That dreaded time of the month – whether we love it or hate it, it happens. To make matters worse, when we experience hormonal imbalance this can wreak havoc over our lives. In recent years, I’ve learnt to appreciate and embrace my monthly cycle. Huh? I simply stopped viewing it as a negative side effect of being a woman and welcomed it for all its flaws, appreciating how clever and complex a woman’s body actually is.
I know what you’re thinking – yeah right!
Sure, I to have been victim to those nasty cramps that keep you awake at night, the tedious headaches and hormonal skin flare ups…enough was enough.
Where to start, you’re wondering?
Well, for the first time in my life, I began tuning in and listening to my body.
What is it telling me? How can it flourish and thrive?
I wanted to educate myself about my body, my hormones, and how they interact. When we understand how our body works in accordance to our sex hormones, you will notice that change becomes more fascinating and sustained.
Dr. Libby Weaver, from Women’s Wellness Wisdom encapsulates perfectly my personal journey. Throughout her writing’s she refers to the theme of “feedback” (with reference to our monthly cycle), she says, “in an ideal world our cycle is supposed to just turn up once a month, no pain, no cramps, no mood swings”. Anything else, is just feedback – asking you to make changes with respect to how we eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe and perceive.
See, feedback is what you want to act on. This enlightened me, it made clear sense. In order to maintain my healthy 28-day cycle, I had to make positive changes towards my nutrition and my lifestyle, and here’s how.
1. Eliminating animal by-products
The dairy industry has had everyone fooled for a very long time. Turns out, consuming dairy does not do the female body any favors.
- Dairy creates inflammation within the intestines, which can hinder your fertility.
- By introducing artificial growth hormones (found naturally in Dairy), it can hinder your own estrogen production.
- Dairy contains antibiotics, this will negatively affect your microbiome and in turn prevent estrogen metabolism.
- Studies show that dairy depletes magnesium, throwing off your pituitary gland (responsible for releasing hormones into the bloodstream).
And add to that the fact that dairy comes from the suffering and reproductive abuse of other (bovine) females, it’s a no-brainer really.
2. The Liver – only excessive alcohol can cause damage, right?
I’m sure that you will agree with me when I say, we are a generation that is immersed in a culture of coffee drinkers and checking out the new local hang. Yet, for years I have been blissfully unaware of the detrimental effect coffee has on our liver health. Something Dr. Weaver would refer to as a “Liver Loader.”
Did you know, the liver packs a mighty punch, it is responsible for your vitality and hormone balance. In fact, the liver works overtime to eliminate old toxins, hormones and pesticides.
Remember, it is our lifestyle choices that determine how efficiently the liver is able to do its job.
So… I simply swapped out coffee for tea.
Supreme Matcha Green every day, twice a day. The little bags of goodness are packed with Sencha Green Whole Leaf Tea (34%), Oothu Green Whole Leaf Tea (32%), Suoi Gang Green Whole Leaf Tea (32%), Matcha Powder (2%) – I find drinking this first thing in the morning before eating breakfast kick starts my day the right way.
Throughout the day, instead of ordering a FW almond, I now opt for something a little less heavy on the hormones and kinder to my body. Planet Organic’s Cleanse tea aids to bring out that healthy glow from within, leaving me feeling alive, balanced and ready to take on the day. I also drink this tea around bedtime, just after my evening meal.
Last but certainly not least, in the buildup to my monthly cycle I indulge in Organic Womens’ Support tea – I can honestly say I have seen a massive improvement in my overall well-being. It contains two powerhouse ingredients that have shown to be effective in relieving PMS and increasing fertility. In fact, researchers are led to believe that Vitex Agnus-Castus (key ingredient) works by decreasing levels of Prolactin, a hormone released from the anterior pituitary gland, thus helps to balance other hormones including estrogen and progesterone, and in turn reducing those nasty PMS.
Secondly. Dong Quai is said to be “female Ginseng” of teas, it has the ability to balance and regulate hormone levels, increase sex drive, improve fertility and ease PMS. ]
3. Yoga – More stretching, Less stressing
Alas, one other thing that has really helped me along my journey is Yoga. I turn to yoga as a way to escape the rat race and reset and recharge. Exercise in whatever shape or form should be an integral part of your lifestyle, it is graciously designed to regulate hormones.
I very rarely attend classes due to time constraints, instead I use an app called Down Dog and it works a treat! This app is great, because it lets you select your entire program right down to the voice of the teacher and the music you want to listen to. Depending on the time of month and where I feel my headspace is at within that current point in time, I opt for a variation of workouts.
For example, if I have had a busy week with work commitments and I usually turn to a Quick Flow program that really allows me to de-stress. It moves my body in ways that I feel a lot of tension is released, and it also does wonders for my headspace.
However, in the buildup to my monthly cycle, around a week beforehand I like to take a little time to indulge in a Restorative practice. This for me, is a totally different workout, physically and mentally. It’s light on the body and really allows you to focus your breath on the areas that need it most.
Bottom line: Yoga is a dynamic hormone balancing god!
So as my journey continues, I hope that I have enlightened women to listen to their bodies, I hope to encourage women to educate themselves and most importantly, do what works for them. Ultimately, remember to embrace the body you’re in, as it is the most important thing you will ever own.
Do you have a PMS tip you swear by?
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