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Hormones and Mindset with Megan Blacksmith


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Holistic health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner Megan Blacksmith talks with us about the relationship between hormones and mindset.

Mentioned In This Episode

Zesty Ginger https://www.zestyginger.com/

BetterHelp https://betterhelp.com/adhdadulting (aff)

Mosaic Weighted Blankets https://adultingwithadhd.com/mosaic (aff)

About The Adulting With ADHD Podcast

It’s not just you – we aren’t talking enough about ADHD and hormones. There are so many things I wish I had known about hormones and ADHD earlier. They play such a fundamental role in the human body, deeply impacting a person’s life at all of their life stages.

As a former journalist and current ADHD’er, I unpack this topic through patient stories, expert interviews and personal narrative. With new episodes biweekly on Wednesdays, The Adulting With ADHD Podcast covers a variety of ADHD hormone topics including puberty, menopause, perimenopause, PMS, PMDD, and more.

Why aren’t we talking about this more? What do you do if you find yourself struggling with ADHD and hormones? We discuss this and much more. Need basic info about ADHD and hormones? Get the free quick guide athttps://adultingwithadhd.com/hormones.

To support this podcast or access its archives, please visithttps://patreon.com/adultingwithadhd.

You can also stay updated on the podcast here:

Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/adhdadulting

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Twitter –https://twitter.com/adhdadulting

YouTube –https://www.youtube.com/adultingwithadhd

Show edited byHK Productions

Sarah
This is the adulting with ADHD podcast, self empowerment for people with ADHD. Today, I have with me Megan, Megan is the zesty ginger and she's going to tell us a bit about what she does with her. partner in crime. Dr. Alex. Hi, Megan. Welcome to the show.

Megan
Thank you for having me.

Sarah
Yeah, so from what I saw on the website, well, I guess I should back up and kind of set this up a little bit. I was lurking around ADHD, tick tock as as one as want to do. And a lot of people were talking about the tick tock channel and setting for women with ADHD trying to navigate their hormones and their ADHD. Your zesty ginger came up a lot on Tick Tock. And so that's kind of how I fell into your universe. And so that's kind of what I wanted to talk to you a little bit about today. So thank you again for being here.

Unknown Speaker
Thank you for having me. And that's amazing. Tick tock, which was brought in some just some amazing women from over there. So it's exciting. Yeah,

Sarah
you want to tell us a little bit about what what you do and what your what your specialty is, and all that jazz? functional? It looks like Functional Diagnostic nutrition specialist. Is that right?

Megan
Yes. So it is called a Functional Diagnostic nutrition practitioner. That's it? Yep. No, I'm sure I'm happy to talk about what that is. Yeah. Alright. So that's that training. The idea behind Functional Diagnostic nutrition is, you know, the founder Reed Davis always says test, don't guess. So the takeaway, and the idea is that often and, you know, specifically in AD with ADHD, there can be a group of common symptoms, we'll call them or things that you know, are not working the way we want them to that present, and at the same time, I could have that same setup and as you and we could both have completely different underlying imbalances that are leading to similar situations. So that we find is really important because then sometimes we get this specific label or we have an idea, but the underlying concern or problem is different for each individual person. So what we use is functional lab work and the difference between you know, my my business partner, which if you've been on tik tok, you've seen Dr. Alex and she's a Conventional doctor who has had a conventional medicine really did not work for her chronic pain she was experiencing. So she moved into, she's still, you know, conventional doctor, she's also involved in functional medicine. And we take a very holistic approach of also the power of our thoughts in our beliefs in our mind. And when we bring this together, we can use different testing, like the functional testing would be something like the Dutch test. So that's the dried urine test for comprehensive hormones. And that's something to look at specifics of hormone levels, or we use neurotransmitter testing. So we're looking at brain chemistry with against the urine test. And what we can see here is things that are starting to shift before they may even show up on as a diagnosis or, as right so you can have things start to shift, and you can support them, before you were being labeled in a certain way or you, you know, you've entered a diagnosis. So the cool thing about that is that you don't have to know, you know, everyone is completely different. So I get to focus on the person in that way.

Sarah
That's really cool. And thank you for that explanation. I, I know you're you're very interested in the the mindset piece of it, and that you mentioned the thoughts and the way you think about things. So can you tell us a little more about your approach to that mindset? And how thoughts and the way you think about things can impact your experience?

Megan
Absolutely. I want to start by just pre framing Sarah that because we talk about mindset and beliefs and our thoughts and how they impact us, we also are never saying to someone, you are causing your thing, right, you are causing that disease, or you are causing your whatever and it's all in your head, that is not what we mean by this. We believe in supporting the body, right physically, biochemically, the brain neurologically, and we also know that the signal being sent down from the brain, the thoughts can impact that it can, it can change your stress hormones, it can train change your whether you ovulate or not. And whether you are related or not, is going to be whether you produce that amazing progesterone that counteracts the feelings of estrogen that aren't quite this fun, right? So this becomes an actual signal. If we are believing, I am not safe, the world is not safe, things are not good, you know, etc. Like if we look in the mirror, and we're like, oh, I look horrible, or do we're just hard on ourselves, like a lot of us are, we say thoughts are not free, right? Thoughts are actually being heard by your body as to whether you know, you're safe. And it used to be you know, you're in a family and there's not enough food. So we're not going to make a baby when we're in a famine. So we're going to stop oscillating, or just, it's not going to be as strong. And now the world has shifted. And we have these inputs, these social media, the stress of that the stress of just a boss or a friend or work, and our body still thinks we are working, you're getting attacked and run after by the lion, our body is sending out all the same stress, chemicals, stress signals, so it becomes for us when we're approaching hormone health, or any help. We are first looking at, we do look at actual functional labs to see where people are. And we also know if somebody comes to us and they're like, I can't focus I'm depressed of anxiety painful periods, then it's really hard to say to them, you know, just do some meditation, right? Or you just need to be cooking more meals, right? We're so we're helping this people build themselves up physically, so that then they can do the deeper work of Okay, what are these continuous thoughts that I'm thinking and are and am I in a constant stress state? And have I decided that this is my fault? So we will hear things where people have made certain things their identity, they will say, you know, I have depression, I have anxiety I have ADHD, I'm even going to go there. Right. So yeah, please, we ask people to really think about their words because anything you say I am becomes your identity and you're continually rewiring right the neurons of wire together fire to your fire together wire together, you're rewiring that. So we will have and Dr. Alex used to experience chronic pain. So she used you know, she used to be a chronic pain person. Right, right identity. There's groups for these on Instagram handles auto immune warrior, right. We have created an identity around the past. Yeah, I guess yeah. And right, you're educating and also we want to make sure when you're talking about yourself Your your subconscious, your unconscious mind is listening to everything you say, internally and externally. And so we'll have people shift to saying, I'm not I'm not anxious. I don't have anxiety. I am experiencing anxious thoughts right now. I am experiencing depressive thoughts right now. I'm experiencing a lack of focus right now. Right? Yeah, whatever it is.

Sarah
Yeah, that's

Megan
very doesn't that feel very different? Yeah, I

Unknown Speaker
have.

Sarah
Yeah, I mean, just talking, I immediately felt a little bit of relief. And you were talking and said that, like I am experiencing focus issues, feels a lot more like treatable than just I am anxiety, which is a story A lot of us tell ourselves, I have anxiety, I have depression. That's it. The end. That's just my brain, I'm always going to be that way. So yeah, let's continue. I just was thinking out loud while you were talking. That's, yeah, that's cool.

Megan
And it doesn't take away the person's experience. If they are experiencing those things, right, then it's just, it sounds a little bit more like it's passing. Right? Like it's it, this is something happening. And we believe that everyone has the perfect blueprint of health inside of them. And we believe these things coming out in the physical plane are in symptoms are a sign that, you know, your body's screaming out, it needs a little needle, a little something extra. So a story or a metaphor that I like is for example, I'm a redhead, for anybody who can see the video, and I have fair skin. So if I go in the sun, I will burn right Dr. Alex not so much she can lay out there. So we all have, we all come with a certain genetic predisposition and a certain biochemistry and a certain, you know, way that we're coming into this world. And so I wouldn't expect to go into the sun and you know, never put on a hat or, and get a knockout burned. So sometimes we have a pre to dismiss disposition to leading towards lack of focus more often. So maybe that person needs to be aware that their surroundings are incredibly important, right? Like their connection to nature, their time alone, their disconnection from stressors is even more important, like for me as a redhead, protecting myself from the environmental. So it's not that you have or you don't have or Yeah, put in a box. It's that you, you may be in a position where your environments more important. And we like to reframe that.

Sarah
Yeah. You know, I was just speaking to Sarah solden, who is a leading therapist in our field of ADHD for women. And, you know, she's kind of come to the same conclusion, more or less. And she even said in our interview, the term ADHD, I mean, it doesn't even mean anything anymore. It she uses the term women who are prone to distractibility, because it's the same mindset of you are not that thing. It's not this this binary label ADHD or not ADHD, it's like you have a set of qualities. And you're, like you said, predisposed to certain things more than others. And that definitely, at least it feels a lot more livable. When you put it in those terms. You know, it's like, yeah, it's not a death sentence. It's not like you're doomed to suffer indefinitely. So

Megan
right, and then there's things that can be done, right. There's things that can be supported. And there's a process for that, and a way to understand, you know, what's underneath this? Because, you know, we think like looking at the physical health is very important, right? Like, how is your gut health? How is your hormone health? How is your brain chemistry? There's a lot that can be supported there. Yeah. And then the meantime, we're also working on the, what do I make? What am I making this mean about myself? Right? And have I decided that I've been given a label of ADHD? Have I decided that that means I am something different as a person, right? Or have I decided, like, actually, some of the most amazing CEOs, and really successful people have also been given this label, right, like Michael Phelps, and a lot of successful CEOs, because there's a lot of amazing ideas and energy and maybe this is my opinion. You know, there's just a lot of inputs from the world. We all just experience the world differently. So yes, once you find your environment, you can actually this could be this can be an is, I think, a superpower. It's the same way we talk about the female cycle, is we believe it's a superpower and it's not portrayed that way in the media, right? Because it's like, oh, it's the thing that's gonna stop you and slow you down. It's thing you have To work against, and I think the same thing happens with this diagnosis of like, now you have to work around it. What if you What if you could use it? What if you could work with it?

Sarah
Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of it is yes. And yes, you have these limitations or predispositions. And you can, I think the term they use an ADHD coaching a strength based, like strict, you know, let's take what what is going good for you and build on that. And it sounds like invoking a lot of positivity, it sounds like that, you know, this isn't one or the other, that that's really cool. And I, the more experts I speak to, I feel like, there's this consensus where we're all calling at different things, but I think we're all coming to the same conclusions. I'm sure you may feel that way, in your travels, but at least when I'm, you know, interviewing people, you know, I was even talking to my doctor the other day, a new doctor, and I was telling him about all these labels and things I've had all my life, and I expected him to respond. But really, he was getting down to the functional part. And as you're talking, I'm realizing that's what he was doing. He was focusing on the functional, as I was telling him my whole life story of labels and conditions and all this and he's like, okay, you know, let's get down to brass tacks and really see what's going on, you know, and so that's kind of, it's all coming together just talking to you.

Megan
I love that you say that, or because when you know, I, I'm a lover of functional lab work, and I'm a data nerd. And that's where I started. And the longer we do this, the further we get from, I mean, now I'm starting to see such common patterns, that usually the functional lab work is the way of holding it up in someone's face, saying, Hey, you know, all those things that you know, you know, your body is craving and you know, are out of balance, like, here they are, you're seeing them on paper, right? And that's the impetus to then say, Okay, I see my cortisol is through the roof, I see my serotonin, dopamine are all you know, completely inverted, right? So we see that ratio is switched. And I know norepinephrine. And epinephrine is another thing we test and very commonly, will be out of alignment with with ADHD, right. So yeah, we see this ratio switched. And and as the people are going back to the basics, and optimizing again, getting out of fight or flight is just yeah, everything writing some movements and nature, some clean water, some clean air, and then we'll have people say, you know, we off, we use supplements as well, right. And we had someone say, I didn't realize that, me reaching for my phone all the time was a part of this imbalance in my brain chemistry. I just thought that was me. And as she had been, you know, working through our protocol and program for three or four weeks, she just wasn't reaching for it. So I think that sometimes we say this is how I am. Yeah. And yes, this is how you are when your brain chemistry is the way it is. So yes, knowing that it comes back almost always to really the basic pillars of health. And for us, really 90% of that is actually work. And that's why I bring it back to the thoughts and the mindset is our beliefs around our health. What we've made it mean that we have, whatever situation we're in is usually where a lot of our women get stuck because now they're in the blame shame circle, another telling their brain every day. I'm not good enough. You know, I should be thinking clearer. I should get more done. I'm distracted. And and then their story around that becomes another distraction. Yeah. Right now, right now we've gone down that so if we can actually say, this is exactly how I am right now. And and we can want to be different and we can want to improve and we can want to feel more clear.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah.

Sarah
I love that you both meet you meet your clients where they are. I love that and and I love that you're encouraging your clients to meet themselves where they are like, that seems so key. And all of this is instead of aspiring to this thing up in the air, it's just like, meet yourself where you're at and acknowledge that you know, you're here. Okay, you know, you're gonna be alright. And that's got to be relaxing on some level. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, that's

Megan
great. Yeah, you're doing it and everybody's doing it.

Sarah
Yeah. So I think you mentioned this about the common struggles you see among your clients. Do you want to speak a little to that or do you feel like we covered it? Common struggles, you see, yeah, so

Megan
sure. We see a lot of women coming in. They find us because we talk about hormone health, right? That's a little flyness with maybe anxious thoughts. They're feeling depressed hormones are off. over the place, so maybe their cycles really messed up, we'll see, especially with the pandemic in the last year, people all of a sudden are completely missing periods, or they're having 40 day long periods, or all of a sudden they're having these headaches, you know, right before their cycle that they didn't used to have. We'll see. A lot of times people right in the middle of their cycle, they maybe aren't, if they're not tracking, they might not be aware that they are in the middle of their cycle, but around ovulation with the if they're experiencing excess estrogen, there's a huge release of histamine at the time. And this will be a really moody time or really anxious time, a less focus time. And because it's in the middle of a cycle, it's not often they're like, well, I'm nowhere near my period, that must not be that. And so this is something that a lot of women have been noticing in the last, especially in the last year, as the more stress we have, the less the signal to our ovaries to ovulate. And then we're having more estrogen, less progesterone and progesterone super calming to our brain. And we really love that to account you know, to balance out our estrogen. So that's when we're starting to feel just really on edge. Like if someone knocks on the door, you're jumping out of your chair, right? You just feel like you don't quite have that reserve. For me, it was extreme fatigue. After after I had my first baby extreme fatigue. And I started having panic attacks. It really comes in all forms some women are experiencing on their skin. Some are just like, I just know, I meant to do more arm just know that I could have more energy, and I just want to get a lot of clarity, and really just optimize this body that I'm in.

Sarah
Yeah. Well, it's interesting. You were talking about the history of being up? Do people get sniffles? Because of that? Is that one of the symptoms? Because I I just remember being pregnant and having a lot of sniffles in our room. And now it makes sense that it was probably hormonal that I was like sniffling all the time. But that was Yeah. Wow. It's crazy how that affects everything. I mean, literally everything. Everything, everything.

Megan
And a lot of things happen. Your immune system completely switches over during pregnancy so that you won't actually you know, get rid of the child. So yeah, there are immune related sitz shifts, a lot of women who have autoimmune conditions will feel way better during pregnancy. So there there is there is a big shift as well as the hormone levels. During that time, yeah.

Sarah
Well, that's awesome. Um, so I think you answered this, but I'll ask what is the top thing you recommend to ADHD women when it comes to how they're going to think about their health and their hormones? Particularly?

Megan
Yeah. So I would say one of the thing is, is that to just recognize, first of all, that we're living in a world with a lot of inputs. So they say, I don't know, the number seems to be rising. But if there's 11 million bits per second of information is coming into your brain while and we can only handle 126. So imagine if I take out 11 million toothpicks, and I throw them out, right? 11 million, and you can only pick up 126. That's what our brain is having to do all the time. It's having to choose which things Am I going to delete, Distort and generalize because it cannot handle all that. So it grabs the 126 that seem the most important. And then lets the rest go, and how we choose what's the most important is based on and this is where the thoughts and the beliefs come in, what we've been focused on what our beliefs are. So if you are believing, right now, nothing works for me, my health will never work. everything sucks. Like if you were in that thought pattern, then when these 11 million toothpicks are thrown out, you know, maybe 10 million of them were like rainbows and butterflies and great things, right? There were all these positive images, and you grab the 126 things that support your belief that things aren't working. So you're like, oh, there's a negative one. Oh, yeah, that seems about right. Oh, yeah. Me Up that person was mean to me, right. So we will choose to delete and distort things that don't support our belief. So combined with the increased level of input, I think we need to be really kind to ourselves to realize that we are also different and how we deal with these inputs. And I think creating a safe space. So I know, I don't know if you've ever had anybody come on and talk about nature Deficit Disorder. Sara, have you ever read the last child in the woods?

Sarah
No, but I've really interested in the nature's impact on ADHD. So

Megan
there's an amazing book called last child in the woods. I'll leave it at that because you know, there's a lot there, but that talks about the idea of nature Deficit Disorder, and some some Experts are seeing with children. It's same with adults, but Right, right. But there is this lack of connection to nature into our environment, and what will happen. And what I actually would suggest as like a take home tip for something people could do anytime right now is a physical thing. Because we like to help people physically get out of the stress mode, so that then they can go, you know, maybe choose a little bit better of a meal, and then that they can choose a little bit better thought, right. So it has to start somewhere. So when you're out in nature, you are in peripheral, right? When you're driving, Right you are, you can see, you can see right and left, like you can see all around you, right, you're very much zoomed out. Whereas when you're focused on a problem, you might not even see somebody walk by you here, right? Like when you have that narrow focus. So out in nature, you end up in peripheral. And so that's what we actually will have people do when they're feeling anxious out of control too many thoughts too much going on, overwhelm, actually have them choose a point up above their head. So if you were you would kind of look at a wall where the where the ceiling meets the wall, maybe even put a.up there so you can remember, and you're going to look. And then as you're looking up at the wall, you're actually you can use your own hands, but you're going to expand out your peripheral. So is there if you look up at the wall, you look and you kind of shake your hands to the right and left of you, you'll see there's a certain point where you can quote no longer see your hands if you kind of keep moving them back. Yeah, yeah. So as you keep doing it, you can actually expand this. And when you keep expanding, you'll what you'll notice if you do this later, when you're kind of not in the middle of a podcast, right? You'll probably feel you'll probably feel a sense of calm, I know I do. And so and you can kind of keep expanding and then you what the idea is when you bring your eyes back down, you stay in peripheral, you try to keep your awareness fully fully around you.

Unknown Speaker
Oh, wow.

Megan
They call this the learning state. It's a great thing to do when you're about to learn from somebody. It's kind of the hypnotic state. It's like the information is getting into your unconscious mind. And you can use this to calm yourself and then say, Okay, now now that I'm in that relaxed state, what's the one right, what's the one thing I want to do? Right? Because the overwhelm can come with just not really knowing where to focus, versus it's not that we can't do something. It's just what what is the most important? Right? So physical tip, I would say other takeaway is, if someone has done a lot of work to try to improve, prove their clarity and focus, I believe that the symptoms are just telling you that there's a little bit more that could use some help and some balance. So we really, really promote looking at your hormones and neurotransmitters and then the gut gut health would be the next top line for anything related to focus, because gut help directly implies what we're making with our neurotransmitters. So if someone hasn't gone down kind of the functional, functional rabbit hole or functional testing, getting the basics so that they can support themselves. And we also say kind of, it's not that we're going to keep going and looking and looking for problems, right? So we get some basic information. And then we're like, how can we actually optimize that in our life? Because sometimes, the functional lab work can become a process of Oh, I need to find what else is wrong? Yeah. So right, we're taking that and using it, how am I going to change this in my life? In my lifestyle, I'm going to get into nature, I'm going to walk more I'm going to maybe meditation, sitting quietly is not something I can do yet. Maybe it's a walking meditation. But how can I get back more in touch with that what we believe is this that innate knowing inside of you, that will help you just feel so much more, so much better.

Sarah
I love it. So our listeners if you're like me right now, and you're just chomping at the bit to just hear more about the stuff that Meghan's talking about Meghan, where can we find you on the internet? And I know you have a podcast I want to hear all about.

Megan
Yeah, yeah. So we have the four phase psycho podcast with zesty ginger. So any podcast player, you'll be able to find us for that. Instagram is one of our most interest Well, I guess tik tok today, but Instagram right now is probably our most interactive, I'm not sure when this is gonna go live. But we do have a free training series coming up soon. The recordings will probably still be there if it's after that. Awesome. So that's at zesty underscore ginger. And then we just recently added a text update because we have people saying, you know, I would like to know when you go live and they don't want to read their email and they don't want to be on social media all the time, because that is something we really help people create boundaries around but they do want to know when we're actually live so I can share that information with Have you are you, you can just text 75776750530 text Hi, and then you'll be on our our text list.

Sarah
So cool. So cool, Megan. Well, thank you so much for being on the show. It was wonderful to meet you. And I just, I'm really excited for our listeners to hear this episode. Oh, thank you very much. Take care. Thank

Megan
you so much.

Sarah
Okay. Bye bye.

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