Is there any connection between exercise, sleep and your waistline?

When it comes to managing your health and your weight, it’s no secret that exercise and sleep are huge factors. You know that exercise will help you burn off some extra calories and boost your metabolism. Weight bearing exercises are linked to longevity and is key for women to improve bone density. But you also know that sleep is essential for your overall health, well-being, recovery and brain function.

So the question of the day is – It is better to skimp on sleep and get up early to workout or is it better to sleep in and skip the gym for another day?

Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. We need exercise to sleep better but we also need sleep to exercise. And when it comes to weight management, we need both. 

So let’s take a closer look at how exercise and sleep affect each other and which one takes the lead when it comes to managing your weight.

The Exercise & Sleep Connection

If you’re looking to get a better night’s sleep, it’s time to lace up those training shoes.

A study by the National Sleep Foundation found a 65% improvement in sleep quality for participants who performed 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week. That means that something as simple as a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week can help you feel more rested and refreshed.

Want Muscle? Lean out? Get More Sleep!

If you want to see big results from your workouts, you’ve gotta catch some zzz’s! Sleep is crucial when it comes to exercise recovery…and recovery is where the post-workout magic happens!

As we rest, our body is busy repairing the microscopic muscle tears from our last weight training session. As these muscles repair, they come back bigger and stronger; increasing your strength and boosting your metabolism.

If you’re not seeing the results you’d like from your gym sessions, the answer may be an earlier bedtime. Make sure that you’re getting adequate sleep to help your body repair and recover.

Did you know that our stress glands, the adrenals, recharge between the hours of 11:00 pm-1:00 am? Getting to bed by 10 will ensure that your adrenals and your waistline benefit!

Does lack of sleep affect gym performance?

If you’re still thinking of hitting that 6am training session class after a late night out, you may want to reconsider.

An ACSM study showed that sleep deprived participants had a slower response time and fatigued much quicker than when they were well rested. The study participants also reported a higher RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) and were more likely to quit their workout early.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should skip activity altogether on those post late night days. Instead consider a lower intensity activity and leave the high intensity training for days when you’re well rested.

But here’s the real reason you’ve read this far….To sleep or to train? Which one will help you slide into your most favourite pair of booty hugging jeans?

When it comes to weight management, both exercise and sleep are important. But if you had to focus on one thing only, it turns out sleep trumps exercise.

One study compared weight loss efforts of sleep deprived adults versus those who were fully rested. The sleep deprived group rested for only 5.5 hours while the fully rested group got a full  8.5 hrs of shut-eye.

The results? Those with limited sleep lost less body fat and more lean muscle mass.

So does this mean you should just forget about exercise?

NOPE. 

Exercise still has tremendous health benefits so quitting (or not starting) isn’t an option. You just need to make sure your sleep game is as strong as your exercise/training game.

Want to sleep but having trouble winding down at night? 

Add some sleep hormones to your diet! Yes, you have sleep hormones!

Did you know that it has been suggested that foods that contain naturally occurring Melatonin (dubbed the “sleep hormone”) may be a better alternative than over-the-counter supplements?

This Sleepy Time Cherry Smoothie Recipe is made with tart cherry juice – an ingredient that contains Melatonin, and has been proven to help you sleep better. Plus, it just happens to taste pretty great too!

RECIPE: Sleepy Time Cherry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz of pure tart cherry juice, unsweetened
  • 1 cup of coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1/4 avocado
  • ½ banana (frozen adds a bit more texture)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds or hemp hearts
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Sip and enjoy a better night’s sleep!

The Best Healthy Costco Food Staples

Almost 2 years ago, I shared my top 15 Healthy Costco Items, and guess what, I’m here to do it again! Some items are the same…others are new!

Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank…..and with the rising costs of EV-ERY-THING, eating healthy without giving up your last born [which BTW, I would 100% do…kidding! sorta ;)] is totally possible. With a little help from Uncle C, you can buy alot for a little. They might possibly have the largest section of any bulk retailer and do pretty well at populating their stores with regional brands as well. Now, before you start coming at me with support local, let me be clear. We support our local Farmer’s market from May-June, but living in Eastern Canada means winters are long and cold and access to vegetables and fruit is limited. Shopping at Costco (and other stores) in the winter months allows us to still maintain a healthy diet without freaking out about how much it all costs.

Ideally, you want to be eating mostly real, whole foods and minimizing the processed junk and ‘food’ out of packages. We are what we eat…and what we eat eats sooooooo, prioritizing organic, grass-fed meats, organic produce as much as your budget allows is a good idea. If you want a little reminder of the Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen, check them out here and here.

At the end of the day, some vegetables are better than no vegetables so if budget is tight, consider checking out the frozen vegetable section. SO MUCH VARIETY. And very little downside. #SavingCoin

Here’s my 2019 list of Healthy Costco staples that you should check out (and buy) the next time you are there.

BARK THINS

COLLAGEN
EPIC PROVISIONS
COCONUT OIL
AVOCADO OIL
COCONUT SUGAR
COCONUT SMILES 🙂
DATES
PUMPKIN SEEDS
LENTIL PASTA
ANNIE’S NOODLES
FLAXSEED
CHIA SEEDS
ALMOND BUTTER
KOMBUCHA
GF PIZZA
WILD SALMON
DUCK BREASTS
FROZEN BROCCOLI
FROZEN BRUSSEL SPROUTS
FROZEN AVOCADO CHUNKS
SWEET POTATO FRIES
COCONUT WATER
KIMCHI
GREENS
GUACAMOLE
CHICKEN STRIPS
CAULIFLOWER MASH
GRAB AND GO MEALS

How lack of sleep was messing with my weight loss

Does this sounds familiar….racking your brain trying to figure out why you’re gaining weight — or why it’s so difficult to lose those extra pounds that just seem to sneak up on you despite not changing your diet or exercise habits? 

This phenomenon is often referred to as Weight Loss Resistance – and it’s exactly how it sounds: weight that just won’t budge no matter what you do!

And when I went digging to figure out what was happening with me, I came to understand that one (surprising) reason for the weight gain or inability to lose was this: lack of good quality, restorative sleep. #whoa

Why Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain

If you thought unsightly dark circles under your eyes, headaches and constant yawning were the worst outcome from cutting corners on sleep, you may want to think again.

Sleep is of the utmost importance to nearly every bodily system and losing out on it, even just a little, creates a vicious cycle in your body. In fact, there are quite a few science-backed reasons why a lack of sleep can be a strong contributing factor to not being able to maintain a healthy weight.

To start, where a healthy body weight may be of concern, the more sleep deprived you are, the higher your levels of stress hormone (cortisol) will be, which tends to increase your appetite. 

Then, once your appetite is increased, a lack of sleep also thwarts your body’s natural ability to process sugar and carbohydrates – which of course is what you’re craving after a crappy night’s sleep! #allthecarbs

Additionally, when you’re overtired, the mitochondria (little cellular factories that turn food and oxygen into energy = metabolism centers) actually start to shut down. This causes glucose to stay in your blood, and you end up with high blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone whose job it is to signal the body’s muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream to be used for energy. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that skimping on sleep can cause fat cells to become less insulin-sensitive by up to 30% – meaning they lose their ability to use insulin properly. And if they can’t use insulin efficiently, what do you think the outcome is? Weight gain/inability to lose!

Yet another reason you might pack on pounds when you’re lacking in sleep is because your body goes into survival mode – much like when we deprive our bodies of too little calories through ultra restrictive eating. Therefore, survival mode = extra fat storage. (The body thinks it’s better to be fat than dead!)

Get some clarity on other reasons you may be stalled in your weight loss. Connect with me for a FREE 45-min Weight Loss Breakthrough Call 
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CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR TIME

And all of that isn’t even the worst of it! 

Research says that just 30 minutes of lost sleep per day could make you more likely to gain weight. #blamethekids

Now, I know how hard it is to make sleep a priority. We’ve created perpetual busy-ness. I often find myself using ‘sleep time’ to work, tidy, scroll social media or decompress BUT sleep could arguably be the most important thing you can do if you’re ready to start a new health optimization plan that includes weight loss. The other ‘things’ can wait.

As I’ve come to realize for myself, sleeping isn’t just a time to rest — you’re actually nourishing your body just as you are when you’re eating healthy foods. It may require some behavioural and mindset shifts on your part, but your body, belly (and booty) will thank you. And when you are able to prioritize sleep the same way you do eating and training, you will make strides in your weight loss journey just like I did.

10 Tips for better quality sleep

  1. Try to sleep 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Establish regular sleep hours. Try to go to bed and wake up in
    the morning around the same time every day, even on the
    weekends.
  3. Go to bed before 11:00 pm, preferably by 10:00 pm. Our
    stress glands, the adrenals, recharge between the hours of
    11:00 pm-1:00 am.
  4. Avoid using a loud alarm clock. Waking up suddenly can be a
    shock to your body.
  5. Sleep in complete darkness. Your room should be as dark as
    possible to maintain melatonin balance.
  6. Do not turn on the light if you go to the bathroom during the
    night. Turning on the light, even for just a second, shuts down
    melatonin production and can contribute to sleep deprivation
    or insomnia.
  7. Turn on the lights or open the blinds as soon as you wake. Allow the daylight and the sounds of the morning to stimulate and wake the brain. This helps to reset your body clock and ensures that your melatonin levels remain on ‘awake’ until the evening.
  8. Ensure adequate exposure to daylight by spending time outside during the day. This also helps to regulate the day and night’s natural cycle on the brain.
  9. Avoid alcohol before bed.
  10. Have a cup of calming tea (chamomile) or use sleep supporting essential oils (lavender, roman chamomile, cedarwood, copaiba, vetiver)

Do you need some help knowing what to eat to help you lose weight without eating like a bird or spending hours in the gym?

LOOK NO FURTHER!

Get Your Free Guide Here!


Gluten-Free But Still Having Symptoms…Could Corn Be The Culprit?

Like gluten, corn – and its many derivatives are in everything. Literally
E-VE-RY-THING.

From packaged foods to dairy products and chewing gum….it’s even in so many of your favourite household, health and beauty products (think toothpaste, aspirin, shampoo and makeup!) Ever get a hint of popcorn when you lick an envelope to seal it? Yep, corn is in the adhesive strip too. (crazy right?) (told you it was in literally EVERYTHING!)

Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the ingredient list of most packaged or processed foods, and you’ll surely recognize a few sources of it: cornstarch, corn oil, and high-fructose corn syrup, (also known as glucose-fructose).

Similar to how gluten is sometimes camouflaged by other names (like durum semolina), corn can also hide by assuming other identities such as dextrose, dextrin, modified starch, ascorbic acid, and cellulose. #sotricky

As if that wasn’t bad enough, even when corn is not actually in the food, it’s now used in plastic containers that hold our food. Seriously?!

Ok, but what’s really wrong with corn?! 

Although corn is often referred to as a “healthy” food, just like gluten, it can cause a leaky gut. Wait, what…a gut that leaks? Read on my friend, read on.

If your intestinal wall is damaged, thinned, or has gaps in it – known as impaired intestinal permeability, the breakdown and absorption of the food you eat is also impaired. 

Partially digested compounds, bacteria, and chemicals that shouldn’t be absorbed can quite literally “leak” across the intestinal membrane and into your bloodstream. This is because the protein in corn – zein, can look like gluten to a person’s body, and those who are already sensitive to gluten can “cross-react” to corn. 

And because corn and its derivatives (much like gluten) have made their way into everything and most processed foods – nothing is safe. This includes our unassuming salad dressings, innocent pasta sauces and dip-worthy condiments – that we love to dunk our corn tortilla chips in!

Here’s the thing: even if you’re diligent about avoiding packaged foods and generally stick to a regime of whole fruits, veggies, and some high quality animal products…corn can still sneak into your otherwise healthy daily diet! What the what??

WHERE you might wonder?

What you eat also eats! So, unless an animal food product is certified as “grass fed”, most poultry and livestock are fed corn – which is usually GMO too. 

If you’re still experiencing health issues or symptoms of a poorly functioning digestive system after removing gluten from your diet, consider that corn could be the new ‘gluten’. 

Making just a few small changes in your health routine can bring about a big, positive impact. Why not try reducing the amount of corn in your life? Why not try this easy “corn-free” DIY Calming Body Powder recipe? Every little bit helps and it’s so silky smooth on your skin right after a bath. Talk about self care!

RECIPE: DIY Calming Baby/Body Powder (cornstarch & baking soda-free)

Makes about ¼ cup – recipe can be doubled or tripled for larger amounts/frequent use.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs white kaolin or bentonite clay
  • 2 Tbs arrowroot powder
  • 6 drops of your favourite essential oil — suggested: 3 drops chamomile + 3 drops lavender essential oils for use with babies; up to 15 drops for use with adults.

Other essential oils – If using on adults, experiment with other essential oils that are appropriate for skin/topical use; suggestions: rose, geranium, vanilla, sweet orange, ylang ylang, frankincense, lemongrass, sandalwood, or patchouli. 

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir carefully, trying to keep dust down.
  2. Drip essential oils on top of dry mixture, then stir gently to combine – again, trying to keep dust down.
  3. Transfer by teaspoonful to a shaker bottle (a clean spice bottle with shaker top works too).
  4. Always shake a small amount into your hand before applying to baby or body, and not directly (too messy!).

Please note:

  • This recipe is not intended for babies under 3 months old
  • Shaking directly onto baby’s skin could cause inhalation of the powder
  • Do not use on broken or irritated skin

Fats That You Should Cheer About

All fat is NOT created equal!

Fat is one of the three critical macronutrients; along with protein and carbohydrates. Some fats are super-health-boosting; and, others are super-health-busting.

Health-building fats support your brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods while health-busting fats pretty much bust all of these (brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods) – clearly not the type of fat you want to be consuming alot of.

As a general rule, the fats from whole foods that are the least processed will be the healthiest for you. But, you already knew that, right? #ofcourseyoudid

So let me give you a definitive list of the fats to use, and the fats to ditch.

Health-boosting fats are from:
• Nuts and seeds (hemp, flax, and chia)
• Fish
• Seaweed
• Pasture-raised/grass-fed animals/eggs
• Olives
• Avocados
• Coconuts

And what about  “virgin” oils – do they make a difference? THEY SURE DO, and here’s why. Getting the oil out of a whole food involves some processing. Sometimes it’s by squeezing, or heating. Other times it’s by using chemical solvents. The word “virgin” is used to show minimal processing (and no solvents!).

According to the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius:

“Virgin fats and oils are edible vegetable fats, and oils obtained, without altering the nature of the oil, by mechanical procedures, e.g., expelling or pressing, and the application of heat only. They may be purified by washing with water, settling, filtering and centrifuging only.”

For example, Extra virgin olive oil must:

  • Be cold pressed
  • Not contain any refined olive oil
  • Possess superior quality based on chemical composition and sensory characteristics.

Don’t you think these standards ensure higher quality? I sure do!

Plus, the minimal processing helps to maintain some of the quality of delicate fat molecules, as well as their antioxidants. #AllTheWins

Health-busting fats are from:

• Seed and vegetable oils like safflower, soybean, and corn oils
• Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.

Hydrogenated oils are particularly bad; this is because they contain small amounts of “trans” fats. Studies show that trans fats lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, belly fat. They also drastically raise the risk of heart disease. #aintnobodygottimeforthat

So, now the question is, ‘How do I get more health-building fats Melanie?’

Well, first of all, you have my permission to ditch any foods in your cupboards that contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or any hydrogenated oil. Soybean oil alone accounts for over 75% of oils consumed by North Americans…#gross. You need to kick that crap to the curb.

Second, try substituting one of the health-building oils whenever you have a recipe that calls for the other stuff. Try flax oil in your salad dressing, avocado and/or olive oil in your cooking, and coconut oil in your baking.

Third, make healthier versions of your go-to processed foods. Pinterest is fabulous for finding easy and healthy swaps. Of course, I’ll help you out below with my super-simple mayonnaise recipe. It’s way better for you than the unrefrigerated stuff you find at your grocery store.

Now tell me: What’s your favourite fat and why? Let me know in the comments below.

************************************************************************************And with the Christmas and Holiday season around the corner, do you have a plan for dealing with all the parties, get togethers and social events?
Let me help you stay on track with my Weight Loss Breakthrough Call. 

Book your FREE call here

*************************************************************************************

Recipe: Healthy Mayonnaise

food-eggs.jpg
Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

Makes about 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or extra large egg
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup olive or avocado oil

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except oil to your food processor. Process until creamy (about 10 seconds).
  2. With the food processor running, add a few drops of oil into the egg mixture. Every few seconds add a few more drops. Continue until the mixture starts to thicken.
  3. Now you can do a slow drizzle. Stop pouring, every once in a while checking that the oil gets fully incorporated.
  4. Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks.
  5. Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Use this in place of mayonnaise for egg, salmon, chicken salads, etc.


Life Hacks of the Longest Living People

Have you ever thought about how awesome it would be to live forever? Ok, maybe not forever but for a really, really, really long time? And do you think living a long and healthy life well into your nineties or even one hundred years old is only for those lucky few who hit the genetic lottery? Think again! Both my paternal grandparents lived 100+ years and I know a lot of their good health came from their lifestyle factors (and that they lived in Barbados). Lifestyle factors, i.e. the things you do everyday over the long-term – can add up to increase the number of quality years in your lifespan.

And there’s a group of people who are living proof of how powerful everyday habits are when it comes to staying healthy for the long haul. The Blue Zones (or blue zone people) are regions around the world where people have very low rates of chronic disease and live longer compared to other populations. They are located in regions of Greece, Sardinia, Costa Rica, Japan, and California

Because these communities are home to the greatest number of people who live healthfully into their nineties and even hundreds, researchers have studied them to determine just how they age so healthfully.

Do you have to live in an actual Blue Zone to guarantee longevity? Nope! You can adopt some of the well-studied lifestyle traits of these folks to promote health and longevity right where you are! (or move if that works for you too!)

Here’s the top 5 life “hacks” of the world’s longest living people:

Hack #1: Eat a Plant-rich Diet

Blue Zone residents eat a mostly plant-based diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Animal foods aren’t avoided – they simply eat smaller portions of meat. You don’t have to become a strict vegetarian or vegan, but we can all become a little more vegetarian and eat a variety of plant foods daily. They contain fibre, vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants that help decrease inflammation and protect you from chronic disease, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

A simple rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal. Yup, every meal!

Hack #2: Include Healthy Fats

You already know this because we talk about fat ALL.THE.TIME.

Eat heart healthy unsaturated and omega-3 fats in the form of olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fish. Read more about the benefits of omega-3 fats here.

Getting enough omega-3’s helps decrease disease-causing inflammation and keeps your heart and brain healthy. Eating enough fat also keeps you feeling fuller longer, which can help prevent overeating that leads to weight gain – bonus!

Hack #3: Stop Eating Before You Feel 100% Full

Avoid the clean plate club. The post meal nap club. The I-ate-so-much-i’m-physically uncomfortable club. Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly gives your brain and stomach time to register that it’s had enough to eat. Blue Zone communities avoid overeating and eating beyond feelings of fullness….they never eat so much that they become uncomfortable or lethargic.

Hack #4: Drink Red Wine

Enjoying a glass of red wine a day increases your antioxidant intake, which is thought to decrease inflammation and help prevent heart disease. Of course, moderation is key. Four ounces of wine is considered a glass and drinking more than that is associated with negative health effects. Read more about red wine benefits here.

Hack #5: Shake Your Booty (or move your body)

Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? As in, it’s not good for your health to sit for extended periods of time. Lack of physical activity and prolonged sitting is linked to weight gain, obesity, and increased mortality. Be sure to look for opportunities to add movement into your regular routines.

Think:

  • Stretching while you watch tv
  • Take an after dinner evening walk
  • Park farther away from your destination
  • Choose stairs over elevators
  • Take standing and stretching breaks at work
  • Use a stand-up workstation, and fidget while you work (or dance!)

The world’s longest living people live active lives that include daily physical activities, like gardening, walking, and manual tasks.

RECIPE: Mediterranean Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 15-oz cans of beans, drained and rinsed (use black beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans or chickpeas/garbanzo beans)
  • 1 english cucumber, chopped with skin on
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomato, halved
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil (= longevity oil!)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp fresh herb
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Combine beans, cucumber, pepper, onion, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl or sealed jar with a lid, whisk or shake together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper.

3. Toss salad with dressing and enjoy at room temperature and refrigerate unused portions.


10 Signs You May Have a Hormonal Imbalance (And What To Do About It)

Hormones are like chemical messengers, and govern nearly every cellular action in our body. Each group of hormones has a very distinct role in our body – some are considered essential, others are not.

Let’s start with our sex hormones. While very important, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, are actually not essential for our survival. They’re responsible for sexual functioning and fertility, as well as in more of a “beauty” capacity – keeping our skin, hair & nails vital and youthful looking.

On the other hand, stress hormones (like cortisol & epinephrine, also known as adrenaline) are critical to our survival because they synthesize proteins, maintain cellular electrolyte balance, regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, and transport glucose into our cells – essentially feeding our brain.

These hormones are so crucial, that in times of chronic stress, cortisol (the “hormone of stress”) will be made at the expense of sex hormones. No wonder we can start feeling whacked out and disconnected at certain stages of life!

So what happens when hormones stop playing well together?

We can often experience a ripple effect, even when there’s a slight hiccup in hormone function. Also, with the interconnected nature of your endocrine system, one hormonal imbalance can lead to an additional one, causing multiple symptoms and overlapping health issues. #notgood

The 10 most common signs that you may have a hormonal imbalance:

  1. Poor sleep – not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep
  2. Fatigue that’s not alleviated by sleep
  3. Night sweats and hot flashes
  4. Resistant excess weight and body fat, especially around the belly
  5. Low libido or sexual dysfunction
  6. Acne or other skin issues
  7. PMS symptoms
  8. Foggy thinking (brain fog!) and difficulty concentrating
  9. Mental health issues – depression and anxiety in particular
  10. Mood changes like irritability and anger

NOTE: I know that maybe you’ve been to the doctor and have been told that your hormone levels are within the normal range and there is no cause for concern. Here’s the thing – normal does not meal optimal. You could be on the low end of normal range but still within the normal range and be feeling like crap. Don’t settle for normal or average….aim for optimal. Choose to bring your overall health to the highest possible levels.

While there can be many causes to hormonal imbalances, the following are the most common ones that have been identified:

  • Age and stage of life
  • Chronic stress
  • Medications (e.g. the Pill)
  • Toxins and endocrine disruptors like xenoestrogens (think plastics, chemicals in skincare products)
  • Poor nutrition and lack of adequate key nutrients (not enough or poor quality fat)
  • Blood sugar regulation problems (think cravings, fatigue, hangriness)
  • Disrupted circadian rhythm (poor sleep)
  • Chronic inflammation (e.g. leaky gut & digestive system inflammation)

If you’re reading this and thinking, “this is me, this is me”…. don’t panic! I’m going to share with you 5 simple ways to support and rebalance your hormones naturally.

Eat whole foods: processed, packaged foods offering little to no nutritive value will also offer little to no fuel for your hormones.

Be sure to eat fresh over packaged foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and quality sources of free range and grass fed meats and eggs. Also, if tolerated – nuts, seeds, and legumes in moderation. Keep in mind that grains and dairy may cause or exacerbate hormonal problems for some people so these should be infrequent or avoided all together.

Eat more good fats: Good fats are essential for hormonal health because sex hormones need fat as a building block – and your body can only use the ones you give it. Fat is also needed for your brain, eyes, immune system, heart health and mood.

Opt for sources of good fats from whole foods, such as avocados, raw nuts & seeds, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, real butter or ghee (grass fed preferable), wild-caught salmon, and free range eggs – yes, you can eat the yolks (and you should)! I posted recently about Healthy Fats and Dangerous Fats. Check it out here.

Exercise daily: Working out on a regular basis, engaging in strength training, and incorporating HIIT (high intensity interval training) has been proven to be especially beneficial for keeping our bodies AND our hormones fit. And exercising also helps you sleep better.

Sleep better: Getting deeper, more restorative sleep can be the key to supporting your hormones, above all other measures (but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other ones!). If you have trouble falling asleep, consider adding essential oils to your night-time routine (via diffuser or topical application). We have had great success adding essential oils to many different areas of our lives!

Manage stress & practice self-care: the truth is – stress can be devastating for hormonal health (an overall health in general). We need to equip ourselves to manage the stress and “business” of everyday life through the actions that bring back balance and wellbeing to our bodies AND our minds – like good nutrition, exercise and sleep!

Learn better coping mechanisms (like breathing techniques), practice mindfulness and be sure to engage in daily self-care. Self-care doesn’t have to be a complicated or expensive venture. What is it that you enjoy doing to relax? Having a bath? Giving yourself a facial? Reading a book? Taking a walk? Whatever it is, engaging in it daily (ideally) will dramatically support your hormones.  Lastly, have you heard of the app Calm? It has guided meditation (5min), breathing exercises, relaxing music and sleep stories. It’s a great app that really helps you to focus, relax and sleep.

If you’d like to chat about simple ways you can get your hormones working with you (instead of against you), book a free 30 min call 

RECIPE: Hormone-friendly Choco-nut Fat Bombs

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup almond or other nut butter, no sugar-added (if nut-sensitive, use sesame tahini or sunflower seed butter)
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil
  • 3 Tbs raw, unprocessed cacao powder
  • stevia, xylitol or monk fruit to sweeten to taste ( 1-2 drops or 1/8 tsp powder)
  • silicone candy mould or mini-muffin pan

Optional add-ins:

  • splash of real vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • cinnamon or ginger
  • pinch of Himalayan pink salt or Celtic grey salt

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet melt coconut oil and nut butter over low heat.
  2. Stir in cacao powder and desired sweetener.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla (+ other add-ins), if using.
  4. Pour or spoon mixture into silicone candy molds or mini-muffin pan (about 1 Tb of mixture)
  5. Put in freezer until set.
  6. Remove from molds and store in the freezer or fridge in an airtight container.

Be mindful that each fat bomb is considered a full serving of fat – great for curbing the appetite, satisfying a sweet tooth and supporting your hormones with the building blocks they need! And FREAKIN DELISH. The hubby makes these HIMSELF every two weeks….seriously, that easy and totally delicious.