Since I openly share about this book all. the. time. and how I used it to balance my hormones, I get asked quite often about what exactly I did to balance them. Did I do the 4 day detox laid out in the book, did I eat to my cycle, did I go all-in on the protocol?
They are fantastic questions and I absolutely love getting into these discussions with people, but I realized after the 20th time responding to someone individually that it might be better if I put it all on here for reference!
So here you have it, how I balanced my hormones naturally.
If you haven’t already, you should probably start with this post from two weeks ago about the book, why I recommend it, and some success stories. This is “Part Two” so to speak.
*I just finished writing and scrolled back up here to say: this post got long. Please do not be discouraged or turned off by how many “steps” I did! If it feels too daunting for where you are currently at, pick one or two and give your all to those! Then and only then, once those have become habit, pick one or two more to focus on.
You have to start where you are, and each of us is beginning at a different place. I was already in fairly good shape, eating pretty well, and taking decent care of my skin, so a lot of these were simply slight upgrades to what I was already doing. It’s what worked for me.
Further, I wanted to detail EVERYTHING I did so that this guide would be as helpful as possible. Therefore, it’s pretty exhaustive! This all happened over a three month period, so again, please don’t be discouraged thinking you need to go out and make all these changes tomorrow to see any results or be “good” to your body. Do what feels right for you at this point in time!
My Approach to The Protocol
In her book, Alisa Vitti lays out what she refers to throughout as “the protocol”. It all makes complete sense but there are parts that are pretty intimidating and require quite a bit of effort. My thought process was this: start with the easy stuff and if that doesn’t work then I can move on to the harder stuff. Luckily for me, even with just a few easy changes, I started seeing results and feeling so much better!
Steps I Took To Balance My Hormones
This was daunting for me as I had been a major sweater and the only thing that worked for me was Clinical Strength deodorant. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it, but gave it a shot because I was desperate and the research was there.
It took me a few tries, but ultimately I found Primally Pure and I never looked back. There is truly nothing like it! It smells lovely, applies easily, is incredibly moisturizing, and best part: it WORKS!
Great news! After years of shouting from the rooftops about this deodorant, Primally Pure reached out to offer me a discount code for y’all! I am so overjoyed to be able to pass this along to you and hope you’ll take advantage. Use the promo code “MK” at checkout for 10% off your first order of anything on the site!
Two things to note:
- There will be a transition phase – expect it to last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. That antiperspirant you’ve been using all this time has been inhibiting your body from releasing toxins through your armpits like they are intended to do and they’ve got to get out! You may have some sweaty, smelly days, but don’t lose hope. Stick with it!
- Do a “pit detox”. Any clay or charcoal mask will do – the idea is to speed up the above mentioned “transition phase” by pulling out some of the toxins by using the mask. (I used the Amazon-famous Aztec Clay Mask with apple cider vinegar and a bit of water). Yes, it feels very strange to stand with your arms up for 20 minutes with a wet mask on your pits, but it’s for the cause!
Clean Beauty and Skincare
After reading WomanCode and learning how certain ingredients react with our bodies and affect our endocrine system, I became passionate about cleaning up my beauty and skincare cabinets. Once you know what those conventional (and even “luxury!”) products are doing to your body, you just don’t want to use them.
However, a full overhaul of my beauty and skincare routines would have been $$$ so I used the following two techniques:
- Replace the products that sit on my skin the longest. To me, these seemed the most dangerous. I hardly wear mascara and that’s only on my eyelashes, so I didn’t even bother with it. However, body lotion? Facial moisturizer? Blush? Yep, those got upgraded ASAP!
- After replacing the biggest offenders, I adopted a “one in, one out” rule. When I would run out of a product, I would replace it with a cleaner alternative. Eventually all your products will run out, so this is a super cost-effective way to clean up your routines!
Simplified Skincare Routine
In addition to cleaning up my skincare routine, I also made a concerted effort to simplify it. I love products. I just do. But going through a 10 step routine, twice a day, was overwhelming my skin! Even if the products are clean, that’s still so many ingredients to ask the body to ingest.
I pared it back to just a face wash (only at night), a serum, an eye cream, and an oil. In the mornings, I would finish with an SPF (don’t forget your SPF people!) Surprisingly, in no time, my skin looked better than ever! Even without all the specialized products I’d come to believe were necessary for treating acne, dark spots, etc, etc.
Increased Fiber Intake
Right before I read WomanCode, I actually listened to this podcast episode with Tanya Zuckerbrot of F-Factor, which is a high fiber diet for optimal health and weight loss. The episode was super intruiging and the science of it all seemed to make sense.
Anyways, a few weeks later when I picked up WomanCode, I was delighted to find that everything she says about fiber lines up with what Tanya had said! Normally with anything “diet-related”, one person will say one thing but then another person will say the exact opposite and you’re left back where you started, full of questions, because diets are so personal. However, this isn’t really “diet-related” in that sense at all – which is why everything they said agreed! It was really encouraging!
Essentially, your body needs fiber to help detox your body of toxins. However, the average American is only getting 15 g of fiber per day, while according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, women should aim for least 25 grams of fiber per day (and F-Factor even recommends 35 g!)
So I started finding ways to up my fiber intake. The easiest was starting my day with two GG crackers (an F-Factor staple) alongside my breakfast. Berries, veggies, ground flax seeds and chia seeds in my smoothies – all of these were simple additions that made a difference!
Some higher fiber meals I loved:
2 eggs over medium + half an avocado + 2 GG crackers for breakfast
Green smoothie, easy on the fruit
Cous cous salad + grilled chicken + tons of veggies + an easy dressing
Raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries sprinkled with ground flax seeds
Avocado Sweet Potato “Toasts”
Steak + a massive side of grilled asparagus
Smart Sweets candy when needed for my sweet tooth
Eat More Whole Foods + Healthy Fats
In comparison to the average American, I eat a pretty good diet already. However, there was absolutely room for improvement. Rather than get bogged down with an intense diet program, I simply made an effort to eat more whole foods while also increasing my healthy fats. This ties in with the above, but adding more berries, veggies, herbs, avocados, olive oil, and the like to my everyday meals was key.
Manage Blood Sugar
I have very volatile blood sugar levels. All the women in my family do. In fact, most women do! That means I have to be diligent about managing it to ensure that it never drops too low or spikes too high.
In order to do so, I made an effort to eat a little something every few hours, whether I felt “hungry” or not. In my experience, by the time I feel really hungry, it’s too late – my blood sugar is too low.
Typically, that meant my day looked like this: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, evening snack, dinner, and maybe a little dessert if I was feeling it. I wasn’t strict about what I ate for the snacks between meals – a granola bar, handful of nuts, apple with almond butter, berries, veggie chips, anything to get a little something in me!
I found that when I was doing a good job managing my blood sugar, I was more prone to choose healthier/better meals. When my blood sugar drops too low is when I crave a quick fix in the form of carbs on carbs and sweets.
Water, water, water. The age-old advice you hear all the time!
But it’s oft-repeated advice for good reason. Our bodies NEED water to function properly and flush out toxins!
I’ve never really been one to struggle with drinking water (in fact, my doctor recently told me that I was over hydrating, but that’s a story for another day), but I started tracking my water using this app to make sure I was meeting my goal each day until it became a habit and I didn’t need the check-in. My goal was 100 oz (or 3L), but if you’re someone who never drinks water, your goal may be just to drink 8 glasses of water a day – anything is a start!
Make Working Out a Habit
Really this should say “make MOVING a habit” because truthfully it doesn’t need to be an intense or sweaty workout. Just walking 30 minutes a day has so many health benefits! It gets your circulation moving, your heart pumping, and it boosts your mood. Once you’ve prioritized the habit of moving, you can move into more structured workouts. And here’s the beauty: there are SO many workouts out there! Find the one that works for you!
Until this point, I’d always struggled with working out. First off, I had been in an industry with crazy hours while also trying to juggle blogging (I was blogging every day back then on top of my job in public accounting!) and I had it in my head that in order to workout, one must run… but I hate running! On top of that I have terrible hips so running always left me sore and feeling defeated. I thought I was destined to be someone who just hated working out.
Two things that helped me:
- Finding a workout I actually enjoyed. I started trying everything! Spin, barre, BBG, pilates, lifting weights, stair master, those classes on surf boards, you get the picture. This is where something like Classpass could come in really handy if it’s available in your city! In the end, I realized I preferred classes because as I mentioned earlier I am naturally lazy and don’t have the discipline to push myself, and on top of that I liked classes that were easier on my joints. Barre and spin became my favorites (plus walking to and from work each day), but I also really liked BBG back then (I’ve since decided it’s too hard on my joints). Nowadays, I do a combo of spin and P.volve – and who knows, I might change my mind again in the future!
- A light pre-workout. I’d seen some people on Instagram talk about WM Nutrition and decided to try it on a whim and ended up falling in love. It’s specifically formulated for women (though men are more than welcome to use it too!) so it’s not super intense and won’t give you jitters. The way I describe it is this: it makes me not want to quit halfway through my workout.
Get Enough Sleep
This one can be hard! Especially since “enough” means different things to different people. That said, I think we all know when we aren’t getting enough sleep.
Sleep is so essential to our bodies. It’s when our bodies do so much of their growth and replenishment from the day’s activities, so if we don’t get enough, we are really doing ourselves a disservice!
I started using the bedtime reminder on my phone to keep me accountable until I got into a routine of getting ready for bed around 9:30, in bed/asleep at 10, and up at 5:15/5:30 to workout. I can’t tell you how much better I felt and functioned once I was consistent and made sleep a priority!
Again, can be really hard, but putting things in perspective and keeping an eye on the big picture makes a world of difference in your mental health. And mental health affects so many aspects of our physical health.
A few things that can help: carve out a few minutes every morning for some sort of devotional/meditation/prayer time. Even if that looks like listening to a podcast you love on the way to work – start your day in the right frame of mind. Don’t rush, take a breath! Communicate your frustrations before they cause you to blow up. Realize that things don’t happen in a day, so getting “a day behind” isn’t going to de-rail your dreams. Count your blessings. Take a walk outside, even if it’s freezing.
Stay Positive + Believe It Will Happen
Lastly, and building off the previous point, stay positive. While Alisa Vitti never uses the word “manifest” in her book and that word personally makes my skin crawl, that’s essentially what Alisa dedicates the last section of her book to and what I’m telling you to do here.
Alisa gives the example of clients who are struggling to conceive and want so badly to be mothers, and how she coaches them to see all the ways in which they already “mother” things in their lives. Their mentees at work, their friendships, their gardens, etc! When you start looking at things with this mindset of abundance, you start to improve your mood, which then improves your physical well-being!
I’ve now read Alisa Vitti’s WomanCode cover to cover twice, both times when trying to conceive, and I can say hands-down that I always close that back cover feeling so full of this “can do” attitude! I find myself pumping up those around me, smiling at strangers, noticing the sunshine more. It’s pretty remarkable really!
I truly believe this is key to both of my pregnancies since I got pregnant a month after finishing it the second time and thus hadn’t really had time to implement any of the above that I wasn’t already doing, so I think there’s something here – you just have to take my word for it.