Edita-Vilkeviciute-by-Dan-Martensen-for-Sunday-Telegraph-Magazine-March-2015-8 “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” ― Steve Maraboli, That time of the month. Moon cycle. Period. Menstrual cycle.

What thoughts come to mind when you think of your moon cycle? Hate, anger, rage, fear, sadness, craziness, loneliness, pain, or are you happy, balanced, cheerful, reflective and peaceful?

This can be a VERY emotional time for you, and your loved ones. PMS is not your friend, and what I've learnt through my studies + self study is that we do not have to have PMS. If our bodies are in balance, hormonally and we are taking care of ourselves - body, mind and spirit we do not have to stuffer each month!

I've personally gone through the ringer with my cycle. Long story short: I didn't get it for four years due to Lymes Disease and Hypothyroidism, struggled to get it back, had CRAZY out of whack hormones for a few years as it tried to come back, and am still today trying to get my body back in balance. It's been a journey, but I've learned a lot along the way.

I want all females to see this time, as a time for more self-love (a bath helps so much!), and a time to truly listen to your body needs. It needs more love, care and attention during the few days leading up to it, and the week of.

Remember that symptoms are your bodies way of talking. IF you are suffering big time, and you dread this week every single month than I truly believe it's time to see a Holistic Practitioner to help guide you, as this shouldn't be the case! We need to love this time of month, celebrate being a woman and love our bodies.

Today though I want to give you some foods to eat that will help immensely with your PMS symptoms if you are suffering. I hope this helps!

BANANAS Bananas are loaded with B6 vitamins that help relieve cramping and are also packed with potassium which helps reduce water retention and bloating. Coconut water is good for this too. Try eating at least one banana a day during your moon time, either blended up in a smoothie, or as ‘nana ice cream, sliced over granola with other fruit or just peeled, on their own. Pair with a healthy fat (smother it in pumpkin seed butter!) to help balance your blood sugars.

OATS A bowl of oatmeal a day keeps the period cramps away. Oats are also high in zinc and magnesium, which are anti-cramp vitamins and minerals. They are one of the best whole food options for women who suffer from painful menstrual cycles. If possible, allow them to soak overnight and enjoy them in the morning for breakfast. While soaking, the enzymes breakdown and the nutritional value in the oats improve.

SPINACH & KALE Spinach and kale are both full of calcium which has been proved to help alleviate menstrual cramps. As well, they contain high amounts of vitamin E, B6 and magnesium, which also provide strength to the body to fight off tummy pains. If your moon time is extra painful, up your intake of greens. Toss them into smoothies, make salads, eat them raw, steamed, roasted...however you’d like! The opportunities are endless.

PUMPKIN SEEDS & SUNFLOWER SEEDS The magical “menstruation cramp relief” vitamin, Vitamin E, is also found in pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, so eat these seeds by the handful, ladies! Zinc has been said to help relieve belly bloats and pains during our moon time and is found in both of these seeds, too. Sunflower seeds are also an excellent source of Pyridoxine, also known as vitamin B6, which is said to support the absorption of zinc and magnesium, assisting in natural pain relief.

SESAME SEEDS When it comes to seeds and menstrual cramp relief, sesame seeds are in the lead. They contain healthy fatty acids that help relax the stomach muscles and reduce cramping and are also rich in vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium. Try sprinkling them on salads, noodle dishes or eating them by the tablespoon-ful. I prefer Tahini, and mix this into my salads almost everyday as it's super, duper high in calcium.

WATER Okay, so water isn’t a food, and we don’t eat it, but it should be obvious that drinking a lot of water during menstruation is a must. It’s important all the time, but especially during menstruation: by remaining hydrated, chances of the body retaining water decrease and painful bloating subsides. Hot water (with some ginger) also relaxes muscles, which can reduce cramping. If you find it difficult to drink a lot of water or to keep track of how much you’re drinking, carry a water bottle with you.

This is just a small selection, but some of the most important ones!

Lets come together and celebrate this time of the month, and start looking at it differently. Instead of dreading it, no matter how bad it is, lets accept it (as it's not going anywhere, for now that is!) and love ourselves and our body even more! This small mental shift can actually make the biggest of differences.

Happy Friday!