A Day of FLO Living: Cycle-Syncing Updates & Food Inspiration

luteal phase cycle appropriate food

It has been a while since I last made a cycle-syncing post.  I’ve been following Alisa Vitti’s WomanCode FLO Living protocol for several months now and I see positive changes—including getting my period back!  Therefore, I feel it is appropriate to bring my A Day of FLO Living Series back for some cycle-syncing updates and what I’ve been eating to balance my hormones!

I’ve been trying not to annoy everyone on Instagram with my dedication to cycle-syncing but I think my excitement is well-conveyed.  When I first started cycle-syncing, I felt nervous that I would have to go back to eating meat or need to take expensive herbal supplements.  I dabbled in the later but, truly, the lifestyle changes in the book and recommended foods for my cycle were the driving forces for change.  I feel much more energetically stable than I did months ago and I know I’m only just beginning. 

Additionally, I’ve heard from a few friends that they’ve purchased WomanCode because of me which makes me happy.  So, I hope to be of help to anyone thinking of starting with cycle-syncing.  If you’re new to the FLO Living protocol, check out my A Day of FLO Living posts from the very first month I began cycle-syncing.  For now, I want to give some brief updates about how I’ve been feeling cycle-syncing.  I’ll also show off some of the things I’ve been eating during each phase.  After all, nutrition is where its at!  Sometimes I get into a rut with meals but the recommended foods change with each cycle phase so that encourages me to be creative with what I eat. 

Follicular Phase:

WomanCode describes this part of the cycle as being a fresh start.  We should see a rise in energy and slowly be able to get back into the exercise regimen and social activities that we set aside during menstruation week.  I actually feel energetically delayed during this time.  For at least the first 5 days into follicular phase, I’m content with lower intensity exercises and yoga.  My physical energy feels in short supply so I like to keep it easy with my workouts. 

Yet, follicular phase should also be the “brainstorming” time where mental energy is best used to plan.  Thankfully, my mental energy is really good.  I feel alert and wired with ideas.  Though, I find myself struggling to channel the mental energy into tasks because a) I either don’t know how or b) my physical energy limits me. 

In addition, energy comes from the light and refreshing food that is easy to digest and/or rich in nutrients.  I am still on the fence about how well I tolerate gluten but I enjoy wheat products like farro, barley, and yeasted and sprouted whole wheat bread (I like Food 4 Life brand) during this time.  I’m also a dark leafy greens fan but I opt for romaine a lot more in follicular.  At this time, my salads are lighter in nature and usually topped with citrus and zucchini.  Though, I also crave all things fatty like avocado and creamy nut-butter based dressings.

Ovulatory Phase:

I can usually sense my ovulation phase is right around the corner when I begin craving pasta with red sauce.  Typically, I get major cravings for a spaghetti and red sauce style dish :p Therefore, I try to channel my tomato cravings into something beneficial for my cycle.  I like simple and bright flavors but I feel a challenge coming on during the cooler months.  It’s easy to opt for a spinach salad or strawberry smoothie during summer but cooler weather is encouraging me to enjoy “warmer” flavors.

As for how I feel during ovulation: my energy is usually at its highest but that doesn’t mean it is always high.  Lately, my ovulation phases just make me feel like I am awake and steady in energy.  I have the stamina to tackle a big list of chores and also the mental energy to sustain conversations with people.  Normally, my introverted self is quickly drained by a full day of tasks but not so much during ovulation.

Luteal Phase:

I am always excited for luteal phase because some of my favorite food is perfect for this phase of my cycle.  It is the time to fill up on hearty dishes with roasted squash, nutrient-rich pulses, and detoxifying vegetables.   Currently, my luteal phase is on the long side (around 15-17 days) because I have a progesterone deficiency.  Though, I’m working on balancing those levels out through nutrition!  (Plus, a few supplements help but that’s a post for another day.)

Additionally, luteal phase seems to have two different phases for me.  It is the longest part of my cycle and therefore I start off feeling different than how I end my luteal phase.  The first half I’m still craving fresh salads and light dishes.  My energy levels feel pretty awesome the first seven days so I carry on with weight-lifting or other higher intensity workouts.  In the second half, my energy slowly diminishes and I feel more inclined towards slower-paced workouts. 

I also recently picked up meditation during my last luteal phase.  This activity really adds mindfulness and grounding to my days.  Funny enough, I begin caring more about household chores and keeping my space tidy, too.  As I’m less inclined to go out, I’m encouraged to focus on domestic activities around the house.  Coincidentally, I tend to feel like staying home because my skin acts up bigtime as PMS.  Lately, I get wild hormonal acne on my chin, some near the hairline, and lightly on my upper back.  This hasn’t always been such a problem but, then again, my hormones haven’t always been a mess.  Fortunately, I know acne and any PMS can be alleviated through nutrition, it just takes time.

Menstrual Phase:

I remember feeling very down and un-like myself on my first cycle-syncing period.  My period week was lethargy at its finest.  I was really low on energy but I also wasn’t very good about incorporating the recommended food.  I have a smaller appetite during bleeding week but I still need to fuel myself to compensate for nutrient loss.  My iron levels drop so I try to intake extra iron-rich food.   Additionally, I love nourishing my body with simple ingredients in the form of warm, cozy soups or light sautés. 

As well, I adjust my workout routine and opt for really simple yoga sessions to wake my body up in the morning.  Otherwise, I like to take it easy by reading or watching TV, in addition to light household activities like organizing my weekly calendar.  As far as period symptoms go, I don’t really get cramps but I do get pretty bloated. Also, I should mention that, more often than not, I get a headache on my first bleed day.  Evidently, the blood loss also leaves me feeling fatigued for the week.  When I go out during my menstrual time, I notice that I just feel weak.  Among company, I’m not much for conversation and soon get exhausted from my outing.  My mental clarity isn’t very sharp and waves of lightheaded fogginess ebb and flow. Ideally, if I can stay home to relax those days, I’ll feel much better.

So, I tried to keep this somewhat brief but thorough.  Admittedly, you all know I write essays here because I’m not good at being brief.  Though, if you have any questions about cycle-syncing, drop me a comment or message me!  I’m under no obligation to talk about WomanCode, I’m just so pleased with the progress I’ve made that I want to share.  I hope you all have a healthy and happy weekend!

By the way, if you follow FLO protocol, too then hashtag your cycle-syncing meals with the appropriate phase hashtag. There is a small but blossoming cycle-syncing community on Instagram and we can help motivate each other!

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