Women's Moon Wisdom Podcast Intro - Rebecca (00:01):
Stories, teachings and guidance. Welcome to the Women's Moon Wisdom Podcast with your host, Rebecca Rankin.
Hey there. And welcome back to the Women's Moon Wisdom podcast. Hormone health can sometimes feel like an abstract concept. You hear about balancing your hormones and preventing hormonal imbalances, but what does that actually look like as far as your everyday life goes? In this episode, we're gonna look at the five pillars to hormone balance and some protocols that you can lean into today to help support your female biochemistry. So let's pick apart hormone health a bit and break it down into something that's a bit more accessible. Like how do we make balancing our hormones a bit more user friendly? Did you know that an estimated 80% of women experience the symptoms of hormonal imbalance? So hormone fluctuations occur naturally due to transitions like puberty, perimenopause - so like the years leading up to menopause - menopause itself. Yet unhealthy lifestyle habits and environmental factors can also disrupt the balance of her hormones, which can cause anything from early puberty to increased pace of hormonal decline and even premature aging.
And you may be thinking like, what is a hormone exactly? A hormone is a chemical that is made by specialist cells, usually within an endocrine gland and is released directly into the bloodstream to send a message to another part of the body. Think of hormones as like little chemical messengers that travel throughout your body to let different organs and tissues know when it's time to carry out a specific task. And honestly, they play just a big role in maintaining the, the quality of your life like physically and mentally. In this episode today, when I reference hormones, it's mostly gonna be in reference to our female sex hormones and the stars of that show, being estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, and testosterone with some cameos, from a few others, I'm not going to specifically call them out. You'd rather reference them all in relationship to our overall health and wellbeing. In your female biochemistry with its cocktail of hormones, it actually affects six different systems of your body.
So it affects your brain, your metabolism, your immune system, your microbiome, your stress response system, and, and more obviously your reproductive system. Your hormones communicate in two ways. One way is between two endocrine glands, where one gland releases a hormone, which stimulates another target gland to change the levels of hormones it's releasing in response to that communication. The second way is between an endocrine gland and its recipient organ or tissue. And since hormones are released into the bloodstream, they travel around and communicate with many different parts of your body. So our hormones affect our entire physiology like growth, muscle adipose tissue, (AKA body fat) metabolism, appetite, your GI tract, fertility, stress, emotions, mental clarity, sleep, skin, hair, nails, all those things. So you can only imagine if your hormones are out of balance, any one or more of those things can be affected and therefore affect your quality of life.
So why aren't we talk more about our hormonal cycle and how to keep it in balance? Well, let's hope that this episode begins to shine a little light on the topic and peaks your interest to dive a bit deeper on your own. Think of this episode as an overview as to what hormonal balance looks like through your lifestyle choices. You can then take this information to come up with an action plan on your own, or perhaps work with a trained professional to come up with one together. So as a certified women's holistic hormone health practitioner, there are five foundational aspects that I lean into to support a woman's journey towards overall hormonal wellbeing. I think the more that we can be educated about lifestyle choices that can improve our health and wellbeing, then hormonal health isn't such an abstract concept, right? When we're more aware of how just our everyday choices that we make or don't make affect all of the different systems of our body, then there's just a bit more motivation behind your actions.
So let's dive into these five pillars of hormonal balance of hormonal health. So the first pillar of hormonal health is nutrition, both inner nutrition with what we eat and outer nutrition with. Like what we put on our skin. Xenoestrogens are an endocrine disruptor that are common in a wide variety of cleaning products. And in beauty products, think parabins, plastics, BPA, pesticides, preservatives, hormones added to meat and dairy products. So through exposure, they can circulate in your system and then contribute to overall estrogenic activity in the body. And remember that your skin is not only part of the elimination system, it's also an endocrine organ. So it becomes really important to know what you're putting on your skin. As those ingredients can penetrate to the deeper layers of your skin. And depending on, on the chemical itself can absorb into your bloodstream and therefore mingle with your hormones, creating undesirable outcomes.
So this becomes important to know with what you're cleaning your house with and what you're putting on your skin. And this doesn't have to be overwhelming. I think oftentimes we can think, oh great. Now I need to throw out my whole clean supplies and throw out all my beauty products. No, not at all. Like take it one step at a time. Think as you finish a product, then see if you can find like a healthier option to replace it. That's not as daunting of a task. And it becomes just a little bit more financially accessible too, you're not just dropping a ton of money on all new products. And on your inner nutrition, what you eat. And let me say this right away. There's no one size fits all diet or eating style, right? What works for one person may not work for another, like each one of us has different genetic and metabolic makeup.
Yet the one thing that many studies have shown and honestly, any personal experience will probably prove this to be true for you as well, is to eat real food. Meaning less processed, less chemical additives and preservatives, less added sugars. Real food doesn't typically come in a package. A general rule would be if you look at the ingredient list on the side of a package, and if there are ingredients that you can't pronounce, then just put it back on the shelf and move on. And what do chemical additives and added sugar - what do they actually do? Well, they can interfere with your endocrine system by dysregulating cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, which in turn can cause sex hormone imbalances, and can even interfere with just your ability to regulate your appetite. They can also damage the intestinal lining, which can cause systemic inflammation. And there can just then be an imbalance then within your gut microbiome and your estrobolome, which if you're not familiar with that phrase, that estrobolome is a collection of bacteria in your gut that specializes in metabolizing and modulating the body's estrogen.
And you can imagine that if you're a GI tract, your microbiome, your estrobolome are compromised and out of balance, then that affects the whole system and chemical additives can also prevent proper elimination. Ideally, you're having at least one bowel movement a day for, for so many reasons. It's, it's so important. And as far as your hormones are concerned, your bowel movements help you eliminate conjugated or used hormones, right? Otherwise those used hormones can go back into circulation, right? They get reabsorbed and become metabolically active again, which can then lead to more hormonal imbalance. Since hormones can regulate each other. If there becomes an excess in one, then there becomes a deficiency in another. And lastly, chemical additives and added sugar can make it just really difficult to release weight. And then the excess adipose tissue, (AKA body fat) it creates excess estrogen, which increases weight and will create symptoms of estrogen dominance.
So it can be a little bit of, uh, of a vicious cycle and those symptoms of estrogen dominance. It can look like mood swings, decreased sex drive, heavy periods, like painful periods, painful cramps, bloating, mental fog, anxiety - among other symptoms. So when you're making the choice to eat real foods, ideally you're opting for organic, pesticide free, hormone free, real food. And I also, I wanna add this is that I also know what it's like to not have those types of options be accessible. I went from living the majority of my life in big cities. So Ann Arbor, San Francisco, uh, abroad over in the Netherlands, Pittsburgh - where there were so many options for organic food, right? There was organic grocery stores everywhere. Until recently, so at the time of this recording, let's say it's been about, I guess, four years now, a little over four years when we moved to this rural village in Northern Michigan and our nearest food co-op for organic food options is an hour drive away.
And our local grocery store, although it does have some organic, it is the tiniest organic section ever. So I know that sometimes, you know, the, the options might be limited where, where you live. And for us, we make it work. We have a garden, we grow some of our food. We buy fresh produce at our local farmer's market and the summertime. And we generally just try not to buy fruit or vegetables off the dirty dozen list. If you're not familiar with that term, the dirty dozen list, it's a list that is compiled of fruits and vegetables that have the most detected pesticide residue. Well, knowing what's on that list is great, yet it shouldn't deter you from eating your fruits and vegetables as they're still packed full of nutrients. Ideally you just wanna minimize the amount of non-organic food that you consume. So go for a mostly organic diet when available. The great thing about nutrition being one of the pillars to hormone balance is that imbalance is that, if you think about it, if you're eating three meals a day, you have three chances each day to make a choice that is going to support your health and wellbeing.
Three chances, three chances to eat real foods, mostly organic and eating real foods will, will help give you the nutrients that your body needs and help support healthy digestion, elimination, uh, support your microbiome, your estrobolome. So when you're meal planning, even if it's on the fly, be sure that your meal is well balanced, meaning that you're eating a combination of protein, fat, and dietary fiber from real food sources, less packaging. Your body will thank you. And the Earth will thank you too. Keep it simple. Just eat real food. Now our second pillar for hormonal health is movement and exercise. Now this is something that I feel very privileged that was very much imprinted on me as at a young age. So my mother was a stay at home, mom raising my older brother, my twin brother and myself while my father worked long days,
And, and most of the weekends. Well, rightly so to keep her from losing her sense of self by hanging out with little ones all day long, she would go down into our basement and put on music and do aerobic exercises. And of course I know this because three of us kids would constantly go down there and just be bothering her the whole time while she was working out. And looking back at that, oh my gosh, as a mother myself, I don't know how my mom didn't lose her cool. And maybe she did, but I don't recall this at all. I recall just us bothering her and running around her while she was trying to, you know, break a sweat and, and work out. In my recollection, she never once lost her cool. Like she never yelled at us to give her some space already. And so when my little ones do the same thing to me, I kind of feel like it's a little bit of payback so anyways, so, so movement and exercise have countless benefits, right?
And positive effects on our sex hormones, as well as our stress hormones. Think each day you wanna move your body in some way, and it doesn't have to be intense or vigorous every day. In fact, I highly recommend listening to episode Number 20, which helps you simplify how you exercise by syncing it with your cycle. So regular, moderate intensity exercise, you can lower levels of circulating estrogen and increased levels of a protein called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, S V G H, that will bind up free estrogen. And this binding helps regulate the circulating bioactive estrogen in your system, which can help in the preventing of unbalanced levels of estrogen. And even though exercise can stimulate the release of cortisol, the body is actually using cortisol as it should and can reduce the levels of overall cortisol. And then you've got the endorphins that are produced during the exercise, your, your body's natural mood, elevator. Daily exercise and movement practices help us improve our inner detoxification system.
Yep. You have your own detox system built right in and detoxification is needed to eliminate those used sex hormones so that they don't become biologically active again. Also your inner detox system helps you eliminate toxic substances that you were exposed to through maybe food, household products, body products, which we stated earlier, which can disrupt your endocrine system. So regular exercise helps improve your pathways of detoxification, which is through sweat and through eliminating your bowels, move your body each day. It doesn't have to be a strenuous challenging, make it burn workout. Cycle in varying levels of intensity, and even just go for a walk, move your body. All right. Our third pillar for hormonal health stress management, it's time that we all take stress seriously. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol has a direct impact on our body's hormones. It creates imbalance in our sex hormones. It creates inflammation in the body.
It disrupts our microbiome, can create insulin and leptin resistance. And stress management, it might take some exploring to find the stress reducing practices that work best for you. Maybe it's through different mindful breathing practices like, box breathing or Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing, and meditation. Meditation has many benefits. And I also know that for some people, they find meditation challenging. And I love this quote that I can't remember the source, so I apologize, 'the goal of meditation isn't to control your thoughts, it's to stop letting them control you.' So perhaps start with guided meditations. Following the guidance of someone's voice can be a great entry point into your meditation practice. And I'll always advocate for the addition of movement based meditations and mindfulness practices like yoga. In addition to finding stillness and finding quiet. Incorporating a yoga practice provides you with the physical aspects of strength, flexibility, mobility, stability, and also the acceptance of your body and mind.
You'll not only incorporate mindful movement and also mindful breathing, which can increase your sense of calm and ability to manage stressful situations and stressful thoughts. And if you're looking for just a little bit more support with that, if you're like, where do I even start? I have a large library, I think it's over a hundred practices at this point, a large library, of a yoga on demand membership, which includes breathwork practices, meditations, as well as movement practices, I'll linked to it in the show notes and you can check it out. And never underestimate that the power of nature. Being in nature, as your probably personal experience shows, can be so soothing. And there were some studies down that being in nature, even as short as 20 minutes, creates a 15% decrease in cortisol. A 20% increase in short term memory and 20% increase in focus and concentration.
And so when we can manage our stress better, we're better able to sleep and getting proper sleep and rest is essential for our overall health and wellbeing. So when you take your stress seriously, you can take your sleep more seriously. And finding the place in your life that you can create meaningful connections with others, can also help us just feel seen and appreciated and accepted. So we feel emotionally nourished, allow yourself to find people in your life that support you and uplift you unconditionally. That alone can be a resource for your stress management. Our fourth pillar of hormone balance is education. Knowledge is empowering, continuing to be curious about your health and about your wellbeing. How can you learn in a way that you feel empowered by your hormones? Not like they're your enemy, your body isn't working against you. In fact, your body is constantly trying to come back into balance.
And the more that we recognize it and make choices that support balance, the better you'll feel, body, mind, spirit. When you recognize that there may be a hormone imbalance, then you can reassure yourself that balance can be restored. And the fifth pillar of hormone health, I feel like is kind of the most important one. It's just the commitment to healing. It's our commitment to ourself, to our own health, to our own journey. When we commit to our health and wanting to make the changes to achieve our goals, then each step along the journey is a way to live the life that you've been dreaming of. Take time to come up with your why, discover your why for hormonal health and let that be your motivator. When you empower yourself through learning more about what is happening within you, when you nourish yourself with real foods, when you move your body and you manage your stress, that will only help further support your commitment to healing.
And when you find body mind balance, then you have more room for expansiveness there's room. For discovery of joy, you become even more aware and open to divine inspiration. You can allow yourself to feel more connected to others and to the Earth. And so it comes full circle. When you feel better in your body mind, you are living in more alignment with your true nature. And when you live from that place, you share from that space. And when you share from that space, you positively impact your own life and you positively impact the lives of those around you. And with the Earth that we live on. When you make better lifestyle choices for yourself, you're making them for all of us. Wherever you are on your journey, just by listening to this episode, you've made a commitment to your healing. You've educated yourself about your healing, and by committing to your healing journey, you are putting in the work to step into your fullest expression of your joyous self.
So on behalf of everyone, thank you for that. So take those five pillars of hormonal balance with you into your day nutrition, both inner and outer movement, stress management, education, and commitment to healing. Start slow and see where you can bring a bit of balance into your life. Knowing that every little step towards making more mindful decisions each day, it adds up. If you're looking for more support in your journey, be sure to stop by my website. I'll link to it in the show notes. There's a few ways to connect there. You, you can grab my free offer of a loving kindness meditation, and you'll be added to my email list where I'll share tips, guidance, and offers to help you on your journey. And if you're looking for a little bit more, one-on-one support drop me a line on my website. I'd love to connect with you. Thank you so much for, for being together and thank you for committing to your own healing. Until next time, have a good one.