Hormones + Inner Peace with Nat Kringoudis

12/8/2013

When someone mentions hormone imbalances, thoughts often travel to menopausal women and adolescent kids screaming the house down, right? And while there’s certainly a lot of attention rightly paid to hormones in these instances, many of us are less conscious of their critical role in our overall health – every day, for our entire lives.

I became interested in how well my hormones were functioning (or not) a couple of years ago, when I became really conscious of my diet and which foods worked well with my body, and foods which weren’t as great. It’s all been a part of a process I refer to as ‘stripping things back’ to my essential me. I’ve felt strong intuitive guidance to remove things from my life that don’t resonate with me anymore. Taking out my belly button piercing a couple of years ago is one example. Another was deciding to go off the contraceptive pill.

Although I’ve never had any obvious adverse reactions to being on the pill, I made the decision last year that after 10 years on it I wanted to give my body and my hormones a chance to level out on their own, and for my body to start getting in to rhythm with its natural feminine cycle. So in consultation with my naturopath, acupuncturist, and doctor, I went about taking myself off it. I researched the process heavily, and started prepping my body with proper nutrition, superfoods and supplements, as well as regular acupuncture, for about six months prior to stopping it.

During that research I came across the super talented and well-knowledged Dr Nat Kringoudis, who is a Chinese Medicine Doctor, Acupuncturist, Fertility Educator and Author, who founded her clinic, the Pagoda Tree, in Melbourne in 2003. Nat’s approach integrates the western medical approach with alternative therapies, Chinese medicine and natural fertility methods. Nat had excellent advice for coming off the pill in a sensible way, and I largely credit her wisdom for the supremely smooth transition I made to a pill-free existence. I’ve been amazed at how extraordinary my general health, wellbeing and moods have been since coming off the pill – it’s been revelatory on all counts.

Dr Nat Kringoudis

I’m thrilled that Nat’s on Pockets of Peace today, answering questions on hormones and how they are absolutely intrinsic to a sense of inner peace and calm. No amount of Om’ing and deep breathing is going to bring about lasting and sustainable inner peace (beyond your minutes spent meditating) if your hormones are wreaking havoc throughout your body. It’s time to get well acquainted with them and just how important they are to your wellbeing:

Why should we be interested in our hormones if we’re concerned about our inner peace? Our hormones are the drivers – if they are happy, physically and emotionally we are happy. It really is the key to all round wellness.

Which hormones specifically affect moods, and our sense of calmness? Well – cortisol, the stress hormone does the exact opposite and I think that’s the one we need to be most wary of. It’s the ‘bossy’ hormone. In a nutshell, cortisol is on constant release when we are stressed, and cortisol and progesterone compete for the same receptor sites within the body AND cortisol will always win, meaning it upsets the progesterone/oestrogen balance. This is the biggest problem and will throw everything out of kilter. So finding ways to cope better with stress, or better still, de-stress really is key here.

How do our hormones go haywire? Like I’ve mentioned – stress is the number one hormone wrecker. That said – we have so many factors in our diet and lifestyle that do the same – mostly because many of the toxins we absorb are oestrogen ‘mimicking’ meaning that our bodies constantly have to deal with high levels of oestrogen as a response. So things like the body products we use, the air we breathe, the water we drink, what we wash our clothes in, alcohol, and poor food quality are all contributors to rising oestrogen levels.

How can we eliminate these disruptors? Being mindful of these contributors is key. Knowing we have a choice at the supermarket or grocer is important and making good choices is a must if we want to see a fertile future.

What are the biggest enemies of happily ticking over hormones? Stress, poor sleep quality, bad diet and lifestyle and emotions all play a role and affect the body in ways that its regular functions. It’s important to acknowledge these factors and address them. If you don’t sleep well, seek help of a holistic practitioner who can help, or if you are stressed, implement ways of helping your body deal with it. Most often it is going to be an individual approach that works best.

What about the connection between gut health, hormones and depression – is there a link? The gut is the emotion centre and we have thousands of receptors in our gut with regard to emotional health. If poor diet, medications, the contraceptive pill or antibiotics have damaged these, they can’t perform normal tasks and therefore we are likely to see depression amongst other things. And of course if our gut isn’t absorbing nutrients, it simply can’t fuel our hormones. So you see, it’s a vicious circle whereby if the gut health is poor, the hormones aren’t fuelled and a consequence of this is depression. The gut is the pivot of our health.

Should we all be taking probiotics? Well – at least including fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut, kim chi, kefir, kombucha) in our diet. Once upon a time, these foods were standard staples and we didn’t even realise how important they were. They were a means to preserve food. We didn’t roam the earth with fridges on wheels! We now know just how vital good gut health is. It shapes our immunity, it allows our bodies to digest, it helps us absorb nutrients into our bodies and assimilate these. We must take care of this for wellness and also for our unborn. Poor gut health will be inherited by our children which is also why we are seeing so many childhood illnesses.

Are there any specific superfoods you recommend that people incorporate in to their diet, to help with hormone balancing? MACA! It’s the best. It’s an adaptan so it literally adjusts your body to make what it requires. So if you are progesterone deficient then it will help make more or if you are over producing progesterone you’ll make less – and of course balance out oestrogen too. It’s on the top of my list and Loving Earth does a good one. Also Mesquite is particularly great for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) as it helps regulate sugar levels – which can be an issue for those who are insulin resistant.

What’s the best way for women and men to balance their hormones? It’s mostly the same for both women and men. There are some key things you can do to improve hormone balance – although sometimes it does required individual advice. I’ve already talked about them but here they are all together!

My top 5 are:

~ Fats and protein are key because our sex hormones are made up of both protein and fat. We’ve been encouraged to cut out fat for a really long time and it’s lead us to all kinds of strife fertility wise.

~ Sleep is important to help balance hormones. Inadequate sleep will affect prolactin levels, which in turn affect ovulation. If you don’t get a good night’s sleep (between 10pm and 6am) it’s time to work out why.

~ Alcohol and other toxins like tobacco and drugs (coffee too) contain oestrogen mimicking properties which drive our natural oestrogen higher, leading to hormone imbalances. For females, an excess of just two drinks a week can affect ovulation (from high oestrogen). It similarly affects males although they can tolerate a little more. High oestrogen in males will make the sperm abnormal.

~ For the same reason we also need to consider our body products: shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, washing powder, detergent and cleaning products as they work in a similar way – they drive oestrogen. Natural products are not only better for us, but also for the environment.

~ We are a product of our environment – stress is the biggest fertility fizzer. Using acupuncture, massage and meditation and managing stress is vital to assist in hormone balance.

Thanks for that awesome info, Nat!

Nat has written (+ co-written) three fabulous books: Fertilise YourselfEat Fat, Be Thin, and the freshly released Eat Fat, Be Lean. If you’re interested in hearing more fabulous tips on health, wellness and fertility, you can connect with Nat in the following ways:

Website:  http://www.natkringoudis.com.au  Twitter: Nat Kringoudis Facebook: Nat Kringoudis

Have you made the connection between hormone health and your overall health and wellbeing? I’d love to hear about what you’ve learned! Please share in the comments below!

9 comments :

  • mekalie

    Great Stuff!

    Thanks Carly and Nat – this article is so poignant to me right now …. I was literally hanging on every word in the article and am looking to inform myself further with the suggested books (plus perhaps pick your brains a little more carlz over dinner soon? xxx)

  • Tahlee

    Fabulous interview Carly! Great info Nat!
    I visited a holistic doctor only yesterday to investigate my hormones. I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago and acupuncture was a great treatment. Looking into some other holistic treatments now too…

    • Carly

      Thank you, fabulous woman. So glad to hear that you’re taking control of your hormone life and going holistic. And yes, acupuncture rocks! xx

  • Thrilling Me! | Pockets of Peace

    […] Hormones + Inner Peace with Nat Kringoudis […]

  • Nat Kringoudis Brisbane Event Giveaway! | Pockets of Peace

    […] Hormones + Inner Peace with Nat Kringoudis […]

  • Krys Hansen

    I had no idea about coffee being an oestrogen mimicker. I found out two weeks ago that I have endometriosis which was a total surprise to me – so this is all high on my list to understand. I will be including Maca in my daily diet from today. Thank you.

  • Etta

    Great offer Carly! And thank you Nat for the wonderful advice.

    Lots of the advice from Nat’s post really resonated with me. Particularly, the information about the properties of MACA- I went out and bought a packet the following weekend and have been using it whenever I make a smoothie.

    The information that resonated the most with me though was the effect of cortisol. I get stressed quite easily and I have been working on decreasing my stress levels for a while. I now utilise meditation, yoga, listmaking etc to calm myself down. However, I didn’t realise that stress was impacting on my hormones in addition to my sleep, eating habits and skin. It has now become even more important to me(as I creep towards the baby-making stage) to monitor my stress levels and as soon as I notice any signals (nail biting, muscle tension, heart racing) I stop, breathe slowly, say some positive mantras to try to reduce my stress and just relax!

  • Franziska Altmann

    Hi Carly! Wow I just stumbled across your page on facebook – I think it was via Vienda Maria who I follow and who will probably be my coach in 2017 – horray 🙂
    I love your page – and I loved this interview!! THank you for sharing it!!!

    If you are still in India or Nepal – much love from afar! I will be traveling there in February next year as well – I am excited!

    xo
    Franziska

Leave a Comment:

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie