Below is a summarized version of what I found to be the most helpful in healing my body and hormones holistically. I am excited to share this info! However, I am not a medical professional and this is not to be mistaken for medical advice. This is simply what has worked for me and my body when attempting to balance my hormones and make me feel good in my body again. If you do try any of the following, I encourage you to speak with your physician prior to implementing new supplements or a drastic lifestyle change. I hope you find this information to be helpful!
TIPS THAT BECAME A LIFESTYLE
1. Start the morning with good fats and protein.
Fueling your body with this combo in the morning is essential for stabilizing fasting blood-glucose levels, keeping you full longer, and providing a steady amount of energy to start the day.
Avocado toast with an egg (+ using sprouted flax toast) is my go-to breakfast for a reason. It has good fat (avocado), protein (egg), and more good fat (flax bread).
2. Limit caffeine intake.
Caffeine puts added stress on your liver and adrenal glands when you are dealing with a hormonal imbalance or dealing with chronic stress - especially if you’re drinking in in excess.
When I first began to naturally balance my hormones, cutting out caffeine was particularly difficult. I finally was able to quit drinking coffee though and replaced it with dandelion root tea in the morning for three months. (For some reason, I had a bad reaction to dandelion root and decided had to stop drinking it - it’s a shame because it’s a nutritious green and healthy for your liver.) Anyway - during the time that I had quit drinking coffee and consuming caffeine altogether, I couldn’t say that I noticed much of a difference. However, I do notice what happens when I drink more than one cup per day - jittery, shaky, anxious, and on-edge. For me, coffee is not just something to wake me up in the morning - it’s more of a ritual and a beverage I thoroughly enjoy the taste of. It was important that I found a sweet spot and a balance when consuming it, instead of getting rid of it altogether.
3. Get 7-8 hours of good sleep. (will be doing a post on good sleep hygiene soon)
This one seems simple but is SO important. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to get sick, you feel irritable, your memory doesn’t function at the optimal capacity, and so on. Over time, this really starts to mess with your hormones, heart function, and other vital organs.
Sleep is something I had to really prioritize, which took a lot of saying “no” (more on that below). In the past, I had a lot of trouble falling asleep. I would lay in bed for hours with my eyes closed, but still awake. This is when I hit rock bottom with my sleep cycle. I started to get in bed at 8pm because I knew it would take me a while before I finally fell asleep. This actually really helped and over time I was able to fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed instead of groggy.
4. Make exercise a priority:
Sweating on the reg is how you eliminate toxins, pump up your endorphins and get in the flow of a joyful mood.
This has made quite a difference in my energy, mood, skin, and digestion. When you keep your body moving daily, it keeps your digestion moving, which keeps toxins from accumulating in your body, which keeps your skin glowing, and your mood + energy high. I love to lift weights and combine it with 15 min of a HIIT workout or take a sweaty power yoga class to get the ultimate sweat on. However, when I'm in my menstrual phase I make sure to make rest a priority instead and give my body the break it deserves (AKA "cycle syncing").
5. Learn when and HOW to relax.
Ever been so chronically stressed that the thought of “relaxing” made you even more stressed out? I’ve been there. Not knowing when I could ‘fit it in’ and didn’t know how. It might look like a few different things depending on what ultimately relaxes you. Maybe you need to work-out, go for a walk while listening to enjoyable music, sit in the bathtub with a book, meditate with some candles and the smell of burning palo santo or take a nap. Listen and tune into your body and find out what it needs.
6. Quit sugar.
Yes. Stop eating it. I’m not talking about the naturally occurring sugar found in fruit. I’m talking about the donuts, the candy, soda, pizza (yeah.. there’s sugar in pizza), cookies - whatever your sugar vice is. Even if what you’re eating is the “healthy” version - if it has sugar in it, then you should cut it out for a while.
7. Start introducing organic veggies + grass-fed meats into your diet.
Organic vegetables and grass-fed meats are held to a higher standard. Organic vegetables are not sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers - all chemicals that increase your body’s total toxic load and require your liver to work overtime process and eliminate it. Similarly, grass-fed meats are raised without antibiotics or added hormones to promote the animal's growth and production. When you eat conventional produce and meats (non-organic + grain fed), you are ingesting all of those chemicals that the vegetables + animal was exposed to over their lifetime. Thankfully though, some veggies are safe to eat non-organic! Think: if the conventional veggie or fruit has thick skin that you normally wouldn’t eat (like a banana or mango), then it’s probably safe to eat.
8. Decrease your body’s total toxic load with clean beauty + household products.
I know this is probably a lot to take in so far. And you don’t have to make these changes all in one day - that would be crazy and most likely impossible.
One of the best things I’ve done is switched all of my beauty/skin care products and household cleaning products to non-toxic alternatives. That meant no more Lysol disinfectant or Dawn dish soap. No more Dove body wash or Covergirl mascara. Some of the thoughts I had when realizing I had to make these changes is “will my house be clean? What happens when one of us gets sick and I have to disinfect the bathroom? .. Will the non-toxic brands cut it?” Or something like (because I had a face full of acne at the time + was super self-conscious about it) - “will the non-toxic foundation do a good job at covering up my acne like my old make-up?”
The answer to these questions is YES. I swear that my acne finally disappeared because I wasn’t slathering endocrine disrupting powder on my face anymore (and all of the changes I made above) or washing my body with chemicals. It takes time to see a difference, but that difference is worth it.
Let me know if you would like a post about all of the brands I’ve tried and swear by (it’s a lot over the years).
9. Drink lots of water.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Water intake will help everything. Drink more than you think!
10. Eliminate waste:
Yes, I mean get pooping! To get rid of all of those toxins + excess hormones your liver processes and filters out, you need to poop on the reg. Otherwise, all of that junk is going to be reabsorbed by your body, and you’ll be back to square one.
This is something that I struggled with for a while, and having a dominance of estrogen running through my body it wasn’t pretty. * TMI * but I was constipated for a long time and saw the professional advice of a gastroenterologist. He diagnosed me with IBS-C and prescribed me medication - to which I said hell no. I learned how to regulate myself naturally through trial and error and lots of research. I explain some of the herbs below that helped me get moving again.
11. Learn to say no.
This one was (and still is) really hard for me. Setting boundaries with friends, family, people at work, is something that is uncomfortable but is necessary.
There have been plenty of days/nights when I had to say no to hanging out or going out with friends and family because my body desperately needed to go to an exercise class instead or I needed to chill at home and go to bed early.
It’s important to learn to take care of yourself first so you can really be fully present with others when the time comes.
Below is a list of foods that I found to be beneficial in my body's healing, and they continue to be a huge part of my diet today.
Hormone Healing Foods I Incorporated:
Seeds: flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower.
Wild caught salmon
Bone broth (my favorite is Bonifide Provisions)
Fermented veggies: kimchi, carrots, sauerkraut,
Raspberry leaf tea
Dark chocolate (I love Hu Kitchen’s cashew butter bar)
What I Chose to Cut Out:
Almost all gluten
Hormone Healing Supplements:
Probiotics: I’ve tried a bunch of different brands and I can’t say I’ve had more luck with one over the other. Good bacteria and healthy gut flora are essential to healing hormones.
Magnesium: I take this every single night a couple of hours before I go to bed. Magnesium helps me sleep better, decreased breast tenderness when it gets to be that time of the month, and helps my digestion.
Triphala: This has been a miracle herb for constipation. In the past, I would take it in capsule form but that became too expensive. Now, I put a tsp in my coffee in the morning and buy a big bag of it from Terra Soul.
D-Chiro-Inositol and Myo-Inositol: Some studies suggest taking these two together at a ratio of 40:1 (2,000 mg of Myo-Inositol and 50mg of D-Chiro-Inositol) help women with PCOS. I tried this for three months, however, did not see much of a difference in symptoms. (I don’t think I gave it enough time)
Parasite Cleanse: I have done Organic Olivia’s Parapro cleanse twice for my digestion and it has worked really well.
Others that I’ve tried but didn’t notice a difference or didn’t agree with me: Vitex, chickweed tincture, dandelion root, herbs from my acupuncturist
I think giving things time and patience is the hardest thing when balancing your hormones. You feel so uncomfortable in your skin that you just want immediate relief. If you are at the very beginning of your healing journey - don't give up! IT IS possible to heal yourself holistically. Just give it time.