It’s All About the Hormone Balance

Thank you Wellness Mama for another wonderful article! With the hectic, stressful lives we lead it is hard to find a balance. All the anxiety, lack of sleep, poor diet and lack of exercise can cause severe hormonal imbalances. This can dramatically affect our weight and can impede any efforts of losing weight. Check this article out for some interesting insights. The following text and images are courtesy of Wellness Mama. Enjoy! 

It’s All About the Hormone Balance


Its All About the Hormone Balance Its All About the Hormone Balance

It seems that the more we know, the more we don’t know. New research is constantly emerging on a variety of health topics but there is a common underlying theme.

What factor contributes to weight gain during pregnancy? Hormone balance.

What causes weight fluctuations, bloating and other health symptoms throughout the course of a month? Hormones.

What causes men to naturally put on muscle more easily or lose weight more quickly? Hormones.

What is a huge contributing factor of growth in children? Hormones.

What controls ovulation, reproduction, pregnancy, etc? Hormones

Yes, when it comes to losing weight or improving health, what do we focus on? Calories… or micronutrients… or diets.

It’s all about the hormones:

I’ve heard so many cases lately of people who have improved diet, started exercising, etc but are still not losing weight or improving health markers. After talking to many of these people, it seems that the factor they all have in common is an underlying problem with hormone balance.

I’ve written about Leptin and thyroid hormones before, and these are just a small piece in the complicated hormone system in the body. In a given day or month, a woman’s body will have fluctuations in hormones like estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, lutenizing hormone, prolactin, oxytocin, leptin, ghrelin, thyroid hormones, melatonin, serotonin and others.

Certainly, diet affects hormones to some degree, but other factors can have a tremendous impact as well, especially:

  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Exposure to toxins
  • pregnancy or nursing

Though there is no single symptom that is a definitive sign of a hormone imbalance, factors that often indicate a hormone problem include:

  • sleep troubles
  • persistent weight gain or inability to lose weight
  • being hot or cold often
  • digestive problems
  • cravings
  • low libido
  • fatigue
  • depression or anxiety
  • mood swings
  • headaches
  • hair loss

What to Do About It?

For those with hormone problems, there are some important dietary and lifestyle factors that can help nourish the body so it can recover. For these people, things like dieting, extreme exercise or stress will only make the problem worse and it is more important to carefully support the body’s hormone system.

This is best accomplished by first improving factors like sleep and stress as well as nourishing (rather than depriving) the body.

As I said before: “Statistically, many people use hormonal contraceptives to help “balance hormones” or prevent acne, etc. The problem is that this is just treating the symptoms and not addressing the root cause. The body naturally moves toward balance so if hormones are out of whack, it is not from a contraceptive deficiency, but rather that the body is not producing the natural hormones optimally.”

Get Some Sleep!

While you are sleeping, your body is extremely active removing toxins, recharging the mind, and creating hormones. Skimping on sleep, even for one night, can have a tremendous impact on hormones and even one night of missed or shortened sleep can create the hormone levels of a pre-diabetic (source).

I shared some tips in a previous post for optimizing sleep:

A daily (and nightly) routine can make a big difference in how easily you fall and stay asleep. You’ll have to experiment to find out what works best for you but here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends to keep your hormone cycle regular.
  • Eat a high protein/high fat snack a few hours before bed (7pm or earlier) or consume a lot at dinner.
  • Avoid caffeine after 1 pm.
  • Install F.lux  (it is free) on all computers and devices to reduce blue light and help you sleep better (it is also easier on the eyes!)
  • Drink enough water during the day and stop drinking about 2 hours before bed so you don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom.
  • Take a soothing salt bath about an hour before bed with some relaxing music or a great book.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day (even if you aren’t trying to get your vitamin D). The exposure to the wide-spectrum light during the day boosts serotonin levels, which will help improve melatonin levels at night
  • Avoid artificial light as much as possible after the sun goes down.
  • Pray, meditate or find a way to reduce stress.
  • Give yourself a massage before bed to release stress and help relax (Personally, I love this for home-massage)
  • Stretch before bed to relax muscles.

This post has some additional tips for getting great sleep.

Eat Some Fat:

Fats, especially saturated fats, are vital for hormone health as the body uses fats as building blocks for hormones. As this article explains:

“When these important saturated fatty acids are not readily available, certain growth factors in the cells and organs will not be properly aligned. This is because the various receptors, such as G-protein receptors, need to be coupled with lipids in order to provide localization of function.

The messages that are sent from the outside of the cell to the inner part of the cell control many functions including those activated by, for example, adrenaline in the primitive mammalian fight/flight reactions. When the adrenal gland produces adrenaline and the adrenaline (beta-adrenergic) receptor communicates with the G-protein and its signal cascade, the parts of the body are alerted to the need for action; the heart beats faster, the blood flow to the gut decreases while the blood flow to the muscles increases and the production of glucose is stimulated.

The G-proteins come in different forms; the alpha subunit is covalently linked to myristic acid and the function of this subunit is important for turning on and off the binding to an enzyme called adenylate cyclase and thus the amplification of important hormone signals.

When researchers looked at the fatty acid composition of the phospholipids in the T-cells (white blood cells), from both young and old donors, they found that a loss of saturated fatty acids in the lymphocytes was responsible for age-related declines in white blood cell function. They found that they could correct cellular deficiencies in palmitic acid and myristic acid by adding these saturated fatty acids.”

Coconut Oil is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, can assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

If you really need hormone help, aim to consume 1/4 cup of added coconut oil a day. My favorite way is to blend into coffee or tea. This is the highest quality one I’ve found.

Helpful Supplements:

“In a perfect world, we would be rising and sleeping with the sun, getting Vitamin D from the sun and Magnesium from the ocean while relaxing and exercising in great balance each day in a stress-free world. Since I doubt that describes any of us currently, supplements can fill in the gaps. I’ve talked about the basic supplements that I take before, but there are some specific ones that are helpful for hormone support.

  • Maca– A tuber in the radish family that has a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Many women notice less PMS, increased fertility, and improved skin while men notice increased sperm production, libido and better sleep. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones.  It is available in powder form (least expensive option) or in capsules. Maca should be discontinued during pregnancy. The effects of Maca are somewhat cumulative, so the best results are seen after 3-5 weeks of taking Maca regularly.
  • Magnesium– Magnesium supports hundreds of reactions in the body and often contributes to better sleep (which is great for hormones!). There are several effective forms of Magnesium: In powder form with a product like Natural Calm so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly,  ionic liquid form  can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly,or  transdermal form by using Magnesium oil applied to skin. This is often the most effective option for those with damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency. Magnesium often greatly helps both PMS symptoms and menstrual cramping.
  • Vitamin D– A pre-hormone is supportive of hormone function. Best obtained from the sun if possible, or from a D3 supplement or Fermented Cod Liver Oil (what I do in the winter). Make sure not to get too much, and optimally, get Serum Vitamin D levels checked to minitor levels.
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil– Provides many of the necessary building blocks for hormone production including Vitamins A, D, and K. It also is a great source of Omega-3s and beneficial fats.
  • Gelatin is a great source of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. It supports hormone production and digestive health and helps sooth inflammation, especially in joints. We use Great Lakes Kosher as I was able to verify with the company that it is sourced from grass-fed, humanely raised cows, and as such is higher in nutrients.
  • Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry– Nourishes the pituitary gland and helps lengthen the luteal phase. It lowers prolactin and raises progesterone. For some women, this alone will improve symptoms.
  • Natural Progesterone Cream– PMS and menstrual troubles are often linked to specific hormone imbalances. Especially for those with short cycles or short second phase of their cycle (ovulation through start of menses), progesterone can be the issue. I’ve seen people add only natural progesterone cream and see symptoms greatly reduce. If you do use progesterone cream, do you own research, make sure you have a good brand that is soy-free and only use for the second half of your cycle (ovulation through menses).
  • Red Raspberry Leaf A well know fertility herb that is also helpful in reducing PMS and cramping. It has a high nutrient profile and is especially high in calcium and is a uterine tonic. It is available in capsule form, but makes an excellent hot or cold tea.

NOTE: Make sure to check with your doctor or health care professional before taking any new supplements, especially if you are on medications or contraceptives.

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Diatomaceous Earth for your Family, Home, and Homestead

Eating dirt to detox? Interesting topic. Thoughts? The following images and text are courtesy of The Prairie Homestead and the article can be found here.

 

Diatomaceous Earth for your Family, Home, and Homestead

January 15, 2014 By 

how to use diatomaceous earth

Hello, Prairie Homestead readers! My name’s Danielle – but you can call me Dandy. I’m so honored and happy to be here with you today, but I’m afraid I have something to confess straight away: it’s a habit of mine here lately, a dirty one.

The truth is – I eat dirt. Every day.

Yep.

But don’t write me off just yet – let me explain.

I don’t eat just any dirt. It’s a special type, found in certain deposits around the world, and you might even have a bag of it in your laundry room or shed.

What dirt would that be? Why, diatomaceous earth, that’s what! If you’ve been following Jill orhave read her books, you know she’s a fan of diatomaceous earth. My family is, too.

Let me ask you – do you want an effortless way to detox your body? Do you know someone who would like to lower their blood pressure? Would you like to have natural parasite protection for your pets and livestock? Well, read on; I’d love to talk more about this precious powder, and share with you many of the ways it can be used to help improve your health, your home, and of course, your homestead.

Let’s get started!

What Exactly is Diatomaceous Earth?

I thought you’d never ask!

Diatomaceous earth technically comes from the cell walls of fossilized single-cell diatoms – essentially, it’s a fossil, ground into a very fine powder. There are two general types of diatomaceous earth: food grade and industrial grade. While industrial grade is toxic to humans and pets, food grade diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and very beneficial on multiple levels, and is the type I’ll be discussing with you here today.

Diatomaceous earth exhibits some interesting properties:

  • When viewed through a microscope, it looks like a hollow cylinder, with holes throughout the side.
  • It carries a strong negative charge. If you’ll recall your science lessons, you’ll remember that negatively charged ions are attracted to positively charged ions.
  • Therefore, when taken internally, the diatomaceous earth attracts and absorbs positively-charged pathogens into its cylinder – it absorbs the things we want to stay away from, likeviruses, pathogenic fungi and bacteria, heavy metals, prescription drug residues, pesticides, parasites, radiation, and the like – and sweeps them out of our bodies.
  • Diatomaceous earth is also very hard. On a scale of “hardness”, if diamonds were a 9, diatomaceous earth would be a 7. This helps us too – as this powder makes its way through our digestive tract, it gently “scrubs” the packed-on residue we have there and sweeps it out of our bodies. Nice, diatoms!
  • Also, because of this quality, it is very sharp. Organisms such as parasites, lurking in our intestines, are sliced up and killed, and swept away when we empty our bowels, and weare left unharmed.
  • The last quality I’ll mention is also powerful: food grade diatomaceous earth is 84% silica, and contains some 20 trace minerals. Did you know life can’t exist without silica? It is essential for the building of healthy bones and teeth, skin, hair, and nails. As our mineral resources are getting depleted, our food is containing less and less silica. Do yourself a favor and add this divine diatom to your diet.

How Do I Take Diatomaceous Earth?

(Some of the following links are affiliate links)

I’ll start with a public service announcement: YOU MUST ONLY BUY AND USE FOOD GRADE DIATOMACEOUS EARTH. Sorry to yell, but the distinction is very important. Fortunately, it is easily found both locally and online.

Where to buy food grade diatomaceous earth.

Now that I’ve made that clear, I’ll give the instructions: to take diatomaceous earth, all you have to do is mix a spoonful into some water or other liquid, and drink. Follow with another cup of water. (Diatomaceous earth can make you thirsty – make sure and drink plenty of water while using this supplement.) It’s that easy! You can also add it to smoothies – it’s totally undetected that way.

Dosage: If you are just beginning your diatomaceous earth journey, start with a teaspoon mixed in liquid, as I’ve detailed above, once a day. Slowly increase to twice a day, and then slowly increase the amount taken, up to a heaping tablespoon, and up to three times a day.

Please hear me: slowly. Diatomaceous earth is a way to detox your body, and if you start with too much, your body will get rid of toxins too quickly and leave you feeling under the weather. Yes, it really does work that well! If you start experiencing light headaches, you’ll know you took it a little fast. But don’t stop altogether, just do yourself a favor and take it slowly – no need to rush.

Pregnant and nursing mamas, you’re in the clear – diatomaceous earth can be safely taken during either stage. Just be sure to drink plenty of water. It is also fine for children to take in smaller doses. My children get their DE in their smoothies.

How does it taste? Well, if you want to know the truth, you’ll feel like you just licked a mud puddle. Ha! Not that you’ve ever done that, but it just tastes… like dirt. Sometimes it is hard for me to get down, but I am so motivated by the positive changes it’s brought to my body!

Would you like to know my favorite way to take it? I mix a spoonful with about six ounces of coconut water and add 1/2 a teaspoon of honey. Mmmm, it’s delicious! The honey is optional; it tastes great without it as well. You could also try taking it with fresh vegetable juice, whatever works for you.

What can diatomaceous earth do for your body, home, and homestead? Find out more.

What Can Diatomaceous Earth Do for Your Body?

  • Since it sweeps out foreign matter, you will begin to notice better nutrient absorption and less fatigue.
  • Studies show that DE can help your body lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. Believe it or not, some users report a 40-60 point drop in blood pressure points after only a month of use.
  • The beauty mineral: the silica in DE helps hair and nails grow faster. Since I’ve started taking it, my nails have turned from flimsy to hard as a rock. My hair, which partially fell out earlier this year due to a difficult surgery recovery, has begun filling in nicely. I have read many, many testimonies of people who have reported that it reversed their baldness. The silica also helps reduce wrinkles, age spots, and acne, and it also strengthens teeth and bones, tendons, and joints.
  • Metal detoxification: since DE sweeps heavy metals out of the body, this is helpful especially to those with heavy metal poisoning or mercury fillings, which leach mercury constantly into the body. Aluminum is also swept out, lowering the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Helps repair and maintain lung function, acts as a cough decreasing agent
  • Helps prevent kidney stones, osteoporosis,
  • Decreases vertigo, tinnitus, and insomnia
  • Regulates bowel movements, lessens gastrointestinal inflammation, cleans out the colon, treats both diarrhea and constipation. It is a great choice for families on the GAPS diet!
  • Treats head lice and fleas (make sure you don’t inhale the powder)

Diatomaceous Earth for Furry Friends

It’s true – your pets and livestock will reap the benefits as well.

  • Sprinkle a little DE on your pets’ food daily for the same benefits you receive. This is a great de-wormer!
  • Carefully sprinkle onto your pets’ and livestock’s coats – making sure none is inhaled – for protection from lice, ticks and fleas.
  • Sprinkle in the kitty litter box and pet beds for extra odor and flea protection.
  • Sprinkle in your barn, stalls, nesting areas, and coops for pest protection.
  • Decreased mastitis and increased milk production in livestock with internal use. Causes healthier coat and hooves.
  • Better and stronger eggs produced by hens who have it sprinkled in their feed.
  • For dosage instructions and more benefits, visit this page.

Diatomaceous Earth for the Home and Homestead

Homemade Diatomaceous Earth Toothpaste

You can use DE around your home in the following ways:

  • Sprinkle around windows and entrances to protect from ants, spiders, and even scorpions. (The DE scrapes their exoskeleton and dries it out, leaving them dead.)
  • Sprinkle a ring around your garden plants for protection from garden pests. (Do realize, though, that DE kills beneficial insects as well. Avoid applying onto flowers. – Does not harm worms or beneficial soil microorganisms.
  • DE will destroy ant colonies, even fire ant colonies. Sprinkle around and in the hole.
  • DE can be used to treat a bedbug infestation.
  • Sprinkle DE in your garbage bins for odor and pest protection.
  • Got a compost heap? Apply DE to keep odors and pests away.
  • Add to manure heaps to keep flies and larvae down.
  • Add to bulk grains to keep pests and moisture out.
  • You can use DE to make your own homemade toothpaste! I have a recipe coming to my blog soon.
  • You can add DE to your homemade “DE”odorant – I am also working on a recipe for this.
  • You can sprinkle DE in your toilet for a little extra scrubbing power – it won’t harm porcelain.

FYI: if the area where you applied the DE gets wet, such as in the garden, please reapply.

As you can see, there are so many uses! I hope I’ve intrigued you today about my friend, diatomaceous earth. I believe no family, home, or homestead should be without it. It’s worth a shot, don’t you think?

What can diatomaceous earth do for your body, home, and homestead? Find out more.

Where to buy food grade diatomaceous earth.

Do you use diatomaceous earth already? Let us know in the comments!

Peace, Love, and Diatoms,

Dandy

IMG_1238

Danielle is first and foremost a daughter of the Most High God. She is married to her best friend, and they have four children. She is a recovering procrastinator, a real foodie, and an unapologetic dreamer. And yes, she eats dirt daily. You can find Danielle blogging about life, love, simplicity, and her affinity for bacon at http://lovelovething.com– Don’t forget to join the discussion on Facebook too.

References:

  1. http://diatomaceousearthsource.org/
  2. http://www.earthworkshealth.com/How-Diatomaceous-Earth-Works.php
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth
  4. http://www.naturalnews.com/039326_diatomaceous_earth_detox_mercury.html
  5. http://www.naturalnews.com/033367_silica_diatomaceous_earth.html

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are for educational and entertainment purposes only. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Home Made Organic Deodorant

Deodorant can be a VERY controversial topic when it comes to personal hygiene. This is something that cannot be skimped on. Even the most organic, all-natural individuals will opt for the store bought brands with aluminium for fear of body odor. But there are recipes that work! Recipes that are organic and natural and work! 

Something to note when switching to an all natural, organic deodorant such as the recipe below: There is a learning curve. The body needs roughly 1-2 weeks to fully adjust to the new deodorant. During this time some odor may be experienced. This is merely built up toxins leaving the sweat glands. I suggest switching over during the winter months. 

The following images and text are courtesy of We Support Organic. The article on organic deodorant can be found by following the link below. 

How to Make Long Lasting Organic Deodorant

Image: wellnessmama.com

Below is my favorite deodorant recipe. It is AMAZING!!! My husband can ride his bike 70 miles in the blazing summer and still no BO! I also love that it’s a great alternative for my girls who are just reaching the age of needing deodorant. It’s easy to use and you can add essential oils for a “pretty smell”, if you want.

Deodorant Recipe

Ingredients:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

Directions:

Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder.

Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.

You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

Source: Heal Thyself

Milk Punch

Yum! I love sweet, milky beverages of the adult persuasion. This drink is sweet and warming. Perfect for the cold winter weather! The following images and text are courtesy of Etsy. See the article in its entiretyhere. Enjoy! 

A New Holiday Favorite: Milk Punch

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Story by Kelly Carámbula

eatmakeread

Looking for an alternative to egg nog this holiday season? Milk punch is a mixture of milk, half and half, bourbon or brandy, sugar and vanilla, topped off with a sprinkling of nutmeg. Served either shaken and frothy or frozen into a slushy mix, this southern cocktail is dangerously delicious and ridiculously simple.

Etsy_MilkPunch_ingredients

Milk Punch
Makes 6 servings

2 1/2 cups whole milk (don’t use skim or 2%)
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup bourbon or brandy
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Etsy_MilkPunch_570

In a pitcher or vintage milk jug, stir together the milk, half and half, bourbon or brandy, powdered sugar, and vanilla. At this point, you can go two directions—  shaken and frothy or frozen and slushy.

For the shaken and frothy method: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add about a glass-full of the mixture to the shaker. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

For the frozen and slushy method: Place the pitcher in the freezer for at least 4 hours and up to one day. When ready to serve, use a metal spoon or fork to loosen the mixture and spoon into a glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Etsy_MilkPunch_final

All photos by Kelly Carámbula.

Kelly Carámbula is the designer and publisher behind Remedy Quarterly, a magazine about food memories and the recipes that inspire them. She’s on a constant quest to try new things, explore her surroundings, and whip up tasty treats. She publishes her adventures in the kitchen, including happy hours, on her blog, The Best Remedy. You can also find her on Instagram @kellycarambula.