Navigating Menopause and Hashimoto’s with Barbara Diaz: Expert Tips for Weight Management & Fatigue | Podcast #418

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Barbara Diaz shares her inspiring journey with Hashimoto’s, menopause, and chronic health issues, highlighting how she found relief through functional medicine and nutrition. She emphasizes the importance of addressing the root cause and not resigning to conventional treatments.




Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey guys, it's Dr. Justin Marchegiani. Welcome to the Beyond Wellness Radio podcast. Feel free and head over to justinhealth. com. We have all of our podcast transcriptions there, as well as video series on different health topics ranging from thyroid to hormones, ketogenic diets, and gluten. While you're there, you can also schedule a consult with myself, Dr.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: J, and or our colleagues and staff to help dive into any pressing health issues you really want to get to the root cause on. Again, if you enjoy the podcast, feel free and share the information with friends or family. Hey guys, Dr. Justin Marchegiani here. Welcome back to Beyond Wellness Radio. I actually have a patient here today, which is exciting.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love patient stories and testimonials. And welcome to the show, Barbara Diaz de Leon. Barbara's been a patient for a few years. She has an amazing story. Hashimoto's, menopause, all osteoporosis, chronic pain, fatigue. And this is just kind of an inspiration story that you can get to the root cause and address these issues.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Barbara's also a practitioner now as well. So she works with women and patients that have thyroid issues all over the US too. We'll put Barbara's link down below in the description as well. So if you guys want to reach out to Barb, she will be there for you. Barb, welcome to the show. How are you doing?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me on the show. It's so nice to be here. Thank you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome. Very cool. Well, I know you came in to see me like maybe a little over two years ago coming down that functional medicine kind of pipeline. Tell me about the story before you started utilizing nutrition and functional medicine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You had some chronic health issues. How did that look? Were you kind of knocking on the door of your conventional medical doctor first? How did that kind of story unfold? And how did you make your way kind of down the natural medicine, nutrition, functional medicine path. Dr. Julie Kinnunen

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah. Yeah. It was a long journey until I found functional medicine and nutrition and lifestyle, lifestyle things that needed to be done for well over 15 years.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: It started actually in my early thirties with thyroid issues and I was prescribed Synthroid and only a TSH only was checked. And that's a whole nother, a whole nother story. And my, my labs, my THC. TSH improved, but I still felt very tired. And the doctor would tell me, well, you know, we're all just getting older now.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Okay. I'm in my, you know, earlier thirties and I don't have children. So anybody who's a parent knows, like, I have no business saying I'm tired. So, yeah, so that was like issue number one. And then well, we're all getting tired. Your labs are fine. And, you know, and it went on and on. And then I started having hormone issues and I got married in my mid thirties.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And and my hormones were never checked, my female hormones. And meanwhile, my thyroid is still tanked. And, you know, I'm being told, no, you're okay. Your labs are good. Well, I ended up with a hysterectomy. I had a uterine fibroid embolization ahead of time to you know, in the effort to have a baby. And then I ended up with a hysterectomy before I was 40, I was 39.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And, Dr. Justin Marchegiani Wow. Dr. Yeah. And yeah, and I never had any issues, female issues with menstruation or anything like that just hit me, you know, and I know that that can happen with progesterone. It takes the big dip. I'm like estrogen where you have the peaks and valleys, the progesterone, progesterone, some women can really take a big dip and they're, you know, like 35, 36 years old.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: So so I was starting to get depressed, of course. Oh, you know, because everything is happening and then they wanted to treat me at that ankle. Well, you're depressed, you know, and well, of course I am because I'm not getting any answers. And I just, I just knew deep down there was something physical wrong.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I was tired all the time. I was starting to check out of families, you know, social events, family gatherings, things like that coming up with, they weren't really excuses. It was true. I would say I don't feel well because I didn't. And that was all the time I had 20, you know, the fatigue was debilitating body weight, joint pain.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Mood imbalances, digestive issues, brain fog, and, you know, weight gain. Let's not forget that lovely. And so I did and along the way, I, I just, I. Try different doctors and, you know, just wasn't getting anywhere. And I just knew somewhere deep down, there was something physical, physiological, it wasn't in my head.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah. And I'm all about counseling and, you know, getting proper psychiatric. Helping things like that, 100%, you know, I'm, I'm behind that. And I was already going down the counseling road because, you know, I wasn't getting any, any answers. And of course, along the way I tried popular weight loss programs to lose weight.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And and I did lose weight, but I also was still on, oh, And I was on two blood pressure medications just to stay at a high normal blood pressure range. So when I did lose the weight temporarily on these quick weight loss programs, popular programs, it didn't stay off and I was still sick. Like I was still tired all the time.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I was still on blood pressure medicine. So You know, it just was, and then the minute you get off those plans, because they're not sustainable, you're not nourishing your body, you know, it gained the weight right back and then even more. And so it just kept getting worse and worse. And it's such an invisible disease other than the weight gain.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Everybody's like, well, you look fine. And your family and loved ones were my family and loved ones were even saying things like, you know, well, we're all just getting older. You look fine. You know, this, and. And they met well, you know, I get it, but I just knew there was something wrong. You know, I knew there had to be more and and then I went the vegan vegetarian route because that's the answer I'm looking for.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah. And I was probably for all that time, mostly I was about 60, 70 percent vegan because I was always striving to be a full fledged vegan and thinking that was the answer. And I would double down on that. And then when I would finally eat some animal products, it was dairy. Or eggs. And those fast forward to now are like some of the worst things for me for my autoimmune condition.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: So the protein, the proper protein I was having wasn't proper for me. And of course I ended up with osteoporosis in my forties and I was having dairy. So it wasn't for lack of drinking milk and you know, so and of course I wasn't exercising because I was tired all the time. I started to need orthopedic procedures.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I had a left shoulder surgery, With a rotator cuff tear, I had a C six session, C six, seven fusion in my spine, my cervical spine. I had multiple cortisone injections in my hip and my shoulder. And that wasn't from injuries from working out. That was just from like reaching for, you know, a can in the pantry, you know?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: So I was so inflamed and yeah. And You know, and then the fatigue just got worse and worse, but I just had this small, like flicker of hope, the small glimmer of hope that there needs to be an answer to this. And I went on with this for over 15 years. Yeah. And actually, you know, but got one of the first things I did, I started to find some podcasts.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I actually found yours. It was one of them I started to dive into. Yeah. And and then I also Dr. William Davis of the wheat belly, One of his, he's from my area. I'm in the Milwaukee area, a dietitian that he used to work with. I don't know if he still does, but back then he was working with her. She worked also at a local clinic and she was having a, a seminar called delete the weed as a one day seminar.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And I had no idea what it was about. I didn't even know who Dr. Davis was or anything about his book or anything. And I think his book was coming out about that time or around that time. I don't remember, but I went to the thing, to this book club. You know, seminar, this training, and it was all about eating meat.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And I'm like, Oh my gosh, I'm horrified. I can't stay here. Well, I did stay cause I was too shy to get up and leave, you know, but everything was about the paleo nutrition, a paleo template. And and it, it, it, but it struck a chord in me. I'm like, you know what, maybe try this, maybe give it a go. And it was really a gift to show up at that seminar, not knowing it was going to be about eating.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Eating meat. And so I went home or on my way home. I picked up a package of ground beef and I made taco salad because I wanted to make sure I could really, you know, hide it as much as possible.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I was an emotional vegan too. I wasn't vegan vegetarian. It wasn't just about the health. Yeah. It wasn't

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: just about the nutrition science side.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You were invested to the overall cause of it. Right.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Oh, I was actually, you know, I had the auto deduct on one of my credit cards for one of the organizations out there that supports it. Yeah. Yeah. I was, I

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: know you have lots of cats and pets, so I get it. So,

Barbara Diaz de Leon: yeah, yeah, yeah. And and I grew up a city girl.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I didn't grow up on the farm and, you know, there weren't hunters in my family or anything like that, you know? And then, so I had this taco salad and and it was delicious, you know, and I digested it just fine because that's another thing that you're told is that you can't digest meat. You don't, you know, we're not made.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Made some say you're not made. I don't know something about like, you can't digest it. Well, I digested it just fine I was fine, you know the next day actually, you know, it actually helped with I digestive issues with bloating and constipation and actually, you know, I didn't bloat, you know, and I didn't have any issue at all but I didn't magically start eating meat all the time after that because I was so ingrained like you said, you know emotionally So I had to you know, watch a lot of YouTube videos of ex vegans of why they converted.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And this, this was about a year long process, you know, and during that time I started to find, you know, podcasts like yours and and then, you know, I started to think, gosh, you know, maybe there is something to this. I didn't know about autoimmunity. I'd Hashimoto's. I didn't know I had it at the time.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: You know, I didn't know about like removing gluten and how, you know, when that does molecules get through your intestinal wall from leaky gut, how that, you know, looks like the thyroid tissue and it attacks it, you know, I, I didn't know any of that. And I adopted that kind of eating along with other things too.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: You know, I, I did a lot of mindset work. Lifestyle things like with stress management and also some balanced movement, you know, very big on all four pillars, lifestyle, mindset, nutrition, and movement for to achieve health goals. And but that nutrition was the first part I went after and, you know, I had really good results with that and, you know, wasn't everything I needed.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I needed to get on proper thyroid medication, but yeah, yeah, it was quite the journey for sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That's really great. It's really inspirational. I mean, out of the gate, you get people that. are told, Hey, this is, you have these issues and they can, some people resign and say, this is just aging. There's nothing I can do with it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I'm going to just try to manage the symptoms with this medication, that medication, maybe numb my brain out, take an SSRI and just resign to this is my path. And some people say, you know what? I don't quite accept it. Obviously the internet's here. There's case studies, and there's all kinds of articles and podcasts of other ways to approach this.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so obviously there was something in your brain, in your personality that said, no, this is, I'm not going to accept it. What do you think that was that made you just not willing to accept that? That is, that's, that's all I can do.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I just, you know, I just deep down, I'm just like, this can't be it. You know, I, we used to be so happy and vibrant and enjoyed life and, you know, it can't flip the switch like this.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And actually the more the people would say to me like family members, well, we're all tired. It's like, well, they don't get it. Like, I don't know. I'm drinking like three pounds of coffee a day, you know, and I'm still like really tired. And it was just something in me that just said, no, keep going, keep looking.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: You can't, it's not, you know, and then of course it got with the depression, it, it got really dark. And it was one of those things, I think when we get big obstacles like this in our life, we respond one or two ways, either, you know, give it your all or you give in. And there was something in me that. Right.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: That gave in and I'm just like, just don't, I mean, it went on for a long time. So I kind of surprised myself sometimes, but I just wasn't accepting it. It was just like, just because something is common, doesn't make it normal. You know, just because everyone in there is on, you know, my age on medications, that doesn't make it normal.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Like it's not normal to have. high blood pressure. And for me, like with the blood pressure, a lot of people are like, well, you lost weight. So of course you're off your blood pressure medicines. No, remember I had lost weight before and I was still on them. I had nothing to do with it. Yeah. You know, the beta blocker that I was on, that was, that was a little tougher to get off of.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Eventually I did, but yeah, it was about getting my body well, you know, at the cellular level.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Dr. Justin Marchegiani Yeah. When you look at it like this, I kind of always had the mindset because I was a big. I remember being in high school listening to Tony Robbins. I was a big Tony Robbins guy early on in my, in my adolescence.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And there was one quote he said was success leaves footprints. And so I always would look at people who are healthy and be like, well, what are they're doing? Or look at people who are successful in their relationships or finances. What are they doing? And I would just simply look at and just try to model behavior.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Like, you know, what's the Pareto principle? What are the 20 percent of things they're doing that are helping them get their health, get their, their wealth, get their emotions, whatever the trait I'm looking at is, what are the core things that are helping them the most? So I'd always would look at things from that lens.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then when I worked in a surgical center in college, I thought, okay, Helping, you know, these surgeons out position patients and things like that, I would see one, there wasn't a curiosity of how to prevent things such as diabetic infections diabetic limb issues, where the limb would go gangrene, there wasn't a, a thought process of how to get in front of it, it was let's just treat the damage in the end result, and then I would look at the people doing these procedures, they were out smoking at the butthut, drinking sodas, they weren't healthy people, so I would always look at that and be like, okay, but they're just, The end stage is managing disease, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yet, society kind of like cast this, like this crown on them, like, Oh, but you are a health expert, you know it all, but they don't. And I would see that, and that always would conflate me, and say, okay, well, who are the people that really have information that, that are trying to go upstream that understand nutrition, understand ways that we can fix this stuff from a root cause versus manage symptoms downstream.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And most people kind of think that the average medical doctor has that kind of training, but they really don't. They're really symptom management with drugs, disease management with drugs, and or surgery. And so I think it's important to have that kind of mindset. And looking at your situation, you have Hashimoto's or you have all these different things, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They're just gonna try to get your TSH, they're not gonna manage the inflammation, not gonna manage the antibodies, they're not gonna manage any of the nutrient deficiencies. We know a vegan diet for instance, very low in protein, very low in certain Iron, B12, B vitamins, core nutrients, probably very high in carbohydrate, a lot of anti nutrients, so if you've got permeability issues, all those grains and legumes and, and dairy, and then in your situation, even eggs, were just driving more gut permeability, which was then exacerbating the autoimmune issue and inflammation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That

Barbara Diaz de Leon: is spot on. Yes. 100%. And yeah, it's you know, it's a pretty scary road out there. I remember I did I was getting a I think it was one of the tests I was getting from conventional medicine in my forties. And I remember the tech, oh, it was a bone density test. That was for the osteopenia. And she said You know, she knew I was on I had a thyroid issue.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Cause of course I was on synthroid. She's like, well, who's your endocrinologist? And I said, I don't have one. And then she said, oh, I just had my thyroid removed. She said I have Hashimoto's and I had to get my thyroid removed. And I remember thinking to myself, well, I want the name of your endocrinologist because I don't want to go.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Like, I just knew like that wasn't the route to the route I wanted to go. I'm like, and then she had a horrible experience. Her throat collapsed. She was in ICU. Like she's You know, and it was just like, oh my gosh. And, you know, and and I say this with love, but she didn't look well. Like she looked, you could see it in their eyes, you know?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And you know, I can actually spot that. Like when I see people like my age, it's like, oh my gosh, you just don't look well, you just, you know, just don't look, you know, well at all. And yeah. And then back to your question about like what sparked me to keep going when I did start, you know, happened to come across podcasts, like listening to like, People that you would interview and stuff, but talk about their clinical experience and how they turn people around.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: That was helpful too. You know, so it does, you know, it's always a big message I have is keep going, keep searching. Don't give up because your answer is there. And, you know Even if you, you know, I actually had other functional medicine providers before, and they actually, you know, one of them stopped turning over the rocks to look and started writing.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: He started writing down on his prescription pad books recommended for me to get. Cause again, back to the, you know, it's in my head kind of thing. He didn't quite say that. And I know he meant well, but it was just like, and, you know, so just keep going. Don't give up your health is worth it. I mean, you have one life to live.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Like don't. You know, lose your shot at this

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: and what got you through the the vegetarian vegan type of because you were really connected to that diet. How did you make that switch? Was it just the wheat belly that the seminar that you saw with Dr William Davis? Was that the big thing or was there something else that you did on top of that?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I think it was the timing of that. And then running into a couple of podcasts like yours, like with that. And because I was fully in on, you know, all the vegan things. And you know, I was following, I was all big on also like my big focus was preventing cancer at the time too. Cause I thought, oh gosh, every, you know, there's so much cancer in my family and, you know, and they're all.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: saying, you know, do the eat, eat a plant based diet and things like that. And you know, I think it was just a timing of it. And I'm like, what do I have to lose at this point? And that's another thing when you get to the bottom, sometimes it's just like, why not try it? What do I have to lose? Dr. Justin Marchegiani Oh yeah, when

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I make these, cause I, I've had hundreds of these conversations.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I've tried to, you know, distill the, the, the vegan type of misinformation. I try to distill it to patients in a minute or so. So here's this, my, my general spoof. I put the conversation on two sides, the emotional and the science side. So first off, when you just look at nutrients. The nutrient density in, in high quality animal products is very high.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I mean, from a B vitamin standpoint, B12, iron, it's much higher than it, than on the plant based side. That's number one. And if you look at just protein, a lot of times vegans will hide behind relative protein versus absolute protein. So you'll see people say, Oh, like kale is, you know, it's, it's like 20 percent protein, but yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But. Yeah. That's it. It's like very little calories. So they'll hide behind the, the, okay, so if you have something that's five calories and it's one calorie of protein, okay, it's 20 percent protein, right? But it's like, well, the calories aren't that high. So when you look at absolute protein, like, let's look at gram per gram.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, great. How many, how many cups of kale do you have to have to get the amount of protein, let's say in six to eight ounces of grass fed beef? It's about 14 cups. Oh, so that, now that becomes really difficult to actually look at animal products. How do you get protein? Why does that matter? Because your bones are half protein.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So if you're dealing with osteoporosis and you're trying to help your neurotransmitters heal and your hormones usually come from cholesterol and protein based sources, you're not getting those building blocks. And so when you just look at it as like, I'm, there's that house, I need lumber, I need to get this lumber there and frame that house.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But if I don't have the lumber, I can't frame it. Well, it's the same thing with High quality animal products. You need these raw material in these building blocks. And then when you look at B vitamins and iron and those kind of things and, and methylation and amino acids, especially sulfur ones, you just don't get it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Now, the other argument I say is on the, on the kind of more emotional side, if you're worried about killing animals, then let's try to consume the most amount of calories, most amount of nutrients per death. Dr. Justin Marchegiani Because the idea that just because I eat vegan vegetarian, I'm not taking any life.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It's not true. When those combines run through, and whether you're harvesting wheat or corn or anything else, there's gophers, there's snakes, there's moles, there's all kinds of things, rabbits, squirrels, there's so many things that get caught up in that. And so then you, you're making a value judgment saying, well, That cow because it's bigger is life is more important than that squirrel or that snake, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so then okay, so then are you gonna take life in this process? No matter what the question is How do we get the most amount of nutrition for the least amount of deaths? And so I try to sell people on the emotional side then I try to sell people on the nutrient density side and then you know, you can also go more into the Okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What about the autoimmune foods like the gluten and some of the, you know, nuts or seeds are in your situation, kind of more of the egg. So you were able to kind of jump on that and let's kind of dovetail into the Hashimoto's area because you go see your conventional medical doctor. They're probably only just running TSH.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Did they run thyroid antibodies? Did they give you any options to deal with the Hashimoto's and the antibodies specifically?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: No, no. One time they did run a T4 and they're like, Oh yeah. And they're like, Oh, that looks a little low, but they didn't do anything about it. You know? And and if you're not converting T4 to T3, well, it doesn't kind of matter, I guess, you know, your T4 is, and I wanted to touch on your Explanation.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: That's such a great explanation about the combines and things like that, because that's actually what got my attention. You know, that, that, you know, thinking of the, the rodents and things like that, you know, along the way too. And then yeah, you know, a hundred percent. And then, oh, you know, when you're going, and then when you're not eating that, the satiating protein like that, you know, you're eating way more, you know, the wrong grains and carbohydrates.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And then of course, the menopause with women were less insulin sensitive automatically. So. And I, I forgot to mention I had blood sugar imbalances too, like before I would get so faint, I'd never fainted because there's always a way to get a Snickers bar or something like that. Like I'd always eat, but I would have blood sugar imbalances so often, and that is just not normal.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And then my menopause hit, it was even worse. So, you know, the, it's just being a menopausal woman alone is a good reason to eat a blood sugar balancing diet. Frankly, I think everybody should, but you know, But especially women in my group, you know, I'm 59 and it's like, I feel fantastic, but I, I'm sure it's because I'm, you know, eating the proper diet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And that being said to the average vegan combination of protein to make it complete, right. Think of rice or beans or quinoa and lentils or whatever. Typically you're getting about 70 percent starch. to about 15 to, you know, 25 percent protein. So, usually 15 grams per about 6, 15 grams of protein to about 70 grams of carbohydrate.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so, if you need 100 grams protein, you know, you're gonna be eating 400 to 500 grams of carbohydrate. And for most people, that's probably gonna be too much for them. Now, you can get away with it with soy, but then you have all of the other issues with that, the phytoestrogens, and the trypsin inhibitors, and some of the antinutrients, or you can get away with it with like protein powders.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But Now, you're kind of going into a more artificial realm, and, you know, that's not something that we've had for a long period of time, and it's not, you can't really get it from food directly. So, you can do it from soy, or, or you can do it from protein powders. And so, the people that do the best on a vegan vegetarian diet really get the, the protein powders going, and they really get good fats from your olive oil.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: your avocado, and they do a lot of coconut to maximize the saturated fat. So if you're going to do it right, you know, or better, the best you can do, then you have to really play those avenues because you'll get a lot of carbohydrates on the backside. But go ahead on

Barbara Diaz de Leon: that. Dr. Julie Kinn Yeah. Oh my gosh, when you brought up soy, that just always gets my attention because one of the popular diets I went on they have their own foods like snacks and things like that.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And most of them, or a lot of them are. Based on soy protein isolate. So you're getting protein. And then it was one of those plans where you eat every couple of hours, you're always hungry. It was always like looking at the time, like, is it time to eat? Is it time to eat? And and the soy protein isolates.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I was eating that mainly for protein and then I would have like soy. you know, milk lattes and things like that, thinking I was doing the right thing. And it was just making all my symptoms worse, not to mention my gut permeability. And I want to mention, too, about the neurotransmitters with gut health.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: It was like a veil was lifted. That depression, a veil was lifted. Like, oh my gosh, it was like the seas parted, you know, when my gut was healed. I'm not kidding. Like, wow, what a difference with that. But yeah, that's always a really bad, bad news, man. Dr. Justin

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Marchegiani that do best on a vegan vegetarian diet, you see them.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: right? They tend to be, their somatotype tends to be more of an ectomorph, right? These are the marathon runners. These are the people that are always biking. When they consume carbohydrate, they're just like, go, go, go, go, go. Their body sees carbs and they get energized. Most people, when they get that amount of carbs dumping, they get tired and sleepy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so, I always look at people and say, well, You know, not every diet like if this was truly a bad diet for everyone, why do some people thrive? And so I always like to just, you know, kind of distill why would someone do good on this diet? Yeah, someone not why would someone do better on this diet? Why would they not?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so I always like to highlight that. So we're not overly dogmatic. This is how someone would do good on this diet, but I think they would do better. Over here, or why does someone when they switch from a vegan to a adding in meat, why do they feel worse sometimes? Well, a lot of times their hydrochloric acid levels are shut down and they can't handle the protein breakdown.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Now, in your situation, when you transitioned to adding more protein, talk about the hydrochloric acid. It sounded like you did pretty good without even supplementing out of the gates.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah, I did. I think what it was, was, you know, I felt good. I didn't feel nearly as good as I do now, of course, like, you know, so, you know, I but just that bit of little bit of improvement with getting the proper nutrition just helped in itself.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I do I do take a little bit of hydrochloric acid now just to optimize my nutrition, you know, and as I get older to just being over 50, you know, the hydrochloric acid, it's going to change in itself, you know, and then I had so many years of that. So I just, I'm all about optimizing what I've got. I don't take it with every meal, but it, It's, but it is much better, but I did, did okay with it, but I wasn't anywhere near where I needed to be.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: But it was, it was like a small light switch went on. It wasn't a complete one. But going from, you know, feeling so tired and lethargic and having bloating and all the digestive issues every day. And you know, having, having that food and not, not having those symptoms, you know, when I was up.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Primed for, you know, I was convinced I'm going to have trouble with digesting this and all that. I even went into it with a bad mindset, you know, and that didn't bother me at all. But that hydrochloric acid is definitely so important. And just to your point about like being dogmatic and things like that, I'm always like, Hey, if your diet's working for you and you've got great markers and you feel great now, I prefer that they're feeling great long term because you could do something short term and feel good for a little bit.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: But if you've had years. You know i'm feeling great and you know like I know somebody who you know is a vegan and I believe they are Not like a quote. I don't want to say I don't know how to say it But like where they cheat, you know where they go off of it They are like dogmatic about it actually, but they look great and they do well and they've been doing well for a long time So, I don't know, you know, so but I don't think that's common, you know, I also

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I've had this conversation So many times because most people they come into a vegan vegetarian diet I from watching game changers, watching forks over knives.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So they made this, they've had this really bunch of propaganda thrown at them and they, they changed their diet radically. So there were lots of soda, a lot of processed stuff, a lot of inflammatory food, and then they're starting to eat more vegetables. They're starting to eat more avocado and olive oil.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They're starting to have more salads. Maybe they're having more nuts and seeds. Maybe they're throwing in some pea protein and coconut milk. So they're like, Oh my God, this diet made me feel great. And I'm like, well, Was it the diet that made you feel great, or was it the exclusion of all these crummy, anti inflammatory, or pro inflammatory nutrient deficient foods?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so I always tell patients, when you make a diet change, think about it. Is it the new food that you're doing, or is it the exclusion of this crummy food? And then, is there a better food that we can plug in? That would be even better than what you're eating now. So you got to look at it from both sides of the fence.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So for you, it's really important. And for most women, it's really important because the protein, the neurotransmitters and the building blocks, that's important. Also the iron, especially if you're of cycling age, where you're having that menstrual flow every month, the iron is a big deal. And the B12, especially if you're having methylation issues, MTHFR.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You may not get enough of it in just leafy greens. So then, okay, so we have this high level of antibodies, this Hashimoto is going on. They're probably just recommending, what, like a synthetic T4, just trying to make your TSH look pretty. What did, how did your antibodies look, what were they even saying about that, and how are your T3 numbers downstream, not just TSH or T4, but how did, how did everything look downstream with your T3 levels, which is your active TSH?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thyroid hormone.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah. I don't even, whoops. I don't even remember anybody checking my T3 and, you

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: know,

Barbara Diaz de Leon: antibodies. They did get checked once and I was told, and they were super high, like, you know, upper almost a thousand. And they said You know, this just means you'll need to take more and more thyroid medicine, you know, as you, as you go on, like, there's nothing you could do about it.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: You don't need to do anything about it. And it's like right off the gate, the antibodies, I mean, that's inflammation. And, you know, that's why I'm all about like having a nutrient dense blood sugar balancing inflammatory gut healing diet, you know, and And there was not any mention of that at all, like about how inflammation can be even, you know, I have a strong family history of cancer and cardiac disease and you would think that inflammation because even Conventional doctors agree inflammation is a problem chronic inflammation that is And it's like that's a sign of inflammation and there's a there's many things you can do even like stress management, you know can inflame, you know Not having managed stress can inflame you And so not one thing there the answer was for you know, the future was you'll just need more and more.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Medication and and That person who I talked about that technician with my bone density test, I'm sure that's what happened to her or thyroid just got destroyed. And she's probably eating the same nutrition plan and, you know, same, having the same lifestyle that she had before. And and that's another point too.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: It's like, I did have a period of time where I thought I could supplement my way out, you know, certain things. And this was You know, at the beginning of my transformation, even before, you know, I would try to take B12 and the top quality and I was still tired all the time. Oh my gosh. Yeah. And, you know, but even when you know, I did run into this too, when I was properly diagnosed and treated, I did think, you know, I did slip into the thing of like, well, if I take all these supplements, I'll be fine.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I can still like get away with you know, staying up late all the time, not managing stress, you know, not moving my body in a proper way, in a balanced way. No, you need to do your part, you know, on the daily. So to me, it's a two part thing, get properly diagnosed and treated and get on the right thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And yeah, for sure for starters, but then you still need to do your part to live optimally, I'm all about now I'm like on the opposite side. I'm, I'm dogmatic about living your best life. You can, you know, be the best version of yourself.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you did better adding in the kind of a full spectrum thyroid glandular with T3 in it, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Versus just the T4 alone, correct? Right.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yep. That's right. And and you talked about the

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: fact that they said they said that you're gonna need more and more thyroid over time. And I think that they're implying that your immune system is beating up your thyroid. And so what function you have will continue to drop and drop and drop every single year because we're not getting to the underlying cause of why your immune system's attacking it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Plus when your cells are inflamed, That hormone docking in and binding to a receptor site and having a nuclear response is going to be dampened because when there's inflammation things aren't going to work and connect biochemically appropriately. And then just to kind of highlight, so we have kind of the inflammation thing not being addressed.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So as we get the inflammation down and the thyroids not being as, you know. beaten up and attacked and sore and swollen. Now we have better hormone production. And then we have better hormone binding because there's less inflammation. And then, you know, even like, you know, your average person who's like paleo, they're going to be like, Oh, eggs are great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I love eggs, I think they're great for most people. But in your situation, they weren't. And so you started off kind of more on an autoimmune diet to just even cut out more of these foods that could be an issue like eggs or nuts or seeds or even butter. Talk more about kind of going from maybe a whole foods, paleo, to more of an autoimmune shift which is a little bit more of a drastic diet change.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah. Yeah. When I first started eating animal products or, you know, not, I would still eat eggs, you know, and I wasn't feeling better. I mean, I was feeling improved because I was getting proper nutrition from like the ground beef. But I still wasn't feeling very improved and, and actually, you know, I have to thank, you know, people like yourself with the podcast, having guests, like I remember listening a long time ago yet Eileen Laird on your podcast with me from Phoenix, Texas.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yes. Helix. And I remember thinking, wow, you know, red peppers can do that. I mean, I was eating bell peppers all the time and lots of joint pain

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: and the nightshade connection there too.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yep. Tomatoes and be a lot. It's here in the summertime and Midwest tomatoes are everywhere. You know, everyone's giving them to you and they taste great, you know, and yeah, They're a real problem for me.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And, you know, so I was eating all these things and there, I mean, if you can handle them, they do have wonderful nutrient profiles for sure, you know? But you know, so I'm not, you know, definitely eat them if you can, you know, but, and then white potatoes too, is another thing you know, so I did transition to sweet potatoes and, you know, it was much better choice for me.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: You know, for sure. But it was actually listening to people and trying different things. And I thought, you know, well, let me give this a go. I was already you know Convinced about how the paleo diet, the paleo template was healthy. And but I wasn't quite where I needed to be. I was definitely improved, but I wasn't where I needed to be yet.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: You know, for sure. No. I think that my biggest improvement was more like my brain. Like I started to think more clearly, so I could actually pay attention to these podcasts and things like that. Yeah. And so just learning from other people on that. And so I started to dive into that and and it's been a huge blessing.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: No doubt about it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Getting your T3 levels into a more therapeutic range. Yeah. Giving your body the nutrients to activate your T4. Yeah. Doing things to get that, those antibodies down. And what about your gut? What about any, any infections driving some of the inflammation or driving some of that antibody response?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah. Yeah. I know. No, you know, with working with you too, we've done, you know, the GI map and things like that and it treated gut infections and it just, you know, how do you

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: recall which ones you had? Did you have H. pylori?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I did. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: H. pylori is a common one with, with Hashimoto's.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah, I did have that.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah. That was early on. Yep. And yeah, it was one of the first tests that you, you did. And yeah, and getting that treated. So it was just like, so even though I felt better and better along the way, I wasn't quite where I needed to be, but compared to what I was, I felt fantastic. It's kind of like when you feel great, you don't realize how bad you were feeling.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And so there was like different phases of it over time. You know, with me, I think my trends, my transformation, I would say took two, three years all in total. I mean, I'm still like always working on optimizing my nutrition and things like that. But I didn't go like right to autoimmune protocol on day one.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: So you know that I'm sure would have made a difference.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And that may not be someone that may not be something that someone has to do forever. It's always good to do at least a 30 day. elimination, provocation, where you pull it out and then you very methodically add it back in and see how you feel regarding cognitive, emotional, gut, joint, inflammation, just see how you feel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That's usually a good starting point for most people where you pull it out, even if you don't notice much. Usually when you add it back in, if it's been out for a month or so, you're going to notice something if there is a problem. So that's always a good kind of first step as well. Also you being menopausal, lower, lower estriol, lower estrogens, lower progesterones can also have an impact on your immune system as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: There's a lot of data on that, that a lot of these hormones that were there when you are of cycling age

Barbara Diaz de Leon: or

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: if you had a hysterectomy, was your hysterectomy complete or just partial?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Dr. Julie Kinnard. Partial. Dr. Justin Marchegiani And so you

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: still have the ovaries then producing some of that. So as you went into menopause in your late forties, early fifties, Now that that hormonal drop happened, talk about what happened with some of these symptoms as you were cycling, as you went into menopause, what happened to some of these, some of your health issues?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah, everything, you know, when I first entered into menopause, everything kind of exploded and magnified, you know, in terms of the symptoms and then added in hot flashes. And so when I would eat, you know, refined sugar products, you know, it had a profound effect, you know, I mean, not just with the imbalanced blood sugar issues that I had, but with the night sweats and things like that.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah, it was just you know, everything just seemed to be magnified. You know, I was just definitely gained more weight, of course. And my brain fog was even worse. My brain fog got to a point where I actually had the competency testing done. And you know, because I, I wanted a baseline, you know, because I thought, oh my gosh, am I.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I'm going to get, you know, my, I used to have to write at my corporate job. No, even when something was super important, I put it in my electronic calendar, write it down on a hard copy calendar and put a post it note on my screen. So I was able to get away with it. Like no one picked up on my things, but, and I understand like this happens with a lot of thyroid people.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: You know, they, they, they start, they, they leave their jobs. Like I heard of someone who was a CPA and. They kept messing up the numbers. They had to quit because they didn't want to get fired. And it's a real thing. It's serious. Yeah, so all of that got magnified all the more. The blood sugar imbalance was huge, you know, with menopause too.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And you know, and that's when, you know, all the timing is everything, you know, I was really fortunate to, you know, to switch everything around at that time. But that's also a big part of my message too, that, you know, you can turn it around. You know, you don't have to, I look at people who are around my age and, and like I said, I can see in their eyes sometimes.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: It's like, you know, I have to restrain myself. I almost feel like, did you try this or that or anything? I mean, you could turn this around, you know, you definitely can.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean, the big approach, the biggest thing when you kind of draw a line between conventional medicine and functional medicine, and conventional medicine does really wonderful when there's a lot of acute traumatic situations, but when it's chronic, And you're just managing symptoms and you're not getting to the root cause.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It's tough. You're going to be chasing your tail. And the big thing is there's a, there's an accountability factor when you're on the conventional medicine side, it's usually you point to aging or you point to genetics. That's why I'm in the position that I'm in, where when you go more on the functional medicine side, it's like, no, I'm accountable because I'm doing things that are driving inflammation in my body.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It's these things. I'm going to manage my emotions better, my sleep better. I'm going to manage my diet better, my digestion infections. lifestyle movement. So you're taking accountability. We're on the other side. It's like aging genetics and it's just, okay, that's it. Take this pill and I'm going to just off, you know, I'm going to just offload all my responsibility.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so it's tough taking the step that you take because it really takes you having to be in the driver's seat and own why you're in the position that you're in.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I love that you said that about the ownership that I love that. That's one of my favorite things, you know, that I do for myself to keep myself motivated and going, take responsibility and ownership, you know, do what you need to do.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Like even recently I had to shift my, my sleep schedule. I've had trouble with sleep and

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I

Barbara Diaz de Leon: just switched, which means I had to switch my beloved workout schedule. I was working out first thing in the morning, very early and very early. I don't know how you did that. I know. And so like after this interview, you know, normally I would have already worked out by now and but I'm going to go work out and it's like, and it's already, it's, you know, a relatively newer switch for me, but you do what you need to do.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Like it's like, well, it's kind of like you know, you're going to rise up and you're going to make it happen because, you know, my workouts are important, well, just for all the obvious reasons. That workouts are important, but I'm also training for a bikini competition. So that's great. Yeah. And so yeah, yeah, hopefully that'll happen in six months and you know, some working towards that.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: So, you know, the workouts are, are, you know, really important you know, for sure, but you do what you need to do. You take ownership and, you know, you, you are, I mean, I understand there's some things that are out of your realm and, you know, and I'm not saying everything I do is going to, you know, I never say cure or anything like that.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: It's about, you know, just managing what you can. Control what you can. And there's a lot you can control, you know, for sure. Like you can learn, like if you're, you know, living with someone who's stressing you out, you can, you know, there's lots of books on boundaries. There's lots of things you can do for mindset and things like that.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Obviously, if you're in a dangerous situation, unsafe, you get out of it. But I'm talking about like just someone who's just getting on your nerves, you know, all the time, you know, there's, there's, you have to rise up and you have to confront that, you know Yeah. You know, if you're a timid, shy person, you need to, you need to deal with that because your health will pay for that.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And your immune system, you know, really is precious. And back to like the immune system problems with Hashimoto's and antibodies. I wanted to mention too, I got pneumonia like four or five times in my life. And really bad. And and I don't have any like genetic auto, you know, immune system thing, you know, going on because they checked a lot of that stuff.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And it was really boiled down to these antibodies. I'm convinced of it because I, I don't get that anymore. I really get sick actually.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Your, your immune system was so busy attacking itself and stressing itself out that it didn't have the reserves to go after other types of infections or viruses. So that, that makes sense.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And then I was on so many antibiotics. A lot of times the antibiotics they gave me didn't work. Then they would put me on Levaquin, you know, and so like my gut was a wrecked mess. Yeah, no, it

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: makes sense. Well, you have a great story, Barb. You've taken full accountability yourself. I call it the wounded healer story.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You know, most practitioners, they come from a place of having that aha moment, getting themselves better, improving their health. And they're like, all right, I want to take this to the everyday person. So that's kind of, I have a similar story. It sounds like you have a similar story. I think it's very inspiring.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think a lot of listeners can connect with that. I think you provide a lot of hope, especially to that, you know, that demographic that, that woman that's going into that menopausal kind of timeframe has the Hashimoto's and they just aren't given a lot of options by their, by their conventional medical doctor to, to address the issue.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I love that. Anything else you want to leave the listeners with regarding You know, any other key things that helped you that you want to highlight?

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah. You know, small steps for the win. Okay. Do some, do small steps. I mean, if you could do everything all at once, great, but for it to be sustainable, do small steps over a period of time.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: So things become a habit because once it's a habit, then it's your life. You know, so the things like the movement, the drinking water, you know I know avoiding sugar is hard. I was a sugar addict. I used to go to our local grocery store. They have all the bakery goods in the front and I used to buy them, buy it, eat it on the way home and then throw the container in the garbage bin in the garage.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: So my husband wouldn't see it. Or if he was in the garage, I would hide it under the seat. I mean, I was an addict. That's what addicts do. So like just small things, you know, on the daily and pick and give yourself a lot of grace along the way, fall down seven, get up eight, like just keep going. And, you know and then if you are a menopausal woman, you know, and you're having hot flashes and all these issues, man, stop, stop that sugar.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: I'm telling you, that is, you know one of the first things I'd recommend, you know, 100%, but yeah, keep going small steps for the wind. So you can, things can become a habit and, you know, and you can do this. I did it. You can do it. Yeah. And my clients do it too.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That's excellent. Very good. So Barb, you see patients or you seriously clients worldwide now as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Why don't you give everyone your website? We put it down below in the description. So if you guys are driving, don't worry. Click down below. We'll have that link there. You're giving away a free recipe guide as well. And then you have opportunity. People want to, to work with you kind of on the coaching side.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You have that where's the best place for listeners to find you.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Yeah my website is daily wellness for you. So D a I L Y W E L L N E S S for you. com. And on that you can get a primal meal plan or a paleo meal plan that you can check out it's seven days worth of recipes so you can see all the wonderful foods you can have and there's no gluten or dairy in it.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And you can contact me for a one on one coaching. And I, I have long one on one coaching programs, but I also offer short 28 day programs throughout the year. And the 28 day program actually wrote a book about it and just got released. It's called feel great in 28 and yeah, I can get it on Amazon.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Whoops. Here it is. I feel great in 28. Yep. And I get that just got released and you know, but the, and also to, I have a free Facebook group that I love to serve in and give trainings on and things like that, just so people can feel great. I want to mitigate suffering. You know, that's my thing. Like, don't wait as long as I, I don't want people to go through over 15 years like I did.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: And, you know, there's a lot you can do to mitigate that suffering, you know, for sure. And live your best life.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, Barb, you've been a phenomenal patient. You're educated. You lived it. You're authentic. And so you're going to be able to help lots of people. So congratulations for all that you're doing.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Well, thank you for all that you do.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Thank you so much. I appreciate you so much. Thank you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, Barb. All right. Link down below guys. If you want to go and get access to more Barb's great info, Barb, thanks so much. You have an awesome day. It was great seeing you.

Barbara Diaz de Leon: Thank you. Bye.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.

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