Letters from Katy · nutrition · Recipes

What to eat while on your period

Bloating, headaches, abdominal pain and fatigue are some of the many unpleasant symptoms that accompany the end of our monthly cycle.

While I am not a doctor, I am a woman who studies food and it’s affect on the body, and I’ve found that following an anti-inflammatory diet can be extremely helpful in eliminating most of the negative side effects of a woman’s monthly period.

First, a little science 🙂

The natural inflammation that comes at the end of our monthly cycle is a part of our body’s healing response, so it’s not a bad thing.  The symptoms, though, are not always fun and can be reduced (and in some cases, eliminated) by helping the healing process along.  And we do that through our diet.

My mentor and creator of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Dr. Andrew Weil, says:

“Learning how specific foods influence the inflammatory process is the best strategy for containing it and reducing long-term disease risks. The Anti Inflammatory Diet is a way of selecting and preparing anti-inflammatory foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body maintain optimum health.  Along with influencing inflammation, this natural anti-inflammatory diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids dietary fiber, and protective phytonutrients.” (read more from Dr. Weil here: www.DrWeil.com) and I’ve attached his Anti-inflammatory Diet Pyramid below:

anti inflammatory diet

For this article, I wanted to share the specific steps any woman can take during that week-long period in order to ease annoying, painful, or embarrassing period symptoms. And it’s all easily done through food!

When you are on your period:

  • Drink lots of pure water.  You can add fresh lemon juice to it to add an anti-inflammatory punch.
  • Avoid coffee, milk and dairy products, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, added sugars, and (as always!) avoid anything with artificial ingredients in it…like artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors.
  • Limit pasta, eggs, and poultry to 2 times this week.
  • Eat lots of raw and lightly cooked vegetables and raw fruits – I try to get one raw vegetable or fruit with each meal and snack.
  • Follow the Anti-inflammatory Diet Pyramid (shown above) 100% of the time (your period is only a few days 🙂 and your body will love you for it!)
  • Exercise every day.  Follow your normal routine – getting your heart pumping will help nutrients get delivered and chemicals be removed…so don’t skip your workouts if you can help it.
  • Supplement.  A whole-food multi-vitamin/mineral and a high-quality raw iron tablet are important, especially during our periods.  Here are the ones I take: supplements.

A helpful menu plan to follow:

Here is a free download of what I usually eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks while I’m on my period: Period Menu Meal Plan

Period Menu Meal Plan

This menu plan that can be used as a guide as you get started; just choose one of the breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack options and customize as you see fit (right click to save the image above, or download the free PDF here: Period Menu Meal Plan.)

You’ll notice the keys to the plan: fresh vegetable or fruit with every meal or snack, avoiding all from the “avoid” list above, etc.

And please don’t forget to supplement your diet with micro nutrients.  I can’t stress that enough, since your body’s ability to heal itself (ongoing!) truly depends on the nutrition you feed it every day and it’s hard to get it all in every day without a high-quality supplement.

My friend, it’s not always easy being a woman…and many months I’ve secretly wished my period would never come again!  But praise God, I’ve found SO much relief by following the diet plan shared on this blog, and it is my sincerest hope that it will be helpful to you too as your body takes you through your period this month.

XOXO – Katy

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