Let’s talk about endometriosis!

What is endometriosis?

 

Endometriosis is one of the most common chronic hormonal disorders affecting women in reproductive age, affecting up to 10% of women.

 

Endometriosis has been described as an autoimmune condition where endometrial tissue typically grows on the outside of the uterus instead of on the inside. The tissue is most commonly found around the organs in the pelvis, but can grow anywhere on the body, turning into growths and lesions in the intestines, bladder, rectum, even as far up as the nose!

 

Endometrial tissue typically responds to the changes in our hormones across each phase of our cycle, as it would if it was in our uterus. Endometriosis sufferers usually have excess estrogen in relation to progesterone, which drives the ongoing hormonal imbalance.

 

The primary symptoms are pelvic pain and infertility, as well as painful periods, painful sex and painful urination.

 

There are four stages of severity to endometriosis; ranging from stage one: minimal endometriosis to stage four: severe endometriosis. The level of severity depends on the number, size and location of adhesions and endometrial tissue.

 

Diagnosis is usually done through a surgical laparoscopy.

 

Getting a diagnosis

 

Did you know that it can take up to 7.5 years and sometimes even 10 years to get a full endometriosis diagnosis?

 

It’s so important for women to feel confident about advocating for themselves in medical situations and empowered to ask the right questions so that we get the answers and diagnosis we deserve.

 

Pain is not normal and is a sign that something is wrong. If you’re experiencing pain, never let someone tell you that it’s all in your head! You know your body best!

 

Endometriosis pain can be severe and it can be systemic, with inflamed endometrial tissue appearing outside of the uterus.

 

If a doctor tries to minimise your pain, then get a second, third or fourth opinion. Do what it takes to get a medical professional that will listen to you, take what you say seriously and help you find the answers you need and deserve.

 

Do your research. Knowledge is power and will help you advocate for better health outcomes.

 

Keep track of how you feel and your pain levels, so you’re armed with evidence that will help you fight your corner.

 

Most of all, be relentless in your pursuit of good health.

 

Do you want help improving endometriosis pain? My short e-book, ‘Six Ways To Fix Your Period Pain‘ will give you practical tips to change your period for the better.

 

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

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Let’s talk about how our thyroids are affected by stress!

 

Let’s talk about your thyroid and stress!

 

Good thyroid health is closely connected the health of your glands that produce your stress hormones – your adrenals. These tiny glands are located on top of your kidneys.

 

Chronic stress is the enemy of a happy and balanced hormonal system.

 

Sustained levels of stress increase the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) that your adrenals produce. And when you’re constantly stressed and not doing anything to reduce your stress levels, this causes a disruption to balanced thyroid hormone production.

 

Here’s the science: Chronic cortisol production means you produce less free T3 and too much reverse T3, which blocks thyroid hormone receptors.

 

What do I mean by chronic stress?

 

These are things that place stress on your body: not getting enough sleep, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, dehydration, excessive levels of cardio, shallow breathing, physically and emotionally abusive relationships, constant worry, amongst many others.

 

Doing things to act as a counterbalance to stress is essential for balanced hormones!

 

We all live busy lifestyles so some amount of stress is normal – it’s when you’re not doing anything to offset that stress, that issues can arise.

 

How do you manage your stress?

 

Do you want to you know more about your thyroid? Schedule in a 30 minute Hormone Health Review with me! 

 

Photo by Antonika Chanel on Unsplash

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Do you need to care more about your thyroid in your 40s and 50s?

Do you need to think about your thyroid health more as you move into your 40s and 50s?

 

In short, yes!

 

Research shows that hypothyroidism tends to be more common in women over 40, as thyroid hormone production gradually decreases as we get older.

 

For women in their late 40s and 50s, it’s worth noting that symptoms of menopause are similar to hypothyroid symptoms, so you might be doing everything you can to manage your menopause and still find that you continue to suffer from dry skin, weight gain, lethargy, dry hair, constipation, low mood, reduced concentration and poor memory.

 

Does this sound like you?

 

I would encourage you to get your thyroid hormones (TSH / T3 / T4) checked as part of your annual check up and even sooner, if this is something that’s troubling you right now.

 

Do you have questions about your thyroid? Book in a 30 minute Hormone Health Review with me! 

 

Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

Why you need to care about your thyroid!

 

Over the last week, we’ve been talking about our thyroids. We’ve talked about what happens when you produce too much thyroid hormone and when you produce too little.

 

We’ve learned that the thyroid is a bit like Goldilocks – you want to make sure that you get the balance just right.

 

You might be thinking, “well, Le’Nise, neither of those apply to me, so why do I need to care about my thyroid?”.

 

Your thyroid controls your body’s metabolism and energy (that’s pretty important, right?), however nothing in our body works in isolation. Research shows that imbalances in our progesterone & estrogen levels can have an effect on our thyroid hormone production and vice versa.

 

Taking care of your hormone health (with sleep, a balanced diet, stress reduction, regular emptying of the bowels and lots of physical movement) isn’t just about caring for reproductive hormones – your thyroid and stress hormones will also benefit too!

 

Would you to find out more about your thyroid or ask specific questions related to your thyroid or hormone health? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

 

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

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What happens when you produce too much thyroid hormone?

In my last post, I talked about producing too little thyroid hormone. Now let’s talk about what happens when you produce too much.

 

Do you often feel out of breath or short of breath?

 

You might have trouble keeping weight on.

 

Do you feel like your eyes look like they might pop out of your head?

 

You might feel like you get tremors or shakes or heart palpitations.

 

You might sweat excessively or feel very hyperactive all the time.

 

You might be losing your hair.

 

You might have a swelling in your neck caused by an overactive thyroid gland.

 

In combination, these can be symptoms of an overactive thyroid. If left unchecked, an overactive thyroid / hyperthyroidism can be life threatening.

 

If this is you, I would encourage you to get your thyroid hormones checked as soon as possible!

 

Would you to find out more about your thyroid or ask specific questions related to your thyroid or hormone health? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

 

Photo by Kunj Parekh on Unsplash

I Tried It: Giving Up Sugar For Lent

 

It’s spring and it’s time for change and renewal.

 

For me, this is the time of year when I take stock and look at what’s working and what isn’t.

 

Sugar wasn’t working for me. My moods were up and down, my skin was breaking out and I started feeling bloated a little too often.

 

So I broke up with sugar for Lent.

 

The first 10 days were the hardest. I realised that I was using sugary foods, especially chocolate, as a fix when I was stressed out. And the first week and a half was especially hard because I had a lot of things happening in my life that were causing me to feel stressed.

 

Identifying stress as a trigger for my sugar cravings was huge for me. I realised that I needed to find something else to do in these stressful moments.

 

I decided that I would drink water instead of eating chocolate.

 

And honestly, I’ve never been so hydrated in my life!

 

In the first ten days, I had to think consciously about this.

 

Breaking an unwanted habit takes a lot of mental energy and the first couple of weeks require a lot of mindfulness for the change to become real.

 

Eventually, it became easier and I didn’t need to think about it as much.  My new ‘water for chocolate’ routine became a habit and I managed to break my sugar / stress connection.

 

What were the results of this experiment? Well, my skin is clearer, I’m less bloated, I have fewer headaches and I’m less moody. The biggest result is knowing that I have the power to break a habit that simply isn’t working for me any more.

 

I can’t say that I’ll never eat sugary foods again. Come on, I have to live in the real world! What I know for sure is that it makes me feel terrible, despite tasting oh so good.

 

Are you ready to give up sugar?

 

Check out my free guide to giving up sugar in 21 days for actionable ways to reduce the amount of sugar you eat. Click here to download it!

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What happens when you produce too little thyroid hormone?

If your thyroid hormones are a little bit like Goldilocks, what happens when you produce too little of them?

 

You may find that you struggle to lose weight.

 

You might feel tired all the time.

 

You might empty your bowels less than once a day.

 

You might always have cold hands & feet and fight with your partner over the thermostat in the winter.

 

You might feel a little down in the dumps but aren’t sure why.

 

You might have a hard time concentrating or feel a little foggy.

 

These aren’t normal things you should expect as part of ageing.

 

When you piece the puzzle together, these symptoms can be the sign of an under active thyroid.

 

If you feel like this, I would encourage you to see your doctor and get your thyroid hormones (TSH / T4 / T3) checked as part of a full blood test.

 

Do you have any questions? Get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone health review!

 

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

How much do you know about your thyroid?

 

Let’s talk about our thyroids!

 

Our thyroids are a gland that sit in our neck and produce thyroid hormones, which are one of the top three most important hormones for women.

 

Can you guess the other two? Estrogen and cortisol!

 

Over the next week, I want to talk a little about the thyroid, because thyroid heath is an important part of good hormone health for women.

 

Our thyroid affects our metabolism and our energy levels – think of the thyroid a little bit like Goldilocks.

 

If you produce too little thyroid hormone, you can feel sluggish, gain weight easily and get constipated. This can lead to hypothyroidism.

 

Too much can send you in the other direction with weight loss, shakiness and shortness of breath, amongst other symptoms and can lead you to hyperthyroidism.

 

How much do you know about your thyroid?

 

Do you have any questions? Get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone health review!

 

Image via Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

sweet potato pancakes

It’s nearly Pancake Day and I’ve been avidly testing out my pancake recipes. Actually, who am I kidding? I love pancakes and we eat them nearly every weekend!

 

While plain pancakes are great, I love adding different ingredients to them to give them a healthy twist.

 

Sweet potatoes are wonderful to add to pancakes. They add a lovely moistness and a depth of flavour, especially with the cinnamon.

 

sweet potato pancakes with coffee

Makes 15-20 pancakes

What you need:

200g plain flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

15g melted butter

200g steamed sweet potato

2 eggs, separated

200ml almond milk

1/2 tsp olive oil

 

How to make it: 

  1. Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato. Steam until they are soft and tender. Put them into a bowl, mash and set aside to cool.
  2. Melt the butter under low heat, ensuing it doesn’t begin to brown. Set aside when melted.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix until the flour, baking soda and cinnamon are fully combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato, egg yolks, almond milk and melted butter.
  5. Whisk the egg whites until they form foamy peaks. This helps make the pancakes light and fluffy. Set aside.
  6. Form a well in the middle of the dry mixture and slowly add the wet mixture, gradually mixing them all together until they form a smooth, thick batter.
  7. Slowly fold in the egg whites to add more air to the batter. Leave to stand for a few minutes.
  8. Put your cast-iron pan on your stove on medium heat.
  9. Turn your oven on to 170C.
  10. Take your olive oil and brush it on to the surface of the pan so it’s lightly coated.
  11. Take an ice cream scoop and add heaped portions of the batter to the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to make 3 or 4 pancakes at a time, taking care to keep them evenly spaced.
  12. Let them cook for 2 minutes or until they start bubbling on the surface. Flip them over and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Repeat until all of the batter has been cooked.
  13. While you’re cooking the pancakes, put the already cooked pancakes on to a plate and slide them into the oven to keep warm, covering them with tin foil so they don’t overcook.
  14. Serve with a dollop of maple butter or maple syrup. You can also add some chopped banana or fresh blueberries.
  15. Enjoy!

What are the fundamentals of self-care?

yoga as self care

I’ve been talking a lot recently about self care: how it’s in my view, not a trend, but a sustainable way to listen to and have respect for your body.

 

Self care means different things to different people, which is where some of the confusion comes from. In essence, it’s about taking the time to do the things that refresh and recharge YOU.  For me, this is about making sure I get enough sleep, spend quality time with friends (and not just texting them), eating enough veg every day and making sure to practice yoga and deep breathing every day.

 

For you, it could be something completely different.

 

As with everything, there are some fundamentals to self care: eating well, maintaining good personal hygiene, moving your body everyday, finally quitting smoking and being in nature.

 

Everything in your body is connected and a daily self care practice tends to your mind, body and spirit. Which is one of the reasons I called my business Eat Love Move: a lifelong journey of health addresses all of these areas.

 

Of course, I’m not perfect and I need to take my own advice. I pulled back from a lot this past week as I was feeling drained, down and generally a bit out of sorts. I blamed it on needing a slow start to 2018, but really, I wasn’t taking care of myself properly. Not sleeping enough, skipping meals and feeling a bit overwhelmed.

 

I went back to basics and focused on eating almost all of my meals at home, sticking to a daily yoga practice, going to bed earlier and doing my alternate nostril breathing when anxious feelings started to creep up.

 

So tell me. What do you think about self care?

Chewy Gluten Free Oatmeal ‘Chocolate Chip’ Cookies

chewy gluten free oatmeal cinnamon cookies

When I was growing up, I loved making chocolate chip cookies. I have a great memory of biting into a warm, chewy, gooey cookie – yum!

 

In the last year, my son has become more and more interested in helping me in the kitchen. Anything from peeling potatoes to cutting the end off green beans to stirring the cooking pot, he’s into it. Since he started school in September, we have a good 3-4 hours of free time after I pick him up and I like to do little activities with him during this time.

 

We do a lot of cooking together but not as much baking. I wanted to create that special feeling of biting into a warm cookie for him, so we started experimenting with cookie recipes at the end of last year.

 

We finally got the recipe right this week, so I’m so pleased to share my gluten-free ‘chocolate chip’ cookies with you.

 

chewy gluten free oatmeal cinnamon cookies with almond butter

Makes 10-12 cookies, depending on how big you like them!

What you need: 

– 80g organic oats (I like using Flahavan’s Jumbo Oats)

– 130g almond flour (make your own by grinding up some almonds!)

– 4 tbsp coconut sugar (I prefer this sugar because it has a lower glycemic load, so it won’t spike your blood sugar as much and it also adds a lovely caramelisation to the cookies when they are baking)

– 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

– 2 tbsp cacao nibs

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 2 large eggs

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 25g melted butter

 

How to make them: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, cacao nibs and baking soda. Ensure there are no clumps left in the almond flour.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t start to brown.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the mixture and stir.
  5. Slowly pour in the butter and mix until all the ingredients are fully combined and you are left with a sticky, gooey dough.
  6. Using a big tablespoon, scoop out the dough and drop it on to the parchment paper / non-stick baking mat. If you want evenly sized cookies, gently flatten them with the back of the spoon. Make sure to leave 2-3 cms between each cookie because they will spread when they bake.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden brown. They will be slightly soft when they are baked – that’s a good thing!
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. To make them extra decadent, drizzle some almond butter on top. Yum!
  10. Enjoy!

Do you set intentions for yourself?

have you set your intentions for 2018 yet?

I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions and intentions this week.

 

January rolls around and a lot of us put pressure on ourselves to build a list of resolutions that are mostly about things we should improve about ourselves. Problems we should resolve about ourselves.

 

But what if we accepted ourselves as we are?

 

What if we set intentions instead? Intentions are a common way of starting a yoga session, a positive way of focusing the mind for the practice ahead.

 

Daily, weekly and monthly intentions are a lovely way to focus on the present and the good things you want to do for yourself.

 

My intentions for 2018 are to live in the moment and remember all the things I’ve achieved (it’s easy to forget these things, isn’t it?).

 

What are your intentions for 2018?

I Tried It: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Have you heard about alternate nostril breathing?

 

This is an incredible way of shifting your nervous system from fight or flight stress mode to rest and digest, relaxation mode.

 

You’re essentially breathing consciously, taking in more air and reducing your blood pressure.

 

I decided to try it after reading so much about it. Here’s how you do it:put your thumb over your right nostril and take a deep breath in through your left nostril. Hold, covering your left nostril with your index finger. Release the breath through your right nostril. Repeat, taking the breath with your right nostril.

 

I found that I was much calmer after doing this and any anxiety I was feeling started to drift away.

 

Try it and let me know how you feel!

 

Have you tried mindful drinking?

testing drinking

How much have you been drinking this holiday season? So many events revolve around having a festive tipple or two, which feels fun at the time, but may not be helping you get to your health goals and may be stopping any desired weight loss.

 

Alcohol also has an effect on our sleep – it sedates us, but doesn’t help us get restorative, restful sleep. You know, the kind where you wake up feeling ready to get out of bed and jump into the day!

 

Try mindfully drinking instead: being aware of what you’re drinking and why you’re drinking it.

 

If you automatically pour a glass of wine when you get home from a stressful day at work, think about why you think the wine will help you relax. Could you do something else instead? A bit of yoga, a couple of boxing jabs to a pillow, a hot bath?

 

When you’re out, Instead of allowing people to buy you endless rounds of drinks at the pub or bar, be aware of how much you’re drinking and how you’re feeling. If you don’t want another drink, just say so, instead of being polite. Or ask for some water instead.

 

Mindful drinking means learning to drink what YOU want to drink and the amount that YOU want to drink rather than what you consider to be socially acceptable.

 

Have you tried mindful drinking? Let me know!

 

P.S. Are you using alcohol to help you get to sleep or finding that alcohol is stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep? Join my 5 Days to Better Sleep challenge, where I’ll be sharing ways for you to get a better quality night’s sleep. Join in: www.eatlovemove.com/bettersleep

 

The 2017 Eat Love Move Holiday Gift Guide: For The Child That Loves To Help In The Kitchen

A great way to get kids interested in food, especially more nutritious food, is for them to help in the kitchen. My little guy loves helping me. His favourite kitchen duties are chopping up veg, stirring the pot, mixing pancake batter and doing the washing up (yes, really!).

Here are a few gift ideas to help instil a love of cooking in the kids in your life.

 

P.S. Check out my gift guide for the foodie in your life  and for the person that needs a little self-care.

 

little cooks co brownie boxLittle Cooks Co Healthy Cooking Kit. These cooking kits for kids are a lovely way to get them in the kitchen and trying out new flavours. Every month, there’s a new healthy snack recipe, all the dry organic ingredients to make it and a kid friendly family dinner recipe too! Get 25% of your first kit by using BOX1 at checkout.

kuhn rikon kids cooking knivesKuhn Rikon Knife Set. These knives are an amazing and safe way to teach your kids knife skills. They’re sharp enough that they can cut through softer vegetables without harming little fingers if they slip.

little helper fun pod kitchen stoolLittle Helper Fun Pod Kitchen Stool. I wish I had one of these when my son was younger. It’s a nice way for kids to reach the same height as the kitchen counter and for you to feel secure that they’re not going to fall off or accidentally touch a hot pot or pan.

personalised children's apronPersonalised apron. Make them feel like a top chef with their own personalised apron.

personalised wooden spoon set

Or a personalised wooden spoon set. How cute is this!

lunchbots stainless steel lunch boxLunchbots Stainless Steel Bento Box. These are a great way for your kids to take their packed lunch to school and are durable enough to last being thrown around in the school backpack. We have one and it’s so nice for J to have a few easy options in one place for his lunch.

nadiya's festive kids cookbookNadiya’s Bake Me A Festive Story. This is a lovely gift for an older child, with lots of easy to make cookies and cakes.

leithsLeiths Cooking Course For Teenagers. If you have teenagers or nearly teenagers, a cooking course is a lovely way to help them gain a little independence and learn how to cook a few meals. A great life skill, especially when they go to university and need to fend for themselves!

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