Perimenopause Symptom Relief – Sleep, Mood Swings and Weight Gain

July 13, 2020

Two nutritionists share common perimenopause symptoms and how to start finding relief through nutrition. No need to accept the unpleasant symptoms as a way of life, take control back!

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Transcript

MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Melanie Beasley and I've been a registered and licensed dietitian for over 30 years.

BRITNI: LOTS of experience.

MELANIE: Lots of years! Throughout the years, I've worked with both women and men with a wide range of health issues. I know you have too Britni. I've worked with many more women than men, but I am happy to say many men also realize the important role of nutrition and what it has in supporting their good health, wellbeing, their overall quality of life. Our topic this morning is geared towards women as we will be discussing perimenopause symptoms and how to find some relief. My co host today is Britni Vincent, who's just back from maternity leave. I saw wonderful pictures of her beautiful new baby.

BRITNI: Thank you!

MELANIE: She looks fantastic. Can't even believe you even had a baby.

BRITNI: Thank you, Melanie.

MELANIE: Well done! Britni's also a registered and licensed dietitian and she has a special interest in helping couples achieve fertility and pregnancy. So I guess you could speak to that very well with your clients right now.

BRITNI: Yes. Yeah, it's fitting for sure. Well, I'm happy to be back. Ezra Is now four and a half months. The time has flown by, but Melanie, you mentioned fertility and pregnancy. I've been delighted to be able to help many different couples with their fertility issues and I actually just got an email a couple of weeks ago from a client who said she's pregnant!

MELANIE: Oh, that's great.

BRITNI: Those are the best emails. Makes so happy, but let's jump into our discussion today about perimenopause symptoms and how you can get relief from these symptoms. So I think first things first is we want to describe what perimenopause is and what some of the symptoms are that women may experience. So what is perimenopause anyways? Well, it is a time when women begin to have irregular periods, it often starts to occur around 38 to 45 years, and it can last about three to four years. Of course, those times can vary a little bit person to person. But during this time, a lot of women experience a variety of different symptoms such as those erratic periods and often they're coupled by heavy bleeding, sometimes cramping.

MELANIE: Yeah, I just had a client yesterday and it was, she was so frustrated because you know, you think you're sort of on the tail end and it just ramps up and she was pretty darn miserable. So, during perimenopause, many women express that they're experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, fatigue, and the heavy bleeding that we mentioned. Other women report very few symptoms. Wow.

BRITNI: Yeah. Lucky!

MELANIE: And we don't hear from those women, right, because they're pretty happy.

BRITNI: No we don't.

MELANIE: In fact, women in Japan, Korea, and other Southeast Asia countries report very few symptoms possibly due to lifestyle changes. And hormone experts believe lifestyle habits and food choices can determine the severity of symptoms.

BRITNI: Yeah. A lot of my clients, they've been told these symptoms occur because a lack of estrogen. They're simply told that their ovaries are not producing enough estrogen and that's the problem. But Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of *Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom* said in her book, "this belief of an estrogen deficiency is based on incomplete information." She went on to say, "it's actually progesterone, another hormone made by the ovaries, that is most likely to be deficient during perimenopause."

MELANIE: Hmm. Your moods and how well you sleep...those are affected too, right?

BRITNI: Absolutely.

MELANIE: Your energy, your libido, your general health are determined by having an adequate or inadequate amount of hormone, the hormone progesterone. So this is very important. So I'm going to say it again. Another way: a woman's sense of wellbeing at perimenopause and menopause depends on having an adequate level of progesterone. Our bodies are very wise and when our ovaries start to slow down, other organs such as the adrenal glands are capable of making some of these hormones depending on a woman's lifestyle and food choices of course. It is truly amazing that the female body has that ability to make healthy hormonal adjustments. Sadly, about 85% of women experience hot flashes, sleep problems, mood swings, while the other 15% of women are pretty much symptom-free...those women we were talking about. Your nutrition and stress level can definitely make all the difference.

BRITNI: It really can.

MELANIE: And I've had...I know when I with cancer, I went through a total hysterectomy at the age of 40, I had hot flashes for 10 years, not knowing so much of this information. Every 20 minutes. So yeah. Wish I would have known what I know now.

BRITNI: Yeah. And we hear that. I mean, women just start to eat real food and...

MELANIE: Balance it out.

BRITNI: Yeah. It's it's amazing. And you know, there's a study of 35,000 British women... this study found that women whose diets were high in oily fish and fresh legumes delayed perimenopause by about three and a half years. And as dietitians and nutritionists, we really understand that close relationship between nutrition and hormonal balance. And in healthy women, those adrenal glands that Melanie had had mentioned, they'll be able to gradually take over some hormone production from the ovaries. But on the other hand, if you have lived a high stress life and made poor food choices most of your life, your adrenal glands are going to be in a weakened condition. And they're just not going to be able to do that for you. And if you're waking up feeling tired, groggy, can't get going until that first or even maybe second cup of coffee, you need sugary snacks, more caffeine to get you through the day, having trouble falling asleep at night, you're filled with worry anxiety.. those would all be signs that your adrenal glands may be close to running on empty. What I think a lot of people don't realize too is if you have this stressful lifestyle, your body will actually start to reduce this progesterone production even before perimenopause. So if you're going into perimenopause with maybe a lower progesterone already, things could be even worse for you during this time,

MELANIE: You know, and circling back to what you said when, when people are trying to get through their day and so they're now they're having all the coffee, that caffeine, maybe diet Cokes, they're throwing in some sugary snacks to maintain, it's sort of like throwing logs on that fire. It's fueling the problem. And, but so many people are just trying to survive every day and people are stressed right now.

BRITNI: Yeah, for sure.

MELANIE: Encouraging them, you know, so much to take care of their bodies right now because people are stressed. And so I bet our listeners are wondering what are some of those life stressors that zap natural hormone production? Well, obviously our situation right now in our country could. There could be more one or more of these: fear, worry, anger, guilt, excessive exercise can be a big stressor to the body.

BRITNI: Yeah, I've seen that a lot.

MELANIE: Exposure to environmental toxins, eating too many refined carbs. I'm thinking chips, bread and cakes, muffins. Eating too many sugary treats, lack of sleep, chronic pain, and even a lack of vitamin D, which could be due to not enough sunlight, staying indoors, not eating those proper foods that are high in vitamin D.

BRITNI: And these are all stressors and our body doesn't know the difference between one stressor to another. Right? I think that's important to mention that too, but we also know that when women no longer ovulate, they're no longer producing progesterone. So when women's progesterone levels drop, they often experience problems sleeping through the night. These women often wake up in the middle of the night cause their feeling anxious, a worried brain. And progesterone is actually considered the calming hormone. So an interesting observation is that when women take a common birth control pill, they no longer ovulate. So if they're no longer ovulating, again, that progesterone production starts to reduce, and this can be happening if you're taking birth control at the age of 16, your progesterone is already starting to reduce. So the unfortunate side effect of not ovulating is anxiety, trouble sleeping, weight gain, diminished sex drive. So they're all listed as a warning or caution on the top selling oral contraceptive drug sheets, but often overlooked, right? Many people don't realize that.

MELANIE: And I'm seeing so much anxiety in younger and younger population of our clients right now. And it's really, it's really sad. I mean, they're struggling. So this definitely could be a contributing factor.

BRITNI: Without a doubt. And you know, when taking the birth control pills, also the risk of morbidity and mortality increases significantly due to obesity and diabetes.

MELANIE: Wow. Britni understanding hormones is very, very complex.

BRITNI: It is!

MELANIE: I know it's actually one of your specialties. I know I will text you and when I have a little troubling...

BRITNI: Well, it is a special interest of mine because I've definitely dealt with it myself, you know? Um, but I think before we dive into the complexity of hormones more, let's take a break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Today we're discussing perimenopause those years before menopause starts. And perimenopause usually starts when women are in their forties, but for some it might start in their thirties. And during this time, women can often experience symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep problems, even bouts of anxiety, so please stay with us to help you understand this transitional time in a woman's life.

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. A shared concern of many women during perimenopause is weight gain. There can be a number of reasons for weight gain during this time. Weight gain may be due to a lack of progesterone and excess amount of estrogen. And during perimenopause women ovulate less frequently or often times ovulate stops completely. So progesterone... no progesterone is produced like you were saying. Well, lack of progesterone can lead to sleep problems, mood swings, and yes, weight gain. Estrogen is considered a fat stimulating hormone and progesterone is the calming hormone. So when we went to break, we were talking about how much these hormones are so complex.

BRITNI: Oh there so... it's complicated.

MELANIE: And you have, uh, you have sort of been, um, as I was saying, Britni is sort of someone in the company that we feel confident in going to with latest research... asking...I mean, you've really helped educate us. So that's been fantastic. Keep that up.

BRITNI: I'm happy to hear that.

MELANIE: But understanding hormones can be very complicated for us, much less our clients.

BRITNI: Oh for sure.

MELANIE: And what we're told in the past has been found to be inaccurate and incomplete because we're always learning and discovering. So it can be very overwhelming when trying to understand the complexity of it all. So I'm going to refer to hormone expert Dr. Christian Northrup and she wrote in her book *Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom* "When irregularity in the menstrual cycle begins during menopause a woman's symptoms, such as headaches and irritability, will often be due to an increase level of estrogen relative to progesterone caused by a decreased ovulation." And this is known as estrogen dominance.

BRITNI: We say that word a lot or that phrase. So I wanna dig deeper into estrogen dominance. So simply put when a man or a woman, yes, it can happen to men. When they have too much estrogen in their body for good health, they're estrogen dominant. And it also matters in relation to our progesterone. So if you have excess estrogen, but you also have low progesterone, then that makes you even more estrogen dominant and your symptoms are probably going to be a lot worse. And I think a lot of women fall into that category as well.

MELANIE: It's miserable.

BRITNI: Yeah. And as a large majority of women now, the most common complaint during perimenopause is that weight gain and researcher and author Dr. Anthony Jay explains in his book, *Estrogeneration*, that estrogenics or artificial estrogens are stored in fat and these artificial estrogens stimulate fat growth. Dr. Anthony Jay explains that when you buy certain plastic wrapped food items, you are getting a fat stimulus package.

MELANIE: Terrifying.

BRITNI: It is terrifying.

MELANIE: To think about what we're, what, we're, what we don't even realize that we're doing to our body sometimes.

BRITNI: And it just turns into this vicious fat creating, fat storage cycle.

MELANIE: I think our clients want to think about storing hot plastic water bottles in your car right now. So when you drink unfiltered water contaminated with atrazine, parabens, and BPA, you're getting a fat stimulus package. When you use most fragrance-containing deodorants, you're getting a fat stimulus package. Dr. Anthony Jay said that artificial estrogens spur obesity. Excess artificial estrogens actually switch on fat growth. I think about the, um, some of my young clients on birth control pills that put on 10 or 15 pounds in the first month

BRITNI: And like you said Melanie, people aren't aware of all these exposures. So what I'd encourage you all to do as listeners is take a look, what are you cleaning with? What are you putting on your body? We need to be aware of all of those things, cause what you're going to find is a lot of these products just make you more estrogen dominant. And those access artificial estrogens are not only associated with obesity, but also with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, even depression. And based on our research findings from Dr. Anthony, Jay and other researchers, we never want to add extra estrogen to our body. We actually want to have an ongoing detoxifying plan to eliminate the extra estrogens. And as dietitians and nutritionists, we set up a specific estrogen detoxification plans for our clients because there's enough research out there that illustrates a connection between many different diseases and this excess artificial estrogen, again, particularly cancer and obesity. So detoxifying your body of excess estrogen, it takes time. This does not happen overnight. And again for me, this was key in my hormone balancing process is getting rid of these excess estrogens. At Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we believe a detoxification plan, it needs to start with real food. We always want to start with food and it needs to start slowly. So vegetables, specifically cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beet greens. They're excellent estrogen detoxifiers.

MELANIE: Yes, I'm loving the radishes right now and even roasting radishes is really tasty. So that's been new for me, but now Britni and I are going to share some proven tips that will help you reduce some of these perimenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. One simple remedy is to stop eating sugar and processed carbs. The end.

BRITNI: Easier said than done.

MELANIE: Yes! This is, this is hard, especially when we reach for those because they're comfort food or you're reaching for something on the lake that you've always you've always done. So this may mean you need to think twice about drinking alcohol. You may need to give up your hot cocoa or tea that's filled with sugar or artificial flavored creamers. Another very important way to detoxify estrogens and reduce perimenopausal symptoms is to eat every two to three hours. Certainly every three to four. Eat some grass fed meat, wild caught fish or eggs, a variety of vegetables, and about one tablespoon of healthy, beneficial fat, and many women find supplementing with magnesium glycinate and natural progesterone cream helps to reduce or eliminate hot flashes. I've had great luck with vitamin E as well.

BRITNI: Yeah. And you know, eating regularly enough and adding the fat that keeps your blood sugar stable, which prevents stress on the body. When our blood is all over the place, that's extremely stressful for our body as well. So we're talking about hot flashes, but about 20% of women experience mood imbalance during perimenopause. And researchers have discovered excess estrogens and low levels of progesterone are often associated with depression. Excess levels of estrogen, they actually block the serotonin pathway. And when that happens, lack of motivation can occur along with overall sadness. Many women find they cry too easily when they have excess estrogen and low progesterone in their body. Women and men need to become aware of these personal exposures to this harmful damaging artificial estrogens for the sake of their own health. And for instance, a common health offender is oil stored in plastic buckets that will most likely be used in one of the restaurants or fast food drive throughs that you go to. So thinking about industrial refined oils, such as soybean oil, just sitting in a plastic bucket and that's going to be used to make any of your fried foods. Yeah, not a pretty picture.

MELANIE: Not a good pretty picture.

BRITNI: Now it's time for us to go to break, so we will continue this when we get back. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Over the 4th of July, I connected with some friends over zoom, but several of them complained about weight gain during the COVID stay-at-home order. I mean, we're hearing this a lot.

MELANIE: We are.

BRITNI: They had not been going to the gym, finding themselves just wandering in the kitchen, stress eating. And I'm sure a lot of you are experiencing the same problems. And all of a sudden your jeans are too tight. Your summer clothes might not be fitting the way you want. And so after break, we'll discuss some possible ways for you to get back on track.

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you are struggling with recently acquired the eight to 15 extra pounds, let me suggest the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series that starts July 14th. Currently we're unable to teach these classes in house at any of our office locations, BUT we can teach these classes via zoom to you in the comfort of your own home, in your jammies or your sweat pants. Our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series includes 12 week classes, two individual appointments with one of our dietitians or nutritionists, and at this time we're offering a bonus nutrition appointment to you for taking the series.

BRITNI: That's a great deal.

MELANIE: That's a great deal. Throughout the 12 weeks, you can get your personal questions answered and you will learn all about eating real food in balance and how to cook this healthy nutrient dense food in your own kitchen. You'll get new recipes, new ideas, a cookbook to help you cope with these current stressful times. And in three months you can look better with healthier skin, you can feel better with more energy and better moods. Call (651) 699-3438 or go to weightandwellness.com to sign up for this life changing series. It's fantastic.

BRITNI: It is fantastic. And Melanie and I are actually co-teaching one of these classes. So our class is going to be Tuesdays at noon. And last time I checked, we only have five spots left

MELANIE: So I'm excited.

BRITNI: Yeah, it'll be great.

MELANIE: This is our first class we've ever taught together.

BRITNI: It is.

MELANIE: And this is our first radio show.

BRITNI: I know! Weird.

MELANIE: A first!

BRITNI: So before the break, I was talking about that icky big bucket of soybean oil or whatever refined oil. So just imagining that that's bad on so many levels. And so avoiding that, of course, and if you want fewer symptoms, it's really important to take fewer risks to avoid these artificial estrogens.

MELANIE: Yeah, I would agree with you. And it's... there's a lot of options that we give people who miss sort of those fried foods, you know, and, and that flavor profile. Another symptom of perimenopause symptoms that we briefly mentioned is vaginal dryness. I always tell my clients who are experiencing perimenopause symptoms that it is important to hydrate the vaginal tissue with healthy fats and oils. And to make sure they're drinking eight to 10 glasses of filtered water daily. So that might mean adding a good fatty acid supplement like GLA and vitamin E. And of course it's important to have a sufficient level of vitamin D for any perimenopause symptoms.

BRITNI: One thing that's worked for a lot of my clients is actually using coconut oil as a moisturizer vaginally. That works great.

MELANIE: Best kept secret. I guess it's out now.

BRITNI: Everybody knows. I realized many years ago that my unhealthy eating habits, which my body was able to tolerate in my teens and my early twenties, but I've realized it would not be wise for my long term hormonal health. So I really committed to getting rid of processed carbs, the junk food. I mean, when I look at what I was eating, it's appalling. It's yeah...

MELANIE: But you couldn't know what you didn't know.

BRITNI: Exactly. Yup. Yup. And was it easy? No, of course not. Making these changes are not easy. I have a sweet tooth, but I did it over time. You know, it's a process. I think that's important for all of our listeners to understand. Making these changes is a process that takes time. You need to be patient with yourself, but I'm so happy I made that decision so I could get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby...

MELANIE: And be comfortable in that process.

BRITNI: Yes. Yeah. That's important. And if so, if you're ready to change your eating, what I encourage you to do: take the next three to five days and write down everything you eat and EVERY.THING. So those little handfuls of chips or chocolate here and there. Write that down. Cause when I saw everything I had eaten on paper in black and white, it was shocking and I'll periodically do this too.

MELANIE: I do too.

BRITNI: But it made it a lot easier to have that awareness and allow me to cut out those foods. And I also included on that food journal, how I felt. So then I could tie certain things like my headaches to foods. Well that made it even more motivating to cut things out.

MELANIE: Pain really motivates, or relief of it, really motivates. And you know, Britni, what you were saying about, it's a process...it IS a process and taking a few steps, having a team member, a nutritionist dietitian, to walk with you, you start taking the steps at your pace and pretty soon you look back and go, wow, look at, look at me, check me out. But I always tell my clients, your health is worth it. If not now, when? When are you going to do it? And we understand that changing your diet can often seem very overwhelming. Few people can actually change overnight. However, our estrogen detox plan is well thought out plan and a process that has resulted in balancing hormones for so many of our clients. Now is a great time to start because we are encouraged to cook real food at home and due to this very unfamiliar time in our lives, it's something that has helped many, many clients because it is also a great time. That we could go to the grocery stores, the farmer's markets, we can make real food in our home or nourishing, not only ourselves, but our families with fresh and tasty vegetables. I think it's, it's done some good for a lot of us.

BRITNI: Some silver linings. Yeah. Yeah. And I found personally how I start my day seems to make or break my commitment. And I think that's true for a lot of people. I always, if there's one thing you change, I always recommend breakfast because it does tend to make or break things for the day. And currently this statistic is one in eight. Women will get breast cancer and I keep those numbers in mind to remind me WHY I made this commitment and to keep my commitment going as well. I eat lots of vegetables, specifically, those cruciferous veggies that we were talked about earlier: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, radishes you mentioned Melanie. These are great vegetables to help your body detoxify these harmful artificial estrogens that have been linked to so many different hormonal problems and even cancer. I love grilled or roasted Brussels sprouts. I've tossed in healthy, natural fats oils: coconut oil, avocado oil. I don't use olive oil when I roast my vegetables because I tend to cook at a higher heat. And so that coconut oil or avocado oil, those have higher smoke points, which means you can heat them hotter. Whereas olive oil has a low smoke point. So that should really just be used at low temperatures or as a dressing.

MELANIE: Because it can become a damaged fat, which we're trying to avoid.

BRITNI: Right. Exactly. And as I pointed out earlier, restaurants, they're absolutely using refined oils: soybean, corn oil, canola oil, all of that. And those are going to interfere with balanced hormones. You know, I find one easy way to get the cruciferous vegetables: switch up your salads instead of greens, maybe you have it over cabbage or coleslaw or broccoli slaw. That's so easy - you can buy that anywhere.

MELANIE: I love curly kale salad. You just wash it, stem it, and you roll it up and cut it really thin and dress that. It's one of my favorites. Or arugula.

BRITNI: Lots of ideas, easy ideas.

MELANIE: One habit that I established after having breast cancer is I only eat meats that are grass fed animals. I think it's important to avoid meat and poultry that have been fed synthetic hormones to speed up their growth process. I will skip salmon rather than eating farm salmon. I just don't want those toxins. Look for hormone free and antibiotic free meats and poultry from organic farmers. I think that's really critical for our listeners to hear

BRITNI: It is critical. And so organic does not necessarily mean grass fed either.

MELANIE: Good point.

BRITNI: You want to look for both of those keywords or if it's chicken or a turkey it's free range that you're looking for. The labeling makes it confusing. I think. Well, another thing I hear a lot about from my clients is fibrocystic breast disease. And that affects about 60% of women. That's a lot. And there's definitely a connection between what you eat and fibrocystic breast disease. And what we found is diets high in caffeine from coffee, soda, tea, chocolate, cocoa, the energy drinks...

MELANIE: They're everywhere.

BRITNI: They're everywhere. Those all have been strongly connected to fibrocystic breast disease. BUT when my clients, they get rid of that caffeine out of their diet, they're thrilled that those painful breast lumps, they've disappeared. And just the general estrogen detoxification that we work on with clients, that's significantly going to reduced the fibrocystic breasts too.

MELANIE: It can be surprising the amount of caffeine that we get in sort of hidden sources we weren't even thinking about. To wrap up today's show, I'd like to call attention to breast cancer. It's one of my passions is helping women who have experienced or are experiencing breast cancer. Both animal and human research studies link high sugar eating with increased rates of breast cancer. Especially for those over the age of 45. I was at 41 when I was diagnosed. Cancer cells need as much as 10 times more glucose or sugar to live and grow then normal cells. That's said it is critically important to stop eating high sugar processed foods to prevent breast cancer and other cancers as well. When you pull out your sheet where you will jot down everything that you're eating and drinking for about three to five days, what do you see? Will you see that you need to give up that morning glass of juice that you have at breakfast? Surprisingly, that's a big sugar load. So quick story: I have a client who had colorectal cancer, she's going through chemo. And when she would go into get her chemo treatment, they would give her a very large glass of natural orange juice. Because once she drank that the cancer cells were excited for that sugar load and they were open to receive the chemotherapy that then followed. So I thought, wow, is that very telling about the level of sugar that comes from juice? And we think we're doing a good thing, right? If it's organic, it's healthy. So it might be something we need to give up. Or maybe for you, it might be a sugar ladened coffee drink, or a mocha or something like that. So leave the M&Ms on the vending machine, things like that. But let's talk more about that. When we come back from our break.

BRITNI: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And as Melanie said I'm back from maternity leave. And I want to share with you how healthy my baby is and...

MELANIE: Adorable.

BRITNI: Well, I think so of course... I think you all think your own children are adorable no matter what, but as a new mother, who's a bit biased, I also want to share how beautiful my baby is, but I'm now available for zoom appointments and looking forward to working with you. My schedule has been full, which I love, but my life now is so full, but I love spending time with my new baby, but I also love helping my clients too. So give me a call (651) 699-3438 or book an appointment with me online at weightandwellness.com. Join Cassie and JoAnn next Saturday, as they talk about foods and vitamins to support your immune system. We'll be right back.

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. As I mentioned earlier in the show, when women start perimenopause, ovulation occurs less frequently and they become deficient in the hormone progesterone. Many women find relief from the hot flashes and mood swings when they apply a small amount of progesterone cream right before bed. Again, progesterone is a calming hormone that helps with many perimenopause symptoms, especially sleep. Dr. Northrup, the author of *Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom* recommends using the progesterone cream Progest, which can be ordered from weightandwellness.com. The other products mentioned today are also available online at weightandwellness.com. We offer free shipping to all online orders and if you call in your order, we will have your order available for curbside pickup, if that's what you prefer, you can call (651) 699-3438 and the staff is happy to help you. They're great.

BRITNI: They're so helpful. And we're talking about progesterone cream, I think it's important to mention that that progesterone cream that we're talking about, that's identical to what we produce in our body. It's not a synthetic progesterone that you might receive from a doctor's prescription. Those are very, very different.

MELANIE: It's a good.. It's something to differentiate because I think it's very confusing when people hear, you know, bio identical versus natural versus synthetic.. it's confusing.

BRITNI: It is very confusing. And a lot of people don't have any idea of what they're on, actually.

MELANIE: Well, they just want relief. You know, relief is kind of everything when you're feeling pretty desperate. I mean, I've been there. So, you know, each and every, when we were talking about the glucose load and I was talking about the client, a cancer patient, well each and every one of those foods that we were talking about, which are processed carbohydrates. I'm thinking muffins, pancakes, biscuits, bread. And you know, one of my favorite saying is "if you can't pluck it or chase it, don't eat it." So there is no bread tree or bread animal or pancake bush or muffin root.

BRITNI: As much as we wish there was.

MELANIE: We do! I'd chase that muffin root right down. But, you know, that's a really easy guide for people. Just eat the foods you can pluck or chase. We don't want to have those other foods that are processed that turn rapidly into glucose in our bloodstream because the cancer cells love to feed on those. All of us at Nutritional Weight & Wellness are on a mission to help educate women everywhere on what to eat and to have good hormonal health. And I would throw men in there too. I've seen several men with estrogen dominance. Perimenopause is a great time to take charge of your health. For those of you who have not yet reached perimenopause now is also a great time for YOU to take charge of your health and to avoid some of the unpleasant perimenopause symptoms we've discussed today. I'm thinking adult acne. That is something that is, I'm seeing so much of that is treatable. Very treatable.

BRITNI: So many clients with that.

MELANIE: Yes. And whole body acne is so frustrating, especially in summer. Our dietitians and nutritionists have helped a great many women and men balance their hormonal health. And they would love to help you too. Again, you can give us a call at (651) 699-3438 to set up an appointment with one of our nutrition experts. And I think they'll be happy that they did.

BRITNI: And I'm glad you mentioned younger women because I, you know, a lot of times, of course, perimenopause is not on their radar. Maybe they want to get pregnant in the future, but not even thinking about it. But I always tell those women, you put the work in now, then it's going to be so much less stress in the future, and you're going to feel so much better. The acne. So when I think hormonal acne: chin, jaw line, that cystic painful. It could be the body acne too. PMS symptoms.

MELANIE: Sometimes where you're just feel depressed. Prior to my cancer and hysterectomy, I can remember I had terrible PMS symptoms, not only when it was prior to my cycle, but it was during ovulation. So I had about 10 good days a month.

BRITNI: Oh that's terrible.

MELANIE: Definitely estrogen dominant there, with the acne breakout, but for women now just getting their hormones balanced, they're going to feel so much better.

BRITNI: Yeah they will.

MELANIE: And it helps them down the road with how they're going to perform physically during perimenopause and menopause. And decreasing that risk of breast cancer... Is kind of important. I think most of us are touched by somebody who either has estrogen dominance or an estrogen progesterone cancer risks. And so we want to talk a little bit about what do you eat, right? I mean, you have busy baby, you're in the shut-in, you're a working career woman. What are you making and eating at home?

BRITNI: Easy. Easy stuff.

MELANIE: You bet!

BRITNI: So I think it does make it easier that it is summer. You know, we have access to all these vegetables. I make a lot of different slaws with cabbage, broccoli slaw. Sometimes I'll do the kale, cause that's easy to whip up. I make my own dressing.

MELANIE: What do you put in that?

BRITNI: Mayonnaise, a little apple cider vinegar, sometimes a little mustard, depending on whatever flavor.

MELANIE: And the good mayonnaise right? No soybean or canola,

BRITNI: Of course. No soybean, canola oil. And with the mayonnaise, we talked about labeling earlier with organic versus grass fed. So what we see a lot now is there's mayonnaise that claims it's avocado oil. You HAVE to read the ingredient list, cause it's some of them soybean oil with a liiiittle bit of avocado oil. So check your labels. That's easy. I might top it with nuts or fruit that I have. It's easy to grill, right? We have a freezer full of meat that we're cooking in batches. That's important.

MELANIE: Batch cooking.

BRITNI: Batches of smoothies.

MELANIE: Yeah. And you've always been good about making those batch smoothies, putting them in their refrigerator so you've got one. I tell the clients now when you're in the throws of working at home, when you make a smoothie, double it and then put one in the refrigerator that you can take a bathroom break, go grab another smoothie if that's, if that's how busy you are. Better eating real food, right?

BRITNI: And it's almost, I found for myself and I think I've heard too, it's almost harder working from home to stay on your eating schedule. Right?

MELANIE: Yes! It's too easy.

BRITNI: Yeah, it is. And I know, so you're in the process of moving. You're very busy as well. What are you doing?

MELANIE: I'm keeping it simple. I definitely batch grill if I, and I'm cooking for myself, so if I cook one burger, I cook five. If I cook one piece of salmon, I cook five. And then if I roast platters of vegetables, I'll do that. Sometimes I'll throw a zucchini squash in the crock pot with a little water. I'll put it on high, walk by, when I could stick a fork in it, I've got a zucchini squash I can eat.

BRITNI: Oh what a great idea!

MELANIE: So easy. I'll do the same thing with a head of cauliflower or a head of broccoli. So it doesn't heat up my kitchen and it's cooking and I, when I'm done working zooming phone clients, I've got real food to eat. And you have to do something with it because it's ready. So then what do you do? You butter it up. You eat it. And I've got my salmon. I cooked the night before. And that works the best for me is keeping it simple right now. The last thing I'm packing is my food and my kitchen utensils!

BRITNI: Smart. So our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's simple yet very powerful message. Eating real food really truly is life changing. So thank you so much for joining us today. Be safe, be well.

MELANIE: And have a lovely, lovely summer. Stay cool.

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