Apr 23

Souper Star Susan Nagel PhD: Endocrine Disruptors

Meet our new Souper Star, Susan Nagel PhD!

Susan is an associate professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health at the University of Missouri. Her research focuses on hormones and endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Susan became involved in the study of endocrine disruption when she was asked to research the way BPA is carried in the blood. When the studies were complete, and the paper that linked BPA in plastics to endocrine disruption was published, she continued to study endocrine disruptors and their potential impact on our health.

I feel very fortunate to have connected with Susan, and to have the opportunity to ask her questions
about the role Endocrine Disruptors play in our lives. Thank you Susan!

What is an Endocrine Disruptor?

The Endocrine Society defines an endocrine disruptor as “Any chemical or mixture of chemicals that interferes with any aspect of hormone action”

What does it mean when scientists say that plastics mimic estrogen?

Estrogens are female sex hormones that work at very low concentrations. These small hormones are essential for normal development, growth and fertility. For example, it takes very little estrogen to cause the cells that line the uterus to grow to prepare for a successful pregnancy or to cause breast cancer cells to grow. To do their work, they move into cells and bind to specific receptors—imagine a lock and key: estrogen is the key and their receptor is the lock.

Chemicals can come out of plastic that can fit into this estrogen lock. Some chemicals can open the lock-like estrogen, while other chemicals can fit into the lock, but not open it, and block estrogen from doing its work.

It is very important to note that endocrine disruptors can work on dozens of different hormone systems in addition to estrogen.

What do you find the most unsettling in terms of their effect/impact on women’s health?

Pregnant women and their fetuses are particularly vulnerable to endocrine disruption because exposure can permanently alter the development of babies.

What are the top 3 implications to women’s health?

  • Infertility: Difficulty getting and staying pregnant
  • Hormone responsive diseases like endometriosis and reproductive tract cancers.
  • It is very possible that endocrine disruptors exacerbate hormone related mood disorders like PMS, but to my knowledge this has not been systematically studied.

If you were to go into a home and eliminate the top offenders – what would the top 5 be?

  • Plastic food containers
  • Plastics in the microwave
  • Indoor and garden pesticides
  • Older non-stick pans
  • Plastic water bottles of any kind

Where do you think people would be most surprised to find Endocrine Disruptors?

Household dust and dirt! Endocrine disruptors from inside and outside the home can accumulate there-use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

I get the sense that what we are just learning about the tip of the iceberg.  How far reaching do you think the health problems are as a result?

They are potentially vast. We know from laboratory studies that when the unborn and the young are exposed to endocrine disruptors, there is an increased risk of behavioral disorders, infertility, cancer, diabetes, obesity, thyroid disorders, endometriosis and other reproductive disorders later in life.

What can a family do to eliminate their exposure to Endocrine Disruptors?

  • Use glass instead of plastic
  • Reduce “product use” lotions, perfumes, makeup, cleaners, antibacterial soaps, air fresheners, canned foods
  • Eat fresh, local and/or organic foods
  • Rinse canned foods like beans before use
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter

What are the words people should watch for when reading product labels?

Phthalates, parabens, “fragrance”

Can Endocrine Disruptors be found in our food?

Yes, pesticides used to grow food, plastics used to package and store food, and other manufacturing chemicals find their way into our food.

How can people advocate for themselves, and their families,  with respect to food manufacturers and the government?

Vote with your wallet—make choices that send a message to manufacturers.  Talk to friends, family, colleagues and local, state and national legislators about endocrine disruptors.

I have children, what would be your #1 piece of advice to help them reduce the impact of exposure on their health?

Make healthy choices! Be active, get plenty of sleep and reduce your consumption of sugar-laden beverages and junk food.

It sounds like a cliché, but it is absolutely true. These are proven ways to make our bodies healthier, stronger and more resistant to disease. In addition, the more processed the food (think junk food), the more chemicals you are exposed to.

If a product is listed BPA free, is it safe?

We are finding that many products that are labeled “BPA free” still contain endocrine disruptors.


Excellent resource:



Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/endocrine-disruptors/

Apr 22

Hormone and Earth Friendly Lunch Packs

Happy Earth Day!

Last week I wrote about the different water bottles that are available to buy – they are a great alternative to plastic bottles that often contain BPA or other hormone disruptors.

We’ve taken this action a step further in our house and started to use non-plastic lunch containers. We use the PlanetBox, however the Eco Lunchbox has some pretty fabulous reviews and was touted by Honest Co. Blog as one of the Top 20 Eco-Friendly School School Supplies.

Be prepared for a wee bit of sticker shock at first. However they are long lasting, and the PlanetBox comes with a 5 year warranty.  I consider that getting my money’s worth!

The containers are made out of stainless steel which is safe, non-toxic, non-leaching, recyclable and doesn’t hold on to the food odour that plastic containers do. Oh, and it also makes up alot less trash, so that makes mother earth kind of happy as well.

And you know, when mom is happy, everyone is happy!


OKPlanetbox**NOT a sponsored post.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/hormone-earth-friendly-lunch-packs/

Apr 09

Jamee Miller: Creating a Normal Life While Dealing with Chronic Pain

501255ce-a708-4bf7-8f75-0f3ebaeeb368I’d love for you to meet Jamee – she writes over at “A New Kind of Normal” – a blog dedicated to life living with chronic illness. Not only is Jamee’s blog informative, it is beautiful both in its aesthetics and message -  life carries on through love, faith, family and support.

I  had originally contacted Jamee to discuss her journey with Endometriosis, however I feel that she is  also an excellent resource for those facing infertility, and those learning to advocate for themselves. Enjoy!

Follow Jamee on Twitter!

What impact has endometriosis had on your life?

Endometriosis has impacted my life in every way possible. I have had six surgeries total including a total hysterectomy at the age of 26. Despite every effort to manage my endometriosis from surgeries, treatments, and second/third/fourth opinions, I have started the disability process at the ripe old age of 32. The crippling pain is obviously made a huge impact on my life but the mental, social, and spiritual impacts of illness have also been a struggle.

I feel like I’ve lost a sense of control in my life. I have always liked to have a plan and for things to be structured but in the years since my diagnosis, I have had to let go of the perfectionist/Type-A aspects of my personality. I spent so much time beating myself up for not feeling like I wasn’t enough because I couldn’t do x,y, or z so I’ve had to relearn some ways of thinking about myself.

How important has your blog been to your experience as someone who lives with a chronic illness?

When I started blogging, I could have never imagined the impact that blogging has had on my life. It started as an outlet for my feelings while we were going through fertility treatments but I never had any idea that anyone would ever read it. But as time progressed, I discovered that there was an online community of warriors battling endometriosis/chronic illness just like I was. I was able to become a part of a community where someone could say “I understand” and mean it. The support I’ve received the in the years since has been amazing. I honestly do not know what I would have done without it. I would suggest for anyone facing endo (or any other chronic illness) to become a part of the online community, even if you don’t want to blog there is a place for support on Twitter/Facebook/Forums.

What do you wish everyone knew about endometriosis?

A hysterectomy is not a cure. I have been told so many times that because I’ve had a hysterectomy I should no longer be in pain because endometriosis cannot recur after a hysterectomy therefore my pain isn’t real. Also people don’t realize how a hysterectomy impacts so many aspects of your life. It isn’t just a physical surgery.

What are 3 things you wish people didn’t say to women with endometriosis?

1) I have bad cramps, too (endo is sooo much more than cramps).
2) Just have a hysterectomy (see question #3).
3)  At least its not cancer (So true but just because endometriosis isn’t terminal, it doesn’t make the pain less real and it had a HUGE impact on quality of life).

How important has being your own advocate  been in receiving appropriate treatment?

If I could give someone newly diagnosed any advice, it would be to become your own advocate. I have been blessed with having an amazing doctor from the start but by being my own advocate, I have been able to become an active participant in my treatment. I have researched treatments to know the pros and cons. I have been able to chose to get second opinions when necessary to move forward in treatments. It is so important and it is important to have your spouse/significant other to become an advocate as well to help in situations were you may not be able to advocate for yourself (after surgery, etc).


Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/jamee-miller-life-chronic-pain/

Apr 09

Wordless Wednesday: OhhhKaye

I’ve admired Kaye Sedgwick’s work for some time.

In addition to being an artist, Kaye is an Endometriosis Warrior and campaigner and does a lot of work for Endometriosis charities like Endometriosis UK and The Endometriosis She Trust UK.

I wanted to share with you  a piece of work she did to support those who struggle with Endometriosis. I’ve included a snapshot of the piece (with her permission) but encourage you to visit her site to see it in its full glory!

It’s beautiful, and telling, isn’t it?


By Kaye Sedgwick for Endometriosis UK


Follow Kaye on Twitter
Follow Hormone Soup on Twitter

Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/wordless-wednesday-ohhhkaye/

Apr 08

Reducing Endocrine Disruptors in Our House: Glass Bottles

Glass Water Bottles

I’ve done a lot of reading on endocrine disruptors and even blogged about making the choice to reduce the amount of endocrine disruptors that are in our home.  One of the big things I did was reduce plastic containers that stored our food. Although there has been quite a bit of headway made in reducing Bisphenol A in plastics, some may still contain phthalates, polyurethanes, polyacrylonitriles, and EA’s.  For me, the risk simply  isn’t worth it when there are other alternatives so readily available.

We avoid ALL plastics when we can – particularly 7, 6 & 3.  Even my children know  ”7, 6 and 3 are not for me”.   When we were getting 100% rid of “bad” plastics I taught my children how to identify the plastic by the symbol and number.

I am a firm believer that making positive lifestyle changes doesn’t need to take the joy, and the colour, out of life! These glass water bottles are proof of that!  The bottles (2, 3, 4 + 5) that have silicone coverings are kid friendly (although I’m reserving #5 for me!) because the silicone seal helps reduce breakage. I really like #1 + 2 for serving guests at the dinner table.

Watch for my post next week on fabulous kid friendly food containers that are both cute and endocrine system friendly!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/reducing-endocrine-disruptors-house-glass-bottles/

Apr 07

Hormones & Fertility: My PCOS Challenge Radio Interview


My journey to good hormone health has introduced me to wonderful, like-minded,  and caring people.

Sasha Ottey, the founder of PCOS Challenge,  is no different. In addition to being our Souper Star last month, she welcomed me to join her on her own radio program and speak on the topic of Hormone Health and Infertility.

I’d love for you to listen to my interview with Sasha! Explore her site while you’re  there. It is an excellent resource for women who manage PCOS on a regular basis.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak, Sasha! You are doing beautiful work!



Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/hormones-fertility-pcos-challenge-radio-interview/

Apr 04

Souper Star: PCOS Diva Founder – Amy Medling

You’ve just got to meet Amy Medling! 

Amy Medling, CHC, is the founder of PCOSDiva.com, an online resource dedicated to helping women understand and manage the symptoms associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). She studied holistic nutrition at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is a Certified Health Coach.

Diagnosed with PCOS 12 years ago, Amy thought she found relief when her doctor prescribed Metformin and the birth control pill. Instead of relief, she felt trapped inside a body that rejected these artificial treatments. This is when her Diva journey began.

She moved from a “why me?” self-pity state to a place of empowerment that ultimately led her to becoming a “PCOS Diva”. Her dedication and research produced a proven treatment plan that uses whole food, natural remedies, supplements, exercise, self-care, positive thinking and stress reduction to relieve and control PCOS symptoms.

Amy’s goal is to coach other women with PCOS, to find a body, mind and spirit balance that will have them proclaiming, “I’m a PCOS Diva too”!

MelaniesSouperStarLogoWhat inspired you to start your blog?

When I started successfully managing my PCOS naturally about 9 years ago, my OBGYN started referring women with PCOS who were not responding to conventional treatments to contact me (by phone) for help. I loved helping these women so much that my husband suggested that I start blogging about my research findings and PCOS information. I actually resisted at first, but then thought that maybe a blog was the way to help more women, so I started PCOS Diva in 2009.

Once women started following me, and began experiencing positive results using my PCOS protocol, I knew that this was my path in life. For me, it is so rewarding to help a woman with PCOS take on her health and life. I ended up going back to school in 2010 and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and can now help women in a greater way through my Meal Plans, Online Programs and Private Coaching.

Do you have any advice for women who are suddenly found in a position of needing to advocate for themselves?

10% of all women have PCOS and 50% remain undiagnosed. Women who suspect they have PCOS need to know  the symptoms, risks, labs to ask for, treatment options, as well as, how to get a diagnosis.  You will want to refer your doctor to the Rotterdam Criteria for diagnosis.  It is important to remember that your doctor works for you.  Most doctors are unaware of the success women with PCOS can have reducing symptoms just with lifestyle change.  Lifestyle modification should be first line therapy for PCOS.  Before using pharmaceutical drugs, that always have side effects, women with PCOS should look into changing diet and lifestyle.  I advocate a gluten-free, dairy-free or low-dairy, processed soy free, whole food based, balanced diet.  I also believe stress reduction, exercise, reducing environmental toxins, positive thinking and mindfulness is critical.

What have you found most surprising along your journey?

I am honestly amazed at how quickly women can heal their bodies.  It took several years for me, but I have worked with many women who we’re unable to get pregnant with pharmaceutical drugs, or lose weight, but as soon as they followed my plan, they were able to lose weight, achieve regular cycles within months, and many find themselves pregnant soon after.  Some of these women are just using my Meal Plans, or Jumpstart Program, while some are private clients, but once they understand how to nourish their body and bring balance back, health and fertility can be reclaimed.

Dealing with PCOS can be a roller coaster ride. How do you keep your spirits high?  Do you have specific tools in place for when your spirits get down?

So many women with PCOS are stuck in a negative glass half-empty outlook on life, or  what I call a “lack consciousness”.  This is a huge issue, as they focus on the negative side effects from PCOS. My clients must learn how to focus on gratitude, abundance,  and focus on what they can control: the food they eat, and not on what they cannot.  They must learn to live “in the moment” and not worry about the future. I believe that PCOS  is  a sign that our lives are out of balance.  That we need to create more harmony.  It’s a wake up call and the beginning of a journey that can truly help us become whole and happy, a journey that can change and transform our lives to ultimately lead us to live the life we were meant to live without PCOS holding us back.  Our physical body gets out of whack in order to draw attention to what is not working in our lives. Often we go through challenges and healings in our bodies that mirror the challenges and healings that are going on in our lives.

For me getting a PCOS diagnosis was one of  the best thing that ever happened to  me. Yes, I just said that  You might think I am crazy, but that is what it took to get my attention to begin changing my life in ways that have made it so much more joyful and meaningful.  For me it has been a gift.

Connect with Amy!
You Tube
Google +

Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/souper-star-pcos-diva-founder-amy-medling/

Mar 28

Endometriosis is an Invisible Illness: An interview with Rachel Meeks


invisibleribbon48.22 PM

Magnet Designed by DoILookSick.com

One of the things that I’d like to highlight about Endometriosis is that it is often called an “invisible disease”. General onlookers can’t see the pain being experienced, and albeit, are often not as supportive or understanding as they could be.

This is why I find the blog by Rachel Meeks so timely – her blog aptly titled “Do I Look Sick” discusses the challenges of diseases and disorders that aren’t quickly visible to others.

I sent Rachel a few questions to ask her about Endometriosis, the idea of invisible disease, and what life is like as a health advocate.


My name is Rachel Meeks. I have Endometriosis, an incurable pain condition, and IBS, a digestive illness. I’m also a professional screenwriter and video editor, wife, and animal rescuer. Illness doesn’t define me but it’s just as much a part of me as my arms, legs, hair, and eyes.

 What does the term #EndoSister mean to you?

#Endosister means I’m not alone – I have a big family I never knew about.

Why is Endometriosis Awareness Month important to you?

There is nothing more important than awareness – self, spiritual, medical, all of it. We should always seek to understand others – March is a time when others try to understand me.

What do you wish everyone knew about life with endo?

Endo acts fake. Pain one minute, gone the next – But I’m not faking.

As a Health Advocate, what do you want to accomplish for those struggling with endo? 

Awareness is the most important thing. I want a world where we don’t have to hide endo. People understand, doctors study it,
that all comes from awareness.

What is missing from our system for those with invisible disease?

There’s too much division. We should all identify as Health Advocates but many go by disease. This leads to questioning what counts and what doesn’t, and an unnecessary struggle to find your home team. Unity!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/endometriosis-invisible-illness-interview-rachel-meeks/

Mar 23

Ted Talk: Endocrine Disruptors, Estrogen & Your Baby

Grab a cup of tea and learn about hormone disruptors, clothing, cancer and disease.
Knowledge is power!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/ted-talk-endocrine-disruptors-estrogen-baby/

Mar 19

Ted Talk: Working in Partnership with Your Body

There is so much important information in this Ted Talk video by Alisa Vitta that focuses on the importance of functional nutrition, understanding the endocrine system, and being a true partner with your body.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.hormonesoup.com/ted-talk-working-partnership-body/

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