I've been reading my way through Lara Briden, ND's Period Repair Manual and it's given me so much insight into the foods I eat and how it directly affects my hormones and cycle. My recommendation is that if you bleed, you should read. She recommends women eat during a specific window of time rather than spreading meals out and snacking at 10 pm (I feel targeted). She also says we should focus on foods that make us feel full and nourished and there's tons of information about foods that are known to cause inflammation which is a big problem for many of us. But this isn't a blog post about a book so I'll get back to it and you can get your own copy on Kindle.
I am very guilty of skipping lunch and just eating some nuts or seedy crackers, those things are good but should be balanced out with a healthy dose of fruit, veggies and protein. It's period week for me so naturally I'm craving crap; crunchy, greasy, sweet, salty, you name it, I want it! Monday for lunch I had french fries and onions rings for lunch and a chocolate frappe on the side. The next day I was so bloated my pants wouldn't button and I was in a bad mood. Coincidence? No.
Instead of giving in to my cravings yesterday, I head to the local grocer to see what I could buy to make at least 4 lunches for the rest of the week for $25 or less. Here is what my stomach lead me to...
Fresh, Local Strawberries - vitamin C, B9 and Potassium, fiber, antioxidants
Raw, shelled pumpkin seeds - omega 3, omega 6, antioxidants, fiber, protein, along with copper, zinc, folate, iron and a host of other good stuff.
Mixed Baby Greens w/ Spinach - vitamins A, C, K, Magnesium and iron, fiber, etc
Carrots - beta carotene, fiber, K1, potassium and antioxidants
Brianna's Poppy Seed Dressing - I picked this one because I really like the flavor and it was the cheapest dressing they had on the shelf (it's a small grocery store with few options). Poppy seeds have many known health benefits and when I looked at the label, I could pronounce all the ingredients and knew what they were (canola oil, sugar, water, white onions, white vinegar, salt, ACV, poppy seeds, mustard flour, xantham gum (thickener) and mixed tocopherols (vitamin e)).
I had some money left in my budget for the week so I also grabbed a couple granny smith apples and a bar of Tony's Chocolonely Chocolate Pecan Coconut. Tony's is a chocolate brand working to make all chocolate trade slave free. Did you know children in West Africa are enslaved to work on chocolate farms? I didn't either, look it up and be against it.
Now that I have all this good food, I can leave it in the mini fridge at work (the seeds and apples live in my desk) but this could really easily be made into to-go lunches at home. I'd keep the strawberries and dressing on the side so they wont wilt your greens but you could also go the jar method with the nuts, carrots and berries on the bottom with the dressing and greens safely on top. I use a reusable takeout container so I can shake it all to coat with dressing. Remember when McDonalds came out with the shake-able lettuce cups? Kinda like that.
I totally understand that not everyone has access to these ingredients, so I want to share another favorite made from mostly shelf stable or frozen ingredients that is also wholesome, simple and period friendly. You will need precooked rice (brown is better but some leftover white is totally fine or even a 90 second rice packet), frozen spinach, canned or frozen corn, canned black beans, cooked chicken breast, diced tomatoes or salsa and cheddar is optional but tasty.
Combine as much as you want of everything, squeeze a lime over the top, add salt and pepper to taste, and toss. This is another really easy one to make ahead and bring to work. I like it cold but could be heated if that's your style. This meal is also protein packed with chicken and beans, has a good amount of fiber from the beans, corn and rice and a host of vitamins, iron and antioxidants from tomatoes and spinach. Some modifications are to use cotija cheese, add lettuce, diced onions, leftover cooked veggies, more bean variety, etc.
What are you eating for a better period?
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I am a Maine maker and mother of two. I dabble in graphic design and co-own a screen printing business with my husband of 7 years. Everyone has a story to tell, and this is mine!