- Diet & Weight Loss
The Anti-Estrogenic Diet - avoid estrogen foods
What are some anti-estrogenic foods and herbs?
Hofmekler mentions the following foods (and their believed antiestrogenic components) that help mitigate the effects of estrogenic chemicals and estrogen mimics in the environment:
- cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts) - have natural antiestrogenic indoles
- citrus fruits - contain flavonoids (although this is disputed by studies)
- coffee - contain flavones
- tea - polyphenols
- herbs: resveratrol, passionflower, chamomile, and turmeric
- conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in grass-fed, organic milk products
- nuts, avocado and fertilized eggs - high-fat, "male" (y-chromosome) containing foods that nourish the hormone system
What are some estrogenic foods?
These foods should be avoided in an estrogenic diet:
- conventionally raised meat - Hofmekler says they are "chemically castrated" using hormones, in order to build bulk and be more tender. This is not a "macho" food anymore. Pay more for organic versions that haven't been pumped up with feminizing hormones.
- soy - contains genistein and daidzein, both which have hormone-disrupting activity. I've read that Japanese women have traditionally fed their husbands soy products when they suspected they were cheating on them, and monks eat soy to diminish their libido..
- beer - Hops, the bitter herb that gives beer its bite, has estrogenic and libido-reducing effects. This is apparently why heavy beer drinkers develop "man boobs".
What is the Anti-Estrogenic Diet?
The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, a book by Ori Hofmekler (who also wrote The Warrior Diet), is a diet program that helps the body resist the effects of a high prevalence of estrogenic and estrogen-like chemicals in the environment that many researchers believe leads to health problems and weight gain.
Hofmekler says that the world is becoming feminized through chemicals such as atrazine (a common crop herbicide). He mentions that sperm counts are dropping worldwide, with a 20% drop seen in just one generation, and the highest level of infertility, despite the growing number of fertility drugs.
The diet consists of three phases:
- Detox - Allowing the liver (and kidneys) to recuperate and clean itself. The liver is the body's detoxification organ, and is the organ under the most stress from chemical attack. When it is under duress and begins to fail, diseases such as diabetes and cirrhosis can take root. This diet allows for two weeks of herbal and nutritional therapy to allow the liver to "bounce back into shape" and assume its important role in regulating the body's metabolism with renewed vigor.
- High-fat stage. Mimics diet from 10,000 years ago, before the agricultural era. Higher calorie than most diets, but still can lose weight. More than anything, it nourishes the hormone system to create sex hormones to counteract
- Reintroduction of foods. Since none of us are monks, methodically and gradually reintroducing foods "in the real world". But it requires a lot of trial and error to see what agrees with your body, and what doesn't.
The effect of estrogen mimics and endocrine disrupters is well documented and researched. There are plenty of ways to avoid exposure to these kinds of chemicals (these are not from the book, but rather what I've read about recently):
- avoiding heating food in flexible plastic containers (which contain phthalates)
- choosing organic food when possible (does not contain the herbicides and pesticides which contain hormone disrupters such as atrazine and dieldrin)
- avoiding "antibacterial" products with triclosan. They are no better than regular soaps and detergents at getting rid of dangerous bacteria, and triclosan, which has a chemical structure similar to estrogen, has recently been found to be a hormone disrupter in the bullfrog
Avoiding estrogenic foods and eating more of the anti-estrogenic foods is a good idea. There's no harm in eating more broccoli and less hormone-laden beef, right?
However, I'm not sure I agree with Hofmekler's hypothesis that eating "Y-chromosome foods", like fertilized eggs, helps. Eating more Y-chromosomes does not make us more male, especially considering almost all foreign chromosomes are digested in our stomachs before assimilation, or else vigorously attacked by our immune system as antigens. I think Hofmekler was reaching a bit here, and since he is not a medical professional or even trained in medicine or biology (he is an artist and a former health & fitness editor at Penthouse), I'd say this is the part of the book worth casting a skeptical eye on.
However, more attention should be paid to this growing problem. Even Al Gore, who was prescient about the problem of global warming back in the late 1980s, wrote an introduction to Our Stolen Future, that warned about the problem of endocrine disruption a decade ago. You have to wonder when the general public will pay attention to the problem of endocrine disruption as well.