ETA: It occurred to me how uncommon common sense has become, so I thought I would add that this article is relevant to women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should, of course, not even think about fasting.
There is simply not enough information out there about intermittent fasting for women – Especially not for women who are peri-menopausal, so I thought I would add my two cents based on real life experiences. Of course, as I learn more, I will share what I learn here on the blog so please stay tuned!
As you are already well aware if you are a woman, there are certain times of the month where you experience intensified cravings for carb-rich foods. Is this your body just trying to trick you to pile on pounds unnecessarily or is there an underlying physiological reason for these cravings?
Of course your body isn’t stupid! According to Dr Mindy Pelz, in the week leading up to a woman’s period, the body needs more carbs to help replenish the stores of oestrogen and progesterone which start to surge around day 23 in the cycle.
Had I been aware of this fact the last time around when I decided to try an extended fast, I might have avoided what felt like almost a month worth of severe PMT/PMS (especially irritability) and a cycle that was delayed by two weeks, which has literally never happened to me before. I seriously started to think I had gone into menopause but now that I have adjusted my eating to accommodate for my hormones, I have my cycle back.
Keto and intermittent fasting work very well indeed for us ladies – We just have to do things a little bit differently to the dudes. By avoiding extended fasting during that week of the month when our bodies naturally tell us to carb load, we manage just fine (unlike what some mansplainers on YouTube would have you believe).
What to Eat When The Cravings Begin
So what should we carb up on in the week leading up to our period? Does this mean we can binge on whatever we feel like? No, of course not! We don’t want to undo all the good work we have done and we do want to focus on the kind of carb-rich foods that actually help boost our oestrogen and progesterone.
Funnily enough, I had been craving beans but resisted those cravings because a) I had been determined to continue fasting and b) they were not ‘keto’ – Well, according to Dr Pelz, beans/pulses are one of the best carb-rich foods for women to eat on a ketogenic diet in order to replenish our hormone stores. She also recommends things like dried apricots, which I found interesting considering the correspondence with the womb/sacral chakra which is orange.
Love & Light,