In this day and age, everyone must pick and choose their food battles. Personally, I may not have the time and resources to eat perfectly every day, but I do what I can to choose wisely. Most recently, I’ve been choosing foods that work specifically with my endocrine system to deliver noticeable results in the way my body functions.
I’ve learned that many of the foods we eat contain ingredients that can disrupt hormone health. Ingredients like estrogen (found in much of the conventionally raised cattle we purchase every day), pesticides and BPAs have all been found to disrupt our hormones but continue to be included in much of our food and food-related products. When hormones are disrupted, it can impact the body in a variety of negative ways. Everything from lack of energy, to inflammation, to arthritis can be a result of ingesting these ingredients. Grains, gluten and sugar also have negative effects upon hormone health. Gluten increases the body’s prolactin levels, which in turn disrupts testosterone production.
My personal experience with eating for overall health started about fifteen years ago. I remember being hunched over the garden at Colterra and struggling to get up on a regular basis. The inflammation in my back would cause me to stiffen up, resulting in pain each time I tried to stand. To top things off, I also had arthritis in my toe. After working a night in the kitchen, I would go home with excruciating pain in my foot. After talking to a friend, he recommended that I cut certain items out of my diet and educated me on food and its effect on hormones. He had recently changed his diet to include items that supplemented his hormone health and saw a dramatic improvement in energy, stamina, positive outlook and strength. I decided to take his lead and take an active approach to my health with food. I began researching the negative and positive effects that certain foods have on hormone health and how hormones tie in with overall body functions. My research was truly enlightening and has given me an entirely new outlook on eating.
To start, I began doing my best to incorporate certain foods into my diet that improve my hormone health and increase testosterone levels. There have been a variety of recent studies showing that as we age, men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone. This hormone is crucial for increasing muscle mass, energy, strength and even sex drive. Many men are turning to testosterone supplements to counteract this effect. After researching the hormone and endocrine system, I’ve found that there are also a variety of natural ways to maintain testosterone levels. As a solution to many health issues, food is often the answer.
My carbohydrate of choice is frequently POTATOES. Contrary to popular belief, potatoes are not the enemy. They’re essential for testosterone production and not unhealthy. Potatoes (sweet, white, red, russets, you name it) are packed with nutrients. I always have them in the pantry at home.
While I do try to limit my intake of grains and gluten, there are days that I simply crave bread and floury grains. I’ve found that SORGUM (a gluten-free androgenic grain) is a great option. This was a new one for me, but studies have shown that this grain isn’t a prolactin booster and does not suppress the thyroid.
DARK BERRIES like pomegranate, blueberries and acai are also on my shopping list. These dark berries contain antioxidants that fight inflammation and oxidative damage in the body. This results in increased testosterone production and protection. They can also help to remove estrogen from the body.
Organic EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL occurs regularly in my diet. Olive oil is anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants. There are a variety of studies that show that using extra virgin olive oil as a main source of fat improves testosterone levels in adult men.
As a great source of high-quality protein, OYSTERS are another staple in my diet. They’re packed with zinc, magnesium, selenium, copper and vitamin D. Each of these nutrients are needed for testosterone production.
Now that I’m consciously eating for hormone health, I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the way my body functions. I’m sleeping better, have improved energy and can work a full day in the kitchen without any issues with my back or toe. My body has shown positive results in a very noticeable way. For me, gathering and cooking heathy foods and being fully aware of what I’m putting into my body is the best way to love thyself, community, family and the earth. I put a lot of abuse and stress on my body. Eating for health is something I can do easily to take care of myself. I have never felt better in my entire life.
Let me be the first to say that I’m by no means an “authority” on nutrition, but as a student I hope to share helpful information with my friends, family and guests. This is beyond eating organic. This is eating to improve the entire functionality of the body.
This is how I try to build the menus at the restaurants as well. Food needs to taste great while simultaneously improving vitality and wellness.