As women, we all have our own unique hormonal journeys, from menarche to menopause and beyond. For some of us our reproductive system and cycle feels like a blessing and unfortunately, for many it feels like a curse.
I like to think about the many hormones in our bodies like players in an orchestra. When one or two are playing out of tune, it upsets the entire group (and this includes the thyroid and adrenals too!).
As a Naturopath who works extensively with hormones, I love to see women turn around their relationship with their periods, fertility and feminine parts. I have done this too on my own personal journey of polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility and menorrhagia (heavy periods). A lot can be done to fix problematic hormones. And food is one kick-ass powerful tool.
For optimal reproductive hormone balance we need to also have optimal micronutrient status, acid/alkaline status, gut health and liver function.
The most powerful and easy addition to any person’s daily diet that puts a big tick in every one of these boxes is to add a wholefoods smoothie to their daily diet. It can be a meal or a snack and can be seasonally inspired or inspired by specific health goals.
Most people do not eat nearly enough fruit and vegetables to support optimal hormonal health and this is a delicious (trust me!) way to increase them massively. Just think of 7 blenders or bullets chock-full of colourful plant foods lined up in a row… this is how much more weekly fruit and veg you can add to your diet with ease, yumminess and little effort.
Fruit & Vegetables:
• Are highly alkaline (pH balance) and hydrating
• Are brimming with micronutrients (antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals)
• Are packed with fibre (food for your microbiome and digestive lining)
• Increase hormone metabolism via the liver (better periods and moods)
• Increase metabolised hormone elimination via the bowel (even better periods and moods)
• Provide the super important micronutrients and antioxidants that we need for vibrant and balanced reproductive, thyroid and adrenal health
It is super easy too. All you need is a food processor or bullet or blender or thermomix and a local market or greengrocer.
So here are the guidelines. No, not a recipe, just general steps so you can be inspired by your own tastes, preferences and seasonal availability.
1. Aim for 70/30 when creating your daily health bomb. 70% vegetables and 30% fruit is a great balance to get optimal nutrition, a yummy taste and to minimise overdoing the fructose.
2. Think rainbow! Go for a diversity of colour. Colour equals phytonutrients and different colours equal different phytonutrients. If you want your smoothie to look fantastic you can also do predominate colours – I love baby spinach as a base for a vibrant green smoothie or beetroot as a base for the best electric pink you have ever seen!
3. Go seasonal. Seasonal produce is the freshest, cheapest, most delicious and nutritious. It also encourages us to try new foods and gives us a greater diversity of nutrition across the year.
4. If you have children or a significant other, this is a great practice to share with them too. My kiddos love their smoothies and love getting involved in their creation.
5. Don’t overthink it. You seriously can’t get this wrong! Start experimenting and you will find your favourites and find your groove.
6. Commit to this practice for 7 days in a row and I promise you will notice the benefits. I would love for you to share your experience with me too! Whether it is via email or social, I adore hearing from women about their personal experiences and transformations on their health journeys.
The sky is the limit here, but these are some of my favourites. You can mix as few or as many as your heart desires!
1. Vegetables – Think celery, cucumber, broccoli, baby spinach (it is amazing how many handfuls of spinach you can add without taste!), beetroot, avocado, lettuce, sprouts, cauliflower, capsicum
2. Fruit – pineapple, pawpaw, passionfruit, banana, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit (leave on the white citrus pith for added bioflavonoid goodness), berries, peaches, plums, melon
3. Aromatics – mint, parsley, ginger, turmeric (these pack a flavour and medicinal punch too)
4. Base liquid – filtered or spring water or coconut water or coconut milk (for a pina colada style drink), ice
THE ADD ONS.
Above is all you need to make a nourishing, hormone balancing wholefoods smoothie. Though if you want to super-charge it further and especially if you are using it as a meal such as breakfast, you might consider adding some other elements to enrich it even further.
1. Protein – collagen powder (my favourite!), plant based protein powder, raw egg, nuts, seeds
2. Good fats – nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconut milk, avocado, egg yolk
3. Super foods – maca (great for hormones), spirulina, chlorella, acai, barley grass, wheat grass, kraut juice
4. Sweetness – Because I go heavy on the vegetables I like to add a teaspoon full of stevia to just accent the natural sweetness and flavour of the fruit. It all depends on your taste buds! You want to find this delicious to help you build the ritual into your daily routine. Other options to consider might be honey, maple syrup, xylitol, erythritol or rice syrup… but go easy on this one and it’s a good one to skip if you don’t need it.
Just begin! Feel into it, find your favourites and experience the benefits. I promise you, this single ritual can be life changing, not only for your hormones, but your general health on so many different levels. Get started and let me know how you go!
In health and happiness,