Maybe I’m alone here when I say – I’m full of myths when it comes to what to eat when you have your period. I really thought my period is a green light for every food and drink that my body was craving.
Turns out… not the case at all! Shocking, I know!
Even more – your menstrual cycle is 4 weeks. And for every week there are specific things to eat more than others.
Nature’s Way Of Saying “Thou Shall Eat Healthily”
Maybe you already knew this, but honestly, this was the biggest shock to me. I thought I could just do everything and eat everything while on my period (which is the menstrual phase) because it’s just the hormones having their own little X Project in my body.
Turns out – I was worsening the situation by eating fat food (AKA comfort food) and all of Charlie’s Chocolate Factory as the dessert.
Go figure, right? I’m kidding, of course, I knew it wasn’t good for me, but I still thought that what I ate during the actual period part of the month would affect my body, not the rest of the month.
So without further ado, I hope you will find something new in my attempt to show what is good and bad for you during not only that time of the month, but for all of the month.
Also, what to eat instead if you’re craving something not-so-good-for-you.
Phases of Menstrual Cycle & What To Eat In Each
I said it once, I’ll say it again – just because we’re in our special time of the month doesn’t mean we can wear sweatpants, eat 3 boxes of sweet chocolate, French fries with a bottle of diet coke and still convince ourselves that it is comfortable.
Well, except for the sweatpants (or some good yoga pants) – those are comfortable.
But there’s more to just eating specific food for those 5-7 days of discomfort because there are 4 phases to your menstrual cycle. Each week needs something different.
And since we have an estimated 450 periods during our lifetime, it’s worth checking out what our body is craving.
The 4 phases are:
From your 1st menstruation day to 5th day.
This is the time when you can eat everything you crave…in a healthy way.
Meaning, you can eat healthy fats and vegetables.
Replace that Big Mac and large French fries with either a home-made burger or a not so quickly produced burger with salad.
Since you’re losing blood at this phase, it means you’re also losing iron, so you should eat:
- Red meat.
- Sweet potatoes.
- Vegetables like – spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and other leafy greens, pumpkin, carrots, beets.
- Fruits like – strawberries, blackberries, citrus, avocado.
For stomach pain you can try:
- Fish (e.g. salmon).
- Whole grains.
- Bananas (help with bloating and cramps).
On the note of what foods help with menstrual cramps: the biggest cure against cramps is physical activity – so, make a collection of your favorite songs and take a walk through the park.
For migraines try:
- Vegetable oils.
- Anything rich in Vitamin E.
Craving salty food?
Avoid salt as much as you can! It will cause more bloating. So try home-made French fries (which will probably have less salt than at McD) or unsalted popcorn, peanut butter.
Craving sweet food?
You shouldn’t torture yourself too much in this phase. But you also won’t feel too good if you go over the top with loads of sugar.
Don’t avoid them completely, rather combine them with something healthy.
For example, have a rice cake with Peanut Butter and a few slices of banana on top.
And of course, let’s not forget, DARK CHOCOLATE! <– also, don’t overdo it, it’s still chocolate!
For breakfast, I sometimes have 4 banana pancakes with ONE (yes, one little square) piece of dark chocolate so I have a little sauce-like-ingredient over my pancakes.
From your 1st menstruation day to 13th day.
This phase is pretty similar to the menstrual phase. But since you’re getting more and more estrogen at this phase, don’t forget to eat everything GREEN!
Especially cooked leafy greens will help re-mineralize your body.
The Cycle Diet has made a plan of what your menu for one day in the follicular phase could look like.
Day 14. Yes, one day only.
Long live the woman! BUT… it only lasts for a short while, so enjoy.
We feel energized, powerful and ready to take on anything that stands in our way of conquering the world! There’s a reason for that.
Estrogen is high, in this phase testosterone is also produced. The egg is mature and wants to find a companion (AKA sperm) to settle down with.
Since you have loooooooads of energy – work hard, play harder, work out the hardest.
When I say work out I mean – either hit the gym or go nuts on your hobbies. Like baking cakes? Make 7 cakes and sell them – you’re up for the challenge… well, your body is!
As for the food…
EAT FRESH, EAT RAW! In this phase eat raw vegetables and fruits – get those vitamins, girl!
Anything from broccoli, cauliflower, kale, green beans, etc. You get the idea.
From day 15 to 28.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This is where the saying “too good to be true” actually is true.
Basically, in this phase the egg didn’t find her Prince Charming, therefore it is lonely and sad.
So, hang in there, because it will let you know it is NOT happy.
So this is the part where you start noticing the (not) beloved PMS (AKA Pre-Menstrual Symptoms) – bloating, headache, cramps, back pain, fatigue and of course the mood swings.
3, 2, 1, Ready, Set….BEWARE OF THE CRAVINGS, WOMAN!
You will have cravings, and when you do – have pre-prepared home-made snacks with you.
Your body is tricking you – it doesn’t actually need the food for energy, rather just for the sake of chewing something.
When you really want to eat – more like starving – you will eat the first thing that pops into your eyes, and you will stick with it.
When you crave something you go back and forth about the choice of food.
Man, I’d give anything for a slice of chocolate fudge cake.
*5 seconds later*
OMG, I just remembered that slice of Pizza at that small pizza place downtown.
*5 seconds later*
I’d give my limb for a bag of Oreos, or Doritos.
Ever had this situation?
If so then that’s a craving! Do this instead:
|If you’re craving…||Instead, eat…|
|Cupcakes, candy, sugar in general|
|White flour bread|
|Burgers, French fries, Pizza, Sodas|
And that’s it, girls, those are the healthier options to go for. Especially during the Menstrual phase remember the healthier options above.
And remember a heating pad for cramps on your lower stomach can also help.
I hope you’re more educated on what your body is telling you it wants during specific phases of the menstrual cycle.
Personally, I try to stick to these tips on what to eat and drink on my period…. with the occasional chocolate with chunks of Oreos in it.