Meet our Sassy Holistics Practitioners : Denise and Breezy

Meet our Sassy Holistics Practitioners

About 3-4 years ago, I started my journey into the natural health world by launching Sassy Holistics.  I flew solo for a long time, but I was lucky enough last year to hire 2 amazing ladies to help out. I am blessed to call these ladies friends as well as employees! I wanted to fully introduce them to everyone and explain their roles with Sassy Holistics.

I trust these ladies and have really enjoyed working with them for the last year. They are both intelligent, hard-working, empathetic, and dedicated to helping others heal.

Denise Brusveen, MS, HTMA Consultant

Denise joined the Mineral Mavens Facebook group almost at the beginning of its inception, and has been a huge contributor since then.  She first became a client and really resonated with the whole food nutrition and herbal approach that we use with our HTMA.  We became fast friends, and I was so excited when she wanted to join my team!  She has been an invaluable addition.

For the last several years, Denise has been a Bradley Method childbirth educator and birth doula.  Learning about HTMA was the icing on the cake that has helped her to tie in nutrition, especially because she has already been working on an herbal education (Women’s Herbal Educator certification).  Denise has a passion for helping people heal, especially women that are pregnant or hope to become pregnant. Prenatal nutrition is absolutely essential for both mama and baby.

Denise took my first official training class in 2017 for learning HTMA the Sassy Holistics way. She picked up on everything very quickly and was very interested in the science behind how minerals run our body.  She joined the team officially in October 2017 and has been doing great ever since!

A little more about Denise:

Formal Education:

  • Bachelor of Science – Dairy Science from University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Bachelor of Science – Agricultural Journalism from University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Master of Science – Dairy Science (Reproductive Physiology) from University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Training – Mineral Mavens Academy (Kristin Merizalde, Sassy Holistics)
  • Herbal Medicine for Women – currently enrolled, by Aviva Romm

You can email with questions here: denise.brusveen@gmail.com

Breezy Schafer, AA, HTMA Consultant

Breezy has been my best friend for nearly a decade now.  She knew me during the worst of my health crises and saw me change as I began to transition to a healthier lifestyle.  This sparked her interest in the natural health world as we both saw that there was more to health than what we have been told before!

Her own health journey started with having her children, and she was inspired to become a fitness and health coach for pregnant and postpartum women.  So many women are struggling these days when it comes to reproductive health, and Breezy wanted to be help with changing things for women needing help.

Breezy also joined my first main HTMA training class and really enjoyed learning the many aspects of mineral balancing and the way that we approach them here at Sassy Holistics. She joined the team a few months after the birth of her son, and she’s coming up on a full year of being on the team.  Breezy’s empathy, kindness, and eagerness to help have been invaluable to our team as well!

More about Breezy:

  • I have an Associates in the Arts degree and am working my way toward a Bachelors in Nutrition.
  • I’ve also completed the HTMA training with Mineral Mavens Academy.
  • You can email me with questions here: babystepsbreezy@gmail.com

 

You can order an HTMA with one of these amazing ladies here!

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!

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!)