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Empowering Women Through Menopause with Dr. Amanda Tracy

Dr. Amanda Tracy has been enthusiastically helping women navigate hormone changes and improve their health and well-being since becoming a licensed naturopathic doctor in 2005. In 2021, Dr. Tracy decided to take her expertise online, and transitioned her practice to focus specifically on women, on supporting women through perimenopause and menopause. Having relocated to Northern California wine country, Dr. Tracy now works with women across the U.S., guiding them through the often chaotic effects of hormone fluctuations associated with perimenopause and menopause. Drawing on her clinical expertise and personal experience, Dr. Tracy's tailored programs and compassionate one on one sessions empower women over 40 to address frustrating symptoms like hot flashes, sleepless nights, anxiety, digestive issues, and stress.


Listen to full episode here.



[00:01:45] Dr. Amanda Tracy on what she’s most passionate about

[00:02:41] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her childhood and getting interested in nutrition

[00:08:04] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her education

[00:09:51] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her own health journey

[00:12:17] Dr. Amanda Tracy on the state of women’s health in the medical field

[00:14:06] Dr. Amanda Tracy on a life changing event on the eve of her 40th birthday

[00:17:46] Dr. Amanda Tracy on relocating to Napa Valley

[00:19:38] Dr. Amanda Tracy on common issues women face in perimenopause and menopause

[00:20:56] Dr. Amanda Tracy on the importance of diet during perimenopause and menopause

[00:22:33] Dr. Amanda Tracy on the impact of stress and insomnia on health

[00:24:34] Dr. Amanda Tracy on hot flashes

[00:25:09] Dr. Amanda Tracy on chronic health issues during perimenopause and menopause

[00:27:03] Dr. Amanda Tracy on why people don’t talk about perimenopause and menopause

[00:30:12] Dr. Amanda Tracy on first steps women should take during perimenopause and menopause

[00:32:51] Dr. Amanda Tracy on the holistic approach she takes with her patients

[00:35:20] Dr. Amanda Tracy on working virtually with women across the country

[00:36:07] Dr. Amanda Tracy on women’s health after menopause

[00:37:25] Dr. Amanda Tracy on some of her success stories

[00:40:38] Dr. Amanda Tracy on the lack of diagnosis of women’s health issues

[00:41:34] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her Perimenopause Playbook Workshop

[00:43:14] Dr. Amanda Tracy on how find out more about her work

[00:44:03] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her Free Grocery and Recipe Guide

[00:45:43] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her female role models growing up

[00:47:05] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her professional mentors

[00:47:47] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her personal self-care habits

[00:49:42] Dr. Amanda Tracy on the lesson she’s learned on her journey so far, that really sticks with her

[00:50:46] Dr. Amanda Tracy on having a daily mantra

[00:51:10] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her secret to a rewarding life

[00:52:48] Dr. Amanda Tracy on helping people get fit in a way that works for their lives

[00:54:15] Dr. Amanda Tracy on her dream for herself and for women



Passionistas: Hi, we're sisters, Amy and Nancy Harrington, founders of The Passionistas Project. We've created an inclusive sisterhood where passion driven women come to get support, find their purpose, and feel empowered to transform their lives and change the world. On every episode, we discuss the unique ways in which each woman is following her passions, talk about how she defines success, and explore her path to breaking down the barriers that women too often face.


Today, we're talking with Dr. Amanda Tracy, who's been enthusiastically helping women navigate hormone changes and improve their health and well being since becoming a licensed naturopathic doctor in 2005. In 2021, Dr. Tracy decided to take her expertise online, And transitioned her practice to focus specifically on women, on supporting women through perimenopause and menopause.


Having relocated to Northern California wine country, Dr. Tracy now works with women across the U. S., guiding them through the often chaotic effects of hormone fluctuations associated with perimenopause and menopause. Drawing on her clinical expertise and personal experience, Dr. Tracy's tailored programs and compassionate one on one sessions empower women over 40 to address frustrating symptoms like hot flashes, sleepless nights, anxiety, digestive issues, and stress.


If you're joining us live here today, please feel free to drop any comments or questions in the chat and we'll do our best to get them answered. Now please welcome Dr. Amanda Tracy. Hello, sisters. I'm so happy to be here. Oh, we're so thrilled to have you. We like to start every interview with the question, what are you most passionate about?


Dr. Tracy: I am actually most passionate about empowering women and with plant based medicine. I've seen the advantages of using plant based remedies myself and being a, I've been a long term vegetarian and vegan for about 15 plus years. I've seen the impacts of using plants as food and improving health. And I love sharing all of the little tips and tricks women can do that are easy on a daily basis to help their health and wellbeing and also balance their hormones so that they can navigate those changes.


Passionistas: Well, we love that, being women who are navigating those changes. We can't wait to hear more about that, but let's take a step back and start. At the beginning. So tell us about where you were born and your childhood and where this love of, you know, nature and those kinds of things came from.


Dr. Tracy: Well, I grew up in the Boston area and I was always interested in nutrition.


I was very active as a child in sports and dance, but not necessarily knowing much about vegetarianism or veganism, just intuitively didn't like meat, didn't like animal products. So I was on that journey of Not eating those things pretty much on my own in the 80s and 90s in Boston, which isn't necessarily the most, like, new age area, so...


Passionistas: It’s boiled dinner kind of town.


Dr. Tracy: Right, right. I'm half Italian, half Irish. So, I mean, many cultures have, you know, animal products in them, but it was more on self-educating and figuring out how to feel best myself and be really active. And I really got into nutrition and then learning the impacts of food on our health.


Of course, it was the 80s and 90s, so it was all fat free, carb heavy, um, different strategies then, but really seeing, um, how to add whole foods into my diet, things that people weren't eating much then, like kale and quinoa and lentils, and being on the forefront of that, and just trying new things to find out how to feed myself, um.


And then on the other flip side, I was always interested in science and really good at math. And so going to college and going along that, like, doctor path seemed to make sense too. Luckily, I didn't have much, like, interaction with the medical community growing up, besides in Boston being an area with lots of medical schools and hospitals, and that's sort of part of the culture.


But I had a really healthy family. I was healthy myself. So I didn't really have much exposure to the different careers in medicine, just kind of knew about. Primary care and general practice and. Then you need a science degree and go towards that. So when it came time for college, I looked at, you know, biochemistry and biology as majors, and really thought I was on the conventional doctor path, but that took a little bit of a turn.


So when I was in the midst of college, it was the late nineties when the pharmaceutical industry was sort of booming and, um, the statin drugs just came out and it was like kind of like another. Boom for the pharmaceuticals. We had like penicillin, you know, earlier in the century and, and then this, the statin drugs and those types of drugs sort of like grew the industry and kind of started thinking of like, oh, there's a pill for everything and we just have to get a pill.


And that just didn't feel right to me. And I, you know, Just kind of really felt like I really was interested in science and really about how the body worked and how to improve our well-being. And medicine was going in a different direction, focusing on disease, which it, you know, can and should in some cases.


But I was noticing in myself, I was driven more to medicine about health and not about disease and how the body breaks down. So that just wasn't as interesting to me. So I decided to not go straight to medical school. And I went into research for a little while and using my biochemistry degree, so still staying in science.


And then I really wanted to work with people and work with nutrition after a few years. I just happened to get into a few lab jobs where I was in a small group or I was working in a lab by myself. So I felt really isolated and, you know, early in your career, you're going from college and being surrounded by your peers and a lot of people.


And then I think that was a big transition for me too, to just realize that I didn't really want to be. As isolated or working as singularly. So then I started looking at what to do with my career and my mother found out about naturopathic medicine and I had never heard of naturopathic doctors or even integrative medicine really.


And, uh, just when she started like learning about naturopathic medicine, she said, this sounds like what you said you wanted to do, we just didn't know it existed. So once I found that out, I could be, I have all the medical training and be a licensed physician, but use the therapies that I loved, like nutrition.


And then I learned to love botanical medicine and natural supplements and medical foods. Um, it just seemed to make sense. And I was so happy that she found, she saw that. naturopathic doctor on a morning show one day and we found out about that profession because once I started learning about it I couldn't believe that it was existed.


So that was a stroke of luck right there and through medical school, I was always interested in women's health and hormones and Conventional medicine doesn't really focus on women because, because of our changing hormones, it's hard to create a really controlled environment to study women. So conventional medicine doesn't focus on women's health, but naturopathic medicine does because we're using foods and herbal medicine and connecting to nature and looking at the body as a whole.


And for women, that's especially important because of all of our hormones to approach the whole body as one cohesive piece.


Passionistas: Yeah, that's amazing. Before I ask the next question, I just want to say we're Boston girls too. So where did you grow up in Boston? We're from Braintree.


Dr. Tracy: Oh, okay. I'm just about as far out on the north side. I grew up in Woburn.


Passionistas: Oh, okay. Yes.


Dr. Tracy: So you're familiar with the culture there.


Passionistas: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. We're Boston girls. We still have a brother back in West Roxbury and we haven't lived there for a long time, but. Uh, we migrated to the, to the West Coast as well. And we're Irish and Italian. We're Irish and Italian too, so...


Dr. Tracy: Right.


Passionistas: That's like the Boston mix. So we totally...


Dr. Tracy: Yes. Yes, I stayed there for college. I went to Boston College for undergrad, and then I moved to the West Coast for medical school. I went to Bastyr in Seattle, and and then I moved back to Massachusetts and lived in Newburyport and practiced in Andover. Oh, wow.


Passionistas: So Bastyr is where Holly, um, Berry did her show, right? Yeah, that's right. One of our Passionistas, Holly Berry, um, just filmed a pie, uh, an episode of a TV series for Bloom TV called Wellness Blooms, and she went up to Bastyr and they made tea, um, from the garden there. And so, yeah, Bastyr is, yeah. Part of the Passionistas story at this point.


Dr. Tracy: Oh wow, that's wonderful. Yes, the campus has really changed since I went there. They've done, they've created the garden and they have like a lot of construction and more buildings and so it'll be interesting to go back and see what it looks like now.


Passionistas: Yeah, it looked beautiful in the pilot. Um, so you and I were talking before we started the podcast about a statistic that I saw, um, last week when I was writing the newsletter to promote this, that only 9 percent of medical schools in the country have women's health studies, which I found mind blowing.


And you were saying that, that like you were just saying, that's because they don't know how to study women's health, right? And it also focuses mainly on fertility and And so, I'm going to start with you. So, you had a very clear vision for getting pregnant in earlier stages of women's health, not later stages. So, um, was that something that, that you intentionally wanted to focus on most the later stages?


Dr. Tracy: Yes and no. So, as I was in Naturopathic medical school, I was also dealing with my own hormonal changes. And as I was in my teens, I never had regular periods and I went the conventional medicine route and they couldn't find any answer, which was great.


Nothing was wrong with me, but nothing was going right either. And we couldn't figure it out. And because being vegetarian back then, they kept telling me I just needed to eat meat and I would get periods. That was the answer and I just wasn't going that way. So in naturopathic medical school, I was really focused on hormone balance and cycle balance throughout our whole lives.


So thinking of conditions that affect younger women like endometriosis or PCOS or even just like I had unexplained missing cycles. So I was really interested in it and Did more testing, tried acupuncture, different food changes, herbal medicine, and eventually I did find what worked for me, which actually was the opposite of what I was told to do.


It was actually going full vegan and putting out dairy that started to give me regular cycles every month. So, um, that was interesting for me to notice because I was vegetarian beforehand. It wasn't necessarily a huge shift in my diet, but. Using, uh, herbal medicine and sticking to a vegan plant based diet, which was high in protein and high in fiber still, too, helped my cycles to become regular through my 30s, like, every month without, you know, really trying or doing anything else.


So, I found that interesting, too, in naturopathic medical school when I would say I wanted to focus on women's health. Even in naturopathic school, the next question people would ask me is, Oh, are you doing the midwifery program? And so I was like, no, I want to focus on before and before pregnancy, after pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause.


And so we have all the education to do that in the integrative world. And it's more that, again, it's still focused on fertility as the main goal for women's health. So I really wanted to broaden that and expand that. And through my career, I have seen Um, most of my practice is women and always has been, and I did focus on some of those conditions I mentioned that happened earlier in life for women, but now that I've reenvisioned my practice, I really wanted to focus on the perimenopause and menopausal years.


Passionistas: And do you find that more doctors are getting into this discipline, that there's more help available for women out there?


Dr. Tracy: There is. I mean, menopause has become a buzzword in women's health the past few years. Um, and it's going in a couple different directions. It's starting to get a lot of attention on the conventional medicine side.


That is something that we need to talk about. Part of that's because some research has been coming out in the past couple of years after it had been stopped for about 20 years. So there's more research to talk about a little bit about the other conditions and symptoms that menopause causes and how it affects women on our daily life.


Um, a lot of the research is coming out of Europe though, and not the U S. And the UK especially, because they are really focused when the government pays for healthcare, that the government is really interested in what keeps women productive and, you know, not in, in, in the workforce. So that's kind of a big thing that the UK noticed was women were leaving the workforce around the perimenopausal years for multiple reasons, but a big one was the perimenopause and menopause symptoms.


So now more attention's being drawn to menopause as we are returning to work after the pandemic and companies are looking to attract Workers, they are focusing on menopause, but not necessarily in a holistic way. So that's where I come in. I really want to help women in a holistic way with nutrition and herbal remedies and lifestyle medicine, whereas corporations or the health insurance companies are more directing women to either a hormone replacement therapy, like kind of app, like a prescription app, and kind of just looking at like a one size fits all solution, which doesn't seem to work that well.


Passionistas: So on the eve of your 40th birthday, you had an experience that sort of changed your life. So tell us what happened and how that became a wake up call for you.


Dr. Tracy: Sure. I mean, everything was going so well on the outside. The practice that I would work really hard to build over the past 10 to 12 years was, you know, fully booked, booked out for a couple months and it was growing and had other practitioners there and, um, That looked really good.


We just built a house from, you know, the ground up. But on the eve of my 40th birthday, I was driving home from my clinic pretty late at night, about probably around nine, thinking of what I was going to pack because I was going on a surprise vacation for my 40th birthday. And all I could think of besides of what to pack and bring with me was, when we get back, I need to schedule a sabbatical because I'm so exhausted and I could feel something changing.


I was like, I don't know if I, I don't know if I want to come back. It just seems so overwhelming. And then on that, unfortunately on that vacation, which happened to be a surprise trip to Napa, Lawn Country, where I live now, I got really sick. So I didn't enjoy half of the trip, but I just started to, my immune system sort of shut down and I started to get everything that came across me and every type of infection just kept rolling into another infection and another infection.


My hair started falling out. I was exhausted. I was really struggling to get through the days. And, um, My cycles started to get weird again. So I started to miss periods and, and then I just really realized that I was in burnout. And then looking back, I could tell over the past few years that, um, it was developing for a while.


There were a few high stress years and it was so busy and, um, I intuitively knew I needed the sabbatical. I probably just should have scheduled it a year beforehand. So it really was a wake up call of even though I was technically doing everything right, I was practicing yoga and meditating and eating a plant based diet.


It wasn't enough to hold everything together. I really needed to care for myself more. And it wasn't just that I was in my 40s. That was something I heard from people, too. Like, oh, well, you're over 40 now. You're just going to feel horrible. So this makes sense. Your body's breaking down. Like, this is the beginning of the end.


But I really didn't feel like that would have been the case. But that's sort of what culture and some other people tell you. Um, so what did you expect? You're 40. So I really dialed back on my work responsibilities. I delegated. I hired on another doctor. I got more help. I took a week off per month for a whole year and just rested and really started to focus a little bit more on nutrition and focusing on sleep because during the years, those years, I wasn't sleeping very much and Really focused on creating a great sleep environment and making sure that I had time to sleep and recover and restore myself.


That was working for a few years and then I, and I felt better, but I didn't realize until 2020 when things completely shut down for about a month. I was still, I was doing telemedicine, but you know, I didn't have to race into the car at 7 a. m. and bring all my, with my breakfast with me, and it wasn't as stressful in 2020 in some cases.


Um, I realized after we shut down for about a month that I really recovered. I really, I felt like. Astronomically better than I had done the past two years where I thought I was better from burnout. So that was also another, you know, wake up call for me that I really do need to focus on myself and make sure I'm healthy so that I can help other people.


Passionistas: And so was that the point where you decided to relocate as well?


Dr. Tracy: Yes, although that wasn't my decision. So that just came up. What was that like? Uh, my boyfriend Joe had an, uh, got a job opportunity. He works in biotech, um, and, um, had some involvement with the vaccine, COVID vaccines and COVID treatments.


And so he, He was really stressed in 2020 and working a lot. So he got a job opportunity to move out here and, and we decided to take it. Um, and I was able to sell my practice in Massachusetts to my associate. And I feel like we wouldn't have been able to consider that, um, life change and that opportunity if I had felt like I did the couple of years before.


I wouldn't have been able to kind of think my way through it. And the stress of it would have been unbearable. I really felt like the, that 2017 to 2020 kind of prepared me for that opportunity to come up and to be able to take it. And then also think about, well, now I'm 16 years into my practice and I kind of have a chance to restart again.


What do I really want to do from this point? And it really was, And I was like thinking about my patients that I loved working with and the part of the practice that I loved the most and I really looked forward to and was interested in. And that was working with women in their 40s and 50s that have hormonal symptoms going on, trouble sleeping and digestive changes and the demands of a busy life. And I really said, okay, I'm going to develop my practice around that because that's needed.


Passionistas: That's amazing. So what are some of those common things that women come to you for? And, um, And how do you approach that that's different from the medical field, the normal, quote unquote, medical field?


Dr. Tracy: So a lot of the things that women come to me for are some of the, like, I'll say systemic and maybe a little bit more pervasive symptoms like fatigue or feeling sluggish, like a little bit of weight gain, maybe feeling bloated, but not necessarily having Constipation or diarrhea, just feel like their digestive system isn't working that quite well.


Um, maybe some hair thinning and hair loss, skin changes, not sleeping as well, waking up a lot, but they're technically sleeping, so they don't really need an Ambien, you know. So it's more of a lot of like a collection of those symptoms kind of all coming together over six months or two years. And the problem with conventional medicine is And I think that's, there, it doesn't fit into a surgery or procedure or a drug, because these are more symptoms that have to do with the coordination of hormones and neurotransmitters and our digestion in our body and keeping inflammation in check and so it is more of a holistic approach.


Approach that's needed, but conventional medicine isn't set up to do that. They can give you a handout and say, try to eat less and lose some weight. Um, but they don't have time or energy or the resources for that type of medicine.


Passionistas: So how important is diet during that period in a woman's life?


Dr. Tracy: I feel it's very important because in perimenopause, our hormones are changing for seven to ten years before we go into menopause, and then the first three years of menopause are the most important because that's when we're having a drastic change in hormones, and diet can have a huge impact on that.


Diet can help to improve what hormones we make, so helping in perimenopause to minimize the symptoms. We can use foods to help the way that our liver processes hormones like estrogen so that it can And so, um, like, focus better on balancing. Because a lot of symptoms that women have through the, the hormone changes aren't necessarily because of a lack of a hormone.


It's more that they're out of balance with each other. Because a lot of the hormones are acting on the same areas of the body and they're competing with each other. So, we can use food to try to balance that out. And then, also, um, your gut changes for women and men. So, all humans, our gut starts to change function over 40.


So, we start to have less digestive power. And so That combined with the hormone changes, a lot of dietary strategies can help negate some of those symptoms coming from that. So I really feel like diet is central, and I definitely don't mean diet in the case of you need to eat less calories, but more about focusing clinically on what foods to add more of and take and have less of for those specific actions on hormones.


Passionistas: And talk about the relationship between stress and insomnia and hormones, because it seems like there's that, that thing that's inexplicable to most of us where we're stressed and exhausted, but we can't sleep.


Dr. Tracy: Yes. So, there's a couple things going on there. So when you're under stress, you're producing a stress hormone called cortisol, which is supposed to help us get rid of away from the bear that's charging at us.


So it makes us more alert. Um, also affects our digestion, um, slows that down, affects our muscles. So when we have cortisol, It not only is making us more alert, it actually blocks melatonin production. So even if it's nine o'clock at night, if you have a stress or even a chronic stress that's affecting you for weeks or months, you're producing less melatonin.


And so if you have less melatonin, then it's stopping the sleep cascade to fall asleep. Also, if we have high cortisol levels and stress on our mind, we can start to have a peak of cortisol like one or two in the morning after our melatonin has naturally worn off. So if you do produce melatonin and you have, and you fall asleep easily because you're exhausted and wake up at one or two at night, um, or in the morning, it's probably because cortisol then won over the melatonin and woke you up.


So that's sort of like the direct effects of stress on sleep. Also, when we are under stress, that actually helps to help probably isn't the right word but that helps to shift our hormones away from progesterone and more towards cortisol. So if you're in perimenopausal years in your 40s or early 50s, Your ovaries are producing less progesterone just as the years go on, and so the adrenal glands are responsible for adding, picking up the slack and adding in progesterone.


But if you go into those years with stress, you're producing more cortisol instead of progesterone. Progesterone has really great Aspects to keep us calm, keep us, um, helps us be friendly and want to be around people and makes us sleepy. So if we're under stress, then we're actually have exaggerating perimenopause symptoms and makes us lighter sleepers when we'll wake up a lot during the night.


Passionistas: And then of course there are the hot flashes on top of that.


Dr. Tracy: Oh yes, that's another set of conditions where hot flashes are more related to estrogen levels changing quickly and stress can do that, um, changes in temperature can do that, caffeine, and then a couple years around menopause exactly.


Passionistas: So how does having chronic health problems like high blood pressure and cholesterol and and that stuff, how does that make... add even further complication to this time period.


Dr. Tracy: Well, stress is one of the things that can add further complication to those conditions, like increasing blood pressure and affecting metabolism and worsening cholesterol. But for women, before menopause, the estrogen that we have has a great preventative and protective aspects to our heart and our bones and our brain.


If you're going into menopause, where your estrogen levels are dropping pretty quickly over a couple years, you're losing that heart protectiveness and bone protectiveness for those couple years. Then your body adjusts and you kind of get on track similar to a man at a similar age, but it's during those couple years, because the estrogen levels are changing You have less protection on the heart if you're going in into that with high cholesterol, which could lead to more plaques in the arteries and high blood pressure.


It's more like you're doubling the effect of those for a few years. So heart disease is something that's being addressed in women. Now, um, so the past few years, there's more research on women and heart disease, the effects that I was just talking about estrogen and how that changes, um, different parameters of heart health.


So we are starting to have the research come out now that's showing the attention that needs to be put for women and heart disease. And also learning the symptoms for women of heart disease as well can be different than in men.


Passionistas: Yeah, absolutely. And we were talking also earlier about how no one talks about menopause and perimenopause. And I feel, I feel like in a way it's almost like, Until recently, people didn't actually believe the symptoms were real, like that we made them up, like, oh, you're a hot flash. Oh, you're hot. Big deal. Like, no, no, this is serious. I wake up in a puddle of sweat every night. So why do you think people aren't talking about it and how do we get that to change?


Dr. Tracy: I think part of it is generational. And in previous generations, women's cycles weren't talked about, periods weren't talked about, you know, you're supposed to hide that you had your period and it didn't want to make the, The Boy's Uncomfortable. And so we grew up in that situation.


And our mothers maybe grew up in a situation where you didn't, they didn't have much education about fertility even, or childbirth a lot. There were decades where women were drugged to have children. They were passed out the whole time and they didn't really, they weren't aware for that experience. And so, and then with menopause, it was just not addressed.


And so they didn't necessarily like recall it and then pass that on to the next generation of what to look out for. I think part of it is because of the research. We don't have a lot of research on the effects of menopause and actually showing the sleep changes or bloating and weight gain and really connecting that until past few years.


That a lot goes back to the Women's Health Initiative study in the late 90s that came out in 2003 that was using um, Um, so they've done a lot of research on hormones and women and menopause. So they've done a lot of research on hormone replacement therapy and studying that, but they showed that, it did have a connection to breast and uterine cancer, partly because of the types of hormones they were using, and the amounts of hormones they were using, and the age of women that were studied.


So there were a lot of flaws in that study, but it stopped all funding for research on hormones and women and menopause for about 20 years. So we have that, um, I think there was a time, a span of time where there wasn't really anything to talk about. Um, besides women having hot flashes, there wasn't any data on what to do about it.


Um, I think hot flashes was maybe the one symptom that has gotten some attention, but more like on the dramatic sense, you know, and in the media, um, for the past 20 years, whether it was taken seriously or not. Um, but that was sort of one symptom that women are sort of aware of that's connected with menopause.


And in my work with working in perimenopause and wanting to help. Prepare women for the transition and trying to get them to pay attention to the, the tricky symptoms that come up before the hot flashes. So the changes in sleep and bloating and weight change and brain fog and some fatigue and to really pay attention before those hot flashes arrive, because that's the sign that the hormones are changing.


Not that it's too late, it's just that we maybe could have prevented the hot flashes for sure. And I think part of it is too that there's so many symptoms that are connected to the hormone changes and they're different for every woman. It's, it's difficult to, again, get that research and really have something to point to.


And the more that we talk about it and the more that women talk about it with each other and share experiences and share the symptoms they're having, it'll increase the awareness and make them connect those dots, I think.


Passionistas: Yeah, absolutely. And even though each person's obviously health. And, and issues they're having are so specific and individual to them. When someone is hitting this point in their life, what are some of the first steps they should be taking, um, health wise to prevent or to minimize hot flashes and things like that.


Dr. Tracy: Yes. So a lot of the symptoms have to do with changing hormones and increasing inflammation. So a lot of things you can do with diet to reduce inflammation would be increasing your plants and fruits and vegetables and plant proteins.


Not everyone needs to be vegan. I mean, I follow a vegan diet, but I'm not saying everyone needs to switch to that. But looking at more. Switching away some of your animal proteins to plant proteins, because that will decrease the inflammation in your body and increase the amount of fiber that you're eating.


And fiber is really important in binding up extra hormones. When you think of you're going into menopause, you're having low estrogen, but the other hormones may not be as low and fiber helps to balance some of the Extra testosterone we have during that time to prevent some things like the mustache and the chin hairs and the acne and those things.


So it's a good reason to add fiber into your diet. So all women could have more fiber and plant based proteins to help through the transition and decrease inflammation, which could also help lessen the severity of hot flashes and some things like joint pain. Like some women have joint pain as they're going through menopause.


So decreasing inflammation with that. And then adding in antioxidant foods can help with decreasing inflammation, like having pomegranate and berries every day. Avocados are another good food to add in daily. Lots of things we could do.


Passionistas: I think if there's nothing else we provide to our sisterhood, if for the rest of our career, the fact that we just gave some information on how to minimize chin hair is like the greatest I've never heard anybody Give a suggestion that helps with that, and I am eternally grateful, so.


Dr. Tracy: Oh, I can give you another suggestion as well.


Passionistas: Please, please.


Dr. Tracy: Spearmint tea is another thing, um, drinking two cups a day, it can be hot or iced. podcast, but specifically Spearmint Tea, which you can get from some herbal suppliers like Starburst Herbals and other tea brands, that helps to decrease the chin hairs as well.


And those are some strategies that work for younger women that have higher testosterone levels from PCOS, too. Fiber and Spearmint Tea.


Passionistas: I'm on it. That's good. You love mint tea. I do. That's my favorite kind of tea. So now I know just get spearmint instead of peppermint. Yes. Thank you. You're welcome. So, so describe the holistic approach you, um, take working with your patients. Like if someone comes to see you, what can they expect as the journey with you?


Dr. Tracy: Sure. It's a little different than seeing a conventional doctor. Um, we, I do spend an hour with my patients in the first visit, like really getting to know their health history. Their whole health history, everything that's outside of hormones as well, um, and their family history and looking at what like sort of hereditary factors you might.


I do more extensive lab testing, so hormones often aren't tested well in blood because they're fat soluble and, um, you can't get an accurate reading on the active hormones. You just get kind of like a bucket of your hormones, which is one of the reasons why your conventional doctor or gynecologist said this doesn't work.


There's no reason to test your hormones if you're in perimenopause because they don't get much information out of the blood tests. So I do more urine tests that tell you about the detoxification of your hormones and the balances of the different forms of them. Saliva tests that look at the tissue levels of your hormones because it's nice to know what's in your blood, but if it's not acting on your tissues, then it's not doing any good for you.


So we do more extensive different types of testing to really get a good picture of what's going on. And then treatment wise, we put together a whole plan looking at. Some of the nutritional changes and like tweaks are similar to what I've mentioned today and like really foods to really focus on. Some things you may need to avoid like allergens or insensitivities, increasing fiber.


When we look at how to do that in what you're normally eating in your lifestyle, not necessarily just gives you a handout of these are high fiber foods, good luck. So you look really through your whole day where how you're going to, how you're going to do this that really improves success. And. Often we have a couple steps to the treatment plan.


Sometimes we're working on something maybe a little bit more short term that might be helping estrogen levels and stopping hot flashes, improving sleep or decreasing cortisol. To really get back to baseline and then creating a maintenance plan to help your body manage hormone changes. And I check in with patients every month for six months when we're starting out, just so they always have me to answer questions and tweak things.


Cause everyone's an individual and sometimes we might be using an herb and it's causing an unusual symptom or they need, might need a double dose than usual or half the dose than usual. And patients can always reach out to me on a private messaging app. So. They can always ask me direct questions during those six months, so I really like to help, to help them and feel like they're supported.


Passionistas: And you work virtually, so you, are you able to work with women all over the country?


Dr. Tracy: I am. So, I am licensed in California and Massachusetts, and throughout, for the other states, there are ways that I can be a nutritional consultant, and I can order certain labs for them through a lab service that I use that covers every state.


There are a couple of exceptions for, I think, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, but, um, we have to work around, but I can still see patients in those states.


Passionistas: And what about women of my age who have been, through, as my mother calls it, the change, um, do, do things change again? Like, is there another regimen I should be thinking about that would be different than someone who's going through menopause?


Dr. Tracy: On the other side. Um, that things aren't changing as much as far as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone levels. They're more plateaued and your body adjusts to that. So there should be less symptoms of like erratic hormones. Um, but we approach it a little bit differently, still looking at the different forms of estrogen that you have because you're producing estrogen from your adrenal glands and your fat cells.


And not as much from the ovaries anymore. So we definitely wanna manage those forms of estrogen through the liver and through the gut because they can be triggers for heart disease cancers. Um, so sometimes there's some metabolism and detox support that we need to do there, but in general, we're looking at preventing some of the chronic health conditions associated with post menopause like heart disease.


Um. Look at brain health and, and gut health and function too, because like I said, the digestive chain changes are happening starting at 40, but most women notice them in their 50s and 60s. So there's a lot of balancing that we're doing, even though the hormones aren't changing as quickly.


Passionistas: That's interesting. Um, so what are some of your success stories? Who are some, how have you, how do you feel you've helped some of the women that you've worked with?


Dr. Tracy: I feel like I do have specific success stories. What, what I get most excited about is when after the first few visits, um, women say to me, Oh, I didn't know that this was being, there was a real cause to this.


I thought my doctor told me I was crazy or my husband said I was nuts. Um, or, you know, my teenager said it was my problem. But they like to see that there's, on paper, there's a reason that they feel that way and they don't feel like themselves anymore. So that's sort of like a general, like, when, like, when we find, like, the cause and that there is something to work on.


Um, specific stories, uh, I saw one woman who was 45 and was having, um, 20 hot flashes a day. All of a sudden, in her mid 40s, she had gained about 10, 15 pounds in the past six months. She was a triathlete, so it didn't quite make sense, um, that she gained weight. And she went to her doctor, and her doctor tested, um, oh, oh, she missed a couple periods.


So she missed a couple periods and went to her doctor, and her doctor said, oh, it's probably menopause. We should put you on estrogen. But she didn't want to go on estrogen because they didn't do any testing and her sister was just diagnosed with breast cancer and so she had really some concerns about using estrogen, which makes sense.


So when she started to see me, we did some, we did hormone testing like I described and we found that her stress hormones were off the charts. She did have a stressful job. Other than that, her, you know, personal life, things were going great, um, but the job was really a source of stress. And we found that, um, her estrogen levels were just imbalanced.


They weren't low, but it was more that the high cortisol was causing a block of progesterone. It was causing her to miss her period. So we actually focused on the stress piece of it and detoxification to balance estrogen. I used an herbal extract that doesn't affect estrogen to help with our hot flashes and they went away in three weeks because they were had nothing to do with menopause.


It was stress related, which is stress is a trigger for hot flashes. Separate from menopause and with menopause. So, um, that was a great success because really with tweaking her diet to reduce the stress on her body and balance and get that progesterone going, she was able to have her periods every month within the six months and she lost the 10 pounds.


Almost immediately. And then the last five of course takes a little while to lose. But in the first couple months, she lost a ten right away, we're like, that's great. So that's a case, I guess, a success story, but also a case maybe of misdiagnosis on the other side, that really if you, I'll just put that as a public service.


Now, if you're suggested to take any hormones, you want to have some form of testing first to see where you're at.


Passionistas: Yeah, that's got to be common, right? That's, that's got to be a fairly common thing. That people have, that people don't get that support. They do get the reaction that you're talking about from the family that, oh yeah, yeah.

And then the doctors, if, if women's medicine hasn't been studied as, as much. Thoroughly, as we would hope, the misdiagnosis, I would think, must happen more frequently than we would like.


Dr. Tracy: Yes, I mean, I do, I do tend to see it more on the other side where there's a lack of diagnosis or just like, oh, you're tired, you have kids, you have a job, like you're in your 40s, you should be tired, and they don't look into it.


Um, that was just an unusual case where they were let me be too aggressive with her having the hot flashes and a couple missed periods and suggesting estrogen, but I usually see it more on the flip side of things. Not looking into it much and just chalking it up to a demanding life.


Passionistas: Amazing. Amazing. I know I personally went through a thing where I didn't get my periods and I was misdiagnosed for a while until a new gynecologist finally figured out that I had a pituitary tumor. That's like, Oh, there you go. That explains it. So, but that's another story for a different day. I want to hear, I want to hear about the Perimenopause Playbook Workshop that you're holding this spring. Tell us a little.


Dr. Tracy: Oh, yes. I'm really excited about this. So as I mentioned, I do usually work with patients for six months, pretty intensively when we're working on hormones. Um, but not everyone has the time or energy or money for that. So I came up with the Perimenopause Playbook Workshop.


So I'm hosting one in April and one in May. And this is a live workshop where we're spending two hours together in a small group. Every woman, um, Get some education on her hormone archetype, which looking at her symptoms and different hormone patterns or these archetypes or things that I've defined, and, um, to help guide us to what exercise is best for you, what nutritional strategies are best, and what supplements and remedies are good for your symptoms.


So I help guide the women through figuring out which archetype they fit in for what's going on now. And then we put together their playbook together, starting from that framework of what's recommended for their archetype, and then going through specific symptoms that I'll be highlighting in the specific remedies for that, like hot flashes, trouble sleeping, or trouble falling asleep versus waking up in the middle of the night, waking up too early in the morning.


So there's different strategies for all of that. And, um, Gut changes and, and brain fog and memory changes. So we're going through really specific symptoms and women can put together their own playbook with my direct recommendations and have time to ask me questions about that. So if they have allergies or other health conditions, we'll be able to tease that out all in the two hours.


So they'll walk away with the two hours with a complete plan designed by a naturopathic doctor that's tailored to their needs and they can go from there.


Passionistas: That's fantastic. So how do people register for that? And how do people work with you in general? Where do they find you?


Dr. Tracy: Um, so to register for the playbook, you can go to my website, You can also find it through my Instagram and Facebook accounts, which is AmandaTracyND to work with me in general, if you're, or even if you're questions about the playbook or the six month program from my website,, you can click book a call at the top, and that will bring you to be able to book a free 30 minute session with me to tease out your symptoms and what's going on and I can give you the options of what would be the best path for you.


Passionistas: That's excellent. Um, and we also downloaded your Free Grocery and Recipe Guide. And it's amazing. So tell us more about that and how you came about. Putting that together.


Dr. Tracy: As you might have figured out, I find food very important. Um, so, and I love to cook and, um, really women need to know how to do it pretty easily and quickly and get things into their routine.


So the recipe and hormone guide goes through a little bit of the changes that are going through your hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone as you go through perimenopause and menopause, a little hormone one on one in there. Um, and how to recognize those imbalanced symptoms, and then what foods to specifically add in to help balance those hormones, and then there's quick and easy recipes using the foods that I recommend.


Um, so you can start trying out some of the recipes and incorporate those foods like artichokes. Or chia seeds or flax seeds or pumpkin, um, in an easy way. And, um, 'cause consistency in doing it routinely is where we get the impact of it. So I find having the recipes and for women to know why to eat that food, um, is really helpful too.


Passionistas: Yeah, it's fantastic. Again, I wish I had had that guide a long time ago, because it's so hard to just go on the internet and find out the information that you need, and to know it's from a trusted source, and somebody who really understands. So it's a really valuable resource that you're you're giving to people, to people for free. It's fantastic. Oh, wonderful. Yeah. No, I really appreciate it. And I'm, I'm going to sit down with it this week for my shopping list that I start implementing. Um, so when you were growing up, who were some of the female role models in your life?


Dr. Tracy: Oh, I would definitely say my female, um, family members. My mother was, um, always, like, juggling many things, like, to kids, and she was always there, very involved in our sports and activities, and, um, my parents had a business together. They had an auto body shop, and she ran the front office for that, and, um, Then they later had a ice cream parlor and she ran that.


So I saw that she really like had like a leadership, even she was doing all the behind the scenes things, but she was really the one that organized things, paid the bills, like kept the machine running and really had a leadership role in that. And, um, I found that really inspiring. Um, and then my, like both of my grandmothers are really like truly caretakers and, um, Both women that, like, don't hold their tongue, so I, like, there was never that, like, females need to be quiet aspect of either side of my family, so I find that really inspiring too, um, and just, like, speak what's on your mind, go, you can do anything, like, just go for it, and, um, so I had a lot of female role models.

Passionistas: Very Boston trait.


Dr. Tracy: Right.


Passionistas: Speaking your mind. How about professional mentors? Have you had professional mentors in your career and what did you, lessons did you learn from them?


Dr. Tracy: Really, um, a lot of my teachers in naturopathic school that were able to, um, Again, juggle many things like having a practice, having a family, teaching, um, and showing that you can do many things and do it well, but then also having that, um, especially in naturopathic school where physician heal thyself is one of our tenants and always focusing on stress management and nutrition and healing ourselves and showing how to blend that in because, I mean, it's, The past 30 years, women have been told they can do everything and they should do everything, but more like at the expense of yourself. So I think having those role models in my profession that showed that taking care of yourself was like up there with taking care of others.


Passionistas: So when it comes to taking care of yourself, what are some of your best habits?


Dr. Tracy: I think now it's, Well, it's kind of a silly thing, but not having herbal tea after 8 30 p. m. So then I don't wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. And I just love sleep now that I can sleep well and sleeping through the night and. Not having to get up is a luxury, so cutting off the liquids by 8:30pm, and if I get distracted and I notice it's 8. 30, I don't have a cup of tea. I just say, okay, I'll just have my water and take my pills and go to bed. I don't need to have tea. So that's one thing. Another thing is journaling and meditation in the morning. So that really helps to center me and, like, feel like I've had some time, 10 minutes for myself before I start to log on and talk to others.


So kind of bookending the day with those two things, um, is something I do for myself. And, um, that also sounds maybe a little silly or weird, but have eating lunch is something I never used to do. When I was seeing patients in the clinic, I would be booked almost through lunch and use lunch to catch up on emails and business things.


So now I do have a longer break in the middle of the day, which is an advantage of working online and working with women across the country in different time zones. Um, so I have a longer break in the middle of the day for exercise and actually sitting down and eating a meal, which. I look forward to every day now.


And I used to just put a handful of almonds in my mouth and chew them while I was in the bathroom. Oh, now I look back in that and think, wow, I was a crazy lady.


Passionistas: I love that. I've been known to do that once or twice. Yeah. Um, so is there a lesson that you've learned on your journey so far, that really sticks with you?


Dr. Tracy: Um, I'll say the one that I have to keep reminding myself of is to not take myself too seriously. I was, I'm always, I'm a very serious person and I, even as a child, I, you know, I was kind of an adult like child and kind of worried about things and took things seriously. And, um, I mean, of course, I have fun, but I do, like, that's a lesson to not take things too seriously and get them blown out of proportion and causing more stress.


So trying to always, like, bring it back to taking care of myself and having some enjoyment as I go through this journey of helping people and growing my practice.


Passionistas: It's like you have been reading my mind. That's been my, like, thing in my head all week is, like, lighten up. Like, I, I'm the same way. Very serious child's I've always been a very serious person too, so I can relate to that.


Dr. Tracy: And it's not easy. It's not easy to break that, um, that pattern. So it's like I mentioned it because it's like I need it to stick with me and keep reminding myself.


Passionistas: Absolutely. Do you have a mantra that you live by?


Dr. Tracy: No, I don't. In my daily journal, I have one for the day and I, and it's fun to look back and see how that changes as the months change and the years change. Um, so, uh, the one that I have lately is I Am Worthy.


Passionistas: Love it. Love that. Love that. What's your secret to a rewarding life?

Dr. Tracy: I think it's dancing. I love to dance. I've always danced as a child and now I do ballroom dancing. And I think there's To be able to move to music, I kind of don't understand the people that can hear music and not move. But it's the biggest joy for me. And so I guess finding what is a joy to you, and you don't even have to think about it, and it just happens. It's joyful.


Passionistas: So hold on, we need to take a minute to talk about ballroom dancing. So how did you get into that? And do you compete? Like what's your ballroom dancing journey?


Dr. Tracy: Oh, no, no competing. It's pure joy. We don't want to add stress to it. So that's something that, um, my boyfriend Joe and I wanted to do for a long time. But when we lived in Massachusetts, we worked and commuted, you know, away from our house and couldn't coordinate it. So that was our, one of our goals when we moved to California is like, let's figure this out and start ballroom dancing together. So we've been doing it for about two years. And, um, we do perform at the studio, you know, for fun, but no competing.


We're, we're trying to have it as our fun. It's just, you know, something to keep our brains healthy and learn new things and an activity we do together. So I'm loving it.


Passionistas: I love that. What's your favorite dance style?


Dr. Tracy: Oh, it's a toss up because I've been doing a lot of cha cha lately. And, um, I really like Argentine tango too.


Passionistas: That's cool. So what's the one question that we're not asking you about the work you do that we should be asking?

Dr. Tracy: Oh, that's such a tough question. Um, I guess about how difficult it is to follow through with a naturopathic treatment plan because I'd see that that's something that's an obstacle for people is they feel like it's going to be very restrictive or take up too much time in their day. to make a lot of changes. Um, and that's something that could hold people back from reaching out to me, but really the point of working together is to make modifications and changes in your diet and lifestyle that are manageable and that you can stick to and build upon.


I've heard from other patients when they come to see me that they may have seen other integrative practitioners and they were overwhelmed at first by telling You know, being told they need to change their whole diet, or they had to take 20 supplements a day, and it was just overwhelming. And really, I don't practice that way.


I really practice how you're going to fit this into your life in a way that improves your life. Um, so I would really just encourage people to book the discovery call with me and talk things out and work it through because I do have a different style than Compared to a lot of other practitioners and, um, the point is to have success and to feel better and feel more like yourself again, not to be overwhelmed by taking pills all day.


Passionistas: Absolutely. That's great. So one last two part question. Um, what's your dream for yourself and what's your dream for women in general?

Dr. Tracy: My dream for myself is to be able to travel more. I love to travel and to be able to incorporate that into doing um, one or two day mini retreats for women in perimenopause and menopause would be wonderful. Um, so that I could like weave those two things together. Um, I wouldn't have to travel too far. I live in a beautiful area and there's plenty of retreat places here.


Um, so I can start out that way and then maybe travel a little bit further because I do fine. I work with a lot of women that are. You know, have a lot of demands and, and, you know, working on how to increase, you know, their health and their daily life, but sometimes to just have a few days where you don't have to focus on anything else is, um, really helpful and can be rewarding, too.


Um, and my dream for women is to be at the forefront of health and wellness. I mean, we are, we are at the forefront as far as researching health and, um, for our families and for other people, and we go to the doctor more often than men. Um, Companies are targeting us a little bit more in that way, but really to be at the forefront of where the research is and the real improvements are, and to see more women in the medical field themselves.


Passionistas: That's excellent. Well, we cannot thank you enough for joining us today. We had a wonderful, very informative chat, and we know that this will help women in our community a lot. And, uh, it's been such a pleasure and we hope to talk to you again real soon.


Dr. Tracy: Thank you. It was a wonderful experience. I'm so happy to be able to share this with your community.


Passionistas: Thanks for listening to The Passionistas Project. Since we're not only business partners, but best friends and real life sisters, we know how unique and truly special our situation is. We know so many solopreneurs, activists, women seeking their purpose and more, who are out there doing it all on their own.


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