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Monday, October 29, 2012

6 Ways to Rebalance Hormones Naturally

Hi all!  I'm back and feeling fabulous!  That two week break was much needed and appreciated.  I am still catching up on emails, so please do understand if you haven't hear back from me yet.  There are a lot of questions to answer, some of which are coming up in today's post.

Many of you asked me to share what I did over the past two weeks to revamp my health.  Let me first explain a little of what I've been feeling health-wise and why I felt was time for a revamp.

Hormone imbalance is something I am predisposed to.  I have battled it my entire life.  In 2008, doctors had told me it was unlikely I would conceive.  While I never got a "medical diagnosis," it was likely I had PCOS and possibly cancer cells forming on my reproductive organs.  I decided to take a natural approach to healing.  While taking courses along the way so I could teach the natural detox processes to my own clients, I underwent a year long full body detox process of balancing my hormones and healing my organs.  After going through the completely natural healing process, I finally knew what it felt like to be healthy and living at my optimal potential for the first time in my life.  And shortly after, we were overjoyed to learn that we were expecting our son, Austin.

Since he was born, I have exclusively breastfed my son.  Long story short, after the first few weeks I learned that I wasn't producing enough milk that Austin was asking for on a daily basis.  Trial and error, it turned out I wasn't eating enough carbs.  I was eating Advanced Plan after the birth, but my body needed more carbs to turn into milk.  The things that worked best were oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and sprouted grains.  Eating a serving of one of these with almost every meal was basically essential to making enough milk for my little man.  As long as I did it daily, we had no supply problems come bedtime.  But what I knew is that sugar is a huge offset to my hormonal balance.

My body slips back into hormonal discourse very easily.  I knew what to expect: weight gain, bloating, fatigue, brain fog, and blemishes.   Now, I was not at all concerned with fast weight loss after pregnancy.  I trusted my body and the breastfeeding process.  However, I have noticed I have gained over 15 pounds since a year ago.  The bloating has been particularly bad in the last few months, and my memory is all over the place, which is just not me!  These were my wake up calls.  It was time to get things under control again.

Austin has started eating food in the last 2 months.  He's been pretty good about eating breakfast and dinner with me every day.  We still breast feed at least 3 times a day, but his feeding frequency has cut about in half from where we were 2 months ago.  I figured this would be the perfect time to make some diet changes (i.e. THE ADVANCED PLAN) and begin a few supplements to casually support hormone balance.  (Note: I am not doing a full hormone or estrogen detox.  While breastfeeding, you want to avoid any supplements that will cause your body to dump toxic estrogen from the body, and essentially into the milk your child will drink.)

I wanted to take two weeks for some ME time because I have also been feeling like I neglect myself since becoming a Mom.  I can see your heads nodding.  It's true, once you become a Mom you put your family's needs first every single time.  But, as we teach our patients, if YOU aren't healthy who will take care of them?  It was time for some Elise focus!  Daily devotions and bible time, bath time without baby, meditation time to clear my brain, and exercise every day.  (Oh yeah, I have probably never mentioned how much I HATE working out??  I've never been athletic.  I always had crafts or something indoors I wanted to be working on.  I still cling to that mindset unfortunately.  Blogging, dishes, cooking...there's always something I would rather be doing.)  I usually get a burst workout in about once a week, but in order to keep my hormones in sync and my weight healthy, I needed to get consistent with at least 3 times per week workouts.

Okay, so here is what I did to revamp my health in 2 weeks!

How To Rebalance Hormones Naturally

#1)  Exercise

Exercise is a huge component for hormone balancing.  Weight training in particular causes a lot of healthy hormone reactions that in turn work to reboot and rebalance.  I recommend consistent burst or surge style exercise for maximum rebalancing affect.

This was a huge one for me personally.  It's all about getting into a consistent routine of both aerobic and weight training.  My 2 weeks of health revamp fell perfectly in line with a boot camp a friend who is a personal trainer was hosting near our home.  It was exactly what I needed as far as accountability.  I also learned a lot of new workout moves to keep the variety going.  This was my first experience with personal trainers and I've got to say I really enjoyed it!  If you are like me and need that accountability and/or a little guidance along the way, I highly recommend looking into a trainer.  The boot camp was so fun!  I worked out burst style 6 days per week, and 4 of the days we were required to do 2-a-day workouts.  Cardio in the morning, weight training in the evening.  I thought I was going to die, but actually those days I felt AMAZING!

#2)  Nutrition & Diet
Guide to the Advanced Plan
I don't mean start counting calories.  Focus on clean eating and cutting out sugar, caffeine, bad fats, dairy, conventional meats, non-organic produce, and anything else that contributes to hormone offset or weight gain.  The cleaner you eat, the better your body will be at detoxing naturally.

For me, this meant two weeks of strict Advanced Plan.  I was so happy that my milk supply was fairly steady with Austin's nursing demands after cutting out the grains!   We had a couple nights at the beginning that I needed to have a little more kale protein shake to catch up from all the exercise I was doing, but we figured it out and the rest has been going great!  I've been trying to eat raw as much as possible.  You'll notice the bloat will dissipate quickly by cutting out the grains.

#3)  Reduce Stress & Fill Your Cup
Schedule in YOU time, reduce daily stress, and get plenty of rest.  I've learned that it's so so important to have some time to yourself on a daily basis to "fill your cup."  Do something you love every day to recharge your batteries!  For me, it's trying out a new recipe in the kitchen while daddy watches the baby, visiting a girlfriend kid-free, working on a craft while Austin naps.  Even if it's just 15 minutes of reading a new book, I always feel better after getting some alone time every day.  The happier you are on a daily basis, the better your hormones will be at adapting to the day's stress and changes.

It's also a good idea to incorporate some meditation and/or stretching, or some other way to clear your mind and relax your muscles daily.  For me and many of my female clients in the past, it's hard to reduce stress in our every day lives.  I find my day goes better if I take just 10 to 20 minutes in the morning to pray, dive into a daily devotions book, read my Bible, or look out the window at nature.  This time is for thinking about you, giving thanks, and clearing your head.  Do not think about your to-do list or what the day will bring.  Unplug for this short time and let the stress melt out of your muscles.  I like to get on the floor and stretch out while I meditate on a prayer or happy thought.  Each line of the prayer is a new stretch or pose.

Sleep is just as important.  When you sleep, your body reboots.  Getting enough sleep each night will give your body the best chance to heal where it needs to.  If you aren't getting enough sleep (6-8 hours a night at least!) then your body will never be balanced.  It's as simple as that.

#4)  Chiropractic & Spinal Correction
Specifically, Maximized Living doctors work to correct the physical structure of the spine when your structure has curved or lacks the perfect structure needed for optimal nerve function.  The doctor can look at your thermal nerve scan or xray and see if your endcrine system or specific reproductive organs are being affected at the root level.  If there is pressure on the nerves, they can then work to remove that pressure and help your body correct the structural problems for a healthier future.  I cannot recommend getting in to see your local Maximized Living chiropractor strongly enough!  If you're going to pick one thing on this list to do, this is the one, because without 100% nerve function going out to your endocrine system, how can you expect anything else on this list to work for those organs?  You don't know until you get checked.  Definitely get checked so you know what is happening inside!

I didn't know until I got checked either.  My first exam warranted a set of xrays be taken.  I had no idea I had a 12 degree scoliosis in my low spine, RIGHT at the nerves going out to my uterus and adrenal glands.  I also had lost the good curvature in my neck, and the straightened out structure was putting pressure on the nerves going to my hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid.  It took some time to get my spinal structure corrected, but with each adjustment I felt better.  I had more energy.  I felt like my food was digesting better.  As time went by, my menstrual cycles returned after over 2 years of none.  Weight dripped off my body without even trying to workout.  My metabolism was on the rise!  And my vision improved, I no longer needed to wear my weak strength glasses.  My doctor (aka my husband Dr Dave -- I am so blessed!) monitored my progress along the way.  It was so reassuring to see on the follow up xray that all my hard work was paying off.  I could see the structure correction happening right on the xray!  It wasn't until we had corrected the scoliosis completely that my hormones were completely rebalanced and my endocrine system in sync.  A month after finishing my spinal correction, we conceived.  It was a complete surprise, because I didn't know still if my body would ever be strong enough to hold onto a baby and care for it.  God blessed us powerfully that day!

#5)  Acupressure or Acupuncture
Acupressure and Acupuncture work by stimulating reference points along the body that refer back to specific organs in a means to create healing response.   I really believe in coupling either of these methods with Chiropractic as a method of long term optimal wellness.  Your care provider will be able to specifically focus on your endocrine system, which will help your body put extra attention and energy into those organs and get them working together again faster.

In the past, while trying to beat infertility, I have seen an acupuncturist.  Currently I am seeing a reflexologist.  Both methods are wonderful, but I think I prefer the reflexology personally.  [If you are in the Charlotte area and need a great referral, the woman I see for reflexology is wonderful!  Top notch!  And affordable!! Email me.]

#6)  Supplementation
There are a few more specific supplements than the ones I am about to list that I recommend for hormone balancing and detox.  If you think you are a candidate for a more intense estrogen cleanse or a complete hormone/endocrine system overhaul, please email me to schedule a consultation.  I offer detox consultation packages via Skype or phone.

As I am still breastfeeding, I am taking a very mild approach with my supplements.  I don't want my body to go into full detox dumping mode because any excess estrogen shed will most likely go into my breast milk.  Two weeks ago, and for a while after giving birth, I felt like my body was heading downhill.  I had to be patient and wait to make some changes until Austin wasn't depending on me for food so much.  I wanted to add a few things in to my diet that would stop the downhill progression and help my body to start climbing the other way.  I'm not going for a shock method, but a gradual flip.  I added in:

Nutiva Hemp Oil
raw maca powder

-  Magnesium & zinc

Vessel Care (the best complete B complex vitamin formulated for optimal methylation; order through me)

Phytoganix (my favorite way to get phytonutrients like spirulina and acai; order through me)

Estrium (a 'medical food' powder full of herbs and supplements that work to reverse hormone imbalance; order through me)

-  Omega 3s (I added extra raw hemp oil and coconut oil to my diet)

-  And my usuals: Vitamin C, liquid Vitamin D3, probiotics, kombucha and Dynamic Greens (the best organic antioxidant drink I have found!)

Feel free to contact me with any questions.  And again, if you think it's time to take charge of your health and do a hormone reset, please email me to schedule a consultation: elise@healingcuisinebyelise.com.


Loretta E.

Elise, I'm so glad you're feeling better! And good for you to take the time off to do it! That's probably almost the hardest part...

This is an awesome reference, so thanks for putting it together!

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