Healing on a Budget

healing on a budget

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

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

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

Gut and liver healing

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

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

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

Nutrient Dense Food Options and Nutritional Support

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

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

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

healing on a budget

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

Preparing for a Happy, Healthy Pregnancy

happy, healthy pregnancy

Preparing for a Happy, Healthy Pregnancy- naturally!

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

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

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

Nutrition

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

What are the basics of fixing our nutrition though?

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

Clean up your home!

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

Why, you ask?

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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!