What to take? Which supplements are ideal for women's health? Flo Living creates in-depth how-to articles & guides to natural supplementation for women at all ages.

The Benefits of Berberine For PCOS

Every once in a while a star comes along...In the world of hormonal health, berberine is one of those breakthrough agents. The supplement has been used by women for thousands of years to treat everything from obesity to inflammation to infertility. Berberine is even said to be so effective that it's considered just as efficacious as a drug for treating certain health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Want some more good news? Emerging research suggests that berberine is beneficial for balancing hormones, especially when it comes to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Berberine provides numerous benefits for women living with PCOS, including improved fertility, weight loss, and reduced inflammation.

What is berberine?

Depending on where you are in your journey with PCOS, you may have spent the last decade seeking support from various experts or you may just now be researching ways to alleviate symptoms for the first time. Either way, we're here to empower you to heal your hormones with super supplements like berberine. Berberine is an organic compound found in plants like goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape, and tree turmeric. Once you take the supplement, it’s transported into the bloodstream where it affects the body at the molecular level and creates change within our cells. According to a 2014 review, one of the biggest advantages of berberine is that it offers a “harmonious distribution” into several targets in the body.

This means that berberine offers a holistic approach to supporting your body while preventing various chronic conditions and without causing many side effects.The berberine supplement naturally provides various health benefits but is particularly touted for its ability to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. It’s also said to help with acne, obesity, cholesterol, depression, and diabetes.

Berberine benefits for PCOS

Ok, so let’s talk about how this super supplement can help those of us living with PCOS. As a reminder, PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that is characterized by having too many androgens (male hormones) in the body. This imbalance interferes with regular menstrual cycles which means that most women with PCOS experience missed or irregular periods.Research shows that berberine can provide various benefits to women with PCOS, including relief from some of the unpleasant (to say the least!) symptoms and side effects.

Here are some of the amazing ways berberine supports women:

Supports weight loss

It doesn’t seem fair, but PCOS will cause some women to gain weight, especially around the waistline. Because of this, one of the most common questions we're asked is, “What is the best diet for my PCOS?” Paleo, low carb, keto, raw ... I understand the need to find a solution that’s in your control. Unfortunately, many popular diets don’t consider women's biology, menstrual cycles, or our evolving hormone patterns — and that is why they so often fail us. Following an approved eating plan can certainly help (more healthy fats, high-quality proteins, complex carbs, and fewer processed sugars), but research shows that berberine can be just as supportive.

A small study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine followed individuals with metabolic syndrome who took 300 milligrams of berberine three times per day for three months. At the end of the study, their body mass indexes (BMIs) dropped from an obese range to an overweight range, and they also lost an average of two inches around their waistlines.

Improves insulin sensitivity

For those of us who prefer a more holistic approach to treating their PCOS, berberine continues to be our favorite. A recent review of five studies totaling more than 1,000 women found some pretty amazing insights regarding berberine for PCOS management. One of the biggest takeaways was that berberine seemed to improve insulin sensitivity. This is important because we know that dysregulated insulin is often involved in the development of PCOS.According to a different analysis of nine randomized controlled trials of women with PCOS with insulin resistance, there was no difference between berberine and metformin when it came to alleviating insulin resistance, improving glycolipid metabolism, or reproductive endocrine condition.

Improves ovulation

When I first started the FLO Living protocol, my goal was to help other women alleviate symptoms of PCOS, support regular ovulation, and regain regular periods. My promise was to work with women to re-establish their monthly ovulation and menstruation through restoring key micronutrients. I always say that this can be achieved through your diet and lifestyle, and it’s really supplements like berberine that help make it happen.

Findings from the analysis of more than 1,000 women that I mentioned earlier also showed that berberine demonstrated a positive effect on fertility and live birth rates; suggesting that the supplement improved insulin resistance in theca cells (the endocrine cells associated with ovarian follicles) with an improvement of the ovulation rate per cycle.

Reduces the risk of metabolic concerns

Research also shows that compared with metformin, berberine has positive effects on the metabolic characteristics of women with PCOS. Metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of conditions that together can together increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.A clinical study found that treatment with berberine (versus metformin) showed a decrease in waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. What’s more, it also pointed to an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and sex hormone-binding globulin. Knowing that all of this can be attributed to a supplement instead of mainstream medication is so powerful.

Where can I find berberine?

Flo Living has a new supplement kit called RESTORE that’s designed specifically for women living with PCOS.

The kit includes high-quality ingredients:


Diindolylmethane (DIM)

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)



‍And most importantly, it’s designed to help improve your hormonal healing process and provide support as you bring your body back into balance.If you’re ready to feel better and take ownership of your hormonal health, check out RESTORE today.


The Supplements Every Woman Should Take

For as long as I’ve been teaching women about hormonal health, I’ve been asked questions about supplements. What brands are best? Which supplements help solve period problems? Does a food-based healing protocol need to include supplements at all? I’ve got answers to these questions, and more. In this post, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about supplements for hormone balance, healthy endocrine function, and symptom-free periods. A little knowledge goes a long way when it comes to supplements.

You’ll save money (because you won’t spend it on low-quality or mismatched supplements). You’ll save time (because you won’t have to research which supplements target which symptoms of which brands are better and worse). And you’ll fast track your healing. Supplements support and amplify every other lifestyle change you make to improve your hormone health. You’ll get to your goal of symptom-free periods faster when high-quality, targeted supplements are part of your protocol.

Do You Need Supplements If You’re Eating the Right Foods?

When it comes to healing your hormones, food is always first. There’s no budging on that. To recalibrate your endocrine system and erase period problems, you have to feed your body a micronutrient-rich diet of hormonally-supportive foods in a phase-based pattern. No single supplement will solve symptoms like bloating, acne, PMS, cramps, heavy or irregular periods, missing periods, mood swings, and fatigue.

That said, adding specific high-quality supplements to an already-nourishing diet will speed up your healing process and provide support as you bring your body back into balance. I’m a big believer in using supplements selectively and intelligently to help the body heal.After years of exhaustive research, I have identified which micronutrients are non-negotiable for optimal hormone health. I’ll go into each micronutrient in detail below, but first it’s important to answer a few questions.

Why Aren’t Women Getting Enough Micronutrients?

Phytonutrient-dense whole foods, like leafy green vegetables, avocados, pastured eggs, and omega 3-rich fish like salmon, contain micronutrients that support the endocrine system — micronutrients like magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin D. But we often don’t get enough of these micronutrients in our food, even when we’re eating perfectly.


There are several reasons. One critical factor is that most women are not eating or exercising in ways that support our infradian rhythm, the 28-day hormone cycle that functions as the body’s second clock. Another factor is that many fruits and vegetables are grown in nutrient-depleted soil, so they don’t contain enough of the good stuff to support optimal health. It’s also because a lot of environmental factors —  many beyond our control — collude to rob our bodies of precious micronutrients faster than we can take them in. It’s also because of the very real limits of our busy lives.

Many of us simply don’t have the time to cook, let alone eat, 9 to 11 servings of vegetables a day.Food comes first when healing your hormones. But sometimes a micronutrient-rich diet of hormonally-supportive foods isn’t enough to achieve optimal hormone health. Sometimes your body needs an extra boost.

What Causes Micronutrient Deficiency?

As I mentioned in the previous section, sometimes micronutrient deficiency just happens, even when you’re doing everything right. But there are some habits and practices that might seem healthy (or at least not harmful) but that, in fact, deplete essential micronutrients and make hormone imbalances worse.Here are 8 common ways you might be unintentionally speeding up micronutrient loss in your body:

  1. You drink caffeine. Caffeine leaches precious micronutrients from the body.
  2. You drink alcohol regularly. Regular alcohol consumption bleeds the body of micronutrients, too.
  3. You take the pill (or you have in the past). Same problem as caffeine. The pill causes your body to jettison micronutrients faster than you can replace them.
  4. You engage in extreme diets. Maybe you only eat one or two types of food, or you are following a food protocol that has you cut out some macronutrients all together (like carbs). Restrictive diets can’t give you the wide breadth of micronutrients you need for optimal hormone health, no matter how healthy the foods you’re eating are. Same goes if you don’t eat enough calories each day. Eating too few calories can present separate challenges for hormonal health, but not getting ample micronutrients is one of them.
  5. You exercise too much. Over-exercise depletes the body of essential micronutrients faster than you can replace them.
  6. You use conventional health and body care products. These products are full of toxins that tax the endocrine system and prevent optimal micronutrient levels.
  7. You use conventional house-cleaning products. Same deal as using conventional health and body care products.
  8. You experience chronic, unremitting stress. Emotional stress taxes the body and works against optimal micronutrient levels.

Luckily, some high-quality targeted supplements can help replenish your micronutrient stores.

The 5 Essential Supplements for Hormones

Here are the five essential supplements that I recommend for optimal hormone health:


I can’t say enough good things about B-vitamins. They’re necessary for good health and many women just don’t get enough. A deficiency in B vitamins can cause low energy and fatigue since they’re crucial for so many metabolic functions. B6 is a particularly important vitamin for boosting progesterone production to counteract excess estrogen (a top cause of hormonal dysfunction). B6 supports the development of the corpus luteum, which is where all your progesterone originates, and it supports liver function as the liver works to remove excess estrogen from the body. It’s great for the immune system, too.


Magnesium helps support the pituitary gland. Without it, we produce less FSH (follicular stimulating), LH (luteinizing), and TSH (thyroid stimulating). Low levels of those foundational hormones can cause irregular ovulation and thyroid problems, which can lead to bigger hormonal issues. Magnesium is involved in over 300 catalytic reactions in the body and most women are magnesium deficient. Bloating, headaches, and muscle tension (among other symptoms) can be a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Liver detoxifier/estrogen metabolizer

Your liver is your main organ for detoxification and it plays a critical role in maintaining hormonal balance and keeping symptoms at bay. To do its work properly, the liver needs a full supply of micronutrients and antioxidants, which we can get in part from food — but, as I mentioned earlier in the post, we often don’t get enough from our food. The liver especially needs micronutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, turmeric and selenium.  When your liver is well nourished, it can efficiently break down excess estrogen and help keep estrogen and progesterone in balance, which is a critical factor in keeping period problems at bay. If your body can’t efficiently process toxins like excess hormones, you’ll be more likely to develop menstrual, fertility, and libido problems.


A healthy microbiome is essential for maintaining hormone balance and staving off symptoms. There’s a community of bacteria in the gut called the estrobolome. The estrobolome produces an enzyme that supports the metabolization of estrogen. This makes the gut an important part of the elimination system that ushers hormones out of the body. Give the hard-working bugs in your gut a boost with a probiotic, which is food for the gut bugs that live in the GI tract. This can do wonders for your endocrine health.

D3-Omega-3 blend

Studies have shown that 93% of women dealing with infertility issues are vitamin D3 deficient, and women with higher vitamin D3 levels are four times more likely to conceive via IVF than women with low levels. The reason? Vitamin D3 acts like a master hormone in the body and a low concentration of vitamin D3 can throw off the tightly choreographed dance that all our bodies hormones do with each other. Specifically, low vitamin D can add fuel to the fire of estrogen dominance, which can lead to a host of hormonal issues. Omega-3 fats are good mood stabilization and reducing cramps. My formulation also includes vitamins K1 and K2 for bone and heart health and collagen for skin and hair. I consider these the five essential supplements that every woman needs to heal her hormones and erase period problems.

What Supplement Brand is Best?

In the past I’ve recommended products available at health food stores, but I always dreamed of formulating my own supplements that met my extremely high standards. I finally decided to do it when, a few years ago, some of the supplements sold at big-box retailers were outed for not containing the ingredients listed on the label. I really get peeved when women waste money on health-promoting products that don’t work, because that happened to me at the beginning of my hormonal health journey. It’s almost impossible to know which brands to trust, and once you find a reliable source, then it’s time to decide which of their million products to actually purchase.I’d finally had enough of the confusion. So I created Balance by FLO Living, the first and only cycle-syncing supplement set. The five formulations in Balance by FLO Living provide the essential micronutrient support that you need to balance your hormones. Think of them as your personal “insurance policy” against endocrine disruptors like stress, coffee, environmental toxins, lack of sleep, and plain-old modern life.You no longer have to waste money on low-quality supplements or supplements that don’t target your unique hormonal profile. I’ve formulated all the essential supplements you need to heal your hormones with the highest quality ingredients. The Balance FLO supplement kit is thoroughly researched, rigorously tested, and perfectly suited to meet your needs.

The Supporting Players: More Supplements that Help Heal Hormones

The supplements I listed above are the ones I sell in my Balance by FLO Living supplement kit, and they’re essential for any menstruating woman who experiences symptoms like PMS, acne, bloating, cramps, hormonal migraines, PCOS, mood swings, fatigue, heavy or irregular periods, missing periods, or other period problems. But you can add other high-quality supplements to your protocol if you want to take your hormonal healing to the next level. Here are a few more supplements that can be “supporting players” on your quest for optimal menstrual health.


Certain spices, like turmeric, improve circulation to all organs, including the uterus and ovaries. The better the blood is flowing to your organs, the more oxygen is present, and the better their overall health, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. That’s not all: more blood flow to the reproductive organs supports regular periods and boosts fertility. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which can help with period pain, cramps, and headaches. (It’s also great for overall general health.) Curcumin helps keep blood sugar stable, which is important for all women who are hormonally-sensitive, and it has been shown to slow the growth of uterine fibroids. Studies also suggest that this warming spice may protect against the development of breast and ovarian cancers and may help women who suffer with endometriosis.You can cook with turmeric, add it to hot beverages like tea, or take it as a supplement. Look for a brand like Thorne that uses curcumin phytosome, which is the form best absorbed by the body.


Blood sugar balance is critically important for hormone balance, and studies show that cinnamon supports stable blood sugar. You can take cinnamon as a supplement — I like New Chapter’s Cinnamon Force — and add it liberally to meals and drinks. Healing your hormones has never been so delicious.

Adaptogenic herbs

Adaptogens help your body respond to stress, which is exquisitely important when you are working to heal your hormones.Taking adaptogenic herbs is a generally safe practice that can ease symptoms and improve quality of life. But herbs should only be part of your stress-reduction and hormone-balancing strategy after you’ve addressed some of the bigger lifestyle factors that drive hormone issues, like sleep deprivation, exposure to chronic stressors, exposure to toxins, and being out of touch with your natural hormone cycle. If your tank is running on empty, and has been for a while, start with the big stuff. When you’ve made progress in those areas, it might be time to consider an adaptogen.Adaptogens that I like include:

Ashwagandha — This well-researched herb has been shown to reduce oxidative stress (also known as the internal process that contributes to cell damage and accelerated aging) and support a healthy stress response. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, ashwagandha was shown to improve stress resistance and participants’ self-assessed quality of life. When it comes to hormones, ashwagandha has been shown to improve sexual function and low libido for some women (perhaps because it supports healthy testosterone production). Other studies suggest that this herb can dramatically slow down cell division in estrogen-receptor positive breast cancers. I recommend ashwagandha if you struggle with anxiety and/or if you’re wrestling with low libido.

Holy Basil —  Research suggests that holy basil may help support liver function. The liver detoxes excess hormones from the body and helps prevent estrogen dominance. For healthy hormones, you need a healthy liver. Holy basil may also help stabilize blood sugar. I recommend holy basil if stress and anxiety are an issue and you also wrestle with imbalanced blood sugar. If you have a history of taking over-the-counter or prescription medications, you may consider taking holy basil for liver and detox support.

Reishi mushroom — Reishi is a powerful adaptogen that is also chock full of antioxidants. These mushrooms have been lauded for their anti-tumor, anti-androgenic, anti-aging, and immune-boosting effects. I don’t believe in superfoods as such — no one food or single intervention can be a miracle cure on its own — but if any plant comes close to deserving the title of a super food, I’d nominate reishi mushrooms. The antioxidant and chemopreventive benefits of reishi are well-studied, and when it comes to hormones, studies show that reishi (and other cordyceps mushrooms) may help ease symptoms of PCOS, hirsutism, and acne by exerting an anti-androgenic effect in the body. I recommend reishi mushrooms if you’re struggling with acne, unwanted hair growth, or symptoms related to PCOS.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes help you break down the food you eat and absorb nutrients better. If you experience indigestion, gas, or bloating, or if you suspect you have a nutrient deficiency, try them out! Rainbow Light is one of my favorite brands. But don’t take this brand while pregnant as it contains bromelain, which is not safe for pregnancy.Don’t forget that supplements are exactly what the word suggests: supplemental boosts to an already balanced diet. If your diet is not working for you, supplements will have little effect. Always remember that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you. You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

Balance Supplements

I designed my Balance Supplements specifically to help women address these key deficiencies, balance their hormones, and reclaim their energy.You don’t need to feel listless and exhausted for 1-2 weeks every month. You can reclaim your energy in as little as one 28-day hormone cycle. BALANCE by FLO Living is the FIRST supplement kit for happier periods that supports balancing your hormones. Balance Supplements include five formulations that provide essential micronutrients to balance your hormones. Think of them as your personal “insurance policy” against environmental factors that are (knowingly or unknowingly) zapping your energy every month. Balance Supplements can help you have more energy within a few weeks!

How DIM Supplements Support Hormonal Health

Broccoli, Brussels, cabbage, cauliflower: what do they all have in common? Other than being what some might call an acquired taste, they’re an excellent source of folate, fiber, and vitamins C, E, and K. Just as importantly (but less commonly discussed), they all also contain a plant compound called diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM is a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, which is said to stimulate detoxifying enzymes that are found in the liver and gut. This action is essential to happier hormones because we know that the microbiome is a key player in regulating hormones, especially estrogen levels. When I3C comes into contact with your stomach acid (via a forkful of broccoli or a supplement), it sparks a chemical reaction that converts it to DIM. That’s when our bodies start to benefit!

Research shows that DIM can reduce the risk of estrogen-driven cancers—such as breast cancer and cervical cancer—by supporting healthy estrogen metabolism and promoting estrogen and testosterone balance. Another small study found that DIM may also have protective benefits against thyroid disorders, which are four to five times more likely to affect women than men.

DIM has also been shown to protect against acne, support healthy weight balance, and help with menopause—all side effects of those imbalanced hormones that we’re working each day to fix. Sounds pretty good, right?If you're anything like I was when I first began this hormonal health journey, you're likely all ears when it comes to a natural and holistic solution for alleviating discomfort.

That’s why I’m here today to share everything you need to know to help yourself. Stay with me for a deep dive on DIM’s ability to restore healthy hormone balance and how that’s major for anyone living with PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, or acne.

Here are some common hormonal issues DIM can help with:


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of infertility among women of reproductive age. This hormonal imbalance can cause weight gain, acne, and irregular periods, as well as more severe consequences like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.Today, conventional medicine often points to oral contraceptive pills as the first line of defense against the condition, but the FLO Living team believes in taking a different path. Our focus (backed by science) is a more integrative approach to regulating hormones. After all, if you can utilize food, supplements, and lifestyle changes to address the root cause of your PCOS, why wouldn’t you?For example, a recent case study highlighted a 21-year-old woman with PCOS who was suffering from irregular periods, acne, and hirsutism (excess hair that usually grows around the mouth and chin). Since the woman preferred a natural approach to care, she worked with her practitioner to create a treatment plan which included acupuncture, as well as DIM and vitex agnus-castus. After 10 months, the woman regained a regular menstrual cycle and a more balanced level of testosterone in her body. Such a powerful example of advocating for your own health!While more clinical research is needed to further support cases like this, preclinical data shows that DIM provides beneficial effects on estrogen metabolism and its antiandrogen effects. To clarify, this means that DIM plays a role in reducing or blocking the effects of androgens (male hormones), like testosterone on the body. This is important because research shows that an excess of androgens may play a role in the development of PCOS, and may certainly contribute to some of those unpleasant side effects and flare-ups.

Fibroids and heavy bleeding

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that develop in the wall of the uterus and can range in size from very tiny (the size of a pea) to very large (the size of a melon). Some women have no symptoms, but for others, these fibroids can cause heavy periods, painful intercourse, frequent urination, bloating, and reproductive problems. This translates to major discomfort, especially during events which should be fun—like beach vacations and sex! Although uterine fibroids can be unpleasant, they’re actually pretty common. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 80-90% of African American women and 70% of white women will develop fibroids by age 50. So what can we do about it?

fibroid pain

Again, a primary treatment for fibroids is a prescription for the birth control pill, but a smarter way to treat uterine fibroids is by actually understanding and addressing the root cause. If you’re suffering from uterine fibroids or heavy bleeding and you aren’t interested in birth control or surgery like a myomectomy, then why not consider DIM supplements? DIM is known to reduce harmful estrogen metabolites and just might provide that relief you’re looking for.


Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when endometrial tissue (normally found in the uterus) grows outside the uterus. If you or a loved one suffers from endometriosis, you don’t need me to tell you how painful and debilitating the condition can be.And if you are suffering, know you’re not alone. According to the latest count, more than 11% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 are living with this often painful condition. Unfortunately, the number might even be higher because many women with endometriosis aren’t diagnosed right away. In fact, the average delay in diagnosis is nearly seven whole years.One of the things that researchers are still working on is the best way to treat endometriosis. That’s why it’s my mission to help women realize that while there’s no one specific cure, there are countless resources to get help and get it sooner. Supplements like DIM can balance hormones and reduce inflammation which can drastically ameliorate endometriosis symptoms and improve quality of life. A study from a few years ago looked at supplementing dienogest, a standard endometriosis treatment, with DIM in order to help with irregular bleeding. The results found that women who added DIM to their treatment plan experienced decreased pelvic pain and improved menstrual bleeding. DIM also showed a decrease in endometrial cell life which could mean that the cells would have less time to grow on the pelvic walls and cause heavy, painful periods.


Clear acne by balancing your hormones

Acne ... you didn't want it when you were a teenager and you definitely don't want it as an adult. But what can you do? Well, as I’ve said before, knowledge is power when it comes to hormonal acne.Our hormones naturally shift throughout the monthly menstrual cycle, and when they're imbalanced, it can lead to pesky problems like acne. Hormonal breakouts tend to present during the luteal (premenstrual) phase, and are most often along the chin and jawline. Pimples on your forehead can signify a gut imbalance, and a breakout on the temple usually means liver congestion due to an excess of estrogen.Hormone-driven and inflammation-driven acne are both caused by imbalances inside the body and the right supplements can make the difference between improving your acne versus addressing the root cause and clearing it for good. When you supplement with DIM, it works to promote beneficial estrogen metabolism.

How do I get my DIM fix?

food for follicular phase

I'm a big believer in eating to heal your hormones and cruciferous vegetables are certainly part of the equation. If you've ever tried the FLO Living 4 week food challenge then you'll recall that I suggest broccoli for the follicular phase (before you ovulate, after your period), brussels sprouts when you're ovulating, cauliflower and collard greens right before you have your period (luteal phase), and kale when you're menstruating.However, I don’t know anyone who loves Brussel sprouts enough to get their entire dose of DIM from their dinner plate. As well-intended as we all are, relying solely on cruciferous vegetables for DIM can be challenging, which is why supplements can help!

Ready to try a DIM supplement?

FLO Living has got you covered. It’s overwhelming to try to solve your hormone issues all by yourself (been there, done that), which is why I created the FLO Living supplement kits to provide the essential micronutrient support you need to heal and feel whole.

DIM is a primary ingredient in two of my new FLO Living Supplement Kits: RESTORE for PCOS and RELEASE for fibroids and heavy bleeding. Each supplement kit includes high-quality ingredients that are designed to work together in harmony to help you feel your best.

Learn how to try the Flo Living Supplement Kit that’s right for you here.

The Stress-Hormone Connection

Women are hit particularly hard by stress. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America, affecting 40 million adults in the United States or 18.1% of the population every year. But women are more likely than men to report having a great deal of stress, and almost half of all women say their stress has increased over the past five years (compared to 39-percent of men).

Worst of all, stress is uniquely hard on women and our reproductive hormones. Here’s what you need to know about how stress affects your menstrual cycle and how you can protect yourself from the damaging effects of stress.

Stress & Your Menstrual Cycle

When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands pump out adrenaline and cortisol, which gets your body ready to either fight or run away from a real or perceived danger in your environment (the fight-or-flight response). This hormonal cascade is a natural process — and, in instances of grave danger, an extremely useful one. But when this happens over and over again, triggered by everyday stressors like deadlines instead of life-or-death threats, it depletes your cortisol reserve, leaving your adrenals unable to respond properly to stress.

A woman’s stress response is also different based on where she is in her 28-day hormone cycle, called the infradian rhythm. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is naturally at different levels in the first and second half of the infradian rhythm and it is important to tailor our self-care and exercise routines accordingly so as not to further disrupt cortisol and cause even more hormone imbalances. This stress response, paired with lack of appropriate phase-based self-care,  has a lot of negative effects on your hormones. Here are the ways stress damages your hormones and negatively affects your well-being:

  1. Stress messes with blood sugar. Stress raises cortisol levels and disrupts your blood sugar which, in turn, disrupts your ovulation and period. Imbalanced blood sugar harms your hormones. One of the foundations of the FLO Protocol is using food and supplements to balance blood sugar. Improving your blood sugar is one of the single best things you can do to balance your hormones and heal period problems like acne, PMS, bloating, cramps, heavy or irregular periods, and missing periods.
  2. Stress lowers progesterone. The stress hormone cortisol blocks progesterone production and lowers progesterone levels. That’s because your body uses progesterone to make cortisol and respond to the stress — and the more stress you experience, the more progesterone your body will ‘steal’ to make cortisol. This messes with your cycle by lengthening your luteal phase and makes your periods start of slow, with a lot of brown spotting and brown blood before your regular flow.
  3. Stress delays ovulation. If you experience stress around the time you typically ovulate, the increased levels of cortisol can delay or even prevent ovulation. Stress’s negative influence on ovulation makes sense evolutionarily – a pregnancy on top of a stressful period in a person’s life is not ideal. By stopping ovulation, your body is trying to preserve energy to deal with the stress before conception takes place.
  4. Stress changes the timing of your period. A period of stress after you ovulate can throw your hormones off balance. If you experience a high level of stress after you ovulate, you may experience spotting, an early period, or a period that looks or feels different than your norm in terms of  consistency, color, length, or symptoms like cramping.
  5. Stress can cause your period to go missing. Intense stress can cause anovulatory cycles, or months when you don’t ovulate at all. This means no period, or a small bit of ‘breakthrough’ bleeding (which isn’t a real period, but rather your uterus still needing to shed its lining).
  6. Stress causes vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Excess cortisol from stress depletes the body of essential vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. B vitamins, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids are especially susceptible to stress — and are especially important for soothing your overworked adrenal system. Stress causes you to lose the micronutrients you need the most to help calm your fight-or-flight response!
  7. Stress disrupts up your gut. Stress can interfere with the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut — and a healthy gut is critically important for any woman who wants to balance hormones and erase period problems. That’s because the gut flora, and specifically a colony of bacteria called the estrobolome, help process and eliminate excess hormones from the body — and when your elimination system is sluggish, your hormones will get out of balance.

Why Most Exercise Plans Don’t Work for Women

Women are the biggest consumers of wellness-industry products and protocols. Yet most of the research behind these strategies is conducted on men, and women’s bodies work differently than men’s bodies. Women have unique biochemical needs that go unaddressed by exercise plans built around male-centered research. That leaves women to try different exercise plans, be disappointed, and then try some more. It’s a cycle that causes untold stress, energy, money, heartache, and sanity.

The fitness industry has good intentions. (Many people don’t talk about the gender bias in wellness research. I’m here to change that!) But when different exercise strategies are sold to the public as great for everyone, it can leave women feeling like it’s their fault if they don’t get the results they want. We  can start to feel like we must not have done it right or tried hard enough or that we lack willpower.

Lack of willpower is not the problem.The problem is that women, all too often, are following exercise protocols that benefit men more than women — or, in some cases, protocols that actively work against a woman’s hormones and sabotage her health and fitness goals. Times up on the gender bias in the diet and fitness industry. As women, we’re biochemically different than men. When we adopt approaches that are designed to work with our unique biological distinctions—when we stop biohacking with the boys—we will start to see results.

The key to biohacking your unique female biochemistry is to understand your 28-day cycle and to match your food and exercise to your natural hormonal shifts. When you sync your self care with your cycle, you’ll experience easier periods, less PMS, reduced bloating, clearer skin, and improvements in weight and body composition. By acknowledging your hormonal reality, you’ll finally be able to look and feel your best.

Is Burnout a Real Thing? What Does it Mean for your Hormones?

That exhausted, depleted, frazzled feeling you have every Friday night (or every night) after work)?It's burnout. And it’s a real, diagnosable condition.That’s according to the World Health Organization (WHO), who last month declared burnout a legitimate occupational phenomenon. Burnout is a result of “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” said the organization, and it negatively influences one’s health.The condition is characterized by three things:

  1. Feeling depleted or exhausted
  2. Feeling cynical or negative about one’s job, or feeling increased mental distance from one’s job
  3. Being less effective and productive on the job

This news will come as no surprise to anyone with a demanding job or other workplace stressors, like a difficult boss, unsupportive co-workers, an unhealthy work environment, a long commute, and/or the expectation of “being on” 24-hours a day. As the speed of work picks up, and as more of us work around-the-clock, burnout has become a way of life. But women have a key advantage when it comes to battling back against burnout. We can tap into the natural rhythms of our 28-day hormone cycle and use our natural strengths during each phase to work more efficiently, be more productive (without feeling overburdened), and find more satisfaction—and less stress—in our jobs.

The Hormone-Burnout Connection

The idea that your hormones could help you have an easier and less stressful experience at work might seem far-fetched, but I’m not making this up!Research shows that our hormone cycles have a direct influence on our mood, energy, creativity, and worldview. So when we plan our activities in accordance with the natural flow of our hormones, we can be top-performing, high-achieving women with energy left over at the end of the day—no to-do list app necessary. (Though we benefit greatly from knowing where we are in our cycle, which is what I designed the MyFLO app to help you do.)If, however, we ignore our hormonal patterns and force ourselves to work in a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week time construct (one that works for men because of their more quotidian hormonal patterns), we’re more likely to experience burnout—and, as women, that chronic stress shows up in our our cycles, fertility, sex drive, and mood. In other words, working the same way, with the same rhythm, day in and day out makes period problems worse… and that prevents us from taking advantage of the solution, which depends on a healthy cycle!It’s a bit circuitous, I know, but that is exactly what it is: a vicious cycle. When we don’t practice The Cycle Syncing Method™, our hormones fall deeper into imbalance—and that makes it harder to use our cycle as a powerful tool for escaping burnout.As women, our strengths, desires, talents, and behavior shifts with our changing hormone patterns each month. Having female hormones does not mean you lose a week a month to PMS and your period. It just means that by noticing these shifts and then working with your hormones, you can make your hormones work for you.

Heal Workplace Stress By Learning To Work With Your Hormones

To harness the power of your hormones, first you need to know what your hormones are doing and when. That’s where the MyFLO app comes in. It allows you track your cycle and tune into which phase you’re in at any given time.Once you’re familiar with your cycle, you’re ready to practice The Cycle Syncing Method™, which is the method I developed for engaging in phase-based self-care. The Cycle Syncing Method™ involves working with food, movement, and time management to feel and perform your best (you can learn more about every aspect of the practice here), but for today I’m going to focus on how you can engage The Cycle Syncing Method™ specifically to battle workplace burnout.Here are the four phases of your 28-day hormone cycle and how you can harness your natural strengths during each one to perform better at work, while stressing less!

Follicular Phase

  • When: The week after your period ends
  • What’s happening hormonally: Estrogen is on the rise
  • What to do: Set your intentions for the coming weeks, clarify your vision and purpose at work, organize what you want to accomplish next. Get moving on new projects. This is a time to really lay the groundwork for what comes next.

Ovulation Phase

  • When: Mid-cycle for 3–5 days
  • What’s happening hormonally: Estrogen is at its highest point
  • What to do: Share your intentions with colleagues, collaborate with like-minded folks, schedule meetings, connect with others, brainstorm to find solutions. This is a time to bring others on board with your vision and to work as a team.

Luteal/Premenstrual Phase

  • When: About 10–12 days before your period begins
  • What’s happening hormonally: Progesterone is at its highest point
  • What to do: This is your ‘get it done’ time! You are at your most organized during this phase and you love getting granular about the details. Make this phase all about accomplishing the activities and goals you outlined during your follicular phase.

Menstrual phase

  • When: The days when you are bleeding
  • What’s happening hormonally: All of your hormones are at a low point
  • What to do: Slow down, reflect on what’s happened over the last month, and practice gratitude for all the good things you’ve accomplished. Think back on any areas of your work life that feel less than optimal or that need more attention and use them as a starting point for setting intentions during your next follicular phase.

I guarantee that if you start to prioritize projects at work in line with your cycle, you will experience less stress and greater productivity. Burnout will no longer be a way of life.And if you really want to transform your work life, you’ll engage the other aspects of The Cycle Syncing Method™ in combination with the changes you make at work. This involves food, movement, supplements, and self-care. If you put all these changes into place, you will be unstoppable at work — and you will experience far less stress in your day-to-day life.

How to Outsmart Stress And Heal Your Hormones

Don’t let stress hijack your period. If you are experiencing period problems and stress is playing a role in your symptoms, it’s time to take stress management seriously. A stressed-out cycle is a message. It’s a call-to-action from your body.Here are my top strategies for healing stress and solving your period problems:

FLO Stress Strategy #1: Focus on food

Your first step is to eat hormonally-supportive foods in a phase-based pattern, which helps soothe and support your adrenal glands, turn the dial down on cortisol production, and break the stress cycle. Not to mention that eating nutrient-dense foods at the right times of your cycle will boost your metabolism, support digestion, blood sugar balance, regulate your cycles, detoxify your system, and increase your energy. You can leverage food in multiple ways to combat stress and balance hormones, but I recommend starting by emphasizing healthy fats, like avocados and olive oil, to calm your nervous system, and making sure you’re eating a lot of fiber and fermented foods to help support the microbiome. You can read more about using the The Cycle Syncing Method™ with food here.

FLO Stress Strategy #2: Eat a good breakfast

A nutritious and filling breakfast will set you up for a day of stable blood sugar and balanced hormones. It should also bring in all those essential de-stressing vitamins and minerals like magnesium and B vitamins. I have a whole lot of great (and easy) ideas for breakfast for you right here. If you can make a natural probiotic like sauerkraut or kimchi part of your first meal of the day, even better, as that will help heal your gut. Use coconut oil along the way to boost your body’s intake of good fats.

FLO Stress Strategy #3: Exercise

Exercise is one of your best weapons when it comes to battling stress, but only if you do the right type of exercise at the right times of the month. If you’re doing high-intensity workouts during the wrong time of the month, or if you force yourself to workout the same way every day, you will make hormone balance and period problems worse. To get all the details about exercise and your cycle, go here. But the brief takeaway is this: The first half of your cycle is the ideal time for high-intensity workouts. The second half of your cycle is better suited for slower, more restorative workouts. In your luteal phase, shift from high intensity bouts of exercise to activities like yoga, walking, and easy bike rides.

FLO Stress Strategy #4: Sleep

Get some! No matter which phase of your cycle you’re in, getting enough high-quality sleep is hugely important in easing stress. Studies suggest that women need more sleep than men. Think of sleep as one of the essential micronutrients you need for a healthy period — and don’t skimp on it!

FLO Stress Strategy #5: Make time for pleasure

Whether this means self-pleasure or spa treatments to you, do what makes you feel good at least once a week. I have some tips for better orgasms and hormone-safe spa treatments including the best recipe for a long, indulgent bath for a relaxing night in. Start scheduling times for self-care into your working week as though it were a meeting or gym session and don’t flake on feeling good. You’ll reduce excess cortisol hormone this way and see the benefits fast.

FLO Stress Strategy #6: Supplements

Anti-anxiety mediations and SSRIs are often prescribed for stress. These drugs are designed to block or manage symptoms, not address root causes, and they do not work for everyone and have a long list of side effects. It’s always preferable to address stress-related symptoms like fatigue, depression, and anxiety with food and natural supplements before turning to pharmaceuticals.Here are the botanicals I recommend for stress and anxiety:

But remember: these supplements will only work effectively to reduce anxiety as part of a broader strategy to support your adrenals, address blood sugar, and balance your hormones. And here are the micronutrients that I consider absolutely essential for combating stress, balancing hormones, supporting healthy menstrual cycles, and boosting fertility:

  1. Magnesium: This powerful mineral calms your nervous system and helps balance cortisol. When your stress system is in balance your levels of progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, FSH and LH will follow suit. Magnesium also helps to control insulin production, which reduces sugar cravings and blood sugar spikes, and it helps you get a great night’s sleep.
  2. B5: Also known as pantothenic acid, this vitamin is crucial for theadrenal glands, the organs responsible for pumping out cortisol. Studies have shown that supplementing with B5 helps stimulate adrenal cells, which in turn, helps regulate your body’s stress response.
  3. Omega-3s: Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation (which is an internal stressor on the body) and help improve mood.

If you’re ready to stop living with daily, debilitating stress, then it’s time to seek out natural solutions that will support your adrenals, balance your mood, and empower you to take on everything life throws your way. You can’t always control the external stressors around you, but you absolutely can better manage your internal responses. Why not arm yourself with the most effective, safe, and natural tools available?

Stop spot-treating your symptoms and white-knuckling through your anxiety: Order the Balance Supplement Kit and get the daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals you need to kick stress to the curb, once and for all.

The Best Detox for Women

Quick fixes don’t work, though we all wish they would. If you’ve been following FLO Living for a while (or even for a short time), you know I advocate for making good choices every day, creating sustainable lifestyle habits that last for the long term, and living in line with your infradian rhythm, or the innate 28-day hormone cycle that controls six key areas of the body, all year long. It’s an evidence based, results-driven perspective and it really works.

That said, I do recommend doing the right kind of detox — emphasis on the words “right kind” — periodically. A detox that focuses on replenishing the nutrients and minerals your body needs while reducing the amount of nutritional clutter that comes into your body (think sugar, caffeine, and the pesticides and herbicides found on conventional produce) can kickstart hormonal healing and accelerate the disappearance of period problems like heavy or irregular periods, fatigue, acne, moodiness, brain fog, bloating, weight gain, and weight loss resistance. What makes a detox healthy and supportive (versus depleting and destabilizing)? When should you detox? How can you detox safely?

In this post, I give you everything you need to know about doing a safe, hormone-supportive detox. And I share the detailed 4-Day Detox plan that I designed specifically to help you balance your hormones and erase period problems.If you’ve tried detox protocols in the past and they haven’t worked, this post is for you.

How Do You Know If You Need to Detox?

A healthy, hormone-supportive detox isn’t a daily lifestyle. It’s a short, thoughtful, nourishing protocol that you can follow a couple times a year to help rebalance your hormones ease pesky period problems. How can you tell when you’d benefit from doing a hormone supportive detox? Here are some clues your body might be giving you:

  • You feel sluggish and tired most days, even after getting a good night’s sleep
  • You have trouble concentrating
  • You feel irritable and moody most days
  • Your body feels heavy, weighed down
  • You feel bloated most days
  • Your PMS is worse than usual
  • You’re breaking out regularly
  • You’re having increased food cravings
  • You’ve been relying on caffeine to jumpstart each day
  • You’ve been relying on alcohol to come down at night
  • You’ve gained some weight and it just won’t seem to come back off

If you can identify with the symptoms on this list, your hormones need some TLC and one of the best ways to start that process is with a detox. But not just any detox! A healthy, healing detox is NOT a crash diet, juice cleanse, or fast. If you want to feel energized, refreshed, boosted in body and spirit, as well as lose a few pounds and get glowing skin, you need a detox that nourishes and supports you, not deprives you.

Why Is Doing a Detox Important?

Modern life is hard on hormones. Here are just some of the things we are exposed to everyday that interfere with optimal hormone balance and contribute to unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, acne, depression, anxiety, brain fog, mood swings, weight gain, weight loss resistance, and period problems, like severe PMS, heavy or irregular periods, bloating, and menstrual migraines:

  • Environmental toxins (household cleaning products, body care products, lawn chemicals)
  • The pesticides and herbicides on conventional food
  • Sugar/high-glycemic foods
  • Gluten
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Not eating enough phytonutrient-rich foods
  • Chronic stress
  • Sleep deprivation

What is the Best Detox Protocol for Women?

The best detox for people with female physiology in their reproductive years is a detox that helps balance hormones, replenish missing nutrients and minerals, support the liver, and facilitate the elimination of toxins — all while allowing you to feel nourished and satisfied. Fasts, juice cleanses, and starvation diets do more damage to hormones than good!I’ve designed a simple, powerfully effective detox that accomplishes all of this. My 4-Day Hormone Detox has you eating fresh, nourishing food for 3 meals a day, plus snacks. You won’t feel hungry, hangry, or deprived. You will prep food and then you will be eating frequently throughout the day, instead of watching the clock for your next juice.

Many women have told me that the 4-Dday Hormone Detox is not something they live through but something they actually look forward to!Women who have done this cleanse have lost 10 lbs, cleared up stubborn acne, improved their energy, sharpened their thinking, solved period problems, and boosted their moods.I created this cleanse using the principles of functional nutrition and my deep understanding of hormonal biochemistry. Every meal combines foods that help support the liver and that help restore and sustain the delicate endocrine (hormone) system.

What’s more, the detox is designed to stabilize blood sugar, regulate your adrenal system, improve estrogen elimination, and engage your healing feminine energy. The protocol will also increase the micronutrients you need to manufacture the right amounts of these hormones and to signal to them to do their jobs at the right times for you.

What to Expect During and After the Detox?

The 4-Day Hormone Detox is designed to boost your energy, ease period problems, clear your skin, and improve your mood. It also resets your relationship with food, getting you back into healthy balance.More specifically, here is some of what you can expect:

Skin Benefits

The main environmental triggers of adult acne are dairy, caffeine, sugar (and high-glycemic foods, and gluten, and these are all eliminated during the 4-Day Detox. You’ll also increase the amount of skin-clearing, hormone-supportive nutrients in your diet, especially omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. These micronutrients also support your liver, which is responsible for clearing excess estrogen from your system. When the liver is sluggish, excess estrogen builds up and contributes to breakouts.

Menstrual Health Benefits

Because the Detox is designed to balance your hormones, you will notice an improvement in period problems, like PMS, cramps, bloating, and heavy or irregular periods.

Mood Benefits

If you’ve been experiencing anxiety, low mood, depression, or just a sluggishness and demotivation, then the 4-Day Detox can help. One root cause of mood swings and hormone instability is imbalanced blood sugar. The Detox is designed to balance blood sugar. Many women experience their worst moods (or mood swings) the week before their period, and this is fueled by high estrogen/low progesterone, which the Detox also helps correct by supporting the liver (to eliminate excess estrogen) and boosting B vitamin stores (which helps with progesterone production).

Body Composition Benefits

Bloating can get better during the detox. You’re might also  lose a few pounds, too. That’s because balanced blood sugar correlates with lower levels of insulin — and lower insulin is correlated with less fat stored around the waistline. (Insulin is an important and necessary hormone in the body, but too much of it in the body — which happens when blood sugar is high or chronically unstable — is associated with the storage of unwanted body fat.)

Emotional Benefits

During the detox, you’ll be journaling on specific topics that will expand your perspective, increase your sense of confidence and calm, and support you in connecting with your feminine energy and creativity. You’ll be having a conversation with yourself and your body that you can use to make positive changes in your life. The Detox is also designed to shift your relationship with food, encouraging you to actually engage with and enjoy what you eat.If your body and mind need a boost, I highly recommend the 4-day Hormone Detox. It is nourishing, restorative, and easy — no deprivation or punishing rules — so it can be rolled out when you need it to help you get back on track. WHEN is the optimal time to do a detox? You should do a detox during your follicular and ovulation phases only. Due to infradian changes, your metabolism is slower in the first half of your cycle and requires less calories, so you can tolerate the cleanse most easily then. Learn more about the infradian effect on metabolism here.

What Happens After You Finish the 4-Day Hormone Detox

After the 4-Dday Hormone Detox, it’s important to take small but effective steps everyday to keep toxins out of your system. You’ll want to maintain the good work you did during the targeted detox to keep your hormones healthy all year round.I recommend eating a nutrient-dense diet, full of good fats, greens, high-fiber foods, and high-quality proteins. Your liver needs the nutrients from those foods to process the excess hormones and toxins and eliminate them from your body. Specifically, the liver breaks down and eliminates toxins in four phases:

Phase 1: The liver breaks down toxins into smaller components by using nutrients from food such as glutathione, B vitamins, and C vitamins. These smaller components are called free radicals and they are more toxic once they’re broken down, so it’s critical to flush them from the body ASAP.

Phase 2: These free radicals are combined with the selenium and amino acids in the liver – again, sourced from your food – and they become harmless and water-soluble through the process.

Phase 3: Then these water-soluble molecules bind to fiber — yes, the very same fiber you get in food! — and are escorted out of the body.

Phase 4: Toxins are eliminated via your skin, your lymphatic system, and bowel movements.This is one of the reasons why food is such a core component of the FLO Protocol, and why living in line with your infradian rhythm depends so heavily on the foods you eat (and don’t eat). Optimal liver function also helps promote healthy weight maintenance and weight loss.  In short, your liver needs MORE nutrients, not less, to do its job effectively. To supply your liver with a steady stream of hormone-supportive nutrients and promote detox everyday, give the following foods a starring role in your daily diet all year round:

  • Gutathione-heavy vegetables like avocados, carrots, broccoli, spinach, apples, asparagus and melon. Add two additional servings a day
  • Selenium-rich foods like as oats, eggs, and Brazil nuts.
  • Fiber-rich foods like nuts, seeds, lentils and peas. Add flaxseeds to your breakfast eggs and lunch salad.

You can also speed up the elimination process and get those toxins out your body fast with a couple of simple lifestyle hacks.

  • Sweat – encourage your lymphatic system to get in on the game of releasing toxins by giving it a gentle movement massage. Workout in a way that makes you sweat, whether that’s a home dance workout or a hatha yoga class.
  • Soak – draw yourself a bath full of epsom salts, the ancient and highly effective way to detox via your body’s largest organ – your skin.

In addition, I recommend all people with female physiology in their reproductive years take targeted, hormone-supportive supplements that insure your liver gets all the nutrients it needs to do its elimination work. Even when we eat the cleanest diet, there are factors beyond our control (like the nutrient-depleted soil our food is grown in) that make it difficult to get all the nutrients we need from food. The five formulations in Balance by FLO Living provide the essential micronutrient support that you need to balance your hormones. Think of them as your personal “insurance policy” against endocrine disruptors like stress, coffee, environmental toxins, lack of sleep, and plain-old modern life.

You no longer have to waste money on low-quality supplements or supplements that don’t target your unique hormonal profile. I’ve formulated all the essential supplements you need to heal your hormones with the highest quality ingredients. The Balance by FLO Living supplement kit is thoroughly researched, rigorously tested, and perfectly suited to meet your needs. Always remember that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you. You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

Balance Supplements

I designed my Balance Supplements specifically to help women address these key deficiencies, balance their hormones, and reclaim their energy.You don’t need to feel listless and exhausted for 1-2 weeks every month. You can reclaim your energy in as little as one 28-day hormone cycle. BALANCE by FLO Living is the FIRST supplement kit for happier periods that supports balancing your hormones. Balance Supplements include five formulations that provide essential micronutrients to balance your hormones. Think of them as your personal “insurance policy” against environmental factors that are (knowingly or unknowingly) zapping your energy every month. Balance Supplements can help you have more energy within a few weeks!

What is N-Acetyl Cysteine? NAC Benefits for Fertility, PCOS, & More

Whether you’re struggling with acne, bloating, PMS, or even PCOS or trying to conceive, hormonal imbalances can create all sorts of complications and painful symptoms. The good news is that identifying and supporting the root causes of hormone-related conditions may not be as mysterious an endeavor as you’d think. One of our favorite supplements for empowering women against their struggles with issues like heavy bleeding, fertility struggles, and other hormone-related conditions, is N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).

NAC is the supplement form of an amino acid called cysteine which has been used for decades to support functions that are linked to hormonal health. It is also the precursor to glutathione, and glutathione is essential for boosting liver detox. This is critical to helping us to break down estrogen which, when in excess, is often a root cause of many hormonal symptoms.

NAC benefits your hormonal health by supporting:

  • Ovulation and fertility
  • Liver and kidney detoxification
  • Healthy hormone balance
  • Insulin resistance

Intrigued? Let’s learn more about how NAC can support your journey.

NAC for fertility

Making a baby is hard work ... yeah, we said it! It may start off fun and flirty, but as you continue on your fertility journey you might learn that there’s more to it than you thought. And that’s not just a “you problem.” In fact, approximately 12% of US women between the ages of 15 and 44 have reported using infertility services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Incorporating NAC into your wellness practice can be a really useful way to help calibrate your fertile factors. NAC has been shown to support the growth of healthy eggs and promote ovulation. It’s also been linked to increased ovarian function. A recent analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials found that NAC can be an effective adjuvant in unexplained female infertility (so, a therapy that follows the primary treatment), especially for women with high BMI, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress. (However, the authors did note that they’d like to see additional research.)


If Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is behind your fertility struggles, know that you’re not alone—PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility in the US.In addition to causing irregular periods, weight gain, and acne, PCOS can lead to serious health complications, ranging from type 2 diabetes to hypertension to stroke. In short, it can feel like a crushing diagnosis if you’re struggling to get pregnant or regulate your hormones.

But that's where NAC comes in.Clomiphene citrate is a commonly prescribed medication for PCOS-related infertility, but alone, it doesn’t address the root hormonal imbalances that give rise to PCOS. A recent randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study of women with PCOS found that a combination of NAC and clomiphene citrate significantly increased ovulation and pregnancy rates among women with medication-resistant PCOS.

Another small study suggested that NAC’s antioxidant properties contributed to improving the level of circulating insulin and insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS and hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in blood).And that’s not all you need to know if you’re living with PCOS. A prospective trial following 100 women with PCOS who received NAC or metformin for 24 weeks found that NAC produced a significant decrease in BMI, excess facial hair, and menstrual irregularity, as well as a drop in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels.

NAC for heavy bleeding & fibroids

Another common hormonal woe is heavy menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia. During the first half of your cycle, estrogen rises and reaches its peak level when you ovulate. Your liver is responsible for breaking down estrogen, but things don’t always go as planned when you’re micronutrient deficient. Without proper nutrients—such as enough NAC or cysteine—your liver might struggle with detoxification, which causes the excess estrogen to circulate in your system. Again, this is where NAC is a valuable supplement in your wellness kit. NAC has been shown to support the liver’s detoxification process. This is essential because when the liver is overburdened, it can have trouble sweeping out excess estrogen from your system.This surplus of estrogen leads to two problems: a chance of the lining of the endometrium to grow back too thick, and the growth of fibroid tumors. NAC has been shown to help reduce the size of fibroids—common benign tumors that are found in the uterus and affect 70–80% of women by the end of their reproductive years.

5 Uses for Coconut Oil that will Benefit Your Hormonal Balance


As spring fast approaches us, I wanted to share a fun and functional list with you that will come in handy as you start to detox this season, and beyond!Coconut oil is one of my favorite gifts from Mama Nature – anti-bacterial, anti-viral, blood-sugar-balancing, and detoxifying – and if you haven’t yet, I think you’ll fall in love with it too after reading this.Coconut oil isn’t just great for your skin and hair, it can also help you to heal your thyroid, lose weight, have more energy, and fix your periods. It only takes two to three tablespoons per day for coconut oil to have these wondrous effects on your health.Coconut oil is the ultimate “good fat” as it contains medium chain triglycerides or fatty acids that are hormonal health warriors. Over the years, we’ve all been educated to fear oils and see them as fattening and unhealthy. Well, some are – like vegetable oils, canola, safflower – but coconut oil is actually completely unique and has many health benefits.

The health benefits of coconut oil

  • Hormone balancing – the fatty acids in coconut oil actually help the hormones get to where they want and need to go in the body, and so support the creation, processing and elimination of estrogen and progesterone, leading to hormonal balance.
  • Weight loss-promotingstudies show that coconut oil increases the metabolism and prevents hunger, allowing for successful weight loss.
  • Thyroid-supportive – coconut oil has the ability to transform cholesterol into pregnenolone, which is one of the essential building blocks for thyroid hormone-creation. When you add more coconut oil to your diet, you’re increasing the saturated fats made up primarily of medium-chain fatty acids that aren’t found in many other oils. These medium-chain fatty acids increase metabolism and promote weight loss, which is a big part of your healthy thyroid function. In addition, coconut oil can increase basal body temperatures, which is super important for women with low thyroid function.
  • Gut-healing – coconut oil repairs gut tissue and encourages the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Like breast milk, coconut oil is powerfully antimicrobial and antibacterial. The high levels of lauric acid in coconut oil protects against infection from viruses, bacteria, yeast, parasites and fungi. Lauric acid inactivates harmful microbes in your gut that can lead to hormonal imbalance.

So, now you know how great coconut oil is for your health, how do you get more of it? I have some ideas for easy, simple ways to add coconut oil to your every day life.

5 ways to eat more coconut oil

  1. Stir a tablespoon into your favorite hot drink.
  2. Add it into kale-based or date-based smoothies (or mix all three!).
  3. Use it to cook your eggs and greens in the morning – it takes away that bitter taste of collards or spinach.
  4. Substitute butter for coconut oil when baking breads and desserts, or spread on gluten free toast.
  5. Just take a tablespoon straight from the jar when you’re short on time, like you might with a nut butter.

I keep three jars in my house - one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, and one in my daughter’s room! Coconut oil is so versatile.

4 other uses for coconut oil

  1. As a moisturizer. Ditch the store-bought moisturizers that are usually loaded with hormone-disrupting chemicals, and swap them for coconut oil. Not only does it provide lasting moisture to your skin, but it’s antibacterial properties can help fight acne and other skin conditions.
  2. As a mouthwash. More specifically called an “oil pull,” 1 teaspoon full of coconut oil can be swished through your mouth for 5 to 20 minutes and it will literally pull away the plaque and bacteria in your mouth. This is obviously great news for your oral health, but did you know that our oral health also has a huge effect on our heart health and hormonal health? It’s true. In fact, gum disease can add on an extra 2 months for the time it takes to get pregnant, according to Australian research in 2011.
  3. As an eye make-up remover. Instead of spending top dollar for pricing eye-makeup removers that most likely contain harmful chemicals, let coconut oil take care of it for you! Using a tissue or pad of cotton, wipe coconut oil across your raccoon eyes or other old makeup at the end of the day and watch it clear away everything fast!
  4. As a natural deodorant. Yet another way to avoid harmful chemicals from skin care products! Skip the anti-perspirants and roll on something that is effective and not harmful to your hormones. Coconut oil is an ingredient in quite a few natural deodorants, and you can also make up your own potion – either use it plain or mix it together in one of these DIY recipes.

The best coconut oil to use

If you’re like me, you also care deeply about the quality of the food you eat. That means organic, non-GMO food, which unfortunately usually mean high price tags and giant weekly grocery bills. Coconut oil can be expensive, especially if you want it to be organic, ethically-sourced and of the virgin variety, which is important for the quality and taste, but it also means it will definitely have all the health benefits promised in this post.That’s why I can’t stop sharing Thrive Market - a online site that makes healthy living a whole lot easier and more affordable than ever (becoming a member costs less than $5 a month!). Think Whole Foods products at Costco prices, with the convenience of Amazon. Thrive is not only cheaper than upscale markets like Whole Foods, but it often matches or even beats prices at discount online retailers like Amazon and Vitacost.I’ve partnered with Thrive Market to bring you a great deal. You’ll get a free jar of the best brand of Coconut Oil that I use at home, as well as a month’s free trial and 15% off your next order. Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!To your FLO,Alisa

Do You Know the Easiest Way to Fix Your Period Symptoms?

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The Best Food and Supplements for PMS

We grow into womanhood believing that PMS is an inevitable part of being female. Then so many of us experience it, we believe that must be true. We just accept that once a month for a few days, a week — or even longer — we feel crabby, angry, low, anxious, lacking in confidence, frustrated, as well as bloated, ravenously hungry, craving sugar, and covered in acne.

But PMS is not normal. Menstruating women are not destined to suffer before their period. You know what else? The solution isn’t drugs. The Pill may seem to help, but it only masks symptoms — all while the root causes of PMS continue to simmer under the surface. It’s the same story with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and painkillers, like ibuprofen. These drugs mask the pain.

They don’t treat the deeper root causes.It’s a myth that women have to suffer every month, and it’s a myth that drugs address the deeper hormone imbalances that contribute to premenstrual syndrome and period pain.So what causes PMS? What helps erase the symptoms? Here is everything you need to know about PMS and natural strategies for easing premenstrual symptoms.

What is PMS?

PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome, but it can strike anytime after ovulation, which occurs in the middle of your 28-day cycle, also known as the infradian rhythm, and the start of your period. The time between ovulation and the start of your period is known as the luteal phase.PMS refers to a group of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms that menstruating women experience during the luteal phase. Symptoms include:

  • Acne
  • Bloating/retaining fluid
  • Breast tenderness
  • Food cravings and/or increased appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling irritable, cranky, and/or depressed
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low back pain
  • Cramps

What causes PMS?

Experts believe PMS is triggered (in part) by cyclical changes in sex hormones each month. And while it is true that our sex hormones naturally shift in a cyclical pattern each month, problems crop up only when our hormones are out of balance — when, for example, we have too much estrogen in our bodies relative to progesterone (a condition known as estrogen dominance), or when we have too little progesterone overall. In other words, monthly hormone shifts are normal and expected. They happen! But they are not the root cause of the problem.

The root cause of the problem is when we have more or less estrogen and progesterone than we need. As our bodies move through the 28-day hormone cycle in this hormonally imbalanced environment, that is when we experience symptoms.If you address the underlying hormone imbalance with food and lifestyle, you can erase the symptoms of PMS.

You will still be cycling through the four phases of your menstrual cycle — as you should be! — but without all the symptoms you experienced before. Experts also believe that nutrient deficiencies play a role in PMS symptoms. Research has shown a connection between low levels of vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium and PMS symptoms. Studies also suggest that supplementing with magnesium and vitamin B6 can make a significant difference in the severity of PMS.

Why the Pill Make PMS worse

Women with severe PMS are sometimes prescribed hormonal birth control to help ease symptoms. The pill stops ovulation and that can lead to reduced symptoms throughout one’s cycle. But not ovulating causes its own problems. Research has shown that consistent ovulation protects women’s long term health, especially when it comes to avoiding issues like osteoporosis, heart disease, heart attacks, and breast cancer (all top killers of women). Hormonal birth control (except, sometimes, the hormonal IUD) suppresses ovulation.

Suppressing ovulation for years, decades even, has long term consequences, even if ovulation returns shortly after you come off the medication. Exposure to synthetic hormones plus a lack of exposure to the body’s own hormone cycles, is the root cause. In short: ovulation is important — and not just for when you want to conceive.

The pill poses other problems, too. It’s been shown to disturb the microbiome, increase inflammation, and drain the body of essential micronutrients, among other things.Finally, the pill paves over the root causes of hormone imbalance without directly addressing root causes. That means that whenever you come off the pill, your symptoms are likely to come roaring back, often worse than before.

Lifestyle factors that make PMS worse

Modern life brings together a perfect storm of factors that undermine hormone balance and make PMS worse. Here are some of the habits and lifestyle factors that conspire to throw your hormones out of alignment:

1. Stress

We live in a society that places a high value on always being busy. If you ask someone how they’re doing or what’s new and they reply, “I’ve been SO busy,” it often sounds as much like a point of pride as it does a complaint. But we need to reverse our stance on stress. Research shows that the higher the level of our perceived stress, the worse our PMS—and that stress reduction techniques might be effective non-pharmaceutical interventions for easing PMS. So grab your yoga mat, download that meditation app, or make more time for the leisure activity that relaxes you.

2. Inflammation

Inflammation is a system-wide response to injury or stress, and it can be brought on by a large number of environmental factors, from eating unhealthy foods and being too sedentary to using toxic health and body care products. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that control the body’s inflammatory response and experts believe they can trigger many of the symptoms of PMS. (Prostaglandin overproduction is why some women get relief by taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen. NSAIDs block the synthesis of prostaglandins.)

3. Eating too much sugar

Sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods you can eat — and more inflammation means more PMS (see #2, above). Cutting down on sugar is a must when you’re trying to tame PMS.

4. Smoking

Smoking is bad for overall health, of course, including hormone balance. Women who smoke are twice as likely to develop PMS. Just say no to cigarettes.

5. Drinking coffee

Coffee fuels prostaglandin production, and increases the risk of cysts, fibroids, and period pain. Coffee also depletes the body of key hormone-balancing nutrients like magnesium.

6. Carrying HIDDEN weight

When I say this, I’m not talking about overweight and obesity per se. While being overweight is associated with a greater risk of PMS, the real problem is how ‘fat’ you are on the inside, which is not reflected in how much you weigh. You can be skinny on the outside and overweight on the inside — this is known in medical literature as being a “medically obese, normal-weight individual,” though a lot of practitioners refer this condition as being “skinny fat” — so you can’t just look in the mirror or step on the scale to know what’s happening on the inside. Your PMS might be telling you to address internal obesity.

7. You’re not living in sync with your cycle.

You’ve probably read about the importance of the 24-hour circadian cycle—how important it is to get high-quality, consecutive hours of sleep during the night, for example, and to get some safe sun exposure during the day, etc. But you probably haven’t heard about the importance of living in sync with your 28-day cycle—and, for women, that cycle is just as important to tend to as the circadian cycle. Research shows that our 28-day menstrual cycle affects our brain function, emotions, mood, sensory processing, appetite, and even our perception of pain. If you’re not supporting your body’s unique hormonal needs during each of the four phases of the 28-day cycle, you won’t have healthy, pain-free periods.

How to Erase PMS symptoms: Lifestyle Strategies for PMS

You can take a multi-pronged approach to ease the symptoms of PMS. Here are some of my top food, supplement, and lifestyle strategies. Let’s start with lifestyle. Here’s how to arrange your environment to help defeat PMS:

1. Stomp out inflammation.

Eat low inflammatory foods, like cruciferous vegetables, pastured eggs and pastured animal proteins, and nuts and seeds. Reduce the amount of sugar you eat or eliminate it altogether. A high-sugar diet drives up the production of advanced-glycation end products, which contribute to inflammation. Two foods that have been shown to help specifically with prostaglandin reduction are pomegranate and small, oily fish that contain high levels of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Make “organic” and “clean” the main part of your life.

When you’re standing in the grocery aisle or at the makeup counter and the clean products and organic foods are more expensive than the conventional option, it can be easy to make the wallet-friendly choice. But what you need to keep in mind in these moments is the true cost of the choice you’re making. The toxins in these foods and products come into direct contact with the body and alter endocrine function, making period problems like PMS worse. You may save at check-out, but you are ultimately paying with your health. Eat organic and clean whenever possible.

3. Give up coffee.

This piece of advice is self-explanatory and, after the first week of withdrawal, not nearly as hard as you think. Within a month you won’t even miss it. Skip caffeinated tea, too. In case you’re tempted to skip tip #3, allow me to repeat myself: no more caffeine!

4. Improve your health from the inside out.  

You might look lean in the mirror, but if you don’t exercise (hence, you don’t have much lean muscle mass), and if you eat a high-sugar diet and/or you don’t have enough phytonutrient-rich vegetables on your plate, you might have the bloodwork profile of someone with overweight or obesity—and being overweight or obese is strongly correlated with PMS. When you start correcting what’s going on internally, you can see a reduction in symptoms.

5. Find what relaxes you… and make it a regular part of your life.

In the medical literature, high levels of stress are associated with more severe PMS. The time for stress reduction is now, not when you finish this big project or after that big presentation. Because guess what? When you finish those things there will just be more to do. The time is now. Your health depends on it.

6. Start Cycle Syncing

All of the biohacks I just mentioned will only get you so far if you don’t start to live in accordance with your cycle. Eating and exercising for each week-long phase of your 28-day cycle is the foundation of feeling better and having a symptom-free period. For too long, we’ve been living the same way day in and day out. This works for men, but not for women. Syncing your cycle will not only fix your period problems, it will help you find more happiness, energy, and success in life. Simply put, tending to your 28-day cycle is as important as tending to your 24-hour circadian cycle. If the idea of syncing with your cycle is new to you, I have an app and a treasure trove of articles on the blog to help you get started.

How to Tame PMS-Related Food Cravings

Before I get to my recommended list of foods for PMS, I want to tackle a very important topic: food cravings.Many of the women I’ve worked with over the years have struggled to maintain their otherwise healthy eating habits when they’re in their premenstrual or luteal phase. It’s then that their resolve is weakest. I get it – the intense cravings that PMS brings can derail the best of us.I help women address the root causes of cravings. I also know it’s important to have healthy alternatives on hand when cravings strike! Here are the most common food cravings during the luteal phase, along with healthy alternatives that won’t make your hormone imbalances worse.

PMS food craving #1: Coffee

A coffee habit can be a sign of  imbalanced cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) and not having enough internal oomph to get through the day. You’re searching for a quick hit of energy that you can’t generate on your own. What’s the alternative? Try kukicha tea, which has a nutty, non-herbal flavor profile as it’s made from roasting the twigs that grow right below tea leaves. Kukicha still contains some caffeine, but not enough to negatively impact your health. Mixing kukicha with Oatstraw and Holy Basil tea will help support your adrenals and bring them back in balance.

PMS food craving #2: Chocolate

Chocolate cravings can signal a magnesium deficiency. It may also indicate an overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast in your gut, which makes you crave sugar. Taking a high-quality magnesium supplement can help curb sugar cravings. So can taking a high-quality probiotic.What’s the alternative? The great news here is that chocolate is a superfood and I eat a little chocolate most days myself, BUT it’s all about what kind of chocolate you have. Chocolate with dairy and sugar is a no-go, but good quality, organic, dark chocolate with minimal or, even better, no sugar or dairy is a healthy, hormone-supportive choice. Try adding raw cacao powder to smoothies or sprinkling on fruit salad, or try a high-quality dark chocolate bar. One of my favorite brands is Endangered Species.

PMS food craving #3: Pasta

When only white carbs will do – be that a big pile of spaghetti or a loaf of white bread – it’s usually blood sugar instability and/or a vitamin B deficiency that’s causing your cravings. Skipping meals, or eating too little or too sporadically throughout the day, can lead to blood sugar imbalances. So can eating meals high in simple carbs — simple carbs beget more carbs!What’s the alternative? You can break the cycle of blood sugar imbalance with meals that are high in healthy protein, healthy fat, and complex carbs from whole food sources. You will get a steady release of energy from a well-balanced meal and you won’t find yourself craving a candy bar 45 minutes after dinner. The takeaway? Don’t eat carbs in isolation (and don’t eat too many, if any, simple carbs, like those found in white bread or pasta). Instead, focus on integrating some  carbs into each meal. And try to eat regularly, before you get so hungry that you will eat anything in front of you. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Taking a high-quality vitamin B supplement can also help.

PMS food craving #4: Soda

If you find yourself craving soda, your blood sugar might be off and you need to re-set with whole-food-based meals that have enough healthy fat and healthy protein to stabilize your blood sugar. You might also be dehydrated. Soda contains salt (along with a bunch of sugar), and that salty-sweet combo gives soda the allure of a hydrating beverage while actually dehydrating you (the salt makes you thirsty all over again).What’s the alternative? Increasing electrolytes is a great way to combat dehydration. Try coconut water, which has a sweet and salty flavor, or plain carbonated water with a touch of 100-percent fruit juice mixed in. The classic choice — a big glass of water (!) — is a great option, too.

PMS food craving #5: Steak

If you find yourself craving red meat, you may have an iron deficiency. And if the only thing that will satisfy you during your luteal phase is a big, juicy steak, go ahead! If it is grass-fed, organic meat, there is nothing wrong with that. If you’re open to what meat you eat, the healthier choice is organic, grass-fed bison or lamb. If you don’t eat red meat, you might need to supplement with iron.What’s the alternative? Take liquid chlorophyll. It’s only one molecule different from hemoglobin and it is high in magnesium, which helps erase the symptoms of PMS.

The Best Foods for PMS

What specific foods can help ease the symptoms of PMS? Here are my favorites:


Chickpeas are a great source of magnesium. They also contain vitamin B6. Both of these compounds, especially when taken together, help reduce symptoms of PMS.

Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and other dark leafy greens

All brassica vegetables contain indole-3 carbinol, which helps the liver metabolize excess estrogen and prevent estrogen dominance (which is a common hormone imbalance that gives rise to a bunch of period problems, including PMS).

Coconut yogurt

Coconut yogurt contains probiotics in the form of live cultures (which helps the gut metabolize estrogen and keep hormones balanced) and it is rich in healthy fats, which help keep blood sugar stable.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and can help satisfy your sweet cravings. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes supports the liver as it metabolizes excess estrogen.

Bone broth

Bone broth can be a good source of magnesium and calcium, both of which can help alleviate the symptoms of PMS.

The Best Natural Supplements to Prevent PMS

You can’t spot treat PMS. You have to address the root causes to get rid of it. In order for your body to produce adequate amounts of the right hormones at the right times, you need several key micronutrients:


Research suggests that magnesium helps alleviate symptoms of PMS, including weight gain, breast tenderness, and bloating. Magnesium is also great for promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety and stress, and encouraging good sleep. A high-quality magnesium supplement makes a great addition to your PMS-fighting arsenal.

Vitamin B6

Supplementing with up to 100mg/day of vitamin B6 is likely to help treat premenstrual symptoms, and premenstrual depression, according to research.

Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D3

Both of these nutrients help promote hormone balance. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with reproductive hormone imbalances in both men and women. Omega-3s help protect against anxiety and depression and may help reduce cramps.

Vitamin E

Vitamin helps reduce breast premenstrual breast tenderness, according to research. (So does vitamin B6!).

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

ALA offers powerful antioxidant support for the liver as it works to metabolize excess estrogen — remember: too much estrogen relative to progesterone can trigger PMS symptoms — and also supports stable blood sugar.


Calcium supplements have been shown to help with mood swings during the luteal phase.Taking targeted, high-quality supplements can fast track your hormonal healing. I created the Balance by FLO Living supplement kit to give you the essential micronutrient support you need to have a symptom-free cycle. With Balance by FLO Living, you can start feeling better in just one month.

Additional Natural Supplement Support to Prevent PMS

I recommend that women who are experiencing PMS start with the micronutrients I outlined above. These are essential micronutrients you need to support your endocrine system and erase symptoms. But if you incorporate these micronutrients and still experience PMS and other problems, I recommend specific herbs. In most cases, you will only need the micronutrients (and not the herbs), but if you do opt for herbs, remember that these are powerful compounds. Use them only in specific situations and always consult a trusted healthcare practitioner on dosage and timing.


Vitex supports the production of progesterone and luteinizing hormone — both of which are necessary for your body to ovulate, for regular menstrual cycles, and for you to avoid symptoms of hormonal imbalance like PMS. Vitex is well-researched and It is an effective and often successful natural treatment for cycle-related problems. But I believe that should be used as a short-term, not a long term, solution. Vitex alone will not address the root causes of PMS and other period problems.

Dong Quai

This herb has muscle-relaxing effects and helps relieve pre-period cramps and aches. Important note! This powerful supplement should not be used during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or if you have a family history of female cancers.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil can help with cramps, aches and pains, and headaches in the luteal phase.Always remember that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you. You can do this – the science of your body is on your side.

Balance Supplements

I designed my Balance Supplements specifically to help women address these key deficiencies, balance their hormones, and reclaim their energy.You don’t need to feel listless and exhausted for 1-2 weeks every month. You can reclaim your energy in as little as one 28-day hormone cycle. BALANCE by FLO Living is the FIRST supplement kit for happier periods that supports balancing your hormones. Balance Supplements include five formulations that provide essential micronutrients to balance your hormones. Think of them as your personal “insurance policy” against environmental factors that are (knowingly or unknowingly) zapping your energy every month. Balance Supplements can help you have more energy within a few weeks!

The Hormone-Anxiety Connection (and How to Solve It)

Anxiety is real, and it is serious. It can show up in a variety of different ways—from excessive worry about life events like work, health, and family to obsessive thinking, severe social anxiety, or full-on panic attacks. And, for women, anxiety can show up at different times of the month.

Anxiety for women can actually be hormonal, and it often follows a distinct pattern within your 28-day menstrual cycle. If you notice that your anxiety gets worse the week before your period (luteal phase) or the week after period finishes (follicular phase), that means one thing: your hormones are a factor in your anxiety.

Now, anxiety has many root causes, including poor gut health, micronutrient deficiencies, and lifestyle factors like being sedentary or getting poor quality sleep—and that’s why anti-anxiety medication (which has been the only tool in the conventional psychiatric tool box for many years) has failed so many women. Medication paves over symptoms. It doesn’t treat root causes.

Happily, some psychiatrists and other experts are starting to treat the root causes of anxiety—including hormone imbalances— by using food, supplements, and lifestyle changes. And you can, too. If hormones are a root cause of your anxiety, you can make lifestyle changes that address your specific hormonal anxiety-type.

Are you ready to worry less and enjoy life more? Below are some top recommendations for women who experience ANY type of anxiety, with specific steps for easing hormonal anxiety.

How to Stop Anxiety

If you’re a woman who experiences anxiety, you’re not alone. Women are twice as likely as men to wrestle with anxiety and almost 25 percent of women—that’s one in four of us—were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in the past year. Because anxiety has many root causes, it responds best to a multi-pronged approach. If your anxiety is severe and persists for a long time, you should consult a trusted healthcare practitioner. In the meantime, try the following anxiety reduction strategies:

Reduce inflammation to reduce anxiety. Research has shown a link between inflammation and anxiety. So when you take steps to lower your inflammation—which is good for your health in so many ways—you help fortify your body against anxiety. I recommend a couple key ways to lower inflammation:

  1. Take omega-3 fatty acids. These are the health-promoting fats found in high ratios in fish and some plant foods, like flax seeds, and they help lower inflammation. Eating nutrient-rich, omega-3-dense foods is important, but I recommend that all women take an omega-3 supplement because it can be difficult—if not impossible—to get healing amounts of this nutrient with diet alone. Also, many fish contain high levels of mercury and other toxins, so you don’t want to rely solely on fish for your omega-3s.
  2. Avoid toxins and other hormone-harming chemicals. Hormonal anxiety is driven by hormone imbalances—and one of the root causes of hormone imbalances is exposure to everyday toxins, like the gnarly chemicals found in conventional health and body care products, household cleaning products, air fresheners, fabric treatments, lawn chemicals and pesticides, and many other places. Avoid these chemicals as much as you can to protect yourself from hormone-driven anxiety.
  3. Support your body’s innate detox system. With so many chemicals in the environment, our bodies are working overtime to process and eliminate them—even when we assiduously avoid them in our homes and medicine cabinets. It’s a sad fact of modern life that our body’s detox system needs a little extra help to do its job well. I recommend plant-based antioxidants, like green tea extract and turmeric, to help your body detox.

Focus on gut health. Gut health is a factor in many mental health issues, including anxiety, so it’s important to support the microbiota that manufacture hormones like serotonin and dopamine. You can do this in a couple key ways:

  1. Fiber, fiber, fiber. The importance of fiber to the microbiome can’t be underestimated. The bugs in our gut thrive on healthy, whole-food sources of fiber. Emphasis leafy green vegetables, brassica vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, flax seeds, and high-fiber fruits like pears.
  2. Eat fermented foods. Naturally fermented foods (foods fermented without vinegar), like sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut yogurt, and fermented drinks like kvass, bring good bugs to your GI tract and promote an increased sense of calm.
  3. Take a probiotic. Fermented foods are great, but most of us need even more gut support. I recommend all women take a probiotic for hormone balance and emotional support. The idea of feeding your microbiome to heal anxiety might seemed far fetched, but the gut-brain axis is real. A core component of good mental health is good gut health!

Understand and address hormonal anxiety. If you experience hormone-related anxiety, you don’t need the research to tell you that your anxiety gets more severe during certain times of the month. But the data is there, if you want official confirmation. Studies show that fluctuations in female reproductive hormones influence the presence and severity of anxiety. Experts think this is one of the reasons that panic disorders are more prevalent in women than in men. So the first step in addressing hormonal anxiety is understanding your 28-day hormone cycle and adjusting your food, movement, and lifestyle to match your unique needs during each week of your cycle. I call this The Cycle Syncing Method™ and if this is brand new to you, you can learn more about it here. You can also start tracking your period with the MyFLO app. Once you’ve adopted The Cycle Syncing Method™, you’ll know where you are in your 28-day cycle week to week and you can track your moods and hormonal shifts even more closely. For now, you can think of your 28-day cycle as being divided into two parts: the first half and the second half. The first half is from right after your period ends to when you ovulate. The second half is from just after ovulation through your next period. Most women don’t experience anxiety (or increased anxiety) during ovulation. (If you’re not ovulating, it’s a different story and you should work to get your ovulation back on track.)

  • If you experience anxiety during the FIRST half of your cycle the cause is likely too much estrogen, which stimulates the brain to become antsy, edgy, and tense.

Natural remedy for anxiety in the first half of your cycle: Emphasize liver-loving foods and supplements during this time to help your body’s main detox organ process and eliminate excess estrogens from the body. Eat foods high in fiber and antioxidants, including cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, flax seeds or chia seeds, and low-glycemic, high-fiber fruits like pears. Get additional support with supplements like turmeric and green tea extract.

  • If you experience anxiety during the SECOND half of your cycle it could be a few factors: you might be sensitive to the drop in estrogen, but that should stabilize as progesterone increases during this phase. If you are deficient in progesterone, you might not experience that calming effect. You might also be experiencing blood sugar dips if you’re not eating enough slow-burning, whole-food carbohydrates during this phase. Finally, if you experience anxiety the day or two before your bleed begins, you may be responding to the drop in both progesterone and estrogen that happens at this time. When both hormones plummet, you may feel anxious.

Natural remedy for anxiety in the second half of your cycle: I recommend vitamin B6 to help increase your progesterone levels. B6 is vital for your body to create the corpus luteum that makes and releases all of your progesterone. I encourage all women to take a B-vitamin complex everyday, but you should also incorporate healthy, whole food sources of vitamin B6, including bananas, grass-fed beef, chicken, spinach, sweet potato, garlic, and salmon. If blood sugar is a root cause of your anxiety during this phase, try incorporating more slow-burning carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, brown rice, or quinoa.

  •  If you’re experiencing postpartum anxiety, you are not alone. Research suggests that postpartum anxiety is common and that it likely has multiple root causes, including the significant drop in estrogen and progesterone that follows childbirth. Another factor is the disrupted sleep schedule you experience when caring for a newborn.

Natural remedy for anxiety after giving birth: I recommend that new moms continue their prenatal supplement routine into (and well past) the 4th trimester. This will help give you the nourishment you need for breastfeeding. I also recommend that new moms take hormone-supportive supplements to patch up micronutrient deficiencies (micronutrient deficiencies can fuel anxiety) because pregnancy often depletes the body of key micronutrients.

  • If you’re experiencing anxiety related to PCOS or PMDD, you may need even more support to reduce anxiety. Both conditions can be uniquely challenging when it comes to anxiety.

Natural remedy for anxiety if you suffer from PCOS or PMDD: I encourage women with these conditions to take a concentrated, multipronged approach. Estrogen dominance is very likely a factor in your anxiety, so eating fiber-rich, nutrient-dense whole foods is key. I also recommend supplementing with liver-supportive nutrients, like selenium, green tea extract, and turmeric. The microbiome plays a key role in helping in eliminate excess estrogen, so supporting gut health with a high-quality probiotic is essential. Consider supplementing with calcium, which has been shown to help with mood disorders, including anxiety, during PMS. You will also want to eat foods that keep blood sugar balanced and use The Cycle Syncing Method™ to eat and exercise in sync with your cycle. Anxiety-proof your daily life. You can take other steps in your daily life to downsize anxiety:

  1. Keep blood sugar balanced. Balanced blood sugar is one of the biggest factors in balanced hormones and stable mood. You can use The Cycle Syncing Method™ to balance blood sugar. Learn more here.
  2. Ditch coffee. Caffeine makes your heart race and your head spin. It is literal fuel for anxiety. Just say no to coffee and caffeinated tea! (Plus, coffee is a nightmare for hormone balance.)
  3. Consider ditching the pill. While research on the link between hormonal birth control and mood and anxiety has been inconclusive over the past half century, enough research (and anecdotal evidence) has linked the pill with depression and other mood disorders. The pill has also been shown to deplete mood-supporting vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium.
  4. Take a magnesium supplement. Magnesium has a calming effect on the body, and having healthy magnesium levels in the body supports a healthy stress response.
  5. Strengthen your vagus nerve. Experts believe that the vagus nerve is how the brain communicates with the body, and how the body communicates with the brain. Studies suggest that strengthening your vagus nerve may help reduce anxiety. You can help tone this important nerve with singing and music and laughter!

Always remember that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

If you’re a woman who experiences anxiety, you’re not alone. Is it hormonal?

How to Tell If You Have a Caffeine Intolerance

Attention, Coffee Drinkers! Did you know that caffeine disrupts your hormones for a full 24 hours?

That’s not all. Caffeine stays in women’s bodies longer than men’s and it robs them of essential hormone-balancing nutrients and minerals. Studies link coffee consumption with infertility and poor gut health, which interferes with your body’s ability to detox excess (toxic) hormones.

Then there’s the link between caffeine consumption and cysts in your breasts and ovaries.

In other words, coffee is dangerous stuff if you suffer from hormone imbalances… and it can be dangerous stuff in general. That’s because many people can’t tolerate caffeine and don’t know it.

So that brings up two key questions: how can you tell if you have a hormone imbalance? And how can you tell if you have a caffeine intolerance?

Let’s start with signs of a hormone imbalance...

How to Tell if You Have a Hormone Imbalance

How do you know if your hormones could use a little TLC...and that caffeine might be something you should eliminate from your daily routine?

Here are some signs and symptoms of a hormone imbalance:


Severe period cramps





You have been steadily gaining weight for a few months or years

You can’t seem to lose weight even with a healthy diet and increased exercise

Chronic exhaustion/fatigue

Cyclical migraines

Sugar cravings

Breast or ovarian cysts

Low sex drive

Low energy



I encourage any woman who is experiencing one or more of these symptoms to ditch caffeine for good, especially if you don’t tolerate caffeine well…and research shows that only 10 percent of the population produces enough of the specific enzyme that helps breakdown and eliminate caffeine. That means 9 out of 10 of you reading this right now are caffeine intolerant, whether you suffer from hormone imbalances of not!

How to Tell If You Have a Caffeine Intolerance

As I just mentioned, caffeine intolerance is surprisingly common, but most of us think of ourselves as immune. Three cups of coffee each morning might affect my coworkers or my sister, but not me! I explain the genetics of caffeine intolerance—and why hormone imbalances and caffeine intolerance often go hand in hand—below, but first let’s take a look at the signs and symptoms of caffeine intolerance.

Almost everyone who drinks coffee or other caffeinated beverages will recognize that familiar pick-me-up feeling that caffeine brings. But if you experience any of the symptoms on the following list—symptoms that are often attributed to other conditions or physiological responses—you might be caffeine intolerant. Symptoms like:




Fatigue (yes, fatigue!)

High blood pressure

Poorly balanced blood sugar

Digestive distress

Feeling wired but tired

Racing heartbeat

In many cases, these symptoms are chalked up to other diagnoses, like adrenal fatigue or anxiety disorders, but the real culprit might be coffee OR the causes of your symptoms are multifactorial and coffee consumption is one of the factors.

Why Caffeine is SO BAD for Hormones

Here’s why caffeine is so problematic for women with hormone imbalances:

Caffeine Problem #1:

Caffeine may increase the risk of benign breast disease (BBD), and specifically a form of BBD called atypical hyperplasia, which is a marker of increased breast cancer risk. This is scary stuff! One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, so it is wise to take every step you can to protect yourself. Giving up caffeine is easy (and free!), and comes with a host of other benefits, like reducing anxiety and supporting better blood sugar balance.The good news? The same study suggests that taking multivitamin supplements can have a protective effect against developing BBD.

Caffeine Problem #2:

Caffeine consumption is linked to infertility. A woman is more likely to miscarry if she and/or her partner drink more than two caffeinated beverages per day in the weeks leading up to conception, according to research from the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University. Women who consumed two caffeinated beverages every day during the first seven weeks of pregnancy were also more likely experience pregnancy loss.Studies suggest that caffeine consumption may delay pregnancy among fertile women. Male partners, beware! Some research suggests that caffeine consumption among wannabe dads may reduce the chances of conception. Men who drank two or more cups of coffee per day had only a one in five chance of conception through IVF. Caffeine increases cortisol levels, and high cortisol sends signals to the body that it is not an ideal time for conception. Finally, caffeine depletes the body of vital nutrients needed for ovulation and healthy fertility (including B vitamins and folate). If you hope to become a mom someday, you need optimal levels of five key micronutrients, which you will want to take in supplement form…and you won’t want to deplete them at the same time by drinking coffee! Don’t do the good work of getting your essential micronutrients and then shoot yourself in the foot by drinking caffeine.

Caffeine Problem #3:

If you struggle with hormone imbalances (and if you’re reading this right now, you or someone you love probably does), it can be sign that your body has a hard time metabolizing caffeine. Hormone imbalances might be a sign that you don’t process caffeine efficiently. That’s because the same process in the liver that helps metabolize caffeine is also involved in the metabolism of estrogen.Caffeine is broken down by the liver using the enzyme CYP1A2. Your ability to produce this enzyme is regulated by the CYP1A2 gene. If you have a mutation in this gene, it will affect how your liver breaks down and eliminates excess caffeine. You will also have a harder time processing and eliminating excess estrogen.Based on your gene variation, you’ll either make a lot of this enzyme (and be a successful caffeine swiller) or a little (and have a tough time with caffeine). Turns out only 10% of the population make a lot of this enzyme. That’s just one in 10 of us! So if you fall into the majority — if you’re one of the 9 out of 10 women who don’t process caffeine efficiently — you also, very likely, have a buildup of estrogen in your body. And estrogen dominance is what gives rise to a lot of the unpleasant period problems you experience.This is why getting off caffeine is such an important part of the FLO Protocol. Estrogen dominance gives rise to so many of the symptoms of hormone imbalance and you don’t want anything blocking your ability to detox estrogen.

Ready to Ditch Caffeine? Here’s How

Ready to say no to the hormone-damaging effects of caffeine, but afraid of withdrawal? Never fear! You can quit caffeine without symptoms—and without losing energy. If you follow these steps, you will feel great as you wean off caffeine and you’ll be much less likely to relapse.

  1. Start to wean off caffeine during the ovulation phase of your 28-day menstrual cycle, when you naturally have the most energy.
  2. Nourish your adrenals with adaptogens that help combat stress, like rhodiola, ashwagandha, and maca root powder.
  3. Use magnesium to replenish your mineral reserves, balance your mood, and combat headaches.
  4. Supplement with B vitamins. Make sure you’re getting B5 and B12 as part of your B complex.
  5. Rehydrate with coconut water that is rich in electrolytes.
  6. Do gentle exercise, like walks and yoga, but avoid heavy cardio in the week or two after stopping coffee.
  7. Eat a big, healthy breakfast every morning, which will give you fuel for the whole day.

Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

Your Guide to a Symptom-Free Perimenopause

Many women fear perimenopause, that time in life when a woman’s reproductive hormones start to downshift.

Indeed, perimenopause has gotten a bad reputation because it can be accompanied by a raft of unpleasant symptoms, including weight gain, mood swings, severe period problems (like heavy or irregular, bloating, and PMS), feeling tired all the time, lackluster skin and hair, thyroid issues, non-existent libido, and infertility.

But here’s what most women don’t know: these symptoms aren’t inevitable.

Yes, the hormonal shifts during perimenopause are real, but the symptoms are optional. When you adopt a phase-based self-care routine, you can sidestep the unpleasant symptoms of perimenopause.

And don’t stop reading if you’re in your 20s and perimenopause is the last thing on your mind! If you’re experiencing any type of period problem or hormonal imbalance right now, your symptoms are a harbinger of things to come… and not in a good way. If you feel crummy now and you don’t take steps to balance your hormones, you stand to feel even worse during perimenopause.

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause means “around menopause” and it starts for most women around age 35 and lasts until menopause (your very last bleed). Symptoms can crop up during perimenopause because of the inevitable hormonal shifts that happen as the body starts to move out of its childbearing orientation. More specifically, perimenopause is characterized by uneven swings in estrogen, progesterone and androgens. These hormones follow a more or less even pattern during your 20s and early 30s, but they start to behave more erratically as you enter your late 30s and 40s and, as you get closer to menopause, they start to trend downward. Environmental Factors Make Perimenopause Symptoms WorseNow add in the fact that life in one’s late 30s and early 40s can be full of unique stressors: raising young children and teenagers, working long (often stressful) hours at the peak of one’s career, navigating busy family schedules, and caring for aging parents. This can send the stress hormone cortisol on its own frenzied roller coaster, so now in addition to shifts in reproductive hormones, a woman might be facing the symptoms of high cortisol, like feeling tired-but-wired all the time, never sleeping, intense sugar cravings, and imbalanced blood sugar. Your level of exposure to endocrine disrupting toxins also makes a difference in how well you’ll navigate perimenopause. Today there are more endocrine disruptors in the environment than ever before, and these chemicals can overwhelm the body’s detox system (which is in charge of getting rid of used-up hormones as well as toxins) and wreak a special kind of havoc on the thyroid, which is very sensitive to chemical exposure.

The Two Phases of Perimenopause

Perimenopause happens in two phases: Phase 1 and Phase 2. Today I’m going to focus on how you can ease symptoms and engage in cyclical self-care during Phase 1, but it’s important to understand both phases.Phase 1 (35 to 45 years old)This phase is when reproductive hormone production starts to shift and become less consistent. That said, if you’re in good hormonal health and you’re engaging in cyclical self-care (see my advice below) you shouldn’t feel symptoms during this phase. You should be ovulating and menstruating regularly and have good muscle tone, skin quality, energy, and sex drive. In other words, you should still be making enough hormones to feel vital and youthful. If you are experiencing symptoms like difficulty with fertility, vaginal dryness, accelerated skin aging, or dry hair (or all of the above), these are signs that your hormones need some TLC...ASAP!Phase Two (45 to 55 years old)During this phase, FSH levels rise to the point where you no longer ovulate. And while that sounds dramatic, this phase will be relatively smooth sailing if you’ve taken care of your hormonal health during Phase 1. However, many women let the symptoms they experience in Phase 1 go unaddressed and that compounds their symptoms in Phase 2.But as I said earlier, extreme symptoms aren’t inevitable during perimenopuase. You can use targeted strategies in each phase to ease symptoms and feel your best.

Phase 1 Perimenopause: Symptoms & Solutions

I recommend that all women follow the same core food, supplement, and cyclical self-care strategies in Phase 1 to minimize perimenopause symptoms. Then, if you still don’t feel your best, you can customize the protocol by taking specific steps to address your unique symptoms. Here are my three core strategies for every woman in perimenopause, followed by steps you can take to address specific, lingering symptoms.

The 3 Core Strategies for a Symptom-Free Perimenopause

Strategy #1: Practice Phase-based eating. The first essential strategy for having a symptom-free perimenopause is to eat specific foods each week of your cycle, changing what you eat in each phase to support optimal hormone balance and metabolism. This phase-based approach to eating provides the most variety of micronutrients to support overall hormonal balance. It also ensures that you’re getting key foods at critical times to break down the excess levels of estrogen that can cause breakouts and PMS. Not to mention that this approach will improve the quality of your bleed, support fertility, and boost sex drive, energy, and mood. You’ll enjoy a wide variety of cuisines when you start eating cyclically – macrobiotic, raw, ketogenic, Mediterranean, some intermittent fasting and not ever get stuck doing one day in and day out. Phase-based eating is the true differentiator for the FLO protocol. Everything about your diet and lifestyle should be relevant to your female biochemistry, and the FLO protocol ensures that.

Strategy #2: Engage in phase-based exercise. The cyclical nature of your 28-day menstrual cycle provides the perfect architecture for planning how to work out and when to work out. During each phase of your menstrual cycle your body is primed for different kinds of exercise. At certain times—during the luteal phase and during menstruation, for example—the nutrients and hormones in your body are directed toward building up the lining up of your uterus, so you won’t have all the internal resources you need to work out at full capacity. During the other phases, however, your body can channel all its resources into a really strong workout.By engaging in phase-based exercise, you will save yourself from exhaustion, burn-out, and unpleasant perimenopause symptoms. Get my recommendations for what type of movement to engage in and when right here.

Strategy #3: Maximize Your Micronutrients With Perimenopause Supplements. If you’re eating a whole-food, phase-based diet and you’re exercising in sync with your cycle, do you need to take supplements to have a symptom-free perimenopause? Yes!Supplements are non-negotiable for keeping hormones balanced and stable as you enter Phase 1 perimenopause. Food should always be your first strategy. To heal your hormones, you have to feed your body a micronutrient-rich diet of hormonally-supportive foods in a cycle-syncing pattern. There’s no single supplement that can make up for bad or inconsistent food choices. But supplementing with specific micronutrients gives the body the extra support it needs during times of hormonal transition. This is why we created the EASE supplement kit—to help you prolong youth with healthier hormones. Here are the micronutrients you'll find in EASE, and how they will support your perimenopause journey:

  • Melatonin: Supports slow hormonal aging by increasing egg quality and chances of conception and promoting deeper sleep and rest. Also helps support a healthy sex drive and may support healthier bones.
  • B vitamins, Saffron, and Scelectium: This combination supports healthier, more regular ovulation, boosts energy and clears stress, increases mental focus, reduces hot flashes and stress, and supports moods.

In addition to EASE, you may want to consider a probiotic. A healthy microbiome is essential for managing hormonal conditions—and this is especially true as you enter perimenopause. Women aged 35 to 45 need optimal gut health in order to absorb the key micronutrients they get in their food and supplement. Good gut health also means a healthy estrobolome, or the community of bugs in the gut that help metabolize excess estrogen.

Specific Strategies for Lingering Perimenopause Symptoms

Once you’ve put my 3 core strategies in place, you will start to feel better. But you may still need additional support in certain areas. That’s normal. Here are some of the common symptoms unique to perimenopause and additional steps you can take to help ease them:

Irregular, heavy, or painful periods.

Try taking Vitex, also called chasteberry. It has been shown to support regular ovulation and healthy progesterone levels. But proceed with caution if you have PCOS. In some women with PCOS, certain reproductive hormones are already high and Vitex may raise those hormones even further, which you don’t want.

PMS/PMDD.Studies also suggest that Vitex, also called Chasteberry, may help improve symptoms of PMS and PMDD. One study even found that Vitex outperformed fluoxetine (generic name for Prozac) for easing symptoms of PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).

Fertility struggles. By supporting regular ovulation and healthy hormone levels, Vitex can be a great choice for fertility support during perimenopause. Research that looked at a proprietary blend of herbs that included Vitex found that the supplement supported fertility without negative side effects. (Don’t combine Vitex with fertility drugs, however, because that can lead to over stimulation of the ovaries) CoQ10 has also been shown to help improve egg quality. Depression and irritability. Try taking maca powder, which studies suggest may help improve symptoms of depression. Some animal research also suggests that maca may help with cognitive function and concentration.

Weight gain. Try alpha lipoic acid, which helps support healthy blood sugar and insulin balance and, in turn, healthy weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. The compound may also guard against bone loss. ALA also helps support and nourish the liver and optimal liver function is essential for getting rid of excess estrogen and keeping reproductive hormones balanced. Alpha lipoic acid is one the key ingredients in the my Balance Detox supplement. Dull skin and hair. A high-quality omega-3 supplement will help nourish dry skin and hair. Also, an obvious tip, but one that often gets overlooked and under-appreciated: stay hydrated! This works wonders for skin and hair.

Low sex drive.Studies suggest that maca may help boost sex drive in menopausal women, and other research found that maca may act as a “toner of hormonal processes” in early post-menopausal women. Additional research has shown that maca may help with low libido as a side effect of taking SSRI antidepressant medications in menopausal women. The adaptogenic herb ashwagandhamay also help support sexual function in women.

Stress and anxiety. Taming stress requires a multipronged approach, one that includes lifestyle modifications, exercise, and more. But adaptogenic herbs can be a powerful part of your stress-reduction arsenal. I recommend ashwagandha, which research suggests is a safe and effective way to build up resistance to stress and improve self-reported quality of life. Holy Basil is another great choice for stress and anxiety support, according to research.

Coming Off Birth Control to Conceive. If you’re coming off birth control after many years on the pill, I recommend several important steps for hormone healing and fertility support. But one of the best things you can do is prioritize eating leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. These foods help support estrogen metabolism in the liver and bring your hormones back into balance after years of hormonal birth control.

Thyroid issues. With thyroid concerns, your first best bet is always to consult a trusted healthcare practitioner. You’ll want to run thyroid lab tests and discuss next steps with a licensed professional. But you’ll also want to make it a top priority to avoid endocrine-disrupting chemicals as much as possible. The thyroid is uniquely sensitive to endocrine disruptors. I recommend ALL women take steps to protect themselves from these environmental chemicals, but it is especially critical if your are working to heal your thyroid.

Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you!  You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

The Secret to Exercise Success

Women are the biggest consumers of health-industry products and protocols—and we’re especially susceptible this time of year, when New Year’s fitness routines promise to burn off pounds and build lean muscle in no time.But here’s the dirty secret that no one is talking about this time of year (or ANY time of year): most of the research on optimal health and wellness is done on men, and because women’s bodies work differently—and because these differences are something most experts in the health space rarely talk about (I’m here to change that!)—we are left to try everything, be disappointed, and then try some more. It’s a cycle that costs us stress, energy, money, heartache, and sanity.If you’re tried any of these fitness routines, you already know on some level that they don’t work. Maybe you made progress for a while, but then it stalled. Maybe you never made progress or, worse, your symptoms got more severe when you started a new health and fitness routine. This phenomenon is all too common. I’ve worked with so many women who started a new health protocol—like eating Paleo and doing short, intense workouts—and seen their symptoms get worse. The thing to remember is that women are biochemically different than men and we need to adopt health-promoting strategies that work for our unique female biochemistry.In other words, we need to biohack like a girl. So what does that look like? The first step is to understand your 28-day cycle and then match your food and exercise to your natural hormonal shifts during those 28 days. When you sync your cycle to your food and movement routines, you’ll experience easier periods, less PMS, reduced bloating, clearer skin, and improvements in weight and body composition. By acknowledging your hormonal reality, you’ll finally be able to look and feel your best.

Your Exercise Needs Change With Your Cycle

Here’s an interesting catch-22: historically women have been excluded from nutrition and exercise research because of how our 28-day menstrual cycle affects our metabolism. (Researchers assume it will mess up the data and so instead of designing tests for us, they just leave us out.) But it is precisely because of those hormone changes that we need research into how we should eat and move.So the research on menstruation and exercise is limited, but not completely non-existent. We know a few things! First, research suggests that women in the luteal phase (the second half of the 28-day cycle) fatigue faster during workouts and need more time to recover. This is one reason to do higher intensity workouts during your follicular phase (the first half of your cycle) and save gentler movement practices, like yoga, for the luteal phase. We know from another study that a woman’s resting metabolic rate (also known as our basal metabolic rate) decreases during the follicular phase, hitting its lowest point one week before ovulation. So doing high intensity workouts during this phase serves as a counterbalance to a slower metabolism. … which brings us to a key biohacking takeaway for women: since your metabolism is naturally slower during the first half of your cycle, you have the power to speed it up — and lose weight and gain muscle! — by doing high intensity exercise during this time.Other research has found that insulin sensitivity is higher during the follicular phase and lower during the luteal phase. A separate study found that the body uses carbohydrates more efficiently during the follicular phase. What does this mean when it comes to exercise? It means that during the first half of your cycle you need less insulin to keep blood sugar stable and keep your body supplied with energy… and that makes it the ideal time to high intensity workouts like strength training and HIIT workouts. As estrogen and testosterone drop during the luteal phase, your energy for doing high intensity workouts will wane, too. And while a woman’s calorie needs go up during the luteal phase, her resting metabolic rate also rises. In other words, you will eat more in the last half of your cycle, but you will burn more, too. As your energy slows in the luteal phase, allow your workouts to slow down, too. Shift from high intensity bouts of exercise to activities like yoga, walking, and easy bike rides. Not only will these types of movements match your energy level (and you won’t be fighting your natural hormonal rhythms, which is counterproductive and unhealthy) but you will get better results, too. If you experience estrogen dominance (and almost every woman with period problems does), exercising hard all the time can backfire (I wrote more about why that happens here). In the end, the biggest takeaway is that a woman can’t exercise the same way every day and expect to see results. When you align your exercise with your menstrual cycle, you can finally look and feel your best.

What You’ll Get When You Start Exercising With Your Cycle

You can expect to lose weight and gain muscle more easily and sustainably, as well as prevent injury by varying your movement consistently. When you sync your exercise with your cycle, you’ll experience remarkable results. You’ll will also deepen your intuitive sense of what type of movement your body wants and needs every day—and at every phase of your cycle. Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

Secrets of Cycle Syncing™

Did you know that you have optimal times each month for exercise, going on a date, asking for a raise, starting a creative project, and for tapping into your intuition? The secret is coded in your monthly cycle! Let me show you how to leverage your cycle to optimize your energy, productivity and happiness! In this masterclass you’ll discover:

  • How your hormones shift and their effects on your mood, energy, and cravings
  • Using your cycle to optimize your energy for your work and social schedule
  • And how to cycle sync™ for better relationships and more love

Download "Secrets of Cycle Syncing™

6 Signs You Have Uterine Fibroids (And How To Biohack Your Way Out of Them)

Endometriosis gets a lot of press these days, with celebs like Lena Dunham and Padma Lakshmi talking openly about their struggles with this painful hormonal condition. PCOS is also getting more recognition, thanks to Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley and a growing awareness of PCOS as a common cause of infertility for American women.

So if you struggle with period problems, but haven’t been diagnosed with endometriosis or PCOS, you might think that having heavy, uncomfortable periods is just something you have to deal with. Or maybe you're confused about the real root cause.

Your symptoms might actually be caused by uterine fibroids. Studies show that most American women will develop fibroids at some point during their lives. And while almost all of these non-cancerous tumors are benign (and some cases are asymptomatic), a lot of fibroids grow large and lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms — symptoms that you might otherwise chalk up to the idea that that’s just how your body works.

Do fibroids affect hormones?

Or, is it the other way around? In fact, fibroids are fueled by hormone imbalances (just like PCOS and endometriosis). So, you can take steps to balance your hormones and ease fibroid symptoms.

One of the most common imbalances when it comes to fibroids is excess estrogen. An overload of estrogen seems to make fibroids grow larger. Having too much estrogen relative to progesterone is a common hormone imbalance because so many things in our environment increase estrogen, including the foods we eat, the foods we don’t eat, exposure to toxins, poor sleep, stress, and other environmental factors. At times, it feels like the world is conspiring to make our estrogen go up. But you can take simple steps to biohack your hormones and bring estrogen and progesterone back into balance. Read on to learn how!

Fibroid Symptoms

Fibroids give rise to some telltale symptoms. Here are some signs that fibroids might be at a root cause of your period problems:

  1. Heavy flow. This is one of those symptoms that can be easily overlooked or assumed is "just how your period goes", but heavy flow can be a sign of fibroids.
  2. Periods that last more than 7 days. If your period tends to run longer than a week, you might think that you just drew the short end of the menstrual stick. But overly long periods can also be a sign of fibroids.
  3. Feeling like you have to pee all the time… but nothing comes out. You might never have thought of this as a symptom of an underlying hormone imbalance, but this too can be a sign of uterine fibroids.
  4. Pelvic pain/pressure. Another potential symptom of fibroids.
  5. Constipation. Constipation can strike for any number of reasons, many unrelated to hormones, but if you experience it in combination with other symptoms, it could be related to uterine fibroids.
  6. Backaches and/or leg pain. Like constipation, a sore back and other aches might strike you as normal and not connected to your endocrine system. But in some cases, just like constipation, this can be connected to fibroids.

Fibroids are often diagnosed during a routine pelvic exam and confirmed with an ultrasound. If you suspect that you have uterine fibroids, consult with a trusted healthcare practitioner. And if you discover that fibroids are an issue for you, Western medicine will tell you that the cause is unknown and that the only “treatment” is taking hormonal birth control. But the Pill doesn’t address the underlying root cause of fibroids, which is hormone imbalance, and it can actually make hormone imbalances worse. In some cases, doctors offer surgery to remove fibroids, but an invasive procedure (with a high risk of generating scar tissue that can complicate future pregnancies) isn’t an ideal choice unless absolutely necessary.

Biohack Your Hormones and Fix Fibroids Naturally

Happily, there’s a lot you can do with nutrition and lifestyle to address the hormone imbalances that underlie uterine fibroids, especially around the connection between estrogen and fibroids. Here’s how:

  1. Understand your cycle. You can help bring hormones into balance by tracking your cycle and shifting what you eat and how much you move, so that your daily routine matches each distinct phase of your 28-day cycle. I call this Cycle Syncing®, and if you’re serious about biohacking your hormones and easing symptoms, this is the first and best place to start.
  2. Eat to balance estrogen. Fibroids are affected by excess estrogen in the body, which makes them grow. (They often decrease in size after menopause, when estrogen in the body is lower). So it’s important to eliminate dairy and meat raised with synthetic hormones that can act like estrogen in the body, and to prioritize foods that help modulate and balance estrogen, like flax seeds, beans, whole grains, pears, and apples.
  3. Balance your microbiome. The microbiome contains a colony of bacteria that helps metabolize estrogen. This colony is called the estrobolome—and when the microbiome is healthy, so is the estrobolome. But when the good and bad bugs in the microbiome are out of balance, the estrobolome can’t do its job efficiently and estrogen builds up. Ditching sugar, dairy, and gluten is the first step in healing the microbiome. (If you’re ready to give up those estrobolome-destroying foods, try my free 4-Day Detox.) Another key to building and maintaining a healthy microbiome is supplementing with a great probiotic.
  4. Support liver function. The estrobolome metabolizes used-up estrogen. Then the liver gets it ready for elimination. So if your liver is sluggish (just like if your microbiome is imbalanced), estrogen can build up in the body. The liver thrives when we eat specific liver-nourishing foods—and it gets clogged and sluggish when we eat high fructose-containing processed foods and when we drink caffeine. You can also use targeted supplements to improve liver function. The supplements in my BALANCE Supplement Kit help support the liver.

Remember that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

Could it be fibroids? Take simple steps to biohack your hormones and bring estrogen & progesterone back in balance.

There’s a Right Way To Quit the Pill: Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’re considering quitting the pill, congrats! You’re taking a huge step toward reclaiming your health, happiness, and hormones. And you’re not alone. Surveys suggest that 70% of millennials have ditched (or are thinking about ditching) hormonal birth control.

Seriously—the list of birth control’s harmful effects never ceases to amaze us, and yet it’s the most common Band-Aid solution doctors rely on to spot-treat deep-seated endocrine issues. Many doctors recommend the pill to “solve” symptoms, but the pill doesn’t solve anything. Symptoms disappear because the pill covers them up. Meanwhile, the root causes of your symptoms continue to simmer beneath the surface—and the longer they go unaddressed, the harder they are to treat. Not only that, the pill can damage the microbiome, increase inflammation, suppress ovulation, and lead to micronutrient deficiencies.

So yes—quitting the pill is one of the most significant things you can do in the process of hormonal healing. But saying goodbye to the pill without knowing how to protect yourself from rebound symptoms can cause them to return with a vengeance—especially if you give up the drugs cold turkey. That’s because your body suddenly has to manage and balance its own hormones for the first time in months or years, and it goes through a re-education process as your natural hormone cycle comes back online. Luckily, there are smart strategies for coming off the pill. We've developed a foolproof plan for quitting synthetic hormones once and for all, and sidestepping the unpleasant symptoms that can come with it.

The Surefire Plan to Transitioning Off the Pill Without Symptoms

  • Discuss it with your doctor. Before you take the plunge, let your doctor know that you’ll be coming off the pill. A good doctor will help you find alternative, natural methods of contraception & support you through the change.
  • Start the FLO protocol ASAP. A lot of women don’t realize that they need to lay the groundwork for hormonal health before they quit synthetic hormones. Cycle-Syncing® your diet and exercise while you’re still taking the pill can make this transition much gentler on your endocrine system and ease post-pill side effects like acne, insomnia, mood swings and irregular cycles. Moving into a FLO lifestyle will enable your body to begin the process of detoxification & recalibration, readying it for a pill-free lifestyle.
  • Identify and address nutrient deficiencies. Synthetic hormones deplete your body of vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins, vitamins C and E, and the minerals magnesium, selenium, and zinc. If you’re considering coming off the pill, consider taking a high-quality supplements now to make the transition easier. The FLO Living Balance Supplement Kit contains all of these key nutrients.
  • Start tracking your period. If your periods return quickly and they become regular, great! If not, then it’s likely that there is an underlying health problem that we recommend you address naturally with food changes. Many women do find it takes months for their period to show up and even then it is sporadic. Tracking your cycle  before you stop the pill, and using our eating plan during the transition, will help you avoid this. If your period still isn’t back in six months, investigate potential underlying causes with your doctor. You’ll want to rule out insulin resistance, PCOS, thyroid troubles, vitamin D deficiency (as well as the deficiencies mentioned above), and severe food sensitivities like celiac disease (though we recommend avoiding gluten no matter what).
  • Re-establish a healthy gut. The pill ravages your internal microbial ecosystem. The longer you’ve been taking it, the worse the impact on your body. When you’re on the pill, eating good, clean, healthy food is the best way to start the healing process, but in order to fast track your healing, you’ll need a powerful probiotic to replenish the balance of good gut bacteria. The probiotic in the FLO Living Balance Supplement Kit is a highly-concentrated dose that helps balance flora, support mood, improve digestive function and nutrient absorption, and reduce the chances of getting yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.
  • Make more of your own hormones. Vitamin B6 is essential for making progesterone. Include whole foods that are rich in B6 in your diet, like bananas, spinach, sweet potato, garlic, chicken, grass-fed beef, and salmon. Supplements are also key here. The Energize formula in our Balance Supplements Kit is a powerful B vitamin combination that supplies most of the B vitamins in their coenzymated forms. Incorporating lots of good quality fats and amino acids in your diet is essential, too - they’re what hormones are made from and what your body needs to start making more of its own and fast. If you can and do eat animal protein, have fish and organic poultry as well as pasture-raised eggs (including their yolks), olive oil, and avocados. It’s particularly important to get enough high-quality omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are less abundant than other types of fats in our modern food supply, so supplementing is often necessary. The Harmonize formulation in our Balance Supplement Kit contains fish oil that’s ultra potent and delivered in the form found in nature, to support hormone production and healthy ovulation.
  • Do an estrogen detox. A lot of women are hit with a condition called estrogen dominance after quitting the pill—the most common cause of all hormonal dysfunction. Leafy greens are the absolute best way to combat this problem. Tuck into kale, chard, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and more (at every meal if you can!). To speed up estrogen detox, supplement with the Detox formula in the Balance Supplement Kit. It offers liver support for overall detox function and supports healthy detox of excess estrogen, which is essential to regaining your hormonal health.

You have the power to learn & decide every move.

How to Treat Uterine Fibroids Naturally

Believe it or not, the majority of women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lifetime. Crazy, right? But it’s true—a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 80%-90% of African American women and 70% of white women will develop fibroids by age 50. That means you or someone you love will almost certainly be affected by this condition. But chances are, you’re not sure what to do about it. The good news is that by understanding the issue, you can apply a few simple, natural protocols to effectively treat fibroids.

What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that develop in the wall of the uterus. They’re the most common non-cancerous tumors in women of childbearing age. Fibroids can range in size from tiny (the size of a pea) to very large (the size of a melon). Symptoms can vary from none at all, to heavy or painful periods, bleeding between periods, pain during intercourse, lower back pain, frequent urination, and reproductive problems.

What Causes Uterine Fibroids?

According to Western medicine, no one knows for sure what causes fibroids to form. What we do know is that they seem to be affected by our hormones. Specifically, excess estrogen in the body seems to make them grow, and they will often decrease in size after menopause (when overall body estrogen is lower). So one of the ways to treat uterine fibroids naturally is to address estrogen excess—or estrogen dominance—in the body’s ecosystem.

Estrogen dominance occurs in the body when there is too much estrogen in relation to progesterone. This can happen as a result of the foods we eat, the beauty and body care products we use, stress, poor sleep, other environmental factors—or a combination of all of the above. It can be very hard to completely avoid estrogen excess because we’re surrounded by chemicals that disrupt hormonal harmony every day. Endocrine disruptors are in everything from our furniture to our nail polish and even household cleaning supplies.

Is Birth Control the Answer for Treating Fibroids?

At the doctor’s office, a diagnosis of uterine fibroids often means one thing: a prescription for the birth control pill. That’s because most doctors consider the pill to be a way to control the growth of fibroids as well as the symptoms you’re experiencing. But the problem is, this “treatment” doesn’t actually treat the root cause of uterine fibroids or address uterine health long-term. In fact, hormonal birth control comes with a slew of side effects that ultimately make hormonal imbalances worse.

The other option that doctors give women with fibroids is surgery—and most of us, quite rightly, want to avoid invasive procedures as much as possible, especially as the scar tissue that can develop from this surgery can complicate pregnancy.

But don’t despair: Despite what your doctor may have told you, medications and surgery are not your only options. You can use natural strategies to reduce the size of the fibroids you have now, prevent the growth of new fibroids, and reverse the problem.

The Best Natural Ways to Treat Uterine Fibroids

To treat fibroids and alleviate symptoms, the first step is to make food and lifestyle choices that support your body in processing and eliminating excess estrogen as efficiently as possible. Your goal is to bring estrogen levels back into balance with progesterone levels in your body.

You may have heard that women with fibroids should specifically avoid meat and dairy products from animals treated with synthetic hormones. This is because synthetic hormones are powerful estrogens that can create estrogen dominance and provoke fibroid growth. But, just as some foods are bad for fibroids, other foods are great for fixing and even shrinking fibroids. Fibroid-fighting foods help the body process and flush excess estrogen and boost progesterone—both of which can help slow (or stop!) the growth of fibroids.  

Another piece of the fibroid puzzle is genetics. If you have fibroids, it’s likely your mom or sisters have this health issue, too. It’s also more likely that a daughter of yours will be at higher risk of developing fibroids in her teens and 20s. But you can stop this domino effect in its tracks by addressing the estrogen excess that is the source of the problem.

The 6 Simple Steps To Naturally Treat Fibroids

To heal fibroids, you need to address one of the underlying causes of the issue: estrogen dominance. That’s the best way to stay fibroid-free for the future. This natural healing isn’t complicated, but it requires several steps, including eating in a way that flushes estrogen, elevating your progesterone levels, eliminating sources of synthetic estrogen like pesticides, chemical-based beauty products and cosmetics, and conventional household cleaners from your life, and supporting your body’s natural detoxification and elimination systems. There are steps you can take to reduce and ultimately get rid of fibroids.

1. Take a supplement specifically designed to treat fibroids at the source.

The FLO Living RELEASE Kit offers targeted nutrients that help support healthy estrogen and metabolism for easier, healthier periods. Our custom supplement blend provides you with the best-known optimizers to clear out excess estrogen and support the liver through each detox phase. We made sure to include an ideal blend of natural and herbal support which includes DIM, Sulforaphane, NAC, and Calcium-D-Glucarate in one spot.

2. Eat to nourish your hormones.

Reduce your estrogen overload by changing your diet and daily routine—this is called Cycle Syncing®. It involves eating, working out, and living your best life in a cyclical manner that optimizes your healing and long-term success. When you eat in a hormonally supportive way, you incorporate specific foods each week of your cycle and change that selection of foods as you move through each different phase of your cycle. This cyclical approach supports optimal hormone balance and metabolism all month long.

3. Cut out chemicals.

Research suggests that endocrine-disrupting chemicals—like those found in everyday cleaning supplies, cosmetic and body care products, lawn treatment chemicals, upholstered furniture, vinyl products (like shower curtains), plastic food containers and plastic food wrap—are strongly linked to the development of uterine fibroids.

The list of things to avoid (the shower curtain?!) might feel long and overwhelming, but avoiding these chemicals is easy—and, in great news, many of the chemical-free options are less expensive than conventional options. For example, baking soda and vinegar for cleaning the house can be bought in bulk—and for pennies on the dollar compared to chemical cleaning agents. Similarly, opting to not treat your lawn with chemicals is free! If you use plastic food storage containers, you can replace them over time with glass and stainless steel options (which last a lifetime); same with a shower curtain made of healthier material.

4. Support your microbiome.

You’ve likely heard of the microbiome, or, the collection of bacteria that live in the gut. What’s less well known is that the microbiome contains a colony of bacteria that actually helps metabolize estrogen. This colony of bacteria is called the estrobolome, and when the microbiome is healthy, so is the estrobolome. But when the good and bad bugs in the microbiome are out of balance (gut dysbiosis), the estrobolome can’t do its job efficiently and estrogen builds up in the body.

In other words, gut dysbiosis can contribute to conditions related to estrogen dominance, including the development of fibroids. Ditching sugar, dairy, and gluten is the first step in healing the microbiome. (If you’re ready to give up those estrobolome-destroying foods, try our free 4-Day Detox.) The other key to building and maintaining a healthy microbiome is supplementing with a great probiotic.

What is the estrobolome? The estrobolome is a term used to describe the collection of microbes living in the human gut that are involved in estrogen metabolism. These microbes play a crucial role in regulating the levels and balance of estrogen in the body. The estrobolome helps to break down estrogen and convert it into less potent forms, which can be excreted from the body.

When the estrobolome is not functioning properly, it can lead to an imbalance in estrogen levels, which has been associated with several health conditions, including breast cancer, endometriosis, and obesity. Research into the estrobolome is ongoing, and it is believed that maintaining a healthy balance of gut microbes through a balanced diet and probiotic supplements may help to optimize estrogen metabolism and reduce the risk of these conditions.

5. Improve your liver function.

The estrobolome metabolizes used-up estrogen. Then the liver gets it ready for elimination. So if your liver is sluggish (just like if your microbiome is imbalanced), estrogen can build up in the body—and, once again, you’re facing estrogen dominance.

Food is powerful when it comes to liver health. The liver thrives when we eat specific liver-nourishing foods—and it suffers greatly when we eat high fructose-containing processed foods and when we drink caffeine. The liver uses an enzyme called CYP1A2 to break down caffeine—and how much or how little CYP1A2 you produce is genetic. If your genes enable you to make a lot of this enzyme, you’re better at processing caffeine. But you are probably in the minority! It’s estimated that only 10% of the population makes robust levels of CYP1A2.

And here’s where things get really interesting: CYP1A2 is also involved in the metabolism of estrogen. So if you struggle with fibroids, there’s reason to suspect you might not be making enough of this enzyme—which underscores why giving up caffeine is so important. You need all the CYP1A2 available to you to process estrogen. You don’t want to waste your precious stores of this enzyme on caffeine.

More good news about our RELEASE supplement kit? It provides you with the best-known optimizers to clear out excess estrogen and support the liver through each detox phase.

6. Eat more of these 5 hormone balancing foods:

  • Flax seeds are part of a food group called “selective estrogen receptor modulators” that inhibit estrogen sensitivity in the uterus, which is beneficial when you have fibroids. They are also a fantastic source of fiber, which you need to move excess estrogen out of your bowels as quickly as possible to eliminate it from your body. Finally, flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (which reduce the insulin resistance and inflammation that can suppress liver function) and lignans (which bind to estrogen receptors and prevent absorption of excess estrogen).
  • Whole grains are the best substitute for white processed stuff like bread, pasta, and noodles, and will help with insulin stabilization. High insulin levels from white starchy food (which acts like sugar in the body) are a factor in making fibroids grow. Whole grains are also a great source of fiber and will help to speed up the process and elimination of excess estrogen.
  • Soy isn’t my favorite food for women with hormonal issues, but in the case of fibroids, certain forms of soy can be beneficial. Specifically seek out non-processed, organic soy in the form of tempeh and miso to add to your diet.  This kind of soy has an anti-estrogenic effect on the uterus. Avoid all processed soy like soy cheese, soy meat, and other meat and dairy replacements. Moderation is key here and I wouldn’t recommend having soy every day, but unprocessed and organic soy is a useful dietary tool for managing fibroids.
  • Beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein, plus they have a low glycemic impact for most women, which reduces the kind of inflammation that can increase fibroid growth. You should focus on kidney beans, lentils, and mung beans. Beans and legumes can be a healthy protein replacement if you’re working to reduce meat (which can also help heal fibroids).
  • Pears and apples are liver-supporting foods that contain lots of fiber, along with a flavonoid named phloretin, which impairs tumor growth.

The 6 Natural Supplements To Stop Hormonal Acne

Looking for Vitamins for Hormonal Acne?

Let's face it, hormonal acne is frustrating. You’ve suffered through the skin issues of adolescence only to discover that adulthood comes with its own host of blemishes! Or perhaps you had great skin in your youth and only NOW is it plaguing you. So unfair, right? Trust me, our founder Alisa Vitti has been there.

Before Alisa created the FLO Living protocol, it took her an hour and a half just to leave the house. Her face and back were covered in cystic hormonal acne that she covered with heavy makeup just to feel confident enough to carry on with her life.

So, if that painful scenario sounds even remotely familiar, then you’ll really want to pay attention. Your skin shouldn’t rule your life and diminish your self-esteem. By learning to heal your endocrine system (the system responsible for hormone production) naturally, you can regain control of your beautiful face and body and learn to love your skin again. And Flo Living is living proof of that!

Why Hormonal Acne Happens

Hormonal acne can accompany natural shifts in the menstrual cycle—for example, when you’re moving from your ovulation phase into your pre-menstrual phase. It can also be triggered by high levels of androgens (male hormones) and stress.

Research suggests that the oil-producing glands in the skin can act as their own independent endocrine organs, responding to messages from hormones like testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol. Women need androgens for optimal health (they just need less of them than men), some stress in life is inevitable, and hormonal fluctuations during the month are not just normal but important. You want them to happen! But here’s what’s NOT a sure thing: acne.

Clear acne by balancing your hormones

Acne isn’t an inevitable side effect of normal hormonal fluctuations and life stressors. It’s a sign of endocrine dysfunction and a big SOS: your hormones are in trouble! And this can happen any time in adulthood: during your 20s and 30s, during pregnancy, after baby, and even during perimenopause.

The good news is that sending help to your hormones, including using supplements to help heal and balance them, is easy.

Why the Conventional Acne Treatments You’re Using Aren’t Working

When Alisa Vitti had acne, she tried everything that her doctor would give her, desperate to improve the way her skin looked and the way she felt about herself. Maybe you can relate: going through a list of potions and pills, hoping each would work for you.

Alisa personally tried a long course of antibiotics to stop the acne, which permanently stained her teeth slightly yellow (to this day!) and destroyed her gut microbiome so badly that she spent my entire freshman year of college with viruses, yeast infections, and flu-like symptoms.

She tried Retinol-A cream and Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide thinking she could heal my skin from the outside and just fix the surface of the issue. Needless to say, none of those things worked.

There’s a reason these commonly prescribed medications don’t work — and most even come with dangerous side effects:

  • The birth control pill: The pill disrupts your microbiome, endocrine system, and micronutrient levels – all systems essential for keeping your skin clear. You may have clear skin while you’re taking it, but not without added side effects that can worsen issues like PCOS, plus increase your risk of some reproductive cancers. Once you decide to stop using hormonal birth control, a common symptom of the withdrawal period is acne, often worse than you’ve had before because of the internal disruption that has occurred as a result of the medication.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics do incredible damage to the microbiome because they don’t distinguish between good bacteria and bad bacteria—they just kill all of them—and robust gut health is important for clear skin. As with hormonal birth control, when you come off the antibiotics, the acne may not only return, it can be much worse than it was before because of the microbiome damage.
  • Spironolactone/Aldactone: Just as we don’t recommend synthetic hormonal birth control or meat and dairy that contain synthetic hormones, we don’t recommend the steroid medication spironolactone. This steroid is nothing like the hormones your body produces on its own. It disrupts your body’s production of testosterone by confusing your body with a synthetically similar steroid. Plus, spironolactone use can trigger one of the most common hormone imbalance issues (and a cause of acne)—estrogen dominance—as well as depression, blood clots, and increased risk of some cancers. Spironolactone is not safe to take long-term and is not going to prevent acne beyond the point that you are using it.
  • Isotretinoin (originally Accutane): If you’re prescribed Isotretinoin, then you are also prescribed hormonal birth control, because Isotretinoin causes birth defects. That in itself should be enough to dissuade you from using this medication. There are other side effects—including an initial worsening of acne—and severe depression. The original patented drug, Accutane, was removed from the market after many users developed inflammatory bowel disease and use of the drug was associated with increased risk of suicide. Usually this medication is offered as a last resort, but rarely have diet and lifestyle changes been part of prior acne-treatment protocols.

The problem with all of the treatments for acne that you’ve probably been offered, or tried already, is that they don’t address the root cause of an adult woman’s acne issues: hormone imbalance. In fact, antibiotics and the birth control pills only worsen the hormonal imbalance that triggers acne. And no shade to dermatologists, but most of them are not really focused on a systemic approach or gut health. A cascade of (seemingly unrelated) health problems fuels the development of hormonal acne: a damaged and depleted gut microbiome leads to estrogen dominance, testosterone sensitivity, and a deficiency in key micronutrients necessary for skin health. Or you could say: hormonal acne starts in the gut.  

But we promise, there’s great news here! The microbiome is super responsive to treatment—and prevention and healing are both attainable by shifting the way you eat and embracing specific natural supplements. With the right use of natural supplements, you can see your acne disappear in just a couple of months.

Once Alisa Vitti figured out how to eat and live to support her hormones, her skin cleared up (and a lot of other great stuff happened, too). Her skin’s been clear ever since and she has helped many other women achieve the same lasting success.

The 6 Natural Supplements You Need to Stop Hormonal Acne

Food is always the most powerful weapon in your arsenal to combat hormonal dysfunction, but natural supplements are essential for speeding up the process of healing and recovery. Using the best natural herbs and supplements every day can get you to where you want to be much faster than using food alone.

Ready to recover your glowing complexion and regain your confidence? Here are our top 6 natural supplements for preventing and healing hormonal acne:

  1. Magnesium. Magnesium is an important nutrient for fighting inflammation (acne is inflammatory). Calcium is part of the body’s tissue matrix—comprising bones, cells, and skin—and is important for skin cell renewal. Taking magnesium with calcium combined in supplement form can reduce inflammation and acne.
  2. Omega-3s. Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from fish, algae or flax oil can improve skin significantly. With these oils, many women see improvements in their skin (as well as stronger hair and nails) in just a few days.
  3. Zinc. Zinc deficiency is a common issue for many women. When we’re deficient in zinc, our pores become easily irritated by bacteria and show redness. Research has shown that zinc supplementation can be very effective in easing acne, even when compared to commonly prescribed antibiotics.
  4. Probiotics. We need probiotics for a healthy gut. Common symptoms of a damaged and depleted microbiome are acne and other skin issues like rosacea. Probiotics are particularly important with hormonal acne, as your microbiome assists your body in processing and eliminating excess estrogen. If you’ve been on the pill or antibiotics for any length of time, probiotics could be key to getting your skin back on track.
  5. B Vitamins. Your skin needs B-vitamins to regenerate and renew, as they provide the energy all of your cells need for fuel. Taking a good B-complex every day that includes a high level of B6 will target hormonal or premenstrual acne. B6 prevents skin inflammation and overproduction of sebum (the oil your skin produces that can create acne issues).

      6. Milk thistle - Liver detoxification is crucial for getting to the root cause of healing acne. Milk thistle aids in supporting the liver to detoxify and eliminate excess estrogen from the body.

Understanding hormonal acne shouldn't be hard. Learn what works, what doesn't, and before/after photos

Hormone Safe Holiday Gifts of Self Care

Gifts can be so random (who hasn’t received a candle or twelve every December?). That’s why this year, I wanted to curate a sweet little gift guide of things, that I have at home and love using, and that will help you make your own self-care routine a little more delicious and hormone friendly. These are also all excellent options for any last minute gifts and stocking stuffers for yourself and your girlfriends. Let’s focus on taking good care of ourselves, helping our friends do the same, and starting the year off on a healthy path.Here are the items I have on hand to get me through the holidays and beyond:

SW Basics Joy Scrub and Soak, $29

I love to exfoliate after my period is over, and this brand new SW Basics Joy Scrub has perfected what I need - sea salt, shea butter, and immune and mood boosting lemon and orange oils. I love this brand’s commitment to organic ingredients and simple formulations.

Shiva Rose Nectar Body Oil, $80

This amazing, delicious, fragrant formulation includes serious skin hydrators, contains hormone balancing borage and evening primrose oils, and sensual essential oils of sandalwood, cardamom and ylang ylang - major must have.


There’s no other app like this one to plan out the month and optimize all areas of your life!

It was even named a top trend to watch in 2018 by both MindBodyGreen and Well+Good - so yeah, you should definitely download it.

Moon Phase Calendar, $19

There may be a few different kinds of moon phase calendars out there, but this one printed using a hand-pulled silk-screen technique on 100% PCW recycled paper is my favorite!

Sustain condoms and lube, $13.99 for a box of 10 condoms, $12.99 for lube.

I simply love these products and the lube is amazing. Best barrier method for birth control and always use lube to keep your clitoris and vagina happy throughout your cycle.

Vapour holiday duo

If you haven’t yet switched to organic makeup yet, hen Vapour is the one to start with. It’s a makeup artist-grade product and these two pots are just gorgeous, fun, and easy. One of my faves.

ZenBunni Hot Cacao, $20

Cocao is the highest source of dietary magnesium,which you need an abundant supply of all of the time! This is organic, low sugar, and delicious - just scoop some into some warm coconut milk and add in some cinnamon and cayenne.


This is the first and only hormone biohacking supplement subscription box for women. Each 2 month supply comes with 5 formulations that contain all the micronutrients your body needs to keep hormones balanced. Essential if you are on any synthetic birth control or if you are trying to resolve your period symptoms.

Marie Veronique Treatment Serum, $90

This is what I use to manage any moments when my skin looks dull and congested. Put it on before bed and wake up with new skin.

Lola subscription, $8-$10/box

Stop putting chemicals in your vagina and start using these organic tampons STAT.

The Moon Deck Set, $60

Pull a card or three before you start journaling and connect to your intuition.

Gaia Golden Milk, $14.95

This makes delicious, easy, and fast golden milk lattes!

Saje Diffuser, $89.95

This ultrasonic diffuser doesn’t heat the oils, so when you use organic products, you preserve their incredible essence! It lasts for hours and can scent a huge room - such a good product.


This best selling book is the must have women’s hormonal health resource. You’ll refer back to it constantly so get one for your nightstand and one for your best friend.

Why You Need To Do a Hormone Detox & How-To Steps

A 4-Day Detox can't fix everything, and you know I’m no big fan of the quick fix. If you know me, you know I advocate for making good choices every day, creating sustainable lifestyle shifts, that last for the long term. It’s an evidence based, results-driven perspective and it really works. And for those of you who don't know me yet, nice to see you here! I do recommend the right kind of detox, at the right time. It can be a great way to get started as well as a method for reaching new milestones.

Who is a hormone detox for? A detox is for someone who already needs it! For example, if you're feeling the desire for a reset- after a long summer, or the overconsumption of alcohol, extended periods of indulgent eating, or even just an intuition to get back into balance...then seize that impulse to take better care of yourself and do a hormone detox. Let's be entirely clear about one thing: this detox is full of food and fuel and supportive nutrition.

Many health issues - including fatigue, acne, depression, anxiety, brain fog, mood swings, and weight gain (the kind of things that might make you want to do a detox in the first place) are attributed to too-high estrogen levels or a condition we call “estrogen dominance.”

Estrogen dominance drives the most common hormonal health issues too, from PMS to PCOS. Detoxing your body of excess estrogen has many immediate and long term benefits. If you feel the need for a detox, it’s likely because your liver is running at a sub-optimal level, it’s overloaded with caffeine, alcohol, pesticides, sugar, etc. and you are sensing the need to cleanse. A hormone detox is not a crash diet, juice cleanse, or fast - that won’t achieve the goals you’ve set out. If you want to feel energized, refreshed, boosted in body, mind and spirit, as well as shed some excess weight and get glowing skin - you need nutrients, minerals, and resources to make this happen.

The Flo Living 4 Day Hormone Detox will have you eating fresh, nourishing food for 3 meals a day, plus snacks. You won’t feel hungry, depleted, or deprived. You will be prepping food to start and then you will be eating frequently throughout the day, instead of watching the clock for your next juice. The foods you’ll be eating will fill you up and support your liver function. Your liver needs the fuel to process the excess hormones and toxins and eliminate them from your body.

You can download it for free here: 4-Day Detox
The 4 Day Hormone Detox is packed full of cleansing foods that address your liver, intestines and lymphatic system. Your elimination organs - especially your hard-working liver - need lots of nutrients to breakdown toxins, and you get nutrients from food. You do not and will not get enough nutrients from a juice fast or cabbage soup diet for your body to detox!

There are so many good reasons to do a hormone detox - acne, bloating, sore breasts, PMS, funky periods, feeling sluggish, unable to focus, lacking creative juices - but I want to tell you how our 4 Day Hormone Detox can make you feel. Because sometimes the problem isn’t enough to prompt us to take action, perhaps because you’ve been living with it for so long that it feels like nothing will work. Sometimes you need some positive inspiration!

If you’ve tried detoxing before and it just hasn’t worked out the way you wanted, read on to hear what you need to make detoxing something you will actually look forward to! In fact, many who practice Cycle Syncing® do this detox once every few months.

Why do a hormone detox?

Your skin will glow:

During the 4 days of the hormone detox you will eliminate entirely all the central adult and hormonal acne triggers like dairy, soy, caffeine, sugar, and gluten. You will also increase the amount of skin-clearing, hormone-supportive nutrients in your diet - especially the vital omega-3s and B vitamins. Excess estrogen and the resulting hormonal imbalance leads to acne, by increasing sebum production and preventing skin healing. If you are particularly prone to acne around your ovulation days or before your period, this detox is for you. You’ll also detox more than just your body - our hormone detox has an additional layer that you won’t find with most detox plans. You won’t only be detoxing your diet and concentrating on what you eat during the day, you’ll also be detoxing your home - the products you use, everything from kitchen cleaning products to cosmetics. This is so essential. We often focus entirely on what we put in our bodies when we detox, but we don’t think of what we’re putting on our body in the shower in the morning, or on our skin when we wash the dishes or do the laundry. Women especially are exposed to so many endocrine-disruptive chemicals throughout the day. It’s just as important to detox and cleanse your personal environment.

Your mood will soar:

If you’ve been experiencing anxiety, low mood, depression, or just a sluggishness and demotivation, then this detox will turn that around in 4 days. You’ll feel emotionally lighter, as well as physically lighter. The root cause of mood swings and many female-centric mood problems is destabilized blood sugar. This detox is not a fast, will not leave you hungry in the evening, and should keep you satisfied and stable throughout the day. Most women experience their worst moods as a form of PMS, which is the result of high estrogen/low progesterone. This detox will sweep your body of that excess estrogen and leave you in balance. You’ll be eating lots of B6-rich foods and B6 is progesterone’s favorite micronutrient.

You will shift your relationship with food:

After 4 days you’ll no longer feel bloated, and it’s very likely you’ll shed a few pounds of weight. With excess estrogen, many women store weight around their midsection. For our detox, you will be eating anti-bloat ingredients in your fruit salads and green salads at every meal, plus you will be eliminating many sources of weight gain - sugar, caffeine, dairy. You will also shift how you feel about food.  Our hormone detox includes guidance on how to approach food, not just from the practical perspective of prepping meals, but also in how you actually engage with and enjoy that food. The aim is to give you pause about how you may have related to food up until now - perhaps it's eating standing up with the fridge door open, on-the-go in the car, off your kids’ plates, etc. These lessons will carry with you beyond the 4 days.

You’ll feel creative and calm:

During the detox, you’ll be given prompts for how to process your experience at the end of each day. You’ll journal on specific topics that aim to expand your perspective, increase your sense of confidence and calm, and support you in connecting with your feminine energy and creativity. This will be a conversation with yourself and your body that will help you gain so much from this mini-retreat. A detox can be a transformational experience, and you can use that energy to make positive changes in your life long-term. The clarity of thinking and focus you’ll attain will help you to hone in on exactly what you want in all areas, personal and professional.

Adding in a micronutrient boost with the right supplements can take your hormone detox to the next level. We highly recommend incorporating our Balance by FLO Living Hormone Supplements to your plan. Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

This detox is about fueling you up instead of leaving you running on fumes. ⛽️ 🥗

5 life hacks for a better period this month

You can change your period. That’s right. You can actually change your whole period experience and you can change it so that your period is different, better, by next month. This sounds miraculous, but it’s actually very matter-of-fact, logical, evidence-based, and science-supported.

If you have an awful period - I’m talking cramps, heavy bleeding, PMS-orama, acne, bloating - it does not have to stay that way. We have been fed this myth that your period is just your period and it will be that way til menopause, just as it was for your mom and her mom before that. That myth prevents women from taking action when they could and should.In this post, I want to tackle some of those things that make a period unpleasant and horrible to deal with. All of these issues can be dealt with using these outlined period hacks.

You can use diet and lifestyle changes, along with some supplements, to be rid of your cramps, your heavy bleeds, your headaches, fatigue, and irritability, rapidly. Every phase of your cycle should feel good and you definitely should not feel horrible for half of the month due to PMS and your period. Bio-hacking isn’t just for the boys! You can use food and lifestyle switches to improve how your body is performing. You’ll see quick, satisfying, and freeing results. My Monthly FLO program incorporates all of these hacks, and provides a hormone-supportive meal plan, along with tailored support for your specific period plight.

5 life hacks for a better period

Trade in your cow dairy - Cow dairy (containing A2 casein and, often, synthetic hormones and, often, from cows fed with GMO corn and soy) is a cause for heavy bleeding during your period. Switching your cow’s milk dairy for goat and sheep dairy, or, even better, nut milks and grain milks (there are so many great alternatives out there now!), will quickly cool the inflammation in your body. Even if you’re only using cow dairy in your tea, it’s best to make that switch. You’ll have lighter, easier periods from this one simple change. The Monthly FLO protocol encourages dairy detox and going dairy-free, but goat and sheep’s can be a great transitional choice as these contain the less hormonally-disruptive A2 casein.

Self-medicate with chocolate - dark chocolate that is! Dark chocolate is full of magnesium which is fantastic for headache, PMS and periods, as well as for combatting the fatigue that can descend around that time of the month. Eat more of it after ovulation, but you can benefit on every day of your cycle.

Switch out your morning coffee - coffee is toxic for women. I know that’s hard to hear, but it is, unfortunately, true. I recommend a caffeine detox and switching out your morning coffee (and all your coffees!) for a turmeric-infused golden milk latte with coconut oil. This will help with cramps directly as it is deeply anti-inflammatory and helps you create the pain-relieving prostaglandins your body needs to fight off uterine contractions. Skipping the caffeine from now on will show marked improvements in your period overall.

Choose new period products - did you know that your regular, mainstream tampons can make cramps worse? Not to mention the increased chance of irritation and infection. I recommend switching to an organic, all-cotton, no-chemicals-included brand because regular tampons contain concerning unknown ingredients alongside their pesticide-laden cotton. Making sure that you’re using products that are safe, protective, and period-friendly for that week per month, every month, can really make a difference to your experience.  

Keep a period journal - even if you find it hard to journal every single day (I get it, I don’t do this either), I highly recommend journaling just around the time of your period. This is when your hormones are primed to provide insights, intuitive thoughts, new perspectives, and a desire to make changes. Sometimes that energy can bring about irritability or annoyance with issues that have been nagging at you all month long, but suddenly seem so much more urgently in need of your attention. Journaling can help you to explore and examine those issues that arise. You can find the context for your feelings and figure out what you want to do next.

Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!

To your FLO,


How to Shrink Ovarian Cysts Naturally

Learn What to Eat to Prevent Ovarian Cysts

Functional ovarian cysts often develop and grow in relation to hormonal shifts. Hormonal imbalance issues can cause these cysts to grow much larger and even painfully rupture. Ovarian cysts can shrink and disappear without surgery or drugs, simply by creating an internal hormonal environment that keeps their development in check and under control.

It's common to not even realize that you have ovarian cysts until they stir up symptoms, as the result of growing larger or rupturing. The choices you begin to make today can help you avoid this from happening, especially if you do currently have smaller cysts. The early warning signs of hormonal imbalance, as a precursor to ovarian cyst growth, include period and cycle-related issues like PMS, missing periods, irregular cycles, and cramps.

Any woman who is experiencing estrogen overload or estrogen dominance - one of the most common hormonal imbalance situations - is at risk of developing ovarian cysts that become symptomatic. The symptoms of ovarian cysts range from bloating to frequent urination. Oftentimes, a woman who experiences a ruptured ovarian cyst will go to the ER with a lot of pain and a fever. Unfortunately, due to a lack of women’s health awareness, she will often be treated for appendicitis instead. The best way forward is to take control for yourself now, so you are not dependent on receiving emergency treatment down the line.

How to shrink ovarian cysts

Natural remedies from a functional nutrition standpoint are highly effective for preventing cysts and shrinking cysts you may already have. We have seen women reverse their diagnosis of ovarian cysts, shocking their doctors and themselves by how effectively their body is capable of resolving this issue, when given the tools it needs to do so.

Any woman with a hormonal imbalance can take these actions with their diet as a preventative care measure, even if you currently do not know if you have ovarian cysts. Women deserve to understand the ways that nutrition and food interact with our hormonal health and well being. Even though every body is different, there are still ways that we can learn together how our food and symptoms can be related as well as how to make changes to improve our lives.

Here are 5 strategies you can take to combat ovarian cysts:

1. Release excess estrogen - green vegetables like Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, broccoli, and cabbage contain DIM (Di-Indolyl Methane) which is very effective at helping the body process and eliminate excess estrogen. Try to have a side of these veggies at every meal - whether that’s sautéed collard greens with your eggs at breakfast or broccoli with your bison burger for dinner.

2. Detox your liver - while so many products are marketed to us as detoxifying, the truth is quite simple - you need to eat to support your liver function, and the best way to do this directly is through food. Eat more eggs for essential bio-available protein, glutathione-heavy veggies like avocados and asparagus, and selenium superfoods like brazil nuts and oatmeal.

3. Fiber up - a diet high in fiber has been shown to decrease the reabsorption of estrogen in the body, lowering the incidence of estrogen-related health issues which include cysts & breast cancer. Fruits and veggies are the best sources of fiber for this purpose. Add fiber-rich flax seeds to your salads, soups & smoothies. Enjoy a fiber-full pear every day as a snack.

4. Be good to your gut - fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or pickles help your body manage estrogen levels. The estrobolome (a set of gut bacteria or gut genes) produces an essential enzyme that helps metabolize your excess estrogen. Giving your gut what it wants and needs to process estrogen and maintain hormonal balance is vital.

5. Practice Cycle Syncing® your nutrients - there are 2 peak estrogen surges during your cycle that need to be responded to and controlled with your food choices. The Cycle Syncing® Method targets these surges with foods and supplements that contain the micronutrients your body wants, in order to benefit from the estrogen it does need. It also helps process the excess estrogen it does not need. This ensures these surges stay as spikes in estrogen, and do not become long term estrogen dominance. You simply stock your fridge and pantry with foods specific to each phase of your hormone cycle, to address this common hormonal problem.

It's possible to take your health into your own hands and heal your ovarian cysts, naturally. With the right tools, you can move towards greater hormonal balance and a healthier life. Flo Living is here to help.

Natural remedies from a functional nutrition standpoint are highly effective for preventing & shrinking cysts.

Beyonce’s 2017 Grammy Performance & Fourth Wave Feminism

Beyonce’s golden, glittering performance at the 2017 grammy’s brought me to tears. A friend tagged me on Facebook to ask me what I thought about this much talked about performance. It was such a rich piece, that I’ve needed some time to digest it. Not just because it’s never been done before - a pregnant woman performing a political piece like this on a mainstream global platform, and not just because I too have felt the majesty that comes with being pregnant. It was moving and history making to see this one piece of performance art perfectly encapsulate the central themes of fourth wave feminism today. And with the intersection of the greatest feminist tool known since the printing press - the internet - connecting our struggles and our visions for a better future as women around the world at the speed of thought - changing us, making us stronger, more fearless, stoking our appetites for change and expanding our expectations of what should be, Beyonce’s performance asks us all to get in the game.We have ‘come a long way baby’ in a way that truly honors all the sacrifice and dedication of all the women that came before us. That our collective consciousness has shifted into this 4th wave is only possible because we have been raising approximately three generations of girls (only 3) that have seen a growing population of women be educated, be safe, and be engaged in career and politics as a result of the past feminist accomplishments. Here’s a quick overview of your history, because you know, ‘they’ just don’t teach this stuff in school. The first wave of feminism (1500-1930) was about contract and property rights - the right to vote, to work.The second wave -1960-1980 - was about broadening the conversation to include workplace safety, pay equality, reproductive rights, domestic abuse, rape and set new expectations for the moral compass of our gender relations. The third wave - 1990 - 2008 - was about including all races, ethnicities, classes, sexual identities to the first and second wave’s political and economic gains.We have been in a fourth wave since 2008 - that in the environment of online social media has flourished geometrically and is poised to be the most swiftly moving wave of feminism yet - we are focused on global social justice, intersectionally representing women of all ages, races, sexual orientations, and classes, of a spirituality that includes a reflection of the feminine and a psychology that centers on self-actualization through pleasure. This is a logical next step in the feminist consciousness and embracing of the definition of feminism as well as a logical conclusion to the conversation, begun millennia ago, of a patriarchal political paradigm and as a way forward to protect all of human life and that of the planet. (Now that I think about it, we’ve done the majority of this work since 1800 really - only 200-ish years of work to heal the millennia of oppression, another great example of how much woman can do when they collaborate.) This 4th wave just came into clear focus with Beyonce’s performance. To say it simply, we are no longer simply fighting for a seat at the table, for the opportunity to be considered equal, or for the chance to prove ourselves to men. We have experienced our own capacity, we have witnessed each other’s creativity and courage, we have connected ourselves with women around the world and we are not in any way in the dark about any of the issues facing us. Beyonce asking ‘I am a woman, I create life, I am a mother like your mother, and then asking how can you hurt me?’ points to this fundamental question - that must be resolved by society as having it both ways is causing individual psychological damage to men and women and global and planetary damage. As women in their collective consciousness quantum leap out of the psychological and physical effects of millennia of oppression claim, love, and honor themselves, we see clearly that a society that is based on love, compassion, and inclusion is the only sustainable way forward.The performance art was replete with historical and feminist symbolism: -The triple goddess hologram - maiden, mother, crone - we are part of the most powerful creative lineage on the planet, we do not have to reinvent and discover everything each generation, we can build upon our heritage, and every age and stage of woman is sacred.-The goddess outfits - whatever your creed, my physical form is powerful and awe inspiring, my body is sacred, my sensuality is my own. -The halo headdress - religion tells a story to purposely oppress us into thinking we are subordinate and that the planet is also to be used and dominated for personal increase, but we feel our connection to divine and to the planet, and religion should reflect that equality too.-The many dancers in the four colors of flowing dresses - strands of DNA -ACTG - an ocean of genetic material that connects us all as one family.The most powerful though was the section I’ll refer to as ‘the seat at the table’. She is seated on a birthing chair (in itself reclaiming the power position during birthing and over our own reproductive sovereignty) surrounded by her midwives. She is at the head of the table. She gives birth to all of humanity, and instead of being thrown off the chair - by virtue of having her body and her reproductive function demonized and devalued culturally - and cast off from having a seat at the table all together, she must not only be placed at the head of the table, but also be exalted on top of that table and therefore included in the spiritual conversation as well as the political and economic one. Also extremely powerful imagery was the fact that she barely danced - her stillness spoke volumes - she simply stood, walked, or sat and demanded to be looked at and to be acknowledged and honored and admired not for doing anything, but simply by being. We as women are intrinsically potent by our very beingness. Beyonce speaks for women globally today in that performance, and dare I say the most important female performance art piece of our time, because in this performance she gave visual display to what we are feeling now that we have become so interconnected with each other and because there was absolutely no sexual pandering. There is no room for this antiquated thinking of separation and oppression and violence. We know our power, our worth, our intrinsic value, and it cannot be diminished by religion, policy, rhetoric, or the scientific mythology that I’m so passionate about dismantling around our biology and cycles, and our nature will never again be contained. Beyonce’s performance calls us to meet each other out past the earlier feminist positions of “I can do, therefore give me economic access and basic human rights” to instead, like DesCartes’ axiom ‘I think, therefore I am’, more of a philosophical position, I am a woman, therefore I am - life,love, the sacred, the future. This is an important shift, because it’s powerful enough to pull the developed world and the developing world into a new paradigm. We’re not asking for permission anymore. We have all realized that we are equal and worthy - all of us - every color, religion, class, and sexual orientation - we deserve by simply being, to be safe and free. And make no mistake, a new paradigm is needed to move forward. And not just for ourselves as women, but for future generations and for this planet.I see you, young passionate women, of all ethnicities, classes, and sexual identities, who find yourselves in this historical moment, and realize that you have a divine sacred purpose to your life - to be a missionary if you will - to tap into your passions and creativity and go out and build businesses, non-for-profits, and be engaged politically locally and internationally - to literally build the architecture of the future that future generations of humans can safely inhabit. What other work is there to do, when you logically assess our current situation and intuitively feel into what’s needed? I think we can all agree that contorting ourselves to fit the ‘status quo’ is definitely not what’s needed to survive nor the way to flourish.Thank you Queen Bey for the courageous, thoughtful, provocative, prescient performance and for sending out the official invitation for each woman to claim her sovereignty, and pursue the sacred purpose of her life in every way she can. The future is female and feminist and the future thanks you. All Hail Ourselves as Queens.Photo Credit:

Should You Use Vitex if You Have PCOS?

Vitex can be a great help for women with a number of different conditions and in a number of different situations. However, we do not recommend Vitex to  those who have been diagnosed with PCOS, except in one specific circumstance, which we will explain below.

Vitex is a fantastic tool - it’s well-researched and evidenced as being helpful for women with problematic menstrual cycles - but, as with any herb or supplement, it does not have a chance of helping you if it’s the only thing you choose to change about your daily routine. Any kind of period or cycle-related problem needs to be addressed from a functional medicine perspective - food first, then supplements, then specifically targeted lifestyle hacks, which means living in your FLO. Supplements of any kind are best seen as a way to super-charge your other efforts with diet and lifestyle changes. They are never a solution in themselves.

Why most women with PCOS shouldn’t use Vitex

Vitex increases progesterone levels by increasing LH (luteinizing hormone) levels, and it suppresses prolactin levels. The result is increased ovulatory cycles. This sounds like a perfect scenario for PCOS sufferers, but there’s a problem. Vitex can actually worsen PCOS for some because their LH levels are already high. If you know your LH level is high (if you don’t know, ask for a hormone panel blood test from your doctor), you should not use Vitex. Most women have the kind of PCOS that is insulin-resistant and comes with high LH, and should avoid Vitex.

When you should take Vitex if you have PCOS

If you have PCOS with normal LH levels and high prolactin levels, you might consider using Vitex. You can have your prolactin levels tested by your doctor. This kind of PCOS has a different root cause, usually inflammation from allergens like dairy and gluten, or as the result of using the birth control pill. Vitex in this case can help to suppress prolactin levels and increase ovulatory cycles.

But Vitex is a slow-acting herb. You will need to commit to taking it for up to 3 months to see any change in your cycles or improvement of symptoms. Be sure to purchase Vitex from a reputable, long-standing supplement company like Gaia, so you know you are getting a potent formulation, without fillers.

What to take instead of Vitex to manage your PCOS

There are several kinds of PCOS, but these two supplements will work for any woman with the condition. They will work best in conjunction with the FLO Living diet and lifestyle protocol.

It's not for everyone, but is Vitex for you? And what are some good alternatives?

The 7 best immunity-boosting supplements for moms

You might be surprised to hear that I got a head cold this month. It was a surprise to me too, because it had been 3 whole years since I was last sick. When was the last time you were sick? I got this head cold from my daughter who, with a still growing and strengthening immune system, is susceptible. I’m more susceptible myself right now, not just because of close proximity to my daughter’s cold, but because my immunity is slightly suppressed from breastfeeding and sleep interruption - you know, living with a two year old! Having kids can make you more likely to get sick - it’s not just that they go to nursery, pre-school and school with a bunch of other kids, but also that you’re often finding yourself losing sleep, not eating properly, getting stressed - all the kinds of things that can weaken your immunity. But as the seasons change, with the shift in temperature to cooler days and cold nights, everyone’s body experiences a phase of down-regulation of metabolism which if you’re already on toxic overload and decreased immunity can make you susceptible to catching what’s going around. That’s why instead of waiting to spot treat illnesses as the come along, it’s always a good idea to be well-prepared with an immune-strengthening diet and lifestyle in every season.So, what did I do when I got sick? I took really good care of myself by reaching for my favorite immunity-boosting supplements. I dosed myself with these, plus bone broth and large helpings of sauerkraut. I kept myself well hydrated. And you know what, I fought that head cold off fast! I already had my medicine cabinet packed with natural remedies that support my body’s own immunity strengths.

The 7 best immunity-boosting supplements

Remember that no amount of supplements will prevent you from getting sick unless you eat a diet every day of the year that consists of foods that boost your health, and avoid immunity-sapping activities like drinking too much alcohol, coffee, not getting enough sleep, and not practicing self-care. These supplements are very effective, but only as a part of a wider daily, year-round effort to support your body’s needs.

Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this - the science of your body is on your side!to your FLO,Alisa

Good things come in threes:

I want to hear from you!First, do you often get colds? Second, do you take supplements and what kind? Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social ;)

Is Your Period Healthy?

How do you know if your hormones are healthy? The answer is in your 5th vital sign - your period. The color of your flow, frequency of your period, and symptoms you have each month can tell you a lot about your health. There are 5 different V-SIGN TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future. Click here to take The V-SIGN TYPE™ Quiz NOW

The Benefits of Collagen for Your Hormones

Have you been hearing about the wonders of collagen for your skin and hair? Collagen is suggested as a beautifying aid everywhere these days. But what exactly is it and do you really need it? We're going to take a deep dive into this topic - the benefits of collagen, the best kind of collagen, and how it connects with your hormonal health. Collagen does have many benefits, but we don’t often hear how it can benefit our insides as much as our outsides.

Collagen as an anti-aging supplement

Collagen is a protein that is found in our bodies - our muscles, bones, skin and tendons. As we get older collagen depletes, and this leads to sagging, aging skin and aches and pains in our joints and muscles. We need collagen to look and feel youthful.

The inside game is feeding our body what it needs to stay youthful, supple, and healthy - which includes collagen supplements. Collagen is a much better choice than toxin-laden anti-aging creams that are endocrine-disrupting or adding toxins to your body like Botox, which compromise your liver function.

The benefits of collagen for your hormones  

Does collagen affect the menstrual cycle? Bodies are complex and many of our internal chemistries are related. In addition to the widely known collagen benefits to skin and joints, collagen also has other interactions that are not as well publicized, including benefits to your hormonal health. If you notice changes when you begin taking collagen, this list may help you understand the deeper connections between your body and taking a collagen supplement:

  • Collagen is a great source of amino acids (arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline). We need amino acids to produce healthy levels of hormones.
  • Collagen can help with gut health issues like leaky gut syndrome, repairing holes in the gut and preventing the inflammatory response (and subsequent hormonal havoc) that can come from food passing through these gaps, undigested.
  • The amino acid glycine is liver-supportive, helping your liver function to process and eliminate pesticides, xenoestrogens, and other avoidable and unavoidable toxins from the environment, food, and products we use.
  • Collagen supports healthy thyroid function and offsets cortisol (stress hormone) imbalance.

Collagen vs. gelatin

You may have heard the terms collagen and gelatin used interchangeably. That’s because gelatin is actually a part of collagen. When collagen is heated up - say, when you’re making chicken soup, or bone broth - it breaks down to become gelatin. They have very similar nutritional profiles and benefits, because they come from the same source. However, gelatin is a way we can most easily get the benefits of collagen. Unless taken in raw supplement form, cooking collagen is the easiest way to eat it and absorb its benefits.

Making bone broth is a great way to do this (see below), but you could roast a whole chicken, turkey, duck or a beef or lamb joint. This will also give you the benefits of gelatin, from including the bones, tendons and ligaments which contain the collagen. Another option is to buy gelatin powder and add this to smoothies.

The best way to get the benefits of collagen and gelatin

There are so many supplements available on the market to choose from. Look for a product that blends collagen, MSM, and Vitamin C for the best results. Be prepared to take it for up to 3 months before you see results.  We also recommend drinking bone broth. It is hormone-balancing and super nourishing. Here is a simple recipe, or you can buy fresh bone broth online for delivery or purchase it from your local Whole Foods or natural foods store. Finally, you can purchase a gelatin powder and add it to smoothies - it's a great protein source and gives you bioavailable building blocks to make collagen.

The 5 Early Warning Signs of Infertility

If you’re planning to get pregnant in the near future or even just in a few years time, it’s helpful to know your current fertility status. Many of most common reasons women have trouble conceiving are reversible, treatable health issues. Spotting the signs early that you might be dealing with infertility issues will help you to conceive when you want to and avoid some of the stress that can come when it isn’t happening how you expected it to. Our bodies give us signals that we might come up against problems when we want to get pregnant. Knowing what these signals and signs are puts you on the path to resolving the problem and boosting your fertility. Start early on the process of treating and resolving an infertility sign and you can then feel more confident that when you want to have a baby, you’ll have a much higher chance of success.

I always advise that women take at least a year to prepare themselves and their bodies for conception and pregnancy. If you have a hormonal imbalance like irregular periods or PCOS that you know could be an obstacle to pregnancy, then this prep time is essential. I have a protocol created for women looking to conceive for this very reason - it’s a holistic protocol that ensures you’re feeding your body what it needs for ovulation and healthy fertility, to sustain a pregnancy, as well as getting you in the right mindset to create a new life.

But if you’re reading this right now and thinking, “I haven’t tried to get pregnant yet, but I’m worried I could be infertile” then believe me, I get you. Women spend years trying to avoid getting pregnant, but we also worry that we won’t be able to get pregnant and have children when that time does come. It can be a real source of anxiety and worry. Knowing the early signs of infertility issues is key to allaying these fears. These signs are not life-sentences, they can be turned around and you can return to healthy fertility and have no fertility issues. It’s just the first step to  knowing exactly what you’re dealing with.

The 5 early warning signs of infertility

1. Early warning sign: Brown spotting before your period starts - your period is a fantastic indicator of your fertility status. Its color, consistency, length and the spacing between your periods can help you to understand many underlying health issues. If you have brown spotting in the days before your period really starts, this can indicate low progesterone levels. Low progesterone levels can be a risk factor for infertility and miscarriages. You may be able to get pregnant, but have trouble sustaining a pregnancy.

FLO-fix: B6 supplementation and eating a lot of B6-rich foods is a very well-researched way to increase your progesterone levels.

2. Early warning sign: Irregular cycles - again, your period is a great indicator of your fertility status. If you have irregular cycles, then you may not be ovulating and are probably experiencing cycles when you don’t ovulate at all. This is vital information - to get pregnant you need to ovulate, and you need to have sex during that fertile window of your cycle. If every other cycle is an anovulatory one, this can be a real infertility issue. Just because you have a period, it does not mean you are ovulating.

FLO-fix: Learn how to track your ovulation signs so you can really get to the bottom of if and when you are ovulating. The two most common causes of irregular cycles (without a PCOS diagnosis) are sugar and stress. If you have irregular cycles as part of a PCOS diagnosis, the FLO Living protocol is going to help you manage this issue. I’m a PCOS sufferer myself and Cycle Syncing® my diet allowed me to conceive my daughter at 37 years-old, on my third try.

3. Early warning sign: Chronic yeast infections, Bacterial Vaginosis, undiagnosed Chlamydia - it’s always a good idea, prior to conceiving, to get a full check up on STDs and STIs to make sure you do not have undiagnosed, symptomless chlamydia or anything else. The low-level inflammation caused by Bacterial Vaginosis is linked to the prevention of fertilization of the egg, spontaneous miscarriage, and a higher risk of preterm birth. Chronic yeast infections and urinary tract infections suggest your vaginal and gut microbiome is off-balance, which can trigger more inflammatory response.

FLO-fix: Aside from a full STD check up with your doctor, I recommend natural treatment protocols for yeast infections and urinary tract infections, no antibiotics. You can also reverse Bacterial Vaginosis with supplements and the support of the FLO Living protocol.

4. Early warning sign: Poor gut health - by this I mean Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gut dysbiosis, frequent bloating and discomfort, and leaky gut syndrome. Your gut health is of vital importance to your fertility. If you have any of these issues right now then you will likely have problems conceiving. The health of your estrobolome (which is part of your gut health/microbiome) is key to your hormonal balance. A poorly functioning estrobolome can cause estrogen dominance that will set off the “stress axis” in your body and cause infertility at an early age.

FLO-fix: I recommend cutting some foods completely out of your diet - including “the white stuff” - aka sugar, dairy, and gluten. You need to eat fermented foods daily and take a really good quality probiotic.

5. Early warning sign: Premature aging - are you in your 30s and experiencing premature signs of biological aging like vaginal dryness, sagging skin, brittle nails, hair loss? These can be indicators that you will struggle to get pregnant. When we age too quickly, it's because we are not supporting our body’s production of healthy hormone levels. This can set us up for infertility at an earlier point than we expect. It can also be an indicator that egg quality may be suffering. You can enter perimenopause and have the process speed up in your mid-thirties, leaving you less time in which to choose to conceive. This is especially important when many of us are delaying getting pregnant until our mid to late 30s.

FLO-fix: Get your hormones tested so you can see the data on what you might be dealing with. Start taking my 5 favorite anti-aging supplements. Then feed your body the nutrients it needs to continue making a good supply of hormones well into your late 30s, delaying these symptoms of premature aging.

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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  • “MyFLO has been a true game changer for me and my cycle. I now have an increased awareness of my body's needs throughout the month.”

Alisha A   /  46 years old

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  • “MyFLO has completely transformed my relationship with my cycle. I am sleeping through the night, intuitively managing my stress, and eating with my cycle.”

Alisha A   /  46 years old

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  • “I use MyFLO every day to track my cycle and symptoms. I've managed to significantly reduce PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, and my cycle length has gone down from 40 days to 30 days.”

Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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  • "My period was missing for 3 years after getting off birth control. MonthlyFLO helped me finally get my period back.”

Alisha A   /  46 years old

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  • I feel more empowered to understand my body and heal my hormones. I no longer accept the patriarchal dismissal and confusion about the female cycle”

Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

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  • “I got my period back after 15 years! Thank all of you for your support. I'm just so grateful!”

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  • “FLO Living has seriously changed my life. It gave me the courage and bravery to get off of birth control, and completely changed my outlook on health. I look and feel better than I ever have in my life”

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Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Stabilize blood sugar

  • Reduce Androgens

  • Restore ovulation

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Boost progesterone production

  • Support estrogen elimination with dietary changes

  • Replenish micronutrients

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Detox estrogen

  • Improve bowel movements

  • Reduce inflammation

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Manage blood sugar

  • Address micronutrient deficiencies

  • Restore ovulation

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Detox chemical stress

  • Micronutrients to boost egg quality

  • Reduce inflammation

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Stabilize blood sugar

  • Detox chemical stress

  • Targeted micronutrients to support ovulation

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Micronutrients to boost egg quality

  • Reduce inflammation

  • Support immune function of uterus

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Implement Cycle Syncing ®

  • Detox chemical stress

  • Boost micronutrient levels

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Manage blood sugar

  • Detox estrogen

  • Boost progesterone production

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Stabilize blood sugar

  • Reduce stress

  • Boost energy

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Cycle Syncing® Food & Workouts

  • Stabilize blood sugar

  • Restore Micronutrients

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Cycle Syncing® Food & Workouts

  • Boost progesterone production

  • Support estrogen elimination

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Cycle Syncing® Food & Workouts

  • Micronutrients to boost egg quality

  • Reduce inflammation

Alisha A   /  46 years old

Heavy bleeding

Flo Care Plan

  • Cycle Syncing® Food & Workouts

  • Boost progesterone production

  • Increase micronutrient levels