What your cravings during your period are telling you, plus healthy satisfying alternatives.

What your cravings during your period are telling you, plus healthy satisfying alternatives.

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Cravings are one of the common symptoms we get when that time of the month arrives. Along with fatigue, irritability, skin breakouts and cramps – oh the joy. The sometimes erratic rise and fall in oestrogen leading up to your period lowers your serotonin and dopamine, the feel good hormones. This can explain the low mood and the increased sugar cravings. Progesterone, the counterbalance to oestrogen, may also drop too quickly leaving you with heightened feelings of stress. And for many of us an increase in stress is an increase in late night chocolate and dairy-free ice cream.

However trying to deal with these cravings with refined sugar, simple carbohydrates and processed dairy will only lead to an eruption of inflammation. This outbreak of inflammation will further exacerbate the drop in progesterone and impair the stabilising of oestrogen. So in fact what we thought were “cures” for PMS only make it worse. This time round stop the junk food fix and reduce your non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and try these healthy alternatives instead.

These healthy swaps will help manage your inflammation and balance out your hormone levels. Making the lead up to your period a whole lot easier, and less scary for everyone else.

Are you stocking up on the blocks of chocolate?

Let’s get into one of the most common cravings, sugar, in particular chocolate. Also known as ‘the love drug’, chocolate is often the main culprit and for good reason.  Chocolate contains chemical compounds that send positive messages to the brain and body, leaving us feeling euphoric. Additionally, chocolate is high in magnesium which can help relieve PMS symptoms of headaches, irritability, mood swings and cramps.

Before you get all excited and reach for another block of Cadbury, there are some other things to consider. Most commercial chocolate is made from cocoa instead of cacao. What’s the difference you ask? Both originally raw cacao, cocoa is roasted at high temperatures, reducing its nutritional value throughout the process. This means nutrients such as magnesium are present in smaller amounts. To add salt to the wound, the sugar content in commercial chocolate is usually extremely high. As sugar creates inflammation in the body, consuming high amounts of sugar during your period can make PMS symptoms worse.

Give these alternatives a go:

Swap hot chocolate for our Forme superblend hot chocolate (Receive 40% off your first order + free shipping.  Use code FORME40)

Swap ice cream for a fruit, fibre filled ‘ice cream’ such as Nice cream.

Swap milk chocolate for sugar-free chocolate such as Fruit and nut chocolate cups.

Swap  processed treats for homemade goodies such as cookie dough 

Always reaching for something salty?

Next on the craving list: Salt. Salty foods and especially deep-fried foods are common go-to snacks. The problem with these salty foods is the oil they are cooked in. Majority of processed or deep-fried salty foods use vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 is an inflammatory fat and excessive consumption can increase inflammatory responses within the body. As the woman’s body is prone to fluid retention and inflammation during this time, consuming more inflammatory foods than anti-inflammatory foods can increase symptoms such as cramps and acne.

Give these alternatives a go:

Swap hot chips for homemade sweet potato 

Swap potato chips for seaweed or nuts.

Swap deep-fried foods for our savoury muffins 

Cravings for all the carbs?

Last but not least, simple carbs. Most women are guilty of biting into the freshly baked ciabatta loaf during their period at least once in their life. Simple carbohydrates have a higher glycemic index compared to complex carbohydrates. This means they are easily absorbed and utilised in the body for energy. This is the reason you get instant energy after foods such as bread or pasta until your blood sugar levels come crashing down shortly after, leaving you drained and fatigued. During the processing of simple carbohydrates, fibre along with other nutrients are stripped. As we all know, fibre helps keep you regular. This is extra important in the lead up and during your period as your bowel habits can often fluctuate.

While there is no need to avoid carbs completely, opting for complex carbohydrates is a much better choice. They will stabilise blood sugar levels, boost serotonin production and provide adequate fibre. .

Give these alternatives a go:

Swap white bread for sourdough or our gluten-free olive loaf.

Swap croissants for our orange turmeric muffins.

Swap pre-made pancake mix for our anti-inflammatory golden pancakes.

Use these swaps as guides and feel free to get creative in the kitchen with wholesome foods. If you come up with any other healthy options that hit the spot during your period, let us know in the comments below or on our social media.

 

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