Alisa Vitti is an integrative nutritionist who teaches women how to use their hormonal and neurochemical patterns to create extraordinary lives. She is the best-selling author of WomanCode and the founder of FLOLiving.com, a virtual health center that supports women’s hormonal and reproductive health. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to seek her expert advice on some of our community’s most common questions:
What are your top 5 tips for dealing with cramps and PMS?
1.) Hot Yoga. The sweating you’ll do is part of a detox process that flushes out excess cortisol and increasing estrogen metabolism, which is essential for balanced hormones at this time of month. Plus, the sweat will help with excess water weight and bloating! And finally, you’re giving your serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin levels a big boost which will keep your mood in a positive state.
2.) Create your own spa rituals at home. Try adding salts to a hot bath, using salts in the water for your hot towel scrub, or scrubbing down with salts and essential oils in the shower. Allow yourself to make these practices a consistent and conscious part of your self-care routine – you’ll notice the difference, and your body will thank you!
3.) Make a PMS Prevention Juice: 2 medium beets (not the greens), ½ bunch cilantro, 1 small lemon with peel, 3-4 leaves of kale, ½ green apple, 2 stalks celery, 1 inch cube of ginger
4.) Cut back on dairy. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and even yogurt can contribute to cramping and other symptoms by contributing estrogen dominance. Replace dairy products with almond milk and coconut or almond milk yogurt. (It’s also best to minimize soy, so watch out for overloading on the soy milk!)
5.) Don’t skip meals. You’ll compromise your blood sugar balance, and at this time of the month that’s especially not good! Imbalanced blood sugar will contribute to mood swings and amplify your PMS symptoms.
Do you have any suggestions for reducing excessive menstrual flow?
Excessive menstrual flow occurs when there is a buildup of estrogen in the body. Try eliminating soy products and increasing dark leafy greens.
In your professional experience, is there any connection between how we feel about our periods, and how we experience them?
Absolutely. If you inherited beliefs from your mother or other ladies that said anything like this: “It sucks being a woman,” “Women always get the short end of the stick,” or “It’s not safe to be a woman”, then chances are you’ve adopted some unconscious beliefs that make you not want to be a woman, and therefore want to stop your period.
Sometimes the negative beliefs are subtle, so if you’re unsure if you have any, I suggest doing some writing on this topic and see what comes up for you. If you’re constantly pushing to get ahead and exhausting your body in the process, your body will rebel in the form of menstrual cramps. Or painful periods. Or mood swings. Or other annoying symptoms.
It’s totally possible to get out of this mindset, and when you do you’ll see drastic changes with your periods. Start by having conversations about this with your friends, and surround yourself with women who are supportive, like the ones on our online community here.
In your professional experience, have you noticed any kind of adverse health effects related to mainstream (i.e. non-organic cotton) disposable pads and tampons?
My biggest concern lies with SCENTED non-organic disposable products for two main reasons. First of all, the chemicals used here are undoubtedly unhealthy for the body. Secondly, they send negative messages about a woman’s natural biology and bodily processes in a direct way that easily causes her to feel insecure and paranoid.
Yes, I have and these products are especially great for women prone to sensitivity. These reusable products are a wonderful option to help women maintain internal pH and healthy bacterial ecosystem. I also love that they are environmentally friendly!