When you treat a woman like a goddess, she’ll rise to the occasion. And a woman’s body is the temple where the goddess resides.
So for our inner goddess to shine and blossom, we need to take special care of our own delicate and glorious temple – our body.
And because our body’s needs change depending on the stages of our menstrual cycle, it’s helpful to know what to eat before, during and after our periods.
Before Your Period – Keep It Light
If there’s an excessive amount of estrogen in your body, you may experience premenstrual tension, breast tenderness, abdominal distension, fatigue, irritability or insomnia, the so-called Premenstrual Syndromes.
Certain foods can help your body process estrogen more efficiently, and therefore reduce or eliminate PMS symptoms. The following dietary guidelines are recommended during the 10 days before your period…
1. Eat light, easy-to-digest, nutritious and balanced meals, including beans and legumes, fish, leafy greens and fruits.
2. Drink a lot of water to keep regular and smooth bowel movement, which helps reduce stagnation in the abdominal area.
3. Avoid spicy and stimulating foods, such as cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic etc. I must admit that this is very hard for me, as I absolutely adore spicy foods. Since I don’t want to completely avoid them, I use them sparingly.
4. Reduce the consumption of greasy and oily foods and sweets to avoid over-taxing your digestive system, which helps maintain the regularity of your menstrual cycles. Believe it or not, our digestive health has a lot to do with our menstrual health.
5. Cut down on salt. Too much salt impairs the functioning of your blood vessels and kidneys, which can cause headache, irritability, and an accumulation of fluids in the body.
6. Take Dim Plus. If you're looking for a supplement that helps your body to metabolize estrogen more effeciently, I recommend Nature's Way Dim-Plus Capsules.
DIM-plus contains diindolylmethane, a phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. It supports the activity of enzymes that improve estrogen metabolism.
The product has received good reviews from women. Check out what they say about Dim-Plus.
During Your Period – Keep It Warm and Balanced
Cold and raw foods are harder to digest and use up the warm yang energy in your body. Coldness constricts, which can stagnate the normal blood flow and impair circulation. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), coldness in the uterus is a common cause of scanty period, no period, or painful period.
1. Avoid cold and raw foods if you can. Consume foods and drinks warm or at room temperature.
2. Keep it light and fresh. Follow the same guidelines recommended before your period.
3. Replenish your iron. Normally women lose about 30-80ml of blood and 15-25ml of iron during each menstruation. So it’s important that we replenish our blood and iron during this time.
Foods rich in iron include organic red meat, liver, egg yolks, spinach, collards, dried prunes, raisins, oysters, clams, scallops, turkey, chicken giblets, beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans and artichokes.
4. Avoid drinking strong tea. The tannic acid contained in tea may affect the proper absorption of protein and iron in food. Learn 10 things to avoid when drinking tea.
5. Have some nourishing herbal tea instead. Yogi Woman's Moon Cycle Herbal Tea contains many wonderful female tonics such as Dang Gui (Angelica) root extract, Chaste Tree berry extract, organic raspberry leaf, etc. It helps regulate menstrual cycles, ease PMS symptoms, and period pain. Check out the reviews.
My favorite is Nourish (Red Date, Goji Berry and Rose) tea. It's a traditional Chinese herbal tea that nourishes blood, promotes energy, balances mood and spirit, beautifies the skin, and delays aging. Check it out.
After Your Period – Nourish Your Blood
The optimal time to nourish your blood is within 1-5 days after you stop bleeding.
1. Eat some blood nourishing foods. Check out my list of simple blood nourishing foods.
2. Avoid sugary foods. Blood sugar fluctuation is one of the main causes of PMS symptoms. You can keep your blood sugar stable by avoiding sugary foods, such as soft drinks, candies, and cakes.
I have to admit I have a weakness for chocolates, and I don’t want to give up the pleasure of enjoying them. So I go with 70-80% dark chocolates and savor them in moderation.
3. Consume foods high in fiber, such as veggies, fruits and whole grains. Fiber can help move excess estrogen from your body, hence regulate your periods, reducing PMS and calming your mood.
4. In between meals have some healthy snacks rich in Vitamin B, such as walnuts and cashews.
5. Make sure you get sufficient proteins in your meals, such as salmon, organic meat, eggs, tofu, tempeh or beans.
6. Keep your meals regular to avoid blood sugar fluctuation and strengthen your digestion.
7. Avoid or reduce caffeine intake to avoid mood fluctuations, such as irritability or anxiety. Try herbal tea or green tea instead. They’re healthier and can be just as delightful. Check out my favorite herbal teas.
8. Consume calcium-rich foods such as organic milk and yogurt, sardines, dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, collard greens, fortified orange juice, and organic soybeans. I don’t drink milk much because it’s harder for me to digest. So I make fresh organic soymilk at home. It’s a delicious and healthy alternative.
Today is the first day of my cycle. I made a special chicken soup with Shiitake mushrooms, peanuts, cashews and Goji berries. It was so tasty – and nourishing!
When I treat my temple well, I can feel the goddess within me smiling and shining through. How about you?