The Amazing Benefits of Bitters By Denise Brusveen, MS

The Amazing Benefits of Bitters By Denise Brusveen, MS

 

As most of my clients know, digestive bitters are at the top of my list to help improve digestion.  Lots of people are already taking things like digestive enzymes, betaine HCL, and/or ox bile but still have digestive complaints.  Why is that?

Naturally as we age, our stomach acid production goes down after about our mid-30’s.  Throw in the overuse of antibiotics, sugar, acid-reducing medications.  Well, you get the idea.  Most of us could use more stomach acid, not less!  Even children are now experiencing symptoms of low stomach acid, and that needs to change.

So how do digestive bitters work, exactly?  We have bitter receptors in our mouth, so when we consume something with a bitter taste (in this case digestive bitter herbs), this sends a signal to our digestive system to prepare for food, starting with an increase in stomach acid.  We have bitter receptors all the way through our digestive system including our pancreas, small intestine, liver and gallbladder too, so the benefits of bitters don’t stop in the stomach!  They help with digestion, absorption, AND excretion!

This is different than things like digestive enzymes or Betaine HCL, which can actually require you to increase your dosage over time because your body grows dependent on them.  Bitters teach your body to do what it hasn’t been doing on its own, so they’re a great benefit, and you don’t have to increase your dose over time.

 

Which Bitters are Right for You?

Herb Pharm and Herbalist & Alchemist are my two favorite brands.  I like them because they offer their bitters in spritz bottles so that they’re easy to take before meals, and they’re easy to take along when you’re not eating at home.  I also trust both of these companies and the quality of the herbs they use in their products.  But how do you decide which blend is right for you, since both companies offer multiple blends?!

One way to decide is based on taste.  The sweeter the mix of herbs, the less potent they will be.  Sure, they might taste better if they’ve got some sweeter flavors like licorice added in, but that defeats the purpose of the bitter flavor.  I’m sorry to say it, but in order to work, they’ve got to taste bad.  I promise the taste grows on you over time though.  I actually crave mine now!  And I’m taking the Herbalist & Alchemist bitters, which are much stronger tasting than Herb Pharm.  So if you’re worried about the taste, I’d definitely suggest starting with Herb Pharm.  I started with the Herb Pharm Classic and Bittersweet.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the individual herbs commonly used in bitters:

Dandelion root – Here at Sassy Holistics, we love dandelion root for increasing bile flow and enhancing liver function.  It also has prebiotics to enhance healthy bowel flora growth.

Artichoke –  Is hepatoprotective, lowers unhealthy blood lipid levels, and is great for reducing nausea.

Angelica – Is a great warming/moistening bitter to balance out the majority of the other bitters, which are cool/dry herbs.

Orange Peel – According to David Winston (owner of Herbalist & Alchemist), there is NOTHING else that exists that can increase the body’s own production of HCL like orange peel can.  So for those looking to make a switch from supplementing with HCL, find a blend that includes Orange peel!

Gentian – Seems to be in almost every blend as it is a great bitter herb.  This one is not safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding though.  A favorite that pregnant and breastfeeding mamas like are these from Urban Moonshine.

Elecampane – This herb inhibits abnormal bacteria in the gut (think SIBO) and also inhibits intestinal parasites (giardia, crypto, etc.).

Carminatives – These are herbs like cinnamon and ginger that help to reduce gas.  So if that’s an especially big problem for you, then look for a blend with these spices.  H&A actually has a blend called Spiced Bitters!  A note of caution here is that peppermint is also a carminative, but it is contraindicated if you have GERD because it can relax the esophageal sphincter, making symptoms worse.

Fragrant Bitters – If you’re really brave, or maybe really desperate, there is another type of bitter called fragrant bitters.  These are generally the worst tasting bitters because the taste keeps coming back well after you’ve swallowed them and eaten.  However, they are fantastic for killing amoeba and amoeba-like parasites such as blastocystitis hominis, giardia, etc.  I’m putting a plug in for David Winston and his AP Compound as I recently heard him share a story of curing a man’s 20+ year giardia infection with this product!

 

What about Kids?!

We work with a lot of parents who are trying to help their kids, and like I mentioned above, we’re seeing more and more kids with symptoms of low stomach acid.  The good news is that for kids 5 and older, Herb Pharm has confirmed to me that their Classic, Bittersweet, and Orange bitters are safe!  For children younger than five, or if you’re not comfortable with the alcohol in the bitters (which is a VERY tiny amount), you could try a Dandelion glycerite, which would give the benefits of dandelion but not necessarily the bitter taste since glycerites are sweeter.  Or dandelion tea would be great as well.

 

 

 

Earth Day Sale on Perfect Supplements!

Perfect Supplements always has the best sales!

Get ready for a new one! The Earth Month sale this year will start on 4/16 and ends on 4/22.

It is much better for the planet if they ship one order with 3 bottles, rather than 3 orders with one bottle each.  So let’s be good to the earth and buy in bulk!  This is exactly what I do as well- I have collagen for dayssss in my house (although now that I think of it, I’m almost out so it is time to stock up!).

Buy Any 3 Perfect Brand Products and Save 30%
Buy Any 6 Perfect Brand Products and Save 35%

Bonus: You CAN stack my Coupon Code – SASSY and save an Additional 10%

So that is 40% off of any THREE Perfect brand products, and 45% off any SIX Perfect Brand products when you add in the SASSY code!

Also, don’t forget: For every order placed, they will plant a tree, trying to hit their goal of 2,000 trees in April.  

 

Read more about how this Earth day sale helps the planet here!

Far Infrared Heat Benefits: Weight Loss, Detox Support, Better Sleep, and more!

far infrared benefits

Why should we care about Far Infrared Heat Benefits?

When it comes to health and wellness, I am always trying to find the best methods for improving health.  Recently, a friend started talking to me more about this far infrared heating pad that she got.  I had heard of infrared sauna before, and know that the sauna is an awesome way to aid the body to detox more effectively- however, any kind of sauna can be a bit rough for those with low electrolytes, so it’s not something that I have ever really recommended.

Enter the infrared heating pad! The best of both worlds: you get the awesome benefits of infrared, without the intense electrolyte wasting that the sauna can induce.  I got this exact heating pad about a month ago, and I’m ready to report that it will be something I’ll be recommending a lot more.  I’ve already been hearing amazing results from the few people that I’ve spoke to about it!

What are the benefits of this infrared heat?

What this heat basically does is stimulate your metabolism by increasing body heat slightly. This helps with getting the lymph moving, healing underlying infections, and even helps with weight loss.  Some sources compare far infrared to a non-surgical form of liposuction- it can stimulate the fat cells to open up and dump their contents. This is why we need to start slowly with introducing this awesome healing tool- toxins get stored in fat, so this flushing can create quite a massive detox reaction.

Far Infrared has been studied all over the world for decades now, and the benefits are incredible.  Basically, this form of heat is actually the beneficial form of heat we get from the sun!  So we get the benefits of the sun without risking the sun burn part.  Sunlight itself has so many well known benefits- better immune health, more balanced moods, and it even contributes to keeping weight more stable.

Main Benefits of Far Infrared:

  • Stimulates blood flow and better circulation
  • Weight loss
  • Stimulates the metabolic rate- can help with healing any chronic illness people are dealing with if they are in slow oxidation.
  • Heals the lymph system, boost the immune system, and encourages the body to heal underlying infections like parasites, EBV, and Candida
  • Aids in more effective detoxification- our bodies are overloaded with toxins, and those with sluggish metabolisms will have a hard time properly detoxing. FIR helps a lot with this issue
  • Detox support for heavy metals and other toxins
  • Improved joint and muscle health (these pads are especially used for pain relief- FIR heals a lot deeper internally than traditional heating pads.)
  • You can read a giant list of things that FIR can help with here.

According to Life Extension: “The benefits of infrared heat may be further enhanced by natural jade stone. Jade is the most efficient natural infrared heat absorber of all the semiprecious stones. When run through jade, far infrared passes its heat smoothly to the body. It also creates negative ions, which is a further benefit. Our bodies are positively charged, and introducing the body to a negative ion environment (such as that found at the ocean side) is calming and soothing.”

This is why I recommend UTK for far infrared heating pads-they use jade and Tourmaline in their pads. They also say on their own website that they make these pads to have as little EMF as possible. They also have quite a few more articles and studies about the benefits of FIR.

How to use the infrared heating pad

Low and Slow and Turtle Speed are phrases I say quite often.  Things are no different with this infrared heating pad. 5-10 minutes at first would be great, and eventually you can do much longer sessions.  The instruction book even recommends starting with about 15-20 minute sessions at first so you can see how you react.  It CAN create detox reactions.  But the best part is that it will start stimulating your metabolism more so you can handle detoxing better.

Once you feel comfortable with the infrared heat, you can increase the length of time you use it.  Right now, I try to use it for 1-2 hours a few days a week.  My personal observations have been better sleep, easier detox reactions (especially with pathogens), and some old scars that I have had are actually disappearing!

There are some precautions to using infrared, and they’ll differ depending on who you speak with.  If you are dealing with a health issue and are concerned with if infrared is a good fit for you, check with your doctor (hopefully a naturally based one as they are more likely to have a clue what you are speaking about).  I would avoid using infrared while pregnant or nursing at the very least, and I wouldn’t use it over open wounds. Check with the manufacturer’s manual for other warnings, or see the list here from UTK.

Happy Healing! I really feel like this tool will be a huge helper for those stuck in the constant struggle of detoxing with sluggish adrenals.

If you are curious about your oxidation rate, the state of your adrenals, and if you are dealing with heavy metals, check out HTMA! You’ll get a program tailored for your personal biochemistry, which takes a lot of the guessing out of healing.

HTMA Class Information: Learn all about the Sassy method of mineral balancing!

Sassy Holistics/Mineral Mavens Academy Program Outline

This course will be 7 week program, lasting 1-2 hours each week. We will be covering the following topics:

1) Introduction to HTMA

2) The Main HTMA Ratios

3) The Four Main Minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium)

4) The Next Four Main Minerals (Copper, Zinc, Phosphorus, and Iron)

5) Other Mineral Info (The rest of the main minerals on the test0

6) The Main Heavy Metals

7) Gut Healing and Detoxification

 

What you will accomplish in this program:

My goal with this course is to give the absolute essentials needed to read and interpret HTMAs, and give you the confidence and knowledge needed to help others that embark on a mineral balancing protocol. My approach with HTMA uses a true holistic outlook with whole food nutrition and healing the body as a whole. There will be a test towards the end of the course that will outline the most important aspects of the course- and it is not a graded test, just something to help reinforce key lessons.

For those with the ability to get your own lab account (I highly recommend TEI, but ARL is also good), you should be able to start your own HTMA consulting with your own account. (*)

*Please keep in mind that some states/countries have restrictions on who can order HTMAs. For example, in the USA, New York state does not allow HTMA (as well as many other health related tests). Check with the labs to see if you are able to order from them first. The labs are pretty lenient with who can open an account with them too, so I recommend calling or emailing them to find out if you qualify. This course is best for those that are already health practitioners of some sort, or for those that really just want to learn more about minerals even if you don’t plan on starting a practice of your own.

I highly recommend doing some more holistic nutrition courses as well to further your knowledge in this area. Never stop learning!

More information:

The current price for the course is $650, and will include an HTMA for yourself (or a family member if you are unable to do it for yourself) as a practice test if needed. There will also be other general examples to view as the class goes on. There will be a link for this to order from once your application is approved. Thanks for your interest, and I am very excited at being able to share this knowledge about HTMA and holistic nutrition with others.

**If you are interested, please email Kristin at sassyholistics@gmail.com and an application will be sent to you.  Once your application is approved, I will send over the information on how to pay for the course**

 

The class will start on March 15th Thursday 6PM Eastern Standard Time, and will continue every Thursday at 6PM for 7 full weeks. Each session is recorded and emailed over by the next day (so if you are in a different time zone or just can’t make it, you can still do the class). I will also have all of my notes that accompany each week’s topic to send over.

The course will be on a live call on a weekly basis and I will be recording and emailing each call to the participants to keep for future reference. I will also be making a Facebook Group for practitioners for continued support. If you are in a very different time zone then you will have the option to just sign up to get the recordings of the class as well as entrance into the Facebook group.

This class is best for individuals that are already in the health/nutrition field that want to add HTMA to their practice, or for those that just want to learn more about minerals and holistic nutrition.  This class does not guarantee a lab account for ordering HTMAs. 

What people are saying about this course:

” Loved the class!  Definitely helped me understand HTMA more and I love your approach to balancing minerals with food and letting the body heal in its own time on its own schedule. I still don’t understand how you know if a mineral is actually what the HTMA says or its being dumped, but I need to study more on my own and look at lots of HTMA’s.  I also love that you have tried everything that you suggest and I plan to do the same.  I won’t recommend something unless I have tried it.  Thanks Kristin!!!”

“This course was very well done.  It did help me understand so much more about balancing the minerals and understand why certain people will react they way they do based on what comes back in their tests.  I’m glad you recorded everything and I noticed you put the chat screens up on some of them too.  I think that will be so helpful to go back over as I start analyzing tests.”

“Most balanced HTMA class I have ever taken, plus there is such a bigger focus on actually using food, herbs, and more holistic ways to heal instead of popping 20 pills a day. Having gone through the HTMA process with Kristin personally myself, I found this class to be enlightening and I understand the WHY behind it all so much better now. This course is for those that was a more modern take on mineral balancing and for those that want to break free from the protocols, synthetic supplements, and isolated nutrients. This class is packed with info, especially considering the price- most other classes out there are more than double the price and still don’t explain things this well!”

“Kristin’s class was incredibly informational and was made easy to understand even to a novice. She made sure to answer any question posed and was very pleasant to work with. I would recommend her class to anyone interested in HTMAs or just the body’s minerals in general.”

Healing on a Budget

healing on a budget

Healing can be hard- but it doesn’t have to be expensive! Here are my tips for Healing on a Budget

When you see the abundance of people out there that are suffering from chronic illness, it can really make you mad! Why are so many people suffering?!  One main reason seems to be that crap food is so super cheap, so people tend more towards cheap, fake foods as their go-to meals instead of real, organic, wholesome foods. And I get it, trust me! By no means does my family eat 100% organic- but we do our best and budget for the absolutely essential foods and supplements we need to stay on our healing journey. I do have some tips on where to shop to save money on real food here as well.

Since I have been thinking of this, I really wanted to put together a good post for those that really want to start healing, but might not have the money to go all out. And honestly, this is the best way to go when you are first starting out on this healing journey! Make baby steps and small changes as time goes on and that will ensure that easiest, most comfortable transition into a natural lifestyle.  Of course, I always will recommend trying to aim for an HTMA first with one of our practitioners because this can eliminate a lot of the guessing when it comes to picking specific supplements and foods that you might need to really get on the best path to health. But there are a lot of things you can start with before you get to that point.

Gut and liver healing

Gut and liver healing are absolutely essential for everyone- period. If you are dealing with any kind of health issue, you will need to do some sort of gut and liver healing. Luckily, a lot of what I tend to recommend for both gut and liver health are affordable and help BOTH gut and liver. To learn more about the remedy listed, just follow the links!

  • Apple cider Vinegar is one of the MOST affordable helpers to help out with gut healing. You can usually find a big ole bottle for $5 and it should last about a month or 2.
  • Aloe Vera is amazing for healing and dealing the gut lining, soothing internal inflammation, and for healing both the liver and colon. George’s brand is my favorite as it is tasteless and 100% pure aloe (most of the aloe supplements out there will have a ton of nasty preservatives as well as a rough taste). **
  • Castor oil Packs help immensely with liver healing and soothing, boosting bile flow, and they are incredibly anti-inflammatory. Many of my clients report amazing results with the packs especially with sleeping, detox support, and with decreasing histamine issues. **
  • Dandelion root tea runs you about $4-5 for 16 tea bags (Traditional Medicinals brand is great!). Dandelion helps with liver healing, bile flow (essential for detoxing, fat/protein utilization, and proper absorption of fat soluble vitamins)
  • Bitter herbs– Dandelion root itself is a bitter, but the blends like Herb Pharm’s Better Bitters are relatively affordable and very effective at stimulating production of stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and bile flow. **
  • Fermented foods are 100 times cheaper than probiotic supplements and I honestly think they are much more effective in the long term. You can spend less than $20 a month on produce to ferment some veggies, where many of the popular and actually effective probiotic supplements will run you at least $40-60 a month. Not everyone can tolerate fermented foods at first, especially if there are histamine issues going on, but it’s still an important part of gut healing.
  • Bone broth or collagen. Bone broth is relatively affodable to make, especially if your family has access to organic whole chickens. Just cook the chicken in the crockpot and save the bones for the broth! Read here for an easy recipe. Good, high quality collagen powder can be pricey, but always stay tuned for sales from Perfect Supplements- you can snatch up a few tubs of collagen for 30-45% off at these sales.

**Not to be used while pregnant or nursing! Please click the links on the remedy to learn more about specific reasons**

Nutrient Dense Food Options and Nutritional Support

When it comes to nutrition, I’m all about getting more bang for your buck. Gut and liver healing play a role in this as well- the better your digestion, the more you are going to absorb from your food! There are a lot of awesome, nutrient dense foods that won’t break the bank too.

  • Herbal Infusions- These are the BEST alternatives for multivitamins. Nettles and chickweed are the best for general use for many different health issues, but oatstraw, red raspberry, and red clover are other popular ones. You can read all about herbal infusions here! A 1 pound bag of any of these herbs will run between $15-20 and a bag will last about a month depending on how frequent you do the infusions.
  • Dead Sea Salt Baths or Foot Baths- you can find a good dead sea salt bath mix that is relatively affordable on Amazon. Doing these baths can be a easy, cheap, and effective way to get in some awesome bioavailable minerals, especially when you are working on gut healing.
  • Pumpkin seeds are another insanely nutrient dense food. One quarter cup has: .43mg of copper, 2.5mg of zinc, 1.47mg of manganese (nearly the whole RDA!), 190mg of magnesium, 9 grams of protein, and about 400mg of phosphorus. Look for raw, organic, and hulless pumpkin seeds. Check Costco if you can- they recently just started selling a big bag in my local store.
  • Bone broth (see info in the gut section!)
  • Keep an eye out for sales on Perfect Supplements and BioRay as well! They both tend to offer sales a few times a year. They both offer truly amazing, high quality supplements. I tend to announce sales through my newsletter, so be sure to sign up if you haven’t already!

I’ll likely add more to this as time goes on, but this is quite a big list of ideas to start with! I hope it helps to know that healing doesn’t have to be hard or majorly expensive.

healing on a budget

All About Herbal Adaptogens: a Guest post by Denise

herbal adaptogens

The Truth about Adaptogens

By Denise. Brusveen, HTMA Consultant with Sassy Holistics

I’ve been hearing so much misinformation about adaptogens lately, so I wanted to help clear up the confusion.  Adaptogens are an amazing class of herbs that can help improve mood, energy, stamina, immunity, and mental concentration as well as reduce fatigue and promote hormonal balance.  Pretty much everyone could use some adaptogens in their life!

So how do adaptogens work their magic?  In order to be considered an adaptogen, the herb MUST meet the following criteria(1):

  1. Nonspecific effects, meaning the adaptogen herb increases resistance to a very broad spectrum of harmful factors (physical, biological, chemical, psychological).
  2. It must have a normalizing effect against stressors, independent of the pathologic state.
  3. It must be innocuous to have a broad range of therapeutic effects without causing any disturbance (other than very marginally) to the normal functioning of the organism.

Did you catch that?  Adaptogens have non-specific and normalizing effects on the body!  So this idea that we can use this herb to treat that cortisol level is a very allopathic way of thinking and isn’t how adaptogens are meant to be used.  So where does this type of thinking stem from?

One common example that I hear often is that ashwagandha lowers cortisol.  In doing some digging to figure out where this idea came from, I was able to locate the study I believe this stemmed from (2).  Interestingly, no 4 point cortisol test was used, and no reference ranges were given for the test.  Anybody with a chronic physical, hormonal or psychiatric illness was excluded.  That leaves out pretty much all the people who would have already been in adrenal exhaustion (cortisol bottomed out), needing a boost in their cortisol.  So it’s no wonder it lowered cortisol levels for people who all had high cortisol and needed it lowered!

That’s just one example of a flawed study causing people to make generalized recommendations.  Herbs are SO MUCH more complex than most people realize, which is why they really need to be used in a personalized way. And that’s what we aim to do with our HTMA consults.

While I’m on the topic of ashwagandha, let me explain a bit more why an individualized approach is so important.  Many people not do well with ashwagandha if they have previously tanked their adrenals by using large amounts of magnesium.  If you know you have a nightshade intolerance or an autoimmune condition, we might also want to avoid ashwagandha for you (Note that this is controversial – some experts say that ashwagandha is perfectly safe for both of these issues).  But if we see that your thyroid is struggling in addition to your adrenals on your HTMA results, and there’s a good chance you’ll tolerate ashwagandha, it can actually give your thyroid a boost(3)!  So we might suggest it in addition to working on your calcium and potassium levels, which make up the thyroid ratio.

Another place where people get into trouble sometimes is that they write an herb off as not working for them because they tried it all by itself.  There can be additive effects of herbs, where they are more powerful when combined with other herbs.  Panax ginseng and Ginkgo is just one very well studied example.  The effect of these herbs combined for improving cognitive function is much greater than using either of these herbs alone.

Another way that adaptogens can be beneficial in a blend is that they can provide benefits without being overpowering like they might be on their own.  For example, Panax ginseng might be far too stimulating on its own, but in a blend with other less energizing herbs, it can provide just the right amount of energy.  Adrena Uplift is one good example of a blend that uses Panax ginseng among other herbs.

Licorice is another example where it is usually better off in a blend.  It isn’t technically an adaptogen because its actions are specific rather than nonspecific, and it can actually cause problems for people with high blood pressure over time (whereas true adaptogens are considered to be generally safe).  It is an amazing addition to many adaptogen blends though, and being in a blend rather than taking it on its own lowers the dose that a person receives, which likely lowers the risks associated with it.  If you are worried at all about your blood pressure though, then go for a blend without licorice like this one.

One final amazing benefit of using adaptogen herbs to help support the adrenals is that they usually have benefits to other areas of the body.  Many adaptogens are also nervines that help to regulate the nervous system or tonics that help to restore or tone the body.  So sometimes we can pick out specific herbs for more than one purpose.  For instance if I’m working with someone who has POTS, I might suggest eleuthero.  If I’m working with someone with low iron, I might suggest ashwagandha (4).  If I’m working with someone with H. pylori, I might suggest licorice.  Someone needing extra support for heart health might consider rhodiola.  I could go on, but you get the idea!  These herbs are worth exploring!  They can be a great addition to your mineral balancing plan.

 

 

  1. Panossian A., Wikman G, Wagner H: Plant adaptogens. III. Earlier and more recent aspects and concepts on their mode of action. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10589450
  2. Chandrasekhar, Jyoti Kapoor, and Sridhar Anishetty. A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10589450
  3. Sharma AK, Basu I, Singh S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28829155
  4. Upton R. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Monographs: Ashwagandha Root. Santa Cruz, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia; 2000.

herbal adaptogens

Long Term Healing

long term healing

Long Term Healing

When I first got into natural health, I fell into the trap of using lots of isolated supplements and I was always matching my ill to a pill. As time went on, I realized how absolutely NOT holistic or natural this was! We are not just symptoms- we are a whole person. Allopathic natural health is REAL and it needs to stop.  It wasn’t until I found HTMA that I finally felt like I had a solid path to figure out what we all need as individuals.  It really reinforced my thoughts about why “popping and praying” isn’t the answer.

All of the research done for HTMA and mineral balancing includes a lot of information about co-factors and antagonists of all of the main minerals.  I have an outline on the major interactions here that you can check out.  Hopefully when you read it you will be able to see how absolutely insane it is to promote usage of isolated “nutrients”, especially for long term use. One nutrient can mess up the balance of many others in the body! How does that make sense?  What really throws me off is that even with all of this awesome research, many people that use HTMA and mineral balancing are STILL using these methods of 20+ isolated nutrients in their plans.

Call me crazy, but that is just against all common sense. Especially when we KNOW that one nutrient taken on its own can throw many others out of balance.

 

This is why I am all about LONG TERM HEALING. What exactly does that mean to me? It means NOT creating further imbalances as we heal. It means looking at the body as a whole, not in fragmented parts. It means creating plans for sustainable healing where you will not become dependent on 10+ pills a day just to maintain your nutrient levels. It means healing at a deeper level so you will actually HEAL, not just cover up symptoms forever.

Long Term Healing is mostly about not getting dependent on supplements for life

When we use as much food/herbs/natural methods to heal, we are looking at things in the long term. I have seen so many people that start protocols that require 10,20, 30+ capsules a day and they might feel better for a time. But then they try to get off of their supplements, and lo and behold- their symptoms come back! When we make dietary changes as well as work to fully heal the gut and liver (which are the biggest keys here!!), we are making LONG TERM changes so you do not become dependent on supplements forever.

There are SO many other components to food that you will never find in synthetic supplements: phytochemicals, fiber, fat, protein, carbs, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, plant pigments, amino acids, fatty acids, isothicyanates. indoles, coumarins, antioxidants, enzymes, and more! Some of these components (like bioflavoinoids) used to be considered vitamins all on their own because of their importance to our health.

Sure, crutches can be helpful as we’re healing to help with symptom management. But I am always thinking of the long term. Taking certain supplements in isolation long term can create further imbalances in the body. This method will make you constantly chase the next imbalance to work on! The whole food/whole body approach takes time but it is the deepest, more complete way to heal.

Negative impact of isolated supplementation

One of the biggest reasons why I am so adamant about this is because I have SEEN the negative side effects of isolated supplementation. I have seen people take 15-150mg of zinc at once at the suggestion of a doctor or practitioner, and I have heard from them about how they felt severe symptoms like paranoia, extreme OCD type symptoms, or they dealt with severe panic attacks because of how quickly copper can get antagonized.

I have seen HUNDREDS of people that have crashed from isolated magnesium supplementation at this point (because magnesium LOWERS adrenal function and LOWERS sodium, and it can especially be detrimental in slow oxidizers, which 80% of people are!).  I have heard from people that developed yeast infections, tinnitus, and more from even moderate doses of ascorbic acid.

Another main reason why I am adamant on this stance is because I have seen the impact that isolated nutrients have on the HTMAs over the last few years. LEVELS RARELY CHANGE! I have known people that have been on certain isolated nutrients for years, and their HTMA levels NEVER budge. When I tell them how these supplements are not very bio-available to the body and never really resolve things, they usually admit that if they stop the supplement their symptoms come back in a few days!

That is not solving anything- I want to try and prevent people from falling into this false sense of security that more is better and that these “nutrients” are actually used by the body. In comparison, many of my clients that were on massive doses of isolated nutrients for years and then switched to my whole food method were not only seeing changes in their tests, but their symptoms no longer returned, even when taking breaks on the foods/herbs that we had them doing. When we use food, you are getting the natural co-factors of the nutrients PLUS so much more.

It WILL take time to heal

There is no getting around the fact that it takes time to fully heal. Many of us are dealing with years, decades, or even generations of poor health (because nutritional deficiencies and toxicities can be passed on from mother to child).  All of the main issues with health started in the WWII era due to the introduction of the high estrogen birth control pill, supermarkets with processed foods, the increase of toxic chemical use in our everyday products, and more. We are ALL sick these days– and it will take time to undo all of this damage. My goal is to do this in the easiest, most effective way possible with our nutritional plans. Many people are dealing with dozens of nutrient imbalances and toxicities these days.  It is a much more complex issue than just popping a handful of supplements a few times a day unfortunately.

Mineral balancing research (and in my experience) says that it commonly takes about 18 months to 2 years to full heal the body.  These days it can take longer as we are dealing with more complex issues: Lyme, Mold illness, vaccine damage, antibiotic damage, heavy metals, EMF exposure, etc. When the body starts getting what it needs, healing can start rapidly though and many people start noticing changes in a few weeks- a few months. FULL healing will take longer.

BUT PEOPLE DO HEAL. And that is the main thing to focus on. My purpose of this post is to explain why we at  Sassy Holistics have such a different approach than most health coaches out there. We are not looking to mask symptoms- we are looking to truly help you find better health and wellness. We know how frustrating it can be to be on the healing journey, trust me! We have been there, and we have healed.

Use this new year to get back on track with true long term healing with HTMA!

 

long term healing

Guest post from Denise on Herbal Preparations : Which type of herb is right for you?

 

herbal preparations

Which type of herb is right for you?

By Denise Brusveen, MS

Teas, tinctures, infusions, decoctions, capsules, powder. There are so many options when it comes to herbal preparations! How do you know which one is right for you? Let me break it down for you.

Water-based Preparations (Teas, Infusions, and Decoctions)

Preparing your herbs this way does a good job of pulling out the water soluble nutrients in the herbs. They are also very easily digestible in this form, which is especially great for people with low stomach acid or gut issues. They are also one of the cheapest ways to consume herbs. You can buy a whole pound of loose herbs and then add the amount you need for your daily dose. Nettles, for example, are usually $13-15 for a whole pound on Amazon.

Disadvantages of teas, tinctures, and decoctions is that you have to spend the time preparing them usually daily or every couple days because they spoil easily. The taste of some herbs is another downside, but sometimes it just takes some trial and error to find the right flavor combination. And it can be inconvenient to take them to work. Tea bags make it a bit easier to take with you to work, but teas don’t really provide a lot of nutrition because the dose is so small.

Infusions are basically a much stronger tea that deliver a LOT of nutrition. Susun Weed recommends using an ounce of dried herb, which is approximately a cup. If you’re super particular like me, you can
weigh the herb the first few times to figure out how many cups equal an ounce. For example, an ounce of nettles is actually closer to 1.5 cups. So you put that ounce of dried herb in a 1 quart jar and then top it off with freshly boiled water. Put the cap on, and then let it steep for 4-8 hours. Strain the herbs out and then begin drinking at room temp. or refrigerate. Most herbal infusions don’t last longer than a couple days before they start to go bad, so don’t make more than you’ll drink in that time.

With decoctions, you bring your water to a boil and then add your herb and simmer for at least 20 min. Some people simmer longer for an even stronger drink. You can start with just a couple tbsp. of herb in a quart of water and work your way up to 4-5 tbsp. Decoctions are very nutritious like infusions.

So how do you choose whether to make an infusion or decoction? Infusions are typically made out of the above ground plant parts, including the leaves, flowers, stems, fruits, and aromatic seeds. Decoctions are best for the roots, bark, and non-aromatic seeds because they need the longer direct exposure to the higher heat to pull the nutrients out.

Tinctures

The major nutritional benefit of tinctures is that they can pull out both the water and alcohol soluble nutrients because the alcohol also has water in it. They also have a much longer shelf life (usually several years). Some of the constituents can start to break down in as little as 3-6 mo., but there aren’t enough studies to determine which plants this is most likely to happen with. So it’s best to store your tinctures in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight to help them last longer. If you’re buying from a company like Herb Pharm, they also print an expiration date on the bottom of the bottle.

Another benefit with tinctures is that it’s much easier to carry a small bottle in your purse or even keep it in your desk at work and add a dropperful to some water. I am really loving the even more convenient sprays that herbal companies are now coming out with. It’s so simple to spray a couple sprays of these bitters in my mouth before every meal.

The major downside to tinctures is that they can be pricey. But for simple tinctures, some people buy the bulk herb and make their own.

Glycerites

The alcohol in tinctures slightly increases absorption of many of the nutrients, but some people wish to avoid the alcohol, so they prefer glycerites instead. While glycerites actually slightly decrease the absorption of nutrients, they are a very good alternative to tinctures. They are made with glycerin instead of alcohol, so they are sweeter, which makes it easier to get kids to take them. And because they’re less potent, they’re great for people who are really sensitive to trying new remedies for healing.

The downside is that they mostly only provide the water-soluble compounds, since they don’t contain alcohol to pull out additional nutrients, and their shelf life is shorter than tinctures.

Powder and Capsules

In these forms, the entire herb is presented to the GI tract. In some cases, such as for IBS, it’s important that the herbs have direct contact with the gut. Another benefit of powdered herbs is that they can be relatively cheap, and if you prefer capsules like I do, you can make your own much cheaper than buying the herb already in capsule form. I currently make astragalus, cream of tartar, salt, and cat’s claw capsules. People often ask if they can take nettle leaf capsules instead of infusions. While some is better than nothing, you’re not going to get nearly as much nutritional value out of capsules as you will
infusions.

One risk with grinding an herb into powder is that the heat from the process can break down the constituents. Once an herb is ground into powder, it can oxidize more easily, so the shelf life is typically shorter than for tinctures. It’s important to try to buy from a reputable company that sells fresh herbs. Companies like Frontier Co-op print an expiration date on their bulk herb bags, so always be sure to check your bag to make sure it’s not close to expiring!

 

Have any questions for Denise about herbs? Let us know in the comments!

Preparing for a Happy, Healthy Pregnancy

happy, healthy pregnancy

Preparing for a Happy, Healthy Pregnancy- naturally!

We really need to start working on our health YEARS before even thinking about conception. There are a few main reasons why:

  1. So many women are dealing with postpartum depression (or other postpartum issues) these days.
  2. Kids are dealing with extreme health issues these days, and now they have shorter life spans than we do. (more on this here!)
  3. We need to break this cycle of depleted, toxic, and burnt out people having children that start life out with these same issues. Cases of children with adrenal burnout have been reported since the 90s (source)! It’s time for change!

It can take a few years to fully undo the damage of a Standard American diet coupled with a fast-paced, stress-filled lifestyle. Most of us don’t even think about taking care of our health until a few months before we want to get pregnant (or worse- we don’t make changes UNTIL we are pregnant!). If we want to have happy, healthy pregnancies that lead to happy, healthy babies we need to start making changes sooner. Let’s go over the main changes to make and what we can do to really have a great pregnancy!

Nutrition

The absolute first step on the road to better health is to get an HTMA. This is the best way to determine your personal mineral imbalances, your adrenal strength, and your metabolic rate to figure out what YOU need as an individual.  With an HTMA protocol, you will get the ultimate start on healing your body and preparing for pregnancy.  Plus, HTMA is something great to keep up with during pregnancy and in the postpartum period to make sure your body is running as well as it can.

What are the basics of fixing our nutrition though?

  1. Nutrient Dense Foods- Fruits, vegetables; full fat foods like butter, ghee, and coconut oil; organic/grass-fed whole milk dairy products; fermented foods; eggs; grass-fed meat; beef liver every so often if you can handle it! You can see my whole post on general diet recommendations here, including what to avoid.
  2. Herbal Infusions– Nettles and Red Raspberry leaf are the 2 best herbs for pregnancy and nursing. Nettle infusions are full of vitamin K, iron, copper, magnesium and calcium, and they help the kidneys, liver, and adrenals.  Red Raspberry leaf is a well-known uterine tonic and helps to keep hormones balanced, especially after birth. Both of these are great to use pre-conception to heal hormones and replenish nutrient levels.  Nettles are best for everyday use, while RRL is best for use around your menstrual cycle. (If you are dealing with menstrual cycle issues, check this post out here).
  3. Focus on Gut Health– we need sufficient stomach acid and bile to digest a lot of our nutrients and to take care of nasty things like bacteria and parasites. Using either a probiotic or eating fermented foods is essential as well.
  4. Heal your liver! What does the liver have to do with pregnancy?! Quite a bit! We need happy livers to keep copper balanced (which is something that can get extremely imbalanced during pregnancy as copper tends to triple!). We also need happy livers to utilize fats and fat soluble nutrients, and to keep our detoxification system working properly. My favorite liver lovers are Liver Life from BioRay, dandelion root tea, nettle infusions, ACV, lemon, beets, sunflower lecithin, and castor oil packs.
  5. I recently spoke to someone at BioRay about what is best for use while pregnant or preparing for pregnancy. They recommend the Total Body Detox as the best solution if possible. If not, then go for Detox Quartet, followed by Lady Passion for women and Red Rooster for men until you are pregnant. . Loving Energy, Liver Life, and Belly Mend are ok to use with guidance during pregnancy as well. Check out the chart with more info here! Plus, you can use the code SASSY at checkout for a discount!

Clean up your home!

No, I’m not talking about spraying the whole house with disinfectant. I am talking about switching out all of your current household products for CLEANER versions. This includes soap, shampoo, deodorant, candles, laundry detergent, and even furniture if possible!

Why, you ask?

There has been at least one study done on US infants about how babies are born with about 200 chemicals in their umbilical cord blood (source). This was done in 2004, so imagine how much worse it is these days, especially knowing that there are 82,000 known chemicals used in everyday household items, and most of them have never been tested for safety. These chemicals are cancer causing, hormone disrupting (especially causing infertility), and skin irritants. The skin is the largest organ in our bodies and using these harsh products on our skin daily is truly wreaking havoc for our health. Not only do WE absorb these- these can be passed on in utero to our babies!

Here is my entire list of things to switch out in the home, and what I use personally!

There you have it- my top tips for preparing for a happy, healthy pregnancy! As you can see, it can take a lot of time, effort, and commitment to prepare for this, which is why we need to start taking care of our health from an earlier age. But, baby steps are fine! Start with one thing at a time to ease into the changes. The sooner we do this, the sooner we can create a healthier generation that has a brighter future with less chronic illness.