What Should You Eat On Your Period?
Our modern world ensures that every woman out there is aware of the thousands of different diets you could utilize to reach your health goals. However, not many diets take a woman’s menstrual cycle into account. In fact, as we go through our menstrual cycle our nutrient requirements and calorie needs shift quite a bit. In this way, you can use nutrition to care for your body and optimize your hormones to increase fertility, reduce PMS, lose stubborn weight and more! This is the definition of my Eating For Your Cycle method.
Have you ever noticed that you crave chocolate on your period? There’s a reason why: your body is letting you know it requires more magnesium. In addition, it’s normal to crave more sugar before your period starts. In fact, our hormones naturally make us more insulin resistant. This means it’s easier to throw off your blood sugar, which makes you ‘hangry’ and crave all the sweets!
When you Eat For Your Cycle, you modify your nutrition for the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle to have a positive impact on your health and hormone balance.
It’s easy to prevent or remedy the instances mentioned above with knowledge of proper nutrition for the female body.
How I Modify My Nutrition During The Menstrual Phase
Blood Building & Iron: On average, women lose around 80 ml of blood per period. This is equivalent to 3.2 mg of iron. To prevent nutrient deficiencies, you need to provide your body with the building blocks so it can make more blood. Low levels of hemoglobin, red and white blood cells deplete your energy, impact your glow, immunity and brain function. You’ll see that I focus on blood building.
Warming Foods: Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends no cold food during your period or childbirth. Warm foods relax the uterus and prevent cramping.
Healing Herbal Teas: Coffee can increase cramping. I like to get my herbal medicine from ‘moon brews’, which are teas made from herbs that are especially beneficial for menstruating women.
The right nutrition will set you up for success in the long term to have more energy, mental clarity and relaxation during your menstrual cycle. Read on to see what I eat in a day while I’m on my period!
Morning Hydration: Schizandra Detox Drink
As soon as I wake up, I pour myself a glass of filtered water and add 2 droppers of homemade vitex tincture, 1 teaspoon of schizandra extract powder, and a pinch of sea salt. I do this every day, no matter where I am in my cycle.
Schizandra helps the liver with phase 1 and 2 of detoxification. During these phases, the liver removes toxins such as xenoestrogens and xenobiotics from the body. This affects quality of sleep, skin health, energy, brain function, libido and more.
Vitex is an herb that works on your hypothalamus, pituitary, ovary axis and has general hormone balancing qualities for women. It is incredibly effective for increasing progesterone and encouraging ovulation. It isn’t for everyone so I recommend consulting with your health practitioner to see if it’s right for you.
My Moon Brew
Once I’m finished my water, I make my moon tea that I sip on during the day. It’s a very strong tea made with herbs to aid in menstruation. I make my tea with rose, cinnamon, nettle and red raspberry.
Rose Buds are used to soothe the heart. The floral flavour is a lovely addition to any moon brew.
Cinnamon Bark is ideal for menstrual cramping because it contains anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic components which help to relax the pelvic muscles and reduce pain. Cinnamon also helps reduce insulin resistance for women with PCOS. This bark may also reduce heavy bleeding.
Nettle Leaf is deeply nourishing because it’s high in Vitamin K, silica, calcium, magnesium and iron. I like to call it ‘the breast milk of the earth’.
Red Raspberry Leaf has nutrients that help your uterus become ‘stretchy’. Because of this, women traditionally used this herb to reduce menstrual cramping.
Breakfast: Superfood Collagen Raspberry Oats
With the help of collagen peptides from Vital Proteins, this bowl of oats allows me to get the recommended 20-30 g of protein to help with blood sugar balance and satiety.
Adding collagen boost the protein but doesn’t impact the flavour or texture of your oats. This recipe is a great alternative for those who want a high protein meal but want a break from meat, eggs and smoothies.
I eat raspberries during my period because like raspberry leaf they are really healing. The dark chocolate, cacao nibs and hemp seeds all provide magnesium. This is such a healing and nourishing breakfast that I find to be really sustainable.
I like to take extra iron during and a few days after my period; I took a shot after breakfast. Floradix is my prefered brand!
Lunch: Shrimp & Mussel Coconut Stew with Steamed Kale
Although this is not your typical lunch option, it’s a perfect mid-day meal during the menstrual phase. Although red meat is a great source of iron, I don’t want it to be my only protein option. Shellfish like shrimp, clams and mussels are a lean protein that’s rich in omega fats and provide other key minerals like zinc and selenium to nourish the thyroid.
I’m all about leafy greens for hormone balance… greens help build blood during the menstrual phase and give you the magnesium you need to relax the uterus.
Snack: Black Bean Brownies
I made up a batch of black bean brownies from Chocolate Covered Katie’s infamous recipe, you can get it here.They are iron rich– one brownie provides 10 percent of your daily iron,and chocolate provides magnesium. You can’t’ get a better treat during the menstrual phase!
On this warm summer day I chose to snack on fresh, juicy watermelon. Choose red fruits because they all contain a bit of iron to support your body.
Dinner: Nourishing BBQ Dinner
Again, since it was a summer night my partner and I chose to do BBQ (a summer classic here)! I found these amazing bison hot dogs at my local health food store that were lean and had clean ingredients. The meat went well on an organic spelt bun with some grilled white onions. I don’t typically eat salad during my menstrual phase but since it was so hot I rounded out my meal with some leftover cauliflower tabouli.
Parsley in the tabouli is great during the menstrual phase because it’s a natural emmenagogue. This means it will help prevent blood stagnation in the uterus.
I hope you enjoyed following along with my daily nutrition and are inspired to start Eating For Your Cycle!