Hormones run just about every function in your body, from your heart rate to digestion to libido, and much, much more.  Even doctors who specialize in hormones probably don’t totally understand everything that they do!  

This hormone healthy diet can address the most common hormone health problems including:

  • weight regulation and diabetes
  • libido and mood
  • inflammation
  • pain and arthritis 
  • thyroid health
  • fatigue
  • high or low appetite

When it comes to nutrition, well, we all know how to eat “healthy.”  Usually, it’s just a matter of fine-tuning a few things.  Some people need a complete overhaul!  Either way, it all starts at the grocery store.  Start buying the “good stuff,” and not buying the stuff you are trying to reduce or eliminate.  It’s that simple; just keep the “bad stuff” out of your pantry.  

butter

Science is finally catching up to what we’ve been saying for years.

If you’re worried about your cholesterol going up – don’t worry.  If you’re worried about gaining weight from the increase of fats, don’t worry.   “Fats don’t make you fat.  Sugars and carbohydrates do!”

Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation and increase hormone production.  Decreasing carbohydrates and sugars lowers your blood sugar and insulin release.  This combination will ensure healthy hormones and proper weight management.

Eat Plenty Of:

  • Organic, free-range chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef and butter, non-farmed fish 
  • Antibiotic-free, hormone-free FULL FAT, PLAIN yogurt or kefir (use stevia drops to sweeten, or fruit, if you like)
  • Raw or sprouted nuts
  • Vegetables:  a wide variety including sprouts, fermented veggies like sauerkraut, leafy greens, root veggies like onions and carrots, sea vegetables like arame or nori, fatty vegetables like avocado, cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts and broccoli
  • Fresh, seasonal fruit
  • Good oils to include with your regular meals:  olive oil, coconut oil, and butter or ghee (clarified butter)

Eat Less of:

  • White sugar
  • Iodized salt
  • Packaged foods, especially the “low-fat” or “reduced calorie”  (HUGE RED FLAGS!)
  • Canola or vegetable oils (90% of it is GMO); instead use olive oil, coconut oil or butter
  • Refined grain products such as pizza crust, pasta, breads, cookies and pastries, cereals, etc.
  • Soda.  Just.  don’t.  
  • Excessive caffeine (can affect estrogen and cause fibroids to increase)

Eat at least 80% of the good stuff, and save the other 20% (or less) for your absolute must-haves like birthday cake, wine with dinner, one hamburger with the bun, or dark chocolate.

The key to making a healthy hormone diet working is eating plenty of fats.  Think of cooking your veggies in coconut oil, cook your eggs in butter or bacon grease (just like grandma!).  Top your salads with plenty of healthy dressings (low in sugar, high in oil).  Put avocados on your soup as a topping.  Keep nuts in your desk drawer to snack on.  Load up on fats and your appetite will naturally regulate.  You will feel fuller for longer.  Your inflammation will go down.  Hungry late at night?  Put a spoonful (or two) of peanut butter or almond butter on a banana.  

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to changing your diet?  Motivation?  Cravings?  Cooking skills?  I want to hear from you in the comments below:  

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Like the health of your front lawn, the health of your internal “garden” reflects upon you!  In feng shui (the ancient art of placement), your garden is where Qi accumulates before it enters your house.  You want to make sure to attract good Qi into your home, not bad Qi!  In your body, you want to attract good Qi, of course, and that takes place in your gut.  

A turning moment in my health was a time when I read the “Body Ecology Diet” by Donna Gates and Linda Schatz.  A huge eye-opener for me was that the “healthy” food that I was eating was really just feeding yeast and bacteria in my gut!  

When I changed my diet, the problems went away and also a few extra pounds.  

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The health of your colon relates strongly to the health of your 

  • Skin
  • Brain Function
  • Emotional State
  • Digestion (duh!)
  • Vitamin Deficiencies or Absorption Problems
  • Nervous System 

…pretty much everything!  

Scientists are now calling your gut (the system of  your esophagus, stomach, large and small intestines, all the way to the anus) your body’s second brain.  This is not the brain that reads, reasons, and writes, but the brain that feels and just knows.  There exists an intricate web of neurons – over 100,000 – in your gut that dictate in no small amount how you feel on an emotional level.  There is a reasonable theory that Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – and other nervous system disorders – can be healed just by healing your gut!    

My acupuncture teacher, Dr. Richard Teh-Fu Tan says he can tell the health of someone by three things:  how they sleep, how their sex life is, and how they poop.  :)

Regular bowel movements are important, as is the consistency of the stool (not too hard, not too soft).  But a bowel problem is more of a symptom than the cause.  In other words, taking something to make you poop when you’re constipated is not necessarily getting to the root of the problem.  …and there could be other symptoms of a toxic or stressed colon that do not necessarily show up as a problem with bowel movements.  

To ensure the health of your colon, there are several things I recommend:

  1. Probiotics:  taken in a pill, drops, or as fermented vegetables or whole-fat, plain yogurt
  2. Low-sugar, low-carbohydrate diet:  high sugars and carbs feed the bad bacteria and yeast; focus your diet instead on vegetables, nuts, butter and oils, hormone-free proteins and eggs.  
  3. Gluten-free diet:  gluten proteins create a thick mucous lining in your gut which inhibits absorption; if you have Chron’s or Ulcerative Colitis, avoid gluten as though your life depends on it!  
  4. Drink plenty of water; enough to make your urine light-yellow to clear
  5. Digestive enzymes to help heal your gut, especially if you have ulcers or acidity:  I prefer Standard Process Enzycore or Multizyme; Zypan is good for nausea or sugar-balancing; Okra-Pepsin is good to take for a couple of weeks to cleanse excessive mucous out; Chlorophyll also helps to heal your gut lining
  6. Avoid unnecessary drugs:  
    • SSRIs (anti-depressants) increase serotonin levels in your body which may cause irritable bowel symptoms as a side-effect;
    • Antibiotics and hormonal birth control kill off healthy gut bacteria which encourages bad bacteria and yeast;
    • Proton pump inhibitors (Tums, Prilosec, Nexium, et al) cause excessive acid to build up in your system which may lead to the very symptoms they seek to treat!  
    • NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) always cause some type of internal bleeding – even if it’s microscopic.  
    • Those are the major ones, but I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting…

Another thing to note is that in Traditional Chinese medicine, your Large Intestine relates to your Lung.  What that means is that if your Intestines are congested or ill, your Lung becomes weak and therefore vulnerable to sickness including colds, respiratory illness, skin disorders (a Lung function in TCM) and allergies.  Sinus infections are really just a yeast infection in your sinus cavities!  Again, antibiotics are going to make the underlying root of this problem worse over time.  

Your Small Intestine in TCM relates to your Heart.  So, you can imagine a sick Small Intestine causing a Heart imbalance, which could manifest as anxiety, heart palpitations, fatigue, or insomnia.  

Your Stomach relates to your Spleen, which in TCM controls a lot of various functions including qi and blood production and “keeping your blood contained in your vessels.”   A Spleen imbalance could manifest as a bleeding disorder, poor appetite, fatigue, weak musculature, anemia, insomnia, bloating, or a sugar imbalance.  

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insomniaAs a long-time insomniac, I was shocked to discover that I had virtually NO information on insomnia on my website.  For shame!  

My insomnia started when my “yin and yang” became imbalanced.  ”Yin-time” is night-time and “yang-time” is during the day.  When we stay up late at night (all-nighters to finish school papers, partying, or working the graveyard shift at work, etc.), we run the risk of imbalancing the yin and yang – otherwise known as the natural order of things.  

When we use our yang energy in the yin time, we deplete our bodies of precious – and hard to replace – yin energy.  Our bodies restore yin energy (known bio-medically as blood and other body fluids) when we sleep at night.  Ideally we sleep at night because that is the yin time.  It only makes sense that a yin activity happens at the yin time.  If your yin is in proper amounts and you are peaceful at night, your Heart “holds” the reserves of yin and you sleep very well.  

Things that can upset your yin and yang balance:  

1.  Improper diet:  too spicy or greasy foods cause excessive heat that will eventually deplete your yin.  Too much sweet foods will imbalance your Spleen which will impair the production of blood / yin.  Bio-medically what is happening is that too many sweets (including refined grains) will cause your blood sugar to drop, which makes sleeping more difficult.  

2.  Over-thinking:  worriers and students are at risk of this; over-thinking in Chinese medicine is an emotional state that depletes your qi.  When your qi is depleted, your digestive system will suffer and not make enough blood to nourish your heart at night.  

3.  Hormone fluctuations:  as we age, our yin and yang wane which may cause sleeping disruptions.  The moon can also “pull” on our energies; you may notice that you get occasional insomnia on the new or full moon!  

4.  Vitamin deficiencies:  trace minerals such as magnesium and potassium help you get to sleep and stay asleep by making sure your muscles can relax.  

 

Other factors to help with your sleep…I’m sure you’ve already heard all of these, but I will reiterate the ones that have been helpful to me in the past.  

*Exercise at some point in the day.  In other words, make yourself ready and looking forward to a long rest.  ”Earn it.”  

*Use aromatherapy.  Put lavender oil in your bath water; put a drop of lavender oil on your third eye before bed.  

*Write down what you need to do tomorrow.  The only way to get it off your mind is to write it down.  …or type it into your iphone, whatever.  

*Avoid high carbohydrate foods and drinks before bed.  That margarita may help you get to bed quicker, but then you’re popping up at 3 am because your blood sugar is crashing in the middle of the night.  Instead, try some plain yogurt or turkey.  A high protein snack, especially one with naturally-occurring tryptophan (the hormone in turkey that makes you sleepy on Thanksgiving), will help keep your blood sugar levels more constant in the night.  

*Sex.  Seriously, just try it.  

*Supplements and Chinese herbs.  Every night I take a large dose of Calcium Lactate with magnesium and a large dose of kelp as well as Chinese herbs for sleeping.  I take all of this just in case because I do not want to suffer with insomnia ever again!  It’s the worst!  

 

What about you?  If you’ve had insomnia before, what has helped you get over it?  

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