Seed Cycling Pudding

chia seed pudding

Seed cycling is one of the simplest and most effective holistic remedies for balancing hormones.

This ancient technique helps restore the balance of  the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone by rotating certain seeds into your diet during the two different phases of your menstrual cycle (follicular and luteal phase).

Added bonus is the lignans in the seed hulls bind to your excess hormones, and the seed oils contain essential fatty acids that are building blocks to hormones.

So you’re essentially getting two for one in benefits!

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I’ve created this Seed Cycling Pudding because not only is it the perfect meal for creating healthy hormones as it’s full of healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and protein, but it also is a way to incorporate seed cycling into your diet.

Seed Cycling Pudding

(Serving Size 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 BPA free can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 8 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 6 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 packets Sweet Leaf stevia
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (this depends on where you are in your cycle)

Method:

  • Mix ingredients into bowl
  • Pour evenly in 4 mason jars
  • Put in fridge overnight
  • When ready to eat top with pumpkin seeds (when in follicular phase/ first 14 days of cycle) or sunflower seeds (luteal phase/last 14 days)
  • Optional toppings, berries, Lily’s chocolate chips, and/or almond butter. Sometimes I do all three! YUM!

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

Pensive woman in bed

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!

 

 

 

 

Natural Remedies for Fibroids

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70% of women will experience fibroids in their lives before the age of 50 and they are also 2 to 3 times more likely to form in African American women.

Fibroids can be quite painful, while some women don’t even feel them at all.

Symptoms of fibroids:

💥Pressure in the pelvis resulting in constipation or frequent urination
💥Heavy or prolonged bleeding
💥Severe cramping during period
💥Spotting in between periods

So why do we get them?  Well, fibroids are dependent entirely on our hormones!

Yup.

Fibroids have a high amount of estrogen and progesterone receptors. This results in the tissue being very sensitive to estrogen, but at the same time it can’t regulate its estrogen response which is why often times they can grow quite large!

We live in an estrogen dominant world, and most women I see in my practice have this hormonal imbalance.

Note, you don’t have to have high estrogen levels to have estrogen dominance!!!

It’s all about your estrogen to progesterone ratio. So if your progesterone is low and your estrogen is in normal range, you can still have estrogen dominance! .

This biggest culprits to estrogen dominance and fibroids are:

💥Poor estrogen metabolism- if you can’t clear out excess estrogen then this will result in estrogen dominance. Some women have a more difficult time than others due to factors such as the MTHFR gene or fatty liver.

💥High body fat- fat stores and produces estrogen so the more fat you have, the more estrogen you will have.

💥Xenoestrogens- exposure to harmful hormone mimicking toxins that are found in pesticides, herbicides, plastics, synthetic hormones as is found in birth control and hormones found in conventional meat and dairy will create excess estrogen in the body.

Natural Remedies for Fibroids:

1️⃣Support your detox pathways

You can do this by cleaning up your toiletries and household products so as to reduce xenoestrogen exposure. Our toiletries and cleansers tend to get overlooked, yet the play a crucial part in causing painful periods and serious hormonal imbalances because of harmful chemicals 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.

In addition, you can take a methlated spectrum B vitamin to further support your methylation cycle, and eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables to flush out estrogen.

This is why I always recommend my clients take a fiber blend, as it binds to estrogen to help flush it out. This is my number one go-to for my clients with Endometriosis and fibroids (use the code “HealthierNotions” for $50 off your purchase.)

DIM is a powerful supplement that will flush out excess estrogen and my clients who take this see results in as little as one month, but I recommend talking to your healthcare practitioner before going on it.

Also, make sure any animal products you eat are from clean sources as YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT EATS. So if you’re eating factory farmed animals or animal by products full of synthetic hormones and antibiotics, you’re being exposed to them, too.
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2️⃣Castor Oil Packs- .

These will help improve your circulation which will help break up scar tissue and reduce your fibroids. They also relax the whole body-trust me and try it! They’re like taking a chill pill and hitting the reset button. Do these about three times a week for 30 minutes to an hour.

3️⃣Reduce inflammatory foods

Inflammatory foods are like adding fuel to the fibroid fire!

We want to bring down inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods that give you a healthy ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. So fill up your diet with fish oil, flax oil, avocados, coconut oil, and nuts.

Avoid gluten (this one is non-negotiable!!), sugar, and dairy (butter is okay from grass-fed cows, as is full fat cream but in moderation. Some women are okay with sheep and goat milk products because they are lactose free). Consider adding turmeric into your diet or taking a supplement, but make sure it contains black pepper!

And if you are ready to start reducing those fibroids ASAP I encourage you to join my 20 Day Hormone Reboot Online Program!

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.

 

3 Diet Tips for Managing PCOS

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition of insulin resistance and ovulatory dysfunction. This is why diet is the most crucial component of putting PCOS into remission.

Women with PCOS must balance their blood sugar in order to heal, which is why many women find success (at a cost) with diabetic medications such as Metformin. However, Metformin depletes B vitamins and has unpleasant gastrointestinal effects so it’s not the ideal option.

Instead, it’s best to adapt our diets first, and most times (in addition to certain supplements) this is all it takes.

3 Diet Tips for PCOS

1. Balance Blood Sugar Levels

It all starts with blood sugar.

It’s crucial for women with PCOS to keep their blood sugar levels balanced, because high blood sugar leads to insulin resistance, which then prompts the body to pump out more insulin which signals our ovaries to produce excess testosterone. Once we have elevated androgens, the light switch for PCOS is then turned on.

We can flip off this switch by ditching the dairy, gluten, and eating low glycemic foods. 

Women with PCOS must avoid dairy because the protein in dairy spikes our insulin- especially whey protein! Exceptions to this are butter from pasture raised cows, and ghee, but in small amounts.

Gluten should also be avoided 100% of the time, as it not only spikes blood sugar, but it’s inflammatory and provides no benefit to the body.

Everyone should avoid artificial sweeteners that contain either saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. Studies have linked these to depression and cancer. Studies have also proven them to alter gut bacteria by killing off the good guys and promoting the growth of bad bacteria. This leads to inflammation, which is the root of all disease.

Women with PCOS need to use sweeteners with reservations. Stevia, monk fruit, and xylitol are my preferred sweeteners and can be used daily. Raw honey and maple syrup are okay on occasion.

Chromium has been shown to reduce sugar cravings, and spearmint tea is also a great option. Mint is also great for lowering testosterone so it’s a win win all around. Also, the less sugar you eat the less you’ll crave. So going on a detox from all sugar for a few weeks will help reset your taste buds. My 20-Day Hormone Reboot Detox is a great option to reset and reboot.

Another great option for balancing blood sugar is with Intermittment Fasting

2. Lower Inflammation with Healthy Fats

It’s important to keep our inflammation down because staying in an inflammatory response will trigger the symptoms of PCOS by releasing harmful chemicals such as cytokines in the body.  This is why you should eat as many omega 3 fatty acid fats (the Good Guys)  as possible and stay away from the processed, junk oils (the Bad Guys).

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The Good Guys:

  • Unprocessed organic oils like coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil,
  • Organic butter from grass-fed cows, clarified butter, and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Raw nuts and seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
  • Egg yolks from pastured hens.
  • Lean meat from animals that are free range and/or grass fed.
  • Coconut oil, which has special medium-chain fatty acids that promote a healthy metabolism, immune system, skin and thyroid.

The Bad Guys:

  • Corn oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soy oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats
  • Margarine and shortening

3. Clean Your Protein 

It’s best to avoid all factory farmed meat because you are what you eat, eats. If you are eating beef from a cow that was fed GMO corn, pumped with hormone and antibiotics, you are not eating steak, you are eating glyphosate ridden corn that looks like steak- it’s an inflammatory cocktail that is best to be avoided.

The same goes for farm-raised fish as well. It’s just corn that looks like fish.  This is why it’s crucial to make sure your protein is coming from a clean and humane source.

Factory farmed meat is high in xenoestrogens, which means they mimic your hormones and cause your estrogen levels to skyrocket. This is not good! Estrogen dominance is already something women with PCOS struggle with, so we mustn’t add fuel to the fire!

Signs of estrogen dominance include moodiness, bloating, breast tenderness, acne, annovulation, painful periods, and anxiety.

Game plan: Stick to humanely raised and organic meats to avoid the added hormones, antibiotics, and the inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids. When eating fish opt for Alaskan Salmon.

Remember, PCOS is not a curse. No it can’t be cured, but with the right diet and lifestyle hacks, along with the correct supplements, you can be symptom free and be a #PCOSTHRIVER just like me!

I encourage you to sign up for your 30 minute consultation with me today if you’d like more support.

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Should We Practice Yoga While Menstruating?

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Many period advice books out there recommend yoga as a nourishing physical activity to do during menstruation, but this is not always the best advice.

As both a women’s health coach specializing in reproductive health and a KPJAYI-authorized Ashtanga teacher, the subject of menstruation and yoga practice is of great interest and importance to me.

This is why I often find it frustrating when reading guides on women’s health that suggest yoga as the ideal activity to practice while bleeding.

My teacher, R. Sharath Jois, advises female practitioners to take a full three days of rest during menstruation. Some female practitioners disregard this instruction as they feel it is an outdated guideline based on a male-dominated culture (perhaps you have seen the hashtag #ICanDoAnythingYouCanDoBleeding), but I encourage us to look at this advice from a different perspective.

Yes, we can do yoga while bleeding, but why should we?

The female reproductive system is an extraordinary mechanism of beauty and amazement.

As females, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to bleed, cleanse, and replenish each month. Our periods are also an invaluable tool to gauge our overall health and well-being, so much so that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists deemed periods as a fifth vital sign.

It’s not just the traditional lineage of Ashtanga that advises women to stop asana (yoga pose) practice for three days, but the tradition of Iyengar yoga recommends to rest or take a modified practice on days of bleeding as well.

Dr. Geeta Iyengar, the daughter of B.K.S. Iyengar, writes “A healthy menstruation is a significant indication of a healthy state of body and mind. We have to respect our womanhood, we have to respect our bodies which have got this very important function to perform. Obviously, we need to adjust our practice. If we do not respect this fact, then we are disrespecting our own existence as well as that of the future generation.”

In yoga, we call energy prana. There is both apanic (downward) and pranic (upward) 05_AlessiaCampostrini©JennaLONGORIA_IMG_8019.jpgenergy. During the time of our period, we want the energy to move downward in order to cleanse the body, not only on a subtle body level but on a physical level.

Subtly, there is powerful energetic work at play that could negatively affect our system overall and prevent the natural cleansing process of our cycle. Physically, we need to encourage the uterine lining to shed, and twists and inversions can arrest this flow, as well as cause cramping.

Essentially, when we practice during our period, we are working against the natural downward energy taking place in our bodies.

Interestingly, in Chinese medicine this energy is referred to as Qi, and similar principles apply, as practitioners of Chinese medicine are also taught to take a rest for three full days during menstruation.

In the West, people tend to practice yoga in big group classes, making it impossible for the teacher to give individual attention to each student.

It is a common practice for people to frequent classes at many different studios, never establishing a strong teacher/student connection. In this scenario, it is doubtful a student will approach a teacher they’ve never met to disclose that they are on their period. Without this disclosure, the teacher will not know to modify the practice for this student.

Additionally, if a female on their cycle is taking advice from her period wellness guide to slow down, she might end up in a dynamic type of yoga class such as Vinyasa or power yoga. In these classes, there will most likely be some twists and inversions. Not only will this type of yoga increase heat (which we absolutely do not need while menstruating as our body is already heated in this phase of our cycle), but the twists and inversions can aggravate our uterus.

However, the period guides aren’t all wrong! There are some types of yoga that do jive well with our menstrual cycle.

If opting for a group class, look for a restorative yoga or Yin yoga class, but if practicing at home, try these asanas:

>> Baddha Konasana (butterfly)
>> Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined butterfly)
>> Legs up the wall
>> Balasana (child’s pose)
>> Sukhasana (final rest)

Hold each one for at least five minutes. A pillow or bolster can be used for support.

If you are currently suffering from amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), I encourage you to take a few days of rest over the new moon. Invite your monthly bleed to return by creating the time and space for her. Perhaps sit in seated meditation during these days and reconnect with your womb by placing your hands on this sacred space and visualizing your flow beginning.

If we continue to practice for months without rest because we have not had a period, the chances of bringing it back gets smaller; it’s a vicious cycle.

We must nurture our bodies and invite our feminine, yin energy to enter, in order to balance out the type A, yang energy, that in today’s world of unprecedented stress, is all too easy to dominate.

Remember, our goal for this time of the month is to nurture our bodies. Females are cyclical beings, and we must remember this. We weren’t designed to go hard every day of the year. The time of our menstruation is an opportunity to slow down and give gratitude to our body for all of its hard work.

It is not a sign of weakness to take a break from our asana routine. A wise woman knows she must take care of her temple—she knows the practice will still be there when she stops bleeding.

This article was written by Jenna Longoria for The Elephant Journal, and was originally published on July 23, 2018.

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

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Berry season is here! That means organic berries are now affordable, and no longer require you to take out a second mortgage! Ha!

My favorite sweet treat to make during berry season are my almond thumbprint cookies.  They are seriously so good, y’all-a definite crowd pleaser.

This is the jam that I use for the cookies, and I found out that it is quite good on its own as well! I always make extra when making my almond thumbprints, as I use it for porridge topping, gluten-free toast spread, on top of my coconut yogurt, or just to eat by the spoonful. Hey don’t judge! I know I don’t- whatever you decide to do with your jam is your business!

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam:

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • honey or maple syrup, to sweeten if desired
  • 1-2 tablespoons filtered water, if needed

Method:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If you need more liquid for the ingredients to fully combine, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
  2. Place in a glass jar in the refrigerator to allow the chia seeds to expand, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Enjoy!

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

Holistic Remedies for Ovarian Cysts

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If you are a woman, chances are you have had at least one ovarian cyst in your life. Perhaps you weren’t even aware of it, or perhaps it caused you a bit (or a lot!) of discomfort.

I’ve had my share of ovarian cysts in the past, and because I didn’t know what I know now, they caused me an exponential amount of unnecessary grief.

I first started suffering from cysts when I was a teenager because of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is why the doctors put me on the birth control pill at the age of 15. It did prevent me from getting cysts for the time I was on it (but at the price of weight gain and depression), but because the pill doesn’t get to the root of the problem, my PCOS was at a raging full force when I got off the pill at 21.

When I was 29 I experienced the worst ovarian cyst of my life. While on honeymoon in Thailand, a 5 x 5cm cyst grew on my left ovary and twisted around it, causing hemorrhaging. I had to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency laparotomy to remove the cyst. Luckily my ovary was saved. In this very rare case, surgery was necessary. But as you will learn later in this article, surgery is rarely the best option, and is best to be avoided.

When I was 30, I had yet another cyst. This one on my one-year wedding anniversary while in Vietnam! Seriously, can a girl catch a break?!  Because I was so petrified that this one would twist like the previous one, I had my husband take me to the hospital immediately, even though I was not in as much pain as the one from the previous year. Trust me, you will know if your cyst is in torsion, because it is extremely painful.

The ultrasound indeed showed another 5×5 cm cyst on my left ovary. I was gutted. The doctors insisted on surgery, and because I didn’t know what I know now, I agreed. This time a less invasive procedure called a laparoscopy was performed.

A year later at 31 I had yet another cyst. This time I was in the U.S. so I decided to go to a gynecologist. The ultrasound showed another 5×5 cm cyst on my left ovary. He suggested we watch and wait, and in the meantime I should take the birth control pill to shrink it.

I respectfully declined the birth control pill, and he was not very pleased.

I turned down the pill with confidence because I had done quite a bit of research since my previous ovarian cyst ( in the past year I literally made it my mission to learn EVERYTHING I could about them).  So I now had the knowledge to make better decisions, and I rejected the birth control pill therapy, and instead took the holistic route. I knew the signs to look out for if the cyst did go into torsion, and if this did happen I knew I would need to get an ultrasound immediately in case I did need surgical intervention.

However, surgery was obsolete, as with my holistic treatment the cyst dissolved with my period two weeks after it formed.

 No surgery required. No birth control pills.

Today, I’m ovarian cyst free, and even if I do get another one, I wouldn’t be worried at all because I now have the knowledge of how to get rid of it on my own. And I would like for you to be empowered with this knowledge as well.

If you’re suffering from ovarian cysts, chances are you are so confused about all of the conflicting advice out there, due to the fact there is no consensus among physicians on how to treat them. It’s overwhelming I know. This article should hopefully shed some light on the situation for you.

Ovarian Cyst:

Enlarged fluid-filled sacs on the ovary, typically categorized by when they occur in relation to ovulation. (1)

For the sake of time, we will only discuss the most common type of ovarian cyst called a Functional Ovarian Cyst. There are three types of Functional Ovarian Cysts which we will cover today.

Functional Cysts:

These cysts are called “functional” because they develop as a result of normal functioning of the menstrual cycle. Their cause is always hormonal. They can occur once in your life, or recur frequently.

3 Types of Functional Ovarian Cysts:

1. Follicular Cyst

This is the most common type of ovarian cyst. With this cyst, the follicle around the egg continues to grow as you approach ovulation, but instead of rupturing to release the egg as it should, it instead grows into a cyst that encases the egg inside, preventing ovulation.

Cause: There are many hormonal imbalances that can cause this. PCOS being one of them, as well as hypothyroidism.

Treatment: These will usually always resolve on their own by day five of your next period, although in the mean time they can cause quite a bit of discomfort such as pelvic pain and nausea. The only case in which surgical intervention needs to take place is if the cyst twists around the ovary. If you are in a lot of discomfort and do not want to wait a few weeks for your period to dissolve the cyst, you can get a progesterone injection to disrupt estrogen dominance and instigate an earlier period. Surgery can be performed, but it should always be considered a last resort, since it can compromise fertility by causing scarring.

2. Luteinized Unruptured Follicle (LUF)

This cyst occurs when the maturing egg prepares to be released at ovulation, and the follicle that encases the egg goes through the sequence of normal ovulation, however the egg remains stuck in the follicle, so ovulation does not actually occur, even though it seems as if it did because a corpus luteum that produces progesterone is still formed.

Cause: A hormonal imbalance is at play and this type of cyst is believed to occur in 15% of women dealing with infertility.

Treatment: Just like the Follicular Cyst, this cyst will most likely go away on its own by day five of bleeding. A progesterone injection can be used if pain is overbearing. The injection will instigate a period within three-five days.

3. Corpus Luteum Cyst

In this type of cyst, the egg is released and normal ovulation takes place. However, the opening where the egg was released is sealed off and excess fluid fills it forming a cyst.

Cause: Fertility drugs raise the risk of this type of cyst.

Treatment: These cysts are the most innocuous in nature and almost always go away on their own within a few weeks to months. You can get pregnant with this type of cyst, and if you do, the cyst will usually resolve within the first three months of pregnancy.

Holistic Methods to Encourage Ovarian Cysts to Dissolve

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If you have found yourself with one of these cysts, you might find yourself in a bit of discomfort. It is common to get bloated in the abdomen, and to feel tenderness, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, and discomfort in doing daily activities. From my personally experience I found that the pain came in waves. Sometimes lasting a few hours at a time, or maybe even minutes. If I stayed away from exercising I felt much better, so on the days I had the cyst I stuck to light yoga.I also find some holistic treatments to help ease the pain, and speed up the dissolution of the cyst.

However, if you at any point feel such severe pain that you can’t stand up, or use the bathroom, or if you get a high fever or start vomiting, you must go to the hospital immediately. It is very rare, but ovarian cysts can go into torsion and cause infection. In this case surgical intervention is most likely required.

1. Castor Oil Pack:

Place a castor oil pack on your lower abdomen for 30-minutes to an hour each day. The castor oil can help break down the cyst, and increases blood circulation.

2. Herbal Tea Tonic:

Drink Yogi Moon Cycle tea 2-3 times a day. Add 1 teaspoon black strap molasses, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper.  The potassium in the black strap molasses will help dissolve the cyst, as well as the apple cider vinegar. The turmeric will lower inflammation which will help ease the pain. This is more of an old wise woman remedy, and is not backed by medical research or the FDA. But many women have found this tonic to work, myself being one of them.

3. Epsom Salt Baths with Clary Sage:

Epsom salt baths will help soothe and relax, and it will help ease pelvic pain. Added bonus is the Epsom salt draws out toxins which will help with future hormonal balance. Make sure to get Epsom salts with no added fragrances or chemicals. Place five drops of clary sage essential oil into the bath, as clary sage is a well known oil for promoting hormonal balance.

4. Zinc

Your ovaries need zinc to function optimally, yet sadly, many of us are deficient in this crucial mineral. I recommend supplementing with zinc as well as eating plenty of zinc rich foods such as egg yolks, pumpkin seeds, and oysters. Selenium, iodine, and magnesium are also very important.

A Note on Recovery:

While you are in recovery stay away from strenuous activity and exercise. Focus on self care and slowing down. Treat your self with love and kindness. Use this time to focus on the patterns in your life that aren’t serving you so you can get to the root of the hormonal imbalance causing these cysts in the first place. I encourage you to team up with a holistic practitioner who will help you investigate and find out what is causing these cysts, and who can help you formulate a lifestyle and diet change that will promote hormonal balance.

If you have any more questions, please write them in the comments section below, and I will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

With Gratitude

Health Coach Jenna

Sources:

  1. Weschler, Toni. Taking Charge of Your Fertility: the Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins, 2015.

No- Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Clusters

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These peanut butter chocolate clusters rock my world. They’re just so good, and way too easy to make. Chances are you have all the ingredients (there are only seven) sitting in your pantry already.  So next time you have a sweet tooth, instead of buying some store bought junk, try these instead!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Clusters:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural, no sugar added peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons cacao
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • baking paper

Method:

  1. Take your PB, maple syrup and coconut oil and put in saucepan over low heat. Stir until nice and smooth.
  2. Add your vanilla and cacao to the mixture.
  3. Take off heat and add the oats and salt.
  4. Scoop mixture with a spoon and place onto a tray lined with baking paper in round balls (they look like little blobs but when they cool off they actually look really pretty!)
  5. Let harden in the freezer for a few hours and then enjoy!
  6. Best if stored in the fridge afterwards.

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Health Coach Jenna

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Vitamin B12

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Vitamin B12 is essential to the human body, and chances are even if you are a meat eater, you have a deficiency. I recommend that all my clients take a B12 supplement regardless if they are vegan, vegetarian, or an omnivore.

Vegans or vegetarians are playing a losing game if they decide to exclude a B12 supplement from their diet. While I’m a fan of getting nutrients from our foods, sometimes it just isn’t possible.

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. It’s hard to get enough B12 from our diet, and if you are vegan or vegetarian it’s even more difficult.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is no joke. It can cause extreme fatigue that can disrupt your daily life, and make it hard to function. Tasks that seem easy can appear daunting when suffering from fatigue.

Skipping on the B12 is just not worth it.

Vitamin B12 helps support adrenal function, helps calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for key metabolic processes. Signs of deficiency “include fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, heart palpitations, bleeding gums and mouth sores, nausea, poor appetite and diarrhea”. [Source: Dr. Weil]

Symptoms may present themselves slowly and may not be recognized for some time, and just because you don’t notice them doesn’t mean you are not deficient. That is why it’s better to be safe than sorry, and take a B12 supplement before any symptoms surface.

There are many forms of B12 on the market, but the best form is the activated version called Methylcobalamin. This is the most natural form as it needs no converting, and is in its ready to use form. You should always take a B12 combined with Methlyfolate, because taking B12 without folate can cause brain and nerve damage.

It is especially crucial to take these vitamins in their active, methylated form, as many people today have the gene mutation MTHFR, which prevents the body from converting folic acid into an active form the body can use.

Methyl B12 and Methyl Folate Guide:

Dose: 800 mcg Folate, and 500 mcg B12

Forms: Capsule or lozenge

Time taken: Daily with food

Brand: Metagenics Intrinsi B12/Folate

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Health Coach Jenna