Let me first start off by saying that I GET IT. I really do. The cramps. Yes, those excruciating cramps that make you just want to curl up in bed and take a sick day from work and hide away in a hole, not to mention the accompanying emotionality, bloating, and exhaustion surrounding the process that is so common. The cramps that have so many of us reaching for the hot compresses or quick-fix Advil pills that mask the pain and don’t address the root causes of the cramps themselves.
Menstrual cramps were initially not much of an issue for me growing up, but eventually after the implementation of a 95% organic, 100% plant-based (vegan) whole foods diet over a prolonged period starting fully at around 2016, became absolutely debilitating during years 2017-2019, which I then completely reversed in early 2020 by listening to my body and diving into various natural menstrual cramp remedies, and most importantly for me, by examining the diet.
Did you know that menstrual cramps mostly *do not* have to happen in the first place?
I know. Mind blown.
The menstrual cycle is actually a monthly sounding board of sorts, the 5th vital sign and an innate intelligence that lets us know each month the state of our health in relation to our environment, from the foods we eat to the waters we drink, to the substances we slather on our bodies and the many toxins and microplastics that make their way into our bodies that comes from daily metabolic function and the accumulation from the increasing levels of waste in our environment, thanks to corporations and economies prioritising themselves and seeing themselves as separate from the landscape, ecosystem, and our degradation.
It only took me 29 whole years to arrive at a place of discovering that the menstrual cycle, to me, is actually a magical, unfathomable and sacred part of our innate rhythms, and even a monthly emotional release and a glance at our health status; a gift. In the West, we’ve been raised with a sort of shame, taboo, and even disgust around this natural process that actually gives us vital clues when it comes to the context of debilitating Western and industrialized lifestyles driven by fear, atomization and separation. We tend to stifle and suppress our pain only for it to build up and manifest otherwise in harmful ways, but these days things have been shifting and we’re becoming more armed with the vital knowledge not taught in public schools (at least when I grew up) or not given the chance to be passed down from our ancestors and kin.
I believe the information in this article should be free and accessible for all to dissect, investigate, explore, synthesize, and assimilate into what feels best for YOU bioindividually, and that’s why I’m writing this. Imagine, if you haven’t already, finally getting to reclaim and honour what our bodies can do for us, reconnecting to our rhythms and cycles, integrating the multidirectional shame, guilt and ancestral trauma that has incessantly been programmed into us for a lifetime—at any age—and creating new healing neural pathways, beginning to cultivate a deep, unshakeable sense of self-love and self-worth beyond fear, leading to inner peace, equanimity and grace.
Unless there is a specific imbalance such as PCOS, fibroids or endo that may require a more extensive exploration with the aid of a naturopath, functional, Ayurvedic or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner that you trust in order to successfully manage, I’ve discovered that periods mostly do not have to be painful at all, and it is actually extraordinary how common these issues are, but don’t have to be. That so many of us struggle unnecessarily with PMS, heavy/irregular bleeding and cramps can tell us about the state of the social and environmental factors we’re subjected to—and what we can then do about it.
YOUR PAIN IS DIVINE INFORMATION, WORK WITH IT
You are not your pain, but your Higher Self is experiencing your pain. It’s understandable to be frustrated with your cycle due to the pain, confusion and disconnection you’re experiencing. I definitely was! Why not try considering that your womb wants your attention and is trying to tell you something? Take a step back and observe it, let it pave the way for you to better understand how it is manifested, and what you can do to find balance with it. Trust in your ability to learn and listen, there is power in pain as a portal to growth.
I’m here today to offer you a glimpse of hope that there is something you can do about it. The truth is, our bodies have the powerful capability for self-regulation and self-regeneration—if you give it the right nourishment and tools. Hormonal health is a delicate balancing scale influenced by diet, exercise, light environment, stress, sleep levels, and environmental toxins, and a slight imbalance can become an underlying cause of many issues. What these non-invasive, gentle menstrual cramp remedies aim to do is help you cultivate sustained balance at the root, not only for cramps but whole body health across the board.
I’ve been living naturally about 95% pain-free (and mostly PMS-free) since March/April 2020, and any pain has been minimal and fleeting at most, usually induced by coffee consumption. The shift itself towards a largely pain-free cycle has been a transformative experience, with my cycles no longer involving excruciating pain, at least so far. What was absolutely instrumental for me personally was primarily a more conscious integration of natural living as a way to adapt in balance with a modern lifestyle, with nature as my guide. I’m no biochemist or nutritionist, nor do I need to be in order to validate my experience, but I believe the searingly painful cramps were a reflection of the lack of cholesterol (vital hormone producers), essential healthy fats, and other vital nutrients I was missing in my long term organic, whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) vegan diet, which eventually snowballed and combined with the stress of easing into a new full time job and developing a high energy lifestyle including intense 3 hour MMA classes three times a week, intense group gym sessions at 5 am, trail running, walking, and hot yoga. All enjoyable and beneficial activities in themselves, but this unnaturally constant activity was bad news for my cycle, hormones, and depleting my magnesium levels!
As soon as I dreamt of pasture raised eggs, craving them, and intuitively FOLLOWED my dream and began to consume them, my hormones rebalanced and the monthly pain pretty much completely dissipated despite continuing my high activity, non-stop lifestyle that eventually winded down with the advent of the lockdowns in March 2020, helping improve my hormone balance even further. The shift towards a more relaxed and low energy output with the further exploration of proper nutrition ultimately helped me to thrive and adapt calmly in the face of chaos and an overstimulating world. I don’t see my prolonged WFPB/vegan experience as a mistake or anything to regret, I was doing the best I could for who I was at the time using the information that I had available, and it otherwise felt really good especially compared to the depression, anxiety and brain damage inducing standard Canadian diet (processed junk vegetarian edition) I grew up on.
Thankfully with more research and self-experimentation I discovered the hard way that this unnatural pattern was no longer serving me, and that it is often wise to take a step back from my habits and try new things… because anything’s possible. I cannot begin to describe the sense of freedom and ease that comes with no longer experiencing significant menstrual pains—so long as I keep doing what I’m doing, remaining curious and experimental.
I should note that within my context I do not have any known or obvious pre-existing patterns that affect menstrual health, still live a largely indoor lifestyle with a fair amount of screen and blue light exposure so it theoretically *could* be much better, and am not on any pharmaceutical medications including hormonal birth control. I also can’t afford to consult with a naturopath or practitioner who, in hindsight, would’ve easily helped me with this in the first place, but this only goes to show the power of personal intuition and safe and smart experimentation!
Menstrual Cramp Remedies
Be warned that while these modalities are quite basic and cost very little, some may involve a dramatic shift for you. If you want to see results, set the precedent for a long term, realistically sustainable lifestyle, trust the process, and watch what happens as your body adjusts. Your innate womb wisdom is here, and there is nothing I can tell you here that isn’t already innate within the cellular intelligence of your body. Tune in, trust it, and surrender to it. Life cannot be measured. I believe there is no limit to how good we can feel in this lifetime. It is your birthright to feel powerful, vibrant, radiant and full of life despite inevitable setbacks, and you deserve it.
Here are a few key menstrual cramp remedies that I continue to use in order to address the roots of menstrual pain. In addressing the roots naturally, you may even free yourself of other issues you’ve been having. There is no one size fits all, no right or wrong. We are not robots, we are different, nuanced, complex, and carry both dark and light, so use only what resonates with you, and remember, progress and adaptability are more feasible than “perfection”. No two people respond to anything in the same way, so use others’ experiences as inspiration, but return to your own intuition as the ultimate teacher and guide. The best methods are the ones that work for you in your situation at the time.
1. NUTRIENT POWER FOR MENSTRUAL CRAMP REMEDIES
Proper nutrition is LIFE CHANGING. High quality, omnivorous natural and organic foods play an inextricable part in most any healing process including menstrual cramp remedies. There is certainly a time and place for everything available, but I believe nature is the most powerful healer at the end of the day. Your body just wants to heal itself (homeostasis), and non-industrial, individualized nutrition is an insanely powerful guide to help the body do its thing. Personally, even though money is tight and I have next to no generational wealth propping me up, I have the access to invest in and prioritize 100% certified organic/biodynamic, homegrown, ethically and sustainably raised, and wildcrafted whole foods. Invest wherever possible.
Proper nutrition (not just food) is a cornerstone of the menstrual cycle which is the body’s primary means of ridding the body of iron and copper. When estrogen goes down before menstruation, copper in the body is released to be carried out with the blood. Without the proper nutritional cofactors in place to minimize the unbound copper and enable proper detox while reducing inflammatory and oxidative stress, it can be a very uncomfortable process, ie. cramping.
Unbound copper can also occur from unbound sources such as plant foods, water from copper pipes, supplements and some medications, low zinc and related cofactor intake (low meat, seafood and animal fat intake), Glyphosate, fluoride, industrial seed and vegetable oils, high blue light (screen) exposure, high artificial light at night exposure, low physical activity (you also don’t want TOO much as the menstrual phase is primarily a resting phase, extreme exercise OCD is just as harmful as no movement at all so find a balance between the big yang movements and yin rest), birth control/IUDs, caffeine and stimulants, high stress, and recreational drug consumption.
Estrogen metabolism waste accumulation and poor phase 1 and 2 liver detox function are also implicated in PMS symptoms, which can be improved with various foods such as cruciferous vegetables or liver protective organic or wild harvested herbal remedies such as schizandra, milk thistle, dandelion, burdock, oregon grape, turmeric, artichoke and astragalus. Pop them into your water or tea.
Toxins, hormonal imbalance, nutrient deficiencies, and inflammation are all factors that contribute to a painful or heavy flow. The good news is that most of the time, one herb can address multiple factors. You can use a blend as well to address specific needs. I like to make a menstrual herbal infusion using raspberry leaf, tulsi and nettle in spring water, infused for a few hours in sunlight or overnight, then strained. Herbs are our allies, here to protect and guide you.
Foods and herbs that can be useful as menstrual cramp remedies:
- raw carrots (great in salads, detox excess estrogen)
- pasture raised eggs (in my personal experience)
- grass fed and finished, ethically pasture raised animal organs, bone broths
- wild caught salmon or boar for thiamine repletion
- flax seeds (detox excess estrogen)
- grapefruit (detox excess estrogen)
- raw cacao (great source of magnesium)
- dandelion root tea
- raspberry leaf tea
- chamomile tea
- grass fed and finished organ meats and bone broths
- Ceylon cinnamon (balances estrogen-progesterone ratio)
- stinging nettle
- cramp bark (tea or tincture)
- dong quai
- vitex/chaste tree berry tincture
- fresh ginger tea
- mugwort (tea or tincture)
- motherwort (tea or tincture)
- sea vegetables (iodine!)
- warming spices such as ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cumin, coriander
- raw apple cider vinegar and fermented vegetables can help curb sweet cravings
Foods such as wild caught seafood, organic seaweeds, sea salt, and organic miso are high in minerals and will reduce bloating and release excess water with magnesium rich medicines. Since digestive fire is weakest during your menstrual cycle, nurture yourself by eating foods that are warming, grounding and nourishing to increase internal warmth and maintain vital energy. Think stews, soups, and herbal tonics, throughout all seasons.
Throughout the online world and in society, we tend to be quick to blindly label foods as “good” or “bad”, and this illusory duality can be very unhealthy and lead to stressful, neurotic, and orthorexic tendencies. How I personally navigate this currently is through considering that there are real foods, and then there are non-foods, or food-like products. I will play around and choose the simple real foods that mesh with my personal needs, experimentation and goals at the time, ensuring they’re enjoyable, energizing, seasonal and delicious – and never following any single, set in stone “diet” (meaning that I have zero intuitive desire to box myself in with a fad diet label such as “keto”, “vegan”, “paleo” or “carnivore”, despite dabbling in each of them at times). This makes it simple and helps me explore my natural intuition with metabolic flexibility, similar to that of an animal whose heightened intuitive connection to their dietary needs means that they consume different foods very mindfully and specifically. The practice of intuitive eating along with body neutrality (we are more than our bodies, we are souls having a human experience) can be a useful compass for those in modern times. Who you are is not defined by how you look!
Of course, many of those with autoimmune or brain conditions appear to benefit from some variation of long term ancestral “carnivore” or “ketogenic” as a baseline to resolve food sensitivities or oral tolerance—often eventually reintroducing plant matter such as yams, blueberries, and beets. Always do what works for you, and think for yourself. Listen to your body. You are the ultimate gatekeeper of your health. Labels and practitioners serve their purpose and are keys to inspire possibilities, but at the end of the day only you can tune in and adjust depending on how you feel. Always go back and reconnect with your body and bio-individual wants and needs. It’s about the context, quality and quantities.
Food is connection, food is delicious fuel, food allows your heart to beat and your organs to function. By cooking for yourself (and family, friends, housemates, community), the more energetic and relaxed you’ll become. You become aware of what goes into your food and how it is prepared, getting to participate in this alchemical process.
Some of the deepest spirals of life occur in the kitchen. The more you cook for yourself with local organic foods and reconnect with the kitchen, the more you will become attuned with what your body needs over time, sharpening your intuition. Not everyone has the time or energy to grow their own food, but at the very least you should be touching and preparing your food’s raw ingredients, partaking in the process of nourishing yourself. The more you gain comfort in the kitchen, the more easy it is to navigate, the more the entire process becomes a living meditation. The kitchen as a temple? I’m into it.
My tips for going organic include:
- Growing your own organic/biodynamic, anti-inflammatory, pesticide free, seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbal medicines which can promote blood flow and relax your uterus. This is no fad or hippie diet, it’s actually a necessity in these modern times as most foods are sprayed with poisons such as Glyphosate (the main constituent of RoundUp that causes leaky gut, chronic inflammation and disease), hybridization/GMOs unrecognizable to the body as seen in gluten intolerances to hybridized wheat, and pesticides and herbicides that turn food into non-foods, poisons accumulating in our organs and tissues. If you live in a city you can always try balcony gardening, or join a community garden to give back! I’m a big fan of Masanobu Fukuoka‘s “do-nothing” gardening method right now: you just set it and forget it, letting the wild plants around your seedlings grow and ultimately ending up with a more powerful and potent garden. The more you expose yourself to the diversity of microbes in the dirt and in home fermented foods including kimchi and kefir, the more you’ll benefit not only your physical health and innate immunity, but your mental health as well. Organic foods are increasingly accessible nowadays, you could check out your local Costco, or even your grocery store’s organic section.
- Dirty Dozen: you’ll definitely want to at least go 100% organic with this list of the produce that is most heavily sprayed with pesticides at the time. Google/DuckDuckGo it, as the list changes every year. Always go organic with corn, soy and wheat, though all three of these crops won’t do much for you nutritionally—organic or not.
- Get to know your ethical, regenerative farmers – there is so much more to nutrition than just plants. After getting back to organic omnivorous “ancestral” eating from a long term standard vegetarian (processed) diet and whole foods plant based organic diet over 17 years, my BRAIN and digestion works better, no more bloating from gluten and iron shavings/”vitamin fortifications” in hybridized North American wheat, stronger gut health than ever before, my skin is clear and glowing, minimal menstrual cramps, and my energy is more balanced (less excess vata energy as I experienced on my organic plant based “diet”). I feel more at peace, grounded and protected than ever, as a baseline. Thanks to reintroducing pasture raised eggs into my dietary patterns alone, I stopped experiencing searingly painful cramps, my hormones rebalanced over the standard 3 months, and it’s been absolutely game changing.
- Grass/hay fed AND finished, pasture raised or wild caught, organic and regeneratively raised animal foods are VITAL to hormonal health and more. Humans have consumed meat since the dawn of time. Cholesterol, along with sea salt and saturated fats, are all health foods demonized by corporate interest influenced modern Western medicine. Eating meat is not the problem: it is what man has done to the meat that is causing the health concerns along with an indoor, sedentary lifestyle. Animal foods can be healing or harmful depending on how healthy the animal was. What ultimately makes these foods optimal is with the addition of YOUR movement, circadian rhythm alignment (proper sleep), and sunlight exposure—pretty much the complete antithesis of modern life. Not all animal foods are the same, and there is a significant distinction between low quality commercial animal foods, and that of grass fed, pasture raised foods. Grass fed and finished, ethically pasture raised beef, for example, has a different fatty acid profile and ratio than grain fed factory farmed beef, contains more omega-3s (heart healthy fats), and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) promoting healthy blood sugar levels, and lies in the future of health and community. When animals are fed a diet of GMO and pesticide sprayed grains, their fatty acid ratio changes and the good fats denature into bad fats. This ratio causes health issues for those who regularly consume grain-fed meat. Commercial pesticides, lack of sun, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones further add to the toxic load in low quality meat.
- Find your favourites. Bison, goat, lamb, scallops, shrimp, wild salmon and wild elk are currently my personal favourites, and don’t forget to diversify with various nutrient-dense organs and homemade broths (tendons, marrow, collagen, all that good stuff). The animals must have been ethically pasture raised or wild, roaming out freely in the SUN especially for the vitamin D content to be present in many foods such as salmon, yogurt and eggs. You will feel the difference in energy. Animal foods contain a condensed nutritional profile directly reflected in the life they have lived. These animal foods help manage and reverse autoimmune and mental health conditions, reduce stress, remineralize teeth and bones, balance hormones, promote fertility and glowing skin, detox Glyphosate from the body, regenerate the brain, keep my mood stable, equanimous and calm, and the list goes on. It also tastes so much better than grain-fed, factory farmed foods from sad and stressed animals who have accumulated toxins – that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. If the animal has lived in close quarters with other animals in constant stress in an artificially lit building, fed GMO and mono-cropped grains, or injected with antibiotics, you’re not only harming your own body, but that of the planet. When we empower and nourish ourselves, we empower and nourish our surroundings in the cycles of death and rebirth. The process may not be immediately obvious, but it’s infinite! Go with whatever amount feels right for you, within your budget. Personally, I’ll only have sustainably and ethically raised animal foods around 3-5 times a week depending on how I feel, and on many days pasture raised eggs are the only animal foods. I cannot stress enough the power of an ancestral nose-to-tail inspired lifestyle in this day and age, especially when it comes to nutritional repletion, combatting the toxin buildup from civilization as the earthly flows continue, keeping in mind the nutrient depleted, toxin filled soils from industrial agricultural mono-cropping.
- Gratitude is the attitude. Everything we consume was ideally once alive, so thank them and show them gratitude for their sacrifice in nourishing your vessel and releasing the soul from suffering. This will also improve your digestion and nutrient absorption and has been done by our ancestors since time immemorial. Invite its physical components, its energies, and its spirit into our bodies, hearts, minds, energies and souls. We literally become what we eat.
- Speaking of ethical, regenerative farming, use code ROOTTOSKY15 for 15% off your first order at wildmeadowsfarm.ca.
- Examine and shift your priorities – how much money are you dropping on drinks and partying on the weekends? Video games? Fancy restaurants? Do you buy a lot of unnecessary clothes and accessories, exogenous personal care products, Netflix subscriptions? Spend time gossiping and in any business but your own? Invest in healthcare now rather than sick care down the line, nourishing your body and energy field with inspiring people, all natural products, and real food.
- Read the labels. Most stuff in the supermarkets and restaurants will do more harm than good, and even certified organic products can still contain lab made ingredients, fillers, preservatives and other gut biome disrupting substances, wrapped in toxic plastic, and drenched in carcinogenic vegetable and seed oils. Think behavioural issues, eczema, allergies, sleep disturbances, headaches, impaired digestion, and constantly getting sick. If an ingredient has been made in a lab or a factory, the food product is not food. The easiest way out is to find the closest organic/biodynamic farmers’ market to you. Biodynamic farmers’ market days have usually been the highlights of my week in the past half decade. We get sick when we lose connection to the land and the food chain we depend on. After eliminating inflammatory foods and practices, you really feel it after a period of absence, and you get better at reading your body’s signals. Teaching yourself non-dogmatic proper nutrition is so, so important and the results pay off exponentially in life.
- Living bare – practice absolutely no toxic sunscreen, makeup, skincare, nail polish, artificial fragrances, air fresheners, artificial cleaners, detergents, sprays, or personal care products. Without any of this junk, I can invest in what really matters to me, which is minimalist all natural personal care and high quality organic foods that heal me from the inside out, naturally eliminating toxins and body odour at the same time (I personally haven’t worn deodorant in years, but I hear that Primally Pure is a great brand, if you do feel called to it).
- Don’t get neurotic – the stress that arises from the neuroticism around every chemical and substance you might consume or be exposed to can have a far more detrimental effect on your physiology than the inflammatory stressors, chemicals and industrial toxicants in the first place. Getting a little extra with one’s practice can be motivating and amusing, though. Consider that the toxicants themselves play a role in the flow of life and that they may be there as a form of information in order for you to reach a different place that your life experience may grow to reflect.
Try implementing a zero tolerance framework for at least THREE months for changes to occur:
- refined sucrose, sugars (even natural foods like agave have triggered my PMS/cramps) – entirely, or at least prior to menstruation for the copper elimination process to begin. Refined sucrose actually induces hormonal dysregulation and depression
- artificial and “natural” flavours, additives, gums, colours
- soy, corn and its derivatives
- grains, especially North American wheat, including unsprouted legumes, oats and beans, unactivated nuts, fortified products, hybridized wheat
- industrial vegetable and seed oils – beware as many olive oils are fake, seed oils are also found in store bought nut/oat milks and other products
- low quality commercial animal foods
- caffeine (swiss water process organic decaf coffee is my one vice that I abstain from around the time of menstruation, coffee is a huge trigger for menstrual cramps as it constricts blood flow in the uterus, making cramps more painful. Opt for decaf or abstain.)
Don’t be afraid to put yourself first—in doing so, you’re showing others that they are worthy of the same. When we show up for ourselves we teach those around us the power of self love and self worth. Our natural state is vibrant health!
2. STOP DRINKING TAP WATER
Nutrition status translates to menstrual health, and inevitably involves the kinds of water we consume. 98.9% of the molecules in our body are water molecules, and so hydration plays a key part in our daily sense of wellbeing and, you guessed it, trickles down to how smoothly the menstrual cycle goes. Water is such a massive topic that it deserves a section of its own, the possibilities of true cellular hydration are actually infinite but here I will merely scratch the surface.
It might all look the same, but not all water is created equally. You’re probably aware that straight tap water will not serve you and likely already have invested in a proper reverse osmosis water filter, in which case: great! But even properly filtered water has its pitfalls in that it is *dead* water, meaning that it won’t optimally hydrate your cells. Everything also gets removed in the reverse osmosis filtration process, including any beneficial minerals, so you’ll want to make sure you’re eating a mineral-rich diet, and consider supplementing especially as minerals are increasingly depleted from agricultural soils.
In addition to remineralizing your filtered water, it is optimal to structure it to infuse it with life again through sunlight exposure or a handheld water vortex device. Structuring your water is an effective biomimicry method that actually changes the energy of water and clears its memory and imprint of the toxins that got filtered out of it. If you remove the toxin from the water, it still carries the imprint, and will act like the toxin in your body. That’s why structuring is a great molecular reset for filtered water.
Tap water contains many toxins that aren’t completely filtered out at municipal plants, and even lead pipes in the home may leach into your water along the way. The water processing plants do a GREAT job at filtering out the physical waste, but not so much the invisible pollutants. If you ask me, the taste of tap water is totally heinous. Back in college I had a crappy Brita style filter and I could tell it wasn’t doing anything so I relied on a lot of fruit consumption. Thinking about all of those neurotoxic metals, lead, fluoride, mercury, chlorine, ammonia, aluminum, microplastics, pharmaceuticals, traces of birth control, pesticides like Glyphosate, anti-psychotic medications, and chlorine that kills both the good bacteria and bad bacteria… gag. The chlorine present in tap water may protect us from cholera and typhoid fever, but also obliterates and bombs the gut microbiome, effectively wiping out the very thing that protects your immune system and that helps you absorb your food, stay healthy, and manage any existing conditions.
It’s a good idea to filter both your drinking water and shower/bathing water (yes, it gets absorbed through your skin and the chlorine also kills the skin microbiome).
Beyond filtered and structured water, the best option out of everything is naturally structured water, aka water that occurs in nature. Sacred water from the Earth. Think spring water, fruits and veggies. You probably know that those are THE most hydrating substances you can consume – along with coconut water! This water is the best at meshing with your cells and protecting you from DNA damage, the texture is softer, and it tastes better. Water carries wisdom, connection, memory, flow and healing. I’ll always trust the lessons from the wild world and our ancestors who prayed to water, wrote songs to water, ritually cleansed with and blessed water.
I’ve been sustaining myself with filtered water, fruits and veggies and occasional spring water for most of my life as far as water goes, but it was only recently that I’ve consciously implemented structured filtered water into my life with my trusty Flaska bottles or simple sunlight exposure. Any step in the direction away from straight tap water is a good move, and I truly believe that if you do anything for your health, it would be to filter your water, which I believe is one of the most important tricks to avoiding and managing illness. Your body is 98.9% water molecules, and the coherence in every molecule of water is YOU.
6 ways to get your water:
- Spring water is the ultimate water, more effective than plain filtered water. Wild spring water is alive water, not an inanimate object, it has a memory, it comes from the earth and naturally moves, filtered and mineralized in nature. This includes some types of mountain and glacier water! It’s also structured and in its fourth phase, so our bodies can commune most easily with the molecules that comprise this water, and it can hydrate our cells most effectively on a level that no other water can. Ideally you’ll want to check the testing and composition of the water source prior to harvesting. Use the FindASpring website which is a growing database of FREE, natural springs around the globe and nearest you. Travel to them and make it an outing to harvest your fresh, wild water for the week. OR: source glass bottled spring water from a retailer near you at a cost, Cedar Springs is a great option. Sparkling unflavoured mineral water is also great as a source of bioavailable minerals otherwise depleted from agricultural soils.
- Eat your water. Fruits, vegetables, coconut water and smoothies or cold pressed juices. Make a massive organic salad with both fruits and vegetables and a simple, delicious homemade dressing. Think massive fruit salads sprinkled with deliciousness such as raw cacao nibs and raw local honey, too.
- Reverse osmosis (RO) filter your water and then structure your water if time allows. I personally do this through varying methods. I dispense water from my built-in countertop RO filter into a large mason (glass) jar and then leave it out in contact with direct sunlight at midday for a few hours if I have time (this is the ultimate, most potent and free way to structure water), or dispense the filtered water into a structured water vortex such as a glass Flaska bottle (the ultimate) or this expensive device. If using a Flaska bottle, let the filtered water sit for at least five minutes for it to settle in the bottle and become structured. Pour the water out into your cooking or beverages for a super hydrating experience. Since the water quickly passes through these RO filters there is no need to worry about any phthalates, BPA, or other toxic plastic chemicals leaching into the water over time. You can call it quackery, but I call it #advancedscience and magic. Click here for the Flaska bottle. As far as I can tell, it seems to work.
- Berkey filter your water if you don’t have access to reverse osmosis. Berkey is a great detached counter-top filter that, along with the optional fluoride attachments, removes contaminants to the 99th percentile. Travel Berkey is one of the more affordable models great for emergencies, disasters, a bug out bag, or obviously travel, and the size is still pretty decent for home use, I’ve found. Big Berkey is the typical model, which runs larger and is a bit more expensive. I highly recommend including the fluoride filter attachments that you could select when ordering on the Conscious Water website. Mineral rocks are also a great addition to fortify your precious filtered water. You’ll want to avoid Brita or Brita style filters, as they do not actually filter the harmful contaminants in tap water. Yep, Brita is a scam.
- Slap an inexpensive filter on your shower head! It only takes a few minutes, and the filter needs to be replaced only about twice a year.
- Bone broth from grass fed and finished, ethically and sustainably raised animal bones, tendons, and marrow is naturally structured and contains boatloads of beneficial minerals and other vital, protective nutrients such as glycine and collagen that detoxify Glyphosate from the body. Be sure to use filtered water or spring water in the recipe along with a splash of raw apple cider vinegar or lemon. Click here for my chaga marrow bone broth recipe.
Is spring water the ultimate medicine? SuperFeast podcast
The Pseudoscience of Masaru Emoto (because dancing with opposing polarized viewpoints is fun)
Conscious Water – Berkey filters in Canada
Dunnick & Melnick. (1993). Assessment of the carcinogenic potential of chlorinated water: Experimental studies of chlorine, chloramine, and trihalomethanes. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 85(10), 817-822.
Villanueva et al. (2003). Meta-analysis of studies on individual consumption of chlorinated drinking water and bladder cancer. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 57, 166-173.
Without sun, there would be no life. Sunlight is what we evolved with, way before carcinogenic sunscreens and excessively toxic, solitary, stagnant indoor lifestyles with widespread vitamin D deficiency came into fruition in the past 100 or so years along with a modern day, twisted fear of the sun. Not only does sunlight have a great impact on the psyche, but the nutrients and cascading physiological processes created from the sun on bare skin go far beyond just the benefits of bioavailable vitamin D. The more time you spend with the sun/in nature and give this relationship the time and energy it deserves, the more you begin to unite with the divinity and magic of life.
This might be difficult for some to grasp, but the sun on bare skin is actually good for your health. Indeed, it definitely can play a role in causing skin cancer, but it isn’t so black and white; safe and conscientious sun exposure actually reduces skin cancer. Sun gives life. Safe and conscientious sun exposure also reduces risk for many other types of cancer, heart disease, and many other health issues. Safe and conscientious sun exposure has a dramatic impact on many aspects of health. It facilitates cholesterol sulfate on bare skin, essential for the health of all cells; it’s needed for healthy hormone function, to downregulate inflammation in the brain, and to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Skin cancer risk is increased by sunburn, NOT sun exposure. As long as you don’t burn, your risk of skin cancer is not increased.
Benefits of SAFE sun exposure on bare skin include but are certainly not limited to:
- vitamin D hormone production (obviously)
- nitric oxide production
- cholesterol sulfate production
- circadian rhythm
- improves mood & sleep
- promotes weight loss
- supports bone health
- heals skin issues
- promotes eye health
- healthy hormones
- balances cholesterol
- improves brain function
- makes serotonin, melatonin
- drastic impact on dopamine function, increases dopamine
- lowers blood pressure
- improves oxygenation
- decreases lactic acid, lowers blood glucose
- insulin metabolism
- supports neurogenesis
- proper central nervous system function
- the ultimate skincare
- reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
- prevents/reduces seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- ameliorates symptoms of Alzheimer’s
- improves the way you process energy and food; digestion
- stimulates mitochondrial light conversion to energy when working out
- improves immune system; boosts immunity
- positive impact on the gut microbiome
- reduces cancer risk (yes, you read that right)
Sunlight on bare skin and reflecting into bare eyes, even on a cloudy day, programs mitochondrial function and DNA, activates hundreds of analogs in your physiology, and sets you up for an energized day and a deep restful sleep by informing your circadian rhythm. All sunlight is 42% infrared light. Infrared light, along with cellular water, plays a vital part in charging your body and creating energy. This light stimulates collagen, increases bone healing and heals wounds, and is also why you may have seen so many people in the health and wellness realm doing infrared light therapy by basking under an indoor infrared light, such as a Joovv. This type of infrared light is also anti-ageing by reducing wrinkles and scars.
Nature heals, being in nature is the act of coming home. Going barefoot on the earth also balances your charge with beneficial negative ions, grounds you, and keeps you balanced, reducing inflammation and diversifying your gut microbiome. It literally reduces your cortisol levels. Getting in the dirt feeds our good bacteria and allows the skin to absorb B-complex vitamins that promote longevity: the original probiotic. Relax, smell the flowers. Remember what you loved doing as a kid, and do more of it!
Supplements and foods that support the skin in the sun include: wild local chaga mushroom, wild caught salmon, astaxanthin, tomatoes, blueberries, watermelon, carrots, leafy greens. Consume along with meals at regular times under daylight before the sun sets for best protective effect and optimal digestion. Please comment below this article if you’d like to recommend any other foods that have worked for you.
Get to familiarize yourself with light, earth, air, the basic ingredients that help bring you back to wholeness, menstrual cramp remedies in themselves. The physical and spiritual benefits are endless.
Vitamin D: the sunshine of your life? by Jack Kruse
Magnesium is the ultimate supplement that I’d recommend to most anybody looking to optimize their short and long-term health in general. It plays a vital role on the cellular level on the path towards vibrant, extreme health, helps regulate blood pressure, and is necessary for RNA, DNA and protein synthesis among several other functions. It goes into 3,000 different processes in the body with 350 different biochemical reactions that help your cells function properly. Every organ needs this stuff. I believe that you cannot out-supplement a poor diet and lifestyle, that no supplement can replace proper nutrition, detoxification, daily sunlight exposure, movement, sweating/cold exposure, meditation, time spent in nature, proper circadian rhythm entrainment and connecting to your purpose, but a magnesium supplement is one exception.
Don’t get me wrong, if you need to pop a Tylenol where you’re at, do so, but magnesium supplementation actually addresses the root and is a safe, affordable, natural, and more gentle modality with less of a risk of nasty side effects. It will also benefit all other areas of your body and mind, is critical for bone health, and you can use it as much as it benefits you. Because it is a water-soluble mineral in which you pee out the excess instead of storing it, and the planet’s unsustainable farming practices have left agricultural soils (therefore your food) depleted of minerals, magnesium ought to be taken daily, especially as stress (physical, environmental, emotional) also depletes magnesium levels.
Magnesium has been shown to benefit those with:
- high blood pressure and cholesterol
- poor blood circulation and clotting
- pain and inflammation
- type 2 diabetes
- metabolic syndrome/slowed metabolism
- tense muscles and cramping
- panic attacks
- poor nerve and brain function
- and, you guessed it, PMS symptoms and cramps!
Without enough Magnesium, cells simply don’t work.Lawrence M. Resnick, MD
68% of Americans are deficient in magnesium according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Other sources estimate that even up to 80% are deficient. It’s not a far stretch to apply this pattern to most other industrial societies in the world today, with processed, nutrient void diets such as the Standard American Diet rampant around the globe, agricultural mineral depletion, along with mass disconnect from the earth. Studies have revealed that those who experience PMS also exhibit significantly lower levels of magnesium in red blood cells compared to those who don’t. One study found that those who took a daily dose of 360 mg of magnesium experienced noticeably fewer PMS symptoms. Other root causes of mag deficiency include: soft unfiltered tap water, soda, alcohol and caffeine, depleted soil nutrients from industrial agricultural mono-cropping, calcium supplements, and chronic stress. Magnesium deficiency may be hard to pinpoint, but just might be your “magic bullet”. I know it works for me.
Amazing things happen when you are experiencing magnesium repletion. This is just the tip of the iceberg:
- The walls of your blood vessels relax, helping prevent chronic hypertension
- Your cell membranes open up to let in glucose, helping prevent blood sugar from rising
- Muscles stay relaxed, preventing cramps and restless leg syndrome
- Good circulation occurs, preventing clotting in the legs, lungs and brain
- Painful menstrual cramps dissolve into the void!
You might be inclined to question if magnesium is natural as it is an isolated compound: yes, it is comprised of the molecules found in nature, this is the same with other mineral supplements that are pretty useful to consider with the mineral and nutrient depletion in our foods and soils. You can use any combination of magnesium types available. Most forms of magnesium are actually limited in their absorption via digestion except for magnesium chloride.
Most bioavailable magnesium types:
- Magnesium bisglycinate or glycinate
- Magnesium gluconate
- Magnesium fumarate
- Magnesium malate
- Magnesium chloride hexahydrate, or simply magnesium chloride flakes (MgCl2)
Magnesium chloride oral and transdermal solutions are available on the market pre-made, but it’s way more affordable, bioavailable and just as effective to use a homemade topical magnesium chloride spray which will last much longer for months and months. It consists of just magnesium chloride flakes dissolved in water. It’s also great if you do lots of physical activity, with less side effects than oral administration.
Homemade Transdermal Magnesium Spray Recipe
- Dilute 100-250g of magnesium flakes in 1/2 liter of distilled or filtered or spring water. Stir or shake to dissolve in a glass bottle (no plastic!).
Method: spray liberally about 4-6 times or more onto skin. This can be used daily or as needed, and before bedtime to support a deeper, more restful sleep, aid in recovery from training, and ease menstrual cramps. I’ve found that once a week personally works for me.
Click here for magnesium chloride flakes (most bioavailable, no fillers, flavours or additives).
Click here for amber glass spray bottles to store your solution in.
Transdermal application: In general, administer the magnesium spray topically, specifically on the back of the head, back of neck, and full upper body to resolve any underlying nervous system inflammation, and over the lower abdominal area to soothe menstrual cramps. The topical route of administration is absorbed through the skin’s pores where it is most bioavailable. Magnesium gel or oil are also fantastic ways to boost your magnesium levels and to relax before bedtime. You can also visit a float tank to float in a saturated magnesium tank for an allotted amount of time.
Oral consumption: Also effective for cramps, simply take a few sips of the solution, and don’t go overboard or you may experience side effects. Powdered or encapsulated magnesium supplements are also available (though I am legitimately unable to swallow pills or supplements, so haven’t tried them myself). High doses of oral magnesium may cause side effects due to the relaxing of muscles in the intestinal tract, such as loose bowels, diarrhea, cramping and stomach aches, and may interfere with various antibiotics, blood pressure meds, muscle relaxants and water pills, making them ineffective. None of this would happen with topical magnesium though, as your skin immediately absorbs it and bypasses all the possible side effects. Do not consume without knowing an accurate dosage.
Whole Food Sources of Magnesium Include:
- activated nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds, etc.)
- leafy green vegetables
- raw cacao (Click here for my reishi peanut butter cup recipe with chocolate made from scratch.)
Like most things in life, change takes time. Start off small as you gauge your own tolerance level, be consistent but don’t overdo it all at once. How much you need depends on your activity levels, diet, and other factors, but I believe you’ll know when enough is enough.
5. CLEAN BEAUTY
The first step to a healthier lifestyle and menstrual cycle in general is eliminating toxins.
Your skin is the largest organ, and the pores on your skin are tiny portals to the body, absorbing everything you put on it directly into the bloodstream. As such, it’s imperative to practice vigilance and detox your personal care and eliminate any products with harmful chemicals as much as humanly possible, whether at home or in the office/workplace. These chemicals stifle our inherent intuition and mask our senses, affecting hormonal balance and overall health, including, you guessed it, the relative severity of menstrual cramps. Personally I went cold turkey years ago and it went nicely with my natural hermit/minimalist lifestyle tendencies. There are entire careers and books written on this subject with countless studies done to shed light on the presence of harmful toxicants and chemicals and how they’re detrimental to our health. It’s time you take your power into your hands. Reducing your impact on the environment naturally occurs when you make better choices for yourself.
The “clean beauty” movement has been going strong lately, for good reason. Non-toxic personal care includes:
- Natissy organic bamboo or organic unbleached cotton reusable menstrual pads. These are amazing, and as someone who prefers to handle my flow most naturally through pads, I absolutely swear by them. The outer material is leakproof, and the button closure at the bottom might be plastic but in my perspective, this beats any metal clasps that may conduct environmental EMFs/wifi and affect my physiology. Aside from my eyeglasses I prefer to minimise the use of metals on my clothing and in jewellery. They’re easily soakable and washable, and convenient if you like to water your garden with your diluted blood.
- DivaCup is also a silicone (non-toxic) menstrual cup that I recommend.
- Living Libations natural skin care. I would not put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t eat. Even then, all natural, food grade skin care products are not a necessity in my world, but Living Libations has become top of the line in my books in the past few years, and they’re even based in Ontario. I’m a big fan of the tooth care and spirulina shampoo. Nadine is a visionary. “Beyond the limits of linear business, Libation’s is the deep action & integrity of Nature. Every Libations creation presents itself to reignite one’s being. Raw. Gluten Free. Synthetic Free. Reef Safe. Organic & Wildcrafted. Animal Friendly. Food Grade. Beyond Fair Trade.” Couldn’t ask for more.
- Ease off of hormonal birth control, work to restore hormonal balance and nutritional repletion to restore menstruation if possible. Personally I have no experience with HBC and can’t say much about it, but I hear that it can do more harm than good, with impacts on both the body and the mind, so I feel that it’s important to include here for some serious consideration. It suppresses hormones, gives you a fake bleed, and doesn’t actually fix anything. According to the National Cancer Institute, long-term use of oral contraceptives (5 or more years) triples your risk for cervical cancer, and 10 years or more quadruples your risk. Whether you’re having irregular periods, PMS, acne or painful periods, the pill is not the ultimate be all end all, as far as I can tell, and there are more sustainable and less risky ways to address the roots of these issues. Like any drug or medication, there are pros and cons. If you choose to stay or go on the pill, I support that decision as well, and any empowered decision that was made taking into account the full picture. Your period is a gift, a monthly hormonal report card, and by taking HBC you lose this channel of communication. It may take a while to regain your natural rhythms, but it’ll be worth it. Please connect with a holistic reproductive health practitioner you trust regarding this, inform and empower yourself. An alternative such as the Fertility Awareness Method can be much more insightful.
- Ditch any accumulated junk such as makeup, skincare, haircare, body wash, detergents, air fresheners, fabric softeners, soaps, nail polish, and sunscreens, and replace them with eco-friendly or all natural counterparts – or just live bare. These alternatives will naturally be of better quality, and less is truly more. Research and thoroughly vet your products, their ingredients, and their health and environmental hazard ratings on Environmental Working Group.
- Avoid touching receipts or wearing polyester (even recycled plastic) petroleum based clothing. Opt for natural fibers such as hemp, bamboo and organic cotton, ideally plant dyed.
6. SEEDY CYCLES
Whether you’re 15 or 50, you might want to look into seed cycling to help balance your hormones that are in constant fluctuation. Call it crunchy, call it hippie, but the truth is, it can work as one of the most effective menstrual cramp remedies.
What is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is a natural remedy that can help balance hormones, boost fertility, regulate periods, treat PCOS, post-birth control syndrome, amenorrhea, endometriosis and infertility, and ease symptoms of menopause. If you’re struggling with menstrual pain, seed cycling may help ease the pain while familiarizing yourself with the phases of your cycle.
A typical seed cycling protocol can be done by eating 1-2 tablespoons of seeds per day along with your regular meals, in smoothies, salads, dressings, etc. Purists say the seeds must be raw and freshly ground.
Phase 1 – follicular phase – approximately days 1-14 of your cycle: pumpkin and/or flax seeds
Phase 2 – luteal phase – approximately days 15-28 of your cycle – sunflower and/or sesame seeds
I highly recommend tracking your cycle and ovulation as you can adjust the length of time you consume each seed combination based on your cycle length, which guarantees that you’re syncing the correct seeds with each phase of your cycle since ovulation can occur at slightly different times each month.
7. MIND POWER
Believe it or not, even the power of the mind and the emotions and thought patterns we think and feel have their place among all of this. In fact, it is probably one of the most important determinants of health and healing. It’s undoubtedly a stressful and chaotic age we live in, but this only gives us the tools and serves to teach us that happiness is truly an inside job independent of any external factors or validation. Emotions such as joy, gratitude, love and forgiveness are not abstract concepts, but they permeate your entire physiology. Everything is information, it is happening *for* your transformation. Take back your power, and with the guidance of others, become your own healer and guru.
Never underestimate the power of your thoughts to literally create your reality in the here and now. Our thoughts affect our body, physiology, and even the immune system (hello, placebo effect). Your body has the innate ability to self-repair through controlling these self-healing mechanisms through the mind. Your cells listen to every thought you think, and real life miracles have proven that you do not have to completely be at the mercy of your surroundings, environment, situation or genetics.
When you truly stand in your power, you’ll find the lessons built into every situation and realise that everything is happening for you, not to you. In reframing outcomes, try asking yourself “how did I get here?” – you’ll tend to find that the answers lie in the rearview mirror, and by examining what you did to get to this point, you begin to address the root causes of your situation and find a new pattern. You begin to hone in on your intuition and start to trust your gut when it comes to making decisions in your life. Recognize your worth, ask questions, challenge the status quo, and seek second opinions. Cultivate a practice of forgiveness. Forgive others, no matter how deeply they may have wronged you, and forgive yourself for any role you may have played in causing suffering and chaos. Your forgiveness is for you, not for them.
True healing is always a process or a journey without a destination or perfect ending. A pathless land without arrival. Experiences play a part in our neurological hardwiring, neuroplasticity and the ability to form, connect and rewire the experiences. Trauma is not set in stone, and we have a lot more control or influence in this than you might think. Seeking your internal light and your perception of reality is not a static phenomenon, but dynamic based on a whole range of epigenetic signals.
Trying to control or getting excessively worked up about things that are beyond our control is one of the most common ways to create chronic stress and ill health. There are many different tools available that can help us learn to be more accepting and process emotions in a healthy way (mindfulness, somatic experiencing, EMDR, meditation, BWRT, Havening techniques, EFT, hypnotherapy, psychoanalysis, NLP, etc.), but we first have to be aware that we are directly contributing to our own stress levels by trying to control or freak out about things that are beyond our control.
The best thing we can do for our health is to aim to become an emotional chameleon and tap into our inner calm and peace, no matter the cards we have been dealt, irrelevant of the highs and lows: to become smarter, agile, and use stress to our advantage in an increasingly stressful world. If you don’t first address the war in your headspace, you almost certainly won’t find equanimity elsewhere. By reading or exploring some of these modalities that address the psychosomatic nature of illness you can turn your experiences and conditioning into powerful catalysts for healing and change.
Thanks for reading about these basic menstrual cramp remedies that you can implement today for low intervention living, especially if you don’t have the means to access a professional healer. I sincerely hope at least some of these menstrual cramp remedies may help you flourish and tune into the wholeness that you already are, as they have for me. May they inspire you to think outside of the box, to explore deeper connections with others, return to harmony, a deeper connection with the spirit and beauty of this earth, take control of your destiny or reality, and to cultivate a stronger sense of self-love, fun, self-compassion, trust, balance, equanimity, and wellbeing. The solution is very, very simple – lean into nature and you will gain health and vitality. Once you instill some of the basic foundations, I believe you’ll be able to intuit the rest… and thrive menstrual pain free, once and for all. Remember, anything’s possible.
-Kelly, actual descendant of Lao Tzu
If you enjoyed or found something useful in this article, check out my other articles, tips for daily estrogen detox/hormonal balance and why I’m no longer vegan. This all ties into cultivating a more thriving menstrual cycle, year round. This is not medical advice. The information provided is strictly for educational and research purposes, and not to be used as a diagnostic tool or prescription for any ailment. I encourage you to make your own decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified practitioner. If you have any remedies or suggestions you’d like to make, please leave a comment below!