Paleo (+ limited legumes) has changed my life - why am i craving rice pasta near period!

Answered on June 25, 2015
Created June 01, 2015 at 8:27 PM


I started a diet a month ago of fruits, veg, meat, sweet potatoes, healthy oils, organic butter, chicken, fish nuts and seeds plus dark chocolate, red wine and occasional servings of beans, lentils and chickpeas in gram flour/ houmous.

Basically grain and dairy free, to cut a long stry short.

I have been thriving! I have lost a stone without even trying, never felt hungry, my skin and hair are glowing and I have insane amounts of energy even given that I am a single mum of two who hardly sleeps! My depression and smoking cravings are a thing of the past. However I have one WEIRD problem. I am nearing my time of the month, and having INTENSE cravings for brown rice, in particular pasta made from brown rice! I don't understand it, I know brown rice has a very bad rap but I really want a plate of brown rice pasta with butter and pepper. Like I have not craved chocolate pudding or anything. Just brown rice pasta with pepper and butter. I want to actually cry thinking about it


What would this do to my body if I was to give in?! 

Is my body trying to tell me something  - could the nutrition/ comfort in the brown rice pasta be found in any other foods?!

and sorry, I know I am not 100% paleo but it is the nearest diet I can find to describe mine! 


Many thanks to anyone who can shed light on this !

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3 Answers


on June 25, 2015
at 08:14 AM

I agree that carbs are really necessary for periods, I believe there have been some limited trials that show that carbs can reduce some PMS symptoms.  So if you don't eat brown rice, still eat something starchy.  I usually eat both brown rice and legumes around my period, because they are a type of carb that's more rich in the minerals that are depleted by menstruation (particularly iron and magnesium).  I realize this is a Paleo site and we're all aware that the phytic acid in the bran of the grain holds on to the minerals and makes them hard to digest, but that doesn't mean they're not they're and you don't get any at all when you eat these foods, or that phytic acid steals minerals from the tissues.  There is actually a pretty good argument to be had for brown rice as a food because its bran is very soft and rice is so digestible compared to most of the other grains.  I sometimes experience nausea on my period as well, and while I'm not sure that it works the same way as the Vitamin B6 deficiency nausea that pregnant women experience, eating some B6-rich foods seems to help it - and this, plus magnesium, is where brown rice wins over white rice.  So I say go ahead and eat the brown rice because it's a pretty ideal period food.  I would suggest having actual whole grain brown rice instead of brown rice pasta though, because the grinding of grains into flour increases how fast they hit your blood sugar.  It may also be better for you to ferment or sprout the rice first.  Fermenting is easier but sprouting may have extra benefits - if you would like to read about that go google Germinated Brown Rice or GABA rice.  To ferment brown rice, just cover it with water and soak it for a whole day until it has a foam on the top and smells cheesy/yeasty like a bread dough, then boil it like you would white rice.  Changing the water or not is up to you - might lose some of the minerals you were after, but it will probably taste less sour.  The soaking liquid can be used as a fermentation culture as well.

P.S. I find that it's usually not helpful to try to go drill seargeant on myself about hormonal food cravings.  I think that usually our bodies know something about what they want and it's best to listen to them.  It's more helpful in the long run to engage it in conversation instead and try to figure out the healthiest VERSION of what it wants.  Chocolate, for instance, is another thing that I crave on my period, and guess why?  Again, magnesium.  I simply choose plain dark chocolate now instead of chocolate cakes with lots of sugar, flour, franken-oils, etc.


on June 17, 2015
at 06:37 AM

Have you tried magnesium supplements? I start Mg taurate just after my ovulation and take it until my periods have started and it helps. Dont use Mg Oxide as it inducesloose stools and bloating. I also get water retention before my periods and find that eating artichokes and asparagus helps. Finally I still get those cravings like you do so binge on roasted sweet potatoes, chocolate, homemade paleo carrot cake etc. I think the change in appetite is linked to the drop in oestrogens levels during the 2nd half of the month. Best wishes.



on June 04, 2015
at 12:00 AM

What you're seeing is actually normal. Before the period, everyone gets cravings, usually from things their body needs. If you're too low carb, consider getting more starch. Women need extra starch than men do, for fertility reasons. I personally eat rice once a month, not a big deal. Or more traditionally-prepared legumes.



on June 05, 2015
at 12:43 AM

Under your theory, my body (when I was still menstruating) needed Peanut M&M's and ice cream.  Not buying it.  I had PCOS and only when I got rid of the sugar AND starch (starch turns to sugar as it is digested, your body does not know the difference) I started having regular menstruation and fertility, and I conceived.  Women do not need "extra starch" when menstruating. 

Women do tend to need extra calories when immediately pre-menstrual.  When I was no longer eating starches and sugars I found myself hungrier in the few days to a week before menstruation, but fat and protein foods worked well to satisfy that extra hunger, and by not eating extra carbs I didn't tend to pack on extra pounds with every menstruation as I did when eating carbs.  When you eat carbs, you crave carbs, because it causes blood sugar to rise and fall.  But you don't "need" carbs because you are menstruating. 



on June 17, 2015
at 11:45 PM

Not the case for me. Maybe it's true for women with Northern ancestry, but for many women like me from hotter places, we do need starch. When I went Paleo-keto, all hell broke loose. ThePaleoMom has a good explanation about why at least 1/3 of women don't do well on keto. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones. Personally, I need to eat anywhere between 75  and 150 gr of NET carbs per day (depending on the season) to feel right.

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