If you caught on to the fact that I lifted the title of this blog post from the Mario Party mini game, “Handcar Havoc” – you get some gluten-free brownie points! Now that I’ve completely de-aged myself and sectioned myself into the mass of millennials out there, allow me to continue.
You may have started to hear more about hormones in mainstream media and what happens when they are “out of whack.” That’s because hormones are powerful messengers that direct and control every function in the body and influence cellular activity. Both men and women alike have hormones in varying amounts; with males embodying more testosterone and women with more estrogen and progesterone. But when external factors such as synthetic hormones and xenoestrogens come into play, that’s when we begin to see the result of hormone imbalances and adverse symptoms.
Insomnia, temper, low libido, uncontrollable cravings and stress are just a handful of the effects that can occur as a result of hormones being imbalanced. But why or how are our hormones becoming imbalanced to begin with? Daily encounters with caffeine, alcohol, sugar and stress are some of the contributing factors, but what we really need to be avoiding are xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens (“estrogen overload”) are by far the worst culprit for disrupting our hormones in that they mimic the effects of estrogen, are 1000X stronger than human made hormones and are found in things we encounter on a daily basis, including the environment, hormones in animal meat and pesticides. Natural estrogen is necessary in women (though more minimally in men) in specific amounts for a healthy cycle and are able to be eliminated easily. However, estrogen mimickers such as xenoestrogens, aren’t eliminated naturally and end up accumulating in fatty tissue (such as breast tissue). When absorbed, xenoestrogens are highly cancer causing and can contribute to various estrogen-dominant conditions such as: breast cancer, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, premature sexual development, heavy periods and infertility.
Where Exactly Are These Xenoestrogens Coming From, You Ask?
2. Conventional (non-organic) Beef – that are given zeranol or estradiol, which convert to estrogen)
3. Dairy Products
4. Cosmetics – make up, shampoo, conditioners, shaving creams, deodorants using phthalates or parabens
5. Plastics – BPA and phthalates
6. Cleaning Chemicals – household cleaners, laundry detergent, dish detergent containing nonylphenol and octyphenol
7. Fabric Softeners – containing benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, ethanol, A-terpineol, ethyl acetate, camphor, chloroform or pentane
8. Bleach – used to whiten tampons, pads and toilet paper produces dioxin
9. Pharmaceuticals – synthetic estrogens that all contain toxic estrogens, including the birth control pill, fertility drugs and other hormone therapies
Before you go into panic mode, let me make something very clear – I understand that efforts to avoid xenoestrogens altogether seems impossible after looking at this list of contributors, most of which we encounter on a daily basis. In saying that, we need to shift our focus to something I strongly believe in and strive for, which is to do the absolute best we can in reducing and eliminating our exposure to xenoestrogens as much as possible, including detoxing excess estrogen on a regular basis.
Here’s How You Can Get Started
1. Swapping out plastic water bottles and tupperware for glass water bottles and containers
2. Switching to natural or homemade beauty and skin care products
3. Buying organic whenever possible (especially when it comes to dairy and meat)
4. Consider alternative natural forms of contraceptives or hormone therapies
5. Keep soy intake to a minimum (as it contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones which mimics the activity of estrogen in the body)
6. Swap your tampons/pads for a menstrual cup (no dioxin, eco-friendly and very economical)
7. Keep alcohol and caffeine intake to a minimum
8. Eat a whole foods-based diet that supports detoxification (beets, dandelion greens, leafy greens, avocados, garlic, lemon, cabbage and turmeric) *In some cases, a supplement containing I3C, DIM, D-glucarate may be necessary to detox excess estrogen
9. Ensure elimination pathways (bowels, kidneys, liver) are working properly by increasing fibre and water intake
10. Keep stress to a minimum by engaging in stress-relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, stretching or deep breathing
How do you keep your toxic exposure to a minimum?