I felt inspired to write about hormone regulation, its something I’ve struggled with a great deal. I was only a teenager when I began experiencing the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance… Depression, anxiety, acne, irregular menstruation and painful periods to name a few. For over a decade I took prescription medications to treat the pain including anti depressants, birth control and sleep aids. I always knew something was wrong, I could feel it.
It wasn’t until I was 26 years old, after struggling to get pregnant, that I was diagnosed with Poly Cycstic Ovarian Syndrome and Endometriosis. Both conditions stem from genetic hormonal imbalances with no known cause or cure (although there is always room for speculation). I was told that I would need to take prescribed hormones for the rest of my life to treat the symptoms. My doctor recommended In Vitro Fertilization and after a year of treatment, I became pregnant with Dutch. To read more about our fertility journey click here, Our Fertility Journey & Birth Story.
I had a great pregnancy, most women with PCOS do. It’s the first time in my adult life that my hormones were working for me and not against me. I felt happy, beautiful and strong. It wasn’t until after I had Dutch and the Post Partum Depression set in that I got serious about understanding hormones. I was sick of the struggle. I wanted to know everything about them and how they worked. I did a lot of research and made some significant lifestyle changes. I’ve worked relentlessly at it and I’m proud to say that I have not needed prescription medication for more than 3 years. I’ve found a happy balance.
I’d like to share one lifestyle change that has contributed to my success, changing my diet. But first, I’ll disclaim that I’m not a doctor, nutritionist or expert in this field. All the information I’m sharing comes from own my research and experience.
What exactly are hormones? The Hormone Health Network describes them as messengers that control most of our major bodily functions. There are about 10 hormone producing glands (i.e. thyroid, ovaries and pituitary) that create about 17 major hormones (i.e. testosterone, progesterone and cortisol). Each hormone plays a different role in our health. (Hormones & Health)
Whether we like it or not, hormones control our mood, digestion, energy, libido, metabolism, and how our skin looks. (48 Foods To Balance Your Hormones)
Megan Kelly from mindbodygreen.com wrote an awesome article that served as inspiration for me, titled 48 Foods To Balance Your Hormones & Give You Glowing Skin. She talks about creating the optimal internal environment for hormone production. Did you know that hormones are produced by certain fatty acids and cholesterols found in your diet? I sure didn’t. Who would think that the food I was eating, or not eating, was either helping or hurting my hormone production? When these nutrients are missing, hormone production is affected and an imbalance occurs. What research suggests is that a diet full of clean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables and anti-inflammatory herbs will create an optimal environment for hormone production.
For Clean Proteins I’ve added:
- Lean Poultry and Meat
- Wild Caught Salmon (Only when I’m feeling brave, I’m not a big fan of fish)
For Healthy Fats I’ve added:
- Coconut Oil
- Flax Seed Oil
- Peanut Butter
- Greek Yogurt
For more on protein, read my article Protein Packed Foods For Toddler & Mom.
To boost my veggie intake we invested in a juicer. Each week we take a trip to our local produce market and stock up on veggies like:
We juice about 3 days a week, just one drink can make up a few days of our recommended vegetable intake. Of course, we cook with vegetables too.
And for Anti-Inflammatory Herbs I’ve added:
In some cases, we add herbs to juice and in others we cook with them. I’ve also (for the most part) eliminated inflammatory foods like sugar and grains. We follow the 80/20 rule in our home. 80 percent of the time we are sugar and grain free, 20 percent of the time we indulge. This formula allows me to still enjoy some things I love like wine, pasta and birthday cake 🍰… all in moderation.
In addition to the dietary changes listed above, I’ve also added a few supplements to my regimen. Before we continue I will disclose that I’m including affiliate links from Amazon. If you click on one of these links and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These funds help support our creative projects. 🙂 Be sure to check out my full disclosure here. The following supplements make up my daily regimen and the links will lead you to the brands I use and recommend.
- Prenatal Vitamin
- Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D and Magnesium
- Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Combined with other natural therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care and yoga practice, these dietary changes have significantly improved my health. I have more energy, my skin has cleared, my digestion has improved (and my tummy is flatter as a result), my moods are balanced (most of the time 😜) and the cherry on top is slimming down to a size I haven’t worn since high school! It’ll likely be something I have to work at for the rest of my life, but at least I’ve found a formula that works. And I hope you find yours too!
Here’s to Happy Hormones!
RELATED by Lindsay: PCOS: Natural Ideas For Healing
The following articles are great resources for further study, they also served as my inspiration in writing this article.