There is a chorus of hormones released in a woman during her menstrual cycle, and each hormone depends on another to reach its required level at the right time. Unfortunately for many, this chorus doesn’t quite sing as beautifully as it’s supposed to, leaving us with a number of signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance: monthly mood swings, irregular or heavy periods, irritability, acne, headaches, breast tenderness, depression, anxiety…
Sound familiar? The good news is, making a few simple, dietary changes can help your body rebalance itself, which may lessen your symptoms and make your life (and relationships) a little easier.
Even more good news: these changes taste amazing.
We’ve created three easy recipes that not only help promote hormonal balance but will breathe new life into your culinary routine. Give them a try and let us know your results!
– Stephanie Ridley, Nutritional Therapist, Fig & Bloom
Dorothy’s thinking behind the recipes:
‘This was a really fun menu to put together. Our goal was to come up with simple recipes to support women suffering from hormonal imbalance. We decided to focus on a few basic veggies, such as sweet potato and broccoli, making them delicious and hormonally nutritious!
First up is our cauliflower and broccoli vichyssoise soup. We wanted to avoid dairy as dairy products may affect hormonal balance in some women, so instead of the cream I use cashews. Then I added chlorophyll to the coulis for a pop of color as well as a magnesium boost.
For our sweet potato and carrot salad I wanted to try the sweet potato raw, to preserve some of the heat-sensitive vitamins. Marinating it in citrus ‘cooks’ the veggies but still keeps a wonderful crunch, while preserving the nutrients.
Finally, I’m going through a bean phase at the moment. They’re the perfect summer protein that also happens to aid hormonal balance. Fresh herbs make anything and everything taste incredible, so make a big batch of the herb pesto and save the rest for salad dressings, pasta toppings or to go over chicken or fish.”
– Dorothy Barrick, Holistic Chef & Recipe Creator, Fig & Bloom
Cauliflower & Broccoli Vichyssoise Soup
This soup is so tasty you would never guess it also has some incredible hormone-balancing powers. It can be eaten hot or as a lovely cold soup in the summer months. Once it has cooled, put it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours to chill.
One of the most common causes of hormonal imbalance is estrogen dominance – too much estrogen compared to progesterone. Supporting the body’s natural detoxification pathways for excess estrogen may help to rebalance hormonal levels. One well-researched way of doing this is by increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, watercress, arugula, radish, turnips, pak choi and greens. Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, sulphur-containing compounds that support the liver pathways needed to clear excess estrogen from the body.
We created this broccoli and cauliflower soup specifically for this purpose. Adding chlorophyll gives a boost of magnesium, which is needed for estrogen detoxification and is understood to work alongside vitamin B6 (also found in the broccoli and cauliflower).
Coconut oil is a more stable oil to use in cooking compared to vegetable oils, like sunflower oil, that become oxidized when heated to high temperatures. Oxidized oils, along with trans and hydrogenated fats found in many processed foods, contribute to inflammation, damage cell membranes and may prevent hormones from doing their job properly.
All that aside, we challenge anyone to not enjoy this soup! It makes four large or six smaller portions and also freezes well.
- 2/3 cup cashews (ideally soaked overnight)
- 1/3 cup blanched almonds, skins removed
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 head of broccoli
- Sage, 1 handful
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1½ tbsp coconut oil (the no-flavor cooking type)
- 1 tsp Brewers yeast
- 2 cups filtered water (depending on the size of your broccoli and cauliflower heads you may want to add a bit more – you want it smooth and creamy but not TOO thick!)
For the herb coulis:
This coulis is drizzled over the soup at the end and adds some wonderfully deep and rich flavors. You can use a combination of any herbs you like, such as basil, dill, oregano, chives, and rosemary. Shiso can usually be found in farmers markets or Japanese markets and chlorophyll can be picked up in most health food stores.
- Chlorophyll, 2 droppers (optional if you can’t find it)
- Shiso, 1 handful
- Chives, 1 handful
- Rosemary, 2 sprigs, leaves removed
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Himalayan rock salt
- Pumpkin seed oil, to drizzle over
- Edible flowers, for decoration.
- Soak your cashews overnight in filtered water with a little sea salt. Or, if you are making it in the evening, soak them in the morning as you need your cashews to be very soft. If you are running short on time you can pour warm water over them.
- Blanch the almonds by pouring boiling water over them and letting them cool – the skins will then pop right off. Discard the skins and put the white almonds to the side.
- Pre-heat your oven to 215°C / 415°F
- Cut your cauliflower and broccoli into large florets and rinse. Discard the leaves but include the stem, as it will be blended into a soup so no need to waste it. Spread out the florets and stems in a large Pyrex dish or roasting pan.
- Rinse and chop your sage finely and add to the pan. Press your garlic over the pan.
- Melt your no-taste coconut oil and pour over your veggies and mix well with your hands.
- Roast for about 15-20 minutes until nicely colored and soft with a slight char. Then remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
- In the meantime, rinse your cashews in fresh water and discard the soaking water.
- Add the roasted broccoli and cauliflower to a blender, along with the rinsed cashews, blanched almonds, brewers yeast and 2 cups of water. Blend until very smooth. Empty into a bowl and clean the blender for the coulis.
For the herb coulis…
- Rinse your herbs (shiso, chives and rosemary) and add to the blender with the chlorophyll, olive oil, lemon juice and a few pinches of Himalayan rock salt. Pour into a clean jar.
- Pour the soup into serving bowls and top with a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil and then in the middle pour a small amount (about 2 tbsp) of your herb coulis.
- Top with an edible flower or an herb sprig and serve.
Raw Sweet Potato & Carrot Salad
Sweet potato and carrots are two of the richest sources of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is needed to support progesterone production – a hormone that has many jobs including helping to regulate menstruation and maintain pregnancy.
The body can more readily make use of beta-carotene when there is some fat present, which is why we’ve included the organic virgin olive oil.*
Progesterone secretion also requires vitamin C and zinc, so we have added a good dose in the citrus juice and pulp, and the pine nuts. Vitamin C is heat and light sensitive, so eating it as fresh as possible is key.
Marinating the sweet potato works beautifully and gives a very different taste and texture to cooked sweet potato. This will last a day or two in the fridge so make a batch and enjoy the nourishment!
*Note: virgin olive oil is different from extra virgin olive oil – it has a more mild flavor, which is why we recommend using virgin instead of extra virgin.
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 large carrots
- ½ grapefruit (juice and pulp)
- 1 orange (juice and pulp)
- ½ lemon (juice and a little zest)
- 2 tablespoons organic virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Peel the sweet potato and carrots (if they are organic carrots leave them unpeeled but give them a good scrub).
- Use your mandolin, or spiralizer if you have one, to make either small juliennes or spaghetti type swirls of your sweet potato.
- Use your mandolin to thinly slice your carrots and add to the salad bowl.
- Juice and then pull out the pulp of your grapefruit and orange; juice and zest the lemon. Pour over the sweet potato and carrot mix.
- Add the olive oil and Himalayan salt and mix.
- Pop in to the refrigerator and let marinade for one hour, turning every 20 minutes or so.
- Sprinkle over the pine nuts and serve.
Arugula and Bean Salad
Protein is a critical nutrient needed for phase II of our detoxification process, which is extremely important for maintaining proper estrogen levels in the body. Once hormones and toxins are processed by the liver they are then carried to the small intestine where fiber is needed to help carry them out of the body and beans are one food that have high amounts of both protein and fiber. But many clients tell us they struggle to make beans tasty, so we decided to give you a little inspiration with this salad…
- 1 cup dried cannellini beans (small white ones)
- 1 cup dried lima beans
- Fresh basil leaves, two large handfuls
- Brazil nuts, 1 handful
- ½ cup grated parmesan (optional)
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups arugula
- 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
- 2 scallions
- Soak both types of beans together overnight in about 3 inches of water with a bit of sea salt – they will soak up some of the water and cut your cooking time. Soaked beans really do taste better and are worth the effort…but if you are short on time grab a BPA-free, no added salt, can of them!
- Once soaked overnight, strain and rinse. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with water (up to about 2 inches above the beans). Feel free to add a bay leaf, garlic or bit of broth/bouillon for flavor.
- Bring to a boil first and skim off any foam. Then lower the heat to medium and cook for about 1 -1½ hours or until tender. Keep an eye on them as you do not want to over-cook – when done they should be firm but not mushy.
- Rinse and set aside in a separate bowl to cool.
Make your pesto…
- Pull off the basil leaves and put 2 large handfuls into your blender.
- Add the Brazil nuts, olive oil and parmesan – the parmesan is optional, if you are dairy-free it will still be delicious without, but you may need a bit more salt.
- Blend until smooth but with a little bit of texture left.
Prepare the salad…
- Wash your arugula, spin or shake dry and set onto a serving bowl or platter.
- Chop your cherry tomatoes into quarters and halves and add to the beans.
- Peel off the tough outer layer of the scallions, chop and then add to the beans.
- Pour your pesto over the beans and tomato mix, stir and leave to marinate for 15 minutes.
- Scoop the bean mix onto your bed of arugula and serve.
Stephanie Ridley, Nutritional Therapist, Fig & Bloom
Dorothy Barrick, Holistic Chef and Recipe Developer, Fig & Bloom
Know anyone that could use some hormone-balancing deliciousness? Share this with them!
Do you have any favorite, happy hormone foods? We’d love to hear in the comments!
Posted on July 20, 2015