Author of "OK, So I Donít Have a Headache"
May 26, 1999
(CNN) -- Based on information from her own doctors and other medical experts and authoritative sources, Cristina Ferrare's "Okay, So I Don't Have a Headache" aims to help women understand their own bodies and begin to find answers for themselves. Ferrare talk about vitamins, minerals, and herbs; stress and sexual desire; dealing with the symptoms of menopause and PMS; and how diet and exercise work to keep the body in balance.
The following is an edited transcript of a CNN Interactie online chat with Ferrare held on Tuesday, May 4, 1999.
Chat Moderator: Thank you for joining us tonight, Ms. Ferrare.
Cristina Ferrare: Thank you so much for joining me today.
Chat Moderator: Why don't you tell us about what prompted you to write the book?
Cristina Ferrare: The reason why I wrote the book was because I noticed several years ago that my sexual desire was virtually gone. I really kept to myself because I thought this was a problem I thought I had and I was going to basically live my life feeling this way. I was hosting a talk show, and one of the guests was a doctor. He said that pre-menopausal women usually lose their desire for sex during this period, and I simply blurted out that I had the problem. The response that I received from my audience was so overwhelming, I was truly taken by surprise.
Chat Participant Ms. Ferrare, what is next for you in your career?
Cristina Ferrare: Well, I'm finishing up the tour of my book, "OK, So I Don't Have a Headache." Iíve had several meetings on another talk show, but I love writing so much I may do that for a while.
Chat Participant Hi, Ms. Ferrare. I am wondering if there was a point when you thought that this might be too personal to share, and what gave you the motivation to do so.
Cristina Ferrare: The motivation was the response that I received from the initial show I did. The women that reached out to me were so despondent and desperate, I felt compelled to do something about it. The motivating factor was that the majority of women that responded to the piece were women between 22 and 38 years old. I felt that there was no one out there talking about the fear, and how you feel about yourself, and low self-esteem. None of this was addressed on how this situation made you feel. I felt compelled to share this with other women. I hoped that I could ease their mind, as well as their mate. I hoped that this was not something that they would have to live with for the rest of their life. Turn it around and make yourself better.
Chat Participant What can you tell us about how nutrition helped you?
Cristina Ferrare: It's probably one of the most important factors of all. Changing your eating habits and making the right decision as far as what to put in your body makes a HUGE difference, along with vitamins, and the dreaded "E word" -- exercise.
Chat Participant Ms. Ferrare, were you in the 30-something range at the time?
Cristina Ferrare: It started at the birth of my last child at 38 with terrible PMS, and at about 45 I lost my sex drive.
Chat ParticipantSo how can we get your book?
Cristina Ferrare: You can get the book at every bookstore, for example Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, etc.
Chat Participant What changes do you notice in yourself since you have changed the way you live?
Cristina Ferrare: I have more energy, and I feel that I've had the biggest weight lifted off of my shoulders. Iím just happier. I have a bigger sex life, and now when my husband reaches for me I don't have a headache. I even initiate sometimes.
Chat Participant Ms. Ferrare, were you frightened, or was it just a state of being at the time?
Cristina Ferrare: I wasn't frightened, I was saddened by it, because I have a wonderful relationship with my husband. I felt I was letting my husband down, and that made me feel really bad. I felt he didn't deserve it because he was so wonderful to me. I was also afraid in the back of my mind that he would leave me one day, and that frightened me. He assured me that it wasn't the case, and that is one of the most important things you can do is be open and honest with your mate, so he's assured it's not him.
Chat Participant Without having read the book, is the physiological connection between diet and drive a major point?
Cristina Ferrare: Yes, ... certain medications that you're on affect libido. There are certain points in the book that explain to you why proper nutrition is an important factor. If you read the book, there is a direct correlation along the lines of herbal regimen and proper exercise. One of the first things everyone should do is to ask their doctor to give them a test to see how much testosterone they have. When I was tested, I was found to have 0. So my doctor gave me a testosterone cream.... I used that cream along with foods that are rich in natural plant estrogen. I also give recipes that are rich in natural plant estrogen. It's all in the book, please read it.
Chat Participant Hormonal diet...I like it! :)
Chat Moderator: What foods are rich in estrogen?
Cristina Ferrare: Well, first of all, the best thing that you can eat, especially when going through menopause, is soy products. Most people, when you tell them they have to eat soy, go "Ew!!" But I have wonderful recipes that have been 100 percent kid-tested, that have been passed by tons of kids. If they eat it, you know it's good. I've made lasagna, smoothies, all kinds of fun foods.... I suggest snack food and a different way to incorporate soy into the diet. It's painless and delicious, I promise.
Chat Participant I am very curious. You sound like you have a very understanding husband. Do you offer advice for those who donít have understanding husbands?
Cristina Ferrare: Yes, tell them they should read the book and learn what a woman goes through. My husband said that after he read in black and white what I was experiencing, he was more understanding, and he wouldn't get angry or hurt if I told him that I didn't feel like having sex.
Chat Participant Ms. Ferrare, it sounds interesting and a book that both husbands and wives should read.
Cristina Ferrare: Absolutely, give it to them for Fatherís Day.
Chat Participant Is it the stress of our careers plus being mothers and all that goes with that, along with the diet and exercise?
Cristina Ferrare: Yes, yes, yes. It all has to do with stress and what stress does to a woman's body and how it adversely affects your hormones. Stress and hormonal balance go hand in hand.
Chat Participant What sort of exercise do you suggest?
Cristina Ferrare: I suggest to start out by walking 20 minutes three to four times a week, gradually bringing it up to 30 to 40 minutes three or four times a week, which elevates heart rate. If you have trouble walking, I have other suggestions that will keep you going. There are also light weight-bearing exercises to build your muscles and bone mass, but exercise and getting oxygen is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, as well as eating the right foods. It gives you more stamina. I know people hate the idea of having to exercise, and so do I. I don't do it anymore to try to lose weight, even though that is a wonderful side effect. I do it now because it makes me feel good, and I want to feel good!!
Chat Participant Good for you, for writin' a book, Mz. Ferrare
Cristina Ferrare: Thank you. Thank you.
Chat Participant I get caught between a need and not wanting to "use" my wife.
Cristina Ferrare: I understand completely. You should never feel like using your wife. Do you discuss this with your wife?
Chat Participant Yes, it takes time and slowly getting together.
Chat Participant So how do you go about making the changes in your book happen, and how soon do you notice a difference with how you feel about your partner?
Cristina Ferrare: It's not about how you feel about your partner, it's about how you're feeling about yourself, what's going on with you and your body. I'm assuming you're in a loving relationship and there is mutual love and respect there. We will go from this point. It's on an individual basis. You must first see a doctor, and if he or she tells you it's in your head, find another doctor that will listen to what you are saying. This is your body and your life, and these are your feelings.
Have the doctor check your cholesterol and your heart. Have him explain to you what medications you are on, if you are on any, and how these different medications affect your body. There are many medications and conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease that can affect your libido. After you've seen your doctor and he has explained it all to you, it's important for you to make the proper changes in the way you eat and the way you move.
Read the book on where to go to find herbal remedies and different vitamin supplements, but keep in mind the suggestions in the book are based on my particular journey. However, it's up to you do a little investigation of your own on where to go and who to talk to and different books that you should read to educate yourself on making yourself better.
It took me three, almost four months before I started to notice any change. When I went off the regimen and slipped back into my old habits, my old feeling would reappear. I got tired and lazy because it takes work. Everyone is looking for that magic pill for a quick fix, and it just doesn't exist. I had the power and the desire to change and make a difference in my life, and I took it, and I'm having great sex, thank you!
Chat Participant What does that title mean?
Cristina Ferrare: I was thinking, when I lost my sex drive I made up excuses as to why I didn't want to have sex. The one that I used the most was "Not tonight, honey, I have a headache." Finally one night I just blurted out "Okay, so I don't have a headache I just don't want to have sex."
Chat Moderator: Thank you very much for chatting with us tonight.
Cristina Ferrare: Thank you for chatting with me tonight, and I hope you enjoy my book. Have a great evening.
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