Do you hear the words “hormone balance” and get confused to actually what it means or how you should feel? Do you only associate it with pregnancy or menopause? Or the teenage years?
Hormone health is important at any age and should be at the forefront of you mind your entire lifetime. Hormones are the chemical messengers that make your entire body function. Not just your menstrual cycle. And there are thousands of different kinds for each part of your body.
There are many things that can disrupt your hormones and many things to focus on to increase that function and balance. Here are 5 that I find important:
- Elimination: Keeping your liver healthy and functioning is so important. The quality of your liver health will determine your hormonal health. Keeping your body full of fiber, water, lessening harmful ingredients that can clog your liver, exercising, and allowing the liver to do the process of elimination at its best. Anything that isn’t eliminated and floats around your system can clog this elimination process.
- Blood sugar: This is HUGE. I tell all my clients that balancing your blood sugar is essential to hormone balance AND your health in general. Your weight. Your energy. Your mood. Everything. How do you do this? First, eat a protein-rich breakfast every morning. Yes, you need breakfast. Second, don’t wait too long between meals. Third, graze and listen to your hunger cues. Fourth, every meal should contain the 3 macronutrients in some form. Those are healthy fats, clean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. They slow down the digestive process, which will keep you full and will avoid the blood sugar surges and crashes.
- Rest & repair: Sleep! Recover at night with a good night’s sleep. Rest when you’re tired. Stop moving at 110 mph. Unless you have a newborn or a toddler who’s jumping into your bed every five minutes, aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep. In the dark. No TV. No technology. Avoid the tech at least an hour prior to bed.
- Stress: This can be from the world around you or what you’re putting inside you. Managing the emotional stresses is essential to hormone health. Stress, and the hormone cortisol, can create inflammation and hormone imbalance if not at the right level. Foods and beverages can do this as well. This includes sugar, alcohol, red meat, refined grains, and dairy. So if you’re getting stress in the mind as well as inside that beautiful body of yours, it’s a double-whammy.
- Clean living: Slowly educating and changing your products is so important for hormone health. Endocrine disrupting ingredients can clog your system, confuse your body, and put it in a hormonal tornado. This goes along with liver health. Do you need to throw out your entire bathroom, kitchen, and makeup supplies tonight? No. Start educating yourself on www.ewg.org and then slowly make changes. Think of what you and your family use and touch the most first and then within time, swap the ick for the safe.
There are more essentials to hormone balance but I feel these are the most important. If you want to learn more, work with me and I will teach and support you through the changes you want to make. Here’s to your hormonal health and happiness!
Every day I’m learning. Thank goodness I’m open to learning. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been on my new adventure of obtaining my “Family & Children” Health Coach certification from Dr. Sears (he’s amazing! Click to meet the Doc!) and the one item that I’ve learned and keep thinking about is… MEETING THE INDIVIDUAL WHERE THEY ARE AT. Not where I want them to be. I’ve been on this health journey for almost 5 years. It’s my career, I’ve had 5 years of education, a health coach of my own, I am constantly learning. The way I eat today took me at least a year to get to. And I am in an entirely different spot today than I was even a year ago. My new goal is for women and their families to not feel overwhelm or that they have to reinvent their life in a week.
One example I’m trying to keep this mindset in is through my Kitchen Makeovers I do. Instead of going through everything with the mindset of “THROW IT OUT! IT’S GARBAGE! IT’S TERRIBLE!”, I go through items with the attitude of “What small steps can we make to eventually crowd out these items with healthier items?” Maybe you have fruit flavored yogurt in your fridge that is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup along with other unidentifiable items. Try to slowly get to the healthiest option. Next time it can be vanilla yogurt sweetened with organic cane sugar, then a yogurt with less sugar and full fat, then the following week you can switch to organic, then perhaps your final step is mixing organic plain with your vanilla, eventually getting to the point where your yogurt is organic plain whole fat yogurt. You can then sweeten it with berries or a drizzle of honey.
Each small change you make will allow your taste buds to adjust and eventually love the healthier option. But it may take patience, especially with your children. Maybe you’ve been having chicken finger nights with ingredients that aren’t the best for your littles but perhaps the first step is buying organic chicken fingers (there are plenty of options now) where you slowly get to a point where you are making your own (I make mine in less than 20 minutes prep and cook)?
The key to changing what you put in your body, and your family’s, is to make small changes that build and build to that final result. To gradually change taste buds, allow for you and the family to get used to the change, to be motivated to make the next change, and eventually you all are eating to fuel your bodies. Together. Reach out to me if you want to talk more about this- I’m always learning and trying to make changes for the better. We can learn together!
When you feel something is off, or have been told one or more hormones are not in the right zone, I don’t want you to feel the only answer is medication. Or that your body is not in your hands, that you can’t make an impact on it functioning. Medication is sometimes a necessity- I truly believe that- but I also do believe we’re overly medicating ourselves as well as prematurely medicating ourselves. I love talking to women about how they can start the journey with being in tune with their body and what may be affecting those fun little hormones. To make some changes within their own mind and body. If that journey doesn’t work, THEN let’s talk about the other options. But what if it does work?
I had hormone imbalance last year with my estrogen, testosterone, and my IGF-1 (ignited by my high production of growth hormone) and decided to take things on my own course and see how it went. I saw Dr. Katie Johnson, DC, Lac, of Lotus Health Center where we sat and truly talked about what could be affecting my levels. What came of it was outstanding levels after making some impactful changes and getting retested to see the results. What are some of the changes I’ve made? Below are my top 5 (reach out to me if you want any more!):
- Having PROTEIN with breakfast- always. I have always had some form of breakfast, just not consistently or the right breakfast. Many times it was grain-based and I found myself “hangry” an hour later. Which was a sign my blood sugar was crashing, and that dramatically affects our hormones. Now I eat breakfast an hour after waking, sometimes an hour and a half, and I always have a protein in that breakfast. A nut butter in my smoothie, 2 hard-boiled eggs, walnuts in my quinoa “oatmeal”, or leftover salmon from dinner. Protein is key with EVERY meal but especially with breakfast. It is an essential macronutrient that allows your blood sugar to stay balanced, and for you to feel full.
- Upping my FIBER. Elimination is such an important key with hormone balance. Keeping that liver of yours happy and functioning at its best is the focus. You don’t need a cleanse, a juice cleanse, or a detox to make your liver and kidneys function at their optimal level. I help women keep the liver on its game with simple lifestyle choices and the right foods. Fiber is one nutrient that helps with this. I aim for 30ish grams a day and do supplement with organic psyllium husk.
- Reduction of DAIRY. Growth Hormone is ignited by dairy, especially conventional dairy. My IGF-1 level was pretty high and concerning, and IGF-1 is affected by how much GH is being produced. The solution was to reduce dairy- and some days I have no dairy at all. If I do, it’s grass-fed, organic butter, cheese, or plain yogurt. All are full fat as well, I do not mess with low fat or no fat anything. We don’t need dairy to survive. So many of us have intolerances to it and conventional dairy just has so many yucky things along with synthetic vitamins flushed back into it. But I do love a nice cheese with my wine every now and then!
- Reduction of ALCOHOL. I cannot believe I just wrote that. And that I’ve actually reduced my happy juice this past year. I’ve had a wonderful and fun couple of decades that involved a cocktail (or 3!). But after Brooklyn was born, things changed in my body. One glass of wine gave me a hangover for days. Chardonnay was being called “angry juice” by my husband. All of a sudden I was getting headaches galore. I just felt like crap after a night of drinks. I would sip my Cabernet while making dinner or indulge in a glass while watching RHOBH. My sleep was horrific- It would take forever to fall asleep and then at around 2am I would wake and feel I had caffeine pumping through my body. Alcohol, even wine, affects our hormones tremendously. Especially estrogen. I still have a cocktail in my life but it’s dramatically different and only when I have a special night. And to be honest, I am good with just one drink. I know, I can’t believe I just wrote that.
- Increasing my GREENS- This goes along with keeping the liver functioning and glowing but also with hormone balance in general. Increasing your veggies with every meal, especially greens, is the way to go with hormone balance. Don’t feel it has to be the cliché salad. Adding veggies to every meal in creative ways is one way I can help you. It is easier than you think and you’ll feel incredible.
Curious as to the many other ways I achieve hormone balance? Get in touch with me to schedule a consult (email@example.com) or you can join my May 1st Hormone Reset Diet Course & Coaching. Click here to join the Facebook Challenge Group to get to know me and this program: http://michellemansfieldhealth.com/hrd-challenge-opt
Happy Hormones, Happy Life!
Women have asked me this question enough times when I’m coaching them where I believe this is a huge part in being proud to be healthy. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, embarrassed of, or feel you’re being high-maintenance. There’s no reason to deny your health goals if you want to continue it at a social situation. It’s all about being prepared, being honest, and being generous.
So in doing some research here are some common tips that always come up:
- Eat before you go. This was by far the most popular tip, and probably the most useful. …
- Place limits. …
- Plan ahead. …
- Drink lots of water and eat fruits and veggies. …
- Have a big salad before the main course. …
- Log what you eat, so you’ll be more aware of it.
- Avoid alcohol. …
- Bring your own.
(Courtesy of Zen Habits)
I agree with some but let’s step out of the norm and get even more creative and proud of choosing healthy foods. Why does every party have to be about fried, creamed, overly-cheesy, chippy and dippy kind of foods? It’s as if no one believes that healthy is delicious. Here are my tips to make the party more exciting and one you’ll look forward to:
- Ask the host if a fun game can be played- and give some suggestions! It’s nice when there’s action going on and the party isn’t solely focused on drinking, eating, and talking. A game where the guests can get to know one another more and veer away from their comfort cluster is a wonderful way to make the party more enjoyable.
- Do not go starving- I can’t stress that enough. Make sure your day is like any other day where you’re nourishing your body and blood sugar with healthy proteins, fats, and complex carbs.
- Be generous and bring 2 appetizers of your own! Or bring a side dish- make it a vegetable dish. Perhaps a healthier cocktail for the bar. You’d be surprised how many people will thank you (including the host!) for bringing an item or two- you may be able to find a few new health-minded friends where you can have some wonderful conversations. You don’t have to eat what is at the party if you don’t want to.
- Continue your healthy habits throughout the day of the party. I always say get some source of exercise in that day. To boost the confidence, have the endorphins flowing, ensuring that your “feel good” feeling will continue throughout the event.
- Talk about your health to others. You don’t have to preach, there is a way to do this where it’s NOT annoying. Never appear you are superior, know more, do more, or are stronger than anyone you talk to. Talking about health has to be done in a HEALTHY way. You can be proud without appearing superior. You can be informative without preaching. Another tip is listening and learning from others at the same time. When you talk about your health goals and lifestyle, there will be interest, questions, AND accountability at the event where you’ll be less likely to pick up a hot wing.
Here are 5 easy and healthy recipes for your party list:
- I love buffalo sauce and bleu cheese so this is a perfect alternative to the world of hot wings: http://www.eatingwell.com/video/6957/how-to-make-buffalo-cauliflower-bites/
- Ceviche! Get some cooked shrimp and dice up with fresh veggies, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic. I love jicama for some crunch!
- Trio of guac. Guacamole will never get old but why not get some conversations started with a trio of different versions of this healthy dip? Mix small cubes of watermelon with guacamole for a refreshing summer dip. Rick Bayless has an awesome recipe that calls for mixing almond butter (yes, it is delicious) and toasted pumpkin seeds. He also has a BLT one where you add diced tomato and bacon (find nitrate free bacon- if you can get locally even better). How about caramelizing red onion with ghee and garlic and mixing it in the guac? (I literally just thought of that!)
- Buy some organic chicken tenders and make your own chicken satay. Season chicken as you wish: salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, whatever floats your boat. Place chicken tenders on skewers and sear on the stovetop for 2 min each side, or until a toasty brown. Place in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Make an almond butter sauce:
- 1 1″ piece ginger, peeled.
- 1 small garlic clove.
- 1/2 cup creamy almond butter.
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (find gluten free if possible).
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice.
- 1 teaspoon (packed) light brown sugar (you can omit but a tsp won’t kill you).
- 1/4 -1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes.
- Garnish with sliced cucumbers and red onions that have been marinating in white wine vinegar and olive oil.
- Simple and easy zucchini fritters (dairy, grain, and gluten free) are super filling, nutritious and tasty. I like to make an aioli with avocado mayo (thrivemarket.com) , garlic, lemon juice, and any other herbs lying around. Or mix the mayo with Sriracha for a dip with a kick.
See? Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean a veggie tray with hummus (yawn!) but a world of endless possibilities. Try hosting a party where you showcase your talents and way of eating – share the recipes or where you bought something. Create a world that isn’t afraid of healthy foods. I have found that healthy foods cooked the right way, with the right seasonings, and with love, are far more delicious than anything put in a deep fryer or coated in bread crumbs. Trust yourself and your passion- and have fun! Cheers!
The biggest challenge a woman has when I ask them how much they cook is TIME. No one has time. For this, that, themselves, and creating nutritious meals for their family. I tell my clients that the KEY to health is cooking more. Knowing your ingredients. Being responsible for what you put into your body along with your family’s. Michael Pollan http://www.michaelpollan.com talks about this in his most recent book, “Cooked”, and has so many resources on the importance of the family table. The connection to your family, that mental space you need to create, is just as important as the food you put on the table. Talking. Opening yourself to your children and what may be going on with them. Looking at your partner and smiling with no distractions. Enjoying the tastes, textures, colors of what is on your plates.
So do you have 15 minutes? Feel organic is too expensive? Well, those excuses are not only used way too much but aren’t true. We do have the time, we have to carve it out and realign our priorities. 15 minutes to cook or 15 minutes looking at your phone? A $5.50 latte or $3.99 organic blueberries? Another pair of black boots at $250 or does your grocery bill go organic and slightly increase? It’s all about shifting in life. Acknowledging and respecting what is most important.
Down below is a SUPER easy recipe of the photo above that is A) organic, B) Under $15, and C) 15 minutes. Try making it tonight! (It’s great for leftovers to take to lunch the next day)
A 15-Minute All-Organic Meal Under $15
Chickpea Cakes Over Mixed Greens
What you need and what to do:
- 2 cans (15 oz each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained. Put in a food processor. ($1.98)
- 4 T whole wheat flour or alternative flour ($.20)
- ½ tsp each of ground cumin, salt, and pepper ($.28)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped ($.29)
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten. Pulse until combined. Form 16 patties and roll in additional flour ($.68)
- Heat 2 T olive oil in a skillet over medium-high and cook patties, in batches, until golden, 2-3 minutes per side (4.39)
- Divide 2 cups of mixed greens (such as chopped kale, spinach, and Swiss chard) into 4 blowls and top with 4 patties per bowl ($3.84)
- Total= $7.66
(Courtesy of Prevention Magazine, March 2017 issue)