Goodbye hormonal birth control and stress imbalance, hello bio-hacking and mental clarity!
Never would I have thought in a million years that the only cup of coffee I actually wanted was in the morning. Once. Maybe twice if we’re counting the post-lunch coffee that comes from desire rather than desperation and sleep-deprivation.
Notice how I said “wanted”. Not “needed”.
I love coffee – cappucino in the morning makes my heart sing. But, I used to roll out of bed and drag myself to the coffee machine – just for the morning pick-me-up, rather than actually looking forward to it for the experience of drinking it (without actually needing the effects of the caffeine itself).
So what’s different?
Over the last couple of months – I’ve undergone some pretty big changes. To name just a few: I’ve done a massive energy overhaul, changed the structure of my diet and nutrition, mapped out my personal cycle, understood my sleep cycles and finally, ditched hormonal birth control.
And whilst these are big changes, many of them for that matter, to make in such a short span of time – it’s taught me an interesting lesson.
When we lean into our priorities – these changes happen effortlessly and easily.
Change No. 1: Goodbye, Hormonal Birth Control!
Many women in today’s world are on some type of hormonal birth control. In my case, I started mine in college for the purpose of clearing my skin (it didn’t work) and I ditched hormonal birth control in May of this year. For good. It was roughly a seven year run.
Looking back, I wish that I would have known more about tracking my cycle, gut inflammation and understanding what mineral deficiencies were (as that’s really what healed my skin), but when I had gone to my doctor – the first option available was hormonal birth control. Now, I am not personally against hormonal birth control as a concept – but I AM an advocate of knowing exactly what it can do to your body and hormones in general. As someone that is acutely aware of health conditions in my own family, birth control had the potential to magnify them – which is why I knew it no longer was an option for me.
Now that I’ve been off of the pill for over 90 days, I can honestly say that I’ve never felt better. I’ll be honest, my first natural cycle in seven years was a little bit crazy – getting used to your own hormones rather than synthetic ones is NO joke – but it’s incredible to see the changes in my wellness, energy and mindset firsthand.
What I have found, and it has worked incredibly well for me thus far, is an app called Natural Cycles. It helps you understand your ‘fertile window’ if you’re looking to prevent pregnancy or conceive, it helps you understand what your different cycle phases are, tracks ovulation AND it does all of this simply by measuring your basal body temperature each day. Now, because I prefer a less-maintenance approach, I actually use an Oura Ring to take my temperature every day. Bonus – I can even track my sleep and set better health goals too.
Change No. 2: Getting Control of My Diet & Nutrition
When I say that I’ve been on a dietary overhaul as of late – I mean it. And I’m not talking about fad diets or eating less and moving more. No calorie deficits, no raw vegan, ketogenic, only eat carbs after midnight funkiness.
I’m getting back to basics.
The biggest change in my diet is removing food “products” and keeping only REAL food in my kitchen. And by real food, I mean non-processed, non-GMO, organic, high-quality food. Veggies are overflowing in my refrigerator, I only consume grass-fed and organic meat, pasture-raised organic eggs, farm fresh dairy, and high-quality cheeses and fermented yoghurts.
Why? I mean, what’s all the fuss about?
Personally, I’ve been trying to optimize my health and lower overall inflammation in my body. That starts with what you eat. Oddly enough, there are a variety of hormone-disrupting substances that can end up on our food (think: pesticides and herbicides) and sometimes even leach inside. Hence, trying to only buy organic produce. Grass-fed and pasture-raised animals can provide a higher nutrient density than grain-fed – especially when it comes to Omega-3 fatty acids and long-chain fatty acids. Farm fresh dairy that ideally is raw and unhomogenized is PACKED full of nutrients and healthy fats. Homemade sourdough has a more complex gluten structure that’s easier on your gut and your blood sugar levels. But still, in my transition to the “outer ring” of the grocery store and to local farm Co-Ops and CSAs, I still wanted to better understand the link to inflammation and gut health, but also keep a balance with the foods that may not be the “healthiest” choice.
Ahem, wine and gelato – I’m looking at you!
I’m still learning, each and every day – but what I’ve found over the last 90 days is that in changing the structure in which I eat (veggies/fiber, then meat/protein, then starch and sugary sweet food), my sleep has become better, my skin no longer breaks out like it used to, my energy levels are better and I feel like I’m finally in-sync with my body.
Change No. 3: Time for an Energy Cleanse!
The last primary change I’ve made lately has to do with my energy. I knew that I needed to lower my cortisol, get more in tune with what really felt good, and understand what in my life was no longer in alignment with the future that I want for myself. Part of this was introducing regular movement and meditation to my daily routine. The movement and exercise helps me release excess stress. Meditation helps me stay grounded and focused on what’s going on inside of my body, rather than getting lost in external circumstances.
It may sound a bit clichè, but I’ve found that journaling and getting all of my thoughts down on paper has been a total game-changer for me. It’s helped me to recognize patterns, get more in-tune with what I want and also has helped me envision what I desire for the future.
90 days is a short time. That being said, it’s incredible to see just how much can change in that time period. Especially when it’s for the better. If you are interested in optimizing your health too, I wish you all luck and happiness in your journey. It’ll be an interesting one, that’s for sure!