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!

How to have a Happy, Healthy Period

holistic period

Periods Don’t have to be Painful!

I am sure many people read my headline and rolled their eyes a bit.  A “happy period”? There is no such thing, right? WRONG!  Even though periods are not exactly fun, they aren’t supposed to be devastating, painful, or terrible.  If you deal with PMS, acne, breast tenderness/pain, cramps, anger, mood swings, heavy flow, migraines, or any other common symptoms associated with menstruation, please know that this is not a normal part of our hormonal health! If you deal with these symptoms, it is a very big sign that your liver is angry, your lymph is sluggish, your minerals are out of balance, and your adrenals are likely stressed.

What if I told you that periods can be pain-free and barely even a nuisance? It is true, whether you want to believe it or not. I used to be one that had severe periods.  The first day I’d pretty much be bedridden or popping pain killers every few hours to keep the pain manageable if I had to go to work. I had a few times where I fainted from the pain, many times where I’d have migraines with aura, and used to make me act like the Hulk at times with how angry I’d get. These days? I don’t deal with any of that. No cramps, no annoying PMS symptoms, nada.

How is this possible, you ask? Holistic healing! Working on healing the body as a whole is key to getting rid of these terrible periods.  Balancing minerals, healing your liver, supporting your lymph, eating clean, and managing the environmental toxins that you are exposed to is crucial.

My top tips for a Healthy Period

Nutrients that play a role in hormonal health

The number one thing to look into if you are having painful or irregular periods is copper dysregulation. You can read all about this here, but in a nutshell: Copper is a crucial mineral for estrogen balance and zinc is crucial for progesterone/testosterone balance. When zinc and copper are out of balance, these hormones can go haywire. We tend to have an issue where copper builds up and becomes unusable to the body- so we have a double issue where we are copper deficient and have an excess copper buildup. With this, we can have symptoms of both copper deficiency and excess copper!

What creates this imbalance? A sluggish liver, a vitamin A deficiency, birth control, overuse of antibiotics, not enough zinc in the diet (which can be caused by leaky gut as we need stomach acid to utilize zinc correctly), and diets like veganism/vegetarianism and the Standard American Diet.

To fix this: use HTMA and supporting blood tests to heal this imbalance. Healing the liver is crucial (which we’ll go over next), as is introducing vitamin A rich foods like cod liver oil, eggs, grass-fed butter or ghee, and beef liver (which is one of the biggest helpers for fixing the copper bio-unavailability side of things). Heal the gut to help with zinc utilization as well.

This is the LONG TERM healing plan for all hormonal issues, including estrogen dominance. Read about that here.

Detoxification support

Menstruation itself is a time for heightened detox. Heavy, painful periods that come with a handful of symptoms (especially headaches/migraines, breast pain, mood swings, and acne) are a huge sign that your liver and lymph are overloaded with toxins.

Basic liver healing tips: Bioray Liver Life, Castor oil packs, dandelion root tea, fix your sleep, eat clean (no GMOs, no corn syrup, no artificial sweeteners, organic meat and dairy, etc)

Basic Lymph healing tips: Rebounding, castor oil packs, nettle infusions, red root, massage, legs on the wall yoga pose, gentle walks

Herbal Support

One of the *best* herbs for hormonal health for women is red raspberry leaf.  This herb is nothing short of miraculous for PMS, copper balancing, and overall hormonal healing.  It is even amazing during pregnancy and breastfeeding!

Red raspberry leaf is packed with nutrients: magnesium, manganese, iron, vitamin C, b-vitamins and potassium.

For infusions: I put 1 cup RRL in a quart of hot water and let it steep for at least 4 hours. I strain the liquid and drink this through the day. (you can reuse the herbs for another weaker quart). Store the liquid in the fridge when done and consume 1-2 cups daily, or more when pregnant or about to start your period!I usually recommend using this the week leading up to your period to help prevent any menstrual issues. This can be helpful for those that get symptoms at ovulation as well.

Other herbs that can help with hormonal balancing: Nettle leaf infusions, nettle root (capsules or tincture- especially helpful for heavy periods), red clover, ashwagandha, chaste tree berry, and dandelion root.

Cleaner Personal Care Products

Did you know that most popular brands of tampons and pads have glyphosate in them, the cancer causing chemical (source)? Yikes!  Using organic pads or tampons are MUCH better these days to avoid coming into contact with nasty chemicals like this.  Things like mama cloth (or reusable pads, like these that you can find on etsy!) are popular these days too and are much more Eco-friendly.  Many people are raving about menstrual cups as well, but I’m not convinced of their long term safety- knowing that silicone can indeed leach into the lymph system makes me weary of these things. We all have to do what works though- just stay away from the popular brands for things like pads and tampons!

Personal care products comes down to things like make-up, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. Many of these conventional products contain carcinogens, hormonal disruptors, and other toxins that negatively effect health. Read more about this here if you’re new to this topic and want to start greening up your home!

Birth Control?

The Pill, the IUDs, the patches, the shots- I would stay FAR away from these things. They all have severe side effects that can either hit you right away or build up and hit you several decades later.  Birth control doesn’t solve anything. If it seemingly helps you with hormonal issues, then it is a band-aid solution. Using the above tips will help you get to the root of the issue in the long term.  The possibility of cancer, blood clots, and other serious illnesses is not worth the “benefit” of preventing pregnancy.

I could go on about this for hours, but read my main issues with birth control here, as well as what other good options there are for contraception.

 

Circadian Rhythm Imbalance

Circadian Rhythm

Circadian Rhythm Imbalance: My Top Tips for Better Sleep!

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

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

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

Fixing the Cortisol/Melatonin Imbalance

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

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

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

Nutrients that play a role in better sleep

Vitamin A

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

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

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

Read more about vitamin A here!

Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium

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

Copper Imbalance

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

Diet and Gut Health

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

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

Stress

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

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

 

 

More reading

From Uncaged Health about Circadian Rhythm

My post on 25+ Sleep Tips

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

From Jack Kruse

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? 😉

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

liver healing

Liver Healing vs. Liver Detox

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

The liver plays a role in:

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

Why we need Liver Loving, not Flushing or Cleansing

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

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

How to Properly Love your Liver

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

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

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

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

Other Liver Loving Ideas

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

 

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

 

liver healing

My New Hand-Picked Packages at Perfect Supplements!

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

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

Sassy Holistics – Adult Healing Essentials #1

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

Sassy Holistics – Adult Healing Essentials #2

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

Sassy Holistics – Gut Healing Essentials

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

Sassy Holistics – Kids Healing Essentials

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

Sassy Holistics – Detox Package

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

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

 

 

Balancing 3 of the Main Minerals: Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium

Balancing Magnesium, Potassium, and Sodium

Hair tissue mineral analysis is an amazing tool to use to determine how your body is handling stress, how well your adrenals are working, and where your mineral levels are. Minerals are needed for millions of enzymes as co-factors, inhibitors or even as the enzyme themselves. Enzymes are what keeps our bodies running. When we are low on minerals or if they are imbalanced, our bodies cannot physically function correctly. We look at the whole picture with HTMA- levels, ratios, and the person’s individual symptoms.

In this post though, we are going to go over 3 of the main minerals in HTMA which include: Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium.  Our goal with HTMA is to BALANCE these minerals. These 3 have a very delicate balance, but they are all incredibly important.  (and Calcium makes up the 4th main mineral- but it doesn’t seem to be as hard to balance as the other 3 for most people).

Balancing Mg/Na/K: A Delicate Mineral Dance!

In the mineral balancing world, magnesium lowers sodium, which in turn can mess with the sodium/potassium ratio. From ARL Labs: “Sodium and magnesium tend to be antagonistic. As one goes up the other goes down. The ratio of the two minerals often gives a better picture of adrenal activity than the sodium level alone. “

If both sodium and potassium are low and one takes their dose of mag (whether it be the RDA of 400mg or their body-weight dose of about 800+), one can experience both low sodium and low potassium signs. Also, while potassium might not directly be affected by mag, it is very closely related to cortisol on its own and magnesium can lower cortisol. So a very low potassium reading on the HTMA can indicate low cortisol output (roughly), which would indicate an issue with tolerating magnesium.

With HTMA, there are clear indications if someone truly can handle mag or not. About 80% of people in general are slow oxidizers, which means that adrenals are sluggish. Magnesium *decreases* adrenal function, while sodium supports it. Mag *lowers* sodium and further decreases adrenal activity. For some, it can take months and other it takes years to see the negative effect. HTMA is about balancing in the long run, not taking massive doses of any one nutrient.

I am seeing that *so many people* are reacting poorly to magnesium.

Adrenal crashes, severe insomnia, anxiety, low blood pressure, dizziness- these are all of the side effects of too much mag and not enough sodium and potassium. I know it can be frustrating, as there are oodles of articles out there coming out about how magnesium can be a cure-all mineral for so many illnesses. Magnesium is crucial but when we have low sodium and potassium, it can be hard to tolerate any amount of magnesium. This is why the HTMA is important so we can determine your sodium and potassium, as well as the state of your adrenals. The whole point is to get a personalized plan. Healing happens in stages: we cannot fix everything all at once!

You can read my whole post on the sodium/magnesium ratio here and how it relates to adrenal health. In short: Those with OVER-active adrenals need more magnesium, and those with UNDER-active need more sodium (and often cannot tolerate any magnesium!).  Usually with over-active adrenals, one will have high cortisol and high sodium levels- taking magnesium can help balance this. Those with under-active adrenals are more complicated, as they tend to have mixed cortisol and very low sodium- so magnesium *might* help someone if they deal with high nighttime cortisol, but overall they need to focus more on sodium through the day to support the adrenals.

So how much Mag, Potassium, and Sodium do we need?

Looking at the minerals separately: Magnesium recommended daily amount is about 400mg. Potassium RDA is about 4700mg. Sodium RDA is about 2300mg. (These obviously approximates as the RDA doesn’t always cut it when it comes to info- just using these as a reference). That is a pretty big difference here: 400-4700-2300. So if you are using more than that amount of mag, imagine how much more sodium and potassium you would need to properly balance it. Many are doing 800+mg of magnesium, and doing maybe 2-3 adrenal cocktails (which have about 500g of potassium and about 500mg of sodium).

Needs for each mineral will vary person to person depending on HTMA results and symptoms, as well as what a person tolerates. A majority of people are not getting nearly enough potassium in their diet. Unless you are focusing on potassium intake, it is extremely hard to get to that almost 5000mg amount!  Usually I suggest going for about 3000 a day just to get used to getting more potassium and that way we slowly introduce it instead of flooding the body with it (especially as potassium can cause copper dumping!). Read my post on potassium here for more info and my giant list of favorite potassium rich foods.

Sodium intake seems to vary person to person. Many people with adrenal fatigue crave salt like crazy. We have the potential to waste up to 30,000mg of sodium a day when adrenals are stressed (and I cannot find the source I had for this as I read it several years ago now- but it is an alarming amount, and mineral balancing agrees at least that sodium is the first mineral that we start burning through like crazy in adrenal fatigue.) I usually have people listen to their body on this: if it tastes good to you, go for it! Eventually your body shouldn’t crave it as much as levels are replenished. Adrenal cocktails, salt water sole, doing sea salt baths, making your own salt capsules, and obviously just salting food are all helpful.

When sodium, potassium, and magnesium are all low it is VERY hard for someone to raise all 3 at once. They all have to be in balance because too much of one can bump another around. It can be easy to determine which one is the lowest when looking at an HTMA though, and that is usually the main one that people need to focus on. I try to tell people to take note of their symptoms: low sodium signs include dizziness, low blood pressure, muscle weakness or a very rapid heartbeat. Low potassium signs include a hard, thumping heartbeat; thirst; insomnia; or muscle cramps. Low magnesium signs include muscle pain/stiffness, headaches, and skipped heartbeats.

My favorite way to use magnesium is topically. It seems to have less of a chance to mess with sodium this way, and I’m seeing people raise levels well with it. There was a study that showed that in only 12 weeks of use, most of the people rose their magnesium levels by almost 60%! Compare that to oral supplementation which can take 9-24 months to raise mag levels. (Source)

You can try mag oil baths or foot baths: try 1-2 ounces mag oil (or ½ cup to 1 cup of flakes), 1 cup of baking soda (for increased mag absorption and to neutralize chlorine in the water); add ½ cup of pink salt if desired so you can get the balance between sodium and magnesium. Soak for 20-40 minutes at least twice a week.

Or you can use magnesium lotion! I love this mag lotion for adults (250mg per tsp), and this one for kids(150mg per tsp), but you can also see this recipe to make your own.

Common questions I get:

“But don’t we burn through magnesium like crazy under stress?” Yes we do. We can also burn through sodium, potassium, zinc, and even copper (technically, stored copper can get pushed out under stress, along with other toxins). Magnesium is not the *only* mineral that has to do with stress!

“Our soils are so depleted of mag, don’t we need high doses?” Yes, our soils are depleted. A Standard American diet is also very devoid of most nutrients. Switching to a whole foods diet can help increase nutrients in your diet (plus healing your gut– we need stomach acid to utilize many nutrients). If you look in nature, you will *never* find any food right now with the whole RDA of magnesium in it. The most you will find is about 150mg in a cup of cooked spinach or an ounce of pumpkin/squash seeds- plus you will be getting SO much more from the food: enzymes, co-factors, more minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, protein, etc.  You can check a list of high magnesium foods here. Also, nettle and oatstraw infusions are very magnesium rich. More is not always better. We need to look at nutrients in a complex, not in isolation, especially when you are trying to heal your body and not just treat symptoms.

“I NEED magnesium for xyz reason. I can’t live without it.” Yes, I believe that. Magnesium supplementation acts like a crutch (sort of like any other isolated nutrient). I’m coming across many people that supplement with mag or any other nutrient in isolation for years and their symptoms are managed, but their levels never rise much, or they even drop. Isolated oral magnesium is not the kind that your body utilizes so while you might find symptom relief, it isn’t solving the actual deficiency. As soon as one stops supplementation for a day or 2, their symptoms come right back.

Conclusion

I preach caution with high doses of anything in general, but magnesium is the most common one right now that is creating so many issues for people. In our quest for better health, we see to believe the “more is better” lie. We became ill because our diet was imbalanced to begin with- flooding your body with the full RDA of each nutrient (or more) is not the way to get yourself back in balance. There is a huge difference between treating an illness and healing your body. The more that time goes on, the more I am an advocate for whole food nutrition, nutrient dense foods, and focusing on the body as a whole.

If you want more of an idea on how I do approach healing, you can check out my posts: The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Healing and my ultimate collection of favorite remedies for specific conditions.

Need more reading?

Adrenaladvice.com: “If you are unfortunate enough to get to the exhaustion stage ……too much magnesium can cause you to crash since it lowers sodium.”

ARL Labs: Sodium and the Adrenals

ARL other mineral articles

Nutrient interactions: what happens when you take one nutrient on its own and the other nutrients it can lower/raise