Yesterday was quite a day. I was expecting my period. It usually comes the moment I wake up in the morning, but yesterday was different in that regard. I did my yoga, meditation, started photo shooting this very smoothie, finished, started writing, had a meeting, went on writing and managed to visit my son’s kindergarten teacher. I rescheduled the meeting from today to yesterday, because I knew that if the red moon didn’t come yesterday, it would come today. And on the first day of my period, I want to be able to do whatever the heck I want.
I knew I was going to get my period, because I experienced the famous drop in body temperature, according to Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) that I’ve been practising quite consistently now (well done, me). Do you know it? FAM helps you determine your fertile days by monitoring three bodily factors daily: your body temperature, vaginal secretion, and the position and softness of your cervix. Basically, FAM is natural birth control, but really it’s much more than that. It’s a way of getting closer to your body and your cycles. Something I wish I had known before, at least prior to popping the birth control pills a decade ago, and feeling oh-so-grown-up as I did it. Of course, every other girl was doing it, and when I got my first white and orange box (that would afterward challenge gigantic emotional turmoil), I finally felt like part of the clan; I somehow felt initiated into womanhood, if you will.
Funny, isn’t it? Funny and absurd, that I felt grown-up as I was numbing and deceiving my body, when in fact true wisdom comes from knowing and cherishing your body.
But how could I know? Nobody told me. In fact, how could anyone know if women of the last few centuries had to forget about the power of their cycles, if they were to survive, and not be burnt at the stake?
I’m not going into much detail about the inquisition today because frankly, I’m still not quite over it; I get goose bumps and tears flood down my cheeks uncontrollably every time I even think about it. But I will tell you this: every month this very thing reminds me of the great power us women possess. Shakti!
Why the frequency, you might ask yourself? Oh, just because of my Holy Menstrual Trinity. Whenever I have my moon cycles, all I want are three things. The first one is chocolatey-something for breakfast. The second one is endless scriptures, books, talks and interviews on the topic of feminine power and spirituality. The third one is me-time to do whatever the heck I will. If I thick all of the above boxes, I’m a happy woman.
I asked my mother to babysit Svarun yesterday, so I could reschedule and see his teacher. What she told me was: “My goodness, why are you telling everyone about your period as it were an illness, for God’s sake!” And I thought to myself: “Is it wrong to schedule my days around my cycles? It’s not that I’m crying for attention or want everyone to pat me on the back. I’m not being “poor me”. I just … want to be true to my body. That is, after thirty years of neglect.” But then I remembered. I was eleven when I got my first period. My mother looked at me pitifully and said: “You poor thing, you.” Poor thing? For becoming a woman? Now this makes me want to choke, you see. This has to do with Christianity, that’s been deeply rooted in Slovenian belief systems of what our social roles should look like. Women here are expected to take care of everyone except themselves; to give it all and ask for nothing in return. Their happiness is granted by seeing others with full bellies. While I do feel happy when I see Svarun happy, that’s not the only thing that makes me happy! That is to say, although I do feel happy when I give, accepting makes me happy, too. And for a lot of us women, the latter is something that’s not being practised enough.
Did you know that the greatest feminine virtue is that of acceptance? Can you accept … the air into your lungs, the money into your wallet, the painful memories into your story, your man into the whole of your being? Can you accept that you’re different every week, as part of being a woman? Can you accept that on the first day of menstruation, you don’t want to see or hear anyone/ don’t feel like cooking/ working/ being all patient and giving? Can you accept that your family still wants you to play small? Can you accept … all that you are?
If you’re still struggling with any of the above, I’m pretty sure you can accept this smoothie recipe without much thought.
Mind your Magnesium
It is said that magnesium deficiency is the commonest of all deficiencies, but virtually nobody talks about it, because it’s a new thing. And blood tests don’t show it because only 1% of magnesium is stored in your blood, while the rest lies in your bones. The catch is that magnesium dietary sources don’t grant it anymore, because the majority of it is lost in the refinement process. Magnesium content in vegetables has declined for up to 80% since 1950’s because of industrial farming, and grain refining processes remove up to 95% of total magnesium. What can you do about it? Your best bet is to grow your own vegetable garden, if you can; dark leafy greens are one of the easiest crops to grow and they are loaded with magnesium. If you don’t have access to a piece of land, at least boycott industrial farming by purchasing organic crops only. Since pesticides destroy organisms that provide nutrients to plants and fertilizers diminish the absorption of minerals, organic fruit and vegetables are way more likely to contain more magnesium.
I noticed a huge shift from very painful to slightly uncomfortable periods once I started minding my magnesium intake around menstruation. As you may know, magnesium is vital in nerve function, blood sugar control, and neurotransmitter release. It also relaxes the muscles and thus prevents cramps, which is good to know if you have painful menstruations. My speculation is that if I were mindful about my magnesium intake all through the month, the moon cycle discomfort would totally be gone. I’m about to try this, just for the experiment’s sake. I don’t expect my back pain, the heaviness in the legs, and general tiredness a week ahead will subside, and frankly – I don’t mind. Why? Because what I want the most is to know my body. I want to it so profoundly, so that I am able to aid my discomforts in ways of finding the right yoga poses, the right mindset, or enough rest. Know what I mean?
A few days ahead of menstruation I thus up my magnesium intake. I consume a lot of dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, cashews, cacao nibs, and use magnesium oil (that I highly recommend). I might experience a craving for chocolate, and it’s not a coincidence, since one square of organic dark chocolate contains approximately 95mg of magnesium, which is 24% of RDA. Other foods that include high values of magnesium are: bananas, avocados, almonds, figs, black beans, goat cheese, dates, yogurt, etc. But two months ago upon seeing this list of magnesium-rich foods, I took as many as I could and blend them into a delicious, chocolatey breakfast smoothie that I’m sharing today. It’s the best thing you can do for you, and the prescribed quantities will amount to two big bowls for you to enjoy.
Magnesium Menstrual Smoothie 1 banana ½ avocado fistful of dark leafy greens (I use the chard from my own garden, yay, but you can use spinach, kale or other) fistful of soaked (or soaked + dehydrated) almonds, around 35g fistful of Medjool or soaked regular dates, around 80g 3 tbsp of organic (possibly fair-trade) cacao, around 45g pinch of salt pinch of cinnamon pinch of pepper a squeeze of lemon juice (very important!) Pit the dates, peel the banana, pit the avocado. Use only ripe fruit. Put everything into blender. Blend. Enjoy and accept the luxury of it. You know you can.
I wish you all big love and acceptance,