The luteal phase is the last 10-14 days of your cycle before menstruation (your period) starts. During the luteal phase we begin to slow down as our energy decreases and can become more self-aware as we turn inwards.
Think of this phase like the autumn season, where the weather begins to cool, root vegetables are harvested, and we gradually spend more quiet time indoors. (Find out when your luteal phase by tracking your cycle).
Your energy levels are quite high at the beginning of the luteal phase and gradually lessen as the hormones oestrogen and progesterone naturally decrease. As these hormone levels change, your body needs the support of nutritious foods to maintain hormonal balance and ward off PMS symptoms. Eating root vegetables like sweet potatoes can help flush out extra oestrogen. Avoiding sugar and processed foods will help to keep cravings under control, which can intensify at the end of this phase. Increasing your intake of plant proteins can also provide energy and easier digestion.
This loaded baked sweet potato is warm, comforting, and packed with plant-based nutrition for your luteal phase. Sweet potatoes, cauliflower and chickpeas provide fibre to help digestion and allow the liver and intestines to flush out excess oestrogen. Roasted sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness that helps minimise sugar cravings. Bok choy gives a dose of magnesium (the hormone-making mineral) whilst sunflower and sesame seeds provide essential fatty acids. Additionally, nutritional yeast and leeks provide a healthy dose of Vitamin B, which helps keep sugar cravings away. Perfect for lunch, dinner, or even a savoury breakfast.
Recipe: Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 leek, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1½ cups (or 1 can) cooked and drained chickpeas
- 3 cups bok choy, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/8 tsp chili flakes (optional, to taste)
- 2 tbsp ground sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp ground sesame seeds
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Scrub the sweet potatoes and prick them in a few places with a fork. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Wash remaining vegetables.
- Approximately 15 to 20 minutes before the sweet potatoes are done, start the remaining vegetables.
- In a wide saucepan with a cover, heat the olive oil over low-moderate heat.
- Add the cauliflower and leeks, cook until leeks are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and chili flakes (optional), cook and stir for about a minute.
- Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes, stir occasionally.
- Add the bok choy, cover the pan, cook and stir occasionally for 1-2 minutes or until the bok choy is soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, slice each sweet potato lengthwise and push on the ends to open the middle. Spoon the vegetable mixture into the centre. Sprinkle with seeds and nutritional yeast and serve.
Header image credit: JSHEALTH by Jessica Sepel