Women’s Health: Cortisol, Part 1 (Hormone Edition)

CrossFit, endurance, Fitness, Health and wellness, Hormones, Uncategorized, Women's Health

Hormone health: we are doing a 3 part series on cortisol because…

1.It’s a fascinating hormone
2. It impacts a lot of people, especially female professional athletes, endurance athletes or CrossFit athletes and they don’t even realize it.
3. It’s a huge culprit for fat gain, specifically the hip/belly fat, you know, that puffy inner tube around your belly you can’t get to go away.
Part 1, we are diving into the Where and What of Cortisol.

1. Where it comes from.
2. What it impacts.

With that being said, we can’t talk about the hormone cortisol without bringing up a hot word, the adrenals, where it’s produced.
You may have heard of adrenal fatigue or adrenal dysfunction, these terms get thrown around like hot cakes in an IHOP at 2:30 AM after a late night bar crawl with the girls. But do you know what it really means?

What are adrenals?

These two tiny walnut shaped glands sit right on top of our kidneys. They produce hormones that range in function throughout our body. They’ve made a statement in the health world specifically for their ability to regulate metabolism and help our body respond to stress.
Adrenals also:
Aid in our bodies ability to properly utilize carbohydrates and fats
Helps distribute stored fat
Gut health support
Our adrenals release one of the most vital hormones for our overall health and wellness, cortisol.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone we need in the body to do things like:

regulate blood sugar levels
✨acts as an anti inflammatory
✨influences our memory

We naturally release cortisol throughout the day. Cortisol is highest in the morning and slowly declines as we get closer to bedtime. Cortisol and melatonin act as a teeter totter in our bodies. As cortisol declines naturally throughout the day, our melatonin levels increase. Another way cortisol is released is when our body is under stress. Mental, physical, emotional, our body doesn’t know the difference. This is extremely important for endurance athletes to watch out for. We are constantly releasing cortisol during high training days, we walk a fine line on how far we push it. When your cortisol levels go haywire and are elevated for too long, we start seeing a decline in…

✨resilience to stress
✨body composition
✨our mood

Stay tuned for part 2 of the 3 part series coming at ya soon!

I Started A Blog in 2009

Blogging, Health and wellness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, My Why

Were you one of those people too? Or was it just me – One of my favorite weekend activities when I was in college was to cook myself dinner, from Trader Joe’s of course, and then sit down and read blogs for hours.

Saturday morning I would wake up, drink my coffee, go on a long run, come home, Cook myself breakfast,and again, read blogs for hours. My favorite blogs to read at the time were carrotsncake, KathEats, peanut butter fingers, and Run Eat Repeat. I thought to myself one day, hey, I can do this too. So it began, I started a blog, back in 2009, the beginning of my senior year in college.

I think I blogged for about a week. Why is photography so hard? I mean, photography is hard for me now and we have top of line cameras on our phones. I don’t know how to fill a photo, I don’t know where the light should shine, and lord help me with my selfie game.

I documented my food and running, that’s what all these running blogs were doing and who doesn’t want to know what I ate for breakfast 7 days a week. I would post on my free wordpress site with absolutely no bells and whistles and then compare myself to a professionally built website from bloggers that had been in the game for a few years. I had no idea what it took to design a blog, create content, gain a following. I just thought it was fun. Until five days in and then it wasn’t.

But here we are, my 5th or 6th attempt since that day in 2009, starting another blog. Every time I decide blogging isn’t for me, something draws me back, and let me tell you, it’s not because I’m an expert with words. 

I have big plans for this platform. I want to share my experiences with running, weightlifting, CrossFit, hormones, stress, the struggles, the highlights, the product reviews, and how I got here. I want to share all of my knowledge, I want this to be a place where women feel safe, heard, understood. 

I know, we all have big plans, and we all know life happens. Let’s see where it this takes us, shall we? 


Pre – Workout Snacks

Food, Workout

strawberry smoothie on glass jar

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

WHY: You need to consume a combination of protein + carbohydrate to fuel you

during longer workouts or provide energy for bursts of intense, high energy

workouts such as CrossFit

➔ 1 slice Sweet potato toast w/ 1 tbsp nut butter & banana slices

( 1/3 banana or apple slices)

Protein 5 | Carb 23 | Fat 9 |

➔ 1 piece of dense fruit wrapped in flat out wrap with 1 serving PB Fit

( 1/3 banana or apple slices)

Protein 13| Carb 30 | Fat 5 |

➔ 1 Muffin (from muffin recipes), if these don’t tickle your fancy try a mighty

muffin from the grocery store, they are easy and take less than 2 minutes)

Protein 20 | Carb 24 | Fat 6 | (mighty muffin)

➔ 1/2 serving protein pancakes (For a little extra add 1 tbsp PB Fit & a few

berries or frozen berries on top)

Protein 18 | Carb 18 | Fat 9|

➔ Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup granola (0% unsweetened + kind granola)

Protein 17 | Carb 29 | Fat 3 |

Misc. items you could throw together to create a snack

● Banana

● Grapes

● Oranges

● Berries

● Protein Shake

● Rice cakes

● Peanut butter

● Energy balls

● Cottage cheese

● ½ bowl of oatmeal

● ½ serving overnight oats

Maybe she’s crazy, Maybe it’s low progesterone. How to detect & naturally support progesterone.



Feeling Crazy_ Maybe it's Progesterone

Have you ever felt like something has infiltrated itself in your life making you do and say irrational things? Or thought, what is happening to me, my body, why am I crazy? Mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, low sex drive, insomnia, all clear indicators you aren’t crazy, your body is lacking in something & it’s letting you know.

Progesterone (P) and estrogen are the two primary hormones vital to women. We need these two to work in unison to support our cycle, mood, body composition, and fertility.

Progesterone (P) is elevated right around our luteal phase ( =second part of period, right after ovulation) Progesterones (P) job is to maintain the lining of the uterus creating a hospitable environment for an egg to be fertilized, progesterone levels drop if there is no egg, and your period begins.

Progesterone also:

  • supports our metabolism
  • Sleep
  • stimulates the production of new bone
  • reduces anxiety

Progesterone can be affected by:

  • Stress
  • Thyroid issues
  • Estrogen dominance
  • overtraining/overexercising
  • Inadequate fueling ( low carb, low fat)
  • Compromised gut health
  • Age

Low Progesterone can cause:

  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes, anxiety and irritability
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Weight gain
  • Water retention
  • Cellulite
  • Brain fog
  • Before your anxiety starts rising even more, let’s look at what you can start doing RIGHT NOW to support your body and get those P levels up.Food & Supplement Support
  • Fat: Cholesterol is essential for progesterone production & thyroid. Fat also balances blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity which is crucial for regulating progesterone
  • Fiber: Aim for 30 – 50 grams a day, helps flush out excess estrogen
  • Support your gut: collagen, bone broth, fermented veggies, amare fundamentals
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Green Tea: aids in metabolizing estrogen


  • Stress management: Get it under control! This is critical. It’s brought me down to ground zero more times than I’d like to admit. chronic stress & high cortisol levels rob your body of progesterone by #1 making less of it because your body is in fight or flight, not safe to support baby & #2 progesterone and cortisol are produced from the same hormone pregnenolone, which is excreted from the adrenals. The body will always serve cortisol more to help you reduce the stressful situation, leaving progesterone with very limited resources to thrive.
  • Sleep: 7 – 9 hours is ideal
  • Training: journal workouts & listen to your body. Endurance athletes, this is for you, when mileage gets high & training is heavy we play with fire on the daily, it’s crucial you don’t get burned.Side notes: Our progesterone levels naturally decrease after age 35, once in our 40’s we will inevitably feel the pressure from these symptoms.

    If you’re on hormonal birth control, this is fairly irrelevant. HBC suppress natural hormone, no

ovulation, and no progesterone.

If you think this may be you, I highly recommend consulting with your Dr. or physician who will be able to guide you through proper labs & next steps.

Personalized Yogurt Bowl: High Protein


Nutrition Profile & Recipe

Serving size = 1 , Macronutrient breakdown:

Dairy Free, Plain Flavor: Brands include: Forager , Kite hill, Nancys Oatmilk ( my favorite), Good Karma

Protein 32 | Carb 31 | Fat 15|

Dairy , Plain Flavor: Greek yogurt, Icelandic yogurt , cultured kefir
Protein 41| Carb 25 | Fat 12 |

( carb and fat will vary a few grams depending on brand)



  • 1 single serve yogurt or 1 serving plain yogurt ( 0% – 2% fat greek yogurt, Icelandic yogurt, Kite Hill almond milk yogurt, foragers cashew yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, silk almond milk yogurt, Good Karma – dairy free yogurt)
  • 1 scoop favorite protein powder { Amare GBX Protein }
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp power seeds ( chia, hemp, flax- if you only have one kind, that’s fine too)
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 serv. PBFit (powdered peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries ( microwaved for about 20 secs)


Mix yogurt + cinnamon + protein powder together in a bowl. Then mix up your PBfit peanut putter. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the yogurt and scoop your peanut butter on top of everything. Last but not least, take the warmed berries and pour over top. For added carbs if needed, add 1/2 – 1 whole banana sliced.


5 ingredient Protein Pancakes


Serving Size: 1

Macronutrient breakdown: Protein 36 | Carb 36 | F 6 |


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup GF oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese ( fat free , 2%, or dairy free/ lactose free )
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra firm tofu ( if dairy free) 
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


blend all ingredients to make a batter. Cook like a pancake and top with your favorite toppings.

Recommended Toppings: 1 tbsp syrup , 1 tbsp melted peanut butter or 1 serving PB Fit, sliced banana, frozen or fresh berries, Monk Fruit sweetener & cinnamon ( Lower cal, less sugar, taste great)

High Protein Breakfast Ideas


Breakfast, bRUNch, french toast, breakfast burritos, cereal… hands down my favorite meal yet there is all this hype about skipping the goodness and waiting until lunch, it’s less than stellar second half. I’m not knocking fasting, it’s helped thousands of people lose weight, reverse insulin resistance, and combat health issues.

The downside, if you’re dealing with hormonal imbalances, hand raised high, you could be compromising the very goal you’re trying to achieve, feelin’ good and lookin good.

If you’re a breakfast fan and you need to support that body, here are so great breakfast ideas, all with at least 15 grams of protein to help keep you full & your insulin levels cruisin’.

six fruit cereals in clear glass mason jars on white surface

Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

Overnight Oats ( protein version too)

Pre made yogurt bowls – assemble in AM

Hard boiled eggs, veggie sticks, and guacamole pack (or homemade)

5 ingredient pancakes ( loaded with protein)

Apple streusel egg muffins

3 ingredient fruit egg muffin

Savory egg muffins

What’s your go to breakfast?

Better Than Kona Salad


Do you ever get the craving for those childhood meals that bring back memories of living room forts, Mario kart parties, and perfect friday evenings watching TGIF?

There is such an emotional component to food. Certain foods can trigger feelings and thoughts of warmth, comfort, home.

This meal is the adult version of a childhood memory but still creates the same feeling for me. Ready in 30 minutes, it provides the comfort with Trader Joe’s chicken tenders, while packing a nutrient dense punch with avocado, dark leafy greens, eggs, and so much more! I bet your kids would even love this meal!

Nutritional Information

Serves 4 : Protein 31 | CARB 17 | Fat 25 |


  • 1 bag of frozen chicken tenders ( I use Trader Joe’s breaded chicken tenderloin , I also recommend their gluten free chicken nuggets for those that are GF or staying away from Gluten ) OR you can go with baked chicken tenderloins, no breading, just chicken, season with your favorite spices.
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 10 strips bacon ( use leftovers rest of week)
  • 1 -2 bag Mix lettuce ( I used romaine & a spinach kale mix)
  • 1 tomato or 2 roma tomatoes ( optional)
  • 1-2 avocado
  • shredded cheese (optional, Trader Joe’s almond Milk cheese is a great substitute)
  • Honey Mustard dressing ( We use Annie’s Lite Honey Mustard or )


  • Cook Chicken according to package or bake raw chicken tenderloin @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes
  • Meanwhile hard boil your 6 eggs
  • While eggs are boiling cook bacon
  • While everything is cooking chop up your tomatoes & slice your avocado
  • Place lettuce in large bowl
  • cut up your bacon
  • slice your eggs
  • slice your chicken
  • Arrange all ingredients on top of bed of lettuce
  • sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese over everything ( optional)
  • Add 2 tbsp of your favorite dressing ( Annies low fat honey mustard or greek yogurt ranch)
  • Divide into 4 individual Tupperware containers for salads. Enjoy and pack the rest for lunch!

Overdose on Sugar


I’m pretty sure more than half of Americans become addicted to sugar over the holiday season if they aren’t already. It’s everywhere.

You add the increase of baking, drinking, and festive candy with the added stress and busy ness of the holiday season, it’s a recipe for sugar overload.

The influx of sugar consumption isn’t just bad for your waistline, it also affects your brain and hormones. Some of the biggest sugar offenders of the holiday season are the drinks we consume. Some of your favorite seasonal beverages pack more sugar than a full size snickers bar.

The sugar content of some of the most popular festive drinks are listed below.


This is before their spiked, imagine the sugar and toxin overload once you add your favorite holiday spice to the mix.

Eggnog – 20 grams sugar

Mulled Wine 15- 20

Apple cider 25 – 30
Tall Peppermint Mocha ( skim milk or 2%) 40 grams

Tall Eggnog Latte 42 grams

Tall gingerbread Latte 21 grams


Almond milk Eggnog

Red or White wine

Whiskey Neat

Americano with ¼ cup steamed coconut milk + 1 – 2 pumps your favorite holiday flavor

Latte with skim milk + 1 – 2 pumps your favorite holiday flavor

How to stay Hydrated during the Winter Months


As the temperature drops, I find myself drinking less and less water while searching for the nearest blanket, snack, or cup of coffee to stay warm. And then there’s the wine….


I’ve dabbled with the coffee all day, wine all night theory. It’s the perfect formula to wake up feeling like death, I don’t recommend it.

Most of our go to options in the winter don’t revolve around water, hydration is an afterthought. There are numerous side effects to dehydration that can impact daily functions, exercise, and even the way you metabolize food. To stay energized, detoxify your body, and keep off some of those Christmas cookies this year, I’ve listed a few tips I use daily to stay hydrated and feeling good during the winter months.

*Moonshine is not one of them.

  • Herbal tea & shrooms I love @herbalelement tea blends, @wildfood matcha tea & shrooms @foursigmatic coffee
  • Nuun tablets. A little flavor, electrolytes, and some vitamins to spice up my typical water.
  • Warm water + lemon. Weird? Maybe. It keeps my hands warm, keeps me away from an afternoon cup of joe ( afternoon coffee temptations have caused way too many restless nights), and it aids in digestion as well as liver detoxification. Win Win
  • Warm bone broth. I feel you judging me through the phone. Bone broth packs 9 – 10 grams of protein per serving, supports our immune system and gut health.