I have begun a juice fast in an attempt to overcome menstrual cramps and to balance my hormones to get more energy. Below you will find detailed daily notes of what I ate. After the juice fast I will transition to a hormone balancing diet.
To read the introduction to this diet, go to: female hormone imbalance diet. It explains about the supplements, superfoods, herbs and juices that I am taking.
Read also: Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps, Part 1 and Part 2.
16th August 2014, Saturday
Day 12 of Menstrual Cycle
First day on a juice fast and I'm feeling really excited and upbeat this morning for some reason. Woke up at 9am and went to shops to get some supplements and juice ingredients.
- One lemon squeezed into a glass of water (for liver detox)
- A glass of pasteurized grapefruit and citrus juice. This was the last pasteurized juice I will drink for the next 2-3 weeks as this will be a LIVE juice fast. B12 vitamin spray (methylcobalamin, 1000mcg).
- 250ml glass of juice: 1/4 beetroot (to strengthen the liver and bad hormone removal), beetroot greens, celery, iceberg lettuce (aphrodisiac), courgette (zucchini, aphrodisiac), 1/4 cucumber, ginger, sprinkle of turmeric (antioxidant) and cayenne pepper on top.
- Supplements: 2ml rhodiola root tincture (1:1 extract), B vitamin complex (to help blood sugar balance), digestive enzyme (to strengthen pancreas), Vitex (agnus castus, fruit, oral drops, 0.6ml = 540mg of 1:10 tincture in alcohol, to balance hormones), Vitamin E capsule (260mg = 400 iu), Vitamin D3 (12,000 iu, drops), Vitamin A (capsule, 5000 iu), epimedium (horny goat's weed, 3x 500mg, aphrodisiac).
- Water, nettle leaf tea.
- It is not good to have too much raw beetroot because it can give you gas like you've never had before! I normally find that a quarter or a half of a raw beetroot is a safe amount and gives you no gas problems. You may be able to increase the amount over time. Some reports say that beetroot is very strongly detoxifying and that's why it can give symptoms.
- Rhodiola: I have felt a very nice strong effect on my moods from Rhodiola before, after taking it for a few days.
- All the water I drink for now is Brita-filtered tap water but once the spring water delivery comes I will change to that.
- I have quit caffeine a long time ago so I don't have any caffeine detox symptoms like many people would on a juice fast. Compared to my previous juice fasts this one is superior since it does not include any caffeine!
Quite soon after drinking the juice and taking the supplements I started feeling a bit 'high' and spacey.
2pm: Tea: Powdered hemp leaf, ginseng, dry ginger, fennel powder, lemon peel powder, mint powder. Very nice and refreshing tea.
- Half an avocado (to ensure enough fats) with pink himalayan salt.
- 250ml juice: raspberries, one pink grapefruit, two apples, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, very little bit of ginger, with a sprinkle of dry mint and basil.
- Plenty of chaga mushroom tea.
- Vitex 540mg (drops, as earlier).
Avocado has never tasted so nice before! I'm not sure if it is the hormone-boosting effects of the supplements taken this morning, or because of not having other solid foods today but this avocado was heavenly!
I can't have too much of chaga mushroom tea when I haven't eaten solid foods... It's making me feel a little nauseous. Others have also warned against drinking this tea on an empty belly.
I only have pink himalayan salt, it is said to have many health benefits and to help with hormone balance as well, depending on a person. Some raw foodists get very sick, according to David Wolfe, because they eat a diet too low in natural salts.
- Another half an avocado with salt, didn't taste as amazing as the last one.
- Green juice: kale, one courgette (zucchini), one lemon, celery, two green peppers, iceberg lettuce, and mixed in: 1/2 tea sp he shou wu, 1/2 tea sp kelp. Two strawberries and a slice of lemon.
I have been feeling a little hungry for a few hours now, nothing major though. No detox symptoms. I didn't get my usual midday tiredness today, but now feeling very slightly tired.
6.30pm: Feel a slight effect of what I suspect to be low blood sugar now: achy arms and legs, lack of energy.
9pm: Juice: Cabbage and strawberry, with toppings: hibiscus flower powder, lemon peel powder and cocoa powder.
10pm: Took 2ml of Angelica tincture because I started very slightly feeling like I was getting heart palpitations. It seems to help sometimes as it is an anti-stimulant and calming. But then I got a headache and I wonder if Angelica had something to do with that.
Took a hot bath, which helped, and went to bed. No more headache.
This was the 12th day on my cycle, close to the middle of the cycle. It is possible that this was the day just before ovulation, when estrogen levels are very high, and that's why I was feeling so energetic, lively and upbeat in the morning. This makes sense if my estrogen levels are generally too low but I haven't measured my hormone levels in any way so I don't know for sure.
17th August 2014, Sunday
Day 13 of Menstrual Cycle
Woke up at 9.30am. Had a headache for about 1 minute and then it went away.
My face looks quite puffy today and the detox is starting because my nose and sinuses feel very congested, my neck and shoulders feel a bit stiff and my ears and forehead feel a bit congested too.
Generally feel good though, not hungry at all upon waking up.
Weight 55kg, yesterday it was 56kg.
- One lemon squeezed into a glass of water.
- Juice, 250ml: Spinach, 1/2 pink grapefruit, 1/4 raw beetroot, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 orange bell pepper, 1/2 green bell pepper, 1/2 zucchini, beetroot greens. Sprinkle of turmeric and cinnamon on top.
- Supplements, as yesterday but no epimedium.
- Half a handful of broccoli sprouts.
- Chaga mushroom tea.
- 1/2 avocado with salt and cayenne pepper
- Epimedium 1500mg.
- 250ml glass of watermelon juice, with bee pollen on top.
- Chaga mushroom tea.
- Radish sprouts.
- Vitex 540mg (drops, as earlier).
- 1000 mg epimedium.
4.30pm: A bit on a grumpy mood now, for absolutely no reason. Keep thinking about the foods I would like to eat and feel a little tired. Nothing drastic, though. I also have a slight pain on the side of my lower back, I think it is the kidney. Will drink some more water.
This is the 13th day on the cycle and I am wondering whether my estrogen levels have dipped. If today is my day of ovulation then it is normal for estrogen to dip before starting to rise again - this can cause tiredness. Of course the tiredness could be detoxification as well.
5.15pm: Not feeling well, moody, lower back pain and my face is glowing red as well for no reason.
5.45pm: Pulse 63bpm (good). It just occurred to me that I may have an intolerance to watermelon juice but it is too late now for it show in the pulse. Going to take a bath to try to relax.
6.20pm: Out of the bath, feel a bit better but my face is still 'burning' and my heartbeat is a little heavy. Did dry skin brushing. Feel quite exhausted now. Just ate another half of an avocado and drank a glass of lemon water (one full lemon) in order to help the detox along a little (avocado or anything fatty should slow the detox down).
8.30pm: Just slept for two hours. Definitely had some low blood sugar symptoms, heart palpitations, not as strong as usual though, quite mild but enough to be annoying. I think the watermelon juice was too sugary, I will keep the juices green-dominating from now on and won't drink pure fruit juices.
Can't say that I feel better after sleeping, though.
I don't feel as moody and my face is not red anymore. And I did start feeling that it is important during the juice fast to rest a lot and to allow yourself to listen to your body and kind of meditate. I think the moodiness might be a sign that you are not giving your body and mind the quiet time and attention that they need.
However, I feel even more lousy now. I have pain in the area where I suspect my right ovary would be, and sometimes in the whole lower belly, similar to menstrual pain but not nearly as bad. Not bad enough to need pain killers, just annoying. My whole head hurts and my teeth and jaw and the sides of the neck below the ears feel tense and blocked, if that makes any sense. I have loose thick phlegm in my throat that is not moving, and I feel constipated as well. I also have a throat ache. Even my ears are slightly ringing. And although I don't feel sleepy, my body feels worn out and fatigued. The back of the neck feels achy as well and the skin of the same area feels sensitive. I'm not hungry at all but I have serious sugar cravings, and my lower belly is also making noises like there is some gas moving there.
Drinking some 350ml of sugarless 'cacao', which I made with water, 5 almonds, small amount of sunflower seeds, 1 tbsp of ground cacao nibs, 1 tbsp of maca, 3/4 tbsp of bee pollen and cinnamon. It doesn't taste very nice but somehow I feel like my body might need it now. I also took some zinc, 60mg, which comes in a capsule that includes 30mg of Vitamin C. (Took another zinc capsule later.) I also ate 5 almonds and drank a 250ml glass of water before the so-called 'cacao' (which wasn't very nice).
I just checked and I think it is very likely that I am experiencing ovulation pain together with juice fasting symptoms. Ovulation is caused by rapidly dropping estrogen levels, which can cause fatigue and other problems in people whose estrogen levels are too low. (Even if my estrogen levels are too low, I can still suffer from estrogen dominance as well if my progesterone levels are even lower.) After a day or two both estrogen and progesterone start rising and low estrogen people will feel better whereas high estrogen people will feel progressively worse over the next two (or so) weeks and get PMS symptoms.
The fact there is a slight pain/ uncomfortable feeling more on the right side of my lower belly, just inside the hip bone, seems to point to ovary pain. General advice online seems to be that this is nothing to worry about unless the pain is severe or lasts longer than 48 hours. Even though such pain is considered normal, it can also be a sign of bigger problems, such as endometriosis. I'm not worried about those things now, though. Ovulation pain can be referred to as mittelschmertz as well.
I'm gonna have to rest for the rest of the night, and hope that I feel better tomorrow. I don't think I can even handle a movie, reading, or sitting at the computer right now.
9pm: Feel a little tiny bit better, maybe the magnesium from cacao and the hormone-balancing estrogenic maca is helping a little, together with the zinc.
9.20pm: Feel quite a bit better, just a 'shadow' of pain left in the belly. My main problem now is the headache. Mood problems are definitely gone, starting to feel quite optimistic again.
11pm: Went to sleep with quite a headache, used a electronic heat pad on my neck, shoulders and upper bad which helped a little.
Monday, 18th August, 2014
Day 14 of Menstrual Cycle
Woke up at 9.40am, drank a pint of water. I seem to be sleeping more than usual since I started the juice fast.
I feel ok, no more headache or belly ache, just a bit of a throat ache and very congested sinuses. Some phlegm in the throat but not as bad as yesterday. Neck and shoulders feel stiff.
1pm: Green juice, 500ml: 1/2 beetroot, lettuce, beetroot greens, one lemon, zucchini, kale, a little celery, a little ginger.
I'm not going to take any supplements today, apart from B12, because I want to see if one of those is causing my headache.
3pm: One pink grapefruit blended with 2 tbsp spirulina. Vitamin E capsule (400 IU). Chaga mushroom and hibiscus tea.
Feeling good, probably a little better than I was feeling before the juice fast.
5pm: Very slight heart palpitations, possibly because the grapefruit was too sugary. Feel good otherwise, a little cold, no headache.
5.30pm: Had another 'cacao' drink, similar to the one yesterday: water, 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder, 2 tbsp maca, 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, 1 tbsp sesame seeds, cinnamon, 1/2 tbsp bee pollen. Also had one zinc capsule (60mg with 30mg Vitamin C).
7.30pm: Still feeling good. A bit stiff neck, not hungry, though would like to eat some food for the taste. No more heart palpitations.
8pm: Green Juice: A bunch of a mysterious type lettuce green from the shop (don't know the name), one lemon, one zucchini, one whole cucumber, 2 small red radishes. On top: turmeric, cayenne pepper, watercress. On the side: one passion fruit, a small handful broccoli sprouts. Very slight pain in the lower back, right hand side, kidney location now. Drinking another glass of water.
8.20pm: Still no headaches. I suspect that my headaches may have been caused by one of the supplements, specifically Valerian, Vitamin B complex or by Vitamin D3. I will test each supplement and see what happens but yesterday the headache started straight after taking valerian tincture. I have been taking each of those for a long time and maybe got too much - either that or one of the supplements is low quality.
By the way I'm starting to feel some low blood sugar symptoms again. Slight heart palpitations and a little cold and achy feeling in the body. The lower back pain (kidney pain?) is getting worse as well.
8.50pm: Pulse: 69bpm.
9.30pm: Avocado with salt, and a glass of water with salt mixed in as well. I read that to hydrate the body properly and to support the kidneys one has to ensure enough good quality salt (pink Himalayan salt, in my case).
10.40pm: Still have the 'kidney' pain. Going to sleep...
In the end fell asleep at 00.30am.
Tuesday, 19th August, 2014
Day 15 of Menstrual Cycle
Woke up at 9.20am. Feeling good. Phlegm in my throat but no other problems and no pain. Slept very well and deep.
Drank a 250ml glass of water with the juice of one lemon squeezed in and cayenne pepper on top. Soon after drank some more water and took B12 vitamin spray.
- Green Juice: One salad bowlful of fresh coriander (cilantro), half a cucumber, 1/2 beetroot, 2 red radishes, one lemon. Watercress and red radish on top.
- 3 pieces of sugar-free chocolate (ingredients: cocoa mass, xylitol, cocoa butter, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), mint oil.
- A few pieces of dried mango, two macamadia nuts.
- Supplements: zinc, rhodiola, Vitamin E, Vitamin A.
- Half a handful of broccoli sprouts.
Very slight shadow of a headache and tense feeling at the back of the neck and sides, below the ears. Ears still feel congested and a bit uncomfortable. Today the phlegm starts coming loose, though.
It also makes me think that it is good in general to keep oneself a little hungry all the time, so as not to get too satisfied and bored. Depriving oneself of food, sleep and sex has been said to make us more creative, because somehow human nature enjoys having to strive for things, and once all your needs are satisfied you get too bored. Not to say one should become a masochistic monk but just to put the thought out there that staying a little outside your maximum satisfaction comfort level can pay off. "Life starts outside your comfort zone" gets a different meaning in this case.
So what this means in practice could be, for example, that it is better to eat small meals and non-addictive foods. Probably the first meal of the day sets you up for the day - so if I had pancakes for breakfast it would be very difficult to just drink juices all day. I have definitely noticed that eating processed carbohydrates early in the morning causes you to crave carbohydrates all day. I think a high-protein and high-micronutrient breakfast is best. But since I have high-micronutrient juice, it is very easy to just keep going with that (and the little bit of added fat that I have to ensure good hormone function helps, too).
The spring water delivery came just now, so I can start drinking that now instead of Brita-filtered tap water. 4x 18 litre (4x 4 gallon) bottles from Wales, total charge £30, including delivery. £30 translates to about $50 or 37 Euros at the moment. The trick is to not pay for any extras, e.g. the rent of a water cooler or cups, and just siphon the water out of the bottle when you need it. The rent of the water cooler is an expensive part. I order from Cool Clear Water in Wales, who have provided me with a full mineral and pH analysis of the water and who say they bottle the water is delivered within a week of being bottled, which is good to avoid the plastic leaching into the water too much. You can read about benefits of drinking pure natural spring water here.
2.20pm: My face is going a bit red again, not sure if it might be one of the supplements or the sulphur dioxide in the dry mango.
2.50pm: Throat ache, flushed face, tense-feeling gums and teeth, feeling a bit anxious or nervous.
I also started having some low blood sugar symptoms.
A glass of spring water with 1/2 teasp salt.
Spirulina drink: One lemon, water, 2 tbsp spirulina, 1 heaped tbsp hemp leaf powder, 1 teasp kelp, 1/2 teasp he shou wu.
From now on all the water I drink is spring water except tea, for which I use Brita-filtered tap water.
Took C vitamin (1000mg with citrus bioflavonoids) and B vitamin complex.
4.45pm: Drinking lots of dandelion tea. Low blood sugar symptoms seem to be coming on a bit more, and it doesn't make it better that it is a bit cold in the flat and my feet are cold. Just put some magnesium oil on my skin, hopefully it helps with the blood sugar. I can't think of what would have been too sugary to bring this on, unless it was the dried mango. But I had so little of it! I feel like I have a little bit of fever, with a headache trying to come on, tense upper back muscles, achy arms and upper back and legs, can't breathe too easy and I feel tired and not on a very good mood.
5pm: Sugar-free 'chocolate' drink: Water, 2 tbsp maca, 2 tbsp cocoa, a few cashew nuts, cinnamon (again, not very nice drink but I'm hoping that the maca will raise my estrogen levels in case these symptoms are linked to low estrogen).
It seems that a link between low estrogen and low blood sugar levels has been made by researchers (women on estrogen therapy had better blood sugar levels). Keep in mind though that I am not sure that I have too low estrogen levels, just suspecting it...
If I have low estrogen levels, I should start feeling progressively better in the next two weeks as both my estrogen and progesterone levels rise. And then experience a massive drop in hormones and well-being either just before or 1-2 days before my menses start. The fact that I usually feel worst during the menses has been suggested by some naturopaths to be a too low estrogen sign.
5.50pm: Took a thyroid glandular and an enzyme. Trying to support the thyroid and the pancreas to get rid of this annoying low blood sugar feeling.
7.10pm: 1/2 teaspoon of Wild Yam Cream on the skin (natural progesterone cream to balance hormones). Note that there is dispute whether this cream increases progesterone in the body or whether it just helps the hormone balance in some other way.
9.10pm: Drank the juice of two onions, mixed in water, which felt way too strong for my belly. And horrible to drink. Not recommended! I had low blood sugar symptoms all evening but now those feelings seem to be overpowered by the shock of the onion juice!
Still not hungry and no headache now.
Went to bed about 1am, was quite hungry by then but just drank some water and slept anyway.
Wednesday, 20th August, 2014
Day 16 of Menstrual Cycle
Woke up at 8am, feeling well-rested although only slept seven hours. Drank some spring water. Feel good, nose is still congested but not as much as it was. A little, tiny bit hungry. No other complaints.
I must definitely be past any ovulation now and both progesterone and estrogen levels would by now be rising. Any PMS symptoms should start appearing gradually over the next two weeks, if they appear at all. I don't think I suffer from PMS but I will see, since I am paying more attention now. Hopefully I will just feel more energetic as the hormone levels rise.
Breakfast vegetable juice: Half a white cabbage, 1/2 beetroot, one courgette (zucchini), two red radishes, one lemon. Rocket (arugula) flowers on top.
10.50am: I am going out for a daytrip today to the seaside since it's sunny and made 1.25 litres of fruit juice to take with me. I'm also going to carry 750ml of spring water. The juice is made of: big bunch of coriander (cilantro), two cucumbers, bunch of spinach, one broccoli, two lemons, four red radishes, 1/2 beetroot and three red pears.
5.50pm: Back at home. Had a nice day, went for a swim in the sea and walked a lot in the sunshine. Drank all of the juice and didn't feel hungry all day but felt tempted by the cafes and restaurants! Once I got home I had a bit of a diarrhea, typical detox symptom.
Feeling good now, a little tired, fell asleep on the train back.
7.20pm: Had half an avocado with sea salt, a few cashew nuts, three pieces of sugar-free chocolate and a few pieces of dried mango. Plenty of spring water.
I'm feeling very cold now that I am back and kind of worn down. Maybe swimming in the sea made me cold although I made sure that I got proper warm after, with plenty of clothes on and walking. Seems like the fast might make my body not as efficient at handling cold.
Took a hot bath, drank some water, ate a few pistachio nuts.
Went to sleep at 00.30pm, didn't realize it was that late at all.
Thursday, 21st August, 2014
Day 17 of Menstrual Cycle
Woke up at 8.30am.
My mouth feels very coated and breathing is a little bit constricted. I don't feel specifically well-rested but slept enough.
10am: I'm coming off the juice fast today because my boyfriend and I have decided to go on a weekend trip. It would be too difficult to make juices while away and I want to be able to enjoy the nice restaurants by the seaside. I will stick to healthy eating as much as possible, though, and will keep reporting. So today will be the transition day, not eating much and only easy-to-digest foods. So hopefully tomorrow I can eat a bit of everything (but healthy).
Normally I break a juice fast with some fruit but I'm worried about the sugar content. I don't want to get low blood sugar symptoms again.
Snacking on some broccoli sprouts, half a passion fruit, dry mango, cashew nuts, sugar-free chocolate (as before), and drinking spring water. Didn't eat any breakfast apart from this.
Ginseng tea. Vitamin E and B12.
This juice fast has felt very easy to do and I feel encouraged to do it again.
My menses are due in about ten days or so and I'm not sure if this short fast has made any difference in relieving them. I will keep reporting. I will stay on the regimen for the two months, however, juice fasting and taking breaks when necessary, but all the while eating healthy.
I have to reconsider whether to eat nuts or not because I suspect that they might be giving me mucus. Raw nuts should be better.
1.30pm: Butternut squash soup, ingredients: Butternut squash, potatoes, coconut milk, cashew nuts (for protein), vegetable and chicken stock cube, scotch bonnet chilli, herbs, garlic, onion. Olive oil stirred in and cress, black pepper and salt on top.
Two enzyme capsules to help with digestion.
I feel a bit tired and got a slight throatache as soon as I finished eating the soup.
For now, I will stop writing and report back once we return from the trip.
Sunday, 24th August, 2014
Day 20 of Menstrual Cycle
So we're back from the trip, went cycling, walking and relaxing on the North-East Kent coast. Beautiful weather and scenery, had a really nice time.
I haven't got any PMS symptoms, so I guess that I am more likely to be low on estrogen, rather than too high. It will probably be another week or so before my menses.
I am fairly certain that the headaches I have been suffering have been from the B-vitamin complex capsules. I have been taking those for many months now, probably more than half a year, every day and sometimes a bit more than recommended as well. So maybe I took too many and now I get headaches when taking them.
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Part 2 of the Hormone Diet Diary
The introduction to this diet - the supplements and foods
Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps: General information on women's hormones
Best Aphrodisiac Plants and Foods
Foods That Increase Serotonin and Dopamine
Juice Fasting - A Collection of Articles
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Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.