Hormone Balance and Nutrition


by John R. Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins

Although natural progesterone can have wonderfully curative effects on
the symptoms of premenopause syndrome, it works best when you eat wholesome
foods, pay attention to possible food allergies, and take nutritional supplements.
The rewards of eating a nutritious diet are more than worth the sacrifices.
You'll decrease your risk of future heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis
and arthritis. If your diet has consisted largely of high calorie, nutrition-free
foods such as candy bars and cookies, your energy and moods will improve dramatically.
If you suffer from indigestion, gas, bloating, and constipation, you'll be
happy to know that eliminating food allergens and good nutrition are nearly
always a cure. You'll catch fewer colds and flus because your immunity will
improve, it will be easier to drop excess fat, and your skin will clear up.
In some cases, a well-designed, individualized diet, supplement and exercise
program is all that's needed to restore balance during the premenopause years
and beyond. Depending on your exposure to xenohormones, you may well find that
you don't need to use natural progesterone.

Create Your Own Personal Eating Style

What are these magical foods you're supposed to be eating? Which of the endless
diets touted this month is the one to follow? Which of the hundreds of supplements
found on health food store shelves should you be taking? There's no one answer
for everybody, but this chapter gives you enough guidelines to begin to create
your own personal hormone balance program.

Some women are coming from a lifetime of hardly thinking about what foods
they put in their mouths, except for those times they've tried to lose weight.
The more ambitious have gone to the bookstore for the latest best-selling diet
books. Some say they've tried the high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets and felt
worse than ever, while others say they feel great on such a diet but can't
seem to stick to it. Still others swear by the popular diet books that promote
balanced intake of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, while some feel them to
be too regimented, unpalatable, or hard to follow. There's a lot of frustration
around food for most women, and this is especially true of premenopausal women
who are starting to gain some serious weight for the first time in their lives
and can't seem to do anything to stop it.

Don't Worry, Be Conscious

Your first assignment is to stop worrying so much about the weight gain. This
is not in any way an encouragement to become obese, but rather to let go of
the starving model ideal. To the extent that you accept your womanly body you
will be giving that gift of acceptance to the next generation of women as well!
Mother Nature designed women so that they would put on little bit of weight
premenopausally. It will get you through menopause more gracefully and protect
you from osteoporosis and strokes. If you don't allow the weight gain to become
obesity, the latest research shows that you won't be at a higher risk for heart
attacks and cancer, especially if your keep your hormones balanced. You can
assume that you are obese if your weight is interfering with your ability to
move around physically, or if it is causing weight-related problems such as
diabetes, arthritis, and difficulty breathing.

In spite of the charts and graphs and studies put out by everyone from the
American Heart Association to the federal government, there is no one diet
that is right for everyone
. Nobody can hand you a piece of paper or a
book that tells you exactly what you need to eat unless they have collected
a lot of data first. Anyone who has done the work of figuring out their ideal
foods and supplements can tell you that it's a process that takes some time,
attention and tracking. It takes trying new things. It means getting rid of
the processed foods you depend on for comfort and replacing them with real,
nourishing, substantial whole foods. It also means paying close attention to
how your body responds to different foods and eliminating those that are having
adverse effects on your health. No one can do this for you. The good news is
that it can be a fun piece of detective work with great rewards.

To read more about how the right foods can help you achieve hormone balance
and optimal health, please read Dr. Lee's book, What Your Doctor May Not
Tell You About Premenopause.

Excerpted from: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer,
Chapter 16

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