What to Avoid & What to Include When You Have Hormonal Imbalances.
There is so much information out there now, you don't know what to believe! I'm right there with you ladies.. I feel like i'm bombarded with information hitting me from all angles - north,south,east,west - and I just don't know what the best is for my body anymore! The problem is, one method isn't a 'fix all' and our bodies respond differently to different things. What i'm going to discuss in this blog are the FOODS you should absolutely avoid whilst you are trying to balance your hormones. Next week I will write a post about the foods you should include daily to balance your hormones - so stay tuned! For now, here's the bad guys...
What to avoid
Coffee - Sorry to say ladies! Coffee has many benefits as you've probably read - its great for liver health and can help with conditions such as dimentia and alzheimers. However, for hormonal problems coffee is not great. It raises our hormone 'cortisol' which causes our blood sugars to rise. Cortisol also stresses our bodies, and depletes our sex hormones Estrogen and Progesterone - meaning we worsen the imbalance. In normal, healthy-hormoned individuals this isn't an issue - but for us hormonally-imbalanced women, coffee is the enemy (at least until we have balanced our hormones)
- Sugar - Yep I said it again. SUGAR!! - Sugar raises our blood sugar, again, stimulating cortisol which is not a hormone we want to be using too often. It also raises our insulin levels, and when we are doing this on a regular occasion we run the risk of becoming insulin resistant, which is why many women suffer from excess fat around their waist. It's a tell-tale sign that your blood sugar is imbalanced and your hormones aren't doing their jobs. Cut out processed sugar, and even limit natural sugars such as honey and maple syrup and some fruits for a while. It works wonders on your body and your energy! I swap sugar for stevia, which is a naturally derived sugar from a plant, I add that to my homemade desserts & baking goods for a little sweet addition.
- Alcohol - You may want to consider giving up alcohol for 30 days or so to allow your body to detoxify and allow your hormones a break from it. Alcohol suppresses the immune system therefore it allows a lot of chaos to happen in the body - and isn't a great concoction when you're trying to fix your hormonal imbalance. Give it a rest for at least a month and you will feel much better. When you start drinking again, stick to Vodka & Gin - not wine or beer. Wine and beer is very high in carbohydrates and sugar and feeds bad bacteria in our guts.
- Dairy - Yes i'm so sorry I had to drop the 'dairy bomb'. We all love our cheese, our sour cream, our full fat milk, and our yogurt - oh I almost forgot to mention ice-cream. But our hormones are suffering as a result! Dairy contains growth hormones that they feed to the cows/goats/sheep to make them produce more milk & basically get fatter - so we ingest these hormones every time we consume dairy. Once you have balanced your hormones - you can start moving your eating habits to 'grass fed dairy' or 'raw dairy' - but until then - ditch it all together. They now make coconut yogurt, and also lots of delicious almond milk substitutes you can use instead of milk.
- Grains - Should I pass you the tissue yet? I'm sorry i'm breaking the bad news - but its important you know what to avoid to help your hormones re-balance again. Grains like pasta, bread, white rice, tortillas, cereals, oats and all baking goods (crumpets, croissants, cakes, donuts, pastries) - they raise your blood sugar - causing cortisol to creep back in, and cause stress to our bodies. We need to avoid grains and choose healthier options - there are so many alternatives to cook with these days - almond flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour - that we can easily swap these all-time favorites for some healthy alternatives - you just need to break out from your comfort zone and kick the grains in the *NUTSACK*. Get them out. I did - and I feel great. Every now and again i'll eat brown rice, and I love to eat quinoa (which is not a grain) and is packed with nutrients.
- Bad Oils (Hydrogenated oils!) - The only oils you should be consuming are olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, ghee and grass-fed butter. END OF. Any other oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil, soybean oil and many of the other synthetic oils are bad for the body and cause a lot of inflammation! Always read the labels guys. These oils can sneak into even the healthy foods & condiments. Read read read - and avoid these horrible hormone disrupting oils.
- Soy - Soy is a terrible terrible beast when it comes to hormones. It mimics estrogen in the body causing all sorts of problems - estrogen dominance and lack of progesterone (which is our peaceful hormone) - which is why some of us suffer from PMS, which is an estrogen dominance symptom. Stay away from SOY as if your heart depends on it. And again, read the label - its a sneaky ingredient.