Written by Megan Hallett
19 Jul 2022
CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH THE WORK YOU DO?
WHEN DID YOUR INTEREST IN WOMEN’S HEALTH IN PARTICULAR FIRST SPARK?
IT SEEMS A LOT OF PEOPLE JUST ACCEPT THEIR PMS OR MENSTRUAL HEALTH SYMPTOMS AS SOMETHING THEY HAVE TO LIVE AND STRUGGLE WITH. HAVE YOU NOTICED WOMEN OFTEN THEY DON’T GIVE THEIR SYMPTOMS THE ATTENTION THEY NEED?
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU BELIEVE THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS AND DIET IS IN HELPING TO SUPPORT WOMEN’S HEALTH?
CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE FOODS OR SUPPLEMENTS AND THE BENEFITS THEY HAVE ON OUR HEALTH?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON MYTHS PEOPLE TEND TO BELIEVE AND COME ACROSS WHEN IT COMES TO HORMONAL HEALTH?
WHAT ARE 3 TOP TIPS YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT ON THEIR HOLISTIC HEALTH JOURNEY?
ARE THERE ANY OTHER HEALTH EXPERTS THAT INSPIRE YOU AT THE MOMENT?
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO ON DAYS OFF? HOW DO YOU RELAX AND UNWIND?
Megan Hallett (@meganhallettnutrition) is a women's health nutritionist, nutritional therapist and cookbook author specialising in hormonal imbalance and women's health conditions including PCOS, endometriosis, hypothalamic amenorrhea. and fertility.
Day to day, I work as a nutritional therapist, specialising in women’s health. My practice puts a huge focus on getting to the root of the hormone imbalance, rather than just addressing the symptoms - as this is where the magic happens. I work with a range of different conditions and symptoms, my three main specialisms being PCOS, endometriosis and hypothalamic amenorrhea. I also work with fertility and pregnancy clients, those with thyroid disorders and supporting PMS.
When someone works with me, we start with a long initial consultation, collating all necessary information including health history, gut health and reproductive health. From there, I create a hyper-individualised protocol for that client, including nutrition changes, supplements and lifestyle adjustments
I had a lightbulb moment after years of taking the oral contraceptive pill to fix my PCOS that I realised it might not actually be fixing it at all, just masking the symptoms. Like many in this space, I became obsessed with researching all the ways I could support my body and essentially reverse my symptoms without medical intervention. When I saw first hand how big of an impact good nutrition had on my hormones, I wanted to help everyone else experiencing the same as I had.
Yes and no. I see a large percentage of women struggling because they think it’s just part of being a woman. However, I am also now seeing women opening up to the possibility that this can change - due to social media! We’re now able to share our stories and raise awareness of the fact that these symptoms are common, but not normal, and what you can do about it.
Nutrition, smart supplementation and lifestyle changes are the only way to address hormone health and the root causes of those imbalances long term.
In terms of nutrition and women’s health, our bodies rely on many, many different nutrient cofactors for each system to run efficiently (let alone optimally!), from our thyroid health to the liver’s ability to detoxify hormone metabolites, we need to be feeding our body the right nutrients. Any deficiencies mean these systems may not be able to work as optimally as we like, potentially driving a further imbalance.
Organ meats, they really are nature’s multivitamin. We don’t tend to include them in our diets as much as we once did, which is a real shame. Liver contains so many hormone healthy nutrients and in high, bioavailable amounts. Think vitamin A, folate, iron and copper. A staple of fertility, pregnancy and hypothalamic amenorrhea - but generally great for everyone.
Eggs. We used to demonise eggs, and I am so grateful that we are moving beyond that mindset. Eggs, especially for hormone health, are a superfood. An easy way to get your protein in on the go as well as being rich in vitamin A, iodine, vitamin D and omega-3.
Berries. I recommend eating berries every single day. They are rich in polyphenols which your gut bugs love to munch on and protect against oxidative stress. They are low in sugar and high in fibre, making them a great blood sugar friendly snack or addition to your morning smoothie.
Magnesium. There aren’t many supplements that are a one-size-fits-all, but magnesium is arguably the closest one there is to that. Many people need a little extra support when it comes to magnesium supplementation, especially as it is easily depleted by modern day life AND it plays a role in almost every system within the body. There are different types depending on needs, such as glycinate for nervous system support or citrate if you’re a little blocked up.
Omega-3. Omega-3 is another example of a supplement that is generally well tolerated by most, yet we seem to lack it due to standard western diets. Omega-3 is anti inflammatory, and I often use it in cases of period pain, endometriosis and PCOS. If you opt for a plant-based diet, omega-3 is a key nutrient to consider.
A Methylated B Complex. There are cases when certain systems within the body need a little extra support, and I find that a B complex does just that. A methylated B complex can give your methylation pathways a bit of love, helping you effectively eliminate hormone metabolites from the body. Certain B vitamins are also required for neurotransmitter conversion, for mood and sleep, and we require a huge range of them for energy creation within our cells.
The biggest one is that a hormone imbalance is not the root cause of your symptoms. Whilst yes, your symptoms (such as period pain, PMS or mood changes) can be further driven by a hormonal imbalance, there is always something deeper causing that hormone imbalance. Hormones are messengers, they don’t become out of balance, in excess or become insufficient for no reason. There is also something else at the root of the hormone imbalance - such as gut dysfunction or damage, inflammation, environmental factors, nervous system or blood sugar dysregulation and/ or deficiencies.
Knowing this is the first step in truly resolving your symptoms, longterm.
Don’t underestimate the influence that stress reduction can have. For a lot of us, stress is the missing puzzle piece. We have our nutrition and supplementation down, yet rush through life without taking time to breathe. Your stress hormones impact almost every system in the body. Make stress reduction a top priority.
There are so many wonderful experts out there who are making great changes in the health space. Kelly LeVeque and Jessie Inchauspé (Glucose Goddess) are great resources for really understanding how to balance your blood sugar.
Max Lugavere and his podcast and book are great resources for demystifying certain ingredients, whilst Lily Nicols is your go to for learning about real foods and how to nourish your body through good nutrition.
Walking. I think walking is the most underrated way of moving our bodies, yet the most effective in keeping the body calm whilst supporting blood sugar and circadian rhythm. I’ll listen to a podcast and spend an hour or so learning something new. I could also go food shopping everyday, it's as strange but satisfying boost of serotonin for me.
I have an infrared mat that really was money well spent. I am not all that good at meditation or sitting still, so I slip into my infrared mat, lie in-front of the telly or read my kindle, and that is my idea of calming down before bed.
Got a question about menstrual health nutrition? Get in touch with us directly on Instagram at @itsyoppie or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join our private Full Stop FB group. Don't forget our menstrual care subscription can be a good place to start for supplements for your PMS, PCOS or Endometriosis as you can get them delivered easily & regularly through your letterbox.
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