After doing some research for a colleague who was returning to work after a back operation, I came across this scary information…..
As you may be aware, a common theme of mine is stressing (note the choice of word!) the importance reviving traditional approaches to heal our modern day ailments. Personally, I struggle with hormonal balance, and I’m still slowly, slowly, slowly recovering. I believed I was giving my body the best possible shot through really nourishing food, meditation and yoga. But perhaps there is still a missing puzzle piece?
Life is busy. Ridiculously busy! Watching this amazing video by Dr Libby Weaver will be the best thing you can do for your long-term health today. 18 minutes of pure bliss for your mind, body and spirit.
And thanks to the beautiful Jo for putting me on to Dr Libby!
To supplement or not to supplement????
I wholeheartedly agree that supplementation should not make up for a bad diet. Ideally, we should be getting the range and quantity of nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed to thrive, however this is not the case for the majority of Australians. And sometimes, not even the super-healthy ones!
There are a total 7 macrominerals, that we need in relatively large quantities, including calcium, chloride, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulphur and magnesium. These can easily be found in a range of vegetables and fruits. We also require minute amounts of trace minerals, including boron, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese just to name a few.
Australian soils relatively “old” in the scheme of soils. The most nutrient-dense soil is the top soil, and much of our topsoil has been lost to erosion. Combined with conventional farming, we have soil that is extremely low in zinc and selenium in particular. Our soils are also quite low in magnesium and iodine compared to other continents.
Unlike vitamins, plants cannot create minerals, hence local Australian produce may be full of vitamins, but unlikely to contain essential minerals that we need. The mineral must be in the soil or water in order for the plant to absorb it. Certainly organic, and even more so biodynamic, produce may contain more minerals than conventional produce, however I believe this is still not enough.
Dr. Carole Hungerford is a holistic doctor, an organic biodynamic farmer and author of the award winning book, “Good Health in the 21st Century”. I first heard Carole speak on The Wellness Coach with The Good Doctors podcast. She is an advocate for getting more minerals into our diet and is very knowledgeable on Australian soils and the lack of essential minerals.
I choose to supplement my diet with minerals for this reason. In addition, the birth control pill also robs the body of these essential minerals, as I have previously discussed here. Not all mineral supplements are created equal. Try to find natural/elemental versions rather than synthetic creations. I source these from my wonderful Chiropractor who has done most of the research for me!
Undoubtedly, mineral deficiencies play a key role in many health problems. Below I explain which minerals I choose to supplement.
We all know that veges are good for us, but have you paid much attention to what’s exactly is so good about them?
Green – kale, avocado, spinach, broccoli, kiwifruit, zucchini
Vitamin A, iron, calcium. Antioxidants and sulforaphane for cancer protection. Dark leafy greens also contain Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that works with selenium and zinc to prevent cardiovascular disease. Vitamin K is also found in dark leafy greens, which helps to support bone density. Zucchini is also full of sodium, which is required for water balance regulation, fluid distribution and acid-alkaline balance.
Yellow & Orange – pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, orange, yellow capscium
Betacarotene (precursor to Vitamin A – which is converted in the upper intestine – but can only be converted when there is sufficient fat in the diet), Vitamin C, carotenoids, potassium. Fantastic for the immune system.
Purple & Blue – blueberries, eggplant, beetroot, purple cabbage, spanish onions
Vitamin C, manganese (great for a healthy nervous system) and heaps of antioxidants.
Red – tomatoes, red capscium, chilli, raspberries
Vitamin C, folate, lycopene (antioxidant). Did you know that studies have found sufficient levels of lycopene in the blood stream can protect against pancreatic cancer.
White – garlic, onion, mushrooms, cauliflower
Selenium, Vitamin B and C, sulfur. Mushrooms in particular provide Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. In fact, sun-soaked mushrooms pack quite a punch!
So whilst there has been little medical advancements in “curing” PCOS, apart from taking the contraceptive pill, there are a number of things that will put you back in the drivers seat when it comes to treatment.
Some believe that PCOS is a sign that something is wrong with their body, however many improvement factors can be lifestyle-related, so perhaps it a sign that something is wrong with your lifestyle? Although, I have not completely cured myself as yet, I believe I’m well on the way, and honestly hoping my Christmas present is a period! I’ve progressively worked my way through the following suggestions, and although it’s difficult to tell how effective it is until my period actually arrives, I am feel 1000 times better and healthier than ever before.
Get off the pill!!!
Yes – stop taking that synthetic hormone that is secretly (or not so, as the case may be) wreaking havoc on your beautiful body! You cannot expect your body to rediscover an equilibrium, whilst you are throwing it off course by having a daily supplement. You may not even be thinking about babies now, but the longer you are on the pill, the longer it will take your body to heal. The pill is very commonly prescribed to “treat” PCOS, and often it will just mask the symptoms. For me, I still haven’t had a full menstrual cycle since coming off the pill, and it’s been a while of slowing following these steps. I’m certainly not thinking babies yet, but having a healthy menstrual cycle is an extension of your overall health, and your body is letting you know whether it’s well enough to carry a child to birth.
Now, I know that the thought of coming off the pill can be a little daunting, there are many natural alternatives for contraception.
I am not the expert in this field, so I happily direct you to some useful resources for more information:
- Dr Nat Kringoudis is running many live sessions on “Debunking Ovulation” in the major cities of Australia. I went to one of these live sessions earlier this year and learnt so much about my body and PCOS. However, if you have missed out, she now has a session available for download.
- Nat also wrote an extremely informative blog post explaining why the pill is causing long term damage, and how to come off it safely without falling pregnant.
- Elle Griffin, a natural fertility expert from the US also has a wonderful FREE resource for signing up to her newsletter, Ditch Your Birth Control!
Heal your gut
Now in order for your body to absorb these vitamins, minerals and nutrients, it is important to work on your gut function. The pill acts in much the same way as antibiotics, and will wipe out any of that good bacteria that your body so desperately needs. I started by introducing probiotic and fermented foods into my diet, along with a good quality probiotic supplement.
I now regularly drink kombucha tea, kefir and bone broth to improve and maintain my gut function. I have a few posts on kombucha and kefir, with some instructions and explanations.