I used to hate my moon time. Just the thought of it brought worry, anxiety and body discomfort. There was nothing about it that said "sacred", much less "celebratory". You may be wondering, "moon time"...what's that?" Moon time, another name for a woman's menstrual cycle, is the sacred time of a woman when she is honored as the Mother of the Creative Force. During this time her body is allowed to release the old energy her body has carried and prepare for re-connection to the Earth, her fertility and one which will be carried in the next Moon or month. Our ancestors understood the importance of allowing a woman her Sacred Space during this time because women were the carriers of abundance and fertility. The moon carries with it energy and is considered the weaver of tides (water or blood of the Earth), so a woman's cycle follows the rhythm of that weaving. Many cultures believe when women live together in a common space, their bodies begin to regulate their menses and all will eventually have their Moon Time concurrently. While we may think, "women mensing at the same time...and under one roof? That's too much hormornal imbalance in one space!" Actually, This natural rhythm is one of the bonds of Sisterhood.
I was thirteen when my moon time first appeared..it was the summer prior to entering freshman year in high school. Although I wasn't fully prepared for what was to come, I felt like the character "Carrie" in the move of the same name. My mom did as much mental prepping as she possibly could, but nothing could prepare me for what I would release from my body. It was an extremely scary and isolating moment for me. Unfortunately, I did not have much support from the women in my family, partly because this was not something which was announced or discussed with others in the family. My first period was not celebrated. It may have been considered a rite of passage, but I felt I was hidden away. I had been brought up to believe that menstruation was a biological disadvantage, making women emotional, unreasonable and unreliable workers. Early on, I went through seasons of guilt, irritability, cramping, bloating and sometimes depression, often missing school. I hated the sight of blood. I thought it was icky...dirty...unsanitary. I was always worried about spotting, leaking or being found out. I thought if I went out in public, someone would know I was menstruating and treat me like a leper, shouting "Unclean! Unclean!" What a terrible thing to go through as a young girl transitioning into womanhood. Actually, I don't blame my mother for what I was going through - I love her very much - however she may not have been equipped to fully support me in ways which would help me process this time in my life. Nevertheless, my mom did something very special for me, although I didn't know how special until I became an adult.
I recall my sister and I going with my mom to her friend's house. My mom asked her to piece our ears. The women asked my mom how old we were and she replied, "Regina is thirteen...". The woman inspected me from head to toe as if she were giving me a physical exam. She said to my mom, "Come back in few months when the moon cycle is better". I looked at the women, then looked at mom, who simply replied "ok". My mom and her friend continued their conversation and that was that. Wait..."Moon Cycle?" I was confused by the language. She was my mom's friend, but at moment she sounded like the village witch doctor.
What I later learned was many tribal traditions celebrate a young woman's "first blood" by honoring them with gifts, such as allowing their daughters to have their ears pierced as a sign of her stepping into womanhood. At the time, I had no idea I was being honored. This is certainly a treasured memory I carry with me to this day. However, many young girls are never honored and how a woman is guided through this experience will affect her for the rest of her life.
Later I learned my pre-menstrual symptoms was my body's way of telling me "Go within." "Connect with Self." "What is it you truly desire?" "What do you want to release from your life?" What do you want to attract into your life?" "What are your goals or creative aspirations?"
I keep a moon time calendar. I know exactly when to expect my cycle. I plan all social activities around my moon time and I cancel activities which will prevent me from tuning into me and I avoid emotionally draining conversations. This year I turned 50 and my moon time started on that day. What a gift! I celebrated my birthday, but not in the usual fashion. I went out with select friends, ate light meals, typically salads, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate and drank Moon Time Balance Tea starting two days prior to my cycle and the first three days into my cycle, which are typically days I experience some perfectly normal emotional imbalance. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important, as food allows your body to detoxify during this time. Our bodies requires foods which will encourage nutrient absorption.
As far as activities, this is the perfect time to turn off the television and journal. Go for walks. Pray. Meditate. Read spiritual books. Attend a yoga class. Take Aromatherapy Salt Baths or Milk Baths. Light candles. Take a nap. Listen to soothing music. Sit in nature. Visit a park or botanic garden. Commune with God, Source, Creator. Women are spiritually intuitive during this time, allowing for creative energy to flow. Who knows? You may be able to provide the guidance or intuition needed for that business idea or project your spouse/significant may be wrestling with. My ex-husband can testify. When he wanted to become an entrepreneur and lacked the resources, I provided him the resources and business ideas to launch his business. I received all of these idea "downloads" during my moon time. He's has been working his barber business successfully for over 14 years. I am very proud to have been part of that process.
Now is not the time to become quiet about what you need. Your family is important, but so are you. Take the time you need...a few hours each day during your moon time. Be sure to communicate how you'd like to be supported. Perhaps regular chores can be delegated to someone else in your family or farmed out to a service provider. Talk to your family and let them know you need this time for yourself, in a way they can understand. What I know to be true is this - when you honor and respect your body and your moon cycle, others will too. As our bodies are supported, nurtured and nourished, it will support us on other levels - mental, emotional and spiritual. As you begin the healing process and look within by addressing your relationship with your cycle, your pre-menstral symptoms will decrease.
Let's talk about menstrual products. Yes, I'm going there, so stay with me. The disposable sanitary industry is a billion dollar business. It is said, the average woman uses a whopping 15,000 disposable sanitary items in her lifetime - to hide the bleeding. We use cotton materials, typically bleached cotton to plunge into our delicate, sensitive vaginas and just about all of the products were created by men. Good news! There are alternatives, such as washable pads, sponges and mooncups, which I prefer. There are also beautifully made sheet protectors, period pads and covers on the market which catches any leaked fluids overnight - you can typically find these items on Etsy.com. The best part...these products were created by women for WOMEN! Don't be afraid to come in contact with your blood. Washing your blood from your garments or from your re-usable moon cycle product can be a ceremony each month - allowing you time to nurture, reflect and respect the rhythms of your body as you wash.
Embrace your moon time...your daughter's, granddaughter's, sister's, niece's moon time. Each month is a time to take the opportunity to share and support out sisters, to reconnect with our ancestors, our heritage, educating our sons and brothers, connecting our inner magic and reclaiming our natural birthright.
I pray my experiences and information shared will have you thinking differently about your moon time.
You Are Beautiful.
I often share my personal wellness journey with community members of my Facebook support group My Living Body 360. There, I share information about my 30-day detox which allowed me to shed unwanted weight, waste material and also parasitic invaders...for me, yeast. When I started the detox, I was limited to mostly green, fresh foods which created a healthy environment in my body for healing, but disturbed and agitated the yeast colonies in my intestinal tract. The goal was to flush out all that had been parasitic colonies growing inside my body from the time I was a child. Candida, or yeast is not easy to get rid of and it takes sheer will, a commitment to self, and a clear understand of why one is doing it in the first place.
What is candida, you ask? Well, this is what I've learned through independent research and medical/clinical resources.
Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines. Its main job is helping out with digestion and nutrient absorption. Small amounts of yeast in the body is normal, but an overproduction, not so much. Overproduced yeast can break down the wall of the intestine and penetrate the bloodstream - releasing toxic by-products into your body and cause candidiasis (candida infection). This can lead to a myriad of of health problem, including but not limited to:
Protruding Bell/Belly Fat
Lack of Nutrient Absorption
Oral Thrush/White-coated Tongue
Since the body is a whole, living unit, the toxic waste yeast eliminates affects other auxiliary organs such as the liver, kidneys, colon and blood. Therefore, In order to treat candida, one must be willing to detox the body, and not just the intestines...a system flushing.
Additionally, in order to create an environment for healing, one must include alkaline foods which will support detoxing, such as leafy greens, non-starch vegetables, vegetables broths, but eliminating sugar (off all kinds), fruit (of all kinds including tomatoes), meat/meat products, dairy, starchy and root vegetables (including white and sweet potatoes) nuts, grains and seeds. You may be wondering, who can survive off this diet? That's a great question! I realized very early, the diet part of the cleanse was going to be fairly easy for me since I am a living food chef. However, for the average person, this presented a challenge. Many of my clients had a sincere desire to detox their bodies, but they did not know how to feed themselves. Therefore, I decided to create recipes which not only includes healing alkaline recipes, but raw, vegan and vegetarians recipes which will support their wellness journey post-detox.
As a side note, your doctor may not be familiar with gut-related conditions like Candida, as it can mask as other health-related diseases as the ones mentioned above. You may also be prescribed antibiotics or cream to treat the symptom, but if not diagnosed properly, the treatment may be temporary and or make the underlying infection worse. A trained holistic practitioner is trained to look at body as a whole and may accurately diagnose the issue and assist you in integrate a plan which promoted healing.
Following a very simple alkaline soup recipe you make quickly and with a few ingredients.
Alkalinizing Vegetable Soup
Author: Regina Thomas Dillard
3 Boy Choy Stalks, chopped (leaves and stalks)
1/2 Onion, Chopped
1/4 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 Zucchini, chopped
2 cups Vegetable Broth
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Thyme
2 Garlic Cloves Crushed
Dash Cayenne Pepper
In a medium pot, mix together vegetable broth, salt, black pepper, thyme, garlic and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables and boil for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are cooked, but retains a natural crunch. Note: You want to make sure not to overcook the vegetables. The goal is to allow the broth to steam the vegetables which helps retain natural enzymes aiding in nutrient absorption and digestion.
Transfer to a soup bowl and serve immediately. Yield: 1-2 servings.
Note: If detoxing, this recipe should be eaten alone, without bread or crackers. However, you may eat as much as you want.
My new recipe book "Feed" in stores December 2017
Years ago, when I started incorporating more living foods into my diet, I soon discovered I had a protein deficiency. While there are plenty of protein sources in living plants, I simply wasn't getting enough of it. As a result, I began experiencing symptoms which let my body know something was "off". I was feeling sluggish, coupled with muscle fatigue, chronic headaches and hair loss. The first three symptoms could easily be explained away, but the hair loss was troublesome, as I had never experienced this before. So, I began doing research and sought ways to increase my protein intake to include more dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts (sparingly) and a vegan protein shake twice a day. After only two weeks, I began feeling more energized. However, my 17 year old son, who had also begun eating more plant-based foods, was now becoming more active with sports, a job, clubs, along with his high school career. I wondered if he was receiving enough protein to support his busy lifestyle, but more importantly his body. I wanted to provide him healthy ways to increase his protein intake, but I knew it had to be portable. A former co-worker, who considers herself "paleo", introduced me to protein balls. They were simple, easy-to-make snacks which included nuts, seeds, natural sweeteners and healthy ingredients which would keep the body satiated. Best of all, they were portable! I searched the internet for recipes, but the ones I found yielded dry, crumbly protein balls. So, I decided to create my own recipe with ingredients which I love and were a staple in my pantry - almond butter, coconuts and honey. This is one of the most delicious snack recipes in my catalog. This recipe is one of many in my new recipe book, available this #holidayseason2017.
Try this recipe and let me know how you like it!
Almond Butter Protein Balls
Author Regina Thomas Dillard
1 cup Almond Butter
1/4 cup Raw Honey
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cups Oats, dry, uncooked
1/2 cup Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
1/3 c. Cocao Nibs (sub vegan Chocolate Chips)
Avocado are, without a doubt, a staple in my diet. I've used this wonderful fruit (yes, it's a fruit!) in many of my recipes and sometime as a stand-alone snack. This delicious and delicate food is nutritionally dense and satisfying, which is why I like to use them in my smoothies and desserts. However, I've also discovered another way to use avocado - as a salad dressing! When you combine ripened avocado with other ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, spices and a touch of olive oil, you have a creamy salad-topper which beats any commercial-bought dressing any day of the week, in my humble opinion.
Avocados also offers these 11 amazing health benefits.
Here's an easy way to incorporate avocado into your diet. This salad dressing , or crudite dip, can be made with ingredients you may already have in your pantry, plus one of my all time favorite seasonings, Smoky Paprika Chipotle. by Victoria Gourmet. This Paprika Chipotle Seasoning offers a smoky mesquite, not overly spicy, flavor which adds the perfect "kick" for your favorites recipes. This is especially delicious when adding to veggie chilis and taco when you want add another layer of flavor. You may be able to find this item at your local or specialty grocer, but here's a little secret, they also sell this item, occasionally, at Marshall's, TJ Maxx and Homegoods retailers.
Author: Regina Thomas Dillard
1 Avocado, small, ripe
1/4 c. Vegan Mayo
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
4 Dashes Hot Pepper Sauce
1 Round Tbsp Victoria Smoky Paprika Chipotle
3/4 c. Almond Milk
Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. If you would like a more fluid dressing, adjust consistency with almond milk, a little at a time. Store in refrigerator up to 4 days.
Regina Thomas Dillard is the author of "FEED: Living Food Recipes to be Made and Eaten with Love", and founder of Inner + Sanctum Wellness, a business dedicated to assist others as they embark on their holistic journey. All products are handmade and sourced from reputable organic and natural ingredients purveyors.