In celebration of the launch of A New Cycle, our period-positive guide to a healthier period, we’re introducing you to the contributors! We hand-picked our favorite women’s health experts to write chapters for A New Cycle on their area of specialty. Read on to get know this week’s featured contributor, or click here get a free preview of the book when you sign up for our newsletter!
Meet Nicole Jardim, hormonal health expert and recipe contributor for A New Cycle!
Why is menstruation important?
Menstruation is our femininity, our identity and the definition of what it means to be a woman. Without it we would cease to exist as a civilization. I’d say that pretty much sums it up!
Why do women need to know about hormonal health?
Hormones are powerful chemical messengers that control virtually everything we feel and do, yet most of us have very little understanding of them. Here’s an analogy for ya: Many of us take our cars to the mechanic when there is a problem but we also take our bodies to the doctor in much the same way – with the hope that the doctor will “fix” the issue and we can get back to driving already.
What I’m trying to say is that we have moved so far away from what it means to understand our bodies. In order to address our current healthcare crisis, the first thing we need to do is get back in touch with the messages our bodies are sending us. About 90% of the women who come to me have no idea if or when they are ovulating, if their periods are regular, why they have cramps and other menstrual irregularities, what the birth control pill is actually doing to their bodies or how to prevent or achieve pregnancy naturally.
This is Hormonal Health 101 but no one is teaching it! However, in my experience, once women discover this information they are immediately hooked and want to learn more. The best part about this? They are empowered for life! They can recognize symptoms when they appear, have informed conversations with their doctors and make confident decisions about their bodies and their health forever.
Do you have a personal story about menstruation you’d like to share?
I’ll never forget going to the gynecologist at 17 because my period hadn’t come for three months. FYI: I was definitely not pregnant, in case you’re wondering 😉 I sat there explaining my symptoms and within 15 minutes she was writing a prescription for the birth control pill. Ah, if I’d known then what I know now…sigh.
On looking back, what most stands out to me is the fact that I had absolutely no idea how my body functioned or what I could possibly be doing to cause such problems. They say ignorance is bliss but I don’t buy it. Not having a basic understanding of how diet and lifestyle affected my hormonal health cost me years of expensive doctor and ER visits (I was once allergic to the UTI antibiotics a doctor had prescribed for me) along with a lot of agonizing about what was wrong with me.
While my experience is now part of my story and led me down the path of helping others, I do wish I’d had even a little knowledge about my hormones and my cycle back then. While I feel beyond blessed to be on this journey, I would have happily avoided a few of the bumps along the way.
What kind of menstrual protection do you use?
I sure have tried many menstrual protection products over the years! They’ve ranged from synthetic plastic products to the DivaCup and the soft cup. Now I use a combination of GladRags Day and Night cloth pads and when I’m traveling I use Maxim Hygiene 100% organic cotton pads, tampons and panty liners.
Nicole is a women’s health coach and chief professional period fixer-upper at The Healthy Elements, the business she founded in 2010 to help women reclaim their hormonal health and feminine vitality naturally.
She is the creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to heal their menstrual conditions in a fun and sassy way. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and continued her training with Dr. Sara Gottfried and Jessica Drummond, two renowned hormonal health experts.
Nicole passionately believes that all women should be active participants in their reproductive health, and she is dedicated to spreading this message. Nicole also co-hosts a radio show called The Period Party.