At my ripe old age of 28, I never thought I’d be reintroduced to my body as if a creature from the Upside Down. I never thought I’d say to myself “so that’s what was happening!” about something I’d been experiencing for over the last ten years. I didn’t know there was more to learn about my period, the hormones that control them, or the bodily systems that control THOSE… in short, I DIDN’T KNOW HOW MUCH I DIDN’T KNOW. And I am horrified.
After a particular trying year (pun totally intended) and a bit of a traumatic loss, I became desperate to understand more. The first book I purchased was WomanCode by Alisa Vitti, on recommendation by Lee From America, one of my favorite health and wellness lifestyle bloggers. This book was eye-opening in the way explained the intersections of different bodily systems and how they are codependent. Who knew that my blood sugar level could impact my hormonal output? Who knew that infrequent elimination could affect my body’s delicate hormonal balance?
Vitti starts by discussing the common issues women all over America experience that are related to painful menstruation, low libido, and difficulty conceiving. She includes a mini-quiz where you pinpoint your symptoms, and then she explains what systems each symptom is connected to.
The book does an excellent job of talking about complicated interactions in a simplified yet accurate way. It brought to light body system communications like the HPO (hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian) and HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) Axes, and not only explained how they work, but also how they could potentially become interfered with and malfunction. All of this was NEWS to me, I tell ya.
Vitti’s suggestions for straightening out the issues enumerated in her intro are lifestyle related. Birth control pills, she says (and I agree), mostly cover up the problems and work against your body, not with it. She takes you through way to improve your eating, sleep, supplementation, and stress, and tells how these changes will positively impact your WomanCode, her name for all of the things that work together and result in our monthly cycles, which by the way, are SO much more than just menstruation.
One of the biggest realizations gained from the book is just how much goes during your cycle- of which there are FOUR DISTINCT PHASES: Follicular, Ovulatory, Luteal, and Menstrual. Most of us are only aware of ovulation and menstruation, but the other two are equally as important, as each phase allows or the next. Vitti’s explains what happens in each phase of the cycle and suggest aligning eating, sleep and exercise and even work habits with each phase. Her trademark suggestion of CYCLE SYNCING was another novel idea I plan to take into action: Vitti lists all of the foods one should eat during each phase of the cycle. These specific foods contain the proper nutrients to help support the different phases of your cycle.
WomanCode is more than an empowering book– it is an empowering way of life. It teaches us life-bearers to become in tune with our bodies, to become diagnosticians, to work with our bodies via lifestyle choices in order to support the amazing succession of processes that occur within us every day. This is a book I constantly refer to for its practical tips and to reinforce my understanding of the body. I recommend this book to literally any menstruating woman: married, not married, trying to conceive or not. Your WomanCode is your biggest strength — get to know it. You won’t be sorry.
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