As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be (and still am in a lot of respects) a nutrition geek.
I got my degree in nutrition and spent a lot of time doing different “diets” (of course I never considered it a diet, it was a lifestyle change, you know). I have some different new views about nutrition now, and see it in a bit of a different light (which I’ll be sure to talk about soon), but I don’t underestimate the value of good nutrition.
Imagine my excitement when I heard of the book Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon. Not only does it have to do with nutrition and hormonal/cycle health, but it also is sponsored by the couple to couple league (a Catholic organization that teaches couples to chart), meaning that fertility awareness is referenced.
The reason there is the emphasis on fertility awareness with cycle health is for a couple of reasons:
A lot of women who use fertility awareness notice that their cycles are not optimal for one reason or another.
When your hormonal health is better fertility awareness is easier.
If you are charting to try to get pregnant you may be doing so to find what might be the issue hormonally.
One of the better places to start when you want to heal your hormones is with your diet. And that’s what this book is all about.
The book starts with 12 food rules. Which overall are good guidelines to follow. I don’t agree with her on a few points, but I will point those out at the end.
She has a much more relaxed and encompassing view of diet than a lot of specific health diets, but I think that it has the sway of a very traditional food pyramid diet (for those of us in the states we know the food guide pyramid, if you are not familiar with it, it’s the government endorsed food recommendations for amounts of certain food groups you should be eating daily).
Next she has a section on how to find healthier foods and prepare them, which can be important for some people who are not in the world of healthy food at all.
Then, she has separate sections on how to deal with specific problems. These include: PMS, heavy periods, painful periods, endometriosis, luteal phase deficiency, low thyroid, hyperthyroid, underweight/low body fat, PCOS, overweight, yeast overgrowth issues, going off birth control, morning sickness, repeated miscarriage, birth defects, vaginal infections, bladder infections, low libido, low energy, and male infertility.
That’s the part that really excited me, and that I thought there might be tons of value in.
I think it’s really awesome that the book went through all of these things separately, but one of the things that I didn’t like was that they all felt very similar (mostly telling people to supplement a lot) and in the real world there are going to be more reasons than one why someone is dealing with something and chances are they would need a more catered system. They also all included lots of supplements (see my list of dislikes at the bottom of this review).
The massive benefits to the book are that it includes charted signs of certain problems. So if you are new to charting and want to know what certain signs mean on your charts or what you want to be changing with certain lifestyle changes, this is a good resource. She also has a more scientific background than a lot of diet book authors. Which I find fun because SCIENCE. Most nutrition science is pretty crappy, though (I can give you reasons, but that might take a whole blog post).
The things I personally do not advocate that are included in the book:
- Vegetable oils, like canola oil. Ugh. Use coconut oil, olive oil, butter, animal fats if that suits you, sesame oil (moderation!), macadamia oil.
- Microwaving. Please don’t.
- Massive, indiscriminate supplementation. Overall, I would go for a healthy diet and supplement with things like herbal infusions (super mineral rich), cod liver oil (vitamins A&D), green juice if you must (but if you can get in the whole greens that’s even better).
- There is no real emphasis on good quality foods like organic (though it’s mentioned) and grass-fed animal products in particular.
Overall, I think it’s a “worth it” book to get if you are interested in different approaches to dealing with hormonal issues, if you want to learn more about what your charts can be saying about your hormones, and if you want to learn more about the causes of hormonal imbalance.
Especially if you keep in mind my tweaks to the dietary recommendations, You can make a big dent in either getting your hormonal issues sorted or finding out what may be another piece of the health puzzle you need to work on.
In the comments, I’d love to know what some of your hormonal health books are. I love learning from a bunch of different sources.