S1 E7: Replenishing Minerals


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Amanda: Hey, this is Amanda, women’s health dietitian.
Emily: And I’m Emily, nutritional therapy practitioner.
Amanda: And this is the Are You Menstrual? podcast where we help you navigate the confusing world of women’s hormones and teach you how to have healthy periods.
Emily: Each week we will be diving into a different topic on women’s health and sharing our perspective using nutrition, female physiology, and metabolic health.
Amanda: Our goal is to help you wade through conflicting health information and empower you on your healing journey.
Emily: We hope you enjoy it. 

Emily: Now that we’ve covered the basics of hair mineral testing, including the metabolic types, the main minerals, and ratios, and the importance of copper and iron…we thought that the obvious next step would be learning how to replenish your minerals. So this is probably the episode you’ve all been waiting for. We’re gonna dive into the best foods, the best nutrient-dense foods that we eat on a regular basis and that we recommend to our clients. So this episode is really for everyone, whether you’ve had the chance to test your minerals or not, these mineral-rich foods and beverages we’re going to talk about today are going to be really helpful for everyone regardless of mineral status.

 So as you remember, we’ve talked about this previously, but when we are stressed we use up more minerals like magnesium, sodium and potassium directly. But you may not know that the stress response also indirectly impacts other minerals like copper, for example. And since we use copper to make energy or ATP in the body, this is extremely important to keep our energy up. So as stress goes up, energy needs do as well. So we like to say that minimizing stress is always essential, there are things that you can do to bring your stress levels down, of course, but I think it’s even making our bodies more resilient to stress that is more critical. And we can do that by regularly eating throughout the day, combining protein and carbs to support blood sugar balance, and then of course, adding in as many minerals as we can. So let’s dive into the best foods that we love for supporting mineral balance. And Amanda is going to get us started with the adrenal cocktail.

Amanda: Yes, I feel like we’ve mentioned this in, like, four or five episodes already, and this is episode seven that we’re doing. So we know that this has been a long awaited discussion around the adrenal cocktail. Basically, it is a drink. And there’s a bunch of different ways to make it that we’re going to go through. But the premise behind it is that it’s a combination of potassium, sodium, and vitamin C. So…and they’re ideally from whole food type sources. So it’s about 375 milligrams of potassium, 60 milligrams of vitamin C, and 460 milligrams of sodium. So the whole concept was created by a naturopathic doctor, Susan Blackard, where she, she also likes to add other things in there. But she kind of came up with the concept of the adrenal cocktail. The idea is that it’s supporting your adrenals, right. If we remember when we were going through the macro minerals, kind of minerals 101 podcast, we talked a lot about how sodium and potassium are depleted during that stress response. And if when we went through the metabolic type podcast, we talked a lot about how people like slow metabolic types need a lot more sodium and potassium. I mean, I think everyone does, but there are electrolytes that are, I think, are hard to replenish.

A lot of us are drinking a ton of water that doesn’t have anything added in it. And it leaves very little room for getting adequate sodium and potassium. So not only is the adrenal cocktail going to support your adrenals and help your body have a healthy stress response, but it’s also going to help with the different functions that sodium and potassium have in the body. Right? Potassium is super important for thyroid hormone, getting that inside the cell. It also has an insulin-like effect on our cells. So it helps us get glucose inside better. And it’s great for balancing your blood sugar. And then sodium is important for the stress response. But it’s also important for making things like stomach acid and digestion. So very, very essential nutrients, and it’s really simple. I think this is one of the easiest things that you can start with. So if we want to go through some of the different ways to make it. Just don’t get, don’t get obsessed over the numbers. I only share those with you because the…that’s the concept that it was based off of.

Emily: Right, and the most common, or I guess, original recipe that I started out with was a cup of orange juice or you can even go lower than that. How much is it of orange juice?

Amanda: It’s 4 ounces.

Emily: Four ounces, okay, so half a cup of orange juice, and then a fourth a teaspoon of cream of tartar and then a fourth a teaspoon of sea salt. So that’s what I started out doing. And you get the potassium in the cream of tartar, the sodium in the sea salt and the vitamin C in the orange juice. But I got lazy and didn’t feel like measuring things out. So the good thing about this whole adrenal cocktail concept is that you don’t have to measure things out. You literally can just throw things into a glass and drink it. So these are some alternative recipes that make it easier to do that. If you’re not.   if you’re like, yeah, I’m not gonna buy cream of tartar, which it is really easy to find. But I totally understand if that’s not your thing. 

So things like orange juice with coconut water and sea salt, that’s an options. Probably the easiest one—just throw it in a glass and drink and it tastes delicious. But you can also mix up the juices. So for example, I just bought grapefruit juice, and I mixed it with aloe vera juice with sea salt. So you have the potassium in the aloe vera juice, the vitamin C in the grapefruit juice, and then the sodium in the sea salt. But again, there’s, there’s more variation. So, like, if you just want to squeeze a lemon and a lime into a glass, add your coconut water for potassium and then your sea salt, that’s perfectly fine as well. So really play with it, it does not have to be these perfect ratios. It’s really just a refreshing beverage to make sure that you’re getting these good minerals in. 

Amanda: And I think the other thing is with this is just seeing what you tolerate best. Like so often…and we share it, we have a post on this with the different recipes on Instagram, we also have a blog post that we’ll include in the show notes. And so many people ask like, well, I did the four ounces of orange juice, four ounces of coconut water and sea salt. And I didn’t feel good after maybe it was a blood sugar thing. And I’m like, okay, why don’t you try doing less orange juice and more coconut water. And they’re like, oh, I didn’t realize it was that simple to kind of make that adjustment. If you haven’t drank juice in a long time… Like I know when Emily first started doing these, we were like, let’s do like two ounces of orange juice and more coconut water, you know? 

Emily: I was scared of juices. 

Amanda: Yeah, a lot of us are scared of juices. There’s also potassium in the juices too. So you’re not just getting it from like the coconut water, aloe vera juice, but there’s so many different combinations. We were just talking before we started recording. And I’m like, I feel like I make a different adrenal cocktail every day. I’m like, also very big on pineapple juice. I know I have the pineapple gummies. But I just love pineapple juice. It’s also great for your digestion. So I’ve been doing four ounces of pineapple juice, four ounces of aloe vera juice, and then sea salt. But sometimes I want like a spritzer and I’ll do two ounces of a juice could be like grapefruit, it could be pineapple orange juice. And then I do four ounces of aloe vera juice and more sparkling water with sea salt. And it’s, it’s so good. And again, are the ratios perfect? Probably not, it could be a little bit less vitamin C. But it’s…I’m having it consistently, right. So ideally you’re going to start adding in one of these a day. See how you feel. And as far as timing goes, you can do it with a meal if you’re worried about your blood sugar, you could definitely do that. Ideally, you’re doing these like an hour after a meal or between meals or with a snack. There’s no perfect way everyone is different. You just want to experiment. 

Emily: And I will say the sparkling water definitely elevates it. You feel fancy when you’re drinking that. When I first started out and I was a little bit worried about my blood sugar response to the juice. What I found that really helps, and as Amanda mentioned, you could always drink it with a meal. But for me if I just wanted to have it as a snack, I would add some collagen peptides to it like a scoop or two. And I think my collagen peptides flavor was like vanilla. And then I would also add some coconut milk, some full fat canned coconut milk. Which you guys…it tastes like you’re sitting on a beach drinking some fancy drink. It’s so delicious. I called it the orange creamsicle drink, because that’s what it tastes like to me. And so, it’s so good. And there are ways to make it to your liking and to make it better for your own blood sugar needs. 

Amanda: Or if you’re like I just want to make this into a snack. I don’t want to have to eat this with a snack. It’s so easy to do. I have a few clients that use, like, raw milk. And they love it like they’re like it literally tastes like a creamsicle. The coconut cream obviously is delicious, too. But yeah, that’s a great way to balance it out. And you could use collagen. We like Great Lakes collagen. You can use Paleovalley bone broth protein…getting some sort of protein source in there. That’s going to help balance the protein, fat, and carbs and keep your blood sugar stable. But you’ll still get all the benefits of the adrenal cocktail, right. 

Emily: So that’s something everyone can do. It adds just a nice refreshing beverage to your days, something to look forward to. But the next one we’re going to talk about we’ve talked about before as well. This is the beef liver, and just more broadly organ meats in general. So this is probably one of the most nutrient-dense food options that you can eat. It provides us with an array of minerals like B vitamins, vitamin A, and copper. And if you remember from last episode, we need copper and vitamin A to transport and use iron in the body. So they’re very important minerals. But also worth noting here is that when I say it’s these minerals are in an easily absorbable form, we need to remember that absorption is the key. Okay, so we could eat the most mineral, nutrient-rich foods on the planet. But if they are not easily broken down and digested, it’s not going to matter, right? So, not only does beef liver and organ meats contain this abundance of vitamins and minerals, but they are in forms that are easy for us to absorb and break down. And this is just not seen as often in maybe some plant foods that are harder to break down. So again, beef liver, so good, and you can always…if you cannot tolerate beef liver, organ meats, that’s okay. I personally take a desiccated liver supplement. It’s by Paleovalley and I take it every single day. And I just find it that’s what works for me. 

Amanda: It’s actually an organ complex from Paleovalley. So if you’re, if you go on their website, I always call it beef liver, because that’s the main reason why you take it, but theirs also has kidney and heart in it, which is cool—great, great supplement. I also love that company. I used to work for them. I love Autumn and Chaz. They’re just, like, truly amazing people. And yeah, that’s a great way to take it. You can also make your own. We have a video on how to do this inside our Master Your Minerals course. It is so easy. I mean, you just get beef liver, chop it up into tiny pieces. I have like a silicone tray that I put it in so that it doesn’t stick and it’s not difficult to get out. It looks like it’s like a honeycomb shape silicone tray. It’s interesting. 

I think my friend Kiara has a video, @kiaramariewellness on Instagram. If you go to her reels, she has a video showing you how to do it too. And it’s super easy. You put it…you throw it in the freezer…if you’re getting the beef liver raw, and it’s not previously been frozen, then you would want to freeze it for two weeks. And that’s going to kill any pathogenic bacteria. I actually get the duck liver from White Oak Pastures—great company. It’s the only liver I can, like, eat so I can make a pate out of it and not die because I’m a child when it comes to eating liver. And yeah, it’s…duck liver has all the same benefits. A lot of people are like, does it have to be beef liver? Chicken liver has less copper, but it still has a lot of vitamin A. And also, if that’s the one that you can tolerate or eat, or if there is a religious…I…plenty of people cannot do the beef liver for religious reasons. Do the chicken liver, right? It’s better than nothing. And it’s still going to be very nutrient-dense. You could easily get copper from other foods. The vitamin A I feel like is the hardest one to get in high amounts.

Emily: And I have a quick question, not to put you on the spot, Amanda, but you mentioned the raw liver…freezing it for two weeks. And then you know taking a little bit of time as your, kind of, supplement. Is this also okay for pregnant women to do? 

Amanda: So I think that is up to you. And you have to do your own research and make your own educated choice. I will be doing this when I’m pregnant. I have lots of clients that do this when they’re pregnant. And they actually do better often with the raw frozen versus the capsules. For some people, it’s just more powerful. For some people, it’s the opposite. The capsules are almost too powerful, and they can’t do them so they do the frozen. But either way, they’re, they’re very easy to add in. And one other thing, like ways for eating it, like yes, you could eat beef liver a couple times a week if you wanted. I think if you don’t like it…like, I just forced myself to swallow the little frozen pieces or do pate. Raw also has different nutritional benefits than cooked. You know we lose some nutrients through cooking. So I’m, like, try to do a mix of both. If you can, you could just take the supplement if you want. We have a lot of clients that open them up and put them in smoothies or put the frozen pieces in smoothies. I wouldn’t do a ton because you then you’ll start to taste it, but even if you do a couple of capsules or the frozen ones, it’s usually fine. I did that a few times. And if I waited too long drink the smoothie, I could taste it. So if you do it, drink it right away and you won’t taste it and it’s a great way to cover it up. 

Emily: Okay, thanks for answering that because I’ve only done the capsules, but I think I’m going to try to do the frozen raw liver if I can handle it.

Amanda: It’s a lot cheaper… 

Emily: I believe that. 

Amanda: to get your own. I would just…it’s, like, just get a high-quality one. I get the duck liver from White Oak Pastures because I usually don’t make the frozen capsules out of all of it. I’ll use like half for pate, and I just…I don’t know, I just can’t do…can’t do the beef liver. 

Emily: I get it. 

Amanda: I’m a baby. So that is a great one to add in. I will say I would add in adrenal cocktails first, because you want to get your body used to replenishing minerals. Sodium and potassium are also, they’re just so important to start with, right? If we think about our main minerals—calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium—we want to boost those first before we go too crazy with adding, like, beef liver and certain foods and stuff in. So start with your adrenal cocktail, then start experimenting with beef liver and just go really slow. Some people are totally fine. Having like half an ounce to an ounce in supplement or frozen form every day. Some people need to go slower. You might feel a little stimulated because it’s very nutrient-dense. And if you are really depleted and then you add in all those nutrients, you could feel a little bit of, like, a wired, like, buzz feeling from it. But beef liver is a…and duck liver, chicken liver, all the different kinds of organ meats…they’re a very, very nutrient-dense food and what we like to call nature’s multivitamin, definitely.

Emily: Definitely. So now that we’ve talked about organ meats, let’s talk a little bit more about the seafood that are very nutrient-dense. And we’re going to cover three right now: it’s cod—or pretty much any white fish—shrimp, and oysters. These are your big hitters. And the reason we like these are one: iodine. Okay, so iodine is a very important mineral. And I didn’t know this before, but cod actually, like a three-ounce serving of baked cod, provides about 158 mcg of iodine. Which…more is better, but that’s already 100% of your daily value of iodine right there. So just having, you know, baked cod for dinner can help you get in that iodine. And if you don’t know why iodine is so important—it’s actually really helpful for thyroid function, which a lot of our listeners are probably going to be struggling with a little bit. And so that is something that you want to make sure that you are staying sufficient in is your iodine. It’s absolutely crucial to make thyroid hormone. You know, if you’re someone that necessarily doesn’t have hypothyroidism or a diagnosed thyroid problem, but you are experiencing those periods symptoms or symptoms like fatigue, cold hands and feet, hair loss, weight gain, decreased libido, dry skin, sluggish digestion, any of those slow metabolic symptoms…iodine may be what’s lacking. 

Amanda: It just makes me think of that question we got in our membership earlier this week. And we had someone asking about iodine and, like, doing patch, the patch, like, skin test for iodine, you know, they’re just asking about…we know, iodine is very controversial, like, what are your thoughts on supplementing with it? And we have responded and said, you know, iodine, just like any other mineral, doesn’t work on its own. Right? They all work together. And so if you think about getting iodine from food, I mean, I’m like, how do you? Yes, like, sometimes we need more. But even if you just ate a little more seafood, you would greatly increase iodine. And it’s balanced. Because I think that’s the big thing that’s controversial with iodine. It’s, it’s controversial in supplement form, or even overdoing food forms. Because you need other nutrients with it. Like, you need enough selenium, so, so important. You need enough magnesium. And to be in…make sure you’re not in a depleted state, and that selenium is in the iodine-rich foods. So when we do whole food recommendations, the main reason is because they contain other cofactors that that nutrient needs to do its job in the body. So if you have iodine, but you don’t have selenium…not going to go well. 

Iodine is also very detoxifying. If you’re, like, increasing your intake from supplement form, it’s…one: it’s hard to titrate. Like, you can get liquid iodine, but, like, you should always be under the care of a doctor or practitioner when doing this. And you should definitely do a hair test so you know where your other minerals stand. But it’s, it’s difficult to get all the right things in. And then if you’re deficient in magnesium, and you’re taking this really detoxifying iodine supplement, you might not be able to handle that detox. So there’s, there’s a lot of pieces with iodine, but it is really important. I just think about pregnancy, you know, your needs increase a lot because your thyroid is working so hard. So making sure you’re getting cod, shrimp, oysters, and on a regular basis. They’re all great sources of iodine, selenium, zinc. There’s a ton of zinc in oysters and copper. So they’re all really balanced. And it’s just one of the…I definitely would consider iodine like a food to have at least, you know, the cod, shrimp, and oysters to have at least like a few times a week. and last episode, we did talk about how we ate our oysters. 

Emily: And last episode we did talk about how we ate our oysters, and so if someone that’s like oysters…no thanks—try the canned ones. As we said last week, they’re amazing on toast—sourdough toast is great. So there are ways to incorporate these foods even if you’re not a huge fish or seafood person. Just add it with something you really love. Throw a lot of ghee on it or you did sourdough crackers. Is that right?

Amanda: Yeah. Or like Siete Foods chips like a good…or plantain chips. I’m on a cassava chip kick right now. Or I’m just like deeply obsessed with them. But anything like that, and I usually put hot sauce or mustard on it and it’s just delicious.

Emily: Yeah the hot sauce really adds that, that that good level of spice. 

Amanda: And if oysters freak you out, like, don’t start with oysters. Start with cod, you know, or shrimp. Like, we make so many shrimp stir fries. And it’s, it’s become a staple. And for getting quality sources…like, we typically just get the frozen ones, the wild-caught frozen ones at the local grocery store. I know there’s places you can order from online as well. I don’t ever get fresh seafood because I just I can never find, like, really great sources that aren’t super expensive. But the frozen one works and it doesn’t have to be fancy. 

Emily: Right? I was gonna say sometimes it can be hard to find, like, the wild-caught. There are good ones on the internet that you can find that’ll be shipped to you that are sustainable, high quality, all that good stuff. So just got to look for it. 

Amanda: I find them at every grocery store…

Emily: Wild-caught?

Amanda: And I’ve lived in like four states. Yeah.

Emily: See, I have a hard time finding like wild-caught salmon a lot of times, but I guess the white fish and… 

Amanda: They’re frozen, though. 

Emily: Yeah.

Amanda: Do you look in the frozen…

Emily: Every once in a while I’ll buy frozen. I just…my husband’s very particular, he likes fresh.

Amanda: So, so maybe that’s, that’s probably…

Emily: Yeah, we kind of compromise sometimes. I know shrimp is easy to find, wild-caught shrimp is very easy to find. And then I eat canned oysters. 

Amanda: Yeah. So I think if you can’t, I would just like at least experiment with the frozen. Especially for something like cod. I don’t know that I would do frozen salmon, but I feel like that wouldn’t be amazing. But like we get frozen cod—that’s literally what I’m going to have for lunch day. And I just put a bunch of like Cajun spice, smoked paprika, and then I do like a blackened cod and it takes like 10 minutes or less to make. And it’s super nourishing and tasty.

Emily: Wow that sounds delicious. You’re making me hungry. Okay, do you want to move on to the next one, Amanda?

Amanda: Yeah, let’s go into the next one. The fourth kind of item is bone broth, collagen and gelatin. So we get a lot of questions around this. The difference, we’re going to go through all of that. But this is one of the most mineral-rich foods, and I would say just, like, gut-supportive, overall digestive supportive foods, because it’s got a ton of minerals in it, right. Even if we just think of like calcium, right, from the bones. There’s already trace amounts of like magnesium, potassium, sodium, all your main minerals you’re going to find in bone broth. And then you can easily add in your own ingredients. This is what I always do. And we have a blog post on this and an Instagram post. And I always add greens, potatoes, carrots, ginger—it also makes it taste way better, in my opinion. So you can add a ton more minerals in there just by adding some starchy and non-starchy veggies. And then that’s only going to boost the mineral content. There’s also protein in bone broth, though, so it makes it a really great snack addition. And there’s anti-inflammatory amino acids. So if we think of like bone broth, collagen, gelatin versus muscle meats, that’s the main difference is the amino acid breakdown. And so they have certain ones like alanine, hydroxyproline, proline, and glycine that are especially anti-inflammatory. It’s also going to balance out your calcium and phosphorus kind of ratio. A lot of us are mostly eating muscle meats. That’s why we always recommend getting some bone broth and dairy in there, because that’s going to help keep your minerals balanced as well. 

Emily: Bone broth is probably one of my favorite snacks to combine with the raw carrot a day. So I have the carbs and the protein. It’s like the perfect easy snack. So I just heat myself up a cup of bone broth, have my raw carrot for estrogen detox, and it’s so filling and delicious. 

So I’m going to talk quickly about gelatin. And if you’re not sure what the difference between gelatin and collagen are…I’m sure you probably heard both terms. Gelatin is just the cooked form of collagen. So it’s still protein from, you know, bone broth, but it’s the cooked form, and collagen and gelatin contain the same nutrients. But gelatin is just in a different form that allows you to use it in things like baked goods and different recipes. So something that we use and love our gelatin for is the pineapple gummies that Amanda mentioned earlier. It’s what helps keep that gummy shape. And I wouldn’t necessarily put gelatin in like your coffee because it might have this weird consistency. But you can definitely use it in smoothies, baked goods, and then those gummies. So to talk a little bit about why gelatin is really good for you. It increases your metabolism by improving thyroid function. So the amino acid glycine, which you’ve probably heard of, it favors progesterone production and opposes estrogen, which is really helpful for all of us that are kind of low in progesterone and we may have some of that more estrogen-dominant symptoms going on. But again, as Amanda said, gelatin is also very helpful for digestion. It just helps in easing that digestive tract and kind of sealing it and healing it. And then it definitely helps in things like joint inflammation, it supports good sleep, increases insulin sensitivity, and then improves digestive capacity…so how well we break down our foods.

Amanda: I think one of the coolest things about gelatin is how it can it can help grab your digestive juices. And so it’s great for people that have low stomach acid especially. That’s why it’s

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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