Quick note: to my male readers. Sorry but this post isn’t for you…
Why is it that PMS symptoms seem to get more intense with age? Years ago I started to notice that I seemed to get…let’s just say…a touch moodier, my cravings became stronger and well, sometimes right before my period (and sometimes right before ovulation) I would just get so damn tired .
When I was growing up, I’d hear my mom complain about the physical and emotional swings associated with her peri-menopause. And back then, it was what it was and there was nothing that could be done about it, you just had to grin and bear it. Now a days, there are things we can do to understand and try to manage our hormones and it can make all the difference in the world.
Fortunately, I learned that my more intense PMS symptoms were all a part of a hormone imbalance. Many of us (up to 80% of women) typically around the ages of 35-50 with deal with a hormone imbalance at some point that can cause Estrogen Dominance. Estrogen Dominance typically refers to a rise in estrogen or an imbalance between estrogen (too high) and progesterone (too low). It can cause fun symptoms like:
Bloating (water retention)
Weight/fat gain (especially around the abdomen, hips, thighs or rear end) or inability to lose weight
Breast swelling and tenderness
Headaches (especially premenstrually)
Foggy thinking, memory loss
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Um check, check and double check. While there are things that can lead to estrogen dominance like being overweight (fat stores estrogen), too much stress, a low fiber diet (ideally you want to go to the bathroom once a day to help eliminate excess estrogen), endurance exercise, environmental xenoestrogens, too much sugar/caffeine, etc, it’s also just a part of life for many of us. Between the ages of 35-50 our hormones decide to get back on the crazy hormonal roller coaster they were on back when we were teens with our estrogen and progesterone being all over the place. At this age, our estrogen tends to go up or fluctuate a lot, and then drop as menopause begins. And, with aging, our progesterone tends to decline for many of the same reasons mentioned above. The problem is when we have an imbalance between our progesterone and estrogen we not only suffer from the symptoms of estrogen dominance but it can also lead to other issues like thyroid problems (low thyroid function), endometriosis, PCOS, autoimmune issues, breast cancer to name a few.
I’ve found two ways that have helped me to restore balance. One is by raising progesterone levels (see here for symptoms of low progesterone) using a small dose (varies person to person) of progesterone that I get from my doctor. Personally, I’ll use as little as 6.25 mg every third day from ovulation until menstruation and that’s all it. It really doesn’t take that much. But if you don’t have a doctor to help you with a compounding prescription, here are some other alternative ways to help your body support progesterone:
Evening Primrose Oil
Borage Oil or
The second thing or things that has really been a godsend are natural supplements that help my body to digest the excess estrogen. There are two in particular that can be helpful. They are:
DIM – Diindolylmethane is formed in the body from plant substances contained in “cruciferous” vegetables. It helps the body to break down and digest excess estrogen and promotes healthy estrogen metabolism.
Calcium D-Glucarate – It is a natural substance that promotes the body’s detoxification process and supports hormonal balance. Calcium D-Glucarate facilitates the detoxification process by inhibiting the re-absorption of estrogen-like toxins into the bloodstream, allowing them to leave the body and be excreted in the feces. Calcium D- Glucarate has been found in animals to lower unhealthy estrogen levels and thereby inhibit the development or progression of cancer.
You likely just need one or the other. I love my calcium D-glucarate but I know many that love their DIM and have had much success with it. Everyone is different so it’s really up to you to see what works best with your body.
I do test my hormones every quarter so I know how to best balance my progesterone and estrogen. Be sure to work with a healthcare professional in determining your levels. Also try to test on day 21 – 22 of your cycle (best days to evaluate your levels) and be consistent with that day every month so you can compare going forward.
Another great way to help promote healthy estrogen levels is to eat cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage since they all contain DIM (see above). So, with that said, I wanted to share with you one of our favorite snacks, Cauliflower Pizza Bites. I hope y’all like them and I hope that this post may help some of you out there!!
I was at Trader Joe’s earlier today and ran across these cool things….Kale Sprouts or also called Kalettes. Whole Foods carries them as well. Anyway, I love finding new things that are both simple and delicious! They are tasty like brussels sprouts but are super nutritious like kale. And, all I had to do it wash them and then add some oil, salt and pepper! Perfect!! I didn’t even cut them in half or cut the steams off like I do with brussels sprouts. Maybe I should have, but then they wouldn’t have been as simple to make and tonight I needed quick and simple. But honestly, I don’t think they needed to be cut.
Look at that color? They are just brimming with antioxidants!!
I love these! I hate to admit it but Scott and I ate all of them before the kids got home from playing. So I can’t say if they liked them out not (sadly we didn’t save them a single one!) but Scott and I loved them!
Before I start with the post, I wanted to just give a BIG “thank you” to everyone who wrote a review for Super Paleo Snacks on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads. You know who you are and I hope you know just how much I appreciate YOU and your amazing support!! Okay, sorry, enough with book stuff.
So, another resolution of mine this year is to eat more wild fish. I’ll admit that I don’t make fish often. When I do, the boys in this house tend to turn up their noses. But, this fish was so tasty! So guess what? The kids (and dad) are going to have to get used to eating fish. It’s never easy introducing a new food, but the more I do it, the easier it seems to get. It may not be their favorite meal, but it’s hard to please everyone all the time, right? It’s all about consistency and follow through. We have two big rules in our house at dinner time.
1. You have to try at least one bite of everything on your plate (yes, even if you are going to gag) because you never know if you are suddenly going to like it. Taste buds are changing ALL the time. It’s a rule that my kids have come to accept. Once they realized that it was a rule that was never going to change, it really became a non-issue, thankfully.
2. Whatever I make for dinner, is dinner. There are no second dinners or “kid meals”. If you don’t want the dinner I made, that is fine, you may be excused. But I will save it for later for when you realize you are hungry and want something to eat. Don’t worry, your dinner will be waiting for you.After 3 nights in a row, your kids will know you mean business. I promise, they won’t starve because you don’t make them exactly what they want.
Thanks goodness!! I love that word is starting to finally get out about bone broth. And with good reason (see benefits here). It’s so good for us that one doctor that I work with, Dr. Taz, wrote a whole book that includes a gut healing diet includes consuming bone broth on a regular basis. Another doctor at the office, Dr. Zach, gives some of his patients a recipe for bone broth (I love that!). It’s THAT good for us! And not only is it a super health food that can heal your gut, but it also can help joints, improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, and did I mention that it combats wrinkles, cellulite and weight gain? Bone broth anyone?!
It’s funny, not too long ago people would ask me with a slight smirk, “what is bone broth and why in the world would you drink it?” You would think I’m drinking blood or something. Anyway, fortunately because many are now learning the benefits, the questions have gone from “what” or “why” simply to “how” or even “where”? So I wanted to break it down for you all, step by step.
I am going to show you how to make chicken bone broth (instead of cow bone broth) since, we eat chicken for dinner about once a week, and it is a lot easier to find organic chicken or chicken bones.
We typically use a whole chicken, but you can cook with parts of the chicken with decent size bones and joints like legs or thighs.
The simplest way I have found to make bone broth is by using a slow cooker. Start by placing your whole chicken in the cooker and add any veggies or spices you like (see my recipe below for what we use). It is not necessary to add liquids at this point as you’ll get them naturally from cooking. We love to dip our chicken pieces into the juices once it’s cooked!
Cook your chicken on high for about 4 hours or low for about 6 hours. If you cook it on high, the chicken will fall off the bone and be more like shredded chicken. If you cook on low, you’ll have full pieces to pull, so decide what you prefer before choosing what temperature to cook your bird.
Once it’s done, tear apart the meat and set aside. Next break the bones apart (so you can get the nutrients from the bones and joints) and add about 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and enough extra water to just barely cover the bones. Cover and cook on low for 8-12 hours. The longer you cook it, the better it is for you and the stronger the flavor.
Then, the easiest way to transfer the broth is to use a large bowl and a strainer. The best strainer to use is mesh but I didn’t have mine at the time of the picture.
Place the colander over the bowl and then pour the chicken broth and leftover bones/meat. Dispose of the bones and then you have your bone broth.
If you used a non-mesh colander like I did, then you may still want to strain it before you drink or cook with it. I used a small strainer before placing the broth in big jars. This was a slight pain, hence why I got this strainer on Amazon recently.
Next, you can either save it in big glass jars and put it in the refrigerator for about a week or you can freeze them for about 6 months. If you are going to freeze them, be sure you don’t fill it to the top or the glass might break.
When freezing the broth, I like to use silicone muffin cup holders. They are great for for individual size portions.
So, to answer some of the “where” questions. So if you would rather buy your bone broth, Pacific has a good one that you can get at Whole Foods, when you can find it. Vitacost.com, one of my favorite online food retailers, has it too. It’s not as nutritious as homemade, but it’s not too bad either. It’s actually made with organic chicken, spices and apple cider vinegar. And it contains 9 grams of proteins per serving which means it was cooked low and slow enough to get protein from the bones.
And another option, if you want to buy it, but you want it there are a couple of places that I’ve heard about recently.
I will typically only make things when I can’t purchase them in stores. Good thing for me (or my husband) that they don’t sell paleo muffins or other paleo treats around Atlanta. Otherwise I’m sure I’d spend a small a fortune weekly.
Yes, you can find gluten free granola, but there are not many that are also grain free. I recently saw that Whole Foods carried a grain free granola, but it was $10 fora mere 7.5 ounces! Wow. Not only am I not going to pay $10 for granola, but I can assure you, there really is no better granola than the recipe in my Super Paleo Snacks book. Buttery, crispy, crunchy, sweet and a touch of salty. But, don’t just take my word for it. The recipe is belowI hope you all enjoy it.
As you can see in the pictures below, I made and sent this granola to some high-profile food bloggers. If you guys know any influential, vocal foodies that I should send a copy to, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I would certainly appreciate it! Oh, and for what it’s worth, apparently Super Paleo Snacks is #1 new release in Appetizers on Amazon. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I’ll take it!!
Lastly, many of you have already purchased my book and some of you have even written me a review on amazon. From the bottom of my heart, I want to give you a big huge THANK YOU! Of course, if you liked the book and haven’t yet written a review, I’d be ever so grateful if you took 2 minutes to post a review on Amazon (or Barnesandnoble.com, or both by cutting and pasting, yes now I’m getting greedy!)? It could be a one sentence or even just a one word review. I would SOOOO greatly appreciate your help and support!
It’s so easy to write a review, and it won’t take any time at all! Here is the link. Just click on “CREATE YOUR OWN REVIEW” and you’re good to go. I can’t wait to see the reviews. Thank you guys so much!!!!