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In sync: food, movement, and menstruation

Hannah Powell
mmm flow photo
My Monthly Moves offers a new understanding of a woman's menstrual cycle.  Photos supplied by Andi Throssell and Margo Flanagan

Women syncing their daily moves to their monthly cycle is slowly breaking into the mainstream. But will it be just another wellness trend, or an opportunity to educate women who bleed?

A common misconception in women’s health is that their monthly cycle happens over one week.

The truth is that a cycle lasts 28 days on average, and day one is when menstruation (bleeding) begins.

Andi Throssell, the founder of platform My Monthly Moves, is here to change the way wāhine are informed.

Currently, the website offers subscription access to mindbody practices, comprehensive cycle guides, nutritious recipes, and more. The offerings are split into four phases: rest (menstruation), flow (follicular), grow (ovulation), and slow (luteal). 

“What we’re looking into right now is movement, and how a woman should or can move in accordance with her cycle in order to optimise her energy and her hormones,” Andi says.

Andi hopes My Monthly Moves will someday be in every woman’s pocket.

“We believe at our Monthly Moves that education is empowerment and once you feel empowered and informed you can take back control of your own body.”

It’s about giving women the power to make informed decisions about how they’re feeling on a day-to-day basis.

Andi says personally she feels overwhelmed with how many messages on health and wellbeing are out in the mainstream – ‘it’s essentially consumerism in a way'.

Syncing daily moves to a woman’s menstrual cycle is different.

Two Raw Sisters work with My Monthly Moves, contributing nutrition guides and recipes to the app to link in with the four different cycle phases. Margo and Rosa Flanagan are well known for their Christchurch-based food business, bestselling cookbooks, workshops, and recipe app.

“We inspire and educate people on how they can create a sustainable lifestyle they can maintain and enjoy,” Margo says.

Finding ways to incorporate whole and unprocessed ingredients into everyday life is at the core of the work they do.

 

two raw sisters

 

Margo is diagnosed with chronic fatigue and endometriosis. Rosa, once an elite runner for New Zealand, was diagnosed with RED-S, a condition where amenorrhea (missed periods) is present.

Through their own health journeys, the two have found ways to optimise their health and wellbeing. Syncing their daily exercise and nutrition to their monthly cycles is one of them.

“For me, I had a very negative mindset around getting your period and what a women’s cycle looked like. I wasn’t aware of all the different phases, so it’s been a massive learning curve for the both of us,” Rosa says.

She says it all makes sense, syncing your cycle with your food and your movement.

“Before this, we thought we were aware of our bodies and becoming more intuitive, but this takes it to a whole other level.”

Margo and Rosa liken their cycle to a monthly report card: there’s much to learn about everyday health from it.

But as Andi points out, education needs to start somewhere. Menstrual cycle education at school and at home is a huge problem.

“We’re just expected to get on with our lives and our hormones.”

She says this body of knowledge on women’s health has been around for a long time, and it's slowly creeping back into mainstream discussion.  

“There’s more conversations around ‘hey, as women we don’t have to live like this’. We are cyclical beings, we can live in harmony with our rhythms and our cycle.”

Instead of a profit-driven wellness trend, for a woman, syncing her daily moves to her monthly cycle could prove to be an opportunity to be educated on a lifelong level.