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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Five Books about Diet, Nutrition, and Balancing Hormones



Hormones are nothing to laugh at! From PMS to menopause hormones affect women through many stages of life. Hormones can play with our mood, food cravings, desire for our partner, and the ability to conceive and carry a baby. Some women may never experience hormonal imbalances, and if you are one of those lucky ladies I tip my hat to you! But if you are like me, living with the horror of hormonal imbalance, then I will keep you in my prayers because I understand your pain.

I have suffered on and off from mood swings, food cravings, skin issues, anxiety, and abnormal cycles for years. It never occurred to me that I had a hormonal imbalance until I went two years without conceiving. I won't tell you the long, agonizing story as it is full of dismissive, unhelpful doctors and me not advocating for myself. What I will tell you is that two years without conceiving turned into almost four years and then over ten years of subfertility and recurrent miscarriage. 

Here are five of my favorite resources for understanding a woman's body and how hormones work in it. As well as the things that I have found that have helped me deal with my hormone issues. I hope that the list helps you or someone you know.


My Favorite Books About Hormones, Fertility, And Nutrition


I have read a ton of books about hormones, fertility, and nutrition. I am a firm believer that all three of those things go hand in hand. But that doesn't mean that a poor diet will cause infertility, nor does it mean that good nutrition will make an infertile woman fertile. There are so many things that affect our bodies and how they work (or don't work as the case may be). However, I think it is important to eat a healthy diet to improve health, fertility, and mood.



1. Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition 4th Edition - This was the first book I came across many, many years ago. If you have learned NFP from the Couple to Couple League, you may already be familiar with this book. I think that it is full of great supplement advice. The author suggests a natural, low sugar diet, but suggests following the 80/20 rule of eating healthy 80% of the time, and the other 20% is for holiday and birthday celebrations. I think it is a great book for woman with minor issues, but more information is necessary for women with more severe imbalances. 


2. The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive and Vitality Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol - I love this book. It has a questionnaire that you can fill out to get an idea of where you may have imbalances. Also, the author, Dr. Sarah Gottfried, offers natural approaches such as supplements, herbal remedies, and bio-identical hormones. She suggests a diet plan that is very similar to a Paleo diet. 


3. Trim Healthy Mama - Trim Healthy Mama is a huge book. It can be intimidating, but I believe that it is full of interesting information. It is written by sisters, Pearl and Serene. In the book, they share their diet history and how they developed their diet plan. There is quite a bit of information in the book on hormones and how to balance them through nutrition and supplements. I am currently following their diet plan. However, I should mention that they are against sugars that spike blood sugar. They suggest stevia, erythritol, and xylitol. I have done my research, and I am fine with these natural sweeteners. But every lady has to make that decision on her own. 


4. Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breast-feeding, and Baby's First Foods - Great starter book if you are new to a more natural and nourishing diet and are pregnant or trying to conceive. I think that it has some interesting information in it that is easy to understand. I enjoyed this book, but I took what I liked from it and left the rest.


5. WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source - I had to buy this book when I read that the author is a holistic health coach that suffered from PCOS. It follows a five-step plan to improve health. I think that the information presented in it is similar to the information in The Hormone Cure, but with a bit of a New Age feel and a lot of self-promotion from the author. However, at $3.99 for the Kindle book, I definitely think it is worth reading. 




How I (try to) Balance My Hormones

I wish I were better at sticking to my healthy living plan, but honestly some months it is hard. I blame the hormones. Truly, when everything is unbalanced, it takes an iron will-power to stick with healthy choices. When I feel awful the unhealthy options, like laying on the couch eating chips and cookies, are more appealing to me because my body isn't functioning properly. When I am on plan, I feel so much better!


Exercise: I have to exercise almost daily for my mood and my weight. When I stop exercising, I start gaining weight, and I am moody. How I exercise has changed through the years. Depending on my mood and fitness level, I walk, run, high-impact and low-impact aerobics, rebound, yoga, and lift light weights. What I have decided now that I am in my late thirties is that low-impact aerobics and light weights are best for me. 

Diet: I need to follow a diet very low in sugars, carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients. Currently, I am trying to follow the diet plan in Trim Healthy Mama. 

Supplements: I have to take supplements. Every time I stop taking them, I downward spiral into grouchy, grumpy Erica, and nobody likes her, most of all me! Daily I take a prenatal, probiotic, digestive enzymes, L-Glutamine, plus extra vitamins D-3 and C, Magnesium, and Chromium. 

Creighton Model FertilityCare and NaProTechnology: I love charting the Creighton way. With the help of my instructor and my doctor, we discovered that I had low progesterone. I am currently taking progesterone orally to help with my cycle. I wish I had learned this fertility model when I was still in my twenties, then maybe I would not have had to suffer so many miscarriages. 



Hormones help keep our body working properly. Our heart, brain, reproductive organs, bones, and muscles all need balanced hormones to work properly. We can do things on our own such as eat healthily, have an active lifestyle, and reduce stress through prayer and meditation. Sometimes lifestyle improvements are not good enough though. If you think you have hormonal imbalances I encourage you to seek the help of your health care professional. If your doctor is unwilling to help you or just offers you synthetic hormones, I encourage you to seek further care. 

Don't suffer from food cravings, mood swings, and fatigue. Balanced hormones mean a happier and healthier you! 

Do you suffer from hormones issues? How are you managing your hormones? What are your favorite resources for hormones and health? I can talk about hormones, diet and exercise all day, every day, so please leave a comment if you have anything to add or ask. 

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