- Individualized food plans based on YOU – your likes, dislikes, food intolerances, allergies, lifestyle. Eat healthy and eat delicious- without breaking the bank!
- Hit a plateau? Inspiration, motivation, guidance, coaching. It’s having someone there to help you make the changes necessary and call you on your shit to keep you moving towards your goals.
- Get to the root cause of your hormonal symptoms through targeted nutrition and lifestyle tactics to balance sex hormones and insulin– no pill popping required!
- It all starts in the GUT! Work with an nutritionist (ME) on getting your digestion on track, avoid having to push out pellet poops or undo your top button after eating.
- Implement strategies to boost your mood with food. Anxiety, depression, irritability and angry outbursts become a thing of the past. Good food = good mood.
- Learn lifestyle habits to reduce your stress and improve your self-esteem so you’re feeling empowered and gosh damn sexy!
- No quick-fix fad or crash diets. These types of diets provide results quick, followed by a crash in your metabolism and even more weight piling back on.
- Fuck the food pyramid and embrace a diet and lifestyle plan that is suitable and sustainable for you and your rocking life.
- Get a different perspective on your lab test results from someone trained in optimal ranges, rather than average.
- Learn to love the kitchen with new recipes and ways of cooking to optimize health and hormones. BONUS- eating lots of FAT is a good thing!
- Get glowing. Adult cystic acne is no joke. It’s embarrassing, it hurts and it wrecks self-esteem. Learn how to use food, botanicals and lifestyle to achieve clear, glowing skin without pills or burning topical treatments.
- Learn how to be your healthiest self, even if you ARE on medications. Replace nutrients being depleted due to meds, and live a happy hormones lifestyle- no matter the birth control, anti-depressant or other medications you may be taking.
Guest Post by Lydia Jarjoura.
I often get asked what a woman’s menstrual cycle has to do with the Moon. So I start by explaining the message of the Lunar Rhythms. This celestial body holds the most sacred cycle within; a cycle that is not unlike a woman’s internal rhythm. Many of us have noticed the pull of a bright, Full Moon during a cloudless night. We have all seen her morph into a silver crescent of light as the month goes on. But what most of us aren’t taught, is that these distinct phases of the Moon’s cycle greatly affect our own psyches, our energy, even our dreams.
Civilization’s way of tracking time was born out of the lunar rhythms that have always taken place in the atmosphere above us. The origins of the word, Moon, come from the word month and menses both in Old English and Greek. This is where we get the words month, menstruation, menarch, and many more words with “me”- to measure.
There was a time, before our mothers and our grandmothers and perhaps even their mothers, where all life and time was governed by the Moon cycle. Before artificial light, hormone disrupting diets (ex. processed foods) and the rise of hormonal birth control, most all women would experience their period on the New Moon and would ovulate at the Full Moon. This cycle is our default setting and it’s only been until fairly recently that we have disrupted our own biology.
Because women would bleed together each month on the New Moon, this was considered the beginning of the month, and the beginning of their cycle. The Menstrual phase (New Moon) is the beginning of the 4 week cycle that brings with it distinct energetic and physical changes throughout the month. After the Menstrual/New Moon phase, the light starts to grow fuller as it moves into the Waxing phase. In a woman’s body, this is called the Follicular phase. From here, the Moon grows to its full brightness, in the Full moon or Ovulatory stage. After this peak of energy, it begins to Wane, moving into the Luteal phase.
Each of these phases brings about a specific energetic element and learning to go with the flow of your own cycle allows you to embrace those energies. I always encourage women, before they begin tracking the cycles of the Moon, to track their own cycle. This can be done by keeping a period calendar; begin on the first day of bleeding and write Day 1 on your calendar, on the date that you began bleeding. At the end of each day, jot down any physical or emotional energies you experienced like happy, sad, angry. Or you could do a smiley (or sad) face to notate how you felt overall each day. After a few months of tracking, you’ll notice a rhythm to your moods and your physical changes within. Begin to note what phase the Moon is in when you start bleeding (you can do a quick Google search for the specific day to find out the Moon’s phase). Many women find that they bleed around the New Moon or the Full Moon phase.
It used to be said that a woman who bled around the Full Moon were the wisdom keepers and the leaders of the community. Women who bleed around the New Moon are the Mothers and their body’s act as a mirror to the Earth’s natural fertile cycle. Over the course of a year, your cycle will shift and your bleeding time will move to a different phase. Take note of where your bleeding lands in the cycle and see if that is being reflected in your current life. If your period lands around the Full Moon, are you finding more time to be creative, to start new projects or to tap into some ancient wisdom? When you bleed around the New Moon, are you nurturing yourself and others? Are you giving birth to something new in your life? It’s amazingly empowering to have a full awareness of your body’s changes, both physical and emotional, as you harness the power of your own Moon cycle.
Just remember, many cultures did and still do, regard a woman’s menstrual cycle as the most sacred gift and a way to reach a higher realm of consciousness. Your body is a blessing and by learning to Reclaim our Cycles, we can tap into the gifts that it provides.
Note from Robyn: Lydia has graciously provided me with a special discount for her brilliant ebook, Moon Sessions: Reclaim Your Cycles. A guide for reclaiming your body’s cycles, regaining your health, and renewing your spirit. I’d like to share it with you! Enjoy 10% off the Moon Sessions ebook with coupon code RENEW at checkout. Grab the ebook here.
Lunar Nourishment is a wellness platform rooted in ritual and the rhythms of the Moon. Twin sisters Lydia and Marlena Jarjoura provide education, ritual tools, gemstone jewelry and more to empower women to embrace their natural cycles. Our bodies are a vessel for healing and strength; Lunar Nourishment provides support to help women (and men!) nourish Mind, Body and Spirit in a holistic and healthy way. Are you ready to live authentically and embrace the spirit within? You can connect with Lydia and her sister on her Website, Facebook and Instagram.
Article Image Credit: www.lunarnourishment.com
Guest Post with Amy Sedgwick.
Robyn: Welcome Amy! As you are already aware, I’ve been a big fan and supporter of Red Tent Sisters for a long time now and couldn’t be more excited to share you with my tribe! What led you to becoming a top expert in the holistic fertility and contraception field?
Amy: Like so many other people in the holistic health field, my work was born out of a personal experience (several in fact!) that led me to natural birth control and healing of my decade-long menstrual problems. In 2005 I experienced side effects from hormonal contraception that caused me to produce an excess amount of breastmilk. My daughter was only a few months old at the time and the milk was coming out so quickly that she was choking every time she tried to nurse. So for the first time in my adult life I was forced to explore non-hormonal forms of contraception. I discovered the Justisse Method of Fertility Management, and not only did it provide me with effective, natural contraception but I also began healing menstrual pain and irregularities that I had been suffering with since my early teens. I was so astounded at the ways my physical, mental and emotional health were changing that I decided I wanted to share this gift with others. I enrolled in a training program to become a Fertility Awareness Educator when my daughter was just ten months old. Since then I have been teaching, lecturing and advocating about the benefits of Fertility Awareness Education for both contraception and conception.
Robyn: You talk a lot about problems hormonal birth control. What’s the big deal with taking these pills, patches, shots and IUDs?
Amy: As I see it there are four main problems with hormonal contraception. The first is that they put a very heavy hormonal load on the body which causes a number of problems – including increased risk for breast cancer, nutrient depletions, higher rates of Crohn’s Disease and various other health problems. The second is that it masks many pre-existing hormonal conditions, which means that important endocrine imbalances go untreated for years and sometimes decades. For example, the pill is regularly prescribed for women with PCOS, heavy periods, absent periods, and painful periods. These are all signs of underlying hormonal disturbances and sometimes inflammation and autoimmune conditions as well. Without regular periods as a “barometer” of our well-being, it can be easy to overlook serious health problems that require attention. Thirdly, hormonal contraception gets excreted by our bodies into the water systems. Research is showing a feminizing effect on our aquatic ecosystems as a result of hormonal contraception in the water. Lastly, I believe hormonal contraception disconnects us from the profound energy and wisdom of our wombs. This is a big topic, but suffice it to say that many women feel disconnected from their bodies, their sexuality and their partners as a result of having artificial cycles.
Robyn: For women who don’t want to get pregnant, and are scared to stop the medical contraception, what should she do first?
Amy: Contraception is a very personal choice – there is no “perfect” option. Every method has pros and cons so it’s about finding the method that fits a woman’s particular needs, values, and lifestyle. That said, I think a lot of women rule out FAM because they worry it will be too complicated or they don’t trust that it will work. So my suggestion is that women start learning to chart while using another form of contraception. She won’t see the same signs of fertility (women who are on hormonal contraception don’t actually ovulate), but it can help demystify the process to make it less daunting. Furthermore, getting into the habit of charting will make it easier if she does decide to use FAM for contraception in the future.
Robyn: What exactly is the Justisse Method of Fertility Awareness?
Amy: The Justisse Method of Fertility Awareness is an approach to teaching FAM (Fertility Awareness Methods). FAM is a set of skills that usually includes a combination of mucus checking (as this indicates a fertile vaginal environment for sperm survival), morning temperature taking (referred to as BBT) and cervical checks. The Justisse Method is a particular approach to teaching those skills. It is secular (unlike some of the large organizations that teach FAM from a Catholic perspective) as well as pro-choice and pro-woman. We support women in their reproductive freedoms and encourage them to make the best choices for them around their sexual and reproductive health. Justisse is the only secular organization worldwide that has its own system of charting, and also trains Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioners and Educators.
Robyn: It sounds a lot like the rhythm method. How effective is FAM compared with this outdated method?
Amy: Being confused with the rhythm method is FAM’s greatest challenge. The rhythm method is what we call in the field “a retrospective method” meaning it takes past cycles and tries to use it to predict future cycles. A lot of apps on the market do something similar. FAM is different in that there is no prediction at all. We make daily decisions about our contraception based on empirical markers of our fertility. These markers are grounded in research on human physiology. Research consistently shows that when taught and applied correctly, FAM is 99.4% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Robyn: What other insights (besides contraception or fertility signs) may a woman discover when she uses FAM?
Amy: There are so many it is hard to know where to begin! In the first few months of charting a woman may discover things about her digestion. Certain types of mucus tend to indicate inflammation which can occur when we have a sensitivity or an allergy to a particular food or something in our environment. My clients and I have also discovered thyroid problems, nutrient deficiencies, and adrenal fatigue through charting. On the emotional side women typically discover there is a cyclicity to their energy, libido, mood and sense of introversion or extroversion. I think through charting we all become more aware of the things that affect us and how to recognize what we truly need in any given moment.
Robyn: Any final advice for women looking to change to natural birth control?
Amy: Trust your intuition. And don’t be afraid to challenge authority. Most physicians don’t understand what FAM is or how it works, so you will likely have to advocate for yourself if you want to make the switch. Don’t let your inner authority be overrun by the voice of “experts” who claim to know better. You are your own best expert on your body.
Kim and Amy are the real sisters behind Red Tent Sisters. Amy is passionate about teaching women how to manage their fertility naturally, and Kim loves to help women feel sexually empowered. They offerclasses, private coaching, a blog, and a YouTube channel. They also have an online, eco-friendly shop called ecosex.ca. They’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet, including The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star and Maclean’s. For more on their philosophy and offerings check out their About Us video.
Guest blog by Rachel Eyre.
You may have heard of Natural Family Planning, Fertility Awareness or the Symptom-Thermal Method as techniques for charting your cycle to achieve or avoid pregnancy. However, the biggest benefit to charting is the insight it gives you into your own body.
Not only will charting tell you when you are fertile and when you aren’t, it will also tell you a lot about what is going on with your hormones and let you know whether any interventions you are making to change your hormonal health, such as diet are improving things for you.
Here are just a few common hormonal imbalances that often show up in my clients’ charts.
High cortisol happens when you are stressed. This can appear in a few ways. When this first happens, it will stop ovulation from happening, which will show a lengthened follicular phase. This is the phase between menstruation and ovulation and can last 12-16 days in a healthy cycle. When you are experiencing stress, your body will often stop ovulation from happening, although it may try a few times (which will appear in your charts too).
If you have already ovulated, sudden high levels of stress can terminate and shorten your luteal phase (the phase between ovulation and menstruation). In women who are experiencing long periods of stress, ovulation will often become surpassed for long periods of time as your body will ensure only the essential processes are running, priming you for fight or flight.
It is always fascinating to me when we go through someone’s charts and we see something going on and then look at her diary and spot that it correlates with her charts.
PCOS, Blood Sugar Dis-regulation
Insulin resistance which can lead to PCOS will often show up in the charts Often you will see either anovulatory cycles, very long cycles, or shortened luteal phase. PCOS also shows up in cervical fluid patterns too.
Your thyroid shows up in several places in the chart. It could be your temperatures are a lot lower or higher than what would be considered the “normal range”. It can also show up as a cervical fluid disturbance too.
Thyroid can also cause changes the length of the cycle as well.
So what do you do if you want to learn how to chart your cycle?
There are a number of options out there. Some people have learnt from a book, and if you choose this method, you should absolutely read at least 2 or 3 in full first.
You may find a teacher near you, or charting circles in which you can learn in person. Look for someone who is qualified in Natural Family Planning, Fertility Awareness or a clear qualification in one of the methods as you want to make sure you learn the rules correctly.
There are also a number of online classes available. I do both 1-2-1 tuition via Skype and via webinars.
Whichever method you choose, I strongly suggest booking in at least 1 session with several completed charts with a qualified teacher so that they can ensure you have interpreted the rules correctly and help you learn to read your chart.
Rachel is a menstrual and fertility specialist who uses a blend of cycle charting, reflexology, fertility massage therapy and nutrition to help women with period problems, preconception, fertility and perimenopause issues. You can get your free ovulation toolkit and cycle charting kit at www.thehealthywomb.com
Suggested Further Reading
Natural Family Planning Teachers Association UK with free instructions (not a religious organisation) http://www.nfpta.org.uk/tutorials/
Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach by John and Sheila Kippley
Justisse Method: Fertility Awareness and Body Literacy A User’s Guide: Volume 1