Reducing Toxic Burden

Hi Friends,

How often do you think about your household cleaning and personal care products like soaps, shower gels, shampoo and other hair care products, sunscreens and the like?  Ladies, do you check your cosmetics, moisturizers, and even tampons or pads?  What about food storage containers, pots and pans, and even the carpet and furniture in your home?  Toxins come from expected and unexpected places.  Why should we be concerned with toxins?  I mean, doesn’t the EPA and FDA do enough to keep us safe?  Ah…no.  There are an ever-increasing number of chemicals approved as “safe”, but mostly only rested one at time.  We unfortunately are not exposed to these chemicals one at a time, so the safety of the combinations is unknown.  It’s overwhelming, I know.  Follow some of these tips to help reduce the toxic burden and improve your health.  

1) Support Liver detoxification.  This ensures that our liver is helping us get rid or toxins as efficiently as possible.  Cruciferous vegetables are a great way to support the liver’s detoxification processes.  Blueberries, cranberries, tea, coffee, beet juice, nuts, fatty fish, and olive oil are a few other foods that are good for the liver.

2) Drink lots of water.  Water plays a huge roll in your body’s natural detoxification processes.  Some experts will say 6-8 glasses of water per day, some will say pay attention to your body’s cues.  If you are one who drinks coffee all day or sodas or energy drinks all day, you are not getting the hydration or added support for detoxification needed.  Don’t like plain water?  Try muddling some fruit and infusing the water with that muddled fruit, or squeeze some lemon into your water.

3) Go Organic.  The pesticides used in the conventional farming processes can contribute to your toxic load which can drive inflammation and chronic illness.  I know organic costs more, but the benefits outweigh the cost.  Honestly, you’ll pay for it now with buying organic or later with prescriptions and doctors’ visits.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out an annual Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.  Check these lists and go organic as much as possible when it comes to items on the dirty dozen list.

4) Look for eco-friendly laundry detergent.  The chemical residue on our clothes will get into our bodies through our skin.  I personally make my own laundry detergent with castile soap, borax and washing soda. It may take a little bit to make but is a money saver!!  I make a double batch and it lasts my husband and I around 4 months. If you have a large family, it may not last that long, but it’s pennies to make compared to store bought detergent.

5 Look for lotions without the “junk”.  Our skin is very porous.  Like the chemicals form our laundry detergent residue, chemical from lotions can seep through our skin pretty easily.  This is why topicals and patches work.   

6) Look for shampoo, conditioner and shower gels for toxins too.  Much like lotions, these can have chemicals in them too that can disrupt our body systems. I personally use Monat products. I don’t sell it, I just use it.

7) Try natural deodorants.  Besides aluminum, deodorants also can contain a myriad of chemicals.  Ladies, some of these chemicals show in breast tissue!  You may have to try a few brands to find what you like, but the options out there are growing.

8) Think about replacing plastic food storage containers.  BPA is an endocrine disruptor and is in a lot of plastics.  Not to mention that plastics start to break down and leach into our food.  Avoid storing acidic foods or oils in plastic and never heat foods in plastic.  I use glass containers.  It is a cost, but worth it for your health.  My advice, as you’re tossing out old plastic containers, replace them with glass containers. 

9) Ditch toxic non-stick cookware.  Yes, non-stick surfaces make cleanup of pots and pans easier, but those can contain chemicals too.  If you have any non-stick pans that are showing their wear and the non-stick coating is pealing, I highly recommend tossing it and replacing with a less toxic pan.  My theme here is you don’t have to go out and replace everything all at once. Each small step adds to great distances!

10) Watch for chemicals in feminine hygiene products.  Ladies, listen up!  Chemicals used the bleaching and processing of many pads and tampon are problematic like fragrances and pesticides. Try to look for ones that are fragrance free and not laden with chemicals.

11) Go clean with cosmetics.  There are several clean cosmetic companies out there.  Did you know that there are some lipsticks that contain lead??  Yep!  And if you apply those lipsticks, you’re eating that.  And did you know that nail polish can also be extremely toxic?   Many nail polishes contain formaldehyde and more, which can be absorbed through the nail!  And if you bite your nails, you are also eating that!  Looks for nontoxic nail polish, especially if you’re going to polish your child’s nails.  I like Zoya and use that brand but look for ones that are free from at least DBP, formaldehyde, and toluene.

12) Ditch perfumes and colognes, artificial “fragrances”:  these synthetic fragrances in the majority of perfumes and colognes can not only aggravate respiratory problems for some people around you, but these chemicals are also Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and contribute to poor air quality.  Try essential oils instead.

The EWG has a great list for cosmetics and other personal care products…Skin Deep.

EWG Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database 

EWG Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database EWG’s Skin Deep® database gives you practical solutions to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals in personal care products.

13) Household cleaning products. The toxic residue and airborne particles make for a harsh atmosphere in the home.  Did you know that the home can often be much more toxic than the outdoors?  With all the pollution out there, that’s hard to imagine, but it’s true.  And it is largely to do with VOCs and cleaning chemicals.  Mold can also lurk in even the cleanest of homes.  If you suspect mold, please get that checked out and toss anything with mold or in the house if mold exists that cannot be cleaned properly.  As for other household chemicals, invest of some plants.  Plants go far in reducing chemicals in the air inside our homes.  Bonus, the connection to nature has health benefits too!  A plant like a peace lily is low maintenance and I can personally verify that they are very hardy for those of us that don’t have the greenest of thumb like me.

I know this seems like a lot, but even just one small change can make a difference in your toxic burden and the environment in the process…that’s a win!  Progress, not perfection is a great philosophy when you’re starting out on this journey.  Each step you take in replacing toxic products with less toxic ones, you’re becoming empowered to take charge of your health. 

In health 

Bridget Sloane, NTP

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.


5 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Nail Polish (2016 April 14) Retrieved from 5 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Nail Polish – ella+mila

11 Foods That Are Good For Your Liver. Retrieved from 11 Foods That Are Good for Your Liver (

Lindberg, Sarah, M.Ed.m B.S. (2020 March 30) 6 Reasons you Should Eat Organic & The Top Organic Produce You Should Buy.  Retrieved from 6 Science-Backed Reasons You Should Eat Organic | mindbodygreen

Xenobiot, J. (2023 March 13) Do Synthetic Fragrances in Personal Care and Household Products Impact Indoor Air Quality and Pose Health Risks? Retrieved from Do Synthetic Fragrances in Personal Care and Household Products Impact Indoor Air Quality and Pose Health Risks? – PMC (

What is Stress and Tips to Manage it

Hi Friends,

I thought I would take some time to write a little about stress.  We all have it…from work stresses, relationship stresses, family stresses, health stresses, to financial stress and more…so what is happening?  Why is it important to manage our stress and how do we go about doing that?

We all have been under an increasing amount of stress.  The pandemic had us worried about jobs, cost of food and goods have increases dramatically which adds financial stress to the mix, family life is demanding (and exhausting), workloads have increased, toxins in our water and food put another type of stress on our bodies, and of course relationships can be stressful as well…to name a few.  Well, a little stress, acute stress, is healthy from time to time as it can help our resilience to future stress, but too much stress is very hard on us physically as well as mentally.  Aneurysms, strokes, high blood pressure and heart attacks are often thought of when talking about chronic stress.  Whether you feel stressed or not, your body is going through this process of reacting to stress. 

So, what happens to our bodies at the cellular level when we have this stress?  Physically, in our bodies, stress can affect our mental health, heart health and risk of aneurism, digestive health, autoimmunity, blood sugar regulation (diabetes risk), as well has metabolism.  You may have heard of the “stress hormone” Cortisol, that hormone that seems to keep people fat or contribute to weight gain around the midsection.  Cortisol is actually meant to be part of an anti-inflammatory process.  We dip low in sugar in our blood stream and our adrenal glands send out epinephrine and cortisol to help raise that blood sugar level so we don’t end up becoming hypoglycemic and possibly end up in a coma.  Our body likes to keep our blood sugar in a nice little range, called homeostasis.  Too high, like when we’ve eaten a sugary sweet, and that’s when more insulin is needed in order to get the glucose out of the blood and into our cells for energy.  Too low and we get shaky, light-headed, and our body tries to compensate by releasing epinephrine, norepinephrine, and the cortisol to bring blood sugar up.  Both of these scenarios are stressful for our body.

Our body will try to protect us in stressful situations by releasing cortisol to give us the energy to run from the tiger our body thinks is chasing us.  This also means that things like digestion and fertility suffer as…well…it’s safer to run from that “tiger” and not be eating or having children.  Now, our bodies don’t know that a looming deadline at work or a fight with a loved one isn’t as serious a physical threat as say being chased by a tiger.  As far as our bodies are concerned, stress is stress and it responds the same.  Ever notice how a dog (and most other animals) just shake it off after a stressful event?  Well, it is just that.  They are in a sense just shaking it off and moving on.  We humans don’t do that though, but we do have ways to combat everyday stresses.

When you are in a perpetual state of stress and cortisol is chronically running high, the anti-inflammatory properties of cortisol actually turn inflammatory.  Think about this.  If you have, let’s say, colitis like I do and are in a state of chronic stress, you notice that your symptoms are exacerbated or flare.  Same can be true for thyroid issues, joint pain, MS, etc.  Getting the idea?  In addition to that, stress can affect sleep (which only compounds the issue) and digestion even in those without colitis or other irritable bowel diseases.  Do you wake up in the middle of the night and wired, especially when under a lot of stress?  Cortisol could be to blame.  Cortisol is the alert/awake hormone which is opposed to Melatonin, and the two tend to rise and fall opposite one another.  Do you get heartburn, indigestion or digestive symptoms like constipation or diarrhea?  Yep, that easily can be stress preventing proper digestion or aggravating a digestive diagnosis.  Not only that, but we are also not properly digesting our foods or absorbing nutrients well when eating in a stressed state.

Did you know that out of balance blood sugar can cause stress on your body too?  Blood sugar imbalance can be a cause and an effect of stress.  As I noted above, cortisol is part of an anti-inflammatory process, but chronic elevated cortisol actually becomes inflammatory.  I hope you can see now how stress affects our bodies and why we need to find healthy ways to combat the stress in our lives.  I can tell you personally how much stress has a physical effect on my body, it’s a vicious cycle.  Stress exacerbates symptoms and you worry about that, which just makes things worse.  One of the many things I implemented in my own journey is stress management practices.  Here are some of my regular stress management tips.

1)  Deep breathing:  There are several breathing techniques, but a simple one is simply to breath in deeply for 4 or 5 counts, then exhale slowly over 8-10 counts.  Do this 10-15 times whenever you are facing a stressful situation.  Deep breathing will calm the nervous system and activate the para-sympathetic nervous system and lower that cortisol.

2)  Exercise:  This can be especially good when running or walking outside in nature, but exercise in and of itself is a good outlet.  Now, keep in mind you need to listen to your body and let it tell you when and what is enough.  I was running three miles three times a week and pushed myself too hard.  I paid for it.  I was at a point where my body just couldn’t do it.  I had to step back and just walk for a while.  My adrenals were taxed and I had to support them before I could start running again.  Overexercise can also be a source of stress for our bodies.

3)  Take a social media break.  The things we read can upset up or be a bit scary and that can activate our sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system.  Remember that your body doesn’t differentiate between news, deadlines, fights, or being chased by a tiger.  Many find it helpful to take a period of time to “unplug” from social media, maybe even just one day a week.

4)  Social time with friends or family.  We are social beings and human connections are vital to our health.  Mentally and psychologically, isolation is hard on us.  During the pandemic, this was prevalent and a major reason why so many people wanted things opened again.  It’s amazing too what a nice chat with a friend can do for your spirits!

5)  Prayer/meditation.  There are various forms of meditation, Guided imagery, mindfulness mediations, Tai Chi and Yoda, prayer, EFT (Tapping) and journaling.  There are a lot of apps out there…Calm, Headspace, Journal, Hallow, The Tapping Solution to name a few.  Give some of these a try!

6)  Focus on sleep.  This is much easier when incorporated with some of the others listed above, but take a look at your sleep hygiene. Keep your bedroom cool enough to be comfortable, turn off electronic devices an hour before sleep, find a wind down routine like reading an actual book (not on a tablet), taking an epsom salt bath, journaling, turning down lights closer to sleep, and even looking into amber glasses that help block out the blue light from harsh lighting and electronic devices that basically tells our body that it’s not sleep time.  And finally, I recommend a consistent bedtime.  Sure, you can try taking melatonin, but I suggest that you try these things first.

Another important note is that a combination of stress reduction techniques will be the most effective.  The best part is that some of these only take a few minutes a day and you can fit them into a busy lifestyle.  What would you add to this list?

In Health

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.


Cortisol. Retrieved from Cortisol: What It Is, Function, Symptoms & Levels (

Hagmeyer, Dr. Richard (February 25, 2024). The Stress Hormone Cortisol and Blood Sugar. Retrieved from The Stress Hormone Cortisol and Blood Sugar | Dr. Hagmeyer (

Hannibal, Kara E and Mark D. Bishop (July 17, 2024). Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation. Retrieved from Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation – PMC (

Inflammatory Foods

Hi friends!

Many of you have read my story that I shared in my very first blog post. My story is not necessarily unique! While it is MY story, and no two stories are the same, many have somewhat similar experiences. In this blog, I want to talk a little about inflammatory foods, outside of ultra-processed foods, that drive many of our “stories”. Here are some common inflammatory foods that are staples in the standard American diet.

1) Gluten: No, not everyone needs to go gluten free, and by all means get tested for celiac disease before trying a gluten free diet if you so wish. Grains, unrefined/whole grains that is, including those containing gluten, are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber needed for health. This is where you may have to experiment if you have either digestive struggles or chronic illness. Keep in mind that even if someone does not test positive for celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a real thing. What are some signs? Headaches, digestive issues such as stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea constipation and bloating, as well as peripheral neuropathy, and many more. Some may say you don’t need to give up gluten if you don’t have celiac disease, but if you feel better avoiding gluten then why not avoid it? No person needs “gluten” in their diet, in fact we as humans lack the necessary enzymes to fully break down the gluten protein. I have heard the argument that gluten free is very unhealthy. I absolutely disagree, if it’s done in a whole foods way with nutrient dense foods. Think lots of vegetables! This way you can still get needed vitamins, minerals and fiber needed. Now, if you just eat the gluten free version of junk food, yes, that is still junk food and, yes, very unhealthy. But the Standard American Diet (known as “SAD”) is extremely unhealthy too. It’s not a gluten free diet (or vegan, or whatever your dietary preferences/necessities are) that is healthy or unhealthy, it’s how you implement these diets in your daily life. Why do I think someone might benefit from a gluten free diet? Gluten can be a big trigger for chronic illnesses and inflammation for many. If you have an autoimmune disease, gluten could be a player in the disease pathology because it contributes to “leaky gut” and drives systemic inflammation in a great number of those with autoimmune diseases. Leaky gut is part of the trifecta creating the perfect storm for autoimmunity. The trifecta being genetics, environmental factors (think toxins we’re exposed to, and food sensitivities, what we eat, and the general environment we live in), and leaky gut.

2) Dairy: Outside of lactose, which many are familiar with because of hearing about lactose intolerance, there are two proteins in dairy that some may also have difficulty with. These proteins are casein and whey. You’re probably familiar with whey with all of the protein powders out on the market touted as must haves by a lot in the fitness world. Casein is a lesser-known protein in dairy that some cannot properly digest. What are some signs of a dairy sensitivity? That can range from mild to severe, from skin itchiness to digestive issues. Not everyone needs to give up dairy, cooking with butter and ghee, and adding cheeses to foods brings a good source of protein and calcium with are very important to bone and muscle health. And not to mention flavor and satiety. There is also A2 milks and cheeses that have a different form of casein and some have found that helpful. You will need to tune in to your body and how it feels after everything you eat and drink when it comes to diary. Try goat milk and cheeses, or A2 versions if traditional dairy is troublesome. This is another one of those things to experiment with if you have chronic illness. Just listen to your body, your body will let you know if dairy is problematic for you. There are some milk alternatives, however be aware of gums and other additives. Making your own milk alternative is pretty easy too. I included some links for dairy free milk recipes at the end of the blog. If you do choose to go dairy free, be mindful of your daily intake of calcium by eating plenty of calcium rich foods like broccoli, kale, sunflower seeds, white beans, chia seeds, and more. This could be a topic for another blog post, but if you don’t get enough sunlight, our bodies can’t make enough of our own vitamin D. As a result, it is also important to get enough vitamin D3 along with K2 so your body will properly absorb and use calcium.

3) Sugar: While yes, we absolutely need carbohydrates in our diet, these should come in the form of some fruits and lots of vegetables. If you have a sweet tooth and eat a lot of sugar, you could be driving systemic inflammation. This could mean that you experience joint pain (hello, that’s me!) and even heart and cardiovascular system troubles. Makes you think twice before having the second cookie? Well, I hope so. One of the reasons why sugar drives inflammation and exacerbates chronic illness is that sugar feeds the bad gut bacteria, the pathogenic gut bugs that can cause all sorts or digestive struggles like bloating, diarrhea, gassiness, and more. This can also lead to dysbiosis, an imbalance of good and bad gut flora, and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth). Too much sugar can also lead to insulin resistance and diabetes where the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand for insulin. Our cells need carbohydrates for energy. The issue is when our blood is chronically saturated with sugar, and insulin to help take care of that excess sugar, and our cells begin to lose the sensitivity to insulin. As a result, more is needed to get the job done. This is known as insulin resistance and is the precursor to Type II Diabetes. I hope you this shows you how important proper blood sugar regulation is to health and managing inflammation. If this wasn’t bad enough, sugar in our blood stream is very inflammatory to our arteries and is a leading cause of heart disease. Nope, it’s not cholesterol, that’s another blog. Doesn’t make sense? Look at it this way. Let’s say you skin your knee. As a wound starts to heal, a scab forms.  This is a normal part of the healing process. In that healing process, a sticky feeling is present prior to the scab. Well, sugar is like scratching area of skin until it starts to have that same sticky feeling. The difference here is that it’s happening inside our arteries. My challenge to you, friends, is to look at the amount of sugar in the products you buy. You would be amazed at how much sugar is added to processed foods. I’ll share a quick story from a few years ago. My husband gave up refined sugar for Lent a few years ago. He was so surprised at how many items had added sugar, and how many were where you wouldn’t necessarily think about. It’s in way more than sodas, cakes, cookies and candy. This is why I recommend a whole foods diet (whether omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan, pescatarian) and encourage my clients to cut way back, or even ditch all together, ultra-processed foods. Treats are one thing, but the high sugar/ultra-processed foods as a staple in our diets is making us sick.

To reiterate, not everyone has to eliminate gluten and dairy, but they are two things you can experiment with if you have signs for inflammation and/or chronic illness such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, diabetes, and more. Sugar is definitely something to keep an eye on in our diets as well since so much of our illnesses of today are heavily due to sugar and blood sugar imbalance. My goal with this blog is to educate on the importance of tuning into our bodies and listening to what our bodies are trying to tell us in order to raise awareness of potential contributors to our current health woes. I hope you found this helpful!

**As promised, here are some links for some dairy free milk recipes I’ve found.  I myself have tried the coconut milk and cashew milk and liked both.

Rich & Creamy Hazelnut Milk (and other non-dairy milk recipes) – The Nourishing Gourmet

Homemade Non-Dairy Coconut Milk Recipe – Jackie UnFiltered

What Are The Healthiest Non-Dairy Milks To Drink? (

In health,

Bridget Sloane, NTP

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.


3 Possible Dairy Sensitivity Symptoms. Retrieved from Dairy Sensitivity Symptoms | Signs of Dairy Sensitivity | Everlywell

Calcium-Rich Foods that Vegans Can Eat. retrieved from 18 non-dairy calcium-rich foods (

DiNicolantonio and James.H. O’Keefe. November 29, 2017. Retrieved from Added sugars drive coronary heart disease via insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia: a new paradigm – PMC (

Leaky Gut Syndrome/ Retrieved from Leaky Gut Syndrome: Symptoms, Diet, Tests & Treatment (

How Can an NTP Help You?

Hi Friends,

I opened my Nutritional Therapy practice almost 11 months ago and I thought it was a good time to explain more about what I do and give insights into how Nutritional Therapy can help support a multitude of diagnoses and symptoms. While we don’t’ diagnose, “cure” or even “treat” an illness, we offer tools to support various body systems, search for potential nutritional deficiencies as well as advise regarding lifestyle interventions that can help your body work the way it was intended and empower our clients.  What we feed our bodies, as well as our lifestyle choices, either helps or hinders your body’s ability to heal, thrive, and ultimately have a profound effect on your overall vitality and quality of life. Here are my top 5 reasons why a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) is a great add to your care team.

1) Conventional medicine doesn’t teach much about nutrition and many traditional medicine (allopathic) practitioners don’t even spend much time in their training learning about nutrition. That is where a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, like me, can be an asset to your health care team.  I have learned a lot about detoxification, blood sugar regulation, hormone balance, digestion, sleep, stress and movement and how to support these areas.  We as NTPs learn about how the body systems work together and how they affect each other.  You cannot isolate one body system, rather we learn to support the proper function of these body systems so the whole person can thrive!  Did you know that blood sugar regulation can interfere with sleep?  High cholesterol can be related to inflammation, which can also be tied to blood sugar dysregulation and stress.  These are just some examples of why nutrition is so important and that you can’t focus solely on one system.

2) Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said it best when he said “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” There are even conditions that traditional medicine will say are “normal”, but they really are not. Take PMS, Pre/Peri-menopause and menopause symptoms, minor aches considered “normal aging”, and indigestion as just some examples.  I used to have terrible, debilitating cramps each month.  While some doctors may say take Advil (or whatever NSAID they recommend) and that should help.  While, yes, that may help for the short term, an NTP will see how we can support hormonal balance to reduce those cramps.  Why would that be beneficial?  Well, first of all, we are not Ibuprofen (or acetaminophen) deficient.  We must look at how we can support our bodies and learn what these symptoms are telling us.  For women, we don’t have to live with excruciating cramps or suffer extreme menopause symptoms.  Also, these NSAIDs can have pretty serious side effects such has stomach or liver issues if taken long term!  We can also help with mood issues too through proper nutritional support.  Through nutritional support and lifestyle modifications, many “normal” symptoms can be greatly improved or even eliminated. Our bodies are amazing and can heal in dramatic ways if given what they need!

3) It’s not all in your head. Have you been told your symptoms are just in your head? A Nutritional Therapy Practitioner won’t say that. I understand inflammation, and I know it first-hand!  Two years ago, I had some extreme pain in my right knee and left hand.  Nothing seemed to really show what the problem was.  I was dismissed after a point and my care team gave up on me.  My naturopathic doctor is the only person on my care team who didn’t give up.  Have you been told by a doctor to eat less and exercise more because you can’t lose weight or were told your fine and get the feeling your doctor thinks you’re a hypochondriac?  Western medicine doesn’t get to the root causes of chronic illnesses.  They treat symptoms and move on.  If they cannot treat a symptom, they may say it’s all in your head.  They don’t know what more to do.  I would not give up on anyone.  Too many people are dismissed and I know, from my own journey, that we just want to be heard and to be validated.  That validation is so important in my opinion, and I am making it my mission to help others who want the help and are willing to put in the effort.

4) You have autoimmune diseases. As I have said in another blog, if you have one autoimmune condition, you are much more likely to acquire more.  I, myself, have several autoimmune diagnoses and I’ve been successful at managing them all with diet and lifestyle interventions that I learned not only in my coursework, but also in my own research.  This is why getting nutritional support and lifestyle guidance is so important. First of all, your diagnosis doesn’t define you.  You are not your autoimmune disease!  Secondly, your genes don’t define you either!  You may have the genes for a particular autoimmune disease, but that doesn’t mean you will get it nor that you can’t put your autoimmune disease into remission (by remission I mean symptom free).  Yes, genes make you more susceptible to certain conditions, but epigenetics is real and environmental factors play a big role in gene expression.

5) You are not alone.  A Nutritional Therapy Practitioner can help make the journey easier by providing knowledge, support, following up and accountability.  This is quite possibly the most important point.  We are with our clients every step of the way on their journey.  The journey is not an overnight process, sometimes it takes some time to feel better. But we’re out there cheering them on, celebrating victories with them and providing them with many tools they need to help support them in their goals.  My goal as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner is the encourage, support, empower and validate each and every one of my clients through whatever health concern they have.  Also, we NTPs are not perfect, nor will we chastise anyone for not being perfect.  We don’t live a perfect diet and lifestyle 100% of the time, we are human.  We can relate to our clients in so many ways because of that.  The key is that we have the tools to quickly bring us back to our best, including (and this is important) not beating ourselves up.

I was once told I should write a book by a friend after she saw me at my worst 6 years ago and now all those years later.  Maybe someday, but until then this is my passion.  If you or anyone you know could use the help of a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, reach out to me or pass along my information.

In Health…

Bridget Sloane, NTP

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.

My Tips for Healing After an Injury

Hi Friends,

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog, I know.  To let you all know what I’ve been up to, it was a busy last week in December and first part of January.  Celebrating my husband’s birthday, Christmas, New Year’s and now battling skier’s thumb (which has made typing, well, interesting) resulting from a collision with a snowboarder that was snowboarding out of control.  I am still braced up and trying to type here, but I either wear the cumbersome brace or my thumb throbs…need to follow doctor’s orders!

If you are not familiar with skier’s thumb (also known as gamekeeper’s thumb), it happens when you fall, and typically holding a pole which causes the thumb to bend backwards.  With that, there is a risk for ligament damage and possible surgery needed.  I do not know the extent of my damage just yet, but I am getting evaluated.  At any rate, I thought this would be a great opportunity to do a blog on acute inflammation from injuries.

Acute inflammation is a part of healing and is not a bad thing…it’s necessary!  You may have heard of inflammation being like a check engine light to a car.  And that’s a great way to think about it.  We ignore the check engine light and that can lead to further car troubles…similarly we cannot ignore the signs of inflammation or that acute inflammation can turn to chronic.  If we caught a virus or something, think a cold or flu, we can support the immune response to help our bodies fight that off.  If we have an injury though, we may need deeper medical interventions, much like taking your car into a mechanic for a check engine light.  It may just be a top off of fluids, but it could easily be something more serious that needs more intricate care.  If we ignore that “check engine light”, further and longer lasting issues can arise.

A lot people have certain “go-to’s” foods and supplements for getting over a cold or flu like vitamin C, zinc, chicken noodle soup, echinacea, certain teas, etc., but most people don’t think of go to’s for healing when getting injured with a broken bone or torn/stressed ligament.  If you are in the sports world, you are most likely aware of R.I.C.E., or rest, ice, compression and elevate…and that concept is important when sustaining an injury, no doubt.  Deeper than that though, how can we support our bodies healing process from a Nutritional Therapy perspective?  If we give our bodies what it needs, and avoid the foods that don’t serve us well, our bodies can do amazing things in terms of healing.  One example of this is the piece of my story about an autoimmune process I had going on that was resolved simply by eliminating a food that didn’t serve me well and was actually very inflammatory to my body.  Now, it just isn’t as simple as it was with my story when it comes to a wound, broken/bruised bone or torn/strained ligament.  But it is important to give your body extra nutrients in order to ensure your body has the “tools” it needs to heal.  Here are some of my tips to help bodies heal after an injury…

  1. Protein: You may need to increase the amount of protein you eat while healing as it is critical for wound healing.  I love a nut butter with a veggie like celery as a snack to sneak in more protein (and a little fat too) in order to boost up some protein intake or pair something like prosciutto or nut butter with an apple.  Not only you get protein, but you’ll also get satiating fat along with the vitamins and minerals in the fruit or veggie without major blood sugar swings.  I’d add collagen here as well since it is protein, sourced through supplements or bone broths.
  2. Iron: Iron boost blood and oxygen transportation to the wound/injury site.  Iron is found in dark leafy greens, eggs, fish, red meat (caveat…make it grass fed/grass finished when it comes to red meat!), and nuts to name a few, even some whole grain bread (a sprouted wheat bread or something, usually found in the frozen foods area of a grocery store would be my suggestion there…refined flours need not apply).
  3. Zinc: Supports immune function and aids in collagen production which is important for wound healing.  Sources are similar to Iron; leafy greens, fish and shellfish, eggs, diary, poultry and red meat (grass fed/grass finished is best)
  4. Vitamin A: This helps stimulate collagen production so very good for skin and tendon healing.  Collagen is good for the gut too so bonus!  Some good sources are liver, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cod liver oil, carrots, cantaloupe, peas, kale and mustard greens
  5. Vitamin C: Definitely an immune booster. Think foods like oranges, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, melons, kale, brussels sprouts, apples, broccoli, bell peppers, kiwi, lemons, and blueberries.  Bonus, these are also good sources of fiber which is important to overall health.
  6. Calcium: Especially if you are healing from a bone injury, calcium plays an important role in bone health, just pair it with vitamin D3 to help absorb it if taking as a supplement.  Good sources of calcium are broccoli, kale, bok choy, oranges, dried figs, canned salmon and sardines, and various dairy or fortified non-dairy alternatives.

My caveat to the red meat, if you chose to eat meat, about it being grass fed/grass finished is two-fold: One, it’s got a better omega 3 to omega 6 ratio (think pro-inflammatory with the omega 6’s and anti-inflammatory with the omega 3’s); two, it’s overall better for the environment as it’s more sustainable/regenerative and more humane way of life for the animal.

Finally, it is important to get enough food when recovering.  I also highly recommend balancing carbs, fats and protein in your snacks as you’re eating these foods.  Satiety and blood sugar balance are my reasoning there.  And of course, follow doctor’s orders in terms of any exercise recommendations or restrictions, any physical therapy recommendations, etc.!

Happy healing!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.


20 Foods High in Vitamin A. (2017). Retrieved from 20 Foods High in Vitamin A (

21 Foods High in Vitamin C. (2017). Retrieved from 21 Foods High in Vitamin C (

How Much Calcium Do You Really Need? (2022). Retrieved from How much calcium do you really need? – Harvard Health

Understanding Acute and Chronic Inflammation. (2020). Retrieved from Understanding acute and chronic inflammation – Harvard Health

What to Eat When You’re Trying to Heal. (2023). Retrieved from Foods That Speed Up Healing (

Hypothyroidism: Could it be Autoimmune?

Hi Friends!

How many of you have been told you have hypothyroidism?  It’s more common than you might think.  According to, 1 in 300 people are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, women are 8 to 9 times more affected than men, and aging also increases your risk.  In order to understand hypothyroidism, we need a basic understanding of normal thyroid processes.  In normal thyroid function, there is communication between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and thyroid gland in a loop in order to regulate levels of thyroid hormones Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3) in the body.  Why is this important?  Thyroid hormones affect every single cell in our bodies…every.single.cell.  When we don’t have enough thyroid hormone, that loop will feed back to the hypothalamus and signal the cascade of communication in order to tell the thyroid to make more T3 and T4 hormones.  

How do you know if you might have hypothyroidism?  Here are some symptoms: Fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, puffiness (especially in the face), hoarseness in your voice that doesn’t go away, coarse/brittle hair, muscle aches, irregular menstrual cycles, thinning hair, Slow heart rate, depression, memory problems, jaundice, poor growth in kids, enlarged tongue, (in babies) swelling near belly button (umbilical hernia), and delayed puberty.  If you experience several of these, or your child does, your doctor can run tests to check TSH and Free T4.  They may run Total and/or Free T3 too, but not as common.  It is important to speak with your physician if you are concerned about any of these symptoms.

For me, one of the biggest symptoms was fatigue.  I’ve said that there is no tired like thyroid tired.  Seriously.  It’s just different than any other kind of fatigue.  It’s just not easy to understand it unless you’ve experienced it.  Back in the early part of my diagnosis, I was able to sleep through alarms, fall asleep pretty much anywhere and it was virtually impossible to wake me up.  On top of that, I needed at east 3-4 cups of coffee just to feel normal and function daily.  While I have my nights on occasion where I “turn into a pumpkin”, as my husband says, between 10 and 11, getting my thyroid managed and eating to support my body has been key in getting off caffeine and gain energy which has greatly improved my vitality. 

The number one cause of hypothyroidism in the United States is autoimmune, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Some other causes are thyroid surgery, radiation, medication, pituitary disorder, pregnancy, and iodine deficiency.  A simple lab test for thyroid antibodies will let determine if the cause of your hypothyroidism is autoimmune or something else.  Thyroglobulin and Thyroid Peroxidase antibody tests are what your doctor will request if autoimmunity is suspected.  Be an advocate for yourself.  If you are concerned about the possibility of an autoimmune disease, ask your doctor to run lab test and don’t take “no” for an answer.  Seek a second opinion if you need to.  Also advocate if you don’t feel the medication (typically Synthroid/Levothyroxine) is working for you.  For me, I needed to add some T3 medication and that made a huge difference.  There are other T4 and T3 medications, synthetic and Natural Desiccated Thyroid.  It’s important to discuss treatment with your doctor and find out what works for your individual body.  I am grateful to have had an advocate for me as a kid, my mom, it gave me the strength as an adult to be my own advocate. 

Why is it important to know if your hypothyroidism is related to an autoimmune Disease?  Well, if you have an autoimmune disease, you are far more likely to get additional ones.  In fact, it’s estimated that 25% of those with an autoimmune disease will develop more.  I myself have three, and suspect a fourth.  Women are also more likely than men to develop multiple autoimmune diseases.  I often wondered why this is.  Is it because of added stresses, perhaps more trauma in women’s pasts or women being less likely to practice “self-care” then Men?  There are theories out there.  We’re all very different and there is no one size fits all in terms of causes or interventions to help.

Getting an autoimmune diagnosis for your hypothyroidism can be overwhelming, especially when the medication that is supposed to help just doesn’t seem to help symptoms.  “Your blood work is normal”, but then why the symptoms?  Most traditional doctors often just run TSH, which doesn’t really show the whole picture, and they don’t really take the time to get to your root cause of your autoimmunity.  This leaves a lot of questions about why you developed the disease and how symptoms can be managed.  There is no “cure” for autoimmunity right now, but there are many things we can do to help ourselves improved or quality of life.  Getting to the source or sources of chronic inflammation that drives autoimmunity is key.  This may mean looking at food choices, toxins, infections, microbiome health and digestion health, sleep and sleep issues, and of course stress.  This is where a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner like me can be a great tool in your toolbox of health.  We can assist you in the journey, so you don’t have to feel so overwhelmed or alone!

In good health!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.


Casey, Olivia and Frederick W. Miller (2023). Autoimmunity Has Reached Epidemic Levels. We Need Urgent Action to Address It. Retrieved from Autoimmunity Has Reached Epidemic Levels. We Need Urgent Action to Address It | Scientific American

Cleveland Clinic (2023). Hashimotos Disease. Retrieved from Hashimoto’s Disease: What It Is, Symptoms & Treatment (

Godman, Heidi (2018(). Have One Autoimmune Disease? You May Be at Risk for Another. Retrieved from Have One Autoimmune Disease? You May Be at Risk for Another (

Hypothyroidism: A closer Look. Retrieved from Hypothyroidism: A Closer Look (

Martin, Cory (2022). Hypothyroidism Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from Hypothyroidism Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know (

Mayo Clinic Staff (2022). Hashimoto’s Disease. Retrieved from Hashimoto’s disease – Symptoms & causes – Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic Staff (2022). Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid). Retrieved from Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Osborn, Dr. Peter. What is The Root Cause of Autoimmune Disease? Retrieved from What Is The Root Cause Of Autoimmune Disease? – Gluten Free Society

Pedersen, Traci (2023). What’s the Connection Between Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism? Retrieved from Hashimoto’s vs. Hypothyroidism: What’s the Difference? (

Do You Suffer From IBS or IBD?

Hi Friends,

This post is for anyone affected by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s, Colitis or Celiac.  It’s a topic that affects me on a personal level as I myself have colitis.  I’ve been through the stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea and the deficiencies that come along with that.  The main takeaway from my illness and my Nutritional Therapy training is that “All disease starts in the gut” as Hippocrates stated.  I wanted to talk a little about I’ve learned from my personal experience in hopes that I can help someone else who is suffering as I did. 

Point one: Did you know that there is a card you can carry if you have Crohn’s or Colitis that basically is an ADA card that supposed to allow you to use restrooms in an emergency?  Yep!  Here is a link to tell you more.

Restroom Access | Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (

Even if you are careful about what you eat and know what triggers a flare and what doesn’t, you don’t always know when you might have unknowingly eaten a trigger food.  When that happens, believe me I know about bathroom emergencies!  Sometimes you know how much time you have, and sometimes you come just a little too close for comfort…or worse, you endure a very embarrassing situation.  And then there are times when you have the energy but are afraid to go out of the house because you don’t know if (or when) you may endure a flare up.  It’s stressful to say the least.

Point two: What you eat matters!  I can’t stress that enough.  First, you need to get as much nutrients as you can get in order to avoid deficiencies, second, you need to learn the foods that either help or increase the severity of symptoms.  Those foods are different for everyone.  Some may be able to cut out gluten and wow, no more digestive distress!  Others, like me, have to eliminate a few more things.  I truly believe that what we eat either nourishes and supports our bodies or inflames it.  Try limiting processed foods and focusing your meals on plenty of vegetables.  Try a food journal to see if you can find some common denominators, it can be really eye-opening to say the least!  You can also try adding some fermented foods to your diet or probiotics.  Keep in mind that not all probiotics are the same and you may need to try a few different ones before you find what work. 

Point three: Medications are not bad.  Sure, who wants to take any more medication than they need?  Sometimes, medication is needed and that doesn’t mean diet interventions failed.  Nor does it mean that you can’t do more digging into root causes and maybe no longer need the medication, or less of it.  All in all, my point here is that if we take care of our bodies, giving it what supports it and less of what doesn’t, it will go far in helping manage symptoms and possibly help the medications work better.  The goal is to have the best quality of life so that we can do the things we love!

Point four: The journey looks different for everyone.  I’ve spent the last 5 and a half years fine tuning my diet and lifestyle interventions to get me to where I am today.  I entrust my care to a great Naturopathic doctor who is certified in Functional Medicine.  He has been instrumental in helping me peel back the layers to uncover my root causes.  Some need to go deeper than others, and no two people will find the exact same root causes or interventions that help.

That brings me to point five: Add unconventional care to your health care team.  I believe in the benefits of having a Naturopathic doctor on your care team.  Regular (allopathic) doctors are great, and that care is important, especially as you’re getting symptoms under control, but Naturopathic doctors really go for the root causes.  I also believe that a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner can be a big asset to have in your health care toolbox.  As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, we can help you uncover some possible deficiencies and advise lifestyle interventions that can be a tremendous help in symptom management.  I got into Nutritional Therapy because I am passionate about being part of the care team that helps you live your fullest, most vibrant life.

My final point – Point six: Stress…we must manage stress.  Not only does stress affect Cortisol which affects blood sugar and belly weight, stress can also trigger or exacerbate stomach issues, constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion.  Stress affects our gut microbiome too.  Even more, chronic stress can increase severity of IBS and IBD symptoms.  Managing stress may mean saying “no” sometimes.  It may mean taking some time for selfcare.  If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we give of ourselves to others when they need us?  One way we’ve heard before to manage stress is exercise like running, walking, stretching, whatever it is that you like to do.  I recommend listening to relaxing music, taking epsom salt baths, breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, prayer, regular exercise, and EFT (Tapping) to help with stress and anxiety.  The mind and body are intimately connected and managing stress and anxiety are equally as important as what you eat or don’t eat in terms of managing digestive symptoms.  Even just a shift in your attitude and thinking can make a big difference mentally and physically.

We also need to get ourselves into a more relaxed state before we eat.  Just as managing stress from the workday, relationships, finances, or whatever else, puts or bodies in an overall more relaxed state that is beneficial for IBS and IBD, we also need to make sure we are in the parasympathetic (rest and digest) state for proper digestion of the foods we eat to ensure nutrients are absorbed and we don’t make IBS or IBD issues worse.  One more tip for digestion help is to not eat in a stressed state.  Try taking deep breaths before meals, taking a moment of gratitude/prayer before eating, eating slowly, chewing enough and being present with what you are eating and who you are eating with.

Living with IBS and IBD is hard, I know it personally.  But we there are things we can do to help, both mentally and physically.  Having digestive struggles is taxing on both our bodies and our mental health.  Take good care of your mind and body.

In good health…

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.


Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Restroom Access. Retrieved from

Restroom Access | Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (

Hill, McKel (2020). Stress Affecting Your Gut? These 4 Tips Can Help. Retrieved from 4 Ways to Improve Your Digestion If You’re Stressed (

My Story:

Hi Friends!

I wanted to take this time to talk a little about why I am starting this blog and my Nutritional Therapy Practice, Align Nutritional Therapy.  My story is what drives my passion to help others with chronic illness.  I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in my early 20s thanks to my mother and her advocating for me.  She has Grave’s and wanted to make sure they checked my thyroid each year so I might catch my thyroid issues early if I developed it.  Well, while at college, I got the call.  My doctor’s office called with the news after reviewing my labs.  I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune thyroid condition.  There is a poem about life with Autoimmune Thyroid disorders and it rings so true…the aches, the fatigue, the weight struggles, the dry brittle hair and weak and brittle nails to name a few.  While I didn’t have all of these symptoms right off the bat, they did rear their ugly heads in time.

My first symptom was fatigue, even though I wasn’t needing medication yet according to my doctors.  My labs were “fine”.  It was about 13 years later, after moving out of the Midwest to Utah, when the symptoms really started to show.  Now, my husband will attest to this…the fatigue was so bad, I would sleep through my alarm clock…for 45 minutes!  Living in an apartment, the walls aren’t soundproof.  I had several neighbors, but thankfully I had a neighbor that was so gracious and patient.  I really tried to work on the alarm situation as a courtesy to that neighbor as well as my other neighbors, but it was much easier said than done.  I finally went on medication…Levothyroxine.  My symptoms were all better, right??  Nope!  Within a year of being on medication, I was having panic attacks and severe anxiety.  More meds?  Yep.  That helped a little, but my thyroid was going all over the place.  I also developed stomach cramping and was diagnosed with duodenitis, inflammation of the first part of my small intestine.  I did a two-month regimen of a PPI (Omeprazole) and that helped, for a while anyway. 

A year later, I moved to Washington State and then my husband and I got married the year after that.  During this time, I battled fatigue, needing lots and lots of coffee, weight struggles along with the weak/brittle hair and nails.  I was worried I wouldn’t fit into my wedding dress and worked my butt off to lose the weight before our wedding day.  Crisis averted; the dress fit!  But it was short lived as the weight came back on so quick after getting married.  Of course, the worst of my symptoms was yet to come.

Two years after getting married, I started seeing significant hair loss.  We ladies pride ourselves on our hair as part of what makes us feel beautiful so that this was devastating to me.  At first I was hopeful it would come back, but no such luck.  I saw a dermatologist and received a steroid injection into my scalp once a month for 6 months and it was only getting worse.  My dermatologist had me see their office’s hair loss specialist I was diagnosed with another autoimmune disorder, Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA).  This is a scarring form of alopecia so the hair cannot grow back.  My old digestive symptoms were returning too.  This time, I thought I should seek a more holistic approach to my health and sought care from a naturopathic doctor.  She convinced me to try gluten and diary free, which amazingly put my alopecia into remission before I lost too much more hair, and eventually convinced me to try Low Dose Naltrexone (an immune modulator).  Most people with FFA end up needing wigs or toppers, but thankfully I’ve been successful at keeping it in remission.  My digestive symptoms subsided too…for a short while.

Over the next few years, I tried elimination diets and several supplements to try and help my digestive issues and thyroid autoimmunity.  I did improve my digestive issue somewhat (less bloating and gas), but I just felt like my thyroid was all over the place.  I did discover some foods that didn’t serve my body well so that was a positive, a small success.  However, I developed my worst symptoms ever after trying to incorporate more of a mediterranean diet and replacing some of my meat consumption with more plant-based proteins.  My naturopathic doctor got into and accident and had to temporarily shut down her practice so, not knowing how long she would be out of commission, I reached out to a new naturopathic doctor in the meantime as I needed medication.  He also took me off of Low Dose Naltrexone and wow was that a mistake!  See…we didn’t think it was helping me, but, clearly, we were wrong.  I ended up the sickest I’ve ever been and was so scared.  I suddenly became deficient in protein and iron, I could hardly eat as it would just come right backup up and send me to the bathroom.  If I managed to keep it down, it just went right through me.  I became dangerously anemic with nausea, diarrhea, severe edema in my lower legs, ankles and feet, and tachycardia.  They wanted to test me for celiac, but I’ve been gluten free to too long.  They did test my genetics for celiac too and sure enough…two of the three markers were positive.  I also had an endoscopy and colonoscopy which showed gastritis, villi damage and Microscopic Collagenous Colitis.  No wonder I was so sick!  My naturopathic doctor put me back on LDN, I changed my diet to be more Autoimmune Paleo, or AIP, compliant (more on AIP in another blog post), and I slowly put myself into remission from the colitis.  I know now what I can and cannot eat in order to keep myself in remission.  I’m not always perfect, but I know what I need to do when I stray too far.

I’ve been gluten free, mostly dairy free, and I limit nightshades and grains…it’s what works for me.  My journey is why I’m passionate about helping others with similar symptoms.  I want to give hope to those with various autoimmune struggles and IBS too.  Everyone’s journey is different and what works for me might not work for someone else, but my desire is to help my clients through a bio-individual approach find their path towards their best and most vibrant lives!