Every fortnight over on our Instagram account, we have a #SadiesKitchenTakeover, where experts from the world of wellness and fitness help us fuel our passion for great food and a happy, healthier life.

Hormonal imbalance is the area of expertise and passion for Lisa Hughes from Nourish For Life Nutrition who started her of hormonal imbalance journey eight years ago. “I had been off the pill for about a year, with no real regular cycles, I really low energy levels, affecting mood concentration – generally I was feeling really unwell. This went on for about  a year – a year of being bounced back and forth and no one was giving me any answers so it was really frustrating.” 

Read on for more of Lisa’s helpful tips to ensure your hormones are staying balanced and that you’re generally feeling good!

Enjoy x

Breastfeeding and feeling hungry all the time? This will help

“I would recommend taking a look at your meals to balance your blood sugar.  Make sure they are balanced around protein, healthy fats, slow-release carbohydrates and plenty of vegetables – doing this means you’ll have fewer cravings, more energy and with a bit of gentle walking a day (say 30 minutes) you should start to notice some weight reduction too.”

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Blood sugar balance is key to naturally balancing Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

“There are so many things you can do as it’s a syndrome – so every plan will differ depending on symptoms. Again, it’s all about balancing your blood sugars. So balance those meals! The reason this is so important is because ever-fluctuating blood sugars – so going really high or really low – produce a huge amount of stress hormones which in turn produce a huge amount of male androgen.

“Over a period of time, this chronically elevated level of androgen hormone can affect ovulation – the number one sign of PCOS.”

“My go-to recipe for Sadie’s is a handful of rice noodles, loads of fresh veggies, some of the White Mausu Peanut Rayu, some soy sauce – cook it all for 10 minutes in the broth and it makes for a delicious meal on-the-go. I also use it in the slow cooker and for any sauces.” 

Intermittent fasting will not speed up the metabolism  

“But it is a fantastic weight loss tool, so if weight loss is your goal implementing this fasting it two or three times a week, it can really speed up the process.”

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Firstly, what is #intermittentfasting?🍽️⏰ • IF is when you have an “eating window” and a “fasting” window. Most research is done on the 8:16. Example – all meals consumed between 12pm-8pm and fasting for the remainder of the day/night. It has been linked to a long list of health benefits, from weight loss to improving insulin sensitivity and improved biomarkers associated with Type 2 diabetes. • Personally I ❤️ IF, but it can cause issues for some women and their hormones (me included this time last year). Here’s why 👇🏼 • Think of the female hormonal system as a symphony 🎼 If one instrument (hormone) is out of tune it affects the quality of the music being played. This is the same when it comes to our hormones, especially oestrogen our female hormone♀️ • Stress is one of the biggest causes for oestrogen to get out of sync and that’s down to increased levels of cortisol. • Fasting can push our bodies into a state that prompts the adrenals to make higher levels cortisol which in turn activates our sympathetic nervous system, AKA our fight or flight response. When the body is chronically in this state it can do the following: ⚠️Delay or prevent ovulation from occuring. ⚠️Lower progesterone levels (it gets converted into more cortisol as a response mechanism). ⚠️Cause you to miss a period (anovulation). ⚠️Change the timing of your period (cause spotting, an early period, or a period that looks or feels different than your norm). • Does this happen to everyone? No, but if you are already dealing with high stress from work, over training, low nutrient intake or struggling with hormonal imbalances already, then IF might not be right for you at this time in your life. • Comment below if you’d like my recommendations on how to incorporate fasting, while protecting your hormones 👇🏼🤸

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Myth: Dairy causes acne

“Dairy doesn’t cause acne but if you do have acne, it could make it worse. This is because if you struggle to digest the proteins that are in dairy, this can be quite inflammatory in the body and often, hormonal acne can be triggered by inflammation.

“To try and help, I would recommend a short 14-day elimination diet, see how you get on and if you notice any changes, try to find alternatives but be sure to watch your levels of calcium and vitamin D.”

“In terms of seeing the effects of the hormonal changes, it varies completely from person-to-person but once you’re on the right plan, change can happen really quickly. It’s important to be on the right, individualised plan for you.”

For Endometriosis, focus on anti-inflammatory foods

“As it’s an inflammatory condition which affects the lining of the uterus, so when making any dietary changes, adding in inflammatory foods is going to be the most important. If you have it, your diet needs to be high in fibre – so up those green veggies! – you need to aim for around 30g per day – the average person only gets 12g.”

For more follow Lisa on @nourishforlife_nutrition and follow @sadieskitchen.ie for more of our #Sadieskitchentakovers.