There’s no one size fits all approach to diet and menstruation. Different foods react differently person to person. And it takes a little trial and error to find your sweet spot.
I started educating myself about nutrition my last year of college. I was having a lot of digestive issues, where I almost constantly had a stomach ache, that got worse after I ate, not to mention I would get quite bloated as well as only have a single bowel movement a week. Yeah, not good.
Through education as well as adding and subtracting different things from my diet I have found I feel my absolute best with a balanced diet of whole plant based foods. The less processed I eat, the better I feel.
Not only has this revolutionized how I feel, but also has shined through in my menstrual cycle as well.
I’m no where near perfect, and there are a million different ways to be “vegan” and unhealthy. And so I can tell you there’s a huge difference between a period where I focus on staying hydrated, avoiding sugar and processed foods and jam-packing my diet with as many fruits and veggies (mostly veggies) as possible, and a period where I’m eating processed foods, breads, pastas, sugars, etc.
My diet definitely changes with the seasons (as it should due to what plants are available and in season) but you can adapt a whole foods plant based diet to any season.
While we usually crave comfort food in the winter as well as on our periods there are so many incredible “healthy” options. I love to make giant batches of veggie soup in the winter. I try to limit my coffee intake around my period as well as the amount of sugar I'm consuming. We all hit a wall whether it’s cold and gloomy out, or if we’re going to be starting our periods. I do my best to listen to my body instead of forcing it through the day jacking myself up on coffee.
Avoiding sugar and grabbing something refreshing like some fruit as a snack is a great afternoon pick me up. Getting outside to run some errands or get a bit of exercise are other great options to get that pep back in your step for the rest of the day. But then there are those days (and I have at least one a month) where the only answer is a 30 - 60 minute nap (guilt free).
Obviously, if you work in a more traditional job a nap during the work day might be out of the question, but maybe a quick cat nap when you get home and before you start your evening activities is the solution for you. Or maybe it's staying in that evening and having a low key date with yourself on the couch.
You have to listen to your body around your period. Make sure you are eating enough, drinking enough and moving enough throughout the day.
Some of my favorite meal/snack options:
+ noodles and veggies
+ rice and veggies
+ a big, hefty salad (yes that’s a thing)
+ veggie soup
+ fruit like clementines or grapes
+ bagel with hummus
+ oatmeal (I'm currently burnt out on this but it's an option worth including)
+ smoothie (if it’s warm out or I’ve worked out)
+ chickpea toast/sandwich (avocados are gone for the winter, and this is the next best thing)
I say this all the time and I’ll say it again, pay attention to what you’re eating and how it makes you feel afterwords. Screw counting calories, if you’re focused on eating as many whole foods as you can, then there’s no worry about calories.
What are some of your favorite plant based meals for the colder season?
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