Natasha Turner is one of Canada’s leading naturopathic doctors and natural health consultants. Her passion for promoting wellness, fitness and integrated medicine makes her a sought-after speaker for corporations, the public and the education of other medical professionals. Her book, The Hormone Diet, is a national bestseller and has been receiving critical acclaim, including praise from Christiane Northrup, MD.
DietsInReview.com had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Turner and her approach for hormone balance. Here is an excerpt of that conversation:
This book is one of the first book that talks about the importance of hormone balance for men. Why should men be concerned about keeping their hormones in check?
Most people hear hormone and think women and menopause. But the approach outlined in The Hormone Diet can be used by both men and women. I see many men in my office of all ages that are experiencing anxiety, depression, weight gain, belly fat, low testosterone levels and low libido.
Hormone imbalance is the cause of so many of our health conditions. The research and clinical experience that is included in this book is applicable for both men and women. It is important to recognize that men will naturally get quicker results than women on The Hormone Diet. Both men and women will ultimately get to the same place, but at a different rate.
How do hormones play a role in weight gain or the inability to lose weight?
You must think about all of your hormones, not just one. They are, though, certain hormones that are your fat-loss foes and some are your fat-loss friends. Insulin is one hormone that is always telling your body to store fat, so if you’re eating in such a way that increases insulin, like so many of us do, you won’t lose weight. Whereas on the other spectrum, your thyroid is your fat-burning friend.
Balancing your own hormones is based upon your own body, your body shape and other factors. Even where you store fat is dictated by your hormones. The questionnaire in The Hormone Diet helps you identify your areas of imbalance and provides a plan for how to put them back into alignment through diet and supplements.
In the first two weeks, the plan is focused on taking out the foods that cause hormonal imbalance. Inflammation, bloating, and lethargy are just some of the effects of imbalanced hormones, and small changes in taking out these triggering foods can yield dramatic results, even in just a few days. This portion of the plan also helps you identify food allergies and helps you determine which kinds of carbohydrates and proteins and their ratios are good for you. The first two weeks also teaches you how to improve the quality of your sleep.
Following that, you move onto phases that are about balancing your own hormones. Your diet, which is rooted in the Mediterranean Diet, becomes focused on selecting foods that keep blood pressure low, blood sugars balanced, and cholesterol levels in a healthy range.
In the last two weeks of the six-week plan, you start to exercise. I left this for the last phase on purpose because I wanted the focus to be on nutrition and sleep first, so that your body responds wonderfully to exercise and has time to recuperate from accumulated stress.
Plus when you phase things in slowly, you have a better chance of staying on the program.
In addition to diet and exercise, you suggest that we should be concerned with how things like beauty and cleaning products affect our endocrine system. Why?
I encourage all of my patients to go into their bathroom and look for any word containing the word “paraben” in the ingredients. If you find it there, remove the product. We now know that these chemicals increase estrogen in the body and this in turn can increase risk for certain cancers and weight gain. If you can purchase products that don’t contain parabens, you are doing a simple but effective measure to keep hormones in balance.
In addition, plastics contain chemicals that can also act like estrogen. So if you limit or reduce the amount of plastic you use, you also reduce risk of cancer and other health conditions and you can also age better.
You can learn about Dr. Turner by visiting her website, TheHormoneDiet.com.