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The first day of your period is day one of your cycle.
Here, it's the beginning of better — body and soul.

Eat Your Way to a Better Period: Recipes from a Foodie

We all get period symptoms - the cramps, the fatigue, feeling bloated, etc. However, you don't have to dread it and be in misery for one week each month. We've created a "Menstrual Menu" of sorts to help you eat your way to a better period!

Menstrual Migraines

Steer clear of foods that are triggers for migraines. These vary from person to person, and may include chocolate (I know, sorry guys), monosodium glutamate (MSG), processed meats with nitrates, dried fruits with sulfites, aged cheese, alcohol and red wine and caffeine.[1]

To help prevent migraines, begin avoiding these triggers two days before your period begins. However, avoiding migraines doesn’t mean avoiding food – you just need to eat the right ones. You want to focus on food that is rich in magnesium.

Banana Wheat Muffins[2]

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  1. In a bowl, combine the flours, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, and bananas
  2. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  3. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Make a big batch of these yummy muffins in the beginning of the week and then you’ll have more free time in the morning. Plus, they are perfect for on the go – you know, those mornings when your hair and makeup go wrong and you need to start all over again, it happens to all of us.

Period Fatigue

Spinach is chock-full of nutrients that are essential for helping our bodies perform at their peak.[3]  Not only is spinach one of the most iron-dense food sources on earth, it's also extremely rich in magnesium and potassium and is an excellent source of energy-supporting B-vitamins.[4]  Here is an amazing spread that you can make to go on anything from toasted bread to pasta.

Spinach and Macadamia Pesto[5]

  • 1 ½ cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped dry-roasted macadamia nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  1. Process spinach, macadamias and garlic, scraping down sides occasionally until it is all-smooth.
  2. While the motor is still running, add oil in very slowly in a steady stream
  3. Transfer to a bowl, add parmesan and a dash of salt and pepper – voila!

That Bloated Feeling

It seems counterintuitive to conquer menstrual bloating with fiber, which is known to fill you up, but high-fiber veggies can actually ease bloating.[6]  Their high water content help push things along and rid the puffiness, gas and discomfort.[7]  Stay away from salty and high-sodium foods, which have the opposite effect of what you're looking for.[8]  That bag of chips will only prolong your swollen suffering.[9]

Turkey Chili

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place the turkey in the skillet and cook it until it is golden brown – don’t forget to drain it!
  2. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray, and mix in turkey, tomato soup, kidney beans, black beans and onion. Season with chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, allspice and salt.
  3. Cover and cook for 8 hours on Low or for 4 hours on High.

I’m a huge fan of “set it & forget it recipes.” Just set it before you go to sleep and when you wake up, you have a meal to take in for your lunch break!

Menstrual Cramps

You hear it everywhere, but drinking enough water can solve so many problems on its own.[10]  Hydrating can prevent acne, keep away cramps, and can especially help with bloating.[11]  If you’re getting enough water, your body won’t retain liquids, keeping you comfortable.[12]  Stock up on your favorite water-based foods like celery, cucumbers, watermelon and berries – you can even throw them all into a salad like the one below!

Taste of Summer Salad

  • 1 cup of kale
  • 1 cup of carrots
  • 1 cup of edamame
  • 1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  1. Remove the ribs from the kale, chop it up and massage it a little (no, I’m not kidding – it softens it)
  2. Cut up some cucumbers, watermelon and strawberries
  3. Toss a handful of sunflower seeds and another handful of blueberries on top
  4. Give a good squeeze of half a lemon
  5. Dig in to the freshest salad you’ve ever tasted

This salad couldn’t be easier to make and is so quick to throw together for a picnic or party!

A Case of the Blues

If your period also brings a case of the blues along monthly, add a dose of omega-3s.[13]  These little fatty acids can also boost your mood.[14]  In fact, research from Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital found that omega-3s are so powerful that they may even function like an antidepressant.[15]  Keep in mind that you might want to steer clear of cocktails if you're feeling like a downer, as alcohol acts as a depressant and may exacerbate your feelings of sadness.[16]

Mussels from South of the Border[17]

  • 1/3 cup diced Spanish chorizo
  • 1 small plum tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped canned green chiles, drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded if necessary (see Tip)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Cook chorizo in a large saucepan over medium heat until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomato, chiles, cumin and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato begins to break down, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.
  2. Stir in mussels and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook just until the mussels have opened, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat (discard any unopened mussels); stir in cilantro. Serve with the sauce.

If this is your first time cooking muscles, don’t worry it’s pretty simple. To clean mussels, scrub with a stiff brush under cold running water. Scrape off any barnacles using the shell of another mussel. Pull off the fuzzy “beard” from each one (some mussels may not have a beard, too).

Let us know how the recipes go! We would love to see pictures, just tag us in your photo @corawomen and use #fearlessperiod in the caption.

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