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!

tetiana-bykovets-1072096-unsplash.jpg

Chickpea Tagine with Buckwheat Pancakes

During the colder months, it's important to warm our bones with healing foods such as soups and stews. This one freezes well, so you can make a double batch to thaw and enjoy at a time when life is busy.

Take a moment to slow down and breathe in the fragrance of these spices as they cook. Native to North Africa, this spice blend and concomitant stew are a wonderful way to boost your immunity and strengthen your digestion while learning about the culinary traditions of another group of people.

Tagine refers to the earthernware pot in which this dish is traditionally cooked. Records of this dish date back to the 9th century CE.

Chickpea Tagine

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek

  • ½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, salt

  • 1 cup chopped onions

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

  • One 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 15 ounce can no-salt-added garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), rinsed and drained OR 2 cups cooked chickpeas

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Stir in 1/3 cup broth and continue to cook 4 to 5 minutes longer or until very tender. Stir in spices and tomatoes. Cook 1 minute, stirring. Add remaining vegetable broth, sweet potato, garbanzo beans, and lemon juice.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.

Serve with buckwheat pancakes and parsley pistou if you like.

Savory Buckwheat Pancakes

Mix together:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup water

Cook in an oiled skillet as you would pancakes. Serve with chickpea tagine.

Parsley Pistou

In a blender, combine:

  • 2 cups flat leaf parsley, rinsed and de-stemmed

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup water

Blend well and enjoy with tagine or as a spread on bread.

photo-1510234591826-c5a87a6832c9.jpg

Leek, Fennel and Squash Soup

After Thanksgiving, it's a wonderful practice to simplify your diet for a week. Enjoy vegetables like fennel, celery and leeks. These potent plants cleanse the lymphatic system, support healthy lungs, and lend a bitter-sweet complexity to any dish.

Try adding bitter, liver-cleansing foods like quinoa, chard, beets and spinach. These chenopodium family plants are high in plant nutrients and help restore healthy blood and liver function.

Give these recipes a try!

LEEK, FENNEL & BUTTERNUT SOUP

You will need: 

  • 1 medium butternut squash, baked and peeled

  • 2 tablespoons local oil (sunflower or olive)

  • 3 leeks, chopped and rinsed

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped – save fronds for garnish

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme, cinnamon, turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and fresh black pepper

  • ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • fresh, chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Poke squash with a fork, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 1 hour (20 minutes per pound).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot. 

Add the leeks and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped fennel, ginger, hazelnuts, spices, salt and pepper. Sauté for another 5 minutes.

Remove squash from oven, cut it open and let it cool for 5 minutes. Compost the seeds. Scoop out flesh and add it to the soup pot. Add the vegetable stock and stir.

Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat. Blend until smooth. 

Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro.

Serve with cooked quinoa.

natural-chef-carolyn-nicholas-560118-unsplash.jpg

Hearty Stews

The harvest moon wanes and we head towards Halloween, also known by agrarian people of the British Isles as Samhain, the New Year.

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

For the chicken stew:

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 pounds chicken, baked and de-boned

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 medium red potatoes, chopped

  • 3 cups quick chicken stock*

  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme, rosemary, and oregano

For the dumplings:

  • 1 cup flour (spelt or rice)

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

  • ½ cup milk (cow, almond or rice)

To cook chicken, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place in a glass baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Cool, remove skin, and remove from bones. Add to stew pot. Include the juices. 

*Place the bones and skin in a separate pot with 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt.

Simmer for 30 minutes. Add to stew pot.

To make the stew, heat butter in a stock pot or Dutch oven.

Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and potato. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are soft.

Add peas and spices. Add chicken and stock.

Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes as the dumplings cook.

To prepare the dumplings, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir in milk until a thick batter forms. With a large spoon, drop batter into simmering soup. When dumplings are puffed and slightly firm, cover pan and continue to cook about 5 minutes more.

Serves eight. 

Thanks to the Pioneer Woman for this inspiration.

MUSHROOM AND BARLEY STEW

Mushrooms are rich in protein and help us adapt to the change in seasons by boosting our immune response.

You will need:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/4 pound shitake mushrooms, sliced

  • 6 cups vegetable stock

  • ½ cup pearl barley

  • 2 teaspoon thyme

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley

Heat oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, celery, carrots, and onion, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cremini and shitake mushrooms, and cook about 15 minutes.

Add stock, barley, and thyme, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until barley is tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in juice and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

Serves eight.

steve-zeng-1429286-unsplash.jpg