The most important component of healthy hormones + my top 5 tips for liver cleansing
I talk a lot about the liver every day when speaking with clients. Many women (myself included in the not-so-distant past) don’t know that our livers play an integral role in our hormonal health. Let’s just put it this way…if your hormones are all whacked out, then it’s most likely that your liver is not feeling so hot.
Your liver functions in your body in much the same way a pool filter functions in a pool. Just as a pool filter cleans a pool by catching the dead leaves, dirt and insects, the liver detoxifies our bodies from harmful chemicals and toxins found in food and our environment. This is done in two phases and requires certain vitamins and minerals to do it effectively.
Too much booze, drugs (illegal and legal – xanax has to be processed by your liver too), pesticides in foods, refined sugar, chemicals and environmental pollution (your liver doesn’t like smog), and too little nutrients can cause your lovely liver to get really bogged down. It ends up working all day long to remove these excess toxins that we’re exposed to, instead of doing it’s main jobs in the body.
One of the most important functions of the liver is to break down and remove excess hormones from your body. One hormone in particular is estrogen. As you know, estrogen is a big player in our menstrual health – it helps build the uterine lining, it keeps our vagina’s lubricated and even helps keep our mood elevated!
There are two phases of liver detoxification. Fortunately for many of us, our phase 1 detox works really great so things get moved through pretty fast. Where we run into problems is phase 2 – it tends to be much slower. This creates a bit of a bottleneck and eventually a lot of the not-quite-broken-down toxins spill back into our system because the liver can’t accommodate them anymore because of the backlog.
So here’s what happens with estrogen:
- Once estrogen has done it’s job in the body, it is sent to the liver so it can be broken down and removed through the colon. Unfortunately, if your liver is all gunked up from the excess toxins it is exposed to then it is unable to function optimally and thus cannot remove estrogen at it’s normal rate. Estrogen is not metabolized properly and can be reabsorbed back into the body.
- Even if a woman’s liver is functioning properly there is another factor to consider. Chronic constipation because of lack of fiber. Fiber increases the expulsion of excess estrogen so it would make sense that too little fiber would be a problem. As I mentioned above, the liver sends that broken down estrogen to your colon for removal. If your bowels aren’t moving then that estrogen can get reabsorbed back into the bloodstream. Ah, no good.
- In addition to all of this, if you are consuming a diet with too much fat, such as the Standard American Diet, your estrogen levels may go up. The reason for this is that excess dietary fat encourages reabsorption of estrogens from your gut into your blood stream rather than excretion of this excess estrogen.
And so it begins – a build-up of estrogen in the bloodstream. This results in a condition called estrogen dominance, where estrogen becomes dominant in the body in relation to progesterone. It’s like a store where there are no sales but the owner keeps buying new products.
Estrogen dominance can result in some rather unpleasant symptoms and conditions:
- Fibrocystic breasts, tender and swollen breasts
- Bloating and painful periods
- PMS & PMDD – especially emotional symptoms like anxiety, depression and snappiness
- Migraines, especially right before your period
- Irregular periods and heavy bleeding
- Endometriosis – from an overstimulation of the uterine lining by too much estrogen
- Fibroids – similar to how endometriosis begins
- Infertility – caused by many of the symptoms above
Here are a couple other things that contribute to the condition of estrogen dominance:
1. Stress. I said it! Chronic stress can cause chronically high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Read more about all that here. Cortisol actually blocks progesterone receptors which can lead to low levels of progesterone in relation to estrogen. This results in symptoms of estrogen dominance.
2. Xenoestrogens. These are synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen. They are found in plastics, and many many other products that we use in everyday life. We live in a pretty toxic world. Did you know there are over 80,000 chemicals currently on the market and the majority of them have not been tested for safety, much less proven safe. Xenoestrogens act like estrogen in the body making it seem like you’ve got more estrogen than you do. They are total impostors and wreak havoc on your delicate hormonal balance. BPA and phthalates are two of the worst offenders.
3. Alcohol. Do you know that alcohol consumption raises estrogen levels and slows down fat burning? Not cool! Just two servings a day for four weeks has been shown to raise estrogen levels by 22 percent!
So, what’s a girl to do? Here are 5 of my best recommendations:
1. Get that fiber in! I know, sounds so boring right? However, it has been proven that women eating higher amounts of fiber have lower levels of circulating estrogen, so it’s worth a try! Less estrogen wreaking havoc on your hot bod – what’s not to love? Try getting 25 grams of fiber a day into your diet. What does 25 grams of fiber look like? Here it is: 1 apple-5 grams, 1 pear-4 grams, 1/2 cup of kidney beans-6 grams, 1 cup of brown rice-4 grams, 1 cup of mustard or collard greens-5 grams. That’s 24 grams of fiber! So easy right?
2. Cut back on the zin. Alcohol impairs your liver’s functioning so much that circulating estrogen levels increase significantly with just two drinks a day. If you are struggling with any of the estrogen dominance issues above then reducing the amount of alcohol you drink could really help. The same goes for the men in your life. Liver impairment caused by too much alcohol can cause a condition called gynocomastia, which is characterized by enlarged breasts in men. The cause: elevated levels of estrogen.
3. Reduce exposure to Xenoestrogens. As if we needed any more estrogen! PCB’s, pesticides, chlorine, you name it; they all have this effect on us. And let’s not talk about the ingredients in shampoo, body lotion and makeup. There are some serious offenders out there. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to find out how your products rate. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ Start replacing your toxic products with products that contain more natural ingredients and less chemicals. Your body and your liver will thank you.
4. Eat foods that cleanse your liver. Dandelion greens contain many compounds that aid in the cleansing of the liver. I used to be scared to try new greens but they are seriously the best thing I ever incorporated into my diet. Avocados have been shown to protect the liver against toxic overload and turmeric has been found to protect the liver against toxins. In fact, turmeric is one of the most powerful liver cleansers out there. Sulphur-rich foods like brussels sprouts and cabbage are also awesome along with beets too.
5. Take supplements that will increase your glutathione levels. Glutathione is the master of all antioxidants and it is required by your body so it can properly detox every day. Basically it just mops up all the mess and helps your body get rid of it. The problem is poor food choices, stress, and a genetic inability to adequately detoxify leaves us very depleted. Boost your glutathione levels with this glutathione supplement 450mg/day, or try N-Acetyl Cysteine which is a precursor to glutathione. Integrative Therapeutics NAC or Thorne Research Cyste Plus - 500mg/day. These supplements speed up phase two detoxification in the liver which is super helpful in preventing the bottleneck I described above.
Here’s another brilliant option: You can now buy my Lovely Liver 5-Day Hormone Cleanse for just $37 right in time for the change in seasons! Autumn for us northern hemisphere dwellers and Spring for the southern hemisphere peeps.
You’ll get everything you need to participate in this cleanse, including:
- Free Cleanse intro webinar - with all the details on what to do and expect
- The Pre-Detox Guide - get prepared with this handy guide
- The Lovely Liver Cleanse E-Book - a full-on guide with recipes and everything!
- A complete shopping list - with foods and cleanse enhancing supplements
- A Detox & Feel Good Tips handout - top 10 tips to get the most out of your cleanse
- Access to my special cleansing Pinterest board – tons of fun pictures and recipes
- Our private cleansing Facebook group – we can chat about anything you want to know
Click here for all the details and to take advantage of this awesome deal!COMMENT
Why Lena Dunham is wrong about birth control
I literally jumped out of bed to write this post today! If you know me, you know that I don’t ever jump out of bed to write. But today was different because as I lay in bed scrolling through the Huffington Post (I know, I know I shouldn’t wake up and look at my phone…sigh, no one is perfect) I came across an article entitled:
“Lena Dunham Asks Why People Use Birth Control, World Learns Critical Lesson.”
Naturally I clicked on it to have a read. It turns out that Lena Dunham has endometriosis, and in response to the government’s continued assault on a woman’s access to birth control (I’ll get to that in a minute), she tweeted this message:
“I need birth control because I have endometriosis and it helps manage pain. Why do you?”
Within a short time there were nearly 1000 responses ranging from not wanting more kids to having PMS, PCOS, endometriosis and more. While I admire Lena’s advocacy for women’s healthcare rights, I strongly disagree with this message.
Women! We are not inherently broken and we do not need a birth control pill to fix us. What we need is a more comprehensive understanding of how our bodies actually work so we don’t live in constant fear of them. Do you know that 58% of American women who take the birth control pill also use it for reasons other than getting pregnant?? 
Let me translate this:
More than half of the women in this country have symptoms so bad every month that they need a powerful hormonal cocktail to make them feel better physically and emotionally. This implies that women’s bodies don’t work – that without a great deal of medical intervention we simply can’t be healthy.
And this pisses me off so fucking much!
Don’t get me wrong, the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court really pisses me off too. And the fact that the government continues to cater to these organizations is beyond my comprehension.
Women’s health in America today is truly under attack and I cannot fathom how the men making these decisions can’t see in the faces of their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, the faces of every woman negatively impacted by their horrible abuse of power. I could go on and on about the lack of safe abortion clinics, the new rules on contraception, the chronic undermining of Roe vs Wade by state governments and myriad other issues.
But I won’t. No instead, I will just say this…
We don’t need to fear our bodies, we just need to understand them. The current women’s health care crisis is a perfect example of our lack of understanding, not only from these idiotic men who keep proposing and enacting these ridiculous laws but for every woman who is terrified of what her body will do every month because she has never been taught the basics.
We need a paradigm shift here ladies (and gentlemen – especially you!). Women today need to know that the pill or any method of hormonal contraception DOES NOT fix endometriosis, fibroids, painful and heavy periods, PMS, PMDD, depression, or any other condition related to our monthly menstrual cycle. All it does is mask an underlying hormonal imbalance that if not treated can and likely will cause a whole host of problems down the line.
I have been doing this work for four years and the stories I get from women every single day are completely gut-wrenching. We place our trust in our doctors and the medical system because we have collectively moved so far away from understanding the true nature of how our beautiful female bodies actually function. Essentially, we take our bodies to the doctor in the same manner we might take our cars to the mechanic – we have no idea what the hell is wrong and we pray that the doctor/mechanic will fix it because we have to get back to living life!
Unlike cars though, our bodies have cycles and systems that ebb and flow. When we slather ourselves in hormones to spot-treat individual issues, all we are doing is further hindering our ability to actually figure out what is going on!
Imagine how empowering it would be to know exactly when you were ovulating each month, the days you could have unprotected sex to either get pregnant or prevent pregnancy, knowing when your period will arrive, not living in fear of PMS or tons of physical pain, and finally, having an appreciation for all the hard work your body does every month for you.
This is possible for every woman. I know because I have helped thousands of women move from fear of their bodies to feeling at home in their bodies. The only way to stop this insane cycle of assault on women’s health is for women to START trusting their bodies and STOP giving their power away to doctors who don’t have the slightest clue about treating the root cause of anything. Continually relying on a prescribed pill which by the way, has been classified as a Class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization , is completely disempowering for all women. Instead I show women how to be far less dependent on doctors for fundamental answers that should be a part of their own knowledge and understanding.
If you want to learn more about how the pill and other hormonal birth control methods damage your amazing body, read this post and then this post. Or tune in to my radio show The Period Party for even more information on your hormones and how you can take back control of your health and your menstrual cycle. You can also join my Know Your Flow Facebook group community to get support from other women who are on this journey too!
If you’re really motivated you can check out my latest course, Fix Your Period:PMS in which I teach you exactly how to get to the root of your hormonal imbalance, treat it holistically using a combination of food, supplements and easy stress management practices and finally be free from hormonal birth control.
I believe these fundamentals should be seen as part of every woman’s basic education. Period. By the way, Lena I think you’re beyond awesome and totally love you to pieces!!
Scroll down to estrogen to take a look.
So tell me how you feel about the issues I raised in this post?COMMENT
Sigh. If only it was just a splash of blood every month...
Over the years I’ve read your messages and listened to everything you’ve had to say – what you’re struggling with, what you want to learn and how I can truly help. It is my mission in life to help you translate the language your body is speaking. Because I believe you and your lady parts are simply not broken.
Yes, you’re dealing with a health challenge right now, but this challenge is your body communicating to you that she needs some assistance. That’s it! I know it sounds simple but if you’ve ever tried to learn a new language, you know that it ain’t that easy! Trust me, I’ve been there. I spent years in and out of doctor’s offices, being mis-diagnosed with pretty serious conditions and ultimately getting nothing!
I hear that from women like you all the time, “no one can figure out what is wrong with me and I have no idea what to do!!” So where do you begin? And how do you start learning the words and phrases of your body’s language? For starters, you can check out my newest 8-week program that I’ve just launched, the Fix Your Period: PMS program!
In this program I use a step-by-step process in which I focus on FIVE crucial pillars of your hormonal health that are all based on the latest research.
AND I’ve got FOUR really good reasons for you to snap this program up immediately:
- There are only 50 spots available in this course - the reason it’s so limited is because our support team just isn’t big enough to handle more that 50 people at a time.
- You’re getting $97 off the total cost of the course if you buy it by July 28th. Yeah girl that’s right, a 30% discount! I’m good like that.
- I am giving you THREE live group calls with me during this 8-week course, for free! Our first one will be on August 4th.
- AND finally, the program registration closes on Thursday July 31st or when it fills up! Eeeks!
I’ve even got a kick-ass video for you to check out too!! If you think PMS doesn’t affect you, you might be surprised by what I have to share. It’s only two minutes so it won’t take up too much of your time
The best part is I’m going to support you on your journey and guide you along the way in our group calls and the private Facebook community. I’ll be there with you showing you everything you need to know and answering all your questions.
Look, I don’t know if there’s ever a “right” time to make an important life change. But I do know it’s worth you watching this and deciding to take the next step now versus later. Every day with the status quo is a day you’ll never get back. It’s your time! See you there!
Hit me with your best questions below about the program so I can help you get the answers you need and get started.COMMENT
Why we sleep in separate beds sometimes
I know, I’ve gone all June and Ward Cleaver on you! You’re likely wondering why on earth two people in their 30′s, who are in a relatively new relationship and are childless (that’s a biggie!) wouldn’t be spending as much time in the same bed as possible.
Well, the answer is our sleep patterns are very different!
I am a bit of a night owl, I like to go to bed around 11:30ish whereas my man is pretty much passed out by 9:30pm. I have no idea how that is even humanly possible! I am also a super light sleeper and the slightest noise wakes me up. And guess what? He’s a big time snorer! The minute I even begin to hear heavy breathing it’s over.
He also moves around a lot in his sleep. I prefer a colder room whereas he’s fine to sweat it out. And he’s an early riser – like 5:30am – whereas I love getting out of bed around 8ish. Basically I am in awe of any woman who can sleep through all of that! LOL
As you can see, this creates quite an inconvenient sleeping environment. I’d venture to say that many of you are in a similar position too? Clients tell me all the time that their partners’ different work schedules or sleeping habits are continuously interrupting their snooze time.
In my opinion, there are far too many stressed out, hormonally imbalanced women who feel like they’ve done a triathlon each day not getting a good night’s sleep. And it has created a population of us running around with a serious sleep deficit! Here are the joys of that:
- High cortisol levels – I talk about that here
- Accelerated aging
- Weight gain
- Depression and other mood issues including anxiety
Hey, they don’t use sleep deprivation as a torture technique for nothin’ right?
Here’s the hormone real talk
Lack of sleep has a snowball effect on all your hormones and eventually they all come tumbling down that hill. If you sleep well and wake up restored, your cortisol reaches a peak within 30 minutes of waking up. This sets off all your other hormones, thyroid, estrogen etc. If you don’t sleep well, cortisol is high in the morning and this can disrupt the conversation between estrogen and progesterone, it can cause your thyroid to slow down, which slows down your metabolism and causes weight gain! Ugh, quite a cumulative effect.
What about sleeping pills?
Trouble with sleep is so common that American’s are popping sleeping pills in record numbers. In 2011, an estimated 40 MILLION sleeping pill prescriptions were dispensed and MOST OF THEM WERE FOR WOMEN .
Did you know that sleeping pills generally only increase the amount of time you sleep by a matter of minutes (a measly 20-30)??
Yet they can significantly impair your ability to function like a normal human the next day and they can also have a rebound effect – once you stop taking them, you may suffer “withdrawal” symptoms worse than the initial insomnia. What’s even more frightening is there are now actual studies that show how sleeping pills are linked to these issues :
- Higher risk for certain cancers (35% higher)
- Increased risk of death, including from accidents (four times more likely to die as people who don’t take them)
- Increased insulin resistance, food cravings, weight gain and diabetes – very bad for women who are already hormonally imbalanced
- Amnesia, even from events that occurred during the day – whoa!!!
- Depression, confusion, disorientation, and hallucinations
All of this can occur even in people only taking them less than 20 times a year. Oh dear, is this you?
If you’re not willing to risk this madness then read on…here’s what you can do now.
- Get a comfortable bed and luxurious bedding. No seriously, if your bed isn’t the best bed for you and your partner you will suffer the consequences. I’ve noticed that when my guy is on an uncomfortable mattress he tosses and turns and snores a lot more. This is years of experience in hotels – ah, long distance love. Buy the best mattress and bedding you can afford and try to get one that is organic/eco-friendly. Conventional mattresses are full of chemicals including flame retardants that are extremely hazardous to your health. Ikea makes great natural mattresses and they are reasonably priced.
- Sleep in another room! I know society paints a bleak picture of couples who sleep separately – “they sleep in separate beds, OMG they must be on the verge of divorce!” While sleeping together can be intimate, soothing and comforting, I believe there are times when sleeping apart can increase these feelings and totally save your sanity and thus your relationship. Right now, this is our best option because our bed isn’t comfortable but we’re moving soon and it doesn’t make sense to buy a new one. Practicality rules this household! All jokes aside though, how much is your health worth to you? Apparently it’s worth a lot to the 25% of Americans and 10% of Brits who are opting to sleep in separate rooms.
- Keep your room cold. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that temperatures above 75 and below 54 degrees Fahrenheit can disrupt sleep for most people. Studies suggest that women sleep best at about 64 degrees F. Of course everyone is different, so the ideal is to keep your room cool (to you) so that you’re most comfortable. It’s hard to sleep if you’re too hot or too cold so find what works…and hope your partner agrees! If not, see #2 above!
Remember, when your circadian rhythm is off, you create a bad neighborhood for your hormones.
Therefore, the goal is to get that restful and restorative sleep every night. As in, you fall asleep within 30 minutes of laying down, you sleep through the night without waking up, you wake up in the morning feeling energetic and ready to take on the day and you are able to get through the day without feeling the need for a nap. Lemme know below! Happy dreamtime to you! xoxoCOMMENT
A New Cycle - Book Review
Are you ready for a book that will forever change how your view your cycle?
Great! Because A New Cycle: Your Guide to A Better Period Naturally is here and it’s available for you to buy now This gorgeous book was manifested and created by Tracy Puhl, the owner of Glad Rags, a company that makes high quality sustainable menstrual products and empowers women by positively transforming the experience of menstruation.
I feel honored to be a contributor to this groundbreaking book in which various experts come together to break down the inner workings of the female menstrual cycle. A true collaborative effort, this book is a compilation of essays by renowned women’s health experts that explores natural birth control, ovulation and the menstrual cycle, pelvic floor health, Chinese medicine, herbalism, Ayurveda, detoxification and much more.
Additionally, it includes resources and action plans at the end of each chapter to help you get your derailed menstrual health back on track. What stood out for me while reading A New Cycle was each writer’s dedication to their craft and the women they serve. Many of them have transformed painful stories into powerful expertise which they have masterfully woven into the fabric of their essays.
This is a quick and easy read – I literally read it on a 2 hour flight last week – and you’ll want to highlight and refer back to a whole bunch of gems so make sure to grab your copy today.
Of course I wouldn’t go on and on about a book that I love and not give you the chance to win a copy. So go ahead and enter the giveaway below for a chance to win an e-book copy of A New Cycle: Your Guide to A Better Period Naturally. In one week on June 18th I’ll choose 3 lucky winners!! We’ll send you a copy of the e-book via the email that you use to enter the giveaway. Good luck!!
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