Why Your Period is Not the Most Important Part of Your Menstrual Cycle

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Don’t get me wrong, periods are amazing. As a women’s health coach specializing in hormonal health, I’m a huge fan. But sometimes, we get so caught up with our monthly bleed that we forget about the most important aspect of our cycle.

Ovulation.

We only experience a true menstrual cycle after ovulation, and this is only possible when our endocrine and reproductive systems are working properly. This is why anovulatory cycles (a bleed that occurs without ovulation) are an early warning sign of an underlying health problem.

Ovulation usually happens mid-cycle, except for ladies on hormonal birth control. Women on birth control do not ovulate nor have a period; instead they experience what is called a “withdrawal bleed.” The exception to this is sometimes the Mirena IUD, as 85% of women using the Mirena will ovulate by the second year.

Some women who do not take hormonal birth control can still experience anovulatory cycles due to various hormone imbalances caused by factors such as diet, lifestyle, and stress.

Side Note: If your cycle is longer than 36 days, you likely either experienced delayed ovulation, or did not ovulate at all.


3 Reasons Why Ovulation is Critical

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1. Fertility:

You can’t get pregnant if you don’t ovulate, so if pregnancy is on your agenda, ovulation microis a necessity! Even if you aren’t planning for a family now (or maybe ever), you should still want to be fertile because it’s an indicator of good health.

Side Note: I recommend the Fertility Awareness Method (no it’s not the Rhythm Method!) for both pregnancy planning or avoidance. The Daysy thermometer is an excellent device for women not yet fully confident in their charting skills. If you’d like to learn more about charting, then pick up Lisa Hendrickson-Jack’s new book “The Fifth Vital Sign.”

2. Healthy Periods

Each month when you ovulate, a corpus luteum is created and it grows on the surface of your ovary. This is where all of your progesterone is produced.

Cool, huh?!

Progesterone is responsible for lightening your periods, as it counteracts the effects of estrogen. If you are not ovulating, you won’t experience this surge in progesterone, and will most likely be in a state of estrogen dominance, which is a big culprit of heavy and painful periods.

Adequate levels of progesterone are also needed for a healthy luteal phase, and low levels can result in a Luteal Phase Defect (a luteal phase of 10 days or less). Oftentimes, this phenomenon is caused by stress and/or nutrient deficiencies. Stay tuned for some ways to boost progesterone later in the article!

3Healthy Body and Mind

Progesterone is the calming hormone that helps us stay resilient against stress and also healthy1helps us sleep well. This is why women who don’t ovulate (especially women with PCOS) can often suffer from anxiety.

Progesterone is literally nature’s chill pill, so trust me, you want this!

Calming you down is not all that this super hormone can do! Progesterone nourishes our hair and nails by reducing androgens (male hormones), as well as boosts energy by stimulating the thyroid and the metabolism. And recent research has found that women who don’t ovulate experience bone loss at a faster rate than women who do ovulate, so progesterone is also a crucial component of preventing osteoporosis.

Signs of a Progesterone Deficiency

  • PCOS
  • Infertility
  • Endometriosis
  • PMS
  • Hair loss
  • Premenstrual migraines
  • Heavy periods
  • Fibroids
  • Acne
  • Osteoporosis

So how can we boost progesterone?

First of all, by ovulating! But in the meantime, read on for some effective strategies to boost progesterone naturally.

5 Tips to Boost Progesterone

1. Vitamin C

I usually recommend 1,000 mg a day to my clients. Not only has Vitamin C been shown to increase progesterone levels, but it has also been shown to reduce stress, which lowers cortisol. High cortisol will rob the body’s ability to make progesterone, so we really want to keep cortisol and stress levels balanced.

2. Healthy Fats

We need adequate amounts of healthy fats in our diets because all steroid hormones are formed from pregnenolone, which is made from cholesterol. Ideal sources are pasturedavo eggs, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, wild caught salmon, and grass-fed animal protein.

Healthy fats also decrease inflammation, which in turn decreases the release of harmful chemicals in our bodies which can increase cortisol levels and inhibit ovulation.

Bonus: Healthy fats will make your hair and skin glow!

3. Eat Your Greens

We need B-complex vitamins as they are essential for hormone regulation. Leafy greens are high in these B-complex vitamins, so aim to get 2-4 cups of cooked and raw greens into your diet daily. Great options include spinach, watercress, broccoli sprouts, kale, dandelion greens, bok choy and arugula.

4. Vitex (Chasteberry)

Vitex is an herb that promotes ovulation by protecting your hypothalamus gland from stress and preventing your pituitary gland from making too much prolactin. Basically, it increases your levels of dopamine, which lowers your levels of prolactin. This ultimately makes your luteinizing hormone go up, which then makes you ovulate and produce progesterone!

A note of caution about Vitex: Please do not use vitex until you’ve been off of hormonal birth control for at least three months. I recommend 1,000mg a day as a single dose first thing in the morning before breakfast. Stop taking it on days 1-5 of your cycle, and then start again. Discontinue use after six months.

5. Seed Syncing (Seed Cycling)

Seed syncing is an ancient technique that can be used to bring back the balance of estrogen and progesterone. This method of seed rotation works by boosting estrogen levels in the first part of the cycle and progesterone levels in the second part.

The high contents of zinc in sesame seeds and vitamin E in sunflower seeds have been shown to stimulate progesterone production. By adding two tablespoons of sesame and sunflower seeds per day  in the luteal phase, we can naturally support our body’s ability to produce more progesterone.


 

 

Harmful Chemicals are Destroying Your Hormones. Here’s What You Can Do.

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What we eat is crucial to building balanced hormones, but what’s equally important are our beauty products, toiletries and household cleansers!

Our toiletries and cleansers tend to get overlooked, yet the play a crucial part in causing painful periods and serious hormonal imbalances because of the harmful chemicals they contain called endocrine disrupters.

Endocrine disrupters are chemicals that interfere with the production, release, transport, metabolism, or elimination of the body’s natural hormones, and they’re seriously bad news bears for all of human kind. These endocrine disruptors mimic your hormones, and cause you to be estrogen dominant.

About 90% of the clients I see are estrogen dominant, and this is due to the increasingly toxic world we live in.

(This is why it’s imperative to do at least one cleanse a year to get rid of built up toxins like glyphosate in the body.)

Signs of estrogen dominance are painful periods, bloating, breast tenderness, irritability, moodiness, PMS, fatigue, weight gain, short luteal phase, infertility.

The majority of toiletries and household cleansing products on the shelves today contain xenoestrogens. These xenoestrogens mimic the functions of our natural estrogens and interrupt our hormone balance creating symptoms such as heavy periods, PMS, estrogen dominance, fibroids, etc.

Our skin has tiny pores all over the body, which are like tiny mouths after all! So it’s important to use natural and chemical free products! It’s also important to use household cleansers that do not have harmful chemicals as well.

Balance Your Hormones by Avoiding these Chemicals:

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Glyphosate

Glyphosate has been shown to cause cancer, research is linking it to autism, and the EU deemed it so dangerous they banned it for use in crops. My hope is that one day soon it will be banned in the U.S., but for now as consumers we must be proactive to avoid ingesting it.

Most tampons and pads are made from GMO cotton, so they contain glyphosate, and you do not want this stuff inside your vagina! Instead, opt for a menstrual cup like SAALT, or period panties like THINX, or organic, non-bleached tampons or pads.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

To avoid BPA we must avoid foods packaged in aluminum and plastic (BPA free is okay but aim for glass or stainless steel when possible). Always opt for glass Tupperware, and only drink out of stainless steel, glass, or BPA free plastic water bottles.

Phthalates and Parabens

The products you use to clean your bathroom and household are potential stressors to your health. New scientific research shows that many of the chemicals found in everyday house-cleaning products are bio-accumulative and very toxic, which means that once in your system, they stay in your system and allow for increased free radical damage, which makes you more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases and cancers.

Ready to throw things out now?

Find your bleach products, Comet, Ajax, Windex, Lysol, air fresheners, Glade Plug- Ins, cute toilet bowl cleaners, and talc-based baby power. Throw them in a garbage bag and toss them out!

Safe Household Cleansing Alternatives:

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  • Seventh Generation line of cleaning products. You can find this at some grocery stores, Target, and any Whole Foods.
  • DoTerra On Guard house cleanser
  • Arm and Hammer baking powder in replacement of Ajax or Comet
  • Hydrogen peroxide in place of Windex
  • White vinegar instead of bleach (it’s a great grease cutter)
  • Dr. Bronner’s

White Vinegar All Purpose Cleaning Recipe:

  1. In a spray bottle fill with half white vinegar and half water
  2. Put in 15 drops essential orange oil and 10 drops tea tree oil

Safe Toiletry and Beauty Product Alternatives

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  • Makeup: the average women puts 5 pounds of makeup on her face in a year so it’s crucial that you’re using a chemical free brand such as Beauty Counter.
  • Lotions: Throw them away! Instead try extra virgin coconut oil with essential oils.
  • Toothpaste: swap for natural brands like Earthpaste and Jason’s.
  • Deodorant with antiperspirant: ditch the antiperspirant and switch to a natural deodorant such as Oars and Alps. Their deodorant offers excellent coverage, and I love their Deep Sea Glacier scent!
  • Bodywash- I’m a fan of Oars and Alps activated charcoal soap in peppermint. It also contains spirulina and shea butter so it leaves your skin feeling smooth. It also makes for a great face wash as the activated charcoal is exfoliating.

As you can see, one must be proactive to reducing exposure to these hormone disrupting chemicals. But the good news is if you support your body, it will support you!

 

 

 

 

A Holistic Guide to Spring Seasonal Allergies

Originally published on April 7, 2018 by Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

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Image from Shutterstock

The temperature is rising, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and nature is blooming. This can only mean one thing: Spring has officially sprung!

Many of us have been anxiously waiting to put away those bulky winter coats, dust off our lighter layers, and get to the local farmers’ market with an ice-cold coffee in hand. Unfortunately, this euphoric state of spring bliss is blurred by the burden of seasonal allergies for as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children. Symptoms like uncontrollable sneezing, headaches, congestion, constant sniffles, and itchy, red eyes could be signs that you’re experiencing allergies.

An allergy is the immune system’s response to a foreign substance – called an allergen – that triggers a reaction. The response the body has can cause a wide range of reactions, from subtle sneezing and sniffles to persistent hives and fatigue. One of the most common causes of allergies in spring in the United States is pollen, which is produced by hundreds of plant species, including trees, flowers, grass, and weeds. Spring is hit heaviest by new tree growth, and some of the worst allergy triggers across the Unites States are birch, cedar, and cottonwood.

Here are a few natural remedies that can assist in alleviating seasonal allergies.

Essentials Oils
Tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint oils all have powerful natural properties that can help relieve some of those unwanted effects that allergies have on the body. Diffuse a few drops of peppermint oil to unclog your sinuses or rub a small amount of eucalyptus oil onto your chest and forehead to relieve stubborn congestion. Tea tree oil is commonly used to kill bacteria that may be causing allergies, so use it to eliminate the triggers and keep your space clean and germ-free. These oils not only will assist in helping your body fight allergies, but they also have a calming effect on the body, which can reduce the added stress that comes along with them.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has popped up everywhere because of its incredible health benefits! Allergies develop when the body’s immune system becomes sensitive to something in the environment, but ACV may help boost the immune system and prevent issues that come with the new season.

Herbal Tea
Take a moment to sip a cup of symptom-reducing tea; it will be worth it! Drink rooibos, which may help block allergy-causing histamines; green tea, which can help reduce your immune system overreaction; and licorice root, which can relieve irritation in your nose and throat.

Nasal Irrigation
The stuffy feeling in your head and nose could be keeping you feeling heavy and down. Use a neti pot or nose cleanser and nasal saline to clear out all the built-up mucus causing your congestion. Pour a mixture of distilled warm water, a quarter teaspoon of non-iodized salt, and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda into one nostril and allow it to flow out the other nostril by tilting your head. This will help drain the fluids from your nose and reduce congestion.

Humidifier
A humidifier can play a huge role in treating your seasonal allergies. Improving the quality of air this time of year can be key to making the season more pleasant. A humidifier increases the humidity in the air to help eliminate congestion and can reduce the inflammation that comes from those irritating spring allergens.

We know that allergies can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Adopt these remedies in your daily routine to get back to enjoying the season and celebrating all the new life growing around you!

This article originally published on Institute of Integrative Nutrition and used with permission.

The 5 Supplements You Need to Be Taking Daily

Dietary Supplements Pills Nutrient AdditivesEveryone has a different opinion about supplements. People tend to go one of two ways: conservative or liberal. Conservatives think that we can get all the nutrients we need from our diet, and liberals think that supplements can make up for a bad diet.

In regards to supplements, I encourage you to be a moderate.

While I’m a big advocate of getting nutrients from your food, sometimes it just isn’t possible due to two main factors.

1. Our soil has gone downhill

The quality of modern day soil has changed – it is now extremely depleted due to industrial farming. As a result, many of our fruits and vegetables are not as nutrient dense as they were when grandma and grandpa were eating them. This also means the animals you are eating are not as nutrient rich, as the grain or grass they are eating is also affected by industrial farming and depleted soils.

Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization (WHO) have recorded a drop in nutrient density in our food supply within the last fifty years. This loss of nutrients is so great that in our modern world, it is imperative to supplement your diet to achieve optimum health.

2. It’s a busy world.

In our busy lives, can we really be 100% sure that we are eating all of our vitamins, minerals, and probiotics daily? I know I can’t.

Even with a perfect diet of real, whole foods, it is still almost impossible to get all the nutrients you need in today’s toxic and stress-filled world.

Yes, our ancestors were able to get all of their nutrients from their food, but they received far greater amounts of micro-nutrients in every mouthful of food they ate, than is found in the food we consume today.

I always try my best to get as many of the nutrients I need from my food, and I encourage you to do the same. But this is not always possible; that’s why I like to look at supplements as insurance that I am always covered.

With that said, here are the five crucial supplements and vitamins that I recommend everyone take daily:

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a cofactor in over three hundred reactions in the body, and is necessary for temperature regulations, hormonal balance, detoxification in the liver, formation of bones and teeth, and transmission of nerve pulses. However, it’s estimated that around 80% of people are deficient in this crucial mineral! If you are deficient in magnesium, symptoms include anxiety, constipation, an inability to sleep, tension, muscle cramps, fatigue, and much more.

Better yet, did you know that magnesium is the best treatment for PMS?! In fact, it removes symptoms so dramatically that some scientists believe that magnesium deficiency is the cause of PMS. (1)

Magnesium boosts progesterone by improving the healthy of your corpus luteum. It also regulates cortisol and reduces inflammation.

For women (and men!) magnesium is crucial.

Dose- 400-500mg

Forms:  Glycinate is the best overall because it is the most absorbable, and Citrate works well for those prone to constipation. You can also mix and match.

Time Taken: Bedtime

Recommended brand: Pure Encapsulations Glycinate or Citrate.

2.Vitamin D + K2

About 80% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D, due to a shift from farming to office jobs, combined with a lack of sun in many places during the winter. Even if you live in a place with plenty of sunshine, you should be taking Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for hormonal and metabolic function, and is something you don’t want to be deficient in.

When choosing your Vitamin D, make sure to buy D3. Most doctors prescribe D2 but it is not as effective. You want to take at least 5,000 IU – 10,000 IU a day (depending on how deficient you are) for 6 months. After this, you can lower your dose to 2,000 IU a day for monthly maintenance.

K2 is a  is a fat soluble vitamin involved in calcium metabolism.  Excess calcium is deposited in arteries, leading to calcification and decreased vascular function.  This is why vitamin K2 could play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Bonus is that K2 has been found to reduce bone loss.

Dose: D3 – 5,000-10,000 i.u’s daily

K2- 2,000 mcg daily

Forms: D3 combined with K2, or you can take D3 and K2 in separate pills

Time Taken: Morning. D3 and K2 should always be taken together.

Recommended brand:  Metagenics K2 with D3, or Metagenics D3 and LifeExtension K2

3. Methyl B12 and Methyl Folate

If you are a vegan or vegetarian I urge you to take vitamin B12 daily.  If you are an omnivore, I still recommend you take this, as most people are deficient in B12. B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. It’s necessary for maintaining methylation reactions that repair DNA and prevent cancer.

Dose: 800 mcg Folate, and 500 mcg B12 (never take folic acid, that stuff is junk!)

Forms: Capsule or lozenge

Time taken: Daily with food

Brand: Metagenics Intrinsi B12/Folate

4. High Grade Probiotic

Your gut is responsible for much more than just digesting your lunch. Your gut, and the 100 trillion bacteria that call it home, are responsible for your overall mental and physical wellbeing. Hippocrates said 2,000 years ago that “all disease begins in the gut”, and modern scientists are just now realizing how true this statement is.

For optimum health you should maintain an 85-to-15 percent ratio of good bacteria to bad. Once the bad bacteria rises above 15 percent, the immune system begins to slow down and sets off a chain reaction that promotes disease, digestion problems, and interferes with nutrient absorption.

Eating processed foods, plus the overuse of antibiotics, are the two biggest culprits for the poor gut health that is sweeping developed nations today.

To keep your gut healthy and thriving with healthy bacteria, you should take a high-grade probiotic daily, with at least 25 billion living organisms. Opt for even higher if you can. When purchasing your probiotic remember they are not regulated by the FDA, so you must make sure to buy a brand that is trusted.

Dose: Minimum 25 billion organisms per serving.

Form: Capsule or powder

Time Taken: At least 30 minutes before or after a meal. Do not take within 30 minutes of a hot beverage as the heat will kill the organisms.

Recommended brand: Green Vibrance or Metagenics UltraFlora Spectrum

In addition to taking a daily probiotic, you should also aim to eat two to three servings of fermented foods a day.

Examples of fermented foods are:

  • Kimchi
  • Yogurt (unsweetened and organic)
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir – this is a drinkable like yogurt originating from Turkey. You can find it in most grocery stores these days, or you can make your own by ordering a kefir starter kit online. Kefir makes a perfect addition to smoothies.
  • Water kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

Also, don’t forget your prebiotics. Prebiotic foods help feed your good bacteria. You should aim to eat as many prebiotic foods as you can.

Examples of prebiotic rich foods are :

  • Raw chicory root
  • Raw garlic
  • Under-ripe bananas
  • Raw dandelion greens
  • Raw and cooked onions
  • Raw Jerusalem artichokes
  • Raw leeks
  • Raw asparagus

5. Fish Oil (or Algal Oil for vegans)-

In order to keep your  omega 3 to omega 6 levels ideal (you want a 1:1 ratio) and to promote optimum cardiovascular health, hormonal health, and to prevent disease, as well as promote a healthy and happy mind, fish oil is crucial. It also lowers cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity, and prevents blood clots. It’s natures best anti-inflammatory, and helps balance hormones.

You should take 1,000-2,000 mg. a day, and the EPA to DHA ratio should be 300/200mg.

Dose: 1,000-2,000 mg

Forms: Capsule or liquid

Time taken: daily with food

Recommended brand: OmegaGenics EPA-DHA

Bonus:

Multivitamin-

This is your ultimate insurance ticket. It is important you are getting a high quality one. I personally take Vibrant Health’s Green Vibrance, as it also includes 25 billion probiotics, meaning I don’t have to hassle with taking an additional probiotic. And please don’t assume that because you are taking a multivitamin you don’t have to take the other supplements I’ve listed above.  You see, multivitamins are great in that they provide an array of vitamins, but most of them do not have 100% of your daily requirement of D3, magnesium, and B12.

Dose: 1 tablet or 1 packet

Forms: Capsule or powder

Time taken: daily with food

Brand: Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. or Metagenics Wellness Essentials

Think of these supplements as part of your diet, and buy the best quality ones you can. Remember, you get what you pay for; cheap supplements are usually poorly absorbed by the body, and the dosages are not always as high as they claim. They are also often filled with additives and coloring, and just result in expensive urine!

When buying your supplements, I encourage you to seek guidance from a health care practitioner to select the products that are right for you. While these are the general supplements I recommend everyone take, some people will need further supplementation.

With Gratitude,

Health Coach Jenna

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Sources:

  1. Period Repair Manual by Dr. Laura Briden

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 21-35 days, and it would last 3-7 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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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: 99.4% effective

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 Kindara. You can even get a Daysy thermometer that does all the work for you! All you have to do is take your temperature first thing in the morning. Even if you don’t choose this method, it’s a good idea to use an app like this to track your periods. Please note that if you have irregular periods or your period is outside of the 36 day range, then this method is not for you. That said, women with irregular cycles should still chart their cycles because it will provide invaluable insight into the root of the problem. Also note, if your period tracker app doesn’t ask for your temperature, then it is not FAM but the Rhythm Method. The Rhythm Method is often confused with FAM, but RM is not a reliable birth control method.

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, which is excellent because it means you will still ovulate. It’s also 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. If you’d like support during this transition, sign up for a consultation with me today.

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

9 Reasons to Avoid Using the Birth Control Pill

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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?

The reason the pill appears to be“working” for these problems 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.

[Have you recently quit hormonal birth control? If so, the check out my 20-Day Hormone Reset Detox Program]

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.

If you are currently taking a form of hormonal birth control and wish to explore your other options, contact me today for a health consultation.

Xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

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.

Turmeric Latte

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From curing the common cold to preventing or fighting against cancer, turmeric is an essential spice that you should become familiar with. With a long history of being used in traditional medicines such as ancient India’s Ayurveda, it has lately become more recognized in western practices – it’s really no surprise that it is currently the most studied spice on the planet.

Beat aches, pains and inflammation with Mother Nature’s greatest anti- inflammatory weapon. If you are suffering from pain, and/or participate in athletic activities, turmeric is your best friend. Don’t make the mistake of taking Advil after your athletic training, exercise, yoga, etc. It will kill your mitochondria and your gut flora.

I try to drink a warm cup of turmeric milk everyday. I especially make sure I get my cup in after my yoga practice, as it’s nature’s best anti-inflammatory, helping relieve any general aches and pains. Plus, it’s really delicious – making it a nice treat before bed.

Turmeric Latte Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of coconut milk (or your dairy-free milk of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon dried turmeric powder OR one half-inch fresh turmeric thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger powder OR one half-inch piece of peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • A dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • Honey to taste (use local if possible – this will also help with allergies and do not add to the milk when it is HOT, as this turns the honey toxic. Wait until it is warm.)
  • *Optional- scoop of collagen powder

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the honey) into a blender.
  2. Blend for 30 seconds to a minute.
  3. Pour mixture into saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Bring to boil.
  5. Turn off heat, cover, and allow mixture to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Add honey.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Alternatively, if you do not have a blender, skip steps one and two and combine all ingredients in a saucepan. If you are using fresh ginger and turmeric, use a strainer to filter them out before serving.

Enjoy!

Health Coach Jenna

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Goji Berry Chocolate “Cheesecake”

Goji berry and chocolate

Goji berries and chocolate are a delicious duo. I mean- not as orgasmic as peanut butter and chocolate, but pretty darn close. That’s why I created this goji berry and chocolate “cheesecake”.

And something cool I learned fro the recipe? Goji berries turn orange when you blend them! Wasn’t expecting that one.

What You Will Need:

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup goji berries
  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao
  • 8×8 baking pan
  • baking paper

What to do:

  1. Okay y’all, first you need to take 2 cups cashews and soak em’ for about 6-8 hours.
  2. Then, we need to make the crust because it has to chill in the freezer for about an hour before we can put the filling in. For the crust take 2 1/2 cups desiccated unsweetened coconut, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/3 cup chopped dates. Put this all in blender or food processor and blend until it starts sticking together. Line an 8×8 pan with baking paper and then pack the crust into her nice and tight. Make sure to pack it hard because if you don’t the crust will fall apart and that would be tragic. Now stick her back in the freezer.
  3. For the filling: Take 1 cup goji berries and soak in water for about 30 minutes to an hour- until they are soft and plump. Drain these and put into the blender, with your drained cashews, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbs coconut oil, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk. Blend until nice and creamy.
  4. Take your crust out of the freezer and pour your filling on top and spread nice and evenly. Now, put back in the freezer because it’s time to make our chocolate!
  5. For the chocolate, take 1/3 cup coconut oil and place in a saucepan (double broiler if you’ve got it so it doesn’t come into direct contact with heat) and stir over low heat. Add 1/3 cup maple syrup and stir. When it’s nice and warm add 3/4 cup raw cacao and a pinch of sea salt. Stir until silky smoooooth.
  6. Take your pie out of the freezer and spread the chocolate evenly on top. Place back in the freezer for a few hours.
  7. Take out and store in the fridge. I like to cut the cheesecake after it’s been in the fridge for a bit as it’s softer and easier to cut.

If you liked this please leave a comment below to let me know! And I always love to see pictures of your replications!

Enjoy y’all!

Health Coach Jenna

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Bloated Blues Beet Juice

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Feeling bloated? Perhaps you are about to start your “Ladies’ Holiday” or have been indulging in foods you don’t normally eat?

Don’t be sad!  It happens to the best of us!

My favorite way to reset and get back on track is with this beet, celery, ginger, lemon and apple juice. Celery and beets are diuretics and will flush out excess water weight, and beets will flush your liver of toxins stat. The ginger is also excellent for detoxing because it creates heat in the body, and lemon is always a superhero for cleaning out the system.

I’ve Got the Bloated Blues Beet Juice:

  • 8 stalks celery
  • 1 large beet or 2 small
  • 1 inch piece of peeled ginger
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4- 1/2 green apple (adjust to your personal preference of sweetness)

Happy Juicing!

Health Coach Jenna

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