Who Doesn’t Love Toast?
Toasted bread (ideally gluten free, sprouted or fermented) makes for the perfect backdrop for all sorts of healthy and hormone balancing toppings.
We’ve put together four toast topping ideas to showcase how Eating For Your Cycle works to balance your menstrual cycle.
How Does Eating For Your Cycle Work?
Your menstrual cycle has four distinctive phases; follicular, ovulatory, luteal and menstrual. In each phase, your hormonal levels change to prepare the body for potential conception and pregnancy. The hormone shifts that happen in each phase impact your nutritional requirements and food cravings as well as your energy levels, communication skills and neurochemistry.
You can use food to help support your hormones. For example, some nutrients help your body build progesterone which is dominant in the second half of the cycle. Other nutrients detox or build estrogen. If you experience PMS, painful cramping, heavy periods, infertility or PCOS, eating for your cycle can be a powerful, healing tool.
Toast For Each Phase
Here are some examples of how you can eat for each phase of your cycle:
The Follicular Phase
After your period, the pituitary gland releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which stimulates the growth of the ovarian follicle to mature and prepares it for release. Estrogen levels start to increase to thicken your uterine lining.
Toast Toppings: Eat foods that are high in antioxidants to support the development of the egg. Try smoked salmon, mashed avocado, fresh dill and pumpkin seeds
The Ovulatory Phase
This is when you will be at peak fertility. FSH and estrogen peak and then luteinizing hormone starts to rise which stimulates the follicle to burst and release an egg into the fallopian tube. Testosterone surges and then drops after you ovulate.
Toast Toppings: If you have signs of high estrogen-like PMS during this time you want to toast bread that is high in fibre. On your toast, try goat cheese, figs, rose petals, and pistachios.
The Luteal Phase
The follicle, known as the corpus luteum, starts to produce progesterone. The progesterone signals the body to keep the uterine lining intact. Estrogen and progesterone slowly decrease until your period begins.
It’s important to note that progesterone is the dominant hormone during the luteal phase. If estrogen gets too high or if progesterone is too low then it can cause PMS, breast tenderness, heavy period or other menstrual issues. PMS may be normal but it’s not natural. It’s actually a sign of estrogen dominance. If progesterone isn’t high enough it can decrease serotonin which can cause anxiety, depression and mood swings during your luteal phase.
Toast Toppings: Your body craves magnesium-rich foods, so top your toast with some sauteed greens.
The Menstrual Phase
The end and beginning of your cycle. Progesterone drops and your uterus sheds its lining. Estrogen peaks and then drops off again. Generally, your hormones levels are quite low and you may feel a sense of relief.
Toast Toppings: Try pure nut butters, sliced banana, raspberries, and pumpkin seeds.
Photos by Sarah Steffens of Savor & Fancy
Sarah Steffens is a Personal Chef based in Los Angeles. She specializes in Paleo, Autoimmune, and Whole30 cooking and believes food is the starting ground for practicing kindness to one’s body, mind and spirit. In addition to cooking for private clients, she also creates recipes and photography for Whole30. She shares recipes and kitchen tips at Savor & Fancy.