Being 'Hormones Happy' in our modern environments can be an absolute challenge but I'm a firm believer in DOING WHAT YOU CAN in all adverse situations and so presenting 5 SIMPLE but actually HUGE steps you can take to redress the imbalance caused by modern living......whether you're serving Post Natal women trying to lose 'baby weight' or the Peri-to-Post Menopause female population....HORMONAL BALANCE MATTERS! Elevated Cortisol and Insulin can both create a hormonal domino effect that can end up as a Tsumani, affecting your 'sex hormones', Thyroid function, reproduction potential and how well you get through your Menopause years. In no particular order.......
1. Switch from plastic to glass for your water. This bottle is a little fancy and not ideal for when on the move and was actually a gift from the USA but there are now a mass of protected glass and stainless steel bottles. There are a range of hormone disrupting/Oestrogen mimicking chemicals used in the production of hardened plastics but one of the most researched is Bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disrupting carcinogen (cancer causing). BPA can leach into food from the coatings of canned foods and from plastic food storage containers, water bottles and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches into food and liquid held in plastic containers is thought to increase as temperature increases and the age of the container. Some studies have theorized that the effect of BPA is greater to children as their bodies are less efficient at eliminating toxins hence why some major baby bottle manufacturers have removed BPA from the production of infant feeding items!
A couple of good BPA-avoidance moves:
- Don't store food or heat food in plastic containers.
- Avoid water in plastic bottles that have been left in the heat ie., in a car.
- Cut back on canned goods, many have BPA in their linings.
2. Go Organic for stuff you put on your skin and you might as well get a weekly organic veg box while you're at it :-).....your skin is your biggest organ what you put on your skin MATTERS! One of the biggest offenders here are Parabens. Parabens are widely used as preservatives in cosmetics and also found in perfumes, laundry detergent, shampoo, deodorants, soaps.
Parabens easily penetrate the skin and alter hormone production and function by mimicking Oestrogen - not at all helpful for the Oestrogen-dominant woman in her battle to regain hormonal balance. Parabens have been detected in human breast cancer tissues and are thought to interfere with both male and female reproduction. Parabens do occur naturally in low levels in nature but it is the synthetic version manufactured from petrochemicals are poorly processed/detoxified within the body.
2a. Long gone are the days when organic veggies were challenging to purchase and expensive. These days, a box can be delivered directly to your door for extremely reasonable rates, you'll eat more local produce, seasonal produce and of course produce that's less polluted and the bonus element? Your fibre intake will sky-rocket as you will definitely be eating way more vegetables than before in most cases....great bowel function is also a biggie for hormonal balance too. Hurrah! It's a win-win!
3. Cut your mass produced and processed meat intake - not a popular thing to say at the moment in these 'Paleo-obsessed' times but.....I think that if we all really think about the cocktail of anti-biotics and growth enhancers that are fed to the average mass produced animals....it simply can't bode well for us we human consumers. And yes, we all get that even the animals rearer under 'organic' conditions are also fed anti-biotics to keep them as disease-free as possible but, many are of the opinion that the 'cleaner' the meat and the more mindfully it has been reared, the better it is for the end consumer.
4. Walk away! This point is mainly about leading a deeply authentic life where you know 'what's right for you', are not easily influenced and have less and less problem about walking away from people, places and things that just don't feel write. Obviously this is an artform cultivated under duress and via sometimes harsh experience but the closer we get to showing up as our authentic selves, the less the behaviour, wants and demands of others that don't fit with our own will cause us stress. This stress leads to elevated cortisol levels which overtime can have a negative effect on a healthful hormonal profile. Elevated cortisol is seen as one of the major drivers of hormonal inbalance and one that for sure, we have a fair amount of control over. Manage your boundaries, strive for authenticity and doing what's right for you and watch your stress levels plummet.....of course, it takes pratice 🙂
5. Go to bed! My most favourite activity...I think it's universally understood now that a lack of sleep will have a negative impact on your health, hormonal balance, sanity and your waistline. Cultivate a 'bedtime practise' whereby you truly hone the art of making this your special time. Start with your 'de-screening' yourself a few hours before your intentional bedtime. Blue light, from electronic devices has been shown to disrupt sleep patterns, circadian rhythms and Melatonin levels. One of the biggest side-effects of poor quality/insufficient sleep is a 'fat around the middle'! So if that's a concern for you, getting your zzzz's needs to be addressed or any dietary or exercise/movement gains you make might just be being negated by your lack of restorative time. And is you're sleeping with your phone next to your body because it's you're alarm clock.....that's one habit you need to immediately kick to the curb.
I love adding some Lavender essential oil to a diffuser in the room where I'm winding down. I also LOVE an Epsom Salt bath....for me, that's a huge trigger that it's SLEEPY TIME.....then the final bullet in my arsenal is to read a 'story' book in bed....within 5 minutes, I'm gone! Just like we have rituals for babies and children at bedtime, those rituals work for adults too....
Ultimately, we all have to LIVE in this world and having a 100% not toxic, non-hormone disrupting existence is unrealistic and probably impossible....BUT.......we can, for sure, start to take control of some areas of our daily life.
If you enjoyed this blog, I think you will LOVE this certification – Optimal Nutrition & Lifestyle For Post Natal Recovery for women’s wellness professionals seeking to or already serving the Post Natal woman. Over 4 deep and hugely informative Modules, your tutors, Jessica Drummond of the Integrative Women's Health Institute and Jenny Burrell take you on a journey through ESSENTIAL information relating to birthing and the early Post Natal period and how you can truly educate and inform both yourself and your clients, help them heal deeply and finally answers those eternally tricky questions regarding their return to health, vitality and fitness after birthing. Overall the goal of this ONLINE GLOBAL CERTIFICATION is to support women in their journey to become the ultimate advocates for their own health. It’s a must if you want your work with women deeply in this key life phase.
Resources and References
1. Blue Light and Melatonin Disruption: http://chriskresser.com/how-artificial-light-is-wrecking-your-sleep-and-what-to-do-about-it/
2. Stress, Chronic Cortisol Elevation + Disease: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml
3. BPA and Breast Cancer: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306163359.htm
4. Anti-Biotic Use in Farming in the UK: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/12December/Pages/Antibiotic-use-in-farm-animals-threatens-human-health.aspx