Lunaception: Follow the Moon
Following the moon or paying attention to your menstrual cycle is a valuable part of self-care. Let’s take a look at how the menstrual and moon’s cycles are similar. I will show you why and how to chart your cycles. We will explore eating tips for the different phases of your cycle. Finally, we will look at ways to prepare your bedroom to enhance every aspect of your moon cycle. Here is why the menstrual cycle is often referred to as the moon cycle.
The Moon CycleLuna
Your body goes through different phases much as the moon does. The moon completes its cycle every 28 days. Most women have a lunar sequence which is about 28 days in length.
An intricate dance of hormones governs the menstrual cycle. Changes occur within your body as hormone levels rise and fall. The changes in hormone levels create the phases of your menstrual cycle. The cyclical changes are similar to the effect that the moon has on tides and other cyclical aspects of life.
Hormone levels fluctuate in your body causing a pattern of repetitive, mostly predictable, physical and emotional changes. The moon’s gravitational pull affects the earth in a predictable rhythm. It even impacts physical changes within your cells. In traditional cultures women’s bodies were so tuned in to the natural rhythms that they ovulated when the moon was full and had their periods when it was dark during the new moon.
So why is it not aligned?
If you have an irregular, absent, short, or long cycle, you can take steps to regulate your cycle. You do this by following the moon. Even if you have a 28 day cycle it is helpful to align your menstrual cycle with that of the moon.
Physical and emotional stress, toxins hormonal birth control methods, irregular shift work, and artificial lighting have disrupted this natural pattern for women worldwide. It is possible to restore the natural ancient wisdom of your body by eating better, eliminating toxins, using light judiciously, and relieving stress.
Phases of Your Menstrual Cycle
Your menstrual cycle consists of two main stages which are separated by the occurrence of ovulation. Day one of the first phase begins with the onset of menses. This aspect is also known as the follicular or proliferative phase. The first phase lasts about 14 days.
Ovulation usually occurs on day 13 or 14.
The second phase is the luteal phase. The luteal phase begins on Day 15 and lasts through day 28.
This timing is based on her menstrual cycle which lasts approximately 28 days. Your phases may be a bit shorter or longer. You will be able to determine your phases by keeping a chart for a few months.
Signs and Characteristics of the Follicular Phase
- Early morning basal body temperature: 97 to 97.5 F or11 to 36.38 C
- Cervical fluid is scanty after menstruation. It becomes increasingly wet toward the end of the phase
- Cervical fluid consistency changes from sticky and creamy to clear and stretchy
- Cervix changes from firm to soft as ovulation approaches
- The cervix is low in the vagina and closed. As ovulation approaches, cervix straightens, opens, and softens
Signs and Characteristics of Ovulation
- Occurs a day before the temperature rises
- Increased sexual desire
- Abdominal bloating
- Discomfort over the ovary which is ovulating
Signs and Characteristics of the Luteal Phase
- Early-morning basal body temperature 97.6 to 98.6 F or44 to 37C.
- Scant cervical fluid(Our Body Ourselves, 2014)
Follow the Moon: Chart your Cycle
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that knowing how to chart the menstrual cycle is essential. Documenting the menstrual period provides information which can be used to assess overall health status (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2015).
You may choose from a wide array of tools to chart your cycle. Calendars, journals, and phone apps are available that are simple to use. Basal body temperature, characteristics of cervical mucus, menses, physical concerns, and emotions are helpful to include on your calendar. Your nutrient requirements fluctuate with your cycle. Let’s take a look at how your nutritional needs change with different stages of your cycle.
Eating for the Phases of your Cycle
You will be able to use your chart to identify where you are in your lunar cycle. Then you can eat in a nourishing manner. Cravings, symptoms of PMS, and PMDD decrease when you eat right for your cycle. You can help regulate your hormones by using a technique called seed cycling.
Seed Cycling during the Follicular Phase
Seeds contain compounds that are used to create and eliminate hormones. Eat one tablespoonful each of flax and pumpkin seeds every day during the follicular phase of your cycle. These seeds contain high levels of healthy omega -3 fatty acids. The flax seeds prevent buildup of toxic excess estrogen. Progesterone balance will improve during the luteal phase if you consume pumpkin seeds during the first part of your cycle.
Seed Cycling during the Luteal Phase
Eat one tablespoonful each of sesame and sunflower seeds every day during the luteal phase of your cycle. Sesame seeds block and eliminate excess estrogens. Sunflower seeds aid detoxification and support healthy hormone balance.
Tips for Preparing and Eating Seeds
- Purchase raw, whole, organic seeds.
- Store seeds in your freezer or refrigerator.
- Grind flax and sesame seeds each day as they can become rancid quickly.
- A coffee grinder or food processor works great for preparing the seeds.
- You may choose to eat sunflower or pumpkin seeds whole as a tasty nutritious snack.
- Add the seeds to salads, cooked grains, and smoothies.
- Add seeds to hot foods just before serving as some of their goodness may be lost when cooked.
Your energy levels are likely to be low during your menstrual period. Choose small meals and limit snacks. Eat foods which are high in calcium such as dark green leafy vegetables. Your energy levels will increase from the end of your period until ovulation occurs. Add some extra protein to your diet during this stage.
Your energy levels will continue to increase throughout the luteal phase. Add a little extra healthy fat to your diet during this stage. Eat ½ of an avocado or a handful of nuts each day. Continue eating healthy fats during your period as they can help to reduce discomfort.
Cravings may arise right before your period. Try eating 1 ounce of organic dark chocolate daily during the last four days of your cycle. The dark chocolate contains magnesium and other nutrients which reduce cravings and soothe your mind and body in preparation for your period.
Paying attention to your menstrual cycle and eating for it may even help you reach a healthy weight according to Prevention magazine (Heid, 2016).
Another part of staying in touch with your moon cycle is to ensure that you are getting proper rest. Let’s take a look at some ways that you prepare yourself and your bedroom for that.
Darkness and Light: Lunaception Tips
Keep your bedroom dark and noise free. Use black out shades to ensure total darkness in your bedroom. This will help to regulate hormones and periods. Lunaception will gradually retore your cycles to their natural rhythem. Use a night light on the night of the full moon as well as one night prior and one night after.
The moon serves as an excellent reminder of our need to rest each day. Lack of sleep and fatigue contribute to hormone disruption, irritability, overall poor health, and increased stress. Here are some tips to ensure that you get plenty of high-quality rest each night.
Use the Moon to remind you of your Need for Rest
- Identify your sleep patterns. Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? Identify the cause so that you can take steps to root out whenever is interfering with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
- Notice how many hours of sleep that you need each night. Commit to going to bed and getting up at times and allow you to have the amount of sleep that your body needs. This may change throughout your moon cycle.
- Use your bedroom for sex and sleep. Don’t use it for television, or catching up on computer work.
- Purchase the best creature comforts that you can afford for your bedroom. For example, luxurious sheets, soft pillows, and room darkening shades may make sleep more enjoyable and restful.
- Stick with the routine in the evening.
- Learn and use relaxation techniques before bed.
- Enjoy a relaxing bath or massage before bed. Consider using pure essential oils to enhance relaxation.
- Don’t overeat in the evening.
- See your healthcare provider if you suffer from ongoing sleep problems.
Patricia Bratianu is a Registered Nurse with over forty years of expertise. Pat also possesses a PhD in Natural Health and a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. Patricia combines cutting edge science and ancient healing traditions in her quest to empower all to good health. Pat recognizes that wellness and healthcare are continuum. She believes that our first medicine is how we live our lives.