#1 Expose Yourself To Cold
Hydrotherapy is a longstanding therapy in naturopathic medicine, but more current research shows this old idea is backed by science! Cold therapy can stimulate immune function and support a healthy stress response.
See this post for how to utilize cold therapy in your daily life as you may not be ready to tolerate a plunge into an ice bath just yet but you can still utilize this free, natural and helpful strategy. The easiest entry into cold therapy is to take a warm shower and finish with a cold rinse. Again see my post for exactly how to do this!
I talked about old school treatments like fasting and cold therapy, among others like castor oil and lemon water on this episode of the Dr Brooke Show.
#2 Stop Peeling Your Carrots
Ok this one sounds strange right? I mean, how can that possibly help? Turns out veggies in the Apiaceae Family such as carrot, cumin, dill, fennel, celery and anise support phase 1 detoxification of estrogen and of course loads of other things, such as toxins that we are exposed to daily.
As well, the skin of carrots contain loads of indigestible fiber which is awesome for your gut health by supporting your microbiome which is important for immune health, hormone balance and what’s known as phase 3 estrogen detox which is essentially a healthy gut microbiome scooting out in a bowel movement the estrogen metabolites that were made in the liver via phase 1 and phase 2 enzymes.
So don’t throw out that hormone helping fiber by peeling your carrots! Instead scrub them clean, nip off the ends and skip the peeling.
I put together FIVE yummy ways to incorporate more of these veggies into your diet including my super delicious 5C Salad. Be sure to download it!
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5 Delicious Recipes For Optimal Estrogen MetabolismGet Your Copy Here!
#3 Utilize More Herbs & Spices!
I talked about adding fresh herbs along with several other ideas to keep your healthy eating from getting boring in this article, but both dry and fresh herbs and spices are loaded with antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories, so use them liberally!
Spices can also impact hormone health via the mechanisms mentioned in #2 above. In particular herbs such as cumin, parsley, anise, fennel, caraway, coriander and dill can improve toxin and estrogen metabolism (specifically by decreasing oxidative adduct formation as part of phase 1 detox).
As well, herbs can help liver do its job in general and in the case of cilantro, support removal of heavy metals from the body such as lead (common in air pollution i.e. dust on your window sills and simply being outside in urban areas, tap water, etc.) and mercury (most commonly from fillings and seafood).
Many people are scared to mix it up with the spices because they don’t know what blends well together and what may taste sorta gross so here are a few tips:
Topping For Anything Asian or Mexican:
Matchstick chopped radishes, fresh cilantro leaves and chopped scallions.
My fourth grader calls this “the business” as in “Mom, be sure to top mine with all the business”. We put this on top of pulled chicken or ground meat dishes, stir-frys, salads and of course soups and stews!
Classic Italian Blend:
Parsley, oregano, basil and garlic. Fresh and dry, these are both so delicious and go well with ground meat, any chicken dishes and eggs with fresh pesto for breakfast, yum.
Estrogen Detox Mix:
Crush the seeds of caraway, anise and fennel with a mortar and pestle for a spicy, warm blend of herbs great on any coconut milk based soup or curry or a stirfry, ground or roasted meats and great on a sheet of roasted veggies!
Happy Holiday Blend:
Anytime I need a burst of holiday cheer, I season up roasted turkey breast or whole chicken, InstantPot pulled chicken thighs or even simple ground turkey breast with thyme, sage and parsley! This blend of course is also great on roasted veggies like Brussel Sprouts and broccoli, riced cauliflower or a big kale salad with fresh lemon juice, hazelnuts, olive oil and pomegranate seeds.
Other great combos are:
For an Asian flare mix basil and cilantro.
Garlic and rubbed sage to ground meat for a “breakfast sausage” taste.
Turmeric and fresh lemon juice are great in soup (they are my secret ingredient for chicken soup), on any baked or grilled chicken, or simple with water as a hot drink.
Turmeric is a classic ingredient in currys and a powerful supplement for lowering inflammation (need it to be emulsified for better absorption like this one) or the popular steamy, warm drink known as golden milk.
Google abounds with recipes for the Golden Milk latte abound but here’s the basics:
- 1-½ cups almond milk or coconut milk, or a blend of the two.
- The fat in the coconut milk is important for absorption and utilization of the turmeric. If you do almond milk only, add ½ to 1 tbsp of grass fed butter or ghee
- ½-1 tsp turmeric
- Optional sweeten with low carb sweetener (i.e. stevia, xylitol or monk fruit) or honey or maple syrup
- Optional ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Optional ½ tsp cinnamon and/or dried ginger
- Optional pinch of sea salt
- Optional: 1 shot of coffee or espresso if you’re utilizing this as a morning starter instead of plain coffee
You can steam with an espresso machine or put all ingredients into a pot and heat to a simmer, but not boiling, on the stove top and then transfer to a mug. You can also froth it up with a handheld frother if desired!
If you’re mixing with coffee, blend the other ingredients and heat separately and add to coffee or shot of espresso once hot, steamed or frothed.
And don’t forget cocoa!
Try a heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder mixed into anything you flavor with chili powder such as ground beef, taco Soup or chili!
Or stir up 1 heaping tablespoon of of cocoa powder with your choice of sweetener (I prefer a few drops of Stevia or small amount of monk fruit extract to keep it low carb) and mix like a hot cocoa with boiling water. Top with almond milk, coconut milk or a splash of cream.
Careful with cocoa if you have histamine issues. Wonder if you do? Learn more here.
#4 Diversify Your Veggie Intake
While you’ve probably heard no less than a million times by now that a diet high in veggies is good for your overall health and is great for keeping your blood sugar more balanced, but did you know you have to mix it up?
Your immune health, inflammatory balance, digestion and hormone health are largely dependent on a robust and DIVERSE set of helpful bacteria in your intestines (AKA your gut microbiome) so you gotta keep the sources of veggie fibers mixed up as well.
I mean who hasn’t fallen into the salad and broccoli trap? We often gravitate to what we like, what we know how to prepare, and maybe what our kiddos will eat, I get it. But diversity is the key here so you gotta keep varied veggie fibers coming in and while organic is better, do your best here and variety is key even if not organic.
Want to chat more about the importance of organic? Tune into this podcast where we covered why this matters.
If you struggle with getting in more veggies, here are a few ideas:
Sautéed greens with your morning protein source or added to breakfast soup (a trick that women just love from my book Hangry!) as cooked veggies are often more appetizing in the morning vs. a salad. That said I love me a breakfast salad!
Fill a bell pepper with scrambled eggs, tuna or chicken salad, leftover pulled chicken or ground meat of any type.
Have a container of washed and cut veggies that you can grab quickly and easily either to spruce up a green salad or just have a handful of mixed veg to add to a meal or snack.
If you really want to go all in, buy a wide variety of veggies – like 10-15 different veggies – and put them all in a Vitamix and pulse into a very fine blend. You can use a tablespoon of this blend a few times a day either on top of another meal (as you would toss on fresh herbs like a garnish) or stir into water, add to a smoothie, soup or sauce. Freeze the extra in small, glass Mason jars keeping one jar at a time in the fridge.
If you’re ready to clear up the confusion and mixed messages you’ve heard about hormones, diet and exercise; to feel at home in your body at last; and to be healthy and happy again, welcome.
Hormones leaving you feeling confused, frustrated or stuck?
If you’re ready to clear up the confusion and mixed messages you’ve heard about hormones, diet and exercise; to feel at home in your body at last; and to be healthy and happy again, welcome.Work with Dr. Brooke
#5 Morning Sun and Manage Light Exposure
I talked about your Cortisol Awakening Response (AKA CAR) in greater detail in this free guide. This unique hormonal response to full spectrum light within 20-30minutes of waking not only will help you normalize your stress response, tame inflammation, help balance your immune system but will also help you balance your blood sugar, have more energy and even sleep better.
Simply get sunlight into your eyes – even if through a window, although outside is best – right away in the morning (again, within 20-30 minutes of waking). If you wake before the sun is up or otherwise can’t get sunshine, get yourself a full spectrum light box and put it in your kitchen to soak it up while you make your morning tea or coffee.
Personally, my favorite way to stimulate my CAR is to get up and get out right away for my daily #mantrawalk. As part of the Hangry 5 Habits we suggest five walks per week and I prefer to do them while working on my mindset, as part of a moving meditation.
As for the rest of the day, consider blocking blue light exposure in the evening to lower cortisol and stimulate melatonin. My favs are BluBlox, use code BETTEREVERYDAY at checkout to save 15%!
#6 Walk More
Speaking of walking….Say yes to taking the stairs, to walking instead of the bus or subway, to parking farther way, yes, yes…but also dedicate some time most days for a longer, leisurely walk.
Most women think of walking as not intense enough to do much for them but nothing could be farther from the truth! Walking is great movement that normalizes cortisol and improves insulin sensitivity and is gentle enough not to perturb inflammation or underlying hormone issues.
In Hangry, we recommend 5 walks per week and while we often hear the cries of “but I don’t have time to walk for 45 minutes or more a day”, once women start we hear “I rearrange my whole life to get in my walks, it’s that helpful!”
No joke, just get started.
Your walks don’t have to be outside, however that is ideal as we get a great boost of oxytocin when we are in nature. You can listen to an audiobook, like Hangry! We read it ourselves and I’ll let you in on a little secret: recording an audiobook is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I have a bachelors, two masters, a doctorate and birthed two babies…and am married to a comedian, but this took the cake.
You can also catch up on a podcast (like mine!) or just let your mind wander. You’ll find you solve many problems that have been plaguing you on these walks, or get some of your best creative ideas.
I dive in deeper to 5 Reasons Walking Is Great For You and Your Hormones in this article.
Walking and chatting with a friend or learning something new or just letting your mind wander is great, but if you really want to make this time count, take a #mantrawalk. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how I love me a good #mantrawalk where I consciously focus on cultivating a more positive mindset, practice gratitude, manifest and transform unhelpful thought patterns — and you can too!
If you need a little help, get the Meditations & Mantrawalks CD that Sarah and I recorded for you! You can find that on iTunes, Google Music and Spotify.
Walking is also a great time to work on your breathing, those deep belly breaths not the shallow ones we typically have only in the upper part of your lungs.
Breathwork is something that seems so mundane but deep breathing is a quick and easy trigger for your parasympathetic (rest and digest, calming side of your nervous system) which can be a great stress management tool – which will improve the balance and health of all of your hormones.
Proper breathing is key for enhancing the flow of oxygen rich blood to your brain – where the cascade of control for all of your hormones from cortisol to thyroid to estrogen and progesterone starts in the hypothalamus.
Begin to get more mindful of tight shoulders and shallow breaths into only the upper part of your lungs. As you notice this happening, start to pull your shoulders down and back and breath deeper into your lower lungs and belly.
Get into the habit of taking a few deep breaths at the start of each meal to trigger your vagus nerve to get your digestion revved up (I go into detail about easy things you can do to improve digestion and nervous system input into your gut in this podcast) and practice the restorative breathing we teach in Hangry after a workout to bring your stress response back down.
For a video demo and a whole lot of help with the
program in Hangry, click here.
#8 Work On Your Mindset & Stress Management Skills
The #mantrawalk is a great time to do this but let’s face it, sometimes you come back from your walk and everything goes sideways.
Mindset work is a daily practice, it gets easier and you get better at it the more you practice, but it is a constant bringing yourself back to this present moment and having as many tools as possible to manage stress as possible.
We covered this from multiple angles in Hangry with the Five Pillars and our 12 Tangible Tools but by all means explore as many tactics as you can to better handle the stress of our modern and often overly busy lives.
And grab your copy of the 12 Tangible Tools totally FREE right here.
There are countless ways to work on your mindset and manage stress. We tried very hard to provide a thorough and diverse set of tools in Hangry, so try them out but by all means keep exploring if you still haven’t found what works for you. It’s so very important and so very powerful to take control of your mindset and let your many, many thoughts each day work for you instead of against you.
#9 Start Using Cleaner Beauty
This one can be a tough one, in part because you not only have some favorite products that you love but you have also likely invested quite a bit of money in them over the years. I get it.
But we can’t ignore the hormonal impact and toxic effects of a host of chemicals in our beauty products. These endocrine disruptors and in some cases an all out assault on your hormones, can no longer be downplayed.
Now you don’t have to rush to the bathroom medicine cabinet right now and with that sweeping arm move dump everything in the trash right this second – although you can if you want – but could you as things run out, a lipstick here a tinted moisturizer there, swap it for a cleaner option?
I find this often the best course and less of a shock to your wallet. However, if your hormones are in a real bad spot, you may want to hustle up and start the swap sooner rather than later.
Either way, clean beauty is an important move for your health and your hormones and thank goodness we finally have clean options that actually work and dare I say work better in some cases.
There are a host of more natural makeup lines that are actually beautiful and lovely to use nowadays including Tarte and my fav: Beauty Counter…but it wasn’t always so.
I didn’t love Beauty Counter products years ago when I first tried them. I so wanted to because I do love them as a company and I believe they are trying to do some real good in the world and protect women with their advocacy for better, more transparent cosmetic labeling and by providing great education for women about what to watch for in our personal care products and makeup.
But the truth was, initially I thought their make up wasn’t all that great as far as application. However, they have really come a long way and I can honestly say that now I really love my makeup, body care and skincare from Beauty Counter.
As a bit of a makeup junkie since junior high, I wouldn’t steer you wrong on this. And again, just start swapping products here and there so it doesn’t feel like such a huge investment…but do get started!
If you’re shopping around, here are just a few ingredients you’ll want to avoid:
Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life found in lipsticks, moisturizers and other cosmetics. Some research points to them being carcinogenic and disruptive to hormones.
Found in sunscreen and moisturizers, this disinfectant is used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
A chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability which may be toxic to various organs. It is commonly found in moisturizers and hair color.
Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
Among the biggest offenders as far as endocrine (hormone) disruptors, these preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold and are found in many cosmetics and beauty products including skin care, body and face wash, shampoos, lotions and foundation.
#10 Include Matcha In Your Day
It’s 2021 and you’ve most likely heard: drink more green tea. But have you tried matcha? This is a powdered green tea that not only makes a very rich, decadent cup but it has 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea!
With matcha you’re drinking the whole tea leaf in powdered form vs. the steep you get from regular green tea so you get a bigger dose of the good stuff. You want the super fine powder found in ceremonial matcha, you can use culinary matcha as an addition to smoothies, soups, etc.
Matcha also needs to be organic and the only ingredient on there, ideally also tested for metals and things like fluoride. The brand I recommend is DoMatcha.
Many of the suggestions in this article have been about antioxidants and liver detox support and matcha is super helpful for both! With much more antioxidants that regular green tea and even antioxidant stars like berries, it also has high levels of chlorophyll which is particularly helpful in dealing with heavy metals and nasty things like persistent chemicals like dioxins.
And like most pick me ups like coffee, green tea and in particular matcha are high in the calming amino acid, L-theanine. So while there is some caffeine, most women like the more calm energy of green tea and matcha as compared to coffee or espresso. L-theanine also gives that great mental edge of a clear but alert mind and can even improve exercise performance.
If you’re not sold on matcha or you’ll drink some matcha but want to keep your morning cup of coffee, consider an upgrade to something that provides some adrenal and stress adaptogens with your cuppa. Use code BETTEREVERYDAY at checkout and save 15%.
There ya have it! Some easy upgrades and several options that are free or low cost.
Here’s to happier hormones without breaking the bank.