Many women suffer around their time of the month with cravings, cramps and low mood. So we've put together a couple of recipes for you below to tempt you away from the left-over Easter eggs and towards something a little more sustaining... In our workshop in April you will find out some practical strategies on how to improve feminine issues like this, but we thought we’d give you a little taster ahead of the session.
"At Easter you can’t step inside a supermarket without being greeted by mountains of chocolate eggs. Even though you don’t want to buy one you feel as if you should. Just put that egg down for a moment and grab a few store cupboard ingredients to make a super delicious and healthy chocolate treat. Not that you shouldn’t have some Cadbury’s - my children would not want anything else - but the issue with that type of chocolate is that it often leaves you wanting more as it’s not particularly satisfying. It also has a long list of ingredients and very little is actually real cocoa. The recipe below for chocolate bark is full of antioxidants, is naturally sweet and tastes delicious.
The food that loves to love you back, chocolate is loaded with magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, phosphorus and antioxidants. These help to keep your heart healthy, your bones strong, lowers your blood pressure and gives your skin a glow. Ever wonder why we crave chocolate before our period arrives? Estrogen and progesterone are the main hormones that are released during our cycle and they impact on mood and every organ of the body, including digestion and immune response.
Cravings are due to the fluctuations in our hormones and at that point in our cycle women seem to need chocolate more. Some people say we crave it as the impending stress of a period arrives (stress increases our cravings). Certainly we are culturally conditioned to see chocolate as a treat. Yet others claim it’s because of the magnesium that the body makes us seek chocolate out.
The bottom line is, if you don’t deprive yourself throughout the cycle and manage your stress levels you will probably find that you won’t experience the urge to leave your house late at night to go searching for chocolate. As we know, that is what a craving can make us feel like doing sometimes."
100 grams of dark chocolate, minimum 70% (500g will cover a baking tray)
½ cup of nuts, almonds, cashews, or any that you like
¼ cup of seeds. I picked pumpkin as I like the colour and they are a good source of zinc.
½ cup of dried fruits like goji berries, cranberries and apricots
Drop of vanilla essence depending on the bitterness of the chocolate
Chop the nuts and toast them in a frying pan. Take care not to burn them. Also toast the pumpkin seeds - you know when they are done as they pop. Melt chocolate in a bain-marie and spread it out on grease proof paper. While the chocolate is warm, spread over the nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Pop in the fridge to harden and then break into pieces.
"Many of us drink herbal teas but we don’t think of them as a form of ‘medicine’. Of course it depends on the quality of the herbs used and whether they’re loose or in tea bags but one immediate therapeutic effect is the warming sensation of drinking a hot cuppa as well as increasing your fluid intake and thereby helping all kinds of processes in your body.
This simple tea recipe is tasty and full of benefits for women’s well-being: Verbena has a calming effect on the nervous system and can help to reduce anxiety and pre-menstrual tension. Lemon balm tastes lovely and refreshing and is used to lift mood, reduce anxiety, improve sleep and has also been found beneficial for migraines, colds and digestive upsets. The scent of rose petals steeping in a cup of hot water uplifts the spirits and gives a feeling a comfort and well-being."
Take one teaspoon each of dried Verbena and Lemon balm and add a few Rose petals. Infuse in a cup of boiling water for 5-7 minutes, strain off and enjoy!
Understanding how your hormones work, how the body is constantly communicating with you every day and knowing how to nourish yourself to feel strong and vibrant are some of the things we will talk about in the workshop coming up in a few weeks. We’ll also be bringing a few tasters along of a few more treats!