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Sept. 26, 2021

Mental & Hormonal Health with Sarah Kurtanich

Mental & Hormonal Health with Sarah Kurtanich

Sarah Kurtanich is a Period Educator and Health Coach who's on a mission to help people with periods ditch PMS, become an expert in THEIR cycle and optimize their hormonal health. A reproductive health scare in her early-20s led her to discover the concept of cycle syncing and she began practicing what she likes to call Flow Care, or a way of tending to yourself with your magical monthly cycle in mind. It incorporates whole foods, cyclical movement, moon wisdom and fertility awareness among other concepts. It's a practice that has helped Sarah through many stages of life over the past decade and it's now what she works with clients to incorporate into their own lives. Sarah is a wife, mother, golden retriever enthusiast, loves to sing, and will always order coconut shrimp if she sees it on a menu.

Guests Social Media Links:


Sarah’s Podcast “The Mustache Mesa” 

Gifts from Sarah:

The Menstrual Meal Prep Guide

1:1 Call with Sarah BOOK HERE 

Book Mentioned in episode: Wild Power by Alisa Vitti (author)

Don't forget to meet me here each and every Monday for a brand new episode with guest and experts along the way. Thank you so much for listening each week. I know that it takes a community to begin the change we want to see in the world surrounding mental health.

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 Hello everyone. Today's guest is a period educator, a health coach, and she helps people. Ditch PMs become an expert in their cycle. Eat, move, and flow for healthy hormones. Let me welcome Sarah to crystal ball. Clarity of it all. Hi, Sarah. Welcome.
Thank you. Hello? 
I am so glad to have you on. We all know I've struggled a lot with infertility and I've lost three children, which honestly was the reason I started this podcast. It was really to find my voice again, but hormones and being a lab rat was two years of my life. I'll never get back. And a period there's so much about a period.
I still sit here today and do not know. And people like you, we love to have, because you educate us in so many different ways, more than any medical professional that I've ever dealt with has ever given me insight. Like you bring to women, especially on clubhouse in your coaching, which is amazing. So I had to have you on, because this is all about getting clarity, which means I'm asking you the question.
What does clarity mean to you?
Clarity for me. Means it means I'm listening to myself. It means when my head, my heart and my gut are all screaming. The same thing. That's clearly what I'm supposed to be doing. And in the sense of my journey, it got to the point where my head, my heart and my gut were screaming. you?
should probably stop taking the pill and find a better way to deal with your periods.
And what's going on for you reproductively. Yeah. that's, that's kind of that's, that's how I that's like the very short version of how I got to where I am. Now. I can elaborate if you want me to.
Yeah. Where are you at now? I mean, you're coaching on all of them.
I am. So, gosh, I have to do quick math. This is more than, you know, I started taking the pill at 16. I had horrible cramps, terrible hormonal acne. And I say this all the time. Like my mom, what it is still to this day is a very health conscious person, like was in a food. Co-op when I was kid. I knew what soy milk and fruit leather was before.
It was cool. They're way better now, way better now.  But she didn't know.  You know, I got my period at 10, it was Really.
early, was the first person. Fifth grade class, fourth grade class. And the only reason I didn't think I was dying is because, you know, think the universe is the school system.
I went to an elementary school, they started teaching health, you know, that kind of health in the fourth grade.  But some people don't learn it until much later, which is that's a topic for another day.  And it was just never comfortable for me. And by the time I was 16, I was so sick of being bedridden with cramps and having this hormonal acne.
And, you know, my mom offered me some, some Chinese herbs that did not chase good. And at 16, you know, everything. So I basically said, no, I want you to take me to the nurse practitioner. And I,  wanna take the pill like. You know, all of the information points you towards. And so I took it, it  always made me a little bit more of a crazy person.
Like I'm an animated, energetic  introvert.  I am an introvert, but I'm like, I can perform, like, I like getting out there and some people, you know, be like, shoot a little, like out there, but it made me like the bad kind of out there, like just.  Bitch, for lack of a better term. I don't know if I can curse, but I just did.
 And it ultimately got to the point where I couldn't find like the one that worked it literally just made me  not be able to handle my own emotions. It was like the cause of a very long-term relationship. I've I have to believe that at this point, what the pill did to my brain made this person.
You know, an old boyfriend probably fall out of love with me because I was just that much, not myself while I was on the pill. And so I stopped taking it. The pain came back and I was like, I still don't know a better answer. So I started taking it again and I met my now husband and it was still a little, you know, early on.
So I was like, I'm just going to keep taking it. But then I had fall a few, too many abnormal pap smears  and it led to some more invasive testing.  And basically they were like, well, this testing could affect your future fertility. Like if it doesn't get better, It's going to get worse. You have a 50, 50 chance of it just healing on its own, but we need to do all this testing and we need to keep tabs on it.
And I'm an anxious person by nature. And I wasn't even sure I wanted to have kids, but them telling me that this might have an effect on that freaked me the F out. So my nurse practitioner at the time actually made a recommendation. Just like kind of offhand, like, well, you know what, try adding some more cruciferous vegetables to your diet, like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, like that can kind of help.
That was really all she told me. And I'm like, well, I trust you. You're my medical professional. I can do that. But I started looking into the Y. And that was the, the tip of my falling into the rabbit hole. So to speak. That was my first moment of clarity was discovering this world of cycle sinking. And how foods can affect your hormones, how you can track your fertility without the pill, and actually know the days that you're most likely fertile.
So you don't need hormonal birth control. You can just keep tabs on it and use an alternate method of contraception, like a barrier method  and all of these ways. You know, these things were not taught in health class. So the day I got married, I told my husband, the day we get married, I'm going to stop taking the pill.
Not that we were trying to get pregnant, but I knew how to not get pregnant. And so I've been practicing, you know, fertility awareness for more than seven years now. I've been on this cycle sinking journey for more than 10 years now.  And that's, you know, we didn't get pregnant till we wanted to get pregnant.
And I mean, because I'm confident that because I was practicing all of these things, I was adding in these, you know, fertility foods  you know, there's more to it than that. There's genetics and environmental factors, but I was doing the best that I could and we had a successful pregnancy,  and I'd say that.
You know, some hesitation, cause I know it's sensitive.   But I share that because there is information out there that we aren't being told. And I don't know if it's just because it's too complicated. I don't know if it's just, you know, being pushed under the rug, but I don't remember learning anything about the four phases of my menstrual cycle in health class, any of the health classes I took in public education.
 And so, you know, I have a daughter now and I'm determined that she knows this stuff. I'm determined that all the people, you know  who people with periods now who are, you know, her age older, like everyone, they just deserve to understand what's going on in their body. They deserve to have informed choice, you know, about what they're doing and not just continuously being prescribed.
A medication that stops a natural process in their body.  I'm not here to like, make anybody feel bad for taking the pill, but you're not told all the information about it. I wasn't told any of the side effects, potential side effects of it. She wrote me a prescription and it was super easy to get that was it.
And if you have any sort of, yeah. Do you have any sort of pain or any sort of issue? Most of the time, the answer is we'll just take the pill and it'll say. It doesn't fix anything. It literally just prevents you from obviating and you have a withdrawal bleed because the hormone stopped for a week. You know, your period in the, in the grand scheme of your body, you don't need your period to survive.
You, you don't, if you were in a, an extremely stressful situation, your body's resources would go elsewhere and your period would stop. And like that's, that's what happens with people. But for you to be at your healthiest. If you have those parts, you should be obviating and you should be having a period because that's what your body expects to happen.
And there are things that happen that are for your ultimate benefit. You know, the estrogen that you get every month is good for your cardiovascular health. The progesterone you get every month is good for your bones and your brain, and it's actually calming for your system,
I would have never known 
but nobody tells us that that, and I was, I, 
because I was told I have lower progesterone and it makes sense because it honestly was like  probably a 30, once I hit 30, I felt like me or my periods, I would go a little crazy psycho, like a little, you know, little, a little bit more than I ever had. Before, but if that's supposed to be calming and it's super low C I would have never known that.
And when you bring up health class, I'm glad that you had it in fourth grade. I only remember them telling us like how to cleanse our body, like with a washcloth. Yes. This is what I remember. And then cooking. Like it was also like a cooking class. 
So we would go to the other side and make like we would make cookies or something.
And like, it was a twofer, I guess.  Hm. Now looking back, I, I get it and I too started when I was 10. Ironically, I. It was extremely heavy. My mom had to take me into the hospital cause I went for about 18 days straight, very heavy. And you know, 10, you're not using tampons and yeah, it was, it was a pretty scary time because I didn't understand what's going on and I've always suffered from the heavy cramps, but it wasn't until, oh gosh, I took.
Birth control religiously because you know, that's what a girl, good girl does. That's what everyone tells you that you have to do, because it would be your fault to get pregnant. 
Oh yeah. 
know, not, not anyone else, but your fault that you would get pregnant. And I was so scared of being a single mother. You know, not coming from money or anything like that, or a support system.
So I made sure I took that pill. I remember the alarm still being on an old phone that would go off and I'd be like, oh, there's the pill alarm. So. All of that, you know, and then to be here knowing I tried so hard not to have a kid and to deal with so many hormones, like I deal with more hormones now, I feel like, than I did when I was younger so much  I see it like the hormonal acne and I'm like, I'm in my thirties, I should be getting acne.
So this is very eye-opening that. A lot more information. So where are you going to get your information or did you just do, like you said, rabbit hole, you went to Google. Was there any like.
there are, there are a ton of books out there.  My mom gave me one. That was like, and it's, and it's not, it's not really a new thing that people are talking about. This it's just that, you know, the, the medical industrial complex is very much, you gotta go to medical school, you gotta do all this stuff.
And this is the only person you can get your information from. Look, my husband's a pharmacist. I fully believe in Western medicine. And I fully believe in, we need doctors who can like take care of us in emergencies, like timing. But they're overwhelmed. They, you know, they're just, there has to be like an in-between.
 And again, like my nurse practitioner, wasn't telling me this stuff, she told me it's a more broccoli, which was a great recommendation. And luckily being the person that I am, I wanted to know more and I went and looked it up. So, you know, I've read it.  But right now, most of my, at least my period education information is  coming from is an organization called fem stands for fertility education and medical management.
And they offer  teaching certification as well as certificate or education for medical professionals who like we can all work together.  And help people from a more functional standpoint.  So I'm, I'm, I can teach you how to physically chart your period and help give you some insight as to what it's telling you.
And if it's telling you something not so great, I ha can help you find the right person to talk to who can do the right sorts of testing, who will be supportive of giving you the right kinds of testing. And helping you develop a protocol that's going to, you know, actually help you heal what's going on, not just prescribing you hormonal birth control and cover up what's happening for you to then, you know, stop taking it five or six years later.
And the same symptoms come back or maybe even be worse. So, yeah, so that's, and I'm a trained health coach, so that's kind of how I put it together where people will come to me, like.
maybe they're experiencing hormonal acne or they know they have endometriosis or PCLs, but they're like, I'm overwhelmed.
There's so many things my doctor says I need to do. Okay.
Well, let's track your periods so we can see what's, you know, as you make these changes or is anything getting better and that way, so again, you know, what's going on in your body. 'cause you know, your body best. So it's really important that you understand what it means like when you're having a period, what it means if you're having heavier medium days, what your cervical mucus means throughout the process  and what it will look like.
So you understand if you're actually obviating or not, cause your periods, the report. You know, your period is the report card for all of the hormonal to activity that happens before it. You all like not because you're trying to get pregnant, but because that is how the process was designed, biologically, you, you want to ovulate that action has to occur for the rest of it to occur in a, you know, healthy, comfortable way.
So the, the education part of it is really important. And then the health coaching comes in where you're like, I need some recipe ideas. I need someone to hold me accountable.  I am a subject matter expert at this point. So I just know a lot more about this and I can point you in the right direction  and help you with that overwhelm because it's so easy to get overwhelmed.
And that's like, I think 99% of the reason that people don't. You know, one get help or to start to make the shifts that they know. Like you talk about that moment of clarity. It would, it's what holds them back. 
Yes, I have to say, we were in that beginning stage of trying to, again, like it was again, so, you know, like nails on a chalkboard. And when I got there, you know, he did what he had to do and he lays out this piece of paper and he says, I need to go to this class.
And this was the first time ever. Ever been told, I need to go to a class for the periods and that there was a tracking system, I'd be with a nurse practitioner and they would walk through. And I believe it was like a three-month process. Unfortunately, I ended up moving, so I never ended up getting to do the program.
But it was the first time that a doctor said, Hey, get educated on this because it will help us both. Like, if you know that I know, and he goes, and you also don't have to sit there and like track it kind of like all Willy nilly through an app. Like you will actually know your body and we can understand what's happening because I'm someone who feels like a truck ran over.
 Like I, I call it a tube, like all the way around, like my stuff. Like lower back. Oh my goodness. I sleep with a heating pad. That's how bad it is. So there's a lot of things that obviously, I don't know, but when I go instantly, they're like, well, you're a plus size. So instantly it's the weight, but they don't understand that if it comes a lot more than just that, like, yes, it's also PCLs and they're aware of weight gain through all of those things, but there's the mental health aspect too.
And I feel like that is where doctors are also overwhelmed and I wish that there were coaches like you, that was a part of the industry that you were there to help as well to take this off. Hey, this is the case where you can just step in. Or even just like a referral program. Hey, here's a list of coaches that can help you get to this step.
I want to see you in three months, I would have loved to know that there was coaches on this. I honestly only thought you hired a coach for like your life, your money, like your finances, never once did I think when it came to hormones or through like IVF, like I've met an IVF coach, I've only met one my entire life.
But to walk through this and to have someone say, Hey, I went through the exact same thing, but I got sick of it. Now you have a decade of information, which is more than most doctors coming into the OB GYN world and giving us lack thereof, medical advice. But if we knew our options, I think we'd be in better places, especially physically.
Emotionally, all that stuff, feel the support and not have to deal with things when we're older, when we're 1450 that we could have been doing now. And that, that blows my mind. So when you, when people come to you, what do you think is the biggest struggle? Is it the commitment to the coaching? Do you think people go through the tracking system and that's fine, or do you think it's the eating because of.
The possible mental health.
That's a really good question.  I mean recently the biggest thing I've seen people kind of converse and ask me questions about is like, well, isn't it supposed to kind of hurt? Isn't it a little pain. Okay. 
So is it, I was going to ask, is it because I'm used to, like I told you a punch in the gut.
Yeah.  I usually tell people, I get like a little bit of a woo me feeling. It feels kind of warm and there's like a slight amount of pressure.  There's no pain and there used to be pain. Like I used to spend at least a day, maybe two lying in bed because I was like, I can't function. This hurts.  No.
It's not really supposed to hurt. Like you can feel it because your body is doing something it's doing work.  But no, it's not, it's not really supposed to hurt. And that's where I, you know, like I get it like, and that's what we've been told our whole lives. So you're probably going to have cramps. You just need to struggle through it.
I'm like, well, One, no cramps and PMs are common. They're not normal. It's your body talking to you saying that something needs to shift. We don't live in a world. That's designed for people with periods. We live in a world that was designed by old white. Like the 40 hour work week and all that stuff is designed for a person who has a straight up regular circadian rhythm.
We have a whole extra clock that we're dealing with.  Alyssa Viddy was, I think woman code was my first, you know, the first book I read about this and in her second book, she  it was the first time I'd ever heard someone use the term in fraidy and clock. And that's the monthly cycle that we also. Have acting in our body.  You know, in addition to the circadian rhythm  and as a coach, that's something I'm going to kind of, you know, push really hard that you can not do the same thing. Every. You can't, you're not supposed to. I like, I totally like agree with those memes that are like anything you can do.
I can do bleeding. Yeah, I can. But I choose not to, because it's better for my health. You know, when I can, real life happens. And again, the world wasn't designed for people with periods, the world we live in now.  But there are things you can do to kind of adjust your life a little bit to. You know, optimize what your hormones are doing, how you're most likely going to be feeling in each part of your cycle.
 And, and this is, I think we talked about this before, communicating what's going on in your body, so that those around you, those that care for you can support, you know, your optimal. 
Yes. Even if you have to get some sort of octopus, is 
Yes, we did. We talked 
That's what it 
stuffed animal with the feelings with the happier this ad. Yeah.  Yeah, I was going to say with feeling the pain, just the pain alone, not including like all the hormonal stuff, just the pain alone puts me on that edge. It like takes me there. So anything extra that someone, you know, Maybe could have gone a little bit more out of their way to make sure it didn't happen to me.
I'm like, Ooh. I was like, I got to go put myself to bed. I got to go relax. I got to figure out that time for me. And I know it's coming. So usually I'm like waving the red 
Yes. Waving the.
red flag. Yup. 
Like, ah, it's coming. I'm like aunt flow, just send an invitation. That's usually, you know, just jokingly what I'll say to my husband so that he knows. 
So it's not like I've known this throughout my process. And I think that girl. Meet you. I think women and moms need you because we just don't have all of this information and don't even know where to start. We just think that we're following, oh, we gotta be on the pill. We got to do what everyone else is doing.
Right. And then we'll be on a commercial in 10 years. Yeah. You know, I'm right.
Yeah. Yeah. 
I literally have seen my old birth control.
We were we, my husband and I were watching, we were watching  into the shadows, which is a funny  vampire mockumentary. They was like a movie they made years ago, but the people who made the movie produce like DBJ, it's very silly. And we were watching it on Hulu last night, just Washington and reruns and seriously, every single commercial.
There was like the birth control ad. And my husband's just watching me. Cause I'm sitting there like this, like you can't see my face right now, but I'm making like squinty eyes. Like why are they showing this to me? Like, do they hear me talking to you about my period all the time? And they think I have a bad period.
Cause then they're the listening box. They're not doing a good job. They're not doing a good job. 
I was going to say, do you have an Alexa or Google they're listening, your iPhone 
the iPhone, but they're so, I mean, this is like the first time where it's like, this is way off. Like no one in this house wants anything to do with birth control, nobody. So I 
They're just trying to push it.
stop it.
Or they're just like, poking me. I was just like, stop it,
I wish you could pick the ads that 
Well, that's what my husband was saying.
He's like, I feel like there should be more interactive and we could see.
We don't like this, like, cause it kept showing it the same too. It just, it, and I was like, oh my 
telecom affinity, YouTube. Get with Xfinity. Let us choose our ads. 
come on Hulu. Like, 
Right. See, I literally, after we're done talking right now, it's going to show up 
Oh yeah. It totally 
a hundred and like a hundred times. I'm 
Hopefully instead of birth control, it'll just be what we do in the shadows. Cause that's way better. 
Yes. Like  give me this flow care cookbook. I wanna, I want to have it, 
Yeah, hopefully the plan is that pretty soon there will be a, like a summer update to the flow care cookbook.  And if you have purchased the original, you get the, any updates in the future, you know, for free, once you're in the club, you're in the clubs. So. 
Oh, wow. So you have a whole summer thing coming out. See, I felt like I quickly manifested it and didn't know that it was going to happen.
Yeah. So, yeah, so I mean, the recipes in the flow care E cookbook are a great, you know, basic set of recipes. Like add these in, there are a few like full meal plan ideas in there. I break down each phase of your cycle more from like an energetic standpoint and just the basics.  And of course, if you, you know, we really want to get into.
We can talk about  you know, fertility education and that, that charting education.  But it's just a really good starter piece if you want to start eating for your cycle.  Because there are basically, I mean, eating  you know, lots of fruits and vegetables, clean proteins, healthy fats  solid carbohydrates, like  it's you need all of the food groups, you need all of the things and.
You know, if you include all of those things in your diet, your body's going to be able to do what it needs to do.  But there are certain foods, you know, with different nutrition profiles that you can add in at certain points of the month to just help your body do what it's supposed to do. And especially if you're coming from like a, I'm trying to get my body back into hormonal equilibrium, so to speak.
So all of the ebbs and flows are happening in tandem.  You know, kind of adding some of those things and can really help. But yeah, I mean, eating for your cycle is very much, it's an very like anti diet. This is not a diet. You need to eat carbs. Stop it. Stop telling people to go on the keto diet, stop telling women who have  you know, female reproductive parts, stop telling them to inner fast.
It's not good for your hormones. It might last, it might work and like the short-term, but it's just going to Jack up your metabolism and none of the studies have been done on people with periods. Most of the diets out there haven't been studied on people with periods because we're too complicated. 
Oh, All that.
Yeah. That's just medical bias. Again, a topic for another day.
Yeah. I mean, we could go on about the medical 
Yeah. Yeah. And again, like they're not, it's not all bad. It's just, they've been doing it one way for so long that now it's like, it's hard to ship. You know, again, like I don't like, this is not me, like bad mouthing doctors or, or like saying don't go to your doctor. No, go to your doctor, get regular tested, get regular checkups.
That is all super important. But if you have extra questions, Where you aren't getting the answers you want. My thing is, is just know that there is reliable help who wants to work with your doctor to make sure you're getting, you know, full spectrum care. That's what I always tell my clients. Like I'm very much the, the full team approach here.
You know, one person isn't going to be able to do everything to keep everybody healthy. 
Thank you. Yes. on the last podcast, we need at least five doctors because I don't want to sit here and worry about a second opinion. I want them to all work together and be cohesive for me and my care instead of finding out, oh, well, five years ago, such and such should have done blah, blah, blah. And then I'm left, literally dealing with the repercussions of someone's decision.
And so. You know, almost like too many ag, too many eggs in one basket sort of thing. So I think having a team and being aware, being knowledgeable, if you don't have time to put  your own plan together, then it's time to hire a coach. That's going to have this plan already set in stone.
Sarah has done it for 10 years. 
So I want to know what is happening next for you. We have the summer cookbook additions coming, and everyone's going to go over to your link and get your cookbook because that is the first place to start.
Yeah, start.
cooking. And if you have questions about cooking  that's where I am. I have openings right now, starting in July for one-on-one  clients. So, and that looks like we'll start tracking your cycle. We'll get really good at that. You know, we'll go over all of the, you know, stuff you may have forgotten from health class and then all of the stuff that they don't talk about.
And then, you know, put a plan in place and help you slowly start to add in some of these, you know, lifestyle shifts  to get you to a place where, you know, what's going on in your body, you know, how to support it. And hopefully, ultimately the goal is a better period.  But that's why in my bio, it's like, I help people become an expert in their cycle.
Because just like everything else everybody's it's about bio-individuality and that's why I really like working with people one-on-one because everybody's situation is different.  And so that's, that's the best way to work with me right Now, is to book a one-on-one just free con consultation call.
We'll see what's going on for you. If I'm the right fit. If I'm not, I'm going to point you in the right direction. I don't want anybody to continue down the suffering path.  Yeah. So yeah, you can check out the cookbook.  You know, if you get that you're on the email list, you'll know when your summer update is available or you can book a consult call or follow me on Instagram.
That's those are the best three places to hang out with me.
Now, what is your  username? What is your username over an Instagram?
it's my name. It's at Sarah . So S a R a H K U R T N I C H.  Because nobody can pronounce my last name. 
Well, everyone, please go follow Sarah and you need that cookbook. I'm staring at the photo right now and 
salmon recipe that's on there is delicious. Like just say it 
I I'm like, Hmm. Okay. So why I hustled the recipe from her, go like subscribe, buy that cookbook.
And she has so many things going on. So stay up to date with her and schedule that call. Most importantly, I will see you next Monday where a new guest takes the stage. So push the buttons and do the things, and I will see you next week. Goodbye.