The video below was one that popped up on my radar a few days ago. It’s hilarious and it shouts at those who prefer to not hear about Aunt Flow. Our cycle is natural and unfortunately PMS is common. It may not be something we view as attractive in this society but it’s here, it’s the natural order of things and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Personally, any man who asked me to be “lady-like” rather than preach about my period is looking for a response quite like the one in this video!
All fabulousness and hilarity aside, this video has me asking how many women believe that periods are meant to be debilitatingly painful with “psycho PMS” and all? I wonder how many women know that it really doesn’t have to be that way.
There are many ways that we can decrease and maybe even eradicate our painful periods and PMS symptoms, from bloating, greasy carb cravings to cramps. There are foods that can make our symptoms worse and there are foods that can make it better. It’s all connected…
From a holistic standpoint, everything is connected. So why wouldn’t what we eat and what we do or experience (stress, drama etc) have a direct effect on what our menstrual cycle feels like.
I’d like to offer a few ways that you can simply and effectively change your period for the better. *Of course, if you have severe symptoms, see your health practitioner, it may not only be about diet.*
Magnesium has many benefits. It’s one of my favourite supplements as it relieves muscle aches and pains. During my lady-time I used to have muscle cramps at night which were so painful they would frequently wake me up. After eating chocolate, especially dark, good quality chocolate like the 4 ingredient Super Chocolate in the lead up to my cycle, or taking magnesium supplements throughout the month, my leg cramps disappeared.
Magnesium can also calm nerves (good for anxiety), can help you fall asleep and can even help digestion. One of magnesiums benefits is that it calms muscles. Too much though, and you will find yourself with an upset tummy, frequenting the bathroom with some very loose stools. There are many kinds of magnesium out there, I’ve found the best to be magnesium bisglycinate which is easy on the stomach and the most absorbable. Always do your research and find what works best for you. Epsom salts are also a great way to apply some self care and get some extra magnesium into the body. Soaking in heat soothes cramps too.
Dark Leafy Greens
I can not sing their praises enough! Filled with all kinds of nutrients that our bodies need, dark leafy greens provide all sorts of goodness for our bodies, especially the week before our cycle. Try increasing the amount of dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, swiss chard or collard greens or try members of the cruciferous family like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage, there are many benefits to eating this family of vegetables. Make sure they are cooked as according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) this is a time to keep warmth in the body. Raw foods take extra energy to digest and may increase energetic stagnation in the body and increase pain.
Red Raspberry Leaf
This herb is well known for aiding women in health. It is nutrient dense and rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, b-vitamins and potassium. All of the nutrients red raspberry leaf contains make it excellent for reproductive health. Red raspberry leaf is known for toning the uterine and pelvic muscles. Raspberry leaf comes from the leaves of the Red raspberry bush and is used in tea. You can buy the herb loose (or grow it yourself) and make tea, purchase a tincture (always read the label), or capsules. This is a great article by Wellness Mama on Red raspberry leaf.
Involving movement in your every day life is essential to health for so many reasons but two of them are beneficial to lowering cramps. Exercise increases blood circulation which can help to ease cramps, it also decreases stress and stress is something that can make cramps and menstrual pain worse. Keep in mind that I say movement rather than exercise, this is because you don’t necessarily have to jump on a treadmill every day. I mean, who wants to do anything rigorous while it’s their lady time anyway? By movement I mean light yoga, tai chi or qi gong. Maybe go for a walk, that’s helped me at times.
I say this because our bodies are incredibly busy as we release during our lady-time. If you can, allow yourself the time to rest. Curl up on the sofa with a hot water bottle, go to sleep early after having an epsom salt bath, put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow to help you get restful sleep. It’ll help your body with the symptoms and you won’t feel so tired. Sleep has many many benefits, in fact, it’s important to get regular sleep. During our lady-time, it’s important to give ourself some down time.
We live in a society that is go, go, go. It’s linear and very masculine. Women, although very capable of pushing through and being linear, are naturally cyclic. Our bodies, our cycles, life’s cycles. Listening to our bodies during these cycles can help us to navigate through them. If your body needs to rest, then rest. Apply self care, take the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate, get some extra sleep. Our bodies are busy during this time, it’s ok to take time for yourself and rest.
Want to know more? What foods make our period and PMS symptoms worse? What to know more foods and practices that will decrease your symptoms? Join us for the Womb Wellness 101 Workshop this Sunday, November 20th in Toronto. Come and celebrate your cycle in an afternoon of empowering and informative fun filled connection! More details? Click here.
Looking for a hands on approach? Reiki has also been known to help minimize period pain, PMS symptoms and cramping. Reiki is the application of life force energy through the practitioner’s hands, life force energy or “ki” increases the body’s innate ability to heal itself. To read more about Reiki and how it may help you on your healing journey, click here. You may also connect with me to schedule a Reiki session.
Sending so much love and light your way!