I Followed a List of PMS Eating Dos and Don’ts + Here’s What Happened
Any gal who’s suffers from severe PMS symptoms or painful periods knows how truly AWFUL that time of the month can be. Sleepless nights, migraines, chocolate cake cravings, backaches and full body fatigue are ultra-common. Then there are the absolutely terrible cramps that can make it painful to even stand up (never mind to even attempt PMS yoga) before Aunt Flo finally arrives. All of this makes me *seriously* dread the last two weeks of the month.
I actually start experiencing PMS symptoms about two full weeks before I get my period (ugh) but started this diet a week before, for the sake of the experiment. Today, I’m already feeling super tired, having trouble sleeping and feel sore enough all over that taking a walk can be miserable. As much as I LOVE salad (it’s my favorite food!) I can’t stand looking at one — all I want to do is make my fave pasta with sea salt and olive oil and park it on the couch to eat and sleep.
Work is tricky too. I find that I’m so tired and distracted that writing just doesn’t come to me like it normally does and that my usually quick creative brain is much slower to find functional and cool-looking solutions that delight my web production clients. For this reason, I usually end up drinking way more coffee than usual and working from a cafe simply so I don’t fall asleep. The struggle is real.
Not only am I feeling tired and irritable, but I have a killer headache that’s probably part hormonal and part need for my usual extra large dose of caffeine. Reading through the PMS dos and don’ts, I learn that caffeine is a major don’t, as it actually *causes* worse cramps because “your blood vessels contract when caffeine is present in your body.” Dr. Calapai also says that adding caffeine will make it more difficult for your body to retain water, which can cause stomach issues. Eek! Though I feel like I need my coffee more than ever during this tough week, I vow to cut it out so I can see if it truly makes a difference for me.
Not a coffee drinker? Wine lovers take note too! Drinking alcohol (even lightly) during PMS week is another don’t as it can actually worsen feelings of depression and moodiness. And if that’s not enough of a reason to put down the glass, a study published by the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology also found that regular drinking can increase the length and severity of cramps during PMS. This is totally new news to me and definitely noted.
Now that I’ve cut coffee, I feel ready to continue through Dr. Calapai’s suggestions by cutting out excessive salt and upping my water intake. Sea salt is a go-to for my fave pasta (and now I want it more than ever) but I stop adding it to the dish. I also add 1-2 bananas into my daily diet, one of which I eat in the morning mixed with eggs for a protein pancake and the other with almond butter for a snack or after dinner dessert. According to Dr. Calapai, who speaks about natural sleep disturbances that occur just before your period starts, bananas have heaps of melatonin — a sleep-aid hormone that’s secreted at night and helps your bod regulate its natural rhythms.
The other addition I make to my regular meals is incorporating more calcium. I don’t like to drink milk so I add more Greek yogurt to the mix, mixing it with berries and nuts to starve off hunger and hopefully reap the benefits. Dr. Calapai explains why more calcium during PMS week is a do, writing, “Some studies have shown that calcium levels are lower in women with PMS, and that those with the highest intake of calcium reported the mildest PMS symptoms.” Pretty remarkable!
Though I still feel tired and like I want to eat every cookie and chocolate cake under the sun, I’m definitely sleeping better than I usually do. It’s typical for me to wake up like clockwork around 3am every night the week before my period and it hasn’t happened once this week. I’m also taking Bar Method class on the days that I teach and though it’s ultra-painful, it doesn’t seem as unbearable as it usually does. My back definitely feels better than normal given the time of the month too.
Though Dr. Calapai says it’s totes okay to eat dark chocolate when experiencing PMS, I know myself well enough to know that if I touch it during this time, I’ll definitely have a hard time hitting the brakes. For a sweet treat that I can enjoy in moderation while avoiding spiked sugar levels by ODing on dark chocolate, I snack on a few different low-sugar/high protein snack bars throughout the week. It’s not the same thing, but it helps take the edge off.
I’m also forcing myself to consume lots of darker greens this week, like kale salad, broccoli and green smoothies — even though I *really* don’t want them. A do on the PMS eating plan, the greens also have calcium and are said to help with iron deficiency, one of the main culprits behind lightheadedness and nausea. I can’t argue with the fact that I’m thankfully not experiencing any of those day-altering symptoms.
My period comes right when I expect it to and though I definitely don’t feel great, the pain is nowhere near as bad as it always is. To be perfectly honest, my period is usually so bad that I completely schedule social plans and client project work around it, full-well knowing how sick I’ll feel.
The next few days follow, and I even feel well and energetic enough to exercise — something I’ve *never* been able to muster up the strength for before. I must admit, my mind’s blown that, though my period wasn’t painless, the week didn’t suck the life out of me as it usually does or leave me curled up in bed for a couple of days straight. I’ll definitely give it a go again next month, probably starting even earlier to see if that helps more.
If you weren’t keeping track, here’s the breakdown:
Do: Drink more water, eat bananas, get more calcium, eat dark chocolate, eat darker greens
Don’t: Drink coffee, drink alcohol, consume excessive salt
Have you found a remedy that helps banish bad PMS symptoms? Share it with us on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)