Lydia Pinkham marketed a vegetable compound that was supposed to alleviate menstrual and menopausal pains. The company was successful because the remedy was sold by a woman to women at a a time when females were considered childish and emotional to have much medical knowledge. Pinkham’s company produced this booklet (with the same title as Bernarr Mcfadden’s well-known magazine), c. 1900. It featured a female athlete flexing her muscles, and was emblematic of the positive and respectful attitude toward their customers.
Happy Crisp and Chilly Morning to Everyone!
Being a woman comes with many perks and many punches, but I would like to think that there are ample ways to align our body and our mind to reach a state of internal tranquility or at least try. What do I mean by this exactly? As superstitions do or do not align with science, there are some who believe that a woman’s menstrual cycle is connected with the moon. What action should we often have to keep in mind to flow more succinctly with the moon and its shifts? Answer: What we choose to eat.
Some things all women may or may not consider: ( I sometimes check a biorhythm calculator online for kicks.)
- menstrual cycle
- ovulation or fertile times
- behavior and view of the world
I’m a firm believer, as you could probably assume, that what you eat affects your mood and how you feel. Although changing something in your consumptions habits may not deliver results over night, if you stick to a ‘flush out’ routine, eventually your body will find balance. I would like to focus on some ways in which, as women, we can take matters into our own hands. With so many things out of our control, menstruation and its toils is one area where I feel women can appreciate having a sturdier grasp on their bodies’. Granted, what I’m about to discuss is not a cure-all for everyone, but embracing a cleaner diet and understanding its implications in how we feel is the first step to introducing change in the way products are marketing to women. Women are not commodities. Remember this.
- REST. Sometimes a couple of days or the day before your cycle begins, you may experience disruptions in your sleep, due to a drop in progesterone in your body. This hormone is highly involved in the amount of restful sleep a woman gets on a regular basis. If you’re of the age where you’re nearing or in the midst of menopause, you may notice even more troubles in the sleep department for the same reason, but exponentially multiplied. Progesterone is a key hormone for a healthy woman’s body, and some young women may struggle with this balance–if you think this is a concern for you, I suggest seeing a practitioner of your choice to talk about options. I digress. Essentially, rest for a woman’s body can do wonders for her blanket health, so the more restful sleep you attain in long stretches, the better off you’ll be. Think of it like hibernation. Our body needs plenty of time to heal itself both internally and externally, without us overworking it mentally or physically, or with digestion. Make sure you’re attaining as close to eight hours of sleep as possible, or the most solid block of sleep you can get. I’m of the opinion that regularity in our sleeping patterns draws an internal balance in our REM cycles that is much more inclined to ‘sound sleep’. So, whether you need your midday siesta or you are strictly a nighttime sleeper, make sure it’s routine, and truly restful.
- ACTIVITY. Coupled with rest, physical and mental activity is key to decreasing internal inflammation and strenuous muscle activity (key lipid compound = prostaglandins [responsible for muscle contraction and fluctuation]). Get those endorphins going by taking a brisk walk or a swift jog, or maybe even some sort of cardio workout, whatever your preference, fight the bad guys in your body naturally, with exercise. Also, toning your muscles is essential in keeping your bones strong initiating straight passage of calcium andvitaminK2 into your blood stream, key components in a healthy female body. Imbue yourself with knowledge to not leave any questions unanswered. This will help with restful sleep, and keep your mind spry.
- FLUIDS. The right kind of liquids in your body can make all the difference. Where to begin? I’d say, start off your day with some hot water (not too hot) and lemon, or a nice herbal tea. The warm water will flush through your body and will act as an internal relaxation tool. Understanding that common OTC drugs like Midol have a form of caffeine in them (caffeine is thought to relax smooth muscle tissue from excessive contraction–the common internal process to expel the uterine wall lining) you may ask yourself, momentarily, ‘what’s up with Rachel telling us to stray away from caffeine?’ Well, think of it this way, caffeine may potentially have the aforementioned effect, but at what cost? As previously mentioned, prostaglandins are a strong component in the muscle contraction during menstruation, but consider blood vessel constriction and that the intake of caffeine will hinder important blood vessel delivery to your uterus when it’s needed most due to caffeine consumption. I think one outweighs the other, I’ll let you make up your own mind. I know this may seem terribly upsetting to many people, but I say, for at least one to two days, caffeine is not your bodies’ friend. Other important liquids to intake, try the green smoothie, Kimberly Snyder has a great recipe. I also recommend the G.T. Kombucha, Hibiscus flavor. It is a lovely blend of probiotics to ease digestive upset, which is often correlated with menstrual cramping, and the chamomile acts as a mild tranquilizing agent in the body with a vitamin C kick from the orange peel–will act as a mild anti-inflammatory.
- FOOD. Rather than tell you what to avoid, which is really no fun at all, I’d like to hone in on those foods that are most nourishing for your blood and body. Also, see some of the liquids I mentioned above. Focus on complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes to boost fiber intake in your body and strain out those pesky cravings. Spices like coriander, turmeric, and fennel help to lower common PMS symptoms and help ease digestion. Digestion is often disrupted during menses. Stick to light foods, steamed or roasted. Again, the same practice in our body stands true. Don’t make your body work hard digesting food while it’s also working to cleanse your female organs as well. Do your body the favor of offering the gift of regularity, as well.
Some women see menstruation as a dastardly curse or some other terrible noun, but I see it as a harmonious reminder once a month that my body is or is not balanced internally. I know this may sound strange, but I think amongst its negative side-effects, being reminded monthly of your internal state is moderately refreshing. For those of you who never have or never will experience menstruation, there is still much for you to learn here. Like most of life, we are given tests and so is our body. If you’re able to cultivate a strong balance in your dietary habits in correlation to your behaviors, I’m sure you will find a self that is much more tranquil and at peace with the world around you. With every bite and ever gesture, be mindful of its outcome and you’ll nary stray from your path.
Please, let me know your thoughts, I would very much like to hear from you, and remember…bite responsibly.