Nothing is wrong with you. Here’s why.

This video by Dr. Sachin Patel captivated me when he used this analogy: people who come to see him (after several practitioners) are so occupied with looking for what’s wrong with their bodies. It’s almost like when they drive their cars poorly, and when a mechanic can’t find any problems with the cars, they keep going to other mechanics trying to find the problem. A human body is amazingly great at fixing itself and ensuring its survival. Trillions of cells work together beautifully.

When you feel symptoms of chronic health problems like PMS, cramps or irregular periods or IBS, your body has tried its best to survive. Apparently it is malfunctioning at some levels. The problem is if we get so fixated on diagnoses and having a pill for each diagnosis, the actual malfunctions will most likely not be resolved.

My mission here is to change this backwards mentality, so you understand the physiology behind all of this. I’ve heard nearly every woman I’ve consulted telling me that their doctors have not been able to help them understand what’s going on, or that lab tests all came back normal and they are clueless. While I’m not against conventional medicine, I strongly disagree with the practice model that fails to transparently educate. I want you to understand all your options and weighting risks vs benefits before making your own health decisions. Everything is important and everything is connected. Then there’s the biochemical individuality, which means that it can take a very different approach for you than for another person even though both of you have the same symptoms.

As a wellness geek, I used to like internet info like “7 benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar” or “10 Foods For Fertility’. Now that I really understand much more about these chronic health problems, I have grown to not like these blog posts as much. Pushing natural remedies to resolve symptoms is no difference from pushing pills if the root causes are not being addressed. Then I realize that the only way I can teach this is through case studies.

Join me live next Tuesday at 8 PM ET so we can go through 3 case studies together. I’ve gathered data from three different women who have been struggling with hormonal issues – short cycles, very long cycles, terrible PMS and cramps. You name it.

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From this webinar, you will get clarity on:
1. Symptoms-focused medicine vs evidence-based health detective work
2. Why the former fails to resolve your chronic health problems, and why the latter is better both to resolve chronic health problems and long term health.
3. Physiology behind common hormonal problems, especially among women who lift weights
4. Common lifestyle and dietary modifications to help with hormone balances in the right contexts

Wondering who I am? Check my about me page here.

Why you should eat organic for hormone balance

I want to start off the Nutrition for Hormone Balance series with this lesson because nutritional deficiencies aren’t always caused by not ingesting the appropriate amounts of nutrients. Rather, the human body is a dynamic system in which multiple components affect each other. For example, let’s look at glyphosate, a pesticide that is commonly used in the food chain.

 Coming soon: nutrition guide for hormone balancing. Click here to sign up for the newsletter to be the first notified.

There are numerous studies reporting on adverse health effects of glyphosate on Pubmed.

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Overall, evidence suggests that glyphosate is a xenoestrogen and may interfere with estrogen metabolism (ref  and ref).

In addition, I believe glyphosate on its own may contribute to the deficiencies of magnesium and many other important mineral deficiencies. Glyphosate works as an herbicide by chelating important minerals, which means that it binds to minerals very tightly and make it not available for the plant. NB: This mechanism remains a hypothesis as there is no direct evidence suggesting that this is true, but it totally makes sense.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 6.32.37 PMThese evidences are sufficient for me to recommend avoiding consumption of foods that have high glyphosate content and to avoid glyphosate exposures by eating organic foods and not using these chemicals (or any dangerous pesticides for that matter) on your lawn.

From personal experience, I decided to go on an elimination diet with 100% organic foods in order to heal myself from an eczema breakout. Within 3-4 months, I no longer experienced premenstrual syndrome symptoms. I am not one to naturally not get PMS since I had been suffering very terrible stomach cramps and moodiness in the week before my period for years. It is also important to note that I didn’t get PMS until I moved to North America.

Organic foods may cost more than conventional foods, but not when you account for health risks and nutritional values, and give up the expensive processed foods that may only be valued at 1% of what you pay for. For example, a bushel of grains (e.g. 60 lbs of wheat) may cost around 12 cents wholesale. It might take 1 cup or around 125 grams (0.4% of a bushel) to make a $5 box of cereals, and really what you are paying for is the box, the shipping, TV commercials advertising and fortification of the product.

For tips on how to save thousands of dollars on organic, fresh and unprocessed whole foods, check out my blog post on ameerrosic.com here.

 Coming soon: nutrition guide for hormone balancing. Click here to sign up for the newsletter to be the first notified.

Nutritional reasons that explain birth control side effects

First, I must say that I am totally not an advocate of using hormonal birth control, either in the form of pills, slow-released patches, injections, implants or whatever.But since this topic of hormonal birth control, especially the pills, affecting the mood and sex drive, I feel it appropriate to address it.
There are many possible side effects and problems related to the use of birth control pills, which vary from individual to individual. These include (ref)
- Increasing sex hormone binding globulin, resulting in decreased testosterone levels
- Burdening the detoxification pathway involving cytochrome B 450 in the liver
- Increased risks of stroke and embolism
- Body fat gain (albeit not a lot, and usually the case with formulas that contain more progesterone and Depo) (ref)
- Hormonal contraceptive is often prescribed to treat common hormonal problems like irregular cycles, acne and PMS symptoms (which doesn’t treat the underlying causes).
- Depression, anxiety, mood problems – This one is often most noticeable by the women taking the pills and people around them and is the reason that they get off the medications.

When a woman experience side effects, one of the most common solution is either to get off the pills or to switch to another one.

But the real issue is rarely discussed.

These pills often deplete many nutrients in the body, which can contribute to mood problems and hormone imbalances and maybe reduced fertility.

Supplementation of vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce side effects from hormonal contraceptive (study). In addition, studies have shown that women who take hormonal birth controls have lowered levels of many vitamins and minerals in their blood. (ref and ref). Vitamins B2, B6, B12, folate, C and E and minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc are often lower in women who are on the pills than those who aren’t. Notably, the increased copper to zinc ratios (ref) can be a big contributor to mood-related side effects of hormonal contraceptive.

What I usually recommend if a woman is made crazy by birth control pills is to supplement with a good vitamin B complex with extra vitamin B6, and Zinc to counteract with the elevated copper levels. There are also food sources of these nutrients, but supplementation may be more effective in the beginning. This is the case whether or not these women get off their pills.

 Nutritional reasons why hormonal birth control makes women crazy- (5)

 

How biofeedback helped me synchronize beast mode with my hormones

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I was winded, in fetal position, on the floor in front of the squat rack, trying to hold my stomach content. I had to cut the workout a few sets short just so I would have the energy to get up, unrack the bar and go home.

I was so upset I cried. Just two weeks prior, I breezed through the same workout with more weights and even did another HIIT circuit to make sure I killed myself. I am very competitive (with myself) and I hate being a loser.

It was five days before my period, and my testosterone had started to nosedive. The total levels of prostaglandins started to rise as my uterine lining prepared to shed. Since I eradicated my PMS years ago, unless I check my cycle chart on Kindara, I wouldn’t even know I was in that time of the month. But I can feel the testosterone rollercoaster as I go through my cycle. Most of my PRs (and bedroom fireworks) happen around ovulation, which then withers away as the cycle goes on. My month-long hormone tests confirms this.

Biohealth 208 test

My Biohealth 208 test results, which included 14 points of progesterone and estrogen, and 2 points of testosterone. This confirmed that I had higher testosterone around ovulation and lower at other times of the month. I also did another test when I collected my saliva about 5 days before my period, and my testosterone was around 40 pg/ml.

Mind you, I love my testosterone. I love being a free range (hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and even grassfed, too) woman. It is a personal choice. One of the possible side effects of hormonal birth control is that it can reduce free testosterone, and these medications are not harmless. When a male doctor insisted that I take birth control pills, I pictured myself being a testosterone vampire so I could suck it right out of his neck. (He was good looking, but a jerk, and even if I was a vampire I would only take the testosterone and leave the blood.)

As mother nature would have it, the corpus luteum must wither away for a new follicle to mature and ovulate. We have a choice to either respect our cycles or fight them. That’s why we can’t be ovulating every single days.

For years I had been following programs written by other people which don’t take into account this factor. I’ve felt so guilty to not be the hero every single week, until I stumbled upon the concept of biofeedback training from the power couple Dave Dellanave and Jen Sinkler. It’s “listening to your body” on steroids.

So my training is now planned in a template, with lots of wiggle room for autoregulation like in Off the Floor. I use the toe touch test to decide if my body wants to do a certain movement, or if it likes a certain variation better than others. After every set, I test again to see if my body is done with it. Bonus: no more agonizing over sumo or conventional deadlifts – just test.

I find that if my hamstrings are angry, squats won’t test well. If my back hurts, a lot of barbell movements won’t test well so I should better just use another implement. This is a cool way to ensure that the recovery catches up with the training and prevent injuries that were waiting to happen. It is a gem given how misshapen my spine is.

I have some scoliosis because extended bouts of athletic amenorrhea early on reduced the bone density in my spine. :(

I have some scoliosis because extended bouts of athletic amenorrhea early on reduced the bone density in my spine. :(

I also find that if I was not ready to train at all – like completely wiped out, nothing would test well. It would then be time to just nap, foam roll or walk around.

During mid-cycle, I could beastly deadlift for ten sets, and it would still test well. Later in the cycle, four sets and it starts to get ugly. And that is okay. I still get results. I’m still making progress every single cycle. I’m okay with having ovulation PRs and luteal phase PRs. They are different.

Scientists who study this say that the effects of menstrual stages on athletic performances are highly individual, though. I know many women are stronger right before their periods, which is the opposite of my case, but they know it’s the same way for every one of their cycles. That’s why I say “test, don’t guess.” I’m very passionate about helping women become on top of our hormones, rather than slaves to it.

Since following Off the Floor, I’ve made unbelievable progress, even though my scoliosis necessitates that I progress very cautiously and I’ve stopped making gains like a beginner long time ago. I’ve gone from 5 x 170 to 5 x 185 back squats, and deadlifts from 240 to 255 in about a month.

You can follow my biofeedback training journey on my Instagram at @fiery.bentnotbroken.

And by the way, Off the Floor is on sale for $49 for limited time when it is usually sold for $97. Also, Dave just made available paper copies of the book on Amazon with an extra 128 pages of content, for less than $30. You want to check it out here.

What’s your experience with biofeedback training? Any questions/comments? Feel free to ask in the comments below.

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