This week’s episode features my conversation with clinical nutritionist Lahana Vigliano about the importance of balancing our hormones and getting our gut health in check in order to feel our very best and boost our productivity.
Hormones and productivity
I’m excited to share with you my conversation with clinical nutritionist and CEO + founder of Nuvitru Wellness, Lahana Vigliano, as part of our Productive Living series.
Who is Lahana?
Lahana is the CEO + founder of Nuvitru Wellness and a board-certified clinical nutritionist with a passion for helping women realize that there is a root cause for their symptoms, even if they have been dismissed by healthcare before. Her company Nuvitru Wellness specializes in women’s hormones and gut health and uses functional medicine lab testing to personalize the patient’s journey. She is obsessed with creating natural remedies, researching, reading romance books, lifting heavy, and cooking meals for her family. Outside of work, she is a mother of two and a wife. Her family is the inspiration behind Nuvitru and continues to encourage her through everything. I’ve been looking forward to talking with her about hormones and productivity.
How Lahana got started
Lahana has worn multiple hats since she was very young, so being a wife, mother, PhD student, and business owner comes naturally to her, although it’s not easy.
As for how she got started with wellness and nutrition, Lahana can trace it back to discovering her love for health at age 5, when she decided she wanted to become a doctor someday. However, while on the pre-med track in college many years later , she realized that was not what she wanted to do after all. She didn’t like the concept of being diagnosed with something and then given a pill to fix it, without any further research or thought put into it. She preferred having more of a prevention mindset. How can we prevent things from happening in the first place? How can we use food and lifestyle habits to improve our health?
Of course there is a time and a place for emergency medicine, medications, and the more traditional medical approaches, but in general, Lahana wants to approach health in a more hopeful way, with the focus being on prevention. We cannot do and achieve what we want to if we are not feeling well. Lahaha’s work is centered around helping others feel their best so they can live the life they want to.
A typical day for Lahaha
Lahana says the beauty of entrepreneurship is that every day is different, but she still has a sort of template that she follows. On an average weekday, she gets up, gets the kids ready for school and off to begin their day. Then she makes herself some breakfast and tries to fit in some “me time”, doing a bible study or listening to a podcast. Other times she will just sit in silence, especially if she’s experiencing a more stressful time.
Lahana enjoys habit stacking, but also recognizes when she may need a break. During the mid-morning, she does a bit of work, gets some exercise in (she does this 5 days a week and includes strength training), and returns to work again.
In the afternoon, Lahana takes the time to schedule a lunch break for herself, which she feels society has gotten away from. She uses this time to read, watch TV, or do something else she enjoys.
After her lunch break she works for the rest of the afternoon, stopping to get her children from school.
In the evenings, she makes dinner for her family and then works a bit more. She also sometimes does some homework or any reading that needs to be completed, although she tries to do most of her school work on the weekends.
After a long and busy day, she tries to be in bed by 10:00 p.m.
Productivity tools Lahana recommends
Lahana has a lot of different things going on all at the same time and uses a variety of tools to stay on top of it all. She loves digital planners, using her iPad and the apps Goodnotes and Google Calendar. She also likes to buy different digital planners on Etsy.
Before bed each evening, she likes to do a brain dump onto paper, writing down her to-do lists and any appointments coming up.
She also uses a mood board as part of her planning process.
Lahana enjoys doing habit stacking and time blocking, which works best when she’s not going through a particularly stressful time, and finds she is most productive when time blocking.
She thinks that it’s best to be honest with herself about what she has to do and how long it may take, or her days can quickly get out of control.
Gut health and hormones and why they’re important
Improving our gut health
When Lahana first started working with patients, she found that her patients’ issues tended to fall into two categories: gut health and hormones. This makes sense because our bodies are so interconnected and everything can be traced back to these two things.
Hormones are the communicators around our body so they do everything from influencing our metabolism to managing our stress hormones, even balancing our melatonin. Hormones work in every facet of our lives and affect how we feel.
Gut health is the foundational component of our health. Gut health encompasses everything from our oral health all the way to our colon and when we talk about it, we are talking about the gut bacteria, digestive functions, immune functions, and detoxification (bowel movements). If our gut health is off, it can impact how we digest our food and absorb nutrients. Having bad gut health can have a domino effect that can lead to many different kinds of deficiencies. When someone is working on their gut health, they also improve their hormones and stress responses.
If the gut is unhealthy, you will have symptoms such as bloating, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux. You may also have symptoms such as chronic headaches, eczema, psoriasis, anxiety, or depression. One might not think these things can be a result of bad gut health but they are. If you are experiencing any of these issues, especially skin issues, you might want to examine your gut health.
Steps to improve your gut health
- Diet – no specific diet is necessary, as we are all individuals, but find one that works for you. Focus on eating real food.
- Stress – work on reducing stress, which can improve digestion and increase our immune function.
The importance of hormone balance and why food is important
Hormonal balance refers to the level of the hormones in your body, such as estrogen, progestogen, sex hormones, thyroid, insulin, cortisol, etc. These hormones can either be too high or too low, either of which imbalances can affect our overall health and productivity. The goal is to find the “just right” setting for your hormones so that you are feeling your best. Medications can also be helpful for finding a balance, particularly with your thyroid, but focusing on why your hormones may be off balance is essential too.
Lahana likes to use a “food as medicines” approach since hormones are built from food. Foods that can cause issues with hormones include refined sugar, alcohol, dairy, and wheat. Over the centuries, our food has changed so much (especially with dairy and wheat) and now our bodies are reacting.
Eating a whole foods diet, which includes quality proteins, carbs, healthy fats, and starchy veggies can improve things. Take a close look and determine if your diet includes these things. Lahana likes to ask, “Can you grow it or kill it?” If the answer is yes, you’re doing well!
The impact of stress on our health and how sleep can help
Like many of us, Lahana is constantly trying to manage stress in her own life. This is important because of the physiological effects of stress. We know stress can cause issues with our heart, for example, but it can also affect thyroid function, fertility, and immune function.
Stress can be external, such as working in a fast-paced job or being in an abusive relationship.
Stress can also be internal, as in blood sugar deregulation or poor gut health.
Think of stress as a bucket we are always adding things into. Eventually the bucket will become too full and off balance and we will start to feel the effects of it.
Eliminating things from our life to reduce stress isn’t always easy but it’s necessary in order to be healthy and feel our best. At the end of the day, Lahana feels like we all need a little more fun and play in our lives.
Lahana also thinks that getting more rest is the best thing we can do to reduce stress because not sleeping enough can have a huge impact on both our gut health and hormone balance. It can also affect our diet by causing inflammation and brain fog.
For those who are struggling with getting enough sleep, Lahana recommends trying to wind down each night at the same time so your body can become used to it.
She also suggests wearing blue blocker glasses to reduce the glow from your electronics.
You might also want to examine your diet and make sure you are eating enough food. Lahana finds that if you are waking up each night between 2:00 and 3:00, it could be related to your blood sugar.
If you are currently a mother of a baby, just do the best you can to get the rest that you need. Maybe try meditation or brain-dumping all the things you need to do.
What does it mean to make a life that matters?
For Lahana, this means making an impact in every way she can. With respect to her business, that includes the positive impacts to her clients by helping them improve their health and to her employees by providing them with a good job. She also wants her business to benefit her children by creating something that can be passed down through the generations.
Having a life that matters means being a positive influence on others and helping them improve their life.
What do you do to get back on track on a day when everything gets away from you?
On her most hectic days, Lahana thinks about what absolutely has to get done, completes it, and then saves the rest for another day while she attends to her self-care. Stepping back prevents her from getting stressed out.
Lahana’s last words for the listener
Take one thing at a time. Making changes is not easy, so take it slow and all the small changes will add up.
What do you think? Questions? Comments?
Connect with Lahana
- On her website
- On Facebook
- On Instagram
- On Pinterest
- On YouTube
- The Power Women Wellness weekly podcast
- Check out Lahana’s Guide to Optimal Hormone Health
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