Balancing Hormones ~ Part 1
Before I started balancing my own hormones - I hated them. I hated having a period, I hated all of the PMS symptoms and I hated hormones altogether. Now, I appreciate it all and love knowing where I am in my cycle. God has created our bodies so intricately and it is just beautiful! Plus, balanced hormones means no PMS... did you know we aren't supposed to be miserable??
Of course, some symptoms are bound to happen, but those bed ridden cramps, excessive acne that keeps you from going places, mood swings that makes you feel like you have a split personality, etc. - they're all abnormal!
Everyone is different and I am not claiming these will "fix" you immediately, but give them a try! These are ideas presented to me that I have tried and found success with - so I hope they help you guys as well!
EAT ONE CARROT A DAY. The saying that "an apple a day will keep the doctor away" has a better ring than "a carrot a day keeps the hormones at bay" but I'm pretty proud of it! I just hope I did't steal that from someone. I read about this from Dr. Ray Peat about a year ago and have been munching on raw carrots as often as I can - I can't say it has been every day - but I have been able to see the difference! I used to get migraines before my period (lovely part of PMS). For the next month, I ate a raw carrot almost every day and exercised according to my cycle. There was no migraine that month or any month following and I do not miss them!! Raw carrots contain a unique fiber that absorbs excess estrogen and helps sweep it out of the body. God knew we would need something to get rid of our estrogen! Tips : the carrot has to be raw. It is better to buy the whole carrots. You can peel them if you like. Ideally eat them before meals. I love munching on mine while I am cooking dinner. If you want to enjoy it as a snack, munch on it with some hummus or almond butter.
DITCH VEGETABLE OILS. Vegetable oils spell bad news if you want to balance hormones. (Try to stay away from these oils : safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean and peanut) We’ve been told that replacing “old-fashioned, artery-clogging fats” like butter with cholesterol-reducing oils improves health. This is so wrong. Vegetable oils are extremely high in omega-6, an inflammatory fatty acid. While a little omega-6 in our diet is necessary, too much wreaks havoc on hormone balance by creating inflammation. Balance your hormones by paying careful attention to the types of fats you consume. Ditch the vegetable oils and instead enjoy the good fats! Animal Fats (wild caught salmon is my favorite), avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, etc!
EAT HEALTHY FATS. While we are on the subject of fats, we might as well talk about the importance of adding good fat into your diet! Eating a variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids is so important in keeping your hormones balanced. Our bodies need various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. So, go ahead and eat the yolk and few extra nuts here and there! Don't be scared of healthy fats! They don't make you fat - it can actually help with weight loss!
SLEEP. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night and keep it consistent as much as possible. I know every day looks different, but our hormones work on a schedule so keeping our sleep schedule consistent, our bodies are better able to create hormones needed and suppress cortisol (stress hormone).
GUT HEALTH. We will get into this more later, but balancing your good and bad bacteria in your stomach is so important for your hormones! If you feel like your gut may be imbalanced (IBS, gas, diharrea, constipation, some food intolerances, breakouts, etc.) you should consider taking probiotics or eating probiotic rich foods like kimchi and sauerkraut!
ESSENTIAL OILS. Removing toxic products from your home and daily routine and replacing with good clean products is important -- essential oils are GREAT replacements! Make sure you have a good "carrier oil" like coconut oil or olive oil if you want to use these on your skin. My favorites for hormone balance are : Clary Sage + Geranium (both balance hormones because they both contain natural phytoestrogens), Lavender (calming and great at night), Fennel (rub on stomach for digestion), Thyme (for progesterone production), and Peppermint (this helps with cravings and cramps)!
MAGNESIUM. You want it! Magnesium is great for hormones and has helped me ward off many of the typical PMS symptoms. I have noticed less bloat, swelling, cramps, breast tenderness, and weight gain! Try loading up on almonds, spinach, dark chocolate (another excuse to eat it), avocados, figs, pumpkin seeds, etc.! I like to eat these in my Luteal phase (the phase before our period) to help prevent the typical symptoms!
PRAYER. No, it is not crazy to pray for balanced hormones or a less painful experience. Not at all. This is actually the most important step. When my sister and I were in Israel, we came to the place where the woman was healed of her menstrual woes JUST by believing and touching Jesus. She had enormous faith. Faith that took her out in public at a time where women were hidden during their periods. She had been shamed and shunned because she had a never ending period. Can you imagine? No body wanted her. She walked through the crowds of people knowing what people would say and think - believing that if she could only touch Jesus, then she would be healed. And she was. She touched his cloak as he was walking - He did not reach out to her - she reached to him. Jesus said to her, "Daughter, Your faith has made you well - Go in peace." HOW AMAZING is our Father! Imagine Him speaking this to you! Have full faith He will bring healing. Have full faith that your woes have purpose. Food, tips, tricks, oils, vitamins, and even water can bring healing but God is our ultimate healer. Never replace Him with things of this earth. (Luke 8:43-48).
This is the mural of the miracle performed by our Jesus. The Museum is in Migdal HaEmeq if you ever get the chance to go! I was in tears reading this story and seeing this. (I am also a visual learner so this really helped me understand the story.)
There will be many hormone posts from here on out with more details on cycle synching with food and exercise, etc. but this is just a starter guide! For a general understanding of our cycles, here are the four stages! Try to be more aware of what stage you may be in this next month!
Menstrual - We all know what that means. For most people this is a very dreaded time but I celebrate each time I get my period! God has been so good to me and I love it - I drink hot tea and take a good epsom salt bath with my favorite oils. Your period should last anywhere from 3-5 days.
Follicular - Best week and 1/2 (ish) in my humble opinion! This is the time right after your period where you just feel energized and clear minded and ready to take on the world! Such a positive // happy time! Enjoy it!
Ovulatory - Ovulation station is where energy levels are peaked! I have only recently been able to feel myself ovulating (which is super exciting for me since I have PCOS) but it's okay if you can't feel it! This is a fun time and when you are most outgoing! Typically lasts about 3 days and this is when you are most fertile.
Luteal - My least favorite but it has its perks - my energy starts to decline and this is when the typical PMS symptoms start to creep in. Your body is preparing for menstruation so its got a lot of work to do! Give yourself rest when needed and ward off cravings with sweet potatoes and peppermint! This can last about 7-10 days. This is when I like to make my dark chocolate sweet potato brownies!
As always, let me know if you have any questions! I hope this helps some of you in balancing your hormones! More will be coming soon :)