The signature method I use to address women’s hormone imbalance is a combination of functional nutrition, lifestyle and stress management, and herbal recommendations.
Eating For Your Cycle is a term I coined to describe the synthesis of these three core elements when applied to treat women during their menstrual years.
So what exactly is Eating For Your Cycle?
Eating For Your Cycle (or E4YC) is a functional nutrition approach to hormonal healing. It’s not a generic (or one size fits all) nutrition plan.
The method is based on the 4 phases of your cycle: Menstrual, Follicular, Ovulatory and Luteal. During these phases our brain chemistry, libido, energy, moods and hormone levels all fluctuate. We require different nutrients in each phase to keep our hormones in balance and fertility optimized.
You can use this method to:
-Expect your period without the ‘baggage’; reduce or eliminate PMS symptoms so that your period ‘just shows up’
-Get your body in optimal hormone health to prepare for conception
-Decrease painful cramping and the pain associated with endometriosis
-Regulate your cycle after coming off the pill or removing an IUD
-Support your body and increase chances of conception when going through IVF and other fertility treatments
-Reverse and prevent cysts, uterine fibroids, polyps, decrease endometriosis and heavy flow
-Reduce symptoms associated with PCOS (acne, amenorrhea, weight gain, facial hair)
-Develop deeper body literacy and feel in control of your fertility and hormone health
How To Eat For Your Cycle
Each phase of the menstrual cycle has it’s own unique requirements to build, balance, and detox hormones. By utilizing different foods and self-care techniques in time with each phase, you accentuate the positive and leave the pain (both physical and psychological) behind.
The Menstrual Phase
An optimal period equals optimal health and fertility! The best foods at this time are ones that expel old blood, prevent ‘uterine stagnation’ and prime your womb to host your baby (if that’s what you’re after).
Blood-building soups, hearty, warming stews and home-made teas are the best foods to eat to prevent painful cramping, heavy flow and clotting. Ideally, you’ll create your own personal ‘moon lodge’ in the comfort of your home to restore energy and prepare for the coming month.
The Follicular Phase
After your period is finished, the focus is on rebuilding the blood lost during the menstrual phase. This phase is all about eye-catching, antioxidant-rich smoothie bowls, fresh, vibrant salads and increasing consumption of fertility foods. These meals reduce inflammation, which is important for healing endometriosis and PCOS.
The Ovulatory Phase
Incorporating superfoods into your diet can increase your chances of conception. Eat meals that help your body detox excess estrogen to reduce PMS, low progesterone, and heavy periods later in the month. Use food to increase your sex drive, not only in this phase but throughout your entire cycle to enhance your romantic relationship.
The Luteal Phase
In this phase, focus on balancing your blood sugar with meals like roasted root veggies, golden frittatas and dairy-free yet creamy salad dressings. Food can support fertility and prevent PMS symptoms such as bloating, water retention, anxiety and hormonal headaches.
It’s important for conception to use food to keep progesterone levels high; tiding you over until your placenta takes over hormone production.
Eating For Your Cycle is as easy as having awareness of your menstrual phases when you sit down to meal plan.
The secret is that it’s as much about when you eat as what you’re eating. When you begin to allow your cycle to work for you by supporting it with food, the benefits are innumerable!