A Functional Nutrition approach to your Cycle: Interview with Lyssandra Guerra
In a world where the menstrual cycle has often been stigmatized or regarded as a mere inconvenience, there is a growing movement to empower us with knowledge and understanding of our own bodies.
One revolutionary approach gaining traction is functional nutrition, which recognizes the profound connection between what we eat and how our bodies function. In this exclusive interview between two passionate advocates for women's health, we delve into into essential topics like improving your menstrual cycle, understanding hormones and your body, achieving hormonal balance, addressing hormonal imbalances, cycle syncing, and everyday wellness.
Join us for an insightful conversation as Xula Herbs' founder Karina Primelles interviews Lyssandra Guerra, a renowned Holistic Nutritionist & Women's Health Advisor. Lyssandra, uses an integrative approach by using a Functional Medicine lens and applying Eastern philosophies to help people find relief and prevent dis-ease, while getting to the root cause of their symptoms. Lyssandra focuses on digestion, navigating nutrition with food sensitivities, reducing inflammation for hormone balance + pms relief, and calming the nervous system through energetics. Through holistic practices, she helps her clients overcome those issues while also creating a healthy relationship to food and their body, ultimately leading them to confidence, happiness and vitality.
Related to: Bodies That Bleed & Bodies That Don't
During this interview they talked about epigenetics which contrary to the traditional belief that our genetic code solely determines our traits and predispositions, epigenetics explores how external factors can influence gene expression, shaping our health and well-being. This intriguing science unravels a new layer of complexity to our understanding of genetics, revolutionizing the way we perceive inherited traits and offering exciting possibilities for personalized medicine and disease prevention.
Lyssandra shares with us: “What you didn't know, but now you know, is that genetics and lifestyle both play important roles in hormonal health, environmental factors such as what you eat with your stress. Prenatal nutrition can turn certain genes on or off through a process known as epigenetics. Thus, what you eat now and what your lifestyle is like directly impacts your gene expression and hormonal behavior. In other words, what you eat and do today impacts your health for the future. So knowing this can help you build resilience against difficult menstrual cycles and PMS symptoms, and improve your overall health for years to come.”
Factors that Affect Estrogen
Estrogen, a vital hormone in the human body, plays a central role in numerous physiological processes, ranging from reproductive health to bone density and cardiovascular function. However, the delicate balance of estrogen levels can be influenced by various internal and external factors, ultimately impacting our overall well-being. Understanding the factors that affect estrogen is crucial for maintaining hormonal harmony and optimizing health.
In this interview, Lyssandra says: “Your estrogen just doesn't go wild. You may think that your body is producing loads of estrogen and is creating those estrogen dominant symptoms like heavy and painful periods, PMS, headaches, decreased sex drive, bloating, fatigue, breast tenderness, all the symptoms. But that isn't necessarily true in order to prioritize hormones if you got to look at the other systems involved, including digestion. Liver, your blood sugar and your endocrine system. For example, is your liver supported and is able to break down excess hormones? Is your digestion supported so that you can have clear elimination pathways for that hormone ways? Are you putting yourself in constant fight or flight? Are you eating progesterone? Eating foods? All these factors and more dictate whether your estrogen imbalance and hormonal fluctuations are present.”
Hack your Cycle
Cycle-syncing is a growing trend in menstruating people’s health and wellness, embraces the idea that the menstrual cycle is not just a monthly inconvenience but a powerful tool for optimizing physical and emotional well-being. By aligning lifestyle choices with the different phases of the menstrual cycle, cycle-syncing aims to harness the natural hormonal fluctuations to enhance productivity, energy levels, mood, and overall quality of life.
In this interview Lyssandra tell us: “You can hack your cycle by aligning your nutrition, your exercise lifestyle, even sex, to the rhythm of your menstrual cycle. Through a method called cycle syncing, your symptoms can be reduced, especially your PMS. Your body may function more optimally, and you may feel so much better overall. Knowing your cycle helps you to intimately know yourself and the changes that you go through every month. No more wondering why you're all of a sudden crying or why you're craving that chocolate sundae. If you're interested to know yourself better, try tracking your cycle and symptoms. Awareness is the very first step into making any change, so if you're curious to start knowing about your cycle, how to start sinking to these changes, we have the resources for you.”
Related to: How does period syncing work?
Infradian rhythm, a lesser-known but crucial aspect of our biological clock, refers to the cyclical patterns that occur in a timeframe longer than 24 hours. Unlike the more widely recognized circadian rhythm, which operates on a daily cycle, infradian rhythms span longer periods, typically lasting several days, weeks, or even months. These rhythms govern various physiological processes, including the menstrual cycle, sleep patterns, and even mood fluctuations. In this exploration of infradian rhythm, we delve into its significance, underlying mechanisms, and the ways in which it influences our overall well-being.
While talking about this topic with Lyssandra she shares with us: “As a menstruator you experience what is called an infrating rhythm. Not to be confused with your circadian rhythm, which is your 24 hour clock. An infrating rhythm is a 28 day cycle that regulates the menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle has four phases, your menstrual, follicular, ovulatory and luteal within these four phases.
Each brings on important fluctuations in your brain and your body. Consider 4 distinct personalities. With your menstrual, you're a little bit more inward. With your follicular, you're an organizer, you're a planner. During ovulation, you're sassier, you're more flirtatious, you're more social. And during your luteal, you start to tend more toward domestic activities.
And, because your body goes through these four phases, there are specific nutritional and lifestyle habits that help bring harmony into each phase and therefore reducing menstrual irregularities, PMS, stress, fatigue and other symptoms. Connecting to your infraiding rhythm is really empowering and it's a really empowering way to know yourself better and to help take action on what you can do during your cycle so that you feel your very best.
This interview inspire the Xula team to write the Hack Your Cycle Guide. To download it go to this link.
Click here to watch the whole interview