Marina Yanay-Triner of Soul in the Raw is a certified health and nutrition coach. She specializes in raw veganism, and coaches one on one as well as teaches raw vegan classes in San Diego. Her goal is to show people how easy raw veganism can be, and how fun and creative it is to add more raw foods to their lifestyles. She began her raw vegan journey as a result of a powerful healing story in her family, and discovered her own body and a new connection to herself in the process. Click here for instant access to Marina’s free guide + recipes: 10 Foods we should eat Every Single Day.
Hormonal Imbalances and the Power of the Maca Root
I was driving from work one day, and had trouble breathing from the pain. My cramps were out of control. I forgot to take my Ibuprofen with me, the Ibuprofen that I used to take 10 pills of in 1 day every first day of my period.
The pain was mind-blowing, so I stopped the car along the side of a busy road with the intention of resting for a minute on the curb to avoid a car accident.
As soon as I unbuckled my seat belt, I passed out straight onto one of the lanes of this busy road. I woke up bleeding, with a woman standing over me screaming, “are you ok?”
I was confused, and the next thing I saw was the ambulance, as I was throwing up on the side of the road and telling them, “It’s just my period, that is how it is every month”. They couldn’t believe it.
In this article, I want to talk about sneaky symptoms that we may have in our bodies, like painful periods, headaches, skin issues, thinning hair, migraines, and so much more, and where they come from.
If you have some physical or emotional issues that are mysterious and unexplained, stay tuned, because this might be the guide for you.
I will tell you my story of hormonal imbalance, explain the differences between symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women and men, and show you how Maca can be a safe and effective way to guide your body to balance.
I will then share two of my favorite and most delicious Maca recipes with you, so you can start incorporating it right now!
Every single month since I was 15 years old, for 1 day, I was disabled.
I had to keep the Ibuprofen with me at all times, especially since that almost fatal incident I just told you about. Before 15, my periods were calm, unnoticeable even. They came and went.
When I changed my diet to raw veganism, my symptoms greatly improved, but they did not go away.
It was so depressing to me, because I believed I was doing everything I could to achieve better health, but better health was not coming.
It took me many years to research and understand the causes. This painful period made me take countless days off of work and lay in bed in agony.
I always had an intuition that certain events in my life, occurring right around 15, were impacting this.
When I was 15 years old, my life changed drastically. I was raped. A few years later, I went to get help, and found out that I am suffering from PTSD.
I had no clue what Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was, but when I learned about it, I was ecstatic – I finally understood myself and my behaviors, and realized that seemingly strange thoughts and behaviors of mine were happening for a reason.
It’s amazing how so many parts of our body are connected – the emotional and physical walk hand in hand, and in this case, my hormones were intimately connected to the events that made me go to war with being a woman.
Emotional trauma snuck its way into physical imbalance, and my female hormones were out of whack due to PTSD.
Many studies have confirmed that there is a connection between hormonal imbalance and PTSD. During a thermography screening, I was told that I had too much estrogen in my body.
I remembered that, but didn’t pay much attention. Until I started reading and analyzing, making the clear connection between PTSD, my estrogen levels, and my horrible cramps.
You must be frustrated with me right now. Perhaps you are suffering from cramps, or other symptoms that are confusing to you, mysterious even.
Well, don’t lose hope just yet, because I am about to tell you some facts and solutions that you can try to feel balanced, back to yourself again!
What are Hormonal Imbalances
Many women and men suffer from hormonal imbalance, so much so that we are not even aware of what our bodies feel like when we are balanced.
We might think of hormonal issues as they relate to aging, but perhaps many of us are not aware that hormonal imbalances can happen at any age.
The average age for hormonal imbalances is 35 for both women and men.
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the endocrine system. They impact nearly every function in the body, such as metabolism, appetite, sleep, cell growth and repair, fertility and reproduction, as well as emotional health and more.
Hormone imbalance can cause symptoms that effect a person’s emotional and physical health, and they differ slightly between the sexes.
The onset of these is driven by poor diet and lack of exercise, and progress and worsen over time. Because hormonal imbalance sets in gradually, it is very hard to tell it’s there from the onset.
Symptom Differences Between the Sexes
Women who suffer from hormonal imbalances can experience symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, PMS and irregular periods, headaches and migraines, emotional instability, irritability, depression, and anxiety.
They can also experience things like forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, feeling lightheaded, random weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, pain and stiffness in the joints, heart palpitations and abdominal bloating.
They can get oily skin and acne, or very dry and flaky skin, hair thinning or increased growth of hair, virginal dryness or pain during intercourse.
Men may experience decline in sex drive and difficulty achieving an erection, loss of muscle, endurance and energy, weight gain in the abdomen, depression, trouble concentrating, and lowered self-confidence.
Symptoms also include irritability, anger, high blood pressure and cholesterol, joint pain and stiffness, sleep apnea, insomnia, and hair loss and urinary issues.
As you can see, these symptoms cover almost every single bodily function simply because hormones impact almost all of our bodily functions.
These symptoms and many more also lead to clinical conditions like allergies, cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, hypoglycemia, heart disease, and more.
Testing for Hormonal Imbalance
Testing for hormonal imbalance can be done by your doctor, or using functional diagnostics like the Adrenal Stress Index, hormone panels, sensitivity testing (to see whether you are sensitive or allergic to certain foods), and blood panels.
As you can see, testing for hormonal imbalance must be very comprehensive and include many facets of your physical and emotional health.
There are also wonderful starter tools online, where you can complete a quiz to see whether your hormones are balanced or not, though you should not rely on these for definitive answers, but only as starting points to understand your body better. An example of such a test can be found here.
Restoring Hormonal Balance
With proper treatment and the help of some incredible superfoods, hormonal imbalances could be corrected.
There are many supplements and herbs that can be taken to restore hormones, and of course each person’s unique physiology will be positively impacted by a different herb.
It has made a difference in my internal feeling of calmness, and in the pain I have experienced during my periods. And that superfood is Maca.
Now of course, taking Maca without changing your lifestyle, exercise, and outlook on life will probably not accomplish what you are looking for. Start by adopting a whole-foods, plant-based and high raw vegan diet.
Exercise and move in a way that makes you feel good and happy inside. And do everything you can to be happy, calm, and positive.
I have used Louise Hay’s meditations to bring peace into my heart (you can find those on YouTube). We are all unique, and each of us should try a different method to feel more at peace.
Regardless of what you choose, healing your mind and emotions is critical for healing hormonal issues and of course, PTSD, if this is also something you are dealing with like me.
The Health Benefits of Maca
Maca is a perfect superfood to add to your regimen, because unlike prescription drugs, it does not have side effects.
Maca is a cruciferous root vegetable from the Andes Highlands in Peru, and is in the same family as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. It is nicknamed the Peruvian ginseng.
Like other supplements, Maca can be taken in small amounts for a prolonged period of time to truly feel its healing capacities.
Start by taking ½ teaspoon per day, and transition to a daily dose of 1 daily tablespoon, rotating between a few days on and then a few days off.
Maca’s unique earthy taste feels very nourishing and grounding to me, and goes very well in sweet raw vegan treats, smoothies, and desserts. It is perfect in raw vegan dishes because it loses its benefits when overheated.
It is very important to note that just 1 tablespoon of Maca powder contains 54.5 mg of Lysine (while the RDA is about 40mg per kg, depending on age), an amino acids that is often missing in many vegan diets.
It increases energy and stamina, and is taken by many endurance athletes for increased performance.
It is great for promoting sexual function in men and women, boosting libido, increasing endurance, and of course, balancing your hormones and increasing fertility.
Maca is also said to relieve menstrual issues like cramps, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, depression related to menstruation and menopause.
A 2008 study in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that taking maca relieved symptoms of anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction.
Another study published in the Internal Journal of Andrology in 2000 found that maca had a significant impact on subjective perception of general and sexual wellbeing in adult male patients with mild erectile dysfunction.
Maca also restores red blood cells, aiding in anemia and heart disease, keeps your bones and teeth healthy, and promotes quick healing from wounds. It also helps increase muscle mass.
Many also say it helps with acne and blemishes, and helps the skin deal with extreme temperatures better.
Dr. Hugo Malaspina, a cardiologist practicing complementary medicine in Lima, Peru, explains that what makes maca so effective is its ability to encourage the ovaries and other glands to produce hormones, rather than introducing hormones from outside the body.
Maca is wonderful for dealing with anxiety, stress, depression and mood swings, something which I have personally experienced.
If you have cancer related to hormones or high blood pressure, it is important that you ask your doctor before taking maca. Be sure to avoid taking Maca if you are pregnant or lactating.
Sunfood’s “Natural Solutions” does not promote or suggest natural cures, natural healing or natural remedies for any disease, disorder or ailment thereof. This information should be treated as educational material gathered and discovered from various studies, clinical trials and customer reviews. It is designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, and independent conclusions in regards to natural products and alternative health choices. It is best to consult with your healthcare practitioner before attempting any form of natural cure, natural healing or natural remedy to any health issues.