One gals primal journey to happiness and hormone balance
Happiness and hormone balance...could anyone want more?
A bit about me:
I have been gluten free on and off since the age of 12 when I came home from school and told my mom that I thought I was "allergic to bagels". This was 1991, when gluten free options were few and far between and my family doctor didn't know anything about celiac disease. As a result I just kind of naturally veered away from gluten on and off through my teenage years. I've never been formally diagnosed as a celiac because I'd have to consume gluten to take the test and why do that if I already know it makes me sick but have a strong suspicion.
I'm a high achiever, perfectionist and former athlete who struggled with disordered eating most of my life. I've never been scary skinny, nor have I ever gone hungry, but I'd say my relationship with eats in the past has been less than ideal and at times far from "normal".
I've always had strange menstrual cycles. Diagnosed with endometriosis at age 22, cystic ovaries at 24 and sometimes experienced very heavy cycles. My doctors offered hormonal contraception as the only means of "patching" the problem.
In summer of 2007, I was in the midst of the happiest time of my life. I was half way though a busy Midwifery/Gyn residency, engaged to the man of my dreams and feeling whole for the first time. I went off the Nuvaring in the hopes I would become pregnant. I had one irregular cycle and became pregnant with the next. Two weeks after finding out I was pregnant, my fiance tragically died in a diving accident (we never recovered his body). Three days later I lost the pregnancy. I have never had another cycle since. That was October 2007.
I carried on through a very stressful residency, using excessive exercise (distance running/biking) and calorie counting to self soothe my broken heart and upturned life. As a result I lost about 10lbs on my small 5'4.5" frame and got down to 110lbs. Today I weigh between 106-110.
I found the paleo/primal diet a few years ago when friends of mine starting using it to heal some gut issues and optimize their athletic performance. After some careful research, I was impressed! It was really just how I my body wanted me to eat intuitively anyway. All I had to cut out was my one slice of gluten free bread and organic jam in the morning and increase the fat content of my diet. It was a natural swap that I have felt so good for making.
I've been inspired my Mark's writing's about the primal living. We are so much more than the sum of our parts and as a holistic health practitioner myself, I believe the mind body connection to be a powerful piece of the puzzle that is often undervalued in both society and the world of modern 'healing arts'. I've been trying to incorporate his principles into my life as I journey forth. Over the past year I've made some big changes (including moving across the country and leaving my mountain home and midwifery practice) in an effort to reduce stress, increase fulfilment and regain my sense of womanhood.
I hope you'll join me on this journey....
So far I've tried: a year of acupuncture, herbs, homeopathics, gaining 10-lbs, eating less carbs, eating more carbs, eating more fat, eating less fat, reducing exercise, meditation, therapy, HRT...nothing has worked.
Tomorrow I have my first appointment with an GYN who is a woman's hormonal specialist and works in a multidisciplinary holistic clinic. I've been waiting about 6 months for the appointment and am VERY EXCITED!!
Stay posted...and please, questions are welcome, judgement is not.
Wow! What a FAST appointment I had with that specialist. Even though she has transitioned out of mainstream OB/GYN practice, she still talked a mile a minute and rushed me thorough the entire process. That being said...I think I've found a health care provider that actually GETS it! When I mentioned I follow a paleo/primal diet, she knew what I was talking about and actually condoned it. YES!! She believes that my cortisol is on total overdrive, I may suffer from leaky gut and my thyroid is underpreforming due to a stressed out adrenal system). I'm in the late stages of adrenal fatigue. Late stages because the salivary testing I had done in October all showed shockingly normal results, which apparently happens when your in the later stages.
The plan (besides costing me thousands of dollars...I need to look past this!)
- Another round of salivary hormone testing
- 24hr Amino Acid Urine profile
- Tons of blood work (CBC/ Vit D/ hormone pannel/ glucose/electrolytes/ thyroid)
- Another bone density scan (my last one was 3 yrs ago and was normal)
- Pelvic ultrasound to R/O PCOS
- Filling out a nutrition journal
- taking my temperatures for 3 days (measure of thyroid function I'm guessing)
Treatment options will include:
- IV therapy with high dose vitamins of sorts (need more info about this)
- Consult with Chinese medicine MD
- Spiritual counselling
- Progesterone replacement
It's gonna be quite a journey! Anyone else been down this road? The only test I declined was the IgG Allergy panel. I just couldn't shell out another $250 for this test. I've heard mixed reviews and part of the treatment plan will be an elimination diet. I figured I could get similar results with it. Anyone have success with this test?
There was no mention of your body fat is too low, or, you need to gain weight! I feel like we are diving into the source of the problems....long term hyperstimulation and stress...rather than the result of those problems...low hormones ect. So looking forward to the journey ahead.
Wow, what a journey you have been on already. All the best as you move forward on your journey. Too bad that so much of this stuff is outside of OHIP...
Wow! Lots of info fast! Sounds like you are well on your way to living happy and healthy. Best of luck on the treatment options!
Going through some daily temperature taking as a part of my diagnosis. Super interesting stuff!
Wow , your journey sounds . . . . . .full on to say the least and you sound super strong to have come so far . My question to you is about contraception . Im 20 soon and i was on the contraceptive pill for 6years with a two month break at xmas but nothing happened so i caved and went back on it for practicality but i have been off it another two months and will remain off it . Any ideas when it may get back to normal ? I never thought i would say this but i honestly want my period back and thought you may know with your knowledge of hormones etc
A few things come to mind. How long have you been paleo/primal? Can you tolerate dairy? If so, there is good evidence that supports full fat dairy consumption (I'd do raw grassfed dairy only). What are your carb levels like? It seems to be pretty common in this community to be too low carb for too long. Not good for women or our hormones! Have you had your thyroid tested recently?
You could also try a herbal preparation called Vitex. Any good naturopath or herbalist can make it for you. It helps to regulate cycles and works great for balancing after coming off birth control.
Happy to help!
Right now my toes are in paleo/primal and i need to take the plunge so my carb levels are fine probably too high . Im british and I have never even had blood taken let alone a thyroid test and me and milk have always been good friends , ive seen on some mums to be forums that it can take anywhere from stopping the pill to 6/9 months to be normal ! But ive not had any pain or even a spot of blood and. Dont think its helping me with stress and all those kind of things . . .thanks for the herbal advice though I will probably give that a bash .
Good luck! If you're healthy, don't overexercise, don't limit carbs then it will come back. Work on the herbs and general stress reduction (as we all need to work on!).
So it seems that my first recommendation is from the nutritionist at the holistic hormonal healing center. None of my other test results are back yet and she took a look at my diet, looked and my symptoms and is recommending the autoimmune protocol. Yikes. The protcol she recommends includes rice and legumes. So naturally, I'm going to give autoimmune paleo a go. I downloaded Mickey's new recipe book...check out the balancedbites.com podcast for a great interview with her.
My pantry isn't totally stocked yet to support the plan. I threw away all my carton coconut milk ice creams as well as a batch of homemade bbq sauce. I gave away my almond milk and nut butter but admit to eating a few almonds today. I'm not ready to give up coffee just yet or the occasional glass of white wine (white seems to be okay for me). So here was the start to my day:
1 cup 1/2 caf organic coffee with 1/4c bpa free, gum free coconut milk and some green stevia
ground bison sauted with some mashed pumpkin in a collard green with avocado
Lunch (early...I was hungry and on the run)
Nori with turkey breast, avocado, pumpkin, romaine
Later when I was still a bit hungry
Costco normandy veg with some coconut manna and a tiny pice of left over chicken
Apple and some olives
Glass of white wine (I'm off call and it was a social glass..I didn't want it but felt obliged in the social situation)
Baked chicken thighs (with sage and garlic)
Cauliflower/brocolli mash with chicken juices to moisten, sea salt, nutritional yeast and coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut milk 3/4 c water mixed with 1tbs grassfed gelatin and some freeze dried strawberries with ginger
Not so bad for day 1. I also had my meat delivery from my local farmer so I now have $300 worth of sausage, lambs liver, beef, chicken and pork ready to go for the upcoming weeks.
Anyone else have experience with autoimmune protocol? How did you let go of the morning coffee ritual?
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