Read the transcript:

Cora:

Are your hormones driving you crazy?

I’m Cora Naylor – Certified Co-Active Coach and Emotion Code Practitioner.

As a Coach for Empty Nesters my clients have a lot going on – kids moving out, elderly parents, relationship changes to name a few. At this time looking after ourselves is more important than ever. To help us learn more about how we can take control of our hormones I’ve invited Carleen Sterner to join me.

Carleen is a mother, wife, artist, medical doctor, Life Coach, Reiki practitioner, Laughter Yoga leader and a certified Ayurvedic Health Practitioner. She practiced as a family physician for 25 years with a growing interest in holistic and preventive medicine. Along the way she had an experience with breast cancer that began to nudge her to question how she was serving her purpose which led her to Ayurveda, a natural healing system that looks at the whole person. She now gets to blend her medical background and understanding of modern science with her Ayurvedic training to empower her clients to “become their own physicians”. Welcome Carleen

Carleen:
Thank you. Can you tell I didn't know what I wanted to be for a long time in my life. All these different paths.

Cora:
you've got a lot going on but it's funny how we evolve. we keep  -if we learn one thing and then that leads us to something else. so it's interesting. 

Carleen:
I'm grateful because I came to realize I needed all that background, especially the western medical background to get a chance to blend it with this ancient wisdom of Ayruvedic medicine. And now I get to really bring the best of both worlds I feel like.

Cora:
I feel like though a lot of the people are looking for more natural ways to look after ourselves. plant based eating is becoming a lot more popular. And people are really getting more concerned about their health and especially in these times even more so. 

Carleen:
That is very much what our Ayurvida is all about. So it's a natural healing system, it's based in nature, with the idea that our optimal health consists of finding a balance between our internal and external environments. because you've got to bring more of that external environment into you as food, air, water, experiences to make more of you. So Ayurveda really emphasizes digestion, but digesting, all those things. food is your medicine, but how you eat it, and when you eat it, and where you eat it. Those also become very significant practices. 

Cora:
Oh yes - mindful eating. I know because a lot of times I do that myself because I don't just sit and eat. I'll be watching TV or reading a book, and the next thing you know I finished eating and I'm like, did I just do just eat. 

Carleen:
Guilty here too. For many years as a physician especially so. That's a great reminder in terms of for anything we're doing for overall health. today you're trying to address kind of the havoc of the hormones during menopause. It really is about starting from where you're at and not beating yourself up over where you're at and putting yourself down or the negative self talk, it's simply starting with acceptance, starting with recognition and awareness. 

what I really want to emphasize today is all of our lifestyle choices and diet choices that we can make to enhance the experience of moving through menopause with some grace and sanity is very much based on understanding where we're at. We're all unique individuals. One size doesn't fit all. But we're also existing as mind, body, spirit or energy or consciousness beings. So no matter where you start in terms of addressing something that is imbalanced or out of harmony. you're working on an interconnected integrated system. So, regardless of what your first choice is for a tool. It's simply a matter of choosing a tool because working with something different you know good old Einstein, you're not going to get a different result if you keep doing things the same way. You just want to take a step, and move into doing something differently. 

So I thought I would just kind of remind the ladies out there that menopause by Western definition is when you stop having menstrual cycles for a year. And in the course of that though you might have 10 to 15 or even longer years of what's called perimenopause. that is a lead up of all these symptoms that Western medicine often doesn't know what to do with Ayurveda relates symptoms back to. Gosh, your body naturally comes into the world, understanding that you are a whole person . that your cells have all these rules that they already know and they know how to bring you back to balance. 

our systems, always seek balance, harmony, homeostasis. But we make all these different choices that get us out of balance. So, all health and disease in Ayurveda starts up here, where you're governing your choices. our thoughts are often influencing emotions and emotions have a huge impact on some of our health choices. 

One of the places I wanted to emphasize starting this balance. whatever your symptoms are and the three of the main ones that I think most women experience and there's a lot of complex speech, talking about menopause there's, you know, nice big books written on it. But I'm going to emphasize things like hot flashes, things like anxiety and insomnia, because they all tie in together so if you work on one chances are you're going to balance out the others. And I look predominantly at managing stress, and optimizing digestion. So you never can take out that endocrine system that whole system of hormones and separate it from all the other things going on in your body, they're all integrated and connected so wholeness wholeness wholeness. And I'm going to also emphasize that these steps can be simple, they don't have to be complex so nobody needs to be intimidated. 

And I also will emphasize that food has the same qualities as medicine often. we've lost sight of that. we've forgotten that we're designed to function best with the food that we can bring into our bodies. and that our food, often has hormonal like effects on our bodies.

so many women during menopause are encouraged to start artificial hormones, and they often run into side effects and problems with those hormones. in Ayurveda, we would encourage looking at something plant based, but even looking at a plant based hormonal effect. You'd still want to be sure that anything you're trying that's new or different. You discuss with your physician. So being a physician I'm thinking you know I'm wanting to know what what my patients are working on. some of these things are kind of common sense. 

Cora:
I think it'd be nice if that was more of the doctors could work with somebody that's more holistic and work together about wellness rather than just when something's wrong. 

Carleen:
Well, you know that's one of the things that I found challenging is continuing as a medical doctor when we're managing chronic disease a lot instead of really getting to help our clients/patients cocreate their health. because I'm never going to exist in anybody else's body. I mean you know your body better than I ever could. If I was your physician and the same is true of everybody else. I will know my body, mind emotions, better than anybody else will. So, you know, I need to take accountability and responsibility for my health, same as anybody else. 

So now moving into the havoc of hormones, because it can feel like - gosh, will this storm ever end. Have you experienced some of the menopausal issues?

Cora:
yeah, definitely had hot flashes for about a year but I found that the perimenopause was way worse than the menopause, and it was longer- like years. 

Carleen:
So, if one understands one's own unique constitution in Ayurveda. we call it a mind- body type and it also has a Sanskrit name called the dosha. as you move through different timeframes in your life, your different mind body types, or what makes them up. the qualities that contribute to your personality, your physical traits and tendencies your psychological traits and tendencies. those can be aggravated by your diet and other lifestyle things. So we look at our society, and you look at the women who sail through menopause, and the ones who don't. and then you look at their mind body type and look at their lifestyle choices. And one of the things that often is prevalent is stress management. and stress management is tied inextricably to digestion. your ability to digest air, water, food experiences emotions again making more of yourself. so making more of your hormones. 

We live in a society with a lot of fight, flight, freeze. We're in stress mode a lot and we often don't even know we're there until we get a chance to step out of it. When you're stressed, you sit down to have a meal, and you're anxious, you don't digest properly. the signals don't enter your body properly, and you're not going to optimize your health. So, stress management is huge and looking at managing or balancing hormones, some of the tips that I just wanted to share are kind of specific to the stressors that the symptoms of menopause also contribute to. so is that  chicken and egg thing. you know I feel crappy so I'm feeling stressed and oh my gosh I'm feeling stressed and I start to feel crappier because my body doesn't know what to do with that. 

So I wrote down a few things so that I don't know carried away.

Cora:
we have a few minutes so give us the top ones. 

Carleen:
So the first one I'm going to suggest is this time of hot flashes, perimenopause or menopause means that there's more fire, showing up in the system. more transformation occurring. literally the hormones are going up going down, going up and down. They're not keeping an even keel. So one of the things you can do is have more cooling things in your diet. so cooling herbs, cooling herbs like cilantro, mint and dill, adding them into your cooking, because they're going to be more effective if they're part of your food. 

You can look up what are called pacifying diets for our Ayruveda and I can give references to that at the end. other cooling specific to the hot flashes - pomegranate juice, about one cup with 10 to 15 drops of fresh lime juice, three times a day. Aloe vera gel, half a teaspoon of gel to one teaspoon of gel two to three times a day, or aloe vera juice, a half cup twice a day. So those are really super specific hot flash things. 

Cora:
I wish I knew that before. 

Carleen:
Other ways to cool the fire. there's stress management. so you're getting always both things are prevalent. So fatale breathing so this is a breathing technique closely connected to yoga. Yoga poses are going to be another way that you have movement that you create strength and balance, but the specific breathing ones are cooling breaths. 

And I wanted to do guided imagery when I'm doing the cooling breath so I spent a lot of time in Antarctica in my mind as I'm doing this breath. satelli is curling your tongue. If you can, breathing in across the tube of your tongue and out through your nose. And if you can't curl your tongue, put it up against your upper teeth and breathe in and out through your nose, and keep doing that five minutes, two to three times a day. You can sit down and do 10-15 minutes. Do a little meditation while you're doing that because all of that, calming stress, anything that calm stress enhances digestion, anything that enhances digestion optimizes your hormones. 

The other breathing technique alternate nostril breathing. You will close the nostril with fingers, thumb and usually your ring finger. close one side and start on the left - close the left breathe out to the right. Breathe in through the right close the right and breathe out through the left. And you do that for 10 to 15 minutes and I know you couldn't see my face probably and had no idea what I was doing. Noshodana alternate nostril breathing is what it's called. 

The third one is  - actually  I'm gonna kind of sneak in one more stay hydrated. Drink about half your body weight in fluid ounces a day and then some depending on activities depending on the season. 

All right, I'm gonna go back to yoga. Yoga is a fabulous way to do a mind body connection through your breath. and there's some very specific yoga poses that also help for balancing digestion, as well as calming and cooling simplest one Child's Pose. You can look up and look Child's Pose. 

Cora:
I love child's pose.

Carleen:
Doesnt it feel good. I roll out a band into child's pose every morning and then I slowly wake my way up into an inversion pose called downward facing dog. And then I back up a little more into Forward Fold. And then eventually I kind of do you know this whole lift into starting sun salutations. lots of information on yoga out there but it's a fabulous way to maintain balance, and strength and connection. 

And a lot of what we're trying to do when balancing hormones or creating any kind of balance in mind body is back to connection. So those are some really really basic tips that will help with anxiety, will help with palpitations, will help with sleep, will help with cooling down the hot flashes. 

Cora:
That's so awesome. Thank you for those really practical tangible tips. amazing. So if anybody watching if you want to get more information get in touch with Carleen and her email address on here Carleensterner@gmail.com because I'm sure you have tons of information that you could send people if they wanted. Or maybe they didn't catch exactly some of the, you know poses or whatever. But I like doing the herbs too because I wasn't aware of that before.  would that be good in drinks as well you know if people do hot water or something. 

Carleen:
Yeah, like fresh peppermint leaves in water makes a wonderful tea. There's quite a variety of other herbs and spices that could be used. I like to use fresh herbs especially, you know, it's summertime so here at least. It's a wonderful way to cook something more with the energy of a plant that's going to have a positive effect on your body with your food. you're more likely to be able to digest that than you are a supplement. So there's other herbal supplements for people who want something more targeted. Again, they'll start to work a little more like medicine, and I would want people to be sure they understood the effect in other areas especially if they're on other medications. So, the herbs mentioned should be pretty safe for everyone. 

Cora:
Okay, great. And like I said, if anyone wants to get in touch with Carleen for more information just reach out to her email address. 

if you're an empty nester and you'd like to get notification of more of my interviews coming up or maybe you want to move to some information about coaching with me. 

comment below with a Yes and I'll get you added into my facebook group. 

So thanks so much for joining me today Carleen and we'll see everybody soon. 

Contact Carleen: carleenssterner@gmail.com

Join Cora's Empty Nester Facebook Group: http://bit.ly/you-beyond-the-empty-nest

Book a Complimentary Coaching Call with Cora: https://coranaylor.com/emptynestcoach/