"Naturopathic medicine supports the
body's innate ability to heal itself"
Perimenopause....and all its forms.
I recently had a patient tell me all the symptoms she’s been experiencing, & she had no idea that all of them were related the perimenopause. So public service announcement needed to happen.
Perimenopause can sneak up on you. You think menopause, you think that won’t happen until you’re in your 50’s. Unfortunately not. The 10-15 years leading to menopause - aka peri- (surrounding) - menopause can be the worst parts. The changes are many.
Symptoms of Perimenopause:
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each organ system has a time of day where that organ is considered to be most active, in terms of Qi (Vital Force). During this time, the body is paying a little extra attention to this area, whether it is extra blood flow, or perhaps greater nerve stimulus.
In TCM, each organ has an emotion associated with it. So if you’re angry, it’s an issue with the liver. If you’re often in a state of fear, it’s the kidneys. Where I see the TCM time clock pop up is during sleep. I often hear patients saying they always wake up between the hours of 1-3AM. This is the time of the liver. So if you’re going through something in life where you’re feeling stuck, or irritable, your liver is being disturbed. The other common time I hear people say is between 3-5AM. This is the time of the lungs. The lungs are associated with sadness and grief. I find that it’s not always a current situation, but can be an older time of grief. I find that the awareness of these times & the emotional ties described via TCM time clock can help create a shift. Whether it’s through journaling through those feelings/thoughts, meditation, or counselling, sometimes that is enough to create a shift in the insomnia.
When we are eating due to our emotions, we are checking out. We are avoiding the deeper feelings below. Emotional pain hurts! And for some people, emotional pain is far worse than any physical pain. When we check out via food, drugs, alcohol, sex, or even exercise, it is a temporary reprieve from our pain. It creates a temporary dissonance. However, on the other side of that reprieve, remains the reason why you felt you needed to check out. What you are met with, is the feelings of guilt of indulging yet again in your substance of choice.
In some ways food is the worst drug of choice! We can quit smoking, abstain from alcohol, & stop taking drugs, but we can't just stop eating foods. Not for long anyways. So then we must delve into the emotional reasons of why we’re checking out.
Some Questions to ask yourself about your emotions.
Why do you check out?
How does it serve you?
Questions to ask yourself about your emotions & food.
What happens for you while you’re eating?
What happens when you’re finished eating?
What emotions surface during? after?
Choose what you’re eating.
Ask yourself in the 30 seconds before eating a food…
How does this food nourish my body?
Will eating this food give to me? Or take from me?
Will this food cause inflammation & require an increased detox reaction?
Will this food encourage growth & healing?
Choose to eat foods that nourish your body.
When you CHOOSE something, you’ve assessed the pros & cons & then made a decision that is best for you. This doesn’t mean that you never eat a hamburger & fries again, but it does means that 80-90% of the time, you choose to nourish your body with food that gives your body the right information. In essence, that’s what food is - information for your machinery to function.
We all have these strong emotional connections w food. Our associations with food start from our parents. They tell us what to eat, how much to eat, how & when to eat it. The emotional connections they have attained with food are inevitably being passed along to us - whether they realize it or not.
We tend to categorize food as either "good" or "bad". We often say things like - I'm being “good" when eating kale. Or, I'm being “bad" when eating a burger. We've somehow adopted these beliefs that we are being good or bad based on the food we eat. Further still, if we've been on a trend of being "good", we feel we deserve a "treat", or to be "bad".
Food is nourishment.
At its core, that's all it is. We need it for life. But then throw in taste buds, & we can run into some tricky navigation. Healthy food can be delicious! Trust me, I do it all the time in my kitchen. In Vancouver, we are lucky to have so many restaurants filled with healthy options. We have tastes buds for a reason, thus we’re meant to enjoy our food! If you don’t enjoy brussel sprouts, then you don’t have to consume them! :)
Trying avoiding GOOD vs BAD
Try looking at food as an exchange. If I eat this, what do I get out of it? You don’t need to have a background in nutrition to know that vegetables are good for you. Vegetables are the powerhouses of nutritional density. Ideally 50% of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. The more information in your meal, the more your body can utilize those nutrients to heal, repair, & grow.
How do I feel after I eat food?
If you’re craving to have a food that you don’t feel good after, ask yourself before you eat that food…
How will I feel while I’m eating this food?
How will I feel after I’ve eaten this food?
What will this food give me nutritionally?
Now, knowing this, do I choose to eat this food? Maybe not? Maybe yes? You decide.
When we speak negatively about ourselves, it encourages others to speak negatively about themselves.
Your words matter.
How many times have you said, "I'm so fat, I need to lose weight" & your friend joins in by saying, "oh me too, I'm so fat, I hate (fill in the blank body part)." Or "I'm so stupid, I can't believe I did that again" & your friend goes along w the theme of how they were stupid in some way.
Thoughts are just these floating abstract words. They can be truthful, or they can be false. Have you ever heard the phrase, "don't believe every thought you have"? Our own thoughts run rampant in our heads, and they can often speak lie after lie. For someone with depression or anxiety, their thoughts are down right pathological liars. These people are often told "oh you should meditate, that'll fix your problems." The issue lies in the fact that when left with their thoughts to wonder, it can be a scary & dangerous place.
How can I help this myself?
When we have a thought that is negative, 1st ask yourself, wait, is this true? Has someone that knows me & loves me told me this about myself? 2nd, ask yourself, if I were to say this thought out loud to someone who loves me, would they agree w this thought? 3rd. If you were told this same thought by someone you love & adore, what would your reaction be to them?
We are so highly critical of ourselves. Yet, far less of the ones we love.
If we were our own mothers, fathers, caretakers, how would we choose & want to nourish them? How could we support them? Love them? Now go do that for yourself! <3
Since the flood of collagen supplements on the market today, I get asked quite often about the reported, vs actual benefits/results of taking collagen as a supplement.
Firstly, there are different TYPES of collagen. Five types. Each type is involved in slightly different functions in the body, which also have many overlapping functions. When taking collagen, it needs to be in an absorbable form. Without being hydrolyzed into a small enough molecule, it will not be absorb.
When it comes to joint support, there are many studies showing the benefits of taking oral collagen. When it comes to skin health, there is only a modest sampling of studies.
Here is a great article very clearly explaining the differences in collagen, & their actions in the body, along with suggested brands.
What are Xenoestrogens?
Xeno means foreign. So xenoestrogens are foreign estrogens. We are exposed to them in our environment - via the WATER we drink, the FOOD we eat, the AIR we breath, & what we put on our SKIN.
Why should we care about Xenoestrogens?
They have the ability to bind & cause estrogen activity in the body. Estrogen dominance is a common occurrence in women. Symptoms of estrogen dominance include;
What can we do?
There are many ways to avoid exposure of xenoestrogens. Look to the infographic below for helpful options. If you are concerned about your current exposure, love your liver. Your liver is your main filter in your body. What you breath, eat, inhale, or apply to your skin all gets filtered through your liver.
Bitter foods will be helpful to your liver/gallbladder filter. FLAX seeds contain lignans, which are specific for binding excess estrogens. 2 TBSP/d is generally a good dose for most people. Make sure you're drinking an appropriate amount of water.
The hormonal cascade is a delicate & very intricate system in women. This hormonal cascade can be addressed beautifully via naturopathic medicine. Know you have so many options available to you to detoxify from excess xenoestrogens.
Dr. Krista Moyer ❤️
Magnesium is my favourite mineral! It has so many functions in the body, & I find that people are so often showing signs of deficiency. Magnesium is the main mineral used by your adrenal glands. In a hectic life, your adrenal glands require a lot of magnesium. Your muscles also love magnesium, and when deficient, your muscles will easily feel tight, sore, and some people often experience insomnia, cramps & headaches. Supplementing with sufficient, and highly absorbable forms of magnesium can be a great addition to your overall health.
If you're not sure if you're eating enough of magnesium rich foods, here's a great little infographic on healthy foods high in magnesium.
There's so much information out there on what you should be doing, and not doing during pregnancy. But what about after?
Here are some great tips from Dr. Julie Durnan, Naturopathic doctor, on some of the crucial things you can do so that you and your baby are on the right track.
Vancouver Naturopathic Doctor Krista Moyer
What is IBS?
IBS is essentially a diagnosis of exclusion. Meaning, that when you have a myriad of symptoms, it could be a number of different gastrointestinal conditions. After diagnostic labs and imaging have been done, and nothing pathological is found, your collection of symptoms are stamped Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. Within the conventional medical system, there is little to offer in terms of treatments, so many people are left feeling frustrated and unsure of what to do with their new diagnosis of IBS. People may go on to suffer with IBS for years with no relief.
Symptoms of IBS
The symptoms of IBS are varied, and the list can be quite lengthy. Some people have only a few symptoms at any one time, and others suffer with multiple symptoms, occurring all at once. Symptoms often wax and wane, and it can be difficult to determine what the cause(s) were for each and every exacerbation. Symptoms can include:
Natural treatments for IBS
I have treated IBS in my practice countless times. Naturopathic medicine offers so many treatment options for IBS, which have a very high rate of success. With little to offer from conventional medicine system, naturopathic medicine offers a tremendous amount of treatment options for those willing to make the necessary changes for their health.
With most conditions, inflammation is both a contributor and cause. Treating chronic inflammation can be addressed to a great degree with food, or the elimination of certain foods. When it comes to IBS, diet is absolutely essential. The foods you eat can either be your greatest asset, or the greatest detriment to your health. With IBS, there are no particular foods that cause a problem for everyone. However, there are common allergenic, inflammatory foods, most notably wheat and dairy, that are most likely contributing. There are often many other, less common food allergens, which could also be contributing to the inflammation in the intestinal tract. In order to discover which foods are an issue, an elimination diet can be done, whereby all major allergenic foods are eliminated, and then slowly one by one, are brought back into the diet, and you monitor to see if you experience any return of symptoms. This can be difficult, as it requires a close examination of what your body's normal is. Generally, people suffering from IBS have had the symptoms for so long, that they haven't experienced what a 'normal' healthy body feels like in years. The other option is food sensitivity testing, which most people prefer, as it is black and white in terms of what foods are causing an issue for them. Then, just those specific foods can be eliminated, as opposed to a more generic overall elimination diet.
Beyond diet modification, certain aspects of the body need to be supported to return the body to its intended normalcy. Enterocytes are the cells that line the majority of the intestinal system. These cells are injured during the insult of IBS. Helping them heal can include L-glutamine, probiotics, demulcent herbs, digestive enzymes, and fish oil.
Liver support is also important, as IBS creates a leaky gut picture. Our intestinal tract is meant to have tight cell junctions, allowing only essential nutrients to be absorbed via carrier transport proteins. With a leaky gut, various larger particles are absorbed into the blood, creating inflammation, the liver must filter these foreign molecules. The liver sends these to the digestive tract to be eliminated via stool. Thus a perpetual feedback loop exists where the liver is filtering the same toxins repeatedly. Herbs are a great way to help the liver detoxify. Some herbs to consider include; burdock, dandelion, artichoke, and milk thistle.
Stress is a major contributor to IBS flare ups. Ways to combat stress include; a proper sleep schedule (bed by 10:30pm), regular eating habits, balancing blood sugar throughout the day, social activities, exercise, and meditation. You can also support your adrenals with vitamins (ie vitamin C), minerals (ie magnesium), and/or herbs (ie rhodiola, ashwagandha, avena sativa, ginseng, etc).
Who Can Help?
IBS can be a complex multifaceted condition, and treatments differ for everyone. Consistency wins the race. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor how IBS is best treated for you.
When you know better, you do better!
Vancouver Naturopathic Doctor Krista Moyer
Dr. Moyer Naturopath Vancouver