What Makes My Happy Hormone Cottage Unique

This morning I received a nice message from a gal who flew in from California yesterday with her husband to our Integrative Hormone Center and Pharmacy in Centerville, Ohio-  home of my original Happy Hormone Cottage, established 9 years ago:
 
“Dear Lyn,
       I just wanted to say thank you to you and Jeff for taking such good care of my husband and me yesterday. We are headed back to California all ready to get back on track. I just love your love for helping others. You are much appreciated!” 
 
   This got me thinking about all of the other hormone centers out there and what sets us apart? Why would someone fly over 2000 miles to see us? What makes us different? How are we unique? I came up with these TOP TEN reasons:
1. We are family owned. So IT’S PERSONAL! 
 
2. We have a unique cutting-edge dried urine strip testing for our women that tells us HOW our hormones are working inside our bodies. This information is way more valuable that just getting a number provided by a blood test. 
 
3. For our thyroid clients,  we have a 10 point blood panel AND a thyroflex machine to identify HOW our thyroid is working at the tissue level of cells where 85% of our thyroid resides. Our thyroflex machine also titrates dosing. All of this means that our thyroid clients actually feel better. 
 
4. We have a successful Hashimoto’s Protocol. We find and fix the root cause of this auto-immune disease.  
 
5. Jeff RPh, FAARM,  has created his own propriety adrenal support supplement….actually 2 Adrenal support supplements, to heal our exhausted and stressed adrenal glands.
 
6. We have our own compounding lab onsite to make your individualized therapy.
 
7. This makes us a 1-stop Shop! 
 
8. Because Jeff is a pharmacist, a compounding pharmacist, AND also has an Advanced Fellowship in Functional Medicine, this means he took an entire year in pharmacy school of “PharmacoKinetics.”  This means he understands dosing and the most effective delivery system for our bodies. 
 
9. We are affordable and the least expensive hormone facility around. We hear this time and again. 
 
10. We are the only hormone center around that does not believe in or endorse the use of pellets. Pellets are a good money maker for the doctor and for the pellet manufacturer. They offer a world of hurt for the recipient. As the founder of my Happy Hormone Cottage, I want your best health for your lifetime. Each client matters to me. Most of all, my Integrity matters to me. At the end of the day, I know Jeff and I have done our very best to find and fix the root cause of existing hormone issues for the WELLNESS of each client. We want our clients for life. So using a therapy to make money knowing it can cause damage simply is not on our radar. 
   In summary, EVERYTHING WE DO IS ALL ABOUT YOU. 

Two Women, a Teapot and a Box of Tissues… By Kelly Kuhlman Brown

When Lyn Hogrefe started the Happy Hormone Cottage nearly eight years ago, she had one mission… to talk with women. She wanted to share the facts about hormones, health, and disease prevention since she had lived it through her own experience. Years earlier, Lyn needed a hysterectomy and she knew it would launch her into surgical menopause. Lyn’s husband Jeff, a pharmacist, knew what Lyn was about to experience because he saw it every day through his work. Jeff went back to school to learn how to compound bio-identical hormones so his wife wouldn’t suffer through the effects of menopause from lack of hormones… “Not on his watch” as Jeff put it.

Lyn had such great results with her compounded bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) that she started talking with other women about it – women were drawn to her energy, youthful appearance and healthy glow. After teaching school for 30 years, Lyn had a passion for education. Friends encouraged her to start talking with groups of women, so she started hosting, “Happy Hormone Hours”. Women showed up by the dozens. A local shop owner in Centerville observed Lyn filling a niche so she offered up a small stone cottage behind her boutique where Lyn could “talk with women”. Following a hand-shake-deal, a shingle went up outside of this tiny one-room building which had no electricity, heat or running water… and the Happy Hormone Cottage was born. A chat at the Happy Hormone Cottage consisted of two women, a teapot and a box of tissues. Lyn offered a warm and cozy environment where hormone imbalance issues could be validated. The tissues sopped up tears as women shared their negative experiences with drugs and physicians. Many had been told their symptoms were in their head, or they’d been prescribed anti-depressants, anti-anxieties, sleeping pills, pain pills, etc. when all they really wanted was to understand why they felt so bad.

The two women would sip tea as they shared stories and found common ground. Lyn would then lead the conversation into educating the women on how to address their core issues instead of masking symptoms with synthetic drugs. She gave women options and she taught the value of BHRT not just for symptom relief but also for overall health and disease prevention. She would suggest women undergo hormone testing then take the test results to their healthcare practitioner who would work with her compounding pharmacist husband to develop an individual wellness strategy.

Clearly there was a need to be filled as the demand for Lyn’s guidance quickly outgrew the confines of the tiny cottage. Lyn leased office space and hired more women to handle the volume of requests for chats (which evolved into consultations). She also had to buy computers and develop a client database. Gone were the simple notepads that stored records. Today there are four Happy Hormone Cottage offices along the I-75 growth corridor in Mason, Northern Kentucky, Vandalia, and Piqua. The main “cottage” is a huge suite of five offices located in Kettering.

Lyn never envisioned the booming business her little cottage would become. She is a living example of how a passion can be more valuable than a business plan and how a simple idea can impact the lives of thousands of women.

The teapot is now a Keurig but much has stayed the same, Lyn’s mission is still at the heart of the business, two women still sit to chat and the box of tissue remains in its place while tears are shed and feelings are validated.

Happy Hormone Cottage Focuses on Proactive Preventative Healthcare

It is clear from an Integrative Medicine Model, that strategizing and implementing a proactive preventative healthcare plan requires a multifaceted approach. It is never just one thing that needs to be addressed. It is several strategies implemented to improve over-all outcomes. The bottom line for me is that we must become warriors for our own wellness. (WOW)

The first step is proper hormone testing. Why? Because our hormones (sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone; cortisol; thyroid) perform many, many important jobs in our bodies and these hormones deplete with age. It is part of the aging process. So refilling our hormone receptors with Bioidentical hormones created from plant-based powders that mimic exactly our hormones in our body, is critical to alleviate symptoms of aging and hormone imbalance, but more importantly, to prevent disease. As Dr Prudence Hall says, “Hormones are to Women, What Water is to Plants.” Interestingly, getting hormone levels checked in the blood is not adequate. At our Happy Hormone Cottage, we offer unique testing that looks at hormone levels of all 3 estrogens (estrone, estradiol and estriol), progesterone and testosterone, as well as how the body metabolizes these hormones. It also analyzes cortisol in the body that can identify adrenal fatigue and other adrenal issues. The most valuable testing, in our opinion, is dried urine strip testing through Precision Analytical Labs. This is a rather simple take-home test that requires 4-5 urine samples (wetting filter paper and letting it dry–so easy!) over the course of dinnertime one evening through 2 hours after waking the next day. The results are quite meaningful in that you can get a glimpse into how the liver is metabolizing each hormone. This is significant in that a great deal of research links the 4OH metabolite of estrone to breast cancer risk, as well as other significant estrogen issues such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breast disease. Identifying and attempting to modify how the liver is metabolizing each estrogen is critical.

Step 2 is lowering inflammation. Inflammation is a process that activates several chemicals in the body that lead to chronic disease. Inflammation also up-regulates the liver to metabolize more of the 4OH estrogen. Many researchers speculate that inflammation caused by stress, food, toxins, infection, and over-stimulation of the immune system is the main cause of all chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. At our Happy Hormone Cottage, the most meaningful and successful way to reduce inflammation is to increase intake of omega 3 oils (fish oil) and decrease intake of omega 6 oils (vegetable oils, canola oils etc.) It is also vital to eliminate trans fats from the diet. Trans fats are found in nearly all packaged foods and have the greatest impact in increasing body inflammation. At our HHC, we carry the top-of-the-line omega 3 supplement. Not all omega 3 (fish oil) is created equally. If you are burping up your fish oil, this means it is rancid so your body is unable to absorb it. So investing in a high quality omega 3 is key. In the case of fish oil, as in many things in life, you do get what you pay for.

Step 3 is to reduce intake of sugars. High intake of sugars is directly linked to diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. There is also a strong body of evidence linking sugar intake to increased risks of cancers. From a bio-chemical standpoint, cancer cells can only process sugar, whereas normal cells can process both sugars and fats to produce energy. Gaining ground is the high “good fat” ketogenic diet (80% of total calories) and the virtual elimination of all sugars from the diet. This eating strategy is effective in starving cancer cells and I believe should be adhered to by nearly everyone.

Step 4 is to begin an exercise routine. Exercise paradoxically decreases inflammation. It also improves wellness, mood, blood sugar regulation, and heart health. Exercise also improves immune function by stimulating our natural killer cells that attack and destroy cancer cells.

Finally, step 5 is to reduce toxic load. Pay attention to chemicals we are all exposed to. Eat organically grown food. Cleaning aids, pesticides, cosmetics, hair and body products should all be examined for purity. There are a great many books written on the subject that you can consult. To me, the most important strategies would be to detox periodically, eat clean, take supplements that increase antioxidant levels (N-acetyl cysteine is probably my favorite supplement that performs this task) and reduce exposure wherever possible.

The current belief is that over 50% of us will get cancer in our lifetime. I find this statistic to be alarming! You have to take a proactive approach to prevention of disease and wellness. Consider acting on the above mentioned 5 steps and become a warrior for your wellness. Get your thermogram. Then call us at our Happy Hormone Cottage for women, to schedule your $25 hour-long consultation to get started on your journey to your natural hormone balance and best health naturally. For more information or to find a Happy Hormone Cottage location near you, go to www.happyhormonecottage.com.

The Incredible, Life Enhancing Importance of Our Hormones

“Disease sets in 10 years before symptoms appear.” Think about this truth for a minute. If you say, “But I’m not having any symptoms” ….this needs to be made clear—-these are symptoms you can’t see, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t there and that a disease isn’t developing. It takes 10 years for a disease (or diseases) to manifest. By the time the disease appears, it is too late. You already have it. How does this relate to hormones, hormone depletion and hormone imbalance? The older we get, the fewer and fewer hormones we have to do the jobs they need to do in our bodies to keep us healthy. Why? Because our body’s ability to make the hormones we need, becomes less and less able after age 35 and into our 40s and beyond. THIS IS CALLED AGING. Why is this fact critical for our long term health? Because hormones perform many, many important, life-saving jobs in our bodies. Did you know that estrogen, for example, takes care of over 300 jobs in our body? The most important tasks involve protecting our brain from dementia and our heart from heart disease. Progesterone, which we begin losing at age 35, is our joy of life hormone and is responsible for our sleep, for taking care of anxiety and depression, for getting rid of aches and pains and sugar cravings. One of progesterone’s most important tasks is to balance estrogen for prevention of breast cancer. Testosterone is responsible for new bone growth, energy, memory recall and when we also heal our tired adrenal glands, it helps libido. (Tired and fatigued women don’t want sex.)

Some women, as they begin to age into their 30s, DO begin to experience symptoms of a hormone imbalance, while most women, in their 40s and 50s experience some or many of these symptoms:
Weight gain
Fatigue
Brain fog
Hot flashes
Sleep issues
Low libido
Dryness, brittle hair and nails, hair loss

Typically, women (who aren’t in denial) will say, “I’m in perimenopause or menopause,” but these are just other words for HORMONE IMBALANCE.

Remember our truth: Disease sets in 10 years before symptoms appear. These symptoms are telling you that you have a hormone imbalance; that you don’t have the hormones you need to go the distance healthfully; that your hormone receptors are depleting. Hormone imbalance is a fact of life. It occurs BECAUSE we age. And as we age, our body no longer makes the hormones we need to perform the hundreds of tasks we need to remain healthy. I find this fact fascinating and for me, a CALL TO ACTION. If I know that disease sets in 10 years before symptoms appear; and that the hormones I need in my body to remain healthy are no longer being made available to me (1 + 1 = 2)…..why wouldn’t I do something about it?

Why not be proactive and do something about it while we can? After all, we have a 401k and IRA for our future financial status. Why not have a proactive plan for our health so we can go the distance? By going to a facility well-versed in hormone balance, like my Happy Hormone Cottage, with healthcare practitioners who know more than to check hormone levels in blood and tell you “everything looks normal,” (or offering you a short-term strategy like an antidepressant, sleeping aid, estrogen patch, etc) you will be educated and empowered to REFILL your hormone receptors with Bioidentical hormone creams made from plant-based powders that mimic the hormones that we used to have enough of. By refilling our hormone receptors, checking adrenal glands and making sure our thyroid is functioning optimally, we can achieve optimal hormone balance and give ourselves a fighting chance against disease. Eating right and working out is also important.

It is all about putting ourselves back on our list and taking care of ourselves every day starting today. Being proactive in regards to our health today just makes sense if we want to have a high quality of life for our tomorrows. I know I want to become a warrior for my wellness. Why? Quite simply, because I’m worth it!

……and My Doctor Suggested I Go on The Pill to Balance Everything Out…..

Emails! I get emails! I always enjoy hearing first hand or reading via emails from women across the country, about their experiences they endure before coming to see us at our Happy Hormone Cottage. I also get emails from concerned husbands who have heard about us. Here is the latest one:
“Hi Lyn! I was talking with my wife this week end as she expressed interest in learning more about your Happy Hormone Cottage. She has been dealing with some thyroid issues for the past year or so–as well as some mood swings and fatigue. She has been on some medication and her bloodwork continues to check out fine. I believe they have had her take vitamin D and other supplements, too. Her Ob Gyn also suggested she go on the birth control pill “to balance it all out.” Anyway, the results of her work with her doctors really aren’t there so we talked about looking into what you guys offer. She knows a lot of what she is feeling could be stress-related and a lack of sleep, too–but everything I have seen and read sounds like you may be able to help her. Your thoughts?”
My response: “I’m happy you emailed! We treat hormone imbalance issues for sex hormones (progesterone, estrogen and testosterone as needed), adrenal glands (cortisol) and thyroid, as needed. Your first step is to have your wife give us a call at 513-444-6343 to schedule a step one 45-60 minute consultation at an HHC office closest to you. Cost for this appointment is $25.
At this consultation, we would get her issues and symptoms, answer her questions and talk about our testing methods. We use cutting edge technology in determining not only our hormone levels, but more importantly, how they are (or aren’t) working in our bodies. This technology is a take-home dried urine strip testing kit that is then sent to a lab in Oregon, where the results are analyzed and sent back to us. The information we glean from this testing method is so valuable and allows us to do what we do with such a high percentage success rate. Whereas blood labs simply provide you with a number, our dried urine strip testing method shows metabolization of our hormones and their methylation pathways. With this knowledge, we can even reroute our hormone pathways from a breast cancer promoting methylation pathway, to a breast cancer protective methylation pathway through using methylating supplements. Amazing stuff! This dried urine test also addresses cortisol, including diurnal cortisol. This is important because we must also fix our adrenal glands to actually feel better, more rested and more energetic. Fixing our adrenal fatigue with our proprietary adrenal supplements also heals libido in about an 8 month time frame. It does take time to refill hormone receptors with our customized and compounded bioidentical hormone therapy, and to heal adrenal glands to feel better. Most of our clients notice a difference in how they feel within 3 weeks and by the 3rd month when your wife would need to check back with our nurse practitioner, if she is like most of our clients, she will be feeling 90% better.
A note on thyroid: We have had good success with our thyroid protocol. Whereas most doctors and endocrinologists just check TSH, T4 and maybe T3, we use an 11 point thyroid blood panel AND we also have the innovative thyroflex machine that actually tells us how our thyroid is functioning in our bodies, since 85% of thyroid is found in our tissues and only 15% is found in our blood. It just makes sense to also check the thryoid in our tissues…..and not just test 3 parts of thyroid found in blood. This gives us a real handle on treating thyroid issues and actually getting our clients to feel better by fixing the issue.
I find it typical that your wife’s ob gyn suggested she go on the birth control pill “to balance her all out” when birth control pills are all synthetic hormones that actually suppress our real hormones that we have in our bodies. Our truth is that this is the very worst things we can to do our bodies (besides being offered an anti-depressant for a hormone imbalance, which is another typical standard of care response. My response is always, “I doubt that you are prozac-deficient. It is more likely you just need progesterone!”) Our philosophy, based on the biochemistry of our bodies, is that we balance our hormones by refilling our depleting hormone receptors that deplete with age (and stress) with bioidentical hormones that are made from plant-based powders, and customized for each woman.
I hope this information helps you and your wife. Feel free to ask more as needed. We are here for you, and live our passion of women helping women. You can also check us out more on our website at www.happyhormonecottage.com.
Warmly,
Lyn”

What is your Wellness Strategy?

I heard a doctor at our recent anti-aging conference in Hollywood, Florida (Academy of AntiAging and Regenerative Medicine) say, “People would rather spend money remodeling their kitchen than spend it on their health!” I’m thinking most people would rather spend money on just about anything other than their health….unless, of course, it is covered by insurance. And I’m wondering why exactly is this? The more I know, the more I realize how very critical it is to OWN OUR JOURNEY to our very best health. The key operative words here are ‘To Be PROACTIVE.” Here is what I know: by the time symptoms of a disease/condition show up in our body, it has been developing for 5-10 years! I find this fact scary. The time to do something about it is at the very beginning or even better, BEFORE the disease even starts.

So having said this, what is YOUR wellness strategy?
-to hope for the best and do nothing
-to take a chance and hope you are one of the lucky ones
-to not think about it
-to get a yearly physical and be done with it
-to delay it until there is an issue
-to grab vitamins off the shelf at the grocery store and hope they work
-to embrace the philosophy, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

I used to think this way. Then the closer I got to middle-age, the more I began to realize how my actions today and every day DO affect my health and well-being tomorrow. Now that I’m IN middle-age, (and many of my friends are, too) I look around me and I understand the truth of this.
The fact is, those of us who invest in our health today have a significantly higher chance of being healthy tomorrow. So what might a helpful, beneficial wellness strategy look like?

1. Understand that you have to think for yourself and own your journey to your best health. This means taking responsibility for your actions in a plethora of areas:
-what you eat
-how you exercise
-how you view current standard of care’s limitations.
This will most likely involve a paradigm shift. Understand that we live in a country that focuses on dis-ease and not wellness. We typically go to our doctor when we don’t feel well. Our healthcare system (including insurance and drug companies) is focused on treating disease; which means by the time you see your doctor, you already have it. Yes, we DO also spend time and money on screening for diseases like: mammograms (Breast cancer detection), colonoscopies (colon cancer detection) PAP smears (detects cervical and uterine cancer) and PSA tests for men (detects prostate cancer). But I have to point out that screening for a disease is NOT the same as preventing a disease. Again, by the time a disease is detected, it has been developing in our bodies for years.

2. Understand that we ARE what we eat! Reading labels is imperative AND eye-opening. Dr David Purlmutter links eating wheat with a heightened risk of Alzheimer’s. We know consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. High fructose corn syrup does not get metabolized like sugar does. Instead it goes directly to the liver where it gets converted to fat. Obesity is a growing problem in our country, which promotes diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Eliminating or cutting back on wheat, gluten, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are positive steps in owning what we eat. And let’s talk about how our soybean and corn crops are sprayed with toxins like Round-Up (pesticides) and our crops are genetically modified and the environmental toxins that we are exposed to daily…..and we are set up for sickness and disease.

3. Your awareness that there ARE steps you can take to prevent disease:
> Be accountable for your health every day and believe that the choices you make today DO and WILL affect your health tomorrow. Every day DOES matter. A huge area of awareness and ownership is hormone health. Understand that the latest research shows “Hormones are to Women What Water is to Plants.” Refilling our hormone receptors as we age IS a definitive Wellness Strategy. This includes adrenal and thyroid health. Owning your journey in this arena of women’s health by educating and empowering yourself is imperative. Visit www.happyhormonecottage.com for more information. Our Recommended Readings section has the latest books and studies. Knowledge is power.
>   Find a Functional Medicine practitioner or facility, like my Happy Hormone Cottage, that promotes Holistic Health, and works to determine AND prevent your health risks. Are you aware that my Happy Hormone Cottage now offers extensive lab work for women (and men, through our sister company- BioMale Center for men) all billed to insurance, that provides a full lab panel from two prestigious labs: AML and HDL laboratories? The AML panel is a comprehensive blood panel that focuses on insulin, hormones, adrenal glands and thyroid. The HDL panel determines cardiovascular risk.  With this knowledge, we are able to determine the correct holistic health strategy that will decrease your odds of getting a disease and increase your chance of staying healthy.

> 4. Practice gratitude every day. I believe attitude is everything.  My 89 year old Dad still lives independently in a retirement village in Florida, walks his 2 dogs multiple times a day, works out in the fitness center 3 days a week, sings in a band and recently recorded his 2nd CD. His attitude is positive and upbeat. I think this speaks volumes!

> 5. Continue to serve others and work to make a difference in the lives of others. This is why I began my foundation-The Women’s Health Initiatives Foundation, whose mission is to “promote and support integrative health initiatives which prevent, treat or cure cancers that affect women.” I intend for this to be my legacy. Visit www.womenshealthinitiatives.org for more information.

My hope for you is that you don’t take your health for granted. Investing in yourself by protecting your health is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Having a daily wellness strategy can help guarantee a higher quality of life for the long haul. What steps will YOU today take to develop YOUR WELLNESS STRATEGY for YOUR healthiest tomorrow? Women, call us at 513-444-6343 to set up your step one consultation at our Happy Hormone Cottage. Men, you can call Jeff at 513-600-9879 to get started on your wellness strategy at our BioMale Center. Make 2016 your year to fully invest in you!

“My Doctor Told Me I Was Fine”

I was at a recent networking event signing copies of my new book, “Own Your Journey…..to Optimal Hormone Balance,” and a gal came up to me and said, “Oh, I don’t need hormones.” I asked her how she knew this. Her response, “My doctor ran tests and said so.” Not wanting to be disagreeable, I simply smiled, but the truth is, she is most likely not fine. Just checking the box and listening to her doctor might be enough for her, but it doesn’t work for me and it most certainly doesn’t work for women over 35. Why 35? This is when our aging bodies begin to make less progesterone. Making less progesterone means we become estrogen dominant. The bad news here is that estrogen dominance raises the risk of breast cancer. The importance of progesterone can not be overstated. Progesterone has several major tasks in our bodies:
-helps us sleep
-helps depression
-reduces anxiety
-improves our moodiness and irritability
-alleviates aches and pains
– stops sugar cravings
-balances estrogen to reduce the risk of breast cancer
This gal was about my age or older, so I assume she is post-menopausal, which means she now also doesn’t produce enough estrogen. Estrogen for what? For the 300 jobs it performs in the body, not the least of which is protecting the heart from heart disease and protecting the brain from dementia. So now she doesn’t have the progesterone or the estrogen she needs. So she is ripe for disease. And let’s talk testosterone. Testosterone also depletes with age, so by age 50, we have about half of what we used to. Testosterone helps build new bone by signaling the osteoblasts to build new bone. It also helps energy, memory recall and libido. This is why so many older people develop osteoporosis. Instead of using testosterone supplementation, they are told by their healthcare practitioners to drink milk or take calcium, or even worse, to take one of the big pharma bone drugs on the market. Google any of the side effects of these “bone building” drugs and I hope you decide not to take them. They do have an effect on the body, but building good strong bone is not one of them. We, at our Happy Hormone Cottage, are all about fixing the cause of the problem. Refilling our hormone tanks with customized bioidentical hormone replacement therapy fixes the problem.
Let’s talk about the tests her doctor most likely ran. If s/he is checking hormones in blood, they have already been depleted by the heart and the ranges are so big, one would have to be dead to be out of range. This is why we do not use blood work to check sex hormone levels or cortisol. (Thyroid levels? Yes we use blood work in our 11 point thyroid panel.) There are just so many better ways available to do this. So if he is not running informative lab work, how valuable is his assessment? The bottom line is, this gal is not informed on the importance of refilling her hormone tanks and her doctor also can’t advise her because he hasn’t read the latest studies and information. Why not? It is not part of the big pharmaceutical agenda, which is selling drugs for the masses. Our truth, substantiated by studies (go to www.happyhormonecottage.com/Resources/Reading) is that, as Dr. Prudence Hall says, “Hormones are to women what water is to plants.” We MUST refill our hormone tanks to go the distance and live a high quality of life as we age. This just makes sense!
So what to do to spread the word on this important topic? Continue to walk our walk of women helping women by offering consultations to educate women on the importance of refilling our hormone receptors; continuing to build awareness in natural hormone balance and encouraging women to think for themselves and to become educated and empowered in knowing what is best for their bodies; by giving back to our community through our FoundWHIF-logo-final-webation (the Women’s Health Initiatives Foundation) whose mission is preventing breast cancer; and continuing to positively impact the lives of the women in our community and beyond. Ours is a grassroots movement where real change is occurring. I’m proud of how far we have come!

Six Year Reflection

When I began my Happy Hormone Cottage endeavor 6 years ago, I just wanted to help women regain their joy of life. After my own journey into the world of hormone imbalance, when my husband went back to school to become trained as a compounding pharmacist so he could help me, I became aware of the magnitude and the severity of the lack of real information available to women in this arena of natural hormone balance. We go to our trusted doctors for help and for answers and herein lies the disconnect. This is one area where the misinformation and confusion run rampant, and is often perpetuated by the media, with the big pharma agenda. There are tons of studies and books on natural hormone balance and the importance of replenishing our depleting hormone receptors as we age, to not only alleviate our symptoms (sleep issues, anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, low libido, hot flashes, brain fog, sugar cravings, weight gain) of hormone imbalance, but more importantly, to prevent disease (dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer.) Why aren’t these studies being discussed in the media? Why don’t our doctors know and understand the benefits, the necessity, of refilling our hormone receptors? Could it be because ob gyns join a group called ACOG (American college of obstetrics and gynecology) and I suspect ACOG is funded by a pharmaceutical company or two? Dr Prudence Hall is often quoted as saying, “Hormones are to women what water is to plants.” Why isn’t this truth more a part of standard of care? The bottom line is that it isn’t. So my job, my mission, my passion is to educate women on the importance of refilling our hormone tanks as we age. This is functional medicine at its best! Functional medicine is the study of our whole body (holistic health) and how to keep it running as a whole by focusing on preventing disease and finding/ fixing the cause of disease. This is a much different approach than current standard of care that band-aids symptoms and promotes the big pharma agenda of drugging for the masses. So here is where Owning Your Journey (the title of my book) comes into play. I hope the days of taking our doctors’ word as law are over and that we are encouraged to think for ourselves. This alone is reason to visit one of our 5 Happy Hormone Cottages where our biggest mission is offering educational consultations supported by studies and books on the subject, so women can own their journey to their best health naturally. After all, learning is a change in behavior, so educating ourselves on our options is the first step. I have seen a lot of growth in this area. More and more women are dissatisfied with how they are feeling, and with the subsequent lack of information and options offered at their healthcare practitioners’ visits, so more and more women are coming in to see us at our Happy Hormone Cottage. The first step is building the awareness that hormones are more than just a menopause issue. Hormones are everything and play an important role in our overall well-being, health and quality of life. My Happy Hormone Cottage is NOT a menopause facility. We deal with the hormone issues of life: irregular periods, infertility, perimenopause, menopause, and healthy aging.
Over the past 6 years, I have seen our happy clients tell their friends and inner circle, who have told their friends and inner circle so that we have exploded from one tiny cottage in the Heart of Centerville, to 5 different cottages in 5 different cities from north of Dayton to northern Kentucky. We have developed from just an educational facility to currently include a medical facility as well. We now have our own hormone health experts working on 3 of our campuses. I call Angela and Cathy, our nurse practitioners, our hormone whisperers, and we encourage our women to keep their ob gyns for their gyn needs, but to see our nurse practitioners for their hormone needs. After all, we take our pets to veterinary specialists and our broken cars to car experts. Why not take our hormone needs to a hormone specialist? Doesn’t this just make sense?
I have learned that we can’t treat sex hormones in isolation. We have much greater success when we also address our adrenal health and thyroid needs. Why? Because the body doesn’t work alone. So we heal it from the functional medicine holistic perspective. This is why we recently brought onto our HHC campus, the new FDA-approved Thyroflex machine that actually checks the function of the thyroid, as opposed to relying solely on bloodwork. This allows us to accurately evaluate the body’s specific need for type and dosage of thyroid support/medication.
During my tenure as executive director of the Happy Hormone Cottage, I have seen the healing effects of listening to and validating women. Everyone just wants to know they matter. When our women visit us, we listen, we validate, we educate, and empower, but at the end of the day, we make sure they know how much they matter to us.
So where do I see us going over the next 6 years? I have been getting asked this question a lot lately. My answer? I know I’m open to the possibilities! I know I don’t want to live a small life. I want to live my life on purpose and my unique purpose involves serving people. I know I want to continue to think BIG! Over the past 6 years, I have written a book (Own Your Journey, available at our HHC locations, and at happyhormonecottage.com/shop 24/7) and have updated it with a second edition coming out this month. I have developed a consulting business to train nurse practitioners around the country on how to do what we do, so more women can be helped. There is now a facility opening in Miami, Florida, that is based on the specific training we provided. In June of 2014, I sWHIF-logo-final-webtarted a foundation, The Women’s Health Initiatives Foundation (www.womenshealthinitiatives.org) to raise money for the prevention of breast cancer. If we can predict it, we can prevent it. Personally, I can think of no greater cause. Our second annual fundraiser called “New Hope for Cancer” is being held in Centerville on October 3, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Check out our website for details on buying a ticket or how you can help!
I know want to continue to educate and impact more and more women around the country on the importance of optimal hormone balance and refilling our hormone receptors that deplete with the aging process, starting around age 35, and sometimes younger (!) through speaking engagements, my books, my foundation, my consulting business, my website, my blogs… and ultimately encourage them to come and see us at one of our Happy Hormone Cottages. We now have women calling us from all over the country and driving and flying in from as far away as Texas and Florida to visit us and our nurse practitioners. I find this amazing and I’m ever so grateful that our circle of influence is expanding. Our mission has always been, and will continue to be women helping women. It is important. To put it simply, I just want to “Be the Change.” ~ Ghandi

What You Do Every Day Matters

This month marks my 60th birthday AND the 6 year anniversary of my Happy Hormone Cottage, where our goal is to replenish hormone receptors that deplete with age in all women. I’m happy to say we have evolved into a wellnessPortland facility with a focus on prevention of disease. Our expertise is not only restoring hormone balance in sex hormones, but also adrenal and thyroid health. And now, with the opening of our new BioMale Health Center for men, we have access to cutting edge technology and labs that can assess cardiac risk and over-all health assessment for our women, as well. Our clients can now come in and go full circle from the initial consultation, to convenient testing, to meeting with one of our nurse practitioners- all with the intention to, not only validate and educate women and meet them right where they are, but to get them feeling better and to ultimately prevent disease.
The fact is that what we do every single day matters. Jeff says to think about it as a 401K or an IRA for your health. Smart money advice is to set aside X amount of dollars per month with the goal of having a nice pool of money to retire in 10-20 years. Meeting this financial goal involves discipline every day. So why not have a 401K for our health? Staying committed to a healthy life style every day will improve your overall health in 5, 10 and 20 years so you can go the distance. Whether this means skipping that office donut, avoiding a fast food lunch, or blowing off a work-out…these things matter. When you look at people in their 70s with chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimers, etc., it isn’t that these people had a horrible life style, it is that they made the same choices we do every day. This is scary! Rather than give in to these daily temptations, telling yourself they don’t really matter, I would propose that we become more disciplined and proactive in regards to making good health choices every day. As noted brain specialist Dr Daniel Amen says so eloquently, “We must become warriors for our health.” I’m going to pass on spitting out the normal advice of ‘eat right, get plenty of sleep, avoid smoking and limit alcohol,’ and instead provide specific strategies for fine-tuning that warrior in you:
-There are certain foods you should avoid: wheat, including whole wheat, processed foods (foods in a box or bag), trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup.
-Limit sugar to 25 grams a day and total carbs to 80 grams a day.
-Take at least 2 grams of omega 3 DHA a day,
-30 minutes of moderate exercise (weight training, cross fit or yoga– NOT running) 3-4 times a week,
– eat lots of good fats: avocados, macadamia nuts, olive oil;
-fill your plate with 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 protein
-drink 64 ounces of water a day.
-Of course, adding optimal hormone balance to refill our hormone receptors is key.
Investing in specific health strategies like these today, proactively promotes a healthy quality of life tomorrow.
I began my hormone balance journey 10 years ago, when I was 49 and had to have a radical hysterectomy. I knew next to nothing about hormones then. Luckily, my husband, Jeff, RPh, did
and used his knowledge to guide me. Fast forward 4 years later to the opening of my Happy Hormone Cottage, where I just wanted to talk to women and share with them what I knew about the necessity of hormone balance. During the last 6 years, Jeff has gone back to school to get an Advanced Fellowship in Functional Medicine, and has spent countless hours mentoring my staff on our holistic health approach to finding and fixing the cause of issues. What I now know to be true is that hormone balance (sex hormones, adrenal glands and thyroid) isn’t only about eradicating symptoms for today, but more importantly, for the prevention of disease tomorrow. The choices we make for our health today do matter for our tomorrows. Knowing that I CAN decrease my risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, breast cancer, and insulin resistance, etc. by my choices I make now, motivates me to make the best, healthiest choices I can. I want to be a warrior for my own health! I’m worth it!

The Value of Taking Care of Ourselves Today Equals Prevention of Disease Tomorrow

I’ve spent quite a lot of time with my dad in his Florida retirement community over the past few years and, in fact, IMG_0760recently celebrated his 88th birthday with 140 friends and family, as he sang 4 songs with a band he hired and danced the night away. The next night I photographed him taking line dancing lessons to prepare for a part in an upcoming performance of a small theater troupe he performs, sings and now dances for. In between these activities, he spent an hour on the treadmill walking 3 miles and another 30 minutes on the weight machines. This was after he had spent 2 hours in “brain gym” where memory skills are heightened. Lest you think I am making any of this up, I have pictures to prove it. And this is his slow season! Needless to say, my amazing dad is not the norm! He watches his weight, takes a supplement strategy, works out, stays active and engaged, walks his 2 dogs through-out the day every day and most of all, he has a positive, upbeat attitude except when he has watches too much CNN! Yes, he has hearing aids (which he even wears sometimes!) and has a partial bridge of teeth in his mouth, but he is going strong.
Today, we walked over to the longterm care facility on campus to visit a friend who had been recently admitted. AsIMG_0761 we walked through the hallways, I saw first-hand the ravages of old age and the pay-off for, in many cases, people whom I suspect didn’t take care of themselves when they were younger, and are paying the price now. I’m not being critical or judgmental. All I felt was deep compassion for them, gratitude for the health of my dad, and the reinforcement of my commitment to continue to take care of myself NOW so I hopefully won’t end up here in a few years. My truth is that every choice I make for myself today WILL IMPACT my health for tomorrow and the key to my quality of life tomorrow is all about PREVENTION.
This is where the departure from current standard of care comes in. Current standard of care is all about treating DIS-EASE. I am all about WELLNESS. This is why I began my Happy Hormone Cottage, and why I continue to fight for women’s rights to their best health every day. Many, many studies show the value of not only eating right, watching our weight, and exercising, but also REFILLING OUR HORMONE TANKS AS WE AGE TO MAINTAIN A HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE. You can go to my website at www.happyhormonecottage.com to read any number of studies by leading experts Dr Jeffrey Dach, Dr Kent Holtorf, Dr Erica Schwartz, Dr Jennifer Landa and more on the necessity of optimal hormone balance as a means to PREVENT DISEASE as we age. Which diseases? Heart disease, osteoporosis, breast cancer and dementia. Nothing is more true than the adage, “Hormones are to women, what water is to plants.” My goal is to educate the masses so this information becomes common knowledge. If we aren’t getting this information from our doctors, we have to get it from somewhere. Getting this information out should no longer be an uphill battle. It should be common knowledge being spread through the masses by empowered women!
What I know from my experience in working with women, and also being one, is that women are smart! When they find something that works, they want to share. Our tiny little cottage has grown from one location to five locations and now women are demanding a place for their husbands and partners to go where they can also be validated and educated for their best health naturally. And they also want their partners to take a proactive approach to their health like they are. Welcome to our new healthcare facility for men…..”Bio-Male: Preventative Healthcare for the 21st Century Man!”
The idea behind Bio-Male is the approach of treatment strategies that mimic human male biology. Our bodies are complex and dynamic systems. Drug therapy tends to disrupt normal functions to treat symptoms. Symptoms develop LONG AFTER disease is present. Fifty percent of men that have fatal heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels. This is not acceptable. Our clients will be tested on over 60 meaningful parameters that can identify cardiovascular risks at an early stage. Our goal is to identify risks and develop lifestyle and nutritional strategies to modify these risks. We will take a proactive approach to the 3 main hormones: cortisol, insulin and thyroid, and do comprehensive testing on these hormones with the goal to prevent disease. Bio-Male’s goal is to offer the best and most affordable options in preventative healthcare. I’m so excited that now our men in the Cincinnati-Dayton area finally have a place to go for a proactive approach to their health and aging, like our women do. For more information, contact us at www.biomalecenter.com or call us at 888-418-2037. Women can visit www.happyhormonecottage.com or call 513-444-6343 to make an appointment or for more information.