I'm still on this journey of balancing my hormones without medicine. Honestly, it seems to be working, yay! I've noticed marked improvement of several things and I'm excited to keep this going.
Incorporating yoga once a week has been a great change with my routine in working towards balancing my hormones. There are SO MANY studies on the benefts of yoga (HERE and HERE). Basically, slow, deep, and controlled breaths while holding poses has a host of health benefits. It helps reduce stress, anxiety, cortisol levels, regulates blood pressure, is low impact, improves flexibility, benefits the brain, and more! I have noticed deeper sleep on days I do yoga and I am definitely more peaceful. Taking time to relax and slow the mind down does feel good.
My chiropractor has been doing treatments on me for a few weeks, several times a week, to help the areas of my spine that were "sublaxed" (the vertebrae was not in the right place causing nerve pressure) and each place connects to places my hormones are produced. So the idea is aligning my vertebrae to remove nerve impedement so my body can work correctly. Treatment is going well and those areas are improving.
3. Removing Grains
I have also noticed a big difference with just the way I feel from removing grains altogether. Gluten is does not seem to be my problem necessarily, rather just keeping foods that are high-inflammatory out of my diet seems to be helping a lot (grains are the highest). I've been reading Wheat Belly (excellent book with lots of research cited) which has been giving me good insight on how wheat affects your entire body. Removing grains from my diet keeps my insulin levels stable/lower, which greatly benefits all functions of your body. Read HERE. I have lost the 2 extra pounds I was wanting to and my abs are chiseling into a six-pack with little effort (bonus). I feel better after every meal, not experiencing sweets cravings, satisfied longer and easier to gauge my satisfaction when eating, and my blood sugar isn't dropping to where I feel totally starved and irritable (I get hungry but it's different). When I have had grains (only a couple times) I have noticed my emotions being up and down for a few hours after.
Why is this? Well, when you eat grains, your blood sugar spikes high for a long period of time (or if it's white bread it hits higher, faster). This spike does a lot of bad things to your body such as storing fat, causing AGE to happen faster (plaque in your arteries, film on your eyes, wrinkles), makes your pancreas work harder to pump insulin, and then it creates inflammation in the body that your bones have to release calcium to fight (causing bone loss), higher triglycerides, fatty liver, and sadly, more. YIKES. This is real stuff. Grains have changed so much in the last 50-60 years because of genetic changes, which is why they cause more issues than they did for our grandparents, etc. Plus, wheat was not meant to be consumed every meal! It stores fat in the body to sustain periods of drought or famine. Ok, I'll stop there and maybe write another post on this. So with all those things, inevitably your hormones get messed up. Learning wheat messes with your hormone levels. This information is from Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD and also check out this STUDY. I highly encourage everyone to read Wheat Belly!
In conclusion, I am noticing a difference from some of the things I referenced in this BLOG POST. My hemorroids are totally gone, sleep is better, my nails haven't split or broke in a couple weeks, my tendonitis and wrist pain virtually gone, I've been less moody, PLUS this last menstrual cycle has become more normal and no menstrual cramps (which I started getting after having kids but rarely had before). I hope this helps any women who are looking for things to balance hormones without medicine. I'm not saying everyone can balance their hormones without medicine, at all, but I do think it's important to start with foundational things like nutrition and exercise because we have concrete knowledge of those things helping to maintain healthy hormone levels. And I am obviously a believer in chiropractic which affects your spine/nerve health and is important for functions of your body as well. If you have more questions or you'd share some of your journey with me, I would love to hear from you!
I also recommend the books Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels, which is all about hormones, and the book Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life.