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Best Lifestyle Practices - Four Stages of the Menstrual Cycle

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Supporting your well-being through the four stages of your menstrual cycle.

Life happens. We understand the value of routine, but sometimes, routines need to be adjusted a little bit for maximum benefit. This is especially the case when it comes to understanding your menstrual cycle and making sure you are doing what is best for your body for maximum output in daily life. Not too many people enjoy the feeling of exhaustion, bloat, or pains that come with PMS.

Inspired by the drive to help women live comfortably with their menstrual cycles, Heather Lovato launched her company, Rhythm, a holistic approach to sustainable menstrual care. Emily Brown (EB) is Rhythm's nutrition practitioner and hormones and epigenetics expert, and Tanya Ambrose (TA) is Rhythm's health specialist and doula. Together they have teamed up to give you their top tips on how to make the most of your monthly cycle by making specific lifestyle changes based on which of the 4 phases of menstruation you are in. See below: Menstrual phase (From Day 1 to 5)

  • Nutrition:During this phase, your hormonal levels are at their lowest. This is the time to eat lots of protein and healthy fats - doing this will help your hormone production.” - TA

  • Exercise: “Slow it down. Take it outside for a long quiet walk, then stretch it out and focus on restorative, gentle movements throughout the day.” - TA

  • Mindfulness Practice: “Allow your brain to rest and reflect. Set intentions and go inward. Ask yourself, what would inspire my 5-year-old self? Do that.” - EB

Follicular phase (From Day 5 to 13)

  • Nutrition: “Our digestive abilities can change based on hormones; therefore, it’s great to get in raw foods during this phase. A green protein smoothie bowl for breakfast or a quick Asian stir fry with broccoli and bok choy for dinner is great.” - EB

  • Exercise: “Biking, running, dancing, hiking, jumping rope. This phase is when you start getting your energy back, so this is where you can get your energy flowing by doing some cardio and making it fun.” - TA

  • Mindfulness Practice: “Read or listen to something during this time. Prepare your brain for newness. This is also a good time to get creative and set your intentions.” - TA

Ovulation phase (Day 14)

  • Nutrition:Although your energy level will be high during this time, now is the time to consume lots of fiber, as this will help with the excess hormones. Red bell peppers, brussels sprouts, eggplant, okra, spinach, and tomato—fruits such as apricot, strawberry, raspberry, and guava.” - TA

  • Exercise:Leave it all on the field! We’re at the top of our energetic abilities here, so explore the high-intensity classes, peloton, or plyometrics that make you sweat!” - EB

  • Mindfulness Practice: “We can explore our communication abilities here, work on relationships with others and ask yourself who can you reach out to that would benefit from a deeper connection (work life or love life)?” - TA

Luteal phase (From Day 15 to 28)

  • Nutrition:Here we want to be eating easily digestible foods (precooked through slow cooking) as our bodies are going through higher demand expelling hormones and blood. Get your slow cooker or roasting pans out for easy roasted sheet meals like pork and buffalo cauliflower for dinner or a quick and easy veggie egg frittata for breakfast.” - EB

  • Exercise:Start to calm the intensity and impact by increasing weights and resistance with pilates or at-home free weighted workouts. Our hormones dip here, so we need to honor that; otherwise, you give more than you have” - EB

  • Mindfulness Practice:This is an excellent time to release the things that no longer serve you. This is when you will need to take more time for yourself and do what feels right for you, that could be binge-watching your favorite TV show, reading a book, or even taking a walk in nature.” - TA

About Emily Brown Emily Brown is the founder of the Genetic Garden; she’s an integrative and functional nutrition practitioner, epigenetics expert, and Pilates pro, as quoted in goop! She developed the Genetic Garden program based on the fact that every human body is unique, and in order to achieve results, we must understand the whole picture - food sensitivities, energy levels, sleep habits, stress levels, hormones, exercise, and of course, DNA. Her approach is client-centric, collaborative and takes each unique personality into consideration when working with clients. She holds them accountable while providing tools and resources so they may take control of their health. Emily aims to change the way modern society understands their body and takes preventative measures to live long, vibrant lives.

About Tanya Ambrose Tanya Ambrose is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, and Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health specialist. She is passionate about bridging gaps to reduce disparities in low-income areas. She and her team aim to end the stigma related to periods by providing menstrual products, health education, and ensuring that every menstruator has adequate access to menstrual products. Her organization, Scrub Life Cares, is dedicated to serving women and youths in underserved communities by promoting Health & Education. Part of their mission is to execute a diversity of programs to help enhance the educational experience of our youths and women, provide counseling, and help to develop critical life and social skills for success after high school.

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