The Three Best Foods For a Healthy Period
Only three? Ugh. I have, like, 15.
But my husband always tells me my blogs are too long. Therefore, I will attempt to keep this blog short. I make no promises, though.
Have you heard of Hippocrates? Integrative nutrition practitioners love this Father of Modern Medicine, for his lore is full of pithy sayings, including the following:
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
“Walking is man’s best medicine. ”
“As to diseases, make a habit of two things — to help, or at least, to do no harm.”
“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.”
“Everything in excess Is opposed by nature.”
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”
“All disease begins in the gut.” (source)
And my favorite:
“Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that make him sick.”
It’s not like I’m judging here. I’m in the same boat you are.
You like sugar. I like sugar.
You like wine. I like wine.
You like bread. I like bread.
What I have learned, however, is that these things don’t like me. Sugar makes me moody, fluffy, and guilty. Wine makes me puffy, craving-y, and irritable. Bread makes me yeasty, hurt-y, and flaky.
Do I want to have all three of these things in the same meal? Hell yeah I do! But the few times I have, the worse I feel. It’s not worth it to me anymore.
I’ll get this a lot: “I started eating the way you told me to eat (read: ancestral, whole foods) and then I ate a cupcake and now I feel like crap! What did you do to me?“
This is actually a true story. On my first Reset ever, my friend Heather called me after putting on a lovely pre-winter formal dinner for her high school aged daughter and 11 of her daughter’s closest friends.
“Jennie!”, she moaned. “I had to lay down on the couch last night after eating one cupcake. I’ve been doing the Reset for two weeks and I thought it would be fine if I had a cupcake. I didn’t even finish it all and I had to lay down on the couch because I felt so awful!” (Heather is a connoisseur of colorful language and threw a good bit of that into her tirade).
Uh-oh, thought First Reset Me. What is going on here? Did I mess my friend up because I suggested she eat more meat and vegetables?
But Ninth Reset Me knows better. When you eat great nutrition for a period of time, your body starts to see junk food for what it is- junk. It rejects the dyes, hydrogenated oils, processed white sugars, and trans fats.
When, in sessions, my clients report deviations from ancestral diets- I usually call this True Confessional Tuesday- they already have realized that the way they feel after eating modern, processed foods is so undesirable that they are ready to stick to a more nourishing diet on their own, with little prodding or prompting.
And this nourishing diet includes three particular foods that are very helpful in cultivating Better Periods.
Don’t be mad at me. I don’t make the rules. I just share them. If you are exclusively plant-based, I respect your choices and I love you but we might not be right for each other. It’s not you. It’s me. I just wholeheartedly believe that healthy hormones need meat.
Oh, you don’t speak nerd? I apologize. I’ll share the most important point here: in order to make any hormones at all- including progesterone and estrogen, both crucial for a healthy period- you need B vitamins and dietary fats.
Those come from meat.
Stressed? You need meat to make your stress hormones.
Libido-less? You need meat to make your testosterone.
Crampy, gushing, and clot-ty? You need meat to make your progesterone.
The nutrients from meat build a robust hormone cascade. If your period is weird and you don’t eat a lot of meat, consider adding one or two of the following recipes to your repertoire:
If you can’t digest meat well, you need help. Most women do. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. These are the enzymes I use, and the ones I recommend to my clients.
Once upon a time, I was reading research by contrarian hormone researcher Ray Peat and I came across his recommendation to eat raw carrots in order to reduce estrogen.
The fiber in carrots uniquely sweeps excess toxic estrogen out of the body, says Peat.
“The intestine is a potential source of reabsorbed estrogen, and a daily raw carrot (grated or shredded, with a little olive oil, vinegar, salt) helps to lower excess estrogen (and endotoxin produced by bacteria). While lowering estrogen, it is likely to lower cortisol and increase progesterone.” (source)
I am notorious for having at least one carrot on my person at most times.
Another true story: One time, Beau and I were weekending with a posh couple that we did not know very well and I’m sure I wanted to impress (Beau, bless him, not so much). I, of course, ate a carrot in my room before breakfast and dropped the end of the carrot in the bathroom trash can. Minutes later, the lady of the house came down the hallway, muttering to herself, “is there a horse in this house?!“
I was mortified.
But I keep eating carrots. And dropping carrot remains in the most inelegant trash cans.
And you should, too.
Here’s how to get Peat’s favorite veggie into your diet:
And it will help your period, too! #lowerestrogenraiseprogesterone
Lemon is a liver food. It’s bitter and pungent and your liver loves it. Since metabolism of estrogens happen in the liver, it’s wise to have good liver health. Lemon is a food that can help your liver, and therefore help promote healthy estrogen levels.
Unhealthy estrogen levels lead to Bad Periods.
Clotting, excessive bleeding, PMS, cramps, migraines, and acne are generally due to high levels of estrogen in the body. To help regulate estrogen levels and achieve Better Periods, you would be wise to add more lemon to your diet.
Here’s an easy way to do so:
Take as directed, up to 3x/ day, for estrogen regulation and period health.
I’m not going to tell you this tastes amazing, ’cause it doesn’t. In fact, here is some chatter about it on the current Reset:
But it works, and that is all that matters.
A component in lemon, limonene, is actually also protective against breast cancer. And citrus fruits like lemons are associated with the healthiest metabolization of estrogens possible (2-OH pathway).
You can make a pretty tasty day out of meat, lemons, and carrots. And your period will thank you. If you’re post-menopausal, this food list will help you, too (see reduction of breast cancer study above).
What do you think? Do you like these foods? No? Let me know- book a complementary Qualifying Call with me below.