The Voices In My Pre-menstrual Head

The landscape in front of me looked like a painting on an infinite canvas that stretched beyond the scope of my vision. Super mario brothers…yeah, like a 2 dimensional scene from a video game. Big, puffy clouds and the brightest blue sky…what a beautiful day.

My attention was quickly diverted to my annoyance with the increase in bugs hovering by my side and dancing in front of my face. It was like they were magnetically attracted to me for some reason. Shit, what the hell was I thinking putting lotion on before my run? Idiot. My routine became like a step, step, swat, step, step, swat, swat. As I glanced down I noticed the extreme cleavage I had…not the cute kind, like the “Jesus Christ, why are they so big? I hate them” kind. Since when did my cleavage line go that far up my friggin chest? Almost instantly I remembered how tender they were and I noticed the pain with every. single. step. I was also reminded of how I tried on my bathing suit earlier and they were spilling out of the sides of my top. That in turn reminded me of how the bottoms fit…

My vision drifted south. Ugh, my thighs. There they are, jiggling like a bowl of frickin tapioca pudding. What HAPPENED to me?  I hate running. Mmmmm I like tapioca pudding, I wonder if I can make a vegan version of that…

Wow, I thought. I wonder if people would think I’m crazy if they knew what I was thinking right now. Am I crazy? I made the effort to put on my running shoes and get outside to exercise, to sweat, to feel good, to be nice to my body, and here I am yelling at it at the same time…that’s not nice. I mean, do I really look that bad? I know the truth is that I don’t. I wonder if every girl experiences some kind of body dysmorphia at some point in their lives. What a horrible thing. I realize that I’m blessed with good health and pretty decent genes from my parents and I should be happy with that. But sometimes (usually once a month, go figure) I get overly consumed with not being good enough or always wanting what I don’t have…drowning in a puddle of self-loathing slime…gross.

It’s goddamn hard being a woman! I have to deal with these whack-job emotions for one week out of every. single. month. I’m not really a big crier either, but PMS-Tiffany? Oh, she cries…she cries at the sight of an elderly couple holding hands, she cries when her younger brother yells at her and she cries when she feels like her boyfriend doesn’t like her anymore. She’s an emotional wreck.

I was at my parents house the other day trying to print out my resume. I hate their printer…I hate their printer with all of my being (strange, because I don’t like the word hate). I was there for a total of 3 minutes before throwing up my hands, yelling something and storming off. My brother asked “Are you PMS-ing or something?”. Um yes, it’s that obvious. My Dad chimed in, “I was thinking the exact same thing”. Bah. Ha.

45 minutes later, as I lay on the couch in a fetal position, my brother got my resume to print out and brought it to me. Thank God for the men in the world who understand how to deal with a pre-menstrual woman. Don’t mess with her, don’t piss her off, hug her, play with her hair and when she can’t figure out how to work the friggin printer? You figure it out.

Ok, enough of that. For all of the women that suffer from this lovely syndrome, here are some natural remedies for PMS and tips for a healthy menstrual cycle:

  • Do yourself a favor and go workout. Exercise relieves PMS symptoms by increasing the amount of blood flow and oxygen to the tissues, as well as reducing anxiety and irritability. If you can’t workout, go for a walk or go to the farmers market and buy some fresh, organic vegetables for dinner…just get OUT of the house. *to improve PMS symptoms, it is important to increase the activity level of your exercise for a week or two before the onset of your period.
  • Realize that sugar is the devil (goddamn it). Cut off your love affair with Mr. Chocolate during this time, he only aggravates your symptoms. Use carob as a chocolate substitute and choose fresh fruit and berries to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Speaking of food, do NOT let yourself get too hungry. A hangry, PMS-ing female? Ohh boy, watch out! Stabilize your blood sugar by eating small, frequent meals during the day including plenty of fresh unprocessed veggies, organic, hormone-free protein sources and other low sugar whole foods.
  • Limit or cut out dairy & red meat, they cause inflammation. Dairy is constipating and also inhibits magnesium absorption (which is shown to significantly improve PMS symptoms). *I noticed an extreme change in my symptoms after going vegan, they essentially disappeared…my breast tenderness was non-existant. I’ve added yogurt and some cheese back into my diet recently and my symptoms are back…just saying.
  • This one may be tough: Limit/avoid alcohol & caffeine. They do nothing but aggravate PMS symptoms and lead to dehydration. *as I write this, I am just finishing up my cup of coffee, looking outside and thinking that after I’m done with this post I am going to have a mimosa and lay out by the pool. #failing
  • Here’s a very important one, HYDRATE. Always, always, always keep a bottle of water near you. (hopefully you’re using a reusable water bottle by now). I find it easier to drink water when it’s infused with fruit, cucumber or herbs. It’s always great to start your day off with lemon water but try adding orange slices, berries or even some mint into your water bottle for some added nutritional benefits and a tastier alternative to staying hydrated. *this is often called detox water btw.
  • Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of proper fats, vitamin D3 and magnesium. High quality, expeller-pressed coconut, flaxseed and olive oil are great at reducing inflammation and balancing hormones while vitamin D and magnesium are shown to reduce PMS symptoms. *try to get your vitamin D from the sun, but if not, choose a high quality supplement and make sure it is vitamin D3, not D2.
  • One of the best things you can do for yourself: Learn how to handle your stress. Stress can be managed in 3 ways. You can seek out the help of a qualified professional for counseling, restructure your environment to make it less stressful, or learn certain relaxation techniques. My favorite? Yoga. I love yoga. Meditation helps a lot of people too. *sometimes when I have an anxiety attack I just close my eyes and breathe in slowly and deeply…like 10 times. Then I open my eyes and almost always feel better.
  • My last tip…smile and laugh. Do you like cute, furry things? Go to a pet store or somewhere that’s sponsoring a pet adoption and get all up in that squishy goodness. That ALWAYS puts me in a good mood (although there’s a chance I’ll end up crying at the overwhelming cuteness). Call someone who makes you happy and can make you laugh and forget about your misery for a while. But the best way to put a smile on your face? Watch those YouTube videos from Jimmy Kimmel – Celebrities read mean tweets #1 – #7. *if that doesn’t make you laugh, please seek medical help.

Increase Your Intake Of Vitamin L

While doing some of my required reading for school, I came across a paragraph in the book Staying Healthy With Nutrition that was so powerful I wanted to share…

Many people feed their bellies but not their souls; this will not lead us where we are meant to go in health and in life if we are not healthy or have less energy.

We have many more mouths to feed other than just our oral cavity…

Our eyes need to be nourished with color and beauty, our ears with music and the sounds of nature, our nose with the natural aromas of the world, our hands and body with the touch of another, and of course, our heart and spirit with the love and friendship of other living beings.

In other words, using some Vitamin L – Love for self and others, the activator of all healthy choices.


Thought of the Day

This quote by the Dalai Lama really resonates with me right now. For years I was on a mission to make more money and to move up in my career. I was in a place where my job defined who I was. I lived to work…and when I left work, it followed me home, I made it dinner and then it climbed into bed with me and kept me awake all night. It was only after I lost my job that I was able to fall in love…to have a real relationship with someone…an actual human being. I had time to appreciate the beauty of love and to enjoy the people around me. I had time to talk, to listen, to have a conversation, to tell a story, to help heal my friends that were hurt and to learn how to let go of anything that wasn’t serving me. For some people success is the only key to happiness, but for me the key to happiness is to love and to be loved.