You may ask where to start. Hormones are baffling for so many of us. Women especially are aware of how hormones play a role in our cycles, but what about their daily impact on our mood, our sleep patterns, our energy and our metabolism? I assure you you don't need a PhD in biochemistry to make simple changes to your lifestyle and diet that can shift and support how your endocrine system works for you. Simply adopting one of the following nine hormone balancing strategies can be a game changer . . .
1) Don’t skip breakfast! Within 1 hour of waking, make sure you have something that is high in fiber and nutrient-dense.. This sets the tone for blood sugar for the rest of the day. Suggestions- eggs and veggies, avocado toast, Japanese style breakfast such as brown rice, seaweed flakes (Dulci flakes at the grocery store), miso soup, fish, PLAIN oatmeal with raisins and nuts.
2) Limit caffeine and never have on an empty stomach! If you must have caffeine, limit to one cup per day with or after a meal. Even if you don’t add sugar, it still stimulates the adrenal glands in a similar way to sugar. Wean off of caffeine using tea instead or gradually add in increasing amounts of “Teeccino”- herbal coffee which tastes very very similar but has zero caffeine.
3) Don’t eat only a salad at lunch, eat whole grains also. If you deprive yourself of whole grains at lunch, your body will crave some source of glucose throughout the day. This is why you get the 3pm crash- your body needs the slowly digesting carbs to sustain energy.
4) Support your adrenal glands with food by reducing stress! Suggestions: black and adzuki beans, sea vegetables (can sprinkle on everything! Such as the dulci flakes or gomasio), black sesame seeds, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, root vegetables, miso soup. This is especially important for women who bleed heavily or for a long time.
5) Fiber!! You need fiber, which is a carrier molecule to eliminate toxins and excess hormones. Much of acne is due to toxins building up and showing up in the skin. Suggestion: flax meal- sprinkle on any and all sautéed veggies with some toasted sesame oil. Yuuuum!
6) Do seasonal “cleanses”- but only if they are whole foods based. These can be so beneficial to just resetting your tastebuds and reducing your cravings for simple carbs and sugar. The point is not to starve yourself, but rather clean out your diet of the things that disrupt your endocrine system - sugar and caffeine are the biggies. Do yourself a favor and find a good support group or a guide to offer you some structure if you are new to cleansing. Suggested in the fall, spring, and January.
7) Ladies, track your cycle. Knowing when you are ovulating and when to expect your period as well as different symptoms that you experience based on the time of the month (example: many women have restless sleep right after ovulation. If you didn’t track this monthly, you are left wondering why this is happening, and have a sense that it is random). Awareness is key to being able to take charge of your health and create positive change!
8) Find a creative outlet! When you channel your energy into something creative, you are able to “unblock” energy. The ovaries are the creative center of the body- some believe that when creativity is blocked, they too get blocked and things like fibroids or cysts develop. One sign that you need a creative outlet is when you are engaging in emotional eating.
9) Find a meditation practice! This could be dance or yoga- just a time where you are able to quiet the mind and the nervous system, and be ok with listening to you and you alone.
~ Source: Adapted from "Nutrition for Hormone Balance" by Laughing Sage Wellness