Join us this week for an in-depth conversation with Nicole Prom about Hashimoto's Disease, an autoimmune disorder, and the Autoimmune Protocol diet.
Nicole has a Masters of Science and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology. She was a school psychologist for 7 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She now has three boys, including identical twins!
We talk with Nicole about managing multiple food allergies with a family of five, how she maintains her thyroid health, and much more!
Learn more about AIP
Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe
I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.
Roni: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Plan to Eat podcast. We are really excited today to share an interview that we got to do with Nicole Prom.
Riley: Nicole is a blogger over at the thewayitreallyis.com. And she's the mom of three little boys, including two twins. Today we talked to her about food allergies Hashimoto's and just life with twins. It was a great conversation and we're excited to share it with you.
Roni: The information contained in this episode of the Plan to Eat podcast is not intended as medical or health advice. The following information is not a substitute for medical or health advice from a professional who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your individual situation.
Okay. Well, Nicole, Thank you for joining us today on the Plan to Eat [00:01:00] podcast. We appreciate you being here.
Nicole: Thank you for having me.
Roni: We'd like to get started to get to know you a little bit more. So, why don't you give us just like a brief bio and what you do.
Nicole: So I'm, I'm currently a stay at home mom of my. Almost six year old son and three and a half year old twins, all boys. So it's chaos. I've been a stay at home mom for about five years. And before that I was a school psychologist for seven years, which I loved, but it just got to the point where my oldest had just been born and he was constantly sick at daycare.
So I was like, okay, we're, I'm going to stay home with him. And we're going to try that out. I've been married for about nine years to my amazing and supportive husband. and since I've become a stay at home, mom, I realized I'd kind of lost myself. I didn't really have a sense of self. And so I started some hobbies, including a blog that I started about a year and a half [00:02:00] ago.
And. I wanted to start one for a long time, but I couldn't think of a name. And finally, in October, November of 2020, it just came to me one night to call it the way it really is, because that's what I wanted to talk about was the way things really are not, oh, everything's perfect. You know, like people tend to post on social media and whatnot.
I wanted to actually, you know, show in the trenches, but it's like, so. And my blog, I talk about parenting children's activities. I focus a lot on having twins, having food allergies and dealing with things like depression, postpartum, depression, and also writing about hobbies for moms and making sure that they take care of themselves as well as their kids.
Riley: Awesome. All of that is so, so needed, um, in the mom's space. So thanks for sharing that with us.
Nicole: You're welcome.
Roni: How long were you, um, how long did you continue to [00:03:00] work? While having an gear first kid? Well, having your first boy before you decided that it was time to just be a stay-at-home mom.
Nicole: So I worked for about nine months. It was, I was in a contract for a full school year and by February. I was already saying, okay, that this can't go on. We'd taken so much sick time. My husband and I have probably 30 days altogether, if not more. And though I was still able to complete my work and everything.
It was really stressful and not good for any of us. So, um, I actually, my last day of work was the day before he turned one.
Roni: Oh, wow.
Riley: a birthday present to yourself
Nicole: Yes. Yes.
Riley: That's a big deal. That's a big change. I bet it was a hard decision to make to maybe it got easier towards the end, but I think that probably be a pretty hard decision.
Nicole: It was hard, especially because I'd worked so hard, like I've two graduate degrees to be a school psychologist. So I had worked, I had been in college [00:04:00] for seven years to get all of those degrees and then I worked for seven years and then I was done. It was like, huh, how does that, how does that work out there?
Riley: Yeah, there's a season for everything. And so don't, you know, don't write that off. Like there's still time for you to, for that to maybe.
Yeah. Um, so I'd love to just kind of shift gears a little bit. Um, you mentioned that one of the things you talk about on your blog is food allergies. So I just like to hear it.
What's your journey with food allergies? Um, I think you mentioned that one of your kids, or more than one of your kids has food allergies and you do so we'd just love to hear kind of all about that, your journey to finding those out and then kind of how you navigate.
Nicole: So I actually, way back when I was 12, I had some food allergy testing because I had spots head to toe and they're trying to figure out why it was, you know, the food allergy testing, where they do all of the little pin, middle or pricks all over your body at pinpricks. And it was not fun. [00:05:00] So they found that.
Honestly, I don't remember all of it, but they found out some things I'm allergic to. We removed them, things got better. The allergist said, okay, you can start adding them back in. So as a teenager, I did, you know, whatever. but then fast forward to in 2014, I was 28. And I had a lot of changes happen in life.
They were mainly good changes. I had recently gotten married. We bought our first home. We both switched jobs and of course, some on a, not so good things came up such as the home that we did not buy as a fixer upper ended up needing about $40,000 in different thing. Like new furnace. Found some mold, you know, fun stuff.
So there was a lot that we were going through and suddenly I couldn't sleep. I'd wake up at two 30 in the morning with these anxiety attacks that I would describe to my husband, as I felt [00:06:00] like I was being chased by a bear. And I never had anxiety attacks like this. And so I wasn't getting much sleep and
um, the way to work, I would have to sing to myself this song that the refrain is I just want to be okay. Just to kind of get myself. Okay, you're fine. You can, you can do this. And I loved my job, but just starting out in a new school district, every district, just like every workplace is a little different.
So there, there were a lot of new things that I need to get used to. And, So this continued to go on and being the researcher. I am, I started looking into it, you know, is this, you know, what's going on inside of my body that might be causing this.
And I came across Hashimoto's disease, which I had never heard of before. I've had hypothyroidism since I was 12, which runs in my family. But I didn't know that it [00:07:00] was, that it's generally caused by Hashimoto's, which is an auto-immune disease. So after more and more research and more issues arising with my health, I decided to go into my doctor and ask for the testing and she said, sure, I'll I'll test you.
It's just a blood test. And, we don't treat you any differently. We're still gonna give you your Synthroid. Off-brand level thyroxcine and that's how we deal with it. Like, okay, that's fine. I just want to know what's going on. So she tested me and sure enough, my TPO antibodies were about 13 times where they should have been.
And so I definitely have Hashimoto's disease and. Along my research. I also had come across the autoimmune protocol. And so I decided, you know what, it's a huge change, but I'm going to try it. so the autoimmune protocol relieve, I was explaining it as, you know, a lot of people know what paleo is and then take out even more foods.[00:08:00]
So basically it's high quality. that's like, you know, using cooking things like coconut oil, olive oil, instead of butter vegetables, but not, not all vegetables and some fruits, but no grains, including rice, wheat, no dairy, things like that. so we started into that and I started feeling to be honest, Really crummy it the first couple of days.
And there's like this whole period of time where there's like gluten die off and, and whatnot, basically your body getting rid of the, the stuff that's been kind of causing inflammation inside of your body. But within a week, I couldn't believe how great I felt. And so that, that really helped. I also found out that what I'd likely what likely had been happening.
In that period of time in 2014 and 2015 before I was diagnosed and started AIP was, I probably was in an auto-immune flare where [00:09:00] all of those stressors, even though a lot of them are good stressors and changes all of those added up to make my body go in kind of overreact and. With an auto-immune disease.
My body is always attacking my tissues, namely my thyroid and my case. But with this, it really amped up that attack. And that's why everything was kind of going wrong in my body.
Roni: So when you went to your doctor, did you talk to them at all about like the AIP, doing the autoimmune protocol? Were they supportive of that or were they just kind of like sure. Do whatever you want.
Nicole: My doctor is. She's really great. And that she's pretty much open to anything like a lot of doctors I've had in the past. If I said, Hey, can you test me for this? They'd say, no, you don't need that. Or, you know, stuff like that. She, she was like, yeah, that, that might help. There's really, no, she felt at the time that there was no documented research that it will help, but she's like, it's not going to hurt, [00:10:00] you know, it's worth a try.
Riley: So, um, the, you still eat AIP or do you, have you kind of modified it to be the way that fits your needs? Cause like I use I've I also have Hashimoto's I have done AIP, I had like this honeymoon period where I was doing really great. And then I got really sick again. And so I have had to just kind of like balance things out, uh, and like figure out what the right combination of eliminating foods is for me. So I'm curious where you kind of stand with that now.
Nicole: So for the first 90 days, I did the strict elimination diet, which was really difficult because I ended up getting pregnant with my first child within the first month, which was good. We were planning. We were hoping for that, trying for that. it made life a little more difficult than it needed to be in terms of food aversions and whatnot.
so I was strict for the first 90 days. And then I did start adding foods back in slowly after that, but I didn't go in order of what you're supposed to add back. So you're supposed to start with egg whites or egg yolks, [00:11:00] and then they have this whole sequence and I did egg yolks. I was fine with those.
And then I went straight to a rice cause I'm like, I need a grain. I am starving. I'm not gaining weight. I'm growing a baby. You know, like we need to get going here. luckily I didn't have any issues with either of those. And so I slowly started adding most foods back in which. I wouldn't recommend during pregnancy because it was difficult to figure out, is this a pregnancy symptom that I'm nauseous today or is it because I tried, you know, whatever food, but overall, my main things that I S I still avoid are gluten.
Dairy and soy. Those are my big ones. And then I also found avocado and spinach don't agree with me, which is really disappointing because they're so healthy. But what can you do?
Riley: But that list is so much shorter than probably it'd be good for us to like link to some information in the show notes about that [00:12:00] automo auto immune protocol. So people can have an idea, but you really do cut outs. Like I don't know, hundred foods. And so to go from that list to having just, you know, like three or four, whatever you just said, um, gluten, soy, and dairy, like that is a huge, that's a, your food options got a lot bigger.
Nicole: of a lot. You know, Facebook groups that are gluten free Facebook groups. And they're like, oh, I can't find this or that. And I just, I think to myself, cause I, I know where they're at, but I think to myself, man, that's nothing compared to AIP, you know, but I know it's hard to, I it's a huge shift and but yes, currently it's a lot.
I can eat a lot more stuff than I used to, but at the same time, I think I'd feel a lot healthier if I did. More the way I used to,
Roni: So then one of your children also has food allergies as well, right?
Nicole: Yeah. And so my oldest ended up, he had a really bad eczema the first two [00:13:00] years of his life to the point that he would scratch himself until he bled daily and looking back at pictures, it's just, it's so sad. And the pediatrician that we saw at the time just kept saying, oh, eczema is normal until they're about two.
Don't worry about it. Just keep putting creams on him. And we kept doing that. And then finally I'm like, no, I'm sick of putting hydrocortisone on him. I don't feel that's good for him to have constantly. And there's gotta be a deeper issue. So we found a different pediatrician who would do some allergy testing on him.
And it turns out that he's slightly allergic to egg whites and sensitive to gluten and dairy. So luckily that wasn't a huge change for us. He just ate more like me instead of more like, cause dad. and since he, since we made that dietary change for him, his eczema is completely gone. we have started to add, [00:14:00] I go back in a little bit baked egg.
Every we try it once every couple of years, just, you know, give them some udi's bread that has egg in it instead of the free bread that he usually eats. And he's been doing fine lately with that. And his doctor had said that we could start adding that back in, but in terms of gluten and dairy, I'm a lot more hesitant with those just because of my history and I know how they react more with the body.
So I might hold off on those for a while.
Riley: Well, I'm really glad to hear that he's doing so much better because sick babies is no fun.
Nicole: Agreed. Thank
Riley: And also just sounds miserable. Like who would, oh, just scratching until he was bleeding. That just, I feel so bad for him. So I'm glad that you found a solution that is resolving that for him.
Nicole: for sure.
Roni: I can't imagine how difficult that would be to have a child with food allergies because they have. Uh, [00:15:00] like a lot less body awareness to be able to tell you, you know, like eight this thing, and now I feel bad because of it. So yeah, I can't imagine. I w I could see why you'd be really hesitant to add in extra foods until he's a little older, just be able to, like, for him to be able to communicate that easier with.
Nicole: Definitely it's it's actually really. Pretty early on. I taught him, these are the things you can't have. So even though you have macaroni and cheese at home, the Daiya, a macaroni cheese that doesn't have gluten dairy, you know, any of that stuff doesn't mean that you can go to grandma's and have macaroni and cheese because that will have all the stuff.
And so he has started to even, he knows his allergens really well. And. I feel like he was even just three years old and I have this video of him where he's like, I can eat these cupcakes because they don't have gluten dairy or egg in them. And he was excited.
Riley: Oh, man. That's cute. So how do you manage [00:16:00] meals at home with food allergies? Cause you mentioned that your husband eats a little bit differently and maybe that's changed over the years, but so how do you, um, feed all the people in your household and navigate these allergies?
Nicole: Basically the ones that have no food allergies are on their own, not just kidding, but, um,
Riley: Cause you're twins are like three years old, right there. Just free, free game.
Nicole: They figure it out on their own. the biggest thing is keeping gluten and everything else away from each other because gluten is so easy to have cross-contamination that we don't allow, or I don't allow any gluten or wheat flour in our house because it just kind of gets everywhere We have a special drawer in the refrigerator for our gluten bread and bagels and things like that, that my husband and twins can eat. I guess we also, we have different jars of peanut butter so that a gluten knife, you know, doesn't go. Peanut [00:17:00] butter jar and get gluten into it and all of that.
So, and we have our own toasters, so we have a lot of separate things for those of us that can have blue or that can, and can't have gluten. Other than that, it's just a lot of finding. Gluten-free or allergen friendly substitutes for the things that everyone else is eating. And luckily I've gotten a lot better at that over the years.
So that, especially my oldest doesn't feel left out when his brothers get to have something in terms of, meal planning. I, I mainly just meal plan for dinners. These days, my husband usually takes care of breakfast. Which is really a nice, at least for the twins he does. And then lunch it's just kind of tends to be kind of random, whatever I think of, I'm going to try to do something that everyone can have.
So like a meat and cheese sandwich, but obviously my one son has special bread and you know, things like that and vegetables and whatnot, but for dinners ever [00:18:00] since I started eating differently. We've just planned it around what I can eat and everyone else just eats that. And it's taken a while for my husband to get used to it because he still gets to eat normal food.
And then there's, you know, the allergen friendly version, he's always been a really big trooper. And he was actually our main chef for the longest time. Now I tend to volunteer because. He can go hang out with the kids and I can cook. So I get a little bit of time away from the kids. Um, we mainly plan around those of us that have food allergies.
So we, and everyone eats that, not to say that everyone eats the food well as kids are, but we try.
Riley: Yeah, I think that is, um, so much easier than cooking two meals. Happens. And in some households, that's a necessity to cook more than one meal, but I'm glad that you guys have figured out the solution so that you're [00:19:00] not having to cook two meals every night, um, for the different people at your.
Nicole: For sure.
Riley: Yeah. You mentioned something about your, your son getting to have his own treats like your other kids have.
And, um, I was thinking that as an adult, that's just, um, less of an issue, you know, because you're just a lot more aware, you know, that, okay. There's something I can't have. And especially over time with food restrictions. Like I can personally say that it just becomes just such a non-issue for me. Like there are occasionally times when I'm bummed, I can't have somebody's birthday dessert, but mostly it's not that big of a deal.
But as a kid, it's a bit harder to understand and a bit harder to communicate. Like when you just don't get to have this, it's like, you know, fair, uh, is not something that is easily understood as a child. And I'm like, well, they get it, but I don't, you know, so I'm really glad that you've found some things for him.
I think that in general, The, the options out there for alternatives have really grown quite a bit. Um, and so, uh, for your son, I'm really grateful for that.
Nicole: Yeah. [00:20:00] Yes. Yeah. Even since 2015, it's amazing. How many, um, gluten-free and allergen friendly options are out there. It's it's really good. I'm glad that we're not like in the nineties or something, it would have been a lot harder.
Roni: Oh, absolutely.
Uh, so did you meal plan before, you started this AIP diet or was that kind of your introduction to meal planning?
Nicole: That was my introduction to meal planning. Before that I did what a lot of people do with just what are we having for dinner tonight? You know, it was just my husband and I, and just make pasta or, you know, whatever the default is. Um, so yeah, it, it started with AI.
Roni: And then, So how was that, um, kind of transitioned from you were doing that for yourself and your husband, and then not only did you add one kid, but then you quickly added two more. So like how has that meal planning process changed as you've added to your family?
Nicole: So [00:21:00] originally I started out like a lot of people. I'm sure where I had my cookbook, my AIP cookbook, that I. I had purchased and I had a notebook and I had a calendar and I sat down once a week and I would, you know, write down. And at that time I had to plan all three meals because I couldn't just have toast.
I couldn't have any grains at all. it did not go well. Um, especially because, you know, as I mentioned, I was in the beginning of pregnancy through a lot of this. And so. You know, I would sit down and I'd ask my husband to sit down with me and go through meal planning with me and he'd be like, oh, what about this beef and broccoli recipe?
That's in this cookbook. Oh, I can't stand the smell of broccoli this week or, you know, whatever. and so it was really tough at first So, yeah, so then I started meal planning, what's with plan to eat, which was a much better and, much easier and everything. And I do it on my own. And with,[00:22:00] with kids, it really, with my first child, he ate so well. He was, and maybe it was because I ate really well when I was pregnant with him. You know, I was still in that beginning part of AIP and he loved.
He always eats vegetables and fruits. They all love fruits. So they'd eat that all day if they could, but he would just eat whatever we ate. So once he had enough teeth, which he got his first 16 teeth in the first year, which was probably another reason why he was constantly seeming sick that first year, but once he had enough teeth to.
He would just start eating small portions of what we ate. then when the twins came along, And then when they started eating they, for whatever reason, don't maybe it's because there's more than one of them and they've decided, Hey, if we just don't eat this together, it'll mom will get the hint. But now my oldest of course has started that too.
So now we have some picky eaters. I kind of go in between meal planning for what I [00:23:00] think that they'll actually. And just meal planning for what we want, because I tend to meal plan on Wednesdays and for the next week. And I notice a lot that in those weeks where I've meal planned and I've thought, okay, we've got Mac and cheese and hot dogs, and we have, you know, this gluten-free pasta dish and whatever, like they should eat.
And they've only eaten like one of the meals, if even like, you know what, forget it. I'm making what I want next to me. So then I throw in more veggies and, you know, kind of, it goes back and forth.
Riley: That's kids, man.
Riley: I, um, it feels like feudal toy. Try to nail down. Oh, she really loves this or, sorry, my don't have a daughter, so, uh, I'll do the same thing. I'll be like, oh, she loves this. I'm going to make this as foolproof. And then I know who's the fool at the end of the night, because I think that I'm going to nail her down.
Like one day she'll love tomatoes and the next day she won't even touch [00:24:00] them. One day, she'll eat green beans and then for six months she won't and yeah. So yeah, it's a real, it's a struggle. So,
Roni: I was gonna say, if you got three of them to gang up on you, right. To be like, nah, we just want the cupcake instead.
Nicole: Exactly. Yup.
Riley: Got a mutiny on your hands. so a lot of people come to plan to eat because they have. Suddenly been diagnosed with something that requires a food change, um, or they have a huge life change. Um, you kinda had a, both happen at the same or had to happen at the same time. You had babies, which is a huge life change in requires.
Um, certainly some changes in the way that we meal plan and then also the AIP and your Hashimoto's. so can you remember how you found Plan to Eat in all of this process?
Nicole: I've been trying to think about that.
Riley: It has been, it has been
Nicole: It's been awhile. It's been awhile. I, you know, either it was just a Google search for. [00:25:00] A meal planning, alternative to paper because paper was horrible or, um, it, it definitely could have been through one of the many AIP bloggers I was following at the time.
Riley: Um, around that time, we also had a lot of AIP bloggers writing for plan to eat. Uh, and so, you know, who knows your paths crossed somewhere, but it could have been that.
Do you have any, like tips on your, in your process of meal planning, anything that you kind of like your go-to? This is how I kind of organize my week.
Nicole: So I tend to, I make sure that I've meal planned by Wednesday or Thursday, because then we order groceries on Friday. We've had groceries delivered to us since the twins were born because no one wants to go to the grocery store with two babies and a toddler. And on the weekends, My husband to leave, to go grocery shopping, because then I'm stuck with two babies and a toddler.
So, um, so we've been doing food delivery for many years, which is [00:26:00] really nice. And I tend to meal plan on my desktop. I of course do use the app as well for a lot of different things, but. I do the main meal planning on my desktop on the website. And I used to just scroll down all of my recipes, by i have, most a thousand recipes now.
And I don't know how, but hundreds of them are desserts. I haven't tried most of them, but they look amazing.
Roni: Oh, we are over here laughing because that is us too. I just added another cookie recipe to my account the other day. And I went and looked at my tags and I have like 98 recipes tagged as cookie only. I mean, only cookies. And then I have like 500 other recipes that a dessert, I don't even know how to.
Riley: I don't even make dessert that often, but I think the pictures are so tempting that I'm like, gotta add this to my plan date one day, I might want to make this mocha something mudslide thing or other, and then it never gets made. But I have so many that I wear it. [00:27:00] Same.
Nicole: Yes, totally well in, especially when starting out with this new way of eating, you're like, oh wait, I could still have cookies that are, you know, allergen friendly, uh, cakes. That's allergen friendly, no way I have to save this. And I also have a hard time getting rid of them, even if I did make them. And I didn't like.
'cause what if I re add it later? And I didn't know. It was horrible. So, yeah, so I used to scroll past all of those, but now I've gotten smarter and I just go over to, to filter by main course. And then I just, you know, go through there and drag and drop. And to my week, I try to go with two meals a week that has.
The main part of it, or the main meat as chicken too, with beef, at least one with fish, whether it's, you know, tuna salmon or another type of fish. And then if I, if at all possible couple of nights of [00:28:00] leftovers, because who doesn't love leftover night,
Roni: So then I'm guessing you guys probably don't go out to eat very often because that is that a little hard to manage for you with your allergies.
Nicole: Yeah. Ever since starting the eat this way. I think I've gone out to eat what, fewer than 10 times. I mean, we do have some granted, I guess there has been Chipotle every once in a while I trust them as long as I don't get the burrito. Of course. Um, but otherwise it's, it's not very often.
Nicole: is kind of okay.
I mean, it saves a lot of money.
Roni: Yeah. It was your husband a little more lenient on that. Like, will he go out for like lunch or something when he's not with you?
Nicole: Oh, for sure. For sure. Yeah. And he actually re a little while ago, he got a, he's been working from home for the past two years now and he got a gift certificate to Domino's pizza and. Everyone has their own opinions on it. He's not a huge fan. I used to love [00:29:00] Domino's pizza for some reason. And so that's like, if I were to really want to mess up my body for one day, I would go eat Domino's I'm not saying Domino's is bad.
I'm just saying my body would be angry because was gluten and all the things I value doesn't like, but anyway, so he was like, so I want to order this pizza. And I go. Go around front when the delivery guy comes, take it downstairs. Cause he works in the basement and we have a walkout basement it's finished and everything go bring it through there because if there's the smell in the house, I am going to have her really hard.
You know, if you like, if it was just wafts through the whole house,
Riley: he likes snakes. Your three-year-old's down there,
Nicole: Yeah, exactly. But we have actually had it delivered a couple of times too, but that was. One case recently then like, no, just you can do it, but not, not here.
Riley: you guys take trips or anything like that, do you typically just, um, do a lot of meal prep and pack it [00:30:00] all and take it with you? Is that kind of the way you navigate those kinds of things?
Nicole: So we haven't really taken trips since I started eating this way. Um, we we've gone to a cabin a couple of times with my parents and then we will. You know, there's a full kitchen and everything. And so we'll meal plan, of course, and then bring our own food and everything. But in terms of, you know, an actual vacation, like we had kids soon after that and yeah, we haven't really been anywhere maybe someday.
I hope to someday, but otherwise
Riley: a pain 0.1 day, your kids will be older and it will be great.
Roni: Uh, so I actually wanted to ask you a little bit about how you manage. Time and your life with having twins, because that, um, just seems like if you were expecting to just have a second child, and then all of a sudden [00:31:00] you have three children, like that's a big change. So like how did you navigate that? And like, how did that change?
Um, I guess like your whole time management.
Nicole: Rocked our world. It was, it was a huge surprise. And with identical twins, they don't run in the family. So it's not like, oh yeah, we were expecting because it has all these fraternal twins and the family and whatnot. it completely took us by surprise. And yes, we were planning on just having one more.
We always plan on having a boy and a girl, you know, and, and we'd be on our own Merry little way. With the type of twins that I, I have where they they're Modi twins for shorts and it's, they shared a placenta, but they had their own sack. And so they were pretty high risk. So the point that I had to have a, I had to go to appointments every other week, starting at 14 weeks pregnant.
And these appointments were generally. At least 30 [00:32:00] minutes away. And I couldn't bring my older son with me who was one at the time, almost two. I couldn't bring him with me because the appointments were so long and I'd be getting ultrasounds and tests. And so then we would, luckily my mother-in-law would come down and take care of our, our oldest while I went.
But, but she lives an hour and a half away. So it would be like this whole overnight thing. And then, which was great. I'm very lucky. I love my mother-in-law. We get along very well. So that was all totally fine and great to have her there, but all of the appointments and the stress of are they okay? Are they sharing resources, you know, equally so that they don't have to come out early or have any complications, things like that.
It was a very stressful pregnancy Of course, then they came early, which isn't that, surprising with twins. We knew they'd be a little early, but they came even before we had planned, because I ended up developing preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. So they were born at about 36 weeks. so [00:33:00] yeah, all of that was just very different.
And then having two babies at once is. Complete chaos. I always say we survived the first year of, of twins and a toddler. Um, I also ended up with postpartum depression, which I was in denial, which is stupid. I feel cause I'm a psychology training and everything, but I was in denial for the first seven months about whether or not I was.
Having issues that I actually needed to see someone about, or if I was just overwhelmed with everything going on, because the twins also had a lot of medical appointments for the first several months. And we ended up moving when they were six months old. which was good again, good stressors, but there's still stressors.
It was good that we moved, we needed more space, but yeah, so. I mean since then, it's, it's just a lot [00:34:00] of juggling. A lot of, I remember the first year or two, you know, I can't put both kids down to nap at the same time, but they're both tired, you know? And so you have to leave a one crying on the main floor while I go take the one up and put them to bed, get him, you know, give him, feed him his bottle, get him settled, and then go get the other one.
And you always feel so horrible for the other one crying, but it's impossible to do. Everything at the same time. And then there's the older one. That's like, hello, what about me? it's, it was chaos at first for, especially the first couple of years, but it's gotten a lot better as they've gotten older.
It is kind of nice having all boys because they like all the same stuff though, that also can have its challenges because when they want to play with the same stuff all the time, But we've gotten really good at our house with labeling their toys. They each have their own color. And which started out [00:35:00] as for twins.
I mean, they're identical. so to tell even them apart, especially in photos, looking back, we started dressing one and mainly reds and one a mainly blues. And so that has just kind of gone into blue is the one's color. Red is the other one. And then my oldest is green. And so we have little dots on toys and stuff like that.
If, if we have three of one toy, which somethings we do, which is a whole nother issue, but if we have one toy that you have adapt, because somehow they totally know whose is whose, even though I have no idea. So.
Riley: You're the second, you're the second mom that we've had on the podcast, who has mentioned that they color code their kids. And, um, so apparently there's just like a great tool that more, I mean, nobody, I know color codes, their children. So I'm really kind of excited to hear that this is something else that, that you know, that you do too.
Um, because maybe this is going to be helpful for somebody else. Cause the color coding. It really sounds like it makes sense.
Nicole: [00:36:00] For sure, for sure. And I'm an only child. So I had no idea about any of this. This is all new to me.
Riley: I can imagine that would be a pretty big change. Um, so you mentioned this, a few minutes ago, but it's actually something I've never heard of. So I wanted to quickly ask you if you don't mind sharing, but what does Hep syndrome? It was something you mentioned you had when you were pregnant.
Nicole: Yeah. So it's, it's actually Hellp syndrome
age, H E L L P. And it's an acronym. It stands for hemolysis. I'm going to spell this or say this horribly. I apologize, but elevated liver enzymes and low platelets. And what ended up happening with me is my preeclampsia was so severe when I went in that my and my liver enzymes were like 73.
And I don't remember what normal is, but it's it, they were very, very low to the point that they couldn't even do an emergency C-section with a [00:37:00] spinal. They had to put me under because had they done the spinal. Would have probably bled out. so yeah, it's just a, it's related to preeclampsia, but it's more severe than it's like a more severe form of preeclampsia.
Riley: Okay. Wow. That's.
Nicole: I actually ended up going into the hospital when it was like two days prior. I was fine at my appointment. Everything checked out, no preeclampsia, nothing. And then that was on a Thursday. And then on Saturday evening, I started feeling weird. And especially with twin pregnancies, it's really common to end up with preeclampsia.
And so my doctors kept telling me, okay, watch out for blood pressure. That's more than one 40 over 90. And any vision changes, swelling, things like. Well, it was September and I had been swollen for months cause I, I started measuring full term at 27 weeks and I [00:38:00] got bigger from there. So I was very swollen, especially cause it was warm out.
My legs were swollen and feet. but beyond that, I, I had a wrist cuff blood pressure monitor. And so I kept checking that and that night I just, I was checking it a lot and I was writing it down and I noticed they were consistently getting high. And then I had this really weird vision change where I was looking at my computer and I saw this thick diagonal black line.
And I knew it wasn't there, but that was the vision like that was my sign of, Hey, something's really bad. And so I waited a little bit of course, and you know, laid down, maybe it'll be fine. And then finally called the after hours. Um, mine for my specialist. And he said, yeah, so you're going to need to go into the hospital right now.
So, and then within three hours of getting there, the, the babies were out.
Riley: It's probably such a gift that you found your Hashimoto's, um, before your first pregnancy, because it [00:39:00] sounds like there were quite a few stressors in your second one. That could have, could have co you know, like kinda could have triggered it, but because you had it so well managed at that point, it was probably such a gift that you already knew about the Hashimoto stuff.
I'm just thinking, like you said that there, there were stressors in your life that kind of caused this flare. Um, and then I feel like all of these stressors could have caused a flare too, but you knew at that point, so you were able to have already been managing it.
Nicole: For sure. Yeah. And I feel like being, especially gluten dairy and soy free, which are three big ones for Hashimoto's to avoid. Even if you don't do a full autoimmune protocol to figure out foods that are bothering you. I feel like not having those in my system really helped get my Hashimoto's under control.
And I actually, I had my. TPO antibodies measured after I had delivered my first child and I'd been AIP with adding some things back in that first year. [00:40:00] And they were down from 125 to 25. So they had really, I really helped myself. But one other thing I'd like to mention is when someone's pregnant and they have.
Hashimoto's or hypothyroidism or both, which most of us have. It's extremely important to have your thyroid levels checked every four weeks for at least the first half of pregnancy. And that's something that a lot of people don't know about. Even my doctors didn't know about it, I actually was going to an endocrinologist or in my first pregnancy.
And I had to kind of fight him to test me every four weeks. And sure enough, I did need more and more medication and had I not fought for that to get that testing so often, I don't know if my kids would be here. Okay. So that's just something kind of a, a PSA to put out there to make sure that [00:41:00] those levels that are in check.
And I also found that having my TSH around 1.0 is a very good place to be for my overall health. But especially when I was pregnant, that's like the optimum level from.
Riley: Awesome. Thanks for mentioning that. I, it was my experience also to have. Four weeks. And like one thing that I learned in my research is that like, you're, the mom provides for the baby thyroid hormone until they develop their own thyroid. And so if you already struggle with that, and then your baby is, you know, taking it, what it needs to, it can really put the mom in a lot of, um, in a lot of stress.
Cause you know, you aren't making enough for yourself. So yeah. So absolutely. That's a great PSA. Thanks for adding it.
Nicole: You're welcome.
Roni: We like to end our podcast talking about recipes, but before we talk about that, do you want to just, um, give a shout out to where people can find you online, your blog and all that stuff.
Nicole: Sure. Yeah, that'd be great. So [00:42:00] my blog is thewayitreallyis.com just the way it sounds. And. I am of course, on Twitter and Facebook as well. And Pinterest. and they're the good ones were like, Pinterest is pinterest.com backslash the way it really is. And then it spelled out.com because it, they didn't have the other one available, but.
Roni: That's okay. We can link to it in the show notes so people can find it.
Riley: Would you be willing to share your plain, either username so that people could connect with you and access your AIP?
Nicole: Sure. So it's the way it really is. Keep it simple on there and I will. A lot of my recipes are AIP, not all, but they are all gluten dairy and soy free. Some are egg free as well.
Riley: Awesome. Thank you.
Roni: Great. Yeah. So why don't you. tell us about a favorite recipe [00:43:00] that you've eaten recently that maybe we can link to in our show notes so people can find it too.
Nicole: Definitely some actually making this for dinner tonight. It is creamy cilantro, lime chicken by the AIP sisterhood. And you don't have to be an IP to enjoy it. I still love it. And so does my husband. This is one that actually my kids eat sometimes too. We'll see how tonight goes, but for people who are AIP, you can serve it over cauliflower rice.
Or if you have added things back in or not AIP at all, you can just. Regular rice. We'd like Jasmine rice, which is what we do. And even though it says cilantro name and it is the wishlist with cilantro, if you don't have it in a house, that's okay. We've made it many a times without it just because. It tends to be, we need cilantro for one recipe and you have the whole bunch.
And then what, and so tonight I'm actually, [00:44:00] I did buy cilantro and I'm actually going to use what I need and then make dried cilantro in the oven. So we'll see how this goes.
Riley: What a great tip. Thanks for sharing that little tip. I love a good modification.
Roni: what's the part of the what's, uh, since it's dairy free, what's the part of the recipe that makes it creamy.
Nicole: It is. Cream, which is so if you have coconut milk, get the full fat kind the night before you put, take it from your pantry and put it into your fridge. And then the coconut cream will actually rise to the top. And you scoop that off and use that for the creaminess.
Roni: I love it.
Riley: Well, Nicole, thank you so much for talking to us today. We really enjoyed it. Um, it was just great to hear about your journey and, all your tips and just navigating life with food allergies and twins and another baby. So thank you very much for your time.
Nicole: Thank you so much. This has been fun.
Roni: Thank you for [00:45:00] listening to this episode. If you want to connect with all of the recipes that we have mentioned in this episode, previous episodes and any episodes in the future, we now have a plan to eat account and you can get access to all of the recipes that we've ever talked about on the podcast
Riley: Simply go to plantoeat.com forward slash P T E pod. And you can automatically connect with that account and get all of our favorite recipes.
Roni: Thanks again, and we'll see you in the next episode.