Hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain? “Small Business Stacey” interviews Dr. Raynette Ilg of Olive Branch Wellness to discuss how professional women can actually enjoy menopause. #ASmallBizLife #WhereMarketingMeetTechnology
Stacey: Hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain. This ain’t your momma’s menopause! Hey everybody, “Small Business Stacey” here. I have such a great guest today, Dr. Raynette Ilg from Olive Branch Wellness Center in South Elgin, Illinois. And, today we are talking about the topic that no one really likes to talk about, menopause. Welcome to the show. Dr. Ray.
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Dr. Ray: Oh my gosh, Stacey, you are so amazing! Thank you for having me. Thanks to all your listeners for taking the time today. I can’t wait to delve in and give them all I’ve got.
Stacey: That sounds great. Now, you sent me this long, long, long bio, and I could not possibly list all the awards and designations and accolades that you have. So, you have two minutes to share your background and expertise.
Dr. Ray: I own Olive Branch Wellness Center in South Elgin, Illinois. I graduated from National University of Health Sciences with a bachelor’s in biological medicine, and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. I’ve been doing this for what seems like forever, and you know what? I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t in my heart, in my head, and all over my body to do this. I do speaking engagements and all that other kind of wonderful stuff. I have a book out called Livin’ LaVida Grande: Why You Can’t Lose Weight. And, then we’ve got a new one hopefully hitting soon, Menopause for the Professional Woman: Why you can’t lose weight; How your insides are betraying you. We’re working on the title right now, which is the hard part. I’m a mom. I’m a grandmother. I own the grandmother title proudly, but in the work world I’m not your typical grandma.
Stacey: No, you are definitely not.
Dr. Ray: My mission is just to make sure that women who are professionals understand that their menopause is going to be completely different than anybody else’s. So, while I’m driving around in my little 1976 yellow Beetle convertible — poppin’ my hair, making it look like Einstein — my other hero, my goal is just to serve all these women to the Nth degree.
Stacey: Well, thank you. And, I love that we’re going to be talking about natural solutions for menopause because so many women who talk about this — they go to the doctor, pop a pill, right? Or, just take estrogen for it to go away. So let’s start at a level playing field. What is menopause and how does it impact the professional woman?
Dr. Ray: Great way to start, Stacey. So, menopause is a natural transition. A natural transition for a woman is: we are born female, and until the age of about 9 or 10 we’re just kind of busy doing all normal kid’s stuff. Then the hormones begin to kick in and our body begins to ready itself for the childbearing years. While we all know what that means — all that messy stuff and counting days trying to figure out can we go on vacation then or not; going through pregnancy, stretchmarks, all those kinds of things. Well, menopause is the body saying it is not any longer a good idea for you to be pregnant.
This is your time. This is your body’s way of kind of backing out of those childbearing years. Because we’ve had hormones turned loose on the body in larger amounts, the body pulls back on them, and therein lies menopause. Menopause, really is the actual phase of not having a period. By the way, you’re not in menopause until you’ve not had a period for 18 months. I know they say a year. I’ve seen so many weird things. Let’s just play it safe and add the extra six months. So, when we’re going about menopause, the body then says, we’re not doing this anymore, we don’t need to, and, hormone levels diminish. Well, for the average woman, if she just works a few hours a week or whatever, she has time to take care of herself a little differently.
Us professional women, I call us Warrior X, we’ve got things going all times of the day and for some of us, all times of the night, too. We’re answering calls overseas, we’re handling things later at night because it’s quiet time for us to get it done. Menopause is the natural state of the body. Now, here in the United States, they act like menopause is the worst thing in the world to go through. It is a natural thing. And, if we can get to you — and this is one of the things that is advertised in my Facebook group, which is called Menopause for the Professional Woman; if we can get to you as menopause is beginning, or even if you’re halfway through menopause, you have this beautiful experience. You don’t have the hot flashes, you don’t have the mood swings, you don’t have the breast tenderness, and the dizziness and all of those things that outwardly affect you. But, we can get ahead of the inward stuff, too. I just want to say this one other thing about this. In Europe, because they take a little different care of themselves, they hardly notice going through menopause other than the cessation of menstruation. Isn’t that strange?
Stacey: Yeah. Why is that?
Dr. Ray: Well, there’s a couple of reasons. I think they live under a lot less stress. And, I think European women, in a lot of the cultures where they may not be working full time or they may not be handling as many things as we do here in America and in Canada (or as my husband calls it, Can-dee-DAH). They’re not handling as many things, so they don’t have as many things going. And, so that causes us to lean on different organs of the body.
Stacey: Now, a professional woman, she’s stressed. I mean, this is so different from years ago when your mom was “the stay-at- home” mom…
Dr. Ray: Oh, I was going to wear my pearls today….
Stacey: …sipping teas, eating bon bons on the couch. Today’s woman is a strong entrepreneur and she’s going gung, gung ho. Does menopause affect the professional woman who may be stressed and going full gear the same than perhaps somebody else, or does it impact everybody differently?
Dr. Ray: You know, it affects the professional woman a lot more intensely. You have this funnel, and instead of getting smaller it just seems to get larger. Let’s set up a scenario that I’ve heard in my office many times: I’m in a meeting, I am supposed to be the one in charge of handling this account, and I get a hot flash. So what happens is the hot flash comes, and everybody can visibly see your face is getting red. You’ve got little sweat beads running down. Maybe your blouse now has a sweat stain on it. And, now you’re like, “Oh.” And they’re all like, “She’s having a hot flash.” You feel made fun of, and then what happens? There’s their spoken language, and we both know there’s unspoken language — “she’s old and drying up.” So, we feel violated, not validated., You think, “You don’t understand. I still know more than you. I still am more valuable. But, now that you’ve seen this symptom appear, you’ve discarded me.”
This puts more stress on us, and we may ask what color should I wear today that I won’t look like I’m sweating through? How should I wear my hair? What should I do with my makeup? How cool can I keep the room if I’m doing a presentation? Or, the article I just wrote for the Menopause for Professional Women Facebook group, talks about joint pain. So as women, we go to stand up and we’re like, “Oh,” — trying to hide the wincing. You’re trying to hand something to somebody and maybe you have joint pain now that you never had before.
Stacey: I didn’t realize that was a symptom.
Dr. Ray: Oh my gosh, there are over 60 symptoms of menopause. So all of you professional women that are going, “Okay, I’m just having hot flashes,” you have not attributed all those other symptoms to menopause so we can get to the root of it. Everything comes down to these years, and whenever you’ve entered into menopause and purposefully deciding to no longer to work, are your best years.
Usually at this point in time, your children, if you should have chosen to have had them, are raised. Your husband is doing his own thing, let’s hope. You have all this wisdom of being a mother, being a wife, being an adult child of your parents, having the work experience, expertise. You have all this, this is your time to shine, and we don’t want your body to get away from you. So, it’s the hot flashes. It’s the mood changes — the wanting to slap the skin off of that person just because they’re talking. Things like that. Things like your breasts get a little fuller. You’re like, “No, this shirt fit last year. I didn’t gain any weight.” And, as with professional women, because we are under a little bit more stress, it exponentially enunciates these things. This is the time to take care of you.
Stacey: Well, thank you for addressing that because women may be feeling these symptoms and think, “Am I going through menopause? What’s wrong with me?” People sometimes just want to go and hide in the closet when they feel like, “Oh God, it’s menopause.” They don’t want to talk to a professional, such as you, about it. How can a professional woman understand that working with someone like you can help them — not only deal with it, but help them through it, and learn there’s not a stigma associated with it.
Dr. Ray: I think that’s a really great, great question. For instance, I was Skyping with one of the ladies I helped, and she is a very predominant professional. She was like, “I appreciate the fact that we can Skype because you don’t have to run into the office.” She’s actually in another state. When we go and get on top of all of those things, and we understand what’s going on with them. Then we begin to say, “No, this is not a normal symptom. We shouldn’t be getting better as we get older or we shouldn’t be at the same weight.” But, our clothes are a lot looser or our clothes are a lot tighter. That has to do with muscle content, that has to do with things that that we’ve always consumed that have been a little borderline questionable for our body. So, it is just a lot easier for women now to get good quality help to do things naturally. Everything does not need to be done with a harsh chemical. There are some beautiful things you can do for your body that aren’t a harsh chemical.
And, people laugh at this one — you don’t really need all the sugar that you’re consuming. So, I’d like to explain this cycle: you wake up, you’re exhausted because you’re not getting good sleep. Why aren’t you getting good sleep? Because you’re having a hot flash at night, initially. You wake up, you’re exhausted, you run for the coffee, right?
Dr. Ray: And, coffee is not a bad thing, but it is not a helpful thing for some people. So, you run for the coffee, and instead of the way you used to take your coffee –which was coffee with cream (and I’m a big advocate of that, but don’t eat fat free because it just ruins your brain) — you find yourself adding a little bit sugar in that coffee. You know, the gingerbread mocha, whatever is out now; you’re adding sugar because you want that energy.
So, when that sugar gets broken down by the body, you crash lower on energy. So what do you do, again? You run for the coffee. Sugar does get a bad rap, but sometimes there is a need for a little bit of sugar. But, through my research — spending hours and hours and hours of putting this together for women — I was surprised even as a doctor of naturopathic medicine to find out there were 60 symptoms of menopause. I was also surprised to find out that a lot of people say, “Oh, I don’t eat a candy bar. I just have five apples.” So, what they’re doing is substituting their candy sugar for fruit sugar. Now, the surprising thing to me was 85% of the population in the United States does not have the ability to break down fruit sugar. So, we’ve taken our candy love and we get the sugar from healthy choices. My other favorite is no, no, no, I have “Diet” and then insert Coke, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, whatever. It’s still sugar, but they have a different value. So, I think one of the great things is to get rid of the sugar. (You’ll feel bad for maybe a week or two.) The average American should have about 20 grams of sugar a day. I also went and did a little research on the double D place to get things.
Stacey: Oh, Double D. Got it. (Dunkin’ Donuts)
Dr. Ray: Can I say that? There is a drink they have there that has 83 grams of sugar in it. It was that overwhelming to me. So, maybe get the sugar out. You have probably seen it on my desk. I have a big glass jar of nuts. Protein gives you energy and nuts are a double-edged good — because of the protein and fat. It’s a difficult time for a lot of us, but we get to go through it whether we like it or not.
Stacey: We don’t really have a choice. But, the suggestions you’re making, you’re making it so easy. So instead of just going and getting your sugar and coffee, you’ll save a few bucks doing things at home by cutting out the sugar. And, instead of having that little thing of chocolate kisses in front of you, have some nuts and some protein. These are easy suggestions that anybody can implement, right?
Dr. Ray: Well, I don’t want this to be so remedial that that all you guys out there that are Stacey’s wild fans are not thinking that this has value. I’m going to be one of the first ones to confess that years ago, I thought a healthy breakfast was a donut — and I thought I would be in hog heaven if they could come up with a glazed donut that had eggs in between it and bacon.
Stacey: Dr. Ray, your entrepreneurialism is coming out.
Dr. Ray: Maybe the key is not another drug. Maybe the key is fixing what goes in your mouth.
Stacey: Right. So, we’ve addressed some of the physical things, and your diet is one big aspect. Is there anything else? Are natural things that you can do to help with the hot flashes? That always seems to be the big thing that really bothers me, professional women the most.
Dr. Ray: We don’t know where hot flashes come from. We’re just hot from the chest up. Hot flashes are actually governed by two areas of the body. One area is your adrenal glands. So, as professional women, as our adrenals go, we’re supposed to wake up at this nice level and then come down a little through the day and then come down a little more and then sleep. Well, our adrenals are either running sky high or they’re so bad, we’re scraping them off the ground. (They’re like tiny little triangles that sit on the top of your kidneys.) So, with that, the best thing you can do for hot flashes is get rid of that sugar; and get those adrenals taken care of. The whole life of adrenals is centered around taking care of you. As a generalized statement, typically adaptogens like the adaptogen called Rhodiola, R, H, O, D, I, O, L, A, help take some of the stress off of the adrenals. Rhodiola seems to be the one adaptogen that can go with most prescription medications. So, you need to make sure that there’s an interaction checker done for those women who are on medication. So, Rhodiola is a great thing.
The other thing is, go to bed (after watching this — please, stay awake for now.) There was nothing you’re going to really do that is going to be that great of quality between 10:15 and midnight. You’ll do stuff then, but you’ll look at it think the next day and think, “Wait, what? This made sense last night, but it makes no sense today.” And, I think one of the things that is surprisingly easy to do to get better sleep is — we have a saying, that says a bedroom should be only used for two things — and they both begin with “S.”
Stacey: Alright, keep it clean, doctor.
Dr. Ray: We’re clean. So the the other thing I have a lot of my patients do is get some good quality hand lotion. Before you go to bed at night, right before you go to bed, sit on the edge of the bed and rub the bottoms of your feet with that lotion. And, then you get into bed. With the pressure points on the bottom of your feet, you pass out.
Stacey: Ooh, I’m going to try that.
Dr. Ray: I want to hear from you. I’ll hear from everybody how that worked on their feet. It’s a great thing to do. It doesn’t alleviate the hot flashes, but it helps you get into deep sleep. So, the other reason we have hot flashes is the brain. There’s a part of the brain called the hypothalamus which regulates body temperature. And, so it kind of begins to misfire again. Stacey, do you get any hot flashes?
Stacey: Well, in full disclosure, I’ve had Dr. Ray help me through. When I first came to her it was like I was in a pool — seriously dripping from head to toe, and not just at night, all day long. Now, it is completely manageable, and maybe once every month I’ll get a hot flash or something. Totally manageable.
Dr. Ray: Well, this was hilarious because I actually got to see it up close and personal. One of my relatives, a very close relative, was having a hot flash, so she ran outside the door. She’s standing there waiting to cool off, and at that point in time, did you know another symptom of menopause is cold flashes? I was having a cold flash — close that door!
Hot flashes, cold flashes, your brain goes, “Oh wait, give it all; and then you end up with a hot flash after the cold flash.” So, the brain has compensated. My tip for the brain is, will you eat the real butter? Will you eat the almond butter? The brain loves fat, and that helps to keep it kind of balanced. So if we can get fat, good fats, like avocados, some cheeses, some egg yolks. Who ever told us we needed eat fat free?
Stacey: Probably whoever makes money from telling us that. Whoever produces the fat free foods, for sure.
Dr. Ray: Right, right. I always like to give as much information as I possibly can when I do interviews — did you know, canola oil, what do you think canola oil is?
Dr. Ray: Good idea. It can have corn added to it, but basically it’s the nasty oil that they removed from cotton that smells bad and has an odd color. So, they add chemicals to it, and they sell it to us to cook with. Eeww. So I want good oil.
Stacey: What do you recommend?
Dr. Ray: Olive oil, coconut oil. Coconut oil, you can fry like nobody’s business in that stuff. Avocado oil, butter, real butter. So the benefit of eating that fat, is not that you get fat, it kind of helps lubricate your joints, and also gives your brain the best food it can get.
Stacey: Well, doctor. These suggestions that you’re providing, I love it because it’s not like, “Oh my God, I have to take a pill or I have to eat or do these horrible things.” Everything that you’ve said, you get to eat real butter and healthy fats and oils and rub your feet with lotion. Let’s run and have a spa day.
Dr. Ray: I’m not going to lie. There are times where I do need to give people certain kinds of supplements because maybe their gut is not working right or their adrenals, or e have to work on hormones because in the United States, we have a terrible time keeping our progesterone levels where they should be in our estradiol levels. And, I’ve even been seeing some women come in with low testosterone. Yes, we have testosterone, and we equate it with being manly or having lots of hair. So I have a patient, when she was Skyping with me last week, she’s like, “Look, (and she’s got her chin up at the camera).” I’m said, “What am I looking at here?” She’s like, “I have goat hairs.” That can be a sign, too, that the adrenals are off and that we’ve got testosterone issues.
Sometimes, I like to take people, especially the professional women, and say, “Look, you’ve run long and hard and you are awesome –you little warriorette, you — but, we need to balance out your gut, balance out your brain, balance out your adrenals.” What that ends up doing is setting them up for less cardiovascular problems as they age. I have a woman, she’s 78 years old this year and she’s on a, are you ready? She’s on a traveling soccer team and she is not the goalie. She is not the scorekeeper. She’s a forward.
Dr. Ray: I know, isn’t it hilarious? I mean, she’s like, “I’m balanced and I’m good and I’m going to go, I’m going to go do what I want. I love it.”
Stacey: I love the strong woman. Actually, I have a bracelet that says Strong is Beautiful.
Dr. Ray: I think strong is the new beautiful. You know, and this is not like, let’s let’s put men down. That’s not what this is. This is about giving you the power to be who you are. So you had power when you were younger and life takes us sideways, up, down, , diagonal. But, now these are the best years ever. Let’s empower you to live those things the best way you can.
Stacey: I love that! And so we’re running hard against the clock. You had mentioned that you’re putting together a course or a program. I’d love for you to spend a few minutes talking about that, and how it can help the professional woman.
Dr. Ray: Great. Well, it looks, about the middle of January. I am going to be hosting a free course on Facebook live. It’s going to be for free for four and a half nights with a question session the following day on Menopause for Professional Woman. If you go to Facebook and you join the Facebook group called Menopause for Professional Women, you also get the opportunity to join the actual class when it comes up in January, called The Menopause for Professional Women’s Masterclass. And in that, we are going to talk about real things you can do, real ways that this can help. I’m going to give you so much content, you’re going to be like, “Wow, I feel like I was just somewhere and paid for this.”
So, if you join the Facebook group, we will be putting the invite out, and we can automatically populate you to the new group if you’re like add me please, please, please. So, we’ll go ahead and do that. And, for any of your viewers that want to check me out, please do. You can check me out at Olive O, L, I, V, E, B as in boy, W as in water, C as in candy, dot com — and that’s my webpage for Olive Branch Wellness Center. And, you’ll get a feel for who I am and how we handle that things. You can read until your heart is content. I think we’ve got our YouTube channel up on there, so you can check me out there. There’s all kinds of videos. But what I want women to remember is that this is the fabulous part of life.This isn’t the, it’s all downhill from here part.
Stacey: I love that. I love that!
Dr. Ray: And, if any of our listeners would like to write me personally at email@example.com, I will be more than happy to send them and a copy of my book Livin’ LaVida Grande: Why You Can’t Lose Weight.
Stacey: Oh, thank you. That’s generous.
Dr. Ray: They just need to put it in the topic line “free book,” and we will be happy to get that out to them. They can have a hard copy or they can have the e-book, whichever. But you know what, you don’t have to suffer through menopause, as you found out, right Stacey?
Dr. Ray: So, whatever I can do to help, that’s what it is. But get into the Facebook group because I think it’s going to really open your eyes.
Stacey: All right, well thank you so much for your time and generosity and expertise, Dr. Ray.
Dr. Ray: Thank you Stacey, you are always easy to be out know online with easy.
Stacey: Well thank you. You’re such a Go-Giver, the that you provide your expertise, you know your stuff. I mean from all the parts of the brain and the body and how it all impacts us. And, most people never think that there are natural remedies when it comes to menopause. So I know that my audiences are so interested and curious and are going to want to join your group. So can you say again what that is?
Dr. Ray: Yes. On Facebook it’s Menopause for Professional Women. So just go in there. You might have to answer a couple of questions, and then you’ll be approved for the group by either me or one of the other people that work for me with that. Samantha might be in there or Lisa might be in there. But, we’re all working for the same thing, which is all of you.
Stacey: Okay great. And, definitely take advantage of her free offer to get a copy of her book. Let them know that Small Business Stacey sent you, and if you happen to be a male who’s watching, I’ll also give a plug for Dr. Ray’s Testosterone Thursdays. Do you want to say a little something about that?
Dr. Ray: Oh for the men. Testosterone Thursdays. We’ve got a bunch of videos out there because you men are stubborn, and you won’t go to the doctor. So, we’ve got some videos up there for Testosterone Thursdays, and if they have questions, you know what? If they watched this Stacey, they can have the book, too.
Stacey: Or they can give it to their wife. What a great gift.
Dr. Ray: It’s non-specified, so they can read it too, and can get some information.
Stacey: Life is fun. It’s a journey, and menopause is one of those waves along the way.
Dr. Ray: You’re right. You’re right. Thanks again, Stacey for having me on.
Stacey: All right, everybody. This is Small Business. Stacey, your small biz marketing specialist here to help you get your marketing into action and help you survive menopause — only with Dr. Ray’s help — by helping you become a small biz marketing Wiz. Bye bye everybody.
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