Health and Wellness

January 9, 2024

#17: Optimizing Your Health With An HTMA Test with Allegra Gast

Have you struggled with brain fog, chronic fatigue, and/or gut issues since having babies? Does your lab work continue to come back as “normal” even though you're experiencing symptoms? Has your doctor ever told you “it's just because you're a mom?” and left you thinking ‘i just have to suffer through postpartum’ or ‘this is my new normal?’” Tune into today's episode to learn why you might be struggling with all of these symptoms postpartum and how a simple hair test can shed light on your situation and give you the answers you've been looking for.

About this episode

What you'll learn

  • What an HTMA test is and why everyone should take one
  • The difference between an HTMA test and blood work and when one is more useful than the other
  • What common postpartum symptoms are linked to low mineral levels
  • A breakdown of a real case study (spoiler alert - it's Brooke!) and what the results meant
  • How to increase your daily mineral intake in small, simple ways

About Allegra

Allegra Gast is a functional registered dietitian and international board certified lactation consultant passionate about helping families navigate both their postpartum health and their breastfeeding journeys. Allegra offers virtual consults for families all around the country and world. She started her business, Aloha Nutrition, when she lived in Hawaii but currently resides in Texas with her husband, 2 children and soon to be twins!


Get Allegra's free mineral mocktail guide HERE

Purchase an HTMA test HERE

Connect with Allegra on Instagram and her website

Make my adrenal smoothie HERE


Hey, Mama, welcome back to another episode of the Well Nourished Mama podcast. Today's episode was highly requested from so many of you over on Instagram. And so I'm really, really excited for today's episode.

We are chatting with my friend Allegra Gast from Aloha Nutrition all about hair tissue mineral analysis testing or HTMA testing. When I first talked about this on my stories after I did the test and got my results back, so many of you were just blowing up my DMs with all of these questions of what is an HTMA test?

Where do I get one? Why is it important? What did you learn? How are you implementing what you learned? And so I decided to bring Allegra on so we could just answer all of those questions for you and then use me as a case study to see a real life application of specific results and some action items that I've been doing to improve my mineral status and improve my overall health.

As always, if you find today's episode helpful or inspiring, please leave a five star rating and review so the podcast can continue to grow and reach new mamas and help them on their motherhood journey as well.

And then be sure to share the episode with a mama that you think might benefit from our conversation today. With that being said, let's dive right into today's episode about HTMA testing with Allegra.


Imagine this, you're three months postpartum. Even though your baby doesn't sleep through the night, you wake up each morning energized for the day and the afternoon slump is a thing of the past. You're able to remember important information, answer all your toddler's questions, and clearly focus on the task at hand.

Your milk supply is thriving and baby is growing well with little colic or digestive issues. Besides the occasional stressor, you're able to regulate your emotions and manage the demands of mom life.

And most of all, your physical symptoms from pregnancy and childbirth have healed quickly and with minimal pain or complication. Believe it or not, this can be your reality. My first postpartum experience is what society calls normal.

I had night sweats for weeks, my brain fog and fatigue were overwhelming, I developed many food sensitivities and anxiety ruled my life. Flash forward to now, just three months postpartum with my second baby, I'm the total opposite.

I'm physically strong, mentally clear, emotionally stable, and I can enjoy foods without restriction. The difference? How I nourish my body during labor in the first six weeks postpartum. If you want to truly thrive in postpartum and kick those quote normal symptoms to the curb, join the waitlist to pre -order my new postpartum recovery cookbook.

Inside, you'll find a six week recovery plan with 48 nourishing recipes and the science behind postpartum recovery so you have all the tools you need to flourish. Head to today's show notes to get on the VIP list.


Allegra Gast is a functional registered dietitian and international board certified lactation consultant passionate about helping families navigate both their postpartum health and their breastfeeding journeys.

Allegra offers virtual consults for families all around the country and the world. She started her business Aloha Nutrition when she lived in Hawaii but currently resides in Texas with her husband, two children, and soon to be twins.

Hey Allegra, thanks so much for joining us on the podcast today. Yeah, thank you so much. I'm excited to be here. You were a highly requested guest. When I first talked about the hair test on my Instagram, all of my followers responded they're like you have to have her on the podcast.

And so I know everyone's going to be really excited to listen to this episode. So really excited for our conversation today. Really quickly before we get into the hair testing though, can you just give us a quick background about you, what you specialize in, and how you got to where you are today.

Yeah, well thank you so much for having me. I love talking about minerals and the hair test. And so yeah, just a little bit about myself. I'm Allegra. I'm a registered dietitian and IBCLC lactation consultant.

I started my career working at WIC, Women's Infant and Children in Hawaii. And I was working there as a dietitian and I saw so many moms struggling with breastfeeding and I always thought like, why? I mean breastfeeding is not natural, easy.

You just put baby to the breast. I did not know that there was a lot more to it. And so I went back to school to become an IV -CLC lactation consultant so I could better help moms. And I worked at WIC for about two years and then left and started my private practice, Aloha Nutrition.

And it wasn't until I had my first baby that I really saw the gap in the postpartum period. So I'd been healthy moms in the prenatal period for a year. I saw that there was such a big need for just more postpartum nutrition education and support.

And a couple years ago I also took a functional nutrition course which is all about into the root cause of what's going on with someone's health. And so now I've kind of devoted my whole passion, my niche to helping moms get to the root cause of their postpartum symptoms, whether that's that chronic fatigue, digestive issues, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's, you know, a lot of thyroid issues, PCOS.

So really just digging deeper and helping families feel better, not just their own health, but also with breastfeeding and helping them in that postpartum period. I really resonate with what you said about noticing a gap in just our health care in general because that's how I got into what I'm doing is I had so much anxiety after I had my first baby because I knew nothing.

And it didn't matter how many times I asked my doctor, I still felt like I didn't know enough to like be at peace with what was going on with my postpartum. And so that's, that is very similar to where I'm at.

So I really love that that's a part of your story. We have like, I don't know, 12 or more appointments during our pregnancy and then postpartum is like one visit, a six week visit. And that's like all you get.

Yeah, it's wild. And then every time you ask them, Hey, is this normal? They're like, Yeah, you're, you're just postpartum. And so we're just led to believe that things like chronic fatigue and postpartum depression and, you know, our gut health is just what we have to deal with.

And you've been here to show us that that's not the case. And we're going to talk about that with our hair testing today and what the hair testing teaches us about. So let's get right into it. First question, what is a hair tissue mineral analysis test?

Yeah. So I think it's important to first backtrack and ask what are minerals. So minerals are examples like sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, like we all know these minerals. And minerals are our body's factory workers.

I like to think of them as our factory workers. So we have thousands of different bodily functions and we need these minerals in order to perform these functions. So some of these functions is like blood sugar regulation, hormone communication, whether that's sex hormones, cortisol, thyroid.

We need minerals for our immune system, circadian rhythm, creating strong bones, like basically everything. So minerals are literally the foundations of how your body operates. And the big thing that depletes us of our minerals is stress.

And this stress can be physical stress, so pregnancy, breastfeeding, under eating, over exercising, sleepless nights, you know, just... different physical stressors. It can be environmental stressors.

It can be emotional mental stressors. Our body just sees stress as stress. And so we're being depleted of these minerals faster than we're repleting because, let's face it, our diet is not perfect. Our soil is not as nutrient dense.

Our water is filtered. So we're not consuming these minerals like we once were. And we're also having so much more stress. So a hair tissue mineral analysis or mineral test is really a test that looks at our tissues, specifically the hair, and it assesses our mineral status and kind of can tell us what minerals we need to focus on and can help us dig deeper into why we're experiencing XYZ symptoms.

And mineral imbalances show up much sooner in the hair or tissue than in blood. So our blood wants to stay at homeostasis. So homeostasis, think of it as like equilibrium, like a balance. So our blood wants to always stay at an even balance at the expense of the tissue.

So our tissue, our blood will take those minerals from our tissue so that our blood stays at homeostasis. So looking at blood is not always a good indicator to assess our minerals, especially since a lot of minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium are intracellular, which means inside the cells.

So looking at your blood, everything could look normal, but if you look at your hair, that's where you start to see abnormal levels. So you might see your doctor and he's like, yep, everything's normal, everything's fine.

And it is because it's at the expense of your tissue. That's exactly what happened with me. I was so sure that I had something up with my thyroid. So I had my doctor run a full thyroid. I asked for T4, T3, reverse T3, like everything.

And he's like, nope, everything's normal. And I'm like, no, but like I'm having symptoms. And then I did the hair test with you and we found out what was going on. So that's like a perfect example of the difference between the tissue and the blood work.

Yeah. And the hair tissue mineral test is looking at cellular energy, cellular health. And so many of these minerals are inside the cells. So it can tell us, it can give us a good idea of what's happening inside the cells.

And inside the cell is where all the magic happens. That's where our mitochondria is, which basically think of mitochondria as like your battery pack. So if nutrients aren't getting into your battery, into your cells, you're not gonna produce that energy.

You're gonna feel sluggish, you know, and we have cells in our entire body, every organ has cells. So if something is off. No wonder we have those symptoms. Yeah. And just to clarify for all the mamas listening, because I've had this question on my social media before, is someone said, okay, well, if I'm low in minerals, can I just take a multivitamin?

And my response is no, because that's vitamins, not minerals. Some prenatals might have a couple minerals in small doses, but vitamins and minerals are different. So the hair test is focusing on minerals specifically.

So like you said, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iodine, selenium, all of those things. Yeah. And many prenatal multivitamins do have iron, calcium, copper. But my thought is always, like, test, don't guess.

Do you actually need extra iron? Do you actually need extra calcium or magnesium? And minerals work together. They can also be antagonists where they don't work together. So like iron and copper, sorry, iron and calcium inhibit absorption.

Zinc and copper are antagonists. Potassium and sodium work together. So they're synergistic. So you know, you kind of have to, like the quality prenatal multivitamin is helpful here and there, but it's not specific to you and your specific needs.

And that's where a hair test can be helpful to know exactly what do you broke me. Right. So what else do we learn from a hair test? We learn about our mineral absorption and nutrient status, but there are a couple of the things that I learned from my hair test.

What are those? Yeah. So you can learn about your metabolic type. So when it comes to metabolism, people think metabolism more in regards to, like, weight loss, like, oh, I have a slow metabolism or a fast metabolism, but metabolism just means energy.

And so it's. the tests can look at our cellular energy and just tell us are we a slow metabolic type? Are we making energy at a slower rate or are we making energy at a faster rate? So it can tell us what type of metabolism we have like how the the rate of how our cells are making energy It can also we also look at our Minerals it also tells us Heavy metals as well if you have an accumulation of like aluminum uranium Mercury, you know different metals and then it also the test looks at our mineral ratios And so that's looking at the different minerals for example like sodium and potassium or calcium and phosphorus And how it relates to our body Gotcha.

Yeah, that's a lot to learn in a hair test and then I didn't know that you could learn Really any of those things about yourself from testing It's really exciting that we can find all of that out with a hair test And I remember you mentioning that it is different from blood work because it's a different part of the body and we, you know, our blood will prioritize homeostasis that affects the testing.

So when it comes to like symptoms that we're experiencing and trying to figure out what's going on with our body, especially for someone who doesn't know a lot about the body in general, physiology, all of that, how are we supposed to know which type of testing might be better for us based on our symptoms?

Like how can we come to our doctor and say, I need blood work or I need to find a functional practitioner to get a hair test? Like how do we know which one's better for us? I think, I mean, I always think everyone could use a hair test just because so many of our minerals are outside of the blood.

But I definitely use blood work too in my practice just because like iron, zinc, even just looking at like blood sugar, your fasting numbers. That is all super helpful to look at in the blood, even like a full thyroid panel.

We still want to look at blood work for that. So I guess it kind of depends on what symptoms you might be having. I mean, if you're having a lot of gut issues, I would encourage more of like a stool test too because there's a lot of different testing out there and it kind of depends on what, what you need, what, what we're trying to answer.

I do think because minerals are foundational to everything that everyone could benefit from a hair tissue test. Because even like with gut issues, we need sodium, potassium and zinc to make stomach acid.

So if that's low on a hair test and you're also experiencing digestive issues, that can be a solution. You know, like, okay, well, you're probably not making enough stomach acid to break down your food.

We need these minerals to, to help us make more stomach acid. So many conventional doctors don't do a hair test. I don't know why. Same. Generally just do blood work. So usually you have to find a functional practitioner who does hair testing.

Gotcha. So could we let us get to system around hair testing just because there can be a lot of variables like what kind of shampoo are you using what kind of water do you have. Because hard water, if it's pretty high in like calcium, it can skew your calcium results.

So I typically recommend my clients wash their hair and distilled water if they have hard water, just to help, you know, kind of find a, like find, I encourage Washington distilled water just so that there's not any additional minerals from your water.

Right. Yeah, so there's not like an excess in something only because of the water you have not because of your nutrient status. Yeah, but I mean, hair testing can be a great test. I mean, clearly we saw so many things with your test specifically that explained your symptoms.

And so definitely listening to your symptoms, you know, that's our body's way of communicating to us. So I always say, listen to your body's whispers before it starts screaming. Yes. And now that I have done both sides where I've tried to do things with my doctor and then just kind of make guesses.

And then finally like got testing done, I'm like, no, I will always test. And I'm not saying that like my doctor doesn't know what they're doing. It's just knowing where to get your testing done and then being able to say, I need to invest in my health and test with whatever type of medicine that is or whatever test it is.

It's always testing, not guessing. Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm. Yeah. Yeah. So really quickly, before we jump into my hair test results, I did have a lot of people ask how much a hair test costs just because it's not something that I've ever heard of.

So they're worried that it's like super expensive. So can we like order it online from Amazon? Is it like something that's readily available? Can we only get it from a functional practitioner like you?

Like how do we navigate ordering a hair test? Mm -hmm. So there are places that you can go online. I've seen it vary from like 100 to 150. However, there is no interpretation or guidance or anything.

I believe you'll get the most bang for your buck by seeing the practitioner who can interpret it for you and really guide you through it because you can do all the research and see like, okay, I had low potassium.

What does this mean? Or I'm a slow metabolic type. What does this mean? But it's really understanding how everything ties. together in relationship to your symptoms. So what I offer is, you know, a consult, an interpretation, and then we meet afterwards to really dive deeper so that you have a better understanding of what's going on with your particular body, because Dr.

Google doesn't know your particular symptoms. Yeah. Your particular body. So sure, you can find something cheaper and get like your actual results, but the hard thing is interpreting it all and creating a care plan that's going to work for you and your lifestyle.

And I find that a lot of, you know, stuff online you might read or even just like chiropractors or other functional practitioners that might do the testing but don't have a background in nutrition necessarily, they'll push a lot of supplements.

And I believe that supplements are there to help supplement your diet. But at the end of the day, we really want to focus on food. I believe that food is medicine and while I do recommend supplements when necessary, at the end of the day, I want you to be eating food and addressing lifestyle changes.

So I've worked with a lot of clients who came to me after working with another functional practitioner who was not a dietitian and had no background in nutrition. And they were put on all these like killing protocols and like heavy metal detoxes.

But if you're nutrient depleted, it's doing a heavy metal detox is gonna be so much more stress on your body. That's already nutrient deficient, nutrient depleted. So I like to support your body first and then maybe we need to fine tune things with killing protocols or whatever it may be.

So you can, so to answer your question, you can probably buy this test online, but I probably would recommend going through a practitioner. I'm gonna throw myself out there. You should. Going through a practitioner who can help you interpret it and really help you understand what high, low means in regards to your specific scenario.

And I can tell you right now that's listening. It is 100% worth every penny paid out of pocket to have this test done and have it evaluated by someone like Allegra who knows what she's talking about and can really give you a deep analysis and then give you action items that are actually going to help, not just saying here's five different pills or powders to take, let's hope it works.

So it is 100% worth every penny. So with all of this, let's use me as a case study and as an example of how we would look at a hair test and make specific action items out of it. So my symptoms when I came to Allegra, my main symptoms were, were chronic fatigue, blood sugar, regulation issues, and food sensitivities.

And then something else that was kind of on the side was temperature regulation. So I just like, I was either really cold no matter what I did, or like, all of a sudden I was burning up, like I was in menopause.

But I obviously wasn't, I was pregnant. So those were my main symptoms. And when we got my hair test back, like you said earlier, it was very obvious why I was experiencing these symptoms. So let's just kind of go through the different points of the hair test.

The first thing that we learned was my metabolic type. It says that I was a slow one. Can you tell us what this means and what it tells me about my body? Yeah, so the metabolic type is looking at your nervous system dominance and what minerals are being impacted by stress.

So a person is either a slow metabolic type or we can... think of it as like the parasympathetic dominance. So that rest and digest, everything's kind of slow. And then the sympathetic or the fast metabolic type, you're more in that sympathetic fight -or -flight state.

And so like I said, the metabolism just means energy and how you're burning energy. And knowing your metabolic type and you being a slow metabolic type means that it's taking yourselves a longer time to break down food.

So one is not better than the other, like a fast versus slow. It's just really understanding where your body is at and how you're producing energy. And the majority of people I see are more of a slow metabolic type.

And so it's gonna be crucial for you to eat enough food because under eating alone is a big stressor. So because your cells are making energy at a slower rate, thyroid might be slower, digestion might be slower.

And then you have a baby and we're in this go, go, go hustle culture. We have stressors. It's gonna be crucial that you nourish yourself and eat enough to keep up with the demands. So building stress resiliency is gonna be really important for people that are slow metabolic type.

You already have like a lot of high needs. So just as moms. Parents. So I don't usually recommend like hit training when you're already in this stressful state. But it's just helpful to know what type of metabolic type you are to know how we best need to nourish our body.

And so someone that is a slow metabolic type it's really important to eat enough food and to really support that stress. Yeah. And I remember when I learned that I was a slow metabolic type, I asked you, I said, okay, well, does that mean that I need more protein and fat in my diet because they release energy slower.

And you're like, actually no, you're gonna need a lot of energy. little bit more carbs to give you that energy to make it through your body taking a long time to process the energy and that blew my mind.

I was like, oh my gosh. There would not recommend the keto diet to someone that's a slow metabolic type. Yeah and here I was thinking that the reason I was having blood sugar problems or low energy is because I wasn't eating enough satiating foods like protein and fat so I was eating more protein and fat and then I took this test and I was like oops it looks like I need more carbs than I thought.

I mean you definitely still need protein and fat but yeah I mean like I would not recommend a keto diet, Akin's diet, anything like that for those that are a slow metabolic type. Yeah so just another reason to test not guess right because I was guessing and that wasn't helping my problems.

So a big part like if you're constantly feeling tired, that chronic fatigue, you might need more carbohydrates and you just want to care that with some healthy fat and protein, but don't neglect carbs.

We definitely need carbs. Don't be scared to eat carbs. Yeah. And carbs in the form of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, root vegetables. Yeah. All that resistant starch, all the good things. I feel like a lot of women would be really excited to hear that they should eat more carbs. So that was fun for me.


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Okay, looking at the macromeneral's results, I was low in most of them across the board, but especially potassium. So what did the low potassium specifically tell us about my body and the symptoms that I was experiencing?

Yeah, so you were low in both sodium and potassium and sodium and potassium make the sodium potassium pump, if you remember that in chemistry class in high school and the pump helps bring things in and out of the cells.

So if you're low in sodium and potassium, or even just like low in potassium versus sodium, that pump is not gonna function optimally. And we need potassium to help bring thyroid hormones specifically into the cells.

And so you were pretty low in potassium, and then even like jumping down to your thyroid ratio for the significant ratios, it showed a slower thyroid because of that low potassium. So that goes exactly along with your symptoms of that chronic fatigue, and even like probably digestion issues, right food sensitivities with that lower potassium.

So I'm sure your blood work looked normal with potassium, but remember the hair test is looking at cellular energy, cellular health, and blood work is at the expense of our tissue. So your blood could be normal, but in the hair test, your potassium specifically was low.

So, yeah, it's an indicator of cellular hypothyroidism, which can explain a lot of your symptoms you were experiencing. Yeah, so it's not necessarily that my thyroid isn't making enough thyroid hormone, or that there's even a disconnect between my hypothalamus and the thyroid.

It was just, I couldn't get what my body was making into the cells to do its job. Yep. So your action item... I'm doing the job of the workers. Right. They're the ones that are doing the job of shuttling thyroid into places, shuttling glucose into places.

So, yeah. Right. So your action item for me was to increase my potassium, obviously. What are some really good foods that are potassium rich? Everything diet culture tells you not to eat. So potatoes, bananas, a lot of tropical fruits.

So, yeah, it's funny because I feel like I see a lot of thyroid issues with people that have done low carb dieting. And so, you know, they're not focusing on those potassium rich foods. So, yeah, trying to eat more potatoes, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, root vegetables, bananas, coconut water, you know, a lot of that dark leafy greens have some potassium.

So, yeah, we need 4 ,700 milligrams a day of potassium and probably the majority of us get like 800, if that. So something really to emphasize and to start being mindful of potassium intake. Yeah. My husband was very excited when he saw that potatoes were on the menu almost every single day for the last two weeks.

I was like, okay, I'm going to try really hard. So we've been eating more potatoes and I've been making smoothies with more bananas and avocados for the potassium. And then I also focused on specific electrolyte brands that were higher in potassium because not all electrolyte brands are high in potassium.

are created equal right. So the ones that I've been using are just ingredients and Ultima Replenisher. Those are higher in potassium. I think they're both around 350 to 400 milligrams and I increased my electrolyte drinks to twice a day instead of just once.

And then what else did I do? Oh, I made sure to do just a little bit more cream of tartar in my adrenal smoothies and adrenal cocktails to try and help with that too. So do you notice a difference in energy?

How you feel? Maybe too soon to say? No, I have. I've been doing this for, I think I've had my results for probably two or three weeks now. And my daughter isn't sleeping as great. She's five weeks old now.

But I don't really need naps that often. If I do, it's like, you know, probably once a week and that's because I had three really bad nights in a row and I just need to play catch up. But most of the time, I haven't really needed a nap.

I've been able to make it through my day as a mom of two. And I'm feeling great. It's been awesome. Good. Yeah. It's been awesome. OK, let's move on to the microminereals. One of the things that I noticed was low phosphorus.

And what you taught me about phosphorus was really, really fascinating. So let's talk about what low phosphorus meant for me, specifically. Yeah, so low phosphorus on the hair test, we get the majority of our phosphorus from protein, protein rich foods.

So if we see low levels of phosphorus on a hair test, it's usually an indication of you not getting either enough protein or you're not digesting protein well, in which case you might not have enough stomach acid.

And we need stomach acid to break down our foods, especially protein. Protein is a little more complex. There's amino acids. So we need stomach acid to break it down. So if we see low levels, it's usually an indication of the person either not getting enough protein in their diet or low stomach acid.

And knowing you and just kind of like what you eat, I know you do really focus on protein. So most likely it was coming from the low stomach acid. And that kind of goes along with your other symptoms that you were saying with like the food sensitivities and GI issues.

So we're kind of like what I told you to do was work on stomach acid production, which a big part of stomach acid production is chewing our food to applesauce consistency, which a lot of times as moms, we're just scarfing our food down.

And we take three. I have two minutes. My toddler is content. I'm going to quickly eat this. And that's taken a lot. It's harder on the rest of your GI tract when you're not chewing your food. It also starts to stimulate stomach acid secretion when we're chewing our food.

We're not chewing our food. We're going to make less stomach acid. So chewing our food is really important. Decreasing stress is really important. And then getting those minerals, the sodium, potassium, and zinc can all help make stomach acid.

So we're kind of suspecting that maybe your low phosphorus was more so from that. Because you feel like you eat a good amount of protein, right? Yeah, I get at least 120 grams a day, if not closer to 150.

Yeah, that's amazing. Yeah. I guess, do you want to share how do you typically eat? Do you feel like you scarf your food down? Do you chew the applesauce consistency? You know, when you told me that, when you told me that, I was like, I wonder if I like actually don't chew my food all the way.

So I just kind of went through one of my dinners one night and I was like, oh my gosh, I'm not even chewing my food. So I was like, okay, I'm going to be very mindful and sit there and chew through my food.

And... It takes longer than you think to chew your food to applesauce consistency. I was like, I am chewing forever. Oh my goodness. But it made me slow down while I was eating, which was good. And then I was like, oh my gosh, I'm tired from chewing.

Now I need to take a drink. So it's making me drink more water, which is always good. Um, the chewing food to applesauce consistency is, in my opinion, definitely easier said than done. So that's something I'm trying very hard to be intentional about.

Um, and then something else that you recommended was more digestive bitters. So I usually buy like spinach, but now I'm buying a spinach and arugula mix. So I get more arugula in there. And then I've been choosing, um, like dinners and salads that use a lot of fresh parsley.

And I don't even really like parsley that much. So this one's a little bit harder for me. Um, but I have definitely noticed, um, like my bowel movements are a little bit better. Um, and I don't feel so heavy at the end of the day after eating as much protein as I do.

So I think that's working. I think that's helping. Yeah. Some other digestive bitter foods, apple cider vinegar is great. So, um, you could even add like just a teaspoon. If you want to start with one teaspoon in your water before a meal.

Um, I like to do apple cider, vinaigrette, salad dressings, just a little way to add some apple cider vinegar there. But yeah, arugula, parsley, cilantro, um, kale, um, just like fermented foods as well, just like bitter foods helps to create more stomach acid.

Yeah. That's been a good one for me. Um, it's been a little bit harder, but it's been, it's been good. And I think it actually is helping. I mean, I'm not surprised because you know what you're talking about.

So I'm not going to say actually, but, um, I think it's helping. And I'm going to have to try and be really good about continuing to do that until I feel like things are a little bit back to normal. And small baby steps, you know, this didn't happen overnight.

Right. We became nutrient depleted from years and years of stress. Like I said, this can be physical stress, emotional stress, you know, even stressors as a kid. I mean, I don't know if you've heard of the book, the body keeps the score, but there's a whole chapter on even just babies and trauma that they go through through C -sections.

And obviously medical intervention is there for a reason and it's life saving and like the NICU is life saving. Like thank goodness for it, but you know, it can still be traumatic for a baby. And so starting at infancy, what are those stressors?

Environmental stressors, you know, we're carrying this throughout our entire life. So it's not just that you become nutrient depleted overnight or when you have your first baby, like it can be years and years.

So. I'm so happy that you've noticed improvements, but sometimes it can take like some time. And so being patient, really working on nervous system support is going to be huge for just helping support your body and remineralizing yourself.

Absolutely. So for all the moms listening who maybe want to try and get a jump start on doing better with their minerals and nourishing their body, and maybe they can't afford a hair test right now or you know, it's just not something that's possible for them.

What would you recommend? I know we're not supposed to like do a one size fits all approach, but like what would you recommend to the mom listening who wants to try and start to do something to help her minerals just like in general small baby steps?

I would definitely focus on nutrient dense foods. So just trying to think, okay, how can I add a little more protein to my diet, a little more fruits and vegetables? I'm a huge proponent of frozen veggies, frozen fruit, because you can just pop it in the microwave.

It's washed, it's cut, it's ready to go. I saw you did an Instagram post on a reel on the frozen berries, which is how it's like healthier than fresh. And so like little hacks like that to just boost the nutrients from your food as a busy mom.

But then one thing I also really encourage doing is making a mineral mocktail or adrenal cocktail, which is just a mineral drink specifically sodium potassium. Sometimes there's a magnesium source as well, but the majority of us were all depleted in potassium.

So really focusing on potassium rich foods, but also taking a mineral mocktail can make a huge difference in your energy. So think of electrolytes, which are sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium. Think of it as an electrical charge in your cells.

So it's really going to be a good thing. to help with that afternoon slump. I mean I put every single client even before doing a hair test on a mineral mocktail and they notice night and day improvements.

So I would say just starting to add that. I think you have a couple on your website. I also have a free mineral mocktail guide with some recipes. So just trying to incorporate electrolytes here and there, incorporate little minerals here and there, add more protein.

Absolutely. We'll make sure to link your free guide as well as my recipes in the show notes for anyone that wants to check those out. I've been doing adrenal smoothies which is like plays off of the adrenal mocktail except I just added like Greek yogurt and frozen fruit and some chia seeds to add some more protein and fat and then an additional source of vitamin C.

And so that moms could make it and it could be a meal if they only have time for a smoothie. So I'll make sure to link that in the show notes as well. A quick note on that. I'm doing a challenge right now through the end of the year for moms to try and get some things in their day that help them feel a little bit better.

And I had check -ins this morning and three or four of the moms that checked in with me all said, I tried your adrenal smoothies mocktails for the first time this week and I noticed a difference in my energy levels the same day.

And they are all so surprised that something so simple could work. And I know your clients see the exact same thing when they start doing mineral drinks. So I think that is a fantastic idea for moms to start implementing before they even consider getting a hair test done.

I have one every afternoon and I swear it helps with my energy slump. I mean, I'm pregnant and I feel like I don't need a nap even when my first trimester. I needed a nap but then as soon as I had my mineral mocktail, I was like, I'm good.

I feel good. I'm okay. And it's really just we need these spark plugs. We need these minerals or electrolytes to create the electrical charge and help our body function optimally. Yeah. And for any moms who want to learn more about electrolytes and the science behind it and maybe recognizing some of your deficiency symptoms.

If you can't do a hair test, I also have a blog post that talks really in depth about electrolytes and then all of the different electrolyte brands and how good they are and how much they'll be able to help you.

So I'll put that in the show notes as well. Before we close Allegra, is there anything else that you want to say to the pregnant and postpartum breastfeeding moms out there that are listening that are maybe feeling a little discouraged?

about their symptoms or their health or just like the demands of motherhood in general, what would you tell them? Yeah, I would say I feel you. I know what you're going through, but be gracious to yourself.

Try to start with little things. I mean, I think a non -negotiable to living a well -balanced life is prioritizing self -care and that doesn't just mean like you're going to go going to get a manicure or a massage, but self -care starts with just eating.

Did you eat breakfast today? Did you take a shower today? Did you step outside to see some sunlight? You know, a lot of times as new moms, we put ourselves on the back burner, but we can be a better mom, a better spouse, partner, better friend, better person when we can put that oxygen mask on ourselves first.

So I think it really starts with self -care activities. even if your baby wearing your baby while you make breakfast. Maybe telling your toddler like, hold on, mommy needs to eat breakfast too. I'll come play with you after mommy's done eating.

Like that's something I have to put down, you know, and it's good for my toddler to see that too. Like, okay, mommy does need to eat. Sometimes I'll bring my kids into the bathroom and I take a shower, take a poop.

Yep. Leading your foundational needs, your physical, mental, emotional, health is so, so important. And so trying to just be mindful of that, trying to, you know, maybe if you're not used to eating breakfast, start small.

I mean, our kids remind us that they need to eat and we've just suppressed our, a lot of those cues like our hunger cues and even digestive cues. We've just suppressed that over the years, but take note of our kids, you know, how often are our babies eating?

Maybe every time you breastfeed or pump or bottle feed, you drink some water and add some electrolytes to your water. Maybe every time you feed your baby or toddler, you eat something nourishing too.

You know, so sometimes our kids are role models. So trying to do what you can. I know it's a very stressful season, so be gracious to yourself. Listen to those symptoms. Like I said, symptoms are our body's way of communicating to us.

So if someone tells you, oh, it's just normal, like, no. So I've had to really address that even with my pregnancy now, like constipation. Okay, what do I need to do to improve my constipation or, you know, pregnancy insomnia, what can I do to improve that?

Like my body's speaking to me, so I need to listen and do what I can to improve those symptoms and not just push through and be miserable. Yeah. Pregnancy and breastfeeding, postpartum should be a beautiful time.

Yes, it is very stressful. And there's so much that goes into this. Do you have support? Do you have your village? Like a lot of people don't. And you're a military family. And so we don't have that familial support around us.

So I know it can definitely be hard. And my husband's getting deployed on Sunday. And so it's just going to be me and the kids. So we're not always going to have that support, but we can have the discipline to say, no, mommy needs to eat right now.

Yeah. And I love the analogy that you brought up of the oxygen mask. Because I feel like that's something we hear every time we get on the airplane. We're like, yeah, OK, whatever. The, you know, the flight attendants are talking.

There's a quote that I always tell myself that's really similar to that. It's the idea that you can't lift a man unless you're standing on higher ground than he is. So you have to be able to take care of yourself and elevate yourself just a little bit.

It doesn't have to be perfectly. It doesn't have to be Mount Everest. But it has to be just enough that you can reach down and lift up your kids reach down and lift up your partner Whoever you're trying to serve in your life.

You have to be Filling your cup first to be able to do that Yeah, yes It's easier said than done of course, but baby steps we do what we can Yeah, and not every day is perfect and that's okay, and it's not about perfection just little small steps finding hacks in the kitchen Choosing higher protein carb options or you know kind of just think where are you at now?

What are your stressors? What can you do to support your body in the season? Yeah, I know you have a lot of great content on your account there's a lot of support out there But I know I know it's hard.

It's so hard I reach this to myself too Okay, this was such a good conversation today and before we close I want to ask you one more question that I ask all my guests And I know you've probably answered this in some way through our conversation, but The question is what is a non -negotiable for you to living a well -balanced life?

Yeah, I think honestly that self -care just putting that oxygen mask on first And it's not selfish it's not like I'm leaving the kids behind to go get a massage Although that is nice sometimes. Yeah Really just like putting boundaries because when you're putting your at least physical needs first You're able to be more active with your kids.

You're able to do more things with your kids and You're even able to regulate your emotions and that can help with mood disorders or like mom rage or snap Not your kids like I've had so many clients tell me that there's so much more patient with their toddler with their kids because they're Their blood sugar is regulated.

They're not hangry. They're getting food and quality sleep, maybe not a good eight, 10 hours of sleep at night, but at least getting quality sleep. And so all these little things that you can do for yourself will help you be more patient, help you be more active and energized for your kids.

So in a way it is putting your kids first by putting your needs first. Very well said. I like that a lot. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today, Allegra. It was so great to learn about the hair test and just your expertise.

You are a wealth of knowledge and I love consuming all of your content on Instagram every single day. I've learned so, so much from you. So be sure to follow Allegra. on Instagram because you will learn so much from her.

With that being said, Allegra, where can we connect with you if we want to work with you, become one of your clients? How can we become a part of your world? Yeah, thank you so much. So you can follow me on Instagram, aloha .nutrition.

You can also check out my website, aloha -nutrition .com. So I have a team, I have one other dietitian, another lactation consultant, so we help families all over the world. So yeah, we would love to help you with whether that's your breastfeeding journey, pumping, weaning journey, bottle feeding journey, or your nutrition journey.

We're here to support you and help you feel better postpartum. Perfect. I'll be sure to link all of those resources in the show notes so we can connect with you really, really easy. Thanks so much, Allegra, for joining us, and we will see you mamas in the next episode.