While the cycle is often split into four phases - Follicular, Ovulation, Luteal and Bleeding, I’ve started noticing lately that this results in a lopsided structure. Ovulation and Bleeding are *usually* 3-5 days, while the remaining 20ish days are allocated to Follicular and Luteal. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of time spent navigating the two phases that most of us understand the least. What if we break those weeks down even further?
Technically our Follicular phase, which hormonally begins the first day of bleeding, has three sections with corresponding hormones: Early Follicular, Middle Follicular, and Late Follicular. It’s the same with Luteal, which might help explain why some of us feel the wavy effects of an early, middle and late surge and decline in hormones the weeks prior to bleeding.
I might argue that really we have eight phases total, each about 3-5 days. Actually, I am arguing that.
Increasing from four phases to eight is a lot, I know. But it also gives me the freedom to approach my cycle a few days at a time, rather than weeks. This has offered me more room to utilize my intuition and my cravings, because I am only focused on the few days before me. I certainly still step back and plan out on a larger 28ish day scale, but knowing right now that I am in Early Luteal and that has a specific kind of energy decline for me (aka the drop in hormones immediately following ovulation) is incredibly helpful in how I will care for myself the next three or so days.
Rather than surrendering myself to a 10-14 day pre-bleed and post-bleed, arranging my 28 days into three-ish days at a time feels much more manageable. It’s also been ideal for meal planning and grocery shopping, because I am checking in with my cravings more regularly. Also, the concept of eight phases just so happens to line up perfectly with the Celtic Wheel of the Year, with Late Luteal acting as Samhain/Halloween. The festival of death, darkness, and the underworld. Sure sounds like those few days before bleeding to me. I plan on sharing more about the overlap between the eight phases and the eight pagan festivals later this year.
In the meantime, here’s a recipe for one of my favorite Late Follicular dishes, Kimchi Fried Rice. I really crave pickled and fermented things during this phase, and the crunchy savory of this dish is so satisfying while still feeling light. Enjoy!
Kimchi Fried Rice
Cook time is 30 minutes- Serves 2
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups of roughly chopped kimchi
- 4 tablespoons of kimchi juice
- 2 cups cooked, cooled rice (preferably short-grain but jasmine or basmati will work)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- Salt to taste
- Crumbled or slivered nori (roasted seaweed) for garnish
- Sesame seeds or furikake for garnish
- Optional: leftover cooked meat (like sausage or ham) that you need to use up
- In a nonstick sauté pan or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, melt the butter or ghee over medium-low heat, and add the diced onion. Cook, stirring, until the onions start to sizzle, about 3 minutes. Add kimchi and kimchi juice, and stir until it comes to a boil, about 4 minutes. If using, add the meat and cook until the sauce is nearly dried out, about 5 minutes.
- Break up the rice in the pan with a spatula, and stir it to incorporate. Turn the heat to medium. Cook until the rice has absorbed the sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Taste and adjust with more soy sauce, sesame oil or kimchi juice. Turn down the heat slightly, but let the rice continue to cook, untouched, to lightly brown while you cook the eggs.
- Place a small nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, and add the vegetable oil. When it is hot, add eggs, season with salt and fry to your desired doneness. Serve rice topped with fried eggs, nori and a sprinkle of sesame seeds or furikake.