Periods have been a taboo topic forever. Women and girls are continually pushed to ignore their periods — to work out harder, continue their low-fat diets, and work like they are wonder women.
The narrative around periods, however, is slowly shifting thanks to women in wellness like Alisa Vitti, an advocate for women to tune into their bodies, understand their natural cycles, and actually slow down when their period comes. Devon Loftus, founder of Moon Cycle Bakery, is another women creatively working to break down the stigmas around menstruation.
Moon Cycle Bakery’s mission is to help redefine periods by encouraging individuals to nourish their bodies to feel fully satisfied. Once a month Moon Cycle delivers baked goods that support women’s hormones and are also delish AF. I sat down with Devon to learn more about why it’s important to understand, respect, and nourish those darn period cravings.
Why do we crave sweets while menstruating?
Physiologically, there can be a couple of reasons for this. During our luteal phase (which is usually when we start to experience what are referred to as PMS symptoms like cravings, irritability, etc.), the production of progesterone and estradiol are increased, which can affect how satiated we feel. This has to do with the PYY hormone (peptide tyrosine-tyrosine) which regulates the digestion process, and, alongside the ileal brake, controls the rate at which food moves through our gut, causing us to feel full or not. There is a significant difference in the time it takes the stomach to empty (when we feel full) and the satiation response during the luteal phase. This means that the hormone (PYY) that’s in charge of making us feel satiated and full is not as loud.
Why we crave sugar, in particular, may be an indicator that our body wants us to consume foods high in B vitamins or could also be an indicator that our serotonin has dipped, which happens during our cycle. We can combat this by having an adequate intake of complex carbs to stabilize serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain and help prevent mood swings. Consuming natural sugars such as roasted or baked veggies, honey, or maple syrup can help with the dip in estrogen that occurs in the second half of the luteal phase, which can make you feel irritable (and also increase sugar cravings).
We’ve been told to “resist” sugar while on our periods, why does Moon Cycle Bakery say otherwise?
Cutting refined sugar during our period is recommended because our body is already battling blood sugar instability and eating refined sugar can only lead to irritability, headaches, increased pain, and other PMS symptoms that are less than ideal. Refined sugar can also increase inflammation, which can increase pain and PMS symptoms during our cycle. However, there are certain things our bodies crave because of the nutrients that are being depleted.
At Moon Cycle Bakery we believe that instead of taking a black and white approach to our menstrual cycles by deeming a certain craving “bad” or “wrong,” it is equally important to understand why you’re craving what you’re craving, and then learn how to feed your body what it’s asking for in a way that’s beneficial.
Natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup, and dates (when eaten in moderation) are a way to soothe our cravings without spiking our blood sugar or creating inflammation in the body. We believe that, as humans, we’re body and soul, and Moon Cycle Bakery is about encompassing both fully. That means not denying yourself something your body and soul want. Treat yo’self!
Now, tell me about the treats!
Our treats are hormone-supportive and are full of ingredients that help to replenish the nutrients your body has lost during your cycle, supporting your hormones by bringing them closer to balance.
An example of this is cacao. Instead of judging your chocolate craving, why not learn the knowledge to work with it? Often times when our bodies are craving chocolate, we’re depleted in magnesium (a side effect of a progesterone increase during the luteal phase). Choosing dark chocolate that is over 70% cacao can help to replenish magnesium in the body and combat a variety of PMS symptoms such as bloating, constipation, headaches, cramping, sleep disturbances, and more. It’s also full of antioxidants and tastes oh-so good!
Each of our treats is designed to support a woman’s body in some aspect during her cycle and also make the soul happy by indulging in self-care and yummy eats.
Photos by: Poppi Photography.