Today's post is a little off the beaten track from the normal Weekend Chills post, but this is one of those posts I've been meaning to share for a very long time. I know so many people who struggle with hormonal issues, both publicly and privately, but for whatever reason they rarely get discussed, or are still encircled with some weird social stigma. Yet, truth of the matter is, we're all human, we all have hormones, no big deal and definitely no shame.
I've created this adaptogenic herbal latte to help ease the symptoms of PMS in menstruating woman. It is meant to be drunk during the luteal phase, or second half of your cycle, but is no way meant exclusively for women who fall into this category. It's full of great hormone balancing adaptogens and ingredients that anyone can benefit from, and can just be consumed as a healthier alternative to any overly sweetened fancy drink.
Below I've outlined a few key components I've used in the recipe which help reduce PMS and balance hormones. I've left out major points in the list, like exercise for example, and only stuck to the ones to which this drink applies. Some of these are pretty obvious, but others like seed rotation are pretty new to me. I hope you can take some of this info and find it applicable in your own day to day lives.
Much love + happy weekend!
Natural ways to reduce PMS
Seed Rotation - I was recently introduced to the concept of seed rotation, which is a natural way of balancing your hormones based on what you eat. Seed rotation promotes eating about 1 Tbsp. ground combined flax and pumpkin seeds each day for 15 days starting on the first day of your period (your follicular stage) , then switching to eating 1 Tbsp. combined ground sesame seeds and sunflower seeds for the next 14 or so days.
The process then repeats. Seeds like pumpkin and flax help raise the levels of estrogen your body needs in the first half of your cycle, while the sesame seeds and sunflower seeds help raise the progesterone you need in the second half, or the luteal phase. Having lower levels of estrogen in the luteal phase is shown to reduce the symptoms of PMS in many woman. Try adding the seeds to things like smoothies, oatmeals, salads, as nut butters, or on top of avocado toast. For men, this schedule is is opposite and should be 1 Tbsp. pumpkin + flax seeds from the full moon to the new moon, and one Tbsp. sesame and sunflower seeds from the new moon to the full moon.
Limit Caffeine - We all know caffeine gives us a buzz, but few of us know this is because it raises the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body (this is part of it's immediate energy feeling). Most of the time, this increase is okay (in moderation) for our bodies, but having too much caffeine around menstruation is problematic because the cortisol that your body makes as a response is made from synthesizing progesterone. Progesterone is that hormone we mentioned earlier, that ideally we should be encouraging during our luteal phase. Stick to low caffeine drinks like herbal teas, tisanes, and herbal coffee substitutes as much as you can.
Limit Sugar - Foods like alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and sugars are known as 'stress foods', and not because we crave them when we're stressed, because we sure as heck do! Instead, they're called that because your body goes through extremes to metabolize them. In order for your body to metabolize these foods it uses a ton of vitamins and nutrients which your body needs during it's luteal phase, so limiting these is best.
Using Adaptogens - I'm sure by now, many of know adaptogens and their ability to help us manage stress. Specifically, certain adaptogens like ashwagandha and holy basil help reduce cortisol in the body which is great during the luteal phase when we're more likely to experience PMS.
Also, don't feel pressured to add all the powders to this drink. If you only have access to ashwaganda or maca, using one is totally fine. I realize that buying these powders can be super expensive, so look for them in the bulk section of any great natural food store. The price is so much better despite the lack of cute packaging 😉
Influenced by this recipe from the Great Kosmic Kitchen.
Serves 1. Print Recipe Here
1 Mug Almond Milk (about 12 oz)
1 Rounded tsp. Dandy Blend (or favourite instant dandelion or chicory coffee substitute)***
1/2 tsp. Ashwagandha Powder
1/2 tsp. Tahini
1/2 tsp. Maca
1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp. Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp. Coconut Sugar (optional)
- Begin by measuring the amount of milk you need by pouring the milk into your intended drinking cup. I used a standard mug, which was about 12 oz. In a small pot heat up the milk and other ingredients until nice and warm. You'll probably want to give it a bit of a stir to make sure the ingredients don't stick to the bottom.
- Once it gets all nice and warm, pop it in a mixture in a high speed blender and whip on high for a minute or until frothy.
- Serve and enjoy!
*** If you don't have access to herbal coffee, a strong decaffeinated coffee will also work.