I am starting a new diet, which is optimized for correcting female hormone imbalance. It will begin as a juice fast and transition into a hormone-balancing diet afterwards. Hormone balancing supplementation, superfoods and yoga moves are included. I will see in one or two months whether I managed to overcome my menstrual cramps by these means.
Below is the explanation of the diet. The actual diet diary notes are here: female hormone balancing diet summary & conclusions, juice fast (first week), detailed diary (very long read).
This diet is based on previously published research and personal experiences: "natural remedies for menstrual cramps" and "Menstrual Cramp Remedies - My Experience". I am putting all the research to test now, in the hope that I will - in the next two months - completely eliminate the severe menstrual cramps that I have been suffering from.
This diet trial was undertaken in August 2014. Notes updated and comments added in 2017.
Beginning the Hormone Balancing Diet
I am currently on Day 11 of my menstrual cycle, having come off my menses on Day 7. I will start the diet tomorrow, today being the planning/ research day.
Many female hormone imbalances, according to my research, can be corrected by a very healthy lifestyle. Your sexual and reproductive health is one of the very first things to be compromised when your body is out of balance. Thus good sex hormone function and the absence of menstrual and other hormonal difficulties can be taken as a sign of good health. On the other hand, the sex hormones are key to staying young and feeling youthful and energetic, so it is well worth putting your attention to a hormone balancing diet and lifestyle.
Below is a list of methods I plan to use to overcome menstrual cramps. I am hoping it will take two months or less to get some good results on this diet plan. In the end of this article you will find a link to detailed diary notes.
Please note that I have planned this hormone-balancing-diet in view of my own health situation and challenges whereas juice fasting or specific superfoods or supplements may not be suitable for you, because everyone's body and health situation is different. Please consult your doctor and a nutritionist first if you wish to try a similar approach yourself.
- Green juice fast in the beginning, 1-3 weeks duration. Including some fats and supplements.
- Juice fasting one day per week after the initial fast.
- Fresh fruits and fresh fruit juices, especially watermelon juice, are excellent kidney cleansers and regenerators according to Dr. Robert Morse. [Update: I can't drink these, too sugary.]
- High raw, high alkaline diet to remove inflammation, to produce steroids naturally and to strengthen the kidneys and other organs.
- Eat mineral-rich food, don't eat too much to feel too full.
- Drink plenty of good quality spring water. Stay well-hydrated.
- Eliminate refined sugar and white flour.
- To nourish the blood, eat bitter greens and other greens: dandelion, parsley, spinach, spirulina, broccoli, kale.
- To nourish the blood, also eat: cacao, seaweeds, artichoke, yacon (sweet), red-coloured fruit, figs.
- Fresh vegetable juices and/or blended green drinks daily.
- Garlic, onion, burdock, radish for neurological health.
- Eat nuts with greens to counter their acidity, soak and sprout before eating as much as possible. Eat only raw organic nuts. [Ideally, though I just realized that I can't afford to eat all the nuts organic.]
- Avoid soy products, grains and raw/ sprouted legumes.
- Avoid all processed foods as much as possible, as well as: alcohol, GMOs, rancid oils, MSG, chemical salt, tap water.
- No hydrogenated oils, no rancid oils, no trans fats, just raw living oils and some vegan saturated fats in moderation (Important to eat some saturated fat for hormone health).
- Ensure enough good fats from avocado; sun-dried or fresh olives; coconut products; cacao butter; cold-pressed oils stored in dark bottles away from daylight and refrigerated; butter.
- Buy only organic dried berries and fruit to avoid sulphur dioxide.
- Eat eggs with runny yolk, shrimp, collard greens, lentils, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, brewer's yeast, spinach, kidney beans and broccoli for choline to boost hormone and liver health. Research suggests that choline may prevent the decline of human growth hormone levels, which is normally associated with aging.
- Consider having cooked vegetables with butter, cocoa butter or coconut oil to aid nutrient assimilation. Avocado with vegetables has been shown to increase nutrient absorption as well.
- Citrus peel, cruciferous vegetables, lignan-rich foods (flax seeds, sesame seeds, curly kale, broccoli, apricots, cabbage, brussels sprouts, strawberries), berries, button mushrooms and iodine help the liver detoxify bad estrogen, according to David Wolfe. Be careful with iodine, though, make sure it is clean, good quality, and you know how to use it safely.
- Bee pollen, cacao, coconut fat, fennel, maca, oats, raw organic butter, saturated fat, yam and sweet potato are natural hormone builders, according to David Wolfe.
- Eat organic as much as possible.
- Kidney-supporting foods: marshmallow root, nettle, lemon, dandelion, parsley, red clover, ginger, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, watermelon, etc.
- Serotonin is low during the last two weeks of the cycle. Eat serotonin-rich foods at this time.
- Beet juice and fiber-rich foods help with bad hormone removal, according to David Wolfe.
- Beetroots and goji berries for TMG to strengthen the liver.
- For good calcium: pith of citrus fruit, carob, mesquite, wheatgrass, green-leafed vegetables, raw dairy.
- Protein and/or amino acids on every meal.
- High sulphur foods are liver purifiers according to David Wolfe. [Though I can't handle too much sulphur, I get nausea.]
- Onions, and especially onion juice, may boost various different hormones, cleanse the liver, combat PMS symptoms and help overall hormone balance. Mix onion juice with the juice of other vegetables, because it is too strong to drink on its own!
- Eliminate polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), as Ray Peat explains that they can increase stress, promote inflammation, cause tissue injury, suppress thyroid hormones, slow metabolism, increase weight gain, are carcinogenic, etc.
- Stay away from hops in all forms, especially beer. This plant has been shown to cause menstrual difficulties in women, loss of sex drive in men and it also makes you sleepy. The same will probably go for other highly estrogenic plants, such as soy.
- Globe artichokes have cynarin, which helps to regenerate the liver and enhances liver function. The highest concentration of cynarin is in the leaves.
Enhancing the Happy Hormone Production of the Brain
It is important to enhance the feel-good hormones of the brain with healthy foods, since this diet involves eliminating sugar, processed carbohydrates and dairy - all of which usually give our brains' happy hormones a boost.
See: Foods That Increase Endorphins and Dopamine Naturally
I will endeavour to eat protein on every meal, because it helps to balance blood sugar, keep you satisfied with less food for longer, because I have been diagnosed protein-deficient in the past and because many feel-good chemicals of the body are produced from proteins. Whatever helps the blood sugar balance also helps your endocrine system and hormone health.
These are some of the best amino acid -content foods that David Wolfe recommends: Almonds, bee pollen, brewer's yeast, chlorella, algaes, goji berries, grasses, green leafy vegetables, hemp seeds, Incan berries, maca, plankton, olives, propolis, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, sprouts. (Protein has to be broken down into amino acids in the human body before it can be utilized).
Keep in mind that some of the protein-content foods above are still higher in carbohydrates, so bee pollen and propolis, for example, may be too sweet if you have blood sugar problems, candida or other parasites.
In addition, good vegan protein sources are: quinoa, millet, all nuts and seeds, especially chia seeds, green peas, sugar-free nut butters, beans, sprouts and green leafy vegetables.
- Amla plant powder for Vitamin C
- Angelica Root (Dong Quai, for women, must be dried thoroughly, toxic when fresh): hormone regulator, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, blood tonifier. Lowers bad estrogen, weakens symptoms of PMS, dilates blood vessels and relaxes uterine muscles, regulates menstrual cycle and treats symptoms of menopause.
- Asparagus root: strengthening to the lungs and respiratory tract (increasing oxygen in blood); increases vitality, builds the immune system; enhances sexual function; calms the mind.
- Bee Pollen for fat, protein and B-vitamins.
- Camu camu plant powder for Vitamin C (antioxidant and helps with detoxification, but expensive).
- Catuaba bark, famous aphrodisiac and a herbal hormone helper. Also called Chuchuhuasi, this Amazonian herb has been especially said to help with menstrual irregularities.
- Chaga mushroom: One of the best antioxidants, has melanin, enhances the immune system, fights candida, improves digestion, reduces inflammation, and countless other benefits.
- Chamomile, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects. Stops the conversion of healthy androgen hormones into bad estrogen (aromatase inhibitor).
- Coriander seed for the kidneys.
- Corn Silk for the kidneys (high in potassium, diuretic). This is the 'silk' threads you can see around the ear of corn.
- Couch Grass root (Elymus repens, Agropyron repens, also called Dog Grass) for the kidneys. This is considered by most an invasive weed, which is difficult to remove from gardens. It has antibiotic and diuretic properties.
- Damiana, aromatase inhibitor, aphrodisiac.
- Dandelion root to support the liver and dandelion leaf to support the kidneys.
- Eucommia bark, strengthens our adrenal/ kidney/ reproductive, etc. energies. Reduces inflammation, nourishes the liver and kidneys and enhances immune function. Alcohol tinctures are better than dried herb because its collagen-creating compound is lost in the drying process.
- Goji Berries have plenty of antioxidants and help us produce human growth hormone, making us younger. Helps maintain good cellular hydration and helps the liver detoxify bad estrogens.
- Gravel root (especially leaves) to support the kidneys.
- Gynostemma has been used in China to treat inflammation. De-stresses the body, improves digestion, reduces fatigue and increases vigor.
- He Shou Wu, strengthens kidneys, liver and adrenals; modulates the hormone system; boosts sexual energy, fertility and mental clarity; protects against free radical damage.
- Hemp leaf for silicon and magnesium.
- Hemp seeds for GLA, an essential fatty acid.
- Horsetail herb extract, dried, for silicon and magnesium. Cleanses the kidney, high silicon content, antifungal, expels toxins. (Don't use fresh as this inhibits B1 vitamin.)
- Kelp, supports the thyroid but mustn't be overdosed. I will take 1 teasp x2 per week.
- Lespedeza (Japanese clovers) herb to support the kidneys. This herb is native to warm temperate and subtropical regions.
- Maca: strength and stamina -enhancer, libido enhancer, adaptogen (balances the body's systems). Increases energy, endurance, oxygen in blood, physical strength, improves one's mood and normalizes steroid hormones like testosterone, progesterone and estrogen. Known to improve menstrual discomfort and disorders. May be a very effective help with thyroid problems as well.
- Milk thistle seed to support the liver
- Nettle for the kidneys. Has high silicon-content, is a mild anti-inflammatory and lowers blood sugar levels. Is an aromatase inhibitor. Nourishes and tones the veins, cleanses the blood, eliminates wastes from the kidney and liver.
- Passion flower alcohol tincture, an aromatase inhibitor.
- Pipsissewa leaves for the kidneys. Grows wild in the woodlands.
- Poria Mushroom is a Chinese medicinal mushroom, which is spleen-nourishing, calms the heart, expels excess heat and dampness. Has been said to be especially balancing when on a raw food diet.
- Red raspberry leaf, a uterus tonic.
- Rehmannia root, nourishes the blood, supports a healthy heart, slight aphrodisiac, may help the kidney.
- Reishi mushroom: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-stress, antistimulant, protects the heart, kidneys and liver.
- Rhodiola: defends the body against stress, improves nervous system function, increases strength, stamina, and endurance; aids in oxygenation and blood supply to the body's cells; treats infections and anemia; increases endorphin levels in the brain.
- Rosehips for Vitamin C and to build the blood.
- Russian black radish to support the liver
- Sacha Jergon root (rhizome) for liver rejuvenation. This strange Amazonian plant is also said to be good for the brain, to relieve asthma and bronchitis symptoms, to have antiviral properties, etc.
- Schizandra Berry: cleanses and purifies the liver, purifies the blood, rejuvenates the kidneys, increases sexual function, removes toxicity from the body.
- Siberian Ginseng, regulates blood sugar, improves energy, helps balance hormone levels in both men and women, increases stamina. (Note that panax ginseng may be too strong for women or those with adrenal gland weaknesses.)
- Spirulina for protein and GLA, an essential fatty acid (EFA).
- Tulsi (Holy Basil) is a powerful blood cleanser. It is an antioxidant, it boosts immunity, reduces stress, relieves inflammation, improves stamina, promotes a healthy metabolism, eliminates toxins, supports the liver, supports the heart, enhances the nervous system, controls blood sugar levels.
- Valerian to build the blood.
Aphrodisiac Plants to Boost Sex Hormones
The sex hormones are the health hormones, David Wolfe explains in his book: Longevity Now. He explains that imbalances with the sex hormones or low levels of hormones can lead to thyroid disorders, compromised immune system, hindered energy production in the cells, and premature aging. Thus boosting some of the youth and vitality hormones with aphrodisiacs may not be a bad idea.
I have started a list of natural aphrodisiacs here and will update it as I learn more.
After the juice fast I will keep an expanding list below of my favourite foods which help with the diet plan above.
- Fermented foods: e.g. probiotic apple chutney
- Water Kefir Probiotic
- Cashew nut butter
- Spreadable cocoa butter
- High antioxidant foods: broccoli sprouts, chaga mushroom, turmeric, berries, etc.
- Beetroots or beet juice
- Dishes with berries (bad estrogen removers)
- Grain-and-sugar-free berry dessert in the oven
- Fibre-rich foods
- Foods with onion and garlic, e.g. Salmon Curry, whose sweet curry paste is made of onions.
- Vegetable soups with some healthy fat included, such as Spicy Green Pea Soup (made from thoroughly soaked and rinsed green beans to avoid bloated stomach and gas)
- Quinoa with garlic, vegetables and raisins
- Fried plantain
- Slow cooker meals prepared and frozen ready for when I need quick food
- Probiotic capsules (including acidophilus, 5-10 billion live organisms daily).
- Digestive enzymes (high quality).
- Methylcobalamin B12 spray or sublinqual pills for energy, mood and mental clarity.
- TMG to support the liver.
- Vitamin D3 any days when you don't spend time in the sun.
- Vitamin E - 100-400 IU per day (according to David Wolfe and Dr. I. Michael Borkin.) Vitamin E can counteract the negative effects of polyunsaturated fats and estrogen, according to Ray Peat. Vitamin E can also help keep blood alkaline, reduce blood clotting, prevent and cure fibrotic diseases, decrease prostaglandin synthesis, protect and improve mitochondrial energy production, etc. 200 mg per day according to Ray Peat.
- Rhodiola (for good moods).
- Zinc, 40mg per day, taken with meals, during the last two weeks of the cycle to reduce PMS (according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson).
- GB3 from ARL Labs (ox bile and pancreatin) to help the liver cleanse.
- Transdermal magnesium oil on skin in the last two weeks of cycle to reduce PMS (according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson).
- Vitamin B6, up to 400mg three times a day - not longer than 10 days at a time - to reduce edema, inflammation (according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson). B6 is important for serotonin production as well. Take with folate (800mcg) and B12 (1000 mcg) (according to Dr. Mark Hyman). Vitamins B6 & B9 help the liver to remove bad estrogen, according to David Wolfe.
- Vitamin A (25,000 IU daily as beta-carotene).
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (2,000mg/1,000mg daily, according to Dr. Michael I. Borkin).
Strangely, I have made a decision last minute to not buy omega 3s for this experiment, because I just read on Ray Peat's website that 'essential fatty acid deficiency' could possibly cured by supplementing with vitamin B6. He also claims that EFA's, because they are polyunsaturated oils, slow metabolism and thus reduce all nutritional needs, and that they suppress thyroid hormones as well.
Because I have to be very careful with money these days I will try to see if I can get good results without paying for expensive Omega 3 and other EFA supplements.
He also has very interesting information on the importance of Vitamin E here: raypeat.com/articles/articles/vitamin-e.shtml
- Trauma release exercises 15-20 minutes
- Meditation 10 minutes
- Positive affirmations
- 20 minutes yoga for hormone balance, thyroid strengthening, lungs and general stretching.
- Citrus oils (to remove bad estrogen), can be massaged into skin.
- Vitex berry (two drops on wrists every day for hormone balance, women only).
- Essential oil from rose and rose water nourish the heart and thus cleanse the blood.
- Heavy metals: My updated hair mineral analysis report is due to come back in three weeks.
- Heavy metals: zeolite powder taken regularly.
- Spiritually stuck energy: trauma release exercises.
- Bad estrogen: herbs as listed.
- Exercise almost every day - either weight-bearing exercise at home, running 20 minutes, or walking outdoors 1-2 hours. Emphasize on muscle-exercise to reduce body-fat percentage.
- Ensure that your body gets movement, stretching and/or massage every day.
- Blood electrification to strengthen the immune system.
- Subliminal messages listened to every day.
- Positive affirmations every day.
- Yoga moves for womb and uterus strengthening.
- Green juice fasting one day per week (after the initial juice fast).
- Enemas and coffee enemas for liver detoxification.
- Sleep whenever tired.
- Grounding is important for hormone health.
- Minimise stress and do parasympathetic nervous system activities regularly.
- Meditate on fear and what are you afraid of.
- Adrenal gland strength is still less than ideal. Strengthen.
- Reducing trauma and past stress stored in muscles and cells through trauma release exercises.
- Sitting meditation to increase spleen qi energy and so to cleanse the blood.
- Ensure plenty of exposure to daylight or to full-spectrum light for good moods.
- Have regular meals, don't skip meals to keep blood sugar balanced. Blood sugar tends to be off-balance especially when estrogen-levels are high, apparently.
- Don't eat anything three hours before bedtime.
- Check for food intolerances by taking your pulse.
- Cold water showers to rejuvenate blood.
- Skin brushing to move lymph.
- Metabolic efficiency - does it need increasing or decreasing - waiting for hair mineral analysis report.
- Foot reflexology: rub foot and hand reflex points for ovaries, kidney, liver, spleen.
- Strengthen the thyroid through yoga, kelp.
Later Update: In addition to the lists above, it is important to ensure that you get enough protein, which I didn't on this diet, especially on the juice fast. Also, raw food diet seems to be very beneficial for hormones (even though it can be difficult to make it work). At the end of the diet diary a raw food diet is detailed which eliminated most of my menstrual cramps and difficulties.
More diet diaries here: All My Diet Diaries.
Book: 'The Vitamin Cure for Women's Health Problems' by Helen Saul Case and Andrew Saul:
Book: 'Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit' by Queen Afua:
Book: 'Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition' by Dian Shepperson Mills and Michael Vernon:
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