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

healing from chronic underlying infections

Healing Chronic Underlying Infections

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

How we get these infections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Start your Healing

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

This means basic foundational care:

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

 

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

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

Other Modalities of Healing that can aid in your healing

modalities of healing

Other Modalities of Healing that are Amazing!

I am such a huge lover of HTMA and true holistic mineral balancing, but over the years I have learned about so many other awesome modalities to heal.  HTMA is a great base- at the end of the day, your minerals HAVE to be balanced in order for the body to heal.  We need a solid nutrition base in order to fix any health issues, period.  So it works pretty well in tandem with a lot of other forms of natural healing.

I wanted to make a good list of other modalities because I have noticed that everyone can be so different with what forms work for them.  Since we are ALL different, it is important to realize that not everything will work the same for all of us.  For example, I know plenty of people that love EFT (tapping) but it never really helped me (whether I was on my own or with a practitioner).  I do very well with acupuncture, but I’ve heard from many that did it for months and it didn’t help them.  You have to learn about a few methods and go with what seems best to you.

I think that there is merit in picking a few modalities in your healing journey.  Depending on what you are dealing with, you will NEED more than one thing to help you through this crazy path of healing!  Read and research some of these methods and go with your gut on what sounds best to you.  It is our responsibility to be our own best health advocate- there will not be one doctor or health care practitioner that can know or do it all so it’s best to keep looking for other options!

So here are some of the best natural modalities out there (I covered some of these in my post about emotional healing as well if you want to check that out for other ideas on healing emotional trauma specifically!):

HTMA

HTMA stands for hair tissue mineral analysis.  This is a simple, non-invasive test that looks at the mineral balance in about a heaping teaspoon of hair.  We look at the ratios between these minerals to determine things like adrenal strength, poor nutrient absorption, how the body is responding to stress, and more.

When people first learn about HTMA, they usually think about the old school methods- lots of synthetic supplements (some recommend about 30 pills or more a day).  This is NOT what we do here at Sassy Holistics. We try to take a true holistic method with our HTMA protocols- whole foods, food-based supplements when needed, stress management, herbs, and more.  We work on healing the gut and liver for a majority of people because if these functions aren’t up to par then the entire body can suffer. We work on healing the ROOTS of our health issues.  Nutrition is everything- we have to eat too so why not get it tailored to your specific needs?

Chiropractic

According to the ACA: “Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic services are used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.”

Chiropractic care can help the whole body as well- there is a lot of evidence that different vertebrae correlate with different parts of the body.  Here is a cool chart that outlines this! (I experienced this first hand when my little bubba was only a few months old- he was a gassy little monkey and his first adjustment allowed his little body to release all of that stuck gas. It was rather funny- my chiro adjusted him, we put him back in his car seat, he farted louder than he had in his whole life, and then went right to sleep! LOL)

Chiropractic care was one of the first natural healing modalities I ever used- I actually depended on it quite a bit for about a year or 2.  It helped me SO much with my chronic pain issues- I was dealing with fibromyalgia, costochondritis, and countless other health issues at the time.   I had only wished that I knew about mineral balancing back then because as I started balancing my minerals I needed the chiro less and less- it would have saved a lot of pain and money if I was instructed in nutrition back then! This is why multiple modalities can be so helpful- it seems like even in the natural health world, doctors and practitioners chose one “specialty” and neglect other systems.  A copper imbalance is a huge reason why people have issues with holding chiropractic adjustments as well!  For me, as I balanced my copper, I no longer had joint issues like I used to.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy has been documented since 400BC, but became more popular in the 1800s when Samuel Hahnemann became the main founder of it and added a lot more research to it.  This form of natural health is safe, gentle, and truly holistic. Kids, pregnant women, pets, and anyone else can safely benefit from homeopathy, whether it is an acute or chronic issue. Homeopathy is all about “Like cures like”: something that causes symptoms in one person can cure another. No one will end up with the same remedies even if they have the same symptoms- it is truly individualized and holistic. In the early 1900s, 20% of US docs were homeopaths. 500 million people worldwide practice homeopathy! So for those that think homeopathy is not effective or relevant can learn a bit from the rest of the world.

Working with a great homeopath is best- don’t go it alone for chronic conditions!  I highly recommend Khush Mark– she is who I worked with and I found great healing with her recommendations. I was still keeping up with my HTMA protocol for myself as well- and it was huge proof that these 2 modalities can work very well together.

Massage

I’m pretty sure there is no need to explain what massage is- everyone knows it and most people love it.  There are many forms of massage out there, but the best thing to look for is a legitimate massage therapist that knows what they are doing.  Massage is quite trendy so there are a lot of people that just do it as an add-on service at salons or at the mall.  Just do your research and find the best for you.  Deep tissue, lymphatic drainage, relaxation- no matter what your purpose is, massage can help! Massage helps to increase circulation, can help to remove toxins from the body, stimulates the lymph system, reduces pain, and it also can help with releasing deep emotional trauma that is stored in tissues.

I recently invested in this home massager that I’m loving- it’s helping my lymph a lot and it’s been an invaluable tool during my recent healing of EBV.  This massager specifically has almost 3000 reviews on Amazon and has a 4.5 rating- pretty amazing! It has several attachments for different spots of the body.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another one of my favorite methods of healing.  It basically just helps your body do what it is trying to do. It makes the healing process easier as it opens up the energy blockages.  Acupuncture can pretty much help with any health issue- depression, infertility, chronic pain, obesity, digestive issues, and so much more.  Length of treatment will depend on the severity of your issues- the most common recommendation I have seen is about 10 weeks of weekly appointments.  Just like with anything else, make sure the acupuncturist you are seeing is properly trained.  Even better if you can find someone that you found by a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone that had success with that particular acupuncturist.

Most people get a little scared of the needle aspect of acupuncture but they really are very small!  There are many studies backing up the effectiveness of acupuncture as well- you can read a bit more about this here. For most people, acupuncture can create an almost immediate increase in energy and a boost in mood.  For those that are actively trying to heal, it can take several sessions before you feel a huge difference. Healing reactions are absolutely possible with acupuncture (and any other modality out there). My first few sessions made me absolutely exhausted for a day or 2 but then I started to feel so amazing after each session.

EMDR

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

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

EFT

Emotional Freedom technique is not new, but it has been garnering a lot of attention over the last few years in the natural health field. This method used meridian tapping to harness your body’s energy to heal itself.  Many people swear by this method.  My suggestion for this is to find a good practitioner that knows all about EFT and how to properly do it because it seems to be much more powerful this way. Doing EFT on your own can help too, but some only notice the benefit if they speak with a practitioner. YouTube has plenty of how-to videos too!

No matter what healing therapy you choose, just remember that healing can take time. We don’t get sick overnight so it will take awhile before we regain our health completely.  Don’t give up! Have patience, faith, and determination.  Consistency is key as well!

modalities of healing

What needs to be organic

what needs to be organic

What Needs to be Organic- according to Sassy Holistics

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

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

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

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

Tea and Coffee

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

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

Herbs and Supplements

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

Household products

The average woman puts on about 515 different synthetic chemicals daily – and most of that is just in the morning! There are about 82,000 known chemicals used in everyday household items, and most of them have never been tested for safety.  These chemicals are cancer causing, hormone disrupting (especially causing infertility), and skin irritants. The skin is the largest organ in our bodies and using these harsh products on our skin daily is truly wreaking havoc for our health.

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

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

Changing our relationship with Food

changing our relationship with food

Changing our relationship with Food

I’m about to get VERY real with you all about something I’ve dealt with in my life. I hope that my story can help others (as I know a lot of my other health struggles have- I swear that I’m able to say that everything I have dealt with has been for a reason. I’ve been able to help others with similar issues to heal!).

I was recently recommend this book to read called Intuitive Eating because I’ve been always had my own struggles with weight and body image.  The question that I was asked when I was speaking about my health was this: “Are you even eating enough calories?” And the answer was an emphatic “No”! This was a few months ago and it’s really made me think more about this, but I think I’ve been blocking out a lot when it comes to this issue.  Now I see that this is something that needs a lot more attention than I’ve been giving it. As we heal, we literally have to peel back the layers of pain and trauma, and I think right now this is what I’m needing to address.

You see, I was one of those girls in middle and high school that basically starved herself to stay even remotely thin.  Most days I would eat maybe 1 full meal, usually dinner. I’d go to school skipping breakfast and usually at lunch I wouldn’t bother with anything unless a friend offered me an extra snack. Why did I do this? Well because for one, we all know how the media has always been saying that you only matter if you’re thin. But I personally had a step mother at the time that was constantly telling me I was overweight. She’d call me fat, tell me I have huge thighs, and she’d make fun of me quite often. I dealt with this for about 6-7 years of my childhood!

Sometimes I think “oh boo hoo I had it so hard, get over it” but in reality, this was really something that set up me up for failure in life with food, dieting, weight, and body image.  I never have really considered myself to have an actual eating disorder, but I definitely have never had a comfortable relationship with food.  What happened is that these 6-7 years of being told I was fat and then realizing that I could only stay thin when I was not eating enough made me think that I didn’t deserve to eat because it would make me fat.

And when you tell yourself this long enough, you start to believe it and it becomes ingrained in your subconscious, even when you can logically tell yourself otherwise.

 

I cannot even begin to tell you all how many people have similar stories to mine. I’ve had quite a few clients at this point tell me that they’ve dealt with parents trying to control their diets as kids or they always struggled with weight issues from a young age. It’s quite disgusting honestly! How can these adult figures in our lives be so cruel? How can they degrade us as children, make us feel useless and gross instead of actually HELPING us?! Clearly I had a terrible metabolism already by the age of 7- but that was not MY fault. But instead of being helped, I was made to think that it was all my fault, as if I could control the way my body worked.

So what is my point with all of this?

DIETING does not work. Period. Think about it: How many people do you know that go on a diet, lose a lot of weight, then go back to eating normally, and then gain all of the weight back? Basically EVERYONE that diets! And then they take it out on themselves- they weren’t strict enough, they had too many cheat days, they had too many carbs or too many grams of fat, they didn’t exercise enough, and the list goes on.   So many people these days that are dealing with chronic illness and adrenal issues have been a part of this group of chronic dieters too! We’ve all deprived ourselves of so many nutrients for so long, and our bodies are screaming out for nutrition.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

It’s time to take back our health and change our relationship with food. I highly recommend the book I mentioned above, Intuitive Eating, if you want a good start. I only got into the first few chapters and before I had my ah-ha moment. And I knew I had to share my story in the hopes that it gets more people on the right path.

I’ve written a LOT about weight loss on my blog before. It’s almost always the main concern that people want to address when they start out on a healing path. But I almost always have to mention that our bodies are not concerned with weight loss right off the bat- they are concerned with HEALING. As we heal, we lose weight. And many of my clients do lose weight easily once they start healing. But there are many reasons why weight loss will not happen quickly, and I do believe one of them is that we’ve really lost touch with how to actually eat to nourish ourselves.

I have to admit- even just writing this article has been a bit therapeutic!

Here are all of my other main resources on weight loss:

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

 

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

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

Why can healing take so long?

1) We didn’t get sick overnight

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

2) The Body is a Whole

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

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

3) Healing is not Linear

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

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

4) Sometimes we just approach things incorrectly at first

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

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

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

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

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

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? 😉