This post has a very personal touch to it, as it regards something I have been struggling with for a decade.
It is about finding balance, not a shallow balance, rather the more profound secrets of body & mind and adressing their underlying hormonal imbalances.
I teamed up with some fellow bloggers and it was the lovely Sophie of wholeheartedeats who had the idea of doing a health related recipe week where each of us contributes to, gives some information and inspirations! We decided that hormonal balance was an important subject to face and one that is closest to my heart.
I understood and got to the bottom of the complexity of hormones only last year, when my body tried to talk to me desperately! Symptoms of discomfort are our bodys way of communicating to us. It still is, but I am slowly learning to listen, heal and to feel like myself again. It was like hidden uncontrollable processes took place inside my body and I just couldn’t figure out if or what was wrong for many years.
When you are a teenage girl it’s simple – every act and emotion is in debt of hormones so you get a prescription for the birth control pill to control everything. As though the pill would protect me and is in charge, I followed that simple rule for almost ten years, blaming less-than-pleasant physical and physiological symptoms on anything else but the hormones and the pill.
Though all of this was caused by hormones and their disability to independent functioning.
Only later when I discovered a whole new world of healthy conscious living I started to question the daily hormone intake of the pill. How could I shift my life and diet into a natural state but still take these unnatural hormones every single day.
During this time I never thought about consequences, problems or what it actually did to my body. We often start to act and change something when the signs are almost too clear and alarming!
I went off the birth control pill to let my body restore and in hoping it would quickly relearn its natural processes.
Turns out – my body never learned how to produce a balanced regulated cycle. Because I began to take the pill at such a young age when so many changes and important course of actions build up, my bodys cycle never evolved and learned how to function on its own. The synthesized hormones did all the work and so it was a complete mismatch inside my body when I stopped taking them. My natural cycle had been suppressed and my body developed a severe PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
This was three years ago. I still struggle with it to this day. Going through this process made me understand and listen to my body more than ever but it was not so easy and very confusing at times. Hormones play such an essential part and therefore it is our job to sustain their balance! Dealing with heavy emotions and feeling disconnected to my own body was something I thought I had gone through in my teens – only to realise I truly experience it right now!
After three years my body is still damaged and it took me a long time to get to the roots of all my problems and to feel them out!
But I could not be more proud of my decision as it opened my eyes, thaught me some lessons and was the first step of conquering the sickness!
When you treat and love your body as a temple – being grateful for empowering you and what it achieves in every minute – it lets you realize how essential hormonal health is and everything you intake has so much more impact than you can imagine. Whatever we’re eating is either helping hormonal production, or causing unpredictable imbalances.
Hormonal unbalance interfered my everyday life with depression, anger, sadness, fear, panic and insecurity.
Constant tiredness, mood swings, lack of interest in my daily activities and even relationships, trouble focusing and sleeping, food cravings, unability to handle stress, overstrained, helpless, memory problems, deficiencies of vitamins and minerals.
Alongside many external signs and an overall unbalance of body mind and spirit!
It is somewhat relieving to talk about it yet honesty is a tough obstacle to overcome!
How do we balance our hormones without taking hormones?
Not only by getting off the pill your system can get disbalanced. We are surrounded by chemical hormone endocrine disruptors like Parabens, Phthalates and Bisphenol-A.
Men and women can be concerned by adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, menopause, PMS, acne, weight problems, diminished sex drive, hair loss and no memory!
I’ve learned some natural methods to balance estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid etc. by changing lifestyle and diet consistently:
- get more fiber, phytonutrients, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, D and zinc (leafy greens and citrus)
- omega-3s ( walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds) and healthy fats ( coconut oil, avocado, unheated olive oil) simply put, we cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats, which are needed for rebuilding cells and stabilizing hormones. Especially important for the female reproductive system.
- eat unprocessed, organic, whole foods
- raw fruits and vegetables
- one you may want to control is Leptin, a hormone which regulates hunger
and metabolism. Leptin levels decrease by lack of sleep, consuming too
much sugar and processed foods. Outcome are more food cravings and a
- get more sleep
- lower stress & stress in your relationships ( meditate, take a bath, go for a walk, do yoga, get a massage, acupuncture…)
- move, move, move – dance around the house, run, yoga, hike or swim, so much to choose from
- avoid sugar, any artificial sweetener, soda
- limit refined carbohydrates and grains in general
- no caffeine or alcohol
- avoid animal products which hold growth hormones
- take care of your protein intake to stabilize blood sugar levels ( sprouted nuts, beans, lentils)
Enter Maca – Maca is a tuber root vegetable, derived from the Peruvian Andes.
It is an endocrine adaptogen, meaning it contains the nutrients necessary to stabilizing
normal hormone, cardiovascular and nervous-system production. It responds to different bodies’ needs individually!
It increases energy, fertility, libido while reducing stress hormones and fatigue.
Maca is a nutritionally dense super-food that contains 31 minerals aswell as vitamins, enzymes and all of the essential amino acids.
It has a nutty, sweet and slight malty flavour. I would recommend to go easy in the beginning by adding small quantities like 1/2 teaspoon to smoothies, soups before serving, yoghurt and then work your way up to more.
The cake is a creamy heavenly dessert infused with probiotic yoghurt, antibacterial rich honey and of course the maca powder!
Give your hormones, gut and immune system a natural health boost. Plus when you feel out of balance it is more than comforting to eat a delicious decadent cake!
Support your bodys incredible ability to heal itself when given the right nutrients to have fun with the positive hormones ( endorphines)!
2 cups fresh dates, pitted
1 1/2 cups Walnuts
1/2 cup Sesame seeds
2 cups vegan coconut yoghurt
1 cup Cashew nuts
1 Tbsp raw honey ( or maple syrup if you are vegan)
2 Tbsp Coconut oil
2 lemons, juiced + zest
5 tsp Maca powder
2 tsp vanilla powder
a pinch of good quality salt
4 Blood oranges, juiced + zest
1/2 cup Cashew cream ( from above)
1 piece fresh turmeric
+ a little red beet
a few slices of blood orange
Take pitted dates, walnuts, salt and turn them into a crumbly dough in a food processor. Spread onto a baking paper lined cake form. Continue by mixing the maca cream ingredients in the food processor, saving 3-4 tablespoons for later use and spread this layer on top of the date base. Place in the freezer while preparing the orange cream.
Juice the blood oranges and combine it with the leftover maca cream and fresh turmeric, add more to get a stronger orange colour. Save just one tablespoon and start to add a few drops ontop of the maca cream. Take a thin wood stick and swirl it around in the cream, making 8-figures all around the surface.
Make sure to not touch the dough. Add some drops of beet juice to the last bits of the cream and repeat with the swirl technique until a beautiful orange and pink swirl is created on the top! Cut some very thin blood orange slices and garnish the cake! Freeze for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!