Audio Link: https://chantelray.podbean.com/e/wa79/
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtkHIgMj8Ck&feature=youtu.be
Dr. Anna Cabeca is a triple board certified, Emory University trained physician and hormone expert. She was diagnosed with early menopause at age 38, and her health journey has sparked her to help change the lives of thousands of women across the globe through her transformation programs, her successful line of all natural products, and now, her book. If you are listening to this podcast on the day it is released, her new book, “The Hormone Fix” is available TODAY! and other empowering transformation programs have helped women of all ages become their best selves again. She’s on a whirlwind press tour in New York City right now, and it is such an honor to have her on the show!
Chantel Ray: Hi, guys. Welcome to this week’s episode, and we are so excited. Today we have Doctor Anna Cabeca. She is a triple board certified Emory University trained physician and she’s a hormone expert, and she is our guest today. She’s got a new book, The Hormone Fix, and it’s available today. We’re so excited, and welcome Dr. Anna.
Anna Cabeca: Hey, thanks so much for having me, Chantel . Great to be here with you.
Chantel Ray: So tell us … oh, I just found out that you were just interviewing with Rachael Ray the other day, and here you are with Chantel Ray. That’s so funny.
Anna Cabeca: Rachael Ray Magazine. Rachael Ray Magazine. Not Rachael Ray.
Chantel Ray: Oh, okay. Gotcha. That’s so funny.
Anna Cabeca: From her magazine, yeah.
Chantel Ray: Tell us a little bit about your health journey and what kind of drove you into being so passionate about hormones.
Anna Cabeca: Yeah, so you know, I’ve always been passionate about women’s health. Ever since I can remember. My mom struggled with her health.
But then I hit menopause myself at age 38 after a traumatic event in our family that shocked us all, and I was diagnosed completely menopausal and was told I would never be able to have another child. And you know really, once we’re diagnosed with early menopause, we don’t expect to be able to reverse it, but that’s exactly what I did. At age 41, I was able to conceive a healthy baby spontaneously, and [crosstalk 00:01:41]-
Chantel Ray: Yay.
Anna Cabeca: Yeah, she’s now eleven years old, and I’ll be 53 this year, and it’s a challenge. Those good challenges of life, right?
Chantel Ray: [crosstalk 00:01:54].
Anna Cabeca: Yeah so that happened at age 38, and other things at that time too, health challenges. I’ve been over 240lbs, you know. I’ve had tremendous hair loss. Had fatigue, depression, loss of energy, and really struggled. And so as part of my personal journey, there was that eye-awakening moment. It’s like, I can’t live like this. I don’t wanna struggle like I’ve seen so many of my patients struggle or family members struggle or my mom needing heart surgery; at the age I am right now she had heart surgery and diabetes and hypertension and the list goes on, and I saw too many women struggle, and I didn’t want it for myself.
And so that led me on a journey too to really find the key ways we can empower our bodies so that we can have the quality of life that we’ve dreamed of.
Chantel Ray: That’s awesome. Now in your book, you talk about the key to diet, and we’ve had a couple of great guests talk about Keto, but you’re since a little different because you call it the Keto Green Way which brings out [inaudible 00:03:00] into the picture. And I know there’s a lot of rumbling and controversy because you know, blood peach doesn’t change much, would you explain this?
Anna Cabeca: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. One of the things that probably the most important finding in my nearly 30 years of clinical experience, Chantel, is that it takes more than hormones to fix our hormones. Right? And women in general are pretty confused about what’s happening with our bodies and our hormones, let alone how to fix it. And even with the training I’ve had, even with the education, I struggle too to fix myself. And it was part of this journey.
So a key component that recognized was always in my practice as a functional medicine doc that really helped me reverse menopause the first time, then I went into menopause again at 48. But was the alkalinity factor, right? But then when menopause hit me at 48, it was that same thing that so many of my patients experienced. They’d come in, and they’d say, “You know, Dr. Anna, I’m gaining five, ten, twenty pounds, and I’m not doing anything different.”
And I’d be like, “Right,” you know sure you’re not, right? I’m like maybe you’re just not going outside as much, maybe you need to decrease your plate size a little bit more. I mean, what could it … There’s gotta be something. ‘Cause your thyroid’s normal, I got your hormones balanced. Lo and behold, when that happened to me and I hit 48, and again another metabolic stall, and I gained five, ten, twenty pounds essentially overnight, and honestly I wasn’t doing anything different. And so I was like, “What’s going on?”
So first thing I said well I’ve got to really fix this, and I know the research behind ketogenic diets, and I’ve used them periodically with my patients and my practice. Especially if they had neurologic issues. And both the one thing I noted with my perimenopausal patients, or with myself, any time I try to restrict carbohydrates was what I like to call keto crazy. And many call experienced keto Keto Flu, but really irritability, hitting a wall, and not getting the benefits that we really want.
And I looked into this to see what’s going on. And just drove me to test my urine and say, “okay, well what’s happening with my urinary pH now?” And lo and behold, my urinary pH was acidic, acidic, acidic. And that was like, “Okay well that explains a lot.” Because then there can be underlying inflammatory markers can be climbing, it can be just irritability. My neurotransmitters don’t have enough nutrients to function properly, essentially.
So I looked into the research, and there was one study way back from 1924 that looked at combining alkalinity with ketosis and studied it in an animal model looking at urinary ketones, and it was quite interesting. That was my a-ha moment for me. It’s like, “Okay, we gotta put these two together,” and you’re actually right. There is grumbling. People say alkaline myth. I’m not talking about our blood pH. Believe me, as a physician and treating many patients in the ER let alone obstetric and gynecologic emergency rooms and operating rooms. If I have a patient who’s not doing well, we check arterial blood gas. We stick a needle into the artery and draw that blood that’s coming out as fresh from the heart as possible and measure that pH.
Because the pH of our body fluids are different all through our body. Our venous pH is different, our stomach acids are a different pH, vaginal pH is different, skin pH is different. I mean, it obviously it makes sense, and if the organ doesn’t have the proper pH, it’s diseased, right? So it makes sense. There’s no questioning about it from my point of view. We’re not talking about blood pH but something interesting to note, if we’re not getting nutrients and minerals in to maintain the electrolyte balance for our blood, the calcium, the potassium, the magnesium, the [inaudible 00:07:21], then where are we getting it from? You know, certainly from our bones. Certainly from our bones, certainly from our muscles.
Chantel Ray: Wow. That is really, you know, I really have never even thought about that. So when you’re talking about your urine pH, are you talking about … Like if I went on Amazon right now, I could get some pH test strips, like a universal application, and literally just take it and pee on it and check the pH of my urine and see where it’s at, is that what you’re suggesting?
Anna Cabeca: Yeah, absolutely. And you can get from any health food store, pharmacy, urine pH strips or pH strips, and they come in rolls too. Hydrion paper, we talk about that. I created urine pH and ketone, they’re called keto pH test strips. I’m gonna measure both on one device which makes it easy and again inexpensive. For pennies a day, you can use this as a kind of thermostat to see how you’re doing with your nourishment and lifestyle because we know it’s not just about what eat, stress plays a factor in creating more acidic urine, and throughout time we look at the urine, we study the urine for organic acids, functional test, look at urinary urine samples to look at hormones, to look at organic acids, to look at how your body’s functioning. Why can’t we not look at this as a simple marker to help us guide us in customizing based on our unique chemistry and environment a plan that works exactly for us. And that’s what I lay out in my book, The Hormone Fix, and I do it with guidelines and a ten day detox and 21 additional days of menu plus the lifestyle tips.
But that’s what I want. I want people to be aware of what exactly is happening to them in their body with what they’re doing.
Chantel Ray: That’s awesome, and your website is absolutely amazing by the way.
Anna Cabeca: Thank you.
Chantel Ray: I love it. It’s just got like these boxes, and it’s so easy, and one of the boxes that you have on there is brain fog, and so we definitely get a lot of our listeners that are constantly complaining about brain fog. In you opinion, if you said, “Hey, these are my top three things that when someone comes to me and they’re complaining about brain fog issues,” what would you say, “Hey, these are my three things that I’d say I’d be probably it’s either A, B, or C,” what would you respond to that?
Anna Cabeca: Yeah, I would definitely say brain fog, weight gain, and lack of energy are the three most common things.
Chantel Ray: But would you say the brain fog … would you say okay, this is more of a thyroid issue, or would you say this is more of an estrogen dominance issue, or is this … You know what I’m saying?
Anna Cabeca: Yeah. Sorry, I didn’t understand the question. The reasons for brain fog … So typically, there’s a few things. Inflammation can cause brain fog. Increased cortisol from stress and even prolonged suppressed cortisol from long-term stress can cause brain fog. And estrogen, as estrogen declines naturally in our body in the perimenopause to menopause, we can certainly get brain fog.
And one of the things that was an a-ha moment for me, because as I put myself, and now thousands of women in my online programs, onto my Keto Green Way of doing things, one of the things that they always talk about is that they feel the fog has lifted. That they feel that clarity. And I dug into the research, just this last year really looking to understand why is that happening.
It turns out that gluconeogenesis or the ability … so our brain with either use glucose for fuel or ketones for fuel. So and we’ll compare that fuel source as glucose is to gasoline as ketones are to jet fuel. I think that’s a good example, right?
Chantel Ray: Ooo, I like that.
Anna Cabeca: Yeah. Ketones are a powerful source of energy. And so what was happening, I called it energized enlightenment when we get this keto green, get alkaline, and getting ketosis at the same time. I called it energized enlightenment. That’s what I felt. My brain fog melted away. I had clarity, focus, and I also experienced something biblically. It’s called the peace that surpasses all understanding. At a time in my life when everything was going crazy, we were dealing with hurricanes, I had five moves, I was running an online program, I had the peace that surpassed all understanding. And that’s what happens when you improve your physiology to really optimize it for you.
And so estrogen is a … So gluconeogenesis is an estrogen dependent pathway in the brain. So it makes sense too just as we get older we’re losing that estrogen. We’re not using glucose as a fuel as well so let’s use ketone. So you know, I definitely recommend on a regular basis working to getting into ketosis, but even intermittently getting into ketosis really works.
Chantel Ray: Awesome.
Anna Cabeca: Like with intermittent fasting, right?
Chantel Ray: Yes. So this is the intermittent fasting podcast, and so this is The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. We love to talk about fasting. What is your opinion on fasting? [crosstalk 00:12:59]-
Anna Cabeca: With my program, I highly recommend intermittent fasting. So at least 12½ and 15 hours between dinner and breakfast working to get that 15 hours as much on a regular basis as possible, but by ending dinner earlier, right, not skipping breakfast, skipping lunch, and not that. But ending dinner earlier so that our … When we go to sleep, our body’s not digesting a full meal and instead our body can restore, rejuvenate, revitalize, can anti-age while we sleep if our body’s not having to spend its resources, energy, ATP molecules in digesting.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. So let’s talk about sex for just a second, and I want you to talk about just sexual health. Obviously some of the people who are listening might not be having sex, but let’s talk about regardless to women whether how much sex they’re having or not, sex can be a very important part of the health equation. And so if you have people who have a low libido, what would you say to them?
Anna Cabeca: So I would say we need to look at the cause why. And first, there’s a couple things that … I talk about this in my book. I have a whole chapter on sexual health. I am a gynecologist after all, right? A hormone and sexual health expert. So … And this has been an area of interest for a long time. It goes back to being in my medical practice even my first week out of Emory University coming to a small town in Georgia because I was a national health service course scholar so I had to do rural medicine or some underserved population. So that’s how I ended up where I am now. I said, “okay, I can live here for three years.” I’ve been there 20 years. Absolutely love my home area now.
One of my first patients to come in was this 63 year old, 5’10” silver haired CEO of a biotech company. And she came in, and she said, “Dr. Anna, I’ve been waiting months to see you, heard you were coming from Emory, and let me tell you. I’m 63 years old. I have no sex drive. I have no libido. I have suffering with vaginal dryness. Can’t bear to have sex with my husband, and let me tell you. I’m a woman of the 60s, and I’d rather die than live this way. Help me.” I was like whoa. Well her history was she had ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast. So no one would give her estrogen or any other hormones.
And so I went into my … This was seriously like my first week in medical practice. I looked in my doctor’s bag, and I looked and I looked and I looked. And I really didn’t have anything. So I went back to the research. And to see, “What can I give someone who’s had breast cancer?” Even though ductal carcinoma in situ is not breast cancer, I still wanted to see what’s the safest way I can help this patient.
So I looked at vaginal estrogen. Even vaginal estrogen shows safety and efficacy so it works in women. In fact, it can decrease other medical conditions and decrease the early early death. We say it decreases morbidity and mortality in patients who have had breast cancer and are using vaginal estrogen. I was like “A-ha, and what about testosterone?” And at that time, there was research being done, very little research being done, in testosterone in women. And looking at DHEA and testosterone, I looked at the research based on what we had.
I was like, “Well these seem like safe options,” and I spoke with my client about it. We actually consulted Jennifer Burman. Jennifer and Laura Burman. They are from St. Simon’s Island so connected with them and asked for their current research. So I was able to use testosterone and DHEA in this woman, and improve her quality of her life, her vaginal health, and sexual function, and also that improved the quality of her relationship. At least with herself, right? Which is so important. Feeling like okay, I’m not just withering up and dying here.
And so many of my clients say the same thing. We’ll restore the sexual health aspect hormonally, nutritionally, because it’s so important to have the healthy nutrition dialed in as well. That that’s a really super good combination. But more than that, as we restore vaginal health that helps decrease some of the secondary reasons why women have no libido. Because if you have pain every time you do something, why would you want to do it, right?
Well that’s what happens with vaginal dryness with this discomfort, and you know, subconsciously or discharge or odor or infection afterwards. Urinary tract infections even after intercourse. So why would we want to if that’s what we get as a kickback, right? That’s not pleasant. So we have to heal those things.
And the third thing I want to mention is that when women have a natural secondary desire. So the first step is to be receptive. And certainly like managed stress, given the right mindset, but to be receptive. So following not the Masters and Johnson’s linear sexual response scale which is really like for men, but looking at … there’s a study published by [Bassan 00:18:39]. He looked at the circuitous nature, right, the winding roads of a woman’s sexual response. And I call it like the game of Candy Land.
So if you can remember the game of Candy Land, you can get that visual of the Candy Land board game. You know that sometimes you get stuck in the mud, sometimes you go back to beginning, and sometimes you get ice cream cone, right? That’s, it’s all good. That’s all normal for women. So secondary response, once we get started like when the foreplay, the petting, the increase, that naturally increases oxytocin, then we’re like, “I’m all in.”
Chantel Ray: That’s funny. So let me ask you this. This is a strange question, but I just am curious. So when I first got married, I mean obviously me and my husband had a lot of sex, and so I was getting urinary tract infections. I got ’em like twice. And someone told me, they said, “If the second that after you have sex, you just go pee like right after you have sex like no matter what like drink water and go,” you’ll never get another urinary tract infection again.
And my girlfriend gave me that advice. And I’ve honestly every time we have sex, like it’s almost like a joke. Like we’ll have sex, and I’ll be like, “Alright I gotta go to the bathroom,” and I dash to the bathroom and I go pee, and ever since I’ve never had a urinary tract infection ever.
So do you think that that’s true? That that is the secret? I mean, it’s worked for me, but I don’t know if it’s medically correct or not.
Anna Cabeca: No, absolutely. Definitely to clear out any bacteria that have been introduced. Because our vagina has bacteria, skin of the penis of course there’s bacteria. So during intercourse, that can be introduced into the urethra. So where we pee from. So just by flushing that out is perfect. Another thing for clients who have frequent urinary tract infections always increase their vitamin C and probiotic. So two other things that can help, yeah.
Chantel Ray: Okay. Awesome. And now let me ask you, I looked on your website, and you have this cream. And you’ve got this … It’s called Julva, is that right?
Anna Cabeca: Julva, exactly.
Chantel Ray: Julva. And you put it on your vulva, right?
Anna Cabeca: Exactly, yep.
Chantel Ray: The Julva that you put on the vulva. So talk to us about this.
Anna Cabeca: Yeah, yeah. I would definitely encourage listeners too to look at the testimonials on the website because it’s really just heartwarming to see how we can reignite individuals and improve the quality of life very simply. Well one of the things was when I retired my clinical practice in 2014, 2015, so many of my clients were like, “Hey, we need help. We can’t get our vaginal prescriptions filled anymore. What can you do to help me?”
And so I thought about it. I’m like … I had an anti-aging skincare cream in the past. I was like, “Well I can create a topical anti-aging cream for the vulva.” I mean, why not? We have it for our eyes, for our lips, and you know really our feminine bits are the most important part of our body. We have to keep that healthy because that decreases the quality of our life more than so much else, right?
So I created this anti-aging feminine cream, and you apply it from clitoris to anus. Keep all that tissue healthy. Once a day. Just a pea size amount, approximately ½mL. And it works as an anti-aging cream for the vulva. And we get a lot of great responses. Like the decrease in vaginal dryness being proven. Improvement in sexual function, pleasure, enjoyment, yeah.
Chantel Ray: That is awesome. Well we need to definitely give one of our listeners that Julva cream. That’s gonna be a huge hit on Facebook. Would you be willing to give one of those away? On this site.
Anna Cabeca: Sure, absolutely. [crosstalk 00:22:36] two. Yeah, [crosstalk 00:22:39]-
Chantel Ray: Okay, let’s do that, and let’s also give a copy of your book [inaudible 00:22:43] one lucky person if they share and like that post on our Facebook page. And I wanted to ask you, I ask all my guests, what does your diet look like? Is there any foods that’s kind of off limits to you? Like, what did you kind of eat yesterday, and what’s your diet look like? What do you love to eat?
Anna Cabeca: I’m in New York City right now so I’m really enjoying myself. This morning, I had a … from a smoothie bar, because you have ’em, I just had a green juice concoction this morning. And-
Chantel Ray: Did it have any fruit in it, or just green?
Anna Cabeca: Just all greens. It was celery, kale, cucumber, ginger.
Chantel Ray: Mmm. Yum.
Anna Cabeca: Pretty sure that’s that what that was. Yeah. So I typically don’t do straight juice. I always do my smoothie. I blend it up because I want all the extra fiber too.
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Anna Cabeca: But now I’m in New York, and so I also had some pecans. So I always think healthy fat, protein, and grains as a part of meal combination.
So last night, we went to this beautiful Middle Eastern restaurant. So we had baba ganoush which is eggplant with tahini. It was delicious. And some beautiful, it’s called kibbeh nayeh which is just fresh meat. So that was good, and then salad. We had a tabouli salad without the wheat, without the cracked wheat in it. And that was a perfect dinner.
So typically, I always think a portion of healthy fats, high quality protein, and lushen greens. Whatever I can do for the crouton. You know, alkalinizers are our vegetables and our fruits, but fruits have too much sugar in them so we technically stay away.
Chantel Ray: How much fruit would you say that you actually eat?
Anna Cabeca: So I eat very little, but now and again while I’m traveling, here at the hotel yesterday morning I had smoked salmon, and capers, and onions, and some kimchi that were on the beautiful buffet bar, and then I had four blueberries. I’m like, I get four blueberries. So a small amount. A small amount, but yeah.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. Well let’s end today by just saying I know you talk a lot in your book about anti-aging and aging gracefully, but if you could tell women … Let’s end with three things that kind of helps them to age gracefully. What would you say?
Anna Cabeca: So actually in my blog coming up this week I talk about it in detail, the steps that really help me. And the first thing is to pause. And just take a moment and really figure out where you are right now because a lot of times we just keep busy so we can avoid what we need to deal with, or we are so busy that we don’t see what’s necessary to create an improvement in the quality of our lives. So we pause.
And the second thing is pray. You know, is to pray. Is to meditate and pray and be really clear on what we want versus what we need, and to listen to that … in those times of silence and I would say contemplative prayer, that we can listen to that small still voice that’s within us. Because there’s a lot of wisdom in that voice. You know, that often you’ll say, “Oh yeah, I thought so or I knew so, but you know, I didn’t act on it,” or I had this intuition but I didn’t pay attention to it.
But I want us to pay attention because that’s so critical to hear. So pause, pray, and then prioritize. Prioritize what matters most to you in your life. I have my clients and my online programs, and I talk about this in my book, but simply ask yourself, “What am I so glad that I did yesterday?” Because that’s what we want to do more of in our lives.
Chantel Ray: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, if you haven’t had a chance to go to her website, we will put it in the show notes. She’s got some amazing programs. Oh yeah, we definitely have to … The Hormone Fix is her new book, and you’re so lucky because you get to hear about it firsthand. It’s coming out today. So go on Amazon right now and order it. And on her website, she’s got some amazing programs. Magic menopause, sexual CPR, and women’s restorative health. So Dr. Anna, thanks so much for joining us today. It’s been an absolute pleasure and tons of fun.
Anna Cabeca: Thank you.
Likewise, thanks so much for having me, Chantel, and for all your listeners and viewers. Thank you.
Chantel Ray: Thank you. And if you have a question that you want answered, go to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see ya next time. Bye-bye.