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Are you moody, gaining weight, and tired?  It might be your hormones.
An interview with nutritionist, Michele Chevalley Hedge

How do Hormones affect Weight, Energy and Mood?

Hormones such as insulin, cortisol and serotonin are messengers that play a vital role in bodily functions including weight, sleep, hunger, libido and mood. For example, insulin brings glucose into our cells for energy. But when a hormone is off balance from poor lifestyle and food choices, it doesn’t work optimally. In the case of insulin, glucose doesn’t reach the cell making you pre-diabetic or insulin resistant and this means weight gain.

If hormones are so important to health, why haven’t we heard more about them?

It’s only now, as people eat more processed and packaged foods, that we’ve seen an increase in issues related to hormone imbalance. And while people are aware of some hormones, such as insulin, oestrogen or thyroid, they’re not aware of how these hormones interact. Some people will need the advice of an endocrinologist but many people can improve their hormone balance along with their weight, energy and mood through food choices.

How does nutrition affect their balance?

Good nutrition affects every cell and hormone in our body. The stress hormone, cortisol, has a role in weight, sleep and libido but becomes out of whack from eating sugar or drinking excess caffeine and alcohol. The thyroid is our metabolic hormone related to energy, weight and brain function. It’s affected by sugar and diets that are low in essential nutrients such as iodine, selenium, iron, B vitamins and more. Unwell thyroids don’t like inflammatory foods such as gluten and sometimes diary. Oestrogen is a protective hormone found in women and men. For women, oestrogen protects the brain, helps anti-aging and fertility. Its function is influenced by the state of our liver and digestion and how well these organs clear out toxins from sugar and processed foods. More is being understood about the hunger hormone, leptin, that signals to our brain when we’ve had enough to eat. It’s affected by too much sugar, especially fructose, and from poor sleep. People who consume excess sugar feel tired but wired. Testosterone is the hormone of vitality for both men and women. It’s influenced by sugar, alcohol, sleep, vitamin D and zinc. Serotonin is the happy hormone with 85 percent created in our gut. Hidden sugars, bad carbohydrate choices and artificial sweeteners contribute to poor gut health. It makes sense that when we eat clean, real food and the gut is healthy, it may increase serotonin.

What are the main food principles to follow?

It’s about nourishment, not punishment. It’s about crowding in an abundance of fresh, clean, healthy food. You’ll have an opportunity to observe how your body reacts to particular foods. And there are a couple of cleansing principles related to food combining that see excellent results in my clients. I want you to create new sustainable habits.

What results can people expect from this program?

You’ll feel better and sleep better which flows into greater mood, energy and vibrancy. By getting your body back into a clean slate, you give it the best chance to do what it does best. And that’s to filter waste, transport energy and be in balance.

What is your favourite part of this book?

I love the case studies. It’s still so heartening to read about the changes these people made and the impact on their life. I love working with clients. It keeps me connected and allows me to understand wellbeing on a physical, mental and emotional level. I’m also thrilled to be donating part of the proceeds of this book to Deakin University which is leading the world in Food & Mood research.

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