As someone who suffered years of hormonal disruption and yet who followed all the current government issued healthy eating advice who finally fixed my PCOS naturally, I know how it feels to be eating all the right things and not see any improvement in my symptoms.
I still had weight issues, skin issues, period issues and yet I followed a “very healthy” diet according to my GP and the dietician I saw.
Fast forward 10 years and, now a qualified women’s health and nutrition coach (and thousands of hours of study later), here I am seeing other women telling me they are eating a “perfectly healthy diet” and they can’t understand why they are having all the same issues.
Well, it turns out food that was originally thought to be a great idea, has turned out to not be so great and so called health foods can really wreak havoc with our hormones, our cycles and ultimately our fertility.
Here are my top 5 worst offenders:
1. Fruit juice
I used to think that this was a brilliant way to up my fruit (and vegetable) nutrients, and went on a full juicing offensive, but I underestimated the importance of fibre. For those of us who are more hormonally sensitive, fibre is our friend. It helps us flush our excess oestrogen and, it coats our gut for a short while which slows down the absorption of the sugar into our blood stream preventing insulin (and cortisol spikes), both of which trigger of other hormonal actions.
Fruit and vegetables are a great source of micronutrients but keep them whole or in a smoothie so you still have the fibre that helps our delicate hormones stay in balance.
2. Meat substitutes
A lot of these are packed with unfermented GM soy (sprayed with endocrine disruptors) in much larger doses than it is normally consumed which if you have heavy periods, PMS, bloating and skin issues isn’t such good news. They are also quite bland and so are covered with high doses of salt and other flavouring to give them some flavour.
If you want to be vegetarian there are plenty of great ways that are usually far more tasty and nutritious of getting your daily protein such as learning to protein combine effectively and how to use seeds, nuts, grains and legumes in new and interesting ways.
3. Anything “low fat”
Fat isn’t actually bad for you and essential for hormone production. And in most women with hormonal issues, it isn’t fat that is the problem it is sugars which upset insulin levels and create a whole array of hormonal havoc.
When you consume something low fat, if is a source of dairy for example, it has been pasteurised, so the proteins are removed, then the fat is taken out, leaving just the lactose, which is the sugar component.
If you have ever compared low fat milk compared to semi-skimmed, you will notice it is a lot sweeter. Then, in order to add flavour, sugar is usually added as well as other preservatives and flavourings. If you are going to eat dairy, eat full fat ideally grass fed sources of dairy in smaller doses less often.
4. “Diet” varieties
Some firms are now using stevia which is a great alternative, however, most diet things contain phenylalanine (nutrasweet) which is a known neurotoxin. Yes, you need to be regularly consuming these things in large quantities or regularly to see the effect, however, if you are craving something sweet, that is an issue that can be addressed with nutrition which will free you from these cravings long term.
5. Breakfast cereals
It amazes me how much faith we store in breakfast cereal when infact it is packed with sugars, salt and flavourings. Infact if you were to weight out how much is in every bowl full, you would be surprised as there is no way you would normally be able to eat that much sugar.
I am very sensitive to sugar and I could never figure out why I was always sleepy after a bowl of serial, it turned out that the excess sugar was causing insulin spikes causing my blood sugar to drop too low.
It is worth noting that we are all different and some women are more sensitive to some of these foods and can tolerate others, but I strongly suggest you hold off these foods for a while (around 3 weeks) and see if you feel a difference in your symptoms. Maybe try a food diary and compare your symptoms before and afterwards.
To get more nutrition information, you can sign up for my free course to help with overall womb and women’s health which will take you through the first steps. If you want to know more, you can book in with me for a skype session here.
Find out more about what diets can help your hormones
Find out what a proper period is
Find our how stress can affect your period