YOU CAN HAVE A BETTER PERIOD
By Le'Nise Brothers
Le'Nise Brothers is a nutritionist and yoga teacher who suffered with painful periods for many years before realising that she could take steps to make them more manageable. In this book she helps you to have a better period too.
It may not appear this way when you read the next few paragraphs, but I'm going to wholeheartedly recommend this book. I just need to tell you how to get through the first few chapters.
I didn't click with this book until chapter four. I have a deep mistrust of nutritionists, for three reasons: (i) every book you read has different and often violently conflicting advice; (ii) the complex links of the industry to the incredibly damaging diet industry; and (iii) how utterly unlikely many of the suggestions are.
The third problem kicked in during chapter three of You Can Have a Better Period when Brothers' balanced plate (which she recommends you follow for every meal) shows 50% of the meal as greens. Not veg. Greens. 10% should be healthy fats. Now, I'm notoriously bad at cooking and eating properly, but I don't remember seeing anyone else eat half a plate of kale with every meal and constantly shovel nuts into their mouth. Unattainability is off-putting.
The other aversion I had to the first three chapters was that the book looks and sounds like a corporate self-help book. Even the style and typeface is the same. Brothers' regular references to her private practice and inclusion of case studies make the book sound like a sales pitch for her clinic (although I don't think this is intentional). There are lots of words wasted on signposting and repetition.
If those things are likely to annoy you into abandoning the book, skip straight to chapter four. From here onwards those problems barely arise.
Unlike the first three chapters, the rest of the book is insightful, balanced, and is full of achievable and flexible ways to improve your period.
There are three key elements to the book: science, nutrition, and exercise.
Brothers strikes the perfect balance between simplifying the science and including enough detail for you to form your own detailed understanding of what's going on in your body. This understanding helps you to implement the changes she suggests; it's easier to commit to something if you know exactly how it will help you.
In terms of nutrition advice, the balanced plate section at the start is a red herring; the rest of Brothers' nutrition advice is extremely helpful and she takes a refreshing approach: add things in before you take anything out.
The beauty of Brothers' nutrition advice is that she doesn't advocate for a wholesale change to what you eat. She doesn't suggest diets or anything unsustainable. Instead, she helps you to make many micro-decisions that, over time, can add up to you having a better period.
The exercise recommendations focus on yoga, but also touch on other exercise ideas for each stage of your cycle. Brothers explores the link between exercise and your period and suggests ways to allow them to complement each other. This is the minority section of the book, so if getting into warrior pose doesn't float your boat don't let this put you off.
All in all, the disappointing start to this book is dwarfed by the incredible insight of the remainder. If you have periods or support someone who has periods you should read this book.
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