Hormone Protocol | Modern Day Rituals & Guidance
Among women, I've found that self-care as it relates to menstrual health is a growing topic of concern and conversation. More are desiring a holistic and conscious approach, especially as we gain insight into the amount of chemicals and toxins in products that have gone ages without proper regulation, or simply through a lack of awareness and education. Recently, I have experienced some breakthrough conversations with clients and am so humbled to witness their committment towards getting to the root of their menstrual woes in favor of incorporating alternative methods to find balance and relief.
Inaspired by Lacy Phillips of Free + Native’s Hormone Checklist, I’m sharing my personal approach and tools that not only support me through my monthly cycle, but that support a more simplistic and holistic lifestyle in general.
From bras, tampons and deodorants to menstruation tonics, yoni rituals and everything in between.
Swap your underwire bras for organic cotton bras. Or, simply just banish the bra altogether to let your ladies breathe. (Gasp! Try it, feel liberated by it, and maybe never go back). The breast tissue is tender and ill-fitting bras can compress the lymphatic system and restrict lymph flow, causing toxins to accumulate. Currently a fan of all things Pansy Co.
Switch out non-organic for organic tampons. Trace amounts of chlorine, dioxin, rayon and other foreign, toxic chemicals are found in tampons and other feminine care products. "You wouldn’t put antifreeze or ink in your vagina, right? Sadly, most conventional feminine care brands use the same ingredient used in these products—Polypropylene—on the outside layer of tampons. This can cause inflammation and skin irritation on your lady parts." No, thanks.
Aluminum & paraben-free deodorant. This often goes overlooked, but lymph nodes in the arm pits are directly connected to the breasts. In breast cancer studies, it has been found that traces of aluminum and parabens have been found in breast tissue, so be mindful of the ingredients in your under arm stick or pit paste. (Thank you, Nadine Artemis for this eye-opening insight).
Track your cycle to identify menstrual patterns and PMS symptoms. This is the best way to create a healthy connection with your monthly rhythms. It allows you to become more in tune with any imbalances or discomforting hormonal woes so that you can begin to uncover the root issues and treat from there. This is one of the first questions that I ask all of my clients (if they’re tracking), and thanks to modern technology, there are several apps available (such as Clue and Flo Living) that make it easy to do so.
Read Woman Code from front to back. This book contains a wealth of information as it pertains to hormonal health, no matter where a woman is in her cycle (from PMS to menopause). Alisa Vitti has developed a detailed protocol that can be adopted into our modern diet and lifestyle for sustainable balance and relief. I have folded so many pages and find myself coming back to it again and again for both myself and when working with others, always finding solid little bits.
Bookmark Free + Native's Hormone Checklist. Lacy Phillips has developed a personal tried and true list, and I am a firm believer in anything that this woman advocates. They are universal tips and insight that will benefit anyone dealing with PMS, endocrine disruption (including adrenal fatigue), preparing the body for pregnancy, acne, irregular cycles, extra weight, and so much more.
Yoni steam, at least once a month (if not more). Treat it as you would any other self-care ritual to cleanse the internal vaginal tissue. Benefits of consistent steaming may significantly reduce abdominal discomfort and bloating, regulate irregular or absent menstrual cycles, increase fertility (when trying to conceive), tone the reproductive system and treat yeast infections, fibroids, ovarian cysts and uterine prolapse. And, it feels incredible. Love the suggested blends, offerings and how-to from La Abeja.
Make your own “PMS chocolate.” High quality cacao supports optimal levels of magnesium, which most of us are already deficient in. Cure your cravings with a homemade blend that allows you creative freedom in flavor and ingredients, not to mention that the process itself is highly therapeutic. Cacao + melted coconut oil, and then add to your liking from there. Get hints from my Chai Blue Lotus Chocolate recipe and this hormone balancing nut butter bark.
Avoid inversions when you’re on your cycle and do your best to restore instead. When you're on your menstrual cycle, the goal is to encourage the blood flow down and out, rather than letting that blood flow back into your system and therefore creating possible stagnation. Legs slightly elevated or legs against the wall is an ideal modification, however in general, opting for a more restorative practice is beneficial in allowing the body to rest and release. Listen to and honor your own body.
Eat and drink warm, nourishing, blood-building foods. Especially during the cooler months, warming tonics, teas and foods help to maintain healthy circulation in the uterus, preventing painful cramping and stagnation. The digestive and reproductive organs are so closely linked, and an excess consumption of cold, raw foods may create a damp environment that contributes to stagnant blood, bloating and overall discomfort. Eating iron-rich foods, such as beets, just before and during your period helps to replenish the iron levels we lose when we’re menstruating.
Dose up on turmeric and magnesium, especially during ovulation. These potent ingredients keep the liver cleansed and bowels regular, which therefore helps to rid the body of excess estrogen. This is especially important as you shift into the luteal phase, when excess estrogen in the body may contribute to PMS and other hormonal woes. I find that Magnesium Glycinate is optimal for maintaining optimal levels, however I switch to Magnesium Citrate anytime I'm feeling backed up.
DE LUNE. The miracle menstrual tonic. I sip on this tonic during my heaviest days to replenish essential nutrients that are lost during menstruation. If I feel the onset of my period, I'll sometimes drink one the day or two prior to starting my period. They've now created an even more potent herbal formula that includes cramp bark, calendula, ginger, motherwort and dong quai. The ladies lay it all out here, for easy reference.
Most importantly, give yourself permission to rest and say no. I am a big proponent of intentional rest, as well as clearing your schedule during your lady days in order to attend to deeper, more nurturing self-care. Both are equally important in allowing our bodies to function optimally, and limiting the "doing/going/giving" mindset during menstruation allows the body to have proper space to focus on healing and releasing.
If you're interested in going deeper in this realm, or are seeking individualized methods for finding hormonal balance and relief, you may explore my services and offerings here.