This is the second post in a Hormone-Focused Series from Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Brynn D’Avello. I suggest reading the first post The First Step to Happy Hormones and then diving right into this one where we tackle Blood Sugar and Your Hormones!
How Blood Sugar Imbalance Affects Your Hormones
The number one principle of the Nutritional Therapy paradigm is, “Always address the foundations first.” So what exactly are The Foundations? The first and most important is a properly prepared, nutrient-dense diet. The other four foundations are digestion, blood sugar balance, fatty acid balance, mineral balance and hydration. When one or more foundations are weakened it leads to what we call consequences, which are usually the symptoms that clients are coming to us, or doctors, to help resolve. Issues like hormone imbalances, weak immune systems, and sluggish detoxification pathways. As Nutritional Therapy Practitioners we do not treat disease. It is our job to strengthen the weaknesses and remove the stressors. This will allow the body to correct the imbalance and bring optimal wellness back.
With hormone balance each of the foundations plays a role, but any attempt to normalize hormonal imbalance is futile until blood sugar issues are addressed. No ifs, ands or buts. In the last post about Happy Hormones we talked about how stress affects the adrenals and hormone production, and how these two glands handle our stress response, but that’s not their only job. In order to maintain proper blood sugar balance it takes the adrenals, the liver, and the pancreas working together in harmony to provide steady energy for the body. Chronic stress leads to elevated cortisol, which exhausts the adrenals. When the cortisol levels are elevated insulin receptors on cells do not respond adequately to insulin. This puts a strain on the pancreas to secrete more insulin, which leads to more stress on the adrenals, higher insulin levels and if this vicious cycle continues… to insulin resistance and possibly even diabetes. A daily roller coaster with dangerous consequences.
Our body’s innate intelligence constantly monitors the amount of glucose in our bloodstream to maintain balance. Too much or too little triggers the release of hormones to return levels to normal. A constant slow stream of glucose from unrefined, whole foods sources, entering into the blood stream in a controlled manner – this is the ultimate goal. Not the large dumps of sugar we see in our food culture. We are NOT designed to run on just carbohydrates. The body is designed to use a balance of unrefined carbohydrates (think vegetables, fruits and some whole, soaked/sprouted grains if you can tolerate them), along with good fats and quality proteins as the primary sources of fuel. Carbohydrates act like kindling in a fire; they are quick burning and work for a short time to get us bursts of energy, as needed. Inevitably we will need more, to keep the fire going for the long haul. When we exclusively are burning carbs/glucose we create a roller coaster with our blood sugar, with the highest or highs and the lowest of lows aka crashes or bonks! Healthy fats and proteins are the logs on the fire, providing a more sustained source of longer lasting, balanced energy, along with providing the body the necessary precursors to create healthy hormones.
11 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Simple, holistic tips to fight illness and strengthen your immunity PLUS what you can do if you do get sick, to fight it quickly.
Go With Your Gut
I can tell you from personal experience that the very best way to ward off chronic illness, colds, flus, infections, allergies, food sensitivities and controlling / avoiding autoimmune disease is to heal and strengthen the gut! With 70-80% of our immune system’s cells occupying our gut, this is home base for our vitality and wellness. Our gut bacteria helps the immune system’s T cells develop—teaching them the difference between a foreign substance and the body’s own tissues. Without these important immune soldiers doing their job to protect us, the nasties get in, they slip by the troops, invade, wage war, take over and it’s not fun!
With years of comprised digestion, intestinal bacterial overgrowth and finally being diagnosed with a parasite, I personally spent a solid decade to 15 years, getting terrible sinus infections, several times a year, every year, most times it then eventually evolved into bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. I got every single strain of every cold, flu and stomach bug that passed through town – I even battled the Swine Flu when that was a thing. On top of all of that, I suffered for many, many years with a variety of environmental allergies – ALL of this stopped when I finally healed my gut and prioritized proper digestion. It’s magical really. But, it’s not. It’s simple.
As you’ll hear echoed many times throughout this article, and if you spend more than about 5 minutes chatting with me at any given time, our gut is vital to our immune health and it’s the control center for our bodies to decide what is friend and what is foe. I highly encourage you to prioritize optimizing your gut, both for the cold and flu season ahead, as well as the future of your overall health and wellness.
Along with tips on strengthening and healing your gut, here are some tips to Naturally Boost Your Immune System:
As we head into 2018, I know for so many, setting heath and wellness goals for the start of a New Year is of utmost priority. I often get asked questions about my favorite supplements to recommend, why I take collagen daily and what it does, etc. etc. So today, I am sharing some of my favorite products from Vital Proteins that help me #STAYVITAL and play very important roles in my own health and wellness, along with the health of many of my clients.
With so much of the focus surrounding wellness often being centered on What to Remove from the Diet, I really do love the idea of instead shifting our perspective to What Can I Add? While I always suggest getting your nutrients from whole food sources, at times we simply just cannot consume enough to reach the necessary level with select nutrients. Mindfully including properly-sourced supplemental sources of important and essential nutrients to boost our healthy diets and ensure our bodies are getting what we need, is something I believe can play a very significant role in our continued healing journey, along with maintaining our vitality for many years to come.
Beth’s Top 5 Vital Products from Vital Proteins:
Sacred Self Care Guide for December 2017 from Rising River Wisdom School
In all the world’s’ mythology and culture, there have been wisdom keepers, those who looked to the natural and the hidden worlds as a guide for life on earth. Rising River Wisdom School is an immersive program for those looking to step into their own power and carry wisdom for themselves and the world around them. Below you will find some Sacred Self Care insight for December from some of Rising River Wisdom School’s incredible teachers – we’ve got you covered for setting intentions with the upcoming new moon, to seeking insight from animal guides, card reading and plant medicine plus lots of guidance for mindfully closing out 2017 and entering 2018 with your vibrant well-being in focus.
New Moon Wishing for December by Michelle Prentiss
Our Earth’s Moon is no star, but it does reflect the brightest light we can see in the night sky. Its phases are a part of human consciousness, and its movements affect systems on earth and sea. When we align our activities to the Moon’s cycles we find a greater connection to both our bodies and intuitive wisdom.
A powerful way to become aware of Moon energy is to utilize it for your own personal growth. As Biodynamic farmers do, track the moon cycles with an ephemeris or almanac. Use the New Moon time period to plant the seeds of wishes and desires, and the Full Moon to culminate and release them.
For example, say you want to begin a new nutrition and movement program. The few days just before the New Moon are perfect for crystallizing your thoughts here.
Ask yourself – What do I really want? What Do I Need? How do I Feel? (new moons can begin a new emotional/feeling cycle)
On the day of the New Moon use the energy of new beginnings to create a ritual around your desires. You can write down your wishes on paper or in a journal, light a candle as you hold these wishes in your mind, or join with others to create a ceremony around it.
We first sow the seeds of our intentions internally, then cultivate them with action as they are revealed with the Full Moon.
December’s New Moon is at 12/17-18 10:30pm PST
The New Moon for December is in the sign of Sagittarius, a fire element sign that represents the inner light of spiritual truth, that which keeps us going through the dark of winter. Sagittarius symbol is the Archer and she is concerned with finding meaning and direction on our journey.
This is a perfect New Moon for setting intentions regarding what you want to attract in your life – as well as creating Sacred Self Care habits and rituals that empower by integrating our bodies needs with the needs of our souls.
10 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care
This post is sponsored by Desert Essence.
As a culture we are quite literally burning out. I think many folks can often feel like they are too busy to take care of themselves. But without time for our self-care, stress can take over and we are inundated with exhaustion and we find ourselves a mere shell of who we could be.
Stress is often the leading cause of most health conditions and diseases we face. Being overworked and burning the candle at both ends, this sends our body into an innate state of stress response, releasing an excess of cortisol into our bloodstream to manage the state of our body feeling “in danger”. This is “fight or flight” mode and while our body is here and in a chronic state of the sympathetic nervous system dominance, our digestion doesn’t work, our immune system shuts down, sleep is affected, our heart rate increases and we feel chronically fatigued. We gain weight and our hair skin and nails look drab, despite how hard we try and how great we eat. Our ability to tackle and manage daily tasks feels beyond comprehendible.
Sure you can get your self-care on with yoga, drinking green juice and meditating once in a while, cramming them smack in the middle of your stressful days, but I believe that self-care is a practice much more effective when approached daily, with mindfulness and intention.
Better yet, find a full day to dedicate to your self-care, whatever you need most in that particular moment. If I am home and free, Self-Care Sunday is a regular occurrence that serves a very important purpose to my sanity, my health and my happiness. Some Sundays are facial and hair masks, long showers or staying in my PJs all day. Some involve long walks with good friends, a late brunch and Sunday cocktails – to me it’s just about dedicating time for me, honoring the need for space, not working, not putting anyone else before me and simply rebalancing my mind, body and spirit.
By treating ourselves with kindness and love, daily, we can approach our life, our work and relationships with a happier, more clear mind, allowing the cycle of positivity and happiness to continue to ripple out into the world around us.
Gratitude is an immensely powerful force that we can use in the most simple of ways to expand our happiness and cultivate loving relationships, it can even improve our health, both mental and physical.
I am so excited to share the Power of Gratitude. The very many powerful health benefits to a regular gratitude practice along with some tips and thoughts on how to cultivate a grateful heart, plus if you scroll to further down, I’m even offering a free download of a Gratitude Journal worksheet you can use daily, as part of your practice.
I invite you to explore ways to support living gratefully as a way of life, not simply something we celebrate once a year.