and a health advocate, I think if there's one takeaway from this interview that we've gotten from you and it's that, you have to take your health into your own hand. And the people around you, the experts, the influencers, the dietarian, these people are people that can help you, but they are not responsible for your health and if you turn over your power to these people, inevitably you become quote unquote, a victim of the system, as opposed to someone who can navigate through that. And I think that's a really, really critical component. Nobody can take care of your health like you.

Wade Lightheart: Nobody understands your body like you. And in today's world with this exponential growth array of chemicals, this exponential change in our food, this exponential amount of information, it can confuse. If we're not taking control of our health, we're dead. We're going to be average and average sucks. Average is fat. Average is unhealthy. Average is depressed. Average is dysfunctional, with a rotten sex life and no motivation and drive and there's a story about everybody's a victim and somebody needs to pay the price. It doesn't cut it, because at the end of the day, your life sucks. It sucks to be a victim. You've turned this around. You've found this and you found what works for you.

Elle Russ: It's important message, Wade. Is what you're saying is, I learned the hard way. That's why I'm here to tell you. So even when I coach with people all over the world and I'm teaching them… They might've read a little bit my book, maybe they didn't. Some people just saw one podcast and call me. I will explain these concepts to them, but I always tell them: yeah, you have me, but you still have to learn this, because your doctor might retire in 10 years. What the hell are you going to do then? You know, you better hope I'm around. You still have to know this. You might be able to help your doctor help you. I still question. The doctor on my book, I love him. He might tell me to take a supplement and milligrams and I'll go, no.

Elle Russ: I feel like doing less. I mean, he would probably want me to do that. He'd want me to follow my intuition, even though it might not make sense. That's not the point. Right? So you have to question these things all the time. If you are looking for a doctor to save you, you are looking to get hurt.

Wade Lightheart: Correct.

Elle Russ: You're just looking to get hurt. Look, I love Western medicine. I wouldn't be alive without a pharmaceutical company making T3. Yeah, we need them, but it's also the third leading cause of death in our countries, Western medicine. People don't realize that. That's really f-ed up.
Wade Lightheart: It's really the last resort. A lot of people take the doctor as their health advocate, but really the doctor's job is to keep you alive.

Elle Russ: Prescriptions or surgeries and the 15 minutes they have with you. That's why, if you really want to get an overhaul and you really want to nutrient profile and you want to get into yourself and know who you are in a metabolic in-depth level, then you have to go seek out true integrative functional medicine doctor. I mean, they're not all worth their weight, but that's the kind of stuff you got to go to. These people have gone above and beyond. They're spending hours. They're looking at the root causes, food sensitivities, heavy metals, all sorts of stuff. I later found out I had horrible heavy metals that can contribute to a reverse T3 problem, that contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction and inability to burn fat. You know what I mean?

Wade Lightheart: I do. So keep going on the paleo. Movements in dietary: vegetarian, paleo and keto. Those are what I would call the three branches that people kind of gravitate. I'm wanting you to kind of break down some of the things of why paleo has been so great for you and the people that you advocate for and on behalf and some of these other elements that you've incorporated, cause' we started down there and I went on a tangent with it.

Elle Russ: Well, if anyone looks up… Anyone can look up like a paleo food list, all right, or primal blueprint shopping list, or something just, you can Google it and you see the list of foods or Whole 30. Go to Whole 30 website, list of foods. It's going to be very similar. It's getting rid of all the industrial shitty seed oils, right? It's getting rid of grains, sometimes eggs, depending, because there are people who have autoimmune disorders or eggs might be a complication, even though they don't think they have an issue with it until they eliminate it. So that's a tricky one, and the Whole 30 always calls for like, I think no butter and some, no eggs or something like that. So you can start there. Then it gets further in depth if you have an autoimmune disorder. Meaning, there are people with autoimmune disorders Hashimoto's and other autoimmune disorders that have noticed, for example, that even a pseudo grain, like quinoa gives them the same rheumatoid arthritis affects. Like they'll have a little bit of quinoa, wake up and not be able to button their shirt the next morning. Also foods high in histamine. So people putting cinnamon in their coffee every morning, not realizing that that's something that, I know someone who does one sprinkle of cinnamon and that's going to be the end of them. There are people with arthritis, have to do carnivores, you know, can't even eat any vegetables whatsoever. And I mean, that's no joke, man.

Wade Lightheart: Yeah. Like Jordan Peterson and his daughter talked about like, that was the only option, cause' of autoimmune diseases.

Elle Russ: Paul Saladino too . And Paul Saladino had eczema and it got better and better, he went paleo. Cleaner, cleaner. And then it was like, okay, then it went away when he went carnivore. It's not just saying it's a little honey. It's not to say that he's not gonna be able to eat vegetables again, but there are really serious healing protocols here. You don't have to do all of them, but if you have Hashimoto's, you might need to take the extra step and do something called the paleo autoimmune protocol. And again, just look, no night shades, you know, foods, a paprika that have red color in them. Patients compile over time, over years realizing what has affected them, what has not. So what's really important. Lifestyle, overworking out, being stressed, operating at, we talk about the Maffetone scale.

Elle Russ: You talk with Brad Kearns. Like if you do one 80 minus your age, whatever that number is and sort of the primal paleo community, we say whatever that number is, you don't really want to go over that when you're working out too much. Couple of times a week, maybe in some hit session or something like that, but for the most part though, you don't want to be doing that, because especially as a paleo person, at that point, you are just in a glycolytic state. So you're burning the glucose stores, you're refilling them, et cetera and you're really not burning the fat and you're not running off of fat. What we do know as far as ancestral health is concerned and when we look at the history of human evolution is that our DNA really dictates of us, it prefers fat and ketones kind of to fuel itself versus this carbohydrate dependency that we all have.

Elle Russ: And we all see it. We all see what it's done to us. So paleo primal, what is it? It's essentially a high fat, moderate protein, low carb paradigm. What does that mean? That means unless you are a brick layer or an NBA athlete, you don't eat more than 150 grams of total carbohydrates a day. We don't do the set, track the fiber form of business. Talk about total. Now, that being said, if you're a CrossFit athlete or, you know… You're going to probably need to do training for something big. You're probably going to need more carbs and more sweet potatoes, but then we would say eat it in the healthy form, the healthy forms of carbs, right? The fruits, the vegetables et cetera. So that's really kind of what it is and that's where you can start. There are people that have food sensitivities to meet.

Elle Russ: Not everyone has to eat red meat and be like me and eaten bone marrow or something to be paleo primal, but I would argue that it's real tricky to do as a vegan or vegetarian. You just have to be extra careful with a lot of stuff and probably make sure you're getting all the right supplements. For example, I'm a swimmer. When I used to swim indoors at a gym, there was a vegan that I used to swim with all the time. And I'll be honest with you, she actually was kind of giving me some shit for eating meat.

Wade Lightheart: The vigilante vegans. God, they drive me crazy.

Elle Russ: Right. And I just said to her: I can't even have this discussion with you, cause' like I wrote a whole book on it. I can't even. So anyway, she looked at me like I was a murderer. Long story short, months go by and then I'm in this the sauna and she comes running in from her swim, and she comes into the sauna and she's like: I can't, I can't breathe. She's like literally in her bikini, she's like: I can't breathe. I don't know what's going on. I can't catch my breath. I swim all the time. I'm in shape. I can't. And I just looked and I go: you're a vegan, right? When's the last time you took B12? And she goes: Oh my God. Oh my God, you're right. I don't think I've taken it for like a year. And I got out of the sauna with her. I wrote down exactly what I said: You go to whole foods right now and you get these things. And I write all this stuff down. I give it to her. I go: you need to immediately go get yourself some B12 girl like this sec. I see her three weeks later at the gym and she is just like: thank you so much.

Wade Lightheart: Good point. Just to point on that, and I think what a lot of people have to recognize is that dietary choices whatever dietary practice, and I'm what I call dietary agnostic. I don't really care what kind of diet someone follows as long as it's producing the result they want. But the devil is in the details. The devil is in the understanding of your genetics, your epigenetics, what are your lifestyle factors, what are going on? Are you able to absorb and utilize the nutrients that you are eating from your diet? What is your digestive state? What is your endocrine levels of all your different hormones and their ratios and stuff like that. Because you can kind of get a pathway, but if you really want to be optimized, your A game, this testing and having your team that is able to give you the data so that you can tweak and kind of correlate the biochemistry that's going on with how you feel and how you perform and that feedback loop is an ongoing process.

Wade Lightheart: Life is dynamic. All of a sudden you got COVID and everybody's stressed out and you're working from home and now you gotta deal with the kids that are sitting at home, or you go through a period of life where you have to perform at a high level, because you're now filming and you're on set for 80 hours a week. And all of these things, you need to be able to go back to, how do you become flexible within the dietary choices that you have, and that you can choose a thing that's right for you and you know who to go, what tests to go, what things to tweak out, what things that you may tend to see? Cause we all have tendencies, you know, the things like: Oh God, I know I'm supposed to do that and I don't or oh, I know I shouldn't do that and I do. So you need to also regulate your own psychology and your own patterns of behavior.

Elle Russ: Well, also it's like, for example, vegetarians or vegans might have to supplement B12 and you guys eating a lot of veggies and maybe I'm not eating many veggies and I do my green powder. We're all biohacking and optimizing in different ways. The whole point is this. Inherently, I mean, we could go off on this, but, inherently as humans, we are omnivores. So if you are making the choice, and it's just a choice, I'm not even judging it, but if you're making the choice to go against what your DNA expects of you in terms of nutrition, in some capacity you are going to have to make up for it in another way. That is all. And if it eventually fails for, you own, it. Don't stick to an idea, because you're a proselytizing vegan or vegetarian. This happens a lot.

Elle Russ: Because people have been out there, then they're like, Oh God, how am I going to? And then people are hiding and they're cheating with meat and stuff like this happens all the time. So again some people have had to fall on their swords. I recently interviewed a very proselytizing, famous vegan named Jon Venus. He really had a lot of misinformation, because he only was studying vegan research. Then he had a child and he realized: well, what's the best nutrition for my child. Then he starts looking at research and he's going: well, I don't know. And then he actually was coaching clients and he had clients that had autoimmune disorders that couldn't eat vegetables, meaning the carnivores. And so he thought: well, here I've been proselytizing around the world that everybody can do this so everybody should. But not everybody should and not everybody can.

Elle Russ: So this goes all ways. Look, I worked for Mark Sisson and he wrote The Primal Blueprint. He's like Mr. Paleo, meat eating guy. His son's a vegetarian, was raised a vegetarian. His son still to this day eats eggs, but can't stand flesh or anything. And he's tried and hey, no one's judging him, no one's telling he is wrong for that. Especially when you're raised as one and you spend your whole life looking for meat in things to avoid. I mean, that's a very hard thing to get over, even though he's tried, but he can't. So that's okay. Like, no one's judging that. He's doing his best for his nutrition. I know a vegan that lasted 17 years doing it very meticulously until they fell apart. They literally hate meat.

Elle Russ: They have to hold their nose while they shove in turkey and eat it medicinally and then swish it down with some juice to get rid of the taste. They are literally just eating it as medicine at this point. So again, whatever you have to do, but to proselytize that it is perhaps inherently in us as humans is just not based in science. The other thing too is, the ethical question, for veganism and vegetarian, has been really blown out in some very bad propaganda films with some really crappy research behind it. And again, I would just say, you go see a documentary, look to see the claim they're making and the study behind it. Because if you watched, for example, the Game-Changers by James Cameron and they talk about how meat is bad for testosterone, what you realize if you look behind the scenes of the study, it was a three day study they did with a bunch of teenagers where they gave them vegan burritos and hooked some contraptions up to their junk and said that they had better erections. That's not a freaking study people. I don't care what world you're coming in. If I were doing a paleo documentary and I put out some bullshit like that, you shouldn't believe anything I said. From a three-day burrito study where they had… You know, this is the kind of things you have to look at. Now, again, it's not to say that you can't make this own ethical decision for yourself. I get this. I'm not saying you have to kill animals and eat them. But I am saying that…

Wade Lightheart: Just to say to that, I think people should. I think that if you're going to make a choice, I think you should actually go out. And I've had, you know, when I grew up in a carnivore environment. I think it's really important for people to get into the sacred relationship of taking another organism's life and…

Elle Russ: Cause' we killing by proxy by buying it at the store.

Wade Lightheart: Correct. And understanding there is an ethical way to do it in a non ethical way to do that. Everybody's eating everybody. Like every organism, every living organism is eating.

Elle Russ: By the way, animals are being shot to protect the soy fieldsOrganic farmer to get me the lettuce, to get the lettuce to the vegan has to kill something with herbicides. You're not doing it. Something's always done. You know, there's a great book for anyone that wants to get into this This guy named Tovar Cerulli, he wrote a book called 'The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance'. And he was a proselytizing vegetarian, he had his own farm and realized: oh my God, I can't get out of this prey predator thing. If I'm not killing it, someone else is going to have to kill it. And then he got sick and then he had to eat meat, but he thought: if I'm going to do it, I'm going to go out and learn how to hunt. I'm going to kill it myself.

Elle Russ: And it's this really lovely, interesting story about how he did. I'm not saying like, if you're going to make the choice, it's a choice. Don't proselytize that it's inherent within humans and that everyone can do it. That's really, really, really elitist, because the pack of family that are roaming the Andes mountains can't be vegetarians, guys. They don't have a Whole Foods nearby them. There are no vegetables. They can't be vegan. You know what I mean? So to sit here from our wonderful United States or first world areas and go: everybody can do this. That's not necessarily true. I would just say, look harder into the reasons as to why you're doing it. Make those choices for you if feels right. There's nothing wrong with it. I know people that are just: I feel better eating some fish and eggs and mostly vegetables and that's me, or I feel better just eating…

Elle Russ: That's okay. But it is going against your DNA, your primal DNA and when you do that, you have to be extra careful. Like we talked about the B12, making sure you're getting the things you need and you're optimized. So Paleo Primal, it's not just the food list. It's not just this. It's also how we move. We talked about being in a glycolytic state too much and this is just this old pattern of back in the day. I mean, we're probably not too far apart in age. And so like the harder I work, the better it is. No pain, no gain. The harder I work this hard, the better it's going to work. It turns out all the marathoners, they all got AFib, they're all screwed up. They all have pacemakers, because it turns out the heart doesn't like that.

Elle Russ: But back in seventies, eighties people were like: hey, you got to work this thing, the more you work at, the more miles you clock, the better. So we find out over time we're wrong. You know, we find out we're wrong about some of this stuff and a lot of people and writers fall on their swords with this stuff. The people that wrote all the books about carving up for the races and they all got diabetes and they had to go: okay I guess it wasn't thatturns out there's another way. You know, and that goes to Brad Kearns and Mark Sisson, Primal Endurance, and switching over being a more fat burner type of athlete. That's where a lot of athletes are going. The other thing too is just, again, the epidemic of type two diabetes and carbohydrate dependency can really breed its own eating disorders, its own sugar addiction issues and all that kind of stuff.

Elle Russ: Just eat clean people, eat good stuff, get enough good healthy fats. That's really the most important thing. Humans can live their whole entire life without a carbohydrate, because if I eat excess meat, it will go through a process of gluconeogenesis and we'll convert into glucose. But humans cannot live without protein and fat. They really can't. So it's really important to get that in whatever way you're going to get it, but you know, make sure you're doing it right. That's just sort of my note on that and look, I have no problem killing out. Like I would stab a boar tomorrow and eat it. Like I have no issues with that
Wade Lightheart: I think it's good process for people to go through.

Elle Russ: Yeah, but I also know meat eaters that can't even touch raw. Like they love meat, but can't look at a piece of chicken. And I get, so everyone's got their own threshold of what's gross or what's not to them or what they're able to tolerate. I think the most important thing is that you're getting a functional workup and whatever paradigm you're on, you're doing it right and that it's right for you. I love onions and leeks, and stuff like that, but I got a genetic thing that's got a problem processing sulfur, and I kind of get some issues from that. You know, if I eat foods way too high in histamines too often, I will get little bumps. And then I don't, I don't. So everyone's got their own thing. And again, it's just navigating with a proper functional doctor that really is maybe not tinge one way or the other on nutrition.

Elle Russ: Find out the nutrition on your own or through someone who, again, if you want to be vegan, get to the best vegan nutritionist. Do you know what I mean? Or whatever. And make sure you're doing it correctly and safely, because you are going against your DNA. Same goes though for meat eaters too. There's a lot of meat eaters that are missing a ton of stuff. It goes for all of us. And we're going to hack in certain ways. You might take, put amino acids on your salad, I might get it in meat, but I might have greens powder and you're eating your kale, whatever. We're all doing something to try to biohack and optimize our life. We're biooptimizers, right? I have no judgment against it, but you gotta be careful.

Wade Lightheart: Just to talk about that for a second. The brain trust of BiOptimizers, we have three kind of components. There's myself, as on the vegetarian side, Matt's on the ketogenic side. And that's always an interesting conversation and we go back and forth on all this. And then our genetics and epigenetic experts is paleo.

Elle Russ: I love it. What a great lineup.

Wade Lightheart: And so what we do is the integrations that we learn from each of these branches of the dietary tree or philosophies, is that we leverage that information to augment and optimize the dietary choices that are right for us. For example, I think a lot of people aren't tuned into the unintended consequences of technological innovation. To give you an example on where the number one thing that vegetarians make a mistake in, is the protein content of their food. If you look at, just for example, wheat at the turn of the century was 90% protein and today it's less than 7%, thanks to monoculture farming, genetic hybrid operations and then on top of that, they had herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. So then you look at the superfood community, say when you take a product like hemp, okay? Smells like a barn, tastes like dirt, but it was quote unquote bastardized by the cotton industry.

Wade Lightheart: It was the most widely used food and nutrition product in world. The American constitution was written on it. Ropes were made by it. You know, all this sort of stuff. And it made clothing and it's a great thing, and they used to plow it into the soil to reconstitute the soil. Well because it got bastardized, it maintained its nutritional quality and it's a plant that actually has a high amount of protein content relative to everything else. So what a lot of people don't recognize is, you can try to be the healthiest version of a type of food, but recognize that there's things that technology has changed. Conversely, if you're on the paleo side or you're on the keto side, or going to the extreme to a carnivores side, there may be additional hormones or antibiotics that are in that food that you're not accounting for.

Wade Lightheart: So is it organic? Is it farm fed? Does it has hormone, has it been given antibiotics? You need to dive into the details of the dietary choices, cause' you might be quote unquote, doing everything right and ending up with the wrong. And you have to say: okay, number one, do I need to change the diet plan that I'm on? Two, is there a way to change what I'm doing or is there something that I'm missing or there's these other factors? So coming down these lists to kind of troubleshoot and quote unquote, you know that's why we call our company BiOptimizers, it's about biological optimization. And then you made another great point, which I really loved and we talked about that. That's why I don't like to identify myself as a particular label, because there may come a point in the future that I have to change that.

Wade Lightheart: And am I so married to that idea that it's cooked into my identity? And this is one of the issues that I have in the tribalism that's happened on the internet. It's not enough to figure out: hey, what works for me? It's, this is what works for me and I've got to attack everybody else with a gun, because I'm so insecure about myself that I got to take apart everybody else. And I think as humans we have to recognize is that we're all trying to make it here in the world. We're all trying to be healthier and happier, and we want better children and more opportunities. We have a lot of different ideas of how to do that. Right? And I love listening to people who have different philosophies from me, because I get things that I don't know and there's a lot more things that I don't know than things that I do, and I hold everything that I know, quote unquote, very loosely

Wade Lightheart: I think it was Jesus said: wear the world like a loose garment. I think I want to emphatically discuss things with people and be energized and have great discussions and fight it out and scrap it out and everything over dinner and we have a great time, but at the end of the day, I don't want to be so married to my ideas that I prevent myself from taking some great information like you've done today. You've laid out just such an extraordinary amount of information for people that can transform their lives and that's what we're all about.

Elle Russ: I want to touch on the hemp actually for a second, because hemp is really an extraordinary thing. So these chemical companies that are destroying Hawaiian land by testing their GMO crops and they're like ruining the soil. The only thing that actually is going to bring that back is growing hemp. Hemp is what brings it back. In the Paleo Primal community we don't want to eat cows that have been fed grains and antibiotics, and are not fed their native diet, because they're meant to eat on grass. That's what their DNA primal blueprint is. And so we're not for the cow feed lots. We are for the regenerative agriculture, they're moving the animals, it's good for the soil, the roots are getting stomped, the flies are getting on the dung. I mean the whole ecosystem is there. You can have one regenerative agriculture ranch, like REP provisions, which I love.

Elle Russ: And then right across the street in Oklahoma, it's right across the street, you go there, you hear nothing, no bugs, no nothing. You go back to the ranch - wildlife. You know what I mean? So absolutely, modern technology. And like you said about the grains, this is really important, because people are like: well, grains were in the Bible. The grains you're eating are not the grains of the Bible. And in order to get those, you've got to go high and low and really understand that same thing goes for like: are all beans bad? Okay. We would say in Paleo Primal, like grains, beans, legumes, dairy should be out. Not to say you can't occasionally have them, but especially if you have an autoimmune disorder, you might want to get rid of them. That being said, I know people with auto-immune disorders that do a whole soaking program and a whole thing with the lentils.

Elle Russ: Okay. That lowers the lectins. Like there are hacks to all of this and you have to find out what's right for you. It's also not to say that just, because I am a paleo person who wrote a book called 'Paleo Thyroid Solution'. You better believe I'm gonna eat a piece of Chicago pizza. Yeah, I'm going to have a piece of pie every now and then. Yeah, occasionally I do eat gluten. Like I live in the real world. The worst thing for me is when I'm either out to dinner with someone and they eat bread and then they're disclaiming: well, hey, I haven't had bread for long. I don't care how, just shut up about, just eat the bread. I don't care.

Wade Lightheart: Take your Gluten Guardian beforehand.

Elle Russ: Your product. For me, I'll eat something that, you know, I'll eat a piece of rye bread, Danish, rye bread, and then someone will go: oh, I thought you were paleo. It's like, oh my God, people. You know what I'm saying? Even Mark Sisson every once in a while is going to have a bite of a real tortilla chip. It's all about, and this is what he says, it's all about like what can we get away with? So one bite of the cake might not be bad, but three bites might put you under. Well then, know your threshold. We all have that kind of thing. I'm human being in this world and I'm going to have a croque monsieur sandwich in Paris if I feel like it, right? So we do our best.

Elle Russ: And there are days… Look, my doctor, who's a paleo doctor and even myself would say that it's probably good to do a vegan vegetarian full on vegan paleo. Meaning no grains, beans, legumes, dairy. Vegetarian kind of clean out four times a year where you're eating just straight up vegetables. Giving things a break. Like none of us are saying you have to eat meat every day in your life or that it has to be all meat. I think people think that you have to eat red meat to do this, but I think the more important message about paleo primal, if I could put it out, there is really the elimination of the crappy stuff that everybody should doing no matter what you are. The seed oils, the canolas, you know, stick to the coconut, the avocado, the olive oil, all that kind of good stuff, and stay away from this junk and package processed stuff and vegan cookies and all that kind of stuff. I knew a vegetarian, who all she did was eat cheese sandwich and she started to have cognitive ability issues at some point. I mean, that's not healthy either. I mean, I'm not religious about it. I mean, I live my life this way, but again, I'm open to changing, I'm open to falling on my sword if in the fact that someday I can't do it, or I can't eat meat, I find a different way. I will come out.

Wade Lightheart: Here's the book, it's called 'The Paleo Thyroid Solution'. Stop feeling fat, foggy, and fatigue at the hands of uninformed doctors, reclaim your health, eliminate blood tests and Rx confusion. Finally lose that stubborn excess weight. Oh, Russ, you are a delight. The links are going to be to your site and everything. Can you give everybody for our podcast where they can find you, your book, what you're doing? You're so passionate. You're so great in communicating so much, I mean, you've packed more information in an hour. I think information per hour, you have set a new record here on The Awesome Health Podcast. Where can people find you, follow you and learn the secrets that you have been able to unlock in your journey?

Elle Russ: Thank you so much. The best place is elleruss.com and I have a free thyroid guide there that you can click on. It tells you all the tests to get I talked about today, all sorts of other free resources. You don't even need to buy my books. I spent a lot of money wasted on doctors, so I want to give as many people the A to Z headstart without having to go buy one more thing. And then every Monday I host The Primal Blueprint Podcast, where I interview people like Wade does, you know, health, mind, body. And then every Wednesday, I host the Kick Ass Life Podcast with coach Tara Garrison. She's a keto expert and also a personal trainer and mindset coach. And we just talk every week about things from the power of subconscious mind to how to deal with difficult people. Everything to sort of help you live a kick ass life. But everything is on my website elleruss.com

Wade Lightheart: This is so great. I love chatting with you. It's so much fun.

Elle Russ: I can't wait to chat with you on our show. It's going to be fun.

Wade Lightheart: And the bottom line folks, go buy the book, follow the podcast do this. I've gone through it. You've done a really great job. I love the style that you have, your testimonials. It's very much like you communicate. It's very clear. It's very concise. And it's very effective. And if you're struggling with thyroid, and I know there's people that are, right now, stop what you're doing right now, buy the book, go to her site, check it out. It just might change your life. Thank you, Elle, for joining us today. And for all our listeners at The Awesome Health Podcast. Remember, biological optimization is getting the testing no matter what's going on in your life, don't take no for an answer. Find the information, it's there, and don't give up, because you deserve to live healthy. Thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you again on the next episode. And thanks again for Elle, for joining us today. Take care and have an awesome day.
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