Okay, so I’ve recently embarked on the journey of getting off oral contraceptives, and instead switching to a less estrogen dominant and thus hormone dysregulating product. If there’s ONE thing I’ve learned in my program, it’s the negative effects that oral contraceptives have on your hormones, and your body. I’m going on 13 years taking birth control, and only now am I realizing how backwards it is to force feed my body more estrogen. Doc’s say it’s good for ridding acne, regulating your period, helping with PMS symptoms, and obviously saving you from having a baby.
But hormones are not something to mess around with. How odd is it that when you go off birth control, you might develop acne, have crazy mood swings, and have irregular cycles? I am pretty sure those were all just symptoms of being a 15 year old and going though puberty… before you know it 13 years go by and you’re still taking the same pill everyday at the same time (or two in one day cause life happens), and you look around and realize it’s not going to be so easy to discontinue something that your body has been so accustomed to. So you go off the pill, feel like crap, gain weight, develop acne, and have no choice but to go back on…
What we want is a hormonal balance, that is a balance between the progesterone and estrogen levels. There are many natural ways to promote this balance. I am currently transitioning to a different birth control that uses less estrogen before I completely go off, but I still want to make sure I try and balance out these levels as well as supplement appropriately. Increased estrogen can deplete nutrients as your liver is working overtime to metabolize the hormone, so taking a good quality multivitamin is essential. Make sure it contains all the B vitamins, Vitamin C, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Other natural supplements such as Vitex or Primrose oil also aid in decreasing symptoms as they help raise progesterone levels.
And then there’s other natural herbs you can take. I’ve decided to give Maca powder a whirl. Maca root is grown in Peru and has also been called “Peruvian Ginseng.” It has a “malty” flavour, but after taking it consistently I’ve actually really come to enjoy the taste! Maca root is a superfood loaded with vitamins and minerals. It contributes to increased energy, raises progesterone levels, boosts your libido, and helps balance your mood. I definitely notice that I am less irritable than I used to be. Not that I was this unhappy grump walking around all the time but I would become easily irritated by the smallest things. Now? I literally just feel like I’m smooth sailing through life, despite chronic and new stressors in my life. Work, school, bills, debt etc. I just generally don’t get as worked up and dwell about these things as I once did. I’m not saying Maca is a miracle drug and will solve all of your problems for you, but it definitely can help balance your mood and regulate hormones.
This is the Maca powder that I use, and it is delicious. I take 1 tsp a day. I add it into a smoothie containing berries, chocolate protein powder, supergreens, cashew milk, almond butter, and cinnamon! I will usually freeze it for an hour (if I can wait that long) and then top it with nuts and seeds, bee pollen, chia, and ground flax!
Also, was feeling a little creative so here’s some protein maca power balls!
- 1.5 T maca powder
- ½ cup macadamia nuts
- 1.5 tsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp gelatin
- ¾ scoop chocolate protein powder
- 3 dates, soaked for ten minutes
- Cashew milk, for desired consistency, about 1 T
- Soak dates in a bowl of water
- In a food processor, put in all the ingredients at once except the cashew milk
- Process until a dense powder is formed
- Add cashew milk slowly until balls can form in hand without falling apart
- Freeze for best results