“I Follow A Hormone-Balancing Diet — Here’s What I Eat”
There’s Banting, those pesky vegans, wheat-free women… but what about all the others in between? This story forms part of a new series called The Food Diaries: following the eating habits of different women in South Africa.
We’re taking a microscope to the sub-groups of people eating for health. You may even find yourself a new dietary home. First up: blogger , who went off the Pill after 10 years, and embraced a new way of eating.
WTF Is Hormone Balancing?
“It’s a consciousness around how your hormones can be affected by your lifestyle, your eating and your exercise,” says Candice. At first, she was trying to live a lifestyle with fewer toxins – whether that be on her skin, or in her foods. “When I started to live this toxic-free lifestyle, I started with the stuff I was putting on my skin to the stuff I was putting in my body. And then I got to the 10-year mark of being on the Pill,” she says. “And I went, ‘Should I be on something for 10 years?’ I thought ‘I want to live this holistic lifestyle from my training to my eating, so everything really, I feel like the Pill is the step I need to take. And it is the last step because it’s scary.”
For many women, taking the pill is a way to ward of acne, weight gain (or loss), and is more than a way to reduce the risk of pregnancy. For Candice, it was a lifestyle drug that she wanted to stop.
What’re The Key Hormone-Balancing Ingredients?
Candice eats a diet high in healthy fats and dark, leafy greens, to heal and . She’s also dabbling in seed-cycling (eating various seeds at different times of the month) to assist the body in flushing out excess oestrogen and promote healthy hormones.
“The main thing to do is to cut out refined sugar, just because of what it does to your body,” she says. “The second thing is dairy. I feel like it’s a no-brainer, but there are hormones in it. So anything that has a high hormone ‘count’ should technically be taken out. I still eat meat, but I make sure all the meat I eat is lean and grass-fed: beef and chicken.”
What’s A Typical Meal?
Candice prioritises hormone-balancing ingredients in every meal. Breakfast is high in healthy fats. “Because I’m not a big eggs and bacon kinda gal, I always have a hormone-healing smoothie,” she says. “I really love bananas, with half an avo, chocolate pea protein, almond milk and it’s got all the hormone-balancing superfoods, like ashwagandha, maca – it has a whole list. I put that in every smoothie, with chia and hemp seeds.”
Lunch and dinner are salads featuring protein, fats and a probiotic. “I’ll cut my plate in half. On one half will be dark, leafy greens, hemp seeds and apple cider vinegar massaged into it because it’s really good for digestive health as well, then half an avo on the side,” she says. “In the salad, I’ll also add kimchi and sauerkraut [for digestion], with a lean meat on the side. There are so many kinds of vegan mayos and pestos that you can get, so it’s not tough to find stuff to spice it up.”
How Much Does It Cost?
At first, the superfoods and probiotics can set you back, but one big shop can last several months, says Candice. Fresh produce, which she buys weekly from an organic market, cost her around R1 200 a month. But the point, to her, is to not break the bank. “The changes one needs to make in their diet does not need to be more difficult or expensive – it just needs to have a thought behind the food.” Hear, hear!