5 Ways Stress is Messing with Your Hormones+ How to Manage It

Pensive woman in bedGuest post by Kayla Cluett, CHN

The adrenal glands are amazing. They are small but incredibly mighty and critical for the health of our entire organism. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked when it comes to many of the health conditions we are faced with today.

Adrenal hormones are the major response of the body to stress or trauma from outside or within. The 5 main stressors are mental, emotional, spiritual, chemical, and physical and the body cannot decipher between them. The body sees all stress equally and often we are responding to multiple threats at once. This causes our bucket to spill over and symptoms to occur.

These symptoms show up in the form of reproductive problems, digestive disturbances, cardiovascular and metabolic issues.

The adrenals take priority above all the other hormones in the body.

When the adrenals are needed to respond to stress, other areas of the endocrine system take a back seat. When this becomes chronic, hormone imbalances occur.

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Here are 5 ways stress throws our hormones out of whack:

1. When stress in high progesterone is low. Low progesterone means estrogen dominance. Estrogen is pro-growth which leaves us susceptible to problems such as endometriosis, breast cysts, fibroids, and even breast cancer.

2. Cortisol stimulates an elevation in blood sugar, which over time can create insulin resistance.

3. It stimulates fat deposits. This is what gives us that spare tire and midsection squish that we could live without. Fat is metabolically active and this puts more demands on our hormones.

4. The adrenals become very important during menopause as they become the primary producer of the sex hormones. If the adrenals are fatigued prior menopause, this could leave us prone to menopausal symptoms and susceptible to things like osteoporosis and hormonal cancers later in life.

5. Cortisol slows the conversion of T4 to T3 (thyroid hormones). T3 affects almost every physiological function in the body.

So how do we take care of our adrenal health?

Managing stress is of the upmost importance, and we can do this through dietary and lifestyle strategies.

Here are some dietary and lifestyle strategies to consider:

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Dietary

• Avoiding blood sugar swings by limiting coffee and caffeine products. Switch to green tea instead. Green tea contains L-theanine which provides a calming effect and helps balance moods.

• Limit alcohol. Like caffeine, alcohol is a stimulant and not helpful for the adrenals.

• Get plenty of omega 3 in the form of seeds and cold-water fish. Omega 3 is needed to protect against the effects of stress. Omega 3 has been shown to be effective at decreasing epinephrine, cortisol and energy expenditure.

• Get plenty of prebiotic and probiotic foods. These foods help the adrenals by helping to lower cortisol and anxiety.

• B Vitamin-rich foods such as whole grains and legumes. This helps to regulate blood sugar and neurotransmitters. They also nourish the gut which plays a huge role in adrenal function.

• Vitamin C-rich foods such as orange and red vegetables and fruits. Vitamin C has been shown to lower blood serum levels of cortisol and improve cortisol recovery.

• Magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy green vegetables and almonds. Low magnesium increases the release of stress hormones and further depletes it, especially under stress.

• Eat chocolate! Eating 40g of dark chocolate over a two week period was shown to reduce the urinary excretion of cortisol and partially normalized stress-related differences in energy metabolism.

• Keeping blood sugar balanced by getting plenty of protein, fat and fiber at each meal. This keeps us fuller longer and prevents the hypoglycemic episodes that put pressure on the adrenals.

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Lifestyle:

• Implementing calming rituals as a daily practice (yoga, massage, deep breathing, connecting to self through movement or meditation).

• Reducing toxin exposures through switching to cleaner cosmetics and household cleaning products.

• Removing emotional and mental stressors.

• Getting plenty of good quality sleep.

• Nurturing relationships and connection.

• Creating space to work on personal development and a sense of accomplishment.

• Having a positive outlook.

• Learning to say no to the things that add stress to your life.

Although it’s not possible to avoid stress entirely, and in fact some stress can be beneficial, there’s many things we can do to be mindful of it and manage it. It’s a matter of creating a daily practice that works for you.

Bottom line though, if we keep trying to pour from an empty cup we leave ourselves susceptible to burn-out and unwanted symptoms. Making dietary and lifestyle adjustments that promote peace and relaxation is a critical step in prevention.

About the author:

E5R5A42991Kayla Cluett is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Practitioner helping women to balance their hormones, so they can reduce the pesky symptoms that come with the demands and stressors of everyday life. She’ll teach you strategic dietary and lifestyle strategies that will help support and balance key body systems to help your body thrive. You’ll lose weight, kick our cravings, improve your energy and mental clarity without feeling like you’re on a diet, deprived or hungry. You can find her at kaylacluettnutrition.com and follow her on Instagram @kaylacluettnutrition.

 

Why Ovulation is More Important Than Your Period

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Don’t get me wrong, periods are amazing. I’m a huge fan. But we get so caught up with our monthly bleed that we forget about the most important aspect of our cycle.

Ovulation.

Ovulation usually happens mid-cycle, except for ladies on the birth control pill, as they do not ovulate nor have a period, instead they experience what is called a “withdrawal bleed.” Also, some women not on hormonal birth control will experience anovulatory cycles (a bleed that occurs without ovulation ) due to various hormone imbalances. If your cycle is longer than 36 days, you either experienced delayed ovulation, or you did not ovulate.

3 Reasons Ovulation is Critical:

1. Fertility:

You can’t get pregnant if you don’t ovulate, so if that is on your agenda, ovulation is necessary. But remember, the ability to conceive is a sign of good health, so even if you aren’t planning for a family now or ever, you still want to be fertile. I recommend the Fertility Awareness Method  (no it’s not the Rhythm Method!) for those of you both planning pregnancy planning or avoidance.

2. Healthy Periods

Our bodies can’t produce the hormone progesterone without ovulating.

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

Progesterone is responsible for lightening your periods, as it counteracts the affects of estrogen. So if you are not ovulating you will most likely be in a state of estrogen dominance, and this is a big culprit for heavy and painful periods.

3. Healthy Body and Mind

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

And that’s not all this super hormone can do. Progesterone nourishes our hair and nails by reducing 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 it’s a crucial component to preventing osteoporosis.

Signs of a progesterone deficiency:

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

So do you now see why it’s SO crucial to ovulate?

4 Steps to Confirm Ovulation:

1. Check your cervical fluid. When you’re close to ovulation and ovulating, your cervical mucus will look like that off the clear part of an egg and stretch between your fingers.

2. Chart your temperature. There are many apps out there to help you do this. I personally use Kindara . Each morning when you first wake up, before doing anything or eating or drinking anything, take your temperature. After ovulation has occurred your temperature will spike 2/10ths of a degree and will remain elevated until menstruation.

3. Use LH strips.

LH (luteinizing hormone) spikes a few days before ovulation. LH signals a follicle to swell and burst releasing an egg into your fallopian tube. When an LH strip  shows positive, you can expect to to ovulate few days later. If you don’t get an LH surge you will not ovulate that month. Note that women with PCOS might have several LH surges throughout the month, so this might not be an accurate way of determining upcoming ovulation.

4. Note any sensations. Some women feel a sharp twinge in their ovary when the egg releases.

I hope this article has inspired you to start charting, because awareness is the number key to taking charge of your reproductive health. If you are interested in more reading I recommend “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Why You Should Stop Calorie Counting Today

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Have you ever followed a calorie restricting diet? I know I have, and chances are you have been through the grueling experience as well.

And even though the pounds fell off quickly, think about what happened when you got off the diet – did the pounds stay off for long?

They didn’t, did they?

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting great results after depriving yourself of food, only to have all of your hard work destroyed as soon as you start increasing your calories again.  This is why calorie restricting diets are a waste of your precious time, darling. Eating like this will only cause your weight to fluctuate (that’s why they call it “yo-yo dietiting”) and the practice is detrimental to your hormones, which means your mental and physical health will suffer immensely.

Yo-yo dieting is not a sustainable practice, and does not promote a balanced life. It’s pretty stinking miserable and unnecessary.

What’s wrong with calorie counting:

The “eat less move more” movement doesn’t work. It’s complete crap. 💩 The idea behind this theory that has been peddled in schools and by doctors across the country is that consuming fewer calories than are used will lead to lasting weight loss.

There are sooooooo many things wrong with this!

1. Not all calories are created equally. Some foods induce high blood sugar levels, other promote balanced levels. Think about the difference between a can of coke and two cups of broccoli which have roughly the same amount of calories. Should those really be put in the same category?

2. Reducing calories will slow down your metabolism, so when you quit that diet you’re on you’re going to gain it all back, even if you are only increasing your caloric intake minimally. Think about it- your body is pretty clever. It will adapt to homeostasis. If you maintain a reduced calorie diet your metabolism will quickly adapt by slowing down to match the reduced intake. So when you get off the diet, even just a little- guess what will happen? Yup, you’ll gain it back.

TRUTH —-> HIGH INSULIN BLOCKS FAT BURNING.

What your body needs to burn fat are these two things:

1.You must burn through most of your stored glycogen.

2. Your insulin levels must drop low enough to release fat stores.

And this doesn’t happen through caloric reduction. This happens by eating real, whole foods that contain healthy fats, moderate protein, and low or no carbs (the amount for each person is determined by individual tolerance, blood sugar levels, hormone levels, and specific needs, women for example do better with some carbs in their diet).

So ditch the diets, ditch the calorie restriction, and focus on eating real, unprocessed foods. Don’t worry about calories! Focus on quality!

So what are two things you can start doing today?

1. Cut out the C.R.A.P. (carbonated beverages, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and ingredients, and processed foods.

2. Focus on getting good quality healthy fats with each meal. Remember, cholesterol is responsible for producing all of your sex hormones, so without a diet rich in healthy fats, your hormones will suffer. You must nourish your hormones, because when you have balanced hormones your body will be able to maintain a healthy weight.

Once you implement a nutrient dense and plant based lifestyle of real, whole foods like this 40-Day Transformation from Purium, (use code “HEALTHIERNOTIONS” for $100 off) then you will discover you maintain a steady and healthy weight without the need for guilt-inducing diets.

Remember, diet is a greek word that means “way of life”.

Proud to be diet-free,

Health Coach Jenna

10 Signs Your Hormones Are Out of Control

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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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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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