We all know too well the experiences of being ‘hormoanal’!  Each month us ladies go on our emotional rollercoaster and partners, families, friends and colleagues are most likely testament to this ride.  Men too experience fluctuations in hormones at various times of the month; however few recognise any notable symptoms due to their subtleness.

Hormones are a very complex part of our endocrine system which is made up of the glands, pineal; pituitary; thyroid/parathyroid; thymus; pancreas; adrenals; ovaries (female) testes (male).  The incorrect balance  of hormones can lead to many serious illnesses.

Globally we are now experiencing an enormous number of hormone related imbalances that are creating reproductive cancers (prostate, ovarian, breast, etc.)

These hormonal imbalances are often linked to the overabundance of estrogen and estrogen-like compounds in our food and in synthetic chemicals we use at work, at play and at home.

What is estrogen dominance? Estrogen dominance is where more estrogen is circulating in comparison to progesterone. Estrogen dominance is becoming a health issue more and more for men.  I observe where men are carrying their excess kilos; the lower abdominal area, upper arms, and increasingly the breast area. Hence the term ‘man boob’

“We are messing with our hormones, and the ones we are significantly messing with are estrogenic,” says Dr Todd Mangum of the Web of Life Wellness Centre “The message of estrogen is to proliferate.  The hormones prepare a woman’s uterus for implantation and change her breast tissue. Yet, we are injecting cattle with fake estrogen, so when you eat beef or pork, you are getting synthetic estrogen. Then there are also xeno estrogens, foreign estrogen-like compounds that are in plastics, pesticides, etc. This is why the frogs are mutating, girls go into early puberty and so on.”

Dr. John R. Lee also talks about in his book “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: the Breakthrough Book on Natural Progesterone” (Warner Books, 1996), that estrogen dominance is the cause of most women’s chronic health problems.

Since my breast cancer diagnosis was estrogen positive I set about eliminating all possible sources of estrogen. from my diet.

This became a bit of an obsession with every morsel of food that entered my mouth.  Everything I picked up I wondered about its estrogenic properties;  right down to a Cucumber which interestingly does contain estrogen!

Foods such as  Alfalfa, carrots, beets, cherries, eggs, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, potatoes and there are many more had me alarmed and questioning whether I should be consuming these foods at all.  Thankfully,  further research lead me to discover that many plant based estrogens known as ‘lignans’ or ‘phytoestrogens’ can actually help the liver process and block the uptake of the bad estrogens.

Some are more obviously estrogenic like dairy! I can recall asking the question as a teenager, why is it that humans are the only species that still drink milk as adults?  That question still remains unanswered  For an interesting read please see this letter from Dr. Robert Kradjian previous chief of breast surgery at Seton Medical Centre in Northern California and published author.

I’d never been big on dairy and many years ago I did begin to consume soy milk on a regular basis.  Soy milk no doubt contributed to the estrogen dominance in my body.    My Soy experience I will save for the future.  It deserves a blog all to itself!

Then there are those foods that convert to estrogen in the body such as sugar.  Alcohol most definitely increases estrogen levels.  With alcohol consumption the liver is put under great strain and therefore has diminished ability to process out the excess estrogens.

We are bombarded with estrogens from every angle in this day and age.  Fortunately I had made the switch to chemical free skin care and cleaning products a while back so they were long eliminated before my diagnosis.

A study conducted in 2008 by the EWG (Ethical Workers Group) found that on average teenage girls tested for 16 known toxins just from their personal care products and cosmetics.  Of 20 teens who were tested via blood and urine samples on average 13 hormone altering cosmetic chemicals were found in their bodies.  This is scary stuff!  Full report http://www.ewg.org/reports/teens

Excitotoxins is the term given to the chemical additives that effect the neurons in the brain.  Mostly found in processed foods and the main player would have to be MSG monosodium glutamate

Xenoestrogens is the term given to the chemical compounds used in the industrial area that have estrogen like effects.  Often called environmental estrogens we are exposed to these at such levels that there are more links to the disruption of the endocrine system.

Stress is another huge factor to consider as the excess stress hormone cortisol can ultimately convert to estrogen.  http://drplechner.com/pdf/elestrogen.pdf

When excessive estrogens become trapped in the uterus, ovary, or breast due to stagnation, they overstimulate cell division and lead to abnormal growth such as fibroids, cysts or cancer in these organs. Estrogens may also be accumulated in the brain or liver because they both have estrogen receptors.

Estrogens also bind to sodium which retains water and leads to weight gain.  The result of my eating foods to eliminate excess estrogen I did lose weight, cleared complexion completely and alleviated any emotional imbalances around menstrual cycle.

Below is a list of foods that I have continued to eat based on their ability to detoxify carcinogens, inhibit cell proliferation and act as antioxidants.   


Kale, Okra, Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, Berries, Grapes (red), Tomatoes, Mustard and mustard seeds, Green Tea, Lentils, Dried Beans, Artichokes, Parsley, Coriander.

Foods that stimulate enzymes to detoxify carcinogens and help to slow cell profileration

Garlic, Onions, Grapefruit juice, Cabbage, Turnips, Arugula, Bok Choy, Broccoli’ Brussed Sprouts’ Cauliflower, Collard greens, Kohlrabi, Mustard greens, Radishes, Watercress, Sesame Seeds, Flaxseed, Nuts and Seeds.

This is a general list that I have used as part of my own treatment protocol. Mostly these I have consumed raw, juiced, blanched or lightly steamed.  I can be contacted via email if anyone has further questions regarding specific foods.

Helen McCumisky

Helen McCumisky

After completing studies in nutrition and life coaching. Helen's current areas of research and interest are epigenetics, psycho-neuro immunology and hormones. Helen has developed a unique five-step program that strengthens the immune system and creates an inspired emotional state where clients take 100 per cent responsibility for their health and lifestyle choices. The mission for Helen's business Leading Edge Lifestyle is the pursuit of Freedom: physical, emotional and spiritual.

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