I’ve been a hormonal mess since I was 21 years old and never realized that hormones were causing so many unwanted symptoms in my body until I was diagnosed by a functional medicine doctor with PCOS. I had started gaining weight, while eating the healthy foods I had always eaten. I was having insomnia and headaches and irregular periods. Getting diagnosed with PCOS has made me realize how important it is to support your hormones every day because they drive so many of your body’s daily abilities that we often don’t realize until we start to feel awful side effects. I honestly thought PMS was the only side effect from imbalanced hormones, but once I started to heal my headaches and insomnia and exhaustion, I realized that hormones were contributing and causing many of these symptoms I was experiencing every day.
Here are a few ways I have healed my hormone imbalances and PCOS.
- Eat Omega-3 Rich Foods: Wild Salmon, walnuts, ground flaxseeds are all great options for enjoying these anti-inflammatory healthy fats.
- Watch Your Blood Sugar: I gained weight because my blood sugar was spiking, even though I wasn’t eating sugar! I learned to pair healthy fats with carbohydrates to stabilize my blood sugar throughout the day.
- Eat Mini Meals: I started eating 6x a day- all mini meals that were comprised of a healthy fat, complex carbohydrate and protein so that I was satisfied all day long without having a blood sugar crash or multiple crashes throughout the day.
- Eat Gluten-Free Whole Grains: I tossed my white rice, white rice flour, white potatoes and any other ‘white’ empty and nutrient-void foods that were spiking my blood sugar. I replaced them with gluten-free whole grains such as millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff along with whole grain gluten-free bread.
- Eat Healthy Fats. I removed all the inflammatory fats from my lifestyle and replaced them with anti-inflammatory options such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseeds and avocados.
- Eat Organic. When you’re not eating organic, you’re ingesting pesticides, herbicides and growth hormones from your food-yuck! Those chemicals interact with your body and your body’s functions, which in turn affect your hormones, as well. Eating organic means you’re not dumping these chemicals into your body so you can start to heal and balance your hormones without digesting them on a daily basis.
- Sleep at Least 8 hours a Night: It’s so important to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs rest and your hormones need to reboot each night while you sleep so you’re not exhausted the next day reaching for sugar or other foods for energy!
- Mediate and Try Light Yoga: Meditation and mindfulness is great for calming down your body and relaxing. Try a light yoga class to relax you if meditation isn’t your cup of tea.
- Move Each Day: Try light movement such as walking and stretching every day to get your body active and to keep you alert and energized.
- Breathe from Your Belly, Not Your Chest: Activate your parasympathetic nervous system by breathing from your belly every day and not your chest. This will signal your body to get into rest and relax mode instead of being in alert mode, which is what happens when you breathe through your chest.
- Remove Coffee: Coffee and caffeine can wreak havoc on your adrenals, which are closely tied to your hormones.
Read more of my detoxification stories shared here–and my new book EATING CLEAN: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight inflammation and Reset Your Body (on sale March 8th, 2016) will teach you how to get on a path to better health and wellness by eating whole natural foods and eliminating toxins from your diet.