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What to eat when you're in "your time"?

Yep: it's that old familiar "time of the month" for me. I wrote a little "LMP" on my calendar for this morning. And as usual I'm exhausted and headachey -- half of the symptoms of first trimester pregnancy with none of the fun. I've been wondering these last few months if I feel so badly because I'm eating all wrong. Just like during pregnancy, I have cravings during my period for comfort food. I don't usually eat a lot of sweets, but they are comfort for me, and I gave in and had a few small servings of ice cream with a much more nutritionally sensible rhubarb-blueberry crumble.

Because it's farmer's market season and I happen to have a bunch of fresh vegetables and fruits today, that's pretty much all I've eaten. And it occurs to me that my cravings might be working against my well-being. Do you pay attention to what you eat when you're on your period? After all, your body is losing all that blood; perhaps it should be replaced by some iron-rich food (maybe today would be a good day for steak and creamed spinach!). Have you found any dietary combo that works to help you feel a little better during this time?

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Yes. A steak, rare please with some salt crustings all over it.

Caramels dressed with sea salt.

Salty potato chips.

The diet can wait for a day or two. I'm not going to feel as if I'm bleeding to death AND starving to death! Life is too short for that.

I think drinking lots of liquids helps me: just plain water, or water kefir, mama tea, a little kombucha...

Oh, and raw grassfed beef and sashimi. :-)

Ditto on steak. I also try to avoid coffee. I get wicked cramps and that seems to make it worse.

I also try to eat a lot of fiber, lots of fruits and veggies. I'll make a smoothie. My digestion gets wacky when Aunt Flo gets to town.

Oh, and chocolate. Probably not the best for my tummy, but it does wonders for my mood.

There are good reasons why chocolate makes you feel better during your period. I remember (but can't quote research) reading about studies that showed that there are hormones in chocolate that bring a sense of well-being to women. Also, in many chocolate producing countries, they are allowed a certain percentage of cockroaches in the chocolate cauldrons, and cockroaches are known to contain parts that bring on well-being when consumed. This can either turn you on or totally off to chocolate! I chose the chocolate over heavy pharmaceuticals each month! Everything in moderation! :)

I could have done w/o knowing the bit about the cockroaches.

I had no idea some women change eating habits during the period. I never noticed any cravings during that time.

Colleen, stick with Hersheys! ;)

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the body knows what it needs! i just can't be convinced otherwise. so anon, if you don't have cravings - maybe your needs are consistent through the month. if someone else craves red meat and sugar - maybe they need iron, protein and quick energy. i find myself eating more sugary and salty foods during my cycle, and i don't spend much time thinking about it. i do try to keep myself to a standard of drinking lots of water, but i always do that.

some weeks, all i want is fresh raw vegetables, some weeks i feel like i could live on just a few bites of meat and several glasses of water each day, and some weeks i'll eat every sugary, salty thing within reach. i make sure what's in reach isn't doritos and peeps, but otherwise i just go with it.

thanks for all your comments, everyone, which made me hungry every time they showed up in my inbox :) I felt a lot better when I ate some beef! (no steaks thawed, so it was ground-beef-rich spaghetti :). Debby: I wish there was a "like" button on the comments. you made me laugh out loud. and eat chocolate!

I guess drinking 4-5 glasses of water can improve your health. well-balanced diet has its own impact too.

I impulsively ate a large order of deep fried golden rolls and an order of deep fried tofu with peanut sauce for lunch today. Maybe not the healthiest of all choices? But man, did they taste good!

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