What needs to be organic

what needs to be organic

What Needs to be Organic- according to Sassy Holistics

When I first dove into the world of natural health, it was absolutely overwhelming.  At times it is still overwhelming!  Possibly even more so when years past and you realize that not enough people are even aware of the “why” behind jumping into the natural health bandwagon.  Everywhere you look you can see that people are NOT healthy, and you’d think they’d wonder why we’re all so sick these days.

Anyway- I wanted to put together a (hopefully easy) guide on the things I would *try* to find organic when it comes to food, household products, etc.  There are definitely non-negotiable for me- if I can’t find these specifically then I don’t bother getting it.

Foods- Either these foods are on the dirty dozen or there are GMO versions of these foods that have been released

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Papaya
  • Beef (grass-fed), chicken, and eggs (free range is best)
  • Dairy products (grass-fed is best, raw is the absolute best but can be expensive/hard to find/illegal in some states, ugh)
  • Grains- oatmeal, wheat, etc (yes, we eat these in our house! We just look for the best quality that we can)
  • kale and spinach
  • peaches
  • You can read the full Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 here, but the above is pretty much the worst of the worst and I do my best to always buy organic!

Tea and Coffee

Look for organic, but also look for unbleached or untreated tea bags. Traditional Medicinals is one of the best brands out there for tea and they offer a LOT of different types of teas.  Alvita is another brand I’ve found to be clean.  Buying herbs in bulk is also an option- Frontier and Mountain Rose Herbs are among the top brands out there.

Coffee is a tricky one because we’re now aware that many coffees actually are at risk for mold and mycotoxin contamination.  I would recommend researching the brands you currently use and look for info about mold testing.  Some brands that are definitely clean are Kicking Horse (Kick-ass is my favorite blend and one of the extra safe ones!), Bulletproof (can be pricey though), and… well right now those are the only 2 I know of but if I find more, I’ll update it here 🙂

Herbs and Supplements

Not all herbal products and supplements are created equally.   Many have nasty fillers or are just poor quality in general.  The main companies I trust for herbal products are BioRay, Herb Pharm, Frontier, Mountain Rose Herbs, Herbalist & Alchemist,  The best brands for supplements are Perfect Supplements, Pure Radiance, Grown by Nature, and the rest of my list is here (as well as the reasons why I don’t recommend a few of the most popular brands out there)

Household products

The average woman puts on about 515 different synthetic chemicals daily – and most of that is just in the morning! There are about 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.

The most important things to switch out first would be (and why to switch them):

Take a look on the Skin Deep Guide on the Environmental Working Group’s website to see how your favorite products rank. They have about 60,000 products listed!

Why Healing From a Chronic Illness Can Take So Long- And why you shouldn’t give up!

 

Healing can take a long time- but you shouldn’t give up!

I know the healing journey can be long and sometimes frustrating. I also know that I see so many people looking for that “one thing” that is going to fix them. There is no one thing, I’m sorry to say. Our bodies are so multi-faceted and we really need to look at the whole picture. There really is no need to complicate things though- going back to the basics (especially when you are feeling stuck) can make a big difference, especially at the beginning of your journey.
 
I see it time and time again that people look in nooks and crannies for obscure answers when in reality they are overlooking the basics like healing the gut, getting rid of processed foods, eliminating toxins in the home, looking for underlying infections, or even something like living in a very toxic situation where people are constantly using you or creating negativity.

Why can healing take so long?

1) We didn’t get sick overnight

Many of us are trying to heal from years, decades, or even generations of poor health.  Deficiencies and toxicities can be inherited from our parents, and then most of us continue to live that lifestyle that gave them these issues in the first place. It seems like each generation is getting worse and worse earlier in life too.  So many kids are dealing with autism, seizures, cancer, and more- they’re getting the brunt of the damage thanks to what continues to get passed on through each generation.
You can read my entire post on why we’re all so sick these days right here– it’s a good one to share, especially with those that just don’t believe in WHY so many people are jumping onto the natural healing bandwagon.

2) The Body is a Whole

Healing is NOT easy. It’s not meant to be easy because our bodies are so complex.  If you have one issue going on (like hypothyroidism) there is always going to be other systems out of balance (like the gut or liver).  When we heal, we have to take into consideration all of these parts of the whole- gut, liver, lymph, adrenals, etc as well as the emotional healing side of things.  You can’t neglect the emotional side while trying to heal the physical and I often see people think that there is no need to even heal past traumas.

It’s going to take time, commitment, faith, and a lot of patience to heal.  Even though there are lot of things that are bundled into healing, we don’t need to make things complicated.  If we look at healing in stages instead of trying to work on fixing ALL THE THINGS at once, it gets overwhelming and we’re bound to give up easily.

3) Healing is not Linear

Most of us grew up with the mentality of “take this and be cured”. That is an absolute lie that is perpetuated by conventional medicine.  These days, most people are dealing with many nutritional imbalances, toxicities, and even chronic underlying infections.  Healing happens in stages and in layers- you will feel better for a time, and then feel a bit worse as the body gets through the next layer. Healing reactions, healing crisis, die-off, no matter what you call it, it can happen.  When we suppress symptoms for so long (with conventional medicine), we eventually have to deal with these things as they pop up.

Our bodies heal the way that THEY want to heal us, working from the most important layer to the least.  Often, the last things to resolve are the things we want fixed the fastest- energy, weight loss, brain clarity, etc.  Our bodies are meant to heal and they WILL if we give them time and the right tools.  There will be ups and downs though- you will have good days and bad days, but as time goes on the good will start to outweigh the bad.  A good rule of thumb that I learned when I first started my own healing journey- count on at least 1 month of healing for every year you’ve been sick.

4) Sometimes we just approach things incorrectly at first

There has been so much more info lately about about chronic infections (like Lyme and EBV), heavy metals, and parasites.  More often then not, when we learn about these bad things we just jump right into trying to trying to eradicate, kill off, or detox these things.  So many people overlook the basic foundational care that is needed before even attempting to work on these issues.  You *have* to heal the gut, work on the detox system, clean up your environment,  get overall strength in the body up, and more before working on these issues.  If you dive right into detoxing, you are likely to crash and set yourself back months or even years- I say this not to scare people but just because it is what I have seen so many times.

With our HTMA package, we do try to look at the whole picture and we try to work on the most critical pieces of the puzzle right from the start-which usually involves general foundational care first to start getting the body stronger before getting into these infections and other toxins.  

Healing can be hard, but you can’t give up!

Overall, we really need to start looking at health in a different light- there are no quick fixes, there will be ups and downs, and there will be times you want to give up.  But holding onto the GOOD things that are changing can make the biggest difference (sometimes we forget how much worse we used to be as we start healing- we forget the progress we’ve already made and we keep focusing on the symptoms that are still there).

Stay on your path, learn as much as you can, and have faith that your body is doing what it needs to be doing. You will get there!

Heavy Metal Detox

heavy metal detox

My Take on Heavy Metal Detox

Many of you already know my stance on detox: we should be HEALING the body to help it get rid of toxins in its own time and when it has the strength to. We should not always have to force the toxins out- this can lead to overloading the body with too many toxins at once which can cause an adrenal crash PLUS it is also likely that these toxins will recirculate and redeposit until the body can actually get rid of everything.  Toxin exposure has increased to an incredibly scary level over the last 50 years or so. At this point, it is impossible to avoid every toxic chemical or heavy metal out there. We just have to work on improving the way that our bodies tolerate and excrete these things, as well as reduce our exposure as much as we can.

When we have heavy metals, we are usually also dealing with parasites, bacteria, yeast, viruses, and other toxins. Once we start trying to eliminate one of these things, the others follow suit. For someone in adrenal exhaustion with a severe sluggish liver and colon, this can crash a person pretty quickly.  This is why I have such a super cautious approach to detoxing, and why it drives me crazy at times that others are like, “No we HAVE to rip everything out and kill all the pathogens with a ridiculous amount of fire power FIRST!!”

I do understand the need to heal our sluggish and stressed out detoxification systems- which is why I follow a few key steps for my clients to heal (And I highly encourage you to work with someone knowledgeable that can work on healing your minerals and overall detoxification system as well!). The body is always a whole and we should be looking at it that way- you cannot initiate massive detox without taking into account the rest of the body. Luckily, I’ve been learning quite a bit more from BioRay (aka The Natural Detox Company) and I have found some more super safe ways to eliminate heavy metals, which I’ll get into below.

“80% of all chronic health
concerns are associated with
heavy metal toxicity.”
– WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, 1974

Main Steps for Heavy Metal Detox:

1) Get your colon moving!

Your colon cannot be sluggish!! The colon’s specific jobs include collecting and eliminating toxins from the body. However, if it the colon becomes even slightly sluggish it cannot perform its job properly. There are so many things that can mess with the function of the colon: poor diet, stress, overuse of laxatives, drugs, lack of exercise. The less you “go” normally, the worse the colon gets.

When we are trying to improve detox ability, you HAVE to get that colon moving. There is no ifs, ands, or butts about it (haha, I had to go there!). If toxins are not able to get out, they will recirculate- period.

Tips for keeping your colon moving:

  • Use BioRay Belly Mend to help heal your gut and bowel
  • Use helpful digestive aids like apple cider vinegar and lemon juice either during meals, or whenever you feel like your bowels are very sluggish (these also help the liver and kidneys)
  • Use something like a Squatty Potty to help make things easier
  • Aloe vera can be helpful to keep things moving (just do not use while pregnant as it can be a uterine stimulant)
  • Fermented foods (I find grass-fed kefir to be very helpful!)
  • Fiber and Bile boosting are huge as well- read all about this here.
  • You can read my whole colon health guide here.

2) Heal Your Liver!

The liver itself has over 500 roles in the body, but most just know it as the main detox organ.  The liver helps to make bile (which we need for elimination of toxins), filters out toxins like ammonia, and plays a huge role in overall health.  A sluggish liver is usually the main root cause of toxin build up in the body- it just cannot keep up with the heavy load that we deal with these days.

From ARL Labs on mercury removal: “Biliary excretion is the preferred route of excretion of mercury. (Meaning BILE FLOW)…Mercury is also eliminated in saliva, through the pancreas, through intestinal wall secretion, and through nails and hair.”

“A tissue mineral analysis is of value in designing nutritional programs which balance the tissue electrolytes and enhance the energy pathways. By so doing, increased biochemical energy is made available to facilitate excretion of mercury from tissue reservoirs.”

How to heal your liver:

  • Do your best to cut down on toxin exposure, especially in the home
  • Eat as clean as you can.
  • BioRay’s Liver Life is amazing for liver healing and regeneration
  • Castor oil packs
  • Herbal infusions like nettles, oatstraw and red raspberry leaf. Infusions are extremely nourishing to the body, and most of them help with liver, lymph, kidneys, and the adrenals.
  • Sunflower Lecithin: This form of lecithin is rich in phosphatidyl choline, which is a B complex vitamin that has extremely important roles in fat metabolism and liver health. It helps with stimulating bile flow and can help flush fat out of the liver, and it is also extremely important for brain health.
  • More on liver healing here.

3) Other methods of supporting detox

  • Dry skin brushing skin is our biggest organ and we can eliminate toxins through our skin (this is why things like acne, eczema, and cherry angiomas are so common- the body is trying to put toxins out through the skin). Before showering, use a natural bristle brush (like this one) to brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to the torso and  then from the fingers to the chest. You will want to work in the same direction as your lymph flows which is towards the heart. Be careful over sensitive areas like the breast.  The more you brush, the less sensitive your skin will become.  After you are done brushing, hop in the shower to wash off the dead skin cells that you’ve brushed off! This is such an easy, quick thing to add to your daily routine.
  • Rebounding on a mini trampoline or even bouncing on a yoga ball
  • Kidney Support: nettles, ACV, lemon juice, etc are all great for kidney loving.
  • Sauna (if tolerated)
  • Gentle exercise like yoga or walks

4) Balance your minerals!

With hair tissue mineral analysis, we aim to restore the body’s biochemistry.  As we balance minerals, the metabolism can heal and the body starts to detox better. This is a MAJOR player in being able to properly eliminate heavy metals. If you are severely depleted of minerals, your body cannot have the strength to detox properly.  Many heavy metals will take the place of minerals as well! As we replenish the nutrients, the body can start to push the metals out to replace with the minerals (which is one main reason why I do not advocate for chelation: you cannot rip those metals out FIRST and then try to replace it with synthetic “nutrients”. This is not the way that HTMA was intended to be used).

With HTMA, we can start to heal the adrenals as well, and they are usually the main thing that takes the brunt of the damage if we try to rush into detoxing. We HAVE to have strong, healthy adrenals to deal with the stress of heavy metal detoxing. We tend to burn through minerals like sodium and potassium like crazy when we are detoxing so getting on a good plan to heal is imperative if you want to safely remove the heavy metals.

5) SAFE Heavy Metal Detox

For the last few years, I have not done anything specific when it comes to detoxing heavy metals as a majority of the clients I get are in adrenal burnout and simply cannot work on this part yet. Recently, I started learning more about the amazing tinctures from BioRay and I’m happy to be able to share what I have found regarding SAFE heavy metal detoxing.

BioRay recommends basically everything that I mentioned above as well in order to detoxing safely and effectively.  We have to support the colon, the liver, the kidneys, and the adrenals (because again, the body is a whole!). Bioray offers the best line of detoxification support out there for everyone. They have 3 main lines: therapeutic, the Daily line, and the kids line.  The therapeutic line is the strongest; the daily line is about half the strength of the therapeutic; and the kids line is about 25% the strength of the therapeutic line. Where to start depends on where you are in your healing journey.

The Ideal order for the BioRay products are: Loving Energy (for adrenals), Liver Life (to heal and prepare the liver), Cytoflora (to support good gut balance), NDF Plus (for gentle toxin removal), and then Artemesia and Clove (for unwanted organisms). Low and slow is always best, and all of these have specific instructions for use.

The main heavy metal detoxer they offer is the NDF Plus. It’s specific functions are:

  • Removes toxic metals including lead, mercury, arsenic, uranium, thallium, cadmium, antimony and aluminum.
  • Removes chemicals and pesticides including Lindane, dioxin, BPA, phthalates and chlorine.
  • Binds to endotoxins and exotoxins.
  • Balances essential nutrients as it contains naturally occurring amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
  • Provides natural occurring fulvic acid, antioxidant and free-radical scavenger, serving to balance cell life
  • (read more here, and you can read the results of the case and lab studies done on NDF plus here).

You can see all of the kids’ line here as well as further description of the kid-specific line.

BioRay also has a lot of amazing tips for those that need to use antibiotics, get vaccines, are exposed to chlorine, or need to get their mercury dental fillings removed. Check out their main articles on this here. Here is their chart outlining what products can help with specific issues.

 

So there you have it: the truth about what goes into detox! You cannot just take 1 supplement and detox your entire body. There is a lot involved in proper and safe detox!

Why are we all so SICK?!

sick these days

 

Chronic Illness is Everywhere

Do me a favor and think about all of the people you know and think about this question: do you know anyone that is 100% healthy? Truly. Do you know anyone that has absolutely no chronic complaints, no diagnoses, and looks completely healthy? I’ve asked myself this often in the last few years because the answer for me is a huge NO!

Why is EVERYONE dealing with something these days? How is it that nearly everyone deals with some sort of chronic health issue, whether it be mild or severe? It really doesn’t have anything to do with what some people think about how things are just “better diagnosed”. I call complete BS on that one.

It is because our environment SUCKS.  We have had horrible nutrition, more exposure to toxins, and it is even worse over the last 2 decades because 3 main things happened in the 90s that have changed things for the worse: the introduction of GMOs into the food system, the MASSIVE increase of vaccines given to kids, and the increase of use of artificial sweeteners (because of our horrible craze of diets!). People are much sicker now in 2017 than people were in 1990s because of this- and this is why I have such a vastly different approach to health: we are different so we NEED different things!

I was 17 when I was told I had a chronic illness. These days, kids are even younger and dealing with even WORSE issues that I did and I find this absolutely unacceptable. We need to be the change in the world if we want to do better by the future generations. You can read my whole post on the issues that kids are dealing with these days right here.

Let’s go over the causes of our poor health a bit!

Bad Nutrition

In the 1990s, the food supply got so much worse than it used to be. First, GMOs were introduced into the mix.  Read more on GMOs here.

Artificial sweeteners had already been around for several decades by the time the 90s started, but they became much more common as more and more people were jumping on the diet bandwagon: the low fat, low sugar, low calorie trend has been one of the most dangerous ones that we’ve dealt with. The theory that the less calories we consume, the better led to the increase in use of artificial sweeteners. These days, we know that many of them are linked to cancer, neurological issues, behavior issues, and more. You can read a full list of artificial sweeteners here, as well as what you would usually find them in and why we should avoid them!

Basically, this list below is ALL of the main things that we’ve been eating that have contributed to poor health. It’s best to make adjustments and avoid as much of these things as you can:
  • Genetically Modified Foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Food dyes
  • High Fructose Corn syrup (and I’d stay away from Corn syrup too!)
  • MSG
  • Read why we should avoid the above mentioned here.
  • Packaged foods labeled as “low-fat” (AKA filled with sugar!)
  • Avoid as many boxed foods as you can
  • Non-organic sugars
  • Oils from soy, corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, and peanut

Increase in Toxin Exposure

Toxins are everywhere these days: foods, personal care products, electronics, cleaning products, vaccines, and even the air are just some of the main things that expose us to carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and more. There are about 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.  The more we are exposed to, the more likely we will absorb in the body which can lead to a stressed out liver and a tendency to gain weight (as we store toxins in fat when the liver cannot keep up with metabolizing these toxins). Read more here about environmental toxins!

The vaccine schedule has been another issue that has gotten out of hand. No matter what your stance is on vaccines, I can only hope that we can all agree that the amount of vaccines given to children these days is asinine.  When I was a kid, there were about 11 separate shots given from birth to age 5.  Now kids are getting close to 20 in just the first 6-12 months of life!  They ARE contributing to issues with kids: seizures, strokes, type 1 diabetes, and more are incredibly common in children these days, and all of these symptoms are listed in the package inserts. Vaccines are NOT one-size-fits-all. Find a pediatrician willing to be open and honest to talk about this with you and read this: *Institute for Vaccine Safety – Package Inserts *.

Other common toxins we are exposed to:

The more that people wake up, the more things will change. Things are slowlyyyy making a shift these days as we get back into common sense health and nutrition. Vote with your dollars when it comes to foods, household items, clothes, furniture, and more. WE HAVE TO CHANGE. Period. If we don’t, then our kids are the ones that will suffer, and their kids will be even worse off.

 

General Diet Recommendations

My General Diet Recommendations

Let me start this post by saying that we are all different, and we don’t all have to eat the exact same diet. HOWEVER, there are many things that I think we should avoid in our diet, and several general things that we should include. This post is just going to be a basic outline of this. If you want to know why I don’t advocate for a specific diet for everyone, check this post out here.

You can read more in-depth on this topic in my ebook “The Ideal Diet”.

This is basically what I try to abide by.  There are days where we go out to eat and cannot avoid all of the “bad” stuff, but I truly believe that things are shifting. More people want real food, and many restaurants are catching up to the demand now. The more that we vote with our dollars, the more these places will change!

At the end of the day, please remember just to DO YOUR BEST. None of us are perfect, especially not when crap food is everywhere.

What NOT to eat:

  • Genetically Modified Foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Food dyes
  • High Fructose Corn syrup (and I’d stay away from Corn syrup too!)
  • MSG
  • Read why we should avoid the above mentioned here.
  • Packaged foods labeled as “low-fat” (AKA filled with sugar!)
  • Avoid as many boxed foods as you can
  • Non-organic sugars
  • Oils from soy, corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, and peanut

What to eat:

  • Fresh fruit and veggies, mostly local if you can do this. (**See below for Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen)
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Organic chicken
  • Free-range eggs
  • Seafood from clean, reputable sources (if you’re a seafood eater!)
  • Good fats like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, grass-fed dairy (cream cheese, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, heavy cream), ghee, avocado, fish, nuts, chocolate, meats, eggs, and olives.
  • When it comes to grains, this is SO individual. My family tries to stick with organic whole grains as we do well with them. This includes organic wheat, Einkorn, basmati rice, organic oats, etc. I truly believe it comes down to the strength of our digestion as well as the quality of the food we eat that matters most.
  • Real sweeteners like organic maple syrup, raw honey, blackstrap molasses, and we even use organic brown sugar for baking.
  • Get in as many nutrient dense foods as you can. Herbal infusions, pumpkin seeds, bee pollen, bone broth, etc. Read more on there here.

 

**For Fresh Produce, this is a good list to remember. Dirty Dozen is best organically grown when you can find them, and the Clean Fifteen does not have to be organic:

Dirty Dozen:

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Nectarines
  5. Celery
  6. Spinach
  7. Grapes
  8. Cherry tomatoes
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Sweet bell peppers
  11. Potatoes
  12. Snap Peas (imported)

Clean Fifteen:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Sweet potatoes
  5. Cabbage
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Onions
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Papaya
  11. Kiwi
  12. Eggplant
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Cantaloupe
  15. Cauliflower

Circadian Rhythm Imbalance

Circadian Rhythm

Circadian Rhythm Imbalance: My Top Tips for Better Sleep!

What exactly is “circadian rhythm”?  Here is the main definition for it: “A daily cycle of biological activity based on a 24-hour period and influenced by regular variations in the environment, such as the alternation of night and day.” (source)

Circadian rhythm is technically a process that our bodies have that help us to be awake during the day, and asleep at night. However in our current world, it is incredibly easy for us to mess up this cycle! An imbalance in circadian rhythm has the potential to lead to blood pressure issues, diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, and more.

What causes this imbalance? Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances, stress, poor diet, and even something as simple as white light exposure at night (which is one of the biggest causes of a cortisol/melatonin imbalance). Let’s learn about these causes!

Fixing the Cortisol/Melatonin Imbalance

In a perfect world, cortisol would be higher in the morning and slowly start to decline as the day goes on, and be pretty low at night. Melatonin should be the opposite: we want melatonin lower in the morning and higher at night. This is because cortisol plays a role in overall energy through the day, while melatonin helps us sleep at night. When we are dealing with adrenal issues (aka HPA axis dysfunction), it is so common to have these hormones flipped.

The main helpers that I have found for fixing this imbalance (other than the tips that are listed further below) are:

  • Tart Cherry Juice: This has a natural source of melatonin which helps to regulate sleep patterns. Look for organic if possible. There are pure juices and then concentrates, so be sure to read instructions if you try this method out. You can even make tart cherry gummies!
  • Limiting screen time at night: the light that we are exposed to from TVs, computers, cell phones, etc are all considered to be “white light” which is known for stimulating cortisol production. We do not want this at night! Limit screen time at night and try to cut it off completely about an hour or 2 before bed; or get blue-light apps (f.lux for Android, or Night Shift on iPhones 5s and above, which comes automatically with the phone now).
  • Blue Light Blocking Glasses: These are one of the easiest helpers for regulating cortisol/melatonin. Ideally, we should use these as the sun goes down, but at least 2 hours before bed seems to help most people. These glasses help the body to stimulate melatonin on its own ( I just got a pair myself a few months ago and highly recommend them!)
  • Getting sun in the morning: This helps to stimulate cortisol production in the morning, which helps to keep levels stable through the day, especially when used in conjunction with the above 3 tips.  If sun is not an option in the morning for whatever reason, you can use something like this lamp.
  • I do NOT recommend supplementing with melatonin. This is a hormone. When we consume hormones we can create many other imbalances, and we can even confuse our body to a point where it stops its own production of melatonin
  • Adaptogens can also be helpful, but these can take a bit of time to find what works best for you. Read more about adaptogens here! I love Herb Pharm’s Aviva blends (3 to choose from), Herb Pharm’s Stress Manager, or BioRay’s Loving Energy.

Nutrients that play a role in better sleep

Vitamin A

No matter where you go these days, everyone seems to be talking about vitamin D. However, we really should be putting more of a focus on vitamin A! It is every more crucial for overall health. You can read the whole awesome breakdown on how vitamin A influences circadian rhythm here. Seriously, it is a great article! One main quote from this article, ” Thus, without vitamin A, our brains cannot know when it is daytime and cannot set our circadian rhythm. If this system fails, we are less likely to feel alert in the daytime, less likely to feel relaxed in the night time, and less likely to get adequate, regular, restful sleep.”

Vitamin A deficiency is extremely common these days. Why, you ask? Great question! Mostly it is because we have been lied to about what vitamin A really is. You see, foods like carrots and sweet potatoes don’t actually contain vitamin A. They contain beta carotene, which has the potential to be CONVERTED to vitamin A. Only 50 of the 600 or so carotenoids can even be converted to actual A.

We also need happy livers to utilize vitamin A correctly (we also need happy livers for SLEEP too!), which is another factor in why many people are deficient- most are dealing with some level of liver dysfunction. So things like herbal bitters and overall help with bile flow is necessary for proper use of vitamin A. The best sources of vitamin A are cod liver oil, liver (beef, chicken, etc), eggs, grass-fed butter, ghee, and even grass-fed dairy. (Notice how ALL of these foods have been demonized in the past or present- most people have not grown up eating beef liver or cod liver oil like our grandparents and great-grandparents did!).

Read more about vitamin A here!

Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium

These 3 minerals play huge roles in overall health. It is important to use a tool like HTMA to determine where your personal imbalances are before trying to increase or avoid any particular mineral. Magnesium is usually important for those with high cortisol and over-active adrenals, where potassium and sodium are the most important for those with overall low cortisol output and under-active adrenals. These 3 minerals have a delicate balance, but potassium itself is a common deficiency related to burnout. When potassium is under a 4 on the HTMA, it is a huge cause of insomnia and adrenal dysfunction. You can read a bit more on these 3 minerals here.

Copper Imbalance

Copper plays a role in insomnia when it becomes out of balance. Excess, unbound copper can be irritating to the nerves and is a common cause of racing mind, anxiety, and inability to fall or stay asleep. You can read more about copper imbalances here.

Diet and Gut Health

Diet plays such a huge role in overall health and well-being. If you are eating junk, you will feel like junk- period.  Common offenders in our diets that can impact our sleep are artificial colors and flavors, artificial sweeteners, MSG, caffeine, GMO sugar, and even intolerances to gluten or conventional dairy can play a role. Everyone is so different when it comes to diet though, and there is not just *one* main thing for everyone to focus on. It takes trial and error to figure out what might be harming you.

In truth, a huge part of why we have intolerances is because of leaky gut. So healing the gut is a crucial step in healing from any health issue, including sleep problems.

Stress

Almost everyone is under some sort of stress.  Whether it is chronic or acute, this can have a huge impact on our sleep.  Stress can negatively impact our gut, our adrenals, and it can deplete us of crucial nutrients like magnesium and zinc.  Here are a few ways that you can help lower your stress levels so you can get quality sleep:

  1. Yoga- everyone knows about yoga, but not everyone likes doing it.  Yoga has been one of the most popular ways to help de-stress for a long time.  Even finding a few yoga positions that help you can help immensely. I like legs-on-the-wall, child’s pose, cat-and-cow, and corpse pose
  2. EFT (aka Tapping)- Emotional Freedom technique is not new, but it has been garnering a lot of attention over the last few years in the natural health field. This method used meridian tapping to harness your body’s energy to heal itself
  3. Buteyko breathing- A friend introduced me to this method , and I will forever be grateful.  It truly is a great way to calm yourself down before bed, or if you wake up in the middle of the night. It actually helps the healing of a lot of different ailments as well!
  4. Find a hobby- this is probably the simplest method to help stress, but it is the most overlooked.  Find something that you love to do and try to do it daily.  Reading, writing, drawing, painting, walking, bike riding, photography, anything you can think of that will get you away from the TV and off of the couch.

 

 

More reading

From Uncaged Health about Circadian Rhythm

My post on 25+ Sleep Tips

My Experience with Homeopathy, which has help me heal my long term sleep issues.

From Jack Kruse

What to do when people think you are crazy for living holistically

livng holistically

Why is it CRAZY to be living holistically?

You know the look you get when you tell someone that you tried to feed your family organic food? Or that you don’t vaccinate? Or that you avoid antibiotics at all costs? Yea, I’m sick of that look, as I’m sure many other people are. People think that eating organic is “trendy”, that thinking for yourself when making decisions like vaccinating is “dangerous”, and that you’re incredibly stupid if you don’t listen to your doctor 100% because they are “Experts”.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but things are a-changing! People are waking up to the devastation that is “health care” and they are being forced to take care of their own families when it comes to health. So many people just don’t understand the “why” behind natural living, so I wanted to put together a list of reasons why I personally came over to the dark side (which does have gluten-free cookies, by the way haha)

(Of course though, if you are able to just ignore the nay-sayers, that is even better! You don’t have to argue with anyone if you don’t want to. However, so many people just don’t know the TRUTH!)

Some Points to make for those all worried about natural living:

  1. Medical Error is one of the top causes of death in this country.  The third main cause to be exact; right behind cancer and heart disease (which are pretty much man-made diseases for the most part thanks to environmental toxins and terrible dietary advice over the last several decades). (source)
  2. The USA is last in health on a list of the 17 most developed countries
  3. Kids now have shorter estimated lifespans than we do! Want to read more about the massive increase of health issues in kids? Click here.
  4. The leading cause of death of children ages 5-14 is CANCER. 1 in 5 children will get a diagnosis of cancer now.
  5. On top of that, 90% of cancers are environmental! Read more about these causes here!
  6. Over 2 million people are harmed each year because of the overuse of antibiotics. Superbugs are on the rise because of this overuse too. (source)
  7. 11% of the population of people aged 12 (!!) and over on at least one anti-depressant. (And take into consideration that “About 8% of persons aged 12 and over with no current depressive symptoms took antidepressant medication.” SOURCE-CDC So people ARE being given these pills for no apparent reason)
  8. More people die each year from properly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs than illicit drugs. Plus, so many of these other top causes of death on this list are related to DIET and are treatable or even preventable.

Anyone have any other main points to add? Anyone else scared of what the future will bring when it comes to how we view health too? Something really needs to change here as things are not sustainable as they are.

 

Liver Healing vs. Liver Detox: Why there is a HUGE difference!

liver healing

Liver Healing vs. Liver Detox

Most of my followers know that I am a huge Liver Lover! I can never stress the importance of the liver enough. It has about 500 functions in the body, and it takes a beating in our toxic world.  You can read more about liver health here, but we’re going to go over some important points in this post: what the liver is for and why we need to love and support it- not flush and force it to “cleanse”.

The liver plays a role in:

  • hormonal balancing
  • blood sugar regulation
  • heart health
  • weight management
  • cholesterol regulation
  • detoxification (of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, pathogens, etc)
  • digestion (of fats and protein)
  • utilization of fat soluble nutrients like vitamins A and D
  • keeping copper and iron balanced
  • thyroid and adrenal health
  • immune health

Why we need Liver Loving, not Flushing or Cleansing

The Liver itself doesn’t get dirty- it doesn’t need to be flushed or cleansed. It can get sluggish and it can start getting an extra storage of fat, iron, and copper but it doesn’t store toxins.  When the liver gets sluggish, it stores toxins in FAT which is why there is such a huge link between being overweight and having liver issues.

This is one of the main reasons why I am not a huge fan of liver flushes, cleanses, or anything that will stress the liver out and force it to detox. Our goal should be to provide supporting herbs, foods, and practices to help gently stimulate the liver to heal.  Obviously we all have to make our own choices, but I am not a fan of things like liver/gallbladder flushes, chelation, or fasting- these methods can be very harsh on the body, especially if you are dealing with adrenal dysfunction.  Forcing the body to heal when it doesn’t have the strength is counter-productive.  Gently nourishing the whole body is the key for sustainable healing.

How to Properly Love your Liver

One of the main liver lovers that I recommend to nearly all of my clients is BioRay Liver Life. I have seen miraculous results with this particular herbal blend. The herbs that are used help with the liver, kidneys, lymph, adrenals, and immune system so you get a huge whole-body healing effect from this one supplement. You can read my full post about Liver Life here. Or you can check it out on BioRay’s site, where you can also see many of their other awesome products that I often recommend (and now you can get 15% off your order with the code SASSY at checkout!). You can also read about 10 of the most common detox myths here!

liver healing
BioRay Liver Life is the best choice for liver loving!

According to this source, the tests done with Liver Life “reveal improvements in high liver enzymes, food sensitivities, fatty acid metabolism, pH balance, nutrient absorption and microbial imbalances.”  Not only that, but liver function can improve liver function by 50% in only 15 days. Liver Life supports both phases of liver detox, can improve histamine intolerance, and can help heal food sensitivities over time.

The Liver Life itself can be used for kids as the dose is based on weight, but BioRay has a specific formula just for kids called CALM. You can read more about the kids’ line here.

Other Liver Loving Ideas

  • Herbal infusions like nettles, oatstraw and red raspberry leaf. Infusions are extremely nourishing to the body, and most of them help with liver, lymph, kidneys, and the adrenals.
  • Sunflower Lecithin: This form of lecithin is rich in phosphatidyl choline, which is a B complex vitamin that has extremely important roles in fat metabolism and liver health. It helps with stimulating bile flow and can help flush fat out of the liver, and it is also extremely important for brain health.
  • Castor oil packs (read about castor oil packs here!)
  • Dandelion root decoctions or tea
  • garlic, turmeric, ginger, cayenne
  • Bitter herbs

 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.*

 

liver healing

Bile and Fiber: Major Buddies for Efficient Detox

bile and fiber

Bile and Fiber: Why They are crucial for our health!

These days, you can’t look anywhere on a natural health site without seeing something about detox. However, a majority of these sites are promoting dangerous or completely useless cleanses, or the thought that there is something majorly wrong with our genes, which is why our detoxification is off. They usually fail to point out the importance of diet, lifestyle, and the environment! (You can read why I don’t focus on genes here.) In reality, there are MANY factors involved in detoxification, and we’re going to go over 2 main factors here.

**Two of the biggest factors in impaired detox are lack of fiber and lack of bile flow. **

Fiber and Bile are basically a tag-team when it comes to detoxification. They both help with binding or flushing out a lot of the gunk that our bodies are trying to eliminate. Both reduce the severity of die-off from yeast, parasites, and other nasty stuff because they can bind with many toxins to ensure they are evacuated efficiently.

When we are lacking bile and fiber it is common to deal with an inability to digest and utilize fats correctly (which can result in hormonal imbalances and an unstable nervous system), constipation, inability to lose weight, fatigue, and more.

The Process of Enterohepatic Recirculation

Without enough fiber, our bile can become thick and almost like sludge. If this continues, the possibility of developing gallstones becomes higher because the bile will solidify in the gallbladder and runs the risk of getting stuck .  Fiber essentially is the key to “cleaning” our bile as bile is technically recycled. Because of our imbalances and toxicities, it is common for the body to recycle the same bile over and over again (up to 17 times! {1})

Bile is excreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. When we eat fat (or when the body is detoxing), this bile is released. On its way to the intestinal tract, it attaches itself to toxins, parasites, excess hormones, and even bad bacteria ( I love how Dr. John Douillard phrases it: Bile is essentially like Pac-man in our bodies with its amazing ability to gobble up everything in its track. {1}) Once bile gets to the intestinal tract, it binds with fiber in the gut and gets taken out of the body. The big catch here is that we need BOTH of these things to achieve this amazing cycle.

You can read the whole breakdown on Enterohepatic recirculation here on Karen Hurd’s website.

When this process between bile and fiber becomes sluggish, this can negatively affect stomach acid production as well. This in turn begins to mess with the way people digest many common foods (which leads to them eliminating many food groups after a time as they become more and more intolerant to things). No bile/fiber=lack of stomach acid= intolerances to gluten, dairy, meat, and/or fats. All of these things will lead to chronic constipation as well.  Constipation leads to us storing up our toxins in fat and continuous re-circulation of some toxins (especially excess, unbound copper!) until we get our gut sorted out.  Common side effects of this are: anxiety (toxins recircuating), rashes (toxins trying to come out through the skin), headaches, fatigue (80% of our energy goes to detox so when that is sluggish it will steal from our overall vitality), and weight issues (whether unable to gain or lose weight).

Why are we so deficient in these 2 things?

The biggest reason why we are dealing with these deficiencies is because of the Standard American diet.  This diet is filled with refined foods that are not only low in fiber, but they require even more stomach acid and bile for us to attempt to digest (and whatever isn’t digested starts to build up in the colon, creating a breeding ground for pathogens and toxins!). Throw in heavy metal toxicity, pathogens, and other nutritional deficiencies and the call for bile and fiber becomes even more dire to help flush these things out. Instead of the body eliminating toxins, it starts to store it up in the body until one starts introducing the correct nutrients for removal of these toxins.

Eating a whole foods, clean, and organic-as-possible diet is the best way to achieve better health. There is no *one* perfect diet for everyone on this planet, but those are my main guidelines! You can read my take on the “ideal diet” here.

What is Fiber?

There are 2 kinds of fiber, insoluble and soluble. Soluble fiber tends to dissolve in water and forms a sort of sponge which helps to bind with toxins. Insoluble fiber helps the gut wall move more efficiently, as well as ferments in the gut to act as a food source to your good bacteria. They have different functions, but the most important thing to focus on is to just GET MORE FIBER! (source)

The main functions of fiber include keeping us regular, helping us to detox harmful substances, balancing cholesterol, balancing blood sugar, controlling weight, and helping to balance our hormones.

Apparently our ancestors ate close to 100 grams of fiber a day. Most people get maybe a tenth of that on a Standard American Diet. Ideal daily fiber intake should be at least 30-40 grams. It’s best to spread this out through the day in smaller amounts.

From this source, “When we don’t eat fiber, the toxins that we should be eliminating through our bowels get reabsorbed into the bloodstream — and that can cause many problems,” Junger says. “Unfortunately, Western medicine is toxic-blind”.

High Fiber Foods:

*Medium Apple with skin- 5 grams
*Medium Banana- 4 grams
*2 medium dried figs- 3.7 grams
*1 cup of raspberries- 6.4 grams
*Oatmeal, 1 cup- 12 grams
*1 cup of black beans- 14 grams
*1 cup garbanzo beans- 6 grams
*1/4 cup pumpkin seeds- 4 grams
*1 avocado- 12 grams
*A cup of cooked carrots- 5 grams
*1 medium sweet potato- 5 grams
*Psyllium fiber supplements can be helpful too, especially if you are dealing with food intolerances and have to limit high fiber foods like grains and beans. My new favorite way to use psyllium for effective colon cleansing includes this recipe, taken once or twice a day: 4-6 ounces of plain, organic kefir, 1 Tablespoon of psyllium husks, and 1-2 Teaspoons of blackstrap molasses. This mix can be very helpful for getting things moving!
*When I’m tired of psyllium, I switch over to this liquid fiber from Alive! for a time. I honestly see about the same benefit from it as I do from psyllium!

The only caveat to fiber is for those that might have SIBO. Fiber might end up feeding the bacteria too much. In my experience though, SIBO is very common in those suffering with low bile flow, so that is something to focus on first before attempting to get more fiber in the diet.

What is Bile?

Bile is a clear yellow (or orange or green) liquid that is created in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. A healthy liver will create 1 quart of bile per day- that is quite a bit of bile! Most of us have not been very loving to our livers though, and when we are healing we need a LOT of focus on liver health and bile flow.

In a healthy person, bile is made in the liver with no issue.  But for those that are deficient in crucial nutrients or overloaded with toxins, it is hard for the liver to keep up with the demand to produce bile. Why exactly is bile so crucial?

Bile helps us:

  • digest and assimilate fats and protein
  • it helps alkalize the intestines
  • Excrete excess copper
  • Excrete pathogens and yeast
  • Plays a role in excreting heavy metals and excess iron
  • helps us absorb fat soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E.
  • balance stomach acid and acts as a buffer for it

My Top Bile Boosters:

SO! What is our biggest takeaway here? That there is no *one* magic thing that will help us heal, especially when it comes to detox. Our bodies are extremely complex and there are a ton of functions that require many steps. Our gut, liver, lymph, kidneys, skin, and colon are all important for overall detoxification.  Learning how they all work in tandem is fascinating!

Resources:

{1} Eat Wheat by Dr. John Douilliard

Karen Hurd on Enterohepatic Recirculation

Fiber: Why it Matters more than you think!

Bile and Fiber

My New Hand-Picked Packages at Perfect Supplements!

Most of my followers know that I love Perfect Supplements, and I order many thing from them myself. Well, it just occurred to me recently to see if they would set up some of the most common packages that people buy. This makes things sooo much easier for everyone (myself included!) so that when I need to reorder my collagen, dessicated beef liver, etc I can just click ONE button now instead of searching for everything individually. I find that I often forget something when I do that too. So now it is super easy! PLUS when you use my code SASSY at checkout, you still get 10% off of everything 🙂

You can see my whole storefront on Perfect here, and the new packages are at the top.

Sassy Holistics – Adult Healing Essentials #1

  • Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen- 660 grams, 60 Servings
  • Perfect Desiccated Liver – 120 Capsules
  • Bioray Liver Life – 4 oz liquid
  • Garden of Life – Vitamin Code – Raw Vitamin C, 120 capsules

Sassy Holistics – Adult Healing Essentials #2

  • Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen- 660 grams, 60 Servings
  • Perfect Desiccated Liver – 120 Capsules
  • Bioray Liver Life – 4 oz liquid
  • Garden of Life – Vitamin Code – Raw Vitamin C, 120 capsules
  • NutraPro Virgin Cod Liver Oil – All Flavors -8 oz

Sassy Holistics – Gut Healing Essentials

  • Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen- 660 grams, 60 Servings
  • Gaia Herbs Sweetish Bitter Elixir – 4oz
  • Prescript-Assist Probiotic – 60 Capsules
  • Bioray Liver Life – 2 oz Liquid
  • Bioray Belly Mend – 2 oz Liquid

Sassy Holistics – Kids Healing Essentials

  • NutraPro Virgin Cod Liver Oil – All Flavors – 8 oz
  • Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen- 660 grams, 60 Servings
  • Perfect Desiccated Liver – 120 Capsules
  • Bioray Kids NDF Calm-Mood and Brain Boosting Herbal Drops (Vanilla cream flavor) 4oz liquid

Sassy Holistics – Detox Package

  • Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen- 660 grams, 60 Servings
  • Perfect Desiccated Liver – 120 Capsules
  • Bioray Artemisa & Clove – 2oz Liquid
  • Sonne’s #7 Bentonite Clay Detoxificant 32 oz
  • Bioray Liver Life – 2 oz Liquid
  • This one I would recommend for those wanting to do pathogen cleansing. (Note: I usually have people rebuild their minerals a bit first before moving onto pathogens!)