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!

Whole Food Nutrition: Making the most out of your diet!

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whole food nutrition

Whole Food Nutrition: How to HEAL with Food!

I am a huge advocate for whole food nutrition. Because of this, one of the MAIN questions I am asked almost daily is, “How in the world would we even get enough nutrition from food if our soils are so depleted?”

The answer is complicated. Yes, it is impossible to get 100% of the nutrients we need on a daily basis. But why does this automatically mean that we should be taking 20+ supplements a day to “make up” this deficit? More is not always better. Taking a multivitamin is a false reassurance that you are still “filling in the gaps”, especially when you realize that most vitamin/mineral supplements are made with synthetics that the body doesn’t even really recognize or utilize.

My approach is this:

Heal your gut to help your body utilize nutrients better. Heal your liver so we can not only process nutrients better, but we can properly eliminate toxins that would antagonize our nutrients. Heal your adrenals/thyroid/HPA axis to help your body react better to stress so you don’t waste or burn through nutrients as quickly. And be SMART about supplementing and eating: pick nutrient dense foods and whole food supplements that are tailored to YOUR particular needs.  Plus, you can rotate your food choices around to get the most out of your diet.

This list is a representation of what I typically recommend to my clients- exact supplements and amounts depend on the person. But this is my “proof” that you CAN get your nutrition from food!

Whole Food Nutrition is AMAZING

Cod Liver Oil:

My favorite Cod liver oil NutraPro packs a whopping 2500IU of vitamin A (about 80% of your daily value) and 250IU of vitamin D (about 60% of your daily value). You also get Omega 3’s 600mg,DHA 250mg, and EPA 350mg

Nettle Infusions:

If you want a real multivitamin, then look no further than nettle infusions. You can get a HUGE amount of nutrition just from this amazing green liquid.

From this source:

  • calcium (1000 mg per quart of infusion)
  • magnesium (300 mg per quart of infusion)
  • potassium (600 mg per quart of infusion)
  • zinc (1.5 mg per quart of infusion)
  • selenium (.7 mg per quart of infusion)
  • iron (1.5 mg per quart of infusion)
  • manganese (2.6 mg per quart of infusion)
  • plus chromium, cobalt, phosphorus, copper, sulphur, silicon, and tin.
  • Nettle is super-charged with vitamins:
  • Vitamin A from {beta carotene}(5000 IU per quart of infusion)
  • Vitamin B complex, especially thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate
  • Plus Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K ”
  • From my research, each quart of nettle infusions have about 3mg of BORON as well.

Oatstraw Infusions

Just like nettles, oatstraw is a highly nutrient dense herbal infusion.

*Calcium 476mg
*Magnesium 400-600mg
*Potassium 90mg
*Selenium 40mcg (RDA is about 55mcg)
*Chromium 140mcg (RDA is between 35-45 depending on stage of life)

You can see the nutrition for several other herbs like red raspberry leaf, comfrey leaf, and chickweed here. And you can read more here on making infusions and what they are good for.

Adrenal Cocktails

These are best for sodium, potassium, and vitamin C. I have a list of recipe ideas here, but generally each cocktail recipe gets you around 500-800mg of potassium (RDA is about 4700mg), 500mg of sodium (RDA is about 2500mg), and a nice boost of vitamin C. Most people do 2+ of these mixtures a day.

Beef Liver:

This is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It’s also something that people no longer have grown up eating, so we are pretty deficient in nutrients like vitamin A, bio-available copper, and B vitamins. Beef liver itself has vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folate, and minerals such as zinc, copper and iron.  With this desiccated beef liver supplement, you will get about 1000IU of vitamin A, 5.5mcg of B12, around 1 mg of copper, and 2.8mg of iron. Eating it would give you even more of a boost for these nutrients.

Blackstrap Molasses

This is probably one of the most nutrient-packed sweeteners you’ll ever find. 1 tablespoon of Black-strap molasses has: about 300-500mg of potassium, 100mg of calcium, 30mg of magnesium, 2mg of iron, .36mg of manganese, as well as copper, selenium, B6, and more. I typically add this to dandelion root tea, another nutrient dense herb.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are another insanely nutrient dense food. One quarter cup has: .43mg of copper, 2.5mg of zinc, 1.47mg of manganese (nearly the whole RDA!), 190mg of magnesium, 9 grams of protein, and about 400mg of phosphorus. Look for raw, organic, and hulless pumpkin seeds. Check Costco if you can- they recently just started selling a big bag in my local store.

Other Nutrient dense foods:

  • Collagen, gelatin, and bone broth for protein and amino acids
  • Bee pollen, raw honey, and royal jelly for most of the BEE vitamins
  • Coconut water, mostly for the potassium content
  • Sea veggies for iodine and trace minerals: I love Maine Coast Sea Veggies, which is an easy brand to find in most health food stores. This particular one is the easiest to add to food for an extra boost! This brand is mostly offering organic products and they test their products for contaminants. Their dulse is the most nutrient dense sea veggie ever!

 

So with the above we’re able to get most or all of our Vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, iron, chromium, silica, selenium, zinc, mangansese, and more. The key is to SWITCH IT UP! Don’t eat the same things every day. And keep working on that gut to increase absorption.

Food has so much more than vitamins and minerals, components that you won’t likely ever find in supplements. You can read more about that here.

I would say the hardest nutrient to get enough of is potassium. The RDA is typically about 4700mg. Even with a healthy diet, this is hard to obtain. But we all can just do our best. Below is my favorite potassium rich food list, and this website has about 2 dozen other ideas.

I’ve had some people basically say that food doesn’t matter, and that supplements are the only way to heal. If that were true, then why bother eating anything at all, right? Or better yet- let’s just eat junk food all day. As long as we pop our multivitamin we should stay healthy, right? 😉

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.

 

Bile and Fiber: Major Buddies for Efficient Detox

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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

Lyme Disease Resources on how to Heal Naturally

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lyme disease

Lyme disease isn’t something I’ve dealt with personally and I haven’t done much studying done on it as of yet. But I wanted to get together a good article for resources for people trying to learn more about this insidious disease, especially as it is supposed to be a very bad year for ticks. It is possible to heal though, and I know many that are beating Lyme’s butt naturally and successfully.

How Mineral Imbalances play a role in Lyme

Copper is a crucial mineral for pathogen management in the body. All of my clients that have tested positive for any kind of pathogen (Lyme, Candida, parasites, EBV, etc) have a copper imbalance. Our environment is pretty much set up for us to create this imbalance. We need healthy livers and adrenals to create the copper binding protein (and most people have sluggish livers and stressed adrenals thanks to the SAD lifestyle- poor diet, tons of stress, lack of sleep, etc). When copper becomes hard for the body to balance, we can also become imbalanced with iron. I see some people with Lyme that have high iron storage, and I see some that have low iron- depends on the person and what their history is on if they start to hoard iron (which Lyme can feed on) or if they are just outright deficient because of how minerals can become skewed under the stress of dealing with a pathogen.

To get to the bottom of copper and iron imbalances

Get an HTMA done, and get these blood labs drawn: copper serum, zinc plasma or serum, ceruloplasmin, iron, ferritin, TIBC, Saturation %, and transferrin. If you’re lucky enough to have an understanding doctor, ask them to request the labs. If not, check out Request a Test or Walk-In Lab (usually the cheaper of the 2).

Read more about copper dysregulation here, and about iron here. As these minerals balance, it will be easier for your body to handle the pathogens, but there are so many amazing herbs and protocols out there too that will help as well.

Other awesome resources

Keep ticks out of your yard naturally: Did you know that chickens eat ticks? Or that there are certain plants you can put in your yard to repel ticks? This article has a lot of great ideas.

Stephen Buhner: Buhner has one of the most popular and effective protocols for healing Lyme. He has a website, a book about healing Lyme, a book about herbal antibiotics, and a book about herbal antivirals. I know many people using some of his recommendations and they all are doing well. He even has info on preventing Lyme during heavy tick seasons: at least 1000 mg of astragalus daily can help keep the immune system strong enough to prevent infection or even to make the disease less harsh if you are bit.

Lyme healing protocol from Organic Lifestyle Magazine: This is a very comprehensive post that goes over the history of Lyme, the stages of it, the controversy about testing, the common co-infections, and all of the treatment possibilities there are.

Brenda from Real Food Rebel: Brenda healed herself from Lyme and has an absolutely amazing blog dedicated to helping others. She outlines what helped her heal from Lyme, which includes whole foods, bowel and parasite cleansing, the Buhner protocol, and more. Everyone is different though- her protocol is amazing, but some may need to do more or less depending on what you are dealing with exactly.

Homeopathy and Lyme: Homeopathy can be a huge helper in helping one to heal from anything, including Lyme disease.

Mold toxin Illness in Lyme Disease: Lyme rarely exists on its own, and a weakened immune system can make you more susceptible to being sensitive to mold.  Activated charcoal and bentonite clay can both be helpful in this situation.

One more story of someone healing their Lyme

Barlow Herbals: This company has 2 awesome formulas that help immensely with overall immune support, and they include one of the most powerful herbs for Lyme called Lomatium root. Barlow recommends starting with Munity Boost first, and then you can eventually move on to just straight lomatium. They have a ton of amazing info on their site about this too!

Stay tuned for more additions!

Amazing Resources on the Importance of Minerals

importance of minerals

I love HTMA and Mineral Balancing!

I was asked yesterday for some awesome resources that would help explain mineral balancing and HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis) to those that are either skeptical about the importance of nutrients or those that are just getting into holistic nutrition. I realized that while I have hundreds of links saved on my bookmarks bar, I haven’t ever put the best links into a post yet. I am a HUGE advocate for everyone to constantly learn more about health! I think that we all need to be our own best advocates and the only way to do that is to learn, research, and read, read, read!

So here are my FAVORITE links on HTMA, mineral balancing, and nutrition in general. Some are studies, some are articles, and some a big hard to decipher if you aren’t used to the jargon. But the more you read, the more you learn and that is the most important part.

Directly from the 2 main HTMA Labs (ARL and TEI)

From TEI labs: A list of all of the studies that proof the reliability of HTMA

From TEI labs: All of their published articles on specific minerals (and vitamin A)

From TEI Labs: “Blood analysis for minerals is a good indicator of the transport of minerals to and from the storage areas of the body (extracellular).
Hair tissue mineral analysis is a good indicator of the metabolic processes occurring within the cells (intracellular).” (source)

From TEI Labs: All of their published newsletters on specific conditions and how they relate to HTMA (from 1985-present)

From ARL Labs: A breakdown on what HTMA is exactly.

From ARL Labs: Specific information on each mineral and heavy metal

From ARL labs: Their Newsletters and Published articles.

Studies and Articles about Minerals

Magnesium and Zinc involvement in Tobacco Addiction

Copper Dysregulation: Basics, Pyroluria, Bipolar, Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, Thyroid health, hormonal balancing,

Amazing Articles from Dr. Malter

Zinc: Responsible for about 300 enzymes

Magnesium: physiology and pharmacology, diabetes, Pre-eclampsia, info on mag and about 30 other illnesses,   Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment

Copper: Metals and the Mind | Weston A Price , Copper-Zinc Imbalance: Unrecognized Consequence of Plant-Based Diets and a Contributor to Chronic Fatigue | Weston A Price , Copper deficiency symptoms, Type IX Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Menkes syndrome: the decrease in lysyl oxidase activity is associated with a corresponding deficiency in the enzyme protein.

More on Copper: Role in neurological disorders, The role it plays in lipid metabolism (fats and cholesterol, it is SUPER important!), health benefits of copper, All about Ceruloplasmin (the copper binding protein-this report is 119 pages long and incredibly in-depth)

Iron: How to really balance iron, the higher the iron the higher the risk of heart issues, the role of ceruloplasmin in iron balancing,

The Great Iodine Debate | Weston A Price

Breakdown of major minerals and their uses.

Studies and Articles about Vitamins

Vitamin A: Vitamin A: The Key to A Tolerant Immune System? | Clinical Education

The Daily Lipid: Vitamin A Plays an Essential Role in Setting the Circadian Rhythm and Allowing Good Sleep

Infants, Vitamin D WAPF

Ascorbic acid is not vitamin C

The Importance and Uses of Vitamins

 

 

Why We Need to be our own Best Advocate!

best advocate

Becoming your own best advocate for health is important!

One of the major lessons that I have learned on my own health journey is that as an individual, we have to be the ones that are in charge of ourselves. Growing up, most of us were taught to go to the doctor when we were sick and we were supposed to just do as they said because they were the “experts”. That mentality is something that I find dangerous, even when we are switching over to natural doctors and practitioners. We should never blindly trust anyone!

This is why when I write my posts and talk to my clients, I am constantly explaining things, sending links for them to read more, or just telling them where they can find more info. I never want someone to feel like it’s “my way or the highway”.  I want people to feel empowered to learn more, whether it is to help others in the future or just to help themselves heal at this point in time. I have been on the end of being a client and not having questions answered because the doctor/practitioner didn’t like being questioned. That did nothing but make me feel frustrated and set my healing back a bit because I didn’t understand the “why” behind a lot of things I was told I should be doing.

At the end of the day, we all know ourselves best. And it is important to remember that! Only you can explain the symptoms you are feeling, how you react to certain foods and supplements, and what you feel is the main area of health that you need to focus on. You are responsible for yourself: your health, your attitude, your actions, your choices, etc. You can find people to guide you and help you though! But ultimately, you are the best advocate for yourself.

How to be your own best advocate:

Learn as much as you can. Knowledge is power. There are a million and one people out there trying to make a quick buck, but there are still many people out there with great information. Find those that are truly offering the best solutions, and not gimmicks. True healing takes time! Learning to sift through the good and bad can take a little time, but it is worth it. Try not to become obsessed though, as that can happen a lot on this journey to better health.

Look for people treating others as individuals. While most people are dealing with the same deficiencies and imbalances, not everyone will be able to tolerate the same treatments. I’ve touched on this in my Biochemical Individuality post and my Individualized Nutrition post before if you want to read more. But basically, anyone that is trying to tell you that we all need exactly the same treatments is someone to question. Everyone is on a different level of health and cannot tolerate the same exact things.

Listen to your instinct. Instinct is real! If your gut/heart/brain is screaming at you that something you are doing isn’t or is right, listen to it. Our bodies are smart- we just have to learn how to listen and respect them.

Look out for quick fixes. It takes decades (and generations in some cases) for health issues to form. While many symptoms can start resolving quickly on a plan, true healing can take a long time. We all have years of damage to undo. Stay clear of things that claim you will be healed in a week (usually these are weight loss gimmicks, but I see them with general health posts every so often).

Have faith that you will heal. Don’t get discouraged. Believe in yourself! Find a good team of docs/practitioners that are all willing to help you heal. One person doesn’t always hold all of the answers (no matter how much a person might wish that were true!). Depending on what YOU are going through, you might need a few people to aid you on your journey.

It’s ok if the above doesn’t speak to you too. If you feel better trusting your practitioner/doctor or team, that is ok too! Some people don’t have the time or energy to learn more. They just want answers and healing. I just want more people to realize that it is ok to be a part of your own healing: you can make decisions, you can ask questions, and you can have doubts. I believe that there should be a team mentality when it comes to practitioners and clients though. Our end goal should be to help people heal!

The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Healing

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natural healing

If you are new to natural health, it can be very overwhelming to know where to begin your journey. I’m going to put together my top tips on where to start!

Heal Your Gut

Healing your gut is usually the best first step to take on this healing journey. Many people are dealing with leaky gut, impaired digestion, and many nutritional imbalances. The best things to look into to heal the gut are grass-fed collagen, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, probiotics, and bitter herbs.

Eat Clean!

Part of healing your gut will include eliminating processed foods, and learning to incorporate more whole foods. Staying away from MSG, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, corn syrup, and canola oil is essential. Luckily, it is easy to avoid these things if you are eating organically! You can learn more about my take on the Ideal diet here, or just check out the “food-like” items we should all be avoiding. I also have some tips here on Eating Clean on a budget! Also, drinking clean is just as important as the eating clean part! Cutting out soda, non-organic coffee and teas, and excessive fruit juice is essential. Read my tips on properly staying hydrated here.

Love your liver

Our livers have over 500 functions!  We can function with only 1/6th of our livers so they can truly take a beating until we determine that something is actually wrong. If you are dealing with any sort of illness, it is a given that your liver needs some love. My favorite liver lover to start with is BioRay Liver Life. My next favorites are bitter herbs, dandelion root tea, beets, sunflower lecithin, and castor oil packs.

Move your lymph

Our lymph systems play a big role in detoxification. The lymph system does not have its own pump so we have to help support it. Easy ways to support the lymph are dry skin brushing, rebounding, castor oil packs, light exercise like yoga (especially the legs on the wall pose!) and walking, massage, and herbs like red root (which is in the Liver Life supplement mentioned above).

Reduce environmental toxins

The average American woman uses about 515 chemicals on her body daily with the use of popular personal care products. While not all of these chemicals are harmful, many of them have proven to be carcinogenic, disruptive of hormones, or just plain irritating to the skin. When our livers are overloaded, it is very hard for our bodies to process these chemicals so it is just best to reduce the toxic load wherever we can.

There are about 82,000 known chemicals used in everyday household items, and most of them have never been tested for safety. I recommend taking baby steps with this one and just start replacing the items in your house with better products. This includes dish soap, all-purpose cleaners, shampoo, deodorant, make-up, and perfumes. We use Poofy Organics for most of our personal care and household products. They have about 500 products at this point, and they are one of the few companies I completely trust. I’m very picky with what I use and promote at this point!

Improve Sleep

Without sleep, we cannot properly heal. Sleep is considered to be a silent healer: it seems unimportant to many people, but we heal and detox a LOT when we get proper rest. You can read my top tips for getting better sleep here. My favorites are tart cherry juice, castor oil packs, dandelion root tea, limiting screen time for about 1-2 hours before bed, reading a physical book (not an ebook!), making sure you get some light exercise through the day (even the legs on the wall yoga pose can help), and making sure you are loving your livers as mentioned above.

Figure out your personal nutritional deficiencies so you aren’t blindly supplementing.

Most of my followers know by now that I love hair tissue mineral analysis. It can truly take a lot of the guesswork out of healing, and it can save you the frustration of trying supplement after supplement in the hopes that something will work for you. Copper dysregulation is a big focus for most of my clients, and HTMA is a great way to figure out the best way to fix this issue. You can learn all about HTMA here!

Nutrient Dense Foods

Once we cut the junk out, we need to focus on the good stuff. My favorite nutrient dense foods are ghee, grass-fed butter, pumpkin seeds, herbal infusions (especially nettles and oatstraw), desiccated beef liver, grass-fed collagen, bone broth, good fats, and good proteins.

Stress Management

Western society is obsessed with being busy. The busier you are, the more successful you seem apparently. However, this lifestyle is not sustainable and it is playing a very big role in our health. Learning how to reduce (or in some cases eliminate) stress is a crucial part to healing. This might be finding a job that is less stressful, cutting toxic people out of your life, making yourself realize that you don’t have to push yourself to exhaustion each day just to accomplish things, and cutting down on stimulants/addictions like caffeine and cigarettes.

Sometimes we can’t change our situations, but we can change how we reach to things to an extent. There are MANY ways to help yourself cope with stress. If you are dealing with adrenal exhaustion, a good adaptogenic herb can help depending on the state of your adrenals as well as your symptoms. But doing things like finding a hobby to do each day can help so much. Experiencing pure happiness everyday, even for a short amount of time can truly change your attitude.

So read a book, start a blog, go for a walk, talk to friends, look into EFT/Tapping, Buteyko breathing, yoga, meditate, practice gratitude, whatever helps you disconnect from your stress for a few minutes!

And that is it!

I hope this helps those that are just getting on this path! It might seem overwhelming at first, but once you get used to living a healthier lifestyle it becomes much easier. And completely worth it! Changing our lifestyles is so imperative, especially because we need to start thinking about the future generations.

Need more ideas? Check out my massive post on my absolute favorite remedies for specific health conditions!

 

What is Biochemical Individuality?

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biochemical individuality

Biochemical Individuality

There is no denying that as humans, we are all connected in some way. At the same time though, we are all unique individuals! The old saying “what is good for the goose is good for the gander” is NOT true when it comes to healing illnesses. While we might all have similar deficiencies and and imbalances, there are so many other factors to consider while healing.

Biochemical individuality is essentially a concept that the nutritional and chemical makeup of a person is unique. Because of this, nutritional needs will vary from person to person. Dr. Roger Williams was the biochemist that pioneered this concept in the 1950s, when people were just starting to feel the damage done by poor nutritional advice, depleted soils, and pharmaceutical medications.

This issue is just getting worse as time goes on!

This issue has just become even more complicated as time has gone on- now we are dealing with an epigentics epidemic! The environment and the state of our food is in an even more terrifying state these days, and the need for individualized nutrition is even more dire.  People are in varying stages of the same illness (like adrenal fatigue for instance: one person can be dealing with overactive adrenals and another can be dealing with underactive). 10 people with the same exact diagnosis can be dealing with completely different symptoms, and they will all have different healing journeys.

So if someone is trying to tell you that we ALL need the same supplements in the same exact amounts at the same exact time- please reconsider this! This is NOT how people heal. This is another way of allopathic thinking, a one-size-fits-all approach.  Becoming your own best health advocate is the BEST way for you to heal. Instinct and intuition are invaluable as well, because you need to learn to listen to your body’s signs when you are trying to heal from illness.

Things that influence our health and individuality:

  • Diet
  • Stress
  • How we react to stress
  • Genetics
  • Job
  • Hobbies (because of exposure to chemicals or climates)
  • Environment (toxins, climate, stress, etc)
  • Past traumas
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Tobacco or alcohol use
  • Drug use (whether illicit or pharmaceutical)
  • Attitude
  • Sleep habits
  • Detoxification ability
  • Metablism
  • Temperament
  • Digestive status
  • And the list goes on!

I hope this post is helpful! I am seeing wayyyyy too many people getting injured from one-size-fits-all recommendations, especially since people are being told just to “push through the pain”!What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. This is why there are SO many aspects and modalities for healing: nature has given us a wide array of choices!

There are dozens of generalized protocols out there that are all supposedly designed to be for the good of everyone, no matter what stage of health they are at. This is just not true. If you aren’t sure about what a doctor or practitioner is recommending you, please question them! We should all be aiming to help people heal on their own terms.

More Reading:

TEI labs on Individuality

Biochemical Individuality by Dr. Roger Williams, the original expert on this topic. Written in 1956!

Whole Food Nutrition: The Missing Link in Vitamin Therapy: The Difference Between Nutrients WITHIN Foods vs. Isolated Vitamins & how they affect your health by Dr. Vic Shayne

The Ultimate Colon Health Guide

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colon health

When you hear the word “detox” you tend to just think of the liver. In reality, most major organs of the body deal with detox in some way or another. The colon is no exception, and it plays one of the most important roles in keeping the body healthy.  If our colons aren’t working effectively, we cannot be healthy. Dr. Bernard Jensen was the one that said, “it is the bowel that invariably has to be cared for first before any effective healing can take place.” (source)

If you’ve been one of the millions of people that grew up eating a Standard American Diet, your colon is likely not in a happy state. Most processed foods are not able to be properly digested (let alone utilized in any way), and sometimes this can lead to a build up in the colon. Processed foods take a LOT more stomach acid and bile to break down, and after years on this terrible diet we can pretty much run out of both of these things. So even when we start eating cleaner, it can be hard for the body to digest and utilize the new, incoming foods. Especially if the colon is still filled with gunk!

The Purpose of the Colon

The whole digestive tract plays a big role in detoxification. 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 illness begins, we start to accumulate waste and even undigested food in the colon. This starts to harden and it becomes a breeding ground for pathogens, and a hoarding place for heavy metals.  Because of this, any nutrients that are supposed to be absorbed in the colon are unable to do so. Instead, toxins that can’t make their way completely out of the bowel are reabsorbed and recirculated through the body. This leads to an incredible amount of symptoms: chronic pain, headaches, sore throats, swelling, fatigue, brain fog, bad breath, strong body odor, a coating on the tongue, acne, and so much more.

The “Ideal Poo”

How do we know if our colons are healthy? Ideally, we should be going at least 2-3 times a day (usually with one awesome one right when we wake up as we detox a lot overnight). Stool should be formed, smooth, a medium brown color, and should take very little effort to eliminate.  There should be very little smell and no undigested food visible. You can see a chart on this site here that  shows what the ideal poo should look like.

Healing the Colon

So let’s start talking about healing the colon! We’ll talk about common issues, as well as common remedies to help heal the colon or just support general colon health.

Constipation

In 2016, people spent over ONE BILLION DOLLARS on laxatives. (source) This is such a huge issue! People are not only becoming dependent on these things, they are NOT addressing the root causes of this issue.

Constipation is one of the biggest signs that your colon needs some heavy help. Constipation can occur for so many reasons: lack of bile flow (and thus a lack of stomach acid), eating a poor diet, dehydration, and more. The main signs of constipation include: feeling sluggish, having acne, anxiety (because toxins are recirculating), a feeling that you still have to “go” even after you’ve gone, and dealing with what essentially are rabbit poops.

Some of the BEST ways to heal constipation include:
  • Aloe vera
  • Magnesium/sodium/potassium (usually there is an imbalance between these 3 minerals)
  • Use something like a Squatty Potty
  • Dandelion root tea
  • Use HTMA to fix mineral imbalances and heal your metabolism.
  • Castor oil packs over the colon area
  • Read more here!

Loose stools/Diarrhea

Many people tend to alternate between constipation and diarrhea, but dealing with chronic loose stools can be extremely frustrating.

Main causes of chronic diarrhea :
  • Lymph congestion ( body tries to flush things out as quickly as possible)
  • Not enough bile to buffer stomach acid creates irritation in the intestines. This can increase intestinal mucus in an effort to protect the lining of the intestines. This increase of mucus alone can increase loose stools. This also effects how you absorb certain nutrients and can mess with the process of toxin removal
  • Pathogen infestation
  • The body is overloaded with toxins and trying to get them out as quickly as possible
Solving this issue:
  • Homeopathy can be one option for healing this symptoms quickly
  • Start healing the gut! Eliminate process foods, try an elimination diet to see what your main triggers are)
  • If you are using supplements, consider stopping them for a time and reintroducing one by one to find the culprit
  • If you are any medications, check the side effects
  • Try to test for pathogens to see exactly what you are dealing with
  • Figure out if you are focusing too much on stomach acid and not enough on bile. Take a break on things like ACV, HCl, and lemon and try a digestive bitters supplement or try some dandelion tea.
  • Make use of activated charcoal or bentonite clay to stop the loose stools.
  • Assess your fiber intake. Are you getting too much or too little?
  • Start focusing on your lymph system more to take the strain off of it

The Role of Minerals in Colon Health

Magnesium, potassium and sodium are huge players in keeping you regular. Getting an HTMA to determine an imbalance in these 3 minerals can help determine what minerals you need to focus specifically on.  Slow oxidizers tend to be more on the constipated side, while fast oxidizers might be more prone to loose stools. (source)

Fiber

Fiber is a well-known but overlooked nutrient needed for proper colon functioning. Most people know that fiber helps to keep us regular, but in the natural health world we know a bit more. Fiber helps balance blood sugar, aids in weight loss, and it helps to lower high cholesterol levels. It also might reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Apparently our ancestors ate close to 100 grams a day of fiber, whereas the standard American *maybe* gets about 15-20 grams. (source).

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. Focusing on more fiber and increasing bile flow can truly help with healing your colon and making it more efficient as they both work to clean off the old gunk that can build up.

How to Get More Fiber:

*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
*Or use a supplement like psyllium husk. Food is always better, but psyllium can be a huge helper as well. There are 2 main colon cleanses that involve psyllium: one uses bentonite clay and the other blackstrap molasses. They are BOTH very effective, but you have to see what works best for your body.

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!

Bile

Stool is supposed to be brown because of the pigment of bile. If your stool is not brown, then you are likely having a pretty big bile flow issue. Most of my readers already know about my love of bile boosting, but you can read more here if you aren’t aware yet!

Causes of poor bile flow: hiatal hernia, slow oxidation, overload of toxins (starts to use up the bile more), lack of good fats in the diet (because they stimulate bile flow), eating too many processed foods at any point in your life

Best Bile Builders:
  • Dandelion root
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • Digestive Bitters
  • Beets
  • Taurine
  • Read more here!

Replenishing Good Bacteria

Gut bacteria is crucial for many reasons: creating certain vitamins, keeping harmful pathogens under control, and plays a role in keeping many illnesses at bay, especially colon cancer.  We’re supposed to be able to synthesize vitamin K and some B vitamins from our good bacteria as well! We have about 100 trillion bacteria cells in the body, which is more than our human cells! Bacteria are truly crucial for our survival and well-being.

Probiotics are usually a first choice for people to go to, but fermented foods are honestly more effective (as well as cheaper!). Some people cannot tolerate many ferments at first, so starting on low doses of probiotics might be the best way to start replenishing good bacteria. You can check out my top probiotics recommendations here, and my post on easy fermented foods to start out with here!

Pathogens

in a perfect world where our minerals were balanced, we would NOT be able to harbor these gross pests like parasites, yeast, bacteria, and viruses.  Bioavailable copper is the MOST critical nutrient for keeping these nasty things at bay.  Keeping the colon happy is also key for preventing the making of a perfect habitat for these creatures.

Ideally, we want to focus on getting bile flow going to start flushing pathogens out (and fiber as well can help with this as they are a tag team, like I mentioned above). You should make sure that you are eliminating efficiently before attempting and parasite detox herbs or supplements otherwise you will be dealing with terrible die-off symptoms. Many pathogens make toxins as they are dying off that can get recirculated if you aren’t keeping your colon moving.

You can read my massive parasite post here to learn symptoms of parasites (most people have them!), what kind of parasites humans deal with, and a full list of ideas on how to treat this issue.

Top Tips for Pathogen Removal:
  • Balancing copper
  • Boost bile flow
  • Focus on fiber
  • BioRay products! I’m in love with BioRay Liver Life, and they have a few choices for getting rid of parasites too: Artesemia and Clove, and Microbe Slayer
  • Bentonite clay
  • Castor oil packs

Hydration

I think at this point most of us know that staying hydrated is a HUGE part of being healthy. If you were like me at any point in your life, you likely NEVER drank water for the most part. I used to drink nothing but coffee and soda for a few years- my poor body! Once I got into natural health, I started drinking massive amounts of water but I soon realized that even this isn’t the ideal for staying hydrated. Most water lacks minerals, and depending on what kind of water you use, you might even be leaching minerals from your body.

So we need to stay hydrated but plain water isn’t the best answer- what do we do then? Go for herbal infusions, coconut water, adding a pinch of unrefined salt to each glass of water that you do drink, or even concoctions like  cranberry water (1/4 cup unsweetened cranberry juice to a quart of water). These will all help to hydrate you as well as provide nutrients! It’s a win-win. On a typical day, I have 2-3 quarts of various liquids, but I never drink plain water: I have my cran-water, an herbal infusion, a quart of dandelion decoctions, and/or coconut water.

Clean water is absolutely essential to have too, especially since we need it to make our herbal infusions or decoctions. My top water filter choices are Tap Master Jr. or Berkey! You can also find local spring water to buy. Check out my other options here in my post on how to get clean water.

Colonics/Enemas

This topic can be a bit controversial, but I still will mention it. I know plenty of people that benefit from enemas or colonics, but I can completely understand how many people draw the line at things like this. I myself have considered colonics, and I have done enemas before but to me they seem somewhat invasive and something in my gut just tells me there has to be better ways to heal. So while these 2 things can be helpful (especially for those that are very toxic), I do not think they are absolutely essential for healing. I find that both methods can be a bit harsh on mineral balance, especially if one is unaware of the possibility of that issue.

*You can read this massive post on enemas from Dr. Wilson, but the essentials are these: enemas clean pretty much only 6-8 inches of the colon and rectum, you hold a certain amount of liquid for about 20 minutes and then expel it. Coffee enemas are the most popular for detox as they can help stimulate glutathione production in the liver. Some people do several of these a day or a few a week, depending on how they feel. Like I mentioned, one can become easily depleted of minerals this way so listening to your body is essential.

*Colonics (or colon hydrotherapy) are a bit more effective at cleaning the colon out as it reaches further. There are a few different varieties of colon hydrotherapy, but a friend who has been doing them for years says that the Gravity Method is the best (and after some reading I would definitely agree!). You can read a bit more on colonic hydrotherapy here.

Herbs and Supplements for Colon Health

Amalaki: AKA Indian gooseberry. This helps a lot with restoring the health of the intestinal skin and can help reverse chronic loose stools. Amalaki also helps with mucus membranes in the body, collagen and elastin production, and artery health. You’ll find amalaki in the formula Triphala which is an amazing Ayuverdic remedy for colon health.

Aloe Vera is one of my top choices for those dealing with gut inflammation. It helps with healing and sealing the gut lining, soothing inflammation internally, aiding in bile flow, and supporting proper detoxification. Look for aloe with NO preservatives, like George’s Aloe. (not recommend while pregnant or nursing!)

Activated Charcoal is amazing for mopping up toxins in the GI tract.  This is especially helpful during yeast or parasite die-off as it can quickly trap toxins and bring them to the colon for removal. I’ve personally felt this quickness! Charcoal is a must-have in your natural medicine cabinet for detox reactions, food poisoning, and stomach bugs. It is also great for whitening teeth, and for mold detox.

Activated charcoal is best taken away from food, prescriptions, and supplements as it can interfere with their absorption. Make sure you stay hydrated while using it as well so you can ensure to flush out those toxins that you’ve trapped! Powder is the best as it will be the fastest to be absorbed, but capsules are great to keep around for travel or eating out.

Other great herbs: Slippery elm, marshmallow root, and licorice root (usually used together for maximum effectiveness).

Want to read more about colon health:

Here is a 131 page PDF by Dr Bernard Jensen

This book is more about general digestive healing, as well as the link between lymph and digestion but I highly recommend it: Eat Wheat by Dr. John Douillard