To be completely honest, I am actually kind of laughing to myself as I write the title of this post. There is SO MUCH information out there on the internet about the healthiest and best diet for hormone health or just for health in general but the truth is that there just isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer! If anyone ever tells you otherwise, run the other way!
I 100% get that my answer is probably not what you wanted to hear when you clicked on this article, but that’s okay. Personally I would rather give you the truth than give you a “quick fix” answer that could potentially make things worse. We hear so many success stories from so-and-so trying a certain diet and having incredible results. It is so easy to hear these stories and think, “Wow, I think I’ll try that too!” And maybe you’ll be lucky, maybe you’ll try it out and have amazing results yourself. Or maybe not. Why is that? Because YOU are not THEM! I know I sound like a broken record and we have heard this before, but we are all unique. The most important thing when it comes to healthy eating is listening to your very own bio-individual needs. Not your friend’s, your parent’s, your neighbor’s, or even a stranger on the internet’s. Even I, your friendly neighborhood Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, do not have a diet that can be copied and pasted for everyone I come in contact with.
But the good news is that what I CAN give you here is a jumping off point. There are absolutely some basic principles we all can live by that will help to kickstart us to living happier, healthier lives and kicking those hormones into gear. And so I invite you to sit back, relax, grab a pen and paper to take some notes and then over the coming days and weeks try some things on for size. I encourage you to go slow, to make changes in your diet and life that are sustainable for the long term. Maybe pick just ONE of these suggestions to start with this week. I will be cheering you on!
Eat real whole foods.
This one sounds so very simple. Is it a food you would find in nature? Great! Does it come in a box or wrapped in plastic and have a list of ingredients that you have never heard of? Not so great. Real, whole foods include fruits and veggies, fresh meat, poultry, and seafood, eggs, dairy, and whole grains. In other words, food as nature intended it to be. Food that is minimally processed and maybe even still has some dirt on it (although you will want to wash this off before eating of course!). A good place to start with this if you are currently eating a lot of processed foods is to crowd these out. Go to the store or farmer’s market and buy some fresh fruit and veggies. Fill your plate with those and there just won’t be as much room for the other stuff. Trust me, when you unlock the power of a whole food diet in your life you won’t want to go back!
Yep, I said it. Are you currently a takeout junky? Do all of the foods you “cook” at home come from the freezer? It’s okay, no judgment. I used to be there too. Between busy schedules and lack of cooking skills, I used to heavily rely on the quick and easy fixes to my rapidly dropping blood sugar levels when I got hungry. And the thanks I got back from my body was bloating, digestive issues, chronic inflammation, chronic fatigue, and chronic pain. The truth is that most take out and freezer food is full of preservatives, vegetable oils, sugar, and many other questionable ingredients. When I first started taking steps to get healthier and do more home cooking…well I’ve got some stories. I burned rice onto the bottom of the pan. I dried out chicken to the point where it was more like jerky. I served dishes that were completely flavorless and others that were overseasoned to the point where it made your eyes water. But I was determined and so I made a whole lot of phone calls to my dad (my go-to when it comes to cooking advice), I spent a lot of time on YouTube watching tutorials, and a lot of good old fashioned practicing. Slowly but surely I improved. So no excuses. Start small and simple. You don’t need to be the next Top Chef, you just need to nourish yourself. If I can learn to cook, anyone can!
Get ALL the macros in!
This means protein, fat, and carbs. So many “diets” out there eliminate one or the other of these groups, but the truth is that we need them all and we need a good balance. Protein is necessary for production of hormones, enzymes, antibodies, neurotransmitters, and so much more. Animal-based proteins like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy provide complete protein. Plant sources like nuts, seeds, and legumes can also be good, but need to be paired to form complete proteins for our bodies. Fat is our fuel source and helps with inflammation, gives building blocks for hormone production, and enhances our nutrient absorption. Focus on a blend of animal and plant-sourced fats like fish, eggs, raw grass-fed dairy, meat and poultry, nuts, seeds, and avocado. For carbohydrates, which provide glucose for energy, provide fiber, and help with fat and protein metabolism, focus on whole-food carbs. This means primarily fresh fruits and veggies with some properly prepared grains and legumes. Aim for getting a good balance of protein, fat and carbs at each meal. If there is one priority, protein is the one that many of us don’t get enough of. Any meal or even snack that you have should contain some protein! For more info on how to balance your blood sugar, check out this blog post where I go into more detail.
I 100% feel like a broken record on this because hydrating ends up in everything that I write. But it is just THAT IMPORTANT! Your body needs water for EVERYTHING! Digestion, blood sugar regulation, hormone elimination, detoxifying, breathing…and the list goes on. Now may I remind you that when I say hydrate I mean with pure water. Maybe even add a pinch of sea salt for electrolytes. I do not mean juice, coffee, soda, iced tea, lemonade, Starbucks Refreshers, or a margarita. I mean water. Real, pure water. Just because a beverage is wet and cold does not mean it is hydrating. In fact many of those that I listed will in fact end up leaving you more dehydrated than when you started. Don’t love water? Add a squeeze of lemon or some cucumber or some berries for flavor. But please, drink the water. Your body will thank you for it so very much.
Let your own voice be the loudest!
If there is one voice that you listen to above all others, including mine, let it be your own. YOU are the expert on your own body. No doctor, scientist, nutritionist, or “expert on the internet” knows more about your body than you do. Let no one else’s voice or advice drown out your own intuition. Try something out and it doesn’t feel right? Listen to that. Try something out and it feels amazing to you? Listen to that. You’ve got this.
Alright friend, it’s time. You are ready. In fact, you were born ready. Get in that kitchen, get cooking, drink some water, and then go and live your best life. I am here for you.
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