Hashimoto’s Disease affects more women than men from ages 40-60. Martina Slajerova turned her diagnosis into a healthy, digital innovation with the ‘KetoDiet App’
Martina Slajerova was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease in 2011, which left her feeling tired daily and struggling to maintain a healthy weight. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder that causes hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. Essentially, the immune system attacks Slajerova’s thyroid, damaging it so much that it can’t produce enough thyroid hormones.
Kivo Daily: Tell us about the diagnosis and your initial reaction to it?
Martina Slajerova: I couldn’t believe I had Hashimoto’s. I used to follow what I believed to be a healthy, balanced diet. I avoided most fatty foods in fear of clogging my arteries and putting on weight. I based my diet around whole grains and vegetables, and I limited my intake of animal products. It was only after I discovered a low-carb and ketogenic approach to food when everything started making sense to me. My seemingly “healthy” lifestyle which combined too much exercise with a calorie-restricted high-carb diet was hurting my thyroid instead of keeping me healthy.
As Slajerova struggled to find balance in maintaining a healthy lifestyle with the disorder, she continued to consume her daily doses of fruits and vegetables, cut back on meat intake, and regularly exercised.
But why wasn’t that enough? She soon realized that foregoing her traditional diet and adopting a new diet was the next step forward. By adopting and implementing the keto diet, Slajerova noticed an immediate change. By cutting out her daily carbohydrate and sugar intake, she was able to trim some pounds while keeping her energy at high-levels.
Yet, another problem ensued. This change still wasn’t enough. For those familiar with the keto diet regiment, it’s no easy task.
“The trick is knowing what foods to avoid outright and what carb-filled ingredients can be swapped with lower carb substitutes,” Slajerova explained.
Early on, Slajerova found her diet was paying dividends, and over time, her research and experimentation allowed her to expand her “internal cookbook.”
“But why should that cookbook stay internal? she asked. “Many people can benefit from a keto diet…yet the diet itself can be difficult to stick to unless you know what you’re doing.”
There are countless resources available to learn about the keto diet, but the problem is that individuals have to scour various sources, including cookbooks, blogs, and of course the internet to hopefully have their questions answered. Unfortunately, it’s too time-consuming and the “real-time” answers weren’t anywhere close to real-time.
That’s when Slajerova came up with the KetoDiet App, she incorporated not just her personal knowledge and experience, but the collective knowledge from cookbooks, blogs, videos, and experts in a one-stop-shop location.
“Countless times, she had found herself standing in the produce section, wondering how she could sub out an ingredient in a recipe, or if she could eat a particular vegetable,” as Innovation & Tech Today pointed out in a previous interview with Slajerova.
And that’s where the idea of developing a mobile app that users could look to and have their questions answered in real-time came about.
KD: We are a first-time user, where do we begin on the app?
MS: Every new user is introduced to the app through an onboarding sequence that guides them through the initial configuration. I do need to emphasize that KetoDiet is a complex app and it may take some time for the average user to go through all the features.
For those who are new to the app, there is a guide under the Help section. We also encourage users to join our Facebook Support group which they can do directly from the app. Having said that, a good place to start for a new user is to explore the content in the app including the guide and recipes. The next step would be to explore the Planner and get familiar with the options for food tracking and planning.
KD: How can I implement this app into my current regime? Do I need to essentially start-over, but with your app?
MS: Not at all! The KetoDiet App is not a strict regime they have to follow day-by-day. It’s a tool to help both newbies and experienced keto dieters follow the diet that best suits their needs. It’s also a tool to help them fine-tune their diet because they can monitor their progress accurately. In practical terms, the app is flexible enough to fit your needs, not the other way round.
3 Tips When Using the KetoDiet App
- Tip: Calculate your macros under Profile > Macros & Targets. This will help you get started, track your weight and progress, and it’s essential for the food planning & tracking feature.
- Tip: Read the tips in the KetoDiet Guide provided in the app and join our Facebook group for more tips and support
- Tip: When creating meals or adding meals to a day, choose generic foods when possible (e.g., eggs, cheddar cheese, or avocado) over branded products. Generic foods obtained from verified databases have more accurate nutrition data, unlike branded products which are prone to errors and inaccuracies.
KD: What have you learned since your app has been out in the market?
MS: The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement. If you have a great new feature, release it as soon as you can. You can always spend time fine-tuning it later.
KD: How have you seen your own diagnosis and condition improve since your app has been out? What is your daily routine?
MS: A lot has changed since the first release of our app. Apart from following the ketogenic diet, I’m taking my thyroid medication and supplement with vitamin D, selenium, and magnesium. While I still need my thyroid medication, I no longer suffer from hypothyroid symptoms – thanks to the ketogenic diet. Most importantly, my thyroid antibodies have dropped to almost normal levels.
After 9 years of following the ketogenic approach, I don’t need to track my diet every day. I use our app daily either to create new delicious recipes for our readers or to plan what to cook next.
What I love about the ketogenic diet is that I rarely feel hungry and I can easily practice intermittent fasting, mostly by omitting breakfast or dinner. This works very well with my busy schedule because I don’t need to spend too much time cooking and preparing meals.
Nobody is perfect and keto is not about perfection. It’s about finding a healthier approach that works for you in the long run, and it’s more than just following the right diet. Speaking from experience, I need to limit my screen time, especially late at night but it’s hard to take time off when you love what you do!
So, instead of scouring the internet and reading other people’s experiences…start mapping out your own that actually helps you in real-time. When you hit that grocery store aisle, start scanning the barcodes of products you want to learn more about, so you can begin to create your own internal workbook that is easy to adhere to.