“I don't have hot flashes. I have short, private vacations in the tropics” ~ Anonymous
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There's a little known secret at the gym. A vent a bit to the north of the center and if you stand directly underneath, it's a bit like being in the Arctic. For an hour every morning, I oscillate between the vent and my spot in front of the fan
I haven't even begun menopause .. yet
In between, I sometimes wonder when topics like these started to be woven into the everyday conversations, with all of the wonderful the women in my life?
“Yes, yes, my weekend was good. Would you ever try hormone replacement therapy?”
“Of course I'll pass along the recipe for chocolate cake. Did I tell you? Last night it was ten degrees below zero, and I was standing in the backyard, at 2 am, in the snow, nearly naked.”
“Ack! All of a sudden I'm covered from head to toe in a squishy new layer of fat that won't go away. Do you guys want to come over for dinner this weekend? I'll put on a roast.”
“I haven't been too cranky, weepy, or weird lately, have I? You'd tell me, right? Like if I had spinach in my teeth?”
So today I thought it might be a fun topic to write a 101 about the many joys of ..
A quick primer; what is a hormone? They're chemical messengers that are secreted by one tissue and travel in our body fluids to affect another tissue.
What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is actually a group of hormones that include
Estriol – Which is made from the placenta and produced during pregnancy
Estrone – Which is wide-spread throughout the body and happens to be the only estrogen hormone present after menopause
Estradiol – The alpha (main) hormone in the group, and is produced in the ovaries. It's the hormone we can thank for breasts, hips, and strong bones. Estradiol can also predispose us to conditions like endometriosis and fibroids
These three hormones are secreted in short bursts as we (women and men!) go about our days, and do a lot of very important things for our bodies. They help our bones, brains, uteri, hearts, blood vessels, skin, and lungs
“Wait, did you say men produce estrogen too?”
Yep, turns out men make small amounts in their adrenal gland, as well as their sex organs. Estrogen helps regulate the fluid in their reproductive tract.
Certainly, men produce testosterone as well. In fact, they make far more testosterone than women produce estrogen. Because, as it turns out, estrogen is far more
Edward Adelbert Doisy
One of the reasons we know so much about estrogen today is thanks to Edward Doisy, the man who actually extracted all three of the hormones from, a lot of pregnant women's
The kind of story legends are made of
Edward Doisy was working at St. Louis University Medical School when it was discovered that pregnant women's urine contains pretty high levels of estrogen. From that moment on, he made it his number one mission to get an awful lot of it.
At one point the poor driver whose mission it was to collect and deliver all of this urine from pregnant women was pulled over by the police(!) With gallons of amber-colored fluid in the back of the car, bootlegging was the suspicion of the moment.
As the story goes, he offered to let the officer drink 'till his heart's content “My God, it's urine! Your job is bad enough without getting pinched for it. Drive on!”
(ps: You can read more about it all in the Journal of Biologic Chemistry, 2002)
How do different levels of estrogen in our bodies affect us?
(To be continued .. )
A fun recipe to share today
For quite some time, nut butter has been the answer to most of my quick snack needs. Need a pick-me-up? Apple slices with peanut butter. Something a tad more substantial? Almond butter on toast with some fruit or jelly. Something sweet? Vegan cookies with almond butter and sea salt. Something sweet, right now? A pitted date or two filled with almond butter.
The combinations are endless, and the result is always satisfying.
After discovering this past week, I have a food sensitivity to both almonds and peanuts; something different was in order. I've tried making my own nut butter a few times in the past, though it wasn't until recently that I got the hang of it.
A few tips to share
You only need one ingredient to get the creamiest result, nuts. You'll probably want to add a little bit of salt as well
All kinds of nuts are good, either on their own or mixed. Oil or other liquids can certainly be added, although they can react with the natural oils with the result being a sticky paste.
I like the addition of hemp, chia, and pepitas, for all of their added nutrients, though they're certainly optional.
The best-flavored nut butter comes if you're able to slightly roast the nuts. It's another step, sure, but I think it's always worth it. Typically I'll do 10-15 minutes at 275-300 deg F.
A decent food processor is a must in this case. I've done it as well in my Vitamix, although have found the food processor is a bit nicer to use because of it's wider base, which lets the whole batch be mixed at once, not just the nuts at the bottom.
Be prepared to process for quite a while. Typically it's 10-12 minutes before the nut butter is completely smooth and creamy.
ps: You can read more about estrogen in Part II of the series
— — —
~ Adapted from Navitas Naturals
Walnut and Super Seeds Butter
- 1 cup walnuts,
- ½ cup hemp hearts
- ⅔ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- ½ Tbsp honey optional, but nice if you'd like a bit of added sweetness
- ¼ tsp fine-grain sea salt
- Roast the Nuts
- Preheat the oven to 300° F
- Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 10-15 minutes
- Let them cool 5 or 10 minutes
- Make the Nut Butter
- Add the walnuts to the bowl of your food processor and grind them until they're the consistency of flour (~ 30-45 seconds)
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend, stopping to scrape the sides as needed (~ 10-12 minutes)
- You'll know it's ready when the mix is a smooth, creamy blend, with a bit of a sheen.
- It may take a little longer to get the mix smooth enough, but never fear, keep on blending.
- The nut butter can be stored in a lidded glass jar in the fridge for a few months.