Alisa Vitti is a holistic health coach that argues for regulating hormones through adjusting our lifestyle to suit each phase of the cycle. From the foods we are eating to the activity and exercise we participate in. All these things can influence our physical health, mental wellbeing and overall vitality.
Her book Woman Code, first published in 2013, is often touted as the holy grail in women’s health. Specifically, understand our cycles and the practical measures you can adopt to ensure your period is as unobtrusive as possible.
That being said, getting to know your body can be a long process. Especially for those coming off a synthetic contraceptive. So here we have rounded up the “quick starts” from Vitti’s Instagram to help get you started.
You are what you eat:
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Quick Start 1: Rotate your veggies. Veggies help get your body the micronutrients it needs, supporting optimal hormone production for your biological systems.
- Follicular: Artichoke, broccoli, carrot, green peas, zucchini
- Ovulatory: Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, chard,, spinach
- Luteal: Cauliflower, collard greens, onion, radish, squash, sweet potato
- Menstrual: Beet, kale, kelp, mushrooms
Quick Start 2: Sync when PMS strikes. Add more complex carbs—think sweet potatoes, brown rice, chickpeas, and apples—to your diet on the days when PMS usually hits, and see how you feel. Do you feel happier? Do your headaches disappear? Are you sleeping better?
Quick Start 3: Sync to curb cramps. If cramps are your main period problem, focus on changing the fats you eat during the menstrual phase. For example, foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild salmon, are beneficial for combating period cramps.
Quick Start 4: Sync your cooking methods.
- Follicular: steaming, sautéing
- Ovulatory: raw foods, salads, juices, smoothies, steaming, poaching
- Luteal: roasting, baking
- Menstrual: soups and stews
An intro to Seed Cycling:
Quick Start 5: Try seed cycling.
- First half of cycle: Consume one tablespoon each per day of flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds. Flaxseeds help reduce excess estrogen and pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which supports progesterone production in the luteal phase.
- Second half of cycle: Switch to one tablespoon each per day of sesame and sunflower seeds. Sesame seeds help excess estrogen, while their high zinc content promotes progesterone production. The selenium in sunflower seeds supports liver detoxification and their vitamin E supports healthy progesterone levels.
It’s a fine line between pleasure and pain:
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Satisfying sex may also help alleviate two of the most common PMS problems—headaches and cramps. The next time you have either, you may want to skip the ibuprofen and instead enjoy sexual pleasure. Many studies have found that sexual arousal, genital stimulation, and orgasms boost levels of endorphin and corticosteroids that have an analgesic effect.