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Season 3, Episode 15: Seasonal Self-Care Routine with Dr. Trevor Cates

By Jodi Cohen

Many of us are guilty of falling into a “normal” self-care routine – but have you ever thought about changing it up with the seasons? The truth is, your body’s “needs” change through-out the year, so it’s important to take a look at what you can do to reset and restore yourself.

In this episode of Essential Alchemy, Jodi is joined by Dr. Trevor Cates to talk about her brand-new book: Natural Beauty Reset – an amazing 7-day plan to harmonize hormones and restore radiance. Dr. Trevor Cates helps patients from all around the world and now she is here to share her secrets!

Tune in to learn about:

  • [03:19] – A plan for ALL ages (a book walk-through)
  • [11:32] – Changing with the seasons makes a difference
  • [14:14] – Your body needs variety

About Trevor Cates

Dr. Trevor Cates is author of the USA Today and Amazon bestselling book Clean Skin From Within and founder of TheSpaDr.com. She received her medical degree from the National University of Natural Medicine and was the first woman licensed as a naturopathic doctor in the state of California. She currently lives in Park City, Utah where she helps patients from around the world with a focus on skin and hormones. She has been featured on various TV shows, including The Doctors and Extra TV. Dr. Cates has interviewed over 250 experts on The Spa Dr. podcast and hosted her own PBS special, Younger Skin From Within. Her next book Natural Beauty Reset: The Spa Doctor’s 7-Day Program to Harmonize Hormones and Restore Radiance is coming September 2022.

For more information and to grab a copy of Dr. Trevor Cates book visit: thespadr.com | Hormones, Health & Harmony docuseries

If you’re enjoying the Essential Alchemy podcast, please leave Jodi a review on iTunes.

Jodi:  Hi, I’m Jodi Cohen, your host, and I’m so excited to share my dear friend Dr. Trevor Cates, who is the author of The USA Today and Amazon bestselling book, Clean Skin From Within, and she just is launching a new book.

Trevor: Natural Beauty Reset.

Jodi: Natural Beauty Reset, which is gonna be available everywhere very soon. We’re gonna talk all about that. Trevor received her medical degree from the National University of Natural Medicine and was the first woman licensed as a naturopathic doctor in the state of California. She currently lives in Park City, Utah, where she helps patients from around the world with a focus on skin and hormones. 

She’s been featured on various TV shows, she’s interviewed over 250 experts on the Spa Doctor podcast and hosted her own PBS special Younger Skin From Within. So let’s dive into your seven-day program to harmonize hormones and restore radiance. Tell me a little bit about how you picked this topic.

Trevor:  My last book, Clean Skin From Within, came out about five years ago and it was a USA Today bestseller. Amazon hit number one in a couple of categories, it did well. But what I noticed is people, especially women, kept asking me about their hormones because I touch on hormones briefly in the book, but they’re so complex and especially for women because they change throughout our lives, even throughout the day and the month. There were a lot of questions about that, so I wanted to really dive into it in this book. And also give women an understanding of how to reset and how to do a seven-day reset for each season.

Because each season, summer, winter, fall, spring. These seasons, they give us an opportunity to get back in harmony, back in touch with the body’s innate ability to heal. And a lot of times our lifestyle choices cause us to be disconnected from these natural rhythms.

Jodi:  Walk us through the book and your approach, is this primarily for older women? For younger women, for all ages and stages?

Trevor: It’s really for women of all ages and I think it’s particularly important for women who know that they’re gonna be going through certain transitions. So really this is all of us because transitions for young people, of course, that’s puberty. I don’t know if they’re gonna be a lot of teenagers reading this book, but it is an interesting time. And then also fertility when women are trying to get pregnant and also pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. These are major transitions in our lives and I think a lot of times we don’t realize that we have these hormonal imbalances until we hit one of these stages. 

The other types of women I think who really enjoy this book are also women with concerns about their thyroid and their adrenals and their sleep, like melatonin as a hormone, insulin with blood sugar as a hormone, and all of these are really important to help us stay healthy, to help have a good metabolism. Energy, weight, sleep, all of these things are impacted by our hormones and they can start to get off just a little bit and then that triggers another hormone to get out of balance and another one. So we just need to realign because our hormones are actually fantastic and they work for us when they’re balanced and so we just need to just get that realignment.

Jodi:  So how do you help people? How do you help them assess where they might be out of balance and how to return to balance?

Trevor: Natural Beauty Reset, and the subtitle by the way is a Seven-Day Plan to Harmonize Hormones and Restore Radiance. So it’s what we’re we’re talking about here. In the first part of the book, it’s a lot of understanding how our hormones work, how our neurotransmitters work, and how that plays a role in how we look and feel, how we go through these transitions, and how our food plays a role. Our diet plays a role in these toxins and our environment, our sleep, and our ability to get that balance of resting and restoring and then activity

And so the first part is really understanding that. Because I always feel that if you don’t truly understand how your body is working or how these things affect you, it’s harder to make the change, right? It’s once you get it, you’re like, oh. That makes sense why my hormones might be related to the way I’m eating or the toxins I’ve been exposed to in my environment. And that’s why it makes sense to make a change. And then in part two, I walk people through each season.

The book comes out in the fall, so start with the fall reset. And fall is a great time to start a reset, to start something new because it’s a great way to prepare for winter. Winter can be a challenging time for us. With our hormones, we can tend to have lower levels of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. And also we tend to have higher cortisol which can make us feel more stressed. And also for women trying to get pregnant, their estrogen tends to be a little bit lower in the winter compared to spring and summer. Fall is a good time to transition, get ready to winter, and start making shifts.

Fall harvest is also a time when produce is abundant. We can eat so much where we live, and it’s a lot easier time to build-up to do that. So for each season, I talk about food, movement, mindset, and skincare. We know food changes, a lot of people have talked about seasonal eating, and of course, it’s not always easy to do this but even if you can do a little bit of eating more seasonally and eating more locally, it’s going to make a difference. Because the foods that you eat when you eat them in season and closer to where you live, they’re going to be more nutrient dense. And we know there’s research showing a comparison of broccoli and kale, but different produce in season versus out season. And the big difference in nutrient quality and quantity. 

Food in season just tastes better if you can get it from your local farmer’s market. Or maybe you can start growing some fresh herbs or whatever you can do. It makes a difference. So that’s food. 

We have to remember that part of the difference between seasons is the distance of the sun and how the sun changes. In the wintertime, we have shorter days. In the summertime, we have longer days, so it impacts our food, but it also impacts our mental and emotional state and it affects our sleep. So mindset and movement are other big parts that I talk about because at certain times of the year we might have more energy and might feel more motivated. In summertime, a lot of times we wanna get outdoors and we wanna be more active. The movement and mindset practices that I have in the summer months are different than in fall and winter and even in spring. 

And then also, skincare. Our skin changes throughout the year and our needs change. We get more sun exposure certain times of the year than others.

We’re exposed to dryness, cold, less humidity, more humidity, different times of the year. So that means our skin needs change. We might need more exfoliation at certain times. We might need more sunscreen at certain times. We might need more hydration, or we might feel like we’re getting too oily or perspiring more at certain times. So then we can adjust our skincare for the season. This is a seven-day plan, so I give recommendations for foods to eat for seven days, I even have recipes in the book. I have DIY skincare recipes in addition to food. And then I give seven-day examples of movements, seven examples of mindset practices, and seven examples of skincare practices so that you can really do this whole reset to each season and get back on track.

Jodi:  I think I need that book immediately because I just do the same thing year- round. I just tend to use more moisturizer in the winter cuz I’m drier.

Trevor:  A lot of times people think, oh, I’m healthy. I’ve got this healthy routine. I exercise this way, I use this skincare product. I eat these superfoods, but something’s still not right. Part of that is we need to change this up cyclically and then if we’re always eating the same superfoods all the time, it may not actually be that healthy for us. We may end up creating food intolerances or food sensitivities if we eat the same things over and over again. Or we may be getting too many oxalates. It’s been linked to developing kidney stones or tinnitus in the ears. But if you’re eating seasonally, you’re not gonna get too many things like oxalates, or you’re gonna be less likely to develop food sensitivities because you’re not eating the same thing every day all year long.

Jodi: How did you go about developing the different seasonal plans? Is that from your practice, your own practices?

Trevor:  I started to see things with my patients, a lot of these people are super healthy. They would be coming in to see me and they’re doing the same things like I was saying, but something just wasn’t right. I said, let’s mix it up. Let’s talk about what are you doing, and what season we’re in. What is available for you? How is it working now? And we would set up a plan for that, and then they would come back in. I’m like, it’s a different season. Let’s change this up. And then they realized that it was making a difference and noticed it in my own life as well

Now again, it depends on where in the world you live. Sometimes it’s easier to do this and sometimes it’s harder. Wintertime can be a tough time if you live in places like where I live in Park City, Utah, where there’s nothing growing because we’re covered in snow for a good four to six months. And so we rely upon our neighbors and people where it’s not quite so cold to get fresh produce. Even if you can make some changes, what happens is we get stuck in these ruts and it’s an opportunity for us to change it up and to remember the seasons of our bodies. If you think about the female body, throughout the month, we’re ovulating, we’re having periods, and we go through these changes. And even after menopause, we still have these cyclical changes. And throughout the day our cortisol levels change, so we get higher cortisol in the morning to get us up in the morning and lower cortisol at night. 

At least, ideally that’s what’s supposed to happen. When people get burned out, sometimes it goes flat or it’s backward. Also melatonin. Our melatonin increases when the lights go down so that changes throughout the year. Our melatonin production will change, our sleep patterns change, and its interesting light, even during a full moon, can impact our sleep. There are all these cyclical changes that can happen that can affect us.

We find one thing that works and we’re like, I’m just gonna keep doing that over again. And then we wonder why isn’t it working anymore.

Jodi:  Maybe you can speak to this about kind of how the body reacts to variety, like exercise, if you keep doing the same thing, it doesn’t really yield results.

Trevor:  Oftentimes we’ll wake up and we’ll feel like, yeah, I just don’t feel motivated to do that. And we can beat ourselves up about it, but if we understand that in different seasons our hormones change and understanding if your feel-good neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, aren’t as high, you may not feel motivated to go for a run or go to the gym. And so there are other things you can do to kind of mix it up and still get a good workout. Maybe doing some restorative yoga is what your body needs at that time, and then wait until you feel more of that motivation and when the weather’s better outside, you can get outdoors and do more outdoor activities using – of course, good sun protection hats and things like that. It’s nice to mix up.

Jodi:  So before people rush out to buy your book, which is coming out September 13th, what kind of things are you advising people to do in the fall? What’s the highlights?

Trevor: There’s so much available in the fall, many types of greens and apples and pears and so many different types of produce. There’s a big focus in summer on fruit because we have so much more abundance in that. And then as we shift to fall, we’re shifting more to a lot of vegetables because we can get a lot of fresh vegetables. And then as we go into to winter, we rely more on dried beans and nuts and seeds and animal protein to get you nutrients and things.

We still wanna eat some vegetables year-round, but it changes with the season. With fall, we get this fall harvest. And then we shift away from some of the cooling foods like watermelon and strawberries and things like that to more of the warming foods and winter squashes and are starting to become more in season and yams and things like that that tend to be more warming types of foods, herbs, and spices

You might wanna get some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and those types of things as we warm up. And also with skincare, being aware that you may have just had a summer full of a lot of sun and having some hyperpigmentation, a lot of women will develop that. What can you do with your skincare routine, even your skin tone? A lot of antioxidant-rich serums as we have at the Spa Doctor. Or using a gentle exfoliant can be good to get your skin rejuvenated after a lot of potential sun damage, and ingredients like aloe are soothing for the skin. So as you transition from summer to fall, those are some of the things that we think of with skincare. 

And with movement, we can get outdoors and enjoy nature in a different way. If the leaves are falling, raking leaves is a really great exercise. So many people have a leaf blower or have somebody blow. But getting out there and enjoying a fall hike. Enjoying the leaves changing colors if you live in a place where you get to enjoy, things like that. Just take in the changes of the seasons and how that might be helping you. The other thing that you think about in fall is that we wanna boost our immune system. We’re exposed to more viruses and being indoors more as we go into the winter months. We want to eat foods that boost our immune system.

A lot of the foods that are abundant in fall have naturally occurring nutrients that help with our immune systems like vitamin A or beta-carotene from things like pumpkin and yams things that help support our immune system. And so we can get some of these in nature. Zinc is also important for our immune system. Getting some nuts and seeds that are rich in zinc can also boost our levels with that.

Jodi:  Remind everyone the title of the book and where they can find it.

Trevor:  Natural Beauty Reset: The Seven-Day Plan to Harmonize Hormones and Restore Radiance. And it’s available September 13th. You could pre-order at thespadr.com/book. We have all the different links and the different places you can buy it. We have some bonuses when you go to that page and give us a copy of your receipt. We have some bonuses for you. And then also because there’s so much to learn about hormones, we have the Hmones, Health, and Harmony docuseries put together – a nine-part documentary series with over 50 experts. We talk about estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, adrenal, even appetite hormones like leptin and ghrelin. We cover it all. It’s really practical tips so people can learn about that too. And I’m sure you’ll be able to provide these links too.

Jodi:  The links will be in the show notes. Thank you so much for your time, and congratulations on this amazing book.

Trevor: Thank you so much.

About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.