Balance Your Hormones

Everyone thrives when their hormones are balanced. Lack of adequate hormone secretion can affect mood, digestion, and fertility. For female-bodied people, there are not any foods that contain estrogen or progesterone. However, certain nutrients support the body’s natural process of producing these hormones in a balanced way. Since most of the neurotransmitters that produce our hormones live in our intestines, using food to balance hormones is very effective!

After age 35, progesterone levels tend to decrease and estrogen levels increase. This slow process eventually leads to menopause. We can support this gentle change while we are still in the child-bearing years (until age 43 on average) by boosting progesterone levels.

Here is a list of progesterone-stimulating nutrients and their food sources in order of importance. Don’t feel like you need to get all of these nutrients every day. Focus on L-Arginine, Magnesium, and B Vitamins.

L-Arginine: aim for 6 grams per day

  • Turkey – 4 ounces contain about 16 grams

  • Chicken – 4 ounces contains 9 grams

  • Pumpkin Seeds – 1 cup contains 7 grams

  • Chickpeas – 1 cup contains 1.3 grams

Magnesium: aim for 500 mg per day

  • Spinach – 79mg per 100g

  • Pumpkin Seeds – 534mg per 100g

  • White fish (cod, trout, haddock) – 97mg per 100g

  • Brown Rice – 44mg per 100g

  • Dark Chocolate (70% or higher) – 327mg per 100g

  • Vital Calm Magnesium powder – 320mg per serving

Vitamin C: aim for 1,000 mg daily (do not exceed)

  • Yellow Peppers –3mg per large pepper

  • Kale and Collard Greens – 120mg per 100g

  • Kiwi – 64mg per Kiwi

  • Broccoli – 89.2mg per 100g

  • Oranges – 69.7mg

Vitamin B6: aim for 25 mg per day

  • Sunflower Seeds –35mg per 100g

  • Pistachio Nuts – 1.12 mg per 100g

  • Tuna – 1.04mg per 100g (cooked)

  • Turkey – 0.81mg per 100g (cooked)

  • Prunes – 0.75mg per 100g

Vitamin E: aim for 150 mg per day

  • Almonds – 2mg per 100g

  • Sunflower Seeds – 3mg per 100g

  • Shrimp – 2mg per 100g of Shrimp

  • White fish (cod, trout, haddock) – 8mg per 100g

  • Olive Oil – 4mg per 100g

Zinc: aim for 25 mg per day

  • Beef – 12.3mg per 100g

  • Wheat Germ – 16.7mg per 100g

  • Pumpkin and Squash Seeds – 10.3mg per 100g

  • Cashews – 5.6mg per 100g

Here are some recipes that include hormone-balancing ingredients.

Easy Trail Mix

You will need:

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

  • 1 cup almonds

  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 cup cashews

  • 3 tablespoons pure Grade B maple syrup

  • A pinch of sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 cup prunes,chopped

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients except the prunes until well mixed.

Spread mixture in an even single layer on the lined baking sheets.

Bake the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place back into bowl, add chopped prunes and toss to combine. Cool completely.

Store cooled trail mix in an airtight container at room temperature.

Lemony Turkey Stew

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 pound organic ground turkey

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 2 cups kale, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander, cumin, oregano and salt

  • 1 bunch kale

  • 1 inch chopped kombu or wakame seaweed

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • juice of 1 lemon to finish

In a soup pot, sauté turkey on medium high heat with vinegar, stirring constantly with a metal spatula, until chicken is cooked through - about 25 minutes depending on the cut.

Add the celery, carrots, ginger, cabbage, seaweed and spices. Stir well. Add the kale and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cook for 15 minutes, and stir in lemon juice. 

Serve and enjoy!

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Healthy Summer Treats

During these long summer days, we can support ourselves and maintain balanced energy with healthy treats. Instead of grabbing something quick and chock full of preservatives when you are starved, pack some of these treats in your snack bag.

As always, be well and enjoy whatever you eat.

Maple Pecan Fudge

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup almond butter

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a blender and combine.

Fold in 1/2 cup pecans.

Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment/waxed paper. Allow the mixture to cool in the freezer or fridge into solid. Slice into small 1 inch by 1 inch squares or slices. Because of the coconut oil, these will melt if not kept in the fridge or freezer.

Protein Power Squares

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

  • 1 banana, mashed

  • 1/3 cup nut butter

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

  • 1/4 C chopped walnuts

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix everything together. Shape into squares. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bars

You will need:

  • 1 cup peanut butter (no sugar, organic) - substitute any nut butter you prefer

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice

  • 1 cup chopped almonds, cashews, or pecans

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt peanut butter and maple over low heat.

Once all of the mixture is all melted, add the rice and chopped nuts.

Mix all of it together and press it into a 9×13 pan.

While the rice part is cooling, melt the chocolate chips, cinnamon and vanilla over low heat. I just use the same pan for this part to save on dish washing.

Spread the chocolate chip mixture over the rice base, put in the fridge to let cool and soften.

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Cooling Desserts for Lingering Evenings

June is here. Firefly season in Vermont. Lupines blooming blue next to ox-eye daisies.

The angelica, black cohosh and feverfew plants tower over the garden, delighted to be its protectors.

Last fall's potatoes are sprouting: it's time to plant them.

The soil is warm enough for winter squash seeds to sprout and peas are almost a foot tall.

At our homestead on Sparrow Farm Road, this is the time we await with delight. 

Whatever summer looks like for you, soak in it.

Sit with the evening and let yourself become absorbed in the pink light as it slowly gives way stars.

Find local raspberries ans strawberries to make an amazing topping for this vegan cheesecake.

Hawai'i Inspiration: Vegan Cheesecake

Recipe by Ani Phyo - courtesy of Alessandra Jann-Jordan

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts (or almonds)

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup pitted dates

  • 1/4 shredded coconut

Chop nuts and dates into small pieces.

Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. Mix well.

'Flour' bottom of 9 inch spring form pan with shredded coconut. 

Press crust evenly on bottom.

For the filling:

  • 3 cups cashews

  • 3/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup honey (or pitted dates)

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • Water as needed

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend into a smooth cream.

Add water as needed to make a smooth, thick batter - like pancake batter.

Smooth into pan and place into freezer until firm - about 12 hours. 

Before serving, defrost on a plate 1/2 hour.

Top with fresh, chopped raspberries and strawberries.

Enjoy!

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Hazelnut Escarole Salad

For many indigenous cultures of this hemisphere, today's full moon is known as the wolf moon. The wolf honors its pack, its community, its loved ones. It also takes time alone to howl at the moon, hear its own voice, and reflect the importance of taking space to care for the self.

The wolf moon reminds me to find inner balance so that I can relate to others in a harmonious way.

Try these recipes to balance body, mind, and spirit. Prepare them mindfully. Spend time with the ingredients. Taste as you go. Mix and match them to create different meals.

Most of all, be well and take time to reflect on the splendor of your own inner harmony.

Hazelnut Escarole Salad

For the dressing, blend these ingredients in a food processor:

¼ cup roasted hazelnuts

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon raw honey

1 garlic clove, crushed

salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each)

Then, mix all these ingredients together in a large bowl to assemble the salad:

1 head escarole, washed and steamed

1 green tart apple, thinly sliced

½ cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped

¼ cup sourdough bread croutons (optional)

Pour dressing over salad, toss well to coat, and serve with your favorite soup.

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Homemade Almond Milk

As we get older, our bodies produce less of the lactase enzyme, which digests the lactose in dairy products. If dairy is giving you gas, bloating, or intestinal cramps, try these substitutions.

Dairy is an important source of protein and fat, so it's good to substitute it with foods that have similar nutritional profiles such as nuts, winter squash, purslane, and borage leaves.

For delicious recipes featuring plant-based protein, visit my recipe page.

ALMOND MILK

Soak 2 cups raw, organic almonds in 4 cups water overnight.

Drain, rinse, and place in a blender with 4 more cups water.

Add a pinch of salt.

Blend well.

Strain off the liquid. This is your almond milk!

Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Click this link for a blueberry chia lime smoothie recipe to enjoy your almond milk.

Save the almond pulp and add it to cauliflower flatbread or any recipe that calls for almond flour.

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