Girl Talk! Hormone Balance & AIP
In this video I talk about:
👗Balancing female hormones (Very important if you suffer from thyroid dysregulation, endometriosis, PCOS, adrenal fatigue, PMS, debilitating cramps or other conditions affected by female hormones!)
👗Estrogen dominance signs
👗What xenoestrogens are and how to avoid them
👗Phytoestrogens- beneficial or not?
👗How AIP helps to balance our hormones
👗Tips for how to love your liver!
I also review "Cooking For Hormone Balance" by Magdalena Wszelaki
Aaaand I talk about one of my favorite new books, "Dirty Genes" by Dr. Ben Lynch!
ORIGINAL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT (I may have improvised a bit in the video)
Let’s have some girl talk!
Welcome to Real World AIP, the channel dedicated to helping you implement the Autoimmune Protocol. I’m certified AIP coach Stacey and today I’m going to be talking about PMS and estrogen dominance!
I’m also going to review Cooking for Hormone Balance by Magdalena Wszelaki (Zel-AK-ki.)
Sharon Rush was nice enough to send me this book from my Amazon wishlist. Thank you so much Sharon!
I was interested in reading this book because I’ve personally suffered from uterine cysts, life altering cramps, and the dreaded PMS…and I’m sure I have viewers with autoimmune conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Balancing female hormones is also important when dealing with Hashimoto’s, adrenal fatigue and menopause.
Because of the way I’ve been eating the last few years (basically I’m on a vegetable heavy AIP but with a few reintros) I don’t get cramps anymore, which still amazes me. I used to have to call out sick every month and I’d be in bed with cold sweats clutching a heating pad praying to God that I’ll become a more religious person if he’ll just take the pain away...
No sign of uterine cysts anymore either, but I do still have some wonky female hormone issues only when I eat certain foods. I seem to be easily pushed into what all arrows point to as estrogen dominance.
For me I’m convinced it’s a detox issue. I have genetic glitches that prevent me from breaking down many drugs, chemicals and hormones like estrogen properly (NAT2 slow acetylator, CYP450) which could lead to estrogen dominance symptoms some of which include increased PMS, irritability, breast tenderness, water retention, bloating and other fun things like that.
No, those are not normal things for us to have every month- common, oh yes, but not normal, we just get used to it.
Other signs of estrogen dominance can include: irregular periods, fibrocystic breast tissue, mood swings, fatigue and headaches.
Many women with endometriosis have a estrogen dominance.
By the way, Estrogen dominance doesn’t necessarily mean that you have crazy amounts of estrogen; it means you have too much estrogen in relation to the progesterone in your body, so your ratio is off.
When I personally eat certain foods with phytoestrogens in them I actually go up almost a cup size and it hurts, it’s not a good thing, lol. I can’t touch flaxseed or even pomegranates which contain these supposedly beneficial plant estrogens. I also react very poorly to true yams of the dioscorea family with extreme bloating, exaggerated PMS, going up a painful cup size and shortened cycles.
Now phytoestrogens are supposed to contain a safer form of beneficial plant estrogens that plug up receptors for estradiol, the more potent form of estrogen made by the body, and by doing that they supposedly reduce signs of estrogen dominance- not for me, they make it worse! I feel like I'm on an estrogen roller coaster and along with the cup size comes bloating, too much emotion and increased PMS. Joy.
It seems that I’m not alone in reacting to plant based estrogens like those found in flax.
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy, founder of the Center For New Medicine in Irvine, California has an article on her website entitled: “The Flax Myth.”
In the article she states that women are bombarded all day by environmental estrogens. That at one time, flax may have been a great health supplement, but now, due to the prevalence of environmental estrogens, it’s not true.
She says try it for yourself! Remember, most of you are estrogen dominant or progesterone deficient, so you may already have these complaints. If you add flax to your diet, watch the symptoms increase. Conversely, if you are taking flax, stop and see what happens. She says when they have their patients remove flax from their diet, they notice a decrease in weight, breast tenderness, hair loss, hot flashes and PMS, with an improvement in sleep, energy and mood.
For me this is absolutely the case! Maybe that whole harmless plant based estrogen theory blocking harmful estradiol works for some, but for me it just further skews my estrogen to progesterone ratio into a cloud of hormonal misery.
This topic wouldn’t be complete without addressing xenoestrogens. (Those are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body, chemicals like the bpa in plastics, pesticides in food and parabens in skincare products.) Those are even worse because they are not biodegradable and get stored in our fat cells, leading to excessive estrogen levels and the misery and health risks that come along with it.
Being on AIP helped me with my hormones so much without ever having to do research on estrogen and things like that. That’s the beauty of AIP, it serves to reduce inflammation and balance us out in so many ways without us having to understand all the little scientific details like estrogen vs progesterone, zonulin and the gut barrier. All you really have to do is just follow the guidelines.
It wasn’t until I noticed an absolutely undeniable unmistakable connection with yams flaxseed and pomegranate and my hormone issues that I started to actually dive into it. You know me, I like to dig and dig. I know flaxseed isn’t AIP, but I seemed to be okay with seeds in general including flax after my re-intro process, except for the hormone issues.
So I ended up reading DR. Michael Lam’s book "Estrogen Dominance: Hormonal Imbalance of the 21st Century"
Then I read Dr. Ben Lych's "Dirty Genes"- game changer! His book and its genetic profile quizzes basically diagnosed me with every genetic defect that I had already paid $200 for 23 and me testing and then hours pouring through promethease and SNPedia.com to analyze the data.
Dr. Ben Lynch comes highly recommended from Mickey Trescott. When it comes to genetics he’s her go-to guy. And basically from reading his book it confirmed what I had already learned the long hard way, that I don’t break down estrogen (or dopamine) efficiently and I need detox support.
Liver detox support is crucial for treating signs of estrogen dominance because if our liver can’t effectively filter estrogen it builds up higher and higher. Addressing liver health is KEY in addressing hormone balance.
AIP helped a lot with many many of my symptoms but as an estrogen dominance prone woman I need to take a few more steps like really really avoiding pesticides in my food, eating only grass fed meat and wild salmon, using natural skin care and household products, ditching toxic non-stick cookware and reducing my use of plastic as much as possible, that one is one I am still working on.
I need to buy a water filter. (Update: I got a Big Berkey water filter!!! )
A sweet girl I know named Tara bought me these silicone alternatives to plastic freezer bags for my birthday so I’m using them instead of plastic bags to portion out my food now, thank you Tara!
So where does Cooking for Hormone Balance come in to all of this?
There were parts I loved and parts I did not love.
I love that the author addresses things like how to avoid xenoestrogens in your environment and personal care products and she gives you little tips like eating dandelion greens for liver health.
She also stresses healing the gut and balancing sugar levels which are super important aspects that we are already addressing by being on AIP.
She is a big fan of using flaxseed to balance hormones which did not work for me and does not work for DR. Connealy’s patients, but there are some studies that say it does work, so I guess this is one area you have to test out for yourself. Well, not the flaxseed while on AIP, but there are other AIP compliant sources of phytoestrogens like true yams and pomegranate.
You could experiment with these and see what happens. I hope your experiment doesn’t turn out like mine did. We’re all so different though! We each have to figure these things, out on our own. What works for me might be a disaster for you and vice versa. My advice would be to simply be aware of which foods contain high levels of phytoestrogens and mindful of any connection you can make between months you are particularly hormonal and how much of these foods you’ve eaten.
The author is also a fan of seed cycling, you basically use pumpkin, flax, sesame and sunflower seeds at various times of the month to try to balance out your hormones. I’ve tried it. Not for me, it just added to my estrogen pile, but it seems like it’s working for some people on the internet so it’s another one of those Your Mileage May Vary circumstances. I don’t know of any actual scientific studies done on it. I wouldn’t eat the seeds if you’re on elimination phase of AIP anyway.
I like that she addresses some troubleshooting issues like SIBO and histamine. Not too in depth, but at least enough to bring awareness to these common hurdles on our quest for health.
One thing you need to be aware of is that she does include modifications for AIP in some of her recipes, BUT she doesn’t tell you to leave out the butter or ghee. It is in many of her recipes marked as AIP compliant. I don’t think she realizes that ghee is a re-intro. There is also black pepper in the mineral bone broth on page 160 with no mention to leave it out for AIP. The other recipes that have pepper tell you to leave it out for AIP, just not this one. So be careful if you’re on elimination phase using this cookbook.
I will say that the creamy peruvian dressing on page 286 looks really yummy!
Same with the herbal pesto and raspberry melties...
All in all though, No NEW info here, not as science based as I’ve been spoiled with by reading Dr Sarah Ballantyne's, Dr. Mark Hyman's and Dr. Ben Lynch’s books recently. Also the book is not specific enough in the recipes to guide someone new to AIP.
If you want to balance your hormones, you are already SO far on your way just by being on AIP. Give it time. Don’t go crazy with the high sugar AIP treats even if it is natural compliant sugar...
Also, be aware of how phytoestrogens in foods like yams and pomegranate may be affecting you, avoid xenoestrogens like the plague (you know, eat organic and grass-fed or wild, ditch the plastic and use natural household and personal care products, filtered water...)
And love your liver because you need your liver to break down that estrogen so your body can get rid of it. Eat beets and dandelion greens and loads of veggies in general, eat plenty of fiber to move that metabolized estrogen out of your system so it doesn’t get reabsorbed back into circulation, ditch the NSAID’s, as well as coffee and alcohol...
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