Manage PCOS Naturally [Podcast with Dr. Aviva Romm] - PCOS Diva
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Manage PCOS Naturally [Podcast with Dr. Aviva Romm]

PCOS Podcast 157- Manage PCOS Naturally “It’s truly frightening how often we’re pushed to rely on drugs and surgery for problems that can be resolved with dietary changes, mind/body support, and natural medicines including targeted nutrients and herbs. Medications and surgeries have unintended side effects that women may have to live with for decades.” – Dr. Aviva Romm

Dr. Aviva Romm, MD is a Yale School of Medicine trained, board-certified family physician, specializing in women’s health and obstetrics, but what makes her unique is she’s a midwife and an herbalist as well. She’s the author of eight books on natural medicine, and I love her brand-new book, Hormone Intelligence, the Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos and Restoring Your Body’s Natural Blueprint for Well-Being.

Dr. Romm believes it’s time for a paradigm shift in medical mistreatment of women. It’s time to give women the tools and the information to move away from dismissive attitudes, pills for every ill, and surgery as the first and only treatment options. This book and podcast are for all women who want to understand and feel empowered about their body’s hormones and cycles and are ready to start healing naturally. Listen in or read the transcript as we discuss how to begin healing PCOS before resorting to medication and her 8 tips for your next doctor’s visit.

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Mentioned in This Podcast:

Complete Transcript:

Amy:

I discovered our next guest when I was searching for ways to manage my PCOS naturally, and she was one of the few that were really talking about botanical medicine and natural medicine for women, so I am just thrilled to welcome Dr. Aviva Romm on to today’s PCOS Diva podcast.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Thank you for having me. I’ve just been so in awe of your commitment to helping women get PCOS information over the years, so just a delight to be here with you and have this conversation today.

Amy:

Well I’m excited to talk about your new book and I just want to… if you haven’t heard of Dr. Aviva Romm, you’re going to want to find out more about her and she is a medical doctor. She’s a Yale School of Medicine trained, board-certified family physician, but what I think makes her unique is she also has a specialty in women’s health and obstetrics and she’s a midwife and an herbalist. I don’t think you find too many ladies out there that have all of that background. She’s one of the nation’s leaders in the field of botanical medicine. She’s the author of eight books on natural medicine and I just finished her upcoming book, Hormone Intelligence, the Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos and Restoring Your Body’s Natural Blueprint for Well-Being. It highlights that it’s time for a major paradigm shift in medical mistreatment of women, giving women the tools and the information to move away from dismissive attitudes which ladies listening, you know all too well about those, pills for every ill and surgery as the first and only treatment options. The book is for all women who want to understand and feel empowered about their body’s hormones and cycles.

So just thrilled to have you here to talk about PCOS and healing and your new book.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Thank you, Amy.

Amy:

When I was reading it, the first thing that I highlighted, I’m a big highlighter person.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

I should have stock in a highlighter company.

Amy:

I know. I was going back and looking at my notes, and I noticed the first thing that I highlighted was this quote that I’m going to read, “What’s truly frightening is how often we’re pushed to rely on drugs and surgery for problems that can be resolved with dietary changes, mind/body support, and natural medicines including targeted nutrients and herbs, but medications and surgeries have unintended side effects that women may have to live with for decades. We’ve been over-medicalized at our own expense. Our natural cycles pathologize from puberty through menopause. “Wow, that really hit home.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Did it?

Amy:

Yeah, and it’s so true. The other… I shouldn’t be so surprised at this statistic, but it was the first time I had seen it written down that 50% of all birth control pills are not prescribed for contraception but for menstrual pain and problems as a first line option.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Yeah. I am not opposed to oral contraceptive or hormonal therapy as it really is, because you’re not always using it for contraception. In fact, one of my patients early on in the pandemic, a young woman, she had gained a lot of weight, she was having a lot of hair in unwanted places, she was having some female pattern hair loss, and her dad had had a stroke at the beginning of COVID. So on top of the fact that it was COVID, she was now having to move back home, but she didn’t want to live with her parents because she didn’t want to expose them. So she stayed in an apartment with three other girlfriends that she had had.

She said, “Dr. Aviva, I can’t follow a PCOS diet. We’re having pizza all the time, take out all the time. I’m under so much stress. I’d like to cut back on alcohol but four of us together, it’s not happening. We’re having the red wine, we’re having the drinks.” She’s like, “I just feel like I really need to go on birth control.” Because the acne was just affecting her and the hair loss was really affecting her. It’s like, well, you’re making an informed consent decision and you’re making a decision for a very specific reason, so I really supported her in doing that. She went on a low dose progesterone, low conversion to testosterone and it really helped her acne. If you’re struggling with cystic severe acne like that, it can be so life altering in such a horrible way. Your self-esteem, going out, so I’m not opposed to using a pharmaceutical when it’s needed, whether it’s metformin, spironolactone, but I feel like those should not ever, ever, ever, ever be the first resort.

When we think about what’s really going on in the body, those things aren’t solving the problem, they’re suppressing the symptoms and suppressing maybe the underlying imbalances. I couldn’t even count how many women over the years, and then add to it how many write to me on Instagram or in my email inbox, I mean thousands, who went on a birth control pill when they were like 14 or 15 or 16 for acne, weight gain, depression, really irregular periods, all the hallmark symptoms we see with PCOS, nobody ever breathed a word of PCOS, or if they did it was rare. Put on a birth control pill and now they’re coming to me in their early 30s, have come off the pill, want to get pregnant and all the symptoms are right back there, on top of it they’re struggling with now infertility problems.

I feel like the medications have a place but we’re missing a really big picture, which is we have to look at what are the root causes and why are they happening. I can tell you, seven years of medical training, four years of med school, three years of residency, five of them at Yale, two of them at a university, Tufts, which prides itself on nutrition training, never once a word about… well barely ever a word about polycystic ovary syndrome, barely ever. If I heard a word about it, I can barely recall it. Certainly nothing ever on anything but if you see high blood sugar or insulin resistance, you go right to the metformin or right to another pharmaceutical. If you see any hormone imbalances. It’s not even a question, you just go right to a birth control pill. It’s not a matter of whether, it’s a matter of just which one, which of the choices you’re going to put someone on. It’s really upsetting.

And then there’s no recognition or discussion about the fact that we need to be looking at depression and sleep apnea and things that put people with PCOS at really serious potential lifelong risk, none of that’s discussed at all.

Amy:

The other thing that you brought up in your chapter about PCOS was eating disorders and binge eating. That was something that I struggled with in my early… late teens, early 20s. I didn’t have the PCOS diagnosis. I honestly thought I was going crazy. I remember buying all the Geneen Roth books and hiding them between my mattress because I didn’t want my mom to know. I felt so ashamed, I didn’t want her to know that I had this problem with this compulsive eating. Now I can look back and see it was this unregulated blood sugar and hypoglycemia that was really at the root cause driving a lot of that, but it’s not something that I think doctors ever really consider when it comes to… well, I think it’s becoming talked about more, but I was so glad to see that you mentioned it in your book as a symptom, a sign of PCOS.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Thank you for that. First of all, I really just want to honor you saying how much shame you lived with because binge-eating disorder, so many women live with shame and this inability to control that compulsion and it’s so painful. We know that, I think on average it’s something like the average human being thinks about food 400 times a day but the average person with an eating disorder thinks about food 2000 to 4000 times a day. To be driven by that, truly driven to distraction and not able to focus on the other important things in your life, not to mention the physical risks if one does purge that that can cause too.

I think for so long, I still see this all the time, there’s a lot of fat shaming around PCOS because there’s this big association with PCOS and being overweight, which we know is not always the case. In fact, half the time isn’t the case. With that fat shaming comes this idea that somehow women who are overweight, if they would just control their eating. I had a patient with Hashimoto’s who had gained a lot of weight before she became my patient and her doctor actually told her if she would just control her fork to mouth problem, she’d probably lose the weight. That was before she had a Hashimoto’s diagnosis, which she got when she came to me. We see that same thing I think with PCOS, the standard recommendation.

I’ve been guilty of this because 15, 20 years ago the standard recommendation was first thing to do is to try to lose weight because we saw it as a condition of overweight rather than overweight being a symptom of the disruption happening in PCOS. It’s not that you have an eating disorder and you’re overweight and you’re binging and therefore you get PCOS, it’s the PCOS that causes as you said the disruption and the blood sugar disruption but also those changes that happen in your brain where your satiety signals get overridden and your hunger signals are offline. So you really don’t have a full ability to control that craving or that binging until you start to get a handle on some of the underlying factors.

Amy:

Yeah. The one thing that I wrote down on my notes that I really wanted you to chat with us about is learning how to advocate for ourselves when we’re super frustrated. We’ve sort of hit a wall at the doctor’s office. The first line therapy is the pharmaceuticals, and like you said, there is a time and place, absolutely, but if that’s all the information that we’re getting, how can we, as you state in your book, how can we get the medical care that we need, and I love this, and deserve? Because we need to know that we are deserving of good, solid, getting to the root cause medical care.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Yeah. I can say this… I could have said this as a midwife before I was a physician, but it’s, I think, almost easier to say as a physician and be heard for it is that we’re mostly not taught good listening skills. We’re mostly taught to get to the diagnosis, give it a prescription, and get the patient out of the room and get the next patient in, or get the patient out of the hospital bed and get the next patient in. I mean to the point that when I was in my medical training there was such a huge incentive to get patients out of the hospital bed by 10:00 in the morning so that bed could be filled by 11:00 in the morning that we were actually given financial rewards. It was ridiculous. We were given these two bucks things, but when you’re in residency or medical training, the two bucks is nice for a coffee. So we were each given a little two bucks card to go for the café, and you could accumulate a lot of those in the course of a week. You’re discharging six, eight patients a day, you could only use them in the café, but you’re on long shifts those have currency. But the point was that we were actually financially incentivized to move patients on.

When it comes to PCOS and women and doctors, there are some really interesting and unique confounding factors. One is that a lot of the symptoms of PCOS, while they don’t seem vague to you and they don’t seem vague to me, and they don’t seem vague to someone who has PCOS or knows something about PCOS, to the average physician who’s not looking out for it, including gynecologists but especially if you go to your internist or your primary care doc who may know almost nothing about it, they’re going to see, oh, weight, oh, hair loss, oh, acne and they’re going to prescribe you with an antibiotic for your acne, or if it’s really bad maybe they’ll put you on Accutane, they’ll give you a birth control pill. Maybe they’ll talk to you about Rogaine for your hair loss, or worse, they’ll just tell you it’s stress. I don’t know which is worse, getting a medication you don’t need or being told it’s stress. Maybe the medication is worse.

So they don’t know the diagnosis. They’ve got on average 15 minutes for an entire appointment with you, in which time they are legally obligated to check off all these boxes which may have nothing to do with what’s on your mind. And then because these symptoms are women’s symptoms if you will, or female body symptoms, those are often the most commonly dismissed symptoms. Sometimes it’s not the obvious PCOS symptoms, sometimes it could be you’re kind of depressed and you’re not sleeping well and you have binge-eating disorder and that’s it. Or maybe you have that and you’re a little overweight and your periods are a little bit irregular but nothing to write home to mom about.

So, you’re kind of like, oh, well, maybe she is just depressed, let’s give her an antidepressant or maybe we’ll just tell her it’s just stress or to exercise more or to eat a little better. I think if you don’t know what’s wrong with you, I don’t want to say wrong with you. PCOS isn’t anything wrong with you, but if you don’t know what’s going on and your doctor hasn’t got a clue, you can leave thinking, “Maybe there isn’t anything wrong with me. Maybe it is just stress. Maybe I do need the antidepressant.” So just taking that for an answer isn’t going to solve your problems usually. And if you do know you have PCOS and you go into your doctor and you’re like, “I read about this on the internet,” I can guarantee you half of all women are going to say that to their doctor and their doctor is either going to think or actually say, “Where did you get your medical degree, Dr. Google?”

So, at some point we have to just stop caring about being polite and advocate for ourselves and say, “Look.” I will say most physicians are trained to treat patients, particularly women patients, as difficult. I’m doing air quotes here because you guys can’t see me. Amy can see me. But I’m doing air quotes. So the difficult patient, or the patient that gets the eye roll. Statistically the more doctors you go to having not gotten an answer at the previous doctor, the more the next doctor is going to see, oh, she’s been to three doctors, she’s been to four doctors, she must be one of those patients. Which means it’s really psychiatric, it’s not actually physical. And the more aggressive you get, the more likely you’ll be treated as a difficult or aggressive patient.

So, then it comes down to getting a little bit savvy and realizing that you have to work with the energy of who you’re with. You have to know who you’re up against. So sadly, meeting your doctor halfway emotionally or managing your doctor’s behaviors and emotions, which should not be your job, becomes part of your job. So instead of being, “Hey, I’m in here for my PCOS, I expect you to do this and this,” is probably not going to get you too far. It’s more like, “I know you really are concerned about me and I know you really care and I know you think this is just stress, but I can actually tell you and show you that I did not weigh this much three months ago or six months ago. Or, when I was a teenager these symptoms started. Or yes, I actually have been struggling with acne and a fertility problem.”

One of the things that I really encourage people to do is go in with a script ahead of time. Actually write down what your concerns are, what your symptoms are. Don’t feel embarrassed. If you have to sit there, you can say to your provider, look, I’m going to stick with my notes because there are some things that I really want to make sure we get to and this is very emotional for me so I’m going to go point by point. That can be really helpful. Having an advocate with you is really helpful. There’s a huge amount of disparity in the doctor’s office. One thing right away when you go into your medical appointment and they tell you to put on that johnny where you’re flapping in the wind, don’t do it. Keep your clothes on. Have the conversation first and then if there’s a need for a physical exam, a Pap, a pelvic, whatever, then have it after. Okay, I’ll get undressed now. Because there is no way, it’s very… I won’t say there’s no way, it is very difficult to get your needs met and advocate for yourself as an adult human being when the other person is in a suit or jacket or buttoned up dress, maybe if it’s a male has a tie, a white coat, a stethoscope, there’s so many power differentials and you’re already feeling vulnerable.

So keep your clothes on for the conversation, physical exam after. Bring your list of what you need to bring with you that you really need to communicate. If you have been charting your symptoms, that’s a great thing to bring. If you’ve been charting your menstrual cycles, if you’ve been charting your acne, if you’ve been keeping a record that I’ve really been binge-eating, and bring that with you. Then again, an advocate. The person I recommend to bring as an advocate isn’t necessarily your mother, because your mother, especially if she’s a certain age, she’s going to be like, “Oh, listen to the doctor honey.” Or if she’s my mother she might not say that, but my mom is a kick-ass feminist. She might not say that, but she might. And not necessarily a male partner. If your male partner is someone who will easily advocate with you or for you, great. But if it’s a male doctor then they can do the bro bonding and you can still not be listened to. So someone who’s a really good friend that you really trust who’s not a wallflower but who’s really going to elbow you and be like, “Amy, Aviva, you came here to say something.” Really, really helpful too.

The one other thing I would say is if you can, don’t set up your appointment to talk about your symptoms or your concerns when you’re also going in for your flu shot or your COVID vaccine or your annual Pap. Actually try to schedule an appointment just to focus on that so that your concerns don’t get marginalized. So those are some of the things. And again, it’s rough but that managing, reading the audience is what I tell my patients. Read your audience.

Then if you can’t get what you need from the physician you’re with, either you’re not getting heard, you’re not getting a diagnosis, we’re not talking about a hangnail here, we’re actually talking about a condition that can cause sleep apnea, that can cause severe depression, that can cause long-term consequences of diabetes, that can affect your pregnancies, etc., etc., so it’s really important to advocate for yourself. Learning to do that as women when we’re taught to not make waves already is so hard and then doing it in an environment that’s set up to get you in and out and quash you is really tough, but you can do it.

Amy:

Something that I’ve found to be really helpful over the years is you had mentioned bringing in the data, having your cycles charted and now… I was bringing in the Creighton model, forms with the baby stickers, I’m old. But now there’s such great technology. I know the OvuSense monitor is one that I like and you can have all the data on your phone and you can see if you’re having a long luteal phase of your cycle and the doctor can actually see that. So that’s great info.

The other thing, I’m curious what you think about this, I used to go on PubMed and pull off studies, like, oh, apple cider vinegar helps with blood sugar control, and I would just bring the studies in because I felt like if I could speak the doctor’s language, which is studies, then maybe I could get through to them better.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Definitely. I always say to my patients, “Look, here are three references that you can bring in if you’re going to.” Because my practice now is much more consultative. I do primary care but people are consulting me from all over the country and all over the world and it’s tele-medicine so they often have a local physician that they’re going back to for something. Or if it’s just somebody reaching out to me online and asking me, I’m like, “Have a few studies.” Or for my books for example, I put all the references online. Everything is there online so you can always access the references, find the ones that are relevant. It can be really, really helpful. But you do run the risk, even when you do that, of ruffling feathers. So again, it’s about reading the audience but definitely go in prepared for having those resources.

Go in educated. If you think you have PCOS but you haven’t gotten a diagnosis, know what criteria that you meet. Like, I do have hair loss. Here’s a picture of me five years ago, here’s a picture of me now. And it may not be that perceptible so you should be heard and believed if you say you have hair loss. Talk about your acne, talk about where your unwanted hairs are, talk about what your cycle length is. They just really might not be knowledgeable, that may be part of the problem. They don’t know what to look for. I think a lot of doctors still think, “Oh polycystic ovary syndrome, let me order an ultrasound and if she doesn’t have a string of pearls on her ovaries, she doesn’t have it.” But we know that it’s… it’s an unfortunate name.

Amy:

Right, right.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

An unfortunate condition name.

Amy:

There’s so many great resources out there to educate yourself. When I was starting out, I think the only book out there was Dr. Samuel Thatcher’s PCOS book that was written for clinicians. But now we have great books like your book, The Hormone Intelligence.

There’s so many places out there that you can educate yourself. So please do that. The other thing that I wanted to talk about, which I loved how you framed this section of your book because I really feel the same way, that when we’re experiencing symptoms from PCOS, it is a sign. You call it vital signs offering you powerful information that act as a compass. It’s a complete inner guidance system, and as such, sometimes a warning system to alerting you that when you’re not getting what you need for your hormone health, which also means your best total health. Really, I always have viewed it as signs and symptoms that there’s something off balance in your body but also it could be in your life that manifests itself as a bodily symptom. Taking that mind, body, spirit approach is so important, which I know that it’s integral to your work.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

And also stepping out of blaming ourselves. I jokingly call it blaming the messenger, because hormones are chemical messengers. So we think that we have PCOS and we’re broken or there’s something wrong with us but there isn’t actually. I think it was… who was it? Somebody said insanity is the sane response to an insane situation. PCOS is the same body response to an insane environment. I mean there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just that you happen to be genetically hardwired or you have a setup to respond to the fact that maybe you had eight courses of antibiotics when you were four, or that your mom was exposed to endocrine disruptors her whole pregnancy or the Standard American Diet that you ate until you were 16 or 20 or 30 before you knew. There are all these factors that contribute to and then all the things we don’t know. Why didn’t women have PCOS like this 30 and 40 and 50 years ago?

To me, it’s a lot about looking at these deeper factors, but I think in doing that it also is about not blaming yourself if something’s going on. It’s more like okay, we don’t really fully know what causes PCOS. We just don’t exactly know. We know that there may be things that happened if our moms had insulin resistance in pregnancy when they were pregnant with us, maybe that affects our ovarian formation in some way and our follicular formation, our hormone set up, our inflammatory state, maybe that’s it. Maybe then as the average American kid does, you get 20 rounds of antibiotics by the time you’re 18 years old and that that’s disrupted your microbiome and we know that there’s some connection between PCOS and the microbiome. Maybe you had some major stressors going on in your life that affected your cortisol, that affected your insulin regulation. There’s a million things that we don’t know and there are a handful of things that we do know. I feel like if we can address the things that we do know, that’s where we can start to step away from just the pill for every ill approach, but also we can start to see that what our body is doing is really giving us a warning signal. It’s like the canary. Our hormones make us, as women, the canaries in the environmental coal mine.

Amy:

Those are all great points. Before we got on the call, I had a coaching call with a young woman and in our conversation she came to this epiphany that PCOS has been a blessing for her because she’s really started to learn how to take good care of herself that’s going to help over the long haul. Part of this journey is getting in touch with yourself and you call it the inner guidance system, you refer to it as your wise woman, which I love. You say that the wise woman is the guardian of your personal ecosystems, that we each have our own alive and waiting for us to hear her call to rekindle that flame of connection, which that is such a great way to look at this journey of healing is kind of getting just reconnected with that wise woman. Our bodies innately know what we need to bring them back in balance if we just listen. I would love for you to share with our listeners how we can tap into that wise woman in each of us.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

I would love that. To speak to the client that you consulted with, when I was writing the book, I initially had a little paragraph talking about how PCOS, endometriosis, but especially PCOS in a lot of ways, but a lot of these conditions force women to eat better, sleep better, actually honor taking care of ourselves. Then I took it out because I thought, well that’s really unfair of me. I don’t have PCOS, I don’t have endo, I don’t struggle with my fertility so for me to say that there’s a silver lining is very unfair.

But the reality is is that at least one in three Americans is going to end up with diabetes at some point in their life. Half of all women are going to end up with a hysterectomy over the age of 60. The statistics are really staggering on the amount of blood pressure, cholesterol medication, mood medication and it’s almost like with PCOS you’re getting the warning sign that whoa, this can happen to me but you might be getting it in your 20s or 30s, and if you can learn those things then, you may actually prevent those other things that are almost cours du jour in our culture.

As far as listening to our inner wise woman, I feel that for me, it’s a matter of, one, just sort of remembering to do it. I have little touch points around my house, like a little statue of a green tara goddess or a little feminine shaped vase or things that I’ve brought in from nature, I’m a real nature… I have little pebbles and stones and feathers and different things. For me it’s making my space that touch point. A lot of my art is very feminine depictions. So for me, it’s that touch point of seeing externally that reflection that reminds me to tap into my own inner wise woman.

I think the other thing for me personally is it’s so easy to get sucked in to doubt, and that doubt if you have PCOS may be am I going to have to live like this always? Am I ever going to feel better? Am I ever going to be able to get pregnant? The answer to all of this is yes. Am I always going to live with this horrible acne? Am I going to lose all my hair? All the doubts that we can be plagued by. For me the doubts show up in other ways in my life. When we have those doubts, how can we quiet that noise and tap back into a kinder voice. To me, that’s what my inner wise woman is. It’s the voice of how my grandmother would talk to me, how my best friend would talk to me.

Then the other part of the inner wise woman for me is truly trusting my gut. I will honestly say I cannot think of a time in my life where I trusted my instincts and I was sorry for it. I can only think of times where I overrode my instincts and then was like, “Ugh, why did I do that again? I knew this.” If it’s your instinct about I’m not sure I have PCOS, but I think I do, and your gut is telling you to pursue that diagnosis, don’t let anyone stand in your way. If you start to feel small, then I think of my inner wise woman sometimes. Do you know how Beyonce, I don’t know if she still uses this, but she had this alter ego, Sasha Fierce. So she said when she was first starting out, it was very hard for her to do some of the more sexualized and also the more bold things that she did, because she’s kind of more like a polite contained person, is a quiet person in some ways I think. So she would channel this character she created, Sasha Fierce.

So sometimes your wise woman shows up that way. It’s that voice of advocacy, of power, of deep self-protection. But there’s a real power. I think of that voice as almost like that volcano that isn’t harnessed and does erupt if it needs to. We can really hold our power down that way. I don’t think it serves us, sometimes it may, but sometimes we need to go there. So, for me that’s another aspect of my inner wise woman.

Some of the things in addition, journaling can really help. I will sometimes write to myself as if I’m my inner wise woman writing to me. Then I find visualization, inner journeying, really, really helpful. I have this visualization and when I’m teaching I walk women through and you can imagine this and do it yourself, but lay down somewhere or sit down somewhere really comfortable, feel yourself very grounded on the earth or on the chair you’re sitting on, do some deep breaths, and then I allow myself to go in to a journey and I imagine myself actually my womb is like I’m walking into the forest and then my womb is like I’m sitting beside a lake, and then I’m imagining I’m in my belly or down centered in my womb. Then I look into the lake and I see this beautiful wise woman reflected back to me and I ask her.

Amy:

Oh wow.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Yeah. I ask her what I need to know and then I listen. I’ll have women do that and then journal what they heard and then come back through the journey. That’s a beautiful guided visualization to do.

Amy:

So many of us are filled with anxiety and this spiraling vata energy. Things like visualizations like that are so grounding and so needed. I love that.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

It’s so funny that you say that. I’m a gemini and I’m very vata. I’m so air. It’s very easy for me to get in my head. I don’t get depressed, I’ll get anxious about something. My mind will get spinny about something and then I have to anchor back down. I find that feeling my feet on the ground and coming back into my belly, usually just some soft belly breathing really helps, and that’s when I feel most aligned with that sense that I am my own inner wise woman.

Amy:

Yeah, we probably should explain what vata is. Do you want to give it a go?

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Yeah. In Ayurvedic medicine, which is thousands of year old traditional medicine that comes from India, we’re divided into these things called the doshas, and the doshas are… all traditional medicine systems anchor people’s constitutions, their bodies, their energy, their moods into natural elements. And in Ayurveda, the doshas are three natural elements. They’re kapha, pitta, and vata. Kapha is very moist, damp. Think of kapha as like rice pudding in a way if it were a food or a person who’s more soft and physically often more soft, more slow and methodical. It can be in a very good way, maybe a little more prone to depression if they’re going to have a mood. Pitta is very fiery, so think of pitta if it were a food it would be jalapeno peppers, it can be very more eruptive emotionally but also quick and warm. Physically it often is described as very robust physically. And then vata, people are, and there can be lots of combinations, often more thin or wiry or slim, but very prone to be talkative and lots and lots of thought processes going. Vata is feeling, pitta is more action, and vata is more thinking.

So people with vata can easily, excess vata, can easily overthink and also spin out with anxious thoughts.

Amy:

Yeah, the girl that I was just speaking with, she was clearly vata as well. And if this is something that interests you, I have a couple articles that I’ve written we’ll post in the show notes if you want to learn more about your Ayurvedic dosha.

So your book, I want to go back to some of the things that I really liked that we don’t have time to talk about today but you have a great chapter about circadian cycles, the importance of sleep. I love your approach to food. I think it’s very similar to mine as well. You have some beautiful recipes. You clearly like to get… I call you a Diva sizzles in the kitchen. You clearly enjoy sizzling in the kitchen.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

I do. It’s funny because sometimes my husband, I’ll be working on a project or editing the book or whatever it is and it’s like, I’ll make dinner. He’s great about that. And I’m like, “But that’s my moment of true zen.” It’s like working in the garden. For me, working in the kitchen. So yeah, all the recipes in the book except for two are my own original recipes and then the other two I have made, but I asked if I could use those. One is a seed bread and one is a seed cracker.

Amy:

Yeah. Great recipes. I can’t wait to get the hard copy so I can put it on my cookbook shelf. It’s funny, some of my books go on my office shelf and then some of the books nowadays have some great recipes and some of them will go on my cookbook shelf.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Same here.

Amy:

That’s where your book will go.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

I love that. I love that. That’s encouraging, I’m really glad.

Amy:

Yeah. So tell listeners where they can find out more about your work.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

So my website is I call it my home away from home, it’s my home online. If you go to avivaromm.com/book, just B-O-O-K, you’ll get to the landing page where you can get The Hormone Intelligence book. Depending on when you listen to this interview, if it’s before June 8th, you’ll be pre-ordering it. After June 8th, you can actually get the physical book. But if you pre-order it, there’s some phenomenal gifts that come along with it. A really beautiful seven-day quick start guide. Depending on when you pre-order through June, there will be access to my 28-day gut reset for free, which is an amazing program for anyone, but phenomenal for women and people with PCOS, an audio of me reading the introduction and some other… or chapter one, and some other goodies over there as well. But yeah, just avivaromm.com/book. And then if you’re over there, you can easily get to the other parts of my website and there are tons of articles in there and resources.

Amy:

Yeah, and definitely follow Dr. Aviva on Instagram. I follow her. She has some great content on there as well.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

Yeah. I kind of parallel what is happening on Instagram and Facebook, I mean on my website, sorry. But sometimes do go on Instagram that are not anywhere else, so definitely follow on both places if you’re game. Then usually most weeks, not every week, I do an ask me anything or some kind of a live event over on Instagram these days, so that’s another place to find out about that.

Amy:

Great. Well thank you so much. You’re a busy lady and I appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to chat with us today.

Dr. Aviva Romm:

I am thrilled. I have really wanted to connect with you for so long. This is lovely and delightful and I’m so grateful to have you on and for you to tell folks about my book in such a kind way, so thank you and for all the work you’re doing.

Amy:

Well thank you. And thank you everyone for listening. It’s been a great hour and I look forward to be with you again very soon. Bye bye.

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