By Nancy Smorch
The Natural Cures Summit has been going on all week on line, and one of the presentations I was most looking forward to was today’s interview with Dr. Sara Gottfried.
You may recall that Dr. Gottfried wrote the book, “The Hormone Cure,” where she talks about balancing your hormones in order to gain vitality and energy and to lose weight. I’m a fan of Dr. Gottfried – I love the way she presents information. She has a balance between the technical and research side of things as well as the practical, real-life experiences and results. Plus, she’s a yoga instructor, emphasizes food as medicine, and understands the connection between emotions and physical health.
In her talk today, “Natural Hormone Cures for Men and Women,” she and Dr. Josh Axe covered balancing your hormones, mostly through making sure your cortisol levels are in check.
Cortisol is basically the “boss” hormone, meaning if it is out of balance, a bunch of other things will be out of balance, as it helps regulate estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, leptin (which regulates fat storage), immune function, and anti-inflammatory responses, among other functions. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands – heard of adrenal fatigue lately? Usually that’s in response to the body’s cortisol levels being too high for extended periods of time.
A majority of people have cortisol levels that are too high, although there are those who’s levels are too low. It’s always a good idea to get your cortisol levels tested – just to get a baseline and so you don’t make assumptions about your levels being too high or too low.
When your hormones and cortisol levels are out of balance (which is the case in way too many people today!), you will most likely be storing extra fat really easily, be overweight, be stressed, and have emotions all over the map.
Here are some of the basic recommendations Sara and Josh talked about today, to lower your cortisol levels, and thus get your hormones in balance:
1. Start crafting a more stress resistant life. Stress is inevitable, and it’s not necessarily bad, but make sure you are “dancing with stress,” and not letting it take the lead all of the time.
2. Nutrition plays a key role in managing hormones. They recommended taking a good probiotic to make sure your body can absorb the nutrients properly.
3. Make sue you eat enough fiber (they recommended 35-45 grams per day), as fiber is so important to the “estrobolome” (the sub-set of bacteria in the gut that impacts hormones), and it helps take the junk out of the system.
4. Resveratrol (from the skin of grapes) is great for helping to reset estrogen levels (guess what I put in my smoothie today?).
5. In terms of changing your lifestyle, consider adding prayer and/or meditation, yoga and/or Qigong, evaluate your schedule, plan ahead for your meals rather than waiting until the last minute, and consider burst training.
6. Consider your circadian rhythm – getting your body in tune and in balance with nature and its surroundings. Every single hormone is released on a circadian pattern, so it’s really important to pay attention to this. This means going to bed, ideally around 10:00 or 10:30 and getting a good 7 to 9 hours of sleep, cutting out TV and electronics a few hours before bed, getting some bright light for 10 – 15 minutes in the morning – sunlight on your retina, eating protein in the morning which will help you make enough cortisol so you won’t need to rely on coffee, have “slow carbs” at night (not ice cream, but avocados or other low glycemic food).
7. The 3 best foods for your hormones: whole foods (not processed), anti-inflammatory meats – grass-fed beef and fish (not grain-fed, hormone-injected beef), and low fructose fruit – along with fiber, curcumin, and resveratrol.
What’s the biggest thing I took away from this talk? That, again, stress, or rather how you deal with stress, seems to be a recurring theme in illness and degenerative diseases. It seems we’ve created a society that defined our worth by how busy we are and what we have to show for our efforts (materialism). Quality has gone out the window, as have relationships, nature, and real food. The battle we have ahead of us, if you had to chose a “battle,” is going to be with ourselves.
Can we hold a vision of what is truly good for ourselves and our family and community? And can we be strong enough to stand for this, and resist temptations and pressure to stray from that vision?
Take some time this weekend to craft a vision of a lifestyle that would help create a healthier and happier you. What would that look like? What would that feel like? How would your days flow? What kinds of people would you have in your life? What kinds of activities would you spend your time doing? What kind of work would you choose to do?
No rules, no limits. May I suggest doing this over a Bulletproof Coffee, or a glass of wine, or some spiced cider, or some jasmine tea? Choose your drink and then choose your life!!