Balance in life seems to be something that we as women are constantly striving for and most often not achieving. But what does it actually mean? For me, it means feeling emotionally balanced so your moods are consistent and you’re not on an emotional rollercoaster. It also means feeling happy with the time I spend working and with my family and still leaving a bit of time for me.
Are you looking for the perfect recipe for a balanced life? Then I have something for you……
This recipe is for you if you’re struggling with symptoms of fatigue, hot flushes, weight gain and mood swings. It’s for you if you’re unable to find a balance in your life and are overwhelmed with the constant juggle of work / life / kids. And it’s for you if you want to find a way to feel physically, mentally and emotionally more balanced so you can enjoy your life and feel like your old self again (because they have got lost somewhere along the way!).
All you need is an open mind, a desire to change and a willingness to implement. So many people put off making changes in their life because they believe they need to find the ‘right time’ to do it. In my experience there never is and probably never will be a right time, and therefore you should just accept that now is the time and commit yourself to living a healthier life for the long term.
Often you can feel the difference in just a few days but if you commit for 4 weeks, you will be well on the way to balanced hormones so you can feel calmer, energised and like your old self again.
Who does this serve?
This is best served to women that know they have hormonal imbalances and want to make changes but are unsure about how and what they should doing. You do know however that you don’t want to be on the pill or taking HRT and that you want a more natural approach. If you’re struggling with symptoms of fatigue and mood swings, your sugar cravings are taking over and you’re binge eating family sized bars of chocolate, you’re unable to get a good nights sleep and the hot flushes are kicking in, then this is for you.
Very few ingredients are required to achieve a more balanced body. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A little bit of will power
- An open mind
- A kitchen full of healthy foods
- A cooker
“Statistics reveal that almost 80% of women suffer from some kind of hormonal imbalance resulting in a slew of physical and mental health challenges.”
Mark A. Hyman, MD, detailed the Common Symptoms and Risk Factors of Hormone Imbalances in Women in his research paper for the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine Journal in 2007 (Altern Ther Health Med. 2007;13(3):10-16.) as:
- Premenstrual syndrome
– Monthly weight fluctuation
– Edema, swelling, puffiness, or water retention
– Feeling bloated
– Mood swings
– Tender, enlarged breasts
– Feeling unable to cope with ordinary demands
– Backache, joint or muscle pain
– Premenstrual food cravings (sugar or salt)
- Irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, light bleeding
- Use of birth control pill or other hormones
- Premenstrual migraines
- Breast cysts or lumps or fibrocystic breasts
- Family history of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer
- Uterine fibroids
- Peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms
– Hot flashes
– Mood swings or depression or anxiety
– Night sweats
– Loss of libido or sex drive
– Dry skin, hair, and vagina
– Joint pains
– Trouble with memory or concentration
– Bloating or weight gain around the middle
– Facial hair
- Exposure to pesticides (food, water, air)
Eliminate foods that exacerbate the symptoms. There are several foods which should be avoided when struggling with hormonal imbalances as they can make the symptoms worse.Certain foods can make the symptoms of the peri-menopause worse. These include:
- Processed and packaged foods which contain sugar, unhealthy vegetable oils and artificial ingredients which lack nutrients and can impair hormone balance.
- Low fat foods which also contain sugars or sweeteners but also mean you cut out essential fats which your body needs to function and stay in optimal balance.
- Sugar, which when consumed in excess causes insulin levels to increase and affects production of our reproductive hormones, oestrogen and progesterone.
- Dairy as the high levels of oestrogen in cows milk can cause hormonal havoc.
These include things like refined carbohydrates (white rice, pasta, bread, potatoes), sugary and processed foods, which can cause your blood sugar levels to become imbalanced, making you tired, grumpy and craving more! Swap them for complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat and oats for more consistent energy levels and moods.
Nourish your body with foods that support it and balance your hormones. Real foods help to provide your body with nutrients that help it to stay healthy and heal your hormones. When you are depleted of these essential nutrients it has a knock on effect on your hormonal balance. The quality of foods available today and the choices we make can mean we are depleted of essential nutrients that have a knock on effect on our hormonal balance. Ensure you have a balanced diet with plenty of rainbow coloured fruit and vegetables, plant based foods (beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, vegetables etc) and lean proteins is essential to limiting the symptoms.
Key nutrients for ensuring your hormones stay on track include:
- Magnesium helps to boosts your mood and promotes good sleep patterns. Good sources include green leafy vegetables, beans and pulses.
- Zinc is essential for hormone production and regulating the menstrual cycle. Oysters, shellfish, meat and eggs are all rich in zinc. Vegetarian options include pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts.
- Vitamin D plays a role in the production of bio-availability of certain hormones. It helps the parathyroid regulate calcium, the pituitary gland produce hormones and relieves the symptoms of low oestrogen levels. The best source of Vitamin D is from the sun, aim to get 15-30 mins a day to top up levels. You can also get it in lower levels from oily fish and eggs.
- Vitamin B6 supports the body in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin which which controls our mood and oestrogen metabolism to expel excess hormones from the body. Found in wild caught fish such as salmon and tuna, banana, beef, spinach and sweet potato.
- Healthy fats which are the building blocks for hormone production, boost metabolism and promote weight loss. Omega-3’s are particularly important and are found in oily fish, flaxseed, chia seed and walnut. Other fats include coconut oil, avocado and grassfed butter.
Ensure you eat regularly. Skipping meals and living on cups of coffee, grabbing lunch between meetings or when you remember, can cause blood sugar imbalances. The level of glucose in the blood is carefully controlled by the hormone insulin. When you go without food for long periods of time and you’re reaching for high Glycaemic Index , sugary, processed foods when you do eat, this can cause a blood sugar rollercoaster which makes us feel tired, grumpy and lacking in focus.
Long term this can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance, causing permanently high blood sugar levels which can cause weight gain and be at risk of diabetes type 2. Aim to go no longer then 4-5 hours without food and focus on low GI foods such as vegetables, beans, pulses, protein, fat and complex carbs.
Reduce Stress by taking some time for yourself to relax and recharge. When we are stressed our body releases the hormones adrenaline and cortisol over prolonged periods of time. Sustained high levels of these hormones can have a serious impact on our health; slowing down healing and cell regeneration as well as the production of bio-chemicals which make vital hormones which impacts on our endocrine function. Chronically high levels can lead to adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism and premature menopause as well as influencing blood sugar levels, sleep, energy levels and our ability to burn fat.
Stress is a common factor in everyday life with all the balls we have to juggle. It’s essential to make sure to schedule in time for self-care to help reduce levels. Try reducing stress by scheduling time in for you; magnesium salt baths, meditation, yoga, mindfulness or a chat with friends. Just do something you enjoy!
Imbalanced hormones are something that alot of women encounter and you are not alone on this journey.
The Recipe for a Balanced Body gives you the tools you need to make changes so you can feel energised and more physically and emotionally balanced.
Knowing the foods to eat to nourish your body and those to avoid, making sure you eat regularly and reduce your stress levels will help you to enjoy life and feel like your old self again
If you’re not sure where to start with making changes to your diet and lifestyle to improve symptoms of the perimenopause than click here to download my Hormone Balancing Recipe Guide, which is a great starting point and includes recipes and foods that both you and your family can enjoy.