Let’s Talk Hormones

 

 

 

 

Did you know that wearing sunglasses makes you more susceptible to becoming sunburned. Sunlight stimulates the optic nerve and warns the pituitary gland. This results in the release melanocyte a stimulating protein that prevents sunburns!

Soooo…who wants to talk hormones. 

 

I sure do! I think hormones need to be discussed more often. Hormones are involved in most of your bodies day to day functions, yet for some reason they are rarely the topic of discussion. While I write this for all the incredible ladies out there this also pertains to men as well. 

 

Starting at the basics, hormones are chemical messengers for the body, these chemicals are produced in the endocrine system then secreted into the blood stream or directly into the tissues or organs. Hormones affect everything from; growth, sexual function, and reproduction to metabolism, mood, and sleep. As chemical messengers, hormones float through the blood looking for the specific cell receptors it can bind onto, once it has found a cell and attached to the receptor it changes the function of the cell.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common is hormonal Imbalance ?

Hormonal imbalance is more common than not, hormones have very sensitive feedback systems that are often disrupted by environmental toxins, stress, unbalanced lifestyle, diet, and/or major life event.

 

 Canadian Facts

 

1 in 10 women suffer from PCOS

1 in 10 women suffer from endometriosis

1 in 6 women suffer from infertility

1 in 4 women suffer miscarriage

 

 

Thought in North America hormonal imbalance is common it doesn’t mean that it is the norm. Life doesn’t need to be lived in discomfort or pain.

I take birth control, are my hormones balanced?

Birth control is a synthetic compound that will attach to the receptors for specific hormones. It was created to limit the chance of pregnancy but has a side effect of masking hormonal imbalance symptoms, for many people it is prescribed band-aid for many illness. Hormones function on what is called a negative feedback loop, when we need a hormone to be released into the blood specific factors will activate the release. When we are supplementing with birth control our body is constantly having birth control hormones active in the blood stream, this means the body will not be getting signalled to produce its own hormone. When and if we no longer want to be on birth control these symptoms can and will come back for revenge. (trust me, iv’e been through this) On top of all that birth control pill makes it hard for the body to assimilate some certain nutrients that can cause other set of its own adverse symptoms.

 

Can I increase my sex drive ?

Yes, yes, yes you can! Our sex drive is so important and should not be ignored or embarrassed about. 1 in 3 women are upset about having a low sex drive. There are several types of female sexual disfunction(fsd); low sexual desire, trouble becoming aroused, trouble with orgasm and pain during sex. Many factors can influence our vitality as women and as we work together to improve your health we will work to get to the source of the imbalance. Factors that can have an influence are hormonal, psychological, gynaecological and spiritual. 



Is melatonin bad for me ?

Melatonin is recognized as generally safe to use for a short term period. When used over a long period of time it has been known to have adverse effects and symptoms like depression, irritability, abdominal cramps and disorientation. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in your sleep cycle and is found naturally higher in our blood at night. It can be helpful when getting through a schedule change or to recover from traveling. If using melatonin it is important to ensure it is not disruption any other medications you may be on, as a hormone it interacts with may other drugs.

Why I am always so tired by 3pm.

Do you get the afternoon crash, this is caused by a blood sugar imbalance due to your diet and hydration. When you eat a breakfast high in sugars, proteins and simple carbohydrates your blood sugar ends up running high, especially if followed with a double double coffee. Assuming you are at work and drinking coffee most of the morning and with little water you are putting pressure on your adrenal glands. This glands control our stress levels and as we get hungry and dehydrated our stress levels are maxing by lunch. Do you eat a late lunch? A short while later crashing feeling fatigue, slow and in need of a nap. 

 

When your blood sugar is unstable it causes an imbalance in the hormones involved in our sleep cycle and energy production.





Why is my PMS worse when I'm stressed.

Unfortunately stress and bad PMS have a direct link. A study in the Journal of Women’s Health stated that women who experienced a stressful or traumatic event within two weeks prior to their expected period had dramatically worse symptoms of sadness, depression and more drastic mood changes. Symptoms may not fully dissipate but with stress management techniques along side exercise and healthy diet they should be reduced significantly. 

Did you know that cuddling can be used to treat someone who needs physical healing. The act of cuddling releases bursts of Oxytocin, which is known to act as an anti-inflammatory reducing swelling and improving healing! 

Glands involved in hormone production

  • Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus is responsible for the body’s circadian rhythm, body temperature, hunger, moods and the release of hormones from other glands. It also controls thirst, sleep and sex drive.
  • Thyroid: This produces hormones associated with calorie burning and heart rate.
  • Parathyroid: Controls calcium amounts in the blood. It is mostly linked to the kidney and bone cells.
  • Thymus: This gland plays a role in the function of the adaptive immune system and the maturity of the thymus, and produces T-cells.
  • Pancreas: This gland produces the insulin that helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Adrenal: These glands produce the hormones that control sex drive and cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Pituitary: Considered the “master control gland,” the pituitary gland controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth.
  • Pineal: This gland produces serotonin derivatives of melatonin, which affects sleep. These are also called the thalamus.
  • Ovaries: Only in women, the ovaries secrete estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, the female sex hormones.
  • Testes: Only in men, the testes produce the male sex hormone, testosterone, and produce sperm.

 

Symptoms of a hormone imbalance

 

When one of these hormones are out of balance it can create a domino effect causing a multitude of symptoms. Some of the symptoms that can occur with a hormonal imbalance can be quite severe, some slightly trivial. 

 

      Digestive Issues

      Insomnia

      Fatigue

      Low Libido 

      Anxiety and depression

      Irregular periods or infertility

      Hair loss or thinning

      Unexplained weight gain/loss

When hormonal imbalances go unresolved for long periods of time symptoms eventually turn to one or more chronic illnesses that are all to common in our society

 

 

Estrogen Dominance (Symptoms of changes in sleep patterns, slowed metabolism, and  changes in appetite)

 

Low Estrogen (Symptoms of low sex drive, reproductive problems, menstrual irregularities, and changes in mood)

 

Hypothyroidism (Symptoms of weight gain, irritability, anxious, and digestive issues)

 

Hyperthyroidism (Symptoms of weight loss, thinning hair, depression, and irregular heart beat)

 

Low Testosterone (Symptoms of muscle loss, weight gain, acne, and fatigue)

 

Diabetes (Symptoms of weight gain, poor skin and hair health, dry mouth, fatigue, higher risk of vision loss and nerve damage)

 

Adrenal Fatigue (Symptoms of brain fog, muscle aches and pains, weakness, fatigue, anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance)

 

PCOS (Symptoms of infertility, irregular periods, painful or heavy periods, hair growth, weight gain) *Click here to learn more*

 

Soaking and Sprouting

Have you ever seen a squirrel burring an acorn? What that squirrel is doing is forcing the seed to sprout so it becomes more nutrient dense. 

 

Sprouting increases fibre content, increases protein availability and decreases the amount of anti-nutrients.

Why all this work?

 

Soaking and sprouting nuts, seeds, legumes and grains is done to increase the digestion and absorbability of the nutrients. The idea was taken from the one and only….Mother Nature. 

How to soak and sprout seeds and grains

  1. Pour the desired amount of seed or grain into a mason jar, attach a sprouting screen and ring, and wash with fresh water and strain.
  2. Add fresh water to the jar roughly 3 times the amount of seed, and let sit.*see chart for how long*
  3. After the seeds have soaked, pour out the water and rinse again. Prop the jar up at roughly a 45 degree angle so the water can continue to drain out and air can circulate. Put a bowl underneath to catch drips.
  4. Twice a day, cover the seeds with water, swirl around and drain, then propping the jar back on its angle. 
  5. Within a few days, voila! Your sprouts should be ready to drink

Length at harvest for seeds should be about 2-3 inches, grains should be about 4 inches, and beans 1/4- 1 inch. 

 

Exceptions include pumpkin, sunflower, amaranth, millet and quinoa  which can be very short.

 

How to soak and sprout beans

1.    Start with putting your chosen beans into a large glass bowl and cover with filtered water that is several inches higher than the beans. 

2.   You’ll want tot make sure that the container is large enough that the beans will have room to expand as they soak up the water. 

3.   After soaking, drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly until the water runs clear.

4.    Within the days outlined on the chart, you will have sprouts.

Seeds

 

Type

Measurements – Dry 

Soak Time

Sprouting Time

Finished products 

Notes

Broccoli

4 tablespoons

5 hours

5 days

5 cups

 

Mustard

4 tablespoons

5 hours

5 days

5 cups

 

Radish

3 tablespoons 

6 hours

5 days

4 cups

 

Sunflower

1 cup

4 hours

24 hours

2 cups

Hulled, spoils quickly

Pumpkin

1 cup

4 hours

24 hours

2 cups

Hulled

Clover

3 tablespoons 

5 hours

5 days

4 cups

 

Buckwheat

1 cup

6 hours

5-7 days

3 cups

 

Alfalfa

3 tablespoons 

5 hours

5 days

4 cups

 

Kale 

1/4 cup

5 hours

5 days

4 cups

 

Onion

1/4 cup

8 hours

3-4 days

4 cups

 

Hemp Seeds

Do not soak or sprout

Flax

1:1 ratio

8 hours

 Soak only

Sesame 

1:1 ratio

4 hours

Soak Only

 

 

Grains

 

Type

Measurements – Dry 

Soak Time

Sprouting Time

Finished products 

Notes

Amaranth

1 cup

3 hours

24 hours

3 cups

 

Kamut

1 cup

6 hours

5-7 days

3 cups

 

Rye

1 cup

6 hours

5-7 days

3 cups

 

Wheat

1 cup

6 hours

5-7 days

3 cups

 

Spelt

1 cup

6 hours

5-7 days

3 cups

 

Quinoa

1 cup

3 hours

24 hours

3 cups

 

Millet

1 cup

3 hours

12 hours

3 cups

 

Barley

1 cup

6 hours

5-7 days

3 cups

 

 

Nuts

 

Type

Measurement – Dry 

Soak Time

Sprouting Time

Finished products 

Notes

Almonds

1 cup

12 hours

Refrigerate 

Pecans

1 cup

4-6 hours

Refrigerate 

Walnuts

1 cup

4-6 hours

Refrigerate 

Cashews

1 cup

4-6 hours

Refrigerate 

Hazelnuts

1 cup

8 hours

Refrigerate 

Pistachios

1 cup

8 hours

Refrigerate 

Brazil nuts

1 cup

2-4 hours

Refrigerate 

 

Beans

 

Type

Measurement – Dry 

Soak Time

Sprouting Time

Finished products 

Notes

Garbanzo

1 cup

8-12 hours

2-3 days

2 cups

*chickpeas*

Mung

1 cup

8-12 hours

2-5 days

2 cups

 

Adzuki

1 cup

8-12 hours

2-4 days

2 cups

 

Lentils

1 cup

8-12 hours

2-3 days

2 cups

 

Peas

1 cup

8-12 hours

2-3 days

2 cups

 

Blackbean

1 cup

8-12 hours

2-3 days

2 cups

 

 

 

 


List of Local Hikes


                         Nanaimo
Ammonite Falls                 2.5 hours      moderate
Mt.Benson Summit          4-6 hours       moderate/hard
Benson Ridge                  1.5 hours       moderate
Buttertubs Marsh              30 minutes    easy
Pipers Lagoon                  30 minutes    easy
Neck Point                        30 minutes    easy
Westwood Lake                1 hour           easy
Colliery Dam.                    1 hour           easy
Nanaimo Bird Estuary      1 hour            easy
Jack Point                         1 hour            easy
Petroglyph Park                30 minutes    easy
Morden Mine trails            45 minutes    easy
Bowen Park                       30 minutes    easy

                       Ladysmith
Cristy Falls                        2 hours         easy
Heart & Stocking Lake      3 hours         moderate
Stocking Creek                 1 hour           easy
Roberts Memorial             15 minutes    easy

                        Lantzville
Lantzville foothills              1.5 hours        moderate
Copley Ridge                     3 hours           moderate
Knarston Creek trail           1.5 hour          easy


                       Nanoose 
 Enos Lake                         45 minutes      easy
Notch Hill                            1 hour             moderate
Moorecroft Trails                 1 hour             easy

                        Parksville
Top Bridge Park                  1 hour               easy
Englishman River Falls      1 hour               easy
Bird Estuary                       45 minutes        easy
Little Mountain                   30 minutes         easy
Rotery Park Waterfront      1 hour                easy
 Rathtrevor                         1 hour                easy

                        Qualicum Beach
Little Qualicum Falls         1 hour                 easy
Qualicum River                 45 minutes         easy
Bird Estuary                     30 minutes          easy
QBWaterfront                   30 minutes          easy
Cathedral Grove              30 minutes          easy
CPR Trail                         6 hours           moderate/hard
Wesley Ridge                  6-8 hours        moderate/hard
Hamilton Marsh               45 minutes           easy


Butternut Squash Soup

One of the best things about the end of the year in my opinion is the bounty of local squash and how goes well with everything, and its loaded with vitamins and minerals! It can be put in soups, roasted with butter, in salads, made in to spaghetti, in smoothies, or made into a fritters. My favourite thing to make with squash *besides just roasted and coated in organic grass fed butter* would be to make it into soup. I am always so cold in the winter and soup fills me up, warms me up and makes me a happier person. Mostly cause I dislike being cold.

This soup recipe is pretty versatile, so even thought this recipe calls for Butternut squash there are many squash that work great in this recipe. Next time try using a squash you haven’t tried before to bring a new flavour profile to a classic favourite. My top 3 to use in soup are Acorn squash which is mild and earthy, Kabocha squash is dense and nutty, and Sugar Pumpkin which is sweet when roasted. Others I have used with this recipe are Sweet Dumpling Squash, Red Kuri squash, and Carnival squash. 

Butternut squash is easily grown here in the Vancouver Island climate. With a bit of attention to the soil in the spring and a space to grow all summer, by the fall you should have yourself some tasty nutritious food. If you don’t have the available space for growing squash where you live. It is widely available at you can get many variety of squash at 

your local farmers market or farm stand. I have been buying my squash from venders at the Island. Roots market Wednesday evenings 3-6pm at Pleasent Valley hall on Dumont rd in Nanaimo or at Prince Acres Farm in Lantzville Tuesdays from 10-5pm. 

 

 

So I am figuring that you are now wondering what is so great about butternut squash. I love it for its smooth sweet flavour and its ability to go perfectly with butter but I am also a fan of its content of vitamin Bs, vitamin E, folate, calcium potassium and magnesium. Squash is also a great source of fibre which is supportive of a healthy digestive system. The nutrient content of butternut squash also makes it beneficial for balancing blood pressure, increase energy, enhance completion and influence a healthy weight.

Digestive Health

 

Maintaining a high fibre diet helps to contribute to regulating bowel movements and influences an environment for good bacteria.  

 

Having healthy gut bacteria can reduce the likely hood of inflammation related disease like cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer and obesity. 

 

Boosting the Immune system

 

Vitamin C and beta carotene are what bring the butternut squash its orange colour also act in a protective way in our bodies improving our immune system. Much the vitamin A coming from the magnificent orange flesh is coming from beta carotene. In our body carotenoids are converted to retinoids, the more bioavailable and active form of vitamin A. 

 

Beta Carotene is the most researched carotenoid, it has been found to significantly reduce risk of cancers; including lung, breast and uv-formed skin cancers. 

 

 

Skin Health

 

One serving of butternut squash alone is providing over 50% of our daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. In the body Vitamin C is a part of the process which maintains and build collagen cells. Collagen is the back bone to our skin, hair and nails. Collagen building blocks can also be found in foods like my  Healing Bone Broth recipe.

 

Managing Diabetes

 

 People with diabetes can eat butternut squash even thought it is a sweeter vegetable, If you have diabetes type 1 consuming a high-fibre diet can help balance  and lower allover blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes type 2 increasing fibre is known to lower blood sugar levels, lipids and insulin levels in the blood.  1 Cup of  steamed or roasted butternut squash provides 6.6 grams of fibre. Those following a 2,000 cal diet should be eating about 25 grams of fibre per day. 

 

Preparation time: 10 minutes            Cook time: 50 minutes           Total time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

1 large squash

2 organic large tomato’s

2 cloves garlic peeled

1 onion

1 turnip

1 turmeric root – peeled

2 cups bone broth

2 tbsp olive oil

2 stalks celery

2 carrots

1 red pepper

 

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven at 375 and cut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the scooped out squash with olive oil and place cut side down on roasting pan. Quarter the Turnip, tomato and red pepper and also add it to the roasting pan. Roast, for 45 minutes per squash or until soft. (If you are meal prepping double and cook 2 squash cook for 75-80 minutes)

 

While the vegetables are roasting dice onion, garlic, turmeric, carrots, celery. This mixture is called a mirepoix and is the perfect base for any soup. When the squash is almost done put the mirepoix into a pot sautéing until the onions are transparent, then add the broth.

 

When the squash is done remove from oven and flip over with a spatula and allow to cool slightly so you are able to remove the skin without burning your fingers. Using a spoon scrape out the insides adding them to the soup also adding the chopped up Turnip and quartered tomato’s. Don’t worry about how you cut these vegetables as we will be blending them along with the mirepoix.

 

Now we have all of our ingredients in the pot I suggest to add any herbs and spices that you fancy. I generally use fresh thyme, basil, parsley and oregano from my garden along with a dash of ground black pepper and Himalayan salt. Once it has all been added and mixed up I allow to cool a bit and blend it together in our food processor. Once blended I either separate it into single serving mason jars ( 250ml or 500ml) for meal prep or put it back on the stove to heat up to serve. 

Recipe Notes:

 

If freezing the mason jars make sure to leave an inch of space at the top for room to expand so the glass jars don’t explode. 

 

If making ahead and not freezing the soup should last 4-5 days in your refrigerator if stored and handled properly. 

 

Can make 6 servings or 8-10 app serving sizes. 

 

If wanting it a bit creamier I suggest trying an organic coconut cream to thin the soup out.

 

 

Seeds

While these are often thrown out when preparing your squash for dinner but did you know these puppies are full of protein, zinc, poly and mono-unsaturated fats. This makes this a wonderful heart healthy snack easily roasted while you are getting your meal together. 

Zinc is SOOO important for cell health and almost all other body functions. A zinc deficiency can influence a dampened immune system. 

 

To Roast the seeds, clean of the strings and goop. Spread the seeds out across a pan with a couple tablespoons of salty water. Bake until the water is evaporated and seeds are slightly crispy.