How to Eat for Hypothalamic Amenorrhea

How to Eat for Hypothalamic Amenorrhea

One of the most common questions I get in emails, on social media and here on the blog is how to overcome hypothalamic amenorrhea.

Most specifically, women want to know: how do you eat for hypothalamic amenorrhea? how much do you eat for hypothalamic amenorrhea? When do you eat for hypothalamic amenorrhea?

Hypothalamic amenorrhea, given that it’s the condition of having starved (intentionally or not) your body into a state of infertility with low calorie diets, fasting, or excessive exercise, requires a lot of nourishment and care.

I personally have done it. (And overcome PCOS at the same time, too.) I have coached countless women through it.

And you can do it, too.

Here’s how:

Eat for Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: The General Principle

First and foremost, you need to eat. 

Normally, our culture tells people to “eat less, exercise more.”

For hypothalamic amenorrhea, usually the problem however is that you have followed this advice. So now you have to reverse it.

You have to eat more, and exercise less. You have to relax. You have to give your body the nourishment (in the form of calories) it needs in order to consider itself well-fed. You have to reverse the damage done to your hormone signalling mechanisms from months, years, or even decades of under-feeding yourself.

You have to focus on your health, wellness, fertility, happiness, and activities rather than on the specific size of your body.

You have to learn to accept your body as a soft animal, and let it be the size that it wants to be.

Work on appreciating your body for what it does, not for what it looks like. (I know it is easier said than done – here is a great place to start, or here).

Then nourish yourself to high heaven, focusing on eating more, eating plenty, eating bountifully.

Here are the primary pieces of advice I give to all women I encounter with HA:

Eat for Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: Specifics

1. Eat more

You are probably used to eating at least half of what you should be. So eat more. A lot more.

Shoot for at minimum 2000 calories a day. If you are active, make it 2500. Julia Ross says that she believes all women should eat 2300 calories a day.

I don’t recommend counting calories precisely – but it can be important for a lot of people starting out with eating more to keep at least ballpark figures in mind in order to make sure you eat enough.

2. Eat when you’re hungry

Do not go hungry. Whenever your body detects hunger signalling hormones, it decreases thyroid and sex hormone production. In order to properly produce these hormones and get your fertility, sex drive, clear skin, and strong bones back, eat whenever you feel hungry.

3. Don’t stop eating until you’re reasonably full

Many people who suffer from hypothalamic amenorrhea eat regularly but always try to stop themselves from reaching a state of fullness. This ridiculously just deprives your body of good satiation hormones it needs to get “fed” signals. It also sets you up for more hunger faster.

4. When in doubt, eat more rather than less

If you don’t know if you’ve eaten enough, go ahead and eat more. There is nothing to fear – in terms of your health – from eating more food, especially if it’s nice, healthy whole foods. There is a chance you might gain a few pounds, especially if you are under your body’s currently desired set point due to your previous behaviors. But this will not be a bad thing. This will be a good thing because it means reassuring your body it is being fed.

5. Eat when you wake up

While you are sleeping, technically you are fasting.

After dinner and a full night’s rest, you have probably gone 8-14 hours without food.

You might wake up and not be hungry, but that is probably because you have conditioned yourself out of it. So eat when you wake up. Even if it’s just one or two hundred calories, that’ll be enough to break your fast and let your body know that today you are going to eat.

(Also: feel free to eat right before bed!)

6. Forget “3 square meals”

In paleo and other health spheres online, you will often hear people say that you should only eat in 3 square – or even 2 square – meals a day.

They say – don’t graze. 

But here’s the thing:

Everybody has a different cure.

For someone dealing with diabetes, eating in meals could help them manage their blood sugar and insulin levels.

But you do not have diabetes.

You have hypothalamic amenorrhea. What works for someone else is not necessarily what works for you. What cures someone else is not necessarily what cures you.

The answer for them is to eat in meals. Your answer is to eat when you are hungry. And if you want to – you can eat all day long. Eat in six small-moderate sized meals if you like. Or eat in 5. Or just simply snack all day, if that’s what you feel like.

The point of eating to overcome hypothalamic amenorrhea is to eat, and to eat bountifully, and to assure your body that you are fed. Restricting yourself to three square meals a day is not the right course of action for you.

Of course, if you still want to eat in three square meals a day, you are more than welcome to. Just make sure that you still hit your 2000 or 2500 calorie minimum, and that you never force yourself to feel hunger between the meals.

7. Get all the macronutrients

Don’t be low carb.

Don’t be low fat.

Eat plenty of both. Your body needs fat to manufacture hormones; it needs carbohydrates to feel good and fed, as well as to produce thyroid hormone.

I recommend starting with 150 grams of carbohydrate a day for overcoming hypothalamic amenorrhea.

Start also with 50 grams of fat.

Get at least 50 grams of protein.

Now of course you’ll notice that adding up 50 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbohydrate, and 50 grams of fat is still much less than 2000 or 2500 calories. This is true. I am not saying that you should eat these amounts, but that they should be your absolute minimum for that particular macronutrient. If you don’t like fat all that much, just make sure you eat at least 50 grams, then fill up the rest of your diet with carbs. If you are the opposite and don’t like carbs all that much, make sure you still get at least 150 grams and fill up the rest of your diet with fat.

Set macronutrient minimums, not maximums.

8. Focus on quantity, not quality

Now, this is the exact opposite of advice I normally give people when they are trying to be healthy.

One of my favorite things to say is that people need to focus on the quality of their food, and care less about the quantity.

In general, this is great advice. High quality food is super important for being healthy in the long run.

But for overcoming hypothalamic amenorrhea, what you actually need more than anything is calories. 

So, yes, if you decide to eat all 2500 calories a day in the form of vegetables and fruits and other paleo delights, you are more than welcome to.

But if you focus on being nourishing and then add in some hyper-caloric foods on top of that – like paleo desserts, or simply regular dessertsgo right ahead.

I personally got my period back when I added chocolate and oat cereal to my diet. A good friend of mine got hers back when she was going through a period of anxiety and ate a lot of candy. No joke. What your body needs is energy. Quality is important, but you have got to make sure you get the quantity you need. Do what you need to to make that happen.

Beyond food: Overcoming hypothalamic amenorrhea

Bonus point 9. Exercise less

Exercise less. A lot less. If you have cut back on exercise and still haven’t seen results, keep cutting back. Just a couple work outs a week (and not 90 minutes in a spin class) and some gentle walking or yoga is a great way to go. Don’t make yourself work out if you don’t have the energy, and don’t stress your already tired body.

What your body needs now is gentleness. Let it be gentle.

Here is a list of indicators you may be over-exercising.

10. Don’t nitpick your weight

When women are overcoming hypothalamic amenorrhea, they almost inevitably express concern to me about their weight.

They say – “I know I might have to gain weight, but how much?” “Will I have to go back to how heavy I was before?” “Will I become heavier than I was before?”

The thing is – the relationship between weight and hypothalamic amenorrhea is different for everybody. Some gradually gain a little bit of weight until they start to menstruate. Some don’t gain weight but simply benefit from eating more calories. Some people swing up high in weight and then come back down. Others swing up higher in weight then don’t come back down.

It varies.

So the only advice I can give you, if you really care about your period, your fertility, your sex drive, your strong bones, your clear skin, your good sleep, and your improved calm and mental health, is to learn to be okay with a bigger, squishier body.

I did. You can read a bit about my journey in this post here on being sexy while gaining weight, this one here on our lack of objectivity about our size, this one here on the health benefits of gaining weight for me, or in this book – in which I also give my best advice for body acceptance – here.

 

So that’s my advice on how to eat for hypothalamic amenorrhea.

Soon I will release a meal plan for those of you who would like more guidance. In the meantime, simply follow these ten guidelines. More food, at more of the time, with more relaxing. It’s simple – but it truly is the trick to eating to overcome hypothalamic amenorrhea.

For more on HA, see my posts Signs and Symptoms of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, Overcoming Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Treatment.

Also, if you happen to be one of the 15% of American women who has PCOS – or maybe you have hypothalamic amenorrhea but also don’t quite fit the bill – check out this post on how you can have PCOS and hypothalamic amenorrhea at the same time.

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

5 Reasons I Eat Gluten and Love it

5 Reasons I Eat Gluten and Love it

I remember I was once in the kitchen at a paleo cocktail party, schmoozing with the biggest and baddest in paleo names. It was back in 2014, I believe.

There were about eight people in the room. Seven of us – so everybody there except for me – had a glass of booze in their hand. Most of them were drinking tequila. Some of them, chardonnay.

A couple of them were lightly puffing on cigars.

I mentioned in a super casual, off-hand way (though I knew from the constricted feeling in my chest that it wouldn’t come across quite that casually), that I had eaten a handful of Chex cereal the morning before.

The room went silent.

Then went cacophonous. Everyone was exclaiming. “Stef, what about gluten!” 

“The gluten!”

“The gluten!”

Yes, what about the gluten?, I thought.

What about the cigars, and the tequila?, I wondered.

So I am more than happy to say publicly – as I do on the podcast – that I do occasionally consume gluten. I even do it deliberately. It’s not even a mistake. It’s deliberate. 

Here’s why:

1. I do not have an autoimmune disease

There are some people whom I think should never eat gluten or in fact any grain products.

These are those who suffer from autoimmune diseases (if you do – you should definitely treat it carefully with diet. Check out what I think the best resource is for doing so here).

Gluten and other proteins found in grain products do most certainly have an inflammatory and sometimes even deadly effect on people with autoimmune diseases. But do they have the same effect on people without autoimmune disease?

They don’t.

Do they cause autoimmune disease?

It doesn’t look, necessarily, like they do.

Even while it might be common paleo lore for gluten to “tear holes in the gut, cause gut permeability, and lead to autoimmunity” (something I have personally said), the causes of autoimmunity are far less simple.

Nutrient status, particularly vitamin D status, genetics, gut flora, and immune system health all appear to be major players in the development of autoimmune disease (see, for example, gut flora, here). Gluten may be a trigger for some people, and will certain exacerbate autoimmunity, yet sensitivity to it often comes after the development of autoimmune disease, not before. 

So if you do not have autoimmune disease and otherwise appear to be in good health, gluten will most likely not cause autoimmune disease to happen in you.

(To reiterate, here’s my favorite book on overcoming autoimmunity permanently).

2. I don’t have symptoms 

Many people will argue that even they do not have a specific allergy to gluten and grains, they still have a sensitivity, or an intolerance.

This is totally legitimate. Many studies seem to indicate that people’s obsession with gluten-free diets causes a placebo-type effect and the actual removal of gluten isn’t the real help. Nevertheless, there may still be real truth to it. I won’t tell you you’re wrong about the symptoms you experience. And even if they are psychosomatic – that is, caused by your own brain – they are still real.

I personally am not one of these people. I don’t have gastrointestinal distress when I consume gluten. I don’t get headaches. I don’t break out in pimples.

I do sometimes get thirsty and tired. I assume this is from a blood sugar fluctuation. But I am aware of this symptom and I am okay with it. Plus, if I only have a little bit of bread or a wheat tortilla, it won’t be enough to affect me that badly.

I cede that it is possible that I suffer from some internal damage when consuming gluten. But I have no way to know that without expensive medical testing, and all of my routine blood work has always come back just fine. Given that I am symptom-free, I simply do not worry about it.

3. The nourishment of different foods is relative

I make the argument in my book Sexy by Nature that even though grains might be tolerable for people, they still are not ideal.

I stand by that today. They aren’t ideal. They aren’t broccoli. They aren’t kale. They certainly aren’t pasture-raised eggs or beef or liver.

Grains are nutritionally “eh.” They have pretty little to offer. Some B vitamins (if the grains have been fortified, which actually isn’t all that great), trace minerals, a bit of magnesium, actually. Zinc. But that’s it.

And they have antinutrients in them. Antinutrients are types of chemicals that bind with nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins in the gut and then flush them out of your system before you even get a chance to absorb them into your bloodstream. Eating bread with a salad, therefore, “steals” some of the nutrients  from the salad.

But here’s the thing: the nourishment level of all foods is different.

If you eat a lot of white rice, for example – and a lot of the world’s cultures do, without health problems – then a significant portion of your diet is relatively devoid of nutrients. White rice has almost nothing in it but calories (which, to be clear, is an important aspect of nourishment).

100% of your diet cannot necessarily be the “perfect” foods – and what are those anyway, without balance?

It’s okay to eat foods that aren’t at the top of the nourishing list from time to time. All foods are relative, and are diverse, too. Feel free to engage in some empty calories from time to time.

4. All around I eat a nourishing diet

I might eat gluten from time to time, or other “unhealthy” foods like the deep-fried chicken I had at a Thai restaurant last night, but I do by and large eat a nourishing whole foods diet.

The bulk of my diet is plants. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. I eat high quality animal meat and eggs. I include organ meats from time to time. I eat high quality seafood. I make sure to get plenty of sunshine or to take a vitamin D supplement. I am, by all accounts, pretty well nourished.

That being the case, and being in reasonably good health, there is nothing to lose from some empty calories here or there. Literally nothing at all.

Sometimes paleo leaders like to say that everything you eat either harms or heals your body. Maybe. I think it’s much more complicated than that. I think bodies are complex. I think the best thing to do is chill out, not worry about it, and just focus on being a well-rounded human being who is both mentally and physically well nourished.

5. “Perfect Health” doesn’t exist

Why eat a “perfect” diet?

Why make sure every food you eat follows specific rules?

Why track every nutrient you consume?

What are you running from?

As I have said before, I think that a lot of people eat “perfect” diets because they are afraid of being immoral, are afraid of being overweight, or are afraid of dying.

I heartily encourage you to let go of these attachments, because there is nothing moral about the food you eat – it’s just food (well, I’d argue that local produce and humane animal treatment is more moral). But in terms of the quality of food, there is no morality.

And there is no crazy weight gain.

No perfect body.

And certainly no immortality.

Being paleo will not prevent you from feeling pain, or from dying.

So my choice – and my advice – is to simply let go of perfection.

It’s to embrace life and it’s bumps.

It’s to let my choices go with the flow.

It’s to have a piece of home-baked bread once in a while, or perhaps a sandwich wrap at Starbucks when I’m on the go.

It’s to drink a glass of wine or enjoy a fine cigar.

I stay focused on nourishing myself, absolutely I do.

But I do so without rules, and with balance, and freedom and joy.

 

I'm paleo and I eat gluten. Here are five reasons why.

 

 

These are the five reasons that I sometimes eat bread. What do you think? What do you do?

PS – (No, I will not tell you precisely how much of anything I eat, or how much precisely of anything you should eat. 😉 )

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

I Take 3 Kinds of Magnesium: Here’s Why

I Take 3 Kinds of Magnesium: Here’s Why

Magnesium is underrated.

70% of Americans do not get the recommended daily dose of magnesium. And magnesium is crucial for more than 300 essential chemical reactions in the body. Without magnesium, these vital reactions simply don’t take place.

Without magnesium, systems malfunction all over the map, from bone growth to adrenal health to the ability to fall asleep at night.

Magnesium is also, and perhaps most importantly, one of the primary nutrients involved in the regulation of cellular stress and activity.

And when I say stress here, I do mean stress. Any sort of cellular activity is a stress of sorts, because it upregulates activity and requires energy and resources.

Magnesium’s role is simple: it opens channels on cell membranes. When a muscle fiber, for example, needs to tense up and become active, magnesium will open the membrane and help usher in calcium, which helps make it tense. Then, when the period of stress is over and the muscle can relax, magnesium opens up the cell membrane to usher the calcium out of the cell again.

The problem for most people is that they have enough magnesium to usher calcium into the cell, but not enough to usher the calcium out.

This leaves them in a chronically up-regulated state, leaving muscles tense, nerves firing, and neurons on high alert. This is why magnesium deficiency is associated with muscle tension, with headaches, with poor adrenal health, and with anxiety.

Without magnesium, the body simply cannot calm down.

A lot of paleo people know about  magnesium already!

So a lot of paleo advocates and dieters know about the importance of magnesium already.

Most books and websites recommend magnesium.

Usually, you’ll find a recommendation for a product called Natural Calm (at Amazon here), which I also recommend.  It’s a great form of magnesium, because it’s in the form of magnesium citrate (and in a fun, fizzy drink form). Magnesium citrate is highly bioavailable – the body can absorb it reasonably well.

Some people find that magnesium citrate gives them some digestive issues, however, because magnesium has a laxative effect. For these people, magnesium glycinate  (at Amazon here) is often recommended by paleo and other natural health guturs, because it tends to be easier on the digestive tract.

But I need more than that…

Even though I was once saved by the miracle of magnesium, I have since discovered that I can support my body even better.

Nowadays, I know that there are many different forms of magnesium. Different forms are better suited to different organs and systems in the body.

I struggle with a lot of issues. I once took a pharmaceutical drug (for my acne) which wreaked havoc on my kidneys. Since then, I have had trouble with my heart beating smoothly, with my stress response staying level, with insomnia, and with anxiety.

For adrenal support…

So these days, I still take magnesium citrate about once a week, for the sake of my adrenals. I also just take it after a stressful event or when I feel like I need my adrenal glands needs to calm down.

Natural Calm in the form of magnesium citrate is a great all-purpose, adrenal-supportive magnesium supplement.

For cardiovascular support…

I also take a small dose of magnesium taurate once a week.

My heart is in better shape than it used to be, but I still want to provide it with the best possible support possible. When I first began struggle with heart palpitations and a racing heart, my doctor recommended magnesium taurate.

Magnesium taurate is an excellent form of magnesium for the heart because the heart loves and needs taurate to work well. Magnesium, when chelated to taurate, like it is in this supplement, goes right to the heart, more efficiently than other forms of magnesium.

I take this form of magneisum taurate once a week.

For brain support…

Finally, and most importantly, I discovered magnesium threonate.

Magnesium threonate is the most absorbable form of magnesium to the brain. It passes the blood brain barrier and acts on neurons with an efficiency paralleled by no other form of magnesium.

When I first took magnesium threonate — and I’m being 100% real, cross-my-heart-hope-to-die honest here — I felt an effect immediately. My eyelids drooped more easily than they had in weeks. I even called my mom, and was like

“mom this is amazing omgggg.”

Magnesium threonate has a potent effect on my insomnia, as well as on my anxiety and my racing thoughts. It’s my favorite supplement of all the ones in my cabinet.

I take a very small dose (I break open a caplet and pinch a bit off the top) of magnesium threonate nightly.

This is the form that I take.

So find the magnesium that works best for you!

If you struggle with mental health or with sleep like I do, then magnesium threonate may be best for you.

If you struggle with heart health, then you may want to consider magnesium taurate.

If you feel stressed out or have a lot of muscle tension, then magnesium citrate will probably work quite well.

And if you struggle with gut problems while on magnesium, give magnesium glycinate a try.

OR, if you have any other recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

I really do love and swear by my different forms of magnesium. Of course – I readily admit that I may placebo effect  my way into  being specially affected by them. But I also know that the medical literature describes these forms of magnesium as being particularly complementary and absorable by these different systems — for the magnesium taurate and the magnesium threonate especially.

This is my magnesium regimen and I love it!

How do you get your magnesium?

Chocolate?! 😉

70% of Americans do not get the daily requirement of magnesium. Here's why I take three kinds of this important mineral.

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

5 things I wish I knew when I was strict paleo

5 things I wish I knew when I was strict paleo

For a few years, I ate a very “strict paleo” diet.

It consisted of fish, eggs, meats, vegetables, and coconut oil.

I rarely ate fruits or starches. I never ate out at restaurants or at friends’ homes. I never touched a processed snack like a handful of potato chips. I never drank alcohol.

I most certainly never ate bread.

Now, it isn’t to say that that was entirely a bad thing. My diet was perfectly healthy…. in a way.

Nowadays, however, I eat much more flexibly. I’ll have a handful of chips. I’ll drink a glass of wine. I’ll have a Halloween candy or two. If a particularly tasty looking cake is being served in the dining hall, I’ll have a bite of my friend’s. I don’t go overboard and I certainly don’t stock my pantry with these sorts of foods, but when they come my way, I let them.

And it works for me.

Back when I ate strict paleo, I wasn’t doing particularly well, physically or mentally. If only I knew some things I do now, I might have saved myself a lot heartache and pain. Here’s a list of 5 crucial things I wish I knew when I ate strict paleo:

1. You don’t have to be paleo 100% of the time to get the nutrients you need

Paleo is an incredibly nutrient-dense diet. If you eat the awesome paleo staples like pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed beef, organ meats, wild-caught fish, leafy greens, a rainbow of other vegetables, and starches and fruits on a regular basis, you are most likely supremely well-nourished.

Having a meal that is less densely-packed with nutrients, such as some sort of mac-n-cheese or chicken-fried rice, will not make you nutrient deficient, I promise. Most nutrients last in the body for quite some time, and the most important ones, like vitamin A and D, can be stored in the liver for several months.

2. If you don’t have leaky gut or an autoimmune disease, you can eat grains occassionally without the world ending

The whole paleo diet world is a bit doomsday-esque about grains.

One experience of mine demonstrates this quite vividly: I was at a “famous” paleo person’s house during a paleo event, and the home was full of big-time paleo names. Just about everyone there was drinking tequila and “paleo margarita’s”, and some were even smoking cigars. During the after-dinner conversation I casually mentioned that I had had a bowl of Raisin Bran cereal the week before. Everyone gasped in horror. 

Grains I believe need to be handled with care. For people who struggle with gut issues, who have an autoimmune disease, or who are trying to manage systemc inflammation, I think avoiding grains 100% is a must. I really, truly do. Many people need to eliminate grains altogether.

For the rest of us, I think it may be wise to err on the side of caution. I personally am not sure how I feel about the “toxicity” level of grains. To that end, I like to play is safe, and to generally avoid grains.

I also know that grains are not high quality food. They don’t really have all that much nutrition in them, and the nutrients that they do have can quite easily be cancelled out by their high phytonutrient content. Phytonutrients bind with “real” nutrients and flush them out of the body, such that they can actually be said to “steal” your nutrients from you.

However: grains can also be eaten by people without particular grain-sensitive issues without the world ending. If you don’t have an autoimmune disease, a cracker here or there, or a piece of cake at your friend’s wedding, probably won’t destroy your health. Grains are not optimal but they are not poison. 

(For most people.)

If I had recognized this back in the day, I wouldn’t have been so fearful about food. I lived in fear so much of the time, because I thought any food that I hadn’t personally prepared might  poison me and cause all these extreme gut and health disasters.

Turns out, they probably won’t, and I personally at least am not burdened with having to avoid grains 100% of the time in order to feel healthy and good.

3. Following diet “rules” can make you eat even worse

When I ate strict paleo, I followed strict diet rules: no booze, no carbs, no grains, no sweets, no treats.

Following these rules made me feel like I was deprived. I couldn’t help it: try as I might, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the foods I couldn’t  have. I obsessed over them. I dreamt about sweet foods like it was my job.

Feeling so deprived and obsessive in the end was terrible for me, because it not only made me feel unhappy in the moment, but it also made me go off the rails in the long run. Then all of my “perfect paleo” would  come crumbling down. I would eat a whole dessert tray full of pastries in an evening, for example. Or, on one particularly unhappy occasion, I ate several full loaves of dessert cake by myself.

Then I would feel terrible about myself and starve myself back in feeling moral, perfect, and “paleo” again.

Then I would feel deprived, and the whole cycle would start all over again.

If I had known then that it was the diet rules that were the problem in the first place, I would have been liberated. I would have been free. I would have been able to relax my grip on my life, and no longer swing between these violent extremes of perfect and disastrous eating.

The way that I now manage my eating is by thinking of paleo as a guidelineI eat paleo because I choose to. It isn’t a rule I have shackled around my diet. It is a healthy, life-giving and life-enhancing choice I make. I don’t have to eat paleo all of the time in order to be physically healthy and fit. I only have to choose it most of the time.

And choose it I can and I do, because now have the power over food, instead of food having the power over me.

4. Wellness is about both physical and mental health

Sure, a handful (or, screw it, a whole bag) of potato chips isn’t the most awesome choice for my health.

But true wellness is about combining physical and mental health to make a happy whole.

Sometimes after a particularly rough day, some dessert really does hit the spot in a way that makes me feel better.

Or, if I am feeling homesick, I may be able to sooth my longing by baking that Irish soda bread my mother used to always make.

Back when I was strict paleo I never allowed my mental needs to weigh in with my physical needs. That was a mistake. It only ever made my emotional state worse, and never let me relax into myself.

If I had allowed myself to let my emotional self make some decisions around food, I wouldn’t have drowned in self-condemnation and harsh judgment. I wouldn’t have had to feel like I was at war. I would have been able to feel at peace with food, and to be able to eat more intuitively and lovingly.

5. Eating paleo won’t make you immortal

This is an important point that I still need help with.

Somewhere, deep inside of me, I am terrified of eating the wrong foods, because I am terrified of dying.

Some part of me thinks that if I eat the perfet foods all of the time, I won’t die.

Or I at least won’t have to die as soon.

Now of course there is some truth to this. Eating well is an important factor in a healthy life. Eating well can save you from Alzheimer’s disease, from autoimmune disease, from heart disease, and perhaps even from cancer.

But it will never make you live forever.

And it will never make you invincible against the invariable forces of chance and fate.

My terror around death drives a lot of my decisions. It drives a lot of the fear I sit with on a daily basis. It drives the choices I make, both big and small.

Fortunately, it is no longer such a big part of my relationship with food. I no longer obsessively control my diet. I no longer fear every tiny morsel of food because of the effect it may have on me. I am always careful to be good, but I am no longer a strict perfectionist about it.

And to be honest with you, in the long run, I think this is even better for me, because being purposeful and happy is just as much a part of a rich, long life as eating well, if not even more so.

Paleo won’t make me immortal. It may help me life well and happy, but I have to remember that it is only one of many factorss, and perfectionism about it – at least for me – does more harm than good.

 

And with dying, I bring my list of the 5 most important things I wish I knew back when I was so strict paleo. Now I am curious about your experience. How strict are you with your diet? Why? Why not? What has your relationship with paleo been like, and are you happy with it?

strictpaleoPIN

 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

LAST CHANCE to get the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle.. and today it’s 92% OFF!!

LAST CHANCE to get the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle.. and today it’s 92% OFF!!

Hey ladies hey!

Do I ever have some amazing news for you today or what. 

Starting today, Black Friday, and going only through this weekend (Til Tuesday at 3am I think), the fabulous Autoimmune bundle is being re-run by the brilliant people who put it together – The Paleo Mom Team – and at AN EVEN GREATER DISCOUNT THAN BEFORE.

If you suffer from an autoimmune disease or know anyone else who does, this is a truly incredible, life-changing way to treat yourself or another for the holidays.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know about this amazing gift to us from The  Paleo Mom team this weekend.

Happy, happy thanksgiving and lots of love from me!!

Here posted below is the original post I wrote about the bundle a few months back (please ignore the May dates… the actual dates here in November are Nov 27-30), all giddy and celebratory about how kickass it is.

Check it out (here!) and grab it quick if you didn’t manage to last time around! This really is the last time it will be available, ever.

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Today I finally get to tell you about an amazing event we have going on this week – The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle.

It contains 45 e-books – 20 discounts from new, innovative paleo companies – and daily giveaways of huge prizes like the latest and highest tech tablets and all access, all expenses paid trips to Paleo Fx.

The AWB was organized by the supreme rockstar Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom, and her team, and it has been contributed to by the top 60 health advocates in the paleosphere.

This is quite literally the best put-together bundle I have ever encountered (and I have encountered perhaps too many). For example, see a smattering of the resources available in the photo below:

Bundle - Square

Now – you know me. You know I hate fuss. You know I hate pomp. You know I hate crap and that I have zero tolerance for drivel, for inadequacy, or for posers. 

🙂

I never share anything with you worth your time or money unless it’s proven itself to be well worth my own time and money. And boy oh boy, has this bundle (read more about it @ it’s own site here: http://paleoforwomen.com/go/autoimmune-bundle) ever done so. I am so glad  I got it!

First, you might ask, though: what the heck is a bundle, Stef?

Fabulous question!!

Bundle sales have been in the vogue on the internet for the last few years. If you’ve been around the block, you’ve probably seen one, or twenty.

Basically, a bundle is when a bunch of authors come together to sell their books at a wickedly good discount. This is good for the authors because we get exposure, and good for readers, because you get all the books. 

Why is this bundle unique?

By unique you must mean, the best bundle of all time?

😉

There are so many impressive things about this bundle I honestly don’t know where to start.

For one, the authors are the best in the business – from Sarah Ballantyne herself to the body image queen Summer Innanen, to me, to the guru of all gurus, Mark Sisson, to the fitness champion Ben Greenfield, to the ultimate master of autoimmune healing, Dr Terry Wahls (she contributes “essays from 2014” which I loved loved loved reading).

The discounts (I describe them at the end of the post) are unreal. 

The giveaway, literally unbelievable (also described at the end).

The cookbooks are so delectable and by truly amazing chefs – some of which I have had the amazing, unforgettable pleasure of dining with.

The quality of information is unmatched, as is the customer service and whole technical process. The AWB is easy, accessible, a beautiful aesthetic experience, and fun.

Yet most importantly, this particular bundle is sooooooooo exciting to me because it is the only bundle that has ever been created that focuses specifically on (but is not exclusively about) managing and overcoming autoimmune disease.

I am really excited to share this bundle with you because I know how many of you struggle with autoimmune disease, leaky gut, and inflammation.

Autoimmune disease is not easy to tackle. If you know you have an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (there is a book specifically devoted to Hashimotos!), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac, or any of the other 200 known autoimmune diseases, this bundle would be an extraordinary resource for you. It’s books are specifically designed to help you manage and overcome your disease, and to become as healthy, vibrant, energetic, and alive as humanly possible.

If you suspect you have an autoimmune disease, but don’t exactly know, this may be an even more amazing resource for you, as it provides the information you need in order to begin figuring out and improving your health.

If you do not know if you have an autoimmune disease but have gut problems or suspect you have inflammation, this bundle is full of great information for you. Autoimmune disease is most likely a result of gut problems, inflammation and immune system dysresulation – so this bundle is packed with information, foods, supplements, and recipes you need to heal your gut and decrease any inflammation you experience.

If you are NOT autoimmune but still love learning about bodies, well – I don’t think I need to say anything more. There is so much information in this bundle even am learning new things about how to treat autoimmune diseases from it!!

If you are not autoimmune but still love learning about paleo hacks, there are tons of lifestyle tips in this bundle that are great for everybody, from sleep hacks to stress management, to birth control use (my own contribution to the bundle is Birth Control Unlocked), to movement and fitness guides.

If you love to cook regardless of your health status, this bundle would be so fun for you. It includes 15 amazingly creative and fun AIP-friendly (so super paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and nightshade-free) recipes – and even a brand new e-recipe book with 160 recipes in it that was written solely for this bundle! It will never be sold anywhere else, ever!

So that’s pretty amazing. My mind = blown.

In this bundle –

1/3 of the ebooks included are cookbooks…

1/3 of the books are informational guides that help you navigate and overcome autoimmune disease…

and 1/3 of the books help you go beyond basics and reach the very elite level of paleo and AIP living.

It’s the perfect mix of information and practical help… I can’t believe how much I am learning from this bundle. That’s not even to mention all the money I am saving with the discount codes, and how many cool new products I get to try out for dirt cheap (!).

download now

Wait! How can you offer so many resources at such a steep discount?

Fabulous question!!

E-book bundles typically include a variety of e-books and other digital resources sold for a price far lower than what you would pay for each e-book individually. How does this work?

There are two major incentives for authors to donate their e-books to bundles: expanding our audience (my birth control book is a part of this bundle!) and affiliate commissions.

Chances are good that you won’t be familiar with every e-book included in a bundle sale. This is what’s in it for me and other authors: the large number of people who look at our e-books (but normally wouldn’t) then become rabid new PfW community members. Also I and other authors do make a small amount of money on each sale… so we still do financially benefit from sharing our knowledge with the world. We just so happen to be doing so with dozens of other of amazing writers at our sides.

(Quick aside: because we do make a bit of money on each sale, whichever blogger you choose to purchase the bundle from gets your commission! The bundle is the same exact price from everybody who sells the bundle – the only difference is which paleo blogger you choose to support! So choose wisely my favorite best friends in all the universe ;). )

Bundles also typically contain discount codes. Again, this is what’s in it for the companies: you might try out a new product and become a new regular shopper. Or maybe not. But they get exposure and we get a chance to try on something new and awesome for size. Wins all around!

This model only works when bundles are very thoughtfully organized, provide unique and high quality content, and are sold for a very limited time. Very few bundles achieve this! The paleo world has been swamped by different kinds of bundles throughout the last few years… but I only ever participate in the ones that do it right.

That’s why this bundle was so carefully crafted – and also why it is only available until May 25th!

download now

Bundle Details

When I’m trying to decide on whether to buy a bundle, I look at which books I would enjoy, total up the value, and then see if that’s more than the cost of the bundle (then I treat everything else as a bonus). I mean, it’s great that this bundle includes 45 e-books and is being sold at a 92% savings, but that doesn’t really mean anything if there’s only two books in the whole bundle that I’m interested in! So, here’s the nitty gritty of what’s in this bundle. Have a look and see if this bundle would be a great resource for you.

Here’s what’s included in this bundle:

15 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $192)

  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott ($17 value)
  • The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook by Angie Alt ($17 value)
  • 85 Amazing AIP Breakfast Recipes by Eileen Laird ($13 value)
  • *The Best of AIP Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne ($25 value)
  • The He Won’t Know It’s Paleo Cookbook by Bre’anna Emmitt ($15 value)
  • The AIP Paleo Cajun Cookbook by Tara Perillo ($10 value)
  • We Can All Scream for Ice Cream by Jennifer Robins and Vivian Cheng ($10 value)
  • Butter Your Broth, the AIP Version by Kiersten Peterson ($6 value)
  • The Paleo Approach Dinner Club by Sarah Ballantyne ($17 value)
  • AIP Paleo Snacks and Quick Lunches by Jo Romero ($7 value)
  • 28 Days of AIP by Christina Feindel ($7 value)
  • 28 Days of Low-FODMAP AIP by Christina Feindel ($10 value)
  • Holiday Feast (AIP Edition) by Cassandra Garcia ($10 value)
  • *The Paleo Approach Quick-Start Guide by Sarah Ballantyne ($18 value)
  • The FODMAP Free Paleo Breakthrough by Anne Angelone ($10 value)

(You can read more about these books and their authors at http://paleoforwomen.com/go/autoimmune-bundle.)

15 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $202)

Lifestyle and Exercise Guides - Rectangle

  • The Primal Connection by Mark Sisson ($10 value)
  • *Go to Bed by Christina Feindel and Sarah Ballantyne ($17 value)
  • *Accessible Workouts by Peter Hirsh ($10 value)
  • Stress Solutions by Evan Brand ($27 value)
  • *Relax by Michele Spring ($15 value)
  • Healing, Humor, and Hashimoto’s (excerpt) by Stacey Robbins ($5 value)
  • 30 Days of Prayer: Healing Autoimmunity for Women by Ruschelle Khanna ($5 value)
  • My Butter Life Personal Care by Renee from Hard Lotion ($5 value)
  • REM Rehab by Evan Brand ($29 value)
  • Yoga for the Everyday Flow of Life by RX Yoga ($12 value)
  • How To Biohack the Ultimate Healthy Home by Ben Greenfield ($6 value)
  • Getting Started with Your Vegetable Garden (Excerpt from “The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook”) by Diana Rogers ($7 value)
  • The Paleo Miracle 2 by Joe Salama ($10 value)
  • *21 Step Body Image Remix Excerpt by Summer Inannen ($39 value)
  • Stretchsitting (Excerpt from “10 Steps To A Pain-Free Back”) by Esther Gokhale ($5 value)

(You can read more about these books and their authors at http://paleoforwomen.com/go/autoimmune-bundle.)

15 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $132)

Beyond the Basics - Rectangle

  • The Autoimmune Paleo Breakthrough by Anne Angelone ($10 value)
  • *Essays from 2014 by Terry Wahls ($10 value)
  • *The Paleo Approach Reintroduction Guide by Sarah Ballantyne ($13 value)
  • Biohacking Autoimmune DIY by Petra Chambers-Sinclair ($9 value)
  • Birth Control Unlocked by Stefani Ruper ($9 value)
  • How To Interpret Your Lab Tests for Optimal Levels by Jamie Koonce ($20 value)
  • Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol by Eileen Laird ($9 value)
  • *Fantastic Fiber by Sarah Ballantyne ($15 value)
  • Brain Health and Stress (excerpt from Why Isn’t My Brain Working?) by Datis Kharrazian ($5 value)
  • The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Foods to Include and Eliminate by Anne Angelone ($5 value)
  • The 10-Day Paleo Transition by Anne Angelone ($5 value)
  • The Causes of Autoimmune Disease (Excerpt from “The Paleo Approach”) by Sarah Ballantyne ($5 value)
  • Quit PMS by Lauren Geertsen ($9 value)
  • Overcoming Hashimoto’s Fatigue by Izabella Wentz ($5 value)
  • Why Hormones Matter (Excerpt from The Hormone Cure) by Sara Gottfried ($5 value)

(Again, you can read more about these books and their authors at http://paleoforwomen.com/go/autoimmune-bundle.)

*Books released exclusively with this bundle!  Yes, there are nine e-books launching with this bundle!

For example, the Best of AIP Cookbook was created exclusively for this bundle!

If you are into cooking – even if you aren’t autoimmune – this is an incredible resource. And it’s only available with this bundle, this one time only. It has contributions from more than 30 leading Paleo and AIP bloggers and authors. It is 100% AIP friendly. It’s meals are extraordinarily creative and delicious. It includes over 160 of the best AIP recipes ever created to date.

Want to know more details about the included books? Simply go to the bundle website and click on any book image for a full description!

Now, you can see why this bundle isn’t just for those with autoimmune disease!  Even just a quick glance at the resources included is enough to know that this bundle is filled with amazing resources that everyone will enjoy!

download now

Exclusive Discounts and Coupon Codes

Like providing the world’s biggest supply of autoimmunity resources isn’t enough (!) – this bundle comes fully equipped with discount codes for 26 different AIP-friendly vendors and products.

Because Sarah and her AWB team don’t want to assume that you’ll use every coupon code – because let’s face it – none of us ever would – the huge amount of money you could save by taking advantage of these discounts has not been calculated into the value of the bundle. The extraordinary $500 value of the bundle does NOT include the coupons and discount codes!

Discounts are yet another way I determine if a bundle is a good deal for me. I see whether any of the included discount codes and coupons are for products I normally buy or have been meaning to buy. If a good coupon (or two or three) will save me the cost of the bundle just by purchasing items I would have anyway, then I get to look at all the included e-books and other discount codes as a bonus!

Plus, I just really love when I get exposede to all the cool, new paleo products out there in the world. Before exploring this bundle and writing this post, I had no idea that half of these amazing products existed. Now I do know, and I am so excited about the new stuff I’ve ordered.  I am particularly excited about getting some broth from Bare Bones, and some meals from Pete’s Paleo, which I’ve heard from just about everybody is the ultimate paleo meals to-go company. (I also just ordered bacon from them!!!)

Discounts and Coupon Codes

discounts

  • Paleo on the go – $20 off (!!)
  • Pete’s Paleo – $10 off
  • Primal Life Organics Starter package for $49
  • SAD to AIP in 6 Weeks $20 off
  • Step and Go 10% off
  • Clear.Heal – $100 off
  • AIP Batch Cook – $20 off (!!!)
  • Bare Bones – 10% off
  • Barefoot Provisions – 10% off
  • Ben Greenfield Fitness Systems – 10% off
  • Chrisal – 30% off select products
  • Delicious Obsessions – 10% off
  • Dr Ron’s – 10% off
  • Fatworks – 20% off
  • Footloose and Chairfree – 5% off
  • Gokhale Method – 15% off regularly priced items (excluding chair)
  • Kasandrinos Olive Oil – 15% off
  • Klio Tea – 10% off
  • Kombucha Kamp – Free gift with purchase
  • Morrocco Method – Free gift with purchase
  • One Stop Paleo Shop – 10% off
  • The Eczema Company – 10% off
  • ThePaleoMom Consulting – $25 off
  • US Wellness Meats 15% off
  • Vital Proteins/Corey – 20% off + free shipping
  • Wild Zora – 10% off

I just… omg. Not only are there 10, 20, and 30% discounts included in there… (definitely going to use that %15 at US Wellness Meats!), but there are $10, $20, and even $100 off of purchases.

Can’t. Even.

(Read more & get here: http://paleoforwomen.com/go/autoimmune-bundle)

download now

Daily Giveaways!

If you think what the bundle organizers have put together is impressive so far – Just you wait!

Seriously.

There is one more reason to act, and to do so like now:

If you buy the bundle right now you are automatically entered to win a new giveaway every single day remaining in this sale!

Every giveaway is international and no restrictions apply!  Yes, you can enter this giveaway from anywhere in the world!

And the prizes are the most spectacular I have ever encountered in the paleo world (not exaggerating):

Giveaways - Square

May 20:  Kindle Fire HD 7 16GB ($160 Value)

May 21:  $200USD Amazon Gift Certificate (winner may choose which country’s amazon site)

May 22:  AIP Print Library ($260 Value), includes physical copies of:

  • The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
  • The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
  • The Wahls Protocol by Terry Wahls, MD
  • The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers, MD
  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott, NTP
  • Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook by Angie Alt
  • Nourish by Rachael Bryant
  • He Won’t Know It’s Paleo by Bre’anna Emmitt

May 23:  Kindle Fire HD 9 32GB ($400 Value)

May 24:  Two Premium Paleo F(x) 2016 tickets ($800 Value)

May 25:  All-Expense Paid Trip for Two to Paleo F(x) 2016 ($2600 Value)

  • 2 premium Paleo F(x) 2016 tickets
  • 3 nights stay at a nearby hotel (shared room)
  • 2 $400-travel vouchers
  • $200 in gift certificates to local Austin restaurants
  • AIP Travel Food Gift Baskets in your hotel room when you arrive ($200 value)

So feel free to wait to get in on the good stuff. But just know that while you’re waiting, (and, to be fair, other community members) am getting a chance to win big.

🙂

So anyway. The sooner you buy, the greater your chances and the more you could win! Your single purchase enters you automatically for all remaining giveaway of this bundle event!

Click here for more giveaway details.

So, what are you waiting for?

Pretty amazing deal right? I definitely thought so. Lol. …As if my rabid enthusaism didn’t hit you like a freight train several times throughout this post.

I think probably the best part of this bundle is how high the quality of every resource is.

Every single resource has been specially selected and vetted by Sarah & the organizers to create the highest quality bundle possible! This really is the ultimate resource for the autoimmune community or anyone looking to heal their bodies and enjoy optimal health.

This is a VERY limited time offer so go here and check out all the details and see just how much you are getting for the awesome deal of $39!

If you bought every e-book in this bundle separately, it would cost you over $500! But, it’s available for a short time for only $39! That’s 92% off the retail price. 

Plus there are all the discount codes to consider.

Also, it’s only available for five days. 

And all the giveaways, on all of the days.

Here:

http://paleoforwomen.com/go/autoimmune-bundle.

And scene.

-mic-drop--b29a8

🙂

http://paleoforwomen.com/go/autoimmune-bundle

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

This Week in Paleo: A New Way to Get Grassfed Beef

This Week in Paleo: A New Way to Get Grassfed Beef

If you’ve read my bestselling book Sexy By Nature (or any of my fabulous e-books like PCOS Unlocked and Weight Loss Unlocked) or just generally hung around the Paleo community for more than a couple hours, you know how important grass-fed meat is.

It is almost impossible to balance hormones, support sustainable agriculture or eat healthfully without buying grass-fed and finished meat.

That’s because conventionally raised animals are fed corn, antibiotics, hormones and animal byproducts that make the animal unhealthy.

Animals store those toxins in their fat.  And that fat is in your meat.

But grass fed cows are fed what they were meant to graze on- grass. That means a healthier animal and a healthier you!

That’s fantastic and exciting!

But it can be SO expensive.  And it can be SO hard to find. 

Only 1% of the beef available in the U.S. is sourced from grass-fed animals.

No wonder it’s so hard to find grass-fed beef at the grocery store or even online for a reasonable price!

That’s why I’m SO excited to share a new resource with you.

ButcherBox is a BRAND NEW company offering a clever and fun new way to get grass-fed beef.  

When you sign up, every month you’ll receive a box of delicious beef sourced from hand-picked farmers.

Each box contains about 15-20 meals worth of beef; from classic cuts to interesting and different items like the nutrient-dense organ meats we love so much.

And for those cuts you’ve never used before, they send awesome, step-by-step recipe cards!

And all of this for around $7 a meal!

That’s a FANTASTIC deal!

ButcherBox is truly changing the way we eat, making it possible for all of us to enjoy the benefits of grass-fed meat even when we can’t find it locally or it is normally out of our price range.

I’ve talked with Mike, the owner of Butcher Box, personally, and I can promise you he is as passionate and committed to quality meat sourcing as you might expect.  Meaning very!

If you’re looking for an affordable way to get more grass fed beef into your life (including those usually ridiculously expensive cuts like rib-eye) give ButcherBox a try.

I’m so excited to try a box myself and I’m looking forward to the mystery!

Here’s a link to their kickstarter account where you can learn more about becoming part of the grass-fed revolution! 

As always, I want to hear from you! Will you try ButcherBox? How do you source your grass-fed meat?

 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.