How to Know if You Have a Hormonal Imbalance

I often hear from women that they are struggling with hormonal imbalances. 

Truth is, what does that really mean?

How can we really know what’s going on with our hormones and if something is off? 

Hormonal imbalances really mean different things to every woman, considering we are all so unique.

Some of us may be suffering with hypothyroidism (slow thyroid function) which can contribute to fatigue, slow metabolism and weight gain.

While some of us may be dealing with issues surrounding our period and cycle, such as heavy bleeding, missed periods or no periods, terrible PMS symptoms, short cycles, and so on.

Bottom line, hormones can be complicated.

But there are clues we should be paying attention to, which will help us to navigate our hormonal health and understand our bodies on a deeper level. 

It all starts with your period. 

Your period gives you clues into what is really happening with your hormones throughout the month. 

Your period is the first day of your cycle. To simplify understanding our hormones, let’s break up our cycle in 4 phases: Menstruation, Follicular, Ovulation and Luteal. Know these, remember these, love these. They tell you everything about your hormonal health. 

Let’s dive in…

Menstruation – Your cycle starts with your period. You bleed, you feel tired, lethargic, crampy, moody and bloated. No fun. During this time your progesterone takes a nose dive. Progesterone is what causes your uterine lining to shed, thus causing you to bleed in the first place. Your sex hormones also take a dive, causing you to feel not-so-sexy. So there’s a good chance your libido is pretty low at this time. 

Hormonal Imbalances – if your period comes roughly every 28-35 days. Cool. If it happens to be every 3 weeks, showing up around day 20 or 21 (early period), this could mean you have low progesterone. Low progesterone could be caused by a few things – estrogen dominance (basically you have too much estrogen relative to progesterone), stress or insulin resistance. A period that shows up every 35+ days (late period) could also be a sign of low progesterone. 

How Does Stress Lower Progesterone? – there’s a precursor hormone to progesterone called Pregnenolone. This hormone helps to make progesterone. However, in times of stress, pregnenolone has to decide whether it needs to make progesterone or be used for stress hormones, like cortisol. There’s a good chance that stress always wins considering it is seen as a “threat” to your body. Unfortunately, when this happens, all other sex hormones suffer as well. 

Follicular Phase – This phase lasts for roughly 7-10 days and begins right after menstruation. Initially, your sex hormones are low but begin to ramp up as you approach ovulation. Just before ovulation, as your sex hormones begin to raise, you’ll feel energetic, turned on and tuned it! Yup, your brain is focused and you feel like you can take on the world. This is thanks to testosterone and estrogen working their magic. As a bonus, your skin will be glowing and radiant thanks to an estrogen surge. 

During this phase, FSH is released (follicular stimulating hormone), which stimulates follicles in your ovaries to mature. These follicles contain your eggs. You may also notice that your cervical mucus is wetter and slippery during this time, which is key as you approach ovulation. 

Hormonal ImbalancesBeing that you are more sexual and energetic during this phase, if you aren’t it could be an indication that estrogen and testosterone are low. Both these hormones are key to having an optimal libido. It’s important to note that if you’ve had an early period or a late period, this could also mean that you’ve had a very long follicular phase which can be an indication of stress, illness, PCOS, dieting (weight gain or loss), or thyroid issues. 

Ovulation – I’ve talked about ovulation before in my sex post (and why your hormones need more of it). Click here to read that post and learn more. During ovulation, your body is in it’s most fertile phase. Your libido should be on fire! You may also find your cervical mucus is thick, slippery and egg-whitey. Your sex hormones are fired up during this phase, especially progesterone, which begins to rise and will continue to rise until your period. 

Ovulation is pretty much an all-or-nothing event. It happens quickly and for one day. Basically, your egg is released and it can’t be un-released. Make sense? After ovulation you will either have your period 2 weeks later or be pregnant. If you’re avoiding pregnancy, IT IS VITAL TO UNDERSTAND THIS PROCESS as you can then plan your ‘sex schedule’ around ovulation to avoid pregnancy instead of popping hormonal birth control (which will cause numerous hormonal imbalances, stop you from ovulating and shut down your estrogen and progesterone from functioning). 

Hormonal Imbalances – If you’ve ovulating, good news. If you’re not ovulating, well then you’ve had an anovulatory cycle which means you are not producing progesterone. This is quite common with PCOS, insulin resistance and of course, if you are not getting a period, this could be why. You need to ovulate in order to produce estrogen and progesterone. No period could also mean their is miscommunication going on in your hypothalamus (a gland in your brain). As you can see, your period is literally telling you what is going on with your entire body and hormone production.

Luteal Phase – after ovulation, your progesterone rises, estrogen levels dip and your now empty follicle restructures itself into a progesterone secreting gland called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum grows into a 4-centimenter gland in one day. Your ovaries have a lot of work to do to build this gland!

Hormonal Imbalances the formation of the corpus luteum can be impaired by many things, from inflammation, stress, thyroid disease, insulin resistance, or by a lack in vital nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, selenium, vitamin D and iodine. ALL of these nutrients are vital for hormone production and for a healthy and fertile cycle. 

After your luteal phase, which lasts for 14 days, you are then back to menstruation and this amazing hormonal cycle begins again. See the chart/picture below to gain an understanding of your cycle and the hormones released during each phase. 

womens hormones

——> On hormonal birth control? Then you do not ovulate, you do not produce progesterone, you have no luteal phase and you do not produce a corpus luteum. Crazy right?

Our cycles are powerful. 

They can literally show us what is going on with our bodies, but we need to tune in and really pay attention. 

From nutrient deficiencies, to low or high hormone production, to high stress, to infertility, thyroid disease, inflammation, estrogen dominance, and so on, our bodies and our period can tell us where something may be off and needs to be investigated further. 

——> Symptoms you need to pay attention to (and ‘possible’ hormonal imbalances associated with each symptom). It’s important to note that these symptoms can be managed with the right micronutrients/supplements and diet: 

  • breast tenderness and swollen lymph nodes (estrogen dominance)
  • slow detoxification or constipation (estrogen dominance, low thyroid)
  • high cholesterol (low thyroid, inflammation, insulin resistance)
  • cold hands and feet (low thyroid)
  • cramping, bloating and digestive upsets (gut flora imbalance, nutrient deficiencies, low progesterone)
  • low libido or non-existent sex drive (low estrogen and testosterone)
  • blood sugar imbalances and sugar cravings (insulin resistance, high testosterone, PCOS)
  • headaches and mood swings (mineral deficiencies, dopamine, serotonin, gaba)
  • weight gain, especially in the midsection (insulin resistance, high cortisol, low thyroid)
  • PMS symptoms (low or high estrogen/progesterone, inflammation)
  • hair loss or thinning hair (low thyroid, high cortisol)
  • acne or facial hair (insulin resistance, high testosterone, PCOS)
  • fatigue, lethargic, can’t get out of bed (low cortisol, insulin resistance, low or high estrogen/progesterone, low thyroid)
  • abnormal pap smears, heavy bleeding, painful menstruation (estrogen dominance)
  • depression, hot flashes, vaginal dryness (low estrogen)
  • cysts, infertility, bloating or fluid retention (low progesterone)

Again, know that this can all be healed and managed with the right diet and the right supplement protocols. This is not to alarm you, but to make you aware of what is happening hormonally with your body/cycle so you can take the proactive measures to heal it for good!

Have questions or looking to get your cycle or weight on track with the right program? Email me at – and let’s set up some time to discuss your health and goals. I offer free 20 minute consult calls and look forward to being a part of your healing (and happy hormone) journey!

[arrows style=”arrow-7-2.png” align=”left”] Leave your questions or comments below and I’ll be sure to get to them shortly 🙂

P.S. you can check out my favourite hormone balancing supplement by clicking here.

P.P.S. Have you joined my Women’s Only Private Facebook Group? It’s free, and I’m there helping to answering your most pressing questions about your health and hormones. Plus, I hook you up with goodies, freebies and discounts. Click here to join my Women’s Only Private Facebook Group and connect with myself and hundreds of other women!

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This ONE Test Could Save Your Life

There is one simple test you need to ask your doctor for. It’s called CRP, otherwise known as C-reactive protein and it could literally save your life! 

CRP has long been used as a marker of inflammation in the body. High CRP levels are found in practically every known inflammatory state. Even if you have no symptoms of disease, elevated CRP levels may signal an increased risk for practically all degenerative disorders, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and more (1-3).

The good thing is, you can test it and take the right steps to lower your CRP if it is high. Being proactive with your health and taking preventative measures is the best way to decrease your chances for developing chronic disease and inflammation. 

So what exactly is CRP? It’s a “marker” for inflammation and is manufactured throughout the body and found in immune cells, the liver and fat cells.

Typically, your CRP levels will be high during an acute infection or injury. This is a good thing as certain inflammatory molecules help speed the healing process and work to destroy any invading organisms.

However, when CRP is chronically elevated it can contribute to destructive chronic inflammation. CRP can help in determining the status of known inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel disorders (4-6). 

In fact, in one study, women with the highest CRP levels had a 16-fold risk for developing diabetes compared with those at the lowest levels (7). Kinda scary right?

CRP is also associated with other cardiovascular related conditions such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) (8).

What about weight? Unfortunately, most individuals who are overweight tend to produce more inflammatory compounds. Abdominal fat produces what’s called – pro-inflammatory cytokines, which leads to higher levels of CRP and increases your risk for developing disease. 

As you can see, CRP can determine a lot about your health, disease and inflammation. 

So what can you do about it?

First, you need to get your levels checked. 

I have all of my clients get this test done. In fact, I run a full blood panel for all of my clients who work with me. This way I can not only see their levels of CRP, but other things such as vitamin D, glucose, cholesterol, liver enzymes and detoxification, etc, all of which help me to design the right meal plan and suggest the right supplements. 

Secondly, you need to know what your levels should be at. 

Optimal CRP levels for everyone to strive for are under 0.55 mg/L  in men and under 1.0 mg/L in women. I’ve had clients in my practice with levels as high as 15. Through diet and with the right supplementation, these levels dropped significantly. 

Although these levels are the optimal range, most standard labs follow the ranges below:

  •  The “lowest risk” range is less than 1.0 mg/L 
  • “Average risk” is 1.0  to 3.0 mg/L 
  • The “highest risk” category is greater than3.0 mg/L 

Considering CRP is so closely related to cardiovascular risk and cancer, I’m sure you’re wondering what you can do to lower it. Well, there are a few very important things you can do right now, such as:

1. Exercise – this alone can help to lower CRP levels, especially with those suffering with heart disease or any type of cardiovascular related condition (9). This doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym 7 days a week at an all out intensity, but something as simple as walking can be extremely helpful. Combined with some strength training, you can help prevent heart disease and slash your risk of cancer, diabetes and lower inflammation. I’d say that’s a win-win!

2. Diet – well of course this matters! Considering that type 2 diabetes can be managed with diet alone, it’s safe to say that what you eat is pretty darn important. Quality is what matters here, so do your absolute best to avoid GMO foods and antibiotic and hormone induced animal products. And if you currently have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, I work specifically with clients to help them reverse their disease. If this is something you’d like to heal, let me know how I can help by filling out my online application here. 

When it comes to quality and your diet, know this – cows eat grass, not grains. Grain fed cows contain more omega 6 fatty acids, which are PRO-inflammatory. We want to avoid this!

Simply choosing more pasture raised and grass fed meats will ensure you are getting more ANTI-inflammatory compounds. Also, load up (and by load up, I mean ALOT) on vegetables. Incorporate a variety of raw and cooked vegetables. Snack on raw carrots, cucumbers and celery throughout the day, enjoy a large salad with mixed greens, arugula and spinach at lunch topped with some wild salmon or organic chicken breast. For dinner, roast some broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower in some tamari or coconut aminos with onion and garlic powder. It’s simple, delicious and incredibly effective at managing inflammation and preventing disease. 

3. Supplement – There are some very effective anti-inflammatory supplements you can include in your regime. In fact, 2 of these supplements are actual herbs and you can use them in your cooking:

  • Turmeric – contains the active compound curcumin, which lowered CRP by a huge 6.4 mg/L  in a meta-analysis of 6 studies of patients with elevated CRP levels (10). You can simply add some turmeric to your scrambled eggs in the morning or to a smoothie. But if your CRP levels are really high, you’ll probably want to take a concentrated dose by supplementing with it. I personally like AOR Curcumin-95. 
  • Ginger – another amazing spice that can be added to smoothies, sautés and used in marinades, ginger helped reduce CRP levels in diabetic adults (11). This is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb and amazing when combined with cinnamon, another incredible spice great for managing blood sugar. You can simply add both of these to your morning smoothie. I like using Simply Organic Herbs and Spices. 
  • Magnesium – probably one of the most important minerals, this is one supplement that all of my clients benefit from. From managing PMS symptoms, to inflammation, to sleep, detoxification and stress, magnesium serves many important functions in the body. In fact, magnesium is essential in building and maintaining strong bones. It’s needed to help drive calcium into your bone (along with boron, vitamin D, zinc and many other minerals). I recommend Magnesium Bisglycinate from Can-Prev. In fact, many heart disease patients have very low levels of magnesium and too high levels of calcium in their blood. 
  • Probiotics – probiotics are simply bacteria. We are made up of bacteria and much of that bacteria lives and thrives in our gut. If your gut flora is high in ‘bad’ bacteria, which can happen from eating too much sugar, packaged foods, alcohol and stress, then these bad bacteria can take over causing gastrointestinal issues, digestive issues and effect mineral and nutrient absorption. It is vital to ensure you have lots of good bacteria, which you can get from eating things like kim chi and sauerkraut, or by taking a daily probiotic. I personally love Progressive HCP 70. 

You can take charge of your health and prevent disease by simply incorporating these lifestyle and diet recommendations today! Get your CRP levels checked and make it a point to do something about it if it happens to be high. 

We can work together to lower your CRP, inflammation and get you to your desired weight with the right meal plan, supplements and lifestyle adjustments. 

If you’re interested in working together and looking for a customized and individualized plan for your health, fill out my online application and I’ll be in touch to set up a complimentary call to discuss your health history and goals in more detail. 

In the meantime, be sure to check out the success stories and before and afters of my clients by clicking here. 


1. Trichopoulos D, Psaltopoulou T, Orfanos P, Trichopoulou A, Boffetta P. Plasma C-reactive protein and risk of cancer: a prospective study from Greece. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Feb;15(2):381-4.
2. Poole EM, Lee IM, Ridker PM, Buring JE, Hankinson SE, Tworoger SS. A prospective study of circulating C-reactive protein,
interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 levels and risk of ovarian cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Oct 15;178(8):1256-64.
3. Pradhan AD, Manson JE, Rifai N, Buring JE, Ridker PM. C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. JAMA. 2001 Jul 18;286(3):327-34.
4. Deodhar SD. C-reactive protein: the best laboratory indicator available for monitoring disease activity. Cleve Clin J Med. 1989 Mar-Apr;56(2):126-30.
5. Du Clos TW. C-reactive protein as a regulator of autoimmunity and inflammation. Arthritis Rheum. 2003 Jun;48(6):1475-7.
6. Vermeire S, Van Assche G, Rutgeerts P. C-reactive protein as a marker for inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2004 Sep;10(5):661-5.
7. Pradhan AD, Manson JE, Rifai N, Buring JE, Ridker PM. C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. JAMA. 2001 Jul 18;286(3):327-34.
8. Hage FG. C-reactive protein and Hypertension. J Hum Hypertens. 2013 Nov 14.
9. Swardfager W, Herrmann N, Cornish S, et al. Exercise intervention and inflammatory markers in coronary artery disease: a metaanalysis. Am Heart J. 2012 Apr;163(4):666-76.e1-3.
10. Sahebkar A. Are curcuminoids effective C-reactive protein-lowering agents in clinical practice? Evidence from a meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2013 Aug 7.
11. Mahluji S, Ostadrahimi A, Mobasseri M, Ebrahimzade Attari V, Payahoo L. Anti-inflammatory effects of zingiber officinale in type 2 diabetic patients. Adv Pharm Bull. 2013;3(2):273-6.
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Sex: Why You (and your hormones) Need More of it!

When it comes to optimizing your overall health and well-being, sex is a very important factor in this. From reducing stress, boosting self-esteem and body confidence, and building a deeper connection with your partner, sex should be at the top of your get-healthy to do list.

Now let’s face it, sex is everywhere. 

It seems we can’t turn a corner without noticing a half naked women on a magazine cover or a Calvin Klein model showcasing his abs on a billboard. 

We live in an overly sexualized culture and it’s not going away any time soon. Companies and media continue to push the buttons on how far they can take their ads or commercials. Sometimes, it’s rather shocking. 

You would think with all the sex we’re bombarded with we would have such an easy time communicating about it, but the opposite is true. 

In fact, when is the last time you had a deep, soul quenching, heart melting talk about sex with your partner? Or vocalized what you like, don’t like, what you should experiment with, how turned on your partner makes you, what your body really needs and desires, and so on and so on? 

Not only are we super shy (this doesn’t imply to everyone or every couple) about openly communicating about sex, but it seems people are having less and less of it and are so disconnected from their sexual selves then ever before. 

I work with a lot of women, many who are in great shape and dealing with hormonal imbalances, and others who are looking to lose weight and dealing with hormonal imbalances. Can you see a connection here? Whether you’re fit or over weight, I tend to commonly hear from my clients that they just don’t have a sex drive. 

Is it the body shaming you continue to internalize every day? The comparing and negative self talk? Or are you just so damn confused about your body, your cycle and your hormones that you just don’t know where to start or who to turn to?

If your sex drive is non-existent know that you can get it back!

Your Hormones and Sex:

Yes, your hormones dictate ALOT about your sexual health. 

Estrogen, or what I like to refer to as “the sex-kitten-hormone,” boosts your libido and increases your sexual desire. This hormone, which is higher during the first half of your cycle (right after your period) along with a small amount of testosterone, increases lubrication, revs of your internal sex kitten and prepares you for ovulation, the most fertile time in your cycle. 

If you and your partner are looking to conceive, then this is the most optimal time to do so. On the flip side, if you are wanting to avoid pregnancy, be sure to use a barrier method, such as a condom during this time. 

There tends to be two schools of thought around ovulation. Some people think if you are wanting to avoid pregnancy that you should avoid sex altogether during this time, however, your body is in the most fertile, erogenous and sexual “zone’ during this time and it’s a beautiful opportunity for you to connect with your body and your partner sexually. So in my books, I say do it! 

Sex was typically thought of as a “man’s game” due to testosterone being the hormone that boosts sexual desire, however, women produce testosterone as well, along with other complex hormones, which allows us to have very robust sexual experiences. 

Due to the cyclical nature of our menstrual matrix, sex feels very different to us throughout the month. If you are in tune with your body and your cycle, you understand what I mean. 

During the first half of your cycle right to ovulation, you’re typically more energetic and get turned on more easily. After ovulation, estrogen dips and progesterone takes over, causing you to feel more lethargic and tired. Plus, you’ll typically find you tend to be drier and may need some extra special attention from your partner. 

Although testosterone, estrogen and progesterone play a very important role during sex and arousal and a women’s monthly cycle, there are many other hormones that come into play as well. 

Your Brain on Sex:

Your libido is governed by some very powerful neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. These are your pleasure and reward hormones and once you get them excited, they’ll want to keep coming back for more and more. Lower concentrations of serotonin can decrease sex drive.

Serotonin is essential for arousal and guess what? It’s actually produced in the gut! So, if you’ve been suffering with digestion issues, gut dysbiois (overgrowth of bad bacteria), constipation, bloating and gas, theres a good chance your serotonin is running on low and your sex drive might be non-existent. 

Nitric Oxide is another important component of sex. It causes vasodilation to all tissues in your sex organs to become engorged, which heightens sexual pleasure and sensitivity. Sex helps to produce nitric oxide which is not only beneficial for sex, but for oxygenating your blood and lowering blood pressure. 

What about oxytocin? This is the hormone of desire and can help to facilitate climax and connect you deeper with your partner. It’s the hormone that helps new moms bond with their baby.

And lastly, cortisol. You’ll often hear me speak of this stress-hormone and how detrimental it can be to our health when produced in high amounts, but it impacts sex as well, by killing your sex drive. Are you a stress case? Well then, that could be one reason for your low libido.

Cortisol will curb all bodily functions when it feels “threatened,” ie. work deadlines, arguments, traffic jams, constantly skipping meals, etc. Yup, these are all tiny constant everyday nuances we decide to stress over and in turn suffer with a non-existent libido. High cortisol can also impact our blood sugar and insulin levels, which can then cause a hormonal cascade amongst our sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. 

Bottom line, our hormones are delicate and when one is out of whack, it can create a domino effect and throw off other hormones. When your hormones are out of balance, not only will your sex drive suffer, but you’ll experience more weight gain, issues with fertility, PCOS, digestive health, high blood pressure, blood sugar irregularities or insulin resistance, and the list goes on!

The Solution:

Have MORE Sex!

Stressed? Have more sex.
Want to increase your libido? Have more sex.
Want to produce more serotonin and dopamine? Have more sex.
Want to help with hormonal balance? Have more sex.
Want to clear up your skin? Have more sex.
Want to support your partners prostate? Have more sex.
Want to support heart health? Have more sex. 
Want to produce more beneficial estrogen? Have more sex.
Want to combat inflammation? Have more sex.
Want to boost your immune system? Have more sex. 

Sex helps you produce incredible hormones and neurotransmitters that literally have hundreds of health benefits. Plus, it’s one of the most effective ways to combat the negative effects of stress. 

I know what you’re thinking, “how can I have sex when I don’t have a libido?” Well… you just have to do it (or at least try!). 

Masculine and Feminine Energy:

It’s really important that we make sexual pleasure a priority in our lives, as it helps us (both men and women) to connect to our masculine and feminine energies. 

If you’re a woman who works in an office everyday, wears a suit and is constantly “taking charge of everything,” then you are constantly in your masculine energy. This is not a good thing for sex. 

And for men who don’t feel like they are in charge, powerful, dominant or feel belittled and small, their feminine energy takes over. What this means for both sexes is that it can diminish your sex drive and affect how the opposite sex see’s you. 

Men want to see sexual, calm, vibrant, beautiful and radiant women. I don’t mean physically. I mean it’s an aura. It’s a smell. It’s a powerful energy that comes from deep within a women. A women who knows herself, trusts herself and can shine her light without feeling threatened or feel the need to be seen and heard. She can just…be. It’s an energy that can be felt from a distance. It’s a state of flow. 

Women want to see men who are strong-willed, authentic, organized, stable, reliable and supportive. A woman wants to feel non-dominant in their relationship. Woman are commonly drawn to this. A man who has his shit together on a spiritual, physical and mental level and knows how to check his ego at the door can win over a woman any day over charm and looks. 

Together, these energies collide to produce a deep sexual connection that allows you to grow as a person, to connect to your desires, to make more money and well.. to achieve amazing orgasms. (yes, I said make more money!)

Your orgasms are a missing key to achieving all that you want in life. It’s not just about the sex. It’s about what the experience can make of you and how you can take that energy and bring it into your every-day. You become more of who you are and flow with ease amongst the intricacies of life.

Your body and your hormones need more sex. 

If you are struggling to have sex and your libido has been missing, let’s take a look at a number of ways you can fix this:

1. From an masculine/feminine energy standpoint – take the time to tune into your energy. Where can you let go?

Are you a female that is in constant masculine energy? Where in your day can you let go? Where can you bring in more feminine energy? Maybe it’s something you wear (I say wear more dresses and skirts or put on some pretty lingerie). Are you bringing your work home? Are you always complaining? Do you need to dance, workout and move your body more? Are you doing more male dominant exercises? Do you need to be more receptive to receiving love and attention? When’s the last time you had an orgasm? (definitely the best way to increase your feminine energy!)

Are you a male that is in constant feminine energy? Where in your day can you bring more dominant, masculine energy in? Do you need to work out more? (ie. lift more weights!). Take more control of arranging dates and planning? Do you need more guy time? Do you need to be more decisive in certain areas of your life? Do you need to take a power stance and initiate more sex in your relationship? Do you need more sleep? (vital for testosterone production!)

2. Food – bottom line… are eating like shit? If you’re stuffing your face with processed foods, sugar, gluten, diet sodas, burgers and fries, then it’s time to stop. Your hormones and your sex drive just ain’t having any of that! Real, whole food supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive and support your hormonal health. Ladies, if you need more direction regarding the foods that are affecting your hormones and menstrual cycle, read this article here. 

Zinc is a vital mineral that supports estrogen production and protects the prostate. Eat pumpkin seeds or oysters to get this hormone balancing mineral. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, which support the ovaries and keep women fertile. Leafy greens provide magnesium, a essential mineral needed for detoxification. Less toxins means better hormonal health. This is just the tip of the ice berg! Get my Qualitaran Life ebook that is full of 60+ healthy recipes and provides you with a ton of insight into food quality. 

3. Hormonal Imbalances – I could write a very long article on the numerous hormonal imbalances we can experience and especially as women, we have a very cyclical hormonal pattern that basically repeats every month. Men on the other end have more of a 24 hour pattern. Ladies, I cannot stress it enough to chart out your cycle. Take out a calendar, write down when you get your period (day 1 of your cycle) and jot down everything over the month, from how long your period was, were you spotting, were you late, did you have cramps, breast tenderness, headaches, cravings, etc. Write down how you feel after your period, leading up to ovulation and repeat this over and over again each month.

Charting your cycle means checking your mucus daily. Are you wet? Dry? Do you have a thick-egg-white consistency? Mark all of this down in your calendar. I would even suggest checking your temperature every morning, otherwise known as your basal body temperature. Before ovulation, your waking temperatures tend to be low, typically ranging from 97.0 – 97.7. A day or two after ovulation, your temp will typically rise and stay elevated until your next period. Post-ovulatory temperatures usually rise to 97.8 degrees or higher. This is caused by the production of the heat-inducing hormone, progesterone.

You want to start by taking your BBT first thing each morning before getting out of bed or doing anything else. This will give you the most accurate reading. Also, make sure you take your temp after at least three consecutive hours of sleep.

Here’s why charting your cycle is SO important: if you are constantly dealing with PMS symptoms, clearly there is an underlying hormonal imbalance going on. If you find you have breast tenderness, water retention and weight gain right around your period, this could mean you have estrogen dominance. If your cycle is short and you get your period roughly every 20-24 days, this could mean you are not producing enough progesterone. If you are dealing with constant cravings, blood sugar irregularities and eating all the time, this could mean you have insulin sensitivity. 

These are just some of the imbalances you can pick up from charting your cycle. 

On the flip side, if you are on the birth control pill you cannot truly chart as you don’t produce a regular period, just a pill-bleed. Also, its important to note that the pill will rob your body is vital nutrients that help to produce estrogen and progesterone. In fact, you are not producing any of your own estrogen and progesterone while on the pill, and a low sex drive will typically result from this. Read my article here on why the birth control pill is ruining your health and hormones. 

4. Stress – this is something you will ABSOLUTELY want to manage as it will exhaust you, cause mineral deficiencies, increase your cortisol, lower your progesterone and increase your insulin, all of which will lead to no sex drive. Please find ways to manage your stress. As much as I could recommend supplements here, such as Magnesium, Ashwaghanda, or Rhodiola, these are just band aid approaches to stress. You need to manage your lifestyle and the constant stressors in your every day. 

5. Have Sex – I know i’ve said it over and over again, but if you don’t use it, you lose it. I remember reading an article a few years ago about a couple who committed to having sex every single day for an entire year! Whether they were in the mood or not, they made it a habit. Their experience – Not only did they want more of it, but they were happier, healthier and more in love than ever before! After 25+ years of marriage and 4 kids, they made it work. If they could do it, you could do it!

I’d love to hear from you! Are you struggling with any hormonal issues that are affecting your sex drive? 

Are you thinking of committing to sex for a full year with your partner?

Connect with me or post in the comment below. 

Thank you for taking to time to read this (lengthy) article and for committing to better sex and more balanced hormones 🙂 

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The Best and Most Simplest Way to Detox!


In case you missed out in joining my Qualitarian Spring Detox back in April, I’ve decided to bring it back for the summer!

I’ve had many people reach out and ask to join and even though the program is not running live, you can still join the program and go at your own pace 🙂 In fact, it’s even $20 off right now!

This Spring Detox is perfect to follow during the summer as the recipes are lighter and meant for the warmer weather. Plus, all the recipes and the 21-day meal plan is specific to help support your liver, help to balance hormones and optimize your detoxification pathways. Following this program is one of the best and simplest ways you can support your body in detoxifying.

If you’ve been struggling with bloating, indigestion, pms irregularities, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, acne, headaches, fatigue and lack of energy, then this Detox is the perfect reboot to help you clear out the toxins that are wearing down your system, effecting your weight loss efforts and causing you to feel tired and lethargic. 

Here’s what you get for joining the Spring Detox:

My Qualitarian Life eBbook – over 200 pages of incredible health info, from stress, to what to eat, to food quality, sleep and sex, I cover just about every important area of your health and life! I’ve laid out this book in such a way that you can create new and healthy habits in just 21 days by following along with a goal tracker and incorporating my daily healthy suggestions! Plus, you’ll get over 60+ deliciously gluten free recipes to supercharge your health in just 21 days. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, plus delicious sides, superfood smoothies and juices and even the tastiest of desserts, you’ll love every recipe!

Spring Detox Meal Plan – this 80 page guide contains a full 21-day detox meal plan plus additional recipes that you won’t find in the Qualitarian Life ebook. All the recipes are specific to help you optimize gut and liver health and supercharge your energy. All the recipes are easy to make and range from Paleo to plant based. Plus, I outline how to make certain food swaps and understand portion sizes. This is the BEST Detox Meal Plan I’ve created to date!

Essential Guide to Detoxing – This guide covers it all. From what supplements to take during your detox plus additional detox protocols to support gut and liver health, I share all my detox tips and tricks. Plus, learn how you can understand the issue with grains and how to test yourself of food sensitivities and optimize digestion and gut health. Also, you’ll learn all about the key foods and nutrients necessary for detoxification that aid in giving you more energy, clearer skin and balanced hormones.

This is one thorough and delicious Detox that I know you’ll enjoy every step of the way!

Hundreds of women have joined the detox and all have experienced amazing results! Check out their experiences and testimonials below… 

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Join my Spring Detox today and save $20! You’ll have over 100+ amazing recipes you can enjoy all summer long. 


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5 Slim Down Tips to Get Bikini Ready


Summer (officially) will be upon us quickly. It tends to creep up rather fast and I know what you’re thinking.

New wardrobe!

Or maybe, you want to continue hiding in your joggers and long sleeves. I know my clients, many of who are losing weight at a healthy and quick pace, are excited for the heat. In fact, for the first time in years, many of them are excited to pull out their bathing suit and wear less clothes!

I love seeing their bodies transform! But more importantly, I love seeing their excitement to wear new clothes and feel comfortable in their own skin.

So if you’ve been hesitant to show more skin this summer and scared to jump into that bikini, don’t fret! Follow my simple tips below that I share with all of my weight loss clients to prepare them for the summer months ahead. In as little as 3-4 weeks, you can transform your body and your health with simple tweaks. 

Do these 5 things NOW to quickly get your body summer ready… 

1. Eat More Veggies: Your mom was right, eating vegetables really is a good idea, especially when preparing to shimmy into a bathing suit. Why? There are a couple of reasons. First, veggies are low in calories and high in fiber, which means that you’re filling up without packing on pounds. Second, the vitamins and minerals in fresh vegetables nourish your body, cut down on cravings and support detoxification. Aim to eat at least 2-3 cups of vegetables at each meal. Your plate should be full of veggies. I tend to find most people fill their plate with carbohydrates and protein and forget the vegetables all together. Plus, all that fiber will help to keep you regular and flush out toxins through your bowels.

2. Give Yourself Just 10 Minutes: Each week, between now and your beach debut, I want you to give yourself 10 minutes to workout. Now… do I want you exercising and moving your body for longer than 10 minutes? Well of course! But when you’re feeling sluggish and tired, give yourself just 10 minutes and I guarantee you’ll get those endorphins flooding your system that you’ll want to push through for another 10 minutes. It’s all about getting started and that I know you can do! 

3. Double Up On Water: Not only will staying extra hydrated help your skin to have a healthy glow, it will also speed up your fat loss efforts. Most of us are walking around in a state of chronic dehydration, which contributes to fatigue, stubborn weight gain, constipation and aging. No one wants that! By drinking more water throughout the day, and by limiting your intake of caffeinated beverages, you’ll become healthier, more radiant, and sexier in that bikini. Aim for at least 2-3L of water a day. 

4. Eat Low Carb (after 5pm): One of the easiest ways to drop a few inches around your waist before the warm weather hits is to eat low carb after 5pm each day. This means eating dinners that are centered around salads and vegetables rather than breads and pastas. Aim to consume your carbs, such as fruit, wheat free oats, quinoa or sweet potato earlier in the day and keep your dinners, lean, mean and green! And yes, fruit is sugar, which means it’s a carbohydrate. Why not try swapping your dessert for a 1/2 cup of fresh berries if you really need that sugar fix in the evening? 

5. Balance Your Hormones: Weight loss is really dependant on hormonal health. If you’re eating high carbohydrate foods, constantly skipping meals or eating too often, you send your blood sugar on a constant rollercoaster ride. This can have you reaching more for food and just not feeling satisfied. Protein and healthy fats are where it’s at to help balance out your blood sugar. Be sure you are eating high quality protein at every meal and consuming some avocado, olive oil, coconut oil or ghee with your meals. Also, if you’ve been known to constantly eat every 2-3 hours, you might want to read my latest article about why it’s a bad idea! Click here to read now. 

Stress can also effect your weight loss efforts. Cortisol, your stress hormone, can pack on the pounds around your belly. If you’re constantly rushing through your day, always feeling behind, multitasking through a million things, overworked, exhausted and well… stressed; then there’s a good chance your cortisol is running on high.

Cortisol is important for the maintenance of blood pressure as well as the production of energy. It’s what helps you rise in the morning out of bed and when lower at night, allows for you to fall asleep. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism and stimulates insulin release to help with the maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite. More cortisol and more insulin means you want more food. 

The good news is that you can manage this by addressing your stress and lifestyle and making the conscious effort to eliminate the biggest stressors in your life. Yes I know, that’s easier said than done, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to increase energy, lose weight and maintain your overall health. 

Work with me – if you’ve been looking to finally lose the weight and manage your imbalanced hormones, then let’s set up some time to discuss your goals. Check out my Metabolic Weight Loss Program for more info or email me at – Together, we can design the perfect plan for you and get you summer ready!

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Why Eating Every 2-3 Hours is a Bad Idea

I used to eat all day long. Every 3 hours on the mark. I was always hungry. 

Even at the 2 hour mark my tummy started to rumble and I was thinking of food. But how come? I just friggin’ ate 2 hours ago? Why eat again?

But, it was a good thing right? I was stoking my metabolism, keeping my body fuelled and running efficiently with my mini all day meals. 

Then one day, 4 hours went by and I hadn’t eaten. It wasn’t pretty!

I was HANGRY (angry+hungry), moody, bitchy and literally couldn’t even process anything. Food was all I needed and I needed it bad. Like NOW!

Well, I learned my lesson. I made sure to always have food with me, to never skip a meal and to always eat every 3 hours to balance my blood sugar to avoid those ravenous bitchy monster moods. 

Then I learned about this little thing called Insulin. 

Insulin is quite powerful. In fact, Insulin is one of the MOST important hormones in the body and it’s important you understand and manage it effectively. 

But before I go on, I want to talk about dieting and weight loss, as insulin is a primary factory in weight gain and loss.

There are many ‘diets’ out there that fall within the 5-6 mini meal 2-3 hour category. In fact, there are many men and women (many of which I know) that compete in body building competitions and biking contests and follow a 5-6 meal a day diet. 

Do they get results? Yes! 

Are they ripped and toned? Yes!

Can you lose weight eating 5-6 mini meals every 2-3 hours all day long? Yes!

But that’s not what I’m talking about. If you are a competitor or an athlete, then there is a good chance you can manage insulin effectively (since exercise helps with insulin sensitivity) and you’re probably working out and training at a pretty elite level.

However, sustaining 5-6 meals a day long term can be difficult and I tend to see many people rebound and develop insulin sensitivity over time due to not sustaining this type of eating. 

But, if you are not an athlete, work out 3-4 days a week (or don’t work out at all), have over 20+ pounds to lose or are obese, have PCOS, are pre diabetic or diabetic, are struggling with hormonal imbalances like PMS or irregular cycles, are constantly craving sugar and on a blood sugar role coaster all day, dealing with sleep disturbances and highly stressed, well… you get the picture. 

Eating every 2-3 hours is not the answer for you!

If you are currently following a diet that has you eating every 2-3 hours, you are doing your body (and your insulin levels) a real disservice.

Let’s look at Insulin a little deeper…

Your pancreas produces insulin, the hard-working hormone that seeks out sugar, also known as glucose and turns it into useful energy.

When you eat a meal, sugar enters your blood stream in the form of glucose. Your pancreas secretes insulin to manage the sugar in your blood and transports the sugar to your cells. Once at your cells, insulin basically knocks on the cell door and asks to enter with sugar in tow.

In a healthy body, the cell doors will hear the knock and open the door. On the other hand, if you are consuming a high carbohydrate diet and not exercising, this process doesn’t always happen and the cell door won’t answer the knock. If you are constantly forcing insulin to over work and knock on the cell doors, over time, both your pancreas and cells become exhausted. 

Your pancreas is one tough little bugger, and when your cells won’t open their door to insulin, your pancreas is forced to produce more insulin in an effort to get the sugar through the cell door. 

Chronically high levels of insulin make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight. 

When your cells no longer respond to insulin, this is what is called Insulin Resistance and it’s the precursor to diabetes.

Insulin resistance is caused by poor gut and liver health, depleted gut flora (good bacteria) and inflammation caused by the over consumption of inflammatory foods such as sugar and processed oils.

So… if you are eating every 2-3 hours, not only are you forcing your pancreas to produce more insulin throughout the day, but you’re constantly knocking on your cell doors, hoping to let sugar into your cells. Can you see how this would pose a problem?

To balance your blood sugar and insulin levels, eating every 2-3 hours is not the answer. You should be able to go at least 4-6 hours between meals without feeling jittery, moody and hangry. 

This is why my clients have such high success on my Metabolic Weight Loss Program. We manage the insulin with 3 meals a day, comprised of the right macronutrients, and not only do they lower their insulin levels, but they lose weight, with ease. 

It’s really an incredible thing to watch. Especially when you have diabetic clients who get off of their meds or lower the dosage, all because of choosing the right foods, managing portion sizes and eating 3 meals a day. 

Just to note, without the right meal plan specific for your body, it may take time to get used to eating every 4-6 hours between meals, but I do encourage you to try. Incorporating the right amount of protein, eating a lot vegetables and incorporating healthy fats can help to balance your insulin levels, keeping you satiated between meals. 

If you’re eating every 3 hours, what your body is doing is burning through glycogen (stored sugar). To actually burn adipose tissue (fat), then the sweet spot is the 5 hour mark between meals.

Really, when you think about it, were we ever designed to eat 5-6 meals a day, every 2-3 hours? If we date back to the Paleolithic era, there wasn’t an abundance of food. We followed a feast and famine type of ‘diet.’ 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s easy and it’s effective for weight loss and balancing hormones.

In fact, think about the weekend. How many times on a Saturday, have you slept in, ate a large brunch, went about your day running errands and then before you knew it, it was 6pm and time for dinner. You’ve probably had many laid back weekends where you ate only 2 meals a day.

It’s also important to note, that women who suffer with PCOS tend to have insulin resistance. Following this type of diet and protocol can help to manage PCOS symptoms and improve insulin sensitivity. I’ve seen it work beautifully over and over again. 

High insulin levels can stimulate the ovaries to produce testosterone, which is why women with PCOS tend to suffer with acne and facial hair growth. By managing insulin, you manage the overproduction of testosterone.

Both PCOS and diabetes can be managed effectively with the right diet and nutritional protocols. I encourage you to seek out a practitioner (such as myself) that can design the right nutrition program for you and work to balance your hormones effectively. 

As with weight loss, it is complex and unique to every one. Although calories in and calories out serve some (very small) part, hormones play an even bigger role. Addressing both hormones and weight will not only ensure you lose weight effectively, but will help you to keep it off for good. 

*To learn more about my weight loss program and discuss your health history and goals, email me at – for a complimentary consult call.

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Elide’s Weight Loss Success Story

Meet Elide…

The incredible and brave woman I have the privilege of working with. 

Elide came to me late last year looking to lose weight and get off her diabetic medication. For years she had been trying to lose weight, but was struggling due to medications, inflammation and not having the right support. 

I remember our phone call and the hesitation in her voice to spend money. We talked for an hour and I took the time to truly listen to her concerns and needs, letting her know that my program was not just some random cookie cutter meal plan, but a customized plan geared to specifically address her diabetes, blood sugar imbalances and inflammation.

Elide is one determined and committed woman and I am inspired by her daily. She’s taken the time to educate herself over the years about quality food and made a commitment to eat organic and source out the best foods she could find. She found this dramatically improved her health and in turn, she became an incredible role model for her 2 teenage daughters. 

Having suffered through 2 car crashes which almost completely immobilized her and being passed from doctor to doctor and loaded up on med’s, its no wonder she gained weight and had been struggling to lose it. 

Elide is determined to get off her med’s, reverse her inflammation and truly heal herself. She is the most positive woman I know and her mental and emotional state has been a huge reason to her success. 

I am truly grateful to work with her and be her coach on this incredible weight loss journey. 

In a short 4 weeks, Elide is down almost 20 pounds and off one of her medications! 

Her fasting morning glucose has dropped from 9 to 5.2 and her blood sugar is completely balanced and regulated between meals. In fact, she hasn’t even craved for something sweet or indulgent. 

Her joints feel better and she has more energy then ever before!!

I cannot wait to see her progress over the next month. 

By eating clean, nutrient dense whole foods, like fish, chicken and turkey, healthy fats like avocado oil, ghee and coconut oil and loading her plate up with fresh vegetables and leafy greens, Elide is a true testament to what eating whole foods can do to your body and health.

In fact, she even gets to enjoy bread on her meal plan, plus a weekly treat meal of her choice! 

I am so proud of her and grateful to her for sharing her story with all of you. 

Check out her incredible before and after photos! She looks amazing! 

If Elide can do it… SO CAN YOU!!

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 If you are interested in my Metabolic Weight Loss Program, you can read more about it HERE. Let’s set up a FREE 20 minute consult to discuss your weight loss goals and discuss if this program is right for you. I look forward to hearing from you. Please email me at –

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How To Lose Fat Forever

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Seeing pictures of my fat self would disgust me. Staring back at me was someone I no longer wanted to be. I couldn’t believe how bad I let myself go. 

Now every time I pick up a 40 pound dumbbell, I think to myself that in my hands was the extra weight I carried around so many years ago.

I was in a relationship that no longer inspired me. I was in a university program that was at odds with my values. I resented the decisions I made to please others. I was disappointed that my high paying factory job had allowed me to buy everything I wanted, but left a gaping hole of what I truly needed. 

I had stuffed myself with so many Krispy Kreme donuts and endless litres of dark cola’s before I finally hit a brick wall. I was constantly bloated. I’d roll down my car window to air out the repugnant gas I passed. I dragged my feet when I walked. 

When I saw videos of myself, I was astonished at how sluggish I was. I had the posture of someone with a whittled down personality. I hid my big belly and insecurity with baggy clothes. 

Desperate for change I hunted for extreme solutions at the store. Many labels targeted my pain points so well that I would immediately jump on their bandwagon.

I dosed on pills and potions that stripped my intestines of all good and even bad bacteria (which I learned afterward). I survived on liquids for days straight as suggested. Still, I was so dehydrated and malnourished I would get massive headaches, stomach pains, and embarrassingly frequent trips to the bathroom. 

I yo-yoed up and down for a while and was unable to keep my weight down. Nothing lasted.

The cycle kept repeating until I unknowingly discovered what would create lasting weight loss results for me. It was not a product or something I could buy online. 

It was self worth. 

Self love. 

Self acceptance. 

And I had none. Nada.

It was reflected in the poor choices I made around food, exercise and the people I hung around. I was disconnected with who I was. The words passion, excitement and inspiration were simply not in my vocabulary.

Over a short period of time I began to fill that once gaping hole with wisdom instead of junk food. The biggest catalyst came in two major forms. The famous self help program Personal Power II by Anthony Robbins. And the legendary classic, Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. 

Picking up these books were like learning a different language. It was so hard to wrap my head around some of the ideas. But there was something about the stories they shared that made me feel like I could relate to so many of these people who had become influential and impactful to many. I started to believe I could transform myself. My health, my body, my mind. Everything.

It helped me tap into a long lost power that had always resided within me this whole time.

The power to decide. 

To cut off all other options, as Robbins famously puts it.

What put further fuel to the fire was coming across the Invictus poem by William Ernest Henley enclosed in Hill’s Think & Grow Rich where it stated: 

“I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul.”

This line became my new mantra. 

No longer would I allow myself to let others dictate the direction of my life. More and more I built a newfound relationship with myself. I walked, journaled, meditated, exercised, and studied nutrition. I couldn’t help but begin eating higher quality food. 

This time it was because I wanted to. Not because I had a desire to lose weight but because I finally felt that I truly deserved it. A feeling no diet could ever give me.

I deserved to feel energetic, strong, flexible, balanced and healthy. I deserved to discover my passion, find my truth, walk my own path and reach my highest potential. I deserved to put only good food into my body. I deserved to finally feel confident about my own body. 

I decided to never settle for mediocrity. 

And that was the real turning point from dieting to a lasting shift in my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.

No system, strategy, pill, potion, or diet guide will work unless you cultivate your self love, find self worth and learn to accept yourself.

Let go of what everyone else wants for you. Their false mythologies of what a good body, good job, or good life does not serve you. 

Find new definitions within your self. Live from that place. 

The only opinion, judgments and thoughts that matter are the one’s you have for your self.

When you live with awareness, love, and compassion for your self and have purpose, passion and inspiration behind you, you can’t help but do good things for your mind, body and soul. 

You will have less and less desire for the crappy food, negative people and toxic environments that don’t nourish you. 

Now when I come across photos of myself, staring back at me is not someone with a perfect body or a finished product, but someone I’m finally proud to be. Yes, a work in progress. But gladly embarking on a lifelong journey towards health and well being. 

Happy for the choices I’ve made. And happy to just be me.

** Join me this evening in Mississauga for my Monthly Meetup group. Tonight’s Topic – The Transformational Power of Your Story. Plus, we have a special guest speaker! Click HERE for more info and Join us! Would love to see you there 🙂 

** If your ready to lose the weight and gain back your health, email Samantha Gladish at – and reserve your spot in her Metabolic Weight Loss Program. No pills, no shakes, just real whole foods and REAL results. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oliver Manalese

Image 1Oliver coaches and guides people in their personal awareness, growth and transformation. He is the founder of Integrated Self, a workshop series for self-explorers, a singer-songwriter as well as a certified yoga instructor. In between writing, coaching sessions and making music, Oliver spends the rest of his time enjoying the good life with his love Janet, eating gorgeous food, sipping espressos and travelling. For more, go to:


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7 Ayurvedic Healing Spices that will Change Your Life!



Leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping as we enter into my favourite season of the year- fall! I love how our bodies begin to crave warming foods as we come out of the summer season. As we begin to crave more warming and seasonal fall foods, it gives us the perfect opportunity to start playing around with  spices. Spices not only add many flavours to a dish, but they are incredibly healing to the body. If you look back to Ayurveda practices (eastern medicine practiced in India for thousands of years!), they use a ton of spices in their cooking. The Ayurveda philosophy uses spices regularly as their healing method or their “prescription” of choice due to the healing properties that exist in them. I would love to share with you 7 Ayurvedic healing spices that will change your life!

  1. Cinnamon – By simply smelling this wonderful scent, it increases brain activity. Meaning the scent alone of cinnamon boosts brain function! It also has anti-clotting effects in the body, anti-microbial properties and is amazing for blood sugar control. With the amount of skipped meals, and standard American diets (ie. processed foods) that are high in sugar, I think everyone could use a bit of cinnamon to aid in stabilizing blood glucose levels in the body. My favorite way to enjoy it: Adding it to my homemade hot chocolate and my morning smoothies!
  1. Rosemary – I love rosemary! It is probably my favorite of all spices, if I had to pick just one! Rosemary is anti-inflammatory, boosts the immune system, improves circulation and aids in digestion. Some studies suggest that it increases blood flow to the head and brain, boosting concentration levels. My favourite way to enjoy it: Combine lemon, olive oil and rosemary and brush it on your fish or chicken before cooking it.
  1. Ginger – Ginger has an active compound called gingerols and studies suggest that this compound may inhibit growth of colorectal cancer. It also has anti-inflammatory effects on the body and is an amazing immune booster. My favourite way to enjoy it: Ginger and lemon tea is one of my favourites, especially when I feel a cold coming on! You can make this yourself so it is more bioavailable. Add the juice of half a lemon and two 1-inch pieces of ginger to boiling water. Let it steep for maximum benefit. Or try this flu busting juice recipe HERE.
  1. Cumin – this potent herb is an excellent source of iron, which is a vital component of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to our cells. Cumin has been shown to contain anti-carcinogenic properties (ie. cancer protective substances), and benefits the digestive system by stimulating excretion of pancreatic enzymes. These enzymes are a critical component for nutrient assimilation and good digestion. My favourite way to enjoy it: In soups! This is an amazing spice to toss in your favorite homemade soup recipe, especially this spinach and quinoa soup recipe you can find HERE.
  1. Fennel – contains a host of phytonutrients with strong antioxidant properties. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is the body’s main water-soluble antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C is responsible for offsetting free radicals in the body and without it, it can cause cellular damage, leading to a ton of potential illnesses. Fiber, folate and potassium are also present in large amounts in fennel, which are beneficial for cardiovascular and colon health. My favourite way to enjoy it: Salads are probably my go-to for fennel. I love tossing this in any of my quinoa, spinach or kale salads.
  1. Turmeric – this is an incredibly powerful spice that has been used in the Chinese and Indian medical systems for years to treat hundreds of inflammatory conditions. I am telling you, they know what they are doing over there! It is a safe, natural anti-inflammatory that is effectively used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Cystic Fibrosis. This amazing spice also inhibits cancer cell growth, improves liver function, provides cardiovascular protection, lowers cholesterol and is a protection against Alzheimer’s disease. All of that in one spice, I know, it is pretty incredible!! My favourite way to enjoy it: I love adding turmeric to my wild and brown rice, giving it color and a wonderful flavor! Or you can even try making this ginger turmeric lemonade. It’s delicious! Recipe HERE.
  1. Cayenne – this spice helps to fight inflammation in the body. There are high amounts of beta-carotene (or pro vitamin A) and vitamin C that when taken regularly is known to boost immunity. It can clear congestion as it helps to stimulate secretions that help clear mucous. This makes it an excellent spice to use if you have congestion in the lungs or nose. Cayenne is also known to increase metabolism, making it a great aid for weight loss. My favourite way to enjoy it: I like to put a dash in my homemade humus to give it a bit of a kick!

These 7 spices are only the beginning! In North America we tend to commonly use salt and pepper as our spices and need to begin experimenting more with all the wonderful and flavourful spices and herbs that are available to us. Not only for improving the taste of our dishes but for the healing properties that exist within these foods. Research continues to show us the many health benefits of spices, and the list above is only the beginning. Its time for you to get creative! Play around with some spices and herbs in your kitchen and have some fun with it!

Happy cooking!

Stephanie xo



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