Sleep matters. Like, a lot. But these ideas from certified holistic nutritionist, Kristin Dahl, have nothing to do with getting a full eight hours. Most of us could use more energy and are overlooking these easy opportunities to get pumped up. Here are nine ways to nurture our systems daily for more energy and head-to-toe balance – especially during that extra energy-draining time of the month. Be sure to click through the links for recipes and more info on each point…
Due to excess stress, environmental toxins and endocrine disruptors, most of us experience hormonal imbalances intermittently throughout our lifetimes. As we age, our overburdened systems no longer tolerate the high-sugar, low-protein, minimal-sleep, high-toxin lifestyle of our youth. We begin to require regularity in all areas of our life to nourish and balance our constitution in order to thrive vibrantly like we once did effortlessly.
There are several remedies and tools that work to re-regulate our body systems to increase energy, reduce PMS symptoms, boost libido and enhance fertility. As each of us is unique, we all require slightly different protocols to re-align and heal. Even so, the following considerations can offer radical transformation for most…
Support the lymph System:
The lymphatic system is a complicated network of fluid-filled nodes, vessels, glands and organs that are present throughout the body. Although we may not see or feel it, the lymphatic system is a key detoxification pathway. It cleanses toxins and protects us against harmful invaders. It works by carrying toxins away from the tissues and into the bloodstream, where it can be filtered by two of the body’s main detoxification organs: the liver and kidneys. Support lymphatic detoxification by properly hydrating throughout the day, exercising daily, dry brushing, rebounding, getting regular massages and using breathwork techniques or practicing breath-focused forms of yoga. It’s also imperative that we keep our detoxification pathways clean by cleansing seasonally with whole foods, focused self-care routines, spiritual practice and stress reduction.
Start every day with healthy fats and proteins. Think blueberry-based smoothie with protein powder and coconut mct oil + cinnamon, or eggs and greens + avocado. Include protein at every meal and never go longer than three hours without eating. Eat well-balanced snacks by combining crunchy foods with healthy fats and protein-rich foods like hummus, pesto, guacamole, hard-boiled eggs and nuts, paired with crunchy veggies.
Reach for foods low on the glycemic index. These foods convert slowly to energy in the bloodstream, helping you feel more balanced. Low-GI foods include low-sugar fruits (like berries), low-starch vegetables, nuts and seeds… and protein-rich foods. Consume more complete proteins like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, spinach, tempeh, coconut yogurt, eggs, hemp seeds, goji berries, chia seeds and most protein powders. When combined, the following foods make complete proteins: beans and rice, nuts and grains (oatmeal with nuts), nuts and beans, lentils and rice.
Drink more water:
When you hydrate properly, extra salt leaves your body in your urine and will help stop swelling and bloating that can both be uncomfortable and drain our energy. Adequate water intake also ensures that you will be hydrated, eliminating regularly and supporting the regulation of all body systems so they don’t have to work harder than they need to. Shoot for half your body weight in ounces daily!
Reduce caffeine intake:
Caffeine can cause blood-sugar fluctuations and stress the adrenals. It is also highly stimulating to the nervous system and overconsumption increases cortisol and adrenalin production. Eliminating/reducing your intake will help to alleviate general pain, menstral cramps, reduce internal stress and decrease overall body tension. This will also give your adrenals a chance to rebalance and heal. Try this around your cycle and you will notice a dramatic shift.
High-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, cruciferous vegetables and low-sugar fruits will help the body to effectively eliminate excessive hormones from the intestines and liver, particularly estrogen. Cruciferous vegetables are high in indole-3 carbinol, which supports liver detoxification. These food sources are also loaded with protein and B vitamins to nourish the endocrine system and support the adrenals.
Reduce/eliminate sugary snacks + processed foods:
Cravings for sweets trend upward when you’re tired, under stress or have PMS, but cookies, sweets and processed foods will send your blood-sugar levels on a roller coaster ride. When you have a blood-sugar crash later on, you’ll feel tired and irritable. Limiting your sugar supply sets the stage for steadier moods and stable blood sugar. Around your cycle especially, load up on sweet potatoes, which offer a natural source of sweetness and are high in antioxidants and fiber. Eat more avocados and bananas – both are rich in potassium, which plays a huge role in keeping mood swings in check. This important mineral also helps to reduce fluid retention and decrease bloating. Lack of adequate potassium can lead to muscle cramping, which is possibly the worst symptom of all. In addition, B6 may improve mood, irritability and breast tenderness.
Too much salt increases fluid retention, creating excess bloating and fatigue. Processed foods such as canned soups and packaged snacks are especially high in sodium as well, so avoid them whenever possible. Be sure to reduce salt the week before your cycle and be sure you are using low-sodium, mineral-rich Himalayan salt.
Use Herbal Support:
Use ashwaganda as an adoptogenic hormone balancer – it works to heal adrenals, rebalance hormones and support restorative sleep. Ashwaganda is best in tincture form. Add in turmeric to help reduce energy-draining inflammation. Drink chamomile tea, as it contains properties that relieve muscle spasms and may therefore help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. In addition, chamomile also reduces tension that may lead to anxiety and irritability. Red raspberry leaf tea remineralizes the body, is high in B vitamins and tones the uterus, relieving menstrual cramping. Drinking milk thistle and dandelion tea throughout the month also helps to keep the liver clean, enhances digestion and supports blood-sugar regulation.
Increase your mineral intake:
Consume magnesium-rich foods; vital for regulating hundreds of functions in the body, magnesium plays an important role in preventing mood swings and irritability, poor sleep, headaches, bloating and fluid retention. Add more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, such as pumpkin seeds, dark leafy greens, figs and bananas.
Increase iron-rich foods before and during your menses to replace what you’ve lost each month and to avoid anemia. High sources of iron include: beet root, spinach, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, kidney beans, olives and nettle tea. Blackstrap molasses also contains 3.5 mg of iron per tablespoon, and has been used in folk medicine as a “blood builder” for centuries.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.