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A Discussion on Uterine Health Led by the Experts at Femme & Flora

We’re honored to introduce you to some fantastic folks from Femme & Flora for a discussion on Uterine Health and other women’s health issues that often don’t get enough media attention.  They are one of our Content Partners.  Partners support Voyage by collaborating on content, sponsoring our mission, spreading the word about our publication and more.

Panelists:

Lolade Olowolayemo | CEO of Femme & Flora, Inc.

She holds a Bachelors degree in the study of  Human Health and Sociology from Emory University, and is a certifying holistic health coach and doula. She currently works as a nutritionist where she collaborates with her patients on their journey to treat chronic conditions.

Her interest in preventative health care was developed during her tenure as the Campus Director for the Resource and Insurance Navigator Group (RING). Lolade worked to improve health literacy for  members of the community and on campus by helping them navigate the health care enrollment process.

Her passion for health literacy and awareness carried into her work in the non-profit sector, where she collaborated with local municipalities to build equitable and accessible local food systems within community food deserts.

Lolade is led by a strong desire to help women maximize their potential by increasing awareness about uterine health conditions through education, prevention and service.
When she is not volunteering at a local community garden, you can find her leading nutrition education workshops, facilitating weekly exercise classes or developing health education material.

Brittany Walker-Craig, M.S. | COO of Femme & Flora. Inc.
Meet the Chief Operating Officer of Femme & Flora, Professor/Chef Brittany Walker-Craig.  Chef Brittany has an Associates of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts, an Associates of Applied Science degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management, a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Management with a concentration in Hospitality Management, and a Master of Science in Nutrition Education.

With over 10 years of culinary experience, Chef Brittany is the former owner and executive chef of Cajun Moon – The Restaurant and the former owner of BPW Enterprise where she worked as a Nutrition Educator servicing clients with Cancer, Diabetes, Diverticulitis, Heart Disease & Lupus which aided in his/her recovery with properly planning nutritional menus, assisting in revitalizing all counts & regular body levels for each client/patient and overall healing.  Currently, she is a Corporate Trainer for a finance company and a Biology Professor instructing Nutrition and Diet Therapy classes at Houston Community College.

Chef Brittany decided to pursue nutrition advocacy because of her own health issues.  After transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, Chef Brittany was able to reverse her own Type II Diabetes and other ongoing health issues.  If she can heal and educate those who crosses her path, that is the ultimate reward.

Crystal Hall | CCO of Femme & Flora, Inc.
Meet Crystal Hall, the Chief Communications Officer. Crystal is the Nutrition Communications & Marketing Manager for the 7th largest school district in the country. Ignited by her passion for herbal healing, Crystal uses her urban influence to teach women and children how to eat whole and be whole.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Crystal holds a Bachelor’s in Nutrition and a Minor in Public Relations and Strategic Communication from Arizona State University. During her studies, she served as Health Chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) where she created resources for students of color on campus.

After undergrad, Crystal quickly rose from intern to Director of Child Nutrition, implementing and enhancing federal programs throughout the state of Texas. She has also served as the Wellness Department manager for a plant-based cardiovascular clinic and restaurant.

Crystal is committed to influence the way women and children perceive and receive food. Some of her hobbies include traveling with her husband, reading, and music.

Alright, so we are excited to get this conversation started.  We want to remind you that this panel is for educational purposes. These are not personalized recommendations or advice.  Always consult with your medical professionals regarding any health or medical related issues. So let’s jump right in.

Crystal, let’s start with you.  For women suffering with fibroids, what foods have been shown to help eradicate or reduce these tumors?
Although the scientific research is still underway, there is a sacred lineage of knowledge that many women who suffer with fibroids have reported to contribute to either shrinking or eliminating the tumor. That sacred knowledge is centered around healing with food and healthy life practices that reduce stress and trauma. These foods include a heavy plant/herb based diet that completely eliminates chemicals, radiation, and toxins both internally and topically. The lifestyle that contains more raw, organic, whole-grown foods such as berries, dark leafy greens, and herbs, and less to no red meat, chicken, poultry, and many other highly processed foods. Herbal tonics such as parsley tea, alfalfa, sea moss, goldenseal, and chamomile have been noted to add in the healing of fibroids. – Crystal Hall | CCO of Femme & Flora, Inc.

Brittany, can you tell us what really happens when you are craving certain foods on or before your cycle?
Craving certain foods on or before your cycle contribute to the fluctuation of the hormones estrogen and progesterone thus causing cravings in foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates tend to be associated with foods that contain sugar and starch which also causes the body to release serotonin – a chemical that increases the feeling of happiness. Chocolate is a common taboo associated with a menstrual cycle in which women feel so satisfied after consuming chocolate.  Magnesium is in chocolate which will also help in stabilizing mood swings. As your hormones begin to regulate upon the final stage of the menstrual cycle, consuming a stable and healthy diet will aid in managing your hormone levels. We recommend to consume a diet with a variety of each food group including complex carbohydrates (multi-grain hot cereal with cinnamon & dates, baked turmeric sweet potato, etc.), fruits, colorful vegetables, nuts and seeds in order for your body to digest and absorb the necessary nutrients in order to maintain hormone regulation. – Brittany Walker-Craig, M.S. | COO of Femme & Flora. Inc.

Thanks for that Brittany. Crystal, what are some natural remedies for PMS?
Some cases of PMS are a reaction caused by inflammation of the lower-abdominal area.  It’s important to note that consuming anti-inflammatory herbs and fruits consistently within your meals will help reduce these symptoms and other pain inflicted areas. It’s so much better to be proactive, than reactive when dealing with PMS. Natural remedies for premenstrual cramps contain anti-inflammatory properties such as wild-harvested sea moss, organic ginger (tea), dandelion (tea), organic turmeric & black (tea), chaste berry, ginkgo, as well as other anti-inflammatory herbs. Some women find relief in placing thermal (heating) pads and Electrode pads directly on the skin or creating their own DIY (do it yourself) heating pad with essential oils. Truth is, before there were chemicals and synthetic painkillers, women relied on natural remedies to cope with excruciating pain. Often times, going back to the basics can help us the most. – Crystal Hall | CCO of Femme & Flora, Inc.

Lolade, we’d love to hear from you as well. Does what you eat play a role in hormonal balance and if so why is that important?
What you eat plays a significant role in your hormonal balance because food gets broken down into minerals, nutrients and chemicals that shape the makeup of our body. When you do not eat to support your body, you can wind up with deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals that your body relies on to maintain homeostasis. On the other hand, you can over-indulge in sugary, salty or fatty foods that can disrupt your bodies balance as well. – Lolade Olowolayemo | CEO of Femme & Flora, Inc.

Got it, balance can be hard, but we appreciate the insight.  Brittany, maybe you can tell us what’s responsible for the changes in emotion during the cycle?
The change in emotions during the cycle are contributed to the levels of hormones in the female body.  Low levels of serotonin can cause irritability and sadness while estrogen and progesterone can cause mood swings.  One of the most severe Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms is a mood swing which can lead to an influx in anxiety and anger.  Eating nutrient-dense foods daily will aid in a healthy mood and increase serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps calm and soothe individuals by delivering a more cheerful and relaxed attitude.  Foods that contribute to balancing emotions while on a menstrual cycle are berries, beans, dark chocolate, fish, herbal teas, green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards, turnips, etc.) and whole fruits. – Brittany Walker-Craig, M.S. | COO of Femme & Flora. Inc.

It’s fascinating to learn about the significant role our consumption can play. Lolade, can products like pads, tampons and liners contribute to painful menstrual cramps?
Absolutely. The chemicals used in most sanitary products can be big contributors to menstrual cramps and menstrual discomfort. The skin that forms the labia is very sensitive and absorbent and the vagina itself is a highly-absorbent part of the body due to its mucosal membranes. Products like tampons, which are inserted into the vaginal cavity can contribute to discomfort because toxic chemicals inside of the product can  be absorbed and cause pain, irritation or discomfort. Tampons are also highly absorbent and can absorb mucus in addition to blood, further drying out the vagina.

For starters, we recommend switching to organic, chemical-free sanitary products. To take things a step further, you can try reusable underwear or pads that remain outside of the vagina, allowing your body to maintain its natural flow. If you do not want to use an external menstrual product, we recommend using a menstrual cup! – Lolade Olowolayemo | CEO of Femme & Flora, Inc.

Thank you so much for this important discussion.  For our audience, we encourage you to check out and connect with the wonderful folks at Femme and Flora.

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