Follicular Phase: A Day of FLO Living

I’m onto my third chapter of these A Day of FLO Living posts!  If you missed my last FLO Living posts, click here to check out my Menstrual Phase post and click here for my Luteal Phase post.  Also, if you’re new here, then, hello!  I am cycle-syncing to bring my body into hormonal balance and to do so I’m following WomanCode protocol.  WomanCode is a guidebook written by Alisa Vitti that outlines different food, exercise, and lifestyle choices we can make to support each phase of our cycle.  The follicular phase is just one of FOUR phases in the cycle. 

I like to create a catalog of how I’m FLO Living and also introduce others to what WomanCode is all about.  As I align my lifestyle with FLO, steer activities and foods around my cycle, I feel more in tune with my body.  Hopefully this provides some insight into WomanCode and introduces some new ideas for how to take care of your body.

Follicular Phase Expectations

Say hello to a revived sense of self.  Estrogen picks up during this phase to prepare for ovulation (post coming soon!).  Vitti considers this a great time to work on highly-stimulating activities because our mind is most creative and apt to problem-solve (146).  In addition, we can get the most out new experiences because we are most open to trying something new with our follicular energy.  Stable levels of emotions and physical energy revive (after duller times of Menstrual Phase).  So, it is also the time to plan social outings and “RSVP yes to invites during this week” (146). 

I notice distinct changes in my sense of self with each phase change and menstrual to follicular was no different.  My mind felt clear all of a sudden and it did not strain me to think critically.  I actually tried writing some blog posts during Menstrual phase and that was highly unsuccessful.  When follicular phase came around, I was ready to get typing as the thoughts just flowed out of my mind with ease. 

Exercise on Follicular Phase

The start of a new phase brings a huge increase in energy.  Up through ovulation, energy will continue to rise.  The potential to do more, as far as activities goes, is so high that one might feel “restless” (146).

At times I noticed I wanted to do so much that I had trouble focusing on doing one thing at a time.  It took effort but I centered that influx of energy towards some cardio-driven workouts and strength training.  I love my yoga practice but I completely skipped over it for a few days because I felt like I needed activity to meet the pace my mind and body were at. 

Food on Follicular Phase

“Fresh, vibrant, light foods” are the go-to options for follicular phase.  We want colorful veggies, fruit, and lean protein that won’t weigh us down.  Hormone levels are at their low point so food that has phytoestrogens is also safest to consume during this time (147).  This way, estrogen-stimulating foods like lentils or barley are not as problematic as when consumed during luteal or menstrual phases in the cycle when hormone levels fluctuate immensely.  As well, the follicular phase “veggies, lean proteins, sprouted beans and seeds, [pressed salads] and energy-sustaining grains” are designed to complement the body’s natural hormones (147). 

As I read up on food to fuel my cycle, I realized the cyclical nature of the food I crave.  This time of month is when I most desire fresh, raw food.  Avocado and citrus are fruit that I don’t eat with frequency but craved so much at this time. Smoothies are frequently in my rotation but I also enjoyed reaching for satisfying oat dishes like my Mango Coconut Blueberry Oat Bake.  Sprouted bread made for delicious toast or sandwich bases.  Lunch was often a mighty bowl of veggies and lots of fresh greens.  I liked snacking on carbs, vitamin C rich-citrus, and fats (nuts and avocado).  Here’s how I incorporated those into my meals:

Breakfast: Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie

follicular phase eats
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 cup cold water
2 tbsp peanut butter powder
2 tbs natural peanut butter
1 tsp cacao powder
1/2 tsp maca powder
a handful of ice
Topped with 1 tbsp ground flax and Purely Elizabeth Chocolate Probiotic Sea Salt Granola

Snack: Oh She Glows Everyday Cookbook Berry Crumble Bars

follicular phase eats
Coconut oil, oats, and sunflower seeds comprise the base. The middle filling should be a berry jam but I used some homemade grape chia jam as filling instead of berries. I also omitted the sweetener from these bars and went for a teaspoon of turbinado sugar sprinkled on top of the crumble.
Grape jam recipe: reduce 4 cups seedless grapes, halved + 1/2 cup water on the stove. When grapes are soft and reduced, add to a blender. Leave some chunks, if desired. Finally, stir in 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds and refrigerate until thickened.

They are lightly sweet, and satisfying from the carbs and healthy fats. 👍

Lunch: Arugula Salad with Citrus and Pesto

Snack: Chia pudding with grapes. (Technically grapes are a menstrual phase fruit but I had a lot that I needed to eat up!)  I also enjoyed squeezing a bit of lime into my coconut chia pudding for an instantly refreshing snack!

follicular phase eats

Dinner: Tone it Up Nutrition Plan Slimming Spice Bake with an egg on top.

follicular phase eats
Roasted cumin-spiced carrots and chickpeas over arugula. I added a fried egg on top. Eggs are so good for the follicular phase but I don’t usually crave them for breakfast so I opted to incorporate them in lunch or dinner entrees. Plus, mini-dessert of a BHU FIT Chocolate Cherry Pistachio bar.

What do you guys think of these “A Day of FLO Living” posts?  I hope it is informative and shows how there are simple adjustments to make to incorporate the WomanCode recommendations.  Stay tuned for the next FLO Living post about my ovulatory phase–coming soon!

Also, if any of you are even mildly interested in cycle-syncing for your hormones then definitely check out the book WomanCode.  It is one of the best purchases I’ve made as of late.  You can also follow along with me on Instagram for real-time talk about what’s going on in each phase.

 

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