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Blood builders for menstruating vegetarians


Hello .....could you please suggest some effective blood builders? I get typical blood xu symptoms (itchy skin/wind, light headness) before and around my period and would love some suggestions as to what to take or eat and during what time of the month is best. Should I prepare before period? Restore after? I find I do well with things like root vegetables, steamed beets, protein dense grains like amaranth, black soy beans etc.

I am very prone to empty heat and food stagnation this time of year as well.


As you describe a mix of symptoms (i.e. empty heat, blood stagnation, food stagnation, blood deficiency) it would probably be best that you consult with a practitioner locally. It is very important that you understand what your true diagnosis is, rather than a variety of symptoms that fit into a few different categories - a practitioner can help you parcel this out.

That said from what you said and what is commonly seen clinically, you are probably yin deficient with qi stagnation and mild sp qi and blood deficiencies. This can happen with a vegetarian diet after 5-7 years if the diet isn&#39t well rounded enough or the person is one of any number of people who do not do well without very small amounts of meat occasionally (like a few ounces of red meat in the week following the cycle - i.e. once a month or when energy dips).

Within a full vegetarian framework generally easier to digest meals will help - soups instead of salads, no smoothies, limited dairy consumption and remove supplementation unless it is warranted by blood work. Lentils perhaps with some spice (cinammon, tumeric, chili peppers, etc.) (again with the right underlying diagnosis) are often a very good building option. Limiting grains might be helpful with the food stagnation and weak spleen but that would be something only a personal consultation would be able to work out. Those foods in the spleen/earth category (see our tcm dietary 5 element page) would be helpful as a guideline. Basically the spleen builds the blood and proper energy levels allow the qi to move and the yin to keep things cool.


Thank you Chad for your advice. I&#39ve been ovo-vegetarian for 10 years, although I am an educated one knowing not to rely on cold foods, juices etc., and replacing amino acids etc. To be honest, I feel healthier especially in the digestion category since going vegetarian and because in the process I&#39ve read so much about the nutritional values of food which led to my interest in TCM diet guidelines, I believe I am healthier for it. I would often have iron defiency as a teenager (and just miserable periods). I went veg in my mid twenties and have not had defiencies since.


Good sources of dietary iron include: watercress and other green leafy veg, sprouted grains and seeds, raisins, eggs, molasses, soya, parsley, lentils, kidney beans, sardines, figs, dried apricots, almonds, ginger, wholemeal bread. Take cider vinegar, one tablespoon with each meal, to aid absorption.


Thanks for those rec&#39s Rebecca.

Does that cider vinegar thing really work? I was repeatedly told to not to go overboard with sour foods as it overstimulates and exhausts my liver. ?

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