This Sunday, May 28th is World Menstrual Health Day. To continue to challenge the menstruation taboo and to add to the growing conversation about the importance of having a happy period, we’ve compiled a list of the latest gadgets, tips and tricks to help you have a more enjoyable time of the month.
1. Wear comfortable panties
Here lie the most beautifully comfortable period panties in the world. They delicately slip over your distended lower belly with a seamless waistband, and the built-in leakproof pad steps in like an understudy if your OG method starts to give way.
Knixwear Lace Leak-Proof Boyshorts ($36 each, knixwear.ca).
Knixwear has also launched a line of period panties specifically for teens, designed to help girls 12+ "be the boss of their period." Over 80% of girls experience leaking when they have their period, and that's where Knixteen comes in. A super thin built-in pad absorbs up to 3 teaspoons of liquid, so don't hesitate next time you want to rock your new white Acne denim.
Knixteen ‘Oh-No' Proof Bikini ($19), at knixteen.ca.
2. Upgrade your food & drink intake
The drink: Swap coffee for water. “Coffee depletes magnesium in your body. During your period, your uterine muscles are contracted [hi, cramping] and magnesium helps to relax muscles,” says Melissa Ramos, a Toronto-based nutritionist and creator of Sexy Food Therapy, a website and clinic that specializes in digestion and hormonal health. Intervene by upping your liquid intake. “It sounds counterintuitive, but drinking extra water helps flush out excess water,” she says. She suggests drinking two litres of room-temperature H2O a day. “Cold water decreases the hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which can lead to bloating; you can’t digest food properly without adequate levels of stomach acid.”
The nosh: Skip processed for organic. Hit pause on your default period snack that’s loaded with unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives and try the acutely addictive Prana Organic Chocolate Bark ($5.49, prana.bio), which contains high percentages of organic cocoa and blood-sugar-stabilizing powerhouses like almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds. The Canadian brand currently has four flavour offerings, from the sea-salt-infused Carazel to the vegan-friendly No Mylk’n, a dairy-free, crispy-rice-laced milky chocolate made from rice syrup.
3. Consider these four green alternatives to conventional pads and tampons
The Honest Company Organic Cotton Tampons ($9.25 for a box of 16, honest.com).
Actress Jessica Alba’s wildly popular line of household products has been expanded to include organic tampons, which are free of synthetics, fragrances and deodorants. Cute packaging too.
The DivaCup ($40, divacup.com).This is as polarizing as Kanye, but the women who swear by it love never having to re-up on supplies. Composed of medical-grade silicone, the cup warms up and adapts to your shape, creating a near-airtight seal that can hold fluid for 12 hours. To achieve that snug fit, the cup must be rotated 360 degrees, which takes patience and practice. The cup is offered in two sizes—for before and after having a baby/turning 30.
LunaPads (from $12, lunapads.com).
The Vancouver-based company offers a plethora of soft, washable cotton pads, depending on flow and size (from extra-long to thong). The patterns are lively and bright and lift any enviro guilt from using disposable pads.
Tampon Tribe ($8 per box, tampontribe.com).
Skip the stress of sending bae out to restock your supplies at 11 pm on a Tues; Tampon Tribe is a monthly subscription service that are compostable and free of plastics. For every sub sold, a portion is sent to Girls INC, a non-profit organization for young women. The cost—$8 plus postage to Canada—includes 16 tampons and 10 pads.
4. Keep it fresh
When you don’t have time for a hot shower but need a fast refresh, try these Good Clean Love Rebalance Moisturizing Wipes ($9 for a box of 10, goodcleanlove.com) instead. They are formulated with a patented technology that replicates natural lubrication without disrupting the growth of good bacteria—a crucial component for healthy vaginal flora. This translates to minimized odour without dryness. The wipes are vegan and free of petroleum, petrochemicals and parabens.
5. De-bloat at lunch or dinner with this blended parsley soup“Parsley is a diuretic that helps to replenish key minerals while at the same time taking excess water out of your system,” says Toronto nutritionist Melissa Ramos.
1 handful fresh parsley
1 tbsp organic unsalted butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 large white onion, chopped
3 cups organic chicken stock
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Blanch parsley, chop it and then set it aside. In a pan over medium heat, add butter and sauté garlic and onion until they begin to caramelize. In a medium pot, bring stock to a boil and then add the coconut milk, onion and garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and then toss everything into a blender. (We love the Vitamix Ascent A3500 Blender, $799.95, vitamix.ca.)
6. Stop mood shaming“For too long, periods have been used as a means to justify how women are behaving, based on ‘that time of the month.’ I am a very opinionated person, and for someone to discredit that as being a symptom of PMSing really frustrates me. Women don’t want to be defined by their periods. We don’t deserve that.” – Kaitlyn Bristowe, season 11 alum of The Bachelorette, as part of the #itsnotmyperiod U by Kotex campaign, which challenges the way women’s behaviours can be discredited and labelled (i.e., “She’s PMSing!”) when they’re menstruating.
7. Stay on track
Ever had one of those ‘uh… when should my period be coming?’ moments? Track it with The Flo app, a woman’s period calculator that lets you know when to expect your menstrual cycle, ovulation, and fertile days of the month. Monitor your appetite, (i.e.: predict what days you might be hitting up Toronto ice cream shop Sweet Jesus), as well as how your mood and body change throughout the duration of your cycle.