It’s August 2021 and reading about the menstrual cycle feels especially fraught. Will the author make awkward, exclusionary comments about people who menstruate? It shouldn’t be that a reader interested in the menstrual cycle and eating well should have to conduct an epic background check before purchasing a book. But we do and I did and I’m relieved to report that The Moon Cycle Cookbook offers exactly what the title implies. A relatively non judgemental overview of the science and some nice recipes, for when you’re feeling a bit delicate and your period tracking app keeps beeping at you.
The Moon Cycle is separated into four sections, one for each phase of the menstrual cycle. Each section opens with a snapshot of what’s happening to your body during this phase, what foods are best to eat, a couple of rituals, a poem and then some recipes. The authors also link these phases to aspects of Chinese and alternative medicine, which went completely over my head but were still interesting, without becoming too Earth Mother Higher Power about the whole business.
Devon Loftus and Jenna Randomski write in an easy, engaging way that makes every sentence sound like it’s accompanied by a nice cup of tea. There’s an element of Pippa Middleton Party Book about some of the tips they suggest for readers (“take a trip”, “plan a date night”) but it’s still a nice read, with plenty of good reminders about setting boundaries and caring for yourself. A mild content warning: the book appears to be written from the assumption that only cis women mensturate, but it steers clear of Gender Critical red flags.
And how were the recipes? Pretty good! The Moon Cycle is bursting with a wide variety of recipes, including food for every kind of diet: from carnivore to gluten-free, lactose-free vegan. The recipes themselves are written in the same comfortable, straightforward style as the rest of the book, with a good ratio of hearty mains, healthy snacks, decadent sweets and restorative drinks. That said, this is definitely not a book for a time (or cash) poor. Recipes can include dozens of ingredients, everything seems to be made from scratch and mentions or leftovers or easy substitutes are minimal.
I tried the vegan Mac and Cheese which was possibly the best thing I have ever made. The recipe was easy to follow and none of the ingredients were particularly outlandish, but it did take a couple of hours and left me as drained as the pasta. Overall The Moon Cycle is a nice, cosy read that doesn’t tax the reader too much and provides plenty of delicious inspiration for the next time you have a stocked fridge, plenty of energy and 5-6 uninterrupted hours.
The Moon Cycle Cookbook: A Holistic Nutrition Guide for a Well-Balanced Menstrual Cycle is published by Storey Publishing on 12th October 2021. Preorder here from the publisher.