This is the hormone checklist that I absolutely live by. They are universal tips and insight that will benefit anyone dealing with PMS, endocrine disruption (including adrenal fatigue), preparing the body for pregnancy, acne, irregular cycles, extra weight, and so much more. I’ve left out all the fluff that is marketed to those suffering from above ailments and only included the things that ALWAYS work for me, true and true.
TEST, DON’T GUESS | if you even suspect that you might be suffering from endocrine disruption (adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance, insulin resistance, or thyroid issues), fungal or bacterial overgrowth, then test don’t guess. For example it took me two years to discover that the psoriasis I used to experience on my legs was actually due to adrenal fatigue, unstable blood sugar levels, and low minerals rather than the overrated hippie notion of candida overgrowth, which I was convinced was the issue. A simple stool and saliva test will quickly rule this out, which mine did. Then I found Woman Code and very simply – within two months – remedied psoriasis through blood sugar stabilization and minerals.
When testing, I recommend working with a revered functional medical practitioner or naturopath. They are able to test and read tests a bit more holistically, deeper and correctly than the allopathic medical doctors. Testing will offer so much information and tell you specifically what needs to be remedied. It will save loads of guesswork, so if there is one investment one should make on this journey, it’s testing. If you don’t have the financial means to work with a professional, you can usually research and navigate through these other methods to figure out a strategy for healing after you’ve discovered your results. But test.
BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS | eat protein within an hour of waking to stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep your adrenals from supplying cortisol to your bloodstream. If you are suffering form ANY kind of hormonal issue, you need to get your endocrine system balanced. The main and overall tool for doing so is by stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Years of trying every wellness diet and method out there REALLY screwed up my hormones - especially intermittent fasting, and of course completely unmanaged stress. If your blood sugar levels are all over the place, you can try most of these other practices and see little shifts in your hormones. But the big shifts will come once you stabilize your blood sugar levels.
b. Alpha Lipoic Acid has been my favorite blood sugar stabilizer. I take it in the morning daily. When my levels get out of whack due to too much sugar, not eating protein every three hours or stimulants (cacao), I will take it four times a day for a couple of days in order to regulate it again.
c. That brings me to how important it is to eat protein every three hours. You might have the luxury of stabilizing through plant protein. I do not. I require animal protein in the morning. That made the absolute biggest shift in my blood sugar levels. For me, this is an egg. When they get out of whack, I also need it for lunch (salmon or such). However when my levels are balanced, I can get away with eggs in the am and sprouted lentils or quinoa in the afternoon. We’re all different; however, protein that consists of the full amino acid spectrum is important every three hours. Nuts can serve as a great afternoon snack (when my cortisol levels are lower) but they won’t hold me over before the hours of 12p. I will crash.
d. No coffee or caffeine on an empty stomach as it instantly sends cortisol throughout the body. The very stress hormone that is responsible for thyroid, hypothalamus, and adrenal distress, which is one of the main contributing factors to hormone and endocrine disruption.
I personally can’t indulge in any form of stimulants – even cacao gets omitted often as it is too stimulating for my adrenals. When I’m really stable, I have a bit or go through phases, but I can tell right away when I have to cut it out. So I personally don’t have any caffeine. Herbal tea replaced green tea long ago, and alcohol is just a complete no. I had a half a glass of prosecco in Italy and threw myself way out of whack. So fancy jun and kombucha or sparkling drinks replaced booze about a year and a half ago. This has contributed to a way crazier spiritual connection, more psychic awareness, clarity, less dehydration and wrinkles, and zero hangovers.
e. Limit refined or processed foods. This also releases cortisol in the body to try and rebalance insulin spikes and blood sugar levels, thus disrupting your blood sugar stability and endocrine balance. This goes for refined sugar as well. Stick to stevia, honey, coconut sugar, or dates as sweeteners. I only have sweets in the evenings when my levels are lower. Honey is too stimulating for me where dates work better. But we’re all different.
ORGANIC | go organic to avoid xenoestrogens through pesticides. This goes for produce, condiments, drinks, and animal protein.
ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING | Remove all endocrine disrupting products from your beauty routine as well as cleaning supplies. Check them on http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to see if they are endocrine disrupting.
ESTROGEN DOMINANCE | Remove absolutely ALL soy from your diet. It’s far too estrogenic. Most hormonal issues pertaining to PMS and fertility have to do with being estrogen dominant. Again, you can test for this. But it’s pretty much a given. When estrogen is dominant or too low, progesterone suffers and therefore the balance is lost between the two. This can result in cramps, breast tenderness, moods swings, depression, and all the other bits to go with PMS (which isn’t “natural”). If you’re going to eat soy once in a while, make sure it is organic and fermented (tempeh, tamari, miso). But kiss pure regular soy goodbye.
b. Remove plastic bottles and don’t reheat food in plastic. Our environment is naturally an over estrogenic society from all the plastic, pollution, and toxins we’re spraying on foods. It’s important to limit what is in your direct control.
c. Keep the lymph and liver clean!!!!! This is the biggest life-changing secret after blood sugar levels. If your lymph and liver are sluggish and you’re not having daily bowel movements, then your liver isn’t processing the extra estrogen in your body and removing it. Therefore estrogen is building up, estrogen dominance is taking over and hello PMS. Great ways to go about this are by: dry body brushing, stimulating your lymph points (Energy Medicine For Women), eating DIM rich foods (cruciferous vegetables) two weeks before you start your cycle, and eating loads of good fibers to ensure daily bowel movements.
Again, if your blood sugar levels are not stable, then your endocrine system is all whacky, which means that you are usually not having wonderful bowel movements. See how it’s all connected?
STESS | manage stress. Stress got you here in one way or another. Digestive stress by not eating diets that are suitable for your constitution. Blood sugar level stress. But most importantly, good old stress. We all know about it. We all know the how it taxes our adrenals. Start managing it.
I’ve tried a lot of tools. The two that I practice EVERY single day are:
Vedic Meditation – a 20 minute meditation twice everyday. Through the use of a seed mantra, it takes one two times deeper than sleep and it’s like getting an extra two hours of sleep every time one does it. There has been the most scientific research done on this particular meditation (which was also rebranded as T.M. in the 70’s). But it dates back to Ayurveda thousands of years ago. I’ve notice incredible benefits from it such as deeper sleep, more creativity, ability to retain more information, clarity, and a lot less stress.
5 Minute Energy Medicine Routine – mine is modified with hormone and lymph drainage practices but I still include the: Three Thumps, Cross Crawl, Wayne Cook, Crown Pull, Zip Up, and Hook Up.
Brushing Off My Stress - I carry all of my stress in my shoulders. As an air sign, it’s very easy for my nervous system to get over stimulated on any given day. Especially after working with clients. After I’m done for the day, I’ll check where I’m holding any stress, and I’ll take the bristle side of a paddle brush and I’ll tap it all over the areas until I can't feel it anymore. This breaks up the energy in the area and also relaxes the nerves in the area.
Supplements – Herbs should be prescribed by your herbalist acupuncturist; However, I will share my routine with you. The herbs that have gotten me through this process the most are: Nettles (B vitamin rich to nourish the adrenals) & Red Raspberry Leaf infusions (for the deep mineralization). B-complex 100 (everyday to cleanse the liver and nourish the adrenals). Ashwaghanda daily (for everything as well as hormone regulation and adrenal support). Gaia Adrenal Formula (twice daily to support the adrenals and combat stress).
Bone Broth - above all, aside form blood sugar stabilizing and liver and lymph regulation, bone broth has been the most important aspect of balancing my hormones. It is literally the wonder supplement due to how liver detoxifying, adrenal nourishing, and mineral rich it is. It's brought my thin lifeless hair back to thick long life. It's toned up my skin after so much collagen has suffered during this hormone rollercoaster, and it's boosted my immune system beyond belief. Even my plant based clients have turned onto it.
Practitioner - a close friend of mine in the wellness industry had tremendous success with this practitioner pertaining to endocrine disruption, adrenal fatigue, and fungal issues. More than I've heard from anyone else.
20 Minute Workouts - if you even suspect that you have adrenal fatigue, limiting your workouts to 20 minutes a day is vital. Anymore will tax them, thus furthering your crashes all day without enough energy to get through the day.
Great, so all of this info from someone that has been managing these things through trial and error for the last two years, what does a normal day look like for me?
Bed - 10p to 6a. This is the ideal sleeping pattern for the endocrine system and hormones. And my body sort of forces me to do it. When I'm in NYC, because there is so much energy, it's a lot harder for me. But in LA, this is very standard.
Bone Broth & Supplements - I'll warm up a cup of bone broth and add extra gelatin and have it on an empty stomach as soon as I rise.
Vedic Meditation - I'll then meditate for 20 minutes, which is immediately followed by the 5 minute energy routine.
Protein - this will bring me to an hour of being awake and therefor I eat asap. A normal breakfast for me is an egg scrambled with kale, avocado, and fermented veggies.
HIIT | then I'll head to the gym for an intense 20 minute workout of HIIT (2x a week), Cardio (4 times a week), yoga (1x a week; this is usually just a flow class and deep stretching, so the time doesn't really matter).
Smoothie | 3 hours after breakfast, I'll have a protein smoothie. Right now it's the one I posted last week.
Work | then I work most of the day.
Lunch | three hours after my smoothie I'll have lunch, which is something like: sprouted quinoa, salmon, veggies, ferments and avocado.
snack | 3 hours later is usually a handful of nuts.
3p | I break for Vedic meditation or I wait to do it and the 5 minute energy routine again after work.
Dinner | out for a meeting, with friends, or at home usually consists of protein and veggies. A drink would be kombucha or sparkling soda. I also drink my nettles and raspberry leaf infusion throughout the day while working.
Photo | Juliette Favat