On this episode of the Project Kuwait podcast, we are joined again by Luwlwa, the Functional Nutritionist, who is broaching a taboo topic. Luwlwa and Meg share their expertise on the female cycle and hormones as well as learning how to have a healthy relationship with your period.
1:10 – People don’t typically talk about PMS, PCOS, and hormones in females, especially in Kuwait. Mahdi and Meg are joined by Luwlwa, the Functional Nutritionist, again to discuss these taboo topics.
2:24 – Recently, Luwlwa posted something on her Instagram regarding changing her eating habits in preparation for her period coming soon, and she was amazed at the supportive responses as well as the hostile ones.
3:31 – Meg brings up the point that there are purposes of the female cycle beyond childbearing.
4:04 – Luwlwa provides a detailed background on the hormones present in women: estrogen, progesterone, and male hormones like testosterone. There are defined pathways for these hormones to break down in the body, and the way the body metabolizes them can have much broader impacts than most people are aware of.
6:08 – Mahdi asks about the common assumption that hormones make you gain weight. Luwlwa says that imbalanced in way the hormones are metabolized can lead to water weight gain, irritability, aggression, heavy bleeding, and hair growth or loss. The best way to learn about these imbalances is through blood or urine testing.
7:52 – Meg points out that the body needs balance to function properly, and things such as food or stress can affect this balance.
9:05 – Mahdi chimes in with “men’s interpretation” of PMS: back off and give the women whatever they want.
10:06 – Luwlwa describes the 28-day cycle and the difficulty that can come from doing a single test to determine if there is a problem because of the length of the cycle. Through cycle mapping, women can begin to understand the relationship that their cycle and hormones have with external variables.
11:35 – She then addresses the misconception that periods are painful, unpredictable, and mysterious by explaining that extreme pain or heavy bleeding can indicate a vitamin or nutrition imbalance.
13:11 – Meg says that most people don’t understand their cycle because sex ed is usually too vague and high schoolers don’t want to know about it. In fact, as a high school athlete, Meg saw her period as a nuisance and she tried to avoid having it.
14:12 – Luwlwa describes the ideal diet for women who are experiencing PMS: anti-inflammatory foods and limited gluten and dairy. Symptoms of PMS include anger, anxiety, cramping, headaches, and mood swings.
16:02 – Mahdi brings up something he has heard about the need to avoid nightshade vegetables. Luwlwa says that if you aren’t sure if they have a negative effect on you, cut them out for 3-6 weeks and then reintroduce them to confirm.
17:15 – Meg and Luwlwa agree that it is counterproductive when men assume that women are having PMS if they are emotional or aggressive, and it is important for women to be self-aware enough to know if they are experiencing PMS or if they are just being especially moody.
19:00 – Luwlwa shares that many of the symptoms of PMS can be caused by the drop in blood sugar that occurs with the fluctuation of progesterone in the week leading up to a woman’s period. Just as when they are otherwise “hangry”, this can be amended by eating smaller and more frequent meals to regulate the blood sugar.
21:01 – This backs up the claim that women crave chocolate when they are PMSing – this is caused by blood sugar drops and drops in serotonin. Meg says that this is why women crave carbs.
24:00 – Meg emphasizes that it is important to know where you are in your c