Nourishing Your Hormones: Understanding the Impact of Nutrition on Women’s Health

nourishing hormones - chelsijo

July 14, 2023

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Many women experience hormonal imbalances and symptoms with little to no understanding of the role nutrition plays.  They often find limited options for support. Symptoms such as hormonal acne, migraines, irregular periods, and other issues are dismissed as common. Birth control is regularly prescribed with little guidance on how nutrition and lifestyle affect hormones.

Leisha Drew, a holistic hormone coach specializing in women’s hormonal health, shares her journey and insights with us into the importance of understanding and nourishing our hormones. 

Join us as we take a look at the key points about hormonal imbalances, the impact of nutrition, and some practical steps to improve women’s overall well-being.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

The Significance of Hormones and Nutrition in Nourishing Women’s Hormonal Health

Leisha’s personal experiences with hormone-related issues and her dedication to helping others have led her to focus on empowering women to take control of their hormone health. She was deeply frustrated at being told that hormonal symptoms were normal and that birth control was the only solution.

Many women can relate to this experience, feeling helpless and resigned to accept these symptoms as a part of life. Leisha’s journey led her to question the status quo and seek alternative approaches to address her own and her family’s health issues.

Recognizing the Power of Women’s Hormone Health

As women and mothers, we have a significant impact on our families’ health and future generations. By prioritizing our hormone health, we can positively influence our families, communities, and the overall well-being of future generations. Women possess immense power, often overlooked in the past. Embracing our gifts and skills can lead to meaningful change within our homes.

Challenging the Traditional Approach

The traditional medical approach tends to overlook the root causes of hormonal imbalances. Often, symptoms are dismissed as normal or addressed solely through medications like birth control pills. Leisha emphasizes the importance of addressing these issues holistically and exploring natural remedies, lifestyle changes, and nutrition to support hormone health.

The Crucial Link Between Hormones and Nutrition in Promoting Hormone Health

Nutrition has a significant impact on hormonal imbalances and overall well-being. Nutrition is a powerful tool that can significantly improve hormone health and relieve symptoms related to PMS and periods.

Identifying Hormone Imbalance Symptoms

Many women consider symptoms like PMS and period pain to be normal. However, Leisha challenges this notion, sharing with us that a healthy cycle should be relatively symptom-free. Symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, breast tenderness, acne, cramping, and bloating indicate underlying hormonal imbalances. 

These symptoms are signs that your body is sending you to let you know that something is off. They are not normal and should be addressed to achieve optimal hormone balance.  

Many women feel like their bodies are working against them. They actually feel like their body hates them. Our bodies have been created in a way that they are working for us all the time.   As you build a nourishing lifestyle you will be able to start believing that your body is working for you and you will be able to start trusting your body again. This is not an overnight process but it is truly possible. 

What a Normal Period Should Look Like

A normal period can range from  four to seven days. You might feel a little more tired but experience minimal to no cramping.  You can expect to see bright red bleeding in moderate amounts. The bright red blood is a sign that your body is moving out the blood that it needs to.  On your heaviest day you should only need to change your period products three to four times a day if you’re using tampons or medium pads or a couple of times a day if you’re using a cup. It shouldn’t interfere with your ability to go on with your day.

The Impact of Stress on Hormones

Next up we consider the crucial role of stress management in hormone health. Chronic stress signals the body to release stress hormones, which disrupt the delicate balance of hormones. Blood sugar imbalances, inadequate nutrition, and ongoing stressors can deplete the body’s resources, affecting hormone production and regulation. As women we need to recognize and address stress as a crucial component of hormone health.

We tend to take stress for granted and almost accept it as a part of our daily lives. We face stress, trauma and even the big shifts that take place when we become mothers. While a certain level of stress can be expected It’s all too easy to brush it off and not understand how it is truly affecting your body.  

Wired to Survive

Your body and brain interpret stress signals (whether it’s running the kids out the door, a bad marriage, money troubles or any other constant stressors) and blood sugar imbalances (not getting enough food, not getting enough sleep) the same way. When you have that stress signal for your brain your brain talks to your adrenal glands and it tells it to pump out these stress hormones.

When these stress hormones are being pumped out,  your body is actually working for you. It is so smart and has been designed so beautifully.  Your body prioritizes survival over digestion. It knows that what you need most at that moment is to be able to see, to hear, to keep your heart beating, your brain working and blood to your muscles so that you can run away from this perceived danger if you need to.

Through all of this your sex hormones get deprioritized.  It’s not a priority to signal ovulation or to make progesterone from that ovulation.  During this time your progesterone actually gets stolen to make more stress hormones. Progesterone is incredibly important to keep your hormones balanced and to help you not have those PMS and horrible period symptoms.

Balancing Our Busy Lives

We are fooling ourselves to believe that we can somehow have balanced hormones in the midst of feeling stressed 24/7.  It’s important to come to a place where you want to see that progress forward and to know that it is possible in the various seasons of life that we as busy moms find ourselves.

Our bodies are wired to communicate with us and send us signals when we are in tune with them. It’s possible to know when our hormones are shifting with our monthly cycle. To know when we are ovulating

Addressing Nutritional Deficiencies for Optimal Hormones and Nutrition

Hormonal imbalances are often related to estrogen dominance or impaired estrogen detoxification in the body. This is most often the cause for painful periods. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly minerals, play a significant role in hormone regulation. Hormones and nutrition go hand-in-hand. The liver plays a really big role here. 

Stress, trauma, and childbirth can deplete essential minerals necessary for optimal hormone health. Addressing these deficiencies through nourishing, nutrient-dense foods can help rebalance hormones and relieve symptoms.

As mentioned, blood sugar balance is a big stressor. Even if you’re eating really clean food, if you don’t have the right combination of macronutrients your blood sugar can drop.

Taking Action to Balance Hormones and Nutrition

Eat Wholefoods

First and foremost we need to understand the importance of eating real, whole foods, focusing on quality ingredients and avoiding processed foods. Take a look at the list of ingredients in the food you eat. For example, do you even know what the ingredients are in the cereal you’re eating? Rather focus on getting in real food like eggs, potatoes, fruit and sausage for breakfast. The quality of the food we eat is incredibly important. 

Consistency Holds the Key to Hormones and Nutrition

Consistency in meal timing is crucial for maintaining optimal hormone and nutrition balance. It’s important to have breakfast within 30 to 60 minutes of waking and consume meals every three to four hours. Delaying meals can significantly impact our energy levels, as it requires a substantial amount of energy for the liver to extract nutrients from the body.

Contrary to popular belief, when we don’t eat on time, it’s not primarily our fat that gets broken down but rather our muscles, thymus gland (crucial for immunity), or gut lining (aggravating gut symptoms) as they are easier tissues to break down. This triggers an emergency response in our body when blood sugar drops too low, leading to a spike in stress hormones. Once again, our body goes into survival mode, emphasizing the importance of timely and nourishing meals to support overall well-being.

Balancing Proteins and Carbohydrates

Including a carb, a protein and fat in every meal is beneficial. When you’re eating wholefoods and good quality animal products it’s not hard to get adequate good dietary fat. Balancing carbohydrates and proteins in each meal supports stable blood sugar levels and reduces stress on the body. 

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Make Progress

Many busy moms tend to skip eating altogether when they are worried that their food isn’t perfectly good.  Sometimes it isn’t a beautiful meal and that’s okay. Sometimes we’re trying too hard to make it perfect at the cost of doing what we need to truly survive. Progress is a journey and you’ve got to start somewhere.  

“Start where you are and take it one meal at a time.”

Let’s not fuss about creating Pinterest-perfect meals. Be okay with feeding your family chicken, a sweet potato and something green on the plate.  See it as one star meal of the day.

Start Small

Put away all the things that are creating extra pressure on you right now. Start small and prioritize one balanced meal a day, embracing the impact of hormones and nutrition on your own-well being for a while.  If it feels overwhelming to implement dietary changes for everyone in your family, focus on having real food at breakfast, even if you’re the only one doing so while the kids continue with their cereal. Allow these changes to begin with you.

Once you’ve committed to improving your own situation, you can gradually tackle the family’s dietary habits. It might be challenging, as there may be resistance and fussiness from the kids, who might push their plates away and question your new approach. However, invest the effort to make these changes for yourself, even when no one else is watching, and observe the positive impact on your energy levels.  

As a busy mom who has navigated this journey, I’ve discovered three valuable tips for putting healthy meals on the table for the family, recognizing the vital connection between hormones and nutrition.

Taking a Deeper Dive Once You’ve Addressed Hormones and Nutrition

Understanding Your Hormones

If you have prioritized eating real food consistently by addressing hormones and nutrition and your periods are still bad then there are other things you can look at.  At that stage it is helpful to investigate what exactly is going on with your hormones. More specifically  what your estrogen is doing and what your progesterone is doing.

Mineral Depletion

From there it is helpful to take a look at whether or not your minerals are super depleted.  These minerals play a vital role in many reactions in your body for detoxification, for blood sugar, and for your gut to function well.  This is something that Leisha teaches – how to simplify that and how to replenish your body after all the stress and babies. 

Liver Support

When stress overwhelms you, causing imbalanced blood sugar and disrupted hormones, your liver becomes just as overwhelmed as you. It can only really do one good thing at a time.  When we work on supporting the liver you are able to detox those hormones that you are not getting out of your body as well as reducing the stress a little more so that you can make enough progesterone and then that starts to cycle the estrogen out. 

It’s a step-by-step process of looking at where you are and what needs to change in your lifestyle.  Oftentimes you don’t even have to do every single step.  Sometimes after implementing these basic first few steps people already start to feel much better. 

Prioritizing nutrition

How do we do this when we are super overwhelmed and just trying to get organized? Oftentimes, you don’t want to prioritize yourself, and you’re the first one to put yourself on the backburner.  We will opt for skipping a meal so that we can get out the door on time. All of these tiny sacrifices that we think are totally normal all start adding up.

As busy moms we’re so quick to give up what we need so that everyone else can be happy and things can just run smoothly. We end up running ourselves ragged, feeling tattered and beaten. Moms, we need to take care of ourselves so that we can do all the things we need to and take care of our family the way we know we want to. 

Taking Control of Your Hormones and Nutrition

Understanding the impact of nutrition on hormone health is crucial for women seeking relief from symptoms associated with PMS and periods. Leisha Drew’s journey and expertise as a holistic hormone coach shed light on the connection between nutrition, hormonal imbalances, and overall well-being. By prioritizing real, nourishing foods, managing stress, and addressing nutritional deficiencies, women can achieve better hormone balance and improve their overall quality of life.

Harnessing the Power of Organization for Hormonal Balance and Nutritional Success

Recognizing the intricate connection between hormones and nutrition is crucial for maintaining a healthy and balanced life. As we navigate the challenges of our busy lives, it becomes evident that finding ways to alleviate daily stress is essential. By implementing effective organizational strategies, we can create a harmonious environment that allows us to be more focused and deliberate in our meal planning.

A well-structured approach not only saves time and energy but also empowers us to make informed choices that support our hormonal well-being and nutritional goals. So, let’s embrace the power of organization as a tool to cultivate balance, reduce stress, and nourish our bodies with wholesome meals. Together, we can unlock the synergy between hormones and nutrition, leading to a vibrant and fulfilling life.

Looking for ways to simplify your meal planning to better balance nutrition and hormones?

Looking for ways to get more organized so that you have the time to cater to your nutritional needs? Be sure to download my Menu Cards to help set you up for success in your kitchen.

I would love for you to share your nutrition hacks in our FREE Facebook community. If you like today’s content and wish to learn more about ways to manage your home, then please head over to Chelsijo.co/SYL.

To learn more about Leisha Drew and her approach to hormone health, listen in on her Happily Hormonal podcast. You can connect with her through her website or follow her on Instagram.

Let’s embrace the power of organization as a tool to cultivate balance, reduce stress, and nourish our bodies with wholesome meals. Together, we can unlock the synergy between hormones and nutrition, leading to a vibrant and fulfilling life.

nourishing your hormones chelsijo

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I go about being more organized to enable me to prioritize nutrition in my home?

A well-structured approach not only saves time and energy but also empowers us to make informed choices that support our hormonal well-being and nutritional goals. Download my Menu Cards system to help you succeed in your kitchen.

keep your hormonal balance in check
connection between nutrition and hormones chelsijo

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