GUYS. I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED FOR THIS PLANT BASED WOMAN FOCUSED GOLDEN MESSAGE I GET TO DELIVER TO YOU.
Not to mention, this is our first ever guest post! Scientist and friend, Autumn Saren, has been gracious enough to share some incredibly helpful, healthy, and holistic tips on managing the time of the month most of us dread. I’m going to let Autumn take it away, but I hope you learn as much as I did from reading this! MAKE SURE you check out the list of resources she gives at the end! As always, questions are welcome. Please feel free to join our Ranting Women group, where we’re sure to be discussing this further!
Hey lady-bodied folks and our loved ones! I would love to share a few minutes of time today to help you learn a little bit more about a holistic, plant-based approach to hormonal balance! My whole life, I have experienced pretty gnarly PMS/PMDD. My cramps leave me curled up on the floor, my hormones get my brain all sorts of imbalanced (from unbridled rage to some pretty dark ideation), and my bloating keeps me from wearing my jeans for a solid week. Until recently I have been relying on NSAIDS (like Ibuprofen), sweat pants, and hot water bottles for period relief, but after a bit of research and support from teachers and mentors, I have found a great way to combat my period and honor my body, mind, and spirit!
First of all, I needed to switch from a mentality of fixing ill-health after it happens to preventing it from happening in the first place. Many of our health problems are symptoms of imbalance in the following areas:
- Drinking enough water
- Joyful daily exercise
- Eating healthy food that supports our lifestyle (including herbal supplements)
- Maintaining a spiritual connection
- Cultivating real relationships (with ourselves AND others!)
I’m going to focus on nourishing ourselves and a little bit of relationship talk. 😉
Eating healthy is quite the blanket statement – especially since there is no such thing as a diet that is perfect for everyone. What I’ve found is most important is how the food makes me feel both immediately after I eat as well as hours afterward. If it makes me feel sluggish or gross, I don’t eat it! During my luteal phase of my period (the week prior to uterine shedding), I find myself craving chocolates, pasta, and salt. This is because my body is craving magnesium and Vitamin B6 – both of which are lower in women’s bodies during the luteal phase. To combat that, I eat lots of leafy greens, quinoa, avocado, a piece or two of dark chocolate, and I make my PMS smoothie (recipe below)!
I also drink lots of my “vitamin tea.” Either my cramp tea or the Yogi Women’s tea with drops of Nettle and Red Raspberry extracts (both very nourishing to the body and specifically the uterine-centered reproductive system!) sweetened with local raw honeyto keep my hormones balanced and cramps under control. Herbal infusions are an incredibly easy way to get lots of vitamins and nutrients quickly and with lots of comfort.
To cultivate my relationships with myself and others, I allow myself to rest. I am not good at this practice; I am constantly on the move. However, I have been teaching myself to slow down and breathe. The pace of everyday life leaves little room for taking a moment for yourself, so I like to think of it as a quiet act of rebellion. To rebel, I have picked up a meditation practice through a guided app, I take regular baths with essential oils, practice gentle yoga, and talk to the older ladies of my life (my mom and grandmother). I have also found a lot of emotional healing in finding folk music from where my ancestors were before coming to America. For me that was Slavic Hungary/Slovakia, so I found Laboratorium Pieśni . Their music cuts straight to my spirit, lifts me up, and grounds me. Recognizing the personal and social aspects of self-care as options to slow down and “rebel” is exactly what I need to round out my luteal phase practices.
Everything I know is from a patchwork group of women that have taken the time to put their gathered knowledge into words online or in books – for me the “Big Three” are
1) Rosemary Gladstar – an herbal teacher and practitioner with more than 35 years of experience. She is the director of the International Herb Symposium, the annual Women’s Herbal Conference, cofounder of Traditional Medicinal Tea Co., and founding president of the nonprofit United Plant Savers (she kinda knows a thing or two about plant allies).
2) Valerie Ann Worwood – a reflexologist and aromatherapist that runs her own clinic in Romford, England. She conducts research on aromatherapy and its effects on infertility and endometriosis, lectures all over the world, and consults multiple natural beauty and health clinics.
3) April Graham – She is one of the most transparent and knowledgeable herbalists on Instagram. She has quite the story and shares her ancestral herbal knowledge with the rest of us on both her Instagram and also her “Ask An Herbalist” portion of her website. She is the person that has most inspired me to dive in to slow herbalism and honoring my body through nourishment.
- Here’s a link to my favorite period yoga practice!
- My meditation app
- Some science behind Magnesium and B6 and their correlation with periods
- The soundtrack to my life when I’m feeling extra womanly
Thank you for taking time to learn together! I invite you to rebel with me, and to eat that piece of dark chocolate! 😉