Live Purely With Dr. Beth Westie
Live Purely With Dr. Beth Westie

"When our bodies function better and we feel better, we actually live the life that we should live with ease." 

- Dr. Beth Westie

Dr. Beth Westie: Eating for Your Cycle and Top 3 Tips for Hormone Health

Elizabeth welcomes Dr. Beth Westie, the accomplished author of Best Selling book The Female Fat Solution, creator of the 12 week Female Hormone Solution, the Eat for your Cycle Method and host of the Female Health Solution Podcast. Dr. Westie has dedicated herself to changing women's perspectives on health by educating and empowering them to take control of their own well-being. Dr. Westie and Elizabeth dive into everything related to women's health, including the impact of hormones on weight loss, ways to utilize nutrition and movement to align with your natural cycle for optimal health, and topics such as protein intake for women, intermittent fasting, adrenal fatigue, and much more.

  • PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

    Elizabeth Stein 00:00
    Hi, everyone. I'm Elizabeth Stein, Founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth. And this is Live Purely with Elizabeth, featuring candid conversations about how to thrive on your wellness journey. This week's guest is Dr. Beth Westie, author of the Best Selling Book, The Female Fat Solution, the creator of the 12 week Female Hormone Solution, The Eat For Your Cycle Method and the host of the Female Health Solution podcast. She's made it her mission to change the way women viewed their health working to educate and empower women to take their health into their own hands. In this episode, we talk about everything you want to know about women's health, including all things hormones, how hormones affect weight loss, how to work with your natural cycle through nutrition and movement to achieve better health. We also chat about protein intake for women, intermittent fasting adrenal fatigue and so so much more. I hope you enjoy this episode. Keep listening to learn more. I'm so excited to share with you that our number one selling granola is now available at over 3000 Walmart stores nationwide in the cereal aisle. This is a dream come true to have our granola more accessible in so many locations across the country. Our original granola was my very first granola recipe and has been a favorite of our fans ever since. Our recipe is made with organic oats, superfood grains and seeds lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and a hint of cinnamon. It has a delicious, salty, sweet taste and that perfect crunch. To make it easy, I have a link in the notes section of this episode to help you find a Walmart near you happy shopping. Dr. Beth Westie. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for coming on today. So excited to pick your brain and talk all things women's health.

    Dr. Beth Westie 01:59
    Thank you for having me. I'm excited.

    Elizabeth Stein 02:01
    So we always start with your story. And I know that your personal story certainly affected how you got into the field of women's health and hormone. So would love to start with that personal journey and and look at you where you are today.

    Dr. Beth Westie 02:15
    Yeah, so I just dove headfirst down this rabbit hole from having ovarian cysts. I have three kids. And after I had my third I my first two in grad school and then graduated, started a business and then had my third and she was a preemie. So lots of stress, lots of things going on in life at that point. And I'd never had cysts before never had issues before. But the combination of hormone issues, all that stuff. I started getting cysts and they would burst every single month now and with a type of PCOS that I had, it was very, very painful. Like it would put me on the floor, just...

    Elizabeth Stein 02:54
    And what kind of pain for anybody who may have this and they don't know, although I'm sure if it was that painful, you would know. But like, what kind of feeling is that?

    Dr. Beth Westie 02:59
    It would take my breath away. I would start sweating sometimes vomit. The first time it happened. I went to the ER because I thought it was my appendix. Like it was so bad. Like I couldn't move couldn't get I couldn't get up. And I went in and they were like, it's not your appendix. You had a cyst rupture. And I was like, cool, cool, that... Okay, now what? Yeah cause they were like, well, it already ruptured. So good luck. Here's, like, okay, like, here's some painkillers and I had cysts for over a year and a half. And it was really, really tough to exist to just to live my normal life, to be a business owner to be a mom to do all the things and it was awful. And then I dove into the eastern medicine background I had licensed in Chinese medicine and acupuncture. And I started working with my hormones differently. You know, eating for my cycle, doing all this stuff. And I was eventually it didn't happen overnight. But after several months, able to have my cysts subside. And it's been about 10 years because my youngest is 12 now and I have not had a cyst. Oh, yeah. Congratulations! . Yeah, thanks! And I know a lot of people get into the field that they're in because of an issue that they had. And the biggest problem I had was not only having the cysts, but it was like no matter where I turn, because for a year and a half, it's not like I just sat around like, oh, I hope it gets better next month. You know, I kept doing things. I kept trying different things. I kept trying a new supplement. I you know, I had changed my diet and I was eating a pristine diet, you know, dairy free, gluten free, no sugar, no alcohol, no red meat, all these things and it helped. But they still kept coming back. And that's where I really had to just go headfirst into really looking at my hormones and working with my body differently. The cyclical pattern that we all I have throughout the month and honoring that, and not forcing myself to just eat the same every day of the month, eat differently throughout the month. And that's helped my hormones immensely. And that's what I teach women how to do now.

    Elizabeth Stein 05:13
    Wonderful. That's amazing. So you figure this out. And then at that point is that when you start really practicing with other women or what were those kind of next steps to opening your own practice?

    Dr. Beth Westie 05:26
    Yeah. So um, because I'm, I'm a chiropractor by training. So I had a clinic like that was, you know, I was, in practice, I had a clinic where I would adjust people full time, and it was I started actually working with women over my lunch hours, because this was different, women would come in with issues, hot flashes, hormone issues, fertility issues, and I would write down on a scrap of paper, okay, eat this stuff this week. Okay, come back next week, and I'll give you a new piece of paper. And it was it was literally just like thrown together scraps of paper. And it started there. And it without me even trying or saying anything. I had more women and more women coming in asking, okay, you saw my friend, and you gave her this stuff to eat like, okay, what should I be doing? And it just ended up growing to a point where, you know, I had to make a choice in my business. And I decided to sell my office and jump full time into speaking, writing. So I've got a couple of books out and teaching this message. And I've been doing this for almost eight years now, I guess. Yeah.

    Elizabeth Stein 06:28
    Fantastic. So in your practice today, where do you see kind of the biggest issues that women are looking for help? Is it around cysts, is it around fertility, weight loss, or all over the board?

    Dr. Beth Westie 06:47
    It's really all of it. And part of it comes from I think, this is a, this is a whole rabbit hole to go down on its own. But like the history of western medicine, and how, you know, our health system is not designed for a female body. It's not designed to honor how our systems and hormones shift and change throughout the month. And it's not a bad thing. It's just different. And when we acknowledge how our system is different, it makes it easier to have a healthier lifestyle. And it makes it easier to just exist and do things, get things done, be productive, all this stuff. There's a great book called Doing Harm that talks about the history of this, like how a lot of studies were done on males, when they test medications or things like that, or they do animal testing. It's done on like male rats, right? They just don't test on females. Yeah, so a lot of the recommendations and things like that sometimes women wonder like, why is it like this? How did it get to be like this? Why am I so frustrated with my body and how it's functioning? And how, where did I go wrong? And it's like you didn't? You're following a map that's not made for you. You know, like, you had just said that you came from New York City and moved to you know, Colorado. So it's like, if you were lost in the mountains, if you were hiking in the mountains in Colorado and somebody and you're like, dude, I'm lost, can you help me? They're like, sure. Here's the map. And it was a map of New York City. You're like great, thank you.

    Elizabeth Stein 08:14
    Right. This is not applicable.

    Dr. Beth Westie 08:16
    Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it is a map. It does tell you where to go, however. Yeah. So that's what it's like trying to navigate, sometimes navigate our health issues or hormone issues, and then just even to find a healthy lifestyle overall, that you can follow and maintain. Because that's the biggest piece is that it feels like sometimes you're constantly trying to play catch up. So that's the biggest frustration where I feel like we've been led astray. But not because we've been doing anything wrong. Most of the women I work with, like they're very smart, very well read research things. And it's not until they come across things where like, oh my gosh, I realized I've been doing all these things. And I haven't been taking my hormones into account. I've been working out like a man, I've been eating like a man, I've been treating my female body, like a male body. No wonder I'm stuck and frustrated, and I don't feel my best. So.

    Elizabeth Stein 09:11
    So do you also think it's a combination of yes, we've been testing all this stuff on men, and so not applicable. There's that part and then also layered on top of that, the amount of changes in our environment from a hormone perspective, that's also elevated all these issues right on top of like, on top of realizing, hey, this isn't working for us, but also we have more issues, because it's way more easy, easier for hormones to get out of balance in our world today.

    Dr. Beth Westie 09:45
    Absolutely. I think we don't realize the impact on our bodies on all the you know, people the general term would just be endocrine disruptors, right? Chemicals, things like that, that are in our products that you use, you know, your shampoos, your face products, lotions, candles, all of these things that we all love. Who doesn't love a good smelling candle?

    Elizabeth Stein 10:09
    Absolutely.

    Dr. Beth Westie 10:10
    But it, it can be damaging to your hormones to your endocrine system. And I do, I also feel like there's a phrase out there called Pink it and shrink it. Yeah, it's a the color are sometimes called the pink tax, where they literally take the same product go in the store next time you're there, look at this, they'll take the same product, and they make it pink. And they make it more expensive. Like razors, men's razors and women's razors, you can have the exact same razor the exact same side the same number of blades on there. One is black for men, and it's like $2.50, and then pink one, you know, it's pink, it's got a flower on it, $3.75, you know, like, I don't know if that's the exact prices. But that's the markup that they do with a lot of different products out there. And they do it a lot to market things specifically to women. And I see this a lot, especially with food or nutritional products, things like that, that are geared towards Oh, this is a woman's vitamin, or it's a women's protein. Oh, it's for women, there's less nutrient in it. There's less like a protein powder made for women, I'm using air quotes with my fingers, you guys can't see there's actually less protein per serving in it that does not serve our bodies or our health overall. Just eat less Dr. Stacey Sims, she's a PhD who actually does some research on her specialties around female athletes, endurance athletes, specifically, women are not small men. So it doesn't serve us to just oh, just eat less, you know, nope. We are physiologically different. And our body needs to be acknowledged differently because of that.

    Elizabeth Stein 11:49
    Yeah. So when you start working with women, what are some of those top things that you really, you know, start with, Hey, I'm having these issues. Again, we said it's an array of issues, whether it's weight loss, whether it's PCOS, that, but where do you start? And what are some of the things that we'd be like most surprised to learn about?

    Dr. Beth Westie 12:13
    Yeah, ooh that's a good question. So a lot of times, we'll start with hormone testing. My favorite test is called the Dutch test. And so we look at comprehensive hormones, look at actually what your system is doing, and how your system is and...

    Elizabeth Stein 12:25
    What is that? What is that test? What is it looking at?

    Dr. Beth Westie 12:29
    Yeah, so it actually looks at different types of estrogens, and then how it moves through your body of more than the term estrogen is actually for a group of hormones, not just one thing. It tests the breakdown of that it tests your progesterone, it tests what your testosterone levels is other androgen levels, adrenal function, cortisol levels, nutrient levels, and even tests like dopamine metabolites, things like that. So it really get a good scope of how is your body functioning overall. And so often, so I will hear a story of somebody who has say, PCOS or endometriosis, something like that. Maybe somebody who is in perimenopause. So she's like, I've had some more hormone issues before. They're flaring up again, I'm under stress. I'm trying to eat healthy, I'm trying to live a healthy lifestyle, but I'm really struggling overall, with just feeling good in my body, I'm so exhausted, and I, I just gotta get to the gym, I just gotta be more motivated. I'm just losing motivation. That's what it is. So they're thinking it's their mindset. I don't have enough willpower. And then we look at their hormone report. And I'm like, Yeah, you don't have any cortisol in yourself, like you are flatlined. So no wonder you can't get out of bed in the morning. You don't have anything, any get up and go, there's just no gas in your tank. So forcing yourself to do it is actually depleting you more, and the more you force yourself to do that, you can become more nutrient deficient. It's like you're trying to fill a bucket, you know, all the healthy things that you're doing. I'm eating healthy, I'm taking good vitamins, I'm going to the gym, all this stuff, you're filling this bucket, because you're thinking, if I get my bucket filled, I'm going to feel good. Well, if you have holes in your bucket, I don't care how many things you're putting in the bucket, it's still gonna leak out and you don't get to retain it. So that's what we look at on the Dutch test is, what's your body actually doing? Where are the gaps? Where are the holes? And how do we patch those holes so that your body can function better? And like the surprising thing that I have seen recently, again, more in the last, we'll say six to nine months than ever. Is that is adrenal issues. Like so many people's adrenals are just crashing.

    Elizabeth Stein 14:39
    So let's do a quick like 101 on adrenals.

    Dr. Beth Westie 14:43
    Yeah, so adrenals are glands that sit on right on top of your kidneys and they release cortisol so they respond to stressors, and the common phrasing is adrenal fatigue. I'm using air quotes again. But if you wanted to learn more about what that is, you would Google research or H P A axis an HPA Axis dysfunction and that is hypothalamus pituitary to your adrenal. So that's the brain stimulation to your adrenal glands that tells it what to do where to go, all that stuff. And because any type of stressor on your brain will trigger that, and it can be a stressor in the form of the three categories I like to talk about are traumas, toxins, and thoughts. Any one of those three categories, anything from that stress impacts the brain triggers that HPA axis, and there go your adrenals. So, a lot of times women that I chat with, they're like, Well, I know for sure I have some stress, but it's not any different. Like, I feel the same. I'm doing okay, okay. Well, where would you rate your stress that a zero to 10? 10 eing like the worst ever? Oh, maybe it's a seven. All right, that's not great. How long has it been a 7, I don't know four or five years or so at least? No wonder your system is so mad. And wonder it's so depleted. No wonder you're having a hard time getting up like holy bananas. There's only so much you can force yourself to do day after day. You know? Yeah. So it's, it's really learning more about, okay, this is actually how the system functions. And then to really honor where I'm at, I talk about the starting line, like, we all think that, okay, I'm gonna go on a weight loss journey, I'm going to do this thing. I'm going to start this race, I'm at the starting line. So when I start, I'm at the starting line here and go, Well, if you have adrenal issues, if you are exhausted, if you have nutrient depletion, you know, like you have gut issues, suffer from insomnia or sleep issues, you're not at the starting line, you might be on the side of the track, you might be in the parking lot. Maybe you're a few. You're like, I'm gonna start this, and then it's gonna be great. And it's always, it's always a good thing to try and make healthy lifestyle choices. But where it gets to be really tough when you're doing more harm than good is where you're forcing yourself to do things that you do not see any results from, and you do not feel good from, you know, like, I'm gonna wake up and work out every morning. Well, there was a gal I worked with this was last fall, she had been forcing herself to get up at 4:15 every single morning, just so she could work out before she went to work. And I was like, Why? Why are you getting like, you're exhausted, right? She's like, yeah, and so she would be so tired that she would sometimes fall asleep in her car in her driveway. Yeah. So I was like, why are you getting up so early? Well, I gotta get my workout in before work, because that's when my metabolism is the highest. And I have to do this and this. And I was like, listen, if you're that tired, your metabolism is not going to work anyway, it doesn't care, like, so we just adjusted her schedule. We had her do workouts after work. And it took several weeks, but all of a sudden, she was like, I feel way better. When I wake up, I've got more energy, and she goes, my workouts are actually getting better. Like I'm getting stronger at my workouts. And I was like, Yeah, you should be if you're working out or lifting weights, you should get stronger. That's an indicator that your body is responding positively.

    Elizabeth Stein 18:09
    So interesting. And it's all about like really listening to your body. So I guess a couple questions. One, just going back to the testing. So I assume, for people like their general visit to the doctor, they're not doing the sort of test. So this is something that one would have to go to someone like you asked for these hormonal testings to really be able to get an understanding of what's happening inside.

    Dr. Beth Westie 18:36
    Yeah, unfortunately. Western medicine does not they just, and this is a whole other thing, too. But insurance is health insurance is not actually really hoping to get you healthier. You know, can blood tests be helpful? Yes. But it's only a small piece of the puzzle. Whereas the Dutch test you're looking at, you get all the puzzle pieces to put the picture together. So you do have to sometimes dive deeper, do more, you know, advocate for yourself and the Dutch test, they have a website where they've got a lot of great information and having somebody go over the Dutch test with you and explain what's going on is really, really valuable. I mean, I hear that a lot where women are like, what did she say the other day? This was just a couple of days ago, I went over a test with somebody and she goes, I feel so seen right now. That was what I was seeing in her labs. She's like, I've been feeling like this. And she was I thought it was just crazy. And I was like, No, you're not you're not crazy, like the mood swings that you're having all this other stuff. I was like I see it here and how your body's not processing your hormones right, correctly. So like you're not detoxing, you're not methylating you can see it right here in the numbers. And she's like, Oh my gosh, yeah. I just feel so

    Elizabeth Stein 19:50
    So validating.

    Dr. Beth Westie 19:52
    Yes, validating. Yeah.

    Elizabeth Stein 19:54
    Well, I think it's it's super interesting because so many of us, particularly women, live in a state that we think is like normal, where even your example of the woman who is stressed at a level seven for the last four years like in her mind, we're all at a level seven and that and that is actually normal or having fatigue or what have you. So I'm curious to hear, I guess we'll we'll use adrenal fatigue given that you said that's like one of the most common things that you're seeing recently, what are some of those symptoms that someone who's listening might be starting to put two and two together to say, Oh, wait, this might be something more than just I'm tired in the morning?

    Dr. Beth Westie 20:37
    Yeah. Yes. Great question. So the being tired is obviously a big one. But some people are like, Oh, I'm tired. Oh, let me just have more coffee. Let me have caffeine, you know...

    Elizabeth Stein 20:47
    And that feeds adrenal fatigue. Right? That's like the worst thing you could do for...

    Dr. Beth Westie 20:50
    Absolutely, right. Temporarily, does it help you with your right when people are like, how do I get more energy? I mean, like, technically, there's a lot of ways you can get more energy, you know, a cup of coffee, I'll do it. But it's not a long term solution. But the besides the fatigue, it's other signs and signals to really hone into and look for adrenal issues or adrenal insufficiency. Where your system just isn't responding to stress correctly is that say you have a really stressful day at work, a busy meeting, something like that, and you're like, Okay, I got through it. But all of a sudden, you realize later that you're so tired that you fell asleep on the couch before dinner, that type of fatigue, where it's a disproportionate fatigue, to what's going on, you don't have enough oomph to react properly, you might have a hard time building the muscle recovering well from doing a workout, you know, if somebody invites you to go for, oh, let's go jogging on Saturday morning. And you're like, cool, yeah, let's do it. I jog sometimes I can do that. And you go a little bit longer than you normally do. And all of a sudden, you are sore for days, you might notice a change in your hair, skin and nails. Meaning your hair is falling out more, your skin just doesn't seem as bright. Or people notice their skin gets thinner or crepey. You know, and then the one of the biggest things when we start to turn this around that women say is they're like, My nails are growing fast. I have to cut my nails every week. That's weird. And I'm like, that's good. You should be be cutting your nail, you know, your cells should be replicating and growing all the time. That's a sign of healing and health. And they're just shocked by that my hair is growing faster. Oh my gosh, I have to go get my hair colored again. Normally I go every three months. And now I'm doing going every two I was like, perfect.

    Elizabeth Stein 22:42
    Just what we wanted.

    Dr. Beth Westie 22:43
    Yeah, yes. So it is your right it is more than that fatigue, but it can be just that your body gets worn out faster. Some people get like eye fatigue, meaning it gets tougher to read at night. Or sometimes even it's tougher to see in the dark. Like if it's too dim in the room and you're like, oh my gosh, if it's if I don't have the lights all the way bright, I have a hard time seeing clearly, your brain gets tired brain fog, you're not having as much recall, or as good of a memory. There's just a lot of that, that you can again attribute to other things that maybe I just didn't sleep well, maybe I just didn't whatever. But if this has been going on consistently, for a period of time with no sign of letting up. Yeah, that's a big signal that you have something more systemic, something deeper going on.

    Elizabeth Stein 23:29
    Alright, so let's move on to and we'll move on to weight loss, and then we'll come back to like, Okay, now what do we do, but I would love to go a little bit into hormones and weight loss because I know that there's certainly a lot of hormones affecting it and an area to which again, it's like super frustrating for women that hey, I think I'm doing all the things right. And I read this article in Health magazine that said to do X, Y and Z and like, why is it not working for me? What's wrong with me?

    Dr. Beth Westie 23:59
    Oh my gosh, you just like that phrase that you just said. Everybody says that. What am I doing wrong and what's wrong with me then it's like, nothing you're trying to follow something that your system isn't designed for. Right? When we look at our hormonal cycle. And you know the female cycle is an average 28 day cycle. The first week of the month is very different than the last. Right? It an easy way to think of it is like if you've ever gone to the gym, and sometimes you're like man, I'm kicking butt today I just smashed this workout. I feel amazing. And then two weeks later you go to the gym, you do the same workout. You stretch the same you hydrated the same. You ate the same breakfast before you went yet you're like oh my gosh, my legs are so many I feel like garbage trying to do this workout. I can't even lift the same weights as I did two weeks ago. What's wrong with me? Nothing like you brought a different body to the gym that day, hormonally a different body. So when we talk about weight loss and everything and talk about metabolic changes your body's metabolism is not the same all the time. When your body has higher estrogen, so roughly days one through 14 of your hormonal cycle, estrogen is a more dominant hormone. Estrogen is going to build lean muscle easier, it is going to speed up your digestion it is going to help you, you know, process things faster and burn carbs easier. And your metabolism is going to be on an uptick, then, after ovulation when your body is higher, and progesterone for days roughly, again, 15 to 28. That slows things down, your digestion slows down. So it's easier to get bloated, it's easier to get digestive issues at that point. Especially if you eat a salad or something like Oh, I'm eating a lot of salads, I'm eating really healthy. Well, if your digestive system is slow down, and you're eating a lot of raw food, it's really hard on your gut. And also during that point, it's just harder to build lean muscle and fat burning is not a main priority at that point because of progesterone. And it's not that you can't get there, it just wouldn't be at the same caliber, it wouldn't be at the same level. So a lot of times to look at it in terms of metabolic changes, you'd be looking at ramping things up in the first couple of weeks, and sort of letting it ride for the next couple of weeks. And then waiting till you can ramp things up again. And again, when you're in days one through 14.

    Elizabeth Stein 26:17
    So meaning have a harder workout in those first two weeks, and then maybe do more lighter yoga, etc. in the second two weeks.

    Dr. Beth Westie 26:27
    Yes, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, yeah. And the other thing that again, seems very strange. But in the second two weeks, days, 15 through 28, your system actually needs more nutrient, it's going to need more protein, more healthy fats at that point, too. So you're actually going to be needing to eat more, to honor what your body's going through at that point. So a lot of times people think, oh, my gosh, I can't eat that much. I shouldn't eat that much. I'm getting these cravings, you know, if you're not eating enough, your body's gonna see it as a depletion. And that's actually a warning sign to slow down your metabolism more. Now, it is a Yeah, it's a very different thing when you look at your body's metabolism throughout the month, because it does change. And that's okay. And it's, you know, that's the other thing. It's not bad. It's just different. And it's different than a male body. And we're always told or told to train like, you know, all the time. And it's like, well, our bodies are not designed to be in fat burning like that all the time.

    Elizabeth Stein 27:26
    So certainly, then as you were starting to allude to, we should be eating differently during those different phases. What would love to hear what your advice is for, you know, kind of an obviously, everybody's different. There's no one size fits all, but some generalized, what should we be eating? What's your perspective on protein? Because I know that's an area that certainly, I think we're all not, women and men probably aren't eating enough protein, but even more so women not eating enough prot

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