Are you sick of being sick? On the Self-Care Goddess Podcast episode #90, Dr. Jill Valerius, a certified physician in family and integrative medicine practicing for 20+ years, talks about how and why focusing on diet, lifestyle and nutrition are the only ways to heal & prevent chronic diseases effectively. Dr. Jill believes that it is not about treating what’s wrong but building a life that is right for you using functional and personalized medicine. We aim to educate and empower our listeners/ readers on how to avoid and reverse health problems to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
The following information are just a few of the golden nuggets from my insightful conversation. Listen to the entire episode here.
The Circular Nature Of Our Lifecycle
Our body has the innate wisdom to heal itself. It is important to slow down, listen and trust this innate wisdom. We can enhance healing by hydration, sweating and making sure we poop every day! The lifecycle is circular in nature. After birth during early years, we are extremely dependent for all our needs. As we age, we gain independence and find our boundaries. Through puberty we begin to figure out who we are relative to the world by evolving and defining our place. These are the reproductive years where men and women are spending a lot of time caretaking. It could be caretaking children, business or parents. Over the years as women move towards perimenopause & menopause and men towards andropause they start to reverse. Perimenopause is like puberty but when older and wiser. It is another evolution and a change to individualism trying to figure out who we are in the larger picture. Ultimately as we age further (unless life is cut short prematurely), we become more dependent again. Death is also part of life. Dr. Jill encourages us to think about death and have conversations about end of life which can make it feel better for each of us.
Listen to the episode #62 “Embody Your Full Potential: Break Free From Fears & False Perceptions” my Self-Care Goddess Podcast.
How Can We Prepare For Life-Stages?
People are very accepting of the reproductive years of life but not much understanding, consideration and help is available during the older years because of which we can lose ourselves in some way. Society puts constraints by conditioning “you should be this” or “you can’t do this”. Media has portrayed many things in negative ways which pushes and limits us into directions we may not want to go. The first step is learning and understanding the older years. Here are 2 strategies to better cope with life stages:
- Reframing menopause & perimenopause: When we reach perimenopause and menopause it should be an exciting part of life because it is like a rebirth allowing us to explore again who we are and what we want to be. We often tend to focus on everyone else, always putting ourself lowest on the list of priorities. The idea that we “only have to give and prioritize everyone else” is hurting us individually and as a society; so, this must change through all stages of life. As I always say Self-Care is not Selfish, it’s Self-Love.
- Seek more education & expansion (outside the box of our conventional training): For example: Sleep is challenging for young adults and teenagers because their sleep cycles & bodies like to sleep a bit more in the morning but we send them to school at 7 to fit into the conventional clock world. Understanding hormones, nutrition, lifestyle and the importance of sleep during all stages of life is essential.
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During puberty; issues with menstrual cycle or cramping etc., are given the standard treatment of birth control pills that override and hijack the system. In perimenopause and menopause hormonal shift plays an important role. Not necessarily everyone needs hormones but we need to constantly check and balance them. How do you recognize the need for hormone replacement? If somebody aged 16 – 45 has the following symptoms then hormonal intervention maybe considered:
- sleep issues
- weight issues
- hot flashes
- mood issues
- different stress response
Do you know What Is The Vipassana Meditation Experience? I invite you to read my interesting blog here.
Bio-Identical Pathways Of The Body
Bioidentical hormones like estradiol or progesterone are biologically identical to what we have in our system, versus Premarin or prempro which are synthetically made dyadic conjugated estrogens or estrogen coming from horse urine. When we use synthetic hormones there is a big difference versus bioidentical hormones and they have different effects on the body. Cancer risk is attributed to synthetic hormones. The body recognizes bioidentical easier because it’s not chemically made and are also easier to get rid of. However, we can balance hormones without using bioidentical hormones.
Diet, lifestyle, nutrition, sleep and stress are important factors to analyze before any hormone intervention because for example, if someone is not sleeping well, hormones can be THE reason. If we are not eating a blood sugar balancing diet then any help with hormones is ineffective. The groundwork needs to start from childhood. Inappropriate eating can also be a stress response, a lifestyle leading to:
- not feeling good
- loss of lust for life
- dull skin
- hair damage
Hormones have to be looked at comprehensively not just estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, conventional sex hormones and cortisol individually; but how all of them function integrated together in the body system. Cholesterol is an important hormone often overlooked. Some tests recommended by Dr. Jill are:
- DUTCH: This is a dried urine test in which we can see break down pathways. It gives us insights into detox capabilities for men and women.
- Serum test called NutrEval by Genova Lab: It can see what the system potentially has or what is lacking, toxins & detox capabilities and different metabolic pathways.
- Advanced lipid panels can tell us about oxidative and detox capabilities in our body. Elevated cholesterol levels, triglycerides or LDL shows if someone is eating a more processed or fast-food diet. Exposure to pesticides and heavy metals also effect the body’s detox capabilities.
Listen to the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #22 to learn more on the Top 10 Toxins Compromising Your Health & Wellbeing.
The Role Of Processed Foods In Hormones
At different ages and stages of life, men and women have different nutritional requirements. Food and nutrition has changed tremendously over the years. More processed food is available and even in whole foods, fruits & vegetables, there is a dramatic shift in the toxicity that plays a big role in hormones. Lots of Xeno estrogens and toxins are clogging up our metabolic pathways which in turn clog up hormone pathways. Xeno estrogens mimic estrogen. For example, BPA (Bisphenol A) found in canned fruits, vegetables and plastic bottles has led to breast bud development and puberty happening at younger ages. Xeno estrogens also mess with women’s menstrual cycles. My advice is to always stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where fresh fruits and vegetables are available because that’s all we need. Don’t go into the aisles where the crap, chemicalized, refined, artificial and processed stuff is available. Be mindful of what you are buying and eating – Adopt non-GMO only. Think about the body as a bucket with different detox capabilities. Some people genetically have a bucket that is fuller so it is important to avoid extra things like gluten, dairy or meat that the body does not need. The body needs essential fats, water, amino acids and carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables not sandwich bread, pasta or rice.
For more details on how to build your resiliency for better mental health with nutrition and detoxification listen to the Self-Care Goddess Podcast episode #29 with Paul Demeda.
Take Home Message
If you are resonating with the above discussion, experiencing symptoms or are in perimenopause /menopause stages here are some easy steps to get started:
- Talk to your practitioner.
- Take inventory of your sleep.
- How do you manage stress? Do you need to gain more stress management tools like going for a walk each day, get rid of processed food, focus on sleep etc.?
- Do a bunch of needed and recommended lab tests and connect with a holistic wellness practitioner to interpret it as opposed to a physician or nurse.
Live by the day. The menopause transition is an amazing time for women to find their voices which they’ve hidden while taking care of people. Think about what you love and what is important to you. The world needs more female leadership because women tend to be the peacemakers who lead with love versus war.
Listen to the full podcast episode #90 on the Self-Care Goddess Podcast.
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I look forward to connecting with you and learning more about your story and your health and wellness goals. Schedule a FREE introduction call here.