Book Review

Book Review


Dr. Andrea Sullivan

Naturopathic/Homeopathic medicine

As little girls, we are told that we stand on “steely shoulders.” The shoulders of strong, faithful, and courageous women who looked out for everyone in order to survive. In Dr Andrea D Sullivan’s new book, “The Sacrifices of Superwomen: Natural Remedies to Restore Balance,” she reminds us that we have grown “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Too many Black women are on the front lines saving everyone but themselves. They’re super-givers who neglect themselves. Oh, they see their doctors, but they don’t really get better. Dr Sullivan believes that to save our community and our country, we have to save ourselves. Drawing on 37 years of practice as a naturopathic physician, she knows the stresses and problems that Black women face and the health issues we must confront. Sacrifices is more than a self-help “practical tool kit,” it’s about charting a new narrative to save ourselves in order to save our nation.

Donna Brazile, Former Acting chair of Democratic National Committee, political strategist, ABC news political analyst, author, syndicated columnist, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Georgetown University.

The Sacrifices of Superwomen: Natural Remedies to Restore Balance by Dr. Andrea Sullivan combines medical, historical, and sociological scholarly research with spiritual/health advice and memoir. The book details the appalling statistics of discrepant health care along racial and gender lines in the United States, delineates the powerful difference in practice and philosophy between naturopathic (including herbal and homeopathic) and allopathic medicine, provides detailed advice for self-directed health care, and introduces the reader to amazing superwomen (most notably, the author herself). You cannot come away from reading Sullivan’s treatise unchanged. There is such a wealth of information included that it could best become a resource book rather than a quick read. I recommend the book in the highest possible terms.

R. Barbara Gitenstein
President Emerita, The College of New Jersey
Senior Consultant and Senior Fellow, Association of Governing Boards (AGB)
Author: Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of an Academic (Koehler: 2022).

Put down your superwoman cape and read this origin story to free yourself from a life of over-sacrificing. If you pick up this book you will not put it down, your life, your mindless habit, and real solutions are in there. Dr. Andrea Sullivan is a national treasure. She has been preaching the gospel of a naturally healthy lifestyle for over four decades. The chapters on water and sleep alone make her book a true-life saver. I give advice for a living, but Dr. Sullivan’s advice will save your life. Enough of the gimmicks, this is the remedy you need for a happy, healthy, full life.

Kim Keenan, President of the International Women’s Forum of DC and Co- chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance, Former President of the National Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar. She is the former longest- serving General Counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Dr. Andrea Sullivan has written about a topic critically important to the health and wellbeing of Black women. Drawing on her years of experience and expertise as a naturopathic physician, Dr. Sullivan skillfully crafts the persona of the Superwoman and brings to light compelling and thought-provoking issues which resonate with Black women of all ages, and across all socio-economic strata.

Her depiction of superwomen draws upon case examples from her work. She highlights the all-too-familiar stories of selflessness and sacrifice characteristic of women who have internalized oppression, and who may have unresolved personal issues that stem from childhood. Indeed, for Black women the historical narratives of our ancestors who endured tremendous hardship and bore the weight of their people to achieve elusive freedom is ingrained in our psyche, even today. We unwittingly take on the mantle of heroes like Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman to the detriment of our own health.

By boldly telling her own story, Dr. Sullivan shines a light on these internalized narratives and underscores the critical importance of understanding the long-term physical health impacts and the psychological sequalae stemming from adverse childhood experiences and historical trauma. She thoughtfully explains the role of the naturopathic physician and her unique role in helping to promote wellbeing including positive affect, physical and physiologic wellbeing and the conscious alignment of mind and body in the well care of her patients.

A key theme in this volume is the focus on stress. Dr. Sullivan unpacks the literal denotation of the word stress as well as the collateral effects and damage of such stressors as sexism and racism. She explains in layman’s terms how the immune system works and what we need to do with the help of homeopathic medicine to have our system work at optimal levels. The notion that inflammation and stress are the bases of most dis-ease is both compelling and encouraging in that, as Dr. Sullivan noted, that they are understandable, preventable, and treatable. Good health is in our own hands.

Dr. Sullivan skillfully weaves together a remedy for dis-ease using powerful affirmations throughout the book that help the reader to value themselves and remind them of their self-worth. She concludes with her story and offers simple, everyday steps to help us slowly remove our superwoman cloak, and to don the immutable cape of our inner superpower—Self-Love.

Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., CAS
Chief, Pediatric Trauma and Clinical Illness Branch
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development ( NICHD)

“Sacrifices” explores the unique experiences of African American women and shows how too much sacrifice, often made in the name of family and racial progress, can cause profound harm to our bodies and mind. Writing with empathy, tenderness, and grace- and from a wellspring of personal and professional experience- Dr. Andrea Sullivan serves up a timely roadmap to true health and wellness. Her advice is practical, no – nonsense, science based, and honest. It will uplift you – and change your life.
Marilyn Milloy, former deputy editor of AARP Magazine

The Sacrifices of Superwomen is a treasure for millions of women in search of healing. Dr. Sullivan speaks in the powerful voice of an author with almost 40 years of medical experience. Her compassionate words are as profound as her sage advice, for Andrea Sullivan is a Superwoman herself.

Paul Mittman, ND, EdD
President and CEO of Sonoran University of Health Sciences

This book is a must-read! Convicting, revealing, instructive, life-changing! Dr. Andrea Sullivan digs deep, peeling back multiple layers of issues that trap so-called superwomen beneath the heavy weights of exhaustion, depression, stress and disease. Sullivan speaks hard truths about our unhealthy relationships with bad food, bad habits and ourselves. As she declares, “enough” with the guilt, anger, resentment, and shame that have caught many of us in a vicious cycle of illness and medication. As a patient and true believer, I feel much better and am convinced that the most direct path from chronic dis-ease to wellness and wellbeing is exercise, more natural foods, natural remedies, and better sleep! I can now joyfully shed my superwoman cape!

Pat Lawson Muse
News Anchor (retired)
NBC4-TV, Washington, DC

The year I completed Howard University Medical School in 1975, was 6 years before my future friend, Dr. Andrea Sullivan, began school to become a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. We were both trained in many of the same courses the first 2 years such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, etc. The last 2 years we trained in clinical work which differed between the practices. As she states in her treatise, allopathic or western medicine’s emphasis was/is how to diagnose and manage a dis-ease most often based on laboratory tests, specialized studies and physician experience. The emphasis in naturopathic treatment is a holistic approach to care, including history of the patient (often back to childhood), nutrition & exercise, followed by a plan to improve one’s health.

As for most people, there are things that “we don’t know that we don’t know.” Some will never have an ‘aha moment’ and it’s OK. I have had mine. Hence, Dr. Sullivan and I have consulted and referred patients back and forth for many years. We have trust in the other’s abilities and our goal remains to have optimal health for our patients. This treatise is full of knowledge and wisdom. I highly recommend it for anyone who is serious about getting healthy and/or staying healthy.

Caryl G. Mussenden, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, MD

I absolutely love this book. It is a true treasure filled with educational gems and knowledge that continues to guide me and my family throughout life. I’ve learned to use the gems in this book to teach my children to love themselves in ways that help us unlearn and relearn in the most proper ways to secure a healthy future. Thank you, Dr Sullivan, for this gem of a book!

Diamond P, Membership Marketing, Costco

What Dr Sullivan has written is a lovely, comprehensible, and commonsensical book that I would like to place in the hands of every person I know, every person I encounter on the sidewalk, and especially every 20-something—including myself 20-some years ago. Her words integrate different aspects of life that contemporary science likes to tease apart into specifics. And yet that same science continues to show us how integrated everything truly is. More importantly, this is a guidebook by which to understand how to navigate life. Thank you for creating a book in which the thread is honesty and an intention to help. Thank you for these reminders and new awareness’s.

Renee Schettler, Sr Editor at Yoga Journal

“The Sacrifices of Superwomen combines all that is needed for women of color to come into balance: the history of present health concerns and how to reclaim self – worth and true wellbeing. Dr. Sullivan provides a clear, detailed path for a life of vitality. A must read for all the superwomen out there!”

Dr. Puja Shah, award-winning author of For My Sister.

Dr. Sullivan shares historical information, personal stories, and case studies of women who have focused so much on giving without replenishing themselves. Much is related to some form of discrimination. Over time, this leads to compromised health and well-being. She provides natural remedies to improve health, and practices and affirmations to encourage self-care and self-love. While the examples she provides are mostly centered around black women, the content and remedies are applicable to all women. This topic also hits close to home because I have studied alternative healing practices and recently wrote my doctoral thesis on boundaries and self-love, so the themes Dr. Sullivan raised were a wonderful reinforcement of many of the lessons I’ve learned.

Sonee Singh, Dr. of Divinity and multi-award-winning author of Lonely Dove and the Soul-Seeker Poetry Collection, as well as Can You Be.

I found Dr. Andrea Sullivan after successfully completing treatment for breast cancer. By the time I reached her I realized I’d been pouring from an empty cup that had dried many years before walking through her office door. Since then, Dr Sullivan has provided so much guidance while walking closely beside me on a journey to wellness.” The Sacrifices…” is filled with many of the steps that she has consistently emphasized to me in order to reach true healing from the inside out. It’s a book that has helped me refill that empty cup I had when I met Dr Sullivan. Reading “The Sacrifices…”is being able to access her very keen wisdom at your fingertips. It is a must read for not only those of us who are guilty of putting the needs of others before ourselves, but for anyone looking to cultivate a happy, healthy and whole lifestyle. It is not just a one-time read either. It is a handbook for life, your best life.

J Stewart. Teacher