I’ve always considered myself someone who was conscious of what I put in my body and how it made me feel. After a childhood of digestive troubles, that stumped doctors and left me crying in the bathroom at bat-mitzvah parties doubled over in pain, I healed myself by changing my diet. Doing the gluten-free thing (mind you, years before it was trendy) allowed me to see the impact of the foods I was eating and how they affected my health. Fast forward 13 years later, I am a holistic nutritionist whose passion is helping others find that same magical, ah-hah moment, in themselves.
But I’m not here to talk to you about going gluten-free or even about your diet (okay, well maybe a little I am a nutritionist after all), for this story, it’s the holistic aspect of my title, my approach to health which goes beyond the food into lifestyle which is going to take the spotlight. Here is the (abbreviated) story, about how I fell in love and awe of my own body, connected to my internal feminine power and made myself whole again, as a woman. My hope is that this story inspires your own journey, of knowledge and empowerment.
After years of eating well, months of eating even cleaner about halfway through my certification, we started our hormones module, focusing on sex hormones. After this long in my program and years of eating well, I felt good, but being completely transparent, I still felt anxious and moody more often then I’d like, I felt a little too tired too often and as much attention as I was giving my gut, it didn’t end up giving me all the love back.
As we began to dive into side effects from the birth control pill, I sat there shocked. I had been on an oral contraceptive since age 13, 10 years at this point!! After a few months of irregular periods, uncomfortable cramps and a family history of endometriosis my mom’s gyno prescribed the pill, to ‘normalize’ my period. At the time, she and every other doctor I had been to had failed to distinguish that the normalization they were talking about was really a lockout. The pill prevents ovulation and to explain in a way everyone understands, basically tricks your body into thinking it’s always pregnant. The pill also causes nutritional deficiencies, is bad for the gut micro biome and allows for different types of yeast overgrowths, and I now know two years out was the silent cause of my anxiety and fatigue. Also, some women who are on the pill long term, are never able to conceive.
Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t wait to be a mommy one day. So, after learning all of this I made it my job to get off the pill and heal my body. Want to learn how much your body is affected by the pill? Go off of it! The 6 months after going off the pill, I had acne, for the first time in my life. Acne that consumed my mind as a reminder of how hard my body was struggling to balance it’s own hormones. I supplemented properly, ate an insane amount of cruciferous veggies a day for their DIM content, and was seeing an herbalist to help my body clear the excess hormones and relearn how to make them on their own.
I got my period back after 6 months. It took another few for it to become regular. During this process I started feeling into my body in ways I never did or knew were possible before. Those hormone changes that happen during our cycle, that cause us to glow, retreat inward, be exceptionally attractive, all equal up to a women's intuition. I learned how to read my cervical fluid, sometimes called discharge, or that sticky stuff in your underwear. The cervical fluid changes at different points in your cycle and tells you when you’re ovulating. If you’re trying to get pregnant, or not, this is your fertile window and is super important to know when it’s happening. It’s also the time of the month where you’re most outgoing and people are naturally drawn to you. Learning how to track what part of my cycle I am in is huge for me, I can schedule events that I need to be my most enthusiastic self around it, and schedule girls spa night in before my period comes, when that high naturally is winding down due to natural cyclical changes in the body.
Right about now is the time everyone starts telling me '“How dare I suggest that the pill could be doing a disservice to women?! How can I call myself a feminist?” Yes, Birth control pills were a huge turning point for the feminist movement, and I’ll give it to you there aren't a ton of options out there, that are hormone free for birth control, which makes this harder for women to swallow (no pun-intended). But, what I think feminism all about is real power. Knowledge is power people!! I’m not anti-pill, I’m pro- information. I believe it’s every woman right to know what the pill or hormonal birth control is doing to her body and accept the risks and then if she chooses to. In the medical system there is so much we aren't being told as women, and as a feminist, I challenge you to take the time and do the research to take the power back and take charge of your own body.
Women cycle monthly, and it affects our mood, the way we relate to the world and the way the world relates to us. What could you do if you could harness that intuitive feminine energy and power? Could you be limitless? I think so :) Helping other women eat for their cycle as a part of a holistic health plan is my passion. If you’re on hormonal birth control, there are things you should be doing to support your body to give it the extra help it needs. If you’re transitioning off the pill or another hormonal form of contraceptive to find your natural cycle, there is so much to do to ease the transition and give your body the best fighting chance to return to its natural rhythm. If you’re looking for support on your journey let’s connect.