I'm not going to say that this post is just for menstruating women. No, I think this is important for both menstruating women AND those who love us and live with us and want us to feel better during that time.
With that said, if you find the topic taboo or grody, you are dismissed.
Still with me?
If you're reading this, I'm going to go ahead and assume you know what menstruation is. You might even be experiencing it right now. I am. I'll admit it. Why not?
This post is about good foods to put into your body while it is busy sloughing off the uterine lining. While you're feeling crampy, maybe weak, and possibly not at all like eating anything at all. I know my appetite is gone, but I still have to fuel my body. What, then, should I put into it?
To answer that question, I picked up my copy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen (Cunningham, 1990). I knew what I wanted to look for, and I am here to present to you my reasons for choosing what I have.
First of all, with the menstrual cycle being referred to as a Moon Time, among other moon-related names (and some names that we don't go into here), it is my belief that moon-ruled foods are very important during this time.
Another thing to consider is how menstruating women can feel about themselves during their periods. I can't speak for anyone but myself, so I will. I feel crampy, bloated, sore, and just plain beastly during particularly heavy times. At other times, I feel more intuitive and powerful and in touch with the Divine. It varies greatly.
The Moon rules foods that stimulate psychic awareness. It rules foods for healing, purification, sleep, love, fertility, peace, and compassion. Mercury rules foods that are utilized to strengthen the conscious mind, as well as divination, wisdom, and communication. Venus rules happiness, compassion, meditation, and beauty.
For the aforementioned purposes, I recommend concentrating on foods that are ruled by these three celestial bodies, with a few exceptions. For example, the Moon is connected to some dairy products, and I think that it is important to cut back or avoid dairy during menstruation. It may not bother everyone, but for some people it can create intestinal distress. Why add to the problems in that area if you don't have to, right?
On to the lists! I will give you a partial list and some ideas on what to do with those foods. I will leave it up to you to choose what is in season in your part of the world.
blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, coconut, cucumbers, eggs, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, lentils, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, papayas, potatoes, pumpkins, seaweed, soy
alfalfa sprouts, apples, apricots, avocados, barley, blackberries, Brazil nuts, cardamom, cherries, nectarines, oats, peas, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, rye, strawberries, sweet potatoes, thyme, tomatoes, vanilla, wheat
almonds, beans, caraway seeds, celery, chervil, dill, fennel, marjoram, oregano, parsley, pecans, peppermint, pistachios, pomegranates, turmeric
Herbs such as those ruled by Mercury can be added to an omelet or scrambled egg dish. They can also be used to flavor soups.
Miso soup with tofu and seaweed can be nourishing to the body and light on the digestive system, which can be slower during this time.
Some of the vegetables listed under the Moon can cause excess gases, so it may be wise to avoid a lot of broccoli or cabbage during this time, especially if your stomach is already feeling sensitive.
If berries are in season, snack on those throughout the day. Make a smoothie from frozen berries and vanilla soy milk. Make a smoothie with canned pumpkin, vanilla soy milk, and pumpkin pie spices. Sweeten as desired.
A good meal idea would be miso soup, an omelet, and a salad with nuts.
I know that cravings can really take hold before and doing a period, but as we know, some of those things are actually going to harm us instead of help us. Too much salt will cause too much water retention, leading to a bloated feeling.
Chocolate, though? I wouldn't dare tell a bleeding woman not to eat chocolate. Have a square! Have two! Just be careful around those family-sized bars. I know I have to watch it.
I hope that this gives you some ideas for simple, healthy, delicious foods to consume during this part of the cycle. Again, though, if you don't menstruate and you want to foster those things in your life - communication, peace, psychic awareness, etc. - these foods are for you as well.