Author Topic: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT  (Read 2454 times)

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Offline Jessica

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Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« on: May 04, 2018, 07:21:42 pm »
Hi girls 🙋‍♀️ Jessica here!
Since the start of my transition I’ve been curious of which were the best foods to ingest to support my body while changing my bodies chemistry through HRT.

I’ve found some information, but I want to stress that I have no qualifiers for anything I present as information.  I make no promises of anything, except to create a place to share what I have found.
Take the ideas and investigate it with a more knowledgeable source, it is always wise to be informed.

In this thread I hope to post updates of new information as I find more. And I hope others will add their two cents also.
Along with updates and occasionally separate, I want to post recipes that contain ingredients that I have found that can support our health. 
I encourage everyone who has a pertinent recipe to please share it here at anytime!

I want to also stress that this is not a thread about boosting estrogen through your diet.  It is about a supportive diet for the body of a transgender woman on HRT.

Always talk to your healthcare provider when making dietary changes.



It is most important to start with a basic healthy diet. And a good way to do that is to try to avoid animal products raised with hormones, salty and fried foods, sugar, white flour, chocolate, processed or refined foods, soy, alcohol, and caffeine. 
Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables is a vital step that will set you on a path that will change your eating habits for life.  Avoiding too much raw or cold food and drinking with meals, and focus on chewing thoroughly, eating slowly, and eating a variety of foods will not only help with digestion but make it enjoyable. 
Eating plenty of healthy fats helps to support mental health since fats form the myelin sheaths that coat nerve and brain cells, allowing them to function more effectively.  Fats also support the body in making hormones, many of which are derived from cholesterol. 
Using these guidelines, specific nutrients may be used to support synthetic hormones and create a new healthy balance based on your personal goals. Nutrition is extremely important for anyone’s health, but is especially valuable in a transitioning process which can cause both bodily and mental stress. A diet that fits your bodies needs can ensure more compliance as well as enhance the work being done with other treatments in your transition.

As long as there are not contraindications or food allergies, an estrogen and progesterone supportive diet (in other words it does not actually produce/mimic estrogen or progesterone, but can help to support those hormones in your body) should be focused on ancient grains and cooked dark vegetables, including cooked berries, eggs, nuts and seeds

1: Increase starchy vegetables, millet, barley, seaweed, dark legumes, beets, persimmon, cooked berries, bananas, watermelon, pickled and fermented foods, eggs and coconut milk.  Limit mollusks if you are taking progesterone.

2: Another great addition is grass-fed, hormone free organic milk and fermented/ cultured dairy products.

3: reduce portions of pork, duck, goose, rabbit, beef and organ meats.

4: if taking estrogen, add garlic, shiitake and reishi mushrooms, lemons and limes (avoid if taking progesterone). Avoid eating grapefruit!

5: if taking spironolactone, avoid dandelion, juniper, molasses and radishes!


Here’s the first recipe....everyone loves pickles!


Dill Pickle Soup
Servings: Serves 6-8


* 5-1/2 cups chicken broth
* 1-3/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
* 2 cups chopped carrots (smaller dice)
* 1 cup chopped dill pickles (smaller dice ~ about 3 large whole dills)
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1/4 cup water
* 2 cups dill pickle juice*
* 1-1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon table salt
* 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Garnish (optional)
* sliced dill pickles
* fresh dill
* black pepper


* In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil.
* In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. Vigorously whisk sour cream mixture (2 Tablespoons at a time) into soup. (This will also break up some of your potatoes which is okay. You might see some initial little balls of flour form, but between the whisking and boiling all will disappear. Don't panic.)
* Add pickle juice, Old Bay, salt (*see below), pepper and cayenne. Cook 5 more minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
* *All pickle juice is not created equal. Some is saltier than others. Taste your soup after adding the pickle juice and final seasonings. It's possible you will not need any salt or would prefer more or less.

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Offline Devlyn

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 07:28:24 pm »
Aren't bananas really high in potassium?
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Offline Jessica

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 07:39:25 pm »
Specific to Spironolactone, that is in the next update

Aren't bananas really high in potassium?

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Offline Deborah

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2018, 07:39:53 pm »
Those are all some very good suggestions.  The only one I would disagree with is the reduction or elimination of organ meats.  That is actually the most nutritious part of the animal and back in human evolutionary history was a mainstay of the diet.  Everyone, trans or not, would benefit from eating organ meats once or twice a week.


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Offline Jessica

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 07:44:06 pm »
This is the interaction we need. I’m no expert and if anyone knows better or just a different view, please join in!

Those are all some very good suggestions.  The only one I would disagree with is the reduction or elimination of organ meats.  That is actually the most nutritious part of the animal and back in human evolutionary history was a mainstay of the diet.  Everyone, trans or not, would benefit from eating organ meats once or twice a week.


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Offline Jessica

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2018, 07:51:16 pm »
Okay, maybe give more

Yin: (in Chinese philosophy) the passive female principle of the universe, characterized as female and sustaining and associated with earth, dark, and cold.

Many, though by no means all, trans women taking estrogen and spironolactone have some degree of yin deficiency, and this diet can help to counteract this issue while still supporting transition goals. This is a generally mild and healthy diet safe for most people, however care should be taken in following any diet exclusively long term if yin deficiency is not present.
A yin nourishing diet should be based on millet, barley, teff, quinoa, amaranth, and other ancient grains. Other appropriate yin foods that could be added to the diet include seaweed, black beans, kidney beans, mung beans, sprouts, beets, string beans, persimmon, grapes, cooked berries, bananas, watermelon, dairy, eggs, clams and sardines.  Sour foods are beneficial because they tonify yin and move the blood, which could be helpful to prevent blood clots (a possible side effect of estrogen use).  Spices should mainly include milder white pepper, cilantro, and marjoram, which are yin spices, rather than stronger yang spices like cayenne. When these foods are made into soups, stews, and congees they become even more yin tonifying.

Supporting Estrogen:
In designing a healthy diet that supports the body of a transgender woman, it is necessary to think about not only the energetic and hormonal properties of foods, but also their safety for long term use. For example, eating mainly carbohydrates, starches, coffee, and soy can raise estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels, but this can also potentially cause diabetes, hormone dependent cancers, heart palpitations, and other serious health concerns


Synthetic Estrogen and Food Interactions:
Trans women taking hormones should be aware that they can interact with nutrients in certain foods. Estrogen for example, has adverse interactions with the quercetin in grapefruit, which is also to a lesser extent in capers; onions; raw dark fruits like cranberries, black plums, blueberries, currants, and cherries; and raw kale, lettuce, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, and peppers.  These foods should be limited when taking estrogen and not eaten at the time of taking a oral dose.
In addition to having adverse reactions with quercetin, synthetic estrogens deplete B6, which can be replaced by eating organ meats, brewer’s yeast, garlic, and whole potatoes.

Countering Estrogen Side Effects:
Estrogen can cause several side effects, such as circulation problems, blood clotting, and sometimes increased blood levels of cholesterol, all of which may be prevented with nutrition. Circulatory problems can be combated with the chlorophyll in dark leafy greens.  This can be further aided by the CoQ10 and B5 (converted to coenzyme-a, which works along with CoQ10) in organ meats, eggs, brewer’s yeast, avocado, and seeds, which together improve tissue oxygenation.
Shiitake and reishi mushrooms prevent hypertension, heart disease, and cholesterol problems. 
The Vitamin C and other antioxidants in a diet full of fermented foods and a variety of fruits and vegetables prevents blood clotting, potentially minimizing the toxicity of synthetic hormones and easing emotional imbalances caused by introducing new hormones to the system.
Nuts and seeds, especially coconut milk, walnuts and sunflower seeds which contain both essential fatty acids and vitamin E, should also be consumed to help the body to manufacture hormones like estrogen, and to replenish vitamin E that is depleted by synthetic estrogen.

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Offline Jessica

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2018, 07:53:52 pm »
And yet more

Supporting Progesterone:
Pregnenolone derived from diosgenin in wild yams is extracted in the body when combined with cholesterol heavy foods such as eggs, and is converted to either DHEA or progesterone, which can balance high estrogen levels. This is known to cause breast enlargement in male assigned people, but because DHEA and progesterone can convert to either estrogen or testosterone in the body, they should not be used with synthetic hormones or without medical supervision.

Countering Progesterone Side Effects:
Progesterone increases folate, zinc, and magnesium, so these items should not be supplemented, however, this most likely does not apply to foods containing those nutrients. This does mean that the folate depleted by spironolactone would be balanced by progesterone and magnesium would be even more increased so should definitely not be supplemented when taking both of these medications.

Countering Spironolactone Side Effects:
Spironolactone is the most commonly used androgen blocker in the United States. It was originally developed as a potassium sparing diuretic and therefore should not be combined with diuretic herbs like buchu, cleavers, dandelion, gravel root, horsetail, or juniper; or with foods with a lot of magnesium and potassium, like molasses, kelp, chocolate, bananas, or radishes (USDA), since those minerals are not excreted as easily with spironolactone use.
Anyone taking spironolactone should supplement with organ meats, spinach, or asparagus which provides the folate that can be depleted from spironolactone use.
Salt is also depleted and should be supplemented via cheese and pickled or fermented vegetables. A low-salt diet combined with spironolactone can cause low blood pressure. Blood pressure should be monitored frequently while taking spironolactone to ensure it is not too low, especially if you tend to experience low blood pressure.

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Offline Allison S

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2018, 08:48:30 pm »
What about seafood? Lately I've been craving it and usually turn to sushi.
Eggs and protein in meats, nuts etc. are supposed to help head hair grow faster. Or so I've heard.

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Offline Deborah

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2018, 08:49:45 pm »
One comment on reducing magnesium.  This may be due to my heavy exercise schedule but last year I started running into some problems and feeling really weak and rundown.  I suspected electrolyte imbalance and first increased sodium.  After a few weeks this only minimally improved my problem so I next tried supplementing magnesium.  That cleared things up almost overnight and I’ve been supplementing magnesium without any further problems since.

Another worthwhile supplement is D3.  Among other benefits it will help preserve bone density.  Unless one is out in the sun a lot a recommended dose is 5000 IU daily.


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Offline Jessica

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2018, 09:04:57 pm »
As far as seafood, the only thing I’ve heard is the experience of my daughter in law, where she was diagnosed with a endocrine disorder and was advised that the shrimp she loves eating are bottom feeders and are basically filtering everything that settles, including hormones.  In her case testosterone.

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Offline Jessica

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2018, 09:16:55 pm »
This is what my endo suggested for me:

For bone health, and to reduce your risk for fractures, I recommend that you take calcium and vitamin D supplements every day. I recommend taking at least 1,200 mg of elemental calcium (600 mg in am and pm) and about 2,000 IU of vitamin D every day. Many different calcium and vitamin products are available over the counter (otc) for purchase. If you are taking an acid blocking medication such as famotidine (Pepcid), ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), or omeprazole (Prilosec) you should take a calcium citrate supplement such as Citracal for optimal absorption of the calcium. Otherwise, you can take either a calcium carbonate supplement such as Oscal or TUMS or Caltrate, or a calcium citrate supplement such as Citracal. Calcium supplements should be taken in divided doses throughout the day and with food for best absorption.

Magnesium wasn’t mentioned, but I’m taking 100mg twice daily.

One comment on reducing magnesium.  This may be due to my heavy exercise schedule but last year I started running into some problems and feeling really weak and rundown.  I suspected electrolyte imbalance and first increased sodium.  After a few weeks this only minimally improved my problem so I next tried supplementing magnesium.  That cleared things up almost overnight and I’ve been supplementing magnesium without any further problems since.

Another worthwhile supplement is D3.  Among other benefits it will help preserve bone density.  Unless one is out in the sun a lot a recommended dose is 5000 IU daily.


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Offline Jessica

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2018, 07:48:34 am »
Any thoughts for any recipes?

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Offline Deborah

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2018, 08:26:50 am »
Any thoughts for any recipes?
Since you mentioned fermented foods, they are very simple to make on your own.  They are also extremely healthy to eat and were another staple of the human diet before refrigeration.  I like making fermented cabbage, aka sauerkraut.  All you need is cabbage and salt, preferably sea salt due to its lack of additives. 

Take one or two heads of cabbage and slice it thinly.  I like one of the heads to be red cabbage as it adds a nice color.

Slice it all thinly and put it in a big bowl.

Slice and add any other vegetables you like.  I have used carrots, onions, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro.  They all work well and add unique tastes.

Add whatever spices you like.  I have used ground cayenne pepper, pickling spices, and caraway seeds.

Now the important part.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt per 1.75 lbs of vegetable.  You need this much to make the fermentation work right.  Too much will slow the rate of fermentation too much and inhibit the healthy bacteria from growing.  Not enough and it will ferment too fast and turn out soft.  It might also spoil.

With your hands mix it all up really well and let it sit for around 30 minutes.  You will notice water beginning to be drawn out of the vegetables.

After 30 minutes or so pack it tightly into containers that you can seal.  I have used mason jars and a big plastic kimchi bucket.  Something with a wide top is the easiest to pack.  The only critical thing is that you must be able to seal it to keep the air out.  Pack it as tightly as you can to drive out the air and create an anaerobic environment to favor the growth of the good bacteria that will preserve the food by killing off the bad bacteria that would otherwise spoil the vegetables.

Then just let it sit at room temperature, not in direct sunlight and the fermentation will happen.  After around a day, you will need to crack the lid to release pressure.  If it’s packed very close to the top you will also get some liquid overflow.

Fermentation needs at least three days bare minimum before it begins to taste right.  This time is also needed for the good bacteria to multiply.  I have found that for me five to seven days tastes the best.  You can let it ferment at room temperature for weeks longer if you like.  After that just put it into the refrigerator.  This will slow the fermentation.  Once in the refrigerator you can store it safely for a long time; months at least.  The good bacteria cultured in the fermentation process is what preserves the food.  As a bonus, these good bacteria are extremely good for your intestinal health and may clear up any number of problems if you are deficient.

One note:  Sauerkraut you buy in the store is normally pasteurized so all the beneficial bacteria are killed off.  While it does taste good it lacks the health benefits of fermented vegetables containing live cultures.


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Offline Mariah

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Re: Nutrition for transgender women on HRT
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2018, 04:05:28 pm »
Aren't bananas really high in potassium?
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