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MOODS, FOODS, MOVES - HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR CYCLE PHASES

We at Rael love to emphasize the menstrual cycle connection when it comes to skin. Depending on the levels of our estrogen and progesterone in relation to our testosterone, our skin behaves differently and needs different things throughout the month. Hormones, amirite?! 


From a whole body, whole cycle holistic approach, it’s important to understand how else our cycle affects us. When it comes to mood, estrogen increases serotonin levels and serotonin receptors, which helps regulate emotions. Lower estrogen levels are linked with feelings of depression and anxiety. Progesterone stimulates GABA, the neurotransmitter that keeps you chill, and lower progesterone and GABA levels can also increase feelings of both anxiety and depression. Low testosterone in women can cause decreased libido, energy, and muscle tone. 


With this in mind, different foods and physical activities are especially beneficial depending on our hormonal balances. Get the most out of every cycle by choosing the right moves and foods to boost your moods. 



Phase 1
Menstruation


  • Hormones 
  • Estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest point during your period, whereas testosterone is relatively higher during your period. Higher levels of prostaglandin increase your pain sensitivity.  


  • Mood
  • Big moods? Low battery? Everything feeling wrong? Everyone pissing you off? Welcome to your period! 


    It’s okay to feel what you feel. Please try to have patience with yourself and the people around you during this touchy time. Indulge in comfort. Treat yourself to a sheet mask so you can at least look better than you feel. 


  • Moves
  • With lower energy levels, it’s time to embrace all the R’s: rest, rebalance, reset, recharge, re-everything! Low impact exercises like yoga are your friend if your body feels like moving. But you’ll probably want to chill, so don’t feel guilty about taking all the naps you need.


  • Food
  • Nourishing, anti-inflammatory, and warm foods are the way to go. Think lean proteins, healthy fats, root vegetables, and legume-packed stews. Iron-rich foods like lentils, kelp, pumpkin seeds, dried prunes, spinach,grass-fed beef, eggs, and fish are a great source of heme iron, which help replenish iron levels that can be lost during our bleed. Chamomile tea can combat cramps. 


    Avoid or limit fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods.



    Phase 2

    Follicular


  • Hormones
  • Estrogen is on the rise, peaking between the tenth and thirteenth day of your menstrual cycle. Hello, serotonin!


  • Mood
  • You’re at your most confident all month—you’re feeling yourself. Treat yourself to a Moisture Melt Snowball and Glow Chemistry combo to boost your glow. 


    You can conquer anything, nothing will get in your way. You have all the energy in the world to do it all and slay it. 


  • Moves
  • Cardio Mode: Activated. Rising estrogen means rising energy. Get your move on—run, dance, box, climb! Enjoy all the endorphins that exercising brings and keep the momentum going. 


  • Food
  • Eat protein and cruciferous vegetables to support estrogen detoxification.Your gut plays a pivotal role in balancing hormones, including removing excess hormones from the body and regulating estrogen levels, and broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts can be particularly beneficial. Try to incorporate sprouted and fermented foods that will metabolize estrogen, like broccoli sprouts, kimchi, kefir, probiotic yogurt, and sauerkraut.




    Phase 3

    Ovulation


  • Hormones
  • Estrogen is at its peak to kick off ovulation, then levels dip as progesterone and testosterone levels begin to rise. 


  • Mood
  • You’re at your most extroverted and crave newness. You love people and they love you. Join a book club! Swipe right! Host a party! 


    With your body preparing for reproduction, your libido is heightened and you are in the mood for sexy time. Partnered or not, treat yourself to some orgasms. And you freshen up your lady parts afterward with Soothing Vulva Care. 


  • Moves
  • Max energy. Don’t be surprised if people can’t keep up with you. To avoid feeling restless and like bouncing all over the place, channel all this energy into high intensity exercises. Hit up a spin class or several, do a bootcamp, or try some HIIT. 


  • Food
  • At the start of ovulation when estrogen is at its highest, eat foods that support your liver: whole fruits, vegetables, and almonds. Bonus: They’re packed with anti-aging properties and protection from environmental toxins that impact your hormones. 


    Fiber-rich foods are your friends. That includes the cruciferous vegetables that come in clutch during the follicular phase, as well as berries, legumes, non-starchy veggies. Stay hydrated and avoid salt! 




    Phase 4

    Luteal


  • Hormones
  • Progesterone levels peak to prepare the lining of the uterus for possible pregnancy. They then drop, along with estrogen, below testosterone levels. 


  • Mood
  • Did you know that “desserts” spelled backwards is “stressed”? Unfortunately, your outlook will go from desserts-level joy during ovulation, to stressed vibes during the luteal phase. Thanks, PMS! 


    Do yourself a favor and set reminders for mental health and wellness check-ins. Be around people that lift your spirits, and avoid activities that bum you out.  


  • Moves
  • Energy levels decrease as your body prepares for another period cycle. Strength training or light-to-moderate exercise is the best way to go. Yoga, meditation, or going on walks with friends can help manage the stress levels. Whichever exercises you do, wear a Heating Patch wherever you go so cramps don’t get in your way. 


  • Food
  • Since the luteal phase is before your period, you’ll want to avoid any foods that may trigger discomfort or cramps, like caffeine. Changes in progesterone can increase your sensitivity to blood sugar fluctuations. 


    Eat serotonin-producing foods like leafy greens, quinoa, and buckwheat for your mood. 

    Magnesium-rich foods like dark chocolate, spinach, and pumpkin seeds will help fight fatigue and low libido. High-iron meals can help prepare your body for menstruation. 



    Don’t ignore what’s happening with your body and what it needs throughout the month. Listening to your body is one of the greatest sources of intel on our personal health and wellness. Whether it comes to your skin, moods, energy levels, and cravings, you can adapt your habits for a better cycle.

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