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Align with “Aunt Flo” to Make Your Cycle Work FOR You {Women’s Wellness GUEST Series}

Time to align your cycle with your food and lifestyle, ladies! 

Align with yoru cycle

This post is from guest writer Lori Valentine Rose, PhD, CNP, BCHN, FDN-P, RH (AHG), NBC-HWC of Lori Rose Holistic

You made it ladies!! This is it!!! After doing all of the hard work:

  1. The mitochondria are supported
  2. Our blood sugar is balanced
  3. Your adrenal glands are regulated
  4. Maximize your liver health and drainage pathways of elimination

We finally get to align our lives with our monthly cycles! This concept was taught to me by health coach Alisa Vitti’s book Woman Code (found on Amazon), and it pretty much changed my whole outlook on being a woman and having a weekly-changing cycle of hormones.

She teaches that through our cycles each month, our bodies experience hormone changes that give us what I call different woman super powers each week, and if we align our food and activity choices with those hormonal super powers then we can harness the gifts that we as women were given but haven’t been taught (at least not in this country).

I have of course amended her program to include my holistic nutrition and herbalism knowledge as well. Get ready to get your socks knocked off!

Note from Katie: Remember that each of the 4 steps above are meant to take a month or more each, so save these posts and print the printables so you can work through hormone balancing at the proper pace. If you have cycles you can follow at least, this information in today’s post about scheduling your life to fit with your cycle AMAZED me!

You are about to learn food, lifestyle, and herbal recipes that will allow you to align with your weekly cycle as opposed to fighting and lamenting it.

Of course we won’t be able to align every lifestyle choice with our internal hormone system, but the more we get aligned with our body, the less stress our minds and souls will feel and the more we can use our super powers for good (instead of PMS hate-filled evil).

Period Phases and What to Eat

Your cycle is around 28 days from the first day of your period back around to the first day of your period the next month (many women have different length cycles though). Tracking your cycle for one month will help you figure out when to implement each protocol below to harness your super woman powers.

In my house, I then write out the next month of cycle phases on the calendar so I know when to schedule what for the upcoming week and month:

Menstruation: 3-7 days

Fit Your Lifestyle to Your Monthly Cycle

(Your next menstrual cycle should be around 28 days from the first day of this cycle. You can track out the predicted next month based on the cycle lengths below).

Hormonally, your progesterone drops, estrogen peaks then drops, and you are losing the lining of your uterus. In your body, your feminine super power this week is that communication between right and left hemisphere is most powerful.

Because of these hormones and body situations, your aligned food, exercise, and lifestyle looks like:

  • Foods that replenish lost nutrients, high in iron:
    • Meat and seafood
    • Peas
    • String beans
    • Greens – spinach, beet greens, collards, kale, and chard
    • Watermelon
    • Figs
    • Dried fruits – apricots, prunes, dates, and raisins
    • Peaches
    • Molasses
    • Lentils and beans
    • Tomatoes
    • Parsley
    • Sea veggies like sushi wraps
    • Beets
    • Mushrooms
  • Low-glycemic foods – avoid those complex carbs or use wild rice this week.
  • High water foods to replace fluids – water chestnut, blackberry, blueberry, grape, cranberry.
  • Fermented foods – miso, tamari, and soup and stew preparations for that warm comfy feeling this week.
  • Exercise
    • Include rest or gentle yoga during first half of the cycle, increasing activity based on listening to your body during second half.
  • Lifestyle and self-care choices
    • Include meditation, self-analysis, self-reflection, and journaling (don’t implement these inspirations until next two energy-filled phases).
Nourishing iron-high herbal infusion

  1. 1 ounce of total herbs (one part each of raspberry leaf, nettle, burdock, mullein, and rose hips).
  2. Steep in 1 quart of water, covered, 8 hour or overnight.
  3. Strain your mixture the next day and drink all day.

Find these herbs with affordable prices HERE.

Pay attention to ideas that keep showing up each month during this phase. This is your intuition!

Recipes to enjoy this week:

Follicular phase, the 7-10 days after menstruation is finished

running woman

Your hormone levels are the lowest in the follicular phase, so your energy levels will be high and your moods will be stable.

Thanks to this week’s unique hormone levels, your feminine super power is to form new neural connections more easily.

Your aligned food, exercise, and lifestyle look like:

  • Foods to support ovulation, like an avocado a day.
  • Eat foods for nervous system support:
    • Quercetin
      • Apples
      • Red onions and soup made with red onion peels.
      • Peppers
      • Blueberries
      • Black grapes
      • Buckwheat
      • Capers
      • Cacao
      • Butter head lettuce
    • Potassium
      • Greens – beet greens, swiss chard, spinach, bok choy, kale, and turnip greens
      • Broccoli
      • Cantaloupe
      • Tomatoes
      • Asparagus
      • Cabbage and brussel sprouts
      • Carrots
      • Fennel
      • Summer squash
      • Mushrooms
      • Celery
 Herbal nourishing infusion:

  1. 1 part each of red clover, rose hips, nettle, oatstraw, alfalfa, hawthorn berry and/or leaf.
  2. Steep in 1 quart of water, covered, 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Strain your mixture the next day and drink all day.

Find these herbs with affordable prices HERE.

  • Sodium
  • Lecithin – eggs
  • Omega-3
  • B6
    • Bell peppers
    • Garlic
    • Cauliflower
  • Amino acids
    • Meat
    • Nut and seeds
  • Anti-oxidants
    • Sour fruit – grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, plum, pomegranate, sour cherry and lychee.
    • Rose hips
    • Lots of herbs and spices
  • Energy-sustaining grains
    • Oats, cooked with light cooking methods (steam or saute)
  • Exercise
    • Outgoing, high physical energy, including new challenges and routines that you have always wanted to try.
  • Lifestyle and self-care choices
    • Include creativity, new beginnings, exploring curiosities, mental challenges, brainstorming, goal setting, and mapping out plans are tasks aligned with your cycle this week.

Ovulation, 3-4 days

Talking Woman

You might feel small cramps as your egg releases, or see some clear discharge. Sharp rises in FSH, LH, and testosterone hormones make you the most fertile.

Your feminine super powers this week is superb communication skills and having the highest energy levels of the month.

To figure out when you have switched to the ovulatory phase, take your temperature with a basal body thermometer first thing in the morning after at least 3-5 hours of sleep and before you get out of bed, talk, or get up.

Your temperature will reach its lowest point during ovulation, and then spike (about ½ a degree) once ovulation has occurred. Or you may start getting some clear discharge or even a little pain in your as you release your egg.

Katie’s note: We who use NFP to understand our cycles and avoid or achieve pregnancy hopefully know this, but a little reminder never hurts! If you’re interested in the natural way to follow your cycles (especially if you can’t wait to ditch the side effects of birth control) check out the Couple to Couple League or find a local Creighton Method or Billings Method teacher. Learn the differences in the 3 methods of Natural Family Planning in this great panel discussion.

Based off this week’s unique hormone levels and super powers, your aligned food, exercise, and lifestyle looks like:

  • Foods that support drainage pathways for estrogen excretion
    • Glutathione support
      • Carrots
      • Broccoli
      • Avocado
      • Spinach
      • Apple
      • Asparagus
      • Melon
    • Fiber – lots of fruits and veggies
      • Artichokes
      • Asparagus
      • Bell pepper
      • Brussel sprouts
      • Greens – swiss chard and spinach
      • Herbs – chicory, chive, and dandelion
      • Eggplant
      • Endive
      • Escarole
      • Okra
      • Scallion
      • Tomato
      • Apricot
      • Cantaloupe
      • Coconut
      • Fig
      • Guava
      • Persimmon
      • Raspberry
      • Strawberry
      • Red lentil
      • Almond, pecan, and pistachio
      • Dark chocolate.
  • Vascular and anti-oxidant support for egg production
    • Vitamin A, C, E, and bioflavonoids
    • Orange, yellow, and white fruits and veggies
    • Hawthorn, arjuna, hibiscus, and rose hips
Nourishing herbal infusion high in antioxidants:

  1. One part each of hawthorn berry and/or leaf or arjuna, rose hips, linden, alfalfa, violet, and nettle.
  2. 1 TB each of hibiscus, peppermint, elderberry, and/or cranberry.
  3. 1 tsp each of any anti-oxidant spices like cinnamon, clove, ginger, vanilla, etc.
  4. Steep in 1 quart of water, covered, 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Strain your mixture the next day and drink all day.

Find these herbs with affordable prices HERE.

  • Energy-supporting light, gluten-free grains
    • Amaranth
    • Organic corn (oh yay, chips from Costco!) 😉 <–Katie’s kibitzing if you couldn’t tell
    •  Quinoa
  • Exercise
    • Include high-impact group workouts like boot camp or other group classes (which would not be aligned with your low energy menstrual or luteal phases).
  • Lifestyle and self-care choices
    • Include community connections, important conversations, tough meetings due to heightened communication skills (both voicing your opinion and listening to others’), and fun dates!
 

Want to download and print all our women’s health support lists?

We have printable resources for:

  • how to align with your monthly cycle
  • best foods to balance your blood sugar
  • increase energy by supporting your mitochondria and balancing your hormones
  • support your adrenals
  • how to gently detox your liver

We’ll send all these resources to you right away so you can achieve better health and well-being!

Luteal phase: 10-14 days

A to do list for your cycle

The is the longest phase, and the phase with the most PMS symptoms if your body is out of balance. This is where pain, break outs, cravings, and mood swings will occur if we haven’t focused on the first 4 steps of hormone regulation.

If we are out of balance, we won’t be able to harness our feminine super powers, especially during this almost two-week phase. In this phase, progesterone and estrogen increase in the first half, making us feel very positive, energized, and have lots of stamina.

In the second half, progesterone starts to decrease, which decreases energy, stamina, and nutrients. If we aren’t supporting this nutrient loss, cravings and PMS symptoms will probably occur. (This is when we eat lots more chocolate and wear yoga pants? Katie jokes…)

Your feminine superpower these two weeks is magnificent attention to detail.

Your aligned food, exercise, and lifestyle look like:

  • Replacing lots of nutrients as well as focusing on drainage pathways to excrete excess hormones
    • B-vitamins
    • Calcium
    • Magnesium
    • Fiber
      • Cabbage
      • Cauliflower
      • Celery
      • Greens – collard, mustard greens
      • Cucumber
      • Daikon,
      • Garlic, leek and onion
      • Ginger
      • Parsnip
      • Pumpkin and squash
      • Radish
      • Sweet potato
      • Watercress
      • Apple
      • Pear
    • Drainage supporting nutrients
      • Spirulina and Chlorella
      • Other Phase I and II activators
      • Great liver foods
        • Artichoke
        • Asparagus
        • Jicama
        • Radish
        • Burdock
        • Beets
        • Carrots
        • Horseradish, black pepper and
        • Turmeric, dandelion, parsley, and cilantro
        • Leeks, garlic and onion
        • Turnips, parsnip, rutabaga, and yucca root
    • Plenty of complex carbs – to support anabolic building of uterine lining (i.e. brown rice, roasted root veggies).
    • Exercise
      • Slow down on intense workouts (during final five days) to focus internally with 30-minute maximum exercises like slow, restorative yoga.
        • If you have ever tried to do your boot camp or group classes during this phase, you know how out of alignment that feels!
    • Lifestyle and self-care
      • Slow down social engagements to focus on awareness, attention to detail, and comfort.
Nourishing herbal infusion that supports drainage and magnesium and calcium levels:

  1. 2 parts burdock and/or dandelion root
  2. 1 part each of raspberry leaf, nettle, oatstraw, linden, violet, mullein, dandelion leaf, alfalfa.
  3. 2 TB marshmallow
  4. 1 TB peppermint, chamomile, and skullcap.
  5. Steep in 1 quart of water, covered, 8 hours or overnight.
  6. Strain your mixture the next day and drink all day

Find these herbs with affordable prices HERE.

Alisa Vitti says this is the “phase of completion”, so planning time in your calendar for this phase to complete deadlines and finish up projects will be much easier. Completing procrastinated domestic chores (because they weren’t in alignment, man!), organizing, nesting, administrative duties, and self-care, including drainage self-care methods from the last step.

Need some help balancing your hormones so you can have glowing skin, deeper sleep, and healthy digestion? Get into this course by my friends at mindbodygreen and start your journey to balanced hormones today!

Moving Forward…Harnessing your Magic

That’s it! Now you know your weekly superpowers if you have balanced your hormones and set yourself up to harness your feminine magic.

A good idea is to have a weekly shopping and to-do list that matches the hormone stage you are in the upcoming week. The great news is while this will all be new the first month, you get to re-use everything in the upcoming months because your cycle just keeps repeating!

Katie here! Harnessing my magic has been a goal of mine and using Lori’s tips I truly have seen a change.

But it can feel like one more thing to keep track of on top of the million other things we as women are juggling. That is why I made a simple printable to keep it simple and doable! Check out how I’ve easily incorporated all of this into my everyday life.

Later I met Renae Fieck and learned how to further incorporate this into my work schedule. If you are one who loves additional support, you’ve got to check out her stuff. You can get her Cycle Syncing secrets here. And a few times a year she runs an awesome free training that everyone can benefit from!

But even the most hormonally balanced woman can live out of alignment if she is trying to force herself to use the wrong superpower in the wrong phase.

  • High energy group situations just won’t work as gracefully in the luteal and menstrual phases.
  • Demanding projects and deadlines won’t come as easily in the follicular and ovulatory phases.
  • Trying new things won’t ever be as easy as they are in the follicular phase.
What steps can you take to start aligning your food, exercise, and lifestyle with your biologically gifted superpower phases?

Hint: Don’t think about that until your menstrual phase, when your intuition is strongest.

Wait to implement them until your follicular phase, when your openness to newness is strongest.

Tell people about it during your ovulatory phase, when your communication and social skills are at their peak.

And don’t feel bad if you don’t finish up that to-do list until your luteal phase, when your powers of completion are working their magic!

Find all the Women’s Wellness Series posts HERE

Lori Valentine Rose, PhD, is a college biology and nutrition instructor, board certified nutrition professional and holistic nutrition consultant, and clinical herbalist.NANP Member - Lori Rose, Women's Wellness SeriesLori Valentine Rose, PhD, CNP, BCHN, FDN-P, RH (AHG), NBC-HWC is a college biology and nutrition instructor, board certified nutrition professional and holistic nutrition consultant, clinical herbalist, wife, mother, organic vegetable, fruit, and medicinal herb gardener, school garden planter, city class teacher, and passionate Zumba dancer! She loves spreading love and light, and helping others feel awesome on the inside and out so they can live their dreams and make this world more awesome! Lori Rose Holistic does not replace medical advice or working with your doctor, and she does not diagnose, treat, or cure disease. Her goal is to educate, and any actions you take are voluntary and of your own free will. Check out her blog or follow her on Facebook to learn more about holistic ways to support your body’s healing from chronic health issues! You can also take her FREE Simple Healthy Choices Course to learn simple steps that have a huge impact on your health!

LET’S GET YOU FEELING AWESOME SO YOU CAN DO AWESOME!!!

NANP Member - Lori Rose, Women's Wellness Series

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

18 thoughts on “Align with “Aunt Flo” to Make Your Cycle Work FOR You {Women’s Wellness GUEST Series}”

  1. In blood sugar regulation part you said no grain and no seed but in above list there are seed and grain so should we eat seed or no?

    1. Lori Rose Holistic

      Super good question. So, if your blood sugar is out of balance, it is important to minimize starch/grains while you are getting things back under control (you can always have nuts/seeds pending you don’t have a personal food allergy to them). But, once things are balanced you will be able to handle more grains. How much grains each person can handle is completely personal, and you will have to experiment to see how your body reacts. Some signs that you have had too many grains is lethargy after eating or within 2 hours of eating (a sugar crash type thing). Some people still can’t handle grains (like me), but some people can. It just depends upon personal metabolism, food allergies, etc.

  2. I found this article very fascinating! I have been working on the other four steps, and now I’ve started following this guide. Ladies, the results are AMAZING! This stuff really works. After years of irregular periods, painful PMS, and extremely heavy periods, I’ve had regular cycles for several months. Not only that, but they are less painful and lighter than they EVER have been. I’m so thankful that PMS symptoms aren’t just Eve’s curse 😉

    My question is, are there any more resources such as these? I’m all for all the info I can get!

    1. Lori Rose Holistic

      Oh, that is so amazing!!! I am so super happy the program helped you out so much!

      So, this post was based upon Alisa Vitti’s FloLiving program. She has a book, The Woman Code, which I recommend, and her FloLiving blog is FULL of incredible info. She also has several group programs through FloLiving that you can sign up for. She is super awesome. =)

  3. I have a clarification question about your herbal tea recipes…for some of them, you list “1 part” of several herbs, then follow it up with a more specific amount for other herbs, such as 1 or 2 Tbsp. Could you explain how to adjust that measurement to go along with how many “parts” I blend? Thank you!

    1. Lori Rose Holistic

      Great question!

      So, when I say “part” you get to decide what “part” means depending on how much you want to make. You could make part = 1 cup, then 2 parts = 2 cups, 1/2 part = 1/2 cup, etc. Or “part” could = 1 TB, and 2 parts would be 2 TB etc. “Part” could even = 1 quart, 2 parts = 2 quarts, 1/2 part = 1/2 quart. This allows flexibility with the recipe to make it in huge quantities or smaller quantities.

      I tend to make tons at a time and store it in mason jars in a cabinet. =) Then, once I have the recipe mixed up, I use 1 oz of the mix in 1 quart of just-boiled water steeped over night covered. =)

      For the ingredients in the recipe where I gave measurements in TB or tsp, that is because you need much less of those ingredients, so I add those specific amounts PER QUART.

  4. Thanks, this is great info! I’ve been looking forward to this installment since the series began.

    Any suggested resources for investigating when your monthly cycle doesn’t seem to follow these patterns, particularly as your cycle returns while breastfeeding or other major hormonal changes?

    Since my cycle has been returning, my ovulation phase is horrendous! Significant cramps and an absolute lack of motivation to do anything except lay in bed all day…it feels the exact opposite of what you described, and I’d love to change that bc it’s by far the worst part of my month right now! The symptoms all go away in the Luteal Phase and I feel great and well-balanced again.

    Everything else sounds fairly accurate throughout my cycle, though, which makes me wonder what’s currently up with my hormones that might only effect that stage…

    1. Lori Rose Holistic

      For that, I would start with Step 1 of the series and work through each step to balance your hormones. These super powers only show up when our hormones are balanced. =)

      1. Ack, I should have guessed that would be the answer! ???? I suppose that I “feel like” I’m doing pretty good already with the prior steps, but clearly I’m not doing as well as I thought…time to revisit them! Thanks!

    1. Lori Rose Holistic

      Yes, that is a different, very specific stage in our lives. That would be a totally different series. However, menopausal women benefit just as much from the hormone balancing steps presented in the series. They benefit from including more phytoestrogens from fermented soy, red clover infusions, and licorice root (if no blood pressure or kidney issues) daily as opposed to just once during the cycle. =)

  5. Another great article! Because I teach NFP, I knew of the different parts of the cycle and partly how ones energy and ideas change during those times, but to have the lists of foods and herbal infusions that go along with each time- wow! Exciting!

    Thank you, Katie, for the NFP shout out too, especially for including Couple to Couple League who my husband and I teach under.

  6. This is fascinating, and sounds super helpful! I’m wondering right now, though, what this dimension looks like during pregnancy and breastfeeding, since I’m in the stage of life where I’m more often in those than a monthly cycle. I’d love to know if I have a “super power” and specific nutritional needs to focus on to help me be productive and balanced during these stages. Thanks for all the valuable info in this series, that I’ve never heard before!

    1. Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

      Nan, I am no expert, but I wanted to mention that during my pregnancies, I had an unusually high need for B vitamins. The first time around, I was tired and queasy the whole time (nausea was less after the first trimester, but I still had at least one episode per week until the last month) and I noticed that I felt better for a while after eating lentils. Between pregnancies, I experimented with vitamins to reduce migraines and PMS, and I began taking supplements of B6, E, and magnesium in addition to increasing those nutrients in my diet–but when I was pregnant with my second child, my midwife told me to stop those and take a standard prenatal vitamin. I kept getting more anemic even after adding an extra iron supplement, and blood tests showed a Vitamin B12 deficiency. When I started taking extra B12 every morning, it made a HUGE difference! Anemia went away, I stopped feeling dizzy, I had a lot more energy, and nausea was a little less. I adjusted my diet to increase B vitamins in general, and that helped even more with the nausea.

      I joke that it’s Vitamin B for Baby or that my kids needed lots of B because they have Type B blood–but I’m not really sure why I needed so much B. I stopped feeling the need for B12 immediately after giving birth but kept up the high-B diet. I resumed my B6, E, magnesium routine after my cycle returned.

    2. Lori Rose Holistic

      Yes, pregnancy is a very different, specific, not really cyclical stage of a woman’s life like the above cycle series. Pregnancy nutrition and herbal support would be a totally different series, but I would love to do that if Katie is interested (not trying to commit her or anything) =) However, the nutrition advice throughout the series would still be very helpful for a well-nourished pregnancy. The supplements would be different, though, as would the herbs.

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