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Tahnee is joined by Nicole Jardim on the Women's Series today to wax lyrical on all things menstrual. Nicole is a Certified Women’s Health Coach and the creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to reclaim their hormone health. Nicole's passion for women’s health arose in response to her own hormonal journey and negative experience using hormonal birth control in her early twenties.
Nicole takes a holistic approach, placing her focus on identifying and addressing the root cause of dis-ease within the bodies and minds of her female clients. Nicole believes that the fundamentals to healing any hormonal imbalance lie in an approach that addresses the unique physiology of every woman, and that this is essential to reclaiming and maintaining optimal health and vitality at any age. We say amen to that sister!
Tahnee and Nicole discuss:
- Nicole's take on hormone testing.
- Nutrition - the power of mastering the basics.
- What a normal menstrual cycle looks/feels like.
- The menstrual cycle and female empowerment.
- The horrific side effects synthetic birth control can cause.
- The lack of education and female body literacy in our society.
- Self observation as simple yet profound tool in health and healing.
- The fact that menstrual disharmony is generally considered normal.
- The impact of diet culture and "health" fads on female reproductive health.
- The sensitivity of the female organism, how this aids our fertility and serves as a defense mechanism at the physiological level.
- Nicole's period journey - how the traditional medical model failed to connect the dots between her oral contraceptive use and the myriad of undesirable health complications she experienced as a result.
Who is Nicole Jardim?
Nicole Jardim is a Certified Women’s Health Coach, writer, speaker, mentor, and the creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to reclaim their hormone health using a method that combines evidence-based information with simplicity and sass. Nicole's work has impacted the lives of tens of thousands of women around the world in effectively addressing a wide variety of period problems, including PMS, irregular periods, PCOS, painful & heavy periods, missing periods and many more.
Rather than treating problems or symptoms, Nicole treats women by addressing the root cause of what’s really going on in their bodies and minds. She passionately believes that the fundamentals to healing any hormonal imbalance lie in an approach that addresses the unique physiology of every woman. This is essential to reclaiming and maintaining optimal health and vitality at any age.
Nicole is the author of Fix Your Period: 6 Weeks to Banish Bloating, Conquer Cramps, Manage Moodiness, and Ignite Lasting Hormone Balance, and the co-author of The Happy Balance, a recipe book filled with over 80 hormone balancing recipes. Finally, Nicole is the co-host of The Period Party, a top-rated podcast on iTunes—be sure to tune into that if you want to learn more about how to fix your period—and has been called on as a women’s health expert for sites such as The Guardian, Well+Good, mindbodygreen and Healthline.
Check Out The Transcript Below:
Hi everybody and welcome to the SuperFeast Podcast. Today I'm joined by Nicole Jardim who's a Nicole is a Certified Women's Health Coach, writer, speaker, mentor and the creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programmes that empower women to reclaim their hormone health using a method that combines evidence-based information with a lot of simplicity and sass.
Her work has impacted lives of tens of thousands of women around the world and effectively addressing a wide variety of period problems including PMS, irregular periods, PCOS, painful and heavy periods, missing periods, and much, much more.
And Rather than treating problems or symptoms, Nicole treats women by addressing the root cause of what's really going on in their bodies and minds. She passionately believes that the fundamentals to healing any hormonal imbalance lie in an approach that addresses the unique physiology of every woman. We are so behind that at SuperFeast Podcast. And this is so essential just to reclaiming and maintaining optimal health and vitality at any age.
Nicole is also the author of Fix Your Period: Six Weeks to Banishing Bloating, Conquering Cramps, Manage Moodiness, and Ignite Lasting Hormone Balance, and she's the co-author of The Happy Balance, a recipe book filled with over 80 hormone balancing recipes.
And finally, she's the cohost of The Period Party, a top rated podcast on iTunes, which is with Nat K. I believe, a friend of ours. So be sure to tune in to that if you want to learn more about how to fix your period.
She's also been on The Guardian, Well and Good, Mind Body Green, Healthline and she has an awesome Instagram and a really great website. We're so stoked to have you here today, Nicole. Thanks for joining us.
Nicole Jardim: (01:39)
Thank you so much Tahnee. It's so great to be here. I'm thrilled to be joining you on your podcast.
Yay. We're so stoked to have you as part of the women's series because we've been covering all this different perspectives on women's health and the underlying theme is really that women are having to take responsibility for their own menstrual health, to really change their own cycles, to seek out the individualised care that every woman needs and deserves.
I'm really curious about your own journey because obviously you're here and you've got your business and you're really passionate about educating women around periods, but you must have had your own process to get there, so where did your passion come from? How did you get to be where you are today?
Nicole Jardim: (02:20)
Oh girl. Was it ever a process? Let me tell you. Just feel like I landed in this role accidentally. It was one of those kinds of careers, because my whole teenage years, I was dead set on being in film production, and I was going to be a producer, and do all kinds of fun things, and it was going to be so glamorous, all of that.
Nicole Jardim: (02:42)
And that's actually sort of what happened, but then life got interrupted by period problems and I started exploring different options, and then suddenly I became so passionate about it, I decided to change careers. So yeah, it goes all the way back to being a teenager and I was the quintessential period problems girl.
Nicole Jardim: (03:03)
I had really heavy periods, the kind that you've got to have a towel on your bed when you go to sleep at night, and you're terrified to go to school the next day because you know that it's probably going to leak through all the protection and the clothes. And it was super painful as well. I definitely remember missing days of school at a time, almost every month.
Nicole Jardim: (03:25)
And then something weird happened, over time, I started noticing that my period was coming less and less and I wasn't really a big tracker or anything like that. I really didn't know anything about my body or my periods. Andn I always laugh because I was totally that girl who would think I had a yeast infection or something every month because of my cervical fluid would change, and I was like, "What's going on here?" To this, totally body illiterate.
Nicole Jardim: (03:51)
Anyway. Yeah, I know. Right? Hilarious. Fast forward, a few years and I thought, okay, it's coming every three or four months now, this is getting ridiculous because when it would come it just came and all hell would break loose. So finally, I went to my gynaecologist and she really didn't ask me any questions. She just got out her prescription pad and wrote a prescription for the pill.
Nicole Jardim: (04:16)
And I was thrilled because I was finally joining the ranks of all the cool period popping, pill popping friends of mine and I was psyched because I was now going to have this sort of like period panacea. It was a silver bullet as far as I was concerned. And that's really what happened actually.
Nicole Jardim: (04:34)
All the symptoms that I had, the super heavy periods, that irregularity, the horrible pain, the crazy mood swings, the horrible bloating, all of these symptoms I was experiencing pretty much completely disappeared. And I thought, sweet, I have definitely found the answer. And then I fast forward a few years and unfortunately I started to notice all of these other symptoms that didn't really seem related and they just seemed like really arbitrary symptoms, and I thought, oh, okay, whatever. I guess I'll just deal.
Nicole Jardim: (05:05)
And eventually they got to the point where it was just unbearable. I had chronic urinary tract infections, I was terrified to have sex, chronic yeast infections. I was always in and out of my gynecologist's office, and I also started noticing like terrible gut health issues, like just chronically constipated. It was just terrible. I'd go a week, those kinds of... So fun.
Nicole Jardim: (05:30)
Anyway, and then I started having joint pain, and my hair was falling out. I had melasma all over my face. The dermatologist was like, "Oh, that's so strange. You're only 21. This usually happens to women when they're pregnant." I'm like, "Oh great, that makes me feel awesome." And then I did a colonoscopy with a gastroenterologist and they were like, "Oh, you're fine."
Nicole Jardim: (05:49)
And I went to a rheumatologist for my joint pain because my mum has rheumatoid arthritis, so they thought maybe I might have it. I was the poster child not only for period problems but now for pill side effects, and nobody connected the dots. I went to all of these different doctors and no one could really say what had happened or what was going on with me.
Nicole Jardim: (06:12)
On a whim I went to my friend's acupuncturists because I kind of given up hope on modern medicine and they were just not able to give me any definitive answers. And he immediately said, "Are you on the birth control pill?" And that opened this... It was like a light bulb went off and it was like the flood gates basically because then he started explaining how it all worked and I just thought, oh, okay, well nobody's ever said this to me before. Interesting. Okay. And that really was the catalyst for this whole career.
Nicole Jardim: (06:45)
I was in my early 20s, I just was finishing up university. I just spent four years getting a degree in film production and digital media, and now I was getting into health and wellness, and trying to figure out my hormones. It was hilarious. And that like I said, it really got the ball rolling and by the time I was 30 I switched careers and did a whole tonne of training around women's hormonal health, I became a health coach and just knew that... It's hilarious.
Nicole Jardim: (07:13)
I remember distinctly thinking this, if I could just help one woman not go through what I went through, my work would be done here.
It's your small vision..
Nicole Jardim: (07:21)
And here I am.
... For such a huge achievement.
Nicole Jardim: (07:25)
Yes. I know. My goals have clearly changed a little bit, but yes, that was the original trajectory.
It's such a common story like this whole... I guess what I'm really hearing and it always devastates me, but I understand it's the way it is, but it's like the lack of education around these medications that we're given as young women and how your role is to become an educator really it's to fill in that gap I suppose between the person who's seeking treatment and then the kind of medical institution which is like, "Hey this fixes everything. Just go take it. It has no possible side effects."
I remember being told by a university lecturer because I studied medicine... Oh, not medicine but like biochemistry and a whole bunch of the prerequisites for medicine at uni and they were like-
Nicole Jardim: (08:15)
... "Take the pill every day, don't bleed. That's what the indigenous women do, they have less breast cancer and all this stuff because they're constantly pregnant and you just like..." And you know as an 18 year old you're going, "Oh well, this is like what a really impressive-
Nicole Jardim: (08:29)
... PhD researcher a guy is telling me." And yeah. The me now is like, "What the actual fuck?" That's a terrible thing to do, but-
Nicole Jardim: (08:40)
... my 18 year old meas was like, "Oh wow. Yeah. Okay, great." And I don't have to have my period. Like,
Nicole Jardim: (08:45)
... "this is such a sort of...
Nicole Jardim: (08:48)
Sign me the hell up. Yes. Exactly.
Yeah. And I think it came with me [crosstalk 00:08:52]-
Nicole Jardim: (08:52)
I can still relate.
... like there's no kind of at school, even within a lot of families, like culturally there's just such a lack of conversation, and even reverence for bleeding and talking about what's going on beyond, like demonising periods because everyone I know talks about periods as almost being a negative. It's sort of shifting in the last, I think four to five years, and I'm sure you've seen that too in your work.
Nicole Jardim: (09:20)
But like, "Bad periods." It's just like what people expect is the joke amongst men is like, "Oh, she's on her period," or whatever.
Nicole Jardim: (09:29)
Statistically crazy normal, but one of your big passions is to explain that this is biologically not normal. Like what's going on? Why are we so prone to these kinds of problems? I know this is a big question but I'm curious as to see your take on it.
Nicole Jardim: (09:44)
Oh man, I know. There's so many things that I want to say in response to what you were saying and just with regards-
Nicole Jardim: (09:51)
... our culture. I know, right? It's so hard. I know there's... you want to say all the things. I'm like, "Oh I could just read my whole book to your audience here because that's basically what I'm talking about, this idea that culturally we don't know how to deal with periods. We really don't.
Nicole Jardim: (10:09)
And it's so interesting because girl's self esteem plummets if puberty, which is not surprising at all considering that we live in a culture of misunderstanding and fair when it comes to how female bodies function. And in my opinion, I think so many hormonal imbalances and subsequent period problems are tied to a girl's experience in puberty to some degree because we really don't have a like a formal initiation into womanhood in our culture.
Nicole Jardim: (10:43)
And I just think that's so unfortunate and I believe that's why we really need to have or implement education, and be able to give the tools that these girls need to go into this phase of their lives with more respect for their bodies and valuing their menstrual cycles and the gifts that their cycle can give them.
Nicole Jardim: (11:05)
And I'm sure there's a few women who are rolling their eyes when I say that, but it really is true. Your period and your entire menstrual cycle is a barometer for your overall health. It's going to tell you pretty much every time you get it or don't get it, what is going on with your health.
Nicole Jardim: (11:24)
And there's now so much scientific evidence pointing us to the fact that your period is... or your ovulation is a sign of health. Your menstrual cycle is also a sign of health and it will definitely tell you that there's something deeper happening. And the problem is that we don't know how to read these signs. We don't know how to interpret the signals that our body is sending us or the way our body is speaking to us and its own language.
Nicole Jardim: (11:56)
We speak English or whatever language we speak. We don't speak our body's language and really needs to happen from a much younger age. That's really what I'm going for in my work because like you said, this idea of period problems being statistically normal and not biologically normal.
Nicole Jardim: (12:17)
There's so much I can say about that because I really think that we have been led to believe that these problems are basically our lot in life. This is what we've got and we just have to deal with it. Like, "My doctor told me that this runs in my family and so I've got this." Or, "My mum has this, and my grandmother has this, and now I have it." Or, "I have to be on the pill to regulate my periods," or, "I have to be on the pill if my heavy periods," or, "I'm now on a Mirena IUD because my period was super heavy and my doctor says it lightens periods."
Nicole Jardim: (12:52)
We are never ever searching any deeper than the surface to find the clues that will lead us to a resolution., like an actual resolution of the problem.
Yeah. That isn't like medicalised or some kind of-
Nicole Jardim: (13:07)
Form of alternative... This is the thing I think with these synthetic hormones as well as is the effect they have on the liver, the toxicity that builds up over time and we see so many people coming off the pill that are just having horrendous symptoms, and I had that experience coming off. It was just like-
Nicole Jardim: (13:27)
... crazy ance.. Yeah. I'd never really had a pimple growing up. I'd get like one or two [crosstalk 00:13:34] really. And then I came off the pill at 26 or seven and I just had insane acne and I ended up going through a whole bunch of liver support and dah, dah, dah. I cleared it all up naturally, but it was just like one of those things.
It was a great experience for me, it's like I can't ok I learned a lot, but I was like, "This is insane." It's just never told [crosstalk 00:13:56], and we learn so much through our own suffering I suppose. But yeah, I suppose.
Nicole Jardim: (14:01)
If someone else cannot have that experience, wouldn't that be great? [crosstalk 00:14:05]... Yeah. People take a lot of these medications thinking they've been studied and researched and it's like, "No, we're literally the Guinea pigs of, I think it's now like a 40..? Are a 60 years into the pill?" 1960s, right?
Nicole Jardim: (14:20)
It's like we've seen the generational issues, we've seen that it's creating issues with fertility and all of this stuff, and it's still just being given out like candy.
Nicole Jardim: (14:31)
I'm so happy you've brought this up because I could not agree with you more. I'm getting all fiery and annoyed, but I just feel like... Because first of all, it's interesting, I'll just preface this by saying that I did this Instagram series because I wrote a blog post on the Mirena IUD and the side effects and whatnot.
Nicole Jardim: (14:54)
On one of the posts in the series, I probably had like maybe 115 comments or something like that, and probably about 99 of them were women describing horrible experience with this form of birth control. And granted, I know that when it comes to medicine, there are going to be people who don't respond well to it, understand that. But I was talking about this with a man on our podcast whose daughter died of a blood clot after being on the pill.
Nicole Jardim: (15:29)
And I just feel so strongly that there are just some people who are collateral damage as far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned and that's just the nature of this work. And I feel like there's systematic denial or even suppression of this information. There are so many people having side effects and in fact, I think there are more than we are even led to believe because they're not reporting this to their doctor in many cases or maybe their doctor isn't reporting their patients side effects. I don't really know.
Nicole Jardim: (16:05)
This has been my work, and I know this is your work too, so you're obviously, and I'm obviously seeing a lot of the negative impact of these medications or these forms of hormonal birth control that are just so detrimental to women's lives. I mean I had one woman tell me that their IUD perforated her uterus and travelled all over pelvic cavity, and she lost her ovaries because of it, and she's 27. That's just craziness.
Nicole Jardim: (16:34)
And again, I just keep coming back to the fact that there is an easier way we can actually learn to figure out our signs of fertility. It's not that hard, and use that as birth control, and we don't have to have foreign objects implanted in our arms, or in our uteruses, or be cycling through synthetic hormones every single day of our lives for fertility that really only lasts for 24 to 48 hours really at the most.
Nicole Jardim: (17:08)
I get really fired up for this because I just feel like there's something seriously wrong with this situation.
Yeah. All right. Look, I completely agree. I speak to people a lot that are in different circumstances and I understand that there's always nuance around this conversation, but to me just taking that time to get to know your body on that level has... For me it's built such self-respect, and such self love, and kind of appreciation for just the complexity of my body and... It's just been such like a wow.
Like a wonder kind of experience that I have this incredible capacity to create life and I can choose whether or not I engage with that. That's such a privilege I think, and it's almost like an act of feminism to say, "No, I'm going to be responsible and just become the master of this domain I've been born into."
Even if you still aren't sure, whatever, to start trying to get to know, there's so many resources now and fertility awareness is I think becoming more and more popular. There's all the tracking apps, like I use one called Flo and I've been using it for, I think now close to six or seven years. I used a different one for a while and then I've moved over to Flo, but there's so many resources now that people and-
Nicole Jardim: (18:32)
And I saw on your website you've got some conversations around that, right? Or do you [crosstalk 00:18:38]-
Nicole Jardim: (18:37)
Nicole Jardim: (18:39)
Tonnes, yes. I have a blog post on the apps that I've used over the years that I would recommend or that clients have suggested that I've checked out. I'm a bit of a tech junkie, so I really love all of these devices. I have probably like 12 apps on my phone currently that I've tried over the years and I also I'm a big fan of these different fertility monitors because there's a number on the market now and I feel like there are different types that are suitable for people's differing needs.
Nicole Jardim: (19:15)
Like I use the Daysy fertility tracker, but I also practise the fertility awareness method as well because I always have. I started when, I'll never forget when I got my first iPhone, which feels like a really long time ago at this point. They had this very generic app on there, it had a really crappy menstrual cycle tracker and I was thrilled, so I use that.
Nicole Jardim: (19:38)
That was probably like 12 or 13 years ago now, it's probably 2007 maybe I think. And yeah, wow. And so I feel like we've really come a long way ladies, so you have no excuses whatsoever. I was using a calendar on a wall [crosstalk 00:19:51]-
They're very pretty and interesting now.
Nicole Jardim: (19:53)
Are they? I know. We really are so lucky, so spoiled. Then there's the Ava Fertility Bracelet, which is so cool. I joke that it's like the Fitbit of fertility and it really is. You wear it on your wrist and you sleep with it. It takes your temperature, but it also measures various parameters that change, either are different before you ovulate and they change after ovulation. So in addition to your temperature, it measures your heart rate variability, it measures your pulse and a couple other things.
Nicole Jardim: (20:25)
And so it's very cool to see the changes, and it can really pinpoint your fertile hour window. It's amazing. And then there's other things too, like the Mira Fertility Tracker. It's not really a tracker so much as it's a device that you can pee on these little sticks and then you insert the stick into their device and it'll tell you what's going on with your hormones. It's sort of, again, pinpointing your fertile window.
Nicole Jardim: (20:50)
So these aren't necessarily used to prevent pregnancy. I know people do and I don't advise that if you have never done this before, but it's fascinating to be able to read this information and know exactly what your body's doing. I've been able to predict the exact day my period is coming now for 12 years. It's pretty impressive for someone who used to think she had a yeast infection every month. So if I can do it, you can do it too. That's exactly. Oh my gosh.
Yeah, I think it's such empowering, I don't know. I feel like it's just such an empowering thing. And I think when you look at how... Because people have been preventing children for a really long time as well, like way before-
Nicole Jardim: (21:32)
... technology and way before, so we can just without any add ons get really in tune with our body and our cycles. I find from my partner, he's a lot more confident with us using I guess the fertility awareness method when I'm able to show him like, "Hey, this is my cycle and this is when I'm fertile, and this is what I'm not." And so I use the app to help him feel okay because he's like-
Nicole Jardim: (21:58)
... "I don't want any more babies right now?"
Nicole Jardim: (22:00)
No, yeah. Exactly.
So it's great to have a resource as well. But yeah, I feel like I've got to this point where I'm super like, yeah I can actually feel when I'm ovulating a lot of the time, and I feel like when my period's about to come and stuff. And just this idea of not being in pain all the time. I know people that are suffering like three weeks out of the four, like they're.. [crosstalk 00:22:24]-
Nicole Jardim: (22:23)
I do too..
... their cycle. Yeah, they're in pain, or they've got symptoms, or something's going on with their bodies. And I think-
Nicole Jardim: (22:30)
Can you explain to us what a healthy period looks like versus what most people deal with, I guess?
Nicole Jardim: (22:37)
Oh my gosh, I would love to. Yes. I get this question often, "What's my parents supposed to be like, Nicole?" And I also get a lot of questions around what's normal and what's not, like how big should my clots be? Should I even have clots? What colour should my period be in? How long should it last? And all of this stuff.
Nicole Jardim: (23:00)
Again, this comes back to this lack of education, this lack of body literacy in our society. And so I think that the first thing that everyone should know is the difference between what a period is and what a menstrual cycle is because I do get that question often enough that I felt I needed to actually put it in the book.
Nicole Jardim: (23:21)
So for anyone who doesn't know, your period is the days that you are bleeding during your menstrual cycle, which are the first day of bleeding all the way through to the last day before your next period. So the menstrual cycle is a long one, the period is a short one. And when I talk about a period, I'm talking roughly about three to seven days of bleeding. That's the window I like to see, and this is always followed by ovulation because if you're not ovulating, you're technically not having a period.
Nicole Jardim: (23:56)
So I think it's important for people to understand that because a lot of women go on the pill to quote, unquote "regulate their cycles." And I'm like, "You're no longer ovulating on the pill so technically you're just having a withdrawal bleed." So just so everyone knows that. And I also get a lot of questions about whether you should have a period or not because there is a lot of messaging in the mainstream media and from conventional medicine around whether it's necessary to have a period or not, and most people you'd say the consensus was that you don't need a period.
Nicole Jardim: (24:30)
I'll never forget there was a cosmopolitan article I saw last year that was saying something like "You can just say goodbye to that shit," or whatever. And I was like, "Wait, what? What is happening right now? This is not saying goodbye to a bad boyfriend, this is a fundamental aspect of your health.
I've actually met that a lot from like the row vegan community beCause they have a tendency to get [inaudible 00:24:50] on account of the diet and then they're like, "No, no-
Nicole Jardim: (24:52)
... it's because I'm so healthy." I'm like, "Noooo."
Nicole Jardim: (24:56)
Yes, it's real crazy. I saw that recently. I saw someone post about this and there was probably a hundred comments under her post agreeing-
I know. More like [crosstalk 00:25:04]-
Nicole Jardim: (25:04)
... agreeing with her.
... "I want to be like you." It's like no.
Nicole Jardim: (25:08)
I was really stunned. I could not believe it. I was just stunned. Anyway, it is what it is. Everyone's got their thing. So when it comes to like the length of a menstrual cycle, I really like to see somewhere between 25 and 35 days. The average length of a cycle according to the studies that I've seen is about 29 days long, which is funny because the moon cycle is 29 and a half days, living for the moon. A girl can hope.
Nicole Jardim: (25:38)
But anyway, the point is that I love to see that 25 to 35 day cycle, and the reason I say that is because I find that when you have cycles that are under 25 days, what I see a lot of is a short luteal phase and that's the second half of your cycle after you ovulate. And when you have a shorter luteal phase, there are multiple issues; one of the biggest ones is that it can potentially impair your fertility, meaning that a fertilised egg needs time to travel through the fallopian tube and implant in your uterine lining.
Nicole Jardim: (26:11)
And so if your luteal phase is too short and that uterine lining starts to disintegrate before that little fertilised egg gets there, then you have a problem, it can't implant. And so that's what I tend to see a lot of. I see the short luteal phase or I see ovulation happening really early in the cycle, so you have a shorter follicular phase or I see this accompanied with really heavy, painful, long clotty periods.
Nicole Jardim: (26:39)
So again, 25 days and up is really where I like to see things. And then over 35 days, that's an issue too because what it means is that you're just not ovulating earlier in your cycle, in that window that I like to see. I like to see somewhere between like days 10 and 21, somewhere around there. And what I find is that on those longer cycles, it just means that ovulation is being delayed, so something's going on in your life that is causing you to ovulate later in your cycle.
Nicole Jardim: (27:10)
And what I also find too is that when you have cycles that are over 35 days, you tend to have a lot of irregularity in your cycles. So like one cycle is 36 days, and another one is 47 days, and then you go back down to 35 days. There's a lot of fluctuation, which to me again indicates that there's too much stress, there's not enough fat in your diet, maybe not enough fat on your body, you're not eating enough calories. You have the specific nutrient deficiencies.
Nicole Jardim: (27:41)
There's some gut health issues happening. Maybe celiac disease even because that's definitely connected to period issues. So there are multiple problems that could be happening if your cycles are longer and a little irregular. So I think it's important for us to be cognizant of that fact.
Nicole Jardim: (27:58)
And I think that even within the 25 to 35 day window, I think there shouldn't be a lot of fluctuation in there either. Like I said, I feel like if there is a lot of fluctuation, that just means something's up. I like to see very little fluctuation, so by like two, three, maybe four days. Like one month you have a 27 day cycle, the next month it's 30 days, the next month it's 29 days, so there's not a whole wide range going to 25, to 35 back to 25 because again, that to me indicates something's up.
Nicole Jardim: (28:33)
So that's just something that I think that we can be aware of, and also if you have you irregularity, don't freak out. I don't want you to go digging through your life's calendar or whatever to figure out what the hell happened last month or the month before because again, it could be stressors in that month, in that cycle or it could be something that's been going on for a long time and it's just now manifesting.
Nicole Jardim: (28:59)
So it's just important to be cognizant of the fact that this is not really that normal, and if it's happening to you, you can start to pay attention and do something about it. And then-
I think looking more for trends over time as opposed to like one or two random events, because I know when I try to-
Nicole Jardim: (29:15)
Random months, yes.
... I'll get like a delayed or an early period if I've done like a couple of timezones or something.
Nicole Jardim: (29:22)
Oh yeah. I know.
[inaudible 00:29:23] my body, yeah, and it's like, "Okay, I'm just really sensitive to that," and I just try and take it easy and eventually it's back to normal next month.
Nicole Jardim: (29:33)
I think that's so great and it's a really good point to bring up the fact that we are really sensitive. I think that we sort believe that we can just be like guys and go through life, pushing, pushing, pushing and there are going to be no repercussions. And that unfortunately is just not the case because our bodies are cyclical in nature. We very much are more attuned to the stressors that exist in our lives.
Nicole Jardim: (30:03)
In all honesty, our bodies are more sensitive to stress than, or not as resilient to stress as men's and that's really because of our menstrual cycles, and our fertility, and our ability to reproduce. Our bodies are using that as a protection mechanism and we have viewed it mostly in our society as a weakness, which is so unfortunate.
Nicole Jardim: (30:25)
Because really what it is, it's your body is sensitive to stress because you procreate and it's going to do whatever it can to protect your growing foetus and protect your resources as well. So just keep that in mind as well everyone who is listening that you really have to be aware of that.
Nicole Jardim: (30:44)
Like if you're pushing yourself super hard and you're seeing all of these health issues, trust that that is the reason why. And it takes time. There's short term changes one can make and then there's longterm big changes. So just always be aware of the fact that we are exquisitely sensitive to stressors and it is a good thing.
Yeah. I feel like you've been talking about of it being like a report card. We often talk about how fertility is a sign of health, so it's like if your body's in a state of readiness to reproduce, even if you don't want to take advantage of that, it means that you're really in a harmonious and healthy state because biologically you're only going to be there if all conditions are right to reproduce.
And I think people really take that for granted when they do too much exercise or they eat really extreme diets and they lose their period or they have all these hormonal issues. It's like that's your body telling you it's time to make a change to find that window of fertility again. And we see it in men and women, but given we're talking about ladies here.
Nicole Jardim: (31:54)
Like this culture of fitness and stuff is such interesting one and-
Nicole Jardim: (31:59)
... I just think like-
Nicole Jardim: (32:03)
... the wellness industry actually has a lot to do with this too, but anyway, that's really-
Nicole Jardim: (32:09)
... a conversation [crosstalk 00:32:10]-
Nicole Jardim: (32:10)
Overall should we go there? Oh my. Yeah.
Maybe we [crosstalk 00:32:13]-
Nicole Jardim: (32:13)
I know, right?
I sometimes feel like... I'm like, "Oh man, I don't know if I like being a part of the scene," because there's so much pressure on women to cleanse, and to fast, and to do all the things, and all the exercise, and then to be a career woman. And it's like, "Man, we were not built for that." And it sounds like [crosstalk 00:32:32]-
Nicole Jardim: (32:31)
... And it sounds anti feminist in some ways, but I feel like it's this real act to really embrace your feminine essence. I don't know, I think that's a really powerful statement I suppose.
Nicole Jardim: (32:47)
I would agree with that. I know. I think about this a lot and I definitely address this in the book and I've always talked about this in my programmes because I really think there is no one right way to eat or to take care of your health. There's your unique way to do that. And I feel like this sort of modern day approach to nutrition has left a lot of people feeling very confused.
Nicole Jardim: (33:14)
It's a lot of noise and I just think that all of the diets are like, "Yeah, this is the one and you've got to do this because this is going to help you do X, Y, Z." And what I found in all of my research is that food actually impacts people differently. Surprise! I quoted this actually the study that where... There was a study where researchers fed people an identical meal and then they tested their blood sugar and so many people reacted differently.
Nicole Jardim: (33:47)
I'm like, "Again, wow, that's not surprising." And so it's really about how you can figure out what works for you. And if we're talking about body literacy and really understanding your menstrual cycle and just your health in general or what you respond to and what works for you, you'll really start to see a pattern and you will be able to meet your body where it's at when making changes to your diet and whatnot.
Nicole Jardim: (34:18)
And so I think that it's so much about tuning back into our bodies and its wisdom, and for women and I think that we have been led so far astray and we have moved really far away from what feels right for us and that our bodies are actually telling us. So we really have to check back in, I think with our bodies on a consistent basis.
Nicole Jardim: (34:42)
And part of that is in tracking your cycle and paying attention to how you feel after you eat. Like how do you actually feel after you eat breakfast? I think we just reach for a huge mug of coffee and we don't even think that the meal we ate is possibly making us feel like we want to crash at 10:00 AM.
Nicole Jardim: (35:01)
It's become so normal. I know we can talk about hormonal imbalances and stuff, but to me that's a beginning sign of a hormonal imbalance. We think of period problems, but that's later on down the line actually. There's other signs of hormonal imbalance.
That's always something I think people... The things my partner talks about, which I love is, he's like, "This is affecting you 20, 40, 60 years down the track. You've got to think that long term." And a lot of the time I see people, especially all these health trends at the moment and there is like the celery juice, [crosstalk 00:35:37] and What the Health just came out.
I've been meeting all these vegans, I'm kind of like-
Nicole Jardim: (35:42)
And I know for some people that can be a really powerful transition for sure. My opinion is that it's a really catabolic, cleansing diets so a lot of people benefit in the short term from it, but longterm not so much.
Nicole Jardim: (35:59)
Nicole Jardim: (36:01)
I would agree with that.
Yeah. And I have strong opinions around that we should probably be eating as close to nature as possible and that involves things like animal . Anyway.
Nicole Jardim: (36:11)
I know. I do, I have strong opinions about that too [inaudible 00:36:14].
Especially [crosstalk 00:36:14]-
Nicole Jardim: (36:14)
It's gotten me a lot of trouble. Yes.
It's not popular, but it's like we need fat, like you said, about even having body weight. I was very skinny and I wasn't getting my period, and it's like, if I want to have my period, which is a sign of health, I need to have a few more kilos on me, and that's just the way it is. It's like this weird... We're trying to have both sides of it and it's like you need [crosstalk 00:36:40]. You just can't, the body has what it needs and we have to honour that.
I don't know, how do you-
Nicole Jardim: (36:46)
I guess when people are trying to work out what's right for them, there's so much conflicting information and even nutrition is not a perfect science by any stretch.
Nicole Jardim: (36:56)
You can't just feed someone the same food for five years and see what happens to them. There's ethics involved in all this kind of stuff. And some-
Nicole Jardim: (37:05)
... studies are really flawed and like you look at some of the most popular studies cited by media, even the food pyramid, all that stuff around Ancel Keys and around the grain industry lobby and all that stuff. It's certainly interesting-
Nicole Jardim: (37:19)
And low fat lobby, and-
Nicole Jardim: (37:21)
... the great.
And how many processed foods, if you look at what processed food marketing, basically just stay away from that stuff.
Nicole Jardim: (37:30)
But yeah, I think it's just a really... I feel like people get so confused, and conflicted, and they don't even know what would feeling good if you were going... All right, I'm trying to help you understand what's working for you.
Is it smooth digestion, no bloating, stable energy because a lot of people seem to get addicted to that like hit from coffee in the morning and they do these fasting things and like, "Yeah, I'm just surviving on coffee all morning." And I'm like, "Oh, I don't feel like that's so great for your hormones, but hey, that's my opinion." Can you speak to any of that or is that just like we need [crosstalk 00:38:04]-
Nicole Jardim: (38:04)
... [inaudible 00:38:04].
Nicole Jardim: (38:06)
Oh my gosh. Yes, I really can. I feel like we're kindred spirits. We're totally in agreement on so much of this. I feel like anything that seems extreme and is too good to be true, it's usually too good to be true. Just saying. It's funny because I really have always kept it relatively basic in my programmes and in my work with women.
Nicole Jardim: (38:31)
And if there's a requirement for the keto diet or something, extreme low carb for whatever reason, I usually work with someone else in conjunction with this person because I just want to make sure that this is done in the right way because I'm not a dietician and I'm a health coach. I'm not a trained, registered dietician or nutritionist, and I have nutrition training, but I think that it's so important to start with the basics.
Nicole Jardim: (39:03)
I find that what has happened is that these recommendations, and the diets, and everything have become more and more complicated and sort of convoluted actually over the years. And I think that we're all at like step number six when really many of us should just be at step number one still. The most basic of the basic things for me is can you make your plate? Like here's how you make your plate, this is what you arrange on your plate.
Nicole Jardim: (39:36)
So my whole thing is that I really like to see, first of all, I like for people to not just cut out entire food groups. I just don't know that that makes a whole lot of sense when you are in a state of hormonal imbalance, especially when the hormones that are triggering that imbalance are usually the stress hormones like cortisol, and epinephrine, and whatnot.
Nicole Jardim: (40:03)
And then the other hormone that triggers imbalances, I think are insulin, which is your blood sugar balancing hormone. So what we were saying earlier right about the morning time when someone wakes up and they're fasting or then they're drinking all this coffee and whatever, and they're crashing, or they just feel like they really need coffee, like to me, that's your first sign of hormonal imbalance.
Nicole Jardim: (40:27)
If you are getting a full night of sleep, and you get up, and you can't function without caffeine or you're eating a little bit later on and you find that you're crashing where you're... It's like 10:00 in the morning and you're craving sugar or you eat breakfast and your blood sugar crashes and you've got like within an hour, you're just starving again.
Nicole Jardim: (40:55)
There's mid-afternoon sugar cravings, and then there's the wine or alcohol craving later on in the afternoon, and or you can't fall asleep when it's time to go to sleep at night, or you're up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, or you wake up and throughout the night. These are all signs of imbalanced cortisol, and melatonin, and blood sugar/insulin.
Nicole Jardim: (41:16)
And that to me is the beginning stages of a hormonal imbalance, but the problem is that we have so normalised all of these symptoms, right? Oh my gosh. Have we ever?
We celebrate them. [crosstalk 00:41:27] I've been at the risk of-
Nicole Jardim: (41:29)
... sounding really obnoxious, that's literally what a culture celebrates. It's like, "look at me, I work 500 hours a day, and I got no sleep, and I don't need food cause I drink coffee and fat." It's like, "Oh my God."
Nicole Jardim: (41:43)
Oh wow. It's so true. I feel like we need three more podcasts episodes to talk about this stuff, it's unbelievable. Yes, I agree completely. We really do and it's not okay. I'm always really cautious of something, even something like intermittent fasting, man, if that was the popular kid in school, that would be it right now, and we're [keto 00:42:09]... Don't get me wrong, I've done IF, I get it, it's fine.
Nicole Jardim: (42:15)
It works for me because I feel like I've gotten my hormones under control, but it doesn't work for everyone. And what I've found is it's really problematic for women who are so depleted and their hormones are a mess, and there are blood sugar's all over the place and I'm just like, "Can we just start with like a blood sugar balancing breakfast?" Can we just [crosstalk 00:42:36]-
...Like three meals a day, keep it easy.
Nicole Jardim: (42:38)
Right. Can we just start with the basics seriously? And so when we're talking about that, like I talk about this idea of making your plate and really all I'm saying to you is that you've got to just sort of reimagine your plate like half of your plate is veggies, a quarter is fat and a quarter is protein.
Nicole Jardim: (42:52)
And veggies can include some carbohydrate, heavier veggies too, and if you want to have some rice, or potatoes, or something like that, stick it all into that hash there of the plate and see how you feel. Literally, I ask women to remove the judgement and approach your meals, and the way you're eating, and how you're feeling with curiosity, and in a sense of experimentation to see how you respond because literally nobody is going to fix you, you have to fix yourself.
Nicole Jardim: (43:26)
And the only way to do that is to literally know that yourself, know what it is that your body is doing when you're eating a certain type of food, or you're eating a meal, or you're drinking alcohol, or you're drinking caffeine. There is no way to know unless you are paying attention.
If someone's really struggling... I speak to people that are just like, "I just don't know how my body feels." And I'm a yoga teacher as well, so it's often something I observe in students is they're just like... You're like, "Relax." And they're like, "I don't know how to." Or, "How do you feel?" It's like, "I don't know. How should I feel?" It's like, "No, no, no. How do you feel?"
We just sometimes are so used to having people tell us what to do or giving our power away, and that's a whole complex conversation in and of itself. But if someone does have food allergies or suspects that they might have something like that going on, do you recommend people get testing, or do you recommend like elimination diets, or do you have a.. I saw on your site that you've got some links? Should people just go have a look at that or?
Nicole Jardim: (44:35)
Yeah. I love this question about not knowing how to feel or not knowing how you feel. I think that paying attention to your symptoms is a way for you to know how you feel. For instance, if you drink coffee, do you feel anxious at any point in the day? Seriously. Do you feel anxious after you drink it? Do you have anxiety later on in the day? Do you have problems falling asleep at night? Do you feel tired but wired kind of thing? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night?
Nicole Jardim: (45:03)
Those are really good symptoms of too much caffeine and they will definitely tell you how you feel. And then I think the other thing is when you wake up in the morning, how do you feel? Because we have been so programmed to believe that you hit the snooze button five times and you go back to sleep a couple of times more, and then you just drag yourself out of bed and you drink a coffee or whatever. Or you take a shower and you wake up, and then you haul ass to work or whatever.
Nicole Jardim: (45:37)
If you knew that you were actually not supposed to feel that way, would you pay attention and see how you actually are feeling? And so I'm always curious about how you feel in the morning, how you feel at night in the lead up to going to bed, and how you feel after eating meals emotionally. Do you get angry or upset too easily after you've eaten sugar, for instance? That means that something's happening.
Nicole Jardim: (46:01)
So really tuning into those physical and emotional symptoms I think can really help you know how you feel without having to do too much work to try and like really figure that out.
I think that's so helpful for people just to have those little points in the day where they pay attention and it sort of builds the capacity I think to become more self aware and tune into your feeling state or whatever it is.
Nicole Jardim: (46:34)
Feeling state, I love that.
That's something I say a lot in yoga, I'm like, "Maybe that would apply." The other thing I think is hard for people is when they are in those periods of transition like from when you're a young woman, like you were saying, first getting your period, it's such a confusing time anyway. Being in high school and all of the madness that comes with that, and then you suddenly having to deal with this really biological thing, but culturally you have not been prepared for.
And then similarly, we've got postpartum, we've got perimenopause, and so that beginning of the menopause process. So many women I know really struggle in those transitory times and I think... It's obviously a great time to reach out for help and support, but I wonder if you have any thoughts on when... or even if there's just a lot of stress in your life, is it just a matter of pairing back for you and being a lot more mindful of having regular meals, and being really kind to yourself, and taking space? Or do you recommend-
Nicole Jardim: (47:34)
Or is it more?
Yeah, like seek more medical helpful or?
Nicole Jardim: (47:40)
I really like this because again, this builds on the fact that we tend not to reach out for help in our society, another wonderful trait of modern humans. We don't do that and it is very much to our detriment. I know you'd asked about testing and that kind of thing. Maybe I'll talk about that for a second.
Nicole Jardim: (48:02)
I do really like testing, but I do also want to... I feel like it comes with a bit of a warning that you can go down a rabbit hole because what you look for, you will find, just so you know, and it can be very expensive, and it can also not necessarily tell you accurately what's going on with your particular cycle. Not all testing can do that.
Nicole Jardim: (48:27)
However, it can give you a baseline and it can certainly help you to create a roadmap for healing. I'm certainly a fan of testing, I just think that it can get out of control. And I also really like to encourage women to really tune back into what that little voice is telling them and what's going on and tracking their cycles so that they can really see what symptoms are happening, and where they're happening in their cycle. And that can tell us a lot about what their hormones are doing too.
Nicole Jardim: (48:59)
With that said, I really like the DUTCH test and I know you've had Carrie Jones on your Podcast and you've talked all about, so I won't go down that road too much, but it's just excellent for really seeing on a multilayered way or in a multilayered way what is happening with your hormones on so many levels.
Nicole Jardim: (49:19)
So I think that's really great, but if you don't have access to that, which I know the majority of people do not I would say, asking for your doctor to pass just the following hormones. So you want to be thinking about estradiol, which is the most potent oestrogen. It's the most prevalent oestrogen when you are still cycling.
Nicole Jardim: (49:39)
Progesterone, and testosterone, and DHEA. And then some other tests you can do, especially if you're looking at fertility, would be FSH and LH, which is Follicle-stimulating hormone and Luteinizing hormone. And those two hormones are quite dominant in the first half of your cycle as you lead up to ovulation.
Nicole Jardim: (50:01)
And then estradiol can also be tested with FSH and LH between days two and four of your cycle. And those are really going to tell you what's going on with your fertility for the most part, again, because they're involved in the ovulation process and kicking that off.
Nicole Jardim: (50:18)
So I think the other thing that's really critical for everyone to understand is that you can't just test these hormones in any old time in your cycle. If you're getting a period and you're ovulating, you actually have to test them about five to seven days after you've ovulated. And I can't tell you how many people have come to me and said, "Oh yeah, I tested on, I don't know. I don't even know what day, Nicole. Maybe day 12 in February."
Nicole Jardim: (50:42)
I'm like, "Oh great. Okay. That does not help us because your hormones fluctuate people, so you have to make sure that you're testing after you've ovulated so you can get an accurate reading on your progesterone levels." And so I would say, that's a good baseline. And of course tracking your cycle as well, and knowing what the symptoms are or what your symptoms are so that you can see if they correlate with the test results.
A lot of the stuff we've discussed today is in your book anyway, for people that are interested, it's coming out in April. Like I said, I've seen on your site you've got links to all the different tests you recommend and so much content on your website.
Nicole Jardim: (51:24)
I was just like, "Wow. She's really put a lot of work into this..
Nicole Jardim: (51:26)
I know. I've been busy. I don't value my spare time clearly.
Because I really love like you got the period quiz, which I think is a really great way for people who are unsure just to get a bit of an idea of maybe where to focus their attention and energy because I think sometimes it can just be like, "Oh my God, is there something wrong with me?" And it's like, well, maybe it's just that these couple of things need to be addressed or this is a good place to start. Or maybe it's just a few tweaks to lifestyle.
But are there any other ways people can connect with you? I know you're on Instagram as well.
Nicole Jardim: (52:04)
Yes. Obviously, on my website there are bonuses if you purchase the book. You just go to fixyourperiod.com, pretty easy and straight forward and you'll get a whole period toolkit. And then yes, I'm on Instagram, Nicole M like Madeline, Jardim. And I'm also on my own podcast, The Period Party.
Nicole Jardim: (52:23)
So there are lots of ways to connect with me and I do... I just share an obscene amount of content. It's kinda crazy, but I really just want everyone to have this information so that they can make more empowered and educated decisions about their health and their bodies.
Just feel how passionate you are about it and it's really amazing, and such a great contribution I think to women's health.
Nicole Jardim: (52:47)
Can people actually work with you as a coach or are you pretty full up with that?
Nicole Jardim: (52:52)
I am not taking private clients at the moment because life is a little intense. However, I do have live group programs that I do throughout the year that people can do with me. Yes.
And they're promoted through your site, right?
Nicole Jardim: (53:07)
Yes. They are promoted through my sites, so you can sign up for... You basically take the quiz or you can sign up for my mailing list directly on my site.
What I wanted to say is well, a couple of the girls in the office have used your work to really get to the bottom of some of their stuff. They will sit on the DUTCH test and a few things, but it's been really beautiful speaking to them about how much your work helped them. So I just wanted to say thank you from the team at SuperFeast as well because it was really nice to have you on the show and just to hear your thoughts. I feel like we could have a really great hang.
Nicole Jardim: (53:42)
I know, we really could if only we lived not like a million miles away from each other, seriously.
Nicole Jardim: (53:47)
Nicole Jardim: (53:47)
Thank you so much [inaudible 00:53:53] literally.
I know. We had a chat earlier before we came on about whether your book could be available to Australian's on launch in April. We're not sure, but we will try and find out and we will let everyone know. I reckon we might be able to get it through book depository or Kindle maybe. But otherwise it'll be coming out in October in the UK, which should reach us in Australia as well.
And so yeah, it's such a great book. I've had a chance to read quite a lot of it and I am really excited that we can recommend it to people, and you've done so much work and you should be really proud of what an achievement it is. So Thank you so much [crosstalk 00:54:29]-
Nicole Jardim: (54:29)
Thank you so much. I was so thrilled to be on you podcast, and really happy to hear that some of the girls in your office have utilised my work and that just thrills me. So thank you.
Big fans. Have a good day and we will hopefully have again one day soon.
Nicole Jardim: (54:46)
Sounds great, thank you.
Nicole Jardim: (54:49)