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Whitney Cumpson(CAVEAT: I am NOT a doctor; I cannot diagnose or cure anything. I can only speak to my experiences with essential oils, which also do not cure or heal anything.)

So now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how I used essential oils to change my menstrual cycle and my life. But first, a little background – I’ve struggled with hormonal issues since I was a teenager. I would have a period every other month, which was accompanied by severely awful cramps that would leave me bed-ridden, curled up in a ball and often in tears from the pain. After three years of this, my mom finally put me on birth control.  For the next 15 years or so, I had “normal” cycles and thought all was well…I still had cramps, the occasional break-out, and awful PMS – think crying spells, mood swings, bloating, and tender breasts. But I had a period like clockwork every month.  So everything was great.  Right?!

Until I started having issues from being on the birth control. I then started doing my own research and learning more about birth control and its effects on our bodies. I stopped my birth control cold turkey. I realized that birth control did not actually *fix* any of my issues; all it did was mask them.

So I went off birth control and holy goodness…my symptoms came back with a vengeance! My cycle was once again off kilter, my PMS symptoms were through the roof, my mood swings were unbearable, and my skin…well, suffice to say I was often embarrassed to go anywhere because my skin was so broken out and red and raw.

Of course, the doctors’ answers were to go back on birth control or to put me on antibiotics, or worse yet, to put me on Accutane. And that was definitely on my NO list!! After doing research, I knew I didn’t want that stuff in my system. So I vowed that I would give myself a year to figure it all out…and if that didn’t work, then I would try Accutane. It would literally be my last resort.

So I tried everything I found on the Internet. I spent so much money on the different OTC medications and sure-to-work infomercial products…and guess what? None of it worked!! In fact, most of it dried my skin out and caused even more break-outs! In the midst of it all, I worked on changing my diet, because what you eat does in fact affect your hormones and in turn, your acne/skin. At one point, I felt like if I removed anything else from my diet that I would be eating dirt!!!

clary sage for pms

It wasn’t until I did a sugar detox that I realized sugar was my biggest problem! Talk about a HUGE difference in my skin! It was also right around this time my mom introduced me to essential oils. Before I go any further, let me explain what an essential oil is. Essential oils are plant extracts that help your body do what it’s supposed do naturally…work at its most efficient! They don’t have any side effects (unless you’re allergic to that particular plant) and they don’t harm your body or your system!! Plus they smell heavenly!

I was skeptical when I first started using the oils. I thought it would be something else I wasted a ton of money on. Boy, was I so wrong!! I won’t tell you all the things I use my oils for (because believe me, it is a LONG list!!), but I do want to focus on how I used the oils to balance my hormones and help alleviate my PMS symptoms.

Let me just say that I have a completely normal cycle – it’s pretty much like clockwork every month…and no, I am not taking any medication! No birth control, nothing! My PMS symptoms are almost zilch! My actual period is 3-5 days with the first day being the heaviest with mild to moderate cramping, and then pretty light until the last day. I no longer have tender breasts, no more bloating, and my mood swings are non-existent!! This coming from someone who was called Satan during that time!!

nightly pms soothing routine

The only thing I can attribute to this HUGE change in my cycle and my life are the essential oils (along with a healthy diet and exercise)! Seriously though…how crazy is that?? As part of my daily routine, I use an oil called Clary Sage, which is known for its ability to ease monthly menstrual cycles and help balance hormones. I will 100% say that it did exactly that for me. Plus it smells amazing!! I also take a supplement called Phytoestrogen Lifetime complex, which contains plant-based phytoestrogens, flax seed extract, and pomegranate extract.

I truly believe both of these have helped me tremendously. I haven’t stopped taking them to see if I notice a difference, but I know that with them, I feel sane all month long, I am not an emotional hot mess with the ups and downs associated with PMS, my cycle is pretty regular, and without an app tracker in my iPhone, I don’t even know when it’s coming because I don’t have the symptoms!!! It is crazy! And I love it!

The one thing I do notice is that when I eat more sugar in my diet, I tend to have more issues. So yes, for me, diet has a huge effect on my hormones and my cycle. But I feel so much better using the oils than I *ever* did being on (or off) birth control. And my old boyfriends probably wouldn’t call me Satan now either (well, maybe not for this)!

I didn’t think I’d ever be one to have a “normal” cycle and not be on birth control. If this sounds like you, please reach out (wellnesswisdom.whitney@gmail.com) because I know what you’re going through. I hated what medication was doing to my system and my body, and with essential oils, I know that I am getting absolutely nothing bad for me. All I’m getting is month after month of sanity and normal cycles and a natural perfume every day! Now doesn’t that sound amazing?!

With love and wellness,

Whitney

LorraineMother Nature, Mother Earth, Gaia, Terra, and Parvati are all metaphoric expressions that represent female icons as the givers and sustainers of life. As women, we literally hold the birthing ground and soil for life in our wombs, making us inherently deserving of such superhuman titles. How often though do we actually take the time out to give ourselves the credit for being such powerhouses in this uniquely feminine way?! Just as importantly, how often do we give back to our goddess ways with equivalent sustenance?

The answers to these questions are exactly why we chose Lorraine Vontista, Founder of Eagle Rock Juice Co., to be our Fierce Woman of the Month. Lorraine is doing for the juicing world what our Maxim brand of organic and natural menstrual care products is doing for feminine hygiene – providing a healthy alternative for the benefit of our most sacred bodies and spirits.

juice shot

Lorraine’s feminine energy exudes not just in her general spirit but in the way in which she’s created an overall feminine, earth-loving and healthy sustainable business that taps in to our feminine fountain of life through the nourishing gardens of fruit and vegetables. Being a woman owned company has entirely shaped her company’s mission to create “PURE fresh juice, cold-pressed from the highest quality, local (when available) organic fruits and vegetables for a profit in a spotless, positive and culturally enriched environment whereby our customers and team relationships are our most valued asset.”

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Lorraine’s company logo  embodies this mission and her belief that “the earth provides all we need to gain the health which human beings need to live fully.” The natural earthy looking woman holding an apple in her company’s logo was inspired by a little twist to the traditional Adam and Eve bible story. It comes from the idea that Eve never offered an apple to Adam in spite of the Creator, rather she offered it to heal his wound. The woman represents taking back our gift to heal and be healed and that is exactly what she and her team are doing at their glorious shop in Los Angeles, CA where they are not just a juice bar, rather a place that offers “simple and accessible nutrient based drinks with pre-made recipes of freshly pressed juice (bottled in-house), raw blends and wheat grass.”

Juicing and cold pressed juices in particular have become a popular trend in our beloved health foods world, but Lorraine’s company’s creations come with a bit of delectable twist that makes them all the more powerful, in a #fiercewoman kind of way. Keep on reading below for an exclusive interview with Lorraine about what inspired the creation of Eagle Rock Juice and how she’s changing the world with “each choice, each moment and each breath of her life….”

At Maxim Hygiene, we define a Fierce Woman as a “glorious female creature whose idea of beauty is hinged upon the idea that she can change the world with each choice, each moment and each breath of her life.” Who in your life is a Fierce Woman and why?

I have more than one fierce woman in my life but if I had to pick one today who inspires me on the regular and that I have close contact with it would have to be Kimme McGuire.  Kimme was my birth doula for both of my natural births.  In fact, my first child was her first job as a doula and to date she’s assisted at least 175 mothers and babies in delivery and birth.  She is a woman who I can sit with and discuss our visions for our world in concern within the ways of how women and children are perceived.  Her tenderness about children and the sacredness she covets them with is contagious and brought that light to me on my delivery bed. I consider her my sister (from another mister) on a journey to transform modern civilization and to revisit and bring forth again a reverence towards women.

What does cold pressed juice mean exactly? What makes it different from regular fresh squeezed juice or other juices on the market?

Our cold-press juice is pressed using a 24,000 lb. hydraulic press to unlock vital vitamins, minerals and enzymes.  This process retains the integrity of the nutrients and prolongs the shelf life allowing you to enjoy cold press juices for the 3-4 days.   The juice is highly perishable because of its raw state and is not pasteurized.

Other juices are not hydraulically pressed.  These common commercial juicers are called centrifugal juicers.  They spin at high-speed levels and can produce up to 10-15 degrees of heat added to the fruits and vegetables, which alters their raw quality.  You have to understand that once heat is added to food it is no longer truly raw to an extent.  The less heat added, the better.  The cold press machine we use alters the temperature about 2 degrees which is a great difference in the juicing process.   So, the juice retains vital enzymes, minerals, nutrients and other undisturbed natural qualities.

What particular juice concoctions do you recommend or offer at Eagle Rock Juice Co. that are particularly beneficial to women’s health and/or common symptoms or health issues experienced by women?

Yes, I specifically offer what we call the AC (climate) V Tonic, which is, Apple Cider Vinegar, Molasses, and Bee Pollen, Fresh Juice & Filtered water.  I stumbled onto this tonic after my first childbirth.  I noticed my menstrual cycles have a deeper and painful impact on my body along with some insomnia, severe cramps and emotional imbalance.  After some research, I discovered ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) to have been extremely effective for this condition known in the medical field as PMDD, which stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.  As I research more benefits of ACV, I realized it was not specific to women’s health.  It is great for several health concerns, the biggest being weight loss and hormonal imbalance which are heavily recognized to be related to women’s issues but not specific to the female body.  I believe that men have several unaddressed, ignored and denial of similar health concerns as women.  Men can struggle with hormones and/or yeast issues just as much as women.

This tonic is also designed to support allergies, which nowadays is inevitable with the air conditions, and food culture we live in.  This tonic is called Acclimate in reference to aid the constant work the body does to acclimate itself to our constant changes and demand on the body due to extreme lifestyles of dining out, travel, lack of sleep and unexamined or the lack of awareness of what is going on in our body’s constitution.  This is not gender specific.

Who first taught you about the benefits of juicing?

After struggling with systemic yeast issues for an eight-year span, I studied and experimented with several food programs.  I was coming to the end of my experimental research.  I had heard so much on my research crusade about raw food and juice so I gave it a shot for six weeks.  I followed a recipe guide called the live raw feast and I was sold.  I never had so much energy and felt so clear minded in my life.  I taught myself or should I say, my condition opened my eyes for the long road of health and nutrition ahead of me.  I just kept going and my condition from my twenties brought me Eagle Rock Juice Co. later in life.

Do you encourage your customers to grow their own fruit and vegetable gardens? If so, have any tips on how to do so?

I’m embarrassed to say that most of my customers don’t have this conversation with me.  Most of our customers are busy industry folk who don’t have time for much and love their work.  Probably, just like me.  Trust me, I’d love to have my own garden but right now, I leave that for my farmers because I’m learning even though as a woman I can probably do it all, but I don’t’ have to.

I don’t know about you but this post has got us pretty thirsty for some juice! Off to Eagle Rock we go!

pms-no-pain-with-maximWomanhood comes with many rites of passage and periods are of course one of our favorites! If you ask any woman today if she remembers the first time she started menstruating, she can probably recall the moment in detail. It was a turning point in her life, where she went from being a girl to a woman in an instant, and stepped into a world full of tampons, pads, and panty liners not to mention yo-yo hormones.

All women are affected differently by their periods. Some women experience little to no symptoms, some become a little irritable, and others double up in pain and can suffer from bad headaches, depression, and anxiety. Most of these symptoms occur during the “pre-menstrual” stage, about a week or two before bleeding commences; once the bleeding starts, the majority of them go away.

PMS, known as “pre-menstrual syndrome,” is the term that describes these symptoms that women face leading up to their periods. However contrary to popular belief, not all females suffer from PMS, as only about 4 in 10 women are affected by it.

Whether or not PMS makes you “see red,” periods can still be a stressful time, so we here at Maxim Hygiene wanted to compile together a list of our top five favorite things to do the week before your period to help with the other word that starts with a “p” and is often related to periods – pain! Our goal is to keep you green queens feeling fierce 365 days of the year, and we think that even if you do just one of the things off the list, you will feel a lot better! Let’s kick PMS’s butt!

1. Let yourself indulge in your food cravings, within moderation

The week before your period you probably find yourself craving weird things, or you want to eat all of the junk food your tummy can possibly handle. You feel bloated already, so you reason with yourself, “What’s an extra pizza or bag of potato chips going to change?” During PMS your serotonin levels are lower, which is the chemical in your brain that makes you feel good. When these levels are lower, you often crave fatty and sugary foods because they can help you feel better, even just temporarily.

We don’t believe that you should go and pig out or eat everything you are craving, as sugary and fatty foods can make your blood levels decline and provoke mood swings and irritability, but you only live once and we think that if you’re going to indulge in junk food, you might as well do it when your body is really begging for it!

Image courtesy of behance.net.

Image courtesy of behance.net. A 21-year old college student created imaginary packaging for ice cream, specially designed for women suffering from PMS. We wish it was real!

2. Bake

Keeping along the same lines as giving into your food cravings, we believe that baking is a great way to release stress and give you a nice sweet reward for all of your hard efforts. It helps your mind focus on something other than the pain you are in or the irritability/anxiousness you might be experiencing. It is always important to try to get yourself up and do an activity that will get your blood pumping. Consider baking with some girlfriends to make the experience that much more fun, however just don’t forget to bring those leftovers into school or work so that the PMS monster won’t tempt you into eating the whole batch of those cookies!

3. Eat carrots

“A carrot a day keeps the doctor away” may not be the expression we grew up learning, but it is a mantra that we believe all you Green Queens might want to consider adopting. When women are experiencing PMS, their estrogen levels are increased, which causes an imbalance of hormones and all those bad symptoms. Eating one raw carrot a day helps relieve PMS, as there is a special fiber in carrots that binds to estrogen. When the carrot passes through your digestive tract, the extra estrogen goes with it, and is eliminated when you go to the bathroom. Think of the carrot like a sponge that absorbs the estrogen you don’t need. Blogger “Weed Em & Reap” wrote an article about the benefits of eating a raw carrot everyday, which is definitely worth taking a look at.

We know that eating a carrot isn’t necessarily the most “fun” thing to do, but it helps lots of women lower their PMS symptoms, so we felt it was important to include in the list. To make the carrot eating more enjoyable, consider making carrot juice, and add any other ingredients or spices, like cumin to the mix.

Image courtesy of weedemandreap.com.

Image courtesy of weedemandreap.com.

4. Yoga for PMS

Yoga is a great way to calm your mind, and the week before your period exercise is of the utmost importance. We know that working out is most likely the last thing you want to do, as you might suffer from cramps or just feel a bit more lethargic than usual, which is why Yoga is a great option. It still forces your body to exert some effort, but many of the poses are gentle and are meant to be restorative, which helps relieve any tension you are feeling. It is also a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself and be in tune with your needs and wants, as your brain can tend to become a bit more easily confused and unable to process things in a logical manner during PMS.

5. Take a bath

A bath is the perfect way to unwind and escape from your stressful everyday life, and helps you relax, something you really need right before your period. Consider adding Epsom bath salts to your bath instead of bubbles, as these salts contain magnesium, which is a nutrient that your body tends to lack in and crave during PMS. Fun fact: Dark chocolate contains magnesium, which is why you often crave it the week before your period!

Let us know if you have the opportunity to try out any of our tips and tricks to calm your PMS and how they worked for you. If you have any suggestions or things that you do before your period that isn’t on our list, feel free to share them with us, we always love hearing from you.

Special Guest Blog Post by:

Lacy Young is a health coach, meditation facilitator and the creator of Campaign for Confidence. Lacy is a former junk food junkie turned green juice aficionado! She believes in the power of veggies and their ability to heal the body, mind and spirit! Lacy believes that you can be healthy and happy without calorie counting, deprivation or dieting.

Web | Retreats | Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Lacys Post - Lacy shot

As a health coach and meditation facilitator I teach people that what you put into and on your body matters. Together we clear old beliefs and patterns that are no longer serving you and invite in practices, thoughts and foods that are in alignment with who you want to be in life.

I recently returned home from leading a week long meditation retreat in Costa Rica where we worked through the chakras to invite healing. As we began work on the Root Chakra (callled Muladhara in Sanskirt which means “root support”) I proudly gave each menstruating woman a box of Maxim Organic Tampons.

There are seven energy centers in the body that are referred to as Chakras. They are often depicted as spinning wheels in the color of the rainbow.

The Root is considered the first chakra and as such it is important to begin at the beginning when you are looking at addressing the healing and care of your body. The most connected chakra for menstruation is the 2nd, sacral. Root, however, is our sense of protection, birth happens at root, and the foundation of where it all begins (and where the tampons are inserted)… when we get into healing + nurturing menstruation that is chakra 2, creativity, the divine feminine, and all our feminine reproductive organs. The color of the Root Chakra is red, making it even more interesting that our menstrual blood is also red!

Lacys Post - group shot

Root Chakra is located in the perineum region at the base of the spine. When you insert a tampon you are right at your root. Root Chakra represents your literal connection with the Earth. Picture yourself with roots going into the Earth. They are there to support you on your journey. It is essential for your root chakra and overall health that you are mindful and conscious about anything that you allow to pass into your body. This space is all about the powerful force that binds energy into form. It is associated with survival, health and moving forward in life.

You may notice that you feel stuck, depleted or directionless when the Root Chakra is out of balance. It may show up as insecurity, disordered eating, loneliness, fear, depression or anxiety. You may experience nagging lower back pain, diarrhea, hip tightness or pain, and swollen feet, calves, or ankles. The body is always communicating, it is our job to learn the language of our personal body and respond in kind.

When the root is balanced you will feel secure, confident and in the flow of your life. Success will come easily to you and you will feel that your purpose here is being served.

Lacys Post - Product shot

Ready to balance the Root Chakra? Look at everything red in your life and begin to consider how you could lovingly up your game.

  • Use only organic tampons/ pads when you are menstruating. Maxim is my personal favorite.
  • Practice Kegel exercises.
  • Chant the word and mantra sound of LAM over and over. Lam corresponds to the Root Chakra. The vibration of the sound is supportive.
  • Eat red foods like beets to enrich your blood and help to ground you.
  • Consider wearing deep red clothing or jewelry (garnet + red jasper are my favorite Root Chakra stones).
  • Use affirmations daily to strengthen the root. These three are my favorite: “I am rooted.” “I trust in the goodness of life.” “I grow and transform with ease.

You can find out more about Lacy Young + her retreats here.

Holly 4In this exclusive extract from Holly Grigg-Spall’s book, “Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control” (the inspiration for a documentary project from Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein), the author, who is also our Fierce Woman of the Month, discusses the medical importance of healthy menstruation and reveals how a culture that denies the necessity of this bodily process has developed alongside the growing popularity of hormonal contraceptives.

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Many women now only experience the fake period of the hormonal birth control-induced withdrawal bleed as a consequence of long-term use of the birth control pill or hormonal contaceptive devices from their teens onwards. As a result, it is just a small step to the situation we currently inhabit culturally in which not having a period at all is presented as preferential, both medically and socially.

At the release of the continuous oral contraceptive brands such as Seasonique and Lybrel medical practitioners argued that because for much of history women had spent their fertile lives pregnant or breastfeeding, menstruation is in fact biologically unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Their logic is that a functioning uterus and ovaries are more susceptible to going wrong than organs that are “switched off” by hormonal contraceptives.

Within our culture in which periods are generally presented as disgusting and unfeminine women cannot have an opinion on their own periods that is free from this cultural influence. Although some experience overbearing discomfort during menstruation, some do not, and others feel the benefits of experiencing menstruation equal to or outweighing the cramps and inconvenience. Of course this culture  plays its part in what women see as inconvenient and difficult. According to the medical industry we are all disabled by menstruation and the conversation is framed by this ideology.

This way of thinking emerges every few months in a spate of op-eds and news reports. It is given traction by Dr Elisimar M Coutinho’s “Is Menstruation Obsolete?Coutinho is an influential member of the World Health Organization. His research brought about the creation of the Depo Provera injection and implant, as well as other hormonal contraceptive methods. Coutinho’s coauthor on this book was Population Council Scientist Sheldon Segal. With the perpetually pregnant cave woman as their standard for what is natural and good for women and their bodies, they argue for menstrual suppression via pharmaceutical drugs.

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In an attempt to outwit any criticism in the preface it is written, “Some women have interpreted this book as an attack on menstruation and have resented the implication that there is something inherently wrong with the process.” Ignoring much of history to create their own falsified narrative the writers set up their thesis to be a counter a counter-attack to the prevalent belief that menstruation is “natural, normal and beneficial.” They set themselves up as radical proponents of women’s liberation from ignorance and primitivism, but they and their ideas are only products of a long history of misogyny-led medicine. The perpetually pregnant cave woman is the ideal and they argue that women must return to this state albeit artificially through medication.

On this Dr. Elizabeth Kissling writes, “Coutinho documents numerous menstrual maladies, such as premenstrual syndrome, anemia, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, and menstrual migraine, combined with the anthropological inferences about the menstruation of our Paleolithic ancestors, and concludes “The attitude that menstruation is a ‘natural event’ and therefore beneficial to women in some way has no basis in scientific fact.” Note also that Paleolithic women did not engage in such “unnatural” practices as shaving their legs, having their pubic hair removed with hot wax, or deliberately starving themselves to conform to an idealized body type. These practices all carry health risks, yet contemporary American women are widely encouraged to practice all three.”

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

There are some, backed by the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, who argue that menstruation is a sign of good health and should be treated as such. This was once standard medical practice, prior to hormonal contraceptives. Having periods is an indicator of healthiness on a par with blood pressure. In fact, a woman’s cycle ensures her blood pressure is naturally lowered in the second half of the month. Monitoring teenagers and young women’s cycles can ensure the early treatment of any arising health problems.

The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research presented a scientific forum to the New York Academy of Sciences proposing that the menstrual cycle be considered the fifth vital sign. “The menstrual cycle is a window into the general health and wellbeing of women, and not just a reproductive event,” said Dr Paula Hillard at this event, professor of obstetrics & gynecology and pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. “It can indicate the status of bone health, heart disease, and ovarian failure, as well as long-term fertility.”

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If you’d like to see more research done in regards to this topic, you have four more days to fund a Kickstarter campaign that is set to do so with the development of a documentary inspired by Holly’s book and supported by women’s health activists and filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein.

moods piece 1

Photo Credit: Alphonse Mucha at WikiArt

As women, I’m sure a number of us have heard the criticism or at least are aware of the stereotype that we’re more emotional, cry on the job, have mood swings, so on and so forth. And the truth is our female brain is wired differently than the brains of our male counterparts. Our systems are more complex and more intricate. We are more emotional.

For starters, our monthly reproductive hormone cycle is at least five times more complex than men’s. Men begin the day with high testosterone and it dissipates throughout the day. They make more testosterone while they are sleeping, and the cycle repeats.

Women, on the other hand, have a monthly rhythm in which estrogen rises during the first half and falls during the second half, with an inverse correlation of progesterone. Testosterone is typically highest when estrogen is highest (around ovulation). Testosterone is associated with confidence and increased libido. Estrogen is related to greater sociability and energy. Progesterone boosts our metabolism and also has a calming, anti-anxiety affect on our system.

These reproductive hormones have a substantial affect on our mood and energy levels on their own. Additionally, they interact with other hormones and neurotransmitters and their receptors throughout our body. Most importantly for our moods, they affect the levels of serotonin and dopamine.

Furthermore, a woman’s brain structure is even calibrated to be more sensitive to emotions – both our own and those around us. Women use the right side of their brain, connected to emotion and emotion processing, more often than men. Brain imaging also shows that women have more areas of the brain dedicated to gut feelings, and areas that assess the thoughts of others.

As psychiatrist Julie Holland wrote in this must-read New York Times op-ed, we are this way due to “evolutionary design” – being more in tune with emotions helps us better understand the needs of our children and to more accurately assess our partners’ intentions. Both of these things were necessary to our survival and the survival of the species. Likewise, the intricate cycle of reproductive of hormones in women enable us to facilitate and sustain life during conception and pregnancy.

Image Courtesy of RoseWellness.com

Image Courtesy of RoseWellness.com

The emotionality that comes with these strengths and abilities is a sign of health. However, I’ll be the first to admit that the emotional components are not always the most easily dealt with – and sometimes it can feel like they sneak up on you. Here’s what you can expect throughout the month and some best practices to even out the highs and lows:

Cycle Week One:

Your monthly cycle begins with the first day of menstrual bleeding. At this time, your reproductive hormone levels are at their lowest. This often correlates with low energy, and often low mood. Be sure to build in time for rest and to avoid strenuous exercise. Your intuition will be heightened during this time as activity in the corpus callosom, which connects the right and left hemispheres of your brain, is increased.

Cycle Week Two:

Towards the end of your period, your estrogen levels will begin to increase. By a few days after your last bleeding day, your energy will increase with the added estrogen. Estrogen also seems to correlate with higher levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for positive mood. As you near the end of week two, your body will be gearing up for ovulation. This will be accompanied by a higher level of testosterone, boosting both your sex drive and confidence levels.

Cycle Week Three:

At the beginning of week three, you will have just ovulated or will be ovulating. (Most women ovulate between days 13 and 17 of their cycle.) You will be vivacious, full of energy, and confident. This is the time to schedule public presentations, meetings with your boss to discuss that raise, or a first date. Your body will also enjoy strenuous exercise during this time.

Towards the end of week three, your estrogen levels will drop and your body will start to produce progesterone. Progesterone will raise your body temperature, often correlating with an increased metabolism and appetite. You may begin to feel a bit calmer and introspective.

Cycle Week Four:

The severe drop of estrogen will result in lower energy levels. You may find that you are unable to do the same workout routines you were able to do just a week ago with ease. As progesterone levels peak, your brain will start to prioritize attention to detail. Progesterone is the pregnancy hormone and you find yourself more inclined towards nesting activities, or find that you are more emotional. Build in some extra time for rest and practice some self care rituals. Taking care of yourself now will prep your body for a better period and start of the next cycle.

Remember that fluctuations in your mood and energy levels are normal – they’re part of what makes you the fierce woman and life-creating force that you are.

maximmag-combinedFor years the media has often been blamed for objectifying women, however some studies suggest that the media is not the only culprit in doing so, but also maybe the way in which our brains are wired. New research has shown that upon first look, the human mind processes women as parts, but men as a whole. What this means is that when someone looks at a woman, different parts of her body, like her breasts, will be studied first and then her whole body will be looked at. Men, on the other hand, are seen as a whole when someone gazes at them, therefore they do not need to worry about having every inch of themselves involuntarily scrutinized from top to bottom, which probably partially also explains why we see more women’s than men’s magazines on shelves.

After viewing a slideshow of 100 Years of Female Objectification we’re not convinced that women will ever stop being the object of everyone’s affection, but we are hopeful about a more positively empowering twist in the way in which women are being portrayed and perceived. The most recent example of this change in times is the induction of Kate Lanphear, previous style director at T magazine and Elle, who became the new Editor in Chief of Maxim Magazine , the once top selling men’s magazine that’s seen significant declines in readership over the past six years. And yes we also ironically share a name we with this magazine that became most popular for it’s sultry, nearly-naked magazine cover shots of powerful women, the exact opposite of the archetype of a woman we encourage our readers to be. You can read here about how and why we very differently chose our name.

Kate from Maxim

To our delight, Maxim Magazine’s new goals are more in line with ours, in it’s mission to turn the magazine in to a lifestyle brand that provides readers with more information about the people featured in the magazine, while trying to influence the way female beauty is viewed by men. Lanphear wants men to fall in love with the women featured in the publication, rather than just see them as a pretty face or sexual object. In an interview back in February with NY Mag, she is quoted as saying,

“We want to celebrate women’s physical beauty because it’s an essential part of the brand, but we also want to celebrate their success and tell their stories. They’re as successful and energetic and driven and confident as the men we want to speak to. My vision is to show women who will be a partner. She’s not oiled up on a surfboard, she’s carrying the surfboard to the back of the truck you’re going to go to Montauk in together. That’s the fantasy and the aspiration.”

Women’s beauty and what is defined as beautiful has been a topic of discussion for centuries ranging from “acceptable” female body shapes to fashionable makeup trends. What remains a constant in feminine beauty discussions is that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, however it is often still strongly influenced by external forces, like media publications. We fortunately now have the ability to positively impact as well as alter the messages that are being transmitted to the public, and especially those towards women.

Image courtesy of alexblackmore.com.

Revamping a men’s magazine is no easy feat, however with a woman taking the reigns, it gives females hope for a brighter future. This is another ironic point of relation in the development of both Maxim brands given our Founder is a male who asked his daughter to partner with him to help bring a feminine perspective to his revolutionary male vision for feminine products.

A few generations ago a woman was expected to look after the home and she was not encouraged to work. The old mentality that “women should be seen and not heard” is slowly changing and evolving into something positive, in which females are gaining more power in the workplace and are starting to be viewed as strong beings, beyond just their look. Objectification and the old-school mentality of appreciating women more for their looks rather than their ideas or spirits is becoming a thing of the past,  giving all of us Fierce Women something positive to look forward to! Only time and the increase in sales of Maxim magazine will tell if the readers of this once #1 ranked publication and the general male population will feel the same….

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