Becoming Your Own Advocate So You Can Thrive Through Midlife and Menopause

Have you ever told your doctor you’re struggling to feel well, only to hear, “Well, you’re getting older…”? You’re not alone.

This is such a common experience—and it happens to doctors, too, including my guest, Dr. Taz Bhatia. In this episode, she reveals her own experience with medical gaslighting, how it changed her approach to practicing medicine, and what you can do if it happens to you.

We discuss how you can advocate for yourself and your well-being, from understanding how your hormones are shifting and the effects that has on your life to finding a doctor who will collaborate with you and work to optimize your physiology. We also cover sneaky culprits that could be taking a toll on your health, what your labs aren’t telling you, and how to make menopause a time to rise into your power.


00:03:06 – What led Dr. Taz Bhatia from being an ER doctor to taking a more holistic approach
00:09:07 – How can a person start to educate themselves?
00:12:53 – How can a patient guide their doctor to help them better?
00:16:37 – A sneaky culprit in our health problems
00:17:59 – Warning signs you’re shifting into a stress state
00:20:30 – What does the shift into perimenopause look like?
00:23:43 – Things you can address before trying hormones
00:27:00 – What do we learn from labs & symptoms?
00:29:31 – Understanding the shift into menopause
00:33:18 – Here’s what I think is different in the Blue Zones
00:36:16 – Is it normal to not feel your best?

Freebies From Today’s Episode (REMOVE IF NOT AN INTERVIEW EP)
Get Dr. Taz's Ultimate Hormone Guide

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Learn how foods cause leaky gut in The Virgin Diet

Read my book, The Sugar Impact Diet

Subscribe to my podcast

Learn more about Dr. Taz Bhatia

Read The Hormone Shift

Listen to Dr. Bhatia’s podcast, Super Woman Wellness


Theia Health Continuous Glucose Monitor

Oura Ring

Reignite Wellness™ B Complete

Reignite Wellness™ Magnesium Body Calm

Reignite Wellness™ All-In-One Shakes

Study: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging

Learn more about Blue Zones

Click Here To Read Transcript

ATHE_Transcript_Ep 625_Dr. Taz Bhatia
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] I'm JJ Virgin, PhD dropout, sorry mom, turned four time New York Times best selling author. Yes, I'm a certified nutrition specialist, fitness hall of famer, and I speak at health conferences and trainings around the globe, but I'm driven by my insatiable curiosity and love of science to keep asking questions, digging for answers, and sharing the information I uncover with as many people as I can.
And that's why I created the Well Beyond 40 podcast. To synthesize and simplify the science of health into actionable strategies to help you thrive. In each episode, we'll talk about what's working in the world of wellness, from personalized nutrition and healing your metabolism to healthy aging and prescriptive fitness.
Join me on the journey to better health so you can love how you look and feel right now and have the energy to play full out at 100.
I am so excited about [00:01:00] the concept that I'm about to share with you from the book, The Hormone Shift by Dr. Taz Bhatia. I'm going to bring her on and we're going to walk through two phases of life and how she talks about them, how she names them, and really where women are moving upwards to what we should aspire to and how we can work with our physiology to do that.
So you're going to hear Dr. Taz's story about You know, how she got into all of this, how we can easily get gaslit in medicine and how to avoid that. And she walks through how to do that again in her book. Let me tell you a little bit about her before I bring her on. She is a board certified integrative medicine physician, wellness expert, and the founder of CenterSpringMD.
By the way, at CenterSpringMD They have literally treated now over 40, 000 people. She has written What Doctors Eat, The 21 Day Belly Fix, and Superwoman RX. We'll be talking more about [00:02:00] Superwoman and Commanders soon. Just throwing that out there. She integrates Eastern medical wisdom with modern science.
And she also has created this unique power type discovery. And because of that, she's been on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN. She even had her own public television show, Superwoman. Rx. She also has the Superwoman Wellness Podcast. And again, her new book is The Hormone Shift, and we will have her hormone guide free for all of you, along with some other links to her podcast, her book, a guide you can get with her book.
All you need to do is go to and I will be right back with her. So stay with me.
Dr. Taz, welcome. I guess welcome back. I think you've been on before. I'm glad you're back and sharing your information. And you know, I think your journey is so important [00:03:00] because I shudder to say this, but I think that it's probably true that, that it's a journey that a lot of women have experienced. So what I would love to dig into is how you got into this as a doctor, what your own health struggles were and what happened because of it.
Dr. Taz Bhatia: I always talk about, you know, my place in medicine right now as an integrative and holistic medical doctor as a complete accident. I was your gung ho ER ICU type physician and really thought that's the space I would be in. But having gone through residency, you know, medical school, then starting an ER job, flip flopping night and day, and not really knowing how to take care of myself, you know, I was a child of the 80s, so Diet Coke and popcorn were healthy and You know, all those different things that we grew up with, you know, I loved those days though.
I know, right? So my health started to go down, but it went down very subtly. It's not like it was super obvious and you realize it, but it was really slow and really subtle. [00:04:00] Things like acne started to show up. I started to lose hair. I started to have joint pain and joint swelling. I gained weight. And all of this is happening over the course of a few years until the people around me were starting to notice and make comments, right?
Like that's how checked out I was, but they were like, are you okay? Something's not right. Even patients in the ER, they would like be like, girl, you picked up weight, you know, and I'm like, what? So finally. My mom and now my husband kind of shook me and they're like, something's different, something's wrong, you need to go get checked out.
So that journey of getting checked out, and going from your primary care to like six different specialists, being told essentially at each of those visits that I was distressed, or I was anxious, or I wasn't sleeping enough, and you know, all of that was like, okay, I know. And then being offered anxiety medications, depression medications.
And not really getting to the bottom of what was happening with me. And I think my last stop on that journey, which by the way, takes a while, right? When you're working, it took me about 18 months to get through all these [00:05:00] different visits. And the last stop was with a hair loss specialist who took a look at me and was like, Hey, take this.
It was a medication. He goes, if you don't, you know, I was 28 at the time. He goes, you're going to be bald by the time you're 30. And so at that point, I'm just fatigued and I'm tired of it. And so I didn't question, I took the medicine, didn't look at the side effects and on a particular morning, pop the medicine, went off to the gym, did a big workout.
Got back out. And in that span of time, my blood pressure bottomed out. So I'm in my car driving, I already have low blood pressure. One of the side effects of this medicine is to lower blood pressure. And I bottom out, I pass out and end up wrecking my car. And so unfortunately, it took that extreme incident.
For me to be like, I got to figure this out. This is not working. And so I just went digging and I found, you know, this is over 20 years ago. So we didn't have Google to the extent that we have it now. So somehow found the American board of holistic medicine took a weekend course and was just like, Oh my [00:06:00] God, I didn't even know all this stuff existed.
You know, somehow stumbled into the world of Chinese medicine, and those guys really helped me. They helped me heal to the point that I became an acupuncturist, I'm a licensed acupuncturist. Became a certified nutritionist as well because I learned about food, which we ironically didn't learn about in med school.
So the importance of food and food is medicine. And so I'm putting these pieces together. And I'm healing myself. I'm starting to get better. And the crux of all of it was a hormone story. Really. It was that I had a thyroid issue, my thyroid had crashed, I have PCOS, and all of that was being driven by the flip flopping of night and days that my job demanded, and by a very unhealthy gut.
We have gluten intolerance, which is, now we understand, rampant throughout the entire family, different versions of celiac. And so, as I put those pieces together, I got better. And it took a year, it took probably two years actually for me to really get better. So this is a three or four year journey and everybody around me is wanting to know [00:07:00] what I did.
And so that was the impetus really to start a practice. I did the fellowship in integrative medicine with Andy Weil and you know, my husband forced me to start. He goes, you got all this information, just share it with people. And we didn't really expect what happened next. We pretty much got slammed and I'm sitting here now with you.
We're going to celebrate our 15th anniversary this year. And we've seen collectively as a team over 40, 000 patients. And I'm really sad to tell you that the story hasn't changed. People still go into these exam rooms, they present with different symptoms, women are still told that they're getting old, or it's in their head, or this is a normal part of aging, you know, we don't need to check your hormones, hormones have nothing to do with X, Y, or Z, and it's still what people are hearing, the same things that I heard over 20 years ago.
And so, you know, I just really realized that if we're going to start moving medicine forward, which you do and so many people do nowadays, we've got to put the information [00:08:00] in everyone's hands so that we help make them advocates for their own health. And so my latest book, The Hormone Shift, is an attempt to do that, to really do a brain dump of what I've seen in the exam room and how I really want all women to understand this.
It's not just about Getting pregnant or going into menopause, it's about every age and every stage and how critical it is for us to understand this very important piece of our health.
JJ Virgin: Yeah. Because you look at it and go, if you could have this happen to you with all of your training and background. 18 months of going place to place.
And you look at the average person without any medical background, going to a doctor, being told, this is normal, just aging. You know, I think of these different things. It's normal. It's just aging. It's just whatever it is. I mean, there's a lot of work to be done to have people understand that it's not normal and it's not in your head.
And you know, what would you say? And I know the book, which I have [00:09:00] right here. And I went through, which is fantastic. You did a great job and I love some of the names that you use, which I want to talk about, the command, et cetera. But how does one start to inform themselves because that's really what needs to happen here is the doctor has to be off the pedestal, has to become a partner.
The person needs to walk in as informed as possible, but also with a history that they can share as much as possible as well. And I think, you know, know that if that doctor is not interested in listening to those things, that that doctor is not their doctor, right?
Dr. Taz Bhatia: Definitely. Definitely. And I, and I've been saying this a lot because It's not so much everyone's like, do I need to go to a hormone specialist?
What type of doctor do I need to go to? And my answer back is you go to the doctor that can be collaborative and be your partner in this journey. And sometimes that's a general practitioner. Sometimes it's a GYN. Sometimes it's a functional medicine or integrative doctor. But I'm not even so picky about which doctor, they just need to be collaborative.
[00:10:00] And I think if you're sitting and listening and you feel like you've been on this journey that I'm describing, the first part is to really understand your own body. And I think so many of us live outside of our bodies and not in them. I was guilty of that as well. And by being in your body and paying attention to changes in your mood, changes in energy, changes in your weight, what is your cycle doing?
Or have you lost a cycle? You know, are you in pain? Like really having like a heart to heart with yourself, you know, and understanding what your body's doing is really the first step. And that's not just for your self awareness and self education, it's also so you can articulate effectively when you enter a medical experience, right?
Saying I don't feel well is very vague, but saying I'm a high energy person, now I can't get out of bed, that's a very definite change. Or my weight is usually here, now I'm 20 pounds heavier within three weeks, what just happened? These are tactical, tangible changes. So I [00:11:00] think the more we can understand what's going on with us, the better.
I think secondly, the good news of today, which wasn't there in my time, in my early time when I was sick, is that there's such an ability to be able to take ownership by checking your hormones or checking your levels and getting data and testing. And when you arm your symptoms with data and you're able to narrow that gap.
Well, you make it easier for the medical provider sitting in front of you, but you also realize that you're not crazy, right? Like really these things are off, you know? So I think those two things are things that I would challenge everybody honestly to do to really understand themselves and have a good picture of who they are and what their health looks like so that they can catch the shifts and changes when they happen.
JJ Virgin: know, it's interesting that you were saying this and it, it actually just came up. I was listening to a podcast. Where the podcast host said, yeah, you should go, you know, see an [00:12:00] endocrinologist if you're concerned about, I think it was like a thyroid issue or something like that. And I was thinking back to one of my girlfriends who was an endocrinologist and a thyroid fellow who got in trouble for prescribing bio identical hormones because it was supposedly out of her scope.
And then you look at it and go. Why would hormones be out of any doctor's scope? Because if your hormones are like, I never thought about it until you started to say it. I go, that is ridiculous. She's just going to pull thyroid over here and say, that's distinct from what's going on with your estrogen and progesterone and testosterone.
And don't talk about cortisol because that's another doctor over here is craziness. And then you think about it and go, how is. This person's supposed to operate if they have to go for their gut problem over here and their thyroid problem over here and when the reality is they are all interconnected in the first place.
You mentioned some things that I think is really interesting in terms of like, what should someone be watching for at home? Like, [00:13:00] what are some of those signs that you as a physician, if someone came in, you'd be so thrilled that they go, here are all the things that I've noticed. How could a patient help their doctor help them better?
Dr. Taz Bhatia: I think that, you know, there are some key things that I'm always listening for. And number one is changes in mood where you're a happy, joyful person. Normally you've gone dark. That's a change. That's a chemical change. We always blame life, but sometimes it's a chemical change. And your hormones are tied to that change.
So more anxiety, more depression. Had the patient the other day who suddenly can't go over a bridge, you know, cause she's hit menopause and now bridges are scary to her. So these are very descriptive to me. This is not made up. Secondly, I think changes in sleep, right? You could fall asleep, stay asleep. Now you're.
Not able to sleep at night, you're waking up in the middle of the night, you're having hormonal symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats, that's a definite change. Nobody can dismiss that. I think weight, as much as we all like criticize talking about [00:14:00] weight, getting into weight, it's a real symptom. It truly talks to the body.
It's like if you start to see more belly fat, if you start to see your weight going up, And you can't put an obvious explanation to it, right? We've all had the seasons where we splurged or like me coming off an injury, maybe a little bit more inactive. But if you can't explain it, then that's a change that the doctor needs to know about.
I think pain is another one. You know, whether it's pelvic pain or abdominal pain or joint pain, right? Or new knee pain, whatever it is. I think pain is something that if you can describe and localize and be clear about, then a doctor has a little bit more to work with. And if you are a woman who is menstruating, changes in your cycle, right?
I think that's a very obvious one. Or missing a cycle or missing multiple cycles. I think those are all things as a female. That we need to be communicating and looking at in the overall arc of our
JJ Virgin: health. These are really easy ones to track. You know, I will tell you during the [00:15:00] pandemic, I weigh myself every single day and I take the average and I do, you know, do body composition and.
All of a sudden I get on the scale, my weight's up a pound. Well, I look at the average over a week. So I'm like, okay, next day it's up another pound. Next day it's up another pound, next day it's up another pound. And then I'm like, what the heck is going on? And it went up, I think like five or six pounds.
It's staying there and it's starting to continue to climb. And I'm like, what on earth is happening here? Like nothing has changed. The stress of what had happened because of. You know, it wasn't actually the pandemic. It was some other business stuff that happened, hit me so hard. It triggered an auto immune gastritis situation.
It was funny because I ping all my doctor friends. I go, all right, here he is. What do y'all think? Do you know Dr. Alan Christensen? Yes. So he's been my doctor for, he's my thyroid doctor. He's been doing my stuff forever. And he goes, cause I think he's just like kind of a channeled ninja. He goes. [00:16:00] Betis autoimmune gastritis.
It was sure enough. And I think back if I hadn't been tracking, because it's the pandemic, I'm wearing Lululemon every day. Like if you were not stepping on the scale, you would not have been aware of the situation, but it was so obvious with the scale. And I was able to catch it immediately and get that thing fixed.
And I want to always use the scale, but I want to use a bio impedance scale. I think for so many women, they stay away from the scale, but it's one of those great biometric tools that can tell you right away if something's going sideways for you.
Dr. Taz Bhatia: Very true. Very true. And you bring up the point about struts and I think.
You know, I've learned it with me, I've learned it with patients, you know, stress is really one of those sneaky things that come in and we're not aware of it, but it is changing our biochemistry drastically and oftentimes I find myself in the exam room navigating that conversation because that was the trigger that really sent all the [00:17:00] hormones haywire and now people are seeing changes.
JJ Virgin: It's just too bad there's not a very easy way to measure it. Like there's other things you can put the case together, but you know, it's, it's not like there's a, a thing that you can do that will say, look at this. I had a lab director forced me to take an adrenal salivary index. I was like, Oh no, I don't need that.
And of course he was like, right. That it was, I was totally adrenally exhausted and it got to be a joke where I would go and fix all my stress stuff and then do it again, like maybe just don't do that. You know, I think it would be interesting to look at because you can see all the ramifications of what the stress of flipping your sleep cycles and just being in that constant fight or fight.
Like, I don't know how ER doctors do it, really. What is the longevity of their career? Like 10 years and then they have to heal themselves?
Dr. Taz Bhatia: Yeah. 10 years. Otherwise they usually, there's some, a price to pay of some kind. But you know [00:18:00] what, in response to tracking, I love nowadays, like, heart rate variability, blood sugar monitors, sleep tracking, those can be warning signs to you that you're shifting into a stress state.
And it's been fascinating, like, putting these glucometers on patients because Even me, I'm embarrassed to say, like, you know, home, my normal life, pretty good. Like drink my water, eat my food, get my protein, like try to do all the things. And I go on vacation and I eat dessert and I have a drink every now and then.
Guess what? My blood sugars are lower. So it's a testament to stress and how it can really impact. What's happening there? So that happened to me. I've had other patients, especially the PCOS population, where, Oh my God, Oh my God, I'm gaining weight, I'm gaining weight. So they start hitting the gym. They start doing super heavy weights.
They load up on the protein and they see results for a period of time. But then there's this weird crossover place. where either that in itself is [00:19:00] generating cortisol for them because they already have so many cortisol and insulin issues and they actually start to gain. So I think understanding, like looking at these softer markers like heart rate variability, sleep, blood sugar can kind of tell you what your body's doing in response to whatever.
Routine you're adopting because the other thing I firmly believe and we experience it as women because we cycle and change so much, but even we get locked into a particular way of eating or a particular way of exercising. But by monitoring the stuff, you understand that the body is very fluid and there are times where you need to pivot or adapt or change what you're doing for a couple of weeks and then go back to your regular routine.
And some of these trackers are actually helpful in understanding that information.
JJ Virgin: You know, I'm really careful about stopping eating three or four hours before bed. And I guess one night, I don't remember where we were. We ended up out to dinner late, and the next morning I wake up, CGM is elevated, my blood sugar is elevated, and my [00:20:00] aura ring goes, looks like you ate late last night.
Like literally sets the thing. Wow. Wow. Wow. Okay. Thank you.
Well, let's get into hormones and really focus since this is well beyond 40 in the Perry and Post. You know, I love in the book how you describe these hormone shifts and at each time of life, we're going to dig into the times of Perry and Post. I love the names that you gave them. So Perry menopause, you talked about super women.
Let's dig into what you mean by that and what that shift looks like.
Dr. Taz Bhatia: Definitely. So I called these women, so these are sort of 38 to about 50 or so and really rough, you know, age boundaries, but women are in perimenopause. This is the time when we're truly seeing hormones decline, you know, whether we like it or not, there is a gradual shift downward.
So we're seeing estrogen start to go down a little bit, progesterone. May have been already declining in the shift prior, but now you see a further decline [00:21:00] in progesterone for sure, and you see cortisol levels go up, and they go up partly because those two primary hormone levels have gone down, and as cortisol goes up, blood sugar goes up, insulin goes up, so we start to deal with this, like, mesh of, like, belly fat, like Not being able to sleep, having shorter cycles, having very heavy cycles, you know, many women complain that their cycles are super, super heavy and have to get like an ablation or something along those lines.
And they're having all this hormone fluctuation and chemistry going on through this phase and as it extends and maybe you start to lose your cycle or you start skipping cycles, all of this is going on. But it's happening at the exact same time where women are probably at their peak. Of multitasking and juggling.
Their careers have like, usually you're on the upswing. You're in that role. The one that you've always kind of gunned for or hope for. Your children may not be babies, but they're in still a very high demand phase. So you have to [00:22:00] be very involved in all the juggling and multitasking of that. And then relationships take an interesting turn or growth.
I feel like it's a very defining time where a relationship will, you know, either grow to the next level or it will kind of start to, to become very stressful and people will feel uncomfortable. And usually you have aging relatives, whether it's parents or whoever else. So you're, you're really multitasking and juggling between all these different roles while you're having these hormone shifts.
So many women just feel defeated in perimenopause and menopause. Many of them come to me and don't feel good. And because they feel so defeated, they're engaging in behaviors that are not ideal, right? So they're eating late, they're not eating, they're drinking a lot. They are maybe craving sugar or craving salt, but they're just in this really, really high stress phase.
So I call them super women because I don't think I've met a woman, honestly, and I say this and I'm not trying to be cliche. I don't think I've met a [00:23:00] woman who's not a super woman. Every woman I know, you know, especially in this time period is doing 20 things. And so the fallout for them is pretty big and the consequences of them not feeling good is pretty big too.
This is where we see a lot of divorce. This is where we see a lot of issues at work in terms of I'm quitting, I'm done, I can't handle this anymore. And I don't want that for women. I think that if we feel good, then we're going to make better decisions no matter what they are about our lives. So I really want women to understand.
through this particular phase that they can balance their hormones. And they don't have to, again, there's all this fear around hormones and taking a hormone and being on a hormone, right? We don't have to go from zero to a hundred right away. You know, before you actually have to take a hormone, there's so much to do in between, like cleaning up your diet, getting those nutrients.
And I can guarantee you, U. S. women, probably women around the world, by the time they hit 40, they're probably nutritionally depleted. So, what [00:24:00] nutrients are you missing? For me, what I see in lab work, it's often the B vitamins and magnesium and the fats. Oftentimes, they're under eating proteins and they're losing muscle rapidly at the same time.
So focus there, focus on diet if you're not ready to dig in deeper, but ideally you would get your hormones checked, you know, and I list all of those out in the book and you would really understand which one was giving you the most trouble because they're answers. You know, if your progesterone is really low, let's go on some progesterone while we're working on diet and everything else.
If your thyroid now is way off after decades of being super stressed and doing a lot, you might benefit from a little bit of thyroid, right? And if it's blood sugar or insulin, well, then let's manage that so that you're not now over exercising and under eating and wondering why you're not losing weight and feeling worse and crushing your hormones even more.
So superwomen are in a very unique place because it's the most chaotic. Most stressful, most sort [00:25:00] of like what is happening to my body phase, I think more so even than women in menopause, to be 100 percent honest. So this is a really important phase to kind of dig in and really understand
JJ Virgin: you. I love that you just said, I think back to my life then, and I will say post menopause is like the greatest thing ever.
If I could have just Magic carpet ride over to that. Like that's the message I always say to all women is when you get to this other side, it's so amazing, but I think back to my time in that life and I nearly went bankrupt, went through a divorce, you know, dad died. One of my sons got diagnosed with special needs, then got hit by a car.
It was just like, ba boom, ba boom, ba boom. Right? Like just craziness stuff going on while your hormones. Even with those things not going on would start to go into flocks and then you've got that, you know, it's like being out in the middle of the ocean on a paddleboard. You're like, okay. And I always like to say, you know, [00:26:00] work on all the diet lifestyle stuff.
First, you have no margin for error in this period. Like the thing in their twenties, like, okay, you could like totally stay out late one night, drink too much. Next day you might feel a little crappy, but you're fine. Not anymore, man. You have a glass of wine and you're trashed. Yeah. It's like, what the heck happened?
And so you got to get all of those pieces dialed. So then you see what you really need. And I just hate to see women suffer when they don't need to. Like I was so lucky at that time that I was surrounded by friends who were doctors and had thyroid when I needed, got estrogen when I needed, got to, you know, never had to suffer through any of that because you don't need to.
And I think that's the biggest takeaway is do not needlessly suffer here. And, you know, when you talk about labs. And I know in the book you list the labs and we also have the guide that we're going to give everybody. Labs versus symptoms, because again, as you're doing lab testing, you're going to be taking labs in a snapshot.
And I know the hormones fluctuate. [00:27:00] So what are the labs telling you and how important is it to combine that with symptoms and then have a doctor that can work with you in that
Dr. Taz Bhatia: way? I think it's critical. And I've educated my team, you know, we have a team of about 12 currently that work with us. I'm like, I understand labs guide us and they can turn us in a particular direction, but listen.
Because the history is actually more critical. Because oftentimes, here's what I find with lab work after doing this for so long, is that the labs are actually behind the patient. The patient may be telling you something, the labs are not quite there yet. So you have to understand that when you're interpreting lab work.
So, do labs. And I hear a lot about, like, when to do labs, can't do labs, which lab is best. Just please do labs. Let's not make it harder than it needs to be. At this point in time, you can go to LabCorp, you can go to Quest. You can order probably every single lab, even on your own, that I have in the book.
You'll have to self pay for it without a doctor's order, but it's possible.
JJ Virgin: Sometimes it's even cheaper that way. [00:28:00]
Dr. Taz Bhatia: Totally. Right. And then, you know, or you go to your doctor, ask for a lab order and get it done that way. Or you self order any one of these tests that are out there now. And I don't think, you know, doctors have a tendency to get into academic debates.
I don't think we need to get into a big academic debate about which test is best. I think what we really need to be saying is pick a test, stick with it, and test repetitively. Because if we can look at your trends and patterns, regardless of the test, then we can understand what's going on with you and then tie it into your symptomology and into your history.
And a good practitioner is going to do both. Patient yesterday called doctors techno docs. Like, it's just like you do, you look at the tech and then you make an answer. Good doctors don't do that. They really are listening. They're processing. They're looking at data and they're then trying to arrive at a conclusion.
And you can find those doctors. I think the integrative and functional community is full of doctors like that. I think that community is pretty strong there, but there aren't good [00:29:00] general practitioners that want to do that and desire to do that too. So I don't want to knock them out of the game, you know?
So I think it's really going to be practitioner dependent. And you interviewing a doctor and seeing if you have that collaborative relationship. And if you don't, and you're told that you're old, or there's something you need to do, or somebody else is, you know, this is stupid or whatever else, then you need
JJ Virgin: to move on.
Good point. Okay, now let's go into the Commanders. I love,
Dr. Taz Bhatia: when I read this book, I was like, yes. Yes. Okay. So I love this. So this is sort of 52, three, four and above, right? Depending on when you go into menopause. This is very important for me. And here's why I've, as you know, already about my background, I spent a lot of time studying Eastern medicine.
And when you look at Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic medicine, or like even native American medicine, like old, old systems of medicine that are thousands of years old. Women aspire to be in this phase of life. This was the most revered phase of life. They [00:30:00] were held up as an elder. They were held up as a mentor.
They were supposed to in turn command or lead the rest of society, right? So they were the matriarch. They were responsible for the family and they were really giving younger women guidance and direction. What we've done is we've flipped that dialogue, I feel like, where women today, at least historically in the last probably hundred years, when you hit 50 or 55, then you're sort of relegated to the sidelines, right?
Like you somehow are deemed as on as important and I've seen women accept that, you know, I've seen them accept like, oh yeah, yeah, I'm old or I can't do that because my number is X. And nothing could be further from the truth. This is actually where women give birth to themselves. You've done a lot of probably caretaking and nurturing and juggling and career whatever throughout the years, but now you really get to dial in and decide what you want the next 20, 30 years to look like.[00:31:00]
And so for me, you know, getting through the hormone component or the hormone chaos as we called it in perimenopause and getting into this phase of life where the hormones are truly depleted, your low estrogen, your low progesterone, your low testosterone, you know, your DHEA and some of these other hormones are truly low.
The challenge there is how do you feel in this state? Do you need hormone replacement therapy? Again, how much can you do with the right diet that really nourishes you, giving you the protein and the fats, all these other things that we need? And where are you mentally and physically? And I think what Women do today, Oh, I'm losing my memory.
You know, I hear that one all the time. I can't focus. I'm losing my memory. Or yeah, you know, I'm losing muscle. I'm just getting old. Like they accept that narrative and I really want to turn it around. I want to be like, it doesn't have to be that way. You don't have to post 55, 60, sit around and say that you're old and that you can't do X, Y, and Z [00:32:00] because of it.
You're actually supposed to be rising into the highest expression of yourself, into your power. So how can we help you? Do you need supplements, hormones, herbs, acupuncture? Like what is it going to take to get you to that place? And again, there's a whole toolbox of answers depending on who you are, but I think it's the mindset that we really need to shift.
And that's why I called this phase Commanders because I'm like, you know what? Let's command, let's own. We've learned so much. Let's share that knowledge and let's make sure we're leaving like the generation behind us even stronger than when we came through. And I think the other part of this, too, is just the realization, like, women today live, you know, till 80 or 90, and, you know, if you're 50 and you're gonna live till 80 or 90, you have a solid 30, 35, 40 years to do whatever's next, so why would you do it not feeling good?
And I really want women to think that way. Yeah, I get so excited. I can't recommend cheerleaders sometimes. I get super excited [00:33:00] when like I've had some of my patients like in their fifties, go to law school or start a business, you know, or start going into public service or government work or things like that, those are commanders and that's really where we should all be.
JJ Virgin: Yeah, it is. My whole next book's focus is all on powerful aging. And I love this whole title and idea because. What I see that we do in the United States where we really mess things up is you look at other places and when they talk blue zones and all that, I go, what I see that's different in the blue zones is that they revere the elders.
Dr. Taz Bhatia: Yes, very much. Like we're
JJ Virgin: all talking about, oh, they eat this or don't. I go, I don't think that's really got anything to do with it. I think that they're very active. They are relevant and they revere the elders. They have, they are the most important role in the community. And so that changes everything. I don't know if you saw the study that said the way you feel about aging can change your lifespan by seven and a half years.
And when I saw that, I went, okay, well. I just [00:34:00] turned 60. I'm like, that's it. This is going to be the best. This is the best time of life now. And it really is when you think about it for women, like your kids are older, your parents probably passed. So now you don't, you don't have that piece. Cause at some point you're taking care of your parents and your kids.
Yeah. You're not paying for everybody as much anymore. I still seem to be, but I'm not quite sure. It's like somehow I missed that memo. However,
Dr. Taz Bhatia: it's probably like my daughter, my daughter actually is 16. And she's like, I was with my husband the other day. She's like, dad, I was thinking instead of college, is there something like a stay at home daughter?
Life was like, no, sweetheart, there's really
JJ Virgin: not. That's the head scratcher one. However, we've got two in college. We've got one on their own, but I've got a son pursuing his PhD in math. And thankfully. Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah. He is. He's the one. He's like the Einstein. And what was so interesting is he wanted to go and become a professor and he started to look the path of how long this takes.
And then [00:35:00] ultimately at the end game of that, you're making like nothing. Yeah. And cause I kept saying, what about AI? What about AI? And now he's like, I was thinking AI. I'm like, let's go, honey. So anyway, it is though, I, you so encompassed it all when you said commander, I went, every woman says yes. Right.
What's great about that is all of a sudden it's aspirational to get there instead of being like over the hill or some ridiculous stuff. So if you are right now in the superwoman phase. It will pass and you'll get to go into this amazing place. And in the meanwhile, I think the most important thing, all the tools in your book show you that you don't have to suffer through it, that you can navigate it and you just have to have the tools to be able to do so.
And you did such a great job doing that. And I know you have a guide too, for everybody that we are going to put at As well as we'll link to the book. I know when they buy the book, they can also get [00:36:00] another cool. What was it they got with that? It's
Dr. Taz Bhatia: a hormone remedy guide.
So all the different sort of natural remedies before you actually need a prescription that you can try for different hormone based symptoms.
JJ Virgin: Awesome. Cool. So lots of resources makes it easy to do. And I think that important message of, so you don't settle, like it is not normal to not feel your ultimate best, right?
Dr. Taz Bhatia: Very much so. I think if that message can get out there that you are not meant to feel badly. You are meant to be well, to feel well, and we're meant to journey up. I don't mean that lightly. We're literally meant to evolve and kind of climb this ladder up to our highest and best expression of ourselves.
So I get excited seeing what everyone's going to do, about to do, and will do because I just think there's still So much talent and collective power that I really don't want to see wasted.
JJ Virgin: Exactly. Hey, look at Elon Musk's mother became a supermodel at 71. Wow. I went to the Grammys a couple years ago and I remember [00:37:00] it was, it was Diana Ross celebrating her 70th, walking through the audience in a big ball gown.
And Dolly Parton led the whole thing. And she was all, I go, look at this, look at just like owning it like at their prime. So that's it. Thank you for this powerful message, amazing book. And again, Dr. Taz, and I so appreciate everything you're doing. Thank you. Be sure to join me next time, for more tools, tips, and techniques you can incorporate into everyday life to ensure you look and feel great, and more importantly, that you're built to last. And check me out on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and my website,, and make sure to follow my podcast so you don't miss a single episode at subscribetojj. com. See you next time.[00:38:00]
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