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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions


  1. Everything is so true. The info about cholesterol is something that I also explain to people around me over and over again, and yet so many people remain in the dark. So many folks still believe that eating eggs is bad, even though even the mainstream media and doctors have now changed their views.

    I admit I used to be one of those people who believe in the magical powers of flax seeds. Well, no more – I still have a small bag from the old days and occasionally put it in my salads but it’s definitely not a staple anymore.

    I used to be badly constipated all my life, and the more fiber I had, the worse I felt. I went Paleo and magic happened – I became super regular.

    Thanks for writing this. A lot people need this information.

      • For me, the fiber is a god send! I have never been so (happily!) regular thanks to chia seeds! However, I landed here because I googled ‘chia seeds and estrogen dominance” (don’t see that listed though)… so is this something I need to worry about? Not something I am willing to put with (sadly) in regards to my beloved chia. Thanks!

        • Chia seeds actually do have a lot of phytoestrogens, comparable to flax seeds. I did not know this until I started adding 3-4tsps of chia to my smoothies every day for about a month and ended up with menopause symptoms. Took me a while to figure it out, it was hard to find information on this. I got back to normal after stopping them. They supressed my estrogen too much. From what I have been reading, phytoestrogens affect different people in different ways and it looks like I am more sensitive then others.

  2. Do the issues for flax that you raise still hold when you consume them whole for their laxative effect?

    …also there seem to be conflicting information about flax….I read in Lorna Vanderhaege’s book, “Sexy Hormones” that they are actually quite good and she isn’t (at least to me) considered mainstream….

  3. Love your blog!

    I apologize that this question is a little misplaced, but I can’t find a search bar on here.
    Okay so, as I have been reading more and more on your blog about Paleo and GAPS, and now how to much fibre is harmful for you, and I was wondering are oats okay? I am crazy about oatmeal and homemade granola – but only real, unrefined oats – and I think they are a grain? So does that make them bad for you or too much fibre?

  4. Hi Lauren,

    I’m intrigued by the information you have shared about cholesterol and would love to learn more. Could you offer research articles and/or sources other than Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride that you have come across supporting this perspective on cholesterol? Gratefully, Shirley

      • I agree with the person who commented above me. Your lack of ability to provide sources beyond one or two books makes you seem unbelievable (not to say that you are right or wrong) and as if you are just trying to earn referral dollars. I can’t appreciate a conclusion that was formed after reading just one book or one source of information, regardless of how many articles are in that said book. You can find one book (with a list of associated references) to prove about anything.

        Most of this information contradicts what I have learned in my biology, chemistry, physiology, pathophysiology, and so on courses I took while in college. Most people would probably agree. With that being said, I (and probably many people) would want more references, and I would hope people who form controversial opinions would use more than one reference to form those opinions. I wouldn’t be able to get away with even writing a paper or a treatment plan for a client without using significantly more than one quality reference. Plus, you should never rely on someone else’s interpretation of an article. You should read information for yourself.

        I’m fully open to changing my mind about existing ideas, but the research has to be there. I’m growing a little frustrated that everyone seems to reference the same one or two books for all of their articles. Not that you mention this book, but the Ecological Diet (or something like that) book was a huge disappointment to me. I was so excited to read that book, and then there was no research at all behind that book. The person who wrote it was hardly qualified to write such a book, and it seemed as if she was just pulling stuff out of her butt! I feel sorry for all the people who haven’t been taught how to properly research and will fall victim to the fact that anyone can right a book.

        Sorry, this is a soap box that is going to fall on your blog but is not meant to be exclusively for you. I am gleaming lots of useful information from your site, though I don’t agree with it all (just as I suspect you won’t agree with all my opinions or all of any other human’s opinions). If I thought you were a joke, I wouldn’t bother. I am following you through email and Pinterest, and I look forward to more of your articles. Some of your articles are better researched and provide multiple quality references within the article. I hope I see more amazing articles like those (you’ve changed my opinion on a few things). I’m getting sick of seeing a reference to the same one author, though. I think you need to provide better research on your claims about cholesterol. Also, more recent research on some of the articles would be good, too…

        Of course, you don’t need to please me 😉 Just my opinion…

    • I’m going to do a post on that! Since walnuts contain a ratio of 4 grams of omega-6 to each gram of omega-3, they aren’t a good option. Omega-6 and omega-3 should be in a 1:1 ratio. Grassfed animals and grassfed tallow (rendered fat from the animal) are good sources of omega-3. If you could do seafood, I would have recommended fermented cod liver oil. That’s a supplement that I take.

  5. I eat mostly a paleo diet and after about three months of adding flax into my diet I noticed significant weight gain which I normally never have problems with my weight. I also am noticing more acne when I have my periods. If I stop eating flax will things return to normal and how long will it take?

  6. Thank you for info about the LDL!

    About flaxseed. Very interesting subject. Flaxseed are not healthy also because they are goitrogens (cause hypothyroidism). Soy and cabbage are too, BTW.

    Concerning phytoestrogens, IMHO, it’s not that simple. Yes, they are unhealthy for children. However, there is a certain amount of estrogens that have to be present in a woman’s body. If some women have estrogen dominance, there are still women out there who are deficient in estrogens. With my PMS history I tried all sorts of things. Tried anti-estrogenic diet. Result – it got worse. Contrary to a modern concept about phytoestrogens being evil, to my biggest surprise, phytoestrogens have eliminated my PMS symptoms, improved my skin, and my memory is so much better.
    From what I read, estrogens do pose a risk for those who are estrogen dominant and during pregnancy. For those who are deficient in estrogen, phytoestrogens are a blessing. For example, Dong Quai root has been revered for thousands of years in Asia…. Black cohosh root is a popular women’s medicinal herb in Germany. Phytoestrogens are very different from xenoestrogens – dangerous chemicals in cosmetics, shampoo, etc.

  7. Hello,

    I have extremely low cholesterol. The doctors seem to think that is great. My total cholesterol is 74. My LDL was 24 I do not take statins or anything. I am a 33 year old woman. I am not depressed, I don’t have heart disease or any of those things. I do have autoimmune disease. I know you are Not a Doctor. Any idea how one can raise their cholesterol? I eat plenty of healthy fats, grass fed butter, lard, eggs, etc. I appreciate any feed back.

    Thanks, Jamie

    • You do seem to be getting a good amount of cholesterol, maybe instead try to cut back on things like oats, flax that help the body rid itself of it (Maybe Google those foods that cut cholesterol). I know avocado is supposed to contribute to reducing cholesterol, but that’s too beneficial to cut, I feel.

    • Maybe incorporate more avocado or Avocado oil (found at Costco, $10/Liter). I use it when I bake or make pancakes or French toast. Super neutral flavor, plus contains Omega 3s!

  8. Since I started eating flax seeds regularly (a tablespoon or so in my oatmeal most mornings), I’ve actually noticed an improvement in my PMS symptoms. I suppose this could be due to other factors, but I can’t say I’ve had any adverse side effects… I think that many people have different nutritional needs. It’s all about balance, and perhaps I was just on the other side of the see saw.

    Either way, I’m a fan of your posts, and I completely agree with the cholesterol portion! I scoff anytime I hear people say that eggs are unhealthy because of the cholesterol content. They’re such an inexpensive and easy source of nutrients, plus for around 70 calories each, they’re very filling.


  9. Phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens are completely different things. Phytoestrogens can be highly beneficial to someone with estrogen dominance; it’s irresponsible to suggest that women with estrogen dominance avoid phytoestrogens. Many phytoestrogens, like those found in flax, will bind to estrogen receptors but not stimulate them. Thus the overabundance of estrogen in the body can be blocked and hormonal balance regained.

    I would ask what your sources of information are for saying that phytoestrogens should be avoided? Flax seeds have only been shown to be beneficial to women with hormonal imbalances.

    Lignans are a type of fiber found in flax that are “phytoestrogens” and have been found to be highly beneficial.

    Lignans have been found to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells (which are usually estrogen-dependent)

    Flax lignans have been found to help increase breast cancer survival rates:

    Dietary lignans have been associated with lower breast cancer risk:

    Flax seed lignans have been found to increase fertility in women:

    Compounds in flax seeds have been found to be potent antioxidants:

    Additionally, flax lignans have been shown to help the body rid itself of certain forms of estrogen:

    In light of all of this, I would urge you to reconsider your claims, or else back them up with some kind of source. 🙂

    • I appreciate your thoughtful comment 🙂 I am aware of the studies supporting the use of phytoestrogens for hormonal issues, especially menopause. I think that estrogen is highly problematic in high amounts and I stand behind my statements that flaxseeds and other dietary sources of phytoestrogens should be avoided when possible. I believe that removing the excess estrogen and balancing our hormone system from the roots offers the most ideal approach for optimal wellness, fertility, and cancer prevention. I believe it is a mixed bag regarding dietary phytoestrogens – they can help the body absorb less estrogen but they can also increase the estrogenic load, depending on the individual. I prefer an approach without the phytoestrogens that supports the body’s ability to detox estrogen via liver/biliary function and synthesize adequate progesterone. My opinion is heavily influenced by the work of Dr. Ray Peat. He cites some interesting findings in this article:

  10. I had a harrowing experience with flax seeds buns (which I often at 2-3 times per day). I started having weird seizures and my arms would go limp. I honestly thought I was having a stroke. Apparently, the enormous amount of flax seeds I had consumed made me clinically dehydrated. I was almost admitted to the hospital. I wish I had read this two weeks ago. I had several nights of discomfort and unusual sensations. My husband was ready to drive me to the hospital. Needless to say, I cut out the flax seeds and increased my water consumption. I haven’t had an episode since. Thank you for this blog post. As I said, I wish I knew this when I started eating flax seed buns in place of my cauliflower buns. But everything is 20/20 in hindsight, I guess.

  11. Thanks for this interesting article! I was a little confused on your cholesterol point. You say, according to Dr. Campbell-McBridge, that “another area of confusion is the labeling of LDL as “bad cholesterol” and HDL as “good cholesterol.”” But then right after that, you explain that there are two forms of LDL and that the small, dense form of LDL is actually. So wouldn’t the first statement actually be incorrect? There *is* an LDL that is bad cholesterol… that is, only the small, dense form?

  12. This was so interesting Lauren! I had NO idea flax contained phytoestrogens! I avoid soy like the plague, now flax. I’m struggling bad with hormone balancing. Thank you so much for this info!

  13. Red meat is bad for us, and bad for the earth.

    Seriously? Did you honestly just write that?! Have you not seen the research and FACTS surrounding how awful that industry is for our environment??

  14. This list is complete and utter bullshit. You clearly know absolutely NOTHING about nutrition if you’re recommending animal products, and you show just how truly stupid you are by trying to say red meat isn’t bad for the environment. ALL animal products are HORRIBLE for the environment. Have you not seen the facts and statistics on this? Watch Cowspiracy, Live and Let Live, Forks Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, and educate yourself. Ugh, ANOTHER idiot paleo/fad diet mouth breather.

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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