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E37: How To Build Hormone Healing Meals For Your Entire Family




Food is very powerful and probably the most important component when trying to achieve hormonal balance.

But most women find the amount of contradicting opinions out there, totally overwhelming.

And because they don't know where to start, they don't start at all.

In this episode, I share with you 7 strategies to start building hormone healing meals.

Episodes mentioned:

You can find my 4-week, Hormone Healing Meal plan with amazing recipes here: FEAST: 4 Weeks To Healthier Hormones


Transcript:

Well hello again and welcome back to another episode!


I’m wondering if you have some health goals.

I’ve never set some health goals for myself. I’ve always just what I knew was best and sort of took life as it came.

Until my health was not really what I thought it should be.


So I wanna make sure you think about your health.

Because if you don’t, you’ll sort of just take every day as it comes, and before you know it, you may be a long way off from where you would like to be in terms of your health.

Maybe you can just take a moment right now to think about how you wanna feel on a daily basis.

What are the things that you can’t compromise on, to ensure that you are the mom, wife, friend, colleague that you really want to be.


Let me share a little bit about what my health goals are. Hopefully that will help you to think about what it is that you really wanna feel on a daily basis.


First of all, I wanna ALWAYS feel energized and ready for whatever life throws at me.

I wanna have enough energy to invest in my kids, do my job well, prepare healthy meals for my family, do fun activities that I enjoy but also the activities that we enjoy as a family. So consistent energy levels are really important to me!


I wanna feel joyful and focused, so I can give my full attention where it is needed at all times.

At this stage in my life, I’m not only building a business, but I’m also homeschooling my sweet 10 year old boy, AND we are in the final stages of a major reno, of which we do most of the work ourselves.

So I really need to have mental clarity, focus and joy to be able to do all of those things well.


Once I’m clear on what these non-negotiables are for me in terms of my health, I make sure that I create habits that will get me there.

And the 3 habits that I do every single day, that I really try hard to not compromise on are:

Exercise - very often this will be walking outside in nature.

Walking, especially after meals, makes a major difference in hormonal and overall health and wellness.

Next is at least 20 minutes of self care every single day, and most days, that would be my long, warm bath at the end of each day.

And thirdly, it’s eating meals that are metabolically healthy and supports all of my body systems and organs to do their job well, so that I CAN feel my best.


I really find that all 3 these things are non-negotiables for me. If I don’t get to these things for a few days in a row, I really experience the effect it has on my body.

But I’ll be focusing specifically on how to build hormone supporting meals today!


I wanna share with you 7 strategies to create meals that your metabolism will love, but also, that will stabilise your blood sugar, support your liver and feed your gut, which will all lead to healthier, more balanced hormones.


We wanna focus on giving your body the best fuel and foods so that it can perform all of it’s functions really well.

Here’s what I want to you to hear today.

Food is incredibly powerful

It WILL support your body towards health and healing.

If you think of it, food literally creates the structural components of your body. It includes all of your cells, mitochondria, DNA, hormones, everything.

And the food that you eat also affects your microbiome, which is the bacteria in your gut which impacts gene expression and cell signalling. So this is really important stuff!

Remember, when we put food into our body, this is literally what will become your future body!


Once you understand the important elements of a diet that supports your gut health, liver health, metabolism and hormones, it will become so much easier to put together meals that support your and your family’s health.


Ok, so let’s get going.


The first really important element of a metabolically healthy meal, is lots and lots of fibre!

We know that more than 90% of women do not meet their daily requirements for dietary fibre. And sadly, this is talking about only 30g of fibre per day. We now know, that we likely need closer to 50g of fiber per day or more. Especially for us women, as we need lots and lots of fibre to clear excess hormones from our gut. If there is not enough fibre in your gut, there simply is nothing for those hormones to bind to to be eliminated, and they get recirculated back into the bloodstream.


Not only that, but fibre is important for feeding your gut bacteria and this bacteria plays a crucial role in metabolic health, including regulating insulin and glucose levels.

Fiber also keeps gut inflammation down, protects the gut mucous membranes and slows down glucose absorption to avoid spikes in your blood glucose which is super important. You can refer back to episode 24 to understand more about why blood glucose is important for ensuring healthy and balanced hormones.

There is strong evidence to suggest that fibre is a large part of the solution for obesity epidemic.


So here are some practical ways of increasing the fiber intake in your diet:

Incorporate foods that are very high in fibre, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, lentils, beans, lots of veggies and fruits with the skin still on.

I make a conscious effort to include a variety of fruits and vegetables at every single meal. That means I have either fruit or veggies for breakfast in the form of smoothies or fried veggies with egg, I have tons of nuts and seeds as part of my snacking, I’ll have between 4 and 6 different veggies for lunch and dinner.

So i make plant foods the focus and then add in my protein and fats to go with it. I’d say more than half of my plate is plant foods, every single meal


If you are a long way off of this, start by adding more hidden veggies in your foods, when you cook something like bolognaise, add in some lentils and beans to bulk up the meat, add some plant based foods for breakfast.

Maybe just have a think right now about where you can increase your plant food intake.


Number 2: Load up on antioxidant and micronutrient rich foods.

Research shows that people who eat more than 30 different types of plant foods per week, have healthier and more diverse gut bacteria


Micronutrients and antioxidants are crucially important for every single system in your body. These nutrients often come hand in hand, so you’ll be hitting 2 birds with one stone.

Micronutrients include all of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

These nutrients are critical for all biological processes.

Antioxidants protects the body against oxidative stress, which is when free radicals cause damage to cells in your body. And this leads to disease such as cancers and diabetes.

So it’s critical to consume enough antioxidants through your diet to protect you against this oxidative stress.

Many vitamins, such as Vit C and E, also work as antioxidants.


Now we wanna eat as many antioxidant rich foods as possible, so think bright colourful plants. The colours of the rainbow.

These include green leafy veg, cruciferous veggies, berries, cherries, coloured peppers, omega rich fish such as salmon which is also very colourful. So the brighter the food, the better.

A great idea, which is what I often do, is when I roast these kinds of foods, I make them in bulk so that we can have heaps of leftovers for the rest of the week.

I also try to feed my family cruciferous veggies every single day, since it’s so amazing not only for supporting detoxification pathways in the liver, but also great for gut health.


So you may be wondering how i do this every week. Well, I do almost all of my grocery shopping online.

And I start off in the fresh produce aisle and go through the entire product list and load as many different fruits and veg into my cart. You can do the same walking through the actual aisles in the store. There is no need to follow complicated recipes or cooking instructions. Lots of veg can literally be chopped and thrown together to make delicious salads. I would say 80% of what I’m buying every week, is produce and plant based foods, such as beans and lentils.

Just remember, your cart will reflect your future health.

If you think of it in that way, I can almost guarantee that you’ll become more mindful of what you grab off the shelves and add to your cart.

Now you don’t have to start there. If you are not consuming close to that amount of plant foods in a week, start by focusing on adding at least 5 veggies to your dinner, one to breakfast and having leftover dinner for lunch, which will increase your lunch intake of plantbased foods to at least 5 different veggies too.

I hope that makes sense.

Start counting how many different plant based foods you eat in a day. Often, just being aware of what you’re eating or not eating, is a great place to start.

Now remember, plant based foods also include nuts, seeds, herbs, beans and legumes.

Some other ways to eat lots of veggies is a stir fry, salads, and soups


Ok, number 3 - go organic

Unfortunately, lots of the produce in our grocery stores are sprayed with endocrine disrupting pesticides and herbicides. This leads to disruption in our metabolism, disrupts our hormones, leads to obesity, cancer and other chronic diseases.

If you opt for organic where possible, you’ll be able to avoid these chemicals.


Now unlucky for us, although we have good variety of food here in NZ, we have almost NO organic fresh produce on our supermarket shelves. So it’s a bit harder over here for us.

Organic food also tend to be a bit pricier, so try to stock up on those foods when they are on sale.

If you can’t afford to buy all organic food, try to at least eat organic food where the entire product is being consumed, such as leafy greens, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, cruciferous veg, etc. And buy non-organic fruit and veg that are being peeled, such as oranges, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, etc.

You can also look up the dirty dozen online, which tends to be produce that has the highest exposure to pesticides and herbicides. These include strawberries, apples, nectarines, leafy greens, cherries, pears, tomatoes and celery. So try to buy those foods organically.


I still believe the best way to go, is to grow your own food at home. That way, you’ll always know what goes on your food.

But another option might be to go to a local farmers market.

And when you do buy conventional foods, make sure you wash your produce with an organic veggies wash before eating it.


Number 4 - Up your omega 3 fatty acids

These fatty acids are crucial for it’s anti-inflammatory affects and for cardiovascular health. We know that omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and omega 3’s anti-inflammatory and it’s important to consume a healthy ration of these fats.

The standard western diet consists of a ratio of about 17:1 of omega 6 to omega 3. The recommended intake of these fats are actually a ration of 4:!!

And this is because of our high intake of refined seed and vegetable oils like canola, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and corn oils. OIls that are really high in omega 6 fatty acids.

And on the other hand, the western diet is really low in foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olives.

It helps our arteries to be more elastic, it’s the building blocks of our hormones and is really important for heart health.


In our home, we make sure to cook fresh salmon at least once a week. And we have seeds and nuts every single day. You can add them to smoothies and salads and I also love making raw sweet treats that always have loads of nuts and seeds and also nut butters.

I also love making overnight oats and loads of chia seeds or even chia puddings, loaded with fresh fruit.


Number 5 - Load up on fermented foods

These foods are really good for gut health as it supports a healthy gut microbiome and supports a healthy gut lining integrity and also builds a healthy immunity inside of the gut.


And this is probably a more tricky one to incorporate in your diet, but you can find these products a little easier these days in the supermarket.

Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, ginger kraut, kombucha, and especially if you make this at home like I do. If you don’t, make sure you use a brand that only has 2-3 grams of sugar per serve, so less than 2 grams per 100ml. Any higher than this will start to affect your blood glucose regulation again.

You can add fermented foods to any salads, have it as a side or just eat it as an entree, which is what I love to do while cooking, with a few olives and pickles.


Number 6 - minimise refined sugar, carbs and grains

The western diet is extremely high in refined sugars, carbs and grains.

Some papers show that we consume 60-150pounds of added sugar per person per year, which is about 25-70kg of sugar per person per year. That is an insane amount of sugar that is destroying your gut, liver, cardiovascular system and having a huge affect on your hormonal balance.

The large glucose spikes also leads to oxidative stress, which is what I mentioned earlier, and also leads to fat storage, insulin resistance, blood vessel dysfunction and mitochondrial dysfunction. The mitochondria is the energy powerhouses and if they don’t work as they should, you’ll be feeling it in terms of your energy levels.

All of these side effects of high sugar intake will futher lead to estrogen dominance.

So with that in mind, it really is no wonder we’re feeling tired, unable to loose weight, have foggy brains and feel overall unwell!


Now the easiest way to avoid all of this sugar and blood sugar rollercoaster that comes with that, is to cut out all of the refined sugars, carbohydrates and grains.

Please don’t hear what I’m NOT saying.

By no means am I saying cut out carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are very important for metabolic health. But it’s important to eat carbs that are not refined. Refined carbs are everything that contains white flour and sugars.


Once you do this, there won’t be much room for all of the refined foods. If you fill your meals with wholesome food, you won’t feel like having the refined foods.


So what is important here? Well, as much as you don’t want to do this, it is important to read labels. Stick to foods that have at the most 5 ingredients on the ingredients list and you wanna be able to at least pronounce all of those ingredients. Ideally, you don’t want wheat flour or sugar to be on that list.

I’m not saying never have foods that contain refined wheat flour and sugar, but make it the absolute exception to the rule.


And secondly, find healthy alternatives for the foods that you love that contain sugars and refined carbs.

It definitely is so much easier these days to find healthier alternatives.

For instance for crackers, you could use seed crackers that contain no refined carbs and wheat flour, or 80% dark chocolate to substitute plain milk chocolate which is filled with sugar, healthy coconut yoghurt to swop out the sugar filled dairy yoghurts. You can get really creative in swapping out the foods that you love for ones that will better support your metabolic health


Number 7 - Balance out those meals to support blood sugar and metabolic health.

Whenever you consume carbohydrates alone, you’re likely to spike your blood glucose. So what you need to do, is dress your carbohydrates with fats, proteins and fibre.

When you do this, you slow down the digestion of those carbs and slow down the rate at which glucose enter your bloodstream. And this means, you avoid that glucose roller coaster. And this is absolutely always what you want to aim for!


So how do you dress up your carbs?

Well, it’s as simple as having a handful of nuts with your fruit, or adding avocado and some chicken to your bread.

So you wanna always aim to not eat your carbs and desserts by itself. Always pair it with some healthy proteins and fats, especially when it comes to snacking. Cause this is usually when we the wheels come off!

So even when you have some healthy fruit for a morning or afternoon snack, just pair it with some nuts. Usually in the afternoon, while cooking, I’ll have some olives just to help me support my blood glucose. This is usually when I’m really hungry and the healthy fats in olives help to support that.

So think also about desserts. DOn’t have it as a snack, but rather right after having a healthy balanced meal, because your meals will help slow down the release of that sugar into your blood.


Some more ideas of foods that you can add to your carbohydrates include avocado, hummus, cheese if you can tolerate it, veggies, good quality meat, fish, olives, nut butter and beans.

Some ideas for snacks include veggies with hummus, rice cakes with avocado and salmon, green smoothies with protein powder and coconut milk, banana with almond butter, chia puddings with fresh fruit. Those are just some ideas that may work well for you.

I think the key with food is to keep it simple.

Salads and stir fries are always a really easy option. You literally chop the veggies and throw them together. Serve with rice and a protein. Really easy and very nutritious for your body too.


So if that’s how you love your gut, liver and hormones.

You make sure you add

  1. Fibre,

  2. A Variety of nutrients by eating a variety of foods,

  3. Choose organic food wherever possible,

  4. Include lots of healthy fats,

  5. Include fermented foods,

  6. Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates and

  7. Dress your carbs with proteins and fats.


And this does not have to take a ton of time in your kitchen. You can literally throw together those ingredients in a bowl

What I also love doing, is building poke bowls with a bed of rice, drizzled with soy sauce, chopped up veggies on top, as much as I can find, salmon or chicken, pickled ginger, and a little bit of mayo. Such a beautiful balanced meal that literally takes me 5 minutes to throw together with leftovers.


Also, when you process veggies, make sure you process the whole lot, so you can keep it in containers in your fridge so you can easily just throw it together in a bowl.

So balanced healthy meals does not have to take a lot of time.

The key, is that you plan ahead and make sure you’re always ready for a rainy day!


And if you start implementing this, your gut, liver and hormones will absolutely love you for it!


OK my friends

I hope that was helpful.

I have some amazing recipes in my e-book, called FEAST, that is available for $27 on my website and the meals in that 4-week mealplan meet all of the things that I talked about here today. So if you want to find a book that will do all the thinking for you, that is the one!

I’m telling you, the recipes are delicious and will be loved by everyone in your family.

You can find it by going to www.vandghie.com/feast or find the link in the show notes.


Thanx for being here today

If you’ve loved this episode, please share it with a friend.

Until next week my friend




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