If you’ve read my initial blog post, you know that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). If you suffer from it as well you know what a BITCH it is and how overwhelming it can be to figure out just what the hell you need to do to feel “right” again. If you don’t suffer from it consider yourself lucky. It comes with an onslaught of symptoms I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy–mood swings, migraines, depression, anxiety, irregular periods, acne, ovarian cysts, hair loss, abnormal hair growth (think the bearded lady), trouble losing weight, easy to gain weight, fertility issues, cramps, skin issues–the list goes on and varies from woman to woman.
I have been on and off the Pill (mostly on) for the last 4 years. All it’s done is make my menstrual cycle regular. I went off it for a brief time in 2016 and it wasn’t much different from taking the pill. My cycle stayed fairly regular in the approximate 6-7 months I was off of it. I went back on it after I became single again, but in the last 11 months or so of working on making myself healthier I have strongly considered going off the Pill again (for good) to work on balancing my hormones naturally.
The Pill essentially tricks your body in to thinking your pregnant so you don’t actually ovulate. As someone with a high chance of having fertility issues, I want to take steps now to heal my body naturally so I have the best chance possible in the future of conceiving when I’m ready. That means refraining from putting any kind of synthetic hormones in my body. In today’s world, we are bombarded with all sorts of phytoestrogens (things that mimic estrogen in our body, often times causing estrogen dominance), so I am starting by removing my hormonal birth control.
One of my favorite singer-songwriters, Tristan Prettyman, has become a health coach recently (check out her website The Good Path SD) and I follow her on Instagram religiously. She posted about this FloLiving protocol from the book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti. Essentially it’s all about balancing your hormones naturally by syncing your eating and lifestyle with the four phases of your menstrual cycle. The idea being that your body needs different types of nourishment from macronutrients and micronutrients at the different phases of your cycle to allow you to live optimally. What a novel idea!
So I bought the book and devoured it this last weekend. Although there are some things in there that contradict the various suggestions and recommendations I’ve previously read for eating with PCOS (like including whole grains daily in your diet), I am very intrigued by the idea of “cross-training” my life with my cycle. She also strongly advises against consuming dairy and gluten, which I already try to do anyway.
Before discovering this book I had planned on using the basic holistic nutritional lifestyle to right my hormones naturally, including daily supplementation of maca root, which is known to increase fertility and balance hormones naturally. I wanted to focus 100% on incorporating all the tenets of the Nutritional Therapy Association since I will be starting their NTP program in September (practice what you preach, right?). Aside from eating well overall and moving more throughout my day, I wanted to specifically focus on decreasing my added sugar consumption and increasing my veggie and water intake.
The FloLiving protocol does not discourage these ideas at all, but instead takes it one step further in giving guidelines of what types of foods (rich in specific nutrients) to eat during the different cycle phases for optimal energy and success. By giving your body exactly the right nutrients, proteins, fat, and complex carbs at the right time you can work with your body to thrive in each phase instead of working against it which helps exacerbate the typical PMS symptoms women may experience.
Yesterday was the last day of taking my hormonal birth control pill. Today is a new day with new challenges, and I am so excited to see where this next phase of my journey takes me! I haven’t even started this Woman Code program and I already feel different with this new knowledge I have. I recommend any woman to check out the Woman Code book and FloLiving website. Such a new, refreshing way to think about your relationship with your body, and it’s so empowering to think about all the great power and energy we as women can harness!
Here’s to balancing hormones the natural way!