Hormones! We all have them, but how do we deal with them? Sometimes they make us feel great (hello serotonin), other times they are imbalanced and can make us feel like garbage (I think we all know of what I mean)! But we don’t always have to suffer – there are in fact many non medical things we can do to help balance our hormones and make us feel like our old selves again, and you guessed it – this includes choosing the right foods!Some lovely blogger friends and I decided to partake in series of themed recipes focusing on hormonally balancing food (all the blogs are listed at the bottom of the page, I encourage you to check these amazing sites out!) After much debate, I thought that I should focus on something I have had my fair share of experience with – stress. Stress is something we all encounter, some of us more than others, but it’s pretty much a constant feature in our lives to some degree. When I was younger, I didn’t know how to cope with stress – I lacked the tools to deal with it properly and I let it eat me up inside. I suffered from irregular sleeping habits, anxiety attacks, increased eczema, and had poor eating habits as a result (turning to junky food when stressed doesn’t help, although you often think it will). Basically, my heightend levels of stress were making me sick! And what was the result of this sickness? Hormone imbalance!
Heightened levels of stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which if experienced in excessive amounts, does in fact make you sick. But what is cortisol?
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by your two adrenal glands, which are just above your kidneys. This hormone has an important role in the bodies ‘flight or fight’ instinct, flooding it with glucose, narrowing the arteries and increasing heart rate, as well as inhibiting insulin production when one is faced with a stressful situation. But when one suffers from constant stresses (like being a teenager, yikes), this healthy response can wreak havoc on one’s health. Over production of cortisol can: create imbalance in blood sugar levels, suppress ones immune system, increase weight gain, heighten the risk of depression, create gastrointestinal problems, and interfere with sleep patterns.
- Reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol consumed
- Exercise regularly
- Find ways to de-stress such as doing yoga, taking walks, doing hobbies, cuddling kitties or whatever you find works for you.
- Eat a diet low in high-glycemic foods and saturated fats (which is always good advise!)
- Include foods that balance the production of cortisol in your diet such as high fibre foods, ones rich in antioxidants, whole grains, nuts, and beans.
Leafy Greens and Citrus – They contain vitamin C which is shown to decrease cortisol production. Leafy greens such as spinach also contain magnesium which help return levels to a natural state.
Micro Greens and Sprouts – While greens are great (see above), young greens such as sprouts and micro greens contain much more vitamin C than full grown plants and should be included in ones diet (unless pregnant).
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – The intake of omega-3 helps reduce both cortisol levels and the feeling of stress. Omega 3 can be found in walnuts, flax seeds, avocado, and oily fish.
Protein – Protein rich foods are essential to managing cortisol over-production. Things like eggs, vegetable proteins (beans/lentils, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms), and nuts/seeds are all good sources.
Carbohydrates – Lower glycemic carbs such as whole grains helps reduce spikes in insulin levels, which are brought on by too much cortisol.
Folate – Foods rich in folate/ vitamin B, such as lentils and spinach, are essential to your brain’s production of the stress releasing hormone, serotonin, which we could all use more of!
These are just a couple of tips, and I am by no way a medical expert. If you are suffering from seveer stress, I advise you to seek the care of a health professional <3
Happy Tacos with Avocado Sauce
Print it Here
1/2 Onion, chopped
Amaranth Wraps (recipe below)
1 Cup Amaranth Flour
1/2 Cup Tapioca Starch
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp baking Powder
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 Cups WaterOil for fryingProcedure:Combine the almond flour, amaranth flour, tapioca, baking soda, salt and baking powder until combined. Add the water and apple cider vinegar and stir until the flour entirely mix in. Heat a heavy frying pan to medium, add a little oil for frying and spoon about 2 Tbsp of batter into pan. With the back of the spoon, quickly spread the batter to make a thin pancake about 10 cm (4 inch). Let the wrap cook on one side until bubbles begin forming on the top. Flip the wrap and cook on the other side for a couple of minutes, or until it is browned, and it doesn’t feel tacky (it seemed like they took quite a while to cook, but if you rush them, they will be stodgy – and overcooking them will make the brittle. It took a couple of test ones to get it right). Once cooked, store the wraps under a tea towel to prevent them from drying up while you continue to cook the rest. Uneaten wraps should also be stored in an air tight container to prevent them from drying out (they will dry out much the same way as home-made corn tortillas). Or best yet, cook as many as needed and refrigerate the batter until the next day.
Key Lime Tartlets
Recipe (makes 6) Print it Here
Procedure: Combine all the ingredients for the base in a food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together and fairly uniform in texture. Press the mixture into the bottom of six lined mini muffin cups, creating a flat disc. For the filling, combine all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Top the base with the filling mixture and refrigerate it until set. Once set, I took the tarts out of the pan and smoothed the sides with a knife (just to make it look prettier), drizzled them with coconut butter and put them in the freezer. Take them out of the freezer 30 or so minutes prior to eating to soften up a bit.