Episode 121: No More Menopause Bulge! with Esther Blum

Are you frustrated with what menopause has done to your body? Esther Blum shares her secrets to losing weight during menopause, building muscle and strength as you age, and some simple steps to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

Do not miss these highlights:

[05:08] The shortfalls of conventional medicine when it comes to educating patients about eating lifestyles

[7:00] The whole body approach to weight loss

[10:02] The reasons why many women gain weight when they’re going through that transition of menopause

[13:52] The possible side effect of going on hormone replacement therapy, but not detoxing your hormones properly 

[20:18]  How to start reversing the situation if you’re in midlife and having inflammation from your hormones

[23:22] When you do the right testing, you get the answers

[26:20] Eating habits: getting the correct amount of protein for your ideal body weight

[26:57 ] Combatting sugar cravings with the paleo or keto eating lifestyle however is this approach to eatins sustainable?

[27:24] If you increase your fat and you don’t decrease your carbs, you will gain weight

[29:51] How to build muscle and strength as you age

[36:30] As you continue to build lean muscle and your fat cells decrease, you’ll get a leaner appearance.

[38:25] How heavy metals play that role in weight gain for women

[42:08] Great ways to help enhance your sleep and tips for people struggling with insomnia 

Resources Mentioned

Overcome Your Sugar Cravings in 3 Days: https://estherblum.com/cravings/

Phoenix Factor for High-Functioning Female Executives – https://debra-s-school-1b7e.thinkific.com/courses/phoenix-factor-protocol 

About our Guest:

Esther Blum is an Integrative Dietitian and High-Performance Coach. She has helped thousands of women permanently lose weight, eliminate the need for medication, lose stubborn belly fat, and reverse chronic illness.  Esther is the bestselling author of Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat, Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous, Secrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project. Esther has appeared on Dr. Oz, the Today Show, and Fox News Live. 




Transcription for Episode #121:

Debra Muth 0:02
Welcome to Let’s Talk Wellness Now, I’m your host, Dr. Deb. This is where we talk about everything wellness, and learn to defy aging and live our lives on our own terms.

Debra Muth 0:16
Are you a menopausal woman who’s tired of the fluff? And the idea that we’re supposed to be a particular way? Are you tired of that mid abdominal fat and you’re tired of not eating, just to try to maintain your weight, but you still seem to be on that hamster wheel and you’re gaining and gaining and you’re seeing your body change and it’s shifting, and you’re frustrated. And you so you give it all up and you say all the hell with that I’m going to eat what I want anyway, because it doesn’t matter. I’m a grandma. I’m supposed to be plump. I’ve lost who I am and my sexuality and my sensuality, in this world of midlife living. Well, my guest today is Esther Blum. And Esther is a phenomenal integrated dietitian and high performance coach. She’s been on the Dr. Oz show, the Today Show and Fox News Live. Esther has a couple of great best selling books. She’s the author of cavewoman, don’t get fat, eat, drink, and be gorgeous secrets of gorgeous, and the eat, drink and be gorgeous project. And today, she is going to share her secrets with us on how women can permanently lose weight, eliminate that need for medication, and of course, lose the stubborn belly fat who doesn’t want that. And all along with that we’re going to reverse chronic illness. So I am excited to talk to Esther today. Because she’s been in this business for 26 years. She understands what it takes to maintain your vitality through life. And she’s going to share her tips and secrets with us. So you guys can have a strategy to tackling this weight issue that we all struggle with in menopause.

Debra Muth 2:08
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Debra Muth 3:04
So I am with Esther Blum and I am so excited to have her here. She has a great topic for us. And we are going to dive deep into midlife weight gain eating. Why is it such a struggle for us? So welcome to the show. Yeah, thanks for having me here. Appreciate it. So Esther, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Esther Blum 3:26
So I’m a mom, I’ve got a rescue dog and a husband and I live in Connecticut off the grid with well water and a lot of wildlife around us and a generator. I’m an integrative dietitian, which means I worked in hospitals as a clinical dietitian for five years, I had a master’s and a bachelors in Clinical Nutrition and really realized that I wasn’t making a huge difference when somebody had open heart surgery and I had 10 minutes to catch them when they were being discharged to give them all their diet education. Yeah. So that was really frustrating. So I said, Okay, I got to get in at a more preventative level. So I went rogue and got certified functional medicine, left the hospital and really never looked back since so good for now. Yeah. You know, I’m Listen, so grateful I have that hospital experience, because it’s really great, you know, and enabled me to cut my teeth on really the big clinical issues in practice.

Debra Muth 4:30
It’s so hard, you know, I don’t understand conventional medicine at all, where we think we’re gonna make these massive lifestyle changes in five minutes, right? Like, you have to tell somebody what a carbohydrate is. Most people don’t know that. And now you’re going to tell them they’re going to restrict lipids and they’re going to do fats and they’re going to do this and they’re looking at you like they’ve glazed over and go home. Good luck. Hope you’re successful insurance isn’t going to cover you to see me on a regular basis. So here’s some resources And then we wonder why we’re on multiple medications over and over again, because people don’t understand this brilliant point.

Esther Blum 5:08
It’s that and it’s also. Yeah, yeah, there’s there’s many, many flaws in the system for sure. And it really takes ongoing relationship building to help someone change their habits to there has to be a lot of trust, there has to be time for people to try things, perhaps fail or fall off the wagon and be back on the wagon again. And you know, a lot of people, I think, rely on doctors for help wisdom and nutrition wisdom. And the reality is doctors only get one, you know, most one to four days and four days of being quite generous of nutrition, educational training, and even then it doesn’t explore all the different diets and all the therapy. So they go to their doctors, and the doctor says, Okay, well lose weight, and just eat right and exercise. And literally, that’s the information they’re getting now. So we really, you know, that’s why you’re doing the work you do. Because having podcasts like this really helps people get access to important information.

Debra Muth 6:18
It is hard. I mean, people have to look for this information on their own, they can’t rely on their doctors, because their doctors only have five or 10 minutes to spend with them. And even a functional medicine doctor, although we understand it. This is not where our expertise and knowledge should be. It’s really with someone like you who that that’s your expertise and knowledge, and you have the tricks and the tips to give them. And I think it’s important for people to understand that the expert line and where it goes and how to follow it so they can get the best out of it for themselves. Mm hmm. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about your practice what you do, what kind of people you work with.

Esther Blum 7:00
So I take a whole body approach to weight loss through healing the gut and balancing hormones. So I really make sure that I look under the hood for the root causes of someone’s health problems. So it’s, it’s really, we are so interconnected. As humans, you know, we’re a big rubber band, right, I remember a physical therapist teaching me this, he said, Your body’s a big rubber band. So just because you have something wrong with your foot, doesn’t mean that it’s not really an issue. Or probably just because you have something wrong with your your hips doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at your knees and your feet, you’re all connected, right? Or your stress or your digestion or all the things that come into play. So it’s the same in my practice where, you know, you’re not just going through menopause and having drops in estrogen. You also are experiencing probably some gut inflammation, lower gut motility with lower estrogen levels, insomnia, which is causing a lot of bloating and cravings, because your progesterone is dropping. So the two are really, you know, intertwined and interconnected. And I am quite fiercely and passionately, an advocate for my own clients, I am the bridge between them and their doctors. And if their doctors don’t listen to them, it I help them find a new doctor. But I often partner with some really amazing doctors to help my clients get better. And I can say please run these tests. And they say, Great, here’s the results. I’m putting them on these hormones. I’m like, great, I’m putting them on this diet. Really, you know, coordinate, I can recommend dosages for hormones, but I can’t physically put prescribe. So or I can say please run these extra blood tests. And they say sure. So it’s really the doctors I do align myself, myself with for my clients are super helpful. And then there’s no headache involved, like on either of our sides. Because the flip side is, you know, with clients, I end up calling their doctor’s office calling the insurance companies trying to get them to get services covered or get better care. It’s often a lost cause and not a good use of time for a writer, though,

Debra Muth 9:21
Exactly. And I think that’s the great places to have a partnership with a practitioner like that. Because sometimes you do need to prescribe hormones. Sometimes you could just use herbs. And sometimes it could just be a dietary change. But to have somebody that can work in conjunction with you is such an amazing platform to have for the client because they get the best of both worlds that way.

Esther Blum 9:42
Yes. And there’s just there’s peace of mind. There’s no conflict of interest. There’s no well she said this and you’re saying something totally different. Never. That’s not the case.

Debra Muth 9:51
Yeah, that’s awesome. That is really good. So can you tell us a little bit about why do so many women gain weights when they’re going through that transition of menopause.

Esther Blum 10:02
Yeah, a couple of things happen. We again, so let’s just circle back to the gut, okay, we all have this gut microbiome, which is this beautiful endocrine organ, it’s about four pounds of bacteria. There’s some funguses and viruses in there we all carry some viruses about for at any given time. But that makes up the human genome. And there’s more bacteria there in the gut than there are in all the cells in the entire body, which is fascinating to me. And that dictates you know, your genetics, your biochemistry, how you respond, how you digest and absorb your food and your nutrients and your mood and your bowel regularity and, and to some extent your hormones as well, to some extent. Okay, so the Astra bolong is the area where the gut metabolizes estrogen. And so what happens is, during menopause estrogen levels when they fall and progesterone, that mucosal lining of the intestinal tract which helps produce you know, a really healthy environment starts to decrease, okay? estrogen and progesterone are very protective of the gut. So if those levels fall, then you can experience an increasing gut permeability, you experience a decrease in gut motility. So all of a sudden, you may know as you’re getting heartburn, and you’re getting more constipation, you can have IBS like symptoms. You also can get, you know, more bloated and sluggish. Your immune system changes. And so without adequate estrogen, progesterone, we can develop dysbiosis, which is a real imbalance of bacteria. When that happens, our signaling gets off and our cortisol also goes up. Okay, so sleep gets compromised, right? And so we want to eat more, we’re not so satisfied, we’re craving more. And so the other thing is, when you have a healthy gut, you produce an enzyme called beta glucuronidation, which like, really, in plain English, make sure that you excrete estrogen properly from the body, you detox and excrete it via poop and pee. Well, guess what, if you’re constipated, because your gut flora are off, then you’re not exceeding estrogen the way you should, and you can become very estrogen dominant, you’re not pooping regularly. So all of those, and decreasing testosterone to all of those can lead to an increase in body fat. A nice cortisol belly, you might notice, like, Hey, I had a muffin top before now it’s looking more like a cake top. So all of these disturbances come into play and can cause us to gain weight.

Debra Muth 12:57
Yeah, that is such a good point. I’m glad you discussed all about the gut, because I don’t think we talk enough about that gut reaction to hormones. We talk a lot about the fall of estrogen and progesterone, but not how it ties to the gut. And so we just assume it’s that fall in estrogen and progesterone that’s causing the weight gain. And people get frustrated when they go on estrogen and progesterone, and they still don’t lose the weight. And part of it’s because if we don’t deal with the gut, we’re not dealing with a bigger issue then for them.

Esther Blum 13:26
That’s absolutely right. And you know, I see, not only women in my practice, I have 25% of my practice are men. And they too, are some of them are getting like testosterone replacement therapy. And it’s converting to estrogen. Yeah, especially if they’re extremely overweight, and they’re not even getting testosterone, that’s all converting to estrogen. Now, I’m overweight, too. So you have to make sure a couple things right, you got to make sure you’ve got a healthy gut, you have to make sure that your methylation or detoxification pathways are optimized, because if you go on hormone replacement therapy, but you’re not detoxing your hormones properly, you will get you could gain weight and have all sorts of not unpleasant side effects. People also have to remember when you are on HRT, ladies or and men, you should not be drinking alcohol, because that can also really impair the proper usage of the hormones in your body can be very, you know, alcohol can be a huge endocrine disruptor. Yeah, you know, you still have to manage your stress to you think about when you are in menopause, right? I don’t know about you, Dr. Deb. I’m 50 and like, this is for me, you know, I lost my dad last year like my mom’s at I have a son who’s 14. So like you’re in you know, you’re balancing. Right? Right and you run your own practice. I run practice. So you know, you balancing a lot. And menopause to me is a great you know how PMS is like when you’re irritated? You know and grumpy. You’re really your truest self. That’s really when you state your needs the most is when you’re irritable. Well, menopause is another great wake up call where you’re like, you know what, I got to make it to don’t list I have to take things off my plate, because I’m not sleeping. I’ve got some brain fog, I’ve gained some weight, I’ve got to like, figure out which way is up and address that first.

Debra Muth 15:29
So true. So true. I’m 54. And I’ve watched this with women, because I’ve been in practice about as long as you have about 25 years. Yeah. And I saw this happen when I was even a young practitioner, women hit 50. And it was like a magical time for them. And they said, I’m not doing this anymore. I’m not talking to this person anymore. I’m getting divorced, I’m quitting my job. The list just went on and on. And I was like, wow, what happens at 50? And, you know, you start to realize, though, we, as you get closer to that age, and you’re like, you know, I have like, 40 good years left of my life. I’m not sure I want to live it in the same way that I lived my first 40 years. And people start recognizing that and they start making those changes. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that life change for us.

Esther Blum 16:17
Totally. I think the 50s are magical. I mean, even, you know, and I always say like, 40 was the decade of No, you know, it was just like, not doing that. Not that no, knees are out his head, you know, to me now, like, my motto is kind of like if it’s not a hell yes. It’s a hell no. You know, it is it’s a it’s a great time, you know, aside from like, Okay, you’ve got a physical changes happening, but emotionally, it’s it really there is a lot of wisdom and perspective that comes at this point of what’s really important,

Debra Muth 16:50
That’s true.

Esther Blum 16:52
And that was the gift of the pandemic, to me is like, you really figure out the basics of what you need, right? You don’t need a lot close. No, you don’t need like, you need some nature. You need human contact with your people and like, and good health care itself.

Debra Muth 17:08
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. I agree. I think the pandemic has been such a huge help for us. And for some people in the way of nutrition too, because it got us from not eating out all the time, to cooking at home, sometimes a little too much cooking, or a little comfort cooking. But we got back to eating meals and cooking meals and learning how to prepare things. And that’s a huge time for us. Because we’ve lost that art so much in our generations of just being busy.

Esther Blum 17:35
Yes, I have to just tell you face story, which is like my voice totally. By boys, my husband and my son, my guys, I should say they are obsessed with YouTube cooking videos. And we bought all this while my husband did he bought like all these carbon steel pans and them and now he can like see or we bought all of this elk and venison and bison and all these fun steaks. And he now knows how to like sear them on both sides. And then he throws in, you know, he throws a little avocado oil at first to see them and then he adds in butter, a little crushed garlic and some fresh time which he causes aromatics, and you know, salt and pepper and just baste, baste, baste, baste and then like they’re so tender, and he grilled me recently I was like, No, I like it pan seared now better. So it’s been it’s been really fun. They all got really, my son is a good cook, too. He went to culinary camp one summer and that was transformative too.

Debra Muth 18:35
Oh, that’s awesome.

Esther Blum 18:37
It was fun, Yeah.

Debra Muth 18:38
it can be a really fun time to learn how to cook if we take the time and we make it a priority and so many times you can make things better at home than you’re going to get made for you someplace Not to mention healthier but it just tastes so much better.

Esther Blum 18:54
Well it does and you know you can literally save your life cooking so here’s a big pro tip which will also help your menopause ladies Okay, where man-opause whichever you’re going through, um, is to really watch the oils that you eat. Okay, when you eat out You are always eating canola or soybean oil. Just know that when you cook at home, right you can use that the good safe high heat oils are coconut oil and avocado oil and most people prefer avocado oil because it doesn’t have the same taste on but olive oil is great for lower heat cooking. I like butter, adding butter to olive oil to lower the smoke point a little bit. But the rest of the oils, you know if it’s cottonseed if it’s soybean oil, partially hydrogenated craptastic oil. Any of those seeds are canola oil. They’re all like genetically modified manmade, I don’t care if it says organic. They are super pro inflammatory. And that will give you if you’re menstruating with get cramps or you can have breast tenderness or just systemic inflammation, joint aches, migraines, obesity, which is inflammation. So you want to make sure that you’re using like the really good quality oils, you just change that and get rid of seed oils, you could absolutely change your life.

Debra Muth 20:18
Wow, that’s a great tip. I’m glad you shared that. So tell us Esther, how do we start to reverse the situation that people are in in midlife and they’re having this inflammation from their hormones? How do we start doing that?

Esther Blum 20:32
Testing I always start with testing before I even allow people in the door in the virtual door. Of course, in my practice, I run both a Dutch and a GI map on them to get an bloodwork I have their doctors run bloodwork. And that really gives me a comprehensive picture of their starting point. It tells me is your gut healthy enough to detoxify estrogen? Are you pooping every day? Are you having you know dysbiosis? Do you have any pathogens like h-pylori or you know, other protozoa or bugs or worms that you need to clear first because those can be very disruptive. Do you have a leaky gut? Are you gluten dairy sensitive? You know what’s going on with your inflammation? Do you have any autoimmune markers, right? And from the hormone side, I look at cortisol, I look at morning and metabolize cortisol, I look at the your androgen production of your estrogen or progesterone is your testosterones. Then I look at your detox pathways to see are you moving the needle? And then I will look at neurotransmitter and melatonin production to say like, Hey, are you sleeping? What’s your stress? Like? Yeah, and you know, they’re very, very telling. I can tell you know, I have a client who had really bad in first she had many, many skin conditions that we treated, she was always having these skin irritations picking at them going on antibiotics over and over and over. So we she had some funky gut bugs, she allowed dysbiosis we cleaned up her gut, her skin cleared up. It’s never gone back since. But also her beta glucuronidation was super high. She was just recycling estrogen over and over again. And she was on an IUD. So we pulled out the IUD, which was hidden behind a ginormous polyp, like the doctor hardly find it. So that was removed. And we had her deal with her stress. Because you’re stressed that she was working out way too hard and exhausted all the time. So we pulled back on the workouts, she started losing weight, she couldn’t believe it that was like that took me about six months to get to give up her workouts. The minute she did, she was like, wow, I have energy I can get out of bed on the weekend, she literally was not able to get out on the weekends before. So very high powered businesswoman. So she gets out of bed, her Beta Glucan rowdies comes down. So her monthly symptoms are much better. She was getting her period, like every two weeks initially, now it’s spread out every 28 days. You know, so just all of these things can really improve your quality of life. And when you do the right testing, you get the answers. You know, most people who I’m sure come to you to come to me seeing 5-10 doctors and yeah, are told this is normal for your age. Well, what the heck is normal, that’s not optimal. Normal just means everyone else in their practices has the same problem. So we’ve just stopped normalizing women feeling like crap. Right. Right. Right. And and it’s their, you know, they’re told by doctors, this is normal, just have a glass of wine, just go for a walk, you know, just manage your stress. Well, what the heck does that mean? What managing stress really, you know, what would be helpful as they said, you know, you need to actually meditate for 20 minutes a day, you need to take a Epsom bath two times a week. And maybe you should give up all that really high intensity cardio, switch it to walking, yoga, swimming, things that are more parasympathetic, and calm your nervous system down and support your adrenals. And maybe you should pick up some weights because that falling estrogen of yours is going to contribute to poor bone density. And maybe you need to pick up some weights and eat more animal protein like that. Well, that’s 10 things you can do are five things. Yeah. Right.

Debra Muth 24:40
Yeah. The one that you know, one tip that I heard and I’d love to hear your point on this. I went to a fitness camp for a week. I did not know it was the fitness camp. When I signed up. It was a Business Week, right. Which was it was awesome. But I was really surprised. The nutritionist there had said If you want to lose weight, you need 112 grams of protein a day. I was blown away by that. Because you know, you think you eat a lot of protein, but when you start tracking it, it’s amazing how little protein you’re actually consuming in your diet. And that was a huge tip. It was like, Wow, that was a takeaway.

Esther Blum 25:19
dYes. And so most people are terrified of eggs. First of all, when we I mean, there’s never been a single study that eggs raise cholesterol. That’s an old wives tale, right? so terrified of eggs and the yolks, number one, and they’re terrified of red meat. Number two, red meat. What people don’t realize the baby’s being thrown out with the bathwater. Here, what most people don’t realize is red meat is one of the most essential nutrient dense foods that you can eat on the planet. Very few food sources have what red meat has with B 12, and zinc and iron and people say, Oh, well, spinach has iron. And it’s it really very difficult to absorb the iron from spinach. Whereas red meat is a straight shot liver is a straight shot. liver and egg yolks contain Coleen, which is an incredible nutrient for cognitive function. And you know, brain fog is a big complaint that I hear with falling estrogen levels. So protein, you want to make sure that you’re getting that you’re aiming for one gram per pound of ideal body weight. So let’s say that your ideal body weight is 120 pounds, that’s 120 grams of protein that’s just over 16 ounces a day. And people say, Well, I can’t eat a pound a day. But if you spread it out, and you have, you know, four ounces of protein at meals and two ounces in each snack, you meet your goals, right? And you will stay fuller longer you will sleep on that sugar.

Debra Muth 26:57
That is the amazing thing. You know, I’ve played with keto and paleo and all of that stuff. I try everything that my I recommend to my patients, because I need to know what it’s going to feel like what it’s going to do. But that’s the one good takeaway with paleo or keto is that you don’t have the sugar cravings because you have the protein and the fat. And people think that if they eat more fat, they’re going to become more fat. And that’s also another wives tale that’s been around forever and been debunked.

Esther Blum 27:24
Well, yes, and you will a couple of things. One is if you increase your fat and you don’t decrease your carbs, you will gain weight. So you do have to decrease your carbs A and B. If you have a fatty liver, the people who don’t do well on keto, and even an even higher protein diets, or people usually have a very fatty liver. So you do have to clean up your liver first. Before you can take that on. Yes,

Debra Muth 27:48
that’s a huge good point there. I’m glad Yeah, that up, because otherwise people all want to run out, do that. And then they wonder why they’re in trouble with that as well.

Esther Blum 27:58
Yes. And with keto, you know, you do have to be careful with lower carb, especially if you’re someone with hashimotos that can really, really throw off. You know, your functionality as a whole, your conversion of T four to T three, all that good stuff. But you also want to make sure you can sustain it, because, you know, keto is quite restrictive and limiting. And so if you can’t sustain it for more than, you know, you say I could maybe there was a couple months, you know, you could do it for four weeks as a reset, and then gradually adding carbs. So actually, my book cave women don’t get fat. I teach people to do that, where it’s not keto, per se, but it’s definitely a good Detox Cleanse for two weeks where it’s protein, fat, vegetables and some fruits. And then after two weeks, you slowly start adding in a half a cup of cooked starch per day, like a sweet potato or a white potato and that are keen. Why you know, and that enables you to figure it all out. Yes. I don’t think you have to go super low carb to lose weight.

Debra Muth 29:07
Yeah, I don’t think so either. And I think for some people, it does some damage to them as well. Like if we knew your genetic makeup, we could tell you how many fats and proteins and carbs that you could have from a genetic standpoint, which could save people we actually had a patient who had Alzheimer’s disease, and someone put her on a keto diet. And she was an API e4 and couldn’t break down the fat and the protein and within two weeks of going on the keto diet, she stopped speaking. And it was really traumatic because her body couldn’t detox that. And as we started to transition her, some of that came back, but it took a very long time. And she still had a lot of cognitive issues from that. Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s really hard. So tell us Esther, how do we build muscle health better as we age because we’re all seeing more cottage cheese on our life, more fat. We want to say more muscle because we’ll burn more fat, we’ll have better energy better bone growth, like you said, What’s the best way for us to look at doing that as we age?

Esther Blum 30:09
Yeah. So first, if you are a candidate for hormone replacement therapy, you should go on hormone replacement therapy, okay? Because if your testosterone and progesterone a rock bottom, it’s much harder to build muscle. Okay? So if you’re a candidate that’s super helpful, no amount, you know, once you start making hormones, no amount of herbs or seed cycling or yoga is going to bring that back. So you have to be clear on that. Of course, dietary interventions are really important on getting in that absolute amount of protein and some really amazing proteins for building muscles. I mentioned red meat. Wild Alaskan seafood, there’s a company I love called vital choice. They’re just really high quality Alaskan seafood with lots and lots of omega threes and vitamin D and like virtually no mercury. So that’s great. You liver organ meats, eggs, chicken, poultry, you know, you could have venison, elk, Buffalo, any of those meats. So make sure if you tolerate dairy, cottage cheese and yogurt or whey protein, pea protein if you’re vegan, you know all of those are good solid protein sources. Also, you want to do resistance training. Now resistance training can be anything from using your own body weight, to you know, I can burn and burn my legs doing a Pilates dial like bar class with just squeezing a ball and in a squat position for long periods of time my muscles absolutely burn. Interestingly enough, like my son is a short track speed skater and they’re dry. They’re I mean, their legs are incredible. They’re not using any way except their own body. Men receive lunges and squats and low walks and amazing what they do. So your own body weight can be effective. But of course, you know, adding heavier weights is also really key because the more again, it’s a shorter path, faster path to building muscle and strength. And again, if you’re new to weightlifting, start with a three pound weight you work yourself up, you’ll be amazed in a month or two you could be lifting five pound, eight pound, 10 pound, and you build up now and you either can do lower weights, higher reps to start and then you build up to higher weight lower reps. What that does is it builds mitochondria, which are those fat burning powerhouse epicenters of the cell’s nucleus, right. And then you also balance hormones, you raise growth hormone, you raise testosterone, especially when you’re doing you know upper body weights and push ups. And you also Most importantly, you manage your insulin and your blood sugar better. And there was a great research study that showed two groups of people group A took Metformin and did not lift weights, and Group B lifted weights and did not take Metformin and they were type two diabetics. So Group B, who lifted weights and didn’t take Metformin had much better ghlac blood glucose control. Wow. So that’s pretty profound. But if you want to know, you know, another great biohacking tool you can use is a continuous glucose monitor, which you can get a prescription from your doctor. And this is where I bow doctors because they’ll say for my patients, not diabetic, like doesn’t matter your patient will be if you don’t fix this, right. So you were a glucose monitor, and that you know, on the back of your lower back your triceps for two weeks, and you hold the phone app up to it and it will read your glucose. And that also will tell you how you’re breaking down your foods or not how you’re breaking down your sugars in particular. And if you it’s this is a great tool, if someone says I don’t want to give up carbs, or I can’t stand, look at their numbers and say this is how it’s blocking your weight loss. Because if your insolence really spiking up and down or staying elevated for long periods of time, you won’t burn fat at all. You just you can’t you’re a sugar burner at that point. Fat Burner.

Debra Muth 34:31
Yeah, that’s a great point. Because I think so many times people are afraid that if they look at their blood sugars, they’re going to be labeled with something but their blood sugars can tell them so much. And it can be the motivating factor for you to say, Look, I don’t want to become a type two diabetic. I don’t want to have to go on medication in the future. I’ll use this as a tool to change my life. And then you can see when I would imagine when you’re doing that too and you’re changing your diet you can start to see when you go from sugar burning to fat burning by looking at your glucose numbers.

Esther Blum 35:04
Oh, for sure. Yeah, absolutely. And your glucose, you know, your waking, glucose will drop, you know, I start then people start in the 90s. And they dropped to the 80s or high 70s. And, you know, it’s also great to see the impact of exercise like postprandial you know, after eating my sugar could be 110. Then after I come back from just a walk, okay, just a 45 minute walk nothing crazy. My sugar drops to 78. Yeah, Holy moly. That is when it’s the lowest. So yeah, it makes a big impact for shots. Awesome.

Debra Muth 35:38
I didn’t think about using that as a tool like this, because so many people are concerned, their insurance isn’t going to cover it, or they’re gonna be labeled with something. But that’s a really great monitoring tool for them to use. It sure is. Yeah. Can you bust the myths for us on women using weights and bulking up too much?

Esther Blum 35:59
Yeah, ladies, we just don’t have the testosterone to do that. Okay, just plain and simple. And you’re not eating 5000 calories a day, you’re not Michael Phelps, okay, who’s probably 10,000 calories during training. But here’s the deal, right? Initially, women say I’m bulking up because you are holding on to you may gain a pound or two of fluid initially, okay? But, or right, if you’re building some muscle, but you still have fat, the fat cells also get pushed out to look bulkier. But again, as you continue to build lean muscle, and your fat cells decrease, then you’ll get a leaner appearance. So after the first 30 days, it should come down. And if you are still gaining weight, then you need to really change your diet because 80% of those abs are going to be built in the kitchen not lifting dumbbells anyway. So

Debra Muth 36:52
Yeah, that’s a good point. And, and we should say that again, because so many people don’t get that, like you can spend hours at the gym. But if your diet is for 80% of the time, all that time you’re spending at the gym is not doing anything for you, you’re gonna be disappointed for sure.

Esther Blum 37:08
Yeah, I will. And that’s the thing, but people and people will say, you know, but I ride my bike. 25 miles, I say, okay, how’s that working out for you? Do you have any of the results that you want? Mm hmm, no, okay. Or I, uh, yeah, I have like my peloton, data devotees. And again, I’m like, looking like happening to you, you’re, you’re crashing, and they say, I feel so good after I’m like, but by 3pm, we could mop you off the floor, you’re exhausted and you’re irritable. And you’re not sleeping at night, and like and you’re not losing weight. And they’re always amazed that they can just work smarter, not harder, you know, painting and believe me, I ran a marathon. So to convince me that walking was going to help me lose weight. That was a very hard sell for me initially. But I got to the point where literally after I ran the marathon, I couldn’t run a step for six months after my adrenals were so cooked and I didn’t even know it. I had like very bad mercury toxicity at the time. I could not run I felt nauseous when I started. And I was like, devastated, right. But I just I had to walk. I had to just learn to walk and take a step back and go back to my weights and my body recovered, but it took a long, long time.

Debra Muth 38:25
Yeah, I think that’s the key is for people to understand that this isn’t going to be a quick fix overnight. This takes time. And it takes strategy, right? Like you’re talking about all the different pieces that we talked about as well and, and Mercury toxicity and lead toxicity that doesn’t come out quickly, usually. And they can take your hormones and they mess with your adrenals and it messes with your thyroid and so all that can be thrown off if we don’t know that’s going on. Or if you’re not detoxing properly, and it plays a huge role in that weight. Can you talk a little bit on how heavy metals play that role in weight gain for women?

Esther Blum 39:01
Oh yeah, well for me, it completely shut down my thyroid I’d been eating a lot of tuna fish I worked when I worked in the hospital right there was this wonderful vendor across the street we call her the tuna fish lady and she made like the best tuna fish with these thick cut beefsteak tomatoes and pita bread. I would get with my diet coke because you know, I was so healthy and then like packed on 20 pounds in three months. So I went from a size four lean runner weightlifter to like a size eight to 10 I did not recognize my body and I developed this wicked IBS like poop your pants kind of IBS and I was like What is happening? I’m in my 20s This doesn’t make any sense, right? No, it took me three years to find a doctor who could like diagnose the I’d really not done like functional medicine. I didn’t I didn’t know it then so it took me a while to find someone and he diagnosed me entreated me took about six months to pull out, but I never lost all the weight, I only lost 10 of those 20 pounds. And so what it does is it really, it can really cause permanent damage. For me again, my it took down my thyroid, which came back. But it also mercury lives in your gut. And so when you pull it out, and I remember the day when like not to be graphic, but I just had diarrhea, diarrhea, diarrhea, and then like, after a couple of weeks on the treatment, everything, my stools were completely solid after that, once the mercury started coming out, and I was like, Holy moly, it blew my mind. It can also cause you know, cognitive deficits, and forgetfulness and brain fog. But it it really takes your adrenal glands too.

Debra Muth 40:52
Yeah, and the lead toxicity is horrible, because lead loves to store in the bone. So if you’re already suffering with osteoporosis, now you’re losing your hormones, and you have lead toxicity that storing in your bone, you’re fighting an uphill battle with that osteoporosis as well.

Esther Blum 41:07
That’s right, so and so what’s your favorite metal testing, because this is something I refer out for people to get

Debra Muth 41:14
I love, I still use doctors data, their six hour urine pre and post test. So we haven’t do a regular just a random drop urine, and then we collate them and have them collect urine for six hours after that. And so we can see not only what’s in your environment currently in that random sample, then what have you been exposed to over your lifetime that your body’s storing in the body fat and storing in the bone and things like that, because you could have an acute toxicity like you did from a food source, but it could be more chronic in nature in your body, especially if you have bad detox genes and your can’t clear these toxins. They’re just going to store them to try to protect your brain and heart. So welcome the fat world. It loves the fat. And that’s where it’s gonna stay. Thank you. Yes, that’s it. Yeah, and the more body fat we have, the more metals we have in place to store so it’s a vicious cycle. Yes, it is. Yes. So what are some of your tips for people struggling with insomnia, because insomnia is an issue for a lot of us as we age. And then like you said, you add the cortisol issue, you add the stress issue, and then that just compounds the whole weight and stress and hormones again, do you have some good tips tips for women that are struggling? Or men as well?

Esther Blum 42:26
Yes, absolutely. So first, again, we’ll start with the basics and then work up to higher level. The basics is stress management unequivocally, that’s just not even negotiable. If you are not someone who meditates and thinks you need to become this guru to do it. That is simply not true. You just literally need an app, there’s one I use called insight timer. It’s free, you can use it they have meditations are three minutes long until like an hour and a half long. So start getting in the habit, it takes a couple months for your brain to actually reshape the amygdala, which can really signal the fight or flight response to your adrenal. So you want to make sure that you are addressing that stress management piece, okay. And you also want to make sure that you are breathing during the day, very important to breathe. And it’s important to kind of manage your lifestyle and again, take things off your plate that are causing you stress as much as possible, as much as is within your control. Okay, then you want to make sure that in the evenings, if you are on screens, you were like my glasses have blue light blockers. You could see the little blue tint. You want to make sure that you’re wearing blue light blockers you my phone, I tried to get it off by 8pm 745 to eight I just shut it off. Because I know myself I want to scroll on social media and texting No. Get yourself unstimulated at night actually read a book not a Kindle, but a book not a screen. Or if you have technology, get it out of the bedroom and not sleep with it next year head that raises your cortisol level and there’s research to support that. Make sure your room is dark. If you have to sleep with the phone near you make sure that are in your room, you know, make sure that it’s at least 10 feet from the bed but ideally don’t check it in the middle of the night that will disrupt your sleep. And that alone gets like 50% of my people better no Joe, okay, then you can take calming nutrients you can take magnesium glycinate which is a form of magnesium That is wonderful for anxiety. They and it doesn’t disrupt the gut or give you any gi upset okay? You also can take things like ashwagandha You can take skullcap or Valerian or I like to tell people to just drink some lemon balm tea, you can take an Epsom salt bath to just calm your nervous system get you in a parasympathetic state. Okay, alcohol and booze, big disruptors of sleep, I don’t care if you have one cup of coffee, I don’t care if you have it six in the morning, you’re probably not detoxing it, and you’re getting up to pee because of it. So make sure that you are caffeine free and I like give her a hard time giving up your caffeine. I like the four SIG Matic products, they have mushroom cacau mix that is called perform and it has core two steps in it to really help with mental focus and the energy It’s amazing. Um, and then last but not least, okay, so diet. Also, you want to make sure that you’re getting protein throughout the day, you’re on a low glycemic diet, people are eating ice cream and then wonder at night and then wondering why they have crap sleep. As your blood sugars are all over the map, you should you know, ideally, stop eating by six, seven at night and give yourself a good fast overnight. So when your body’s resting not digesting your sleep much better. And last but not least, of course, is hormone replacement. So progesterone in and of itself and then combined with estrogen as needed is really helpful for sleep. Because progesterone is a precursor to GABA, which is a very calming nutrient, your primary calming neurotransmitter, tells your brain to fall asleep and stay asleep. So all of those are great ways to help enhance your sleep.

Debra Muth 46:44
That is awesome. I’m glad you gave such a great scenario for that it’s easy for people to track and understand what to do step by step. Thank you for that, because I think there’s so many people that struggle with sleep, and they just don’t know where to start with what to do. And this will give them some nice tips to start with. So this has been awesome. So what else do you want to leave our listeners with today.

Esther Blum 47:09
Um, I want to tell your listeners that there is nothing in you that cannot be fixed. Okay, unless you’ve lost an arm, I cannot reverse that okay, or you have type one diabetes, I cannot or ms or lupus, I may not be able to reverse all of those. But even with MS and lupus, you know, you can absolutely slow the progression you can put, especially with autoimmune, you can put antibodies into remission, you can get rid of type two diabetes, you can lose weight, you can control your inflammation, you can manage your menopause, you know, so you can fix your gut issues. Even if you’ve lied, you can get better there’s there’s nothing in you that can’t be fixed and isn’t reversible. So you have to remember, like, stay positive if you don’t like your doctor or find a new one medicines and like any other and find practitioners who are going to go the extra mile and do the testing you want. And if they don’t, if they won’t listen to you them just find another dude.

Debra Muth 48:14
Yeah, exactly. I’m the same way. Like, you have to be looking for a partner in this because it’s your body and nobody has better investment in your body than you. Now the doctors sometimes have an ego and they have something to prove to themselves but nothing to prove to you. So you really want somebody that’s going to be a partner with you and your health care. Not a dictator in your health care.

Esther Blum 48:35
Exactly. Exactly.

Debra Muth 48:37
Awesome. Well, Esther, I’m sure you’re so busy. I don’t want to take all your time today because we could chat forever on this topic. How do people reach you if they’re resonating with you and they want to work with you?

Esther Blum 48:48
Yeah, so you can go to for five of your listeners have actually reserved spots in my calendar, where they can have a one on one consultation. If they’re serious about moving the needle with their health, right, they need help with their hormones, they’ve got a chronic health issue their guts off kilter. So you can go to Estherblum.com forward slash call, c-a-l-l. You can find me on Instagram, @gorgeousesther. And you can also get I have a nice gift for people who just want to start with the basics, clearing out sugar cravings and optimizing their diet. So for that you go to Estherblum.com forward slash cravings with an S and that will give you my three, free three part video series and ebook.

Debra Muth 49:38
Awesome. And for those of you who are driving or working out while you’re listening to this, don’t worry. We will have it in the show notes. So you can just click directly to her link and you’ll be able to get where you need to go to get in touch with her. So thanks a lot. This has been a great day.

Esther Blum 49:53
Oh my gosh, so fun. I appreciate all your knowledge and wisdom.

Debra Muth 49:57
Thank you, you too. It’s great to talk with you. A colleague that knows this stuff and understands it and is doing good to help women just really flourish in their later years. This is awesome.

Esther Blum 50:08
No thanks.

Debra Muth 50:11
Hey, it has been really great sharing this time with you guys on the let’s talk wellness now podcast. If this episode has helped you, or you feel as though this episode would help someone else we’d love for you to leave us a review, share this podcast. And if you don’t want to miss the most exciting episodes we have coming. We’d love for you to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play. Until next time, live every day to the fullest.

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