Drinking Water and Hormones

Does drinking 8 glasses of water a day seem like a lot? What if you are not thirsty? Does any of this have anything to do anything do with your health, or is it just an health tip with no real meaning?

It turns out that you need about an 1oz of water for every 2 lbs of body weight. So for the average adult, this is about 75oz of water a day, or about 7.5 glasses of water. You can adjust this to best suit your needs.

So why is this necessary?

Water is something your body uses to maintain homeostasis (which means maintaining balance). Since the majority of the body is comprised of water, and regulation of kidneys and major functions need water, your body is constantly monitoring the amount of water in the body. When your water levels dips lower than it would like, your body goes into stress response and its emits a stress hormone (such as cortisol).

This process leads to your body holding onto onto weight and you feeling tired. You will likely also have trouble sleeping (due to elevated cortisol).

In addition to keeping your body regulated and metabolism running optimally, drinking sufficient water helps to “flush” out toxins such as excess estrogen, medications, pesticides and other substances your body views as an invader.

So drink up for optimal mood and weight loss!

water

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Fermented Foods For The Win

Eastern northern european and Asian cultures have long used fermented food to heal balance beneficial bacteria in the body and promote optimal health.

Sauerkraut and Kimchi are both finely chopped picked cabbage.

Bacteria occurs naturally on the cabbage surface. When bacteria eat the naturally occurring sugars in the cabbage, fermentation develops.  Both kimchi and sauerkraut have the same type of lactobacillus probiotic bacteria.

Both are great for your gut (though they are quite smelly to keep in the fridge!). While natural is always best… if pickled cabbage is not your thing, you can always look to a probiotic to help balance your gut bacteria.

kimchi

 

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Confused about Prebiotics? This will Help!

What is a Prebiotic?

You are likely seeing and hearing a lot about prebiotics. You may even see it on your probiotic label if you are purchasing a combination product. So what is a prebiotic, and do you need one?

The scientific definition of a prebiotic is a “selected fermented” ingredient that allows gastrointestinal flora to thrive. In basic English, prebiotics are “food” for beneficial bacteria in the gut that help them thrive. Most prebiotics are carbohydrate compounds –so they often end in –ose or –itol, meaning they are sugars or alcohols.

So no, prebiotics and probiotics are not the same thing.

Prebiotics help your existing gut bacteria to thrive, whereas probiotics introduce good bacteria to your gut. When these two forces are combined together, they are often referred to as a symbiotic, because they help each other do their job.

Do I Need One?

The answer to this really depends on your diet and lifestyle.

Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that are not digestible by your body. Lots of natural foods contain this fiber, and so you may not need to add another supplement or pill to your diet.

If you are getting lots of “undigestible” fiber in your diet from chicory root, the skin of many vegetables and fruits, or find that your probiotic alone is doing its job, you may not need to add a prebiotic.

However, if you are finding that a probiotic alone is not working, it may be wise to look into a combination product, or add more specific kinds of fiber to your diet.

What Do I Need to Do?  

The first thing you need to do is be cautious of “prebiotic” packaged foods.

Many companies are adding inulin to their crackers and cereals, and proclaiming that they are “prebiotic” foods.

The actual benefit to your body is questionable, as you would need to ingest boxes of the stuff to get any benefit. You will, however, get diarrhea from all the indigestible fiber, and you will outdo any benefit by eating crackers full of gluten that will only inflame your gut.

Outside of that, be sure to get lots of “indigestible” fiber in your diet, by trying to eat the skins of the vegetables you are already consuming. Chicory root can be added to smoothies or coffee.

Finally, you can choose to add a liquid or pill form prebiotic to your supplement regular routine. On their own, prebiotics have not been shown to have any real benefit, but you can always see for yourself and/or combine them with a probiotic.

Regardless of whether or not you choose to take prebiotic, it is essential to be consistent.

You are keeping up a level of “good bacteria” in your system. Like keeping a volleyball in the air, it is important to take a prebiotic daily, otherwise it is not able to do its job, and you are throwing money down the drain.

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Leaky Gut 101: Part II

In Part I of this series, I gave a quick overview of Leaky Gut, what it is, and why it is something to pay attention to. To recap, leaky gut is a “condition” caused when your intestinal lining has mini tears in it, causing food and bacteria to enter your bloodstream using the wrong “door”.

In a nutshell, it’s a barrier problem that causes a slew of health issues.

The interesting thing about all of these symptoms is that while leaky gut is the cause for stuff “escaping” your digestive system, it is not actually the cause for your symptoms. The actual cause for that is chronic inflammation.

Chronic Inflammation: One Culprit, Many Issues

When you think inflammation, you are probably picturing an injury or red, swollen bug bite. But that is acute inflammation, a condition caused by sickness or injury. It’s temporary, and it’s generally local to one area.

Chronic inflammation is a different ballgame. You won’t see it or feel it, but it’s  actually present throughout your body, wreaking havoc wherever it goes.

Immune Systems: Stop Being So Defensive

Chronic inflammation triggers your body’s defense system. It tells your body you are in trouble….all the time.

Areas such as your brain and gut swell up (in subtle ways you can’t see). When this happens, neurotransmitters and other chemicals can’t bind like they should. Your mood goes down, your digestive suffers, your hormone get out of whack.

In fairness to your body, it is doing its job. Your immune system is there to protect you against foreign invaders. But the problem is that when it is sensing attack, it’s also huts off all non-essential processes.

Your Body is Like a Cell Phone

When you are running low on cell phone battery, your priorities change. Watching a video on YouTube or checking Facebook goes out the window. It becomes about the basics – ensuring you have enough battery for urgent calls or directions to your destination.

Your body is no different. When it’s in defense mode, it shuts down anything non-essential. So in addition to  chronic inflammation causing issues such as acne, joint pain, bloating, and poor mood, it also causes your body to shut down, affecting processes such as sex drive, digestion, and metabolism (i.e. burning calories).

To add insult to injury, all of this wears your down and makes you age faster. Like any tool or electronic equipment, the more your run the processor, the less efficient it is, and the faster you wear it down.

cell phone

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NSAIDS, leaky gut, and inflammation cures

So I had foot surgery a few months ago.I can finally move about but I still have stiffness and pain at times. So naturally, I am interested in inflammation cures.

My doctor recommended that I take several ibuprofen a day for this. No. And here is why. NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are horrible to take long term.

Some people know this. You may know this. But a lot of people don’t, or they don’t know why. There are many reasons – including the load on your liver – but today I want to talk about something else.

Women take NSAIDs in droves every month during their cycles – and there are far better ways inflammation cures and ways to reduce cramps or pain. It’s nuts. NSAIDs treat the symptoms but not the root cause. NSAIDs are products such as Motrin, Aleve, aspirin, Advil, etc.

I am not anti-drug or painkiller, but I know that NSAIDs do a number of your gut lining. Soon that pain in your neck is a pain in the butt!

Many of you may of heard of leaky gut.

Essentially it boils down to inflammation and tears in your intestinal lining. Food particles and other bacteria leak into your blood stream, causing a slew of issues including chronic inflammation as well as GI problems such as diarrhea, bloating, and pain.

The irony is that leaky gut can cause or exacerbate chronic body inflammation, autoimmune issues, depression, and anxiety.

Things that people with arthritis, PCOS, and PMS already have. Once you have leaky gut, you actually have to work to heal it.

Here are 5 natural anti-inflammatories (and the brands I recommend) that you should know about.

Yes – these are affiliate links. But as a nutritionist I would never link to any products I don’t personally use or recommend. One of the things that frustrates me are people who won’t invest in good quality supplements, but then don’t get the results they want. It’s like they are taking action, but it’s “half assed” action. With supplements and herbs, the brand really does matter if you want results.

And if you still feel the need to use NSAIDs short term due to an injury, combining them with one of the natural inflammation cures below can help you to reduce the NSAID dosage you take, and reduce the toxic load on your body.

1) Fish Oil

In fact Omega 3 Fatty acids can be used in many ways to help with inflammation and hormonal imbalance.

2) Arnica

3) Turmeric

In fact Turmeric is one of many Ayruvedic herbs I recommend for dealing with all kinds of issues, including PCOS and sugar cravings. Here are some others

4) Borage Oil

5) L-Glutamine

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3 herbs for natural pcos treatment

I manage my pcos naturally, and help many clients do the the same. here are 3 must have indian ayruvedic herbs to add to any natural pcos treatment plan

The basis for PCOS (at a very simplified level) is that there is too much insulin in the body, and this causes excess testosterone levels in the ovaries. Causing all the issues that ensue.

Doctors may argue that not all PCOS patients are insulin resistant, or that there are multiple causes, but I have found that for 90% of people – even those who are thin – this is the main issue.

​Sometimes insulin resistance is caused by excess weight, sometimes it is caused by genetic factors, but the bottom line is that managing blood sugar is a key part of any natural PCOS treatment plan. 

Here are 3 herbs that I use as part of my natural PCOS treatment plan to help me manage my blood sugar naturally. Of course these are used in conjunction with a low carb lifestyle. I like using herbs and spices in cooking because they are beneficial to the body, and make you feel nourished in way that non-home cooked food just can’t.

These are safe and natural, and can be used by anyone – even if you are just trying to reduce belly fat. You don’t have to have PCOS to benefit from these herbs. 

1) Cinnamon: 

Cinnamon is an amazing aromatic spice that has been used for centuries in India to treat muscle spasms, digestive issues, and diabetes. Not only does it add amazing flavor and aroma to all foods but is also has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar in insulin resistant individuals and Type II diabetics, as well as improve the ability of the body to absorb glucose in insulin resistant individuals.  You want to make sure you are using Ceylon cinnamon. Why? This is true cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is the most common form. But Cinnamon Verum (true or ceylon cinnamon) is the sweeter, and more beneficial of the 2 forms. It is also better for your liver over time.  Finding a good, organic (very important when it comes to herbs) is not that easy. I find that buying my herbs online in bulk saves me time and money.

Here is my favorite source.    naturalpcostreatmentcinnamon

2) Fenugreek: 

This is a spice you likely are not as familiar with. Fenugreek is commonly used in South Asia, East Asia, and the Middle East. It contains a hormone like compound known as diosgenin. Due to its hormonal properties, it’s often used to regulate menstrual cycles and increase libido. It helps increase breast milk and reduce inflammation. It’s an adaptogen – meaning it helps to balance the body and mind during “off times”. It’s been used for centuries to control blood sugar. Its has been shown to lower daily blood sugar levels, as well as A1C (the measure of sugar in blood over time). Fenugreek works by stimulating the insulin signaling pathway. In this way it helps to move glucose out of the blood and into cells – where it can be used. With herbals – if you are going to use the for medicine – getting a good potent source is essential. It has take me some trial and error to find the brands that work best.

here is the one I recommend most

Brands from the drug store, or even the India grocery store, are just not as pure or potent in my experience. 

3) Bay Leaf: 

Bay leaf is another Indian spice that is used for its aroma and flavor in cooking. But did you know that Basil is also great for reducing blood sugar? Individuals that took Bay Leaf supplements had bigger  drops in blood sugar levels over those who only took a placebo.

   bayleafnaturalpcostreatment

In addition to the many antioxidants in bay leaf, it contains bioactive compounds that improve insulin sensitivity (ability of the hormone insulin to move glucose out of the blood stream and into cells). You can find good quality organic bay leaves at Whole Foods or any quality grocery store for pretty cheap. 

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fix craving for sweets in a natural way

Craving for sweets is a natural thing. We need glucose (blood sugar) to fuel our brain and muscles quickly.

Unfortunately it’s so hard to stick to a low glycemic and PCOS friendly eating plan we when are craving sugar.  Thankfully – there are an increasing number of healthy and “natural” alternative sweeteners that are popping up on the market. The post is about one is particular.

So what is this sweetener I love so much?

It’s Yakon syrup. It is relatively new to the “alternative sweetener” scene but it’s one you are going to want to add to your pantry for it’s ability to reduce cravings for sweets.
Formatted Version
Formatted Version

Here are a few reasons why I am loving this stuff:

  • It acts as a pre-biotic (helps to promote healthy gut bacteria and aids in digestion)
  • It works well in cold drinks, hot drinks, and in baking
  • Extremely low glycemic (means it doesn’t raise your blood sugar), spike your insulin level, or cause afternoon energy crashes
  • The flavor is a cross between brown sugar and molasses
  • It reduces craving for sweets naturally

There is a lot of hype going around that Yakon syrup increases your metabolic rate and suppresses appetite.

The reality is that any soluble fiber will make you feel fuller longer – so you are less likely to snack…

craving for sweets

Yakon is tuber grown near the Andes. It’s not the prettiest looking thing – but it contains a natural sugar called a fructooligosaccharide (say that 10x fast!).

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are indigestible to humans.

That means they have no caloric value and pass straight through the digestive tract. In this way, Yakon acts similar to many sugar alcohols. And for this reason – you are going to want to try a small amount to see how it suits you. Some people just don’t do well with FOS. 

Want to know how to actually use this stuff?

Here is my recipe for Yakon tea biscuits, which reduce craving for sweets (gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free) and also my favorite source of Yakon Syrup.

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Reduce Sugar Cravings, Try Yakon Syrup Tea Biscuits

As someone from New England, when I think seasonal change I think baking.

I grew up making all kind of yummy cookies and cakes, and the smell of cinnamon to me = heaven. Fast forward 20 years. I am insulin resistant and avoid refined sugar and gluten. What’s a girl who loves her cookies and chai to do? Here is my current solution.

These are my Nourish biscuits made with Yakon syrup, coconut flour and almond flour. They are filling but still sweet and pastry like – making them perfect for tea time!

reduce sugar cravings

Ingredients:

2.5 cups Almond Flour

1.5 cups Coconut Flour

1/2 cup Shredded Coconut 

1/2 cup Coconut Oil melted

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/3 cup Yakon Syrup 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon Ceylon Cinnamon

Handful Cardamom Seeds crushed (optional)

A few squares of 85% or more Dark Chocolate (optional)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 25 Cookies

Instructions:

1) Mix dry ingredients together.

2) Mix wet ingredients together.

3) Mix both together. Using hands mash into a dough ball.

4) Create small balls the size of a melon baller. Place on parchment paper on baking sheet.

reduce sugar cravings

5) Bake in oven at 350 for 10 minutes. (half way through the baking can “smoosh” down balls with a fork)

6) Poor some melted chocolate over cookies once out of the oven

7) Enjoy with some gingery chai! It’s good to reduce sugar cravings!

 

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Put a Firecracker in Your Pants: Menopause Natural Treatment

Hi there! You are probably starting your Fourth of July long weekend right about now. So here’s a quick tip before you go and unplug for a little bit.  
 
If we were playing 4th of July Family Feud, what are 2 things that would show up pretty high on the “survey says” board? 
 

menopause natural treatment

Likely watermelon…and fireworks. Two things we will be getting a lot of over the next few days.

Watermelon is a great summer fruit for a variety of reasons. It’s sweet, hydrating, and full of lycopene, Vitamin C, flavonoids, and antioxidants. It’s synonymous with pool parties, BBQs, picnics and other summer fun. But did you know that watermelon might also spice up your love life and be a menopause natural treatment? 


menopause natural treatment


Watermelon contains high levels of the amino acid L-citrulline. Our bodies change L-citrulline into L-arginine (another amino acid), and then into nitric oxide. This relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow (much like that little blue pill….). 

In addition to the obvious, this also helps with immunity, boosts athletic performance, reduces muscle soreness and reduces blood pressure. And women lessen their production of nitric oxide after menopause. Watermelon actually works as a menopause natural treatment. (Not to mention drinking my hormone taming Berry Balancing Smoothie.)

Bonus Tip:

Most of this stuff is in the white rind. So when everyone else tosses their white and green pieces aside – you’ll be the smart one who grabs it up and throws it in the juicer! You’ll  get all the energy enhancing properties with no added sugar. 

Now go have a fun and restful Fourth of July weekend filled with fireworks of all kinds. 

 

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You might be surprised what’s causing hormone imbalance in women

In the areas of health I like people to think big picture.

I don’t want people to get stressed out about every bite they put in their mouth or trying to live perfectly. 

But sometimes when we focus on the big stuff…food, sleep, exercise (all important!) we forget about key “small stuff”. These small things can cause hormone imbalance in women.  
 
Don’t get me wrong. I love my products as much as the next gal and I would be lying if I told you everything in my bathroom cabinet is organic, cruelty free, green, non-toxic, etc. But as a woman with a hormone condition who also works with women suffering from hormone imbalance (responsible for many “regular issues” – including excess weight – than people realize), there are a few things I am increasingly insistent on.  

One of them is aluminum-free deodorant.

Anti-perspirant is something that most of us use everyday. The problem is that aluminum is the key ingredient in nearly every commercial product. And it causes symptoms of hormone imbalance in women. 

Aluminum is a xenoestrogen, a carcinogen, and a heavy metal that has been linked to depression, Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. Studies actually show that aluminum absorbs better through your skin than orally.

The very way it works is by getting absorbed through your underarm skin to plug your sweat ducts. Near your breast tissue. Heavy metal. Every day. Starting to feel like big stuff…no?

A few months ago I talked about my 7 Steps to Hormone Balance. If you missed it you can read about it here.  

In that article, I talked about is the importance of avoiding xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are endocrine disrupters that mimic estrogen in the body, wreaking havoc with everything from PCOS to menopause. They are direct contributors to issues such as fertility issues, endometriosis and breast cancer. They cause hormone imbalance in women. 

In addition, anti-perspirants work by blocking your natural detoxification system, whereas aluminum-free deodorants only mask the odor caused by bacteria under your arms. Not by blocking sweating. 

Here’s the thing.

Not being smelly is important. But do we really need armpits that smell like Pomegranate Lemon Verbana (whatever that is)? Probably not.


hormone imbalance in women

Before you explore some alternatives for yourself – take note that not all natural deodorants are created equal.  

Many of these so called “natural” crystal deodorants don’t contain aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium compounds, but they actually still cause hormone imbalance and they contain aluminum that they cleverly disguise in the form of potassium alum (potassium aluminum sulfate!), so read your labels carefully.

For my part, I am still trying out different aluminum-free deodorants to see which ones work best with my body chemistry. This one is my current front runner.
 
The days of “oh I can get away with wearing this again” are likely behind me, but being smarter about what goes on my body and not just in it seems worth it. 

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