Healing Hashimoto’s: How a Vegan & Gluten-Free Diet Sparked a Healthier Way of Life

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An experienced actor, Jessica Remmers has always been conscious about her health in order to look and feel her best while working. Before she found what worked for her, she toyed around with various diets until the day a blood test revealed she had Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease.

After opting for a gluten-free diet in her attempt to heal, Jessica’s antibody count went down tremendously after just five months. Eventually, she eliminated all animal products from her diet as well.

“I cannot tell you the enlightenment that comes from going vegan,” Jessica says. “The sense of wellbeing, the clear conscious—just try it for 30 days and you will know what I mean.”

The epitome of health, Jessica is now thriving and has the energy to combine her favorite workouts. She walks daily and hikes a few times per week in addition to following yoga DVDs at home for toning and stretching.

When she’s not blogging, creating videos or prepping a pretty food pic for Instagram, you can find her either somewhere outdoors or in the kitchen (shocker) cooking up a “good meal” while listening to her favorite bossa nova music. A cherry on top involves spending a quiet evening at home with loved ones.

Jessica Remmers of HealthyHappyJess | Vitacost.com/Blog

1. What sparked your health journey?

It all began with a New Year’s resolution to “Be as healthy and happy as I can be.” I never realized that statement would change my life, in every area, forever! Holding that promise to myself had me question all aspects of life from career to relationships to eating habits, and just my every day experience.

My values have changed. It’s an ongoing and ever-changing journey but so worth it. The best way I can demonstrate it is by eating and living a vegan lifestyle. I’ve been vegan and gluten-free since Valentine’s Day 2014 (almost four years) and I’ve never felt better or less restricted! Filling up on plants makes me feel happy and satisfied.

It is in alignment with my heart and my health. I also committed to going gluten-free to help keep an autoimmune disease under control (Hashimoto’s). Eating a whole-food, gluten-free and plant-based diet has transformed my health. I no longer suffer from Candida symptoms and I feel so much better. I also feel good that my choices benefit animals and the environment.

2. What keeps you so inspired?

Social media has played a HUGE role in inspiring me to live the lifestyle I’ve chosen. Seeing others live this way and share what they eat encouraged me that I could do it too! I think it is essential to follow people that are thriving in this lifestyle, especially considering how many people I encounter in my day-to-day life do not eat this way.  I’m also inspired by nature, my dog and listening to my intuition.

3. In what ways do you influence your followers?

I really want to show people it is possible to thrive on a gluten-free and plant-based lifestyle. By sharing my own experiences and recipes I hope to inspire others and help them feel less alone on their journey to their healthiest and happiest self. Although my blog started out as a hobby, I hope to grow it into a more full-time career. I’d also like to write a lifestyle guide for others on this path. Look out for more video and written content coming soon!

4. What challenges do you face?

The hardest part about my lifestyle is the social aspect. Dating, social gatherings, travel and being with family is a struggle sometimes. As a society we gather around food and traditions, it’s what we take comfort in. Taking part in the festivities without being a bore for my eating style can feel difficult at times.

Still living an adventurous life and having a good time is important and it takes a lot of planning and being prepared. Part of what I hope to do is share more about this to relate to others and help them know they aren’t alone. I feel so lucky to live in Los Angeles where I have so many delicious restaurants that offer both vegan and gluten-free options; I realize that is not the case in so many other cities and towns. I feel more places are headed in that direction, though, so let’s not lose hope!

5. What does a typical day of eating look like for you?

I usually like to eat fruit in the morning, either a big smoothie or juice or both. I don’t restrict on fruit (as long as I’m food combining properly). I will have a big meal later in the afternoon that usually consists of a big salad and some combination of either sweet potatoes/healthy grains and beans/lentils. I usually post what I eat on Instagram (@healthyhappyjess_) and have some “What I Ate Today” videos on YouTube.

Jessica Remmers of HealthyHappyJess Holding Homemade Raw Vegan Cake | Vitacost.com/Blog6. … And your guiltiest foodie pleasure?

Oooh maybe fries or a vegan, gluten-free doughnut!

7. How does Vitacost play a role in your healthy lifestyle?

I first discovered Vitacost about eight years ago and I instantly fell in love! It is, hands-down, the best selection and lowest prices for all your healthy-lifestyle needs. Whenever I want to make a recipe and don’t know where to buy the ingredients, I can always find them on Vitacost and it’s delivered within a day or two.

I also get all my supplements and beauty products from Vitacost! It’s so easy and fun. I really look forward to my monthly shipment and I’ve been ordering religiously every month for at least four years now!

8. Aw, we love you too! But we have to know, what are your top 3 must-have items from Vitacost?

Oh my gosh! Only three? I love Garden of Life‘s selection of whole-food based supplements. Definitely something from Vitacost brand—I get all my pantry staples like hemp seeds, cacao, nuts, spices, etc. Also, something from Acure. I love the simple and organic ingredients.

9. What’s your advice to someone who’s ready to take the first step into healthier living?

Really decide in your heart why you are doing this. Is it for your health? To feel better? To look better? To age better? For the environment? Know your reason and don’t give up.

Don’t let anyone talk you out of why you are taking this on (because they will try)! Know that you are on a journey and it is a lifestyle. Choose a way to eat and live that feels good and feels like something you can sustain for the long term. Choose to live in a way that makes you feel like your healthiest and happiest self!