Food for the Menstrual Phase

If you haven’t heard of cycle synching yet, get on this train!

I discovered “Womancode” by Alisa Vitti about a year and a half ago. However, it took me a little while to start taking syncing seriously- especially heeding to all her advice about proper exercise in specific times (I was a wor–out-aholic). It was a gradual change that took lots of reading, research and convincing and finally total exasperation living with painful, long, and quite emotional periods. I decided to try and make small changes according to her book. Now the book has become my shopping list, my exercise regime, and my go-to for tips on women’s health care. It even includes great info on non-organic products for the home, advice about your own skin care routine, scientific facts about the downfalls of birth control, and real testimonials from people who have been healed through cycle syncing.

Alisa Vitti is the founder of Flo Living (www.floliving.com) and a holisitic health counselor who has dedicated the past 25 years of her life to studying women’s hormones. She is now the re-known author of best selling books “Womancode” and “In the Flo”. We are finally getting real research and data for women in their reproductive years; real useful, correct, and non-harmful info on what diet plans work for us & how we can avoid trying to live up to the patriarchal system in terms of work ethic. She proves time and time again that all these highly popular diets (Keto, Paleo, Intermittent fasting) and new age work out programs (HIIT, Tabatha, hard core spin classes and marathon/triathlon training) are really only tested long-term on men or women who are post-menopausal!

But, don’t ditch the fad diet ideas or the very useful functional training programs that are out there- they are still beneficial, but only within certain phases of your cycle.

Dr. Stephanie Estima is another empowering woman dedicated to the total health of women in the their menstrual years. She studied neuroscience and psychology and became a doctor in Chiropractic and founded Hello Betty (www.hellobetty.club), a site dedicated to empowering women through synching. She also wrote a fabulous book worth checking out called “The Betty Body” which is aimed at helping women lose weight by better understanding their hormones and their cycles.

If you are a woman who has suffered PMS, has painful, long, or irregular periods, who suffers from infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or is/was taking the pill, or are simply finding themselves out of whack, tired during long work days, or with low libido, you must read either of the recommended books!

With all of this said (and worth checking out), I’d like to give some quick tips on what food is essential to eat during your menstrual phase, and also give you a quick yummy recipe.

What is happening in your menstrual phase?

You are probably experiencing a shift in energy and feel the need to relax and stay home. Your first few days of your cycle you should stay home and “nest” and focus on going inwards. This might be through work from home (nothing social), doing some light upkeep of the house, and basically allowing a bit of lounging on the couch. Let your body rest while you menstruate and avoid any heavy exercise- for realsies though. Your hormones are at their lowest points now before they reset for the follicular phase.

You feel the need for further evaluation and intuition in this phase. Reflect on the past month and use it as a time to set new intentions for your next phase.

What should you be eating?

When your hormones are at their lowest it’s a good time to go more or less keto or grain-free. I happen to do loads of exercise in my other phases and need some additional daily carbs aside from fruit & veg. Here is a go-to shopping list:

Grain:

  • Buckwheat
  • Wild rice

Fruits

  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Concord grape
  • Watermelon

Legumes:

  • Adzuki bean
  • Black soybean
  • Black turtle bean
  • Kidney bean

Nuts & Seeds:

  • Chestnut, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds

Meat:

  • Duck
  • Pork
  • Some beef

Other:

  • Blancha tea
  • Decaf coffee
  • Miso
  • Salt
  • Tamari
  • Butter
  • Bone broth

Vegetables

  • Beets
  • Burdock
  • Dulse
  • Hijiki
  • Kale
  • Kelp
  • Kombu
  • Wakame
  • Seaweed
  • Mushrooms: shitake and button
  • Water Chestnut

Seafood:

  • Catfish
  • Clam
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Mussel
  • Octopus
  • Oyster
  • Sardine
  • Scallop
  • Squid

As Vitti says, “…eating phase specific foods [there are four phases in your cycle: follicular, ovulation, luteal, and menstrual] supports your hormones to help eliminate PMS, protect fertility, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, have clearer skin, experience easier periods, improve moods, and boost energy.

A simple recipe if you are on your period:

Brown Rice & Wakame Pasta with Shiitake/Portobello mushrooms and Seaweed

Ingredients

  • Brown rice & Wakame pasta (gluten free, organic and comes in individual portions!). I use Terrasana brand from Veritas here in Spain but you can use any noodle you desire.
  • Shiitake & Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • diced scallions
  • Kombu Seaweed (Algas de Kombu) – if you buy the dried kind, soak them in warm water and sea salt for 10 minutes to prep.
  • Butter, salt and pepper (if vegan, sub butter for sesame oil)

In a pan, heat butter and add onion and scallions. After a few minutes throw in your diced Shiitake & Portobello mushrooms cooking on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, boil water for your pasta. Once boiling add the pasta for the recommended cooking time. In the case of the brown rice and wakame pasta from Terrasana- exactly 4 minutes is enough.

After soaking the seaweed, rinse them and chop them up and add them to the pan with the mushrooms.

Rinse pasta, and add to the pan with your mushrooms and seaweed. Add a little bit more butter to separate the pasta as it tends to stick together. Top with a bit of parmesan or vegan cheese similar to feta and enjoy!

This recipe can be altered to add more veg or add tofu for an additional protein kick.

Hope this was useful! Be sure to head to my Instagram page for more info on cycle-syncing (also available in SPANISH!). ❤

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