Exercises for Estrogen-Deficient Fast Processors

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by Susan Lark
I personally follow an exercise program for estrogen deficient–fast processors. Even though my female hormones are healthy and well-balanced, I fall more into this category because I am a petite and slender woman, and I have a fast-paced day-to-day life. To help balance my female hormones, I follow a workout routine that calms me.

Estrogen deficient–fast processors don’t want to heat up their bodies and sweat. It is more important to engage in slower, more expansive and relaxing aerobic activities that are moderately strenuous and can be done in a relaxed and leisurely way. For this reason, the best activities for women in this category include golf, gardening, swimming, and moderately-paced walking and bicycling. You can also try ballroom dancing—in particular, slower dances like the waltz.

In terms of stretching, the best types for this hormonal category include tai chi and hatha yoga, which are slower and more meditative. With these slower-paced exercises, you will tend to breathe more deeply and slowly. Moderate aerobic exercise relaxes, dilates, and expands the network of blood vessels in your body, and enables your heart to work more efficiently. Better circulation and oxygenation, in turn, improve the health of all of your organs, including your ovaries and uterus.

Of course, another benefit to this and all exercise is the reduction of menopause symptoms like  hot flashes and night sweats!

Exercises for Estrogen-Deficient Slow Processors

Friday, April 8, 2011 by Susan Lark
If you are an estrogen deficient–slow processor, I recommend keeping your female hormones balanced with high-intensity activities such as power walking, cycling, running, triathlons, racquetball, tennis, and fast-paced styles of ballroom dance like the tango, foxtrot, and swing.

Women with these hormone profiles tend to be instinctively drawn to strenuous types of exercise that are more contracting and acidifying to counter their natural tendency toward alkalinity. I’ve seen women with these hormonal profiles maintain this level of intense physical activity well into their later years. In fact, it is not unusual to see slow processors participating in triathlons and bodybuilding well into their 70s and beyond!

Stretching and flexibility exercises are also important parts of your workout routine. Stretching keeps you limber and helps your muscles and tendons function well into your older years. The best stretching exercise is Pilates, as it tends to include more intense and faster-paced movements. In addition, yoga is beneficial for these women—particularly the high-energy Bikram (hot), ashtanga, and power yoga.

Another benefit of these exercises? They help reduce menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats!

About the Estrogen-Deficient Slow Processor

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 by Susan Lark
I told you earlier this week about the estrogen-deficient fast processor. Today, I'll tell you about the mirror image of this woman--the estrogen-deficient slow processor.

An estrogen deficiency–slow processor woman is also in menopause and may experience menopause symptoms, but she has the opposite body type and temperament. Characteristics include:
• Plumper/difficult time losing weight
• Fluid retention
• Stronger bones and connective tissue
• Thicker skin and hair
• Placid temperament

Often women have characteristics that fall under both categories, but more of the characteristics fall in one over the other. In this case, you should identify yourself with the profile that most closely lines up with your personal characteristics.

Over the next few days, I'll tell you about exercises and foods to eat if you are a fast processor or slow processor.

Are You Fast or Slow?

Monday, April 4, 2011 by Susan Lark
During menopause, things aren’t as simple as just too much or too little of any given hormone. In my practice, I found that patients tended to experience a total shift in their entire physical and chemical makeup that manifested as one of two patterns. Their body and brain chemistry tended toward becoming either too fast or too slow. For this reason, I call the first pattern estrogen deficiency–fast processor. The second is its mirror image: estrogen deficiency–slow processor.

Today I'll give you the characteristics of a woman who is a fast processor.

Characteristics include:
• Anxiety
• Thin, dry skin and tissues
• Menopause hot flashes
• Night sweats
• Insomnia
• Vaginal dryness
• Sore joints
• Increased risk for heart disease and osteoporosis

Later this week, I'll tell you about slow processors, then give you information on how to deal with both chemical makeups!

Simple Salmon-Spinach Salad

Friday, April 1, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Even though it’s April Fool’s Day, coming up with a quick, easy, and delicious meal is no joke. Most women either don’t like (or don’t have time!) to spend hours in the kitchen coming up with healthy meals night after night that won't clog your arteries or throw your hormones into upheaval.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to get your spinach and salmon…without any muss or fuss. I call it (what else!) the Simple Salmon-Spinach Salad. Enjoy!simple salmon-spinach salad

Simple Salmon-Spinach Salad
Serves 1

1 6-ounce filet wild salmon
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup pineapple, diced
1 tablespoon red onion, diced
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, diced
1 cup fresh spinach

Grill or lightly sauté salmon in olive oil.

While it is cooking, mix pineapple with red onion and fresh cilantro. Blend well.

Place spinach on a place. Top with salmon and pineapple mixture and enjoy.

For more easy, delicious recipes, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Spectacular Salmon

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Kimberly Day
There’s no doubting the amazing health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. spectacular salmon

Not only are they heart-healthy fats, they also promote beautiful, healthy skin, hormonal balance, and immune function. EFAs also help reduce inflammation and boost mood, by helping in the production of serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter.

And one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are wild, cold-water fish such as salmon. The colder the water a fish lives in, the more omega-3 its body requires and possesses, simply to keep it warm enough.

Plus, salmon is a wonderful source of protein. It contains a complete range of the essential amino acids needed to build protein, and is lower in unhealthy saturated fat than red meat or pork.  

Just be sure to always choose wild salmon (never farmed). You can top a salad with the canned variety or even used to make salmon cakes (as an alternative to crab cakes). Or simply choose salmon filets for your next cookout. It holds up beautifully on the grill.

For even more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Sensational Spinach

Monday, March 28, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Who doesn’t know about spinach! As kids, we watched Popeye chug down can after can of sensational spinachspinach to get big muscles and a burst of energy.

As we grew older, we learned that Popeye wasn’t too far off. Spinach is a great source of fiber, helps to enhance iron absorption, and is a great source of vitamin K, which helps promote strong, healthy bones.

But one of the greatest benefits is its rich store of lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful carotenoids that have been associated with reducing your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.

Specifically, a landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that increased intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin was strongly associated with a decreased risk for macular degeneration. They found that green leafy vegetables such as spinach were particularly effective.

Whether you eat raw in a salad or lightly sauté with garlic and lemon, you can’t go wrong with spinach. I even add fresh leaves to my morning smoothie! It doesn’t affect the taste at all and I get a few extra servings of veggies!

For even more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Crazy for Coconut

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by Kimberly Day
I can’t say enough about coconuts. You have three amazing options in one complete package: crazy for coconutcoconut meat (think coconut flakes and macaroons), coconut water (the clear liquid inside a real coconut, coconut milk (created when you puree the meat with the water), and coconut oil.

This once-maligned seed (yes, seed not nut) was often passed over by fat- and calorie-counter due to concerns over saturated fat. Research has shown that the fat in coconut is actually a medium-chain triglyercide, which is a fancy way of saying that it doesn’t clog your arteries and, in fact, is quickly metabolized, giving you a great source of energy.

The reason is that half of the fatty acids in coconut is lauric acid, which is also found in breast milk. Lauric acid has been shown to promote normal brain and bone development. Plus, it contains anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and anti-carcinogenic.

Plus, coconut water is the perfect sports drink. I use it instead of Gatorade when training for a triathlon and half marathon. Coconut water has the same balance of electrolyte as your blood. In fact, the balance is so perfect that, during World War II, both the Americans and Japanese used coconut water (pulled directly out of the coconut) to give emergency blood plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers. 

Quick note about coconut milk: The milk should be rich and creamy, with a mild coconut taste. When you open the can, you should see the thick cream the consistency of jellied cranberries, with the thinner water at the bottom. Also, don’t buy “light” coconut milk. Not only do you lose much of the flavor, so brands have added flour or other thickener to obtain the look and feel of regular coconut milk.

Crack open a coconut and drink the water with a straw, then indulge on the creamy meat inside. Add unsweetened coconut flakes to any cookies recipe. Use coconut oil instead of vegetable oils when sautéing.

For even more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Lark's Web site.

Decadent Dark Chocolate

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Show me a woman who doesn't like chocolate, and I'll show you someone who doesn't decadent dark chocolateappreciate the incredible medical benefits of this decadent treat.

According to the April 2000 issue of Internal Medicine News, chocolate and cocoa provide clear health benefits, including heart protection. Researchers found that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, particularly polyphenols and quercetin.

So if you want to feast on the food of the gods, I suggest indulging with high quality, organic dark chocolate from Dagoba. Dagoba is available in most Whole Food Market stores and other health food and gourmet stores. They even make a powdered cocoa you can bake with!

I don’t anyone who needs suggestions on how to eat chocolate. Just break off a one-ounce square and enjoy! Be truly decadent and shave some into a spinach salad!

For even more great nutrition advice, visit Dr. Lark's Web site.

Coconut and Chocolate Carnivale!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Okay, what's better than coconut and chocolate? Coconut and chocolate combined...with coconut and chocolate carnivale!nuts...in ice cream!

No, you are not dreaming. I have mastered a delicious ice cream that not only has immune-boosting coconut and heart-healthy chocolate, but is also dairy-free, sugar-free, and exploding with taste! Enjoy!

Serves 6

1 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
2/3 cup xylitol (can also use Truvia or Z Sweet)
1 egg, preferably free-range
1/3 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dagoba organic cocoa)
2 cups plain coconut yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup shredded organic, unsweetened coconut
½ cup Brazil nuts, chopped
½ cup pecans, chopped

1.    Mix milk, xylitol, and egg in saucepan.
2.    Heat slowly until thick, stirring constantly. It will look like thin pudding. Be sure not to boil.
3.    Turn off heat and add cocoa powder.
4.    Cool to room temperature.
5.    Add yogurt and vanilla and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
6.    Pour mixture into ice cream maker to freeze. At the end of the freezing process, add coconut, Brazil nuts, and pecans. Place in freezer-safe container and store in freezer.

For even more delicious, healthy recipes, visit Dr. Lark's Web site.

My Blog Entry About a Blog!

Friday, March 18, 2011 by Susan Lark
I like to read other blogs, and recently came across an entry posted by a woman blogging about menopause symptoms. 

The writer quotes a doctor who says he still prescribes conventional hormone replacement therapy to certain groups of women, despite the risks--which I found quite disturbing. However, this doctor did acknowledge the benefits that black cohosh and soy can have in safely and naturally relieving the effects of menopause--namely night sweats and menopause hot flashes.

I say ditch the dangerous HRT and use natural. Along with black cohosh and soy, you can find a variety of solutions for your menopause problems throughout this blog and on my Web site.

Easy, Breezy Broccoli Salad

Friday, March 18, 2011 by Kimberly Day
This salad is my staple go-to in the summer (or any time I wish it was summer!). It is packed easy breezy broccoli saladwith cancer-fighting DIM, EFA-rich sunflower seeds, and lycopene-loaded tomatoes. Enjoy!

Broccoli Salad
Serves 4    

¾ cup nonfat mayonnaise
¼ cup erythritol
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 large head of broccoli
1 onion, diced
4 pieces turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup baby tomatoes
¼ cup sunflower seeds

Combine mayonnaise, erythritol, and vinegar. Mix well, cover, and place in refrigerator for one to two hours.

Cut broccoli into small flowerettes. Add onion, bacon, goat cheese, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds.

Mix in dressing and serve.

For more great recipes, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

High-Dose Hormone Replacement Therapy--Still Being Prescribed?!

Thursday, March 17, 2011 by Susan Lark

According to a study that appeared online December 2, 2010 in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society states that many doctors are still prescribing high doses of conventional hormone replacement therapy for menopause hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia, even though the risks have been thoroughly proven and documented, and even though lower dose hormones are effective in alleviating these menopause symptoms.

I find this news so upsetting, considering how dangerous convention hormone replacement therapy has been proven to be--greatly increasing the risk of diseases like breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, to name just a few.

If you are one of those women still taking conventional hormone replacement to find menopause relief, please talk to your doctor about cutting back or stopping altogether. You can find many, many safe, suitable natural therapies for your  menopause symptoms throughout my blog.

And for more information on female hormones and natural menopause relief, please visit my Web site.

Bust Cancer with Broccoli

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Everyone remembers President Bush’s least favorite vegetable, but little did he know what he bust cancer with broccoliwas missing!

Broccoli has so many accolades, it’s hard to pick just one. It’s a great source of both vitamin C and calcium, is rich in fiber, is low calorie, and can be eaten raw or cooked. But the it’s most impressive benefits come from DIM.

Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a plant-compound found in Brassica veggies like broccoli. When you eat these foods, the chewing process releases plant enzymes, which in turn create a phytochemical known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C). DIM is formed directly from I3C in the acidic environment of the stomach.

Originally, researchers looked to I3C for cancer-preventive benefits. However, they found it was unpredictable, reacted erratically during digestion, and was completely ineffectual until it was converted into DIM. Based on this data, researchers then turned their attention to DIM and found that it was highly stable, required no conversion, and promoted beneficial estrogen metabolism.

In fact, research has shown that when DIM is ingested, it not only encourages its own metabolism, but that of estrogen. While it is not an estrogen or even an estrogen-mimic, its metabolic pathway exactly coincides with the metabolic pathway of estrogen.

When these pathways intersect, DIM favorably adjusts the estrogen metabolic pathways by simultaneously increasing the good estrogen metabolites and decreasing the bad estrogen metabolites. And this is bad news for cancer.

In a 2001 study, researchers looked at the dietary habits of postmenopausal Swedish women aged 50 to 74. When asked how often, on average, they consumed a wide variety of foods, including 19 different commonly eaten fruits and vegetables, researchers found that those women who ate 1 to 2 servings of Brassica foods a day had a 20 to 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those women who ate virtually none.

Additionally, a 2002 study from Biochemical Pharmacology found that DIM may have another intriguing benefit. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that DIM not only blocked DNA synthesis in human breast cancer cells, but also stopped the cells from spreading. They discovered that DIM also caused the cancerous cells to die.

In short, get that broccoli! Whether you enjoy raw with hummus, as part of a salad, or steamed with chicken or fish, broccoli is a natural choice.

For more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

The Papaya Promise

Monday, March 14, 2011 by Kimberly Day
The exotic papaya has antibacterial properties and can also protect you against E. coli. But even the papaya promisemore impressive is papaya’s enzymatic capabilities, due in large part to its stores of papain—a critical protein-digesting enzyme.

Enzymes are an integral part of your energetic make up. Not only do they digest, transport, and transform nutrients in the food you eat, but they are responsible for bringing the resultant energy to every cell, tissue, and organ in your body.

Even something as basic as the beating of your heart is dependent on enzyme activity. In fact, there’s strong evidence that raising your enzyme levels can help to balance your entire immune system.

But let’s not forget about the digestive component of the equation. Papaya has also been used to restore beneficial bacteria into your intestines, thereby increasing nutrient absorption and promoting better digestion. In fact, papaya has been used for centuries to treat over acidity and even borderline ulcers.

In addition to papain, papayas contain other important phytonutrients, including arginine, amino acids, calcium, potassium, folic acid, beta-carotene, and fiber.

So break in to that tropical fruit and enjoy! You may even want to Eat Papayas Naked!

For more great nutrition advice, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Menopause Hot Flashes--Good for the Heart?

Thursday, March 10, 2011 by Susan Lark
A recent study published in the journal Menopause claims that those debilitating menopause hot flashes that so many women suffer from can actually protect the heart!

More than 60,000 postmenopausal women were studied, and researchers found that those who suffered from menopause hot flashes early on were 17% less likely to have a stroke, and 11% less likely to have heart disease or a heart-related illness. And, women who did not have menopause hot flashes until later in menopause were at a 32% higher risk of heart attack!

So, while menopause symptoms can be quite bothersome, this research might be a sliver of positive news for you if you suffer from hot flashes or night sweats!

Easy and Delicious Cioppino Recipe

Monday, March 7, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Packed with heart-healthy omega-3s and cancer-fighting lycopene, this recipe is as good for you easy and delicious cioppinoand it is great tasting. Plus, it’s so easy, it practically makes itself!

Serves 4

8 fresh clams in shells
8 ounces bay scallops
12 ounces shrimp
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup white wine
¼ cup water
2 t dried parsley
2 T tomato paste
1 T lemon juice
½ t dried basil
½ t dried oregano
1 t sugar
¼ t salt
1/8 t red pepper

Scrub clams under cold water. Set aside.

Thaw scallops and shrimp. Rinse and dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a large pot, cook pepper, onion, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Add in tomatoes, wine, water, parsley, tomato paste, lemon juice, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, and red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add scallops and shrimp. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add clams. Bring back to boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until clams open.

Discard any unopened clams and serve.

For more delicious, healthy recipes, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Tomatoes and Cancer

Monday, March 7, 2011 by Kimberly Day
Ah, the commonly misunderstood fruit: the tomato. While we tend to treat tomatoes like tomatoes and cancervegetables (stewing them, making sauce, tossing into salads), they are actually a fruit.

Loaded with vitamin C, these little bundles of flavor are also packing a cancer-fighting weapon…lycopene.

Lycopene is one of the most concentrated carotenoids found in the blood, organs, and tissues of the body. The potent antioxidant capabilities of carotenoids neutralizes free radicals, which have long been believed to be risk factors for many age-related degenerative conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

Like nutritional Pac-Men, antioxidants gobble up as many free radicals as they can and deactivate them, thereby preventing them from doing further damage.

One of the most important health benefits of lycopene is its ability to reduce the risk of cancer, particularly cancers of the reproductive tract. In one particularly fascinating study from the International Journal of Cancer, investigators found that the 75 percent of women who ate the least amount of tomatoes were three to five times more at risk for pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix than those who ate a lycopene-rich diet.

Another study just published in October 2001 had similar results for ovarian cancer. Researchers found that high carotene intake, especially a diet high in lycopene, significantly reduced the risk of ovarian cancer in premenopausal women. Investigators suggested that consumption of fruits, vegetables and food items high in carotene and lycopene, particularly raw carrots and tomato sauce, may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

While there have not been human studies on lycopene and breast cancer or uterine cancer prevention, several very promising laboratory and animal studies have been done. These results, though preliminary, suggest that lycopene may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer and uterine cancer.

In one case, mice who had been injected with tumor-promoting agents were given a mixture of lycopene and olive oil three times a week for seven months. Researchers found that the lycopene reduced the number of tumors by 45 percent.

A second study set out to determine the effect lycopene had on the number and size of mammary tumors in rats. Investigators found that the rats injected with lycopene not only developed fewer cancerous tumors than those without lycopene, but the size of the tumors was smaller.

In a third study, human mammary cells were incubated with lycopene for 24 hours. Researchers found that the lycopene could inhibit human cancer cell reproduction. They concluded that lycopene can be a helpful agent for slowing the growth of breast and endometrial cancer cells.

Or, to put it bluntly, get your tomatoes! To reduce your risk of ovarian, cervical, and possibly breast and uterine cancer, aim for 10 servings of tomatoes or tomato products each week. Just be sure to mix the tomatoes in an oil base, such as olive oil, to enhance lycopene absorption.

This can include tomato sauce, tomatoes sautéed with zucchini or another vegetable, or even raw tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with basil.

And for more great nutrition tips, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Run, Don’t Walk, to Food, Inc.

Monday, March 7, 2011 by Kimberly Day
This weekend, I watched Food, Inc. for the first time. If you haven’t seen this documentary, stoprun don't walk to Food Inc. reading this blog right now and go watch it.

This well-researched film features to of the biggest names in food advocacy: Michael Pollen (The Omnivores Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation). It details the shockingly few number of conglomerates controlling America’s food supply.

In addition to addressing the meat and poultry industry, it shows how disgustingly simple it is to cross-contaminate beef, as in the E. coli cases that have plagued our country. Not to mention the intricate “rules” many of the large beef and poultry companies have to keep the farmers under their thumbs.

What was the most eye-opening to me was the discussion on genetically modified foods, especially soy. Not that the idea the GMO was bad for you, that goes without saying, but the unbelievable control that the Monsanto group (who creates the GMO seeds) has over the farmers.

The film then goes on to show how the federal government is not only turning its back on these practices, but actually creating laws to all but ensure they keep happening.

This is no Michael Moore, it’s-all-about-me type of documentary. This is an expose on the food you eat, where it comes from, the appalling treatment of animals, the manipulation of farmers, and, ultimately, the control of your dinner table.

If you care about food, if you care about health, and if you care about the humane treatment of animals and people alike, you will not only rent this movie, you will buy it and share it with everyone you know.

For more information about Food, Inc. you can visit their Web site.

And for more information on healthy eating, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Spice It Up for Menopause Relief

Thursday, March 3, 2011 by Susan Lark

Curcumin, the therapeutic agent in the culinary herb turmeric, has long been known to have amazing health benefits, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. And recently, researchers identified a powerful phytoestrogen in curcumin called diarylheptanoid. Studies show that it interacts with estrogen receptors and has estrogen-like benefits that help to reverse, among other symptoms, the perimenopause symptom of vaginal dryness. 

One very easy way you can increase your curcumin intake is to start using turmeric as a culinary spice in your cooking. For example, whisk a teaspoon into a pint of homemade salad dressing, or stir a teaspoon into a pan of risotto or into any savory sauce or gravy. In addition to its earthy flavor and health benefits, turmeric adds a bright yellow color to your food.

However, for consistent therapeutic results, I recommend supplementing with 1,000 mg of curcumin daily, taken with food.

For other tips of how to reduce the bothersome effects of menopause, visit my Web site.