So excited for all things food related, to optimize our cycles!
I started a new series last week called ‘Balancing Hormones’ and so far, I’ve seen nothing but positive feedback, which is amazing and makes sharing personal details worth it!
My goal is to increase awareness on this topic and get more ladies talking about it because only good things can come from it. Some of you were surprised overall and had no idea how delicate our endocrine systems are and how much of what we experience internally relates to our hormone health.
I felt the same in the beginning and was shocked at how little I knew about hormones and my cycle in general, or that I should even be paying attention to PMS symptoms in the first place?!! It makes sense that cramps, bloating and hormonal acne are cry-out signs from our bodies, but we are so conditioned to think these symptoms are normal and to be expected, which is far from the truth… and that’s exactly why we’re here.
There’s no better time than the present to learn and take it all in, so I hope we can continue on together, as we share our experiences with each other! Thank you for sharing your stories so far. I’m really trying to be an open book and it helps when you share what’s going on too, so I feel a little less weird LOL!
Balancing Hormones Part Two: Foods For Each Cycle Phase
The food component of the Flo Living method has taken me a while to grasp but I’m finally understanding the why’s and how’s of the protocol, and its fascinating!!
Since the pill depletes our bodies of micronutrients, it’s imperative we re-build our biochemistry and flood our systems with specific nutrients. There are different micronutrients we should focus on for each phase, a code per say, hence the title of Alisa’s book, Woman Code. Our bodies are predictable and simple, yet we tend to think and treat them otherwise.
What I love about eating for my cycle is having something to follow each week that is different from the last but most of all, I love feeding my body with essential micronutrients specific to each phase, mostly because it makes so much sense. When we eat the right foods at the right times, we provide our bodies with the necessary tools to function optimally.
Think of food as fuel. You can’t drive a car without fuel in the tank and your body works just the same. Without proper food, it won’t run how you want it to.
Food truly is the most powerful and effective medicine we have to heal and balance hormones naturally. With each meal, we are one step closer to less cramps and less mood swings!!! Yesterday was actually the first day I noticed myself in the luteal phase because my energy was low, I was in a bad mood for no reason, my boobs were SOOO sore and my focus was nowhere to be found. It was so obvious to me in that moment! In the past, I would have thought I just sucked at life and was having a bad day, but now that I know why I was experiencing those symptoms, I’m even more motivated to stick with the protocol.
I still experience these symptoms because I just started cycle syncing less than a month ago, and bringing the body back to balance takes time. Overall though, the purpose of eating for your cycle and ‘cycle syncing’ is for more than just hormone health. Your health as a whole will improve – sleep wise, skin wise, mood wise, energy wise, etc. and for the whole month! Everything is connected and once our bodies are fed to thrive, other areas of life will begin to thrive too.
***Obviously I can’t write or share every detail from the Woman Code book, so I highly suggest ordering it; you won’t regret it!
Where to begin?
The book dives deep into the diet aspect and the My Flo app guides you along the way throughout each month, so I’ll share what I’ve been doing and general tips or recommendations that I’ve gathered so far. ***Update: I finally released a ‘Hormone Healing Recipe & Lifestyle Plan’!!
Manage and Stabilize Your Blood Sugar:
This is the first step from Alisa and the most essential. It starts with what you do first thing in the morning and requires effort. Stabilizing your blood sugar doesn’t happen by chance. The absolute worst thing a woman can do is drink a cup of coffee first thing, on an empty stomach, which is exactly what I used to do except I drank a huge mason jar full of water first. The water part is great, the coffee part needed to go (more on what I replaced coffee with here). No skipping meals, either! Eating a protein-rich breakfast within 90 minutes of waking is crucial. My go-to breakfast lately is this Creamy Coconut Cauliflower Smoothie.
Keep your meals and snacks consistent and within 3 or so hours of each other. Also, read this article from Alisa on ‘Blood Sugar and Hormones’ for more insight! Even if you eat an apple for a snack, have a spoonful of almond butter with it. You don’t want your glucose to spike and drop and spike and drop, you want it to hover as close to a flatline as possible with little fluctuations throughout the day, so adding a fat like almond butter will help keep things balanced. Cinnamon really helps with balancing blood sugar too! I sprinkle it in smoothies, no-bake energy bites, on an apple (with nut butter ha!) and on any kind of sweet treat (like these 2-ingredient mini coconut butter cups).
Cycle Syncing with Food:
In Woman Code, there are food and cooking suggestions, based on micronutrient support and to ensure estrogen is being properly metabolized, detoxified and flushed out from the body. Start by planning meals around the recommended foods for each week. Consider what’s in season as well, to save money. This may require a big change from your current grocery shop and meal prep plan; just remember it will take time to fully grasp why certain foods are better for certain phases and why raw foods are better in the first half of the cycle, whereas cooked, lightly steamed and/or roasted foods are better in the second half. Your body and taste buds will eventually adjust!
Do you have to follow the recommended foods 100% of the time?
No, while the majority of foods should be phase-appropriate, just do the best you can. Prepare the recommended foods in a way that feels enjoyable to you. For example, if you don’t feel like turning on the oven to roast sweet potatoes in 100-degree weather, maybe grill or steam them instead; prepare the foods in a way that makes you happy!
What if you eat a food that’s meant for a different phase than your in?
No worries, it’s okay if a portion of food comes from a different phase, as long as the majority of food is specific to the phase your in! Being human and all, it’s impossible to stick to the recommended foods at all times, but try the best you can. Right now, I’m really trying to give it my all but I don’t follow the plan 100%. If I eat something on the protocol for the luteal phase but I’m in the follicular phase, nothing bad will happen, but my body might perform better with the proper recommended food, ya know?
**Notice there are meat and seafood recommendations… obviously I eat vegan and these suggestions don’t work for me, so I focus on the legumes section instead!
Follicular Phase Foods:
Focus on light, fresh and vibrant foods (& lots of avocado!) to feel energized. Think fermented veggies & sauerkraut, salads with lightly steamed or sautéed veggies, green lentils, sprouted nuts and seeds, citrus fruits, vinegar based dressings, olives, cashew butter, ground flax oatmeal, dairy-free yogurt, etc.
Ovulatory Phase Foods:
Fill up on light, fiber-filled foods. Especially raw veggies (when appropriate) or lightly steamed veggies (like asparagus, brussels sprouts etc). You naturally will have more energy during this phase, so easy on the carbs! Focus on lighter grains like quinoa, amaranth, red lentils and corn. Plenty of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds sprinkled on salads (and tahini!), figs, coconut, apricot, persimmons, raspberries and strawberries! If you want a fresh veggie juice, now is the time! In the blender (or juicer) add spinach, dandelion greens, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger.
Luteal Phase Foods:
Foods rich in B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium and fiber – all to help curb sugar cravings. Complex carbohydrates help prevent mood swings! Focus on brown rice, roasted or baked vegetables like cauliflower, parsnip, and radishes with onion and garlic. Lots of baked sweet potatoes and roasted squash. Fiber-rich apples (with sunflower seed butter!), pears, peaches, dates and raisins. Add fresh mint and spirulina to smoothies, drink peppermint tea and at night, drink my fave magnesium tea!
Menstrual Phase Foods:
Focus on low-glycemic, water-rich fruits and veggies, since your body is doing lots of internal work like eliminating the lining of your uterus!! It’s important to remineralize and restore the blood and kidneys with sea veggies and foods rich in iron and zinc. Think kidney beans, kale, kelp, mushrooms and beets (cook with sea salt!). Use cooking methods that feel good to you during this time, like warming and comforting miso soups, stir frys with liquid aminos and water chestnuts, brown rice and seaweed sushi rolls, etc. Smoothies with dark berries, kale and flax too! This Watermelon Cayenne Juice would be perfect too!
** It’s important to mention that this protocol is not a 1-month fix; this is a lifestyle for women; something we can choose to follow for as long as we feel necessary. After time, I think it becomes second nature and you’ll feel so in tune with your body that the protocol just feels right and makes the most sense.
Follow along on instagram and insta stories to see my day to day meals, recipes and what inspires me!
What do you guys think about the food chart and protocol? Are you planning to incorporate these phase-specific foods? Have you downloaded the My Flo tracker app yet?!
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!