Guest Post: DIY Elderberry Kits!

Looking for an easy way to boost your immune system this coming winter? You can buy Elderberry Syrup DIY Kits! Every ingredient is organic/non-GMO and will never be anything less!

Elderberries contain high levels of A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. Not only does elderberry syrup boost your immune system, it tastes delicious! I highly recommend taking as preventative (5x a week)! Double dosage if you feel like you’re fighting something. Take regular dosage every few hours if actively sick. Take with a dropper or spoon. 1-2 tsp for children and 1-2 tbsp for adults. It’s even delicious added to your favorite breakfast dish whether oatmeal or pancakes!

DIY Kit Options- yields 2 jars after adding honey •Dried Elderberry •Dried Elderberry, Whole Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks, Powdered Ginger

$15 per kit. Shipping starts at $3 per kit. If a large order is placed (think small to large flat rate shipping boxes), shipping per kit based on flat rate box and quantity of kits.

Orders can be placed via PayPal. Send as friend/family to

You will need local raw honey (I use organic raw coconut nectar instead of honey for 6-12 month olds and if there is an allergy to honey.

Kitchen supplies needed and Instruction how to make will be sent with order either by email, text or fb message.

**A little about me!**

Hey y’all! I’m Shonta. I live in Huntersville, NC with my husband and 4 children. I am a SAHM. We are a holistic minded family and love sharing what we learn and utilize in our everyday lives!

I can’t wait for you to get your elderberry syrup DIY kit!

xoxo Shonta

DISCLOSURE: The information provided is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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How to Get Clean Water!

There has been so much controversy lately about the state of the water supply in the Western world. It seems that no country is immune to the possibility of having toxic water. America and Australia have been the worst offenders lately.

Have you seen all of the news on the junk found in water? Here are just some of the recent reports:

Radiation from Fukushima Now Causes 100% Infant Mortality Rate in West Coast Orcas

Huge Sinkhole Contaminates Florida Drinking Water

New report finds ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical in US drinking water

You can check this interactive map to see if your town or county has found high chromium-6 in the water.

And you can check out my previous post on Fluoride, the neurotoxin in our water!

All of these reports has people asking, “How the heck do we get clean water?!”

There are many solutions. It seems like there is no “perfect” way to get clean, affordable, and safe water but there are plenty of options depending on your budget and location.

  1. Find a local source of Spring water. Find A Spring has spring locations for 8 different countries! Many of the spring sources test annually for contaminants, but you have to verify that with the location that you end up choosing.
  2. Find the perfect filter based on your needs. There are way too many kinds of filters out there, but luckily, EWG has a guide for finding the best filter based on a few options: budget, effectiveness, which contaminants it filters, and if you need to soften hard water. It also gives options for pitchers, sink attachments, and whole home systems. Picking a filter depends entirely on what you are aiming to do.
  3. My filter choices: Looking for something affordable that focuses on common contaminants as well as getting at least 93 % of fluoride, chlorine and other toxic chemicals: go for a Tap Master Jr. Looking for something a bit more supercharged: go for a Berkey! I’m not buying the controversy on Berkey- I’ve only seen a few bad reviews on it, and most of them are trying to sell their reverse osmosis system (which I definitely don’t recommend!). Many people have even done their own tests on Berkey water filters, and they do truly work.The Big Berkey removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes, as well as nitrites, nitrates, lead, mercury, food coloring, and chromium-6, and it leaves the GOOD minerals intact. The biggest issue I have seen with Berkey is that the up-keep of the filters can take some work, like mentioned in this website!
  4. Reverse osmosis and distilled water can actually negatively affect the body over time so I do not recommend those for the most part.
  5. If you have a well (or plan on making one) make sure you are testing it often for contaminants! Check the EPA Site for more information.

Did I miss any major options? What filter do you swear by? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Herb Spotlight: Rhodiola


After my post last week on adrenal fatigue and the mention of herbal adaptogens, I decided to do some more reading on a few of the herbs. Rhodiola stuck out to me, especially after reading Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Buhner (best known for his research on healing Lyme disease naturally with herbs- check out his site for more info!)

So why did Rhodiola stick out to me? In Buhner’s book, he writes that rhodiola is an:

  • adaptogen, and adrenal protector
  • Antidepressent
  • Antioxidant
  • Antistressor
  • Antiviral and antibacterial
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • Helps with chronic fatigue
  • Mental stimulant (for those with mental fatigue)
  • Mitochondrial tonic!
  • Nervous system tonic

So what does all of that really mean? It means that Rhodiola helps with:

  • Brain Fog (also helps with focus and memory)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Adrenal Exhaustion (even long term exhaustion)
  • All forms of chronic fatigue
  • Immune system health (helps prevent recurrent infections)
  • Increases stamina, especially for exercise
  • Increases fat burning and weight loss!
  • Helps adrenal related symptoms like insomnia, blood sugar swings, low libido, and a sluggish liver
  • Can heal the thyroid and thymus gland as well!

Where to Find Rhodiola:

Rhodiola is one of the most common adaptogens out there. You can find it in many adrenal blends, or even on its own. Most health food stores will carry rhodiola in a variety of forms. There are capsules, tinctures (my preference!), or even blends like this one.

Since there are so many adaptogens out there, it can take some time to find the one that works best for you. Rhodiola has a pretty good track record at being effective for most people. The only major side effect noted is that it can be too over stimulating for some if taken close to bed time. Stick with using it in the morning and early afternoon. Some notice an immediate benefit with some of their worst symptoms!

Interesting Tidbits about Rhodiola:

  • The Vikings used to use it for increased stamina!
  • Rhodiola has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a very long time
  • Rhodiola has also been used in traditional Russian folk medicine, and was one of their favorite herbs because of its effects on fatigue, stamina, infections, depression, and impotence
  • One of the first mentions of rhodiola usage was in 77AD!!

Read more about Rhodiola here:

Herb Wisdom

Life Extension


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Adrenal Fatigue and the Sodium/Magnesium Ratio

The Sodium/Magnesium ratio shows our adrenal health on the HTMA. Ideally, this ratio should be around 4. It tells us whether your adrenals are over-active (high ratio) or under-active (low ratio). It is referred to as the adrenal ratio because sodium levels are directly associated with adrenal gland function. Aldosterone, a mineral corticoid adrenal hormone, regulates retention of sodium in the body. In general, the higher the sodium level, the higher the aldosterone level.

The sodium/magnesium ratio is also a measure of energy output, because the adrenal glands are a major regulator (along with the thyroid gland) of the rate of metabolism. A majority of the HTMA’s I see show under-active adrenals, which is more of the adrenal exhaustion stage. This can be a bit harder to resolve than over-active adrenals, which usually are a sign of the beginning of adrenal fatigue.

What in the world are adrenal glands?!

The adrenal glands are two little pea-sized glands that sit on top of the kidneys. The outer part of the adrenal gland, the adrenal cortex, secretes the corticosteroid hormones including cortisol that monitor the body’s metabolism, inflammation, and blood pressure. The adrenal medulla is the inner part which secretes adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that respond to stressors. When the adrenal medulla fires, it increases the heart rate, boosts blood flow to the muscles, and creates a surge of glucose (blood sugar) in the bloodstream. This mechanism evolved so we could draw from a quick burst of energy in a fight-or-flight situation. The adrenals are extremely vital to our health and well-being!

There are many causes of adrenal fatigue. Every kind of STRESS is the most common cause- working too much, abuse, drug or alcohol use. Stress puts us in a constant “fight-or-flight” mode which is what taxes our adrenals. Heavy metals and mineral imbalances can contribute to adrenal issues. Poor diet is a huge factor- overeating, under-eating, the SAD lifestyle, and vegan/vegetarian diets can all contribute to adrenal issues. Genetics are at play too because if your parents have deficiencies, then so do you. Over-exercising is such a common fad now but we lose minerals when we sweat which taxes the body when not replenished correctly (because most of the popular electrolyte drinks are TERRIBLE!)

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Low energy through the day and trouble getting out of bed
  • low thyroid function (hypothyroid)
  • inability to lose weight
  • low or no libido
  • low blood pressure
  • dizzy when standing up
  • cravings for salt and sugar
  • anxiety
  • mental exhaustion,
  • depression
  • a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, or any autoimmune disorder

A general course of action for adrenal fatigue will include good fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, grass-fed meats (fat and cholesterol are needed for hormone production), Whole food vitamin C (NOT ascorbic acid), high quality proteins like collagen or whey, animal based vitamin A that you would find in Cod Liver Oil, butter and beef liver, and the most important things are rest, sleep, more rest, and more sleep! It depends on the person’s ratio whether they will need magnesium or a good quality salt like Pink Himalayan, Celtic, Redmond’s Real Salt. Those with OVER-active adrenals need more magnesium, and those with UNDER-active need more sodium (and often cannot tolerate any magnesium!).

Everyone’s treatment will be different, as we are all individuals with different deficiencies and imbalances. Working on the body as a WHOLE is important as well. I cannot stress those 2 sentences enough! The adrenals, liver, and gut all need to be working better in order to heal completely. Adrenal fatigue is often a wake-up call for people to change their lifestyles so they learn to slow down and relax in order to prevent an even worse illness.

Aim for a balanced whole foods diet that include more high quality fats, a good amount of protein, and a lower amount of carbs. Supporting adrenals with adaptogens and minerals is important. We need strong adrenals in order to balance copper too!

Adrenal Support Options

Most of the adrenal support supplements are either adaptogens or glandulars. There are MANY adrenal adaptogens out there, and it gets kind of confusing to know which ones are right for each person. Since “adrenal fatigue” gets lumped into one category, there seems to be a plethora of experts that recommend herbs for general use.

For OVER-active adrenals: Ashwagandha can be great. It is best known for lowering cortisol, which tends to be higher in those with over-active adrenals. Ashwagandha is one of those herbs that is recommended for just adrenal fatigue in genera, but it can create more issues for those with underactive adrenals, or low cortisol.

You can try ashwagandha on its own, but I tend to recommend this awesome Gaia Herbs blend.

For UNDER-active adrenals: Most other herbs are great for under-active adrenals since they tend to balance cortisol instead of lowering it (even though most studies are focused on just lowering cortisol, these herbs are known to be more balancing). So Holy Basil, Rhodiola, Reishi Mushroom, and Schisandra berry are usually good. I like this blend from Herb Pharm that has these herbs.

Glandulars: These also depend on the person’s adrenal status. I have had great results (both in myself and with clients) with Symplex F and Drenamin From Standard Process. You can check their website to find a local practitioner that sells their products.

There can be a bit of trial and error when it comes to finding adrenal support that helps with your symptoms. But it’s important to know the state of your adrenals before trying out supplements!

Also, remember that the adrenals are part of the HPA axis. Sometimes focusing on just the adrenals doesn’t work. Read all about the HPA axis here!

Looking for some more information that is specific about adrenal fatigue? Check out Adrenal Fatigue They have a of comprehensive information about the adrenals, the HPA axis, recipes, lifestyle changes, and even a new ebook!

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My New Favorite Thing!


I’m sure by now most of my followers know I like to try things myself before I recommend them. So the new thing I’ve been trying over the last 2 months or so is MCT oil! I was skeptical at first because while it’s technically a food, it’s still processed. But after seeing many awesome benefits (mostly energy, better sleep, and better stamina) from it, I am definitely starting to appreciate it more. Some of us just need extra help when it comes to fat- and MCT is very easily absorbed, but we’ll get into that soon!

But first, a refresher on why we need good fats….

Why we should LOVE Fats!

Fat is needed for many different reasons. It is needed for brain health, reproductive health, adrenals and thyroid health, immune system health, and also for eyes, skin and nails. Saturated fats are especially good for heart health- even though for decades “experts” were saying the opposite!  Fats help balance your blood sugar, especially when you cut out all of the refined and processed foods from your diet.

Many people have grown up with the lies about fat (and its buddy cholesterol), and have stuck to a low fat diet most of their lives. This is one of the main reasons why so many people are suffering with hormonal imbalances, sluggish metabolisms, adrenal exhaustion, liver dysfunction (because consumption of good fats encourages bile flow), and so many other illnesses.

GOOD fats include: grass-fed butter, coconut oil (MCT oil too!), grass-fed dairy (cream cheese, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, heavy cream), avocado, fish, nuts, chocolate, meats, eggs, and olives.

BAD fats include: oils from soy, corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, and peanut.

What is MCT Oil?

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides which is a form of saturated fat (the GOOD fat) that is very easily digested and assimilated. Coconut oil itself is a great source of MCTs and many people have noticed the amazing health benefits of coconut oil. However, unrefined coconut oil is not always the most appealing thing to eat, which is where MCT oil comes in. You have the benefit of the fat in coconut oil without the taste, which I find to be a very important aspect. When I first tried coconut oil, I made myself eat it everyday for about a month. I lost quite a bit of weight, but each day I found it harder to stomach the taste of the oil! It was just not appealing to me, and I know many other people feel the same way.

The MCT coconut oil is made up mostly of caprylic and capric acid, but some also keep in the lauric acid which is especially helpful against issues like EBV.

Benefits of MCT Oil:

  • Great for the metabolism
  • Helps with energy levels and mood stablization
  • Easily digestible fat, which is ideal for those with a sluggish liver
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Helps keep blood sugar stable
  • Keeps you fuller longer, and helps curb sugar cravings
  • It’s tasteless! You can add it to anything: smoothies, protein shakes, coffee, tea, etc. Most use 1-3 tablespoons a day, spread out. Start slowly though, just like anything else. It can truly get things moving!
  • Great fuel for the brain!
  • Helps to eradicate parasites, yeast, bacteria, and fungi in the body
  • Helps constipation

Where to find MCT Oil

Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, and many other health food stores carry MCT oil. Some of the brands have flavorless and flavored so be sure to read labels to find the one you want. Whole Foods has a great store brand that is 100% coconut MCT oil. Vitamin Shoppe has Jarrow and their own store brand which is good.

Or if you prefer to buy on Amazon:

Sports Research MCT oil- Organic, and has lauric acid as well

Jarrow-this one can be found at Vitamin Shoppe

Read more about MCT Oil:

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FALL into health with HTMA


Time for a new sale on HTMA to mark our transition into fall🙂

This sale will be for the rest of September!

For the adult HTMA, you get $15 off. For the child’s HTMA, you get $10 off. You still get the entire HTMA package for the sale price: Test, analysis, 1-2 hour consult, and unlimited support during the healing process.

Also, I’ll be giving away my newest ebook to all of my clients that purchase any HTMA package this month!

This ebook (called The Ideal Diet) is a short compilation on all of my posts associated with diet. I often get asked what the best diet is since there are so many options out there. I focus on a mostly whole foods diet

Want to read more about HTMA before continuing? Check out these links:

What does HTMA test for?

The Nervous System and Oxidation Rate

Adrenal Fatigue and Why Mineral Balancing is Crucial to Healing

Adult HTMA $160:

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Child’s HTMA $140:

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Pyroluria & Copper Dysregulation

(Shout-out to the awesome Mineral Maven member that suggested this post, and helped write it!)

Pyroluria is a condition I’ve heard often in my research on copper dysregulation. It’s defined as a genetic biochemical imbalance. Yet, from my reading and working with clients who have been given the pyrrole label, I believe that pyroluria (just like histamine intolerance) is yet another form of a copper imbalance.

What exactly is Pyroluria?

From The Nourished Psychologist:

Pyroluria, also known as Pyrrole disorder is a little known genetic condition that involves an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis (the protein that holds iron in your red blood cells). People with Pyroluria produce excess amounts of a byproduct of haemoglobin synthesis which is known as pyrrole (or hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (OHHPL)). Normally this is an unimportant waste product but when the levels of pyrroles are elevated then they bind excessively to zinc and vitamin B6 which renders them unable reach their targets in the body and unavailable to be used.  The omega-6 fatty acid GLA is also depleted.”

Common symptoms of Pyroluria include:

Testing and treating for pyroluria

If there are excessive amounts of pyrroles in the urine, then pyroluria is diagnosed (but whether or not the attributed symptoms are due to high pyrrole levels is still unclear). Zinc, B6 and other nutritional deficiencies are involved, so practitioners often test for these. This includes zinc plasma, copper serum, and ceruoplasmin to determine the amounts of unbound copper and zinc:copper ratio. But that is ALL they look at – the unbound copper. I know of several people, who have been diagnosed with pyroluria, and their unbound copper was high BUT their ceruloplasmin was severely low (below 20 and ideal is around 33). So once again, we are looking at a lack of understanding about the role ceruoplasmin plays, in regulating copper (both the toxic/ unbound/ free type and the bioavailable/ bound sort).

Excess, unbound copper is antagonistic to zinc and B6 – the two deficiencies most prevalent in conjunction with high pyrrole levels.The standard treatment uses high doses of isolated zinc & B6 (which can be toxic in even small doses). This can be detrimental for those with low bound copper (the good copper!), even if their unbound copper is high. I’ve seen people say that zinc causes symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, migraines, vomiting, and even suicidal thoughts*. I’ve also seen people tell others to just PUSH THROUGH these symptoms. Remember, that zinc will displace copper and when taken at a high dose causes intense copper dumping symptoms, while also lowering bioavailable copper (zinc won’t differentiate between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ copper).

We actually need to address high unbound copper by RAISING ceruloplasmin levels, working on the liver and adrenals, and healing the gut, in order to process and use zinc and copper (and other minerals/ vitamins) more efficiently.

If you have been diagnosed with pyroluria (or it’s been suggested you look into it), make sure that you know what your serum copper and ceruoplasmin levels are. In conjunction with an HTMA, these levels will provide vital clues. It may be that you have a copper imbalance, rather than a perceived genetic issue!

Balancing copper correctly includes MANY steps, which is why I take the approach I do. We are so much more imbalanced now then people were a few decades ago when people started treating just copper “toxicity”. So many people need a different approach!

It’s time to change the way people look at copper, as well as healing. The body is a whole! Using HTMA is a great way to look at the whole picture: metabolism, adrenals, hormones, liver, and more.

*If any part of a program you are doing causes you to have suicidal thoughts, there is something WRONG with the program and you need to talk to your doctor/practitioner. The whole purpose of healing should be to gently bring the body back into balance, not to create more chaos in the process. Many things can cause these devastating symptoms (heavy metals, parasites, and yeast especially) but that doesn’t mean that you *have* to experience them when you are healing.

Read more about regulating copper here:

Copper Dysregulation

Copper- Why we NEED it!

Copper imbalance and bipolar disorder 

Redefining postpartum depression 

Love your livers!

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