Sprouting Free was born after beginning my journey of healing my thyroid naturally. It’s a community + home for delicious gluten-free, plant-focused recipes, + food + wellness tips, allowing you to feel empowered to start self-healing + feeling your best. I hope you’ll join me ♥
Hiii – I’m Jenna Z! (be sure to follow me on Instagram!)
When I was 15 I was told I had hypothyroidism (6 years later I found out it was actually the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis), PCOS + insulin resistance after my nana and sister were diagnosed earlier that year. Even though I had some of the big signs, it went undiagnosed for a while. I spent a couple years taking the medicine I was told to but never dug any deeper on doing my own research. I started doing these crazy diets that I thought were going to “fix” me but only made things harder. At one point, I kid you not, I was eating only 500 calories a day + taking these weird meds or just drinking smoothies. My doctor told me that it was just a numbers game and if I just lost 20 pounds I wouldn’t have insulin resistance anymore + although I was “never” going to be able to cure my thyroid at least I could do something about the insulin resistance.
After ~3 years with some intuitive lifestyle changes, I got the call that I was able to get off the medicine controlling my blood sugar. YAY, MY BODY WAS RESPONDING!
At this point I was told I wasn’t insulin resistant anymore + since I didn’t have the PCOS symptoms, I evidently didn’t have that anymore either. I had been working so hard, + honestly obsessing, about getting off that medicine that I wasn’t ready to even think about trying to tackle the havoc my thyroid was causing.
The same gut feeling I had when my doctor told me to “just lose the weight” reared its head again when I was getting my blood tested regularly but my thyroid levels were never stabilizing. When my thyroid was doing better than it typically did, I would ask what I was doing right. Then when my thyroid was underperforming — even more than it typically did — I would ask what I was doing wrong, + I would only get an ever-growing higher dose of medicine. But either way I would always get the same answer: Thyroids are complicated + fluctuate; there is nothing you can do. This was the answer I was told for everything us with a thyroid disease like Hashimoto’s often deal with — why I had anxiety, was exhausted, emotional, could even just look at a donut + gain a pound, etc.
All my internal alarms were screaming at this point. If I am told there is nothing I can do about something that puts a blazing fire under my ass to prove them wrong. During this time my sister randomly called me + told me she was going to start trying to get off her medicine (coincidence or fate? who knows!). She gave me the courage I needed at that time + continues to do so ♥. So that’s where the fun began!
I changed to a more integrative doctor + found out I actually had Hashimoto’s, explaining my symptoms. I realized my old doctor was definitely wrong about one thing: There are so many things we can do to help heal + balance ourselves! Although I had doctors that weren’t curing the root of my conditions or symptoms, I am grateful for the journey since it inspired me to explore for myself. Even though how I feel changes day-by-day, now having an evolving great team of holistic professionals as well as doing the grunt work myself has been the secret sauce.
I found, + am still finding, the power of whole foods + that we make decisions everyday either healing or contributing to our conditions based on what we feed ourselves + our lifestyle choices. This is what inspired me to learn more + attend a culinary school that focuses on health supportive cooking.
I have spent thousands of dollars trying doctors that insurance doesn’t cover, trying supplements, cutting foods, adding foods, + the list goes on. And as we all know, change is really f*cking hard — especially when we feel alone, don’t know if it’s going to work + we already don’t feel well! Google became (+ still is) my best friend, + also my enemy at times, where I had 15 tabs open + got sucked into endless information of things I could try but not knowing if any of it actually worked.
It felt like a black hole of research articles but nothing felt….human. I didn’t feel a tribe of people I could connect + learn with!
This is where the idea behind Sprouting Free was born. A community + home for delicious gluten-free, plant-focused recipes, + food + wellness tips, allowing you to feel empowered to start self-healing + feeling your best. I hope you’ll join me 🙂
Psssst! Friendly reminder that the content of this website is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This is simply a space meant to share ideas and create a tribe along my journey. Do not disregard medical advice due to something you have read or accessed here.