user-icon chevron-right minus plus cross google shopping-cart caret-down chevron-down chevron-circle-up menu search youtube facebook twitter rss linkedin2 pinterest

women's health

32 articles in women's health

Moon & Ovarian Cycle Rites

Moon & Ovarian Cycle Rites

Quite literally, the menses is the period of waxing and waning between one new moon and the next. Once menstruation begins at puberty, which is a woman's first rite of passage, the ebbs and flows which her body goes through each month are the stuff of which the second movement in her life's hormonal symphony is made. This part of her life has one major goal - childbearing. Its success depends greatly upon the two major steroids - the oestrogens and progesterone - working in close communication with her body's major control centers, the pituitary and hypothalamus. Only since the late nineteenth century have women's menstrual cycles - the menses - been investigated scientifically. The name menses also comes from a Greek word - meaning `month'. It in turn is derived from an even older word meaning `moon'. master controls A neural nuclei in the limbic brain, the hypothalamus, is the control center for homeostasis. It balances and oversees biochemical and energetic changes throughout the body. The limbic system in which it sits is the most primitive part of the brain. It is the part which deals with emotions and with our sense of smell, with our passions, and with all the unconscious interfaces that take place between mind and body. The actions of the limbic lie beneath the level of the thinking mind. This is one of the reasons that the hypothalamus is often referred to as the `seat of emotions'. When excited, the hypothalamus triggers desire - for food, for water, for adventure, for sex. Its actions can also be influenced by inhibitory thought patterns. In a woman frightened of becoming pregnant, for instance, the fear itself - via the hypothalamus - can dampen sexual desire or even disrupt menstrual cycles so she remains barren. The hypothalamus also responds to alterations in the electric and magnetic fields of the earth and of moon, and to other planetary events, as well as to electromagnetic pollution in our environment and the positive stimulus of energy medicine. It reacts to bodily changes that take place as a result of meditation, and its activities are influenced by spiritual practices - which is a major reason why women who meditate regularly tend to develop greater emotional balance, as well as why repeated experiences of joy or stillness can dramatically improve various female complaints such as PMS and hot flushes in both menstruating and menopausal women. sacred cycles There are three main branches of the female endocrine system involved in menstruation. The first is the master gland, the hypothalamus. It releases gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). The second is the anterior pituitary, which releases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) - both of which are secreted in response to GnRH from the hypothalamus. The third is made up of the oestrogens and progesterone which, during a woman's non-pregnant childbearing years, are secreted by the ovaries in response to FSH and LH. It is the symphony of interactions and feedback mechanisms between these three branches that bring about the blood ritual of menstruation. All of the hormones released during a menstrual cycle are secreted not in a constant, steady way, but at dramatically different rates during different parts of the 28 day period; a cycle which like everything else in a natural world involves birth, maturation, and death, only to lead to new birth again - in this case, of the egg a woman's body produces. Menstruation itself is simply the elimination of the thickened blood and blood filled endometrium in the womb - the lining developed in preparation for a possible pregnancy. For when a pregnancy does not occur, this lining is shed at monthly intervals under the control of oestrogen and progesterone with a little help from their friends GnRH, FSH, and LH. When ovaries are not stimulated by the gonadotrophic hormones from the pituitary, they remain asleep, as they were during childhood and as they become again after menopause. For the first 8 to 11 days of the menstrual cycle, a woman's ovaries make lots of oestrogen. Within the ovary itself are little things called follicles - partially developed eggs. One of these will be released each month in hopes of meeting up with the sperm and creating an embryo. It is oestrogen which prepares the bloody lining of the uterus and causes the follicle to develop in the ovary, bringing it to the surface of the ovary and preparing for the release of one of the eggs. The word oestrogen, like the hormones produced in a woman's body which belong to this family - oestrone, oestradiol, and oestriol - comes from oestrus, a Greek word meaning `frenzy', `heat', or `fertility'. It is oestrogen which proliferates the changes that take place at puberty - the growth of breasts, the development of a girl's reproductive system, the reshaping of a woman's body. It also alters your vaginal secretions, making them more viscous and less watery, and it causes your body's temperature to rise at the time of ovulation, by about one degree. Each girl baby is born with all the primary follicles she will ever need. At the time of puberty, a girl's ovaries contain about 300,000 of these follicles. And while each woman only produces one or two fully developed eggs each month, somewhere between 100 and 300 follicles have to start developing in order for one to become fully grown, so a woman can lose between 100 to 300 follicles a month. However, since she started with 300,000, she will have enough to last all her reproductive life. On day one of each monthly cycle - that is, the day of the onset of menstruation - first the production of FSH and then of LH increases. This increase in hormones from the anterior pituitary triggers a group of ovarian follicles each month, causing accelerated growth in the cells surrounding them. As cells around the eggs grow, they secrete a follicular fluid which contains a high concentration of the oestrogen oestradiol to bring about many other changes, developing the potential of one of the follicles so that it becomes capable of being fertilized by the male sperm. It is not the oestradiol alone secreted by the follicle which brings about the maturation of the egg, however. Luteinizing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary continues to be secreted to help the process along until after a week or more, when one of the follicles outgrows all of the rest. This is the one that will become the female egg ready for impregnation. The remainder of the follicles now begin to involute. LH becomes particularly important at this stage in order for the final follicular growth to be completed and ovulation itself to occur - that is, the release of the egg into the fallopian tubes for its journey down into the uterus. So the rate of secretion of LH by the anterior pituitary increases markedly, rising 6 or 10 times then peaking about 18 hours before ovulation - the release of the egg into the fallopian tubes for its journey down into the uterus. The production of FSH also increases at this time, and these two hormones act together to cause a swelling of the follicle during several days before ovulation. Finally ovulation takes place usually around the fourteenth day, in the middle of your cycle. enter progesterone LH also alters the cells around the egg follicle, so that now they secrete less oestradiol, but progressively rising amounts of progesterone. This means that the rate of oestrogen secretion begins to fall about day thirteen, one day before ovulation occurs. But as small amounts of progesterone begin to be secreted, very rapid growth of the follicle takes place. Beginning with this secretion of progesterone, ovulation occurs too, triggered yet again by the luteinizing hormone from the anterior pituitary. During the first few hours after the ovum has been expelled from the follicle, more and more rapid physical and chemical changes take place to the egg in a process called luteinization. At this stage - known as the luteal stage of a woman's cycle - the follicle becomes known as the corpus luteum, or yellow body. The cells around the egg begin to secrete larger quantities of progesterone, as the level of oestrogen decreases. Some of the cells around the egg become much enlarged. They develop inclusions of lipids or fats which give them their distinctive yellow color. From now on, development becomes rapid until seven or eight days after ovulation, when it peaks. As soon as a follicle releases an egg, the ovary switches over from pumping out oestrogen to primarily making progesterone. Progesterone is only synthesized when you ovulate. In fact, ovulation changes the whole ball game. No longer is there a need for further build up of the womb lining. The challenge now is to hold on to the secretory endometrium, and to render it capable of nurturing a fertilized egg long enough for it to grow into a baby. That is progesterone's task. The progesterone released with the egg has a negative effect on the other ovary. Its release tells the other ovary: "Hey, we've got an egg out now, so you don't have to worry about producing any." For even though women have two ovaries, they usually produce only one egg a month. The business of fraternal twins - that is, both ovaries releasing an egg at the same time - only happens once every three hundred months, which is why fraternal twins are so rare. The corpus luteum, which forms each month, is a tiny organ with a huge capacity for hormone production. It releases large quantities of progesterone, plus some oestrogen, which cause a feedback decrease in the secretion of FSH and LH by the anterior pituitary, so that no new follicles begin to grow. But as soon as the corpus luteum degenerates at the end of its 12 day life - which is about the 26th day of the female sexual cycle - this lack of feedback triggers the anterior pituitary gland to secrete several times as much FSH, followed a few days later by more LH as well. This in turn stimulates the growth of new follicles to begin the next ovarian cycle. And at the same time, a fall in progesterone and in oestrogen secretion trigger menstruation. peaks and falls From day 1 until about day 13 of a woman's menstrual cycle, the level of progesterone in her body is very, very low. Yet the point at which a follicle is released, it continues to rise dramatically until day 21 to 23, at which point it begins to fall down again to its lowest level, as menstruation begins around day 28. In addition to maintaining the endometrium and shifting down activity in the other ovary, the progesterone provided each month travels to other parts of a woman's body to fulfill other roles. It protects her from the side-effects of oestrogen for one thing, helping to protect her from getting breast cancer, from retaining water and salt, from high blood pressure, and from becoming depressed. Progesterone also brings surges of libido. You still hear a few so called experts say that oestrogen increases libido. But think about it. Which hormone would you rely on for sex-drive - oestrogen, which is present before the egg is made, or progesterone, which comes after the egg is released and is ready for fertilization? Libido increases with progesterone surges. When this rhythmic cycling of oestrogen and progesterone during each lunar month gets out of sync (and many things in modern life can cause this) then all sorts of things can go wrong - from infertility to PMS, depression, bloating, endometriosis and fibroids. For the oestrogens and progesterone, each have their characteristic roles to play, and for a woman to be healthy they must balance each other. the last and the first So do all the other steroids: This group of hormones to which cortisol, aldosterone, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and the oestrogens belong, is intimately involved in how you feel both physically and emotionally, as well as how rapidly your body ages. Steroids have a characteristic molecular structure which resembles cholesterol, from which they are all ultimately derived. Cholesterol is the vital fatty substance that has had such a bad press in recent years, but which is absolutely essential to life. Out of each steroid hormone made from cholesterol, yet another - and following that another - can be made in a knock-on effect. For instance, pregnenolone is the steroid manufactured directly from cholesterol. It in turn becomes a precursor to progesterone, as well as to other hormones. Natural steroid hormones such as progesterone, made by biosynthesis in your own body, have this remarkable capability to act as precursors. In other words they are capable of being turned into other hormones further down the pathways as and when your body needs them. Progesterone is mother of many other hormones. It can eventually be turned not only into various oestrogens, but also into cortisol - the anti-inflammatory hormone - and into other steroids such as corticosterone or aldosterone, with equally important jobs to do. All of these conversions happen through slight alterations in the shape of a molecule, thanks to the actions of enzymes, each of which carries out a specific task. But these conversions can only take place if the molecules on which the enzyme is acting "fit" precisely - both electromagnetically and stereochemically - into its structure. All of these changes which take place through the magic of enzymes occur in the presence of vitamin and mineral cofactors such as magnesium, zinc, and B6, which catalyze each enzyme reaction. They are all carefully modulated by elaborate feedback mechanisms as well. The names and chemical transformations from one steroid to another are not important to remember. What is important is that you get some sense of just how complex hormone synthesis and interactions can be, and how important it is to have sufficient cofactors as well as `primary' hormones, such as pregnalone and progesterone, to be able to synthesize others. A rich hormonal symphony? Immeasurably. Yet all this still does not even begin to take into account the myriad pathways by which these steroid hormones interact with other hormones, or master central mechanisms within the hypothalamus and pituitary, or psychoneuroimmunological pathways by which hormones effect our emotions, and emotions our hormones. sabotage It is in coming face to face with the rich textures of such hormonal symphonies that the synthetic progestagen drugs can come a cropper. When you look at the structures of their molecules, in every case you find that although they resemble your body's homemade hormones, their shapes have been altered slightly by adding extra atoms here or there at unusual positions. It is this that has enabled them to qualify as patentable drugs. However, unlike the natural hormones - which they attempt to mimic, and which not only fulfill their own functions by binding with their own receptor sites but also act as precursors for a myriad of other hormones with other important jobs to do - the progestagens are end-product molecules. They are also completely foreign to the living body. Unlike nature's own steroids they can also not be augmented or diminished as necessary to maintain balance, and to keep the body's hormonal symphony flowing smoothly. They also cannot easily be eliminated when their levels get too high. Although the synthetics can still bind with the receptor sites of the hormones they are made to mimic, they don't fit as well as the homemade steroids do into the enzymes meant to act upon them. This means they are not under the watchful eye and control of these enzymes, nor of the body's self-regulating capacities. Drug-based oestrogens and progestagens in contraceptives and HRT cocktails can significantly disrupt a woman's normal hormonal cycles by introducing foreign elements into her body. They also virtually wipe out the moon cycles to which a woman's natural fertility and spiritual balance are inexorably bound from puberty onwards. So although in the short term they may temporarily do a job such as provide birth control or quell heavy bleeding in a menopausal woman, in the long run they only sabotage hormone balance, by turning harmony into dissonance - a dissonance capable not only of causing disruptions in a woman's health and physical body, but also of creating emotional and spiritual confusion in her life. This, sadly, is not something you will find described in the Merck index that warns doctors of a drug's side-effects, however. For the spiritual aspects of health and healing tend to be all but forgotten in the linear thinking that underlies most twentieth century medicine. In the mechanistic western world of drug-based treatments, where we are trained to take a pill for whatever ails us, this concept can be a little strange for some women to grasp. Especially if they are well educated, intelligent, and if they have been urged from puberty to rely on oral contraceptives - even told they are irresponsible if they don't. Or if they have been filled with fear that if they don't take HRT as menopause approaches their life is going to fall apart. friends and lovers Quite apart from their biochemical actions, rather like people, hormones have characters with highly individual personalities. To the biochemist, the `personalities' of the oestrogens and progesterone will always remain a mystery. He is interested in nothing beyond their molecular configurations. But many women come to know these personalities well - by allowing intuition and instinct to be their teachers. When progesterone is surging through the body, a woman can feel high. Provided her body is producing enough of this steroid, she is likely to feel great. Your senses are keen when progesterone is running. Smells smell sweeter - or more horrible. Touching, sensing, tasting, hearing, are all richer experiences than usual. In the presence of progesterone, women have a desire to do something, to create something, to work in the garden, to dance or sing a song, or make love. Sometimes progesterone surges can feel like falling in love. They can bring feelings of balanced wellbeing together with excitement - a desire to explore new worlds, and to try new things. This can happen during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle after ovulation, when the follicle turns into the yellow body (or corpus luteum), but it becomes far more intense when you are pregnant. It is a high level of progesterone that makes a woman feel on top of the world during the last months of pregnancy. At this time the placenta churns out an amazing 300 to 400 milligrams of the steroid, while during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle it will have only been producing 20 milligrams or so a day. I suspect that among those women who seem to get pregnant over and over and who so love the whole experience, you are likely to find high progesterone levels. You also find them in women who have trouble-free menstruation. Sadly the opposite is true too: When progesterone is low - as it is in a growing number of women now, who have been subjected to manufactured hormones and who, living in the polluted world, have become oestrogen dominant - women never seem to feel well even during pregnancy. Many have all sorts of troubles with their female organs and cycles including PMS - sometimes from puberty right through to death. when oestrogens flow The oestrogens have quite a different character. When oestrogens peak in the menstrual cycle just before the `fall' of ovulation, a woman feels less independent. She is more willing to adjust herself to the needs of others. She is more inclined to see herself in relation to men too instead of as a woman in her own right. When the oestrogens are running, women like to attract a mate not so much to draw him into her body as to comfort, admire and care for her. Her ovaries seem to be smiling - `whatever you want, I'm happy to give', they seem to say. A few women who by nature are high oestrogen producers feel quite dependent on others for approval, and for the definition of their being. While such an experience can be lovely and make a woman feel highly `feminine', it can also go too far. However, in these women, when menopause finally arrives and oestrogen levels drop dramatically, often they find to their surprise and delight that for the first time in their lives they begin to feel complete in themselves - as though they don't need anybody else to validate their lives. Provided they are otherwise well, menopause can be sheer joy in the sense of freedom it brings these women - that is, once they get over the shock of being such a `different person'. From a biological point of view, there are many important actions that progesterone and oestrogen exert upon the body and psyche. Since these are little known among women and doctors alike it is worth looking at a few: Effects of Progesterone Effects of Oestrogen Increases libido Decreases libido Prevents cancer of the womb Increases risk of womb cancer Protects against fibrocystic breast disease Stimulates breast cell activity Maintains the lining of the uterus Proliferates the lining of the uterus Stimulates the building of new bone Slows down the resorption of old bone Strengthens skin Thins skin Is a natural diuretic Encourages salt and water retention Brings antidepressant effects Can produce headaches and depression Encourages fat burning and the use of stored energy Lays down fat stores Normalizes blood clotting Increases blood clotting Concerned with the procreation and survival of the fetus Concerned with the development and release of the egg Precursor to important stress hormones End-molecule steroids The reproductive hormonal menstrual cycle of a woman between puberty and the menarche is a superbly ordered natural work of art. It becomes so much a part of our lives that unless we have some particular difficulties with PMS or fertility, we hardly give it any thought. Not, that is, until things begin to alter. Once they do begin - in most women sometime between the age of forty and fifty - they usually change gradually, until finally a woman senses that something deep in her being has shifted. Such feelings herald the coming of menopause - the third phase of a woman's life.

The Mystery Of How I live My Life

The Mystery Of How I live My Life

I continue to be asked about my personal life—not only what I think, but what I eat, how I live, what I do, how I exercise (or not, as the case may be). This week I decided to answer some of the questions I get. HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU NEED? I probably need a lot more than I get. I tend to sleep no more than 6 hours a night. I’ve always been someone who wakes up at first light. By now I’m so used to getting up at 4 in the morning that I even wake up at this time in the dark of winter. Occasionally, I feel myself wanting to go to bed and stay there. Whenever this happens, I do it. I’ve been known to go to bed at 7 o’clock in the evening maybe once a month, and sleep through till 7 in the morning. Sheer bliss! I wake up excited about the day—eagerly looking forward to what I have to do. This may sound good, but it’s a characteristic of me which many would like to see vanish. Most people need time to wake up. For some reason, I wake up instantly. And I am disgustingly cheerful in the mornings. I don’t know why. This is one of the most unpleasant things you can do to people who wake up slowly and need to be treated very gently. When my children were growing up, this was their major complaint about me as a mother. HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO YOU GET? A lot. I cycle on a wind trainer for an hour a day while breathing a huge bag of oxygen that takes about two hours to fill up each time I use it. Often used by top athletes, Aaron and I wanted to explore the values of this, so we purchased the system. We found it to be a remarkable experience. When you take in pure oxygen while cycling, provided your heart rate is above 115 bpm, the oxygen goes right into your cells and DNA. It’s wonderful. What other exercise do I do? I love weight training. We have a room in the house that is totally dedicated to gym equipment, weight training, cycling, etc. I do this not out of a sense of duty, but because I have the kind of body that needs exercise, or it just doesn’t function. WHAT FOODS DO YOU EAT? I do not eat grains or cereals. I never eat sugar in any form nor cow’s milk products, including cow’s milk yoghurt, cheese, cream (pity about this because I do adore cream). When you investigate what milk is like now, you will find it is nothing like the milk that our parents and grandparents drank. (I’ll give you some links to explore this in a moment.) I don’t eat processed foods or packaged convenience stuff. I make green drinks by gathering leaves fresh from the garden—kale, celery tops, herbs of all kinds—then put them into a VitaMix, and add a rounded teaspoon of Spoonable Stevia by Stevita. This takes no more than 5 minutes to do, and it is delicious. I don’t eat much fruit. This is because I was raised on junk food as a kid including massive bowls of Rice Krispies for breakfast smothered in sugar. As a result, I’m very sensitive to sugar and carbs, both of which my body hates—so I avoid them completely. We grow our vegetables and fruits organically in the garden. I only eat certified organic meats and poultry and freshly caught sea foods, never farmed fish, all of which are fed on dreadful stuff. I would not touch a GMO food if my life depended on it. DO YOU DRINK OR SMOKE? I had my first drink in a bar in New York at the age of 12. My parents figured I should be allowed to drink whatever and how much alcohol I wanted. This meant that by the time I was 18, I was bored out of my mind with alcohol. I also smoked from the time I was 14, because I thought it made me look older. When I was 21 and pregnant with my daughter Susannah, I looked in the mirror one morning, figured I was old enough, and quit smoking. After 2 days without cigarettes, my vision was clear, and I could smell and taste things. At that point I said to myself “Why on earth was I ever smoking?” Since then, I’ve never had a cigarette. I drink very little—perhaps the odd glass of extremely good wine once every 3 or 4 weeks, or one of Aaron’s delicious homemade sugar-free margaritas. (see recipe below). I figure if you’re going to drink wine, you should drink only the best. If you eat chocolate, you eat only the best and blackest chocolate in the world, and very small quantities of it. Then it is a great aesthetic pleasure. When we don’t drink or eat the best of anything, we tend to drink and eat too much. This advice also goes for the men too. Choose only the best. I confess that I have not always chosen the best men in my life. But most of those I’ve had close relationships with have enriched my life enormously. HAVE YOU BEEN IN HOSPITAL? Yes—3 times. When I was 7 years old, I had my tonsils and adenoids taken out. This was the general practice in the United States for kids at that time. Around the same time, I broke a collarbone, and was taken in to the hospital to have it set. Then when I was 21, I had surgery for the removal of a large tumor that had grown off my right ovary while I was pregnant with my second child. This is the extent of my hospital experience. One of my sons, a successful and gifted plastic surgeon, is constantly saying to me, “You need to get some medical insurance.” I always reply, “Why do I need medical insurance?” Over the years I have learned so much about creating and maintaining health from mentors and friends who were also scientists and doctors. These people helped me change my life and my health. I raised all four of my children with no antibiotics. When they were sick I cared for them in a natural way. I care for myself the same way. The human body has a spectacular capacity to heal itself when given half a chance. DO YOU HAVE A DOCTOR? This question often makes me laugh. I don’t have a doctor. Please don’t faint at this news. I did have a number of very bad injuries to my lower body, starting about 15 years ago and lasting about four years. At that time, I saw some physiotherapists and consulted a doctor who was an expert in natural medicine. But I haven’t seen a doctor since. I do not have smear tests or mammograms and never have. HOW ABOUT STRESS? Ah yes...I know it well. Of course my work contributes to my health since I continually learn about tools and techniques that can enhance my own health and the health of others at the very highest level. So in a way, my work only makes my health better. But I am a very intense person and can easily become stressed. I forget that I need not only to be dynamic, but also to let myself slip into the restorative mode. When I become conscious of this, what I do is curl up in bed for a day or two with a good book—or lots of great movies. I love doing this. Movies help me to shift out of an overwhelmed, stressed mode fast. Often they are even better than meditation. I also need to meditate frequently to maintain centeredness, because without this, nothing in my life works. DO YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR SKIN? Yes. I have used Environ skincare products for 25 years. They are nothing like the luscious, sweet-smelling sensuous products many mainstream cosmetic companies send me. Environ products are workhorses. And they deliver the support that they promise. At 73, I think my skin is pretty good. When it comes to makeup, I use Jane Iredale mineral makeup. I have found it to be the best in the world. I also use her stuff as protection from the sun. I won’t use sunscreens that get absorbed into the skin. Jane’s products are wonderful. I am totally devoted to them. WHAT NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS DO YOU TAKE? I take omega-3s in the form of Carlson Labs, Very Finest Fish Oil, Lemon Flavor. I chose this product because I’ve investigated the purity of omega-3s and find it to be the most rigorously purified source of omega-3 available. I also take a daily food-state multiple vitamin/mineral called Source Naturals, Life Force, Green Multiple. I used to take Mercola’s multivitamins and minerals, but have recently become a bit disillusioned with them. I think he charges too much for them. I also believe that it is a good idea never to take the same supplement for too long. The body thrives on change—giving it new, good-quality food-state products every now and then. Being a total iHerb fan, I order these from iHerb in the United States and have them sent wherever I am in the world. ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR BODY? What a great question. I think I am happy with my body, considering that it seldom gives me real trouble. I am able to exercise and work with heavy weights without suffering negative consequences. I do continue to strengthen my lower body because of all the severe accidents I had which for a few years created severe pain in my legs. I think I’ve never been as kind to my body as I should have been, given all the kindness that it has shown me. This is something that I continue to work on improving. I think the human body is a magnificent gift. My belief and personal goal—as well as my goal when working with other people—is to help bring the Spirit which is unique to each one of us, yet at the same time universally divine, fully in to my physical body, so that Spirit and physical body become one. It’s a process I call transfiguration. WHAT GOALS DO YOU HAVE The process of bringing one’s unique individual Spirit and into the body is what helps each of us discover who we really are. The more I can come to do this myself, the more can share this life-changing experience with others. This is my greatest goal and my passion. We human beings seldom come to respect and honor ourselves as we should. Another thing that I’m devoted to is finding ways of communicating the magnificence of the human spirit and the splendor of all life, even if we find ourselves in the most horrific of circumstances. I love helping others discover their own truth deep within and come to live life trusting in themselves. RESOURCES Danger of Cow’s Milk Products The Weston Price Foundation - Milk Mercola.com - Milk Aaron’s Sugar-free Margaritas It’s very simple: To a handful of ice in our Vita Mix he adds four jiggers of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, 4 jiggers of Silver Patron Tequilla (never a cheaper substitute), 2 jiggers of Grand Marnier, a couple of jiggers of water and—crème de la crème—a dropper or two of English Toffee Sweet Leaf Liquid stevia from iherb,com (so much more delicious than the usual sugar or syrup, which is really rather revolting). He turns on the Vita Mix for 30 seconds while he rubs the rim of each glass with one of the lemon or lime skins, then plunges it into a saucer of sea salt or himalayan salt to coat the rim. This makes Margaritas for 4 people. Favorite Granulated Stevia Spoonable Stevia by Stevita uses only stevia extract with at least 95% pure glycosides (extremely sweet tasting ingredients of the Stevia herb leaves), and a little erythritol, a crystal granulated naturally produced filler found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It is best for baking and sprinkling Order Stevita from iherb Most Delicious Liquid Stevia Wisdom Natural, SweetLeaf, Liquid Stevia, English Toffee Add this delicious stevia to water, tea, coffee, margaritas, sparkling water, protein shakes, plain yogurt or anything else you can imagine. It comes in many different flavors including lemon but English Toffee flavor is the best by far. Order Sweet Leaf Stevia from iherb Favorite Omega 3s Carlson Labs, The Very Finest Fish Oil, Lemon, 16.9 fl oz (500 ml) From Norway: The finest fish oil from deep, cold ocean-water fish. Bottled in Norway to ensure maximum freshness. Refreshing natural lemon taste. Take by the teaspoonful, mix with foods, and try it on salads! This product is regularly tested (using AOAC international protocols) for freshness, potency and purity by an independent, FDA registered laboratory and has been determined to be fresh, fully-potent and free of detrimental levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, PCB's and 28 other contaminants. Order Calson Labs Omega 3s from iherb Favorite Food-State Multiple Source Naturals, Life Force, Green Multiple, 180 Tablets Source Naturals Life Force is an award-winning, scientifically advanced multiple, formulated with natural energizers and antioxidants. It is the only multiple to help bring balance to all 12 deep metabolic systems. Life Force Green Multiple delivers all the high potency nutrients of Life Force, plus 52 green superfoods: sea grasses, high ORAC fruits and vegetables, immune-stimulating mushrooms, flora, enzymes and antioxidant herbal extracts, for your SystemiCare health program. Order Life Force Multiple from iherb

Nature's Female Aphrodisiacs

Nature's Female Aphrodisiacs

Most people treat aphrodisiacs as folk fantasy. Don’t be deceived. When libido flags in women, there are many herbs that can help revive it. The biochemistry of plants like ginseng, dong quai, fennel, shilajit—even a few essential oils can bring powerful sexual regeneration to your body and intensify your libido. It’s your own individual response to specific herbs that holds the key to which aphrodisiacs are best for you. Loss of your libido can have many different causes. So when turning to herbs for help in the sexual arena, you will need to experiment a bit to find which plants work best for you. But watch out. It can not only be easy to create an experience of intense desire; it can be just as easy for a woman to end up fertilized by the results of it. Shatavari—Asparagus racemosus This Ayurvedic female rejuvenation tonic is also an excellent aphrodisiac as well. It’s been used for thousands of years as a female tonic to correct menstrual and menopausal imbalances as well. Traditionally known as “She who has 1,000 husbands”, it was long believed to give a woman the strength and passion to handle 1,000 lovers. Organic shatavari root extract contains a full spectrum of active and synergistic constituents, including saponins containing shatavarin. Use only this herb which is naturally grown or ethically wild crafted so it contains no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Wild Yam—Dioscorea villosa Often restores a woman’s libido so successfully that I wouldn’t advise you to use it unless you have a sexual partner. You can take it as a tincture—½ to1 teaspoon in water twice a day—or as a dried herb in capsules, 4-6 capsules a day. I have known women who take as many as 10 capsules a day, but less than this works very well for most. American Ginseng—Panax ginseng Is as good a raiser of libido in women as it is in men, despite the assumption that it is a male plant. It is particularly useful for post-menopausal women. Drink it as a tea three or four times a day. Be patient it takes time to do its work. Shilajit—known by many names in many countries Has been used as an aphrodisiac and female fertility treatment for centuries. One of the most powerful “herbal” substances known, it has been used for thousands of years all over the world. It comes in a thick, tar-like form containing over 80 minerals from Himalayan rocks. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and anti-anxiety, as well as anti-aging. Be sure to buy only the highest grade of Shilajit, wild crafted and gathered from the Himalayas, since only the finest will bring you your desired goal. Fennel—Foeniculum vulgare Is replete with plant steroids. In animal experiments it has been shown to raise the libido of both males and females. You can take it as a tea. Bruise a teaspoon of organic fennel seeds and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Steep for 5 minutes, strain and drink. Caution: Do not use fennel oil on your body when you are pregnant, as it has been known to cause miscarriage. Other simple herbs which you can add to your foods with a good reputation for enhancing libido are parsley, fenugreek—great to sprout and eat in salads—ginger, and anis. Even coca, from which chocolate is made, is a mild aphrodisiac. You can also use certain essential oils to enhance libido on the night. Massage your body and your partner’s with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or apricot oil to which you have added one of the aphrodisiac essences: Clary sage, ylang ylang, rose, or jasmine. Of course, this is for external use only. It’s powerful stuff—you need only 1 drop of an essential oil to each teaspoon of carrier oil. A capsule of vitamin E squeezed into the oil when you mix it helps keep it fresh longer. Next week on our Sacred Truth Podcast, we’ll be looking at some of the best aphrodisiacs for men, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, check out the links below for the best products you can find. Paradise Herbs, Organics, Shatavari, 60 Veggie Caps Paradise Organic Shatavari ultimate ayurvedic extract is the highest quality nature has to offer. Using a 100% natural extraction method the true essence and breath of the whole herbs is captured therefore retaining all of its active and synergistic constituents in the balanced ratio nature intended. Order Paradise Herbs, Organics, Shatavar from iherb Herb Pharm, Wild Yam We prepare our Wild Yam Extract from the rhizome of Dioscorea villosa vines which are Certified Organically Grown especially for us in their native forest habitat in eastern Kentucky. Order Herb Pharm, Wild Yam from iherb Nature's Way, Wild Yam, Root Capsules Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) was historically offered as "colic root" and used in herbal remedies for gastrointestinal irritations. In recent years it has become popular for women's health. Order Nature's Way, Wild Yam from iherb Triple Leaf Tea, American Ginseng American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) has long been a popular herb. Modern research confirms both American and Asian ginsengs contain ginsenosides and supports their long history of use. Order Triple Leaf Tea, American Ginseng from iherb Dragon Herbs, High Mountain Shilajit Shilajit is one of the premier "herbal" substances known to humankind. Shilajit has been used for thousands of years throughout much of the world as a tonic. Order Dragon Herbs, High Mountain Shilajit from iherb Organic Whole Fennel Seed A graceful plant, fennel is an aromatic, hardy, perennial with golden yellow flowers and feathery leaves. Also known as garden fennel, this plant's botanical name, Foeniculum vulgare, comes from the Latin for "fragrant hay" Order Organic Whole Fennel Seed from iherb

Insomnia - To Sleep Or Not To Sleep

Insomnia - To Sleep Or Not To Sleep

A great many sleep issues are more the result of worrying about insomnia than anything else. Many people who consider themselves insomniacs are really victims of general propaganda about sleep rather than true non-sleepers. And many people seek treatment because they can only sleep four or five hours a night, although that may be all they need. There is nothing more apt to cause sleeplessness than the worry that you won't be able to drop off. Sometimes sleeplessness can be normal. We all experience a sleepless night now and then, particularly if we are over-tired, worried, or excited about some coming event. THE TRUTH ABOUT INSOMNIA Real, chronic insomnia is less frequent. A major research project into long-term insomnia turned up some interesting facts about sufferers. Over 85 per cent of the 300 insomniacs studied had one or more major pathological personality indication, such as depression, obsessive compulsive tendencies, schizophrenic characteristics or sociopathy. For them, their insomnia was a secondary symptom of a more basic conflict—a socially acceptable problem they could talk about without fear of being judged. Insomnia can simply be a mask for whatever is really bothering the non-sleeper. Sometimes an inability to sleep can be a manifestation of a nutritional problem, often a deficiency of zinc coupled with an excess of copper—which produces a mind that is intellectually overactive and won't wind down—or a deficiency of calcium or magnesium or vitamin E—which can lead to tension and cramping in the muscles and a difficulty in letting go. 300mg of magnesium taken before bed often clears cramping and allows you to sleep more peacefully. BE COOL The more easygoing an attitude you take to sleep, the less likely you are to have any problem with it. If you miss an hour or two, or if you are not sleepy, simply stay up, read a book, or finish some work. Believe it or not, one of the best times for coming up with creative ideas is in the middle of a sleepless night. It can be the perfect opportunity for turning stress into something creative. Chances are that you'll more than make up for a few lost hours of sleep in the next couple of days—provided you don't let yourself get anxious about it. IT’S A WOMAN THING Insomnia is one of the greatest fears of all for women. Eight times more women report sleep difficulties to their doctors throughout their lives than do men. Apart from the motherhood-induced insomnia which comes from having to feed a baby, if ever you are going to have trouble sleeping it is most likely to be during the perimenopausal years just before your periods stop, or much later on in your seventies and eighties. People sleep less as they get older for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a decrease in the production of a brain hormone called melatonin which regulates the body's circadian rhythms. How much sleep you need can change depending on your life circumstances too. When you are pregnant, eat less wholesome foods, are under stress or ill you may need more sleep. You need more sleep when you gain weight, too. When losing weight, or during a detoxification regime, you will often sleep less. The sleeplessness that occurs in women around the time of menopause and is usually not so much a difficulty in going to sleep but a tendency to awaken regularly at the same time each night (usually 2 or 3 in the morning) and to lie wide awake. Because we are accustomed to sleeping through the night we assume that there must be something wrong. Yet sleeplessness can sometimes bring new insights, if you are ready to receive them. Many artists, writers and composers will tell you that they receive inspiration for new projects and discover ways of overcoming creative challenges on awakening in the night. That being said, when sleeplessness becomes chronic it can leave you feeling exhausted, hopeless and washed out, in which case something needs to be done about it. Sleeping pills are not the answer. Their side-effects include digestive problems, poor concentration, disorders of the blood and respiration, high blood pressure, liver and kidney troubles, problems with vision, depression, dizziness, confusion and damage to the central nervous system. Using them can even lead to worse insomnia. There are better ways. HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT The next time you are troubled by sleeplessness experiment with nature's best sleep aids. Spend 20 minutes in the sun or in very bright light each morning. Your circadian rhythms are linked to sunlight. The sun sets our natural clocks properly and acts as a natural energizer too. Get more exercise. This helps burn up stress-caused adrenalin build up in the brain which can result in that tense, nervous feeling where you are ‘up’ and can't seem to get ‘down’. Experiment with exercising at different times of the day to see which time works best for you in terms of relaxing you and making you ready for sleep at night. Never take strenuous exercise before going to bed as it can set the heart pounding and stimulate the whole body far too much. Don't take on any new activities late in the day. Don't take a nap in the evening or late afternoon. Eat early, not late. In fact, the earlier the better. Make dinner your smallest meal of the day and avoid snacks after dinner since they can interfere with sleep. Everybody sleeps better on an empty stomach despite what the hot drink manufacturers would have you believe. Don't drink coffee or alcohol at dinner, or other strong stimulants. This isn't just an old wives tale. One researcher looking into the effects of caffeine on human beings recently showed that total sleep time is decreased by two hours and the mean total of intervening wakefulness more than doubles when men and women are given caffeine equivalent to a couple of cups of coffee. Alcohol may put you to sleep but it tends not to keep you there, awakening you instead in the early hours of the morning. Drink plenty of water during the day. Sleep is induced by the brain and brain cells need adequate hydration both to stay awake during the daylight hours and to trigger the dreamy relaxation that brings on sleep. Hardly anyone drinks as much water as they profitably could. I regularly consume at least 2 litres of mineral water a day in addition to whatever other drinks I may have. Don't go to bed when you are not sleepy. Instead, pursue some pleasant activity, preferably passive. Television is not the best choice for rays emitted from the set disturb your nervous system when you least need it. Get into a rut, going to bed as far as possible at the same time every night and developing a routine or simple ritual about it. When it comes to getting ready for sleep each night the body loves routines, they foster relaxation and let the body know what to expect. Make bedtime and rising time as regular as possible and go through the same routine each evening of putting the cat out, opening the window, reading a book, etc. Soak in a lukewarm (not hot) bath for 30 minutes topping up with hot water to maintain the temperature at just blood heat. (A hot bath before bed is a mistake. It is far too stimulating to the heart and gets your motor running.) Blot your skin dry without friction and go straight to bed moving slowly. This can be a great thing to do in the middle of the night if you awaken too - use a candle instead of turning on the light and let yourself relax as you probably never can during the day when a telephone could ring or someone might demand something of you. Insist that you sleep in a room by yourself when you want to be alone. Nights, sometimes weeks, sleeping alone can be enormously restful and fruitful. Use an ioniser. A little contraption beside your bed that sends negative ions into the air is a godsend to anyone who has the kind of nervous system that tends to go ‘up’ and doesn't want to come ‘down’. Although not cheap, it is an excellent investment for you can use it at a desk when you have a lot of work to do. Or, if you buy one of the portable varieties, you can also take it in the car on long trips to keep from going to sleep (it magically works both ways). Negative ions also stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain. Listen to mellow music. Music too can help alter consciousness and have you sinking blissfully into the depths of slumber. An ipod by the side of your bed is one of the most pleasant ways of all of putting a racing mind to rest and easing yourself into sleep. Use essential oils. They can have a wonderfully calming effect on the mind and body. You can take a warm bath with them or place a few drops on your pillow to inhale through the night. For the bath use four drops of lavender oil, two drops of camomile and two drops of neroli (orange blossom). Or try a drop or two of each on your pillow. Count your blessings. It's an old fashioned idea but it is a true key to deep relaxation and blissful sleep. Each night as you turn out the light think of six things during the day which you have to be thankful for, regardless of your physical or emotional state or how difficult your life may be at the time. This gradually turns the mind to dwell on pleasurable themes while you are awake. It can even improve the quality of your dreams. Make use of effective relaxation techniques (coming soon). You will find they enhance many other areas of your life too. Stop worrying about getting to sleep. Just let it happen. If it doesn't tonight, so what? It will tomorrow night. Or the next. Lack of sleep is not going to kill you, but worrying about it long enough just might.

Sacred Truth Ep. 56: Beware Of

Sacred Truth Ep. 56: Beware Of "The Pill"

For more than 50 years we women have been sold birth control pills. I first came upon it when I was 21 years old. Having given birth to a little girl my second child—and I was concerned about not becoming pregnant again. At that time birth control pills were dolled out for free to women. You just showed up at the Margaret Sanger Clinic, then housed in a building at 17 W. 16th St in New York not far from where I lived. I went there believing this new discovery—the birth control pill—would prevent me from having any unwanted pregnancies in the future. I was given a container of pills and told to take one each day. Believing in this wondrous new discovery, I returned to my apartment and took the first pill. Within two or three hours I felt quite sick. But, trying to be a good girl, I persisted. Over the next three days I swallowed the second and third pill as well. I spent those three days sitting in my king-size bed literally moaning because I felt so unwell. It was at that point I realized that this marvelous new discovery was most certainly not for me. I never touched the birth control pill, or any other pharmaceutical akin to it from that day until this. Meanwhile, over the next 30 years "The Pill" became a worldwide success. Or so it seemed. In the early 1980s "Direct To Consumers" advertising came into being. Women everywhere began to be bombarded on television and in magazines with a lot of hyped information about a wide variety of birth control pills and other artificial drugs, all of which were full of artificial hormones. By now of course birth control pills have become a multi-billion dollar industry. In fact, 50% of all oral contraceptive drugs are now sold worldwide. There's no question that being able to take a pill to prevent pregnancy can be convenient. But at what cost to the health of any woman who takes them long term? It’s essential that women learn to balance the risks of taking these pharmaceuticals with their supposed great benefits and convenience. These days, contraceptives are offered in many forms. Most women are prescribed an IUD containing artificial hormones. These are widely used in the UK. Meanwhile, in a few European countries—from Denmark and Sweden to Norway and the Czech Republic—hormone-free intrauterine devices are available. Some of these non-hormonal products are given free in countries with universal government health insurance. In the United States, however, there is only one nonhormonal IUD. It's known as Paragard. And it is by no means the top seller. There all sorts of other products you can use for family planning. These include condoms, diaphragms, spermicides, and other non-hormonal birth control methods such as regular injections and permanent sterilization. So what's the problem? Let’s start here: In 2012 a huge study was carried out on Depo-Provera. This is a contraceptive injection based on an artificial hormone called a progestogen. It found that women who received prescribed shots of Depo-Provera every few months more than doubled their risk of developing breast cancer. Of course birth control is not the only reason that women take "The Pill." Many, especially teenagers, are prescribed "The Pill" in an attempt to make their experience of menstruation more bearable hopefully easing monthly cramps and helping to alleviate premenstrual syndrome. What few women regardless of age are aware of—especially young women—is that using artificial hormones, in the form of “The Pill” or any other form, which are doled out almost like candies these days, can seriously undermine their health long-term and do damage to their lives. Austrian geneticist Josef Penninger discovered that there is a dangerous connection between progestin—an artificial hormone used in many birth control pills—and conventional HRT significantly increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Researchers at the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have identified the mechanism that allows synthetic sex hormones to influence these cells. It can switch on a hormone in your body known as RANKL within the cells—especially your breast cells—which makes them divide and multiply. It can also prevent cells from dying as they are supposed to in order to make room for new healthier cells. And since stem cells in the breast have the ability to renew themselves, this can make you prone to breast cancer. As Penninger says, “I have to admit it completely surprised me just how massive the effects on the system were. Millions of women take progesterone derivatives in contraceptives and for hormonal replacement therapy.” There are lots of natural alternatives to clearing PMS and the monthly menstrual agonies that women—particularly young women—experience. Homeopathy, acupuncture, and chiropractors can be of tremendous help. Simply supplementing your diet with a good form of magnesium can make a huge difference. Steering clear of plastic water bottles that contain dangerous BPA (Bisphenol A) is also important. So can making simple changes in what you choose to eat, like avoiding packaged convenience foods of all kinds. For many women, just giving up cows milk products including cream, cow’s milk yogurt, and cows milk cheese makes a huge difference in clearing up cramps and PMS. Also, stay away from carbohydrates that come from grains and cereals and refuse to take sugar in any form. Sheep, goat, and buffalo milk make wonderful cheeses, yogurts, and other products. Finally, eat REAL FOODS—proteins from animals that have been raised on green grass, together with organic vegtables and a few fruits. Do this for as short a time as three weeks to a month, and your health can literally be transformed. Try it and find out for yourself.

The Best Is Yet To Come

The Best Is Yet To Come

This is an interview I gave about what it means to turn 50 years old and the gifts that this process can bring. Tally: You’ve always said that turning 50 and entering menopause are great gifts, Leslie, What do you mean by this? TURNING 50 Leslie: Let me first be personal,Tally. My 50th birthday was the only birthday in my life that I cared about. It felt to me as though 50 was a watershed—the moment in time where I left behind my previous life in order to create a new life for myself. At that time I was writing my first novel, Ludwig: A Spiritual Thriller, about Beethoven. My eldest son, Branton, gave me an amazing birthday gift. What he did was lay aside two days for me and a dozen other people to celebrate, not just my birthday, but their own passages in their own lives. One of the things he did—he sent six bouquets of my favorite flowers—Oriental lilies—each containing a dozen lilies. Then on the Friday night there was a knock at the door. I opened the front door to find a woman with a violin in her hand. She said “Hello. We are a quartet from the Welsh National Opera, and we have come to play Beethoven’s late quartets for you.” Anyway, I had done a fast to celebrate my life-change at 50, basically. I wasn’t, at that time, entering menopause—it was about a year later that I did. Tally: Well my own experience of turning 50 was pretty bleak. I was already in the menopause. I felt horrible—tears all the time, hot flushes, insomnia. I felt very stressed by the whole thing. I also lost my waist for a while, which really upset me. So for me, it wasn’t a great experience. How could I make it a bit better? Leslie: I think you weren’t prepared for it, Tally. Menopause is the most important moment in a woman’s life, for a lot of reasons. My menopause was not easy in the beginning either. Why? Because I had been filled with the same kind of fear and nonsense that the media fills all of us with about menopause. You know the kind of stuff—“Oh my god, what if I have a hot flush when I’m in the boardroom?” and “You’ll get old and dry up if you don’t use HRT!” THE GIFTS OF MENOPAUSE Yet somewhere, deep inside, I sensed that the gifts of menopause might be the world’s best kept secret. Entering menopause, we venture through a gateway to enter into a sacred space that is brand new to our lives. We pass through this portal to claim the joy that every woman can feel, but has not yet known. As we stand at the brink of menopause, it feels as though only darkness lies beyond, lasting for the rest of our lives. This is true, but not in the way that most women believe. For having myself passed through that doorway into the realms beyond—20 years ago now—I discovered for myself something which women from all cultures have whispered to each other for thousands of years: Menopause is the most freeing passage a woman can make. HERO’S JOURNEY The transformation it can bring is rich and endless. Your life can become a journey in which you tap into your own individual power and freedom. For every woman it’s a voyage of discovery which, step by step, wants us to examine and discard misconceptions about ourselves and our lives, to get rid of the fear, and to come face to face with the implications of what this kind of female transformation means. The call to menopause, which each of us hears, comes in as many different forms as there are women to hear it. But whatever shape it takes, its purpose is the same. It’s asking us to leave behind the comfortable world of our ordinary existence and enter unfamiliar, yet sacred, territory. It’s asking each of us to set out on our own hero’s journey. Sometimes, this urges us to make an outer journey to a real place, find a new job, or leave behind a marriage that has outlived its usefulness. But for most of us, the journey takes place in our hearts, in our minds, in our spirits. What is wonderful, is this: however it happens, this journey takes a woman out of her ordinary world, and away from all of the outdated, false assumptions we carry about who we are. It takes us out of an experience of fear into one of strength; out of an experience of grief and regret towards the discovery of a new sense of purpose—from despair to hope. Now it’s time to recognize that all of the things that take place in a woman’s life—like what happened to you, Tally, with your hot flushes and “Oh my god, what’s happening to me?”—are fundamentally a call from your soul. It’s saying to you “You’ve lived a good life until now, you’ve cared for other people, you’ve been responsible and honorable in what you’re doing, but where is the essence of Tally?” Now’s the time for you to learn to live your life from the very core of your being? HERBAL SECRETS Let’s go back to those hot flushes. I have a very extraordinary point of view as far as they’re concerned. If you’re in a boardroom, you have a hot flush and it bothers the men who are with you, that’s their problem, not yours. Most men are scared to death of women in the menopause. They’re not aware of it, but the power that women access within themselves is phenomenal. On a practical level, hot flushes are easy things to deal with. Herbs like black cohosh—also known as black snakeroot, or sheng ma in Chinese medicine—and sage are great to support the process. Motherwort is absolutely marvelous for the menopause transition because it’s so comforting. When you mix together some of these herbs they work best. What I would never do is get into hormone replacement therapy. Menopause signals to us that it’s time to stop being the lover, the mother, the good employee—all of the things we grow up thinking we’re supposed to live up to—and just spend time being with yourself, in that inner place, discovering who you really are. When you do this, you find that even the physical experiences of menopause which are supposed to be negative are really a call from your soul, urging you to find out who you are, and begin to live out the fantastic power, energy, and freedom that menopause is offering. These are rewards of the natural menopause, and of the transformation that menopause can bring to a woman’s life if she’s willing to embrace it. Choose to answer the call, and your menopausal passage can become the most exciting hero’s journey anyone ever takes.

Sacred Truth Ep. 41: Cool Hot Flashes

Sacred Truth Ep. 41: Cool Hot Flashes

The most common herald of menopause is the appearance of hot flashes. These are virtually synonymous in the experience of many women. An adjunct to hot flashes are night sweats where you awaken drenched in sweat, so much so sometimes that you not only need to change your night clothes but the sheets on your bed as well. Both night sweats and hot flashes can be disconcerting if you are frightened of them. Don’t be. A lot can be said about hot flashes, but there are only two facts that you need to know: First, they are completely harmless. Second, hot flashes are the only symptoms among a long list of stuff usually attributed to menopause that genuinely belong to it. Women of all ages get hot flashes especially strongly when their ovaries are removed surgically. During pre-menopause, thinner women often experience more drastic alterations in their estrogen levels and are therefore more likely than their bigger sisters to get stronger hot flashes. In most women, hot flashes are at their most intense during the last year or so before the end of menstruation and during the first year afterwards. Estrogen levels tend to be lower in pre-menopausal women with hot flashes than those without hot flashes. Yet it is quite clear that low estrogen, although it continues to get the blame for hot flashes, it is by no means all that is involved in their production. It is the sudden drop of estrogen in your body that is the real issue. And once your body becomes accustomed to lower levels of estrogen, most hot flashes gradually diminish. Often low estrogen is not involved in hot flashes at all. Hot flashes happen to women if they have been taking supplementary estrogen in HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) for a time and then stop. . There are certain foods and habits known to contribute greatly to the incidence of hot flashes. Stop cigarette smoking, drinking, caffeine, and eating hot spicy food. An overactive thyroid can cause hot flashes too, as can insulin resistance, the use of all sorts of potentially dangerous drugs from Big Pharma, and diabetes. Hot flashes are often the result of allergic reactions to foods and the chemicals in the environment. The high levels of steroid hormones used in pharmaceutical hormone replacement suppress important functions in your body, such as those that are connected with allergies and with your body's attempt to detoxify itself. When estrogen decreases rapidly in a menopausal woman who has been taking artificial hormones, then the underlying allergy or toxicity that was being masked by the hormones comes to the surface. Foods can give you reactions such as migraine, headaches and rises in blood pressure as well as hot flashes. It is time to look at your diet, since when offending foods like milk and all cows’ milk products, including yoghurt and cheeses, wheat, chocolate, or oranges are removed from the diet, hot flashes will diminish and may even cease altogether. By the way, extra estrogen does not “cure” hot flashes. It only masks them for a while. Actually, there is nothing to “cure,” because hot flashes are not a symptom of disease. They are a normal bodily change associated with the transition between the menstrual years and menopause. The standard medical treatment for hot flashes is estrogen. If you decide to go on estrogen for a few years “to get you through the rough patch,” what you are not told is that when you come off it, your hot flashes are likely to return in force—three years down the road or twenty. Women who have been filled full of fear of menopause—particularly professional women—sometimes sit in trepidation lest a hot flash come over them while in a business meeting to betray that they are menopausal. Women always think they are more evident to the outside world than they are. But even if they were, so what? Why should any woman agree, even tacitly, to buy into the general nonsense that menopause—or perhaps a swollen belly during pregnancy—is something disgraceful to be hidden? If you have been experiencing hot flashes, change your diet. Also use some powerful and benign herbs. Here are my favorites. They work beautifully: Sage: Make an infusion of 1 teaspoon of the dried leaves in a cup of water, allow it to steep for 10 minutes, then drink 1 tablespoon of the tea 1 to 4 times a day. Or you can use 10 to 25 drops of tincture of sage every day. Motherwort: It does not make a great tasting tea, so I prefer to take it as a tincture. Take 10 to 25 drops of tincture every 2 to 6 hours. Chastetree: Take 1 capsule of powdered berries 3 to 4 times a day, or 15 drops to 1 teaspoon of the tincture 1 to 3 times a day. Dong Quai: Make an infusion of a teaspoon of the dried root in a cup of boiling water and drink once a day. Or take 15 to 30 drops of tincture 1 to 3 times a day. Remember this: The long traditions of natural medicine view hot flashes as the body’s way of detoxifying itself and enhancing immunity. And recent research shows that even a slight raise in temperature in the body can be instrumental in doing both. Eclectic Institute, Organic Motherwort Fresh, organic motherwort (leonurus cardiaca) flower tops. organic grain-free alcohol content: 40-50%. filtered water. Fresh herb strength: 1:2.(500 mg/ml). Order Eclectic Institute, Organic Motherwort from iherb Eclectic Institute, Chaste Tree Dried organic chaste tree (vitex agnus castus) berry, Organic grain-free alcohol content: 70-80%, filtered water. Dry herb strength 1:4. (250 mg/ml). Order Eclectic Institute, Chaste Tree from iherb Eclectic Institute, Dong Quai Dried cured dong quai (angelica sinensis) root, organic grain-free alcohol content: 25-35%, filtered water. Fresh herb strength: 1:4 (250 mg/ml). Order Eclectic Institute, Dong Quai from iherb Herb Pharm, Whole Leaf Sage Certified organic cane alcohol (71-81%) & distilled water. Gluten-free. Dry herb / menstruum ratio: 1 : 5 Order Herb Pharm, Whole Leaf Sage from iherb

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

London’s Daily Mail approached me a few weeks ago asking me to write a piece on what it’s like to have 4 children by 4 different men. The idea intrigued me so I did. The piece wasn’t published since, they said, “It’s not written in the Mail style.” So here it is as a personal gift from me to you. I hope you enjoy it. Struggling to hold back the tears, my daughter’s voice on the crackly phone line was barely a whisper. “Mama, Dan died this morning,” she said. Dan Smith, biological father to my third child, Jesse, was much loved by all of my children. He had been seriously ill with a rare form of leukaemia. We knew he could die any moment. Still, the news that reached me at my Primrose Hill home that cold February morning in 2010 sent shock waves through me. “We’re already organising the funeral,” Susannah went on. “We want to play jazz music, tell fun stories about Dan and celebrate his life. Don’t worry about being 12,000 miles away, we’ll video all of it for you to watch later.” I would love to have been there to celebrate Dan’s life. It had been a good life. He was an honorable man—one who kept his promises. Dan had long adored each of my four children although only one of them was a child of his own body. Four years earlier, Dan had chosen to move to New Zealand to be near the children. Together they had searched for and found a house for him so that all of us—me included—could spend precious time with Dan and care for him so long as he lived. NOT THE MARRYING KIND I had met Dan 53 years earlier when I was seventeen years old. We became friends. Later, in my mid-twenties, we were briefly married. I was never much in favor of marriage, however. That’s probably why I chose to give birth to four children by four different men. Now I’m being called a trailblazer for what is becoming an increasingly popular brand of mothering, commonly referred to as ‘multi-dadding.’ I am supposed to be what is fashionably termed a ‘4x4.’ Mothering children by more than one man recently hit the headlines with the news that actress Kate Winslet is expecting her third child by her third husband, the rock star Ned Rocknroll. Kate, 37, has a 12-year-old daughter, Mia, with her first husband, Jim Threapleton, and a nine-year-old son, Joe, with her second husband, Sam Mendes. The former weather girl Ulrika Jonsson is a 4x4, and the late TV presenter Paula Yates was a 4x2. While supposedly gaining popularity, this style of mothering is still hugely controversial. I am told that the news that a woman has children by more than one man is still met with a mixture of horror and fascination. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I have never had to deal with either of these attitudes. To tell the truth, I have never much cared what people think about me, how I chose to live my life or the way I have raised my children. Perhaps that’s a good thing, or maybe I am just naïve. One thing is for sure: I’ve always been one of those women so fertile that that a man could almost look at me and I’d get pregnant. I would never miscarry. I rode horses, went surfing and danced all night while pregnant and suffered no consequences. I am told that women like me are often looked upon as monstrously selfish, bad mothers. They are accused of being feckless for having multiple lovers and just plain wrong for not providing their children with a ‘traditional family setup.’ I’m sure some traditional families are genuinely wise, stable and happy. The parents love each other and care for their children with great devotion and joy. But, in my experience, such families are few and far between. KIDS MATTER MOST What matters most in child rearing is neither convention nor family labels. It is the children. Children brought up by a devoted single mother (or single father) who lovingly trusts their own parental instincts and forms honest relationships with each child in their care, thrive. I believe this is far better than desperately trying to hold on to a marriage that doesn’t work ‘for the children’s sake.’ What I find sad is the way an ordinary single woman—not a movie star or media giant—who has children by more than one man and has to bring them up by herself, earning a living and juggling the needs not only of her children but also increasingly of their fathers, doesn't get the attention, sympathy, or anywhere near the admiration she deserves. It’s a challenging job for any woman. I know, I’ve done it. I’ve raised four children all on my own, earned the money for our family, stayed up all night caring for them when they had measles, chicken pox or mumps, then got up the next morning to make breakfast and iron that school uniform about which I was told, “Mama...my teacher says it has to be perfect.” Many a time I worried where the money was coming from to pay for food that week. LION-HEARTED MOTHERHOOD I champion any woman making a life for the children she loves in this way. It is the child that matters most and his or her relationship to a mother, father, or a caring friend. Every woman has a powerful lion-hearted passion to care for and protect her children. Women should trust themselves, give thanks for such power and use it for the benefit of their children. Kids are notoriously smart. They know when they are being fed a line about what they are “supposed” to think and say. They easily distinguish between what’s real and what’s contrived. As parents, if we want to gain the respect of our children we must always tell them the truth and treat them with respect as well as demand that they respect us in return. As far as the fathers of our children are concerned, they deserve the same respect and honesty from a woman as the child does, whether or not she is married to them. I believe that each child needs to get to know its father in its own way and make its own judgements. MY OWN STORY I grew up in a wildly unconventional family of highly creative, unstable people. Until I was 5, I was raised by my maternal grandmother. Later I was raped by my father and had my brain fried with ECT in an attempt to make me forget all that had happened to me. I was always a tomboy. I hated dolls. I loved to climb trees and play football. Yet from 5 years old I was sure that I wanted to have children. When I told my grandmother my plan she said I would need to get married to have children. “What’s married?” I asked. “It’s when you wear a white dress and have a big beautiful cake and promise to love and obey a man,” she said. “Ugh, I’ll never do that,” I replied. “I hate cake.” In any case, I knew she was lying to me since none of our Siamese cats were married, but they gave birth to masses of kittens. At the age of 17, while in my Freshman year at Stanford University, I got pregnant by a 22 year old man named Peter Dau. I rang my father. “I’m pregnant,” I told him. “What are you going to do?” “Give birth and keep the baby.” “You can’t keep the baby unless you get married,” he said. Had I been a little more gutsy I would have told him to get stuffed. But at the age of 17, still wrestling with all that had happened to me in my own childhood, he wielded a lot of influence over me. So I agreed. Peter was all for the idea. Single-handedly I put together an all-white wedding for 250 people in the garden of our Beverley Hills home. I made the decision to wear black shoes under my white satin dress. I felt I was giving my life away by marrying Peter, but I was willing to make the sacrifice since I so wanted this child. As soon as Dan learned of the wedding, he sent me a beautiful sterling silver bowl as a present which I still have. My first son, Branton, was born six months later. When I held this tiny baby in my arms he taught me the most important lesson I ever learned: Love exists. It is simple, real and has nothing to do with highfalutin notions or flowery words. At the age of 18, I realized my life had found its purpose—to love and be loved. PREGNANT AGAIN A year later, Peter and I left California for New York where he was to attend medical school while I went to work as a model to help support us. At that time, Dan left his job as a journalist in Massachusetts and moved to New York to be near us. My marriage to Peter ended amicably three years later. It should never have happened in the first place. Three days after leaving Peter back in California, I stopped overnight at my father’s house in Beverley Hills on my way back to New York. Barry Comden, a man much older than I whom I had known since I was 14 but never had a sexual relationship with, discovered I was in town and came to see me. I made love to him once and knew immediately that I was pregnant again. Marry Barry? No way. I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. (Years later Barry would marry the actress Doris Day.) Nine months later my only daughter, Susannah, was born. It was then that a large tumor growing off of my right ovary was discovered. It had been hidden behind the baby during my pregnancy. It was dangerous and had to be surgically removed. HELP WHEN IT MATTERS Once again Dan appeared in my life. He had always insisted that he fell in love with me from the first day we met. He had written me letters every single day my first year at Stanford. I never answered any of them. I didn’t share his love and I didn’t want to lead him on. He had also sent me book after book which he thought I should read. I read them all and loved them. Dan had always been kind and generous to me. He was always keen to protect and care for me when I needed it. So, when I ended up penniless and alone with two children and in need of major surgery, he offered me a home. I accepted. For several months the four of us lived together in New York. Dan adored Branton and Susannah and treated them as if they were his own. I was longing to leave the United States. I wanted to live in Paris—a city I loved more than any other. Dan was able to arrange a job for himself there as a foreign correspondent. In early 1964 we went. Dan had repeatedly told me that he was sure we were meant to be together forever. I hoped that he was right and believed that if I tried hard enough to be a good wife I would learn to love him as he deserved. On July 29, 1964, we were married in Paris. Like every other man I have ever been close to, Dan knew long before we were married that my children would always come first. I had sat him down and told him that he would have to treat Susannah and Branton exactly the same as he would treat any child of his who might come along. He agreed. On June 12, 1965, Dan’s son Jesse was born. He was delighted. True to his word, never once did he favor Jesse over Branton and Susannah. This was great for all three children who came to know him well and to adore him. When presents were passed out, each child was equally favored. Dan belonged to all of them and they knew it. FATHERS, FATHERS Because Branton’s father lived in America and we lived in Europe, Branton did not see him again until he was 11. By that age I figured he was old enough to make the trip on his own and spend a week or two with Peter. Susannah was not really interested in her father—also in the United States—until she was about 17. She then went to Los Angeles to meet him. A good friendship developed between them which remained until Barry died. A non-traditional, unconventional family? Absolutely, but it worked because there was honesty and there was love—the two most important things in any family, anytime, anywhere. For five years I had told myself that, if only I could learn to love Dan more, then everything would be all right. But I couldn’t. And it wasn’t. Confused and disappointed, at the age of 27, I faced the fact that our marriage had failed. We moved to England and we separated. It was Easter. I went to a Buddhist monastery in Scotland to clear my head. Of course Dan grieved over the failure. But that never stopped him from being a welcome person in our family right up to his death. Years later he would marry Gerda Boyeson, a psychotherapist who died a few years before he did. BLESSED MEN The men who made my life rich after Dan and I divorced were, each in their own way, as special as he had been. Each accepted that my children came before all else in the world to me. I never compromised. I chose men, be they friends or lovers, who brought wonderful things to my children. No man ever came before my children. If any man didn’t understand and accept this, he had to go. One man whom I loved, Graham, taught my children to climb and sail and mountaineer. All my children forged deep bonds with Graham which have remained to this day. Another man, Garth, gave Branton, Susannah and Jesse his much cherished toy collection from his own childhood. Garth took us all on wonderful picnics, introduced us to hidden beaches, sang songs with us and blessed us with his unique brand of joy. Then there was David, a man with whom I lived with for 5 years in my late twenties. David constructed beautiful rooms for each of my children in the tiny house I had bought with the little money that my grandfather had left me, when Dan and I separated. David wrote and recorded songs for each of my children. That was 40 years ago. Last year, Susannah and her partner visited David and his wife in Barcelona where he now lives. AN UNCONVENTIONAL MOTHER Ironically, the only complaint I ever got from any of my children about my not being conventional enough was from Dan’s son Jesse. “Why aren’t you like other mothers?” Jesse asked one day when he was 7. “I don’t know, Jesse, what are other mothers like?” “Oh you know,” he said, “They’re fat and bake cookies.” Jesse even grumbled if, while I was waiting to pick him up from school, I sat on the playground swings. He was adamant that such behavior was not “proper” for his mother. Sixteen years after Jesse was born, I became pregnant for the last time by yet another special man—Paul. I announced my condition to 17 year old Susannah as we were all setting off for a six week holiday in Canada with Graham and his son Ruan. “I’m going to have a baby,” I told her. “Don’t worry Mama,” she laughed, “We’ll say it is mine!” FAMILY CELEBRATION In March of 1981, I gave birth to my fourth child, Aaron, at our home in Pembrokeshire. All three of my other children helped deliver him. While I was in labor, they prepared the most delicious lunch I have ever tasted from fruits and vegetables from the garden. I had insisted on giving birth naturally at home, not in some clinical, cold hospital. Jesse had been born via natural childbirth, at a clinique d’accouchement in Paris. After the experience of natural childbirth I swore if ever I had another child it would have to be this way. As for Dan, one way or another he was always close by. He knew David, Graham, Garth and every other man who was to play a role in my own life and my children’s lives. For many years he spent Christmases with us and with our other male friends when they were there. Dan loved to play saxophone at family gatherings. One year he dressed up as Santa Claus. Aaron, then 5 years old, was completely taken in by the costume and terrified when this rotund man belted out, “Ho, Ho, Ho, little boy, what do you want for Christmas?” It took a lot of reassurance from Aaron’s big brothers and sister to convince him that Santa was really ‘good old Dan.’ UNIQUE & INDEPENDENT As for my children, each of them is totally unique and highly independent. I have always fought hard to encourage them to trust themselves and listen to their own heart instead of doing or saying what the rest of the world tells kids they are supposed to do and say. After graduating with a first class degree from Lancaster University, Branton, now 53, developed a series of successful businesses. Susannah, 50, with whom I have written 5 books and done two television series, is a sought-after voice artist. Jesse, 48, is a highly skilled plastic surgeon. Jesse and I have also written a book together. Aaron, now 32, is a designer and filmmaker. He and I have worked together for the past four years developing Cura Romana—a spiritually based program for health, lasting weight loss and spiritual transformation. Branton and Jesse have been happily married for many years. Both have three children each. As for me, I am probably the world’s worst grandmother. I don't babysit, or do any of the things grandmothers are ‘supposed’ to do. (Including baking those cookies Jesse once complained about.) Why? I’m not sure. I guess because for forty-five years of my life I was a mother. I loved this more than all the books I’ve written, all the television programs I’ve devised and presented, all the workshops I’ve taught, and all the other things I’ve done and enjoyed. Right now, my life belongs to me alone. I love the freedom this brings me. I am passionate about being a catalyst in people’s lives, helping them realize their own magnificence and live out their potentials both for their own benefit and for the benefit of all. Who knows what exciting challenges lie before me. Bring them on!

Female Viagra

Female Viagra

I’m stunned by the extremes to which a pharmaceutical company will go when attempting to get FDA approval for some new drug. Take a look at the latest offering from privately-held Sprout Pharmaceuticals, who claim they now have a “female Viagra.” Yes, really. It is called Addyi. This drug is potentially dangerous, with some frightening side effects. They include an increased risk of syncope—temporary loss of consciousness—as well as severe low blood sugar, insomnia, dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, sedation, and anxiety. Manufacturers warn if you decide to use it, not to drink alcohol. I wouldn’t touch Addyi with a ten foot pole. a failed antidepressant Addyi is actually Flibanserin—a failed antidepressant. Unlike Viagra, which is designed to bring more blood flow to male genitals if a man chooses to use it temporarily, Addyi is supposed to be used every day—long-term by women. It claims to enhance a woman’s sexual impulses by targeting, not your genitals but your brain. Flibanserin is similar to other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac. Ironically these drugs are notorious not for increasing libido, but for blunting it. Some time ago, Big Pharma invented a whole new “illness” known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, defined as “persistently or recurrently deficient (or absent) sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity.” Addyi is supposed to treat this. a mediocre aphrodisiac with scary side-effects Originally developed by family-owned Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany Flibanserin, after lengthy trails was judged to be ineffective as an antidepressant. Boehringer had submitted this drug to the FDA for approval in 2011. It was refused. Out of 1300 women who took part in trials, 15% dropped out due to unpleasant side effects. The FDA rejected the appeal, saying that whatever the drugs drug’s minor benefits might be they could not justify its nasty side effects. So Boehringer sold their invention to Sprout Pharmaceuticals in 2011. Who tried their luck with the FDA in 2013 and also got nowhere. However, Sprout’s persistence, massive lobbying and and financial investments amassed more than 60,000 supporting signatures so finally won FDA’s approval for the drug in August of 2015. This FDA approval stands next to many other applications which have won FDA approval in the past, showing that, when companies spend enough money, they can, in effect, force the FDA to approve many useless or dangerous drugs. Adriane Fugh-Berman MD, Pharmacology Professor at Georgetown University, describes Addyi as "a mediocre aphrodisiac with scary side-effects.” She adds, “The only thing that’s different is a clever, aggressive public relations campaign that Sprout Pharmaceuticals waged successfully.” FDA - a medical Gestapo Meanwhile, the outspoken Dr Mark Sircus makes his own assessment of the situation, which is well worth listening to. Sircus says, “Most doctors and medical associations just do not get that women are different from men sexually. They do not have genitals that function independent of their hearts and minds. The feminine principle is pretty much dead in modern civilization and especially at the FDA, which runs like the SS, a medical Gestapo. The FDA again proves what type of organization it is exposing women in America to the dangers and horrors of pharmaceutical drugs. They are the most unnatural organization in the world poisoning people instead of helping.” Need I say more? If you want to learn about safe natural aphrodisiacs that not only work but are a delight to use, I’ll be covering some of my favorites on our next two videocasts. Look forward to seeing you then.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 12,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 11 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 17th of September 2019 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.69 lb
for women
-0.81 lb
for men
-0.69 lb
for women
-0.81 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 17th of September 2019 (updated every 12 hours)

sign up for our newsletter

download our free book healthy & lean for life