I’d like to introduce Lisa Hocking, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who works with women to balance their hormones and love every inch of their being and life through whole foods and self-love practices. Lisa a great gal, full of energy and an incredible passion for life. She offers some great tips below that you can implement to help ease the often unbearable symptoms of PMS…Here’s Lisa:
“AHHHH…..Not that time of the Month Again”
From the time I learned what a period was it was my belief that all women suffered monthly. Once it came to my time to start menstruating my belief soon became my reality. My PMS was hard to handle not only for myself but for those around me. I had no idea that my symptoms could be alleviated by anything other than the birth control pill or a few Tylenol. I thought that suffering was just the cost I would have to pay for being born a woman.
I took no interest in trying to manage my hormones and actually felt I had no control until a time came in my life when I actually lost my period. Most women might not mind the fact they’re no longer bleeding, but for me I knew there was something wrong. I believed in natural health and was determined to get to the root of my imbalance using food, lifestyle, spiritual, herb and supplement remedies. Along my 4 year journey to get my period back and through my practice as a holistic nutritionist, I have learned so much about the female body and what our cycle means for us.
There are 150 symptoms assigned to PMS. The most common being: low energy levels, anxiety, tension, irritability/anger, depression, headaches, breast tenderness, backache, abdominal bloating and swelling of the fingers and ankles.
Once I finally got my period back I was experiencing many of these symptoms. I’ve found many remedies for managing them in a holistic way.
It is estimated that 80% of menstruating women experience premenstrual emotional or physical changes with peak occurrences among women in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Each month a series of changes that we may be unconscious of occur within our body. These changes are impacted by hormonal levels fluctuating. They’re biological, measurable and not all in our head.
I never thought in a million years that I would have grown to love my period and honor the wisdom I gain through each bleed. I owe the change of my outlook to the fact that I have learned how to manage all those symptoms that many deem uncomfortable, painful, annoying and wish away each month, through natural remedies.
Here is a list of remedies I’ve not only studied but have used myself to balance my hormones since getting my period back.
Cut out the processed foods, food additives, preservatives and sugar.
Focus on whole foods. Think fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, gluten free grains and antibiotic/hormone free meat. Depending on where you are on your health journey this may seem easy, but if its far from where you’re at right now just focus on one meal at a time. You can make your breakfast more nutritious for 2 weeks and then move on to your lunch. I like to think of it as crowding out the unsupportive foods with more nourishing foods. Before you know it, your house will be stocked full of healthy options.
By replacing the non supportive foods with supportive foods your body will be able to receive vital nutrients such as B6, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium, Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin C and Protein to support the proper regulation of hormones. Foods that are whole ensure our blood sugar is stable to minimize moodiness, irritability, low energy, fatigue and depression, along with alleviating food cravings because your body will be getting everything it needs.
Master your sleep
I think sleep is my specialty sometimes since I talk about it ALL THE TIME. Well I’ve got reason too. Proper sleep regulates our hormones better than anything. If we don’t get proper sleep you can bet that everything on this list will seem like climbing Mount Everest. Improper sleep effects our cortisol which ends up throwing our estrogen and progesterone right out of whack. A dysregulation in our cortisol levels can also impact our blood sugars, digestion, concentration, inflammation, cravings, weight and fat to muscle ratio.
Support your liver
A congested liver is unable to excrete excess estrogen. High estrogen relative to progesterone is the main reason women struggle with their monthly cycle and can also be a contributing factor to drastic menopause symptoms as well. It’s also fascinating to note that excess estrogen can negatively impact neurotransmitter and endorphin activity which play a role in modulating anxiety, sleep, appetite and sexuality.
Draw your attention to foods that support the liver such as beets, leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard, arugula and dandelion), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lemon, lime, garlic, onion and grapefruit. You may also want to reduce or eliminate foods that contribute to liver congestion such as processed foods, alcohol, sugar, conventional meats and fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides.
Clean up your skin care and cleaning products
60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our body. Beauty and cleaning products contain xenoestrogens which are chemicals that mimic the body’s own estrogen. However, these estrogens don’t act in the same way and can lead to estrogen dominance if the body is overloaded or the liver and intestinal tract are not working optimally. Gradually switch the products your using, especially those used daily, to natural ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda and essential oils.
Balance your hormones
Herbs such as vitex (chasteberry) and/or maca support a healthy balance between estrogen and progesterone throughout the month. There is no need to wait until your experiencing symptoms to take care of what is happening in the body unconsciously throughout the month. In fact, I recommend supporting hormone balance as a lifestyle. Both these herbs can be found at your local health food store. Ask one of the staff for assistance if necessary.
Magnesium is great for energy, mood, cramps, aches/pains, bowel movements, sleep and anything else your experiencing during your cycle. According to Dr.Mercola 80% of Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium from their diets alone. Since magnesium is needed for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, it is vital that we supplement our diet with a good quality magnesium liquid, powder or pill.
I’d love to say we can get all our magnesium needs from food but since our soil is greatly depleted of this mineral, pesticides and herbicides are being used, pre mature picking and long travel times are being practiced, our food supply is clearly lacking. Through my personal experience and with my clients, I have seen most symptoms relieved by incorporating just this one supplement.
Sip on some tea
Tea isn’t just something we do to get together with our girlfriends, specific herbal teas can actually help with your PMS symptoms. Red raspberry leaf, ginger and dandelion leaf are the 3 I always keep on hand to assist me during my cycle. Red raspberry leaf is wonderful for toning the uterus and therefore helpful to relieve cramps. It’s also helpful in reducing bloating and also replenishes iron lost through bleeding.
Ginger relieves nausea and reduces pain in the hips and lower back, headaches and cramps. It also can help improve digestion that is thrown off by the fluctuation of hormones. Dandelion tea is a wonderful diuretic. Say goodbye to bloating and swelling.
This is not a practice just for 1 week out of the month. Managing your stress all throughout the month can actually minimize the symptoms you experience when your time of the month arrives. I’m sure many people say it’s easier said than done however it’s actually vital for your health in general. Many illnesses are caused by stress and that includes female issues. My favorite ways of reducing the stress in my life is journaling, meditation, exercise, nature, girl time and long baths with calming essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and sweet orange.
Practice self-care daily
This one goes with the recommendation above but I feel that most people don’t even know what self-care is. Let me explain. Self-care isn’t just pampering yourself at the spa once a year because someone bought you a gift certificate for your birthday. Self-care is something that everyone needs to practice on a daily basis for a minimum of 1 hour. Self-care includes doing things you enjoy just for you, eating nutritious foods, relaxing, exercising and saying no to the things you either don’t really care about or you don’t have time for. Self-care looks different for everyone depending on what you enjoy and value. The point is to focus just on you.
I recommend writing out a list of all the things you love and enjoy and a list of all the things you value. Now write out a list of all the things you would do in a typical day and see if they line up with what you love and value. If there is anything on the list of your daily activities that doesn’t line up with what you love or value, drop it.
Okay so I’m sure I’ve got some of you thinking ‘I don’t love my job but I need to work to support my family, I can’t just drop it’.
Let me explain what to do in this case. Look at your values again. I’m sure family is listed there somewhere. So if you value your family you can change your outlook on the job you don’t really care for. This exercise may have also enlightened you to start moving towards a life you love and therefore maybe looking into a new job opportunity or career path that will give you pleasure and support your family. That’s a win win!
Honor your body and listen to what it is telling you
This one seems to be the most challenging for my clients. We live in a society that believes we should be “on” all the time but our menstrual cycle is actually a time for us to connect with our bodies. It’s an opportunity for us to listen intuitively, release what no longer serves us and set intentions for the next month ahead. Many women feel a deep desire to be in solitude with little distraction from the outside world. Our society thinks this is unnatural and has many women believing they’re depressed.
The healing and growth that happens to each women during her period can actually be of great benefit to her life and those around her if she honors this time and gives her body what it’s asking for. Make it a priority to spend extra time with yourself. Rest as much as you need to and ask others in your life to do some of the things you’re accustom to doing during the stages of birth, growth and transformation. Unfortunately, we still live in a “man’s world” that has us running on 5 days and then having 2 days off. In a “women’s world” we would be 3 weeks on and 1 week off.
The best way to incorporate this style of living would be to explain to the people around you what it is that you need during your monthly bleed. Don’t just assume your partner knows what it is that you need. I find it very helpful to prepare some nutritious freezer meals when I’m “on” for those times when I don’t feel like cooking and I allow myself to let go of cleaning and taking care of everyone else when my energy is lower and I just want time to reflect and be quiet.
If your experiencing crappy periods with symptoms that are unbearable most of the time I hope you find comfort in this post. If your feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start to feel like the best version of yourself seek out some help from a health coach or holistic nutritionist such as myself for support and guidance.
You can find me at www.lisahockingrhn.com, follow me on Facebook and Instagram @lisahockingrhn or email me for more information about my coaching and nutrition services @email@example.com – mention that you found out about me through Natasha Minor and receive $50 off 5 one-on-one session package or $75 off 9 one-on-one session package. This offer has no expiry.