Gluten Free/ Main Course/ Vegan

Eating for Hormonal Balance – Battling Stress with Tacos and Cake

 

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.

But there are things we can do to help balance how our bodies cope with everyday stresses
  1. Reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol consumed
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Find ways to de-stress such as doing yoga, taking walks, doing hobbies, cuddling kitties or whatever you find works for you.
  4. Eat a diet low in high-glycemic foods and saturated fats (which is always good advise!)
  5. 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.
Foods that you can include in your diet to help manage stress and  balance cortisol include

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

These tacos are full of so many cortisol balancing foods: lentils, walnuts, mushrooms, spinach, and greens!

Print it Here

1/2 Onion, chopped

2  Cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Grated Ginger
1 1/2 Cup Cooked Lentils (I used black lentils)
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Mushrooms
1 Tbsp Tamari
1/4 Cup Walnuts, chopped
1 Cup Spinach, chopped
A Pinch of Chilli Flakes, optional
 
To Serve:
Amaranth Wraps (recipe below)
Avocado Sauce (recipe below)
Bell Peppers, micro greens, or sprouts to serve
 
Procedure: Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Add the oil and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook until the onion is translucent (if the mixture begins to stick, you may have to add a little water). Add the mushrooms and tamari and cook until they become soft. Add the spinach, lentils, walnuts and optional chilli and continue to cook until the lentils are warmed through and the spinach has wilted. Serve with Amaranth wraps (or wraps of choice), avocado sauce, sprouts, and bell peppers.

Amaranth Wraps

Adapted From Bob’s Red Mill
1/2 Cup Almond Flour
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.

Avocado Sauce

1 Cup Cilantro (or parsley if you dislike cilantro)
2 Cups Spinach
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Tbsp Tamari
1 Tbsp Honey (or liquid sweetener of choice)
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Ripe Avocado
Procedure: Combine the cilantro, spinach, and garlic in a food processor and blend until it becomes chopped. Add the tamari, honey, vinegar, oil, and avocado and continue to purée until the sauce is smooth.

Key Lime Tartlets 

These tartlets have loads of Omega-3, vitamin C, and protein – and are so much better to grab when stressed than that bag of chips. 

Recipe (makes 6) Print it Here

Base:
1/4 Cup Cashews, soaked overnight
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut
4 Dates, pitted
A Pinch of Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Vanilla
Filling:
1 Ripe Avocado
Juice of 1 lime and zest 1/2 lime
2 Tbsp honey (or liquid sweetener of choice)
2 Tbsp Coconut Butter, melted
 
1 Tbsp Coconut Butter to garnish, melted

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.

Other Hormonal Balancing Recipes at

xox Sophie

28 Comments

  • Reply
    Nathalie
    February 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Wow, that looks really amazing! Great info and gorgeous photos!!

  • Reply
    Danielle@LabelsAreForTinCans
    February 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Great idea to do hormonal balancing recipes! I've definitely had my fair share of stress and UNbalanced hormones. That avocado sauce looks great!

  • Reply
    erinwyso
    February 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    breathtaking photos, I gasped when I fist saw them!

  • Reply
    eyecandypopper.com
    February 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I am loving these 2 recipes and all the info! Awesome post! 🙂

  • Reply
    bananenblatt
    February 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Hej Sophie! I just found your blog via a link on Emilys blog "this rawsome vegan life" and I´m amazed! I love your recipe ideas and beautiful photographs! So you have +1 reader now 🙂

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    February 5, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Thanks friend! I love what you did too, such amazing work!

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    February 5, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Aw, thanks Danielle! Stress is a bummer, I hope you are feeling balanced these days 🙂 And that avocado sauce is pretty tasty – you can't go wrong with avo!

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    February 5, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Oh my! Nobody has ever told me that before – I'm so flattered! Thanks Erin 🙂

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    February 5, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Thanks a bunch eyecandypopper, I'm so happy you like it!

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    February 5, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Hey Bananenblatt! Thank you so much, that's so sweet of you! I love Emily and her amazing blog – I am so happy to have one of here readers 🙂

  • Reply
    Ally @ Om Nom Ally
    February 5, 2014 at 7:43 am

    I don't know which of these stress-busting foods to make first – do I feel like adrenal-balancing tacos… or anti-inflammatory tartlets?
    Thanks again for organising this hormone balancing community blogging event, it's been fantastic to share and read everyone's posts. It's lovely to read your own story particularly and see how there are some similarities to what I've been through in the past too. It's always good to see we're not alone in our hormone balancing struggles and I love to learn how others have overcome them.

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    February 6, 2014 at 4:50 am

    You're so welcome, Ally! Thank you for joining us, it was such fun! I can't wait to do something like this again soon. So many great ideas, information, and recipes were shared – I think it was a real success <3

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    February 6, 2014 at 4:50 am

    You're so welcome, Ally! Thank you for joining us, it was such fun! I can't wait to do something like this again soon. So many great ideas, information, and recipes were shared – I think it was a real success <3

  • Reply
    Sherrie | With Food + Love
    March 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I just stumbled upon your page and I'm in love! Beautiful work Sophie 🙂

    XO SHERRIE

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    March 4, 2014 at 3:52 am

    Thank you so much, Sherrie! That's lovely to hear 🙂

  • Reply
    James Worthe
    March 7, 2014 at 12:41 am

    There are a few variations you can use, but here's a technique to start with. Do this whenever you're stressed or overwhelmed. ilchi lee chakra healing

  • Reply
    James Worthe
    March 7, 2014 at 12:41 am

    There are a few variations you can use, but here's a technique to start with. Do this whenever you're stressed or overwhelmed. ilchi lee chakra healing

  • Reply
    mindykannon
    April 9, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Sophie,
    Love this blog post. Not only great info but awesome food. I have found, when coaching clients, advice is meaningless if you can't back it up with good food!
    Love it!

  • Reply
    mindykannon
    April 9, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Sophie,
    Love this blog post. Not only great info but awesome food. I have found, when coaching clients, advice is meaningless if you can't back it up with good food!
    Love it!

  • Reply
    Mindy Kannon
    April 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    Mindy Kannon
    April 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    Ways to Relieve Stress
    April 10, 2014 at 5:02 am

    This is really yummy and tasty way of reliving stress, i would try this recipes even when i am not in stress.

  • Reply
    Tasty
    January 19, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    From mini farm to plate; micro greens are excellent

  • Reply
    Tasty
    January 19, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    From mini farm to plate; micro greens are excellent

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    January 19, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Totally 🙂

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    January 19, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Totally 🙂

  • Reply
    Joanne Sullivan
    May 7, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Where can I find nutritional info on this recipe & others on this site?

  • Reply
    Sophie - Wholehearted Eats
    May 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Hello Joanne,
    I do not have the nutritional info on my site. But you can use a site like this (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/calculator) to figure it out.

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