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Mung beans growing in a bag

Mung beans growing in a bag

Challenging the menopause industry

This is the story of how an ex stand-up comic came to challenge the entire menopause industry. Local resident, Sally J Dufell, writes about how her own experience of the menopause led to solving the accompanying difficulties and writing a book, Grow Your Own HRT.

It all started when I hit 50 and found myself getting hot flushes. I was shocked. I’m a really healthy eater, I even drink green smoothies for gawd’s sake. I thought if anyone deserves a good menopause, it’s bloody me.

Bea photos 006

Sally J Dufell

Luckily, I am a bit of a hippy and was already into sprouting beans and seeds on my windowsill. I knew that many of them contained plant hormones that are an ancient cure for menstrual problems. So I started growing red clover and ate some everyday and was very pleased that the hot flushes went. The surprise was, that slowly my periods, which were happening every three weeks (very boring) evened out back to a 28 day cycle. I was amazed and decided to write a booklet to tell other women about it. But I worried that no one would believe me, so I looked to see if there were any scientific studies that might back it up.

This was when it got really exciting. There were thousands of them. But they were all about extracting hormones from plants to put into drugs and supplements. None of the studies said they could grow them yourself! This is a shame because sprouted foods are so easy to cultivate, you don’t need any soil and they are ready to eat in two – seven days. If you add them to whatever else you are eating, they act as a hormonal sprinkle. Even better was that I found that plant hormones are linked to the prevention of cancer, heart disease, dementia and osteoporosis. Just to be helpful against one of those illnesses would be a boon, but all five! I felt like I had stumbled across a superfood with the added joy that it doesn’t come from the Amazon rain forest or Peru!

I was so excited by the research that I started reading hard core science papers about plant hormones. This meant learning a bit of Latin because they like to use exact names (I tell people I speak “Sprout Latin”), and a bit of Greek for the terms of reference, but it felt like fun. I was entering a secret world and I was desperately keen to learn.

I found that scientists were originally alerted to the benefits of plant hormones because of the many studies showing that populations who eat high amounts of them are so much healthier. But the studies on women taking plant hormones as supplements are a much more random affair. Many scientists believe that this is because we need the whole plant which gives you lots of interesting vitamins, minerals, fibre and unknown factors that help your body utilise what’s there. It seemed crazy that women were paying a lot of money for supplements when they could grow their own and I realised that despite being a devoted supplement taker all my life, that my book that would offer an alternative.

Next I researched HRT, the kind given on the NHS which is made from pregnant mares urine. The theory behind it, is that women menopause when our ovaries pack up and can’t make enough hormones – this makes it seem obvious that we need some kind of replacement – even if it does have terrible side effects. However the fertility industry who really know how women’s bodies work, say that in healthy women, the ovaries keep working all our lives. So that means when women are having a bad menopause, we should look at what causes ovaries to fail and how to keep them going rather than replacing hormones artificially.

I was stunned that this information isn’t in the public domain, and I realised that my book was going to challenge the traditional HRT industry too. This led to me researching why ovaries can go wrong and what we can do to avoid that happening, which I included in the book too. I also asked a few friends of mine to test various different sprouts and report back how they got on. By this time I was actually starting to feel like a bit of a scientist. Many years ago I was a stand up comic, and spent my time analysing joke writing formulas in what I thought was an almost scientific way, I had no idea that I had actual burgeoning scientist inside me, itching to get out.

Cress sprouts

Cress sprouts

In the end, my booklet turned into a 60,000 word book and took three years to write. I included a sprouting guide, a symptom guide and menopause diaries written by myself and my friends. By the time it was finished I had gently menopaused too, my periods simply faded away like an old song. I also included databases of foods that contain plant oestrogen and plant progesterone as well as appendices going deeper into the science behind menopause, plus 410 scientific references. Yes, 410 of them! I put them on every sentence that I thought anyone might contest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether you should try growing your own HRT think of this – it is natural, it’s simple, it’s cheap, and it’s got to be worth a try before you do anything else. My book will show you that there are many other benefits to sprouted foods as well, so you have absolutely nothing to lose.

Grow your own HRT was published in November 2017 and is now out there challenging the menopause industry at every level. I have been doing publicity and I’m already preparing my arguments for if I end up on some radio program opposite some medic who insists I’m wrong. I’m hoping the stand up comic performer part of me and the science part of me will blend together to fight my corner in an interesting way! I’m sort of looking forward to it.

Grow your own HRT by Sally J Dufell. Published by Findhorn Press. To buy Sally’s book, please use this link.

Posted 08:07 Monday, Feb 12, 2018 In: Health Matters

1 Comment


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  1. Dins Y

    What an amazing read and writer! If men had the menopause you can only imagine the help and PR out for something.
    Excellent news.
    Good luck with it all. At 47 starting to feel first effects so shall be inspired by the purchase of the book

    Comment by Dins Y — Monday, Feb 19, 2018 @ 06:30

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