Buying a New House? Three Tests You NEED to Do First By Denise Brusveen, MS

buying a new home

Buying a New House? Three Tests You NEED to Do First: Guest Post By Denise Brusveen, MS

Buying a new house can be so exciting! Maybe you’re getting that little slice of heaven in the country or a bigger house that you can spread out in or you’re moving to a more convenient location or moving for a job change. No matter what the reason, sometimes it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement once you think you’ve found your dream home, and you just HAVE to have it at all costs. Don’t let that excitement cloud your judgement though, or you could be paying for it in big ways down the road – with your health.

When buying a house, almost all lenders require an inspection, and that’s a good thing! Even if yours doesn’t, GET AN INSPECTION ANYWAY. Those inspectors can find the tiniest faults that you might laugh at for how miniscule they are. But they can also find big flaws too, which can allow you to back out of the deal or require the seller to pay to fix in order to move forward. You don’t want to figure out these problems down the road when they’ve caused your health to suffer and the entire cost to fix them falls squarely on you.

These are the tests you NEED to do before purchasing your home. Your inspector may offer a package where they’re included. But if not, get them on your own:

Radon

I see so many clients with high uranium on their HTMA. This is a sign that there is radon exposure. The top two sources of exposure are in the home through cracks in the foundation, up through the sump pump, etc. or through the drinking water. You can get radon test kits like this one for pretty cheap. If it comes back high, you’ll want to have that fixed. Typically this involves sealing all cracks in the foundation, covering the sump pump if there is one, and installing a PVC pipe either from the sump pump or a hole cut into the foundation that vents out the side or the roof of the house.

Doesn’t sound cheap does it? It’s not. In my area, the cost is around $750. So being able to require the seller to install that before moving in is ideal.

Water (if on a private well)

The water has the potential to contain heavy metals, bacteria, pesticides,and more. If anything comes back at a concerning level, then you’ll be able to ask the sellers to install an acceptable water filtration system or credit you some money so that you can put it toward installing one of your own. You’d want a whole house filter because I have worked with clients who know that they have high levels of certain heavy metals in their water and have a filter on their kitchen faucet. That’s not always enough though because you bathe and shower in that same water source. And with your skin being your body’s largest organ, you can imagine how much of that nasty stuff your skin can absorb.

If you’ve got children under two years old or are pregnant, some states offer free water testing. Even if you have to pay for it though, it’s still going to be cheaper in the long run to be proactive rather than dealing with the negative consequences to your health down the road plus paying for the cost of the filter at that time.

Mold

This is something many people assume you can see or that only affects older homes, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are MANY different types of mold and they couldn’t care less about the age of your home! Some thrive in damp environments while other types are found in perfectly dry air. Not only that, but mold can lurk in places that would be impossible to see by walking through the house. A home builder local to me recently explained that most homes are built in such a way that allows rain to seep behind the plastic wrap that is put on houses, which causes mold to grow underneath windows, between the drywall and outside of the house. One of the most common places IN the actual house is behind and/or under showers or bathtubs. There is no way to see this without ripping those things out.

So what’s the big deal if it’s not out in the open? Well, it doesn’t really matter if it’s out in the open. It can still be in your air. And about 25% of the population is genetically susceptible to mold illness. Even people who aren’t genetically susceptible can suffer health consequences. This can not only be devastating on their health, but depending on where the mold is in the house, it could be devastating financially as well if it’s in a place that’s impossible or very difficult to remediate. Some people are forced to leave their moldy home behind even. A test called an ERMI test prior to purchasing could save you not only your health but a lot of money and headaches down the road if you detect mold and can back out before it’s too late. This is one example of a great company for testing.

Putting these contingencies in your offer is a smart move to protect your wallet and your health. Spending that $500-1000 now could save you tens of thousands of dollars and your health down the road. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? You’ll be out $1000, and they don’t find anything wrong? The many clients I work with who have moved or are in the process of remediating their homes now due to these issues would agree that this would have been a far smaller price to pay up front.

Don’t let the excitement of the prospect of that new house get the best of you. Don’t skip these tests.

Brain Fog Helpers- Give me my brain back!

Where did my brain go?! Why Brain Fog is so common these days so what we can do about it?

Brain fog! Ugh. I hate it. (Yes I know we shouldn’t say “hate” but if I had to pick the worst symptom I’ve ever dealt with, brain fog is definitely at the top of the list). There are sooo many reasons why we deal with brain fog so I’m just going to go over the most common reasons, especially according to what I’ve observed in my own clientele through the last few years.

Adrenal Exhaustion

“Adrenal fatigue” is a trendy term these days. In reality, the adrenals are a part of the HPA axis so we should be saying “HPA axis dysfunction”. You can read my entire post on this here for the full story. Basically, this really IS something that many people are dealing with these days.  It’s much more complex than just taking a supplement though- it involves many nutrients and many systems of the body to heal. This is why we have a whole body approach here at Sassy Holistics– nothing is ever in isolation in the body! When it comes to brain fog, it can be a symptom of adrenal issues because the body is so stressed just trying to function and we lose a lot of physical and mental energy overall.

Infections

Chronic infections are on the rise.  People are starting to realize that their decades of chronic illness have been caused by infections such as Lyme, EBV, or even parasites.  During the last Lyme Summit that was done, one of the speakers mentioned that having a chronic infection has the same effect on the body as constantly running a marathon- there is NO rest until you can start working on calming things down.  So this takes a toll on the body itself and can cause an increase in brain fog.  Also, the toxins that these infections can emit (especially when dying off) can make this issue so much worse.

Gut Issues

It’s often said that the gut is the second brain.  Our gut is usually the biggest thing to put a focus on when you are starting on your healing journey. Most people are dealing with low stomach acid, poor nutrient utilization, a leaky gut lining, sometimes even gut inflammation, and an imbalance in gut bacteria.  There are many aspects to gut healing and they are all crucial to keep in mind.

Sluggish Detoxification

When we think “detox” we really need to stop thinking of those 3 day cleanses at the health food store. We are always in a constant state of detox, and a lot of energy goes into proper detoxification.  If we are overloaded with toxins, we cannot get them out, period!  They can recirculated in the body and the brain is often a victim when this is going on. Work on liver, lymph, kidneys, gut, colon, and skin as a whole detox focus- they are ALL important.

Sleeping Issues

I feel like this one is a no-brainer (haha, pun intended! Not funny? OK sorry 😉 ). No sleep= no overall energy.  Sleep can be messed up because of any of the above issues. Healing these issues can help to get sleep back on the right track. Here is my main post on fixing circadian rhythm, and my post on 25+ sleep crutches.

How to heal brain fog naturally

We are huge proponents for biochemical individuality. Everyone is different so there is not “one” supplement that will help with one specific symptom, even if they are advertised for that symptom/health issue. These are some of the main things we have seen that has helped with people to get their brain function back though!

  • Belly Mend (or Cytoflora)- this is one of our favorite gut healers, but it does have a pretty amazing effect on healing that gut/brain connection.
  • MCT Oil– We all know about how amazing coconut oil is, but MCT oil tends to be easier to utilize and can have a pretty quick effect on physcial and mental energy levels. I LOVE Perfect Supplements’ MCT oil– 100% organic (and sustainable) coconut MCT oil (they let us use the SASSY code for 10% off your whole order too!!). Fats are essential for brain health, and MCT oil is one the best ways to get some easy to utilize fats.
  • Gut Healing–what more can I say on this one? We need our gut to be working in order to heal from anything, so this is often the best first step to consider.
  • Working on Infections- this is definitely a complex statement because there is no one approach to these infections.  It depends on the pathogen, the strength of your whole body, your budget, etc. Lots of variables. This is my main post on how I would approach an infection (and it is what I am currently doing to address the underlying infections I have found).  Binders can be a huge helper too, especially if you are throwing something like mold exposure into the mix. Activated charcoal, Cellcore’s Bioxtoxin Binder, and this Takesumi are among the most helpful binders out there.
  • HTMA– We try to tailor our plans to your personal needs as much as we can. As the whole body heals, all symptoms can start to heal. Brain fog tends to get better as adrenal strength improves and as detoxification ability is restored.

 

 

brain fog

Healing Chronic Underlying Infections- Why You can’t just ATTACK!

healing from chronic underlying infections

Healing Chronic Underlying Infections

Infections are a hot topic these days.  And for good reason- they ARE incredibly common. Nearly every one of my clients has something going on underlying- Lyme, EBV, parasites, and yeast overgrowth are among the most common.  Once we realize that these problems can be playing a huge role in our health issues, it is only natural to want to “fight” them and start working on the offensive to get rid of them. However, this is NOT always the best idea.

How we get these infections

So why exactly are these chronic forms of infections so common?  There are so many reasons! The most obvious ones are that we grow up in a toxic environment with a really crappy diet, lots of stress, and we have been taught such a backwards way to look at health thanks to conventional medicine.  We can also inherit these issues while in the womb which is probably the most troubling of all!

Candida:  Overuse of antibiotics, birth control use, and imbalanced diets can all be causes of Candida overgrowth.  The most common culprit that is blamed is excessive sugar intake with CAN be a contributor- but this doesn’t meant that going sugar free will heal you from Candida.  I’ve known many people that stayed on sugar-free diets for YEARS just to keep symptoms at bay- and that is literally all it does. It keeps symptoms at bay without solving any of the underlying issues.

Candida is especially related to a copper imbalance, just like a majority of the things we’re talking about in this post. You can read more about Candida specifically here.

EBV: Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most common chronic infections we come across.  A large majority of the population has been exposed to it and for generally healthy people it can stay dormant in the body.  But for many, EBV can be reactivated for various reasons- relentless stress going on in life, a major traumatic event, pregnancy, etc.  If you have had strep throat or mono in your life, then that would be the biggest indication that you are a carrier of EBV but many people with EBV didn’t have these specific occurrences. EBV can also be passed on in the womb like the other infections we’re talking about in this post. You can read my full post on EBV here.

Lyme and Co: Lyme tends to have many components to it as its rarely alone.  Lyme is mostly known for its association with tick bites but in reality you can contract Lyme from ticks, spiders, mosquitoes, fleas, and any other biting insect. I know- it’s a bit overwhelming to think that Lyme or its common co-infections can come from anywhere.  I have my whole Lyme post here for those that want to read more.

Parasites:  Parasites are a lot more common than you would think.  Most people are told that they are very rare in first world countries, but in reality we have become the perfect host for things like this thanks to our terrible lifestyles.  Parasites also tend to be just one part of the picture- they are rarely alone in the body so they are very common to find with any of the above infections as well. You can read all about parasites here.

Parasites, viruses, bacteria, and heavy metals all love to stay together in the body- this is one of the biggest reasons why I believe we need to work on healing the HOST first, not so much the individual issues!

Where to Start your Healing

If you have any or all of the above infections, please keep this important information in mind: healing the terrain is MORE important than directly attacking the infection, especially at first. We have to work on getting strength up in the body before it can physically handle detoxing pathogens of any kind.  I have seen some practitioners say they won’t even touch detox until at least a year of basic healing- and I am apt to agree with them.  Even if we’re starting to feel better and then decide to go on the “attack” it might not be time yet and you can bring yourself right back to square one.  I have seen countless times that once the body is ready to start working on heavy stuff it will just start without any massive prodding.

This means basic foundational care:

  • Clean up your diet– Get rid of the junk! Processed foods, soda, coffee (at least switch over to organic, low-mold brands if you don’t want to give it up completely), and refined carbs.  Not everything has to be organic, but I really encourage everyone to just do their best.  Meats, dairy, and any grains that are consumed are best organic.  This post outlines a bit of what I think is most important to get organic and why.
  • Assess your Minerals– The most common pattern I am seeing lately with a chronic infection is a higher calcium level with a potassium level that just will not budge (or tanks often). Minerals are at the absolutely base of our foundation- without them, we cannot function. As you get your minerals balanced, it will be easier for your body to handle the pathogens as well.  A copper imbalance is one of the MOST important aspects to address when there is any kind of infection. Bioavailable copper helps with keeping viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites under control. When it goes rogue then we can really have a giant issue with these infections!
  • Heal your gut– Without sufficient stomach acid and bile flow, we cannot utilize our nutrients.  Our gut is also an incredibly important part of the immune system. In fact, when we have “leaky gut”, the toxins that are going through that gut lining actually make their way into the lymph system! This is just another huge reason why we need to respect our bodies as wholes- everything is connected.
  • Work on your detox pathways– Liver, Lymph, Colon, Kidneys, Skin- we try to assess the most important things to start with once we see a person’s HTMA. Sometimes we need more adrenal healing before even thinking about detox support.
  • Start supporting your adrenals– Again, I love HTMA as it can tell us the exact state of your adrenals.  This is one of the most important parts of foundational care.  If your adrenals are stressed out or completely exhausted then there should be more of a focus on healing them first before even thinking about detoxing anything.
  • Clean up your environment– This can be a rough one because there is only so much that we can control.  Just do your best in your home!  Deodorant, makeup, shampoo, toothpaste, dish soap, etc are just some examples of things that tend to be big offenders for toxins that can mess with our liver function, and they can have very negative impacts on our endocrine function. Learn more here!
  • Work on emotional trauma- This is something I have had to learn the hard way myself.  Emotional trauma from past abuse is something that can stick with us until we’re ready to deal with it.  This can become a constant stress on the body which can suppress the immune system.  If the immune system is suppressed, it will be impossible to heal from any chronic infection, period.  Things like homeopathy, acupuncture, EMDR, Reiki, and EFT are among the most popular methods to use to start healing from emotional trauma. My big list of ideas is here.

 

So as you can see, there is a LOT that should be set up in place before attacking infections.

I can’t even believe the amount of “natural” docs and practitioners that actually advise their clients to start on a major detox protocol right off the bat.  This might work for some people, but many people will CRASH with this method.  When we give the body the tools it needs, it can start to work on things in its own time.  I have seen this countless times with my own clients. Start with the foundation, and regain your strength first.  Work with someone that makes sense to you as well- if you don’t feel good with an attack protocol, then listen to your body and find a different method!

Dandelion Root “BulletProof” Inspired Tea Recipe

Dandelion Root “BulletProof” Inspired Tea Recipe- and why we add so much to our tea!

I love Coffee- but lately I’m trying to be nicer to my adrenals. Caffeine can be a real issue for those with adrenal issues- usually 1 cup a day is ok for most people, but if you can cut it out for a time then that’s the ideal. I really wanted to try a way to make tea version but I was worried about how it would taste. I actually spoke to one of my Mavens recently that mentioned how she makes hers, so I decided to finally try it out, and I’m kicking myself for not trying sooner.

Why Ghee, MCT oil, and Collagen?

We NEED healthy fats for proper health.  Fat is not evil like we’re made to believe- it’s the right kind of fat that is essential.  And no, I’m not taking about margarine- I’m talking about real, natural fats! I prefer ghee and MCT oil because they are easy for me and I do well with them, but you can use grassfed butter or coconut oil too.  Overall, I’ve realized that most people with a sluggish liver/gallbladder tend to do better with ghee and MCT oil.

  • Ghee is AMAZING. You can read my whole post on it here but basically it’s the best fat for fat burning, gut healing, and it can help with better detoxification (especially for those with a sluggish colon).  I usually go with Organic Valley’s ghee as it’s easy to find locally.
  • MCT oil from pure coconut oil is my other main choice as it is easy to use and very easy to utilize.  It can help with energy levels, brain function, and more! Check out my full post here. I use Jarrow’s MCT oil.
  • And of course, collagen! I love collagen for so many reasons- it’s an easy-to-utilize source of protein and amino acids, it helps with gut and liver healing, and it can help with healing the metabolism.  I use Perfect Supplement’s collagen (plus they give my readers 10% off with the code SASSY at checkout!)

How to make Dandelion Root Tea (“Bulletproof” inspired)

  • Brew 1-2 tea bags of dandelion root tea in 8 ounces of boiling water, let steep for 10-15 minutes. I like my dandelion strong so I use 2 teabags. You can use loose dandelion root too (1tsp-1Tbs of the root per cup of water), or even use your pre-made dandelion decoction.
  • Pour tea into blender with 1 tsp-1Tbs of ghee, 1tsp-1Tbs of MCT or coconut oil, 1 scoop of Perfect Supplements’ Collagen (start lower on the fat amounts if you’re just starting out to test our your
  • The other parts are going to be customization depending on what you want: you can add Ceylon cinnamon, raw cacao powder, or a pinch of coconut or organic brown sugar (yes, I know technically Bulletproof doesn’t recommend sugar in their coffee/tea, but I’m a rebel especially if it turns out more bitter than usual- I’m also not a sugar hater. Everything in moderation! ).
  • Blend everything up for a few seconds and then enjoy! I was surprised at how frothy it actually gets, and I honestly am loving this more than my coffee version now.

Also, you can use your bitter herb supplement before drinking this to help utilize these fats even better! I love Herb Pharm Better Bitters, Herbalist&Alchemist, or Urban Moonshine for bitters because they all have handy, dandy spray bottles. Read all about bitters here!

My gorgeous cuppa tea this morning:

Why we do Retests for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

Did you know that the best way to get results with HTMA is to retest on time?

Hair tissue mineral analysis shows us about 3 months of time- it’s a very solid view on what your body has been doing when it comes to your mineral levels over a longer period of time (versus blood or other tests).   The main reason why we retest the HTMA every 3-4 months is huge- you want to make sure that you are still needing the program that you were originally put on!

I spoke with a client recently about this and it became so clear to me how important retesting truly is! On a retest, we saw how just in 3 months a significant change in one mineral level can start throwing off a few others. In this case, magnesium was getting pretty high in relation to the other nutrients but sodium barely budged. If we hadn’t retested and seen these changes, this person could have been still taking in too much magnesium and could potentially start to lower their sodium further as time goes on.

The hair test shows us about 3 months of time, so once you do start healing we can really see quick changes happen with our minerals. Retesting ensures that we’re either on the right track still and do not need to deviate too much from what we are doing, OR it could actually be that things have shifted so significantly that it would be time to change everything around.

I’ve also seen in just 3-4 months where the minerals get significantly better and then we can move onto the next stages of healing depending on what the person is going through- usually more detox support for things like EBV, parasites, heavy metals, etc.  Retesting gives us the best insight on how strong a person is getting in the process and when we can start introducing more into the healing program.

Retesting on time is the best way to ensure that you’re healing is on track and that you aren’t wasting time and money on things you no longer need.

We do offer a retest price for those that have tested with us in the last 6 months as well- you can check that out here.

 

(sometimes we extend the time to retest to 5-6 months if we started super duper Turtle speed on the protocol though- when you speak to your consultant, they will likely give you a time-frame for you!)

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!

Achieving Health and Wellness with Sassy Holistics

Achieving Health and Wellness with Sassy Holistics

The natural health world can be complicated at times. There are many different products and programs that promise quick-fixes that may or may not even have benefit for you. In reality, there are no quick fixes when we want to heal. I went through this all myself, and found that way too many people hyper-focus on one organ, one specific illness, one diet, or one nutrient.

True holistic health focuses on the body as a whole. We don’t work on just the thyroid, or try to get you to drop 20 pounds in 10 days. We don’t take 20+ supplements a day, nor do we starve ourselves or do strict diets.  My programs are designed with biochemical individuality in mind: we are all different and we all need different plans to heal.  We also try to make things simple!

What we do to help you heal:

  1. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis: HTMA is the best first step in figuring your your personal biochemistry.  Minerals are at the base of our health: they influence our hormones, can impact our neurotransmitters, play a huge role in our genetic expressions, and more. HTMA gives us insight on how your body reacts to stress as well as what minerals you are deficient or toxic in.  My plans with HTMAs include the following as well:
  2. Gut healing: Leaky gut is rampant these days. HTMA gives us a lot of insight on how well you are utilizing certain nutrients so we can see if you are dealing with low stomach acid, poor bile flow, or having issues with protein metabolism. In order to heal, we HAVE to heal your gut!
  3. Detoxification Support: We live in a toxic world. When our bodies are overloaded with toxins, we become tired, grumpy, and sick.  My plans include gentle support in healing the liver, the lymph, the kidneys, and the whole detoxification system. As we work on balancing minerals, the body works up more strength to get rid of toxins (heavy metals, parasites, etc), so we add in extra support to make healing easier.
  4. Individualized nutrition: Since HTMA gives us a good view on what nutritional imbalances you have, we can make some changes to make sure we get more of what you need.  We all have to eat: why not make the most of your diet with nutrient dense foods?
  5. Focus on your main symptoms: We try to work on the worst of what is bothering you right now. Having issues with sleep? Or bloating? Anxiety? Based on your symptoms and HTMA, we will find a way to help you start healing your biggest concerns first if we can so healing is more comfortable for you.  Deep healing takes time, but we can absolutely make huge leaps in progress when we start introducing the nutrients we need.
  6. Weight Loss: Often, dealing with weight issues is a sign of a sluggish liver. As we heal, weight is something that the body starts to fix. Many of the things I use on my plans are intended to really get weight moving- but it is NOT a priority for the body. Some people lose weight quickly when we start healing, and for many others it is one of the last things to resolve. Part of my goal with HTMA and my healing protocols is to get people to stop looking at weight as a measurement of health.  Part of this healing journey is learning how to really take care of yourself and accepting yourself as a whole (struggles included!). I’ve recently been investigating more ways to help with healthy weight loss as we heal, and if they are applicable to your needs, then I add them to our whole protocol.

Read more here!

Emotional Healing Techniques- We cannot Heal Physically without Healing Emotionally

Emotional healing Techniques: We cannot Heal Physically without Healing Emotionally

Many of us go through life experiencing a whole host of traumatic things.  When we are young, there is an especially hard time dealing with any sort of trauma, whether it be abuse, the death of a loved one, constant bullying, or anything else that can impact our life.  Childhood trauma itself is linked to so many chronic illnesses (source), but in our society this never really gets addressed. Either the child goes through general therapy sessions that really don’t help the situation or they outright get ignored and told to just move on with their life.

I’ve often read as well that children lack the ability to even emotionally heal from the traumas they deal with as kids. I really believe this because I have personally gone through many traumas as a child, and I remember never truly understanding why things were happening to me or what to do about them. We are just not mature enough to process the emotions that we go through. Because of this, our health can suffer because most will start to repress these emotions. And we can actually STORE these emotions in the body!

But when it comes to health, we are all individuals. Because of this biochemical individuality, not everyone will do well with the same form of healing. Since everyone is so different, there is not one specific method I would recommend for everyone (other than the mineral balancing as that will help to strengthen the body to handle emotions better, both as you are healing your trauma and when you deal with possible future traumas).  So here is a big list of idea- do what speaks to YOU!

Some great ways to help HEAL trauma

Mineral Balancing

It wasn’t until I learned about minerals that I started learning about how events in our childhood could influence our health. In HTMA and mineral balancing science, it is well known that traumatic situations (especially long term and unresolved) can wreak havoc on the body.  We start to get into that cycle of fight-or-flight that we cannot break out of and we burn through sodium, potassium, and many other minerals like crazy.  Eventually, these minerals start to tank and we are left in physical burnout that can lead to illnesses such as fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders, adrenal fatigue, autoimmune illnesses, and more. The trauma creates a stressful situation in the body and uses up our nutrients, which leads to a state of illness. This can be something that happens directly after an incident or something that takes decades to build up. (source).  Also, many of these minerals that we can become deficient in can lead us to addictions as well, which further messes with our health and mineral balance.

Addressing your mineral imbalances can help to physically strengthen the body, which in turn will help you when you are ready to heal emotional trauma. Many people with severe adrenal exhaustion have reported to me that they attempted emotional healing techniques when they were still very physically weak and it ended up making them crash further. Depending on where you are in your health journey, you could be one that needs to work on building up psychical strength first or you might need to start addressing the emotional before the physical side will even budge.  In my experience, most people need to start building up their physical strength first (this was true for myself as well!). Then when you start to deal with the emotionally aspect, your body will be strong enough to handle the healing.

There are many HTMA patterns that are common with those with prolonged trauma.  The most common thing we see is a calcium shell, where calcium can start to build up to extremely high levels (usually as it approaches 200 and above- normal levels are between 40-50). This can create a sort of defense mechanism, so the person dealing with chronic stress will be in an almost numb, apathetic state to help protect them from feeling all of the things they should be feeling during this stress.  Those with calcium shells eventually feel this shell crack when they begin to heal, and they might have bouts of time where they experience the emotions that they used to hold in (again, something I have been through myself, long before I knew what HTMA was!). Read more here on the calcium shell.

Homeopathy

As I mentioned above, I had a lot of trauma as a child and never had the chance to heal it (although I never really knew I needed to address it until a few years ago).  I ended up choosing homeopathy, and you can read about my experience with that here.  I highly recommend homeopathy for those that need a gentle approach for healing.  Working with a truly knowledgeable practitioner is key because many homeopaths are not changing their methods despite how toxic we are these days.

Homeopathy is energy medicine and works deep to heal the whole body at once.  This means physical AND emotional issues can get healed.  I am a huge believer in the strength and effectiveness of homeopathy after my own experiences with it.

EMDR

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.  This is a “psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. ” (source)

I’ve known several people that have had success with EMDR and absolutely love it. It has sparked my interest as well as it seems to be another method that is supposed to help you heal with the minimum amount of discomfort.

EFT

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.  Many people swear by this method.  My suggestion for this is to find a good practitioner that knows all about EFT and how to properly do it because it seems to be much more powerful this way. Doing EFT on your own can help too, but some only notice the benefit if they speak with a practitioner. YouTube has plenty of how-to videos too!

Retraining your mindset

For some people, it really is “mind over matter”.  Creating a healing mantra can help immensely. Something easy you can remember and repeat to yourself several times a day or just when things are getting rough is good.  Mine used to be, “I am happy, healthy, and whole.”  When we are constantly thinking about our pain or stress, it really can KEEP us in that physical state of illness.  In order to heal, we have to start thinking positive about everything: our situations, our bodies, the people in our life, and how we think (even if we don’t share our thoughts).  Sometimes we are the ones responsible for breaking the chain of negative thinking!

Other Ideas:

  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Regular talk therapy can help some people
  • Just making friends can be a helper, especially if you have become a bit withdrawn because of chronic illness
  • Dr. Caroline Leaf’s Brain Detox
  • Breathing methods like Buteyko
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Write a letter to your abusers, even if you never send it. Some even write something up and then destroy it!
  • Flower Essences
  • cranial sacral Therapy
  • Speaking with a medical intuitive is also another idea. I recently spoke with Katie Beecher and was incredibly impressed with the whole process and what she found for me!
  • Reiki
  • Acupuncture
  • Books like “Your Body Speaks your Mind“, “The Healing Codes

Just know that you are not alone in your healing.  There are plenty of people in your life that will help if you give them the chance (hopefully!).

Whatever method you choose to heal, I hope that you all find your peace <3

Other awesome sources about this topic:

From my friend Christina over at Uncaged Health

Dr. Rick Malter’s site that has info about freeing the inner child and deflating the “Judge” personality.

 

emotional healing

My Favorite BioRay Products!

 

favorite bioray products

Have you heard of BioRay yet?

BioRay is one of my absolute favorite herbal companies. BioRay has been around for about 25 years. They use a mixture of ancient Chinese medicine and modern science to formulate their products. They make their products in small batches and use only organic ingredients.

I’ve touched upon some of my absolute favorite BioRay products before, but I wanted to put them all on one page to make things easier for those that want to try more of their amazing supplements.

A few months ago, BioRay started up an affiliate program, which I was so excited about. I had already been using and recommending their products for over a year, so I was excited to be able to join them. They even have given me a coupon code for you all to use on their site: use SASSY at checkout for 10% off!

My Favorite BioRay Formulas

Liver Life (and Liver Lover)

BioRay Liver Life is the best choice for liver loving and regeneration!

 

Liver Life is my absolute favorite. My husband and myself have used this one on and off over the last year or so and it helps SO much with detoxification support. 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. I have seen people have nearly miraculous results with just this product. The liver itself has over 500 functions- if you are dealing with ANY health issue, you will need some liver loving.  Read more about why we need to love our livers here.

They also have Liver Lover that is close to Liver Life, but it is alcohol free. (tinctures are traditionally made with alcohol because that is the best way to draw out the properties of the plants used.). Liver Lover is a good alternative if you absolutely cannot tolerate alcohol based tinctures, but Liver Life is always my first choice. According to BioRay, Liver Lover is only about half as potent as Liver Life.

Kids Line

All of the tinctures in the kids line are Alcohol, Gluten, Dairy and Soy free, as well as Non-GMO. Most of these formulas are for children over 1 year of age, and they all have different doses based on weight. The biggest differences between the adult line (which most can be used for kids) and the kid’s line are that the kid’s products are all alcohol free and they are flavored, so even the pickiest kids might handle them well!

You can see all of the kids’ line here as well as further description of them.

    • CALM: For adrenals, mood support, sleep, and liver detox support
    • FOCUS: For gut healing, allergies, speech, adrenals, and detox support
    • SHINE: For gut and immune system health
    • HAPPY: This is mainly for parasite removal
    • SLEEPY: For sleep help
    • POOPER: For constipation support

 

Loving Energy

Loving Energy is the best herbal blend for adrenal support. If you are going through an extremely stressful time in life, or just dealing with chronic exhaustion, then Loving Energy can help!

Belly Mend

Belly Mend can be an amazing helper for those dealing with leaky gut, brain fog, and histamine intolerance.  This formula has a blend of herbs for both gut and liver support, as well as liquid probiotics.

Astemisia and Clove

This formula is the best for removing unwanted pathogens. I have used this one myself and can attest to its strength!

Mind Zeal

Mind Zeal is the *best* formula for those dealing with brain fog and cognitive issues. This especially works on safely removing heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic as well as many common toxic chemicals.

**I would really make sure that your colon and liver are ready for something like the last 2 that I mentioned!**

Kits

You can read BioRay’s amazing article about dispelling common detox myths here. If you are concerned about the chlorella used in some of these products, I totally understand your worry! I used to be skeptical about it too. However, the chlorellas used by BioRay is not just any chlorella you can go buy in a capsule. They use a special process called micronization , which actually breaks down the cell wall and allows for better usage of the chlorella. I recently tried the Belly Mend which has this form of chlorella in it and I can definitely vouch that is great! I would never recommend anything I have not tried myself. There is a lot of bad info out there on chlorella, and I hope to help stop the fear-mongering!   (read more about micronization here!).

You can also read their own post on what their main tinctures are used for here.

favorite bioray products

* 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.*