Your menstrual cycle is intimately linked with your gut health. Join Sarah Bennett in this episode of the Follow Your Gut podcast to embrace the natural cycles of your body and get introduced to the concept of how to nourish your gut and cycle alongside the moon. Tune in now for exciting news about upcoming programs!
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Welcome to Follow Your Gut, the podcast where women like you are empowered to take charge of your family's health and happiness. I'm your host, Sarah Bennett, founder and CEO of ōNLē ORGANICS. As a mama of four, I have personally gone through the ups and downs of navigating the sea of misinformation and the runaround from our medical system, while caring for my family's health and wellbeing. This podcast is dedicated to educating and empowering you on the significance of gut health and how it affects everything from your family’s sleep to their mood and everything in between. By understanding the foundation of your wellness and the causes of common, yet preventable symptoms, you can achieve a deeper level of health and happiness for your family. Join me as we explore the world of gut health and enhance our lives from the core of our well-being, all while honoring our powerful intuitions. I am so happy you are here! Let's dive into today's episode.
Welcome to episode 46; Nurturing Gut Balance for Hormone Health: Aligning Your Cycle with the Moon
As a woman, I've always been fascinated by the intricacies of my body and the way it works. One area that particularly piques my interest is the relationship between gut health and hormone balance. I've spent a lot of time researching and experimenting to find ways to optimize both. One practice that I've found to be incredibly supportive to my body is aligning my cycle with the moon.
The gut, brain, and hormone axis is a complex interplay that requires balance and support to function optimally. The gut and the brain are intimately connected through the gut-brain axis, and this connection influences hormone balance. When your gut bacteria are out of balance, it can lead to hormone imbalances, mood disturbances, and a host of other health issues. Conversely, when you support your gut health, you can promote hormone balance and overall well-being.
Now moving into how this is all connected to the moon. The moon's cycle is approximately 29.5 days long, which is very similar to the average menstrual cycle length of 28 days. This has led many women to explore the idea of syncing their menstrual cycle with the moon, with the belief that it can help regulate hormones and promote overall well-being. Here's how it works.
First, it's important to understand the connection between gut health and hormone balance. The gut is home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiome. This microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating hormones, particularly estrogen. When the gut is out of balance, it can lead to estrogen dominance, which can cause a range of symptoms, including PMS, heavy periods, and even fertility issues.
One way to support gut health and balance hormones is by eating a healthy, whole-foods-based diet. This means focusing on nutrient-dense foods, while minimizing processed foods, like refined sugar, wheat, dairy and alcohol. Incorporating fermented foods and spore-forming probiotics is also really powerful.
Another key factor in promoting gut and hormone health is managing stress. Stress can wreak havoc on the gut microbiome, disrupting the delicate balance of bacteria and leading to inflammation and hormone imbalances. That's why it's important to prioritize self-care practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing to help reduce stress
.Now, back to syncing your cycle with the moon. Many women naturally menstruate with either the full or new moon, meaning their cycle aligns with the lunar cycle. By consciously syncing your menstrual cycle with the moon, you can deepen your connection to your body and gain a greater understanding of your own unique rhythms and cycles.
There are four different phases of a woman's menstrual cycle, each with its own unique qualities and characteristics. By understanding these phases and adjusting your gut health and self-care practices accordingly, you can support your body through the full cycle, creating a full circle of support for your hormones and gut bacteria.
The first phase is the menstrual phase, which is marked by the shedding of the uterine lining. During this phase, it's important to focus on rest and nourishment. Foods like leafy greens, iron-rich foods, and warming soups and stews can be particularly beneficial. Think gentle movement practices like restorative yoga and stretching. In this phase your libido is naturally very low. In this phase I make sure to take a liquid iron supplement, two doses of Balance CBD, Cleanse and Nourish every single day. It is one of my life goals to normalize menstruation so my whole family is part of all four of my phases. We celebrate my period by baking a pie, taking the day off homeschool and cozying up for a movie together. Instead of dreading my cycle like I once did - now I look forward to it because I have curated a life that supports my needs. And my whole family looks very much forward to this special day. My children have always loved helping me open my pads and they are so fascinated by the bleeding. The more normal we make menstruation the more normal it is. If we are embarrassed or really private about it how can we expect to normalize it for our children? I am also very careful not to make any work commitments during this phase. I keep my calendar as open as I possibly can so that I can spend time resting and reflecting. When I gave birth to my first child my midwife told me something so powerful that it has stuck with me. “The more you slow down and nurture your body immediately after birth the quicker and stronger you will heal”. The same is true for our menstruation phase. The more we slow down and nurture our bodies during this fragile phase - the stronger we will be for the rest of our cycle.
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The second phase is the follicular phase, which is marked by the growth and development of follicles in the ovaries. During this phase, it's important to focus on building energy and vitality. Foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, protein rich foods like tempeh, and healthy fats can be particularly beneficial. In this phase you will feel your energy shift. In the first few days of this phase you can intensify your yoga practice and then move to more vigorous movement practices like running, dancing, and strength training to help increase energy and promote vitality. In this phase your libido is naturally still lower but as you move through the phase it will rapidly increase. In this phase I love to plan. I take all of the deep insights I gained in my menstruation phase and I map out good ideas.
The third phase is the ovulatory phase, which is marked by the release of an egg from the ovary. This is the peak of the menstrual cycle and is associated with high energy and heightened emotions. In this phase you are a literal universal magnet. Your body emits hormones that heighten the testosterone level in your partner and you can use this magnetization in your favor for all parts of your life. Foods like berries, leafy greens, and healthy fats can be particularly beneficial during this phase. Movement practices like high-intensity interval training, running, mountain biking and power yoga can help increase energy and support the release of endorphins. Your libido is the highest during this phase. Soak it up! You can almost visualize your four phases as introverted and extroverted. Menstruation is deeply introverted. Follicular is slightly introverted but also a little bit extroverted. Ovulation is full force extroverted. In this phase I plan all outreach projects. This is when I schedule podcast interviews for when I am on other shows, magazine interviews, events, and bigger projects. In this phase you are unstoppable. Again - soak it up! But I advise you not conjure new big plans in this phase as they most likely wont be sustainable throughout your cycle. Save the planning for your follicular phase.
The fourth phase is the luteal phase, which is marked by the development of the corpus luteum and the preparation of the uterus for potential pregnancy. During this phase, it's important to focus on nourishing and supporting the body. You will likely need to rest and eat a lot more during this phase. Luteal crashes come on fast and will wipe you off your feet if you aren’t prepared. This is the phase where women find themselves crying on the bathroom floor feeling like the whole world is insensitive. You might find yourself with your head in your hands asking yourself what on earth is wrong with you. Nothing. This is by far the hardest phase for most women. Foods like complex carbohydrates, cruciferous vegetables, and foods rich in magnesium can be particularly beneficial. Gentle movement practices like restorative yoga and walking can help promote relaxation and support the body during this phase. Picture that you are winding down and preparing your body for a new beginning. Your libido will also wind down as you work through this phase and you may find yourself more moody. Your sleep is full of vivid dreams and your exhaustion level is deep. Try to nap and settle in. In this phase I love taking all the task work that has built up throughout my cycle and bust it all out. Checklists are a luteal phase dream! You will have intense focus and will surprise yourself how productive you can be. Keep in mind though that the luteal phase starts extroverted but quickly turns introverted so when you are making your checklists - plan for this.
Maybe you already know all of this or maybe this is all new to you. I know it can seem overwhelming but I promise - once you get in tune with your phases, it will completely change your life and become really simple.
If you're not sure where to start, try keeping a menstrual cycle journal to track your symptoms and energy levels throughout each phase of your cycle while taking note of the phase of the moon. This can help you identify patterns and make adjustments accordingly. I also recommend the book Do Less by Kate Northrup and my cookbook; Recipes That Nurture Gut Health with The Cycles of the Moon. It has a lot of information and guidance on how to support your body through each phase of your menstrual cycle.
In conclusion, nurturing gut balance for hormone health and aligning your cycle with the moon is a powerful way to promote overall wellness. By supporting your body through each phase of your menstrual cycle with nourishing foods and movement practices, you can create a full circle of support for your hormones and gut bacteria. Remember - your gut health impacts your hormones and your hormones impact your gut health. Striving for balance means striving for optimal health and vitality.
If you enjoyed this episode you might be excited to hear that I will be hosting a virtual summer solstice summit. This summit will be fully focused on balancing your gut to support your hormones and align your cycle with the moon. All supplements, recipes and guest speaking events will be included. Make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter so you don’t miss the announcement for this. There will be limited spaces and it will sell out quickly. Thanks for joining me today. Everything I referenced can be found in the show notes including how you can opt-in for my newsletters. Alrighty, my friend. I will be back next week.