Category Archives: Hormones

LOVE your adrenals people

(Disclaimer:  I just read this on a message board and the contributor did not make a reference to the original author)  

I found this interesting, as I’m in “adrenal care-giving” mode right now, so thought I’d share it in case someone else may be questioning how they are feeling.


Estrogen Dominance. Today, women often have exhausted adrenal glands by the time they reach their mid-thirties or early forties due to a stressful lifestyle. Stress is regulated by our adrenal glands primarily. In early stages of adrenal fatigue, cortisol output is high as the body attempts to neutralize the stress by producing more of it. However, when too much cortisol is produced, it will have multiple undesirable effects. For example, cortisol blocks progesterone receptors, making them less responsive to progesterone. Progesterone normally produced by the adrenals comes to a halt in favor of cortisol. Insufficient progesterone production leads to an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone.
Adrenal normalization should precede hormone modulation. The adrenal glands deal with the daily stresses of life. A woman must normalize her adrenal glands in order to have a total body hormonal balance. In fact, replacement of deficient hormones alone without addressing the overall health of the adrenal gland is a band-aid approach and often ineffective in the long run. The normalization process can begin with investigating and eliminating stressors. Stressors are often chronic in nature, and can be related to lifestyle, dietary, mental, and inflammatory causes.

Common Causes Of Adrenal Stress:

Overwork/physical or mental strain
Excessive exercise
Sleep deprivation
Light-cycle disruption
Going to sleep late)
Chronic inflammation
Chronic infection
Chronic pain
Temperature extremes
Toxic exposure
Chronic illness
Chronic-severe allergies
Nutritional deficiencies

Associated Symptoms And Consequences Of Impaired Adrenals:

Low body temperature
Unexplained hair loss
Difficulty building muscle
Mental depression
Difficulty gaining weight
Inability to concentrate
Excessive hunger
Tendency towards inflammation
Moments of confusion
Poor memory
Feelings of frustration
Alternating diarrhea and constipation
auto-immune hepatitis
auto-immune diseases
Palpitations [heart fluttering]
Dizziness that occurs upon standing
Poor resistance to infections
Low blood pressure
Food and/or inhalant allergies
Craving for sweets
Dry and thin skin
Scanty perspiration
Alcohol intolerance”

I can say from experience folks, that you want to avoid Adrenal Stress/Burnout at all costs.   This is not fun, nor easy to bounce back from.    Pay attention to what’s really going on in your life – do you have unexplained symptoms? Are you tired all the time with no obvious reason why? Do you tend to run mock-2 without balance?  Do you apply on-going pressure on yourself?    Are you under continuous stress?

Just a few questions I asked myself, and low-and-behold, my low energy and crappy outlook was in-part due to Adrenal Stress.     (you can get this tested by the way).

Wishing you health and wellness as we head down the road of closing out 2010.


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Alcohol free zone…..really?

Have you ever considered how much space alcohol takes up in your life?    I mean the sitting around sipping wine, the wine with dinner, the digestif’s, and the sometimes groggy day(s) following the night before.       Some of you needn’t consider this at all, others may.     Everyone is different.  Enough, or too much varies between individuals.

Or does it?     What is the norm exactly?  It’s an interesting debate really.   Depending who you ask, a glass of wine with dinner every night is the norm, and not at all problematic.     Yet, the next person, would consider drinking every day, completely over the the top. 

Thought I’d share with you my latest project (well I have a few going, but this is one of the latest).     I have decided to remove alcohol completely for 30 days, November 15 to December 15.

No, I’m not in any sort of program, and no I’m not in trouble – please don’t worry.       But what I am testing is the impact that alcohol (specifically wine, I really don’t drink anything else), has on serotonin levels.     Recall, I am on a wellness journey and my hormones and serotonin levels are at the forefront of my study.       I am testing varying amounts of alcohol against how I feel and my overall outlook.   And we all know that alcohol is a depressant.  Right now, my test is at “0” amounts of alcohol.       But I have to say, while the ‘no alcohol’ isn’t a big deal, the habits, routines, and traditions around alcohol are fairly deep-set.     For example, one of our traditions is kicking back on Friday nights with a few drinks, order-in pizza, and catching up while sitting around the fire.     While all of this can certainly happen without alcohol, it does somewhat change the tradition somewhat.     For me, anyway.     

So far, I am half way through, and am feeling fantastic.     I am trying hard not to make early conclusions as I really feel I need to complete the full month to have complete understanding of the project on the whole.

I am curious as to how many people have ever considered this in their life?    Certainly, I can’t be the only one.    (Can I?).       

alcohol free zone


Filed under Fitness, Hormones, Life

Wellness – not a project after all?

I had a lovely acupuncture appointment today with my ND.    We talked alot about the wellness journey.     I explained to her that I was beginning to feel better, how it seemed to be a slow and steady journey, and how bit by bit, day by day, I was feeling improvements, more energy, a better outlook. 

Knowing how I project manage everything (this didn’t take her long to figure out), she counseled me on the process of wellness and how health is not a project – there is no start, middle or end.   It is not “accomplished” once a certain goal is reached.     It is a constant and continuous journey.       

I have a hard time with this concept I must say.    How does one manage something that doesn’t have a start and end?        This is definitely homework on my end – maybe I need to ‘project manage’ my inclination to project manage my health.    JK.

In the meantime, I read this on The Happiness Project today, so I thought I’d share

10 Common Happiness Mistakes.                               

  1. To delay to do something important until you have some “free time,” because you may never have any free time
  2. To retreat into isolation when you’re unhappy
  3. To neglect to make a small change because you think a big change is necessary
  4. To refuse to consider a big change because you assume you can only make a small change
  5. To “treat” yourself to something you wouldn’t ordinarily permit yourself, because you’re feeling blue
  6. To postpone something important until you’re feeling healthier, or thinner, or married, or whatever
  7. To think that you can “make” someone else be happy
  8. To imagine that what’s true for other people is true for you
  9. To spend too much time, or not enough time, thinking about the past, present, or future
  10. To ignore the truth about your own temperament, interests, and aptitudes

Well, in my opinion, there are no mistakes – only learning.

Happy Hump Day everyone, let the sun shine on.

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“Project Natural” – how hard can it be?

Happy Saturday!       Week is over, blew off a little steam with some friends last night – uncorked some (organic!) wine, put a fire on, ordered in some Italian food.  (for Ottawa people, Fratellis does take-out!)  All goood.    Except, that my hub is gone hunting with all his brothers.    Miss him already 😦

So, I have a new project:    Project Natural.     As I mentioned in earlier posts, am working on my health holistically.    Have some hormone issues, a little adrenal burnout, you know, nothing that “y-o-g-a” can’t fix.  🙂    (which reminds me I must find a class to go to today – argggh)

I got thinking:    we, as a society work so hard (we do, right?)  to eat well, get enough of the good things we need to take care of our bodies, avoid (we do, right? :)) the things we shouldn’t have – so much is focused on what we put into our bodies.     But what about what we put ON our bodies?

For the last 2 weeks I have been researching, googling, talking, debating, asking, uncovering as much data as I can about our every day products.      I challenged myself to go all natural from head to toe.

Here’s the net of the net of it:     it’s fairly easy (once the research is done).     Loblaws now carries so much in their Natural section that I really didn’t have to go anywhere else – although I did (more below).

I share my list of all natural products with you and where I found them, in hopes that it may make it easier for anyone interested in this type of project (OK, maybe you don’t call this a ‘project’)

Laundry Detergent:    Martha Stewart Clean (Loblaws)

(Note:  this was my first product that I bought, I still didn’t understand all the chemicals and what they mean, so admittedly I bought it because of what it claimed on the label – I know, not good, but it did say, phosphate free and paraben free, so it made sense at the time.    Now I know what chemical/ingredients to look for.    Likely will not buy again due to the price.   But I do love the pump – will reuse the bottle.     Works well.)


Dishwasher liquid:   again Martha Stewart (see above Note) (Loblaws)

Works well but likely won’t buy again due to price.


Dishsoap:  Nature Clean (Loblaws)

Love it!


Shampoo and Conditioner:  (Loblaws)

I use the Golden Wheat Shampoo and the 50/50 Balanced Hair Moisturizer.    Works great. 

Body soap/wash:    Nature Clean All Natural Body Wash – Orange and Seaweed (Loblaws).

Lathers great, nice smell, feel clean after using.    All good here.


Facial Cleanser:   Dessert Essence “Thoroughly Clean Face Wash”  (Loblaws)

So far I love it – and I have cantankerous skin.


Moisturizer:    Evan Healy Light Moisturizer (Rainbow Foods, Ottawa)

This product is new in the last 2 days.  So far I like, but I’ll get back to you on what my skin thinks.    Like the feel, it’s light and clean smelling with no chemical fragrance.     Check out the website – feel good.

Acne treatment (yes, I have acne at 43!):   Simply Natural Blemish Formula (Rainbow Foods, Ottawa)

My skin is LOVING this product.    Use it at night, but I think you could use it in the day too.      Love.


Makeup:   Zuii Organic Makeup (Rainbow Foods, Ottawa)

Not sure about this product yet – only 2 days in, well actually only 1 (yesterday).     It’s Saturday morning, no makeup yet (if at all).     Good texture.    Light but still gives nice even coverage.


Toothpaste:  (Rainbow Foods, but you can get this product at Loblaws.    Warning – it’s gross!).     Be careful here though, as some of their toothpastes do contain SLS, others don’t, so read the ingredients. 

So that’s it my friends.     Stay tuned for “Project Natural” Part 2 – this will be cleaning supplies.      More on this another day.

In the meantime, here is a list of chemicals to watch out for in your products:

cleansers: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium myreth sulfate

petrochemicals: petrolatum, mineral oil, parrafin

preservatives: parabens (all of them), DMDM hydantoin

chemical sunscreens: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate

moisturizers: propylene glycol, butylene glycol, polyisbutene

Happy and healthy Saturday!!

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Back at it…..NOT

I had my appointment with my ND today.     The ‘long and the short of it’ is – no more running for me for awhile.  Boooo. 😦

Turns out my “M” symptoms are due to simply being out of gas.      Yup, I have the dreaded “adrenal burnout”.       The adrenals give us our fight or flight, and when there’s no fuel, you’re just out of steam.   Period.

Running uses adrenalin which essentially is the wonderful euphoria we feel after our runs, aka runner’s high.     Adrenalin comes from the adrenals, I’m told.   This makes sense, I mean, where else would it come from right?       

So continuing to run would only tap me out completely.

My project (if I choose to take it):      learn to fill the tank back up.   How you ask?  (I wish I’d never asked :)).     Yoga.    TaiChi.    Qu’Gong.       

So, I’m on a mission to love yoga -a journey to find a fun yoga class.    Lord, is there such a thing?


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Hormone Balancing Project, Step 2

So, I mentioned a few weeks back that I have an ongoing “hormone balancing project” going on in my life right now.      My hormones are…..a little wacked out, let’s just say.     What does that mean exactly?     Well, it’s more than a little grumpiness on the last week of my cycle, it’s more than craving chocolate, and it’s more than feeling a little annoyed.       Really, it’s like having another personality.    As the month progresses, I can feel the other person getting bigger and angrier.      Try as I must, I can’t stop her.     I try and reason with her, but somehow I lose.    (She knows I’m writing this right now, perhaps she’ll read it in a week or two and take some pity :)).

I’ve been to a gynecologist who tested me on day 21 of my cycle.    Low and behold, my progesterone was so low, she said I needed bio-identical hormones to bring them up to an acceptable level.   This, she explained, was why I was feeling so crappy.     In fact, she told me I should be feeling worse, based on the test results.     LOVELY!

I tried the bio-identical progesterone, and it did seem to help.    But still, I couldn’t help but ask myself, WHY my hormones were so…….wacked (I just can’t think of a better word).    

To me, applying progesterone cream on my forearm, was nothing more than applying a band aid.     I”m OK with that, as along as I’ve done all the research.     I mean, really, I’m only 43, should I have wacked hormones?

Fast forward to my earlier post regarding my ND.    I decided to tackle it naturally.       The liver and the adrenal system are supporters of balanced hormones.    When these two organs are taxed, then hormones can fall out of line.     And hence, my liver cleanse (which is going very well by the way).

But wait!   There’s more.     While I knew bits and pieces of this, I have been researching the affects of “xenoestrogens” on hormones (also known as estrogen mimickers)   What are xenoestrogens you ask?      They play a large roll  in how much fat we carry and how high our risk for hormonally related cancers is  . “Xenoestrogens come from a large group (tens of thousands) of foreign compounds derived from synthetic materials like pesticides, plastics, body creams, detergents, food supplies and our environment.”     Things like laundry detergents, deodorants, creams, make-up.

When I think about it – we put bio-identical hormones on our skin to alter our current state, why wouldn’t these estrogen mimickers, which touch our skin, not do the same?    Now this makes sense to me.

OK, so the good news:    tonight, I bought eco-friendly laundry detergent (paraben and SLA free), eco-friendly dish detergent and dish washer soap, and Paraben-free Acne Treatment (because yes, yes, I have adult acne).    I already use all-natural deodorant (for the most part).

So, Step 1:    cleanse my liver, and get it clean and healthy.     Step 2: remove the chemicals from my life (as much as I have the power to).     Step 3:    ND appointment tomorrow (can’t wait!)

So, I encourage everyone do a little research on the following terms:    “xenoestrogens”, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), paraben’s, and really understand the affect of these things on our bodies.

(Sorry for the long post, but this is important stuff).

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The perfect day, after a perfect night…..


Saw the amazing Diana Krall last night at Ottawa’s National Arts Center with our friends, Nat and Al.      While we were late for the cocktail party, arriving just as the lights were flickering, we easily managed to have an awesome night.       Diana Krall is totally amazing, I gotta say.    And while my husband rarely swoons  over  famous women (even though we have the “he/she’s on the list agreement” that every couple seems to have), we both remained starry eyed and speechless through the whole hour, even with very little appreciation for jazz.       She is humble, and kind, and sweet, and shy, almost introverted, which made her even more captivating.      Says alot, doesn’t it?


Then, woke up feeling great this morning.       It felt like crazy, angry hormones were somewhat in check (maybe they too were softened with the awe of Diana Krall :))    Or maybe……one day of my liver cleanse straightened them out.   You know, sorta showed them who’s boss.      All to say, woke up feeling happy and optimistic, which is a first for me in awhile.        So optimistic, I turned to my husband and suggested we head to the Gatineau Park for a hike.     And away we went.     First a stop at Bridgehead for coffee and we headed for the border.     Our 1-hour hike turned into 3 hours – who knew?    We are now a little behind in our Sunday duties, but what the hell.   

I’d rather 3 hours of fall sunshine and fresh air, than cleaning closets.      Now time for a much needed, and much earned Sunday afternoon nap.

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