In this sensitive moment of trying to get pregnant, I am doing my best to make sure everything is working the way it should be. Diet is such a big part of this, and I know diets are not one size fits all, but a hormone–balanced diet is definitely a starting point to get on track. My hormones of late have been out of whack; I won’t go into all the gory details, but let’s just say that I am a bit irregular. After my check up, everything seems to be all good, but I am going to start taking precaution, like I mentioned last week. Now that I am focusing on getting my mind right, the diet is my next venture.
There is no denying that we suffer on a daily basis mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and fatigue. Needless to say, our hormones are constantly fluctuating, making us feel like we are going haywire. Stress, sleep, exercise and especially diet are triggers for our system to not operate the way we hope it will. To help combat the daily struggle, simple food choices can help reduce all of those icky feelings and also give you some mental clarity. Food is a natural healer, and wise choices are easy to implement into your daily life. I use the word ‘easy’ lightly, because it is our willpower that gets us there: late last night I could have easily gotten a protein salad after drinking prosecco at all the Salone di Mobile events, but I opted for the cheeseburger and fries. Kicking myself now, but it felt good at the time.
Moderation: I don’t know how many times I have repeatedly heard this word in the diet world, but it is the key to success. I allowed myself that burger last night, because I never eat it and continuously depriving yourself of something you want will always end in disaster. Every once in a while you deserve those treats that bring you happiness, because a diet does not have to be torture.
Our bodies are made up of a complex composition of hormones: insulin, estrogen, thyroid, cortisol, adrenaline and many more. So in order to be functioning properly, let’s try to get these chemical messengers on the same page. In their unique system, they are in charge of regulating functions such as metabolism, sleep and the reproductive process.
For optimal hormone balance, your best friends are fat and protein. Your body needs essential fats such as saturated fat and cholesterol in order to create hormones and keep inflammation levels low. Protein is fundamental in the groundwork of hormone development because they act as the internal communication to carry messages between organs, cells and systems.
What to Include:
1. Healthy Fats
Your body uses sources of fat in order to create hormones. Don’t get all excited; you know where I am going with this. We are talking healthy fats here, coconut oil, avocados, and walnuts. Now I gather you all are eating enough avocado toasts to last you a lifetime, but try incorporating some others into your diet. Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial and fat burning effects.
2. Grass Fed Beef, Organic Chicken and Wild Caught Fish
These are your best bet to get in your animal proteins. They contain the essential amino acids needed to synthesize the protein. Try to stay away from conventional proteins, because they are pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones that can cause inflammation making your hormones feel discombobulated. If you are sticking to plant–based proteins, make sure you are getting adequate portions by varying your intake.
A great source of omega-3, flaxseed contains lignans as well, which is a a naturally compound that binds to estrogen receptors to help reduce that excess estrogen. Dealing with fibroids or that annoying PMS? Calming that the excess estrogen can help with these dilemmas. Flaxseed is most commonly associated as a soluble fiber helping our bowels moving along detoxing us from those “used up” hormones. The best thing about flaxseed is you can sprinkle them anywhere. Two tablespoons should be enough for your daily dose.
Don’t forget about our healing plants and much talked about adaptogens. Certain adaptogens promote hormone balance and can also improve thyroid function. Holy basil, cordecyps, ashwagandha and rhodiola not only combat stress, which is vital in obtaining an optimal hormone balance. I add my miraculous ashwagandha in my coffee every morning.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale contain diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound that supports healthy levels of estrogen. Equally important to getting in your fats and protein, you should load up on these veggies.
Again, diets are not tailor made for everyone; especially since we all suffer from different kinds of hormone imbalance. If we focus on adding a few things to our daily routine, but most importantly try to stay away from the big bad guys such as gluten, sugar and dairy we can certainly attain a more optimal hormone balance.
Need some inspiration for a hormone balanced meal? Try this Salmon and Quinoa Super Salad.
Salmon and Quinoa Super Salad
For the millet:
1 cup of quinoa (you can also use millet)
2 cups of water
Pinch of salt
For the salmon:
1 pound wild caught salmon
1 to 2 teaspoons avocado oil
4 lemon slices
Salt and Pepper
For the salad:
¾ cup of parsley
½ cup of dill
⅓ cup of chives
3 red radishes
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teasponns Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon spirulina powder
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse the quinoa. Place in a small pot with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil on a medium high heat. Once it has started boiling, turn the heat to low and let simmer covered for 20 minutes. Once cooked, allow quinoa to cool.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon of avocado oil on a baking sheet and place the salmon filet on top. Then drizzle another teaspoon of avocado oil over the salmon. Season with salt and pepper and top with lemon slices. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
Once the quinoa is cooled, break it up (it will be stuck together from cooking) and toss the quinoa with the herbs and dressing. Add the radish and avocado and continue to toss. Add the salmon once cooled and mix all the ingredients.
Pictures by ATPB- Lynn Chaya
Polaroid Image by Suzanne Saroff