Foods That Aren't Benefiting Your Hormones

Photo credit of Sakara Life.

Photo credit of Sakara Life.

Lately, I’ve talked with so many women who are suffering from hormone-related problems: acne, PMS, infertility and mood-swings. While hormones can be tricky to manage (I’m currently dealing with my own struggles), there is one thing that significantly plays a role in healthy hormones: FOOD. Food is medicine, and in this day and age, there are many foods that don’t benefit our hormones, and in fact, can make them more screwed up. Today, I’m talking which foods might be worth considering to ditch, in order to help your body heal.

** Please note: I am not a medical professional, and am not recommending, or promoting any specific lifestyle, or diet. These opinions are my own, based on research and experience. I follow the idea of bio-individuality, which means that everybody and every BODY is different. What works for me, might not work for you. Also, I am not advising you 100% remove these all from your diet. This is just a post offering suggestions, if you’re struggling. Through my education and experience, I’ve learned a lot about hormones and holistic ways to heal. I’m always offering coaching options, if you struggle with hormones.

dairy

Many of the dairy-options out there contain synthetic hormones, and antibiotics, that contribute to your body’s toxic-load. A1 casein has been shown to cause higher levels of inflammation, which can contribute to leaky gut. When the gut isn’t working properly (and when toxins are seeping out of it, into your blood stream), other health concerns can become prevalent, such as acne, and a compromised immune system.

What’s a better option?

DIY Nut Milk! Seriously, making your own milk has never been easier! Plus, it’s free of added ingredients and crap your body doesn’t need! Maybe you’re more of a “BUT WHAT ABOUT CHEESE!” person. Girl, dairy-free cheese options are better than ever!! Do yourself a favor and say no to Daiya (it’s gross)! Choose nut cheeses (like Miyoko’s, which is my current favorite)!

gluten

Like dairy, gluten contributes to inflammation of the gut, and is often laden with pesticides. Many pesticides contain synthetic estrogen, which can disrupt your hormones and cause hormonal health issues like irregular cycles, PCOS, and infertility. Research shows that 75 percent of endometriosis-sufferers will see improvement after 12 months on a gluten-free diet

What’s a better option?

Going “gluten-free” has almost become a fad of its own; it’s not HARD to be gf these days, however, try to stay away from all of the packaged gf products, as much as you can. A lot of these products can come along with lots of unwanted, unhealthy additives. Remember: being “gluten free” doesn’t mean “being healthy”. Eat whole grains: quinoa and brown rice are fantastic options, and baking with coconut and almond flours are wonderful. Cassava flour is my go-to or things like taco shells and chips!

soy

Soy is highly-debatable, nowadays. Processed soy is not good for women, whereas unprocessed, organic, fermented soy, in small amounts, can be helpful. The phytoestrogens in soy can contribute to estrogen-dominance, which is especially not great for women with hormone imbalance conditions (like Endometriosis, PCOS, fibroid sufferers and those with ovarian cysts). Processed soy is anything that substitutes like soy milk, soy meat, soy cheese, soy yogurt. 

What’s a better option?

Unprocessed, organic, fermented soy (like miso, natto, tempeh, soy sauce) is very good for you in small amounts. During your menstrual phase is the time to indulge in these, as your body will best benefit from the nutrients and phytoestrogens.

caffeine

Coffee and black and green teas strip your body of essential B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc (which can interfere with your gut). Caffeine can also cause cysts (in breasts and ovaries), and for women with PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis, Ovarian Cysts, and Fibrocystic breasts- caffeine is a guaranteed way to make more cysts. For everyone else with hormonal sensitivity, it might not cause cysts, but it will disrupt your system. Caffeine can also contribute to fertility issues, disrupting ovulation by increasing cortisol and putting stress on the adrenals.

What’s a better option?

This one is hard, I understand! “Not my coffee!” Giving up coffee is hard! First, if you find you NEED your morning coffee to function, please consume food BEFORE your morning cup of joe; that is essential! If you’re wanting to cut ties, all-together, there are some wonderful ways to make it easier. I’ve developed MANY caffeine-free latte recipes, so check them out (type “coffee” in the search bar). *And check out my newest post, “Swap Coffee for Cacao”.

red meat

Red meat is inflammatory, and it often comes loaded with synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, and from animals fed with pesticide-laden crops. This study compared 504 healthy women and 504 women with endometriosis, finding that women who ate beef every day were nearly twice as likely to have endometriosis, while those who got seven or more fruit and vegetable servings a week were at least 40 percent less likely (Flo Loving).

What’s a better option?

You need to be conscientious about the red meat you do choose to eat – make sure it’s pasture-fed and organically raised. Limit your red meat intake to once, or twice a week (and if you can, eat it only during your Luteal Phase), which is the best time for your body to process it, according to Cycle Syncing. Remember all of the other protein options out there!

Canola, sunflower, safflower, vegetable oil 

These cooking oils have more omega-6 than omega-3 and this produces inflammation. Check out my blog post on choosing better cooking oil alternatives.

What’s a better option?

General best practice: If an oil is heated beyond its smoke point, it gives off toxic smoke. Olive oil has a low smoking point, so cooking with it runs the risk of creating smoke that contains compounds that are harmful to human health.

  • For salads: Olive oil is my favorite.

  • For baking/cooking/sautéing: Coconut and avocado oil is better, since they have a higher smoke point. Trader Joes has the cheapest, high-quality coconut oil I can find, FYI! Primal Kitchen makes a delicious Avocado Oil! Buy it from their website and get 10% off, using “KATE10”, or on Thrive Market. 25% off your first order! *Both of these oils are excellent on hormone health!

    *These are my favorites, but this does not mean there aren’t other options out there!

Pesticide-laden foods

Pesticides add synthetic hormones to our bodies, and compromise our liver, which can lead to excess estrogen. These synthetic hormones can contribute to hormone issues.

What’s a better option?

This study shows the positive effects of going organic, for just two weeks! Follow the Dirty Dozen, when you can - not all foods have the same pesticide-load.

alcohol

Alcohol impairs our liver function and increases the amount of excess estrogen circulating in the body. Women process alcohol at a much slower rate than men, meaning that the impact is faster and stronger. Drinking alcohol forces your liver to use antioxidants and vitamin C to break it down, which leaves you vitamin and mineral deficient. It also raises your estrogen levels, which worsens symptoms of PCOS, fibroids and endometriosis – and any estrogen-dominant hormonal health issue.

What’s a better option?

Take a B-complex supplement earlier, before you know you’ll be drinking. Drink up, when it comes to water, and take Vitamin C! Limit your intake to two glasses, and red wine is best! Make sure you never drink on an empty stomach, either; snacks and food are important!


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I know reading this might seem a little overwhelming! The sad truth is that the foods and beverages we consume have an impact on our bodies, always. Am I saying you have to eliminate all of these in order to be healthy? No! Am I saying that by eliminating these you WILL find hormone-balance? No! I just want to help you become more conscious of what you decide to put in your body, and the effects it does have on your body!

Remember, you DO have options! Click here to receive 20% off your first Sakara Life order, which delivers food free of everything we just mentioned! Code: “XOKATES”

Where’s your head at? Anything you want to try to crowd out, or cut back on? Remember, I’m here!

xoxo,

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Organic, Plant-Based Meal Delivery: Your New BFF

Fiber Herb Pesto Pasta, from  Sakara .

Fiber Herb Pesto Pasta, from Sakara.

As a health coach, I have the opportunity to work with individuals, from various walks of life, all with a similar agenda: to become healthier and happier. Becoming healthier and happier is a process that takes work. And often, all of my clients have one, similar brick wall, separating them from their best self: TIME.

There never seems to be enough time. Time to exercise. Time to sleep. Time to breathe. Time to eat healthy, or more so, time to MAKE healthy food.

Time is the ONE constant I see with every client I coach. Why? We’re so busy trying to get everything accomplished, we forget to prioritize ourselves in the process, which results in not enough time dedicated to ourselves.

This post isn’t about priorities, however (but reach out if you ever need help managing them). This post is about options. Options for when you’re constantly on the go, and have no time to prepare healthy meals.

Sakara

Danielle DuBoise & Whitney Tingle, founders of Sakara Life, both grew up together, and attended  IIN .

Danielle DuBoise & Whitney Tingle, founders of Sakara Life, both grew up together, and attended IIN.

I first learned of Sakara, back when I was getting my health coach certification. Whitney & Danielle, two IIN grads, had a goal in mind: to provide individuals with the best food on the planet (plant-based, organic, nutrient-dense and made with love). After noticing the positive effects eating this way had on their health and happiness, they knew they needed to create an accessible opportunity for others to transform their health, as well. And thus, Sakara Life was born!

Sakara creates life-transforming, plant-rich super meals, delivered right to your door. They’re available nationwide. Clean-eating, and no sacrifices. Period.

** Curious about receiving 20% off your Sakara order? More information, below!

nine Pillars of Nutrition

So, why Sakara? The Sakara Life organic meal delivery program is based on a whole-food, plant-rich diet that includes fresh, nutrient-dense, and delicious ingredients. Every meal that comes to your door, is formed on the basis of their nine pillars of nutrition:

  1. No Calorie Counting: Some calories are addictive, others healing, some fattening, some metabolism-boosting. That’s because food doesn’t just contain calories, it contains information. Plus, restricting calories is a stressor, and when your body is stressed, it’s likely to hold onto extra fat.

  2. Plant Protein: If you eat a variety of whole foods of plant origin (vegetables, legumes, 100 percent whole grains and fruits) and not refined food-like products, it is very unlikely that you could be deficient in protein intake.

  3. Eat Your Water: When we eat more water-rich foods, we absorb water more slowly because it is trapped in the structure of these foods.

  4. Greens: Greens are the least consumed food in the standard American diet, and the most essential for inner and outer health. Eating enough greens is one way to get that “glow”!

  5. Good Fats: Fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks. The average person is made up of between 15 and 30 percent fat! Counting calories usually means you miss out on essential nutrients! A low fat dressing is almost always highly-processed, loaded with sugar and inflammation-causing.

  6. Eat the Rainbow: Beyond simply being a mechanism for conveying calories, food is a source of special ingredients than can prevent and treat disease and transform your health.

  7. Nutrient Density: While awareness of malnutrition in the developing world is high, micronutrient deficiency is rarely discussed in the US.

  8. Sulfur-Rich Veggies: Sulfur-rich foods nourish cells and mitochondria, and specifically help the body to be more efficient in eliminating toxins.

  9. Body Intelligence: They say the gut is the second brain, but it’s really the first one! (Sakara).


Why Plant-Based?

Personal-Benefits

It’s no surprise; there are many arguments about which diet is best for you. Regardless of these arguments, health and wellness communities should agree that diets emphasizing fresh, whole ingredients and minimizing processed foods are superior for overall wellness. Plant-based foods fall under this category!

The results of studies from the Netherlands, Brazil, and the U.S., presented at Nutrition 2018, all found benefits associated with vegetarian-type diets, but they also communicated the health importance of the quality of the food. (Medical News Today). To ensure your meals are as delicious and nutritious as possible, Sakara sources all of their ingredients from trusted suppliers and organic farms that use healthy, sustainable agriculture practices.

Going plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating meat, all-together, but can include modest amounts of fish and lean meat. Most importantly, choosing a diet heavy in fruits and veggies may help ward off chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart issues and aid in weight-loss. Plant-based diets include higher fiber content, as well. Fiber keeps you "regular" by aiding in digestion and preventing constipation. It helps regulate blood sugar levels. Just one cup of raspberries or cooked green peas amounts to eight grams of fiber or more, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Internal-benefits aside, consuming a plant-based diet can contribute to healthy skin. Vitamins, pigments and phytochemicals, found in fruits and veggies, contribute to gaining that “healthy glow”.

Environmental-Benefits

Personal benefits aside, filling your plates with more fruits and veggies can help the environment, as well.

A study, published in October in the journal Nature, found that as a result of population growth and the continued consumption of Western diets high in red meats and processed foods, the environmental pressures of the food system could increase by up to 90% by 2050, "exceeding key planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity beyond which Earth's vital ecosystems could become unstable," according to study author Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford. (Climate Change, CNN).

If the whole world, which continues to grow, eats more like us, the impacts are staggering, and the planet simply can’t withstand it.
Sustaining a healthier planet will require halving the amount of food loss and waste, and improving farming practices and technologies. But it will also require a shift toward more plant-based diets.
Research consistently shows that drastically reducing animal food intake and mostly eating plant foods is one of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet over your lifetime, in terms of energy required, land used, greenhouse gas emissions, water used and pollutants produced.
— Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian nutritionist and plant-based food and sustainability expert in Los Angeles.

Beef is more than 100 times as emissions-intensive as legumes. This is because a cow needs, on average, 10 kilograms of feed, often from grains, to grow 1 kilogram of body weight, and that feed will have required water, land and fertilizer inputs to grow.

In addition, cows emit the potent greenhouse gas methane during digestion, which makes cows and other ruminants such as sheep especially high-emitting. (CNN).

This doesn’t mean we all need to stop eating all the meat, ASAP, but it means it’s important to consider the amount we’re consuming and the effect it’s having on our environment. Adding more plant-based diets could help reduce environment impacts.

For more information on eating plant-based, check out this article, from UCLA.


Meal Programs

Sakara caters to two, primary needs: Healthy, plant-based meals and convenience. Like mentioned earlier, making the time to cook healthy meals is difficult, and they help make this easier.

They have three different programs:

  1. Signature Program (Level 1): Option for 3, or 5-day week. Organic breakfast, lunch, and dinner designed for optimal nutrition. Daily detox teas, to support digestion and elimination. Functional supplements, to maximize results. Certified health coaches, ready to help with questions and support.

  2. Detox (Level II): Similar to the Signature Program, this powerful cleanse is grounded in the foundation of Sakara's signature nutrition program (Level I): whole, organic plant foods and mindful eating. Then it goes a step further, temporarily eliminating common dietary inflammation triggers to release years of toxic build-up, reboot the metabolism, heal the gut and reveal a lighter, brighter, healthier you.

  3. Brides: A 20-day wedding prep program to help you slim down, tone up and beautify from the inside out. Four weeks worth of breakfasts + lunches + dinners delivered to your door, ready to eat. Daily supply of caffeine-free Detox Tea, to eliminate bloat, detoxify the body and get the skin glowing. Your choice of functional supplement to enhance your results: Daily Probiotic Blend, Beauty + Detox Water Drops, or Beauty Chocolates.


In love

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This week, I’m enjoying three days of Sakara-based meals, and am in love! The packaging (which is all reused, recyclable-material) is adorable, and comes with eco-friendly ice-packs, with instructions on how to properly discard of them (unless you decide to reuse, which is even better, now that it’s warmer out).

Each meal comes in separate containers, and contains superfood love notes (as I like to call them), on the lid. All ingredients are listed, on the bottom of each container, along with heating instructions (remember, plant-based doesn’t mean “raw”).

So far, I’ve enjoyed Black Forest Breakfast Cake (with chocolate and cherries), a Black Garlic BBQ Burger (with root fries), and a Veggie Satay Bowl (with savory almond butter sauce). ALL, COMPLETELY DROOL-WORTHY!

What am I noticing already?! Even though I considered myself a “healthy-eater”, by no means was I consuming as many veggies as I should have been! Sakara provides a wonderful reminder to fuel up on water, fiber-filled foods, to help you feel sexy inside and out!

Food is medicine

Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.
— Hippocrates

I hear you; it’s hard to spend money on ourselves, especially when food is so quick to be gone. But lately, I’ve really been thinking about the investment I’m making in myself: health is essential. Feeling good… looking good… it all starts from within.

SPECIAL OFFER: If you’re interested in a Sakara meal plan, you can sign up for your first meal program or 10-Day Reset Kit and receive 20% off (must be first-time clients and NEW to Sakara Life). Go to Sakara’s website, and use code: “XOKATES”.


What does the food you consume tell about you? Are you rushed, most days, unsure of when to eat, let alone WHAT to eat?

I’m with you; life is busy and sometimes, getting by is all we can do. Just remember the way you fuel your body affects how you live, in your body.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” - Michael Pollan

xoxo,

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