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Plan for a peaceful perimenopause naturally.

In Today's Modern Age, Menopause Isn't The Same As It Was In Your Mother Or Grandmother's Time. Environmental Threats From Synthetic Chemicals That Mimic Natural hormones have created an environment where shockingly young women can begin to prematurely experience symptoms of the change Before the Change.

With that in mind, I knew that now was a perfect—and imperative—time to update my New York Times bestseller Before the Change. Although this book is focused around the perimenopausal phase of life—the period of about 10 years leading up to menopause—it is applicable to women in all stages of life, 18 to 80.

If you feel as if your body has betrayed you, help is in sight. Before the Change is filled cover to cover with timetested natural methods (including a delicious diet) to sail smoothly through this transition and restore your sanity. I hope you enjoy this sneak preview where I share why we must change how we think about the change.

The diet world has been turned upside down with the awareness that the foods we eat cause a hormonal response inside the body. In this book, I use this knowledge to turn your world right side up by applying it to the hormonal imbalances that occur during perimenopause. I review the hormonal responses that macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) and environmental agents (xenoestrogens) evoke in your body, and utilize them to restore hormonal function during this changing time.

I have a big fat surprise for you: eating fat does not make you fat. As I have been advising my readers and my clients for more than thirty-five years, nothing could be further from the truth. The right fats, which I call your "sexy, slimming fats," actually reset hormones, reduce inflammation, and fix metabolism. In addition, fats assist in reprogramming the stress, sex, and hunger hormones that can exacerbate perimenopause symptoms and cause weight gain. So not only does fat not make you fat, but fat also makes you skinny!

However, it's not enough to just eat fat, lose weight, and manufacture hormones. Your body needs to be able to process that fat—which is where your liver and bile come in. I will teach you how to support your liver and optimize its bile production. Bile is the fluid the liver produces daily to break down fats into a digestible form and transport excess water out of the body. Poor quality bile is a newly discovered factor in hypothyroidism. Better bile means fewer digestive woes, like constipation, bloating, and gas, and fewer hypothyroid-like symptoms, like fatigue, weight gain, and brain fog. This may be a godsend for anyone who does not have a gallbladder and therefore lacks the storage tank that regulates the properly timed secretion of bile when eating fat. For these individuals, bile replacement is a necessity.

In this book we also examine several key nutrients that every woman must have in the correct amounts in order to feel emotionally and physically well. My professional experience has shown that women are most likely to be deficient in certain nutrients, such as magnesium, zinc, and the B vitamins, and that every woman must have these in the correct dosage in order to feel emotionally and physically well. Magnesium, for example, has even been called the "original chill pill," acting as a hormone balancer and relieving anxiety, constipation, or any ailment where an overstimulation of the nervous system is present.

I would be remiss if I didn't include moderate exercise too, which helps all hormone systems to function better and reduces stress. Indeed, exercise contributes positively to just about every bodily function and to most emotional and intellectual functions as well. Exercising for at least four hours a week lowers estrogen dominance (when skipped periods result in low progesterone levels), reduces cortisol levels, and supports bone health, all of which will make the perimenopause period pass more smoothly. I am especially a fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), rebounding, and the Power Plate (see Resources in Before the Change for more information), all of which you will read more about in this book. The secret of a good exercise program is to find something that you enjoy doing and that fits conveniently into your daily schedule. The more preparation that exercise requires, the easier it will be to find a reason to skip it. But if you do something simple that you enjoy, you will want to do it every day. I will share with you how to exercise effectively, efficiently, and enjoyably.

I cannot emphasize enough the role stress plays in perimenopause. Simply dealing with your unique manifestation of perimenopause symptoms constitutes a stressful experience. Add the stresses encountered in daily life, and your body may very well find itself struggling to keep up. When you are chronically stressed, it exacerbates perimenopause symptoms and leaves you with a whole array of other issues. The adrenals can become exhausted and cortisol levels can become erratic. This causes most bodily functions to slow down, thus your body is not operating at its full potential. This also means your body is not as well equipped to handle hormonal fluctuations, further intensifying your symptoms of both stress and perimenopause. I will show you how to tame the cortisol monster through healing oils, exercise, sleep, and coping skills.

Eating a hormone-regulating diet, exercising moderately on a regular basis, and managing daily stress is often enough to alleviate the discomfort and symptoms felt by many women in their thirties and forties. However, diet, exercise, and stress management may not always be enough. You may need to resort to natural hormone therapy.

Natural progesterone is usually the key therapeutic hormone, rather than estrogen. Natural progesterone creams are available over the counter without a prescription, and I will list my favorite brands for you. I also look at phytohormones (hormones from plants) and explain why they work.

In cases where not even natural progesterone cream and phytohormones are enough to alleviate the symptoms, you may need to implement bioidentical hormones, compounded specially on an individual basis. However, whether these are bioidentical hormones or their synthetic substitutes, all hormones need to be monitored by a practitioner, especially bioidentical estrogen. Ultimately, all hormones are broken down by the liver. That's why liver support is key, and one of the central features of my Peri program.

The balance of this book is devoted to the principles of the Peri Prescription, a hormone-regulating eating plan that women need for their twenties, thirties, forties, and beyond. After I share with you the science behind what makes this powerful diet so necessary, I will give you a meal plan and recipes to help you get started. Keep in mind that this is not a one-diet-fits-all food plan. It can be tailored for individual differences based upon ancestry, metabolic rate, blood type, and dietary restrictions. The diet is varied and fun—with a manageable shopping list!

To start you off, though, and to help steady you along your hormonal journey, the chapter on Peri Zappers with ten highly effective remedies will help rescue you from perimenopausal symptoms and give you your life back. These ten remedies are recommended because they are especially reliable, usually free of side effects, and easy to use. Peri Zappers help balance the levels of all types of hormones, and I will discuss how to use them to alleviate symptoms, feel fit and trim, and lead a more harmonious life.

Perimenopause can be a major challenge. But, as with any challenge women have faced over the course of their lives and the course of history, you will experience this transformation with a greater vibrancy of body, mind, and spirit. I promise.

Before the Change is available for purchase now nationwide. It's time to join women of all ages who have restored hormone harmony within their bodies and discovered the peaceful perimenopause they deserve.

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Visionary health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, has always been a trendsetter. With millions of followers nationwide, she has the uncanny ability to pinpoint major health concerns and provide solutions years ahead of anybody else.

Highly respected as the grande dame of alternative health and award-winning author of 30 books, she single-handedly launched the weight loss/detox revolution in her New York Times bestseller The Fat Flush Plan. A Connecticut College and Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Dr. Ann Louise was recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and was the recipient of the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence. She has been a popular columnist for First magazine since 2003.