Dear Women of the Natural Healing for Women Community,
Maybe you’re working long hours and not getting enough sleep. Perhaps you’re spending too much time in front of a screen and not enough time in the sunshine. Maybe your cravings for sugar and carbs have become habitual, or even feel a bit out of control? And of course, there’s just never enough time for exercise or the activities that make you feel truly WELL, bring joy and feed your soul…
Welcome to the modern world! And even though the above-mentioned issues are typical, and the “norm”, it doesn’t make themnormal or healthy. Which is key to understand because these behaviors create the perfect storm for raging hormonal imbalance, especially once we hit our 40’s.
This includes worsening PMS, heavy menstrual bleeding, irregular bleeding, uterine growths like fibroids and polyps, unexplained weight gain, sleep difficulties, migraine headache, night sweats, hot flashes, worsening food cravings, as well as anxiety and depression.
I see the 40’s as a particularly vulnerable time for women becausewe continue to push ourselves in our careers and lives, over the landscape of a changing body that is calling out for care and attention. In large part, our lifestyles make it difficult to listen and make healthier choices.
During this stage of life, our hormones are transitioning and their ratios are shifting. Levels of progesterone are now falling, while estrogen levels may stay the same or even elevate (due to toxins in the environment and food supply.) Further, high stress levels require an increased output of cortisol from the adrenal glands, which can result in decreased progesterone and overall imbalance.
Here’s the good news! There are many ways to bring hormones into balance for renewed health and wellbeing with healthy food choices, Herbs and Flower Essences. Actually, I consider herbs and diet far superior to pharmaceuticals and hormone replacement therapy not only because the body responds so well to them, but because they actually build health for a lifetime.
Let’s delve into 3 areas that can begin positively influencing your hormonal health today:
DIET, HERBS AND FLOWER ESSENCES
DIET: Keep it Clean & Blood Sugar Balance
Keep It Clean: This means eliminating artificial hormones and pesticides from the foods that you ingest as much as possible, including fruits & veggies, meat, dairy and eggs.
Think organic or those small farms that you know don’t use these chemicals. Remove all processed foods that use artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
Blood-Sugar Balance: Do your best to take refined sugar out of the diet. Sugar is arguably the greatest endocrine disrupter in the food supply. I like to quote Dr. Mark Hyman who refers to refined sugar as a “recreational drug.” Treat it accordingly, and save it for special occasions.
The other most important component for balancing the blood sugar is to start the day with a high quality protein. This looks like eggs, fish, nut butters, even left-over chicken or other meat. This will help establish healthy blood sugar balance for the entire day.
Often times, clients tell me that they have a very healthy breakfast of yogurt, fruit and granola. Although these may be very healthy foods, they are poor choices when it comes to a blood-sugar balancing breakfast that maintains a steady blood sugar level throughout the day.
HERBS: – Adaptogenic and Hormone Balancing
Adaptogenic: This is the category of herbs that strengthen the body by helping it adapt to stress. Adaptogenic herbs help normalize and balance the endocrine, immune and nervous system. I believe that every woman in her 40’s leading a busy lifestyle would benefit greatly by taking an herbal adaptogen or adaptogenic formula. Herbs in this category (that I use all the time with women in their 40’s) include: Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, American Ginseng, Reishi and Shatavari.
Hormone-Balancing: These herbs work directly to balance the female hormones. Here are two of my all-time favorites:
Chaste Tree Berry – This is my most cherished herb for helping women balance hormonal health. It works by enhancing progesterone in the 2nd half of the cycle via the pituitary gland. This serves to regulate abnormal cycles, quell heavy bleeding, calm PMS and enhance fertility among many other wonderful things.
Dong Quai – A general tonifier for the female reproductive system, Dong Quai helps to regulate the cycle, alleviate painful periods, decrease uterine growths such as fibroids and help with hot flashes.
FLOWER ESSENCES: Words can not express how much I LOVE these magical yet practical remedies that work on the physical, emotional and psycho-spiritual levels. Here are a couple of my most frequently used for women in their 40’s:
Centaury – Helps us to put our own needs in the forefront. Helps us to establish a healthy relationship with our genuine, inner sense of ‘yes’ and ‘no’. As women, we are often accustomed to placing other’s needs before our own, and living according to other’s agenda. Centaury helps us to reconfigure our priorities, placing ourselves more fully into the center of our lives.
Blue Vervain – Greatly calming to the nervous system for an overly stressed out state of mind. Helps those that are high-powered (with a great deal of responsibility and obligations) to relax and find inner calm.
The more you’re able to bring calm and simplicity to a harried lifestyle, the healthier it will be for your hormonal system and overall state of health. Start instituting any of the above-stated recommendations into your daily ritual and begin to see the positive effects ripple into all areas of your life.