Last week I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Stephanie Estima on my podcast, Sex Body and Soul: An Orgasm a Day Keeps the Doctor Away. Dr. Stephanie is a Doctor of Chiropractic with a special interest in metabolism, body composition, functional neurology, and female physiology. She is also the author of a new best-selling book, The Betty Body: A Geeky Goddess’ Guide to Intuitive Eating, Balanced Hormones, and Transformative Sex.
You can imagine with all this expertise, we covered a lot of ground, from the all-important gut health to the health benefits of orgasm (in case you wondered, there are lots!).
As I’ve learned in previous podcasts, gut health is related to everything, from your sex life to your mood and mental health, your productivity … you name it, it’s related. But how do you achieve good gut health? What you really want is a diverse microbiome. And it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune! In fact, many of her suggestions are low cost or even free and you can start them tomorrow. Eating whole foods is helpful. But you can also get out there and walk (preferably with minimal footwear so you are really connected to the earth), and expose yourself to natural morning light, which has a profound effect on hormones, including cortisol (the stress hormone).
What I hadn’t really appreciated before talking to Dr. Stephanie and reading her fantastic book is that a lot of the science we have around diet and gut health was derived from research on males. It makes perfect sense that as a woman trying to live my best life, I – we – need to take into account the unique characteristics of women, one of which of course is the menstrual cycle, which changes our hormones from day to day and over the arc of our lives. This means it doesn’t make sense to eat the same way every day of the month when our needs change daily (a “huge mistake!” Dr. Stephanie calls it). Rather, women should eat in accordance with their menstrual cycles. Similarly, what our bodies need changes as we progress through different stages of life, from menarche (the onset of menstruation), through childbearing years (with appropriate changes in pregnancy, lactation, and postpartum), perimenopause, and finally in menopause.
Women are not small men, with different hormones. Our bodies are built and function differently. However, like men, women can benefit from temporary dietary changes, such as the keto diet or intermittent fasting. But there are caveats. For instance, some women may need to start the keto diet more slowly, or have shorter periods of fasting (it takes a lot of metabolic energy to create a uterine lining, which is something men don’t need to worry about). I can tell you from experience that I have been following Dr. Stephanie’s advice and my stomach feels incredible now (which it absolutely did not after a while on the keto diet for reasons that she explained). On the podcast and in her book, Dr. Stephanie spells out how women can feel good and get what she calls the “Betty Body.”
Now, we all love a good orgasm. Dr. Stephanie confirmed the good news that an orgasm a day can help keep the doctor away. It can improve all our vitals –heart variability, respiration rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation…even tolerance for menstrual pain. For even more reasons to go for a daily orgasm, checkout The Body Agency’s Health Benefits of Orgasm. What I had not known until she dished was that of the 4 stages of orgasm (excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution), and much of the hormonal balancing goodness comes from the plateau. So if you are using mechanical (yay for toys!) help to orgasm quickly, you may not get as much benefit as you might with a longer plateau period.. But really, any sensual or sexual action that feels good to you (even if you aren’t able to orgasm) can result in similar health benefits. So, go for it! (I also add in supplement, Sex and Good The Happy Hormones which helps balance mood, sleep, energy and yes, even libido).
But sometime this week, take a few minutes to join the millions of women who have learned about how to regulate hormones and have a healthy diet from Dr. Stephanie Estima. Take a listen to the podcast with my “soul sister on a mission for global health," as I call her. I think you’ll be glad you did!