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The Zest with Elissa Goodman

Elissa Goodman and Teju Owoye Interview

Wow! I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Elissa Goodman, a rockstar holistic, integrative nutritionist. Elissa absolutely exudes inner joy and true radiance. She has transformed so many lives by teaching people how to eat healthier and live mindfully in an encouraging, open way. You don’t want to miss this jaw-dropping interview with her. She shares her inspiring story—chock full of trials and tribulations on her own personal wellness journey. She also shares actionable tips to help anyone to start taking small steps toward living a healthier life. Stick around until the end—Elissa shares some delicious, quick healthy recipes in a super special demo!

Teju: Today I couldn’t be more excited. I have the amazing, incredible Elissa Goodman, who is a holistic integrative nutritionist. I mean, one of the top experts in the field, she’s sitting down with us to share all of her incredible information on autoimmune diseases, her amazing journey, and her story. This is going to be an action-packed, amazing interview. So super excited to bring Elissa here to the show!

Elissa: Thank you. I’m so honored every time someone asks me to speak because I can’t really believe that I get to do what I do for a living.

Teju: It’s amazing. The impact, Elissa, that you’ve had throughout the years is just absolutely incredible. We were just chatting before we got started, and I was telling her about how her recipes make me look like I’m actually a good chef, but I’m really not. So thank you.

So jumping in, Elissa has just such a powerful story. And I would love for you to tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got started in what you’re doing. So I would love for you to share your story and journey.

Elissa: Well, how I got started was—I basically came into the world, I think, and not the healthiest kid. I mean, I was always sick when I was young, and I was always behind the eight ball, and every illness that you could get, I received. I got chickenpox, mono, strep, tonsillitis, digestive issues and just everything. I always was getting sick. So I always felt like, wow, I labeled myself I think not really knowing that I did in the early days as a “sick kid.”

So I felt like I was always playing catch up, and my family was very Type A, very successful, very driven. So it was a hard place to be with somebody who was kind of behind the eight ball and always feeling tired and not really having the energy. And when I did push myself, which I had to push myself all the time because I needed to keep up with this Type A family. I got sick. So as years went on, I kept that—I didn’t know any differently.

I just kept pushing myself, and I moved to New York, and I was living in Arizona—I grew up in Arizona, but I moved to New York, and I was working in the advertising business really fast-paced. Loved it, by the way. I just love the excitement and all of that. But I ended up getting sick consistently in New York, and I was living on coffee and late nights and lots of alcohol and crappy food and just trying to keep my energy up and going working out like crazy.

So that made it even, you know, I released some anxiety and stress, but I think cortisol wise, I was just adrenaline. I was pumping it consistently most of my life. And I met my husband, and he was from Queens. And I said, we’re moving west, and he’s like, “Oh, we’re moving to New Jersey?” And I’m like, no, we’re moving to California. He had never been to California. I need a slower life. I need to slow down. I know in my psyche and in my intuition, something was telling me this life is not working for me.

So we moved to LA, and I ended up getting a fantastic dream job in the advertising business with Vogue Magazine. And then months later, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. So the scariest thing of all— I did not have any symptoms because I probably did. But I didn’t know I had symptoms because I was always not feeling well. But I basically I was getting a massage, and I was sitting up and the masseuse, found a lymph node on my collar bone. And so she’s like, “You know, you shouldn’t really have a swollen lymph node on your collarbone. You need to get that checked out.”

And the next thing I knew, it was cancer. It was a huge wake up call, and it was an early stage of cancer. So that was helpful. And I was definitely scared out of my mind about it all because that word cancer scares all of us. We automatically think we’re going to go to a place of that we might die.

Teju: Absolutely.

Elissa: So at this stage, I saw three doctors, and in a nutshell, two of them were very aggressive in their treatment, and I hadn’t had kids yet. And I was 32. So all of that scared me—chemo and lots of radiation and maybe having to do a bone marrow transplant. All of that. But the last doctor sat me down and said, Ask me questions, like, “What’s your stress level like? You know, you don’t look happy. Tell me a little bit about your life and how you’ve been living.”

And I burst into tears, and I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m so miserable.” Work is way over my head. I don’t really love LA. We just moved here, don’t know anybody. And I’m constantly not feeling…my self worth was very low, my self esteem. I was always trying to play catch up with all of that as well. I never felt at peace with myself. That was the biggest component. And when I was talking to him, I realized that I realized, wow, this is a wake up call for me to come to terms with that and start looking at all of that and working on myself in the deeper place, not the physical place, which I had been doing, all the diets and all of that.

But the deeper rooted place of me. And so I did. I went into therapy. I started meditating. I did yoga. I actually started juicing. In those days, there was one juice place in LA, and I’d go there every day. I became a vegan because I just thought the energy of animal protein wasn’t the greatest for you. I did all of those things. And I did half of the radiation that they wanted me to do, you know, and I healed. And I went on to have two healthy girls.

Teju: Wow!

Elissa: That was great. But, then I ended up getting hyperthyroidism and Hashimotos because they had radiated by thyroid. And when I had my first daughter, I was diagnosed with a Hashimotos. Because a lot of times when you have trauma—that can come out—the autoimmune stuff. So, I was dealing with that—which took years, which we’ll talk about later about getting diagnosed with that. It took years to have somebody really hone in on of what my diagnosis was. But my husband, eleven years after my diagnosis, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Teju: Wow.

Elissa: So having both of us have cancer, and it was really sort of, incredibly shocking. And he went through a year-and-a-half treatment, and he had two bone marrow transplants in a year-and-a-half, which is a little bit unheard of.

Teju: Right.

Elissa: And he ended up passing away of pneumonia at 45.

Teju: So young.

Elissa: So yes, way too young. And to watch a really strong, which I thought was a really strong from the outside go down to this tank to this place of no immune system. And just a lot of just—wither away was awful—what the medical community did. And I do believe in drugs and helping people in that way. But the amount of chemo, the amount of radiation that this guy got in a year-and-a-half was just intense.

Teju: I mean, for anybody, even if you’re super healthy, the radiation, the chemo, it just puts your body under so much stress.

Elissa: That it does it absolutely does.

I mean, he withered away. He passed away. And then I had two girls, ten and seven at home, and we’re all traumatized. And we all just were like, “What the hell are we going to do now?” And so about two years later, I realized that I needed to actually help the three of us be healthy, figure out how to deal with our trauma and our PTSD from the whole event. I knew these girls were going to be traumatized, and I knew that they probably were thinking I might get cancer.

I’ll probably will get cancer most. Both of my parents had cancer, right. So they’re going to live in that fear-based mode, of potentially, you know, always in the back of their mind. Maybe it’s not their conscious, but in their subconscious going, I know this is potentially going to happen. I did not want that, because I felt like that’s how I lived most of my life, labeling myself as a sick kid. So I went back to school and got certified in Eastern and Western Nutrition.

Teju: Amazing.

Elissa: And it was amazing. So fun, it went two years. And then I graduated and this vegan restaurant asked me to do a food delivery program for them. It was Cafe Gratitude in LA.

Teju: Which we all know Cafe Gratitude.

Elissa: And it just come down from San Francisco. A friend of mine brought it down. So I did that for, like, three and a half years. And then a year into that M Cafe, which is a macrobiotic restaurant, asked me to put a food delivery program together for them, which I did. They were all five day programs, and I did that for them. And I’ve done it for, like, six years and and then Erewhon, which we all love, so they asked me to put cleanse together for them at the beginning, when the new owners took over.

So I did all these programs and I was thinking, well, you know, I’ve been doing this for everybody else. I could probably do this for myself, as well. So I put a 21-day reset program online where it’s three weeks of recipes, but it doesn’t just have food. It’s emotionally-based. So it’s meditation, and it’s journaling, and figuring out how to really get in touch with your intuition. And secondly, it’s really high in supplements that I’ve investigated over the years. There’s energy healing on there, tapping, exercise, yoga.

There’s all the components—that’s really how I live my life. You get emails every day of nutrition tips of what you need to know. So there’s a lot of support. I’ve done that for probably the last four or five years. It’s been on the site that you had to do it yourself program. So it’s sort of a little bit of a look into my world. And then about three-and-a-half years ago, we started a soup cleanse, which is cooked and delivered to almost 100 people in LA. It’s soups, and salads, and tonics, and fermented veggies, and homemade protein bars, and bone broth.

And it also has a ton of support. It’s five days and it’s all home cooked. And what is really interesting about this program is that we put a lot of love and intention into it, and we all know that food is medicine. And food can heal you.

Teju: Right.

Elissa: So that’s what this is about. It’s about we’re putting the intention into these soups and salads and everything we do about healing yourself. We want everybody who eats them and experiences this cleanse to get to a place where they feel that love. And they feel that healing energy from the food. And I think we might have accomplished that. It does really well, and it’s really fun to tear the testimonials and feedback from it. So it’s it’s been a really incredible journey.

Teju: What a journey. There’s so many things I want to dissect here. The first one, I think it’s really interesting that you hit on a point that I think that so many people resonate with—coming from a Type A perfectionist family feeling like, “Hey, I’ve got to perform. I’m not good enough. I’ve got to push.” I’ve got to be this type of person now talk to me how about how our society now, especially—we’re so high-performance and stress-driven. We’re always on. Give me a little bit of how you’re seeing that and some of the people that you’ve worked with and how that contributes to some of the autoimmune disease issues, the health issues that they have, that constant stress and “on-it-ness” that we all feel like we need to have—how it ends up manifesting and illness a lot of time.

Elissa: That is really the biggest issue that’s happening these days is that we are living in a society that is constantly on a treadmill. And we have for years and we sort of we were brought up and we grew up with you’ve got to pound the pavement, just work those long hours and just push, push, push to succeed. And women in general take on so much more. Men are great—and they do take a lot. But, women emotionally take on more. The central nervous system of our bodies was only meant to do one thing at a time, and we absolutely do not do one thing at a time.

Teju: We’re over loading.

Elissa: Ever since we were little, we’re on sports teams. We had to do chores at home, or you do school work, or whatever. You sing, and dance, and play the piano, or play tennis.

Teju: Right.

Elissa: We were so loaded down with activities, we never had downtime. And that’s continued out throughout our life. And the cortisol and the adrenaline that pumps through our body when we are on the go is pumped out of these two little adrenal glands that are super small and constantly being pumped through the body. And the adrenal glands are getting massively taxed. And then once they get taxed, everything else sort of goes a little bit haywire. So thyroid gets out of whack. It’s all part of the endocrine system.

Hormones then start to not function as well. Everything doesn’t function well. Your digestive system shuts down. The liver has to work overtime at helping the digestive system work and digest food. So it’s really the stress and the brain. It’s doing a lot kind of killing off a little bit of brain cells.

Teju: Right.

Elissa: We are just so massively stressed. We’re not sleeping very well. We’re not making very good decisions with food, and we’re really not giving our body the chance to reset, then regenerate and regroup.

So I see that as the number one cause of, like, all of these health issues, autoimmune, even cancer, everything in terms of—even diabetes, because people are looking for sugar in a lot of ways, for energy. So stress is a killer. And thank God a lot of meditation studios and yoga has become a lot more popular. And a lot of things that are helping us slow down are becoming a lot more popular. But in terms of the autoimmune stuff, it is really doing a number on us. Another thing that is happening is we aren’t speaking our mind.

We aren’t saying no. That’s enough. I don’t want to work that hard.

Teju: Right.

Elissa: I can work shorter hours and be just as creative. Yes, but we aren’t speaking our mind about what’s really going to help us. We know intuitively what’s going to help us. But that is, I think, very much of a tie in to the autoimmune stuff. We’re not, like, going, “Stop, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do the workload.” We’re not putting up our boundaries, too.

Teju: There’s this kind of this sentiment and feeling bad—if you push back and say no or feeling bad if you set a boundary, and then I feel like, as we’ve gotten more connected digitally with our computers online, it’s like we are disconnected from our intuition. So walk me through right before you got sick. What was your intuition telling you? What were some of those symptoms that you kind of brushed off and saying, oh, I can push through it’s no problem. And you felt like you didn’t need to say anything.

Or maybe something was wrong with you that you couldn’t quite articulate to anyone else.

Elissa: There were so many—because there was anxiety was one of them. I was not feeling good in my body. So I’m feeling very anxious, like somebody doesn’t feel right now. And what I’m doing isn’t I’m not loving and just everything. I didn’t feel comfortable. Little depression about it all. Also, my digestion was not good. I mean, I wasn’t digesting my food—I wasn’t. I was feeling a lot of bloating and gassiness and just not going to the bathroom every day was a big one—and being constipated because I was so uptight. And my head felt just really heavy, like not being able to really speak your truth is such a huge component of it is.

Teju: Of just so many things.

Elissa: Yeah. The anxiety, the depression, sleepless nights. We all know what our truth is, and we don’t—we’re scared to speak it. So I was terrified to speak it. I was terrified to say to the job, this is not right for me. And I was just terrified to really say, like, scream and yell about the mountaintops. I’m not happy. I think a lot of women feel that way. It’s like whoever you’re with and your partner or your friends. I mean, we pick certain people in our life and they’re there to give us messages and to teach us.

And sometimes they really push us to that place where we really need to see those signs. And that’s even hard, because you don’t want to see them. So you’re fighting back with those friends and loved ones, and that was happening as well. It’s just like, I don’t really honor what you’re saying because. But I knew deep down it was what they were telling me was the truth.

Teju: Were they telling you like, “Hey, listen, you look like you’re unhappy or something’s wrong.” And you were pushing it off and saying, “No, I’m fine.”

Elissa: Exactly. Know, we know when people who were close to us are stressed. We can tell on their face they’re depressed, or anxious, or unhappy—and just the things they do and say. Those were big ones. There were physical signs; they were mental signs. There was everything.

Teju: And did you go to a doctor and say, hey, listen. So you mentioned that you did go to doctor. Did you go a couple of times and try a few different doctors before you arrived at the one that asked you, “Hey, tell me about your life.” How many tries did it take you to get to that person that helped you.

Elissa: With the cancer, it was three. And that doctor who asked me the questions about your life and who was fabulous and who probably saved my life. I’m in so many ways I didn’t want to go see. It was a suggestion, but from someone. And I just was like, I’ve seen two. That’s enough one. I’m done. But I’m just so glad that my intuition said, go to that third one. With the autoimmune stuff, the Hashimoto’s—it took like five doctors. They all just brushed off. You know, I have the same kind of symptoms and feelings that I just told you about with the cancer. The Hashimoto’s was kind of the same. It was like a lot of anxiety, sleepless night, not good digestion, constipation, losing my hair. It was a similar stuff. And but doctors are like, let me put you on Prozac. It’s just anxiety. It’s all in your head. So they put me on sleep, meds and Prozac, and they just nobody really could figure out at the bottom line what was going on with me. So it took probably five doctors, and it took a whole almost five years to get diagnosed.

It was really crazy. And that is happening less these days. But it still happened.

Teju: Yeah, for sure.

Elissa: Because most doctors—regular doctors aren’t really knowing how to test for all the hypothyroidism, thyroid stuff, adrenal stuff, cortisol stuff, hormones, like the whole panel of really seeing what’s really going on with women and stress.

Teju: And I feel like there’s a lot of as you’re saying, it’s all in your head. When you hear that from a medical provider, you feel disempowered. This is the expert. They’re telling me it’s all in my head. So it must be. Let me take the pill that they give me and just move along in my life.

Elissa: Absolutely.

Teju: How did you empower yourself? And what types of questions did you ask to finally get someone to know—especially for Hashimoto’s—help you look holistically at what could be going on and then arrive at the right diagnosis?

Elissa: Right. Well, even taking the pills, I didn’t feel better. So I knew that. And I knew again something was off. And I always had this intuition, even when I was little, that I always thought life could be better. I did have this strong feeling that I was gonna make life better, like I was very driven. I hadn’t gotten there yet. But I just realized that I finally found a holistic functional doctor who actually does do tests that kind of tries to figure out what the root cause of the health issue is and does more thorough testing than the regular just run of the mill stuff—cholesterol, vitamin D. This guy that I found in Beverly Hills was like, okay, I know what’s going on with women’s hormones, and their thyroid, and their adrenals. I see this happening too much now. So women are not feeling well, and they’re very taxed, and chronically fatigued, and having weight gain, and not being able to lose it. And all those symptoms. He did test my thyroid, and he did his my antibodies, which is something that still today a lot of doctors don’t do it all.

Teju: Absolutely. They don’t even speak about antibodies, which is really interesting.

Elissa: It was. And so that’s when he came back and said, you have hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. And so it was great because, I did go on medicine. He didn’t really know how to deal with the Hashimoto’s at the time. So this was many years ago. So I sort of just investigated on my own through lots of reading lots of books and then doing my integrative nutrition courses. And then after that, just like trying to devour myself into how to heal from all of this because I was like, if I can heal from cancer, I can heal from Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

But I was on meds for 21 years, but really the culmination of how I healed from it now is about three years ago, I read a book by The Medical Medium, Anthony William.

Teju: Yeah.

Elissa: And he’s very popular these days. He’s really a pretty incredible guy. He’s not a doctor, but he definitely has something to say about what’s going on with all these mystery illnesses he calls them. It is all the autoimmune stuff, it’s even cancer, it’s even Alzheimer’s dementia. So he basically in his book was talking about how we come into the world a bit toxic with viruses and pathogens and bacterial stuff in our body because the umbilical cord has toxins in it, and the mother’s milk has toxins. And then we’re exposed to water

Teju: So many environment…

Elissa: So many toxins, And then the food we eat. And as time goes on, the antibiotics we take or the actual over the counter meds are toxic or birth control pills. I mean, there’s so much toxicity out there. And as the food supply has gotten not as healthy with pesticides, and our fish is mercury, and chicken has arsenic or brown rice. I mean, it’s been—and all of our beauty supplies have toxins.

Teju: Yeah.

Elissa: I could go on forever with that. So if we’re toxic already. And as life goes on. We just get more toxic. No one talks about how to lower the toxic loads in our body, right?

Teju: Not at all.

Elissa: Yeah. It’s like, okay. I don’t feel good. Let’s go on a detox. Whether it be a juice cleanse or maybe a water fast for days. But no one talks about consistently lowering these toxins. And if you had any kind of mono, tonsillitis, strep, cancer sore, shingles, chickenpox—all these kinds of things, they’re viruses. And when I had those growing up, they gave me antibiotics for them.

Teju: Same here. I mean, it was, hey, take 14 days of antibiotics. You’ll be good to go..and on your merry way.

Elissa: Surprisingly, you were.

Teju: Yeah. Exactly.

Elissa: Exactly. It works.

Teju: Antibiotics don’t kill off viruses. He says the virus is sort of laid dormant in the organs or in the cells in the body. And they love other toxins. The organs are really—the liver is a big one. That’s where a lot of toxins go, because the liver does try to process toxins and turn them into safe forms so it can excrete them out of the body. The liver does a lot of work for us in that regard. So the liver gets very toxic. And when we go through trauma in our life, whether it be divorce, or death, or having a baby can be traumatic, or just being in a car accident, or having a fight with your husband, or your friend could be traumatic.

So, these viral things are raising their ugly head again. They’re like, because they’re so much of it in our system. And so they’re coming back up. And between the emotional component of what we’re going through, the trauma and the body being toxic, this is what he thinks is causing all these illnesses.

Teju: Interesting.

Elissa: So he put me on an antiviral protocol. I did it for a year. I still dabble in it because it made me feel so good. But it was a very simple and lowering my viral loads with some natural viral deloaders, like bioactive silver, and cat’s claw, and L-Lysine. And all these kind of things that have been around for ever with a very simple protocol. He helped me detox my thyroid with a little bit of iodine and some, like barley juice extract powder, and spirulina. And just—it was fascinating.

They help me help my adrenals with some licorice root extract, which also is phenomenal for supporting your adrenals, which has been around forever.

Teju: Yeah, exactly.

Elissa: His supplements are very high-quality. He really investigates things. And I did it for three months. And I went off my thyroid medication in three months. I slowly weaned off with my doctor, and I had never felt better in my life. This was like two and a half years ago that ever since then, my energy and mental stability and just everything about what I do, just like skyrocketed. I never knew what thriving or feeling great felt like. I was always surviving. And I see that with clients, they’re just surviving.

Elissa: They’re okay with taking the pill and really not feeling great mentally fogged or not sleeping well or still har is a little thin or just things are a little constipated. I’m not okay when they do that.

Teju: Yeah, exactly.

Elissa:  So..

Teju: I always say we spend more time diagnosing our cars, think about all the diagnostic test, meets our cars through, and we don’t do the same thing to ourselves, which is, it’s unbelievable, to me, It’s quite perplexing. Were you exploring holistic medicine? Were you nervous at first going off your thyroid medication for this regimen that this doctor put together? Like what were some of the fears that had to come up inside of you making that decision to transition?

Elissa: Yes. You know, it’s always a fearful thing. It’s always a leap of faith. But I think that emotionally I had been working on myself so much about taking that leap of faith and life period overall, with everything that I’m doing with the work with, you know, just my family life, my loved ones. It’s like I got to a place where I really realized that the world is a really big place and that I was taken care of by the universe, that universe having my back.

Teju: Gabby Bernstein. I love her.

Elissa: So that thing is I really started to believe the universe has my back. I know I have to take this leap of faith because I’m never gonna know the answer if I don’t. And I think part of my personality, I’m in areas I don’t know..

Teju: You too..

Elissa: You are. Yes, I can’t give up, so  until I  find the answer.

Teju: Exactly..

Elissa:  I drive every way bonkers

Teju: Same here. The total round personality of how I am going to get there. It’s better. You know..


Teju:  So Elissa, you had Hashimoto’s, which is a type of autoimmune disease.

Elissa: Right.

Teju: Talk to us about some of the other autoimmune diseases, especially as they’re getting more and more prevalent out there.

Elissa: There are so many, there are rheumatoid arthritis, there’s Celiac, there’s lupus, there’s Ms, there’s fiber algae, the type one diabetes. So it’s really crazy how much is happening in terms of the autoimmune umbrella. And as we know for Hashimoto’s is the fastest growing autoimmune disease today. And the doctors basically say that the body is attacking the thyroid for Hashimoto’s, for Celiac, it’s attacking your gut, for rheumatoid arthritis is attacking your joints. So I feel that I really don’t like the fact that doctor says your body is attacking itself, because it makes you feel like, whoa!, I’m not in control here, and my body is working against me.

So I just think that the body is trying to lower the toxin loads in the organs or tissues or joints. Or you know we have these toxins get into certain areas of our body and different for everybody, and they wreak havoc in all these different areas. So for me, Hashimoto’s is a big one because the thyroid takes a lot of impact in terms of just emotions. So and the gut does, too. So Celiac is also another very big one as well. But I feel like the body is trying to protect us, trying to lower, tell us to lower the toxin mode and these organs and in these tissues and in these joints to get them to function better.

Teju: And what are some of the root causes that you think, we talked about in some of your journey, but what do you think contributes to autoimmune diseases and women, too, are disproportionately impacted by autoimmune diseases. Why is that?

Elissa: We talked about earlier, stress is absolutely huge. I mean, we are way too stressed. Secondly, emotionally, we’re not expressing ourselves the way we should. We’re holding on to emotions and trauma and hurt and fear that is absolutely eating us alive. So our subconscious is, really you know, we operate 95% out of our subconscious, which is really crazy. 5% of us is conscious, that subconscious is having these messages replay daily in our head and ourselves. Listen to those messages

Teju: All day long..

Elissa: So it’s the fears and you know  like. I’m not good enough to low self worth is low self esteem. All of that, the body is listening to it. It’s sort of breaking it down. I think those are huge. And then it’s the diet that, you know, the diet of eating inflammatory foods. So it’s a lot of the gluten, the dairy, the sugar or just too much animal protein or just sugar is also a killer. And then it’s not getting enough sleep and rest. And we’re not sleeping well because we’re up really late at night.

We’re all here. All of those things are doing a number on us, and we’re just a social media is also doing a number on us because we are feeling even more so these days that we got to keep up because of what we see on social media. So that’s not helping the autoimmune stuff at all. And we’re not taking the time to just step back and really reset and be okay with just being who we are and slowing down and just regrouping. We never give ourselves enough time.

So I think all of those things are really what are causing the autoimmune. And our immune system gets suppressed at the end of the day. So when the immune system is suppressed, that’s when the body can’t really fight off some of these things infection.

Teju: Now what were some of your earlier symptoms? And what should someone who they’re feeling like, hey, I’m not really feeling right. Something is off. What are some symptoms that they should look for? And then how can they empower themselves to speak to the right people about those symptoms?

Elissa: So some of the symptoms are definitely a bit of depression and anxiety, sleeplessness, restlessness. It’s not a lot of energy. It’s weakening and even going on a diet, not being able to lose the weight, it’s a little bit of hair loss, skin doesn’t look great. It’s not glowing. It’s constipation. It’s achy bones and joints and all of that. It’s not digesting your food. It’s being floated. And do you want me to go on in my..

Teju: We’re just here. I’m just not feeling well. And then it’s all in your head. How can someone stand in their power and say there is something wrong here and who maybe should be one of the first people they go to? Should they look up for a holistic nutritionist or functional medicine doctors, how do they empower themselves to own the fact that they intuitively know their body and something’s not right.

Elissa: Right. That’s a good question. I mean, the first thing I would do is I would look up a functional MD, someone who can do the right test and actually can sit down with them and talk to them about the emotional stuff. I mean, therapists are great, too. But I think in terms of really getting to the root of what’s going on, functional MDs really know how to test natural past due, too. But for some reason, to fear more towards functional MDS. And then they ask all those questions, are you happy?

What’s your emotional status like? Are you happy at home? Are you happy in your marriage and your job? They ask those questions that are so crucial to sort of get the bigger picture. What kind of illnesses did you have growing up? What was your life like and all those things and they can get a big picture of, well, this is what is going on for you. I mean, they’ve been hearing these things for years now and myself, too. I’ve been hearing from clients for years about similar symptoms, similar things that have gone on in their past.

And when they tell me these things, I’m like, wow, this is what they haven’t tested for this. You should talk about this so you can kind of once you’ve been through it like myself, I kind of know what to look for. And functional doctors is the first way to go because they do these nutrient deficiency tests that are amazing. They test all of your thyroid numbers and adrenals and cortisol and sugar and insulin and a1c and just everything. They just hormones so they can get a really good picture of overall what’s going on.

So I absolutely love them. And it’s a quicker way because a lot of people go from doctor to doctor. They go to an integral. They got all these different doctors.

Teju: They’re not being heard exactly. So they don’t know. Then they say, oh, I guess I’m fine and go off. Five years later, it becomes something worse, unfortunately. So if someone is suffering from an autoimmune disease, they just feel like something’s not right. What are some of the foods that they should be eating?

Elissa: Well, first of all, they need to take out the sugar and the dairy and the gluten. Those are killers. So they need to remove those from the diet and they will start to feel better because those are really inflammatory. And then next they need to eat lots of leafy Greens. And that’s why I’m a big juicer or put them in a smoothie or eat vegetables and leafy Greens at every meal. That’s really important. We don’t get enough of that. Cruciferous veggies are another really important one because they have very much detoxifying properties to them.

So, cooked cruciferous veggies are amazing. Then it’s also fermented foods. I love fermented foods, probiotic foods that help with the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Then it’s things like wild salmon, which is full of Omega. Or maybe if they are an animal protein or burrata pasteurized organic lean chicken at times, but really go pull back from the animal protein. If you are an animal protein eater to once a day because it’s hard to digest and its whole fruit, fruit is the fountain of use, so not to overdo it.

But fruit has a ton of antioxidants, wild blueberries and strawberries at all the berries are absolutely phenomenal. So it’s going back to eating real food, just not pasteurized, not processed, just going to the farmers market and picking up real food.

Teju: Right. Where do you shop? What grocery stores and you talk about salmon and a lot of salmon has Mercury and all this other stuff in it. Where do you get high-quality wild salmon? So I would love to know your grocery store in farmers markets of choice.

Elissa: I mean, the farmers markets are pretty great, a lot of them because I think that the local people that come in from, you know where they come in from have high-quality stuff. I think I trust them. I mean, you can’t trust everybody, but I do trust them. I know that whole foods sometimes have some really good wild famine. I mean, you just have to have a relationship with some of these stores or arrow one has some good wild salmon or in terms of some of their organic meats, they have a very small section that is very high quality and their eggs are just are basically from farms and really high quality.

So I just, I limit that, it’s really hard to go out to eat and also get these things and know that they are good. So that is an issue. But I always tell people that you have to be in moderation. You’re gonna get stuff. You’re gonna get salmon with some Mercury or chicken with some. You just are going to get those things. But more often, if you are doing the other stuff that we talked about, you’ll be fine because you can’t avoid all that.

Teju:  And then how about supplementation? Do you take any supplements or would you recommend supplements for people who are struggling with autoimmune diseases?

Elissa: I do it’s a very tricky thing these days, because the supplement market has gotten out of control.

Teju: It’s like, unbelievable. There’s a supplement forever. And you don’t know the quality too, exactly.

Elissa: The quality has not been so great.

I mean, they’re coming in from all over the world, and they’re duplicating certain supplements that are really hot right now or super food. So I’m little like, I’m a little worry there are certain supplements that I love that are doctor approved. One of them is pure encapsulation that I use a lot of and is Doctor approved and actually you could get it on Amazon. And then there’s the one metagenics can be a great one. Like, if you can get our designs for health, there are a handful of really high end supplements that are out there, but I think the less is more.

I think that’s when you go to the functional doctor and he tests your nutrient deficiencies and you know what you need. But there are some things that I absolutely actually must have, probiotic. Right now. There’s a new probiotic on a market that is a human strain. It’s called seed 101, and it has a pre-probiotic probiotic. And I’m loving this probiotic. This is all the last two months I sent out, you could get that online. So super high quality. I love probiotics. And if you don’t get the seed, I love renew life.

And I do like, 100 billion 150,000,000,000, because you don’t really know how much is really getting absorbed.

Teju: Right.

Elissa: And then vitamin D is usually crucial for autoimmune people. Their vitamin D is usually low, so that’s something that most people take on a daily basis. Also, B12, a liquid B12 that I absolutely love. There’s one by global healing because it has two forms of B12  that are very high quality. And one of the forms is in the mitochondria of the cells. So it’s liquid, so it goes into the system really fast. B12 is one of those things that we are very deficient in.

And magnesium, magnesium. Everyone should be taking magnesium. There are 300 different enzymatic processes in the body that magnesium is responsible for. So every night I have my clients take magnesium glycinate or citrate. So those are some of the things that I usually, I mean I do love, like a multi, a really high quality multi for people because I’m sure they’re not getting everything they need. And pure encapsulation makes a great one. And also a late response is another great, smaller company that makes food based supplements, that’s a multi, that’s  fabulous. So it’s also a tablet, so it’s easy to dissolve.

Teju: And what are some things that don’t help? There’s a lot of misconceptions. There’s a lot of information out there, and I think some of it is counterproductive to healing. So walk us through some of the things that you have clients come to you, and say someone told me this, and it’s not really the right advice.

Elissa: Right. Well, what’s happening these days is there are so many different diet modalities out there.

Teju: It’s amazing. Every time I turn my head, there’s a new this or that or shred this, exactly.

Elissa: The bulletproof diet..

Teju: Exactly.

Elissa: And now it’s sort of intermittent fasting or water fast. Really crazy. What’s happening? So that isn’t good, like jumping from thing to thing or even like the Plant Paradox book, which some of the stuff I really believe in Dr. Gundry, but it’s like no legumes and beans and nothing would seeds in it. I mean, that’s so limiting. Yeah. If you’re a vegan, what the heck do you eat? It’s very animal protein based, but it is veggies and lean protein, which you can do well on.

So, I believe the sugar that gets dairy the gluten again, as a vision of probably a lot is really detrimental to a lot of people. And we do overdo it. We don’t realize how much sugar is in things, and dairy is just really hard for us to break down. But these, like, restrictive diet programs I don’t love. I feel like if we can eat real food and like I said earlier, eating a lot of leafy Greens and cruciferous, a lot of veggies, whole fruits. I love juicing because you get a lot of those veggies in.

And if you juice yourself, that’s exceptional because you just can throw in cucumber, celery, parsley, lemon, ginger, and that’s powerful. And you can get so many vitamins minerals into your body and into your bloodstream really fast or just really healthy green powder into a smoothie. But I think that just eating the way that you feel is right for you is really important. That being a flexitarian, not having to be so restrictive. And if you are a vegan and you do eat legumes and beans, just watching how you feel after you’ve had them, that’s a big thing being in tune with.

I mean, I love soy, so I don’t have it all the time. But Tempeh at the moment, I absolutely adore it. It’s a great protein source, but we’ve been told no soy for the autoimmune. And we’ve been also told for hypothyroidism, no cruciferous veggies, which is the healthiest vegetable on the market. So I don’t really listen to those things. And I just kind of listen to my body.

Teju: I love that.

Elissa: And I tuned in and I’m like, oh, did I feel good after eating that? And sometimes I eat tofu and I don’t feel good with some of the other stuff. I feel fine.

Teju: Right. I feel like it’s that gut check. Really? What am I putting in my body? How did I feel? We don’t take the time to pause often after we eat something, we’re so focused on hearing to the diet and this perfectionism dieting, which I think it’s counterproductive oftentimes.

Elissa: Just the perfect word that we didn’t discuss earlier.

Teju: Yeah, exactly.


Let’s talk about that.

Elissa: Perfectionism is a very big part of the autoimmune stress part.

Teju: Right.

Because you talked about growing up in a type A family and all the things excelling being the high-powered advertising world, we live in this, I want to be Instagram-worthy all the time, society, and that perfectionist mentality. Talk about that and how that contributes to autoimmune disease. And then how you can realign yourself to just be okay and being in your own skin.

Elissa: Perfectionism is a killer. I mean, I just did a post on this on my site because..

Teju: I read it.

Elissa: As an area of perfectionist, right. You can relate.

Teju:  Totally. I can relate.

Elissa: A little bit of control free.

And I started having some sleepless nights recently, and I realized that I am micromanaging the family and the business and all of it, and it’s starting to kill me. It really starts in my head. I couldn’t turn my head off. I was worrying so much. I’d wake up and I couldn’t go back to sleep. And it’s that cortisol adrenaline rush that I’m so used to. And I’m used to the deadlines and getting things done so quickly and getting it done perfectly. And that is really, that’s all part of the stress component.

And it’s all part of just driving your body into the ground. And it’s absolutely a killer for most of us women. And it doesn’t just extend into work. It expands on how we look or how we feel. I mean, just everything has to be perfect. And that is just a huge misconception. So that is something that we can never be perfect. We can never be enough like that. So we have to figure out what is enough for us. And when we do figure that out and we can slow down and give ourselves the room to breathe, all these beautiful things happen in your life.

I have to say. Beautiful people come in. Beautiful opportunities happen from experience, when I’m in that control, perfectionism mode that doesn’t happen. But when I step out of it and just relax, good things happen.

Teju: Yeah. Exactly. I think it’s just re-grounding yourself that you’re enough. You’re enough and the universe has your back. You surrender a bit. Everything will happen as it should versus the control, which just puts you on this rat race wheel. I feel, which is it’s just super kind of productive, so amazing, now, anything else that you want to share or things that we haven’t talked about.

Elissa: Gosh, we’ve talked about everything.

I would say that my whole motto is, don’t ever give up, and if you don’t feel well and you are thinking that you could feel better, you could. You absolutely could take it from someone who, at my age I didn’t really feel great till three years ago. So it’s been a lot of years. I am  58 and 55 years I just felt okay.

Teju: Wow..

Elissa: I mean, I feel great. I feel like I really can take on the world. And I want other women, even men, to feel that way to give themselves that permission.

Teju:  The permission. I think that’s the critical word

Elissa: Right.

Teju: To deserve it.

Elissa: To be great.

To thrive and to find a purpose and a passion in their life. Whatever it might be, it could be the simplest little things and to have just a love for themselves, to start loving themselves a little more, because that is huge. To open up your heart and really love who you are is the biggest thing you could do for your health and your mental wellbeing.

Teju: And we don’t talk about that. The gift of self-love and really taking the time to explore who you are and honoring that. I feel like that’s so important. So amazing. How can we stay connected with you online? Because you got so many awesome things to share. You’re always sharing these delicious recipes. You’ve got to check out her recipes.

Elissa: Thank you.

Teju: How can we stay connected?

Elissa: So I have a website, and I have my reset cleanse on there. I have my soup cleanse on there, and I have a YouTube channel where I do interview some game-changers in the wellness base on my  Elissa Goodman Youtube show. And because like you’re saying, the wellness base is just exploding. Yeah. And I’m social media, of course. Much to my channels.

Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. I’m on social media and just and I do love just sharing. And every week, if you sign up for a news, my newsletter. I do have a health tip and a new recipe every week. And I love food. I absolutely, food has to taste good, not just be healthy.

Teju: So delicious. We’ll share a link up to everything, all the social media. And then you’ve got to subscribe and try her recipes. Absolutely, they’re delicious, but they’re all easy to make which is that in for a non-chef like me. Yeah, they’re super easy.


Well, thank you so much. Elissa, we’re about to go into the kitchen with Elissa. She’s going to teach us how to make some amazing, amazing recipes and teach us a little bit about how to eat healthy, especially if you have an autoimmune disease. So super excited about that. Thank you again for all the wisdom and information. Just so grateful to have you.

Elissa: I love being with you.

Teju: Thank you.

We’re in the kitchen with Elissa. She’s going to show us two amazing recipes if you’re suffering from an autoimmune disease. These are two superfood-powered recipes that you should absolutely know about and use easy-to-make, simple ingredients. I’m going to let Elissa dive in and show us these tasty treats that she’s got.

Elissa: So I absolutely love soup. I think soup is a fantastic way to get nutrients into the cells. So I’m going to make a creamy Curry cauliflower soup. That is one of the soups on my soup cleanse. So I’m going to start with some olive oil and garlic and onions and turmeric. So I’m going to take these over in state.

Teju: So for the olive oil.

Elissa, what kind of olive oil is that that you’re putting in the pot?

Elissa: It’s like organic.

Teju: Organic. Okay. Great.

Elissa: Organic olive oil and extra Virgin. Oh yeah. Let me see if I can turmeric, which is actually great at turmeric. We take these all over.

Teju: Alright.

Elissa: And dump these in.

Teju: Onions..So I dump that in here?

Elissa: Yes. And we will just, you know, saute this with a little bit of a curry powder. That has a lot of fantastic herbs in it. Even Holy basil, which is an adapted herb I absolutely love. So we’re gonna put a tablespoon of this, as well in with the onion, garlic and turmeric.

Teju: I am gonna be the stirrer. That’ll be my job in this process. Smells amazing.

Yeah, look at these ingredients.

Elissa: Who doesn’t love onion’s cooking.

Teju: And I can just smell the turmeric, the curry. Oh my goodness.

Elissa: Turmeric is so good on everything. It’s so anti-inflammatory. It’s great for the immune system. It’s just great for joint pain. It’s really amazing. And I try to use it almost every day.

Teju: Now where can you find this amazing curry?

Elissa: You can go on their site, and find it and we’ll give the details. Will link up to the details. But it is pretty amazing, work fine. So now we’re going to do some more. We’re going to actually do the cauliflower and another thing or we’re actually gonna do the vegetable broth, organic vegetable broth, which we’ll put in. And you can grab that. And then we’re going to put in some herbal Mar some more seasoning. It’s sea salt with dried herbs, which I use on everything, and cauliflower.

Teju: Oh yeah.

Elissa: That’s the next thing. Why don’t you go ahead and pour that in?

Teju: How much of this should I pour in?

Elissa: The whole thing, like four cups. And I will do and sprinkle in the herb. So very tasty, very seasoned.

Teju: This smells amazing. So good. It’s so easy too like you can just kind of put everything in the pot and got it to go.

Elissa: Which are a few ingredients.

Teju: Exactly.

Elissa:  So I’m going to add in the cauliflower.

Well, okay. And then we’re just gonna let that cook.

Teju: That’s it?

Elissa: That’s it. It’s all sauté and soft and cooked down. Then we put it in the blender and blend it and to make it creamy, we have some cashews. That’s a great way to add creaminess to a soup. Another great way to add creaminess to a soup is with coconut milk. So if you don’t want cashews, you can. But it also is great because it adds protein. That’s what I love about cashews, because I always love to have some protein, a little protein every meal.

Teju: Yeah. Awesome. So we’re going to let that Cook over there. So guys, super easy. The last step would just be to blend everything together. As Elissa mentioned, you could add the cashews if you like that bit of creaminess, that protein, and nuttiness. But, because we have another amazing recipe that we’re going to jump into, why don’t you walk me? Go ahead and do some malicious smoothie. Yes. So now we’re making a power pack smoothie recipe with incredible ingredients. If you’re dealing with an autoimmune disease, all these ingredients are going to help you in a certain way.

Elissa is gonna talk about each of them and make us a delicious smoothie, which I’m so excited about.

Elissa: I know who doesn’t love smoothies.

Teju: I mean, it’s amazing.

Like I’m a smoothie morning person.

Elissa: So they’re easy to pack in all the goodness good stuff, but it’s a matcha smoothie and matcha is so powerful in regards to anti-cancer autoimmune like anti-inflammatory, it’s fabulous. And also it has an amino acid in it called Althani, which also helps with anxiety. So it has a little bit of that caffeine. But it doesn’t give you too much of a caffeine rush like coffee does because coffee does drain your adrenals. So this is something that doesn’t drain your adrenals that much. That’s what’s beautiful about it because autoimmune is all about, we were talking just the adrenals being overtaxed. So this is almond milk. You’re going to be in charge.

Teju: I’m going to do it.

Elissa: Two cups of almond milk, unsweetened almond milk. There are so many great nut milks on the market. Just make sure there’s no kerogen, which is an emulsifier in the nut milk, in the milk on the side of the package you’ll see, because that is not good for anyone that has health issues.

Teju: Right.

Elissa: Right. So there’s also Ripple milk, which is a pea protein milk. So one cup is 8 grams of protein, which is also amazing to use. That’s great. Then we’re going to have two teaspoons of matcha, and I usually do organic ceremonial matcha. There are many great matches on the market, but just make sure they’re organic. And sometimes they say certified organic, which is also a step above, which is fantastic.

Teju: And you use a ceremonial grade instead of because I know there’s, like, a ton of different grades. Ceremonial is a little bit smoother, right?

Elissa: Absolutely. You know, you’re matcha.

And this is something that I have done for maybe two or three years now. MCT oil is phenomenal because the medium train sector side, it’s extracted from coconut and it does not have to be processed by the liver. The liver processes all of your fats, and it gets very loaded down. So this goes right through the liver and straight to the brain for energy. Sometimes they just do a tablespoon of this before I do my matcha in the morning. Or sometimes they do have coffee. So we’re gonna do a tablespoon of this. And it also revs up your metabolism like crazy. So it gives you energy, revs up metabolism. And it’s really great on the liver. So one teaspoon of that is fantastic.

Teju: I put this stuff in my smoothies, too. It’s just like it’s so power-packed. That is amazing.

All right. So you guys so easy.

You just dump everything into the blender and you’re getting all the incredible nutrients through really whole fresh ingredients.

Elissa: And then it’s a scoop of this plant-based protein, and it’s basically plant fusion is a really high-quality protein powder. They test all of their protein, all of the ingredients that go in for any kind of chemicals. So it’s really fabulous in terms of what they do. They’ve been in business for many, many years, so we’re going to use their protein powder, and that’s about 20 grams of protein. Protein is really important ongoing throughout the day for people to bounce their blood sugar and to keep them satiated.

Teju: It’s smelling amazing. I’m already getting excited. My mouth is watering for the smoothie.

Elissa: And banana, sometimes I use banana, and sometimes not.

So it just depends. Sometimes people don’t do well with a banana, and they’re smoothies. They don’t feel very good. Your stomach doesn’t feel great. It might be that they don’t process the sugar as well, but the banana does make it creamy. So that’s what’s beautiful about it. But if you actually don’t do well with bananas, I am a lover of stevia, a 100% organic stevia. That’s another thing for any autoimmune people is to get off the sugar to go-to natural sweeteners. But omica, you can get it on Amazon.

It makes 100% pure stevia. It doesn’t have an aftertaste. So I would put a few drops of that, like, five drops, or you could do it to your taste level instead of the bananas. That’s a great switch for people who don’t want to do any sugar. So we’re ready to blend.

Teju: Awesome. And I think, what’s so cool what you said the banana versus the stevia, it comes down to trusting your body and checking in with yourself after you’ve had something say, hey, how do I feel.

Elissa: Right. Absolutely. So just push the blend.

Teju: Right, guys, here’s the magic moment.

Elissa: No magic.

Teju: Oh, there it goes.

We’re ready to taste this delicious smoothie. I’m so excited. Guys, look at how easy that was. I mean, it took less than five minutes to put all the ingredients together, and you’ve got everything you need right in this short.

Elissa: I know. And so good and something to really sustain you.

Teju: Yeah, exactly.

Elissa: Give you energy and the MCT oil.

Teju: Awesome. So we’re going to try some. Yes. Thank you.

Elissa: Of course. I’m in for you.

Teju: Look at that beautiful color, like, ready to go.

Elissa: I know, anything green?

Teju: Exactly. Yeah.

Cheers, green for good luck.

So Creamy.

Elissa: It’s really creamy. Um, really good.

Teju: And you know what I have to say? Sometimes I’ll drink straight matcha tea. And it has, can be a little bit intense. Blended it in the smoothie.

Elissa: It’s not intense, is it at all?

Teju: It’s so subtle. So good. Um. Action power drink.

Well, thank you. Thanks so much, Elissa, Guys, we’ll be linking to all of the different recipes in the show notes. So take a look at those. Thank you, Lisa, for just being so generous with your time and teaching us anytime so much. My brain is exploding with all that we’ve learned. So stay tuned, guys. Check out all of her stuff. Check out her website,

And until next time, Cheers…

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