It’s episode 105!
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This week, Noelle and I discuss hormonal balance and sex, recovering from a binge, & PMS and soy.
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[18:27] Hormonal Balance and Sex
[39:30] Recovering From a Binge
[51:41] PMS and Soy
Stefani’s website: http://paleoforwomen.com
Prep Dish is a subscription-based meal planning service with both paleo and gluten-free options. When you sign up, you’ll receive an email every week with a grocery list and instructions for prepping your meals ahead of time.
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Thanks for your support, and for listening! We absolutely love being a part of your lives.
dy for the entire week. You’ll save time and have amazingly delicious meals like Smoky Paprika Chicken Legs, Turkey & Zucchini Lasagna, and Almond Butter Cookies.
Allison, a Registered Dietician, Chef, and the founder of Prep Dish is offering listeners a free 2-week subscription! Go to http://prepdish.com/paleowomen to take advantage of this special deal.
Thanks for your support, and for listening! We absolutely love being a part of your lives.
Soy contains a certain kind of molecule called a “phytoestrogen” that acts like estrogen in the body.Health professionals disagree strongly about whether phytoestrogens are healthy for women to eat. Is soy (and flax, another potent phytoestrogen-containing food) the fountain of youth, or is it a toxin?
What is a phytoestrogen?
Phyto is Greek for “plant.” Estrogen means estrogen. Phytoestrogens are varieties of estrogen found in plants. Unfortunately, they do not exactly resemble the body’s natural estrogen. This makes the effect they have on health complicated.
There are several types of phytoestrogens. The primary kinds are coumestans, isoflavones, and lignans.
So what foods contain phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens can be found in many foods. This list documents the phytoestrogen content in some common foods. Some of the items are not surprising; Flax and Soy rank as number one and two respectfully. Some unexpected foods that contain phytoestrogens include garlic, hops and olive oil.
By far, the foods that contain the most phytoestrogens are soy and flax. These are so high in phytoestrogens that they can impact pretty much everybody, no matter their hormone health. Foods lower in phytoestrogen content such as chick peas or wheat have a very minimal phytoestrogenic impact. For most “healthy” people they shouldn’t be a problem. For women with hormone balance issues (such as me) , however, they may also still have an effect.
In all cases, with hormone balance issues, as well as people who regularly consume vegetable oils, nuts and soy, would do well to consider how potent their phytoestrogen intake may be.
What is estrogen?
Estrogen is actually a catch-all term for a wide variety of chemicals with similar shapes and functions, such as estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2). During a woman’s reproductive years, estradiol levels are much higher than other estrogens. During menopause, estradiol levels drop off, and the bulk of a woman’s estrogen content becomes E1 and E3 (estriol). This is important because E2 is the form of estrogen the ovaries pump out, and is also what is has the greatest effect in a woman’s reproductive years on partitioning fat to the hips and thighs rather than the abdomen. Plummeting E2 is why many women experience increases in abdominal fat during menopause.
E1- Estrone – Weak form of Estrogen, prominent throughout menopause
E2- Estradiol – Strongest and most prominent until menopause, active during reproductive years
E3- Estriol – weakest of the three, levels vary throughout the reproductive and menopausal course
How does the body perform estrogen signaling?
Estrogen is a hormone, which means that it is one of the chemicals in the body that works primarily as a signal: it tells cells and organs what they should be doing. The sex hormone signaling process “begins” in the pituitary (with overhead influence from the hypothalamus in the brain). It is up to the pituitary to tell the ovaries what to do, which is to produce estrogen.
The hypothalamus and pituitary glands have estrogen receptors liberally positioned through them. These receptors tell them how much estrogen is circling throughout the body at any given time.
Think of it like keys and locks: estrogen receptors are the locks, and estrogen molecules are the keys. With more keys, more locks can be filled. With fewer keys, locks end up sitting there empty, and rusted.
When the locks are filled, the pituitary detects “estrogen sufficiency!” in the body, and it slows down the “please pump estrogen” signal it sends to the ovaries. This makes the ovaries produce less estrogen.
The whole purpose of this system is to maintain stable estrogen levels in the blood.
Unfortunately, consuming high quantities of phytoestrogens often interferes with this otherwise healthfully functioning feedback loop.
The medical community’s opinion on what this means
Phytoestrogens act as estrogen in the body. But here’s the problem: while phytoestrogens have a pretty good ability to bind to estrogen receptors, they are not able to signal as well as estrogen.
Phytoestrogens look enough like estrogen to bind to estrogen receptors, but they do not look exactly like estrogen. This makes their ability to perform estrogen functions inferior to true estrogen.
When you eat phytoestrogens, they enter your bloodstream. To many doctors, this means that women with low estrogen levels should eat phytoestrogens. In their perspective, phytoestrogens would signal “fullness” to the estrogen receptors. They would also perform the normal functions of estrogen in the body.
On the other end of the spectrum, many doctors argue that women with high estrogen levels should supplement with phytoestrogens. This is because the phytoestrogens would flood the estrogen receptors. These receptors would down-regulate estrogen production. And, because these phytoestrogens do not resemble true estrogen, estrogenic activity would not actually increase. It would decrease. This, many doctors argue, could overall decrease estrogen production and possibly reduce risks of certain cancers.
In both of these cases, however, the science is not clear cut. Some doctors may think that women with both high and low estrogen levels should supplement with phytoestrogens, but that’s not always a great solution. For women with high estrogen, it can still sometimes make it worse. There simply could be far too much. For women with low estrogen, it can also make it worse. Since different kinds of phytoestrogens communicate differently with different kinds of estrogen receptors, depending on which phytoestrogen women with low estrogen levels consume, it could actually do more harm than good.
Something you may want to look into then is how to support healthy estrogen production first without using phytoestrogens.
How to balance estrogen levels
– Increase fat mass, if underweight
– Decrease fat mass if overweight
– Exercise when it feels right
– Eat anti-inflammatory, paleo foods like organic vegetables and fruits, organ meats, here’s a supplement in case you do not like to eat liver), eggs, fermented foods (on this page are my favorites) and the rockstar superfood cod liver oil can go a long way.
– You can read about all of these and additional suggestions in my book, available here.
But what about the other types of Phytoestrogens?
There are three primary types of phytoestrogens (plus dozens of sub-types): lignans, coumestans, and isoflavones. There are two types of estrogen receptors: estrogen receptor alpha (ERa) and estrogen receptor beta (ERb).
Different estrogen receptors have different shapes, and are distributed unevenly throughout the body.
ERa is concentrated more heavily in the hypothalamus than ERb, for example.
ERb is concentrated more heavily in skin tissue. It also varies for fat cells, for ovarian cells, for different types of brain cells.
Edit 2017: Recently, after learning about new research and working with even more women, I’m finding that plant-based phytoestrogens may promote ER beta activity, which can lower estrogenic potency in the body as a whole, thereby decreasing the risk for certain cancers (this is not true of synthetic estrogen, like that in hormonal birth control or estrogen replacement therapy). Read more about these latest studies right here.
Coumestans have a unique chemical shape (with two hydroxy groups in the same position as estradiol). Coumestol has the same binding affinity for the ERb receptor as estrogen, but it has much less of an affinity for ERa. This means that ERb’s will get filled up by coumestans, but ERa-heavy tissue might suffer a decrease in estrogen-like activity because estrogen production in general gets down-regulated by the hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovaries, etc.., thus making estrogen levels decrease in ERa tissues relative to ERb.
Additionally, the shape of coumestans means that coumestans have the ability to inhibit aromatase.
Aromatase is the process of converting testosterone to estrogen in cells. This can be helpful to know for women with PCOS who have high testosterone and low estrogen levels: it may be helpful to avoid coumestans.
Different isoflavones bind to different estrogen receptors differently. Some bind more strongly to ERa, and others to ERb (genistein, dihydrogenistein to ERb, equal to ERa). Yet most importantly, many (though not all) isoflavanones that have been tested have the same binding affinity as actual estrogen, but half the receptor-dependent transcriptional power. This is a powerful fact: isoflavones have half of the ability to perform estrogenic function as they do to take up space. Isoflavones such as soy can help women with estrogen dominance.
Phytoestrogen biochemistry is complicated. Some studies have shown that phytoestrogens boost estrogen activity, and others have shown that they decrease estrogen activity. This is due in part to the variable biochemical components of different kinds of phytoestrogens I listed above. It may also be due to the broad diversity of women’s physiological responses to phytoestrogen. What were the women’s estrogen levels beforehand? Were they healthy women? Fertile women? Women on the pill or grew up eating soy? Those who are routinely exposed to xenoestrogens? There are too many questions and the variables are still too numerous to say whether all women should avoid soy.
Something we can say definitively however is that women should tread carefully around soy, flax, and other phytoestrogens.
I am a firm believer in bioindividuality. Some women could benefit from phytoestrogen usage. Some may not. It is up to you to figure out which you may be. If you are extremely low or extremely high in estrogen, it seems likely that phytoestrogens could help.
If you do not know, step carefully. It is better to be safe than to be sorry. You can work on balancing your hormones first and foremost through adequate carb and fat intake, through smart exercise (for a way to achieve this at home, click here), through stress reduction, and through an anti-inflammatory diet rich in nutrients.
If you want to experiment with phytoestrogens, start small. Perhaps with a daily bowl of chickpeas or hummus. This is what I personally do.
For further resources on phytoestrogens and how they interface with health :
Why I now believe Phytoestrogens may be good for you
Phytoestrogen Sources you Might not Know You’re Consuming
Menopause and Hot Flashes
Losing weight while you get older
I feel like I’ve been bombarded lately with questions about fad diets. They’ve always been around, but they just don’t seem to go away.
It just seems shiny and new to try a “new” diet instead of sticking to the fundamental principles of a healthy one.
I’ve been noticing this more and more, with the incredible popularity of “keto” which is pretty much paleo circa 2012, and with new books sent to me for my feedback like The Sirtfood Diet (Find it here).
I was able to read and review The Sirtfood Diet, a plan that claims to help you lose 7 pounds in 7 days, all with the power of what they call “Sirtfoods” which are essentially antioxidants, polyphenols, and other health supportive compounds.
What are the kinds of foods the Sirtfood diet wants you to eat? Things like buckwheat, soy, strawberries, turmeric, red onions, kale, dates, garlic, and olive oil, among others. Besides buckwheat (for some) and soy, I had a hard time figuring out how these foods were so lacking in typical healthy diets like the authors claim.
Most people who promote a paleo diet include ample amounts of these, and sometimes the dark chocolate and red wine pictured on the cover, as well-rounded parts of the diet.
Reservetrol, a healthful component the diet authors claim is often missing is available in fabulous multi-vitamin supplements like this one and in many foods like blueberries and cranberries, besides red wine.
Polyphenols are also common across the range of plant based foods and are even available as powders to mix with smoothies (like this one). Most paleo authors value and promote the inclusion of lots of plant based foods in the diet.
Here’s the truth as I see it. The reason you might lose 7 pounds in 7 days is because the first three days consist of 1000 calories of mostly green juice. This is a common trend among fad diet plans- starve you during the first week while you’re motivated (while also telling you that you aren’t starving but are instead “detoxing” which is why you feel like you’re starving) and then working calories up to more maintainable levels so you continue to lose weight but think you are eating much more.
You’re losing water that first week. A little fat is lost too, but its almost scientifically impossible to lose 7 pounds of pure body fat in one week for the average person. It requires a caloric deficit that not even 1000 calories a day can meet.
I have no issues with a diet that supports the inclusion of healthy ancient foods. My mind has changed over the years with regard to gluten-free grains and other dietary components, so long as they are healthy FOR YOU.
The key to lifelong weight loss is learning how to heed your internal cues. Learning your body, understanding its needs, and feeding it nutrient dense food. There doesn’t need to be a special superfood protocol. There just needs to be balance.
I’m never going to say its ok to eat mostly bacon and butter. They’re nice as inclusions, but they don’t have the nutrient density that vegetables do.
I’m never going to be cool with women fasting. Thankfully the Sirtfood diet and I agree on that one (though I still think 1000 calories a day for a woman is pushing it, even for 3 days). If the choice is between you eating or not eating, I’m always going to say, eat.
But eat what makes your body feel good. I know what that looks like for most people- vegetables, fruit, meat, fat. Eat those things, in balance with the other things. with a focus on quality. That’s all you really need. And that’s what Weight Loss Unlocked is all about.
If weight loss has become a struggle following that paradigm, then you should look into seeing a professional. A good functional nutritionist in your area can help you get to the bottom of what is going on and provide a structured plan that will help you reach your goals, along with the accountability and monitoring to help you truly maintain that weight loss.
Please, oh please, don’t just go looking for another crash diet. In the end, you’ll lose much more than some money and a few pounds.
Sex is one of the most important things we do.
Desiring sex, therefore, is one of the most important things we can feel.
According to a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study reported on in February 1999, about 43 percent of women (compared to 31 percent of men) suffer sexual inadequacy for one reason or another. Interestingly, this is thought to actually underestimate the real level of sexual dysfunction in the U.S. Yikes.
What follows is a description of the physiological components of female libido, how to maximize those components, and then a discussion of the psychosocial components. The psychosocial components are the trickiest to get a handle on, but they are also treatable with proper therapy (if necessary), love, empowered embodiment, and raging, well-deserved confidence.
Need more information to find you raging, well-deserved confidence? Check out my bestselling book on women’s health.
What factors play a role in female libido?
Specific foods are not in reality relevant for female libido, except for how they may temporarily increase testosterone levels (a la oysters). Instead, all of the physiological factors that influence female libido boil down to long-term sex hormone levels and balance.
First, absolute levels of hormones are important: for example, the greater amount of sex hormones in the blood, the sexier a woman will feel.
Secondly, balance is also crucial. For example, estrogen is not typically considered important in arousing a woman’s sex drive. But having clinically low estrogen levels–that is, estrogen levels below the baseline for proper sexual function–prohibits absolutely any kind of sensation a woman might have in her clitoris. That’s scary.
This is the effect that all hormones have on sex drive, generally:
1.Testosterone: Increases female libido. Testosterone is the hormone primarily responsible for sex drive in both men and women. When women with hypoactive sexual dysfunction disorder are treated with testosterone, for example, they often experienced increased sex drive.
Higher testosterone levels also enlarge the clitoris (good to know if yours is shy!), but unfortunately if other hormone levels do not rise along with testosterone, symptoms of hyperandrogenism such as facial hair and acne may manifest themselves. For this reason, testosterone supplementation is not an advisable method of increasing female libido.
2. Estrogen: Crucial at baseline for sexual function. It is also the primary hormone responsible for vaginal lubrication. However, estrogen is a testosterone antagonist, so the more estrogen a woman has in her system, the less testosterone she has available to pump up her libido. Estrogen dominance therefore is one of the greatest culprits in contemporary Western sexual dysfunction.
3. Progesterone: Another testosterone antagonist. Having elevated progesterone levels relative to the rest of the sex hormones prevents a woman from achieving orgasm.
4. Prolactin: Not talked about very often, since it’s primary role is in lactation, but it is also involved in pituitary-ovary signalling. Increasing prolactin levels increase vaginal lubrication and sex drive.
5. Luteinizing Hormone: Highly correlated with sex drive. LH is a pituitary hormone that triggers ovulation in a woman. Many researchers believe LH is one of the primary game-makers in sexual arousal.
Because of the role each of these hormones play in female libido, the menstrual cycle demonstrates a clear pattern in fluctuating libido for most women.
So how does the menstrual cycle affect female libido?
Testosterone levels rise gradually from about the 24th day of a woman’s menstrual cycle until ovulation on about the 14th day of the next cycle, and during this period women’s desire for sex has been shown, in general, to increase consistently. The 13th day (the cusp of ovulation) day is generally the day with the highest testosterone levels. It is also the day on which LH spikes. Ovulation, therefore, and no surprise here, is typically the randiest time of the month for a woman. In the week following ovulation, the testosterone level is the lowest and as a result women experience less interest in sex.
During the week following ovulation, progesterone levels increase, and this often results in a woman experiencing difficulty achieving orgasm. Although the last days of the menstrual cycle are marked by a constant testosterone level, women’s libido may boost as a result of the thickening of the uterine lining which stimulates nerve endings and makes a woman feel aroused.
Also, estrogen levels are at their lowest throughout menstruation and into the follicular phase (the first two weeks of the cycle) so women experience the least vaginal lubrication at this time. Because testosterone and estrogen are both increasing, however, sexual desire is ramping up again in time for ovulation.
What factors influence these hormone levels, and how do we make the best of them?
Estrogen Dominance: As I mentioned above, estrogen is a testosterone antagonist. When estrogen levels are too high relative to testosterone levels, female libido plummets. Women can become estrogen dominant by consuming too much soy (since soy acts as an estrogen in the body), by being overweight (since estrogen is produced in fat cells; see my book on healthy weight loss here), and by being stressed out (since estrogen can act as part of the inflammatory response). Women with estrogen dominance often experience symptoms of PMS, too, which does nothing to help libido.
Birth Control Pills: Birth control pills are another way that women can become estrogen dominant. But that is not the only way they negatively effect female libido. Progesterone levels are often elevated out of the normal range on birth control pills, and testosterone sometimes plummets.
Yet the effects of birth control pills on women is wholly unpredictable. Increasing levels of one hormone might decrease another, or might increase them exponentially, depending on how the woman’s HPA axis and ovarian feedback mechanisms work. Women also experience a whole range of side effects on birth control pills ranging from acne to suicidal depression. Birth control pills are no laughing matter, and their effect on female libido is wide ranging.
All that said, since birth control really is so unpredictable, birth control can play a stimulatory role on female libido, especially if she has chronically low levels of sex hormones in her blood. Some women feel like a million bucks on estrogen pills. If that is the case, however, birth control pills are only putting a band-aid on the problem, rather than solving it at its core. That often requires looking at physiological problems that deplete sex hormone levels such as low body fat, stress, and energy deficits.
See Birth Control Unlocked for more information on birth control options outside of the pill.
Testosterone blockers: Some women get on testosterone blockers to help them with symptoms of hyperandrogenism or problems in their menstrual cycles that come from high testosterone production. However, blocking testosterone is as good as eliminating it entirely. Spironolactone and flutamide are the two most commonly used testosterone blockers.
Hypothyroidism: Up to ten percent of women have clinical or sublicinical low thyroid issues. Hypothyroidism is significantly linked to low libido. T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, is crucial for the proper functioning of cells and organs. Without T3, the reproductive system barely manages to inch forward. Sex hormones suffer greatly, both at the ovarian level as well as in production at the hypothalamic and pituitary levels.
Hypothyroidism is caused by a wide variety of problems. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a an autoimmune condition that accounts for the vast majority of Western hypothyroidism. This can be mitigated by eliminating modern toxins, specifically wheat, dairy, and omega 6 vegetable oils, from the diet, and also by paying attention to gut health with gut-healing diets such as the GAPS diet or the one I recommend in Sexy By Nature.
Iodine-deficient diets can cause hypothyroidism. This used to be uncommon in western countries, since western countries iodize their salt, but sea salt often does not contain much iodine in it. Moreover, many Americans are now eschewing salt for “health benefits” (this is misguided), so their iodine levels are suffering. The solution to this is to consume iodized salt, or to perhaps supplement with kelp for a while. Iodine supplementation is tricky, however, and should build up slowly a la the recommendations of Paul Jaminet.
High intake of raw cruciferous vegetables can hurt an already suffering thyroid gland. Yet more importantly, low-carbohydrate diets contribute to hypothyroidism. Glucose is required for the conversion of T4 to T3 in the liver, so without adequate glucose supplies the body’s thyroid functioning suffers. This is a problem that many paleo women wrestle with. Adding just 50 or 100 grams of starchy carbohydrate to a daily diet, however, can increase energy, improve sleep quality, improve quality of skin and hair, and also boost reproductive function.
Repairing sub-clinical hypothyroidism has also been shown to remove ovarian cysts and help anovulatory women both ovulate and menstruate. For more on hypothyroidism, see Chris Kresser‘s work.
Stress: Stress is a psychological libido-killer, but it also has a physiological analog. When stressed, the body produces cortisol. Cortisol has a negative feedback effect on the hypothalamus, and it can inhibit all of the hormonal signalling that comes out of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for inciting pituitary function, so stress plays a very real role in inhibiting reproductive function. As many as five percent of women suffer reproductive symptoms of chronic stress.
Low Dopamine: Dopamine is the most important neurotransmitter for sexual prowess and reproductive function. Fortunately, dopamine deficiencies are very often corrected with the introduction of exercise into someone’s daily life. Almost nothing increases dopamine levels as well as exercise does. (Although sex also has potent dopamine-releasing effects: skin-to-skin contact shoots dopamine levels through the roof. But then dopamine levels plummet post-orgasm, creating withdrawal-type symptoms. This is how the body reinforces sexual behavior.)
Some women have reported to me personally the return of menstruation from amenorrhea after resuming regular sexual activity. They were as surprised as I was. Yet perhaps we should not have been so surprised. Dopamine is a potent neurotransmitter and, coupled with serotonin, can significantly up-regulate sex hormone production.
Low serotonin: Though excess serotonin has been linked to decreased arousal, serotonin also increases prolactin levels. Prolactin is important for vaginal lubrication and for sexual arousal. Ways to increase serotonin levels include adequate protein ingestion (.5 g/lb of lean body weight each day), adequate sun exposure, and perhaps most important of all, adequate sleep.
Low Body Fat/Excess Exercise/Energy Deficits: These three phenomenon almost always manifest in tandem. Yet the end result is the same: with low body fat, with excess exercise, and with caloric deficits, the body detects starvation. Leptin levels plummet, and the hypothalamus stops thinking that the body is sufficiently fed. Without leptin, the entire pituitary sex hormone cascade is not enacted. No LH, no testosterone, no estrogen, no prolactin, no progesterone. Body fat is unquestionably crucial for all reproductive function. Female libido just happens to be the one that’s the most fun to explore once proper body fat levels are restored.
Psychological factors effecting female libido:
There remain the psychological aspects to increasing female libido. And of them there are many. Perhaps a woman’s libido has been killed by a negative sexual experience. Or perhaps the woman is too stressed out by other factors to care about sex…or perhaps sexual relations between two people are strained because they can’t stand each other outside of the bedroom even more than they can’t stand each other inside the bedroom. Perhaps a woman’s lover is an ugly lump.
Many of those factors are outside my realm of expertise.
Some of them are inside of it, however, and fiercely.
Women need first to think they are sexy. I am so tired of women comparing themselves to others, and always thinking that beauty is relative. Beauty is not relative. It is everywhere. And in everyone. If she is beautiful it does not mean that you are less so. Period. I don’t care if you have a chubby stomach. I don’t care if you think your hair is boring. I don’t care if your right boob is larger than your left. Not a single other person cares either. At all. The only person who cares is you. No one wants to make you “perfect” but you.
You don’t have a single thing in the world to apologize for. No one is looking for apologies.
Instead, people are looking for statements. They are looking for fun. They are looking for inspiration, for character, and for life.
In that way, what other people want from each other is not necessarily for them to meet some ridiculous standard but instead to make them feel good. Whether that’s through sharing of your self-love, through your wicked personality, or through your liberated and unapologetically wild fantasies is totally up to you. The point being that confidence and self-love are the most important factors for actually being attractive. Sure, classic “looks” may follow, but only after a woman has convinced others that she is worth looking at.
Not a single person in the world wants to sleep with an apologizer. “Sorry, I don’t like who I am,” does not necessarily read like a 5-star resume. People won’t be throwing themselves at that. What they will instead throw themselves at is: “I am different from what you expect. But that’s an asset. I am worthy like you wouldn’t believe, and I am going to rock your world.”
Confidence is key. Beauty is key. And the thing is– damnit–it’s not faked confidence. It’s not faked beauty. You really are beautiful. You really are unique. You really are a natural, sexual, alive, vibrant woman. You do not have a thing in the world to apologize for. You are who you are, and you love being yourself, and you can share yourself powerfully and joyfully with others through sex.
This kind of self-love is why people get laid. It’s not because they have perfect torsos and racks as big as wombats. It’s because they have hot souls.
So confidence is important. So important, I wrote a book on how to find it through food and lifestyle. There’s one other crucial aspect I can speak to. It’s this:
SEX IS AWESOME.
IT IS NOT DIRTY.
Look. Sex is natural. Sex is so natural, in fact, that it’s the very reason we all exist. And sexual desire is natural. It is, by extension, the very reason we all exist. For that reason, along with many others, there is not a single immoral aspect to having sexual desire or having sex. Period.
And sex is not gross.
And a woman’s desire is not gross.
And a woman’s vagina is not gross.
And a woman having sex is not gross and not a slut.
Or maybe she is a slut, but that’s cool because that’s natural, too.
Men who don’t understand any of that are not real men.
The whole point being that American culture is a culture in which sexuality, and female sexuality in particular, is a dirty thing.
That is not okay.
It’s so not okay.
It is, in fact, plain old wrong. Sex is natural. If a woman (or man!) wants to be delighting in it, and more power to her. She is embracing her natural body. She is embracing her natural desires. She is owning her own confidence. And she is exalting in the vibrancy of her very existence.
If that’s not hot, I don’t know what is.
High fives for sex!
I’ve occasionally seen a somewhat disturbing idea in the paleo community about water.
There’s an idea that we should “eat” most of our water through fresh fruits and vegetables and neglect the actual drinking of water, only drinking when we feel thirsty.
While I’m sure these people don’t mean not drinking ANY water, I think the advice can be dangerous.
It’s a nice idea to get our water from food and there may be some truth to the fact that it is better absorbed as a part of food. But the reality is that about 80% of the water we consume as humans comes from liquid we DRINK.
And the vast majority of Americans, on healthy diets or not, are probably not drinking enough water.
We are bombarded day in and day out with cues that confuse our brains. We often think we are hungry when we are thirsty, for example.
And that’s why relying on what we “feel” isn’t a great indicator for most people.
Most of us know that dehydration can cause a range of health issues from fatigue and lack of energy to difficulty losing weight, yet we often place it low on the list of important changes to make to help speed weight loss or health gains. Why water isn’t a more important part of our health conversation kind of amazes me!
Here’s where I might have people chime in to talk about the other dangerous pendulum swing- drinking as much water as you can possibly manage.
This, while well-intentioned (because the reality is that most people who try to drink a lot of water probably don’t end up going much over recommended levels) can be dangerous in the very well-disciplined, in athletes, and in others.
So how much water should you drink?
That depends on you.
The average woman should get around 9, 8 oz. cups of water a day, this is what is generally agreed upon in the scientific community and among nutritionists. Some might need more, men need a bit more, but 9-13 cups is a good benchmark.
Caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee CAN be counted in your daily cups. They do cause some moderate water loss but not enough to make them not count.
You all know that I’m not big on caffeine, but many people function well with some, so I recommend limiting it if you must drink it. Caffeinated beverages shouldn’t make up the majority of what you’re drinking on a daily basis.
What about athletes?
If you’re working out regularly, your fluid needs might change. Drinking a cup or two 30 minutes to an hour before exercise is a good idea, and then replenishing with a cup every 30 minutes throughout, but there’s no need to be gulping down tons of water.
In fact, over-hydration can cause flushing of valuable sodium and potassium in the body and can lead to serious health conditions.
Those who sweat a lot or who are performing sweat inducing activities should keep in mind that sweat is salty. That salt is sodium and if it isn’t being replenished, especially in very hot climates during long bouts of exercise like long runs, it can cause low sodium and potassium as well, especially when combined with over-hydration.
Stick to the recommendations above, but when you’re doing something really sweaty, it’s a good idea to replenish electrolytes with some kind of sports beverage.
There are some sports powders that I like for this purpose which you can buy on Amazon that aren’t chock full of high fructose corn syrup and food dyes.
This electrolyte powder is mixed into your drink and comes in several flavors. It’s sweetened with Stevia and is gluten and soy free. Find the multi-flavor value pack here.
And don’t forget to put it in your BPA free glass water bottle!
How do you stay hydrated?