How to Cleanse When Menstruating

This one’s personal. Blood & Cleansing.

I planned to start my annual fall cleanse Monday. Because it’s now officially Fall. Because it’s my small gap between friends in town and an upcoming Yoga Health Coaching retreat, and cleansing is a good way to prepare for retreat. It gets me in the right frame of mind to learn, connect, and envision myself thriving. My guess is this may be why you cleanse, too! Also, because I want to be a few steps ahead of those I am guiding through a cleanse, and because I already promised my little sister (Big Brothers Big Sisters) that we could make spaghetti together on Thursday after we give ourselves manicures and pedicures. And semolina flour is not a cleansing food and I want to be able to join her, at least for a taste….but on Monday, I was bleeding.

How I Cleanse

In Autumn, I choose a 3 day cleanse. 3 days of true food simplification. I make kitchari. I favor slow evenings, going to bed and wake up early (10/10:30-6/6:30), and gentle movement rather than rigor or lethargy. I choose not to over book myself. Generally, I slow my roll on the scrolling, and opt out of excess media engagement. It’s a time for writing, listening, walking slowly in nature, and pausing longer with more gratitude before meals.

Before cleansing, I find myself nesting a bit. This go ’round I did a deep clean of the kitchen, which often includes re-organizing the pantry and scrubbing out the fridge. Sunday night, I went through all my clothing with the “Love It?” measure. If I couldn’t say “yes”immediately (or it didn’t have deep sentimental value — for I am deeply sentimental and have on occasion regretted parting from a beloved item), then it goes. I have a department store bag stuffed and ready for a Naked Lady Party (aka girls night clothing exchange post cleanse, sure to include non-cleanse food).

My room was clean, desk organized, I did my shopping. But I was still bleeding.

What About The Blood?

I have a regular cycle, but I had a busy, exciting, adventurous past month, thus started flowing a few days later than normal, and so, was still at the time I planned to start cleansing.

Many think of cleansing as a detox. When we are menstruating, our body is already doing it’s own cleanse. When I am bleeding I rest more, move less, and try to eat more mindfully, favoring nourishing, unprocessed foods. While I crave sugar and tend to give in to at least one baked good while bleeding, I know my body needs easy to digest, hearty, protein-rich foods, with ample fat.

So this week, I gave in a little, I stock-piled myself with snacks. Rarely do I snack, even when not cleansing. But I knew that having local plums and raw coconut, walnuts and pumpkin seeds on hand would support my effort to stay out of the bakery. It worked!

I also added as much oil and Himalayan Pink salt as I craved to my kitchari. I made golden milk at night.

In no way have I felt nutritionally deprived. If you plan a cleanse and happen to have a visit by Aunt Flo simultaneously, be gentle with yourself:

  • Favor nutrient dense foods like root vegetables, sesame, ghee, flax and coconut oils
  • Give yourself an out: pack healthy snacks to resist cravings for sugar
  • Slow down: favor gentle or restorative Yoga, crawl in bed early with a book, journal an extra 10 minutes

So, it is possible to keep going with your cleanse while menstruating. I would not recommend a juice fast or the master cleanse at this time. Your body needs you to show up with lots of love and support and there are ways to do that without giving in to every craving, and still getting the nutrients you need.

If you’re not sure how to do this, book a FREE strategy session with me here🙂

Still Craving Sweet?

Cleansing is a great time to practice empathy and generate sweet talk to your self. Even if you aren’t eating that brownie you’re craving, you can bring in sweet taste with:

  • Sweet vegetables (like carrots and beets), grains (like basmati rice), and oils
  • Your favorite soft, comfortable clothes and adding that fuzzy blanket to the mix with your book and tea
  • Early bedtime to rub your feet and snuggle with loved ones (pets count!)
  • Sweet words of encouragement ~ you may even choose, like I do, to write yourself a love letter to open before your next cleanse!
  • Sweet Yoga ~ here’s a free taste of Yoga with me:) –> buy my full Yoga video library here!

As you dive in, I wish you sweet nothings on your cleanse journey, whether or not your bleeding, remember why you are here. My guess is you want to feel good. Cleansing can feel good, too. Start with love, and stay sweet as you go. 



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