How to Reverse PMS, Hot Flashes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Hormones aren't a very sexy subject.
Let's be honest- they get a bad rap: we blame them for a lot of the bad shit happening in our bodies. How many times have you heard yourself saying, Don't mind me, I'm just hormonal. But they're a HUGE part of you, so you really should give them the love and attention they deserve. Don't kid yourself- your body is constantly monitoring and releasing hormones; even though you can't control that process, you can do things to help keep them balanced.
Women are incredible creatures. We have so many reasons to love our bodies: we can create and carry life, we can give birth and breastfeed. Every one of these jobs requires a whole lotta hormones. It's pretty amazing how your body can just step up and create just the right chemical balance, isn't it? It's not like there's a little mad scientist inside of you, measuring and testing...your womanly body is just taking care of business for you.
But modern living isn't kind to your body, Mama.
Because you're a magnificent women, you've been blessed with copious amounts of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen encourages your body to hold onto fat so that there are plenty of stores for all of your baby-making duties. Your body doesn't know if you've chosen to have kids or not, you've just been created this way. That's why it can be harder for women to lose weight: your body is just looking out for you! And as if that weren’t enough of a challenge, there’s this reality: we live in a highly toxic world.
Still with me?
Here's how it works: You eat, drink or put something on your skin that contains toxins. Your body doesn't recognize the toxins and has no idea what to do with them. So it stores them in fat cells.
Toxins carry xenoestrogens. These little buggers mimic estrogen and your body doesn't know that they're not real! They're tiny hormone imposters and they disrupt your body’s natural ability to deal with estrogen. Worst of all, they store all of their toxicity in your fat cells! They're like the Regina George of estrogen: fake AF.
Imagine your cells are a luxury hotel that Oprah is staying at when Jerry Springer comes knocking on the door.
Your cells don't want or need Jerry Springer's bullshit, toxic guests when they're already being graced by OPRAH. So what's a cell to do? The only thing it knows- take in all the good and bad and store it in your fat cells.
It's actually believed that xenoestrogens have been impairing the quality and quantity of a man's sperm over the last 40 years, but did you know that they're also believed to be the cause of polycystic ovaries? Polycystic ovaries are the largest cause of female infertility. This is HUGE! Can you imagine if you could reverse your infertility issues by changing some of the daily products that you eat and use? Well it seems that you can.
So, where do these toxic little devils come from?
First of all, you can learn a lot by visiting the Environmental Working Group
Obviously there's a lot of information to sift through, so I made a quick list of some of the most common toxins to avoid:
Skincare: parabens, sunscreen, benzophenone
Plastics: Bisphenol A, phthalates, flame retardants, electronics, furniture
Food: erythrosine (dye no.3), phenosufothiazine, BHA (a preservative)
Building Supplies: wood preservatives, PCBs (lubricants)
Insecticides: Altrazine, DDT, Dieldrin, Endosulfan, Heptachlor, Lindane (used to treat lice and scabies), Methoxychlor, Fenthion
Other: Chlorine and chlorine by-products (commonly used in pads and tampons), Ethinylestradiol (the birth control pill), Alkylphenol (used in cleaning detergents)
What Can We Do To Avoid Them?
I mean, when you look at all those sources of xenoestrogens, you may wonder what's safe anymore? I think that it's important to look at the easiest ways to make changes to your lifestyle first, then focus on the harder changes.
Avoid any pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
1) Buy organic, locally-grown and in-season fruits and vegetables. If you buy non-organic, remove the peel before eating them. Check out the Environmental Working Group's the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen
2) Buy hormone-free meats and dairy products. This one may be harder to implement into your diet right away because it's more expensive. But make a small change this week: buy hormone and antibiotic free meat for one meal OR start a Meatless Monday routine at your house.
We found a local, organic crop share association so every week we pick up fresh and in-season veggies between May and October.
1) Avoid using plastic to store your food as much as possible. Try using glass or ceramic instead. We use mason jars and glass bowls for food storage and to drink out of because they're relatively cheap.
2) NEVER microwave your food in a plastic container. Like, ever.
3) Avoid using plastic wraps- this one is hard, but there are some really cool options now! Check out Sweet Green Studios- they offer "colourful, handmade, 100% Canadian beeswax food wrap". Plastic wrap is bad for your hormones AND bad for the planet.
4) Don’t refill plastic water bottles. Also, don't leave plastic water bottles in your hot car and then drink out of them. Plastic water bottles shouldn't even be a thing- I've had a glass water bottle for about 4 years now and I take it EVERYWHERE. The same one.
5) Don't freeze water in plastic bottles to drink later. The plastic isn't made for extreme temperatures so the materials will leach into your water. Gross.
1) Use chemical free, biodegradable laundry supplies and household cleaners. You guys- you can substitute your dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener with straight up vinegar! It's cheaper and no, your clothes don't smell like salt and vinegar chips after. In fact, vinegar is useful in so many cleaning situations! If you don't want to make your own cleaning supplies, there are so many lines available now in your grocery store to choose from.
Health and Beauty Products
1) Girl- your skin is the largest organ you have and it absorbs EVERYTHING. Avoid creams and makeups that contain toxic chemicals, parabens and stearalkonium chloride- I've been slowly changing my skincare routine to become completely organic and it's cheaper than it was when I was buying all of that chemically-laden crap I used to use. You can check out my favourite online source for a lot of these products from Stonehouse Holistics. If you're not sure about the products you're currently using, you can check their toxicity levels here.
2) Limit exposure to nail polish.
3) Use essential oils in place of perfumes. I really like this one because perfumes give some people a headache and watery eyes.
4) Use chemical free soaps and toothpaste. Do you ever feel like your mouth is burning when you brush your teeth? I switched to flouride-free toothpaste years ago because of this, and I haven't had any issues since.
5) Choose chlorine free products (toilet paper, sanitary pads and tampons). Ok, look. The tissue in your vagina is very thin. Everything you put up in your business is being very quickly and easily absorbed into your blood stream. I think it's time to try reusable pads, a Diva Cup or tampons made chlorine-free, don't you?
6) Switch out your deodorant for a natural option. You've got some serious glands in your armpits, so every time you apply a toxic deodorant it's directly and easily transported to your lymph nodes and circulated in your body.
If you're suffering from hot flashes, infertility or if you just can't seem to move the needle on your bathroom scale, consider making some of these changes. It may seem a little inconvenient at first but it just may transform how you feel physically and emotionally. And you know what, Mama? You're worth it.
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!