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Are you embracing your biblical womanhood by being in tune with your body? Did you know that your hormonal health largely impacts your overall health? For you to be in the best health of your life as a Christian woman, you have to learn how to tap into your hormonal cycle and take advantage of it to do what’s good and productive for you.
In this episode, we have BriAnne Bell, the founder and host of The Passive Income Nurse podcast, a registered nurse for 14 years, and a stay-at-home mom for 5 years. BriAnne is passionate about empowering and encouraging women to create healthier lifestyles.
Listen in to learn about the four phases/seasons of your monthly cycle and how you can productively embrace each one.
What you will learn:
All right, here we go. I love having my sister friends on the show because God works in incredible ways, crossing our paths at just the right moment. BriAnne and I first met just this year through our podcasting community, we have the same incredible podcast coach. And I remember seeing this post she made about optimal times of the month to get creative and brainstorm and dream and socialize, get organized, accomplish goals, rest, and so much more all based on our monthly cycle. And I was like, “Whaaat? Tell me more!” So BriAnne is the founder and host of The Passive Income Nurse podcast and has been a registered nurse for 14 years, and stay at home mom for five years. She’s a lover of all things health and wellness, and ventured into the online space about four years ago to promote health and just living a wellness lifestyle. She loves helping others along their health journey and empowering moms to live a holistic lifestyle. I knew I just had to have her on the show to share her story, her practicals on syncing our creative, rest, and productivity times with our monthly cycles, how to balance our hormones naturally, and so much more. So welcome, BriAnne!
Thank you so much for having me on the show! I’m so excited to share more on this topic. I think that your audience will just be able to take so much away from just being aware of the things that we can use our hormones for during the month to our advantage and to really optimize our monthly hormonal cycle. So thank you so much for having me on the show. I’m excited to be here1
Awesome! Before we get into all of that, just tell us a little bit about you, what lights you up, what your hobbies are, and how you like to spend your free time.
Sure. So my name is BriAnne Bell. And like Heidi mentioned, I am the host of The Passive Income Nurse podcast. I have been a nurse for 14 years, like she mentioned, and I stepped out of the healthcare space about five years ago to be a stay at home mom. And during that time, I really wanted to do something that actually promoted health, because that is one of my passions is just promoting health. Actually, before I went to nursing school, I was a massage therapist. And so I got a lot of the more holistic approach to medicine from that side of things. So you can call it Eastern medicine versus Western medicine, or just, you know, maybe a non traditional approach to medicine versus traditional approach. And really, what aligns with me and like to my core is the holistic approach to medicine.
And so I got into network marketing, and really partnered with a company to do just that – to be able to promote health. So as I did that, and was on that journey, I landed myself on a hosting a podcast, and I felt like God really just kind of placed me there it really I was gonna go in the direction of it being like totally about lifestyle, and God kind of showed me a different direction and said, No, you really need to serve nurses, and healthcare professionals that are looking to create this passive stream of income that will ultimately help them free up their time. So they can focus on things that matter most in life, and just kind of reignite that passion. So that’s kind of the journey that I’ve been on with my family. I am married, my husband is a pilot, and he travels quite a bit. And then I have two little boys, they are nine and seven. They are wild and crazy. They always have been, but they keep me busy. We love to go camping. We have a camper, and the boys play baseball, and they love riding their dirt bikes. So that keeps us busy as a family. And we’re always looking for new adventures and things to do with them that keep them busy and burn off their energy, because that is the name of the game. So I’m just over here trying to figure out how we’re going to survive the summer. So that’s a little bit about me, Heidi.
That’s so awesome. I love that your boys are wild and crazy. I have all girls, I don’t even know what I would do with a boy. I feel like they all have their little wild streak sides to them. But that’s awesome. Thank you for sharing. Let’s just dig right into the topic here. Can you tell us, what are the four phases of your monthly hormone cycle?
Sure. So I’m going to refer to the cycles as seasons of the year. I think this will kind of help you remember each phase and as we go through you can kind of see how they relate to different times of the season and really get familiar with that. So the first phase and this is phase one, it’s going to start directly after your cycle ends. So this will be the first day after your cycle finishes. It’s called the follicular phase. And so this phase is typically about 7 to 10 days long. And this is going to be considered the spring. So this is your spring season as a female. And you want to think of this phase as your prepare phase.
So if you think of, you know, regular spring time, this is the time when growth happens and everything is blooming, and all of nature is reproducing, all those things. So, this is the time when you can really get creative. This is the time when you want to allow yourself some space to dream, and brainstorm. So you’re preparing and you’re planning, this is a great time to do research and to get curious. And it’s also a great time to set your intentions. So whether it’s your intentions for the day, the week, the year, whatever that looks like, you really want to look at your calendar. This is a great time to fill your calendar. If you’ve been thinking about taking an online course, this is a great time to get that done during this follicular phase.
So that is phase one. Phase Two, is your ovulatory phase. So this is when you’re ovulating. And ladies, this is when you can become pregnant. So if you’ve ever been on a fertility journey, or you’ve ever timed your cycle where you’re trying to get pregnant, you’re aware that you have a certain time period during the month when you can get pregnant. And that is during your ovulatory phase. And typically this phase is a pretty short phase, it’s only three to four days. Now, if you’re trying to get pregnant, though, extend that timeframe to about a seven day period, because the sperm actually can live up to three days in the body. But the actual phase is three to four days. And this is like summer for your body. So think like exciting, you’re ready to like go outside and do all the things.
But estrogen is on the rise dramatically during this phase. So this is the time for you to really open up. And so think about things like socializing and going to events and talking about plans and collaborating. Whether it’s doing interviews, like we’re doing now, or scheduling date nights with your husband or your spouse or your significant other. This is also a great time to schedule meetings, and interviews and a great time to connect and have those conversations. So if you need or have been putting off a conversation, this is a great time to have it. Because this is the time when you feel more open, and you’re more conversational. So that is phase two.
As we move into phase three, this phase is the longest phase of your cycle. And it’s called the luteal phase. And it’s typically 10 to 14 days. And you’re gonna think of this as like fall season for your body. So during this phase is your work phase. So this is the time that you are going to be in the mode of tending to things around the house, whether that be finances or administration stuff, tending to your home taking care of things. This is like the get it done phase. Alright, so you’re going to get organized, it’s a great time to accomplish your goals, and to nurture and really do that deep work. And this can look different for people. As I’m talking about these phases. It’s typically, as you may have heard your normal hormonal cycle, it’s about a 28 day cycle. So these timeframes that I’m giving you are really based on like a 28 day cycle.
So the luteal phase is the longest of the four phases. And then moving into phase four is the actual menstrual cycle, which is the one we’re all familiar with, right? Like as females, this is the time that you are having your bleed during the month. So this can look different for everybody. But typically, it’s about a three to seven day period. And you’re gonna think of this as like winter season for your body. And so this is a great time to actually rest. This is the time when you want to actually relax and reflect. So you want to just kind of evaluate like look at your your month, and you want to really be kind to yourself. And I know it’s really hard during this time to not have those negative thoughts pop in your mind because you may be bloated or you may be experiencing cramps or you may be experiencing all of these things and you have that negative self talk.
But really this is the time to reflect and really be kind to yourself and really just look at the amazing cycle that your body goes through every single month and we get to optimize our hormones to our advantage. And while you know, periods have such a negative connotation to them, our bodies are so amazing. And I mean, just think about it. We have the ability to grow a human being inside of our body, which is a miracle. And so when we tap into our hormonal cycle, it really allows us to take advantage of those ebbs and flows of our hormones, and to really use them to our advantage.
So when you’re in that menstrual phase, just be kind to yourself, and look at all the good things that you’ve accomplished, like, you know, acknowledge your body for what it’s doing, and what it’s going through. As you’re doing that evaluation, this is also a really, really good time to trust your intuition. So those gut instincts are powerful. And during your menstrual cycle, this is a great time to really tap into those and to trust those instincts. So those are the four phases. And like I mentioned, you can really use your monthly ebb and flow of your hormonal cycle to your advantage. And, you know, it’s so beneficial to just acknowledge in the first place the like, how amazing our female bodies are. Would you agree, Heidi?
Absolutely! And I think you know, as a busy mom of four working from home, podcasting homeschooling, right, I feel like my whole entire month should be productive. But it’s so amazing to look and be like, hey, actually, I’ve got like a two week window here. And I’m doing all the things all the time. But this just makes so much sense to almost like block it out into these different phases. So I love that. Okay, here’s a question for you. Can you eat what you want, when you want? Or does how do you eat and how you prepare your food impact your hormones, or improve your cycle response?
I know, when I eat clean, I hardly even notice when I go into menstruation. I don’t have cramps. I don’t have cravings. So are we pretty much designed to eat the same way the entire month? Or does it matter what part of our cycle we’re in?
Ooh, that is such a good question! So it absolutely does affect the way we feel what we put in our bodies affects the way we feel. So think of eating clean, like you mentioned, sometimes when you when you’re eating clean, you may not even get those PMS symptoms, because you are giving your body the phytonutrients from the vegetables and the fruits that you’re eating. You’re giving your body vitamins, you’re giving your body nutrients, the minerals that it needs to function like it’s supposed to. And this might just blow your mind, but periods are normal — pain is not. And so as you think about that it’s been normalized that our monthly cycle or our period that we have every month, that it’s normal to have cramps, and it’s normal to have heavy bleeding, and it’s normal to have clots. And it’s normal, you know, for you to be down a whole day and can’t function. And it’s NOT normal. And getting to the root cause of the problem lies in your diet. And so I love that you brought that up. Because yes, there are a lot of different foods that you can eat at different times of the month that are really going to help you tap into this optimizing your monthly hormonal cycle like on another level.
So I can mention a few foods if you’d like. There is literally an entire list and it even goes into the specific type of diet that you can follow during these monthly or like your hormonal cycle. So when I say diet, I don’t want you to get the idea that. Well I mean literally a diet is just a way of eating. So I’m not talking like something that is going to be unsustainable. This is literally just tapping into where you are monthly in your hormonal cycle. And really being able to look at what the hormones are doing in your body and really just tweaking the way you eat in a way that’s going to optimize and balance those hormones.
So in the first phase, the follicular phase, this is a great time, if you are into intermittent fasting, this is a great time to actually intermittent fast during this 7 to 10 day period, because your appetite is suppressed. And so you’re able to fast longer and I have been really diving into intermittent fasting, not from a weight loss perspective, but really from a health perspective. And there are so many benefits of actually taking the time. Whether that’s a 12 hour fast, which is super easy to do, so you eat at 6pm, and then you don’t eat again until 6am, which would be, you know, a 12 hour fast. Which is so beneficial for your body and everybody unless you have an issue with insulin or some kind of endocrine issue, most all people need to be intermittent fasting at least 12 to 14 hours. And so during your follicular phase is a really, really good time to do that, because your appetite is suppressed, and you can get all the benefits that come with that intermittent fasting.
It really allows your body to kind of clean up all the cells like on a cellular level. So if you think about it, if you’re not eating food, your body’s not having to expend its energy into breaking it down. So during that fast your body is able to do sort of like a systemic cleanup. And so it’s able to get rid of, you know, maybe it’s, you’ve got some abnormal cells or whatever that is. So it’s really breaking those cells down and really allowing your body to rid itself of disease or a multiple, multiple number of things. So there’s a lot of benefit to intermittent fasting. As far as food goes, broccoli is really good to eat in your follicular phase. Carrots during this time, zucchini. Those are some really good vegetables.
As far as nuts and seeds go which are super powerful and are just loaded down with tons of vitamins and nutrients, or Brazil nuts cashews, flaxseed. We all know that flaxseed is a buzz. But there are so many benefits. Pumpkin seeds are really good. And then moving into fruits like lemon, lime. So if you want to squeeze some lemon and lime into your water during the follicular phase, this really helps to optimize that that natural balance of your hormones during that phase before phase two, which is during the time that you’re ovulating.
The diet that can be beneficial during phase two is actually a raw vegan diet. And when I say that, I don’t want you to get the idea of you need to be a vegan because what this is tapping into is if you think about it, and again, if you have been on an infertility journey, you know that you have something that’s called your basal metal metabolic temperature. And so when you’re trying to get pregnant, you are checking your temperature and when your temperature is on the rise, that’s when you’re ovulating. So that’s what your body naturally does. So with your diet, you want to focus on eating more raw foods, say things like salads, and smoothies and juices, because this is actually cooling to your body. This actually helps your body from the inside out to stick to lighter foods and cooler foods.
So this is a great time to enjoy raw foods, veggies, fruit salads, those kinds of things. So with the type of foods, you can actually even think about the way you prep your food. So during this time, like I mentioned salads and smoothies and stuff like that. So you want to think raw when it comes to your ovulatory phase. And really what you’re thinking about eating during this time.
Phase three is the luteal phase. And remember again, this is the longer phase and you want to focus on this is a great time to focus on eating more complex carbohydrates. And I will just mention briefly that carbs are not the enemy, your body actually needs carbs to function to give yourself energy. So I know there are a lot of trendy diets that cut out carbohydrates or you know drastically reduce the amount of carbohydrates that your body needs. And I just want to let you know that carbs are your friend. And they are really beneficial during this third phase of your cycle, this 10 to 14 day luteal phase, because your body actually needs more calories during this phase and slow burning complex carbohydrates. So things like beans, and whole grains actually provide calories while stabilizing your blood sugar. So carbohydrates all go along with blood sugar and your endocrine system. And so during this phase is a really good time to consume those carbs.
And as I’ve been doing this, I’m going to tell you, I can almost read my body because before it would be like, “oh I’m craving!” And I don’t really crave sweets, but I crave a carbohydrate whether that be like a multigrain chip or a sweet potato or a whole grain rice, like I really have tapped into my body and have listened to it enough to know, “okay, I’m in my luteal phase. This is the time that my body actually needs these calories during this phase.” So it’s really cool as you start to do this, you start noticing those things and really listen to your body.
This is when your body is actually at its coolest temperature. So when you ovulate, it’s at its warmest. And then when you menstruate, it’s actually at its coolest. So you want to think of things like when you prepare your foods, this is time for hearty foods and warm foods and that kind of thing. But overall, sticking to a clean diet. And I always promote a plant based diet because when you eat things that grow in the dirt, that’s the healthiest way to eat, those have the most vitamins, those provide the most nutrients for your body. And really stay away from things that you are going to eat out of a wrapper or things that you know are processed, really stay away from those things and just kind of overcrowd those things with more things that grow in the dirt. So things like fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds and whole grains and beans and and all of the things that actually grow in the dirt. So those are good, just easy ways to think about things when it comes to your diet and eating clean is just think, “did this grow in the dirt?” And if it grew in the dirt, then it’s going to be good for you.
Yeah, awesome. And for those that don’t know, I actually ahd to check my app. Day One is the first day of your menstrual cycle correct? Day one of your cycle is the first day of your menstrual cycle.
Like, yeah, so when I’m talking about the phases of the cycle, we are going to look at phase one, and this is this begins directly after your period ends. So when your period ends, the first phase is called the follicular phase. And so yes, typically, what you’re saying is, that would be day one normally, but looking at the ebb and flow of your actual hormones, we start looking at day one after your cycle actually ends.
Okay, perfect. Because I know people are gonna be looking at their apps and being like, it says day one and I’m menstruating. So yes it’s good to clarify that
Yes, yes, typically, it will track it that way. But when we’re thinking hormone specific, we look at day one as being the very first day after your period ends.
Okay, awesome. And what if someone is on birth control? Can they still sync their cycle?
Yes. So this is a great question. Because I know so many women, especially of childbearing age, whether you have had children, and you know, you’re wanting to prevent further pregnancies, this is a great question to consider. And I really the answer is yes and no. And I really want to unpack what birth control pills are, or what synthetic birth control is. And I want to unpack that for a second for you. Because the truth about synthetic birth control is that whether you are taking it for pregnancy prevention, or if you have been prescribed it to fix maybe a hormonal problem that you have been experiencing, the truth is it like it doesn’t fix your hormones, and it doesn’t address any of the underlying root causes hormonal issues. And a lot of obgyn’s will routinely prescribe birth control pills for management of your pregnancy and for management of hormone related issues. But I want you to just kind of get in the mindset that there is no magic pill.
And a lot of times birth control pills, like I said, are prescribed to treat symptoms, but they’re not getting to the root cause of the problem. So if you’re experiencing some hormonal issues like pcos, endometriosis, infertility, a lot of those things are all associated with hormonal imbalances. And the pill is used to treat the symptoms that our bodies experience and it doesn’t actually treat the problem. It only masks the symptoms, which is what most prescription drugs do. When you look at it from a healthcare perspective, most prescription drugs are prescribed to treat symptoms, they’re not actually prescribed to treat. And so I really wanted to just mention that there. Because if you are on birth control pills, I just want you to be aware of that number one.
And number two, just know that when you are taking birth control pills, you are actually getting a continuous low dose of estrogen and progesterone. And this pushes you into like a flatline cycle almost. So what we just discussed, like you don’t get to experience any of the benefits of the natural ebb and flow of our hormones while you’re taking the synthetic birth control. So you kind of miss out on all the natural gifts that our body gives us. And you know, with our hormones, and I know that sounds kind of counterintuitive, because a lot of people, they’re like, “oh, if I could get rid of my my period, it would just make my life so much better if I didn’t have to deal with PMS, or I didn’t have to deal with this, or if it does go away.” But really, it is a gift. And the natural ebb and flow of your hormones is an amazing cycle that we can actually tap into to really optimize our everything, like our productivity, all the things. So just really consider that and think about maybe there are other options there for you.
So yes, you can, in a sense, follow the modeling hormonal cycle, you can just start phase one, as you know, whenever you finish your cycle, and then you’ll just you can kind of look at it, and phase it to what we just went through with phase one being the day one after your period. And really just be aware of those, you know, those times that you go through each of the phases, but you probably won’t get the same experience,. Their xperience is going to be different because of the continuous low dose of estrogen and progesterone. So during those cycles, that estrogen and that progesterone are naturally going up and down. So when you actually take a pill, you’re kind of flatlined. And so the answer is kind of Yes and No. You won’t get the same benefits if you are on synthetic birth control.
That’s good to know. So if let’s say a woman is on birth control, and she wants to get off her birth control, in your experience, do you find I guess what is the best way to support her body through that process? And how long does that usually take?
Yeah, so definitely, you know, consult with your physician, if you are wanting to, if you’ve been taking it. I was on birth control pills, from the time I was a teenager, I won’t say pills, I was on some kind of synthetic birth control from my teenage years into my 20s. And then I even had an IUD after I had my second son. And I had a terrible experience with it. And I just, I gave it a chance. And 18 months into it, I was like, “Okay, I can’t take this anymore.” I constantly felt like I was like just being a you know what. Just cranky. Short. Always felt like my body was trying to prepare itself for a period and it just did not feel natural. And I was like this has got to go like I have got to do something different. And so I got my IUD removed. And I really started looking into more holistic ways to actually balance my hormones.
And now, you know, this is something your listeners may not know as well. But during the month, there is only about a seven day period that you can actually get pregnant. So if you’re focusing on getting off of birth control, consult with your doctor and then I would give your body three months to get into this cycle. And to really be aware of where you are, when you cycle through this, these four phases and know that it will take a little bit of time for you to notice the differences. You know, your body may be a little bit different. What we discussed was on a 28 day cycle. My cycle actually is a little bit shorter, and I cycle 23 to 24 days, and so if your monthly cycle is a little bit shorter and so my phases are a little bit shorter. It will take your body some time as it did mine after I had the IUD removed, to really feel like I got a hold on my monthly hormonal cycle.
So good. It’s important to know because it makes. It seems like you know, that’s the next step for a young woman right? “I got my period , time to go on birth control.” And honestly, at age almost 41, I’ve never been on birth control and all four of my pregnancies were planned. So I know the options that we have but for the listeners that don’t know, besides synthetics that wreak havoc on the body, what natural options are there for birth control?
Sure. So there are several non hormonal birth control options. Of course, condoms, you know, that’s the first one that comes to mind. They’re 98% effective. And I know guys don’t like using them a lot. But if you really sync your cycle, there’s really only a couple of days a month that you would even have to use them. Because you have such a short time period during the month where you can actually get pregnant, those would always be a good option, if you were to, you know, have intercourse during during your ovulatory phase that you use a condom. There’s also things like diaphragms. And these are kind of a once one size fits all, and they were about 94% effective. That’s an option. It’s just a small flexible cup that you insert into the vagina, and then it kind of covers the cervix so the sperm is blocked from fertilizing the egg.
So that would be an option. You can also use, there’s some other creams and sponges and things like that, that you can use. I’m not super familiar with them. But there are other options. And like I said, you can always talk to your doctor about this and see what they recommend. And then there’s always and I know Heidi, you had mentioned before that you do this, and you may want to share with your listeners, the calendar method. And so that’s really going back to knowing when you’re ovulating. So that’s phase two of your cycle. And knowing that that’s the time that you can get pregnant. And so as you focus on being more aware and more intentional about these fluctuations of your hormones, and when you can actually get pregnant, then that allows you the freedom to not be on anything not be on any kind of synthetic birth control.
Yeah, that’s good. Oh, wow, what an amazing conversation! I know that people are going to want to connect with you. So BriAnne, where can they find you?
Yeah, so you can come follow me on Instagram. It’s @brainne_bell_ . And then I also have The Passive Income Nurse podcast, and you can find me on Apple iTunes, and Spotify. And I also wanted to share with your listeners, I did a health and wellness series on the podcast. And it was a lot of information that was related to female hormones. And it’s Episode 17 through 21. And Episode 20 specifically talks about two common things that could be hurting your hormone balance. And that episode really dives into more on this synthetic birth control. And then another very common thing that could be hurting your hormonal balance. So if you want to check that out, I urge you to go over there. It’s Episode 20 on the podcast, but Episode 17, 18,19, 20, and 21 are all a health and wellness series. And they were all focused on the female hormonal cycle. So I hope that helps.
That is going to be incredible. I can’t wait to listen myself. I have notes as you were talking from today. So it’s so great. Okay, one last question as we wrap this up, what is next for you in 2021? What are you working on?
So I am working on focusing on my podcast and really being consistent there. And I have an exciting journey that my family is about to go on. We bought 10 acres of property and we are going to be transitioning to camper living with kids. So we are going to be moving out on the property. We’re currently in the process of building a pole barn that we will be parking our camper under and our goal is to be debt free when we go into building our dream home. So that’s an exciting adventure I have planned. I don’t know if I will survive. So prayers needed but I think it will be an adventure and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know if it will be easy. But I definitely think it will be something that we’ll always remember as a family.
Yeah. Oh my goodness, your boys will love the 10 acres. I can just imagine they’ll be like, “this is the best!” Yeah, they won’t want to live in the house. I know. Yeah. So amazing. Well, BriAnne, thank you so much for your time. I just want to bless everything that you’re doing. That you’re putting your hands to. That God brings you divine connections and all the listeners that are drawn to your message and that you just have nothing but success and abundance as you step into this financially free world that you’re creating for yourself. So thank you for coming on the show today.
Thank you so much Heidi. I really appreciate it.
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