Blog, Health & Wellness, Women's Hormonal Health

How to Manage Hormonal Mood Shifts

sadHealthy hormones are crucial for a healthy, happy you. With hormones, there is no cutting corners, and there is no faking it. Your monthly period is your monthly report card that tells you how you’ve been doing with your diet and lifestyle.

Many times doctors will prescribe the birth control pill to mask a hormonal imbalance.

Scary fact: Did you know that a recent study found that  60% of women on the pill are taking it for hormonal symptoms, not because they are trying to avoid pregnancy? (1)

This is just lazy medical care, and it puts the patient at risk.

The birth control pill will only mask the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. The key to freedom is finding the root cause of your hormonal imbalance, and empowering yourself with the lifestyle and dietary changes necessary to reach your optimum levels.

Another way to empower yourself is to be aware of the different phases of your period. Your hormones fluctuate (it’s more of a dance really) throughout your period. Every month you will go through the same ebbs and flows of high energy, low energy, introversion, and extroversion.

Your hormones keep every part of your body working properly. Estrogen and progesterone, the primary female hormones, are essential for reproduction, growth, metabolism, and immune function. However, their constant fluctuation may also wreak havoc on the way many women feel.

Women must manage the fluctuations of hormones and what they may do to growth, metabolism, reproduction, or even just feelings. And as women age and go through menopause, hormones take another swing.

The first step of managing your mood swings is to be aware of the stages of your cycle, and to plan your activities accordingly (when possible) . For example, if you are in your luteal phase, don’t feel like you have to go to that dinner party out of obligation even if you are feeling low on energy and a bit introverted. Instead, stay home and practice some self-care, like journaling, watching a movie, or taking a hot bath.  And don’t feel guilty about it!

To learn more about the different stages of your cycle, and to empower yourself with the natural evolution of your hormones throughout your period and during menopause, check out this graphic made from Health Perch.

mood

Infographic from Health Perch

Sources:

1. Dr. Jolene Brighten in July 2017 interview with Dave Asprey.

Blog, Health & Wellness, Vegan and Vegetarian Health, Women's Hormonal Health

“What The Health” and What It Means for Your Hormones

whatthehealth

By now you might have already seen the new vegan documentary, “What the Health” that is causing so much controversy.

I am LOVING how this documentary has created a movement in people across the world to go vegan, vegetarian, or to cut down their animal consumption.

I do, however, have a few BIG issues with some of the claims the documentary makes.

“What the Health” shells out a lot of propaganda. I was shocked to see how many times throughout it, they claim sugar is not a cause of inflammation or diabetes- instead, they say fat is to blame. That’s pretty insane and just a downright pernicious message to be spreading.

Here’s why:

1. You need healthy fats for healthy hormones.
The documentary claims that animal fat leads to cancer. And yes, a diet of processed meat and unclean sources of animal protein, as well as unhealthy sources of plant based fat can lead to cancer.

But healthy fats will not.

Healthy fats will produce healthy hormones, and keep your healthy LDL cholesterol levels high- which you want!

And yes, that’s right, I said “healthy LDL”.

Unlike unicorns, there is such a thing! LDL gets a bad rap by being dumped in the “bad” category by the American Heart Association (seriously why haters gotta hate?!), but actually, the big fluffy particles of LDL are good for you! It’s the small, rugged particles that cause heart disease.

Because guess what? All of your sex hormones are made from cholesterol, so if you are eating a low-fat diet, your hormones will be in trouble.

And I’m not saying all fat is good. Only the healthy, unoxidized ones.

 

Good news is you can be vegan and STILL get your healthy fats.

You can also be vegetarian, or an omnivore. So whatever food plan you choose to fit your lifestyle and beliefs, just make sure you include healthy fats.

2. Sugar leads to inflammation and insulin resistance, which DIRECTLY affects your hormones.

Okay, these producers are smoking crack. The claim that all fats and meat leads to diabetes is 100% FALSE.

Processed meats will throw off your omega 6 to omega 3 balance in your body, which can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and rheumatoid arthritis.

But guess what? Eating lots of crappy vegetable oil (which is vegan!) and processed fake meats does the same thing!

You can’t just say ALL of something is bad, it’s not that easy.

I get it. They’re passionate. They are on a mission to get everyone to go vegan. And I respect their drive and mission. But to lie about sugar to persuade? That’s just playing dirty.

Let’s get the facts straight. When you eat sugar (and this includes any food with a high glucose level like honey, agave nectar, fruit, etc) your insulin levels will automatically rise. So if you are eating too much sugar, this will lead to higher blood glucose levels, which will eventually lead to diabetes.

If your blood sugar levels get too high, then your body will produce more of the hormone cortisol. And ladies, this is seriously bad news bears. When your body starts to make more cortisol, guess where it will get all the juice from to make that extra order?

It will steal from your other sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen. You see, cortisol will always take priority. It’s just the way our bodies are evolutionarily designed. Cortisol is designed to get us out of trouble when we are being chased by that saber tooth tiger. So your body will stop making progesterone and estrogen to make more cortisol.

And this is bad news if you are trying to conceive, wish to have healthy periods, combat PMS, keep your ideal weight, maintain high energy levels, etc.

So let’s get this clear. High quality fats do not affect your glucose levels in any way, shape or form. Sugar does.

So allow “What the Health” to motivate you! Just remember to include your healthy fats, and to keep your diet as low-glycemic as possible.

And if you are going vegan, please read my article about healthy and clean sources of plant-based protein.

xxxxx
Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Women's Hormonal Health

10 Signs Your Hormones Are Out of Control

hormonesoutofcontrol

Your hormones can either work for you, or against you. When they are balanced you feel content and grounded, but when they are out of whack, you feel completely out of sync and out of control.

Your hormones control your mood, your health, and your fertility, so it’s crucial to get them to their optimal levels.

If your PMS or perimenopause symptoms are getting in the way of your relationships and interfering with your ability to enjoy life, then your hormones need some love.

10 Signs Your Hormones Are Out of Control Quiz:

1. Your mood is pretty much unpredictable. You experience waves of anxiety, irritability, crying, or anger.

2. You “need” a glass of wine to go to sleep, or to get through the end of your day.

3. You have no energy when you wake up in the mornings. It would be impossible to do anything without having your coffee first.  Coffee is pretty much required for you to lift your head off the pillow.

4. You have uncontrollable weight gain, and nothing you do can get the pounds off.

5. You are experiencing hair loss.

6. Your memory is failing you. Why did you walk into the room in the first place? What was it you were even saying?

7. Brain fog and difficulty concentrating is starting to get in the way of your daily life.

8. You have painful periods. Without an Advil and/or a heating pad you can’t function. You might even have to take off work the first day of your cycle.

9. You have irregular periods or no periods at all.

10. Your patience runs thin (or you have none at all!) the week or two before your period.

Did any of these sound familiar? If you answered yes to two or more of these, then your hormones definitely need some love.

And you’re not alone. I know what it’s like because I’ve been there.

For years my hormones were out of control, but then one day I received the results of a very important test. The explanation for how I was feeling had been found! And what I discovered was that my hormones were far from balanced.

My hormones were out of control.

Chances are you’ve met with a conventional doctor, and they told you your options were limited to birth control pills, anti-depressants, or anti-anxiety medicine.

But I’m here to tell you there are other options!

I know because today my hormones are balanced, without the use of birth control or mood medications.

And I also know because I now help women do the very same in my practice with my 2- Step Protocol:

  1. Investigate- We will test your hormone levels to see exactly what is going on.
  2. Get to the root – We will install therapies such as lifestyle adjustments, targeted supplements, and tailored food plans to get to the underlying cause and bring relief.

If your hormones are running the show, and you’d like to get back in control, then I encourage you to schedule your consultation with me today.

Hormonal balance is achievable.

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Herbal Remedies/Drinks, Recipes, Women's Hormonal Health

A Hormone Balancing Tea For Painful or Irregular Periods

A painful period is your body’s way of telling you something is off. If you are missing work or school because of a painful cycle, then something is wrong. Ideally, your period would sneak up on you with ninja stealth. No cramping, no bloating, no breast tenderness, no extreme fatigue. Your cycle would come every 28-35 days, and it would last 4-7 days.

If this doesn’t sound like your story, don’t panic. By implementing certain foods and supplements, as well as making certain lifestyle adjustments, you can and will get there.

Many women today are experiencing issues with abnormal periods because of something called Post Pill Syndrome. This takes place typically 4-6 months after quitting the birth control pill and symptoms include:

  • Menstrual irregularities including loss of menstruation, heavy menstruation, painful periods, and short cycles (less than 24 days).
  • Hormonal changes like infertility, hypothyroidism, hair loss, breast tenderness, acne, and adrenal dysfunction.
  • Migraines and headaches.
  • Changes in body composition like breast size, weight gain, or difficulty losing weight.
  • Mood disorders including anxiety and depression.
  • Digestive symptoms including bowel changes, digestive upset, gas, or bloating.
  • Inflammation and other immune imbalances.

But it is possible to balance your hormones. One way you can start balancing them today is by drinking this hormonal balancing tea. I personally found success with it when I discontinued the pill 10 years ago.

If you are currently suffering from any of the above symptoms, I encourage you to schedule your consultation with me today so we can get to the root of the problem. You shouldn’t have to suffer. Hormonal balance is achievable.

xxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Women's Hormonal Health, Women's Hormonal Health

6 Alternatives to the Birth Control Pill

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When I was 23, after having been on the birth control pill since the age of 14 (prescribed for ovarian cysts), I had had enough of the horrible side effects of the pill. So I quit. And guess what? I didn’t have a period for three months, I had terrible acne, and I was experiencing mood swings.

After three months of having no period (amenorrhea) I visited the doctor and asked him for help. So what was his answer?

“Take the birth control pill”.

This was my first “aha” holistic moment, ladies. It’s where it all began. To me it sounded counterproductive to get back on the pill after just quitting it three months prior.  I knew I wanted my body to have a healthy period on its own.

So I went to an herb bar (I know so heady right?) because back then I didn’t know anything about health coaches, holistic doctors or healers. But I had heard of this herb bar in Austin from a friend. So I talked to a very lovely woman at the counter and she prescribed a tonic (click here for a simple version you can make at home). Well guess what? After one month of drinking this tonic I had my first pill- free period in ten years! It was oh so empowering!

So What Are My Other Options?!

Okay, so after reading my previous article about the serious side effects associated with the birth control pill, you are probably starting to think that the pill is not the best thing for your body. But what other methods of birth control can you use?

Listed below are the safest and best alternatives to the oral contraceptives. And I realize they all have their pros and their cons, so just weigh them out to see which one suits you best.

 1. Fertility Awareness Method:

The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) requires you to track your menstrual cycle and abstain from unprotected sex during the time you can get pregnant. On average there are 8-10 days a female can get pregnant. There are many apps that you can download to track your cycle. I use Cycle Beads. Even if you don’t choose this method, it’s a good idea to use an app like Cycle Beads to track your periods. Please note that if you have irregular periods or your period is outside of the 32 day range, then this method is not for you.

2. Condoms: 98% effective

Oh gosh, really? Yes. Really, really. Give them a chance. Plus, if you are using the Fertility Awareness Method, you’ll only have to use them 8-10 days per month. The condom is the most effective of the barrier methods, and because it is the only method that prevents against STDs, it really is the best option for single ladies.

3. Withdrawal: 96% effective

There is no sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluid, but your partner must make sure he urinates prior to sex to get rid of any sperm from previous ejaculations.

4. Diaphragms: 94% effective

These are like condoms for girls that sit up in the cervix. But unlike a condom they can be put a few hours before sex. You must go to ta doctor to get fitted for one, and they last up to two years.

5. Today Sponge: 91% effective

These can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy. It can be inserted 24 hours ahead of sex so that give you lots of flexibility. The sponge is inserted with spermicide and is placed like a cap over your cervix.

6. Copper IUD:

If you are uncomfortable with the above barrier methods, are unable to consistently chart your cycle to use FAM, or are not responsible or reliable with your birth control methods, then your next best option is the copper IUD. It doesn’t contain hormones and is great for ladies looking for something more permanent as it lasts for ten years. The copper IUD is inserted into your cervix, and stops the sperm from making it way to your uterus. However it does require insertion and removal by a doctor (which can be painful) and can cause heavy periods.

Okay ladies. You now have homework to do. Reflect on these alternatives, and if you have a partner, I encourage you to include them in on the conversation to find out which one suits your lifestyle as a couple best.

And remember, if you decide to stick with the birth control pill that is entirely your right. No one is judging you. This is your decision to make. I encourage you to listen to your intuition for guidance.

Xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Blog, Health & Wellness, Women's Hormonal Health, Women's Hormonal Health

9 Reasons to Avoid Using the Birth Control Pill

thepill

Have you ever visited your gynecologist with complaints such as ovarian cysts, painful periods, or PMS? And did he or she tell you to “start taking the birth control pill?”.

I bet they did.

Now raise your hand if you did just that, and perhaps, yes, some of the symptoms went away, only to result in losing your libido, getting depression, experiencing digestion problems, weight gain, or perhaps just an overall vibe of not feeling like yourself?

Well, you’re not alone.

“Just take the birth control pill.” It’s the easy solution and it’s just plain lazy.

What these doctors don’t want to acknowledge is the root of your problem stems from an imbalance of your hormones in the first place. But they’d rather just tell you to take the pill because:

A) Investigating your imbalance requires much more work for the doctor and you (well in the long run it’s less work for you to get to the root of the problem, as we’ll learn later the pill comes with a host of problems).

B) The doctor knows that to get to the filling of this peanut butter cup mystery requires the patient make a diet and lifestyle change, which I get it, is hard in most cases. Especially in today’s world of the “just give me a pill that cures everything” mentality. So they just opt to write a prescription.

C) Perhaps they genuinely don’t know better and believe it is the best option for you (you’ll frequently find this with older generation doctors).

So why would they give it to me if it doesn’t work?

I’m not saying the pill doesn’t work to prevent against pregnancy. It has a 99.9% effective rate. So there is that.

But what about all the other hormonal problems that seem to be cured by taking the birth control, like PCOS, irregular periods, hormonal imbalances, painful periods, etc? Well, the reason the pill appears to be“working” is because it is pumping your body with synthetic hormones. Your body actually STOPS making its own hormones, ladies! So you are completely reliant on the pill. Yes, this “balances” your hormones, but in a false sense. When you stop taking the pill, all these problems will still be there in full force.

Let’s talk infertility, one of the biggest problems associated with the birth control pill.

Because your body does not make its own hormones while on the pill explains why many women today experience infertility for a year or two when trying to conceive. Many clients come to me after a year of not being able to conceive, frustrated that it’s taking so long. What many of them have in common is that they stopped taking birth control literally the month before they started trying.

It doesn’t work that way, amigas.

Yes, some women are blessed and can get pregnant on the first try, but for some it’s much more difficult. And this is because the body has been on vacation while the pill took over and pumped out synthetic hormones for years, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it’s expected to get back to work after spending years on the beach sipping pina coladas! The body says “hell no take me back to Hawaii!”.

Good news is the body will eventually come around, but it takes time. You have to court it first with nourishing foods, exercise, supplements, and sometimes, in last case scenarios, bio identical hormones (and that makes for a whole other article).

9 Cons of the Hormonal Birth Control Pill:

  1. It damages your chance of conceiving in the future– studies have shown that women who were on the pill are twice as likely to have trouble conceiving, and even more so if they were on it for a long period of time. (1) Post-pill infertility
    affects many women today. Women getting off the pill have to learn how to make their own hormones again, and it could take months or even years to start learning again.
  2. It’s robbing your body of nutrients– Birth control pills destroy your ability to metabolize nutrients, so you are robbed of precious vitamins and minerals that are crucial to your health, resulting in fatigue, migraines, and much more. (2)
  3. Causes depression and anxiety– Because of reason number two, your body is susceptible to depression and anxiety.
  4. Lactose intolerant or vegan? All hormonal birth control contains milk, so not good if you are lactose intolerant or vegan.
  5. It’s bad for your gut health– The birth control pill destroys your gut health resulting in weight gain or loss, stomach cramps, IBS, bloating, and all other types of digestive disorders.
  6. It makes you pick the wrong mate– Since your body isn’t making its own hormones while you’re on the pill, you are choosing a mate based off your synthetic hormones. Some researchers are blaming this for the high divorce rate (3).
  7. It lowers your sex drive– Birth control lowers your testosterone, which lowers you libido. What’s the point of being on the pill to prevent against pregnancy if you aren’t having sex?
  8. Increases your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and strokes– This one is not really hidden, you can find this on all of the pamphlets. (4)
  9. It masks hormonal imbalance– Sure your hormonal imbalance will appear to “go away” with the pill because you are being pumped steadily with synthetic hormones, but when you get off, all those problems will be right their waiting for you – and most likely amplified. You can’t run away from your hormones, gals.

So now that you know the risks of taking the hormonal birth control pill, it’s probably time to explore your other options.

—–> Click HERE for 6 Alternatives to the Birth Control Pill <———–

And ladies, if you continue taking your birth control, don’t feel bad. I want you to know I’m not judging you. We all have to do what we need to do, and if having a baby is not something that is presently appropriate for you, now or ever, and you don’t think that you are able to commit to another plan, then by all means please do what is right for you. My hope for you is that you are informed and have explored all of your options before making up your mind.

Xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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Sources:

  1. Oakeshott, Isabel. Pill Could Harm Future Fertility. January 30, 2004. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ health/article-207039/Pill-harm-future-fertility.html (accessed April 9, 2013).
  2. Bennett, Jane, and Alexandra Pope. The Pill: Are Your Sure It’s for You? Allen & Unwin, 2008. Deroo, Bonnie, and Kenneth S. Korach. “Estrogen Receptors and Human Disease.” The Journal of Clinical Investigation 116, no. 3 (2006): 561-570.
  3. Kluger, Jeffrey. Why We Love. January 16, 2008. http://www.time.com/time/health/ article/0,8599,1704355-1,00.html.
  4. Yasmin Pamphlet. n.d.