Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Eating for Hormonal Balance: Ravioli with Broccoli and Olives

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today, I'm excited to announce that this little blog post is a part of a fun themed series started by my lovely blogger friend Sophie from Wholehearted Eats. The recipe series is all about foods that promote hormonal health, and of course when she asked me to participate, I couldn't say no! At the bottom of this post, there's a list of all of the other bloggers from around the world participating, so be sure to check out their sites throughout the week, as well.
As many of you know, I'm currently experiencing what is typically seen as the greatest hormonal roller coaster known to women...and that is pregnancy. But you don't have to be pregnant to suffer from the effects of wild hormones. And sadly, a lot of women suffer on a regular basis from hormonal imbalances. Well, here's the thing. What you put into your body affects your hormones. Plain and simple. The right foods can actually help re-balance your hormones to be at levels that they're supposed to be at! This issue is obviously a complicated one (the body's hormonal system, after all, is one of the most complex systems to understand) that depends on each individual woman's body. Treating the issue through food, however, is the single most important first step in rebalancing our precious hormones. Below are two of some excellent types of foods to incorporate into the diet (plus a few to avoid) if you're experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalances.

Healthy Fats
The body needs fat. Hormones themselves are actually made of fat, so it is vital that you're getting plenty of high quality fats in the diet to support healthy hormones. Women in particular seem to be afraid of consuming too much fat, but depriving the body of fat is what I feel to be the number one reason for hormonal imbalances. Healthy fats come from both plants and animals. Though strict vegans and vegetarians may disagree, there are just some nutrients that cannot be obtained from plants alone.
Excellent Fats: avocados, olives and olive oil, virgin unrefined coconut oil, sardines, wild Alaskan salmon, pasture raised eggs (including the yolks), grass-fed ghee and grass-fed (preferably raw) butter, raw nuts of all types (soak the nuts overnight for optimal nutrient absorption)
Fats to Avoid: trans fats, any refined oils (including soy, vegetable, and canola oil)

Cruciferous Vegetables
Many women suffer from estrogen dominance. I myself have suffered from it, as I had severe estrogen induced cystic acne in my early twenties. There are SO many other symptoms of estrogen dominance. I won't get into the symptoms here (you can easily look them up), but to put it simply, too many estrogen-mimicking chemicals (also called xenoestrogens) in the body can wreak havoc on our entire systems. And we're exposed to xenoestrogens constantly from sources like polluted air and water, plastics, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, birth control pills, and household chemicals. They're unavoidable. So we need ways to naturally detox these xenoestrogens out of our bodies so they don't throw off our good and healthy estrogen. Enter cruciferous vegetables. All cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and mustard greens contain powerful xenoestrogen detoxifying compounds. They actually promote and support the liver in getting rid of these harmful chemicals. Loading up on cruciferous vegetables is one of the safest and easiest ways to ensure your body is combating these chemicals.

There are various other foods that offer therapeutic effects for those who suffer with hormonal imbalances...these are just two that I chose to highlight here. I highly suggest you check out some of these other bloggers who have written more on the topic this week. Their hormone-balancing recipes (and blogs) are all absolutely gorgeous. Remember, in all things, let food be thy medicine!

This recipe is loaded with broccoli to combat those xenoestrogens. It makes up the bulk of the dish. It also has plenty of olives, which remember, are full of healthy fats! I used some organic raviolis made locally here in Seattle, so if you use raviolis, make you're they're of the best quality (or make them yourself!).
Ravioli with Broccoli and Olives (serves 2-3)
1 pound of organic ravioli
2 medium heads of broccoli, cut into florets (also, include the stems...they contain all the good nutrients, too!)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup pitted oil cured-olives or kalamata olives

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer. Add the raviolis and stir. During the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the cut-up broccoli. Only cook the broccoli for 30 seconds. You want to retain nutrients, color, and texture. Drain well and return to the pot.

2. While ravioli and broccoli cooks, in a small frying pan, gently saute the garlic in olive oil over super low heat, just until the garlic becomes fragrant. Set aside.

3. Add the garlicky olive oil to the ravioli and broccoli. Add the olives. Toss gently to combine. Season with crushed red pepper flakes and more olive oil, if desired.

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  1. Love this recipe, so much broccoli! Yum!
    Thanks for sharing your story, I've been thoroughly enjoying reading everyone's stories about balancing hormones this week :) I love your blog too, so glad I found you through Wholehearted Eats!

    1. Hi Ally! Thanks so much...your recipe and blog looks super awesome, too! I will definitely be checking it out regularly <3

  2. Yay! Great post, renee!

  3. Broccoli is mine favorite its great to know that its benefits health so much. Interesting post.

  4. this is exactly just what i was craving to finish off a very stressful day. and you have given a step to step guidance to make it, which makes it all the more easier to do

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