If you're anything like me, symptoms of peri/menopause took you totally by surprise! What are those hot flashes? That moodiness? The fatigue? The feeling that if your head weren't attached to your neck that you'd lose it?
I remember being in North Carolina on a family vacation when it occurred to me that it wasn't business as usual and in that moment I took control of my menopause instead of letting it control me! I spent years discovering the foods to eat, lifestyle changes and the herbal,vitamin and mineral supplements to take that kept me from having to rely on traditional hormone replacement therapy. I became a real biohacker....Someone who spent their days really looking at what was making their body tick and learning everything that she could about making the changes that would bring abut the most balance through a personal recipe of nutritional , medical , philosophical studies and because I'm truly a geek, the use of the latest technologies!
I made the choice to turn menopause into one of the sexiest and most satisfying times of my life and you can too! My 50's are better than my 30's ever were..no question! I look and feel better at 54 than I ever did at 24 ! I'm not saying that it was always easy because it required some very hard work and more than a little courage on my part, but it was worth it! Just ask my husband who was really patient and kind through the whole process once he understood what was really going on!
So you can trust me when I say that life can be good..even great as you move through these changes! Goodbye mercy sex! When we're done you'll want to flirt more, love more , hug more and trust me, sex IS even better than before because you will learn to get comfortable enough to express what you really want in bed. You want your best friend back? Trust me..he's as confused as you are! You'll be thrilled because you're going to stop putting up with what you don't want and start having a life you love filled to the brim with the vitality and sensuality you deserve. Doesn't that sound like lot's more fun?
One of the things that I learned in my journey is that you've got to know where to look for help and that starts with getting clear about how you're feeling about things.You're not alone here so don't be afraid to ask for help.Choose courage...you'll never regret it!
As a result of my personal journey through hormonal hell, I was led to Dr. Sara Gottfried's book "The Hormone Cure" and after loving what I read and practicing her protocols on myself, I chose to become trained to coach her methodologies so that I could add these brilliant techniques to what I already knew about creating optimal hormone balance through primary food and wellness management.
To be clear, you're not crazy...your sex drive did just disappear overnight and your hair is probably getting thinner. Yes, that's teenage acne and I know that you're in your 40s! That muffin top around your middle that no diet in the world has gotten rid of? You're not lazy...your cortisol levels are probably out of balance. I can promise you that you probably don't hate your husband, but maybe you've got an inbalance of estrogen or a sluggish thyroid! You haven't had a good nights sleep in months? Lets take a look at your cortisol levels, your blood sugar and melatonin. Sex hurts? You've got aching joints? Serious crabbiness & drastic mood swings? 95 percent of the time the answers to these problems can be found in your lab work and once we have those answers, the solutions can be as easy as some very simple nutritional and lifestyle changes.
I'm living proof that you can get all of your vitality back and more without necessarily having to submit to hormone replacement therapy in your 40's or birth control pills in your 50's ! I even had my gynecologist ask me why I thought I needed him, but that's why he's my Dr....
So here's what I know. From your first to your last period, there are unique challenges that all of us will face and you shouldn't have to do it alone.
I can help you and if I can't , I'll know where to send you so that you can get the knowledgable medical help that you seek and then I will work hand in hand with your Doctor to make sure that you get the support that you need. Believe it or not, most of these complaints can be addressed through simple lifestyle changes. Like I said, I'm living proof! If not, there are physicians who will be happy to help you heal without making you feel like an idiot. I'll give you ask all of the right questions to ask, so we get you all of the right answers!
So ladies its time to toss the botox, the unnecessary emotional baggage AND the baggy sweat pants - Are you ready to fall madly in love with your whole life? Contact me and I'll send you a link to a quick quiz that you can take that will give us an initial yet effective assessment of where your hormones aren't in balance! Then we'll schedule a time to talk by phone where you'll get a complimentary half hour with me to discuss your results. There's no time to waste and only happiness and health to gain! I can help! Contact me today!
I love my job!
Being a Lifestyle,Health and Wellness coach is really satisfying in so many ways although at times it can be really challenging! Today I'll tell the story of one of my clients, a woman that I love dearly who has struggled for years to lose the weight that she wants to!
She's on several different medications which I discovered were causing many of the side effects that she struggles with including hair and libido loss, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, infertility and of course , weight gain. We've tried all kinds of approaches and finally I had her take a simple quiz that would give me a good initial gage as to where her hormones( you know those pesky little bits of our being that regulate EVERYTHING?) aren't in balance.
Her results were not surprising... High Cortisol, Low Cortisol ( you can have both at different times throughout the day!) l, Low Thyroid, out of balance testosterone and progesterone , out of whack androgens.
She was of course really upset and I assured her that I thought that we'd stumbled upon the root cause of her problems. The next step is a clear set of labs , lifestyle changes and after that , a straightforward discussion with her internist if we can't budge the scales in two weeks.
This client is among my luckiest though. As an herbalist and coach I don't ever prescribe... I educate and suggest. I can't (out of professional responsibility ) educate her about some of the supplements that I normally might, because I'll never take the chance of allowing her to take anything on my watch that could blend badly with her prescribed medicines.
Because of these limitations she has access to the most elegant and effective "prescription" that I can share with her and that is the clean , whole and healthy food found at the end of her fork!
Adopting a 70 percent plant based diet, adding lots of clean water, exercise, meditation and removing all sugar and gluten will go along way to balancing her hormones and getting her on the path toward happy, relaxed and prescription free!
To quote..." Food Matters! - You are what you eat!"
I hope that you'll choose to follow me on Facebook!
I'll keep you posted on her progress!
Such a beautiful spring day...Jim has been working from home today and I left first thing this morning to come and work down at the herb gardens for The Western Reserve Herb Society. There is a lot of weeding to be done and for me it becomes a meditation... Breathe in, breathe out... Pull and begin again.
I used to resist weeding until I learned from one of the sage women that I work with here that in a beautiful garden and even one that appears to be wild, everything has it's place.
There's a structure here that's important to honor so that everything grows deep and healthy roots. When you garden with this intention, nothing is crowded out and there is a space for everything... Even the weeds!
I've found that if I apply this same philosophy to my life that everything works... Go slowly, breathe deeply, prune with intention, cut away that which is old and dead so that new life can spring from the roots. Don't hang on to anything that no longer serves you and most importantly? Remember to feed the soil/soul!
The end result of today us that Jim came back down here with me and is sitting under the sundial working while I sit under my favorite Hawthorn trees doing the same.. Life is working perhaps because I've finally learned to let go, weeding my own garden so that the strongest shoots can grow...
I'm so excited because I've got a couple of really special announcements to share with you !
Special Announcement Number 1!
I'm finally getting around to writing THE book! It's called "Skinny Sexy Food- 90 Days from Hot Flashes to Sizzling Hot" and I'm really excited about it! It will be out in November and is the manifesto that I'm writing for women of any age who are wondering how to reignite their zest for life. We'll be discussing diet and targeted hormone health for women, lifestyle enhancements that will smooth out all of your frazzled edges, Orgasmic Meditation (I'll bet that I have your attention now!), yoga, reiki, aromatherapy, herbalism and other relaxing pleasures, fashions, passions and lots of tips for luxurious self nurturing! I'm so excited to share this information with you and you'll be able to pre-order starting in October of 2014!
Special Announcement Number 2!
I'm thrilled to share with you that I am working with Dr. Sara Gottfried to become certified to teach her Hormone Cure! This is the most fascinating work that I've ever done! She has created "The Gottfried Protocols" ; a simple yet thorough program that I will be using starting in June!
Our hormones are almost always responsible for all of the woes that we experience as women; PMS, Infertility, Low sex drive, Hot flashes, extra hair where it shouldn't be.....It's a very daunting list!
We are continually juggling our estrogen, cortisol, progesterone, testosterone and our thyroids and if you're like most women that I know, your adrenal glands are working overtime! I'll be able to help you easily discover which of your hormones are out of balance and I'll be able to offer you some really simple yet scientifically proven protocols that will address lifestyle changes including food, lifestyle, movement and suggestions for effective botanicals and over the counter bio-identicals that you can try along with access to easy and effective lab testing if needed. If you're not working with a Doctor that you trust I'll be able to put you in touch with a medical hormone expert who will treat you with the empathy that you completely deserve!
Im so excited to share what I'm learning with you! If you want to know more about Dr. Sara Gottfried and the work that I'm doing click here!
I love Thanksgiving and it’s become my favorite meal to cook every year. As a child I loved to wake on the day and sneak into the kitchen to watch my mother who was elbow deep in all of her preparations by 7:00 am. I’d spend the morning on a very tall chair dipping my fingers into the stuffing and doing my favorite of the jobs assigned to me which was to stick the marshmallows on the orange and cinnamon scented sweet potato casserole. One for the pan, one for me and on and so on and so forth.
After that, I would set the table with her beautiful Coalport dishes, her wine glasses and her grandmother’s monogrammed sterling. Then she’d send me out to the garden to pick whatever was left of the fall herbs and flowers to put into her napkin rings that were little blocks with holes in them that turned them into vases. I’d arrange them and pull the napkins through. That is still to this day one of my favorite childhood memories.
The Thanksgiving after my mother died was the very first time that I’d ever cooked the whole meal myself. It was also the loneliest holiday of my life. I dreaded the day coming and finally decided that I needed to shake it up a bit. I brined the turkey in a homemade maple, spice and salt brine. I made the sausage for the stuffing from scratch. I didn’t make the scalloped oysters; a dish that is traditional at my family’s thanksgiving table yet almost universally disliked! Instead of serving wine, I served a vast array of delicious hard ciders and artisanal beers ending with some very fine port. In short I allowed myself to be really creative instead of just sticking to the tried and true and it ended up being a really great day!
As the years have gone on, I’ve noticed that there are more and more children like me. No matter how old we are, if we’ve lost our parents and there’s no other family in town, we generally feel like orphans at this time of year.
I’ve had several Thanksgivings since that first that have been pretty spectacular, but I discovered that I needed to recreate the holiday completely.
I’ve done this is by shedding all of my superstitions and being brave enough to keep only the traditions that I love while adding plenty of new dishes. Instead of the requisite oysters, I made shrimp and spicy cheese grits. I’m a Yankee girl through and through but I love rich Mexican flavors so instead of rubbing my turkey with plain butter and fine herbs I use a paste of smoky ancho chiles, garlic, butter, smoked salt, cumin and chili powder!
I realize that with this next statement that I am killing off two of the truly sacred cows of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I’m taking a deep breath now before I say it. Here goes! I REALLY hated the sweet potatoes with the exception of all of those delicious marshmallows. I truly dislike most versions of pumpkin pie.
Incredibly enough I’m still here!
What I do instead is make a puree of cauliflower, carrots, turnips, onion, garlic and sweet potatoes that I season with a browned butter, fig infused balsamic vinegar and sage reduction. To replace the pumpkin pie that no one eats, I serve a pumpkin and peanut butter soup as a starter and a side dish that is a pumpkin stuffed with a traditional sage, cornbread, sausage and chestnut stuffing and then baked until it’s buttery and tender. Dessert is an exquisite French Canadian maple pie and latte’s made of chai tea and sweetened pureed pumpkin.
What I’ve kept the same? My mother set the most beautiful Thanksgiving table full of brass candlesticks, autumn fruits and vegetables spilling out of her collection of cornucopias and lots of chocolate turkeys and pilgrims. She always had a beautiful centerpiece on the buffet table that she made herself of mums, sunflowers, rust colored roses and fresh pine. I set the table with her Coalport china and her grandma’s silver. I still walk into my garden regardless of the weather to get the herbs and flowers for the napkin rings.
I serve my mothers nutmeg and garlic infused creamed spinach and never ever will I be able to have a holiday table without a healthy bowlful of her mashed potatoes because Alex would never come for dinner again. I am sworn to secrecy with this recipe but I will say two things- one bag of russet potatoes to three sticks of butter. Alex’s place setting is always set with a bottle of A1 sauce his favorite condiment since childhood and the one thing allowed on her table that wasn’t silver, porcelain or crystal. Such is the strength of a grandmother’s love.
If you are finding yourself in the same position as I did so many years ago I hope to have given you a way to create a holiday of your own that is rich in memories and full of new traditions. It is the only way that I have known to move on while at the same time honoring those who are at the very core of our memories. If you are lucky enough to still have all of your loved ones at the table take a look around and cherish every one of them and know that from my table come wishes to you and yours for a fabulous holiday season filled with too much laughter and love.
This was originally published in CVT Currents ~ November 2013
It’s such a wonderful time of the year to become engaged! If you have, then you’re already aware with the first flush of romantic fervor and excitement that there’s SO much to be done in such a short amount of time! Choosing the date, finding the perfect place for the reception, creating the perfect atmosphere with flowers and food, and in my mind, the most important choice of all, The Bridal Registry! I remember so many times when couples became engaged in our store moments after he bought the ring that she was just glancing shyly at! I’ve cried many happy tears, when years later, these same sweet girls, now young mothers, brought their new babies for me to hold when they came home for the holidays! I’ve always loved the fun of the bridal registry, watching our couples begin to create their lives together, listening to them talk about how they wanted to entertain their friends and families!
It was always such fun watching them when they saw our china room for the first time, laughing with excitement as they realized that their choices weren’t limited to just the few things that they had seen in department stores or magazines! A fine gift store will have beautiful china, crystal and silver from all around the world, and many pieces of gorgeous giftware that you won’t ever see in a “big box” store! It can be very confusing at that first glance, and I loved my role as navigator through the registry process, so that the gifts that our couples chose for themselves really reflected the two of them as well as the family that they would eventually create. Remember that the responsibility of maintaining your bridal registry is a gift for the store/s that you select and you should be treated with a lot of respect by the consultants who work there! Don’t register with a store if the sales help is unfriendly or if you are treated impatiently. They are going to become an extension of your family for a while and you’ll, need to be able to count on them to be patient, calm and caring, especially when the wedding date begins to seem too close for comfort! Make sure that the registry has a good return policy, so that you can take a few months to get settled into your new life without having to worry about being stuck with too many ice buckets or silver trays! Be sure to ask about the store policy for special ordering the pieces from your registry that aren’t in stock. Good stores will have a gift certificate that they will send before the gift is actually ordered for you, so that you can choose whether or not to keep it. If you are registering at more than one store, you’ll need to get a good journal to keep track of your gifts. This way, the stores you’ve chosen don’t have to deal with stocking and handling unnecessary merchandise, and you aren’t aggravated because you’ve received 3 Havilland gravy boats! Once you’ve been given a platter, or anything that you want only one of, please update the other registries quickly so that they can focus on selling all of the other lovely gifts that you want! Keeping pre-stamped thank you notes nearby and writing them as soon as you receive a gift or certificate guarantees that they’ll never become an unfinished chore!
Make sure that you understand what the policy and charges are for shipping your presents, as ideally you will want your gifts shipped as soon as the store receives them unless you have instructed otherwise. It is important to understand how they will handle any UPS tracking issues that they need to when a package is missing. Feel free to ask all of the questions that you need to, so that you understand how your registry will be handled. Fine specialty stores are usually very busy during the bridal season, and by being as specific as possible in the beginning, you will avoid any unnecessary problems down the road. Gift wrapping is usually complimentary, but if you are environmentally conscious and don’t wish to have your packages wrapped that’s okay too! Just make sure that the consultant that you’re working with lists ALL of your special requests on your registry so that they are not accidentally overlooked!
My last piece of practical advice is, PLEASE don’t make the mistake of choosing a store based only on heavily discounted price. The best stores offer wonderful service, knowledgeable help and the newest patterns! Please send your guests to the store that has willingly spent so much time and effort helping you select all of your beautiful gifts. The service that you are receiving from a wonderful store does come with a price tag but it’s really worth spending the extra percentage that you would be saving if you registered with one of the catalog discounters. Knowledgeable giftware consultants are expensive to hire but they are so important for guaranteeing the wonderful experience that you, your husband and grandchildren will appreciate for a lifetime!
The chances are far better with a specialty store that you’ll get the level of service that you desire. When something comes in broken, or isn’t quite right, a fine store will have the experience to handle the problem. Most will bend over backwards to deliver a package personally if a guest comes in at the last minute and says “Please, can’t you somehow get it to her today?” I can’t tell you how many rehearsal dinners I’ve taken gifts to, or how many times I ran to the engravers in the middle of the night to have something redone that wasn’t quite right and needed in the morning! Remember, you deserve the finest service that any store has to offer, but when a store has to compete with a large discounter for a sale, great service becomes too expensive for most specialty stores to provide. Because the process of planning an extraordinary wedding can be so frantic, this is one time when you’ll definitely want fantastic service!
Spend a lot of time enjoying the process of registering! It is important for you to be able to walk around with the plates and glasses in your hands, living with them for awhile. If you’re leaving the store after the first time without a clear decision, a good rule of thumb is that the first plate that you remember after you’ve left will be the pattern that has captivated you! Concentrate on choosing the dinner plate first, because if you think of the table as a blank canvas, the dinner plate will become the largest focal point in your painting! If you have them, bring swatches of fabric, pictures of your dining room or anything else that will help you convey the feeling that you desire. A great store will have consultants who know quite a lot about interior design, helping you to choose incredible combinations of color, style and texture that will allow you to create many different looks from your new set of dishes! For example, the stunning Old Imari pattern which is very formal/traditional and frequently coupled with antique sterling, can be dressed down to an almost contemporary level for an exotic Japanese dinner by using a gilded straw placemat, chopsticks and glassware whose design mirrors the strong shapes that are found in the plate. After you’ve chosen the plate, have fun getting to know the many crystal patterns available, and finally choose silverware or stainless to complete your gorgeous table setting! Don’t worry about it if you fall in love with more than one crystal pattern, mix them together! If you love colored crystal, it can be mixed with clear crystal to create an enchanting effect!
Remember to select a gorgeous pair of candlesticks for your table because mixtures of cut and simple crystal as well as different combinations of flatware are at their loveliest by candlelight! Don’t hesitate to ask the consultant if you can take your patterns home overnight, so that you can get to know them for a bit without distraction. Most stores will happily let you do this, with the agreement that they are returned unharmed the next day. After you’ve completed your registry, all that’s left to do is wait with happy anticipation for the first gifts to arrive, and once your wedding day has come and gone, the two of you can spend many quiet romantic dinners together , mixing new traditions with the old , creating the perfect blend of family!
I’m wishing you a wonderful life together filled with all of the joy and breathlessness that a great marriage can bring!