Ancient cultures revered a woman’s menstrual cycle. Women in some Native American tribes were seen as spiritually powerful during their periods and were called upon for advice and guidance. At Ancient Greek harvest festivals, menstrual blood was scattered on the Earth to encourage new growth. Sadly these practices have been lost, replaced largely with stereotypes of crabby women embittered by “that time of the month.” However, menstrual reverence is making a comeback, thanks to a new phenomenon.
In the book Woman Code, holistic health practitioner and hormone expert, Alisa Vitti explains how the modern day woman can essentially plan her life according to her cycle.
To some this may sound insane. Mostly because women these days aren’t taught to respect their cycles. In fact, many are encouraged to power through them or worse, control them with the use of prescriptions.
However, as any women will tell you, we don’t feel the same way every day of the month. Just ask any woman about PMS and you’ll see what I mean.
The benefit of Woman Code is that if you work with the natural rhythm of your body instead of against it, you can not only create better hormonal balance within the body but you can actually have a better life as you handle daily tasks.
Plan Your Workouts According to Your Cycle.
A woman’s menstrual cycle has four main phases: follicular (before you ovulate, after your period), ovulatory (during ovulation), luteal (before your period) and menstrual (your period). Most women really only know about the last two because our bodies make it so obvious.
One way in which we can work with our cycles is with our exercise routines. During the first half of a woman’s cycle, she has a lot more energy. This is the time to try Crossfit and group classes.
However, during the latter half of her cycle a woman starts to slow down and naturally has less energy. She’s also naturally more introspective as her body prepares for menses. Vitti suggests that this is the time to do something like yoga or walking. You can also use your menstrual days as your time to rest your body.
The cool part is that in following this schedule, you’re cross training your body naturally, which is what is needed for overall fitness.
Plan Your Business According to Your Cycle.
It turns out that a woman’s hormonal cycle is closely linked to what’s going on in her brain at that time. For example, when a woman is menstruating the right and left sides of her brain are communicating more than any other time of the month. This makes it a great time for creative projects.
According to Vitti’s research, certain times within your cycle are optimal for particular tasks and events. For instance your follicular phase is perfect for taking on big new projects, the ovulatory phase is great for meetings and negotiating, and the luteal phase is great for organization.
Plan Your Meals.
Most irritating symptoms of menstruation are caused by elevated estrogen levels in the body. Certain foods, however, when eaten at specific times of the month, can help your body to metabolize estrogen, regulating your period and easing discomfort. Each of these phases last about a week each.
Follicular Phase (before you ovulate, after your period)
Artichoke, broccoli, carrot, parsley, green peas, string beans and zucchini
Ovulatory Phase (when you’re ovulating)
Asparagus, brussels sprouts, chard, escarole, scallion, spinach
Luteal Phase (before you have your period)
Cauliflower, collard greens, daikon, onion, parsnip, radish, squash, sweet potato
Menstrual Phase (your period)
Beet, kale, kelp, mushrooms
If we learn to live according to the natural rhythms of our female bodies, we might be able to improve our quality of life. While it may be difficult to plan every aspect of our lives according to our cycles, even just a little bit can go a very long way in easing our hormonal imbalances.