As Featured in Main Line Today October 2019
Balance Your Hormones
Women’s bodies begin changing approximately 15 years before menopause, says Lynn Feinman, a Paoli-based doctor of naturopathy. “How we rebalance our hormones, starting at age 35, determines how we age, our longevity and overall health quotient,” she says.
Feinman advises increasing your intake of hormone-balancing foods—plants over animals. “Flesh foods and reproductive organs—even eggs—have hormones of those animals,” she says.
Feinman doesn’t insist on vegetarianism. Rather, she wants women to choose their meats wisely. Organic, farm-raised and antibiotic-free meats are best.
And food doesn’t supply all of the nutrients we need, especially as we age. Supplements are a must—just don’t overdo vitamins and minerals, Feinman says.
Experienced consultants can create supplement plans that include antioxidants, minerals, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. They can also help you to engage in periods of nutritional cleansing to optimize liver function. Most of Feinman’s cleansing programs are a month long. But eating clean for even one day a week does a lot of good. “I believe that if your liver is clean, it can better metabolize the fluctuations of hormones,” she says.
When it comes to underlying systemic issues like insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders, hormonal changes can exacerbate them. That’s one reason people feel like they’re falling apart when they hit their mid-40s. “Hormones are messengers, so whatever is there becomes a louder conversation,” says Feinman.
Finding remedies for your ailments will help you brace yourself for change, Feinman contends. Preventative measures include micronutrient testing, food allergy analysis and supplement plans.
Hormone health is attainable and sustainable. “There’s a switch that gets flipped, and that can create damage, but a lot of it is reversible through making good choices,” says Feinman. “We can rebuild. If you’re clear with intentions and you want to get better, you can heal yourself.”
Women’s needs mid-life, as well as during other life stages, or hormonal changes, represent a significant opportunity to rebalance and influence future health and longevity. It may also be a difficult and challenging time for a number of reasons. Mid-life brings about changes in relationships, family, career and often health. Also, of significance is the aging body and changing self-image. There are additional changes in sleep, mood, bones, cognition and memory and weight. As the hormones change, common hormone imbalances arise such as thyroid and adrenal health. These imbalances may amplify various previous digestive, emotional and immune conditions. Thus women can be left with a complicated picture of health. It seems common for women to end up with auto-immune disease, chronic fatigue, pain and inflammation, irritable bowel disease, weight issues, emotional imbalances etc.
Menopause is not a medical condition, but rather a natural female condition. Similar to pregnancy, our bodies know what to do. It is a natural process. However, because of all the imbalances which arise many women end up at their medical practitioner’s office. Medicine can certainly treat a fibroid or provide medical interventions for more serious issues resulting from ill-health and should never be over-looked. Clearly, medicine will not naturally strengthen women’s health
Clearly, women’s needs are completely different at mid-life. Therefor I believe women need a new map, and to chart a new path. I believe by employing a naturopathic and holistic paradigm, and identifying what is unique to each woman we can bring hormones into balance: improve digestion, immunity, cognitive, emotional health, rebalance weight, sleep issues and other issues which seem to correlate with peri-menopause (the time around menopause which is usually 35-55).By employing a new and optimal path I believe women can age with optimal health and well-being. My Health Transformation Naturopathic Program employs a customized plan for you.
Healing your Gut
Healthy digestion is a fundamental foundation for good health. When the process of digestion is compromised, it often affects not just your gut, but also your immune, hormonal and nervous systems. Even if you eat a healthy diet, you may have impaired nutrient absorption and energy production that can lead to the development of inflammation and allergies. Utilize the Naturopathic 4 R model gut cleanse program to resolve your digestion issues. Takeaway top naturopathic principles for digestive health. “The Foundational Cooking for Optimal Health Cookbook” by Dr. Lynn Feinman available for purchase.
Building Natural Immunity
NEW Identify the fundamental principles that weaken our immunity. Learn effective tools and techniques of naturopathy: food, nutrition and therapeutic approaches that strengthen immunity. Explore the naturopathic interventions to protect and enhance immunity. Takeaway the top 10 Step Naturopathic Immune Building protocol.
Principles for Healthy Digestion
- Chew your food thoroughly; digestion begins in the mouth where enzymes are released through chewing and saliva.
- Try a food rotation/elimination diet where you eliminate a highly allergic or difficult and congesting food like dairy, wheat, eggs, nuts, soy, corn, etc. You must allow 72 hours of each food to be eliminated then re-introduced. Another option is eating a clean diet for 30 days avoiding these foods then re-introducing. IBS consider FODMAPS diet. Also consider food allergy and sensitivity testing.
- Eat an alkaline diet. Foods high in acid such as sugar, dairy, breads and other refined foods and meats are difficult to digest-eat a mostly plant based but not raw diet.
- Eat foods easy to digest such as cooked fruits, vegetables, soups, rice and other whole (non-glutenous) grains, fish and poultry.
- Use natural antimicrobials in cooking to reduce bad gut bacteria and pathogens; oregano, ginger, garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary, and use fermented foods such as unsweetened kefir, miso or occasional plain yogurt, sauerkraut, and probiotics (good bacteria such as fermented miso, yogurt, sauerkraut) and pre-biotics (dandelion greens, asparagus, leek, garlic, onion, chicory, yams) to replenish good gut bacteria.
- Eat and cook with foods to stimulate and warm digestion such as bitter foods; turmeric, ginger, dandelion greens, arugula, aloe, herbal bitters. Herbal bitters stimulate the digestive process and have been used for hundreds of years. Also consider HCI and Digestive Enzymes. If your system is “overactive” use the right nutrients to slow things down.
- Understand your own energy- is your system too “hot” or “cold”? If you have a lot of digestive heat, eating raw foods can be helpful. If your system is “cold” eat warm and cooked foods.
- Repair and soothe mucosal lining of the stomach with slippery elm, licorice root, aloe leaf juice, calendula (aloe is naturally a slight laxative).
- Eat to nourish the brain gut connection, herbs which are calming for brain gut connection include chamomile, hops, valerian, lemon balm, milky oat.
- Engage in a mind body practice or daily relaxation
- Take a day such as a Sunday to rest digestion eating broths, fresh juices, soups and steamed vegetables
- Eat 3 meals a day, or 4 small meals following the balanced food guide in cookbook (no more than 20% protein a day, 60% plants and complex carbohydrates and 20% or more good sources of fat). Do not miss meals. Eat 10-12 servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Try to eat dinner before 7 pm and give your body at least 12 hours to rest digestion.
- Eat a low-glycemic Mediterranean type diet. Eliminate all processed carbohydrates and sugars, and reduce alcohol. Review my meal plan! Find a diet you can live with.
- Consider a nutrient based cleanse diet with liver/gallbladder support, antioxidants vitamins and minerals to help the body convert toxins and make them water-soluble and eliminate them.
- Optimize gut health, eat an alkaline plant-based diet, use digestive support such as enzymes, and probiotics to help digestion and elimination.
- Eat when you are hungry and stop before you are completely full. Eat a little less than you need. Many of my clients tell me they have no idea what this means. Mindful eating is a guiding principle to optimal metabolism. Never eat angry or stressed.
- Address stress and sleep. Studies show if you are stressed and not sleeping you will not be able to lose weight. Stress and sleep support are different for individuals based on overall composition, age, sex, stressors and hormones.
- Address hormonal imbalances. Many hormonal imbalances underlie difficulty-losing weight. Complete my hormonal health assessment to identify and correct imbalances. (Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, dhea and cortisol are all examples of hormones which can be out of balance). Cortisol and thyroid are the biggest blockades to successful weight loss. These can naturopathically be restored.
- Address inflammation-underlying inflammation can interfere with weight loss. Inflammation can exist anywhere in the body.
- Stay active. Find an optimal exercise plan, which works for your lifestyle. It need not be excessive to achieve your weight loss goals. And you want to be taking several thousand steps a day. A fit bit or app can help you track your steps.
- Weight loss apps. Studies show these apps don’t help us achieve long-term success with change of lifestyle. We do know it takes at least 40 days to change a habit. Making optimal changes for 40 days can help you with long-term success.
Naturopathy for Mental Health The same naturopathic model applies to optimizing mental health as it does to hormones, digestion, and immune health. Ultimately a holistic paradigm must underly any healing plan. We integrate the four steps of the naturopathic model; 1. Remove the offenders- toxins, brain allergies, hormonal imbalance, stress, sleep issues, gut issue (candida) 2. Repair damage-a healing diet, the nutritional cleanse, also consider nutrient depletions 3. Replace missing nutrients-nutrients which support brain/mood health include antioxidants, amino acids, omega 3 fatty acids, herbal nervines and many others. Take only what your body needs. 4. Reestablish flora-this includes both prebiotics and probiotics. The digestive system is the “second brain”. A customized plan must be developed based on you specific needs. Often there are underlying imbalances such as nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, toxic overload, and hormonal imbalances which contribute to cognitive and mood issues. The belief is nourishing the brain back to balance will improve mental health. Lifestyle factors such as stress and sleep are important too. Upcoming seminar September 27th Main Line School Night. All clients and seminar attendees can receive my support guide for naturopathic approaches for emotional health.