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Chantel Ray: Welcome to Waist Away, the intermittent fasting podcast. If you want to learn how to lose weight for life through intermittent fasting, burn fat, heal your thyroid and autoimmune issues and break the bondage of food, then this podcast is for you.


I’m Chantel Ray, author of Waist Away: The Chantel Ray Way, and each week I have different guest answering your questions. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up your copy of Waist Away, visit and you’ll automatically get 20% off the book, audio book, recipe book, coaching and inner circle Facebook group. Remember the thoughts and opinions in this podcast do not constitute medical advice.


Aaron: Hey, guys. Aaron here. Before we get started, I just wanted to remind you that you can find our full podcast episodes on our YouTube channel. Not only do you get to see Chantel and our guest, but you also get to see any charts, graphs, or pictures we may mention. Search Chantel Ray Way on YouTube or click the link of the show notes, and if you would like daily accountability, as well as a resource with lots of helpful tips about Chantel’s intermittent fasting lifestyle, head on over to As always enjoy the show!


Chantel Ray: Hey, guys! Welcome to Waist Away, the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I am so excited. I have Elle Russ, did I pronounce that right?


Elle Russ: It’s Russ but that’s okay.


Chantel Ray: Elle Russ, okay. I actually have your book, right here. This is one of my absolute favorite books ever, ever, ever. It’s absolutely amazing and you did a great job on it. Just tell us a little bit about yourself, real quick before we get started, Elle.


Elle Russ: What do you want to know?


Chantel Ray: Tell us like, one of the things I ask everyone, actually, on this show is kind of like what do you … Do you do intermittent fasting? What’s your eating window like? What do you eat? What kind of diet do you eat? What’s kind of your favorite foods? That sort of thing.


Elle Russ: Yeah, so I eat a paleo primal ancestral diet, excuse me. Sorry about that, and we … We’re having like a heat wave here today and it’s like dry.


Chantel Ray: Where do you live? Where do you live?


Elle Russ: I live in the mountains above Malibu so, in Southern California, essentially.


Chantel Ray: Awesome.


Elle Russ: In the middle of nowhere here, so I eat a paleo primal ancestral diet. I’m also certified in ancestral health so that’s sort of my thing. I prefer intermittent fasting, like I was just saying before we recorded. I occasionally will go off that. Again, I think it’s important to be intuitive. Just because you have a window and that’s usually your window, because my window is usually between like … Sometimes, it’s between 2 and 6, sometimes it’s 12 and 6 but sometimes, like I told you this morning, I ate at 10:30, which I normally don’t do.


Chantel Ray: I’m the exact same way, I’m so glad you brought that up. The other morning, it was 8:45, I looked at my executive assistant and I said, “You’re not going to believe this but I’m getting ready to eat breakfast.” She’s like, “What?” I was like, “I’m starving. My stomach is growling. My stomach growled two hours ago. For whatever reason, I’m hungry and I’m going to eat right now. I’m going to open my window.” I actually, that day did an eight hour window and I never overate but I ate when I was hungry and I stopped before I was full, so you got to mix it up a little bit.


Elle Russ: You do. So for example, I just think it’s important to get intuitive about all of it. So even if you started eating low carb, and I’m often keto, but I was just on a panel at Paleo FX and we’re talking about keto. It’s like, my point is it’s great to measure all your macros and do all that stuff in the beginning if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s an important way to get down the technical information, and it’s important to see how many carbs are there in a bunch of asparagus like who … But once you go down the train and you’ve done it for a month or six weeks, it’s time to let it go. It’s time to get intuitive.


So if you haven’t gotten fat adapted by then, there’s probably like an underlying issue going on health-wise, that’s preventing you, whether it would be hypothyroidism or something else, inflammation that’s preventing you from burning fat and losing weight. But if you get fat adapted, it really only takes about a month, and you’re on that train, it’s time to get intuitive after that.


You can’t eat every macro … Surprisingly enough one day, I thought to myself, I don’t feel like eating any fish or meat today, which is very rare because usually once a day, I do eat something that used to have a parent. That day, it was like, you know what, I was just craving salads, like just a variety of different kind of salads and vegetables. You know what? I went with it, so that was a veggie day.


I think it’s important to look at your week. How is your week looking? Okay, ancestrally, we would have occasionally overindulged in a blueberry patch or something. Eat the apple, if you feel like you need the apple. The only way to get intuitive is once you do get fat adapted and you go down this road, you could become more intuitive. Once you clean out all the junk, you could get intuitive. When you’re a sugar addict and a sugar burner, you can’t get intuitive because your intuition or your brain, which is carbohydrate dependent, is saying, “Please go eat doughnuts,” and you’re thinking that’s your gut.


Chantel Ray: Well, as you know, in my book, I interviewed over a thousand women and they all had to be where they literally … Like if they said, “Oh, I count every carb,” if they said, “I counted every macro,” or they counted calories, I didn’t count them. I only interviewed people who said, “I’ve been thin my entire life. I’ve never been on a diet.” You know what I mean? Those are the people I said, “I want to figure out what you do so that I can be just like that.” That’s awesome.


Well, we have so many questions so I want to dive right in. I wanted to ask you, I’m going to ask you a question. One of the things … And I love to eat paleo, that’s how I feel the best. I kind of like to do … 80 to 90% of my diet is paleo. Then, again, if I really want something, I have a little bit and it’s not bad. If you had to kind of say like, these are the things that I kind of go, “Okay,” … And for me, this is where I think, and I love how the name of your book is the Paleo Thyroid Solution, because I believe if you have thyroid issues, then you have to be more paleo than somebody else who’s thyroid is working perfectly.


Elle Russ: Actually they both do and I’ll tell you why. Because the assimilation and … The way thyroid hormones get metabolized in your body, meaning them actually causing an effect, all has to do with this primordial baseline. So if this whole thing is on a roller coaster of hypoglycemia, you’re going to run into thyroid problem, or they’re going to go hand in hand.


Everyone’s got a thyroid gland and T3, which is that main thyroid hormone is really, just the biologically active one. It is responsible for fat burning. If you want to optimize that, everybody, whether you’re on thyroid hormones or your thyroid hormone is … So that’s the whole point.


The paleo thyroid solution is not … it is just about like, “Oh my god. I gained all this weight while I was hypothyroid and now, I need to lose it,” or “How do I fix it naturally?”, or, “How do I fix it with thyroid hormones?” But it’s also, this is just the way for this, because getting fat adapted … Okay, no matter how you do. You don’t have to be a full paleo but you have to get fat adapted. There has to be a paradigm of high fat, moderate protein, low carb, somewhere in there, okay?


You can’t do this, right? You’re going to be a hypoglycemic carb dependent person if you go the other direction. Essentially, getting fat adapted or essentially, a version of Atkins or you can call it whatever you want but it really is the primal paleo paradigm, this ancestral paradigm, is the ultimate in blood glucose management and the ultimate in adrenal management. W


hen Adrenals are up and down, because your sugar burner and every three hours you’re having a drop and cortisol rises that’s conflicting with testosterone. It’s conflicting with your muscles. So it’s just for everybody, it really is about our DNA blueprint. We certainly, we’re never ever, ever, ever, ever as humans meant to eat every two, three hours.  If that’s something you subscribe to, not you, then you better get out of that train, because that’s the train I was on and it will lead to a lot of problems.


Chantel Ray: I agree. I agree, 100%. If you had to estimate like, for you, would you say I’m 90% paleo, I’m 95% paleo and how often would you say, “Hey, I have like one cheat meal, I have like a cheat day every now and then.” What would you say that would be for you?


Elle Russ: Yeah. I mean, I would say that I’m like, pretty 95 plus percent paleo and then other percentage would be like, “Okay, I’m going to have real stuffing on Thanksgiving.” Or, “I’m going to eat part of that pie crust.” Or, “Oh my God, there’s a piece of wedding cake,” like forget about it. But here’s the difference is that, you know, I’m just talking about this too.


I was just traveling and I was at the airport and there was like a Dunkin Donuts. I grew up in downtown Chicago where Dunkin Donuts is really popular, and who doesn’t love doughnuts? The difference between being low carb, IF, paleo and the difference between being a sugar burner, hypoglycemic, carb-dependent person is the difference between walking by that at the airport and not giving a crap about it. Literally looking at it and going, “Ugh.” Before, I would have had to exercise will power.


So it rarely happens. If you’re doing everything right, and you’re fat adapted, you are satiated and you don’t want those things. Then when you do want them, it’s usually like, okay, before your period. There might be something or whatever, you’re tired or there’s a special event and, “Oh my gosh, that wedding cake look so good, I can’t.” The problem before was, it was always fighting not to eat it. Even if I did it or I didn’t, most times I’d fail, but you know, it’s that … There’s no back and forth. It’s literally looking at all the sorry suckers in line at the Dunkin Donuts and going, “Oh, my God, I’m so glad I don’t care anymore.” I’m glad I’m not even tempted, to just resist it. It’s not even a mental thing and that is such freedom because when you’re a sugar addict for years it’s awful.


Chantel Ray: All these chemicals and just all the nightmare that’s in that …


Elle Russ: How are you gonna feel?


Chantel Ray: How I’m gonna feel, I’m gonna feel like a nightmare after I eat it.


Elle Russ: Yeah, yeah, go ahead. Let’s get in the questions.


Chantel Ray: Yeah, all right. First question, here we go. This is from Angela in Tampa. It says, “You touched a bit on the differences in T3, T4, and TSH last week,” I did have a doctor on, and we touched on it. She said, “But I got my blood work back and I really want to make sure I understand them. Can you talk a little bit more about this? I wanted to see if you could go a little bit more in depth on Armour Thyroid because it sounds like it might be a good alternative to Synthroid, from what you were saying last week. Also, I really want to monitor my thyroid on my own to avoid going to the doctor. Is the thermometer method accurate?”


Elle Russ: All right, Angela. That’s a lot, but we’re gonna get to it. So, I’m not sure what you touched on last week but let’s talk about your lab. First of all, Synthroid is often not optimal. It works for some people but if I were to suggest that anyone go on thyroid hormone replacement, the first order of business, in my opinion, first choice would be Nature Throid, not Armour actually.


They’re all the same. It’s just that Armour, back in the day, changed their fillers and formulations without telling doctors, and it really set people off the wrong foot because it kinda screwed up the assimilation of those hormones. So people kind of had a bad taste in their mouth about that. They’ve since changed it, I’m sure it’s fine, but the standard now amongst functional doctors is Nature Throid.


It’s the same thing essentially. It’s naturally desiccated thyroid. Nature Throid, Armour, [inaudible 00:11:57], they are all the same.


Chantel Ray: So if somebody was currently on Armour, would you say it’s worth going ahead, switching? Or would you say just stay on it.


Elle Russ: Switch to it, and it’s the same. They’re measured in the same way, in terms of grains is how they’re measured. So, there’s that. Now, the other comment, too … And Dr. Forsman talks about this in my book. If you’re on T4 only, which is called Synthroid, for brand name, or levothyroxine, for generic. Get off the generic, because it’s the one thing my doctor in my book will not prescribe generic. Of all the drugs he prescribes to everyone in the world, he will not prescribe that one generic.


Chantel Ray: That is such a good point. [crosstalk 00:12:36]


Elle Russ: That says a lot, that says a lot, because liver enzymes and thyroid stuff out of whack. It’s the first order of business. So if you’re … Synthroid brand name should be pretty cheap still, because it’s been around. It’s the number one selling drug …


Chantel Ray: My doctor told me the exact same thing. She said the exact same thing. The one that she will not do is the generic version, yes.


Elle Russ: Yeah, so that’s an important thing to know. So that’s what everyone can do. If you’re out there … See, a lot of people will say, “Oh, I’m on Synthroid,” because it’s like saying Band-Aid, which is a Johnson and Johnson trademark term. Everything else is called a plastic strip, right? So just make sure. Even if you think you’re on Synthroid, are you on the generic version, and if so, get onto the actual brand name.


All right, so let’s talk about tests. I’ll do a quick overview of how this whole feedback loops with the thyroid works, and if anyone needs to re-listen to it, you can or you can go in my book. There’s charts, there’s tons of places to find me describing this.


So, we really need to focus on a couple things. We have TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and Reverse T3. Those are really the four main … We have two Hashimoto’s antibodies, there’s lots of other thyroid tests. Those are the ones we really need to talk about right now so that everyone understands this. This is how it works.


So the TSH is a 1973 test that was used to diagnose thyroid people. That is not supposed to be used at all now by itself to diagnose anyone. So if you’re going to a doctor and they said you have a thyroid problem or you didn’t, based on a TSH, you effin’ run. You are with the wrong doctor and you need to read my book, get my podcast, learn, you need to run. That is not the way it is assessed. I’ll explain to you why that is such a misinformed thing that doctors are just using outdated protocols.


So the TSH is called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. It’s not a thyroid hormone. It’s very important to understand. It’s a pituitary hormone, it’s not a thyroid hormone. So what it is is, it comes from the pituitary gland in the base of the neck. You can consider the pituitary like a sensor. It’s sensoring when your blood is low in thyroid hormones. When it senses that it’s getting low and needs some, it’ll shoot off a signal to the thyroid like, “Yo, yo, wake up.” That signal is called the TSH.


So, it sends a signal. Let’s talk about a normal person whose thyroid’s working fine. Then the thyroid receives the signal. Now, it can receive the signal, not do its job. There’s lots of problems that can happen, but that really doesn’t matter. Just to explain this, so TSH sends a signal, it wakes up. Our own thyroids, when they’re working naturally, dispense about 80%-ish, these are rough numbers, of T4, and about 20% of T3. I’m going to explain this very carefully later, so just give me a minute.


Then throughout the day, T4, that 80% that was released, 40% of that’s going to convert into T3, kind of like a slow-release mechanism. Why does it do that? Why are there these two hormones? The only one you really need to feel good is T3. Period. It’s the only biologically active thyroid hormone, end of story.


Chantel Ray: So if you were going to look at … If someone just said, “Here’s my T3, here’s my T4, here’s my TSH,” …


Elle Russ: Free T4, Free T3, you want to see Free T3 … If you have a normal working thyroid, and you are not on medication, that Free T3 is usually in the middle of the range. Now, there can be some false results there if you don’t test the reverse T3, and I’ll get into that in a minute. I will definitely clarify.


So there’s this T4, T3. Well, if T3’s the only biologically active, the thing that matters, the test that corresponds with how we’re feeling and how our weight is in the brain, so then what’s this T4? Here’s where all of the uninformed doctors need to get on board, and where the functional doctors and the informed doctors get it.


So, T4 is a storage hormone for T3. T3 is so powerful. I take T3 directly, which is the last-resort option. But you don’t need T4 …


Chantel Ray: So, hold on. Let me stop you right there. So when you say you take T3 directly, how do you take T3 directly? Is that a separate …


Elle Russ: It is a separate … It’s called Cytomel. It’s Liothyronine Sodium. It is a separate … And I’ll explain why in a minute, but it’s a last choice of thyroid hormone replacement, but it just goes to make …


Chantel Ray: So what you’re saying is the first thing you would do, is you would try to either take Armour or Nature Throid, one of those, and see if, “Hey, can I get my T3 levels to where they need to be?” Then if I can’t get my T3 to where I need to be, then I’m going to come in and take this. Is that right or no?


Elle Russ: Oh no, no. It’s a misconception. I’ll explain later, because T3 is literally reserved for people that have a specific problem converting T4 into T3. So, let me go back to the thyroid.


So, throughout this day … Why does it do that? T3’s so powerful. It’s like throwing gasoline on the fire. T3 peaks in two hours, dissipates in four. T4 is very steady. So, signal’s sent to the thyroid, thyroid released 80% T4, about 20% T3, and then throughout the day the T4’s going to convert as you need it. Now, whatever has not been converted into this fire powerhouse of metabolism that you need gets washed out through a process called Reverse T3, which is the inactive form of this fire powerful T3.


Why does it do that? Because Reverse T3, for all humans, is a marker of wellness and unwellness. Why is that? Because this is the master gland or master hormones in charge of the production and regulation of all your sex hormones, your brain function, your heart rate, how your brain connects with your hand, happiness, depression, everything. The metabolism of fats, that’s why hypothyroid people get fat and have high cholesterol, and get depressed, and are put on Prozac. It has nothing to do with that, you’ve gotta fix this. But they’re being untreated or they’re not on the right meds.


So really, when we see a Free T3 result, it corresponds with how you’re feeling. There’s this like steady system … But here’s the thing. When it doesn’t convert into what’s active and it converts into the inactive, you can be hypothyroid, even though your labs will look normal, which is why it’s important to get your Reverse T3 tested. Then you go online and just google Reverse T3 calculator. One will come up and you type in the Free T3 and the Reverse T3 and you get a ratio. If that ratio is 20 or higher, you’re doing pretty good. That means the T4 is converting. If it’s low, you’ve got a problem.


There is where T3 comes in because here’s the thing. If you’re having a conversion problem, what messes with conversion? Lyme’s Disease, heavy metals, low selenium. That’s why it’s important that anyone on thyroid hormone replacement takes selenium every day, at least for the first couple of months while they’re getting their fill because that nutrient is really related to this conversion.


Why do we what this? It’s such an elegant system. The Reverse T3 is there as an emergency brake, so let’s just say this. Your body is always trying to save you, any given moment. The reason people get fat when they get Type 2 diabetes, you better hope you get fat. That’s your body saving your life and pushing that glucose into the fat cells. If you’re skinny fat and you’re diabetic, and it’s running through your blood, that’s even more dangerous.


So your body’s always trying to save you. We always need to remember that. So, for example, let’s say you’re in the wild and you’re starving, like you’re literally starving. What’s going to happen is, is things are going to down regulate. Meaning this T4 that’s released is going to convert into Reverse T3 because your body is going, “This chick can’t get food right now. We’re not going to put any metabolic fire and make her fat burn until she has food and she’s good.” So what messages are we sending that would inhibit this conversion and it for to down regulate?


Well, you could get into a car accident, and if you did, at that point, too, your thyroid would go, “All right, she’s got inflammation here, she’s got a severed leg. We’re going to down regulate and not throw more fire onto this metabolic inflammatory that’s happening in her body.” Or if you get a flu.


Now, we’re humans. We’re not deciding this. This T4 and this feedback loop is deciding it for us and it’s great. Unfortunately, sometimes with our stressful society, with metal fillings, with lack of selenium, there’s lots of other inflammatory processes, even pre-diabetes, can all affect the conversion, all affect the message. So, someone who would get a Reverse T3 problem, totally stressed out, not sleeping, overexercising, under eating. That’s why too, the thyroid …


Chantel Ray: So I want to repeat that because I think that is just so important. So I want to repeat that what I heard you say. So what you’ll do is you’ll go through, make sure you get your T3, your T4, your TSH, your Reverse T3, your Reverse T4, and you can …


Elle Russ: Just Reverse T3, there’s no such thing as Reverse T4.


Chantel Ray: Oh, okay. Just your Reverse T3. You’re going to go in and you can go to Google, you can type in Reverse T3 calculator.


Elle Russ: Yes, and Stop the Thyroid Madness website is the one to go to. It will come up naturally. They have an automatic.


Chantel Ray: All right, so go to Stop the Madness. It’s called Stop the Madness Thyroid.


Elle Russ: Stop the Thyroid Madness.


Chantel Ray: Oh, Then put it in. It’ll tell you. Okay, put in your T3 numbers, put in your Reverse T3 number, and if those numbers are 20 or higher …


Elle Russ: You’re probably good. Now if you’re 18, okay maybe you just take selenium, focus on sleep, look at some other stuff. But if it’s lower … Now, if you have no symptoms and it were 15 and you were doing fine in life, okay. All right, we always have to factor in symptoms.


So the thing is is that Nature Throid … Okay, so here’s why. So now that you know this works. Our own bodies do not rely on T4 to T3 conversion alone, which is why Synthroid is kind of a bad idea to begin with.


Chantel Ray: That’s why, remember I told you …


Elle Russ: But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t work. It can work for some people. You see what I’m saying?


Chantel Ray: It didn’t work for me, because I told you, I was on 125 milligrams of Synthroid. I’d go back to the doctor, and they’re like, “Your thyroid’s still not functioning. Now we put it up, and now we put it up, and now we put it up.” They just kept putting it up, and no one knew the problem is my T3, not my T4. Correct?


Elle Russ: Well, what happened was, and I don’t know if you got Reverse T3 tested then. We would have to look at it. But here’s the thing. You can give someone all the T4 they want. If it doesn’t convert into the thing that matters, the package … Did you get the effin’ package? The package is T3.


So for years, for years, endocrinologists will classically only test the signal and Free T4. They won’t even look at Free T3. Okay, now if you want an in-depth answer from a doctor as to why other doctors are idiots or why they don’t get this, you can look at the Q & A in the back of my book with Dr. Forsman, and he talks exactly about why this is. But that’s just the case. They’re just practicing outdated protocols. They haven’t learned more since medical school. It’s just a tragedy. It’s why there’s 60% undiagnosed and 200 people …


Chantel Ray: Why do you think we’re having so much more people that are having thyroid issues than ever before?


Elle Russ: Toxic society, stress, inadaptability, multi-tasking, listen, I mean we used to chill, get sun, relax. That’s what the paleo primal lifestyle’s all about. It’s like slow down, stop the chronic cardio people. This chronic cardio and carbohydrate dependency, that’s another thing. Look at our society. Every single commercial is for Type 2 diabetes or glucose monitoring medication. There’s a reason for that. We’re all carb dependent. It is not the way humans are designed inherently, our DNA.


We are not meant to be sugar burners. We are meant to be fat burners. We are not meant to eat a high carb diet. Period, end of story. We’re not. It causes all of these problems. So that’s another thing, too, because Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance and thyroid go hand-in-hand. Look Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance is inflammatory. Overeating is inflammatory, even if you’re eating the best foods on planet Earth. So you gotta watch, what kind of messages are you sending to the onslaught of this thing that is the master.


Chantel Ray: Wow, that’s awesome. So the rest of her question is, is the thermometer method accurate? What would you say to that?


Elle Russ: It is pretty damn accurate, but you gotta look in my book or you can also look on Stop the Thyroid Madness website. You’ve gotta do it correctly, because a lot of people are like, “Yeah, yeah. I know how to take my temp,” and they go get a digital thermometer. Nope.


Chantel Ray: Okay, so what would you say. If someone would say, “How do I do my temperature?”, what would you say?


Elle Russ: You go get a geratherm thermometer. G-E-R-A-T-H-E-R-M. They’re like three or 11 bucks at the local store or Amazon. It has what looks like the old school mercury ball at the end, but it’s not mercury. So you still have to shake it down every time. You put it next to your bed. In the morning, when you wake up and the alarm goes off, you do not get out of bed to go pee, you don’t even sit up, you do nothing. You don’t even get out of the covers. You literally reach over, and you put it on your tongue, and you hold it. It’s bulky, it’s not comfortable, you kind of can’t hold it in your mouth just by itself. You gotta sit there with a hand, and literally put an iPhone timer for seven to 10 minutes.


It’s a long time. You just gotta sit there. That’s your basal morning temperature. It should be between 97.7 and 98.2, 97.8 and 98.3. now, if it’s below that, you’re hypo. If it’s above that, you’re hyper likely. Or …


Chantel Ray: 97.3 is your kind of number …


Elle Russ: Oh no, no. 97.7 is the low end of a morning …


Chantel Ray: Okay, 97.7.


Elle Russ: You don’t want to be below that, no.


Chantel Ray: Below that, okay got it.


Elle Russ: 98.2 is the high end. So at one point, I was hyper thyroid. I would wake up and my temperature was like 98.2, 98.3. that’s too high for a basal.


Chantel Ray: So let me ask you this.


Elle Russ: That is something you gotta test, if you’re a woman, you’ve gotta test it in the first 10 days. Because ovulation and beyond, your temperature will increase, but the variations between them won’t. So it’s better to do it in the first 10 days, like maybe day one is your period, and then maybe third or fourth day, just start taking temps for like three to five days.


You test the basal, and you test afternoon, like 3:30. Not drinking, not smoking, not walking up a flight of stairs, you didn’t just come from the gym or sauna, shower, you’re just chilling. You’re sitting. You don’t have to lay down. For the basal, you lay down. For the afternoon, you just sit there and you do the same thing. You get that. Now you really should be 98.6 in the afternoon. If you’re not, it’s not about hitting the mark, but you should be close. It should be like 98.4 to 98.6.


Now there’s a lot more information than that on temps and how to assess adrenal sufficiency on websites or my book, but essentially you take that average, and that’s how you know whether you need a little bit more Nature Throid, or a little bit less, etc., but it’s not the end-all-be-all, because you still have to look at labs.


Chantel Ray: Got it. So let me ask you this, because I do the basal thermometer, the digital one. Why do you feel like that one’s not as accurate?


Elle Russ: Well, you know, it’s just in the thyroid community amongst patients for years. I mean, you could. The thing is that still with the digital, they say to hold it under there for … Because they miss the two different readings. So you could use a digital, but you use it … I would still hold it under there for seven minutes before you press the button on. Do you know what I mean? Just to get absolute accuracy. Then again, I just always go with the old-school geratherm. It just seems to be like the most accurate.


Chantel Ray: Got it. Okay, Alisha or Alicia, I’m not sure, in Georgia, says, “All this thyroid talk has made me want to go to the doctor and get updated blood work. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for about three months with 90/10 paleo. I’m really hoping to see an improvement. I was wondering if I should take my thyroid medicine in the morning, before I get my blood work done.”


Elle Russ: Never. However, there’s a difference. So if you’re taking anything with T … So there’s really four types of thyroid medication. There’s T4 only, so that’s Synthroid or levothyroxine. Then there’s natural desiccated thyroid that comes from chopped up pig gland that is prescribed, not something you get at a health food market that says glandular. That is Armour, Nature Throid, Eartha, Thiroyd in Thailand, whatever. It’s generic, it’s been around for 100 years. That’s the second one.


The third one, for people that don’t … Jews who don’t eat pork, or people that have issues with the fact that it comes from an animal, or they have any kind of ethical reasons, or something about the fillers that might be in there, whatever it is, some people can choose compounded. Which means the doctor compounds T4 and T3, roughly in the same ratios as desiccated. It’s just it’s cleaner, stripped of fillers, and it comes from a compounding pharmacy.


The other reason to compound, as well as a doctor, is usually these things come in their certain milligrams, micrograms, etc. When you’re a doctor in compound, you can compound to the microgram. You can’t do that … So for example …


Chantel Ray: And that is named what?


Elle Russ: It’s just compounded T3 T4.


Chantel Ray: Compounded … Okay, and what’s your opinion on that? If you had to pick between …


Elle Russ: It’s great, it’s great. I know people on it as well. It’s just a personal thing and it depends how it works for you, and how you need to adjust it because … So for example, if you took one pill of any kind of natural desiccated thyroid, it always has the same ratio of T4 and T3 in it, in terms of this one grain, like the initial dose. It’s always 38 micrograms of T4, and then roughly like nine micrograms of T3. But you can’t separate them. You can’t separate the hormones from natural desiccated.


With T4 T3, it’s compounded essentially Synthroid and Cytomel. It’s compounded them exactly, and you can do it to the micrograms. So for sensitive patients that need like adjustments, compounding is the way to go. Or, for example, literally Jewish friends are just absolutely opposed to having anything come from pork. So at that point, their only option for T4 T3 is to go to a compounding pharmacy and have their doctor do it exactly like it would be in the desiccated. It’s just compounded, clean, with no from a pig, essentially.


Then the fourth option, and the last resort option for anyone. This is what I’m on. It’s called T3 only. That’s just T3. Now a fact about T3. I talked about Reverse T3 earlier. So if someone has a Reverse T3 problem, where that T4 keeps converting, they’re going to be hypothyroid even though their labs look normal. That’s why you have to get the Reverse T3. It happened to me.


The thing about Reverse T3 is, the only thing that converts into Reverse T3 is T4. Do you see where I’m going? So if you’ve got a Reverse T3 problem that you can’t solve, you want to try to solve it another way. That means selenium, that means heavy metals, that means detox, whatever you have to do. Liver detox, everything. You can do all the natural ways, but if all else fails, this is an all-else-fails approach. It is the last resort and it happened to me.


So thank God it’s there, because when you take T3, and the T4 gets out of your body, after you’ve gotten off the Armour, and you’ve had a Reverse T3 problem, and you start taking the T3, Reverse T3 stands in front of the cells and blocks it, which is why you can be hypothyroid, even though you’re taking thyroid hormone, because it’s not converting into the thing that matters. Then it’s just swimming around in your blood, but your Free T3 blood result looks normal, the doctor’s not testing the Reverse T3, because they have no idea what it is, and you could just keep hurting the person, because they’re not converting what you’re giving them.


Again, you can keep pummeling some of the Synthroid and keep getting worse and worse. Is it converting to the thing that matters? And also is it converting into the biologically active form? So, when you take T3 only, it’s like the last resort because it’s the only thing that does not convert into Reverse T3. But you want the system to be working. It’s the ideal, because it gets very tricky and it’s extremely complicated …


Chantel Ray: So right now, for you, what are you currently taking?


Elle Russ: So I take, for five years … I’ve taken it for six years, T3 only, because I had a Reverse T3 problem that I could not solve. So here’s the thing. T3, it depends on how much you take. So when you start to enter T3 into your body, no matter which way, Armour or T3 only, the TSH will start to kind of shut up because the body’s like, “Oh yeah, she’s got T3 there. I’m going to stop yelling.” Right, the TSH signals, so they go, “We got it, we’re not going to send the wake-up call anymore.” So it depends on how much you’re on.


I have had my full thyroid replaced on T3. I’ve been up to 100 micrograms, which is like the largest dose anyone would be on, down to 50. Now I take 15 to 20 micrograms a day. I split dose it three times. So I wake up, and I just take 7.5 micrograms of T3, and then I do the same around, so maybe that’s 6:00 a.m. Then I do the same around 2:00 p.m. or so. Oh sorry, it depends, 1:00 p.m., or 2:00, just depends on activity and stuff. I’m pretty intuitive about when I might need to take it a little earlier. Then I also do it in the evening.


Now, I’ve been on T3 … So, half my thyroid is working currently, where it wasn’t before when I was on T3. So if you were to look at my labs, and I just got labs, the TSH and Free T4 will be still low, but they’re there. But it’s the Free T3. So labs are all sorts of different kinds of stuff. Now if anyone has this problem, and they feel like they need to go on T3, first of all, it’s very rare to find a doctor who’s even willing to do it. Most of them don’t know. But if you do, there’s only one book that’s the bible on this. It’s called Recovering with T3 by Paul Robinson.


He saved my life. I’ve had him on my podcast, it’s actually his only interview ever. He and Janie Bowthorpe, from Stop the Thyroid Madness, both of those people saved my life before they even had books. So I used his Recovering with T3 book almost like my bible as I was dosing, because I did this by myself. So for the audience listening, I literally fixed two bouts of hypothyroidism in 10 years, one being a normal one that I fixed with Nature Throid. Then after a while, I still didn’t know about paleo primal, I was over cardio, didn’t know about the conversion, I was just a dummy. Then I got a Reverse T3 problem. I had to solve both of those things on my own without a doctor, so I was my own doctor and dosed myself.


So, I’m at the point now where I’m pretty T3 efficient, and it’s great …


Chantel Ray: But you’re not currently like on Armour or …


Elle Russ: No, no, no. Actually, I would like to go maybe back on it. It certainly is a better, more optimal choice. The reason I haven’t is because I still had a Reverse T3 problem. I detoxed from heavy metals over the past year, and I didn’t know I had a silver filling left in my mouth for like all of these years. I mean, I’d gone to the dentist, but I just … It’s way back there, and I just didn’t even think that I still had it in there, and I had high mercury. So, that could’ve been messing with the Reverse T3.


So I don’t have a Reverse T3, as of last week. I mean, my Reverse T3 ratio is 20. Actually 20 point something. But I’m taking T3, so of course, it’s going to be a low ratio, right? Now, I could do another experiment, and I might, where I try to wean off T3 and get on T4, but I have a feeling it’s actually just even better to just kind of low dose T3 for me right now instead of worry about conversion or go through another experiment at this time. You know, once you’ve done this enough, you’re like, “Okay, I don’t want to go hypothyroid again, because I know I’ll gain 15 pounds in the next 30 days.”


It’s just a miserable thing to kind of just deal with, because if you get hypo and it doesn’t work, it’s not fun. You’ve got to factor that into your life. When you biohack this stuff.


Chantel Ray: Yeah, so these next two questions, we’re lumping them together because they’re similar. One is from Gianna in Chesapeake. She says, “I decided to lower my dosage of Synthroid from 150 to 75 because I’ve been doing hardcore paleo for about five months now. I still kind of feel out of whack and I’m wondering if I decreased my dosage too much. I should’ve asked this before, but now I’m wondering how can you tell when it’s time to decrease your dosage, and how can you tell if it decreased too soon.


Elle Russ: Temps and blood work people.


Chantel Ray: Yeah, Denise in New Jersey said, “I started taking a low dosage of 30 milligrams of Armour. How long should I wait to get my blood work checked to see if it’s improved, and how can I tell if I’m getting too much or too little?”


Elle Russ: All right, so for the woman on Synthroid, first of all, if you just heard us talk, try to switch to Nature Throid. Okay, if you’re on 75 micrograms of Synthroid right now, then what would you switch to is this. This is how we do it. Again, talk to your doctor. I’m not an MD. But this is kind of the way that it would go.


You would start off with 65 milligrams, which is called one grain, of Nature Throid. So one morning you wake up, you don’t take the Synthroid and you take one grain of Nature Throid. You swallow that for three days, just to kind of get your body used to it a little bit. Then on the fourth day you take half a grain, for a total of like 95.5 milligrams of Nature Throid.


So what you would do is you can get a pill that is a grain and a half, or 95 milligrams roughly. You can split it in half and just take that half for three days. Then you’d take the whole thing. Then you wait. Between the three and a half and fourth week, that’s when I would get tested.


The biggest mistake that everyone needs to know is when anyone gives you a starting dose of any kind of thyroid hormone, they wait too long to retest you. “Come back in six weeks,” …


Chantel Ray: You know they always say six to eight weeks. That’s ridiculous.


Elle Russ: You can become more hypothyroid, you can feel like it’s not working, because again, when you start to introduce exogenous hormones in your body, no matter what it is … If I started shooting testosterone, my body’s going to stop making it, because it said, “We got it.” See, there’s feedback loops.


So it’s fine to shut down the feedback loop. That’s what thyroid hormone replacement is. But you gotta go up the ladder in the right way to get to your optimal dose. You don’t want to waste too much time in between because you can have dip downs and drawbacks.


So I say, as you’re going up the ladder to be optimized, every three and a half, four weeks to get tested. Just force it upon your doctor because here’s the thing. Three and a half weeks is enough time for that T4 to convert and give us an answer. Now, then you get to the third and a half week, you get your blood drawn, then it takes time, a week, okay then your doctor gets it, oh now we’re at the fifth week. See what I’m saying? Time’s a wasting. How quickly do you want to get better?


Chantel Ray: Yeah, I agree. I think if you can try to talk them into doing three weeks, that would be great.


Hey guys, I’m so excited that my new book, Waist Away: The Chantel Ray Way is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and pretty much anywhere you can find books. But we also have the audio book, the e-book, and my new recipe book that you can download the recipes that I love that I make, and it’s super cheap. It’s all my favorites. Anyway, if you have a minute to write a review on Amazon, I would be ever grateful.


All right, Judy, she doesn’t tell us where she’s from. As a reminder, we always like to know where you’re from. She says, “I started off my journey at 200 pounds. I’m now at 150. I’m proud of my progress,” Great job, Judy! “But I still want to lose at least 15 more pounds and right now I’m stalled. I’ve been trying to stick to a paleo diet, but it’s really hard to be diligent with that. Do you have any advice to break this plateau?”


I will tell you, we didn’t answer all the questions, but we’ve got so many questions and the people say they feel like … Because I do talk about in my podcast that when you deprive yourself too much, you end up becoming in a binge. But it was a recurring question, how do I stick to paleo, but not have that feeling of, “Oh, I’m deprived!”, which then leads to a binge? Is kind of the theme of so many questions that we got.


Elle Russ: We get it, and here’s my answer. Then you are doing something wrong with paleo. This happens all the time. People are missing one component. They don’t get it. They don’t understand that paleo is not actually a food list at all. It is about becoming fat adapted, which takes four weeks. Once you’re fat adapted, you don’t have issues with being paleo.


So if you’re trying to do paleo, you’re missing something and you’re misinterpreting it. It’s literally not just a diet. It’s a way of life. So for example, had a woman call me who was having issues. She was doing everything right with the food, but she was still running 40 miles a week doing chronic cardio. When you get above 75% of your max heart rate, you’re burning glucose. You deplete your glucose stores, now you need to refill them with sugar, there’s your cravings. That’s why it’s hard.


So someone is not understanding, possibly, because this happens all the time. We get this objection. It’s not an objection, it’s misunderstanding what paleo is. You’ve gotta dive deeper. People, this is not a gimmick. It really isn’t. So part of it is lifestyle, it’s how are you moving? It’s exercise and sleep but it really is exercise. So for example, hot yoga five days a week? Good luck. You’ll never be paleo, you’re a sugar burner. It’s a nightmare. Good luck for your adrenals. It’s the worst thing you can do. I did it. You don’t want to do that. You want do sprint session one a week, but you want to go chill.


It’s counter-intuitive, but our ancestors didn’t haul ass up the mountain, because they would’ve been prey by the time they got there because they would’ve burned all their glucose out. You need to exercise at a fat-burning state. Burn fat, eat high fat, burn fat, you’re good to go all day long.


So if you’re having dips, or you’re having trouble sticking to a paleo diet, then you are definitely not doing it right. I would go …


Chantel Ray: One of the things I feel like, there’s so many amazing things … Like for me, when I’m craving … Let’s say I’m craving a cookie. Well, I eat a paleo cookie. I make homemade paleo cookies. If I’m craving pudding, today I made this amazing chia seed pudding with fresh blueberries and coconut milk. You can go get my recipe. It’s absolutely phenomenal.


So I didn’t deprive myself. I’m having that pudding, but I’m just having a healthier version of it. I’m listening to what my body wants. I’m giving it to it. If I want french fries, I’m having sweet potato fries or whatever it is. If I want some chips, I’ll have some sweet potato chips. So I just am kind of just tweaking, but I’m still being intuitive and I’m listening to what my body is craving and what it’s wanting.


Elle Russ: There’s so many other versions. There’s paleo granolas, there’s … Now listen, you don’t want to go overboard there …


Chantel Ray: Oh, I have to tell you, Elle, I have hands down, the best paleo granola. I’ve gotta send you the video. I have the video of me making it. It is unbelievable. I promise you it’ll be the best homemade granola paleo you’ve ever had. I want to send you the recipe and the video.


Elle Russ: I would say, too, one of the tricks with losing an extra 15 is like go easy on the nuts. For everybody.


Chantel Ray: That’s my problem.


Elle Russ: It’s a big trick. That’s why paleo granola, I usually don’t have it around. Paleo granola and all that stuff tough to have around. It’s still nutrient dense, and you have to understand a serving of nuts is really a shot glass. Who the hell eats a shot glass of nuts? We all want to eat handfuls of pistachio and just sit there, and by the time you’re done …


Chantel Ray: I am out of control with the nuts.


Elle Russ: It’s too much, so it’s like get rid of the nuts. So what do you snack on? A spoonful of coconut butter, a sip of MCT oil, half an avocado with salt, or whatever. You can do veggies …


Chantel Ray: Give us some more of your snacks. So if you want to snack, what are you eating?


Elle Russ: I don’t really snack, because I have a window. So I guess I do just eating randomly in there. I eat kind of everything. I eat a ton of sausage and bacon and eggs yesterday, because I was just craving. I was just craving breakfast stuff and didn’t really actually even have any vegetables. Sometimes I have a straight up just green juice, just from the gym, just straight up juice in the middle of the day. I don’t feel the need to have protein, fat and carbs with every single time you put a bite in your mouth. Sometimes you eat a steak by itself and it’s fine. I do eat all meat and fish and animals and all that, but I don’t really feel the need to snack anymore.


When I was a sugar burner before and I was hypoglycemic and not fat-adapted, essentially, I was every two hours looking in the refrigerator. I was wandering around all the time. I love Epic products, so I love Epic food provisions. They make salmon jerky sticks and other things. So I’m more inclined, if I’m going to take a bite of something, to have it be protein or fat than it would be veggies and stuff like that.


But you know fruit and heavy real whipped cream. You mix lemon zest and lime zest in there. That can be such a fix for just sitting, and you want to have sugar and you’re having a craving, but sitting and having a bowl of fruit like that with whipped cream is just … It just satisfies it. So I just don’t go for the crappy choices anymore.


Like you said, there’s a company called the No company. They make paleo waffles, and they’re expensive, but over time they’re great to have those things in the freezer, to feel like you actually had a waffle. By the way, when you eat a paleo waffle or you eat paleo pasta, which is all grain-free, when you eat that stuff, you can barely even finish a whole waffle, and you can’t even finish half the bowl of pasta because it’s so satiating and filling, because it’s got almond butter and eggs. you know what I mean?


When you have regular, empty, carby waffles, you can eat a whole plate of them, a whole stack of them, because they just don’t even fill you up as you go, because it’s just all empty carbs.


Chantel Ray: Right that brings us …


Elle Russ: In a way, it kind of trains you, if that makes sense.


Chantel Ray: Yes. So that brings us to the next question. This is Vicky in Delaware. She’s says, “I’ve been trying to stick to a 90/10 paleo lifestyle. My question is about cheese. Some people tell me that it’s paleo, some people say it isn’t, some people say you can have goat cheese and cottage cheese, but some people say no to cow’s dairy. What do you thinK? Another question is quinoa. Do you think it fits the paleo lifestyle? I’ve heard it’s a great grain.” That’s Vicky from Delaware.


Elle Russ: All right, let’s start with quinoa. Quinoa’s a pseudo grain. It’s a seed, however, here’s the thing about quinoa. I stay away from it for the most part. It’s high in lectins, but here’s the thing. Quinoa is a pseudo grain that affects people with autoimmune disorders. So if you’re dealing with Hashimoto’s or especially rheumatoid arthritis, even quinoa can actually cause an inflammatory [inaudible 00:47:07]. So you just have to be extra careful and tread lightly and see how it works for you if you have an autoimmune situation.


However, if I was going to do a cheat on a grain, it’s usually would be like white rice or something like that actually, over brown rice even. Also I would probably do quinoa, too, if I wanted something like that.


Chantel Ray: So I wanted to show you something real quick. Can you see this? I can’t tell if you can see it.


Elle Russ: Yeah, those crackers?


Chantel Ray: So this brand, it’s called Simple Mills, they do almond flour crackers, almond flour everything. They have rosemary ones that are tasty. They are delicious. This is if I want to have something, this is kind of my go-to.


Elle Russ: Yeah, dipping those in butter, avocado, that can be a great crunchy. Sometimes we want the texture. Again, Simple Mills, I agree with …


Chantel Ray: I said I should be a spokesperson for these people because …


Elle Russ: Be an influence for those people [crosstalk 00:48:01].


Chantel Ray: I really should because I love all their products. Now so she also asks about goat cheese, cottage cheese and cow’s dairy. First of all, do you feel like there is a difference between goat dairy and cow’s dairy?


Elle Russ: There is. Here’s the thing about all of it. Number one, 65% of the population has a problem with casein, with dairy. So even though I’m not technically allergic to it, I will get mucus. This is why no singer in the world eats dairy. Celine Dion, she don’t eat dairy. She eats dairy, she’s not singing. No singer eats dairy.


Chantel Ray: Oh, I love that. Oh my gosh, we need to tweet that. We need to tweet that.


Elle Russ: It’s super true. Because it’s mucus forming. Again, it’s for baby cows to fatten them up. So milk is the worst. So if you’re going to have any kind of dairy, in the paleo primal community, some people go by raw milk but it still has a lot of sugars, and a lot of carbs in it. You can get fat off of that stuff, okay?


So if you’re going to do any dairy, we usually say like full fat, grass-fed butter, because it’s low in casein. It’s a different kind of dairy.


Chantel Ray: So when you do … Are you doing ghee? Do you a lot of ghee or …


Elle Russ: Not a lot, but I like ghee. I also love Kerrygold, just grass-fed butter. So butter or heavy whipping cream, not half and half. Heavy whipping cream. Now, actually most Starbucks, you just have to ask. They have heavy whipping cream behind the counter. So if you’re going to have a latte or whatever, don’t do half and half, go for the heavy whipping cream. Yeah, it is higher in fat. It’s also going to be better.


So if that doesn’t bother you, those are the two things that are occasional. However, in general, think about it this way. We’ve been evolving for 2.5. We started to have all sorts of issues 10,000 years ago when we started to eat grains and domesticate ourself. Then that’s when really like, arthritis came on the scene in the archeological record, and all sorts of problems started happening with our health.


These things, we would’ve never run into pregnant animals like that to drink their milk and make cheese back in the day. We really wouldn’t. It’s so problematic that it’s worth cutting out if you’re trying to get ahead with the health issue. Just get rid of it. Now, I love dairy. I actually have Scandinavian genes, which makes me more tolerant to dairy. That is one ethnic group that actually has better assimilation of dairy. But I can still tell that it messes up my stomach and my gut biome, and makes me stuffy and I’m mucusy and I’ve got boogers the next day. It’s just from eating cheese.


So do I cheat with that? Yeah, man, who doesn’t like a good cheese and [inaudible 00:50:31] plate with Bri, and … Of course, every now and then, I’m going to do that. Maybe that’s going to be once every month or two. But for the most part, I stay away from it because first of all, it’s also a known causer of acne for a lot of people. Most people that I know who have a lot of acne, just get rid of the flour. Again, paleo. It’s get rid of the grains, the sugar, the legumes, the beans and the dairy. So that’s kind of paleo primal.


I say stick with butter and heavy whipping cream for a while, and then kind of reintroduce after a month a piece of cheese. See how that works for you by itself.


Chantel Ray: Got it. All right, Patty in [inaudible 00:51:05] says, “I’ve been trying to do longer fasts, like 48 hours, but when I take my thyroid meds on these days, it makes me feel jittery and terrible. Should I take my meds on these days? Or should I take a smaller dose, cut it in half, what do you think?”


Elle Russ: I don’t know the reason to go fasting 48 hours. I really don’t. I’d like to hear that because that’s a red flag to me. It’s not to say that you couldn’t have like a low calorie day or an entire day, like an an entire 24 hours. I’m not sure why you would want to do a 48 hour fast. It also could send the message to down regulate everything, and convert more of her medication into the reverse T3, because it’s going, “All right, we’re on the second day now and she hasn’t had food.” See what I’m saying?


Because here’s the thing. On the second day of not having food, for whoever wrote that question, are you just chilling by a tree all day relaxing? I doubt it. Right? You’re moving. See, it’d be different if we were in the wild, and we were all chilling out, and there was weeks we went without food. We would go foraging, and we’d be living off the fat of our body, we wouldn’t be tired. But it’s like, if you’re going and doing what you’re normally doing in life and then also decide to do a 40 hour fast, I just have a feeling the body’s going to see that as a threat and start to down regulate.


Chantel Ray: So I personally do do some 48 hour fasts and some two to three day-long fasts, and sometimes even longer, but they’re really a lot of times biblical fasts, and like I’m really trying to hear from God, and just heal my body with other things that I have going on. I have some psoriasis. There’s just so many amazing benefits for some of these longer fasts of just truly healing.


Elle Russ: I agree, because autophagy takes place, the anti-inflammatory effects. However, it shouldn’t make her jittery. I would just say look at things like, if you’re doing a 48 hour fast, it’s like are you really fasting? Do you have some caffeine in there? Maybe it’s too much activity that day. I would cater more to the chillness of that day. I would be more relaxed during the fast physically and mentally if you’re going to do it. Like you said, make it a more spiritual thing, relaxing thing, a cleansing thing, maybe those are the days you decide to get the massage or go to the spa and sit at the … Whatever.


Also, you can also incorporate a little bone broth when you’re having moments. It’s not a pure water fast, but you know. If it doesn’t feel right for you, then you don’t have to take your medication on that day. If you’ve noticed that is something …


Chantel Ray: I agree. I think what she should do …


Elle Russ: Skip a day, but also it’s like, where’s the jittery coming from? It could be adrenals, it could be your body is now getting into ketosis, actually. It’s like starting to ramp up. Maybe the jittery is from just good energy.


Chantel Ray: For me, I actually had this happen. When I was taking Synthroid, I had wanted to do a little bit of a longer fast. When I was taking Synthroid, I think my dosage was too high, and I was doing a longer fast. So I didn’t feel good. So I did cut my medicine back. But I just recently did a three day fast, and I was on Armour and I had no problem at all. So I think that a lot of it has to do with, she might be over-medicated in general, and then when she’s fasting, it does make it where she …


Elle Russ: Which is Armour’s better for you in general, and is working. When you were on the Synthroid, it was just so off that when you did a fast, it was off too. Yeah.


Chantel Ray: So Alice in Winston Salem says, “I’m tired all the time. I thought your podcast episode about thyroid issues was interesting, especially as it pertains to me being tired all the time. But my thyroid levels are fine.” Who knows what they are, but she says, “What are some other reasons I could be tired?” So we’d really need to see those panels to see.


Elle Russ: We’d need to see the panels, and also diet, of course. If you’re hypoglycemic, you’re going to be tired every three, four hours if you don’t get food. You’ll have a a slump, and then it’ll just lead to exhaustion. Any kind of hormonal imbalance, of course if you’re approaching menopause or something, or any issues like that. But the thing is that hormonal imbalances that could cause exhaustion come from the thyroid not being optimized.


So anything hormonal relates to that. But I will also say this. Things that make you sleepy, Candida.


Chantel Ray: Candida. I was just going to say that.


Elle Russ: Candida mimics thyroid, brain fog, and other kind of issues of exhaustion, and also sugar cravings. You have to get rid of Candida. Every woman listening might even have a little bit of it if you’ve never dealt with it and you’ve had any kind of sugar addiction.


It’s by the way, the only way to get rid of the sugar addiction in your brain, because your brain’s following your gut biome. So you gotta fix the stuff in here and get rid of it. You can nail Candida in six weeks. You can really nail it out of there in a couple months. So Candida’s really important. That’s just another thing.


EBV, Epstein Barr, which is like if you had mono as a kid. So it’s kind of like it can remain in your system and then be expressed. But the way that it re-expresses itself is not in the form of like, “Oh my throat hurts, I’m sick, I’m in bed, I have a fever,” like you were when you had mono as a kid, or whenever you had mono. It re-expresses itself also like a Candida in terms of mental brain fog, exhaustion, the general “I don’t feel wells”. Now EBV is something you really have to go talk to a functional doctor about, because I think there’s like different kind of strains of it, or antibodies. There are worse ones than others, and harder ones to deal with than others.


I have it. I had mono when I was like two years old or something really young. When your thyroid’s off and Candida’s off, these things tend to then foster the expression of other things. So when you get it all together, those things remain dormant. But it’s really the general “I don’t feel wells”, which is exhaustion and being tired. So EBV, Candida, of course Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia. But the thing is like, things like fibromyalgia are totally correctable via thyroid implementation. Also, I had excess fibrinogen in my body, which is excess fibrin. That creates fibroids, fibroid tumors, estrogen dominance, fibrocystic breasts.


So sometimes it’s a matter of cleaning one’s body out with systemic enzymes, and doing a functional overhaul with a doctor, and then everything just kind of gets reset. You know what I mean? So hopefully that answered it. There’s probably other things that could make you tired, but [crosstalk 00:57:20].


Chantel Ray: Yeah, all right Sandy in Bluefield … These people write these things. I’m like, Bluefield? Where is that? Who knows?


Elle Russ: What a great name [inaudible 00:57:28].


Chantel Ray: But anyway, she says she struggles with psoriasis and eczema, and she’s been reading a lot online that that’s related to your thyroid. Is this true, and can I expect to clear it up if I start eating paleo?


Elle Russ: All skin disorders, lipedema, myxedema, thickening of the skin. I had that, that’s disgusting. It’s when all of your skin thickens all over your body. It’s horrible. I know someone getting surgery right now for lipedema that has Hashimoto’s and has been untreated.


Side note, mold. Living anywhere where there’s mold will ignite Hashimoto’s and can really strip your thyroid. So if you’re having thyroid problems, and you’re living in a place with mold, you’ve gotta get out.


Chantel Ray: I had my last guest talked about getting mold free coffee, on my last episode that was really good. It was a nutritionist. All right, Deborah in New Jersey says, “My doctor says that I’m in the high range of thyroid. He said my TSH should be somewhere between .1 and 4.53. I’m currently at 4. He said that I’m currently within the range of normal, even though it’s high. Should I go find another doctor, or do you have any natural supplements that I should try? Or do you know any resources to help me find a good thyroid doctor?” This is Deborah in New Jersey.


Elle Russ: All right, as we said in the beginning, if you’re dealing with a doctor that is just looking at your thyroid based on TSH, the TSH is just a snapshot. It’s a snapshot of the signal being sent. Now four is high. I’ve seen someone with 156 TSH, but the top of the range is five. So when someone is 156, what does that mean? It means their brain is screaming, “Please, give this woman thyroid hormones! She’s dying.” I looked at person, who was my friend’s wife, and I said, “Do you have a pulse? Are you even alive?” She said, “That’s what my doctor said.” I go, “We need to get you on thyroid hormone.”


Now, a TSH of four, when top of the range is five, is suspect. It’s a little suspect, because again, it’s pretty high. Did she just work out though, and then go get the blood work and then the signal was just expressing itself? This is why the TSH is not the thing. We don’t test the signal. You don’t keep ordering the package from Amazon. Did you get the package? The package is T3.


So she still has to test Free T3. You always need to test Free T3. Not T3 uptake, not total T3, Free T3, meaning what’s free and unbound, and available in my blood. So, for TSH as four, that is suspect. That means …


Chantel Ray: My doctor that I go to, she’s pretty good in thyroid. She’s actually really good, but what she says is when her TSH is at a 1 or below, that’s when she feels her absolute best.


Elle Russ: And she’s thyroid hormone replacement, right?


Chantel Ray: Right, and she’s on thyroid …


Elle Russ: That’s a very important distinction. So I just want to let everyone know. A couple nuances, and this is in my book, but when you’re on Synthroid, or levothyroxine, which is T4 only …


Chantel Ray: And she is on Synthroid. This doctor that I’m actually …


Elle Russ: Is she on any T3 or just Synthroid?


Chantel Ray: She’s just on Synthroid and she actually told me I used to be on Armour but she switched me to Synthroid, and then I really started having problems. Now I’m back on … I went completely off. I was doing all this fasting. I was doing an exorbitant amount of fasting. That’s where I was talking about healing your body. My levels were perfect. When I was doing an exorbitant amount of fasting, my thyroid was completely healed.


I think kind of stopped doing as good on the paleo. I just kind of got into a slump, and I was eating whatever I wanted. Then my thyroid kind of completely crashed again. So now I’m taking about 30 milligrams. I just started taking it. 30 milligrams, it’s very low, of Armour thyroid.


Elle Russ: All right, we’ll talk later because when you get tested and we’ll go. So let’s go back to this question. Again, it was about … I was just talking about the nuance before you mentioned that.


Chantel Ray: She was at four, and she’s saying she’s at the high range.


Elle Russ: She said she feels good when her thing’s like between 1.5 …


Chantel Ray: My doctor says she feels great when her TSH is at one or below, or below one. She just says …


Elle Russ: Okay, so here’s the thing. So there’s a little bit of suspicion about that because when you’re on T4 only, you usually do not want to suppress TSH, meaning you do not want the suppress [inaudible 01:01:51] to be below one, usually. However, I have to know more about that.


In general, though, when someone is on anything containing T3 … So if you’re on Armour, Nature Throid, desiccated. If you’re on T4 T3 combination compounded. If you’re on T3 only. You’re TSH is going to be like 0.01. It’s going to be suppressed. Now a lot of doctors freak out about this. If you have a doctor that freaks out about a suppressed TSH while you were on something containing T3, again, you do not want to suppress TSH when you’re on T4 only usually. That usually means you’re hyperthyroid and you’re on too much. It’s actually not a positive thing.


Suppressed is usually 0.01 or like even lower, so that’s kind of like signal, shut down. No one say a word because we got the package because I’m giving myself the package. So this is shutting up, but any doctor who literally thinks that that’s a problem, because there are doctors that have a problem. They’re going to see the TSH go 0.01, and they’re going to go, “Oh my God, we need to lower your Armour.” No, no, no. You run from that doctor. They don’t know what they’re talking about.


Dr. Forsman talk about this all in our book. You can hear it from a doctor as to why they make this old, 30 year old mistake protocol. But the long story short is it’s not a goal, but what often happens when people get optimized on thyroid hormone replacement, T4 T3, Armour, desiccated compounded, is that the signal will be … It just usually goes hand in hand.


If you look in my book or anywhere, people’s blood work from when they were hypo thyroid to when they’re feeling good, the feeling good usually looks like this on Armour. It’s different for everyone. We’re not trying to hit numbers. So nobody try to hit numbers, because here’s the thing. If you’re really dialed in with your health, and you’re pretty damn low carb and paleo and killing it, and your thyroid’s good, you’re T3 efficient. You need less T3 to function. So you can become really efficient. This is all … Some people’s numbers, they do well with a lower Free T3, but it’s rare.


So when you’re on thyroid hormone replacement in the form of T4 T3 combo, the numbers will usually look like, the TSH will be like 0.01, just something like not even there kind of thing. The Free T4 will be between like 1.31 and 1.4. you don’t really want it to go over 1.4. If it is, a little suspect. When I say 1.4, I mean in a standard range. I’m sorry, so the TSH standard range would be like whatever, zero to five, or one to five. Then the Free T4 range is usually … So mid-range is usually around 1.31, so you can get the range there. Free T3 range is usually 2.0 to 4.0, or 2.2 to 4.2, and you also usually see it mid or above for people on these hormones, mid or above. So it’s going to be like 3.1 or even to the top of the range.


So if you look in my book, my friends that are doing well, a lot of them do well with the Free T3 at the top of the range, like 3.9, 3.8. there’s nothing wrong with that. They are not hyperthyroid. For someone who’s a normal person in this world not on thyroid hormone, if they went and got tested and their Free T3 was at the top of the range, we’d suspect hyperthyroidism, because that would be high, or that person would be just really skinny and anxious, and they’d have hyperthyroidism.


So why is that different for someone one replacement? This is why a dummy doctor will go, “Oh my God, you’re on too much.”, because they’re used to normal people in the middle of the range. But you’re not accounting for the replacement and all the stuff that happens when you take a thyroid hormone.


So again, that’s what it looks like usually. You’re not trying to hit those numbers, but that’s usually where it is. When people feel the best, their Free T3 is mid-range or above. Sometimes at the top, sometimes a little over, and it’s okay if it’s a little over if you don’t have hyper, over stimulation symptoms. How do you know? Temps.


Chantel Ray: All right, well we’re running out of time. I want to ask you two more quick questions. This one is really strange question, but she says … This is Sierra in Jacksonville. She says, “My thyroid levels are low, and one thing I’ve noticed is my areolas on my nipples are a lot lighter than usual. This isn’t something I’ve heard you talk about in the podcast before. Is this normal and can I expect them to ever go back to my usual color?”


Elle Russ: What was the first part of it? She …


Chantel Ray: Her thyroid is low, and her nipples are light.


Elle Russ: Pigmentation?


Chantel Ray: The pigmentation of them is light, so I guess her nipples used to be dark, but then now she’s finding out her thyroid’s not functioning, and now it’s getting really low.


Elle Russ: I’m not surprised. You know what? Listen. I’ve not heard that one, but it’s not surprising to me because …


Chantel Ray: Because it’s all about your hormones.


Elle Russ: I got hyper pigmentation on my face when I was hypothyroid which is what pregnant women get. I had like brown patches. Hormones are off, eczema, psoriasis, all sorts of skin conditions. Again, here’s how you should look at it. Hypothyroid, a state, you will get a disease you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. So if you’re in this state, shizz is just going to go wrong. It’s going to drop like dominos. One thing is going to lead to the other to the other.


That’s why … My hair’s curly. It wasn’t even curly. It’d break off. I woke up one day with bangs. I was like, “How did I wake up and all the sudden half my hair got …” Like where did it go? Like messed up stuff would happen. Crazy other symptoms. There’s over 30. So, I’m not surprised that there’s some discoloration going on.


If there’s any kind of white spotting around, well, that’s just a form of fungus that you nail out with some oregano oil and clean out your body of sugar. But if it’s not those kind of white spots on skin thing and it’s just she noticing that skin is lighter, I’m not surprised. There’s a lot of things, just mishaps, that go wrong with the body and skin conditions.


Again, this is the master. If something’s subpar here, it’s going to flow to everywhere else and you just slowly … You’re slowly dying and you’re accelerated aging. That’s really what it is.


Chantel Ray: All right, Mary in Columbia says, “What is your opinion on alcohol and paleo? I’ve given up dairy and grains. I just don’t want to give up my booze too. What is the best paleo option for alcohol?” What would you say?


Elle Russ: Dry Farm wines. They are a paleo wine company. What does that mean? It’s lower alcohol. I’m not a huge drinker. I actually like marijuana instead, in the form of edibles. It’s legal where I live, everybody, so relax. I do know a lot of wine drinkers and they are amazed that there’s no hangover. There’s no … So for every liter of wine for Dry Farm wines, it’s … Normal wine, 300 grams of sugar per liter. They have like less than one per liter of alcohol.


So you really don’t feel hungover and crappy the next day. If you’re going to use wine as your vice, if that’s it, then I would go to Dry Farms wines and …


Chantel Ray: What do you think about Tito’s vodka and soda water?


Elle Russ: Yeah, I mean, if you’re going to do it, do it clean and simple. It’s actually … Keep it your vice. You can also look up Melanie Avalon. She wrote a book called What When Wine. She’s IF and she’s like, “I needed to keep my wine.” What we say though, is that in general, because wine is toxic, I mean alcohol. The body is like, “Uh oh!” It’s going to go deal with it first, so it’s actually better to drink alcohol not with dinner and a full fatty meal.


It’s not total empty stomach, but do you know what I’m saying? Because if you’re drinking a bunch of wine with a fatty meal, your body’s going to try to burn the alcohol, because that’s the threat. It’s not going to focus on processing this other stuff. So you either lighter with the eating, or separate it somehow. So it’s like maybe on the nights you’re going to drink at dinner, maybe that’s a less heavy dinner so that it doesn’t affect you as much. But do what you gotta do. You know what I mean? We all have to have whatever that is for you.


Chantel Ray: Well, Elle, this has been amazing and for those of you who have not picked up this book, do not pass go, do not collect $200, make sure you pick up her book. It’s absolutely fantastic. You’ve taught me so much, and I feel like I already knew so much about paleo, but even in this short time that we had, I learned some great things.


So if they want to hear … Can you give them your website one more time?


Elle Russ: Sure, it’s There’s a free thyroid guide up there, and it’s got everything from here’s the blood work, here’s podcasts, here’s the link to Stop the Thyroid Madness website, it’s got everything. I used to email this to everybody, but now you can just go to my website, click on the link. You don’t have to sign up, just download it. It’s all the resources you need to get on the right track.


I mean, sure, you can buy my book, but the whole point of me offering that is that I spent $15,000 of my own money trying to find this answer, undiagnosed for years. It cost so much money to go to all of these people that knew nothing. I’m like, as much free stuff as we can give away to get … Then you know what? I just say pay it forward people. Learn about this, because you’re going to meet other hypothyroid people. We need to just keep spreading the word about …


Chantel Ray: Well, you have absolutely been a blessing to my life, and I know a blessing to all the listeners. Thank you so much for being on the show. We just really appreciate you so much, more than you know. Thanks so much! Have a great one! Bye!


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