PMS Relief in Dessert Form! Prune Squares with Vanilla Tofu Pudding

PMS Relief in Dessert Form! Prune Squares with Vanilla Tofu Pudding

After receiving yet another email of praise for my “Vegan Bodybuilders’ Guide to Farting and Bloating” blog post, I took a moment to reflect…

sam shorkey vegan reflections

Apparently that fart post has been highly informative and beneficial to many a vegan bodybuilder! And upon this reflection, I realized that I’m actually no stranger to providing incredibly useful yet uncomfortably disgusting information to my meatless meathead brethren.

It was, after all, my “Kinda Gross Low-Down on being a Vegan Bikini Competitor” post in 2014 that really put me on the map for being a brutally honest (and crass) vegan fitness blogger.

And so today, I will not be embarrassed to share what is perhaps my most disgusting yet well-researched blog post yet: my “pre-period” prune squares.

Even the title sounds nasty, right?!

And why do I even need to include “pre period” in there, you might be asking.

Well folks, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an estimated 85 per cent of women experience at least one symptom of PMS every single month. And I can only speak for myself, but those symptoms only worsen with age.

Bloating, sore boobs, weight gain, back pain, horrendous cramps, just a feeling of “heaviness,” intense hunger, brutal cravings for sugar and salt, giant zits… You name it– I’ve been victim to many of ’em.

BUT for the last few months, I’ve been determined to avoid every last one of them in the first place. And that’s because I don’t believe that PMS symptoms are meant to be dulled with Midol or over-the-counter pain meds.

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is just what the name implies – it’s a syndrome. Which means a temporary, monthly, disorderly occurrence so that our bodies may regenerate and heal themselves (which is actually pretty cool!)

It is a time of renewal where our bodies can shed what they no longer need and start fresh & clean…

But I still think that any kind of disorder-related “symptom” should be taken seriously and addressed! And I’m a firm believer in this because I’m convinced that any kind of “symptom” is your body’s way of telling you exactly what it needs in order to feel normal again. And every ache and pain (even PMS related) is simply a trail of clues from our bodies that lead us to a root cause!

And ladies and gentleman (okay no men are reading this, let’s be honest…) But my fellow beeyotches who’ve made it this far down the page, I can tell you that I’ve FINALLY been able to relieve some of my PMS symptoms via eating certain foods and more specifically, this delicious dessert!

Ever notice that you’re wayyyyyyyyy more hungry the week before your period? That’s because your body uses more calories right before (and in some cases, during) your period. So rule #1: do NOT feel bad for being extra hungry right before your period and whipping up this little sweet treat. Despite PMS making you feel like a hideous, bloated whale, your body burns more calories during this time, so it’s expected that you’re going to feel hungrier. And it’s okay to eat a little bit more! Just make sure you’re indulging in foods that will EASE the PMS symptoms and not worsen them.

Pre-Period Prune Squares with Vanilla Tofu Pudding

pms relief dessert prune squares with high protein vanilla tofu pudding

Yes, I have done a lot of period and PMS research over the years. Hell, I even talk about “period poops” on our “Poop Podcast” Episode. (Yet another ironic notch on my disgusting/ informative blogger belt!)

And anyway, through this extensive research, I learned that certain foods containing certain vitamins and nutrients were very helpful in minimizing PMS-related symptoms.

So before I give you the actual recipe, I will share the method to my madness. The validity behind my vulgarity if you will. 🙂

My “Pre-Period Prune Squares with Vanilla Tofu Pudding” are the antidote to your out-of-whack hormones because they contain the following:

TOFU:
There is one main reason why I’m an advocate for consuming tofu pre-menstruation and it’s probably not the reason you’re thinking. I’m guessing your brain automatically went to that forever hot vegan topic (especially for us bodybuilders) and that’s the high number of phytoestrogens present in tofu.

Yes, studies do show that consuming moderate amounts of soy IS helpful for regulating women’s periods and balancing out our hormones. But the main reason I like to chow down on tofu before my period is actually because it’s so damn high in calcium!

Women actually need to consume at least 1,200 mg of calcium everyday. And get this– in one study, women who took 1,200 mg of calcium per day for three months experienced a 48 per cent reduction in their PMS symptoms!

PRUNES:
Prunes have literally become my saviour the week before my period for many reasons.

First, did you know that our progesterone levels plummet right before we get our periods, leaving us in an estrogen-dominant state? (Hence why some of us turn into bloated, highly irritable and/or depressed, crazy beeyotches?) Well, eating prunes can actually help to increase progesterone and decrease estrogen making them the perfect pre-period food.

Sugar cravings are also especially common during this time so it’s important we go for the right kind of sugar and avoid the overly-processed sweets we so often turn to during this delicate time.

Fruits and veggies should ALWAYS be our go-tos– DUH– but especially around menstruation. That’s because the fruit from sugar may help to alleviate brutal sugar cravings. And the best thing about fruit (particularly at this time) is its’ high fiber content, which will also improve regularity. Again, check out my “period poops” commentary on this episode of the podcast for more deets.

I also opt for baking with prunes (rather than dates) because they literally contain HALF the amount of sugar yet still provide that same chewy, sweet & satisfying dried fruit consistency.

The final reason I started experimenting with prunes around my period is because we women lose around 30-80 ml of blood and 15-25 ml of iron during each cycle. So I knew it was important to replenish that lost iron with iron-rich foods.

When our blood is strong, it can promote healthy skin, NORMAL periods and better energy. But when blood is deficient, it’s common for us to experience dizziness, blurred vision, low energy, weird or delayed periods, bouts of anemia, and even GASP–premature aging!

All this being said, prunes are an awesome source of iron. Plus the vitamin C in ’em helps your body to absorb the iron that much better. And did I mention that prunes are also high in calcium AND magnesium– our other famed “PMS warriors?”

TAHINI:
All nuts and seeds are energy-dense fuel sources, packed with concentrated protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other important nutrients.

Sesame seeds, in particular, are full of nutrients that have been shown to reduce cramps affiliated with menstruation. They are a great source of vitamin B6, zinc, calcium, and magnesium, and contain certain healthful fatty acids that may help relax muscles.

I even read somewhere that consuming sesame seeds can help to induce a period. So if you’re one of those chicks who has brutal PMS for a solid week leading up to their period and want to meet Aunt Flow ASAP, this could be an especially promising dessert for you.

OATS:
Oats (like prunes and tahini) also contain a good dose of magnesium, which improves nervous system functioning. And this mineral is particularly important during times of mental or physical stress because it can help you sleep, increase energy, lower anxiety, assist in regularity and prevent aches and moodiness.

Oats are also one of the best sources of dietary zinc and are fantastic for women who suffer from painful periods. Plus they provide adequate carbs to replenish lost glycogen in the body, promoting energy and preventing moodiness.

Oats are also full of easily digestible fiber, which will assist in eliminating excess estrogen to help keep your mood in check.

CACAO POWDER:
Did you know that consuming raw organic cacao powder can help your body to readily digest tnutrients? Dairy (or milk chocolate) on the other hand, is highly inflammatory and promotes unhealthy hormone levels. The processing milk chocolate goes through also kills most, if not all, of the beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Raw, organic cacao powder is, however, lower in fat, higher in antioxidants and fiber, an excellent source of iron AND helps to combat cravings.

Cacao is a natural mood elevator because it boosts serotonin in the brain and contains magnesium (which I already mentioned helps regulate mood.) It’s also a terrific source of sulfur, potassium, iron, Vitamin C, zinc, copper, and even some B vitamins.

You convinced? I know I am! So let’s get onto the recipe, shall we?!

Prune Cake (Bottom Layer) Ingredients:

1 cup organic pitted prunes (stay away from the ones with added sulphites. They’ll do nothing but take you to fart city!)
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
3 Tbsp. cacao powder
1 scoop Jacked on the Beanstalk chocolate protein powder
3 Tbsp. Swerve brand icing sugar (it’s made with Erythritol – could do stevia or other low glycemic sweetener of choice)
2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed butter)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup oat flour (or use rolled oats but blend in blender or food processor first)

Method for Base Layer:

Blend prunes and coconut together in food processor. Throw them into a medium-sized bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Smear that shizz into the bottom of a glass baking dish and refrigerate whilst you prepare the tofu pudding.

It will appear like so:

pms dessert prune squares

Ingredients for Vanilla Tofu Pudding:

350g package of firm tofu (I used a sprouted & organic one)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Half package of Jello fat-free vanilla pudding mix (warning: this contains aspartame but tastes really good for minimal calories)
3 Tbsp. Swerve brand icing sugar (it’s made with Erythritol – could do stevia or other low glycemic sweetener of choice)
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Method for Vanilla Tofu Pudding:

Combine all ingredients (including the tofu water in package) in your high-speed blender. Blend! Then dump onto prune squares and try to smear it around to look as appetizing as possible. I attempted to do this with some vegan chocolate chips in the shape of a smiley face. Did I succeed?

high protein vegan dessert vanilla tofu puddingNot really. But whatever. We’re PMS-ing vegan bodybuilders. We gave up on food presentation a long time ago, right?!

And that’s all there is to it, folks! Be sure to keep this dessert in the refrigerator if you don’t eat it all in one sitting. The good news is that it doesn’t make a massive portion and it’s pretty low-calorie so you shouldn’t feel **too** guilty or shameful for hogging out on it.

And let me know if you feel some period relief, yo! This has become a regular monthly creation for me and whether it’s placebo effect or not, it sure does make that “time of the month” a little more bearable. Hope you find the same!

Happy baking, vegan fit crew!

-Sam Shorkey, Jacked on the Beanstalk

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2 comments

  • Mani: May 10, 2018

    Thanks for sharing such an amazing and yummy recipe for hormones. I must give it a try.

  • Sharon Pferschy: May 06, 2018

    Great article! Do you have the macros for this per serving?

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