Natural balance is about eating whole foods and as close to the source as possible. There’s no need to deprive yourself when you’re trying to conceive or balance hormones; there is a vast array of foods that can help you feel great and energized everyday. Nutrition is the foundation for natural hormone balance! You can take all the herbs and supplements for hormones/fertility as you want, but if you aren’t feeding your body what it needs for proper hormone production you won’t see the results you desire.
Four food tips for natural hormone balance
Sticking to healthy whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, wild rice, cornmeal and oatmeal you’ll realize how much better you feel as these options won’t alter your blood sugar and insulin as dramatically as their white friends will (white flour, white rice, white bread). Try whole grain pasta with fresh tomato sauce and fresh marjoram, a whole grain pita filled with steamed vegetables, almond butter and sesame seeds, create a balsamic quinoa dish with cashews and fresh thyme
**It’s recommended that all whole grains be properly soaked or fermented using traditional foods preparation methods before consumption. This will help reduce the inflammation they may cause as well as increase bioavailibility of nutrients.
The antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables will do wonders for both you and your husband. Try to purchase organic as often as possible; aim for a fresh fruit and veggie at each meal. Try spinach in your morning omelet, red bell peppers and salsa for a snack, berries in your Greek yogurt parfait, bananas in your oatmeal, fresh orange and grapefruit juice as the dressing for your salad, steamed fennel and leeks added to your favorite soup recipe. See how easy it can be to sneak in a few new fruits and veggies into your daily eats?
Fresh herbs are also a great way to add flavor to all of your dishes; I love cilantro, rosemary, marjoram, basil and sage but don’t stop there – there’s a whole garden of herbs that you can experiment with. Try a bit of mint in your evening tea or some cilantro in your tomato sauce; how about basil in your salmon salad?
Animal protein sources can be an important part of a healthy nutritional plan, but we often forget to include plant protein as well! Beans, legumes, peas, nuts and seeds are a wonderful source of protein and can be used in recipes from stews to hummus, salsa to stir-fries, nut butters to chili. Toss some peas onto your lunchtime salad, cook up a batch of black beans to store in your fridge for the week to use in your scrambled eggs, homemade hummus, burritos, wraps, and rice dishes. Carry around a Ziploc bag filled with nuts and seeds for a nice dose of protein when traveling or running errands where there are no healthy protein options; you can sprinkle a bit of these seeds onto your cereal, salads, baked goods, pilafs and smoothies as well.
We all need a bit of healthy fat in our lifestyles and there’s no need to shun the three-letter word or be scared of eating foods with fat because we all need fat to survive and for our bodies to properly function. Good sources of fats include olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter, organic tallow/lard as well as fatty foods like nut butters, avocado, and eggs.
Try a mashed avocado with a slice of whole grain toast with fresh arugula and tomato slices. Or whip up an easy hummus with chickpeas, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil and red beets for a quick mid-day snack that can be enjoyed with crudités, a toasted English muffin or whole grain crackers. Roast some pumpkin seeds in your oven with olive oil, cinnamon and sea salt; store in Ziploc bags for an easy travel snack that you can store in your bag when you need a bit of a blood sugar boost.
Eating for hormone balance doesn’t have to be difficult, though it may take a while to begin new habits if you don’t currently eat this way. Just remember, small changes add up and before you know it your body will have the nutrition it needs to function optimally for natural hormone balance.
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is a Manhattan based Culinary Nutritionist, Marketing Consultant, recipe developer and food writer specializing in Gluten Free, Soy Free and Dairy Free Culinary Nutrition. Amie is the author of the gluten-free blog, The Healthy Apple and is the Publisher and Marketing Director of the online gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats.
Amie shares her passion for and approach to ‘Clean Eating’ by focusing on natural, whole foods and ingredients. She’s a Food Media Expert and works hands-on with individuals and groups as a Food Allergy Concierge and Healthy Family Pantry Stylist to guide them through their transition into a healthier lifestyle.