Are your hormones wrecking your life? Do you dread certain days every month, or does your family dread certain days every month?
If your cycle is ruining a good chunk of every month for you, stay tuned because in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how to turn your cycle into your superpower.
But before we turn you all into Wonder Women, let’s talk about what’s coming up in my Facebook group in the new year. Ladies, it is almost 2020!! Are you ready? Have you already started making your list of resolutions to break?
I’m only half-kidding. We all know how long those resolutions last. If we make it through January with them, it’s basically a miracle.
That’s why I’m starting an Anti-Resolution Challenge in January. I want to help you break the cycle of all-or-nothing and show you how you can be successful 12 months a year, 365 days a year, and never set another New Year’s resolution to break.
Now, onto the show…
Hormones often become a scapegoat for women who struggle to lose weight and feel amazing in their bodies.
When we dive in to find out more about what is really happening, we can learn so much more about how to use our own hormones to our advantage.
In this episode, my guests Drs. Alex Golden and Megan Blacksmith of Zesty Ginger share their tips on how to balance hormones in a natural way and how to reconnect to your cycle to allow it to become your superpower.
Passionate About Periods
One of the things I love about the message that Alex and Megan bring to the discussion is their passion for seeing our cycles as a superpower instead of something to dread each month.
My daughter is 10 and I know that it’s only a matter of time now before she has her first period, and I am determined that it is going to be a celebration for her. I don’t want to fill her head with the same old “woe is me” stories that most of us heard when we started.
Megan and Alex see too many women not tapping into what our cycles offer us.
I hear you…”OFFER US? What?”
And yes, as women, we have a certain intuition and inner guidance that only comes to us because we are female. Our cycle allows us certain advantages. The problem is that we don’t take advantage of these gifts.
Megan admits to not knowing what exactly was going on in her own body until she was in her late twenties. She wants other girls to have a far better experience and to understand their bodies at a younger age.
The Phases of a Cycle
When Megan and Alex were young in their medical careers, they realized that everything they knew about food, exercise, moods, etc. was all based on men. And they were definitely not men.
Women’s bodies go through changes every month that make things like weight loss, rest, and nutritional needs very different from what men need.
So, they pulled out their physiology books and dug in to get a deeper understanding of what the female body goes through each month and how it changes and affects every other part of her life.
I asked Alex and Megan to share these phases of the cycles of women’s bodies but we only have so much room to go into it in this post so please, listen to the entire episode to get all of the amazing information they shared about not only the 2 phases we talk about here, but the 4 actual phases your body goes through each and every month.
I promise it will help you and you might even learn something.
The Ovulation Sandwich
The simplest breakdown that the ladies use is something they call the ovulation sandwich.
This sandwich starts with a period on one side, and then about 2 weeks later, depending on your cycle, you ovulate. And then, about 2 weeks later, you get the other side and have another period.
From the first period to ovulation is the first half of the cycle, and from ovulation to the next period is the second half of the cycle.
Ovulation is the #1 predictor of how you will feel during this cycle and the start of the next cycle. If you don’t ovulate, you don’t make progesterone and there is nowhere else for it to come from.
The half-cycle from your period to ovulation matters because your period sets in motion all the systems that will cause ovulation to occur.
The half from ovulation to your next period matter because if this side of the sandwich is out of whack, the worse your PMS symptoms are going to be and the sooner they will hit.
When you get your cycle working correctly on both sides of the sandwich, you are going to feel so much better, and you may realize how badly you were feeling before.
The Consequences of Inflammation
One of the things that Megan and Alex focus on with their clients and patients is inflammation.
Inflammation is a huge concern for all of us living in the world today, especially considering the amounts of chemicals in our food, water, soaps, lotions, toothpaste, etc. Reducing inflammation is crucial for each of us.
Alex and Megan see multiple pathways in the body affected by inflammation. They focus on the impacts on the body from the inside out and from the outside in.
There are some simple ways to help fight inflammation from the inside out such as marshmallow root tea, collagen, valerian root tea, or adding ginger and turmeric to a smoothie.
When speaking of the outside in, you want to take a look at cryotherapy and ice baths. If you suffer from joint pain or large muscle group pain, you’re going to want to pay more attention to the outside-in therapy.
How Nutrition Affects Your Cycle
I wasn’t surprised to hear that a lot of the women that Alex and Megan see have been depriving themselves of nutrient-dense food for a very long time. I say I wasn’t surprised because I see it all the time in my own clients.
Good nutrition is the basis for healthy cycles.
If you don’t eat nutritious food on a regular basis, if you starve yourself or you get by on fast food or takeout, your cycle will not be healthy and you will feel miserable. You may not even have periods if you aren’t feeding yourself.
The ladies have all of their patients/clients go back to the basics of eating and nutrition, which is 3 meals per day with snacks in between. Every meal and snack is comprised of protein, complex carbs, fat, and veggies.
This is what I call a balanced plate, and I make all of my clients create balanced plates and show them to me! I want to see all the macronutrients on their plates at every meal.
Test, Don’t Guess
It is entirely possible for multiple women to each have a completely different set of symptoms but have their underlying labs be the same.
Likewise, women can share the exact symptoms and have the underlying root be completely different.
What we tend to do is figure out our symptoms, Google what those symptoms are from, and then choose a protocol based on what we read. Our protocols most often involve supplements (that may be poor quality), food, or extreme forms of movement – either extreme exercise or none at all.
The majority of women can find better health just by following the basics of better nutrition, rest, and movement. But for about half of women, they need more.
Functional lab work can give your medical practitioner the numbers they need to find the protocol that will get you the best results rather than taking a stab in the dark.
Action Steps for You
So, you’ve identified with some of what you’ve read and now you need to know where to start.
Alex and Megan have a 3-pronged approach to their work which is:
- Education – learn what your needs are
- Action – take action on those needs
- Enjoyment – enjoy your life and renewed health
They believe strongly that no matter where you find yourself, there are things you can do to make upward or lateral moves to gain more ground or strengthen your current position.
The first step you can take today, no matter where you are in this journey is to track your period.
Alex and Megan recommend using the app My Flow to see where you are in the ovulation sandwich. *Don’t have a period, or have an irregular period? Listen in at 34:00 to hear how to track even if you haven’t had a period recently!
If you are in the half of your cycle before ovulation, purchase tart cherry juice or tart cherry concentrate, and add it to one glass of water per day to decrease inflammation.
During the second half of your cycle, so after ovulation and before your next period, get some 100% cranberry juice or cranberry concentrate, and add that to a glass of water daily to help alleviate PMS symptoms.
Oh my goodness, ladies! Was this episode chock full of information or what?!
I appreciate Alex and Megan so much for everything they shared today and I know it is going to help so many of you.
If you still aren’t sure where to start, they have offered a step-by-step guide to get you started on the road to better health and learning to use your cycle as your superpower.
You can sign up for that guide right here!
And as always, I would love to help you as you navigate these sometimes tricky waters.
There may be many layers of this onion that you have to peel back before you get to all the root causes. If you don’t know where to start, I am here to help.
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