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  • By decoding all of your body’s distress signals and making some simple diet and exercise changes, you can restore optimal health while speeding up metabolism, overcoming stress and banishing hunger. Smart Fats are one of the top strategies for natural hormone therapy. They can help head off PMS, perimenopause and menopause symptoms, and even andropause (male menopause), while hormonal weight gain is dialed back.

    In fact, nothing beats a daily dose of hormone-balancing Smart Fat to offset estrogen dominance—the most common underlying cause of weight gain. Estrogen dominance impacts both men and women. In women, it occurs in our 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s due to the see-saw balancing act between two of the big hormone players, estrogen and progesterone, which are in constant play during the menstrual years and beyond. The side effects of estrogen vs. progesterone hormone havoc can include fat storage and cellulite, hypothyroidism, increased incidence of fibroids, breast sensitivities, heavy periods and even breast cancer.

    In men, estrogen overload occurs in the early 40s and is characterized by a process called aromatization. It results in symptoms such as hair loss, prostate issues, a lack of sex drive, and weight gain in the upper body. In men, however, unlike their female counterparts, this process is primarily due to waning testosterone level, which triggers estrogen overload.

    In both sexes, estrogen dominance is linked to a tired and toxic liver due to the plethora of xenoestrogens or “estrogen mimics” in the environment. These fake estrogens are a whole new breed of toxins that have been around since World War II. They function as toxic infiltrators spearheading a continual assault on your weight loss efforts and overall hormonal health in the form of pesticides, plastics, personal care products, household cleaners, solvents, automobile exhaust, industrial chemicals, the Pill, a copper IUD, and synthetic hormone therapy—all stressing an already overloaded liver. Bisphenol, a common plastic used in water bottles, is one of the best known.

    The liver must detoxify these highly potent, fat-soluble, nonbiodegradable and extremely toxic estrogen-like substances in addition to its 400 other various jobs. This “living filter” which is like the body’s Grand Central Station cleanses your body by dumping toxins in the bile. So, any deficiency in bile production and/or flow will result in further estrogen overload. Xenoestrogens, in particular, are over 1,000 times more potent than the body’s naturally produced estrogen. Even in the smallest doses, they can significantly interfere with the body’s natural receptor sites resulting in a slew of hormonally-driven symptoms like depression, brain fog, headaches, and water retention, as well as fat gain.

    Hormonal weight gain can be turned around when our three key sex hormones—estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone—are managed with easy lifestyle tweaks and the Smart Fat solution.

    The sex hormone Estrogen is kept in balance by some very sexy Smart Fats:

    • Cold milled flax seeds and high lignan flax oil.
    • Chia seeds
    • Walnuts

    Estrogen has gotten a bad rap over the years, most likely due to the xenoestrogens and their hormone-disrupting side effects. But, let’s not forget that when estrogen is in balance, it is one powerful feminizing hormone, helping your libido, complexion, and brain, enabling you to feel calm. Adequate estrogen is also a surprising weight loss catalyst. When your estrogen levels are low, the body cannot synthesize as much choline, a key slimming nutrient, which produces low-density lipoprotein that escorts fat out of the liver. So, it turns out that hormonal fluctuations have a lot to do with your liver’s ability to ignite fat burning and detox. A congested liver or fatty liver, which cannot produce high-quality bile, may be another key underlying cause of an estrogen imbalance. Luckily, there are many Smart Fat-containing foods that will help round out a choline-deficient diet. One, for example, is omega-3 enriched eggs. As you may remember, this can be a double-edged sword as eggs are the number one allergy food for the gallbladder. If eggs are NOT an allergy-provoking food for you, then eggs are just about the most concentrated source of choline content in the diet—especially the yolk. Another source of slimming choline that estrogen can utilize is lecithin. Lecithin is derived from non-GMO soy or sunflowers and the word “lecithin” itself comes from the Greek word for “egg yolk.” If eggs are not an option, then non-GMO soy or sunflower lecithin may satisfy the body’s daily need just as well as dietary supplements. In any case, lecithin appears to be one highly underrated nutrient. The brain is composed of about 30 percent lecithin. The brain-protective insulating sheath that also protects the nerves are about 2/3 lecithin and the heart is loaded with lecithin. It also comes into play because it can thin out bile, which is especially important for women who are twice as likely as men to get gallstones. Higher estrogen levels due to hormone replacement therapy or pregnancy can increase cholesterol in the bile and impact gallbladder flow. Lecithin can help move bile along and thin it out.

    Flax seeds and Chia seeds

    While low estrogen has a far-reaching effect on your metabolism, excess estrogen is the ultimate hormone magnet for sodium and fat. Most of the estrogen dominance symptoms, as noted above, really only occur when levels rise too high in relationship to progesterone.

    Progesterone counters excess estrogen’s negative and often irritating excitable effects. Progesterone means “for gestation” and is touted as the feel-good hormone because it is up to 20 times more concentrated in the brain than in the bloodstream. As estrogen’s opposing “sister” hormone, progesterone helps burn fat as fuel, is a natural diuretic, stabilizes breast cell and uterine lining growth and is a natural antidepressant! It also enhances sex drive—a very big deal for many women during the “change before the change” and beyond. One very special hormone indeed, progesterone signals the hypothalamus to increase your core body temperature, thereby increasing your resting metabolic rate.

    And here’s the kicker.

    Low levels of progesterone trigger your body to burn 15,000 to 20,000 fewer calories per year and encourage increased water retention.

    As I discovered with my clients, progesterone—not estrogen—is actually the first hormone to decline during the perimenopausal years so making sure your progesterone levels are in balance is just as vital as taking the estrogen-modulating flax seeds and high lignan flax oil. When estrogen presides over progesterone, you may even develop hypothyroidism.

    The Smart Fat connection for blocking hormonal weight comes into focus when we look at the high lignin content of flax seeds and flax oil. Lignans are potent phytoestrogens. Flax seeds have 800 times more concentration than any other source. They can help alleviate hormonal discomforts and have stellar breast cancer-fighting abilities. In fact, a study conducted at the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Toronto Hospital in Canada showed how as little as two tablespoons a day of ground flax seeds markedly slowed down tumor growth in women with breast cancer1. A similar study was later conducted at Duke University that proved the tumor-slowing ability of flax seeds with prostate cancer2.

    Science confirms that the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content of lignan-rich flax oil has stand-alone benefits all of its own, without having to be converted into EPA and DHA. For example, in several studies of breast cancer risk, the higher the concentration of ALA in breast tissue, the lower the risk of manifesting breast cancer. Moreover, if breast cancer arises, the higher the breast tissue concentration of ALA, the lower the risk of cancer metastasis to other parts of the body.

    Fiber can also help to rid your body of excess estrogen. Eating five or more veggies and fruits daily along with fiber-rich seeds (like chia), and of course, flax seeds and legumes are terrific ways to healthfully excrete estrogen so it doesn’t keep recirculating in your body.

    Also, nosh on walnuts. Their rich phytosterol content can assist in preventing toxic environmental estrogens from binding to receptor sites.



  • Progesterone

    The sex hormone Progesterone is also balanced by estrogen's sexy Smart Fats:

    • High lignan flax seeds and flax oil
    • Chia
    • Walnuts

    If there was ever a "magic bullet" hormone therapy on the planet, natural progesterone comes really close. Many women's bodies are simply not producing enough. Either because they are not ovulating regularly—although many are still menstruating—so there is no corpus luteum to create progesterone, or because their bodies are converting progesterone into other hormones like cortisol, estrogen or testosterone.

    It is deficient in practically EVERY female I test from 18 to 80. Whether you decide to use a topical progesterone cream or nutrient precursors, like zinc, vitamin C and vitamin B6, or herbs like chaste berry or wild yam, you owe it to your brain to make sure your progesterone is in place.

    Progesterone is well recognized as the "feel good" hormone because we have 20 times more of it in the brain than in the bloodstream. As a natural anti-depressant and diuretic, it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, control mood swings and can prevent those whiskers on your chin.

    If you do have an excess of facial hair, chances are you do not have enough progesterone. When your levels are raised, the facial hair can start to disappear. Without sufficient progesterone, the adrenal cortex can secrete the androgen hormone androstenedione as an alternative chemical precursor for the manufacture of progesterone. This steroid is associated with some male characteristics, one of which is male pattern baldness. But when your progesterone level is raised with natural progesterone cream, your androstenedione level will gradually decline and the excess facial hair will become finer and begin to disappear.

    Progesterone also contributes to activating osteoblasts, the bone builders critical for a strong stature and graceful appearance.

    Smart Tips: Progesterone

    How do you build up your progesterone levels?

    1. Jump on the flax bandwagon. Whatever you do to modulate estrogen will have an equalizing effect on progesterone too.
    2. Think zinc! Eating zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, pastured eggs, and grass-fed beef can help shore up progesterone levels while the vitamin B6 in non-gluten grains and beans and vitamin C in citrus, squash, tomatoes, and potatoes can also help.
    3. Avoid stress. Easier said than done, I know. Coping with stress successfully will negate the possibility that precious progesterone will be used to make stress-managing cortisol. That's why I don't leave home without my Bach Flower Rescue Remedy!


    The sex hormone testosterone can be reset with more sexy Smart Fats:

    • Saturated fats
    • Monounsaturated fats
    • Saw Palmetto Oil, Even though "low T" is generally thought of as a male issue, both men and women need the hormone of desire for many reasons. This potent sex regulator governs sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle size and strength, and red blood cell production. And it starts to drop by about two percent each year, beginning at age 30, for both sexes.

    In men, low-T is characterized by erectile dysfunction, libido drop, hair loss, and weight gain. In women, flabby muscles, as well as low sex drive and even osteoporosis, can rear its ugly head. Regardless of gender, excess fat turns muscle-generating testosterone into estrogen, which only causes a nasty cycle of more fat to be stored, usually in your abdomen. Since overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels, it is crucial to increase hormone levels for maximum weight loss results.

    Too Much Testosterone

    Elevated testosterone may signal insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and/or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), so I suggest that you follow a well-balanced diet to keep blood sugar levels steady and allow passion to return to the bedroom. Traditional testosterone replacement therapy is laden with alarming side effects, which include prostate cancer, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and liver toxicity. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Smart Tips: Testosterone

    Here is a better way to keep your testosterone levels at an even keel.

    1. Consume saturated and mono-unsaturated fats. Research shows that in order to have healthy testosterone levels, men need a diet of at least 40 percent fat, and saturated fats, as well as monounsaturated fats, are the best sources. Since I have already covered many of the benefits and sources of these Smart Fats in other articles, I am simply including a list of the best ones to boost testosterone levels: pastured butter and ghee, coconut and coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, raw nuts such as almonds or pecans, grass-fed meats.

    2. Saw Palmetto Oil. Saw palmetto is a remarkable supplement best known to support prostate health, but it can also even out testosterone. As a thyroid balancer, it stimulates metabolism. And, it has been shown to both decrease estrogen and increase testosterone. Saw Palmetto is filled with beneficial fatty acids and contains chlorophyll, lutein, and lycopene. With this power charged supplement, you will receive the lipophilic benefits of oleic acid and lauric acid with beta-sitosterol as the base ingredient.

    3. Do note that excess progesterone (which is not the norm, but does occur) can be converted into testosterone. If you are using a topical bio-identical progesterone cream or taking herbs such as wild yam or chaste berry, you will need to temporarily discontinue use to bring your progesterone and testosterone levels into balance together.

    4. If levels are too high, drink spearmint tea. One to two cups a day should suffice.

    5. Testing, testing, testing. Consider a salivary hormone test to keep tabs on your T levels.

    6. Consume plenty of zinc if you have lower than normal T levels. This mineral is just as important for testosterone production as it is for progesterone. In studies, it has been shown that taking zinc supplementation for as little as six weeks will cause a great improvement in testosterone among men whose levels were previously low. Zinc, of course, is also crucial to proper immunity and reproductive health in both men and women.

      What you need to know about zinc is, it is associated with both progesterone and testosterone as a precursor. Zinc is related to these hormones the way copper is connected to estrogen levels. In tissue mineral analysis, we like to see an eight-to-one ratio in favor of zinc.

      Elevated copper levels and a zinc deficiency have been associated with hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, violence, and depression. Lack of zinc can also produce acne, eczema, sensitive skin, sunburn, headaches and white spots on the fingernails.

      Enjoy plenty of these protein-packed foods to get more zinc in addition to the zinc-rich eggs, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, oysters, lamb, kelp, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, raw cheese, poultry, seafood, beans, yogurt or kefir.

    7. Increase Your Vitamin D. This steroid hormone (yes, you read that right) increases levels of testosterone. According to one study, overweight men who were given vitamin D supplements for one year had a significant increase in testosterone levels.

      The best way to optimize your vitamin D levels is to get a healthy amount of sun exposure. If getting out and playing in the sunlight is not an option, then vitamin D3 should be taken as a supplement. Research shows that you will need to take about 8,000 IUs of vitamin D per day in order to increase testosterone.

    What’s the Next Step?
    Now that you can better appreciate the way food and environmental toxins evoke a hormonal response, it’s time to maximize your weight loss results. In the upcoming articles, you will find some helpful tips and recipes for integrating Smart Fats, powerful proteins, friendly carbs, fiber-rich seeds, and Smart Sweeteners, Sips and Seasonings into your daily meals, or adapting your current regimen to the Eat Fat Lose Weight approach and philosophy.

    All of this is designed to help you accomplish basic nurturing of your body for painless weight control and lasting hormonal balance. Give yourself permission to enjoy the full gamut of self-care, from stress relief to proper sleep and targeted exercise, as well as satisfying food. As my grandfather Aaron liked to say, “May you live and thrive ‘til 120—but only in the very best of health.”