I’ve long since suffered with womanly woes and seems destined that I’ll continue to do so as I hurtle towards the menopause! Is there any respite from our raging hormones?
During my early 20’s when I first moved to London, my periods were so irregular and so debilitating that I wouldn’t know when one was going to hit me so that I could plan for it. No-one wants to be wearing their favourite white linen trousers now do they? I would regularly have to take time off work too – holed up for the day at home under the duvet with my owl hot water bottle.
One time the pain hit so bad at work that I was literally rushed to the hospital with a suspected ectopic pregnancy. The scans in fact revealed that I had polycystic ovaries – or “polystyrene” as my business partner chooses to jokingly call them! It would have been a miracle if it was any kind of pregnancy (even a phantom one) given that I hadn’t had sex in quite some time.
I had an aversion to going back on the pill. I tried it once when I was about 19 and it didn’t agree with me (I blew up like a deadly puffa fish) so it was ibuprofen and a hot water bottle for the next 20 years!
Actually, I did go see a fabulous Nutritionist back in the day too. I remember she was called Simone and came from New Zealand I think? She worked out of the 3rd Space gym in Soho so it was all achingly hip and trendy and of course uber expensive! I was a London media whore back then – all winged glasses and head to toe Whistles workwear. She also was helping me with my constant indigestion (aka WIND!). She created all kinds of little apothecary type tinctures that I dispensed via a pipette into a glass of water several times a day. That and about a million different vitamin and mineral supplements that I used to also take that literally cost me more than my monthly food bill!
I also dabbled with Chinese 5 point Acupuncture and saw an amazing woman called Claire in Camden who was like an angel. Such a beautiful spirit; she’d lull me into a false sense of security chatting to me soothingly about how I was feeling and then stick needles in my eyes! Really. And my nose, ears, stomach or wherever else she felt there was a blockage, emotional, physical or otherwise that needed clearing. I loved those sessions and I can honestly say that through good diet and nutrition, regular exercise and acupuncture I was able to manage and even reverse the effects of my PCOS over the years.
So let’s come up to speed with what’s going on today and why I’m now such a very recent advocate of Maca powder.
I was put onto this by the instructors at my Pilates studio, Contour Pilates in Brentwood. They’re always full of really useful tips and advice for our overall well-being and a few of the girls had been recommended Maca powder to help with their fertility.
5 years ago now I met my boo, Franco. He’s Mexican Italian as I may have mentioned before so without giving away too much, especially in case my Mum ever reads my blogs, he’s a bit lively and very much a red blooded Latino. I did lots of research and decided to have a coil fitted rather than to try the pill again or an injection. I’ve not had children so let’s just say that the process of getting the bugger in there was painful. It actually took 3 separate visits. There was just no opening my cervix whatsoever on the first 2 trips. On the 3rd we decided to bring out the anesthetic and give it one last attempt. Begrudgingly my cervix opened just enough for the alien tentacles of the coil to wrap themselves around my lady parts! I literally feinted with the excruciating pain and could barely walk home from the surgery the few 100 yards around the corner back to my flat. I was in extreme agony and cramping for at least the next 6 months I’d say. It really was horrendous and there were several times when I was ready to have it taken out. But I persevered knowing that if it was that horrific getting it in, it was going to probably require me being put to sleep to get the bastard out!
I’m rabbiting I know but hopefully you’re still with me!
What has happened over the last few years is that I have gotten increasingly hormonal and quite often dramatically so! Even when I suffered with the PCOS I was pretty even keeled emotionally but having the coil has, on occasion, turned me into a turbulent emotional mess Weeping for no apparent reason or having what can only be described as a raging psycho hissy fit!!!! All flying hairbrushes and piles of clothes flung on the floor because they make me look like a fat sausage bag lady!! Sweating feverishly at night and itching like I have case of scurvy. The only good thing about it all is that I now know it’s coming and I can send out the red alert. I’m also always incredibly apologetic before and after the event!
It’s not a great feeling though. I hate that lack of control that you can have over your own emotions. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist and I struggle with the momentary loss of control over my feelings.
So when I heard about Maca powder I thought I would give it a go.
And for me, it works.100%
I've been taking it for about 2 months now.
I have categorically been calmer, more balanced, less hormonal and I don’t think that I’ve been having my hot sweats at night either. I’ve also got bags more energy physically and also a much better handle on my mental clarity.
I’ve got Franco taking it too. He’s no idea (unless he’s reading this post!) but it goes into our daily protein powder based breakfast and I have to say, I think that we are both much more emotionally balanced than we ever have been before. It really is a little natural miracle.
So what is it and why is it so good?
It’s actually a relative of the radish and it really does smell a bit like butterscotch so not at all offensive. That’s why I blend mine with my protein and banana on a morning. It’s an ancient Peruvian root and been gaining popularity more recently in the West and lauded as a new superfood. Some people calling it the “Peruvian ginseng”.
It’s supposed to help with chronic fatigue syndrome, enhancing energy and stamina, overall physical performance and can aid memory. Given the constant stress and fatigue that I am under, it’s a god send! Really it is.
It’s rich in vitamin B, C and E and provides calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. It apparently boosts libido (not that him indoors needs any help in that department!) and promotes healthy and regulated sexual function in both men and women which is why it’s so good at helping with hormonal related menstrual cycle issues (or impending lack of them!)
Women of the indigenous South American cultures have been using it for millennia to alleviate cramps and hot flushes. Again, I’m not qualified to give out advise so this is also largely anecdotal but ladies, it really does seem to be working for me and Franco. I literally just bought another bag of it today!
How do I take mine?
My breakfast is blended and has been now for years so I simply put a scoop of my Maca into the blender along with all my other power ingredients.
In case you’re interested I have a scoop or protein powder, a scoop of Maca powder, a linseed mix, some chia and golden berry seeds, a scoop of Super Greens powder, a banana, some blueberries, some oats and a spoon of cashew nut butter. It’s delicious, highly nutritious and keeps me going all the way through to lunch. It packs a powerful protein punch but also delivers a hefty portion of my daily quota of fruit and veggies too.