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Dr. Shawn Morris, ND

Estrogen & Progesterone

During and after menopause, many women experience symptoms related to progesterone and estrogen decline. This is a timeherbs for menopause Seattle WA where there are also changes in types of estrogen, which may cause inflammation. Many women experience migraines, hot flashes, brain fog, and irritability during this period. In the short term, balancing hormones with supplements, herbs and minerals supports healthy transition into menopause. Long term, it is possible for most women to balance hormone levels through diet and lifestyle alone.

Hormone balance through diet, lifestyle, & herbs

Although progesterone is not found in foods, there are many ways to balance progesterone with nutrition. Primarily, if the body is in an estrogen dominant state, balancing excess estrogen metabolites is the first step. Post-menopause, too much of 4 and 6 hydroxy-estrogen is inflammatory, and also antagonizes remaining progesterone. To reverse estrogen metabolite dominance, weaving in nuts and seeds can support healthy estrogen and progesterone levels. If you are approaching menopause and still have an active cycle, then adding flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds days 1-13 will boost healthy estrogens, then shifting to sesame and sunflower days 14-28 will boost progesterone. After menopause, including all seed types in the diet is beneficial.

Foods high in selenium support the corpus luteum, which is the region of the ovaries where progesterone is formed. Adding four Brazil nuts to the diet will provide enough selenium, or supplementing with 200 mcg per day.

Vitamin B6 also supports the corpus luteum in the ovaries. To build levels, supplement with B6 in the short-term. Then, add in foods rich in vitamin B6, which include turkey, wild-caught tuna and salmon, beef, chicken, pistachios, chickpeas, potatoes, eggs, and dark leafy greens. Adding in 3-4 servings per day of high B6 foods will help sustain healthy levels. Beyond progesterone, B6 also supports serotonin balance and melatonin conversion, promoting sound sleep and balanced mood. Speaking of sleep, getting enough sleep supports neurotransmitter and hormone balance, along with healthy weight. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Herbal medicines can help with menopausal transition and treating symptoms as well. In particular Vitex, or chasteberry, supports progesterone production and decreases symptoms of menopause in clinical trials. Black cohosh and blue cohosh balance estrogen dominance and decrease hot flashes. Raspberry leaf is a gentle tonic that supports the female the reproductive system. Talk with your doctor about an individualized herbal and nutritional approach that works for you.

Focus on healing the GI. If you have a history of GI symptoms and inflammation, soothing the digestive system is a key step in hormone support. Healing the GI is vital to allow for nutrient absorption. Food provides the building blocks for our hormones, neurotransmitters, and tissue health, laying the foundation for overall wellbeing. To heal the GI, avoid fried foods, refined ingredients, excess acidity, and heavily processed foods. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, complex grains, and adequate protein (around 60 grams per day). Specific foods that heal digestive function include aloe juice, coconut, cinnamon, turmeric, peppermint and chamomile tea, and probiotic foods like yogurt & kefir.

Get regular exercise. Gentle exercise supports immune system health, metabolism, and healthy weight, which helps balance estrogen and progesterone. Try hiking, light jogging, eliptical machines, swimming, and resistance exercises. For simple home resistance exercises, pick up a theraband for upper and lower body workouts. However, avoid overexercise, as this places stress on the body that decreases pregnenolone and hormone synthesis. Long distance running, Cross-Fit, and intense cycling classes may cause more harm than benefit when dealing with low hormone function.

Natural progesterone cream. While implementing these lifestyle steps, adding in extra hormonal support may be necessary for a short period. Natural progesterone creams containing bio-identical progestins help replenish levels. Monitoring progesterone levels is important once per month to keep progesterone in a healthy level. Long-term, use of progesterone cream is tapered down. Yam and soy based creams are not effective. Taking pregnenolone and DHEA also supports progesterone by providing the building blocks for production.

Xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens

Along with managing hormones in the body, monitoring input of hormones from the environment is also key. Xenoestrogens are synthetic estrogen-like compounds produced in manufacturing. They are commonly found in makeup, packaging, pesticide residue, and plastic products. Certain xenoestrogens act as estrogen-disruptors by blocking or binding estrogen receptors. They have detrimental effects on the immune system, bone health, and the female reproductive system. To avoid xenoestrogens, choose additive-free makeup and bath/body products, organic produce, and glass bottles versus plastic.

Also, taking phytoestrogens has a protective effect. Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogen-like compounds that occupy receptors and prevent xenoestrogens from binding. Moderate amounts of soy, alfalfa, brassicas, and clover taken in the diet as sprouts, food, and supplements protects the endocrine system.

By working with nutrition, herbal medicine, and lifestyle, it is possible to support the body while transitioning into menopause. This is a natural part of the lifecycle, and in most cases the body’s intelligence knows what to do. When extra support is needed, there are safe and effective treatments available.

Dr. Shawn Morris is a native of Whidbey island where he lives with his wife and son.

Shawn Morris Naturopath Seattle WA

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Today I got two beautiful winter squash in my CSA box. I had other veggies that needed to be eaten but I could not resist Butternut squash seattleroasting them up for dinner tonight. I love the comforting, warming smell of baking squash!

The importance of eating seasonally cannot be over stated in harmonizing our health with the seasons. Squash is packed with vital nutrients including vitamin A , C, and B. It is also a great source of dietary fiber making it a wonderful in promoting good digestion.

 

Cooling in nature according to Chinese medicine it is used for detoxification. It quenches thirst and is used to relieve urinary difficulty and treat edema. It relieves irritability and benefits the skin.

 

Squash supports the Earth Element and the organs of Spleen and Stomach.  A healthy earth element leads to good digestion and is the basis for proper immune function. It also is the foundation for the production of Blood. Eating squash drains dampness and warms and supports the core.

 

Cooking squash could not be simpler. Today I choose to just split and seed my butternut squash and place each of the halves cut side down on a lightly greased cookie sheet with a small amount of water. I preheated the oven to 450 degrees and baked for 45 min adding water as needed so the squash did not stick to the pan.Bakes squash seattle

 

For the Delicata, I split it, took out the seeds and cut into ½ slices. These I laid on a lightly greased cookie sheet and roasted, flipping once for 30 min. With both pans I used coconut oil which can withstand high temperature cooking. I’ll be eating these tonight with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Yummy and healthy.BAsked and likes delicatata squash

Try these serving options:

Goat cheese and honey

Crispy sage leaves and chopped bacon

Toasted walnuts and sauted mushrooms

 

Lindsey Lawson SeattleLindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health in Madison Valley and West Seattle and Seattle Fertility Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living and a regular blogger. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

 

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Shakes are a great way to get a good dose of protein and nutrients in the morning. In the IMG_7317winter they can sometimes feel too cold and damage the digestive fire. We solve this problem but adding a healthy amount of warming spices to aid in digestion. Great for your health and delicious too.

1 cup brewed Rooibos tea

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 in piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated

½ cup almond milk

1 tablespoon raw organic honey

2 tablespoons sunflower butter

1 scoop Medclear powder by Thorne or protein powder of your choice

Blend and enjoy.

Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545

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It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to with new resolve towards our IMG_7315health. Many will opt for diet and lifestyle changes, some of which are too harsh for this time of the year. Juice cleanses, smoothies, and fasting can injury the digestive functions if done incorrectly. We solve this problem with the following 10 steps.

 

1.) Work to consciously warm your body by taking warm baths, or try our infrared sauna to ramp up your detox game.

2.) Bundle up! Wear warm clothes that cover your neck both inside and out. East Asian tradition holds that colds and flu are more likely is the back of the neck is vulnerable to wind and cold. -Make sure to keep your feet warm as well.

3.) Cook with warming spices like ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon. Great for circulation and to revitalize the body they are also antiviral.

4.) Try our Elemental Detox! Recipes, daily mantras, and more. 3 weeks of yummy food and transformative supplements

5.) Revive your body with tea. There are a myriad of teas that support cleansing. Experiment with trying a new blend. Nettles, dandelion, and cinnamon are great choices.

6.) Book yourself a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Gently moves toxins out and benefits the immune system. It’s also so relaxing and gentle.

7.) Calm your mind with mediation. Just 10 min a day can detox all the media and screen time in our lives. Add incense to your practice with one of our mediation blends. Choose from Awareness, Power, Balance,

8.) Spend time outside. When it’s cold out it can be easy to stay inside but the benefits of fresh air and light exercise cannot be overemphasized for a fresh perspective.

9.) Set an intention. Remember your thoughts shape your life. The winter is a great time to go deep, find what really nourishes you and set your mind on it.

10.) Focus on hearty and nourishing soups. Great for improving digestion, soups are a mainstay of winter cleanses. Try our Replenishing Soup Herbs for a potent and warming tonic.

Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545

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Over 1400 years ago, a piece of unusually fragrance driftwood washed ashore on the tiny island of Awaji.  Island locals, realizing its unique properties, presented the log to the Empress Suiko. An era of appreciation of scent began.

 

At Glow, we appreciate the benefits of incense on the Shen or Spirit. It has calming, uplifting and a powerful space clearing effects. It’s perfect as daily ritual and a moment to reflect.

 

The Ten Virtues of Koh were compiled in the 16th century and continue to capture the spirit of incense appreciation.

 

Ten virtues of Incense:

  • It refreshes the mind and body
  • It removes impurity
  • It brings alertness
  • It is a companion in solitude
  • In the midst of busy affairs it offers a moment of peace
  • It enhances the meditative environment
  • When it is plentiful one never tires of it
  • When there is little one is still satisfied
  • Age does not change it’s efficacy
  • Used everyday it does no harm

We also carry a lovely selection of burners and bowls!

incense burners and bowls

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Nourishing Fish Soup

Nourishing Fish Soup

Herbs and foods may be taken to nourish the Qi and Blood, support uterine health and help women regain health and vitality. Below is a simple soup that is commonly given to women in China after childbirth but can be eaten anytime as a nourishing tonic. Eat 1 cup daily for 1 month.

2 large white fish fillet, (cod, sole, flounder, snapper etc)

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Fish soup veggies

6 cups fish stock, see recipe below (use less if you add coconut milk)

2 cans full fat coconut milk

4T white miso paste (optional)

4 green onions chopped

4 carrots sliced

3 baby bok choy chopped into 1/2 pieces

Fresh Ginger root- (good quality should be firm) 5 slices (remove before eating,) browned on both sides

Chinese rice wine 1 cup (can substitute any white wine you like)

4 T toasted sesame oil

Salt to taste

Optional Soup Herbs Available at our Clinic: Shan Yao (Chinese Yam root) 30 g, Huang Qi (Astragalus) 30 g, Gou Qi Zi (Lycii Berries) 10 g, Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica) 10 g (boil in broth for 20 min, remove before eating.) These can also just be taken as a tea and not added to soup. They will have a strong herby taste.

Ginger getting ready to be browned. Use medium heat until both sides of ginger are light brown.

Ginger getting ready to be browned. Use medium heat until both sides of ginger are light brown.

Saute ginger and carrots until ginger is brown. Heat broth (pick one from below) until boiling and then reduce to a simmer. Add coconut milk, rice wine (if you are using) and fish. Cook for 5 min. Add bok choy and miso (if you are using). Stir until miso is dissolved. Shut heat off and cover for 2 min. Add salt and sesame oil and serve.

Fish Stock

6 quarts of filtered water
1 lb of fish heads and bones (fish heads alone will suffice)*
1/8 cup raw, organic apple cider vinegar
Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to taste

*Do not use oily fish such as salmon for fish stock or you will stink up the whole house!   Only use non-oily fish such as sole, turbot, rockfish or snapper.

 

Quick and Easy Fish Stock with Bonito Flakes- though low in protein this broth is high in selenium and B vitamins.

Bring 6 cups of filtered water to a boil.

bonito flakes in water

Bonito flakes in water

Remove pan from heat and add 1 cup bonito flakes

Cover and allow the bonito flakes to sink to the bottom of the pot.  This will take a few minutes.

Strain out the bonito flakes and discard.

Add 4 TBL of miso paste (omit if adding to Replenishing Fish Soup)

The broth has a smoky, hearty flavor similar to that of beef stock.

Drink bonito broth by itself, mix with miso or use as a base for seafood gumbo, clam chowder or other similar soups.

You can find the dried flakes at health food stores, Asian groceries, and online.

Simmer on low for 20 min.

(Both broth recipes are from the www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com. More information about fish broth and sourcing products available here.)

lindsey-2017Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living and a regular blogger. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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Eat your greensGlow Newyears Seattle

When in doubt eat a plateful of lightly cooked greens. This is of my basic tenants in life. It really fixes everything. Packed with vitamins and fiber they nourish your body and aid in liver detoxification. Try to make this a daily goal. I like to see half my dinner plate covered in cooked greens. I eat them first to make sure I get them all in. Use a salad plate and pile it high so it looks abundant. On a smaller plate portion size is much easier to control without leaving you feeling deprived.

Drink your water and herbal tea

Drinking plenty of water is especially important while cleansing. Once you mobilize all the crud that’s built up, it needs to be flushed out. Make sure you are drinking your water is filtered and take it without ice. In Chinese medicine cold water is thought to be damaging to the Spleen and Stomach, the main digestive organs. This time of year your food should also be lightly cooked to make it easier to digest. Adding in a detox tea will really ramp up your cleansing. I like dandelion leaf, nettles and mint in equal parts of a delicious and detoxifying drink. Remember most herbs have diuretic properties and you will need to drink a cup of plain water for every cup of tea.New years cleanse seattle

Don’t push yourself

If at all possible take this time to get plenty of rest. This isn’t the time to burn the midnight oil because you are asking your body to do extra work eliminating toxins. This is a great time to become more introspective and tune in to what is nourishing you in life, what is stuck and what needs to be let go.

Move your body

Aim for some light to moderate exercise every day. This is not the time to train for a marathon. Some cardio is fine but if you start to feel depleted back it off. Yoga, Pilates, Bar method and swimming are all great choices. Aim to sweat but not go anaerobic, or breathless for too long.

Plan Ahead

There’s nothing worse than coming home from work while cleaning to realize you’re starving and there’s nothing to eat. Plan your menu and make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks around for emergencies. I love cooked beets lightly pickled in ( unseasoned) rice vinegar and olive oil. Easy, filling and detoxifying for your liver. I keep a protein supplement on hand for high protein breakfasts and snacks. This will keep you blood sugar even through the day and your energy high.

Want more information on how to do a food and supplement based cleanse? Try our Elemental Detox.

Lindsey Lawson MS L.Ac Seattle ChristmasLindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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