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PODCAST: Understanding & supporting the luteal phase of your cycle

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In this episode I chat about our luteal phase  - and some of the nuance around it for women in relationship to nutrition, lifestyle and more. When you are able to decode your own physiology, you’re able to help your body heal and use that body to create the life you desire.

Listen to episode # 140 : Understanding & supporting the luteal phase of your cycle - Find: A Joy To Be Me - On: iTunes, iHeartRadio, Stitcher or Spotify 


Ladies, and the men that love the ladies, let’s talk about your LUTEAL PHASE today

I got some good feedback from folks about my episode on minerals and ovulation so I’m back to dig into another phase of our cycle and it just so happens to be the cycle I’m currently hanging out in and wanted to share some insight specifically about this phase with you today.

As a quick reminder
The four phases of a women’s infradian rhythm (aka: monthly cycle) are: menstruation, follicular, ovulation and luteal
Your hormones are completely different in each of these 4 phases -today I just want to highlight the luteal phase.

Hormones

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone reach their peak concentrations and then begin to fall to their lowest levels right before bleeding begins.

The corpus luteum (the follicle from which the egg bursts) grows on the surface of the ovary, causing it to produce progesterone. It also signals the pituitary to stop sending out follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, ensuring that only ONE egg is released into the uterus at a time.

Estrogen thickens the uterine lining and progesterone keeps the uterine lining in place in anticipation of a fertilized embryo. Towards the end of the cycle, if the egg hasn’t been fertilized, the corpus luteum is reabsorbed into the body. Progesterone production will soon halt as a result, triggering your period. Testosterone will increase towards the end of this phase.

Your brain chemistry is optimized this week for task and detail orientation and bringing projects to completion.
PMS is a common, but not necessary part of this phase, and results from too much estrogen in relation to progesterone production (if you listened to my episode on ovulation you will recall I mentioned how copper and zinc correlate with estrogen, progesterone and testosterone).

This phase can be anywhere from 7-10 days (or as long as 14 days in some women - generally speaking a lunar cycle is about 28-32 days) and in the first half you will likely have more energy to spend with others -as you transition from your social ovulation phase but in the second half this will shift and you may find you want to spend more time taking care of yourself -perhaps even going inward a bit. 


It’s a good time to speak up for yourself, let those emotions guide you on creating boundaries that perhaps you weren’t able to see prior -say no more often so you don’t  become more irritated this week. It’s a good time to savor the slow and bunker down a bit. This is where knowing your cycle comes in handy when it comes to planning things in your life. Your inner voice may be trying to nudge you more so during this phase so tune in and communicate to bring things up and out.

As for movement the first half of this cycle you will probably have more energy to burn - it’s a good time to use this energy for slower strength training or intense yoga and then start to scale back in the 2nd half of this phase to lighter activities like walking, gentle yoga, pilates

Increase foods rich in B vitamins to help with energy and sugar cravings ( I love bee pollen and organ meats like liver myself)

Eat more leafy greens to increase calcium and magnesium and to help with any possible fluid retention. Increase root veggies : cooked is usually best (roasted, yum) to help your liver and large intestine flush out estrogen more effectively. I also like to do some shredded carrot, beet radish type of slaw during this phase to help. Maybe you’ve heard of the raw carrot salad trend from the pro metabolic community - me personally I like variety so I play with my root veggies seasonally in this phase because that makes more intuitive sense to me but raw carrots daily during this phase sure are a good start. It’s also a good time to increase fiber foods and even denser carbohydrates for energy.. As well as possible some foods high in molybdenum such as legumes to help flush excess copper out through the liver.

Many women who are in burnout (aka: slow oxidation, adrenal insufficiency or ‘fatigue’ or hypothryoid) tend to complain about low energy, slowed down digestion, constipation and trouble sleeping. It’s important to recognize this to layer in extra support during this phase until you iron out the deeper biochemical imbalances - I’ll touch on this more in a minute.

Your libido in this phase can be hot and ready in the beginning half but you may need more stimulation to climax - again it’s all about savoring the slowness in this phase. Also that testosteron increase could get you hot for sex too right as you transition (I’ve heard this from many women).  Honestly this can keep your sex life really interesting by tuning into your hormones in each phase -it’s so helpful to understand this and get your partner to as well so you can maximize your energy/hormones as they unfold. 

Taking care of your body, not just to get well, but as a means to having the most fulfilling life you can have - is one sweet deal. It’s a matter of understanding how your body works, what the underlying causes of your hormonal/health issues are, and what you need to do daily to maintain balance.





 

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