I am nurturing two conditions at the moment- hypothyroidism and estrogen dominance. Looking back I can see how certain extreme food choices exacerbated my condition. When I was in my mid 20s I thought that I could reinvent myself through various cleanses and diets. When vegetarianism wasn’t enough I became vegan and filled my plate with fake cheese, vital wheat gluten (aka fake meat) and tons and tons of processed soy. Then in my early 30s, I found myself adapting to a raw vegan diet, which basically had me eating nuts and seeds. I had no idea I was loading my body with thyroid suppressing PUFAs (poly-unsaturated fats) and blocking the normal function of my thyroid. I was also becoming extremely nutrient deficient. Just last year I turned to seeds when hungry as I didn’t want to feed candida. I was avoiding all fruits and balanced meals as I was afraid to feed the yeast. Ugggg.
Now, with an unbalanced hormone system, adrenal fatigue and an underactive thyroid, I can no longer afford to make such extreme dietary choices. And thank god. I love food. I love to cook and I don’t want to limit myself. I am on a fun fertility diet, which will help me to have a healthy pregnancy.
I was thinking about all the old cookbooks I have and how they use regular flour, sugar, butter, etc. And despite all this sugar and gluten, the amount of disease we see today did not exist. One dietary shift that has taken place (aside from GMOs) is the amount of PUFAs that are consumed ~they are in everything. Nearly all liquid cooking oils, nuts and seeds, margarine, nearly all processed and packaged foods, breakfast cereals, salad dressing, soy foods, tahini and more. Everytime you go out and eat at a restaurant it is more than likely that you are loading up on PUFAs. Maybe this doesn’t matter to everyone. But to someone with a delicate thyroid issue, estrogen dominance and looking to get pregnant, it MATTERS.
So what am I doing to balance my pretty little hormones?
- I am taking a natural progesterone supplement (100mg) prescribed by my doctor. I also use some natural progesterone cream on days 14-28 of my cycle, which I have been basing on the lunar cycle. (I did not have a period for almost 3 years due to pregnancy, breastfeeding and hormonal imbalances. I am just now obtaining a cycle again. I will not take the progesterone supplement on days 1-14.)
- Eating raw carrots daily, and mostly with coconut oil and sea salt. This has been proven to remove excess estrogen from the body.
- Avoiding PUFAs for the most part as they block the thyroid’s ability to convert T4 to T3. I no longer use a lot of nuts and seeds, hemp protein, fish and flax oils and I am not using the popular seed rotation activity. The nuts with a minimal amount of PUFAs are macadamia nuts. These are my delicacy.
- I take selenium, zinc, vitamin B6, C and E. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce estrogen levels by 55%.
- Dried foods are rich in estrogen as are soy, tahini and flax. I avoid these, aside from goji berries and dried figs on occasion. Soy is a controversial topic as it has components that actually aid the liver in ridding estrogen. That being said I choose to avoid it. I have eaten way too much in my lifetime already anyways.
- I eat progesterone friendly foods like potato, sweet potato, spinach, avocado, shrimp, granulated liver, white button mushrooms, brown rice, egg yolks, and grass-fed organic beef.
- I balance estrogen levels by eating non-PUFA lignans such as leafy greens, berries. and gluten-free oats. The carrots I consume helps here as well.
- Taking tinctures specifically made for me by Dr. Katherine Dale. She also gave me a homeopathic remedy specific to my constitution.
With all this being said, I don’t walk a straight line all the time. I still enjoy eating a bit of everything, just in moderation. I am just now understanding what balance means and it might take me some time to get settled.