If you are menopausal and overweight, you are probably moderately to severely estrogen dominant. If you have read anything, I or my husband has written, you know that the first problem I had to tackle was my inability to lose weight no matter what I did. This is called menopausal weight loss resistance. The primary cause of this condition was my estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is an imbalance between 2 of my sex hormones, progesterone and estradiol. After menopause, most women have too much estradiol when it is compared to our progesterone. I know it’s crazy. We all think that estrogen disappears after menopause. After menopause I had lost nearly 60% of my premenopausal estrogen, but I had lost nearly 90% of my premenopausal progesterone.
Women are not the only ones bothered by estrogen dominance. Men also experience estrogen dominance. If your husband is starting to have erectile dysfunction, low moods, developing a belly and man boobs, you might want to have him talk to my husband. Men with estrogen dominance also suffer from weight loss resistance and are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer as well. Enough said about the men, let’s get back to us women.
I’ve explained in previous posts how fat makes estrogen because enzymes within my fat cells convert my progesterone into estrogen. The more fat I have, the more of these enzymes I have, which means the more my progesterone is being converted into estrogen. Estrogen stores fat, fat makes estrogen. Fat perpetuates fat.
The sad thing is that many women in menopause are told to increase their estrogen levels to eliminate the symptoms associated with low estrogen causes, like hot flashes and night sweats. They are prescribed estrogen from a horse. I passed on using horse estrogen. I knew that it would make weight loss even more difficult. I also knew that it would put even more weight on me. If you are menopausal and taking estrogen, I am willing to bet that you have been putting on weight since you started using it.
When I refused to take horse’s estrogen, I was told to consume super foods that would make my estrogen levels increase and give me some relief from my low estrogen symptoms. When I told my husband, my personal anti-aging guru, he laughed loudly. He told me that estrogenic foods would make me even more weight loss resistant. He told me that the foods my doctor recommended were filled with phytoestrogens. Isn’t it scary, how we are often told to the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
After I had my progesterone to estradiol ratio normalized, David did recommend that I consume these foods to increase my estrogen levels for their anti-aging effects, but not until I was no longer estrogen dominant. He prefers that I use these foods over any synthetic medication used for Hormone Replacement Therapy.
While I was on a weight loss path, he made me a list of foods for me to avoid. We knew that I needed to harmonize my internal chemistry before I could lose weight. This list of foods high in phytoestrogens became a step within the first step of The Menopause Diet. He explained that it would be nearly impossible to eliminate them completely, but for me to do my best. When I went searching for what these phytoestrogens were doing to me, I found this quote from www.alternet.org that explained how estrogen dominance was taking a toll on both men and women’s’ health.
“It is no secret that our bodies and our environment are swimming in estrogen. Puberty is occurring as early as eight years old in children and recently babies in China have developed breasts. Frogs and fish are becoming “intersex” and losing their male characteristics from excreted estrogens in the environment and waterways. In England, the Daily Mail ran a feature on the phenomenon of women’s bra cup sizes increasing independent of their weights, likely because of environmental and livestock chemicals. The website Green Prophet speculated that women in the Middle East are not yet experiencing cup inflation because their environments have not become similarly estrogenized.”
“While many people are fans of big boobs, the larger issue of feminized women, men and wildlife should be a wakeup call. Estrogen is blamed for everything from breast and prostate cancer and other hormone-linked conditions to obesity, sexual dysfunction, dropping sperm counts and depression and mood disorders. In studies of women given prescribed hormone drugs, estrogen was linked to lung cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer, gall bladder cancer, cataracts, urinary incontinence and joint degeneration.”
As you can see, estrogen dominance is not healthy. I did not say too estrogen in itself was unhealthy. We all want high estrogen levels. As David says, “estrogen is the best anti-aging hormone out there when it comes to our skin and hair. We want high estrogen levels. We just want it balanced.” During the first step of The Menopause Diet, the purpose is to reduce estrogen’s dominance.
The foods listed below counteract everything we were trying to do for me to become less estrogen dominant. The more estrogen dominant I am, the more my body would be weight loss resistant. These foods are in many ways super foods, but should not be eaten during the first two phases of The Menopause Diet. The list below is a sampling, but I have developed a complete list of foods my anti-aging guru husband had me avoid. Click at the bottom of this post to download the complete list.
Flax Seeds & Other Seeds
Wow! I love flax and sunflower seeds, but they are very high in phytoestrogens. 100 grams of flax has 379,380 micrograms of estrogen. In comparison, 100 grams of watermelon has 2.9 micrograms. Flax seeds are used to benefit health in numerous ways. They are high in fiber, high in omega 3s, and they have been shown to lower cholesterol. I love to use flax seeds to help with constipation, which occurs often when switching from The Great American Diet to a clean diet. Another problem we have with flax is that it has been turned into franken-flax. Most flax is now genetically modified. If you want to raise your estrogen, have larger breasts and be overweight, eat flax seeds. Other seeds are also filled with estrogens. Sesame and sunflower seeds have high amounts of estrogens. And don’t forget that these estrogens are also found in their oils, which you should not use to cook with ever.
Soy & Other Legumes
Where flax seeds win the honor for having the highest levels of phytoestrogens, soy is second. Soy packs 103,920 micrograms of estrogen per 100 grams. I love Japanese food. I love to start with some edamame. You know those green bean looking vegetable appetizers that pop into your mouth. Those are soy beans. Bioidentical hormones are made from these.
While I was trying to reduce my estrogen dominance, David had me avoid all soy products. I want to reiterate that some of these foods are great for you, but when you are estrogen dominant, NOT! He had me avoid all soy products, fermented or not. David allowed me to consume soy after I had reached my goals, but he only wants me to consume fermented soy. Some of the soy products I had to avoid during the first two phases of The Menopause Diet were edamame, soy sauce, soy protein, tempeh, miso, and soy milk.
Before I move away from soy, be aware that soy is subsidized and therefore overgrown and like flax most of the soy we consume has become genetically modified Franken-soy. This causes industries to discover new ways to use the overabundance of soy. It is primarily used as a protein filler, and can be found in hotdogs, veggie burgers, and fast food taco meats. There was a rumor going around that one fast food chain was using straight soy protein. In essence, there was no meat in their meat. If you are eating a manmade process meat protein, there is a good chance that there is soy within in it.
I also want to warn you that soy is a legume. Most legumes are filled with phytoestrogens. Legumes include beans. Black beans pack 5,330 micrograms of estrogen per 100 grams. Legumes include peas, so no peas. Legumes include peanuts, so not peanuts. legumes include garbanzo beans, so beware of hummus. Split pea soup is also on the out list. I am not a fan of split pea soup so that one was easy.
There are more reasons than phytoestrogens to not eat dried fruit. Dried fruit will spike your insulin, which causes fat storage. You will learn more about this later. They are also filled with sulfates, which causes inflammation. Apricots, Dates and Prunes have the highest levels of phytoestrogens. Remember, each piece of dried fruit could possibly be a whole piece of fruit. Have you ever sat down and ate 5 apples. It is easy to do when you are eating dried apples.
David recommended only whole grain non gluten grains while I was on the first phase of The Menopause Diet. What this means is I could eat whole oats, rice and corn, organic of course. When thinking multigrain and phytoestrogens, you also have to avoid many of the protein bars. they are usually filled with multi-grains. Of course, stay away from flax bread. Anything that has bran in it will also have to be avoided. Goodbye bran muffins.
Miscellaneous Estrogenic Foods
Other foods that have high amounts of estrogen are alfalfa sprouts, licorice and fennel. Food ingredients in personal care products can also have estrogenic effects. ABC news reported that Tea Tree Oil found in shampoos, soaps and lotions can enlarge the breasts of boys. Sore and tender breasts have also been reported by using shampoos with pomegranate. Animal products such as meat and dairy have just a trace of estrogens, but when they inject the cattle with hormones, which they do with nearly all conventional cattle, watch out. It so important to consume organic grass fed pasture raised cattle as much as possible.
One of the hormones they administer to cattle is called Zeranol. It is an estrogen-like drug. In a 2009, a published article in Anticancer Research stated “that long-term exposure to either Z [zeranol] or E2 [estradiol-17β] can induce transformation of human breast epithelial MCF-10A cells,” Another published article reported that “breast irritation” occurred in people exposed to the clothing of those that worked around Zeranol. Again, eat grass fed pasture raised organic beef only that have no hormones administered to them!
I found that I can get along without most of these estrogenic foods, but there were a few of them that I really enjoyed. Wanting to add them back into my diet as soon as possible gave me an extra incentive to balance my internal chemistry as quickly as possible. When David had me add them back into my diet, he did so slowly and they had to be organic. Herbicides and Pesticides are filled with another estrogen called xenoestrogens. If the meat you eat are eating corn with these xenoestrogens, they are stored within the animals fat tissue and they are passed on to you. More about xenoestrogens in a future post.
What Makes The Menopause Diet Different
The Menopause Diet’s first concentration was on harmonizing my internal chemistry. I have personally learned that regular diets just would not work after menopause. Remember, I had owned several weight loss clinics prior to going into menopause. I knew a thing or two about weight loss. Menopause created a whole new ball game. We found that I had to address my internal chemistry first before I could lose the post menopausal weight gain.
The Menopause Diet’s second concentration was on the food I ate. It had nothing to do with counting calories. The Menopause Diet is a food restricted diet not a caloric restricted diet. There is no counting calories. The Menopause Diet is THREE different diets in one. There has to be a prep diet, then a ketogenic diet and then a maintenance diet. The diet has to be filled with Godmade food and void of manmade food. The more Godlike my food was the less inflammation I had. Inflammation was and is the primary cause of the disharmony of my internal chemistry. My inflammation had to be tamed to lose the menopausal weight gain and to maintain my weight loss.
The Menopause Diet’s third concentration is on Coaching. With the Menopause Diet, you have a Weight Loss Coach that you are in communication with daily (texting) and weekly (phone consults). Did you hear that! Everyday you are being held accountable and instructed. Do you think that is important? You bet it is! Yes the supplements I used and the food I ate had a lot to do with regaining my premenopausal body, but without David as my personal weight loss coach, I would have probably quit. I am almost certain I would have failed.
If you want to learn more about weight loss resistance caused by menopause and how The Menopause Diet helped me get my premenopausal body back, I PERSONALLY WANT TO SPEAK WITH YOU! NO KIDDING! CLICK BELOW TO SCHEDULE A VIRTUAL CONSULTATION WITH ME, that’s a phone call in internet speak. IT’S FREE! Remember that The Menopause Diet can be done completely online. Don’t put it off, I’m probably already teaching someone. Let me teach you. Click the green button below.
Vicky Mac, CHC
Now that you have scheduled your virtual consultation,
don’t forget to get your The Complete List of Estrogen Filled Foods by clicking on the download button.