Posted on: 05 June 2017
“Shutting down period shame” is a series of Freda interviews with inspirational figures of our generation from fitness to politics. The first of our new series starts with Flora Beverly, the well-known fitness and health influencer who is turning definitions and stereotypes on their heads.
Flora is a third-year biology student at Bristol University who has created waves in the fitness industry for her healthy approach to exercise and food. Her blog is a model example of how all of us at Freda aspire to be; healthy, happy and willing to speak our minds. Here she talks to us about not allowing her period to drag her down, what we should eat when the cramps kick in and her desperation for the addition of the period emoji. She is definitely our #wcw!
1) Hi, Flora! How have exams been?
Hi! They were okay thank you. To be honest I’m just very happy to have finished them. 6 exams in 10 days should not be allowed but I made it!
2) Tell us about your day to day routine!
At uni, I wake at 8, have porridge for breakfast, get to work by 9:30 am and work until around 4:30-5:30 pm and then head to the gym for an hour (much needed after sitting down the whole day!). I’m tucked into bed by 10 pm most days (‘m a granny really)
3) Now for the real stuff- how do you get around being on your period when you are on a shoot or getting ready to workout?
For me, it’s all about trying to feel good – especially for a shoot I want to be feeling relaxed. I always try to relax more if I’m on my period and not overexert myself, as sometimes it can be draining (mentally and physically). But other than that I just get on with it – who wants to be stopped once a month from doing what they want to do? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
4) We know you’re a keen chef ( Flora’s Instagram is full of healthy and nutritious meal ideas!) – do you have any dietary advice for foods we should eat or avoid when it’s that time of the month?
I know a lot of women struggle with iron intake and as a vegetarian, I am very keen on increasing my plant-based iron intake if I start to feel tired. I’ve also started to take Floradix/floravital at busier times of the year. Being iron deficient can make you very tired and having periods definitely doesn’t help! I try to incorporate leafy greens into my meals every day, either as frozen spinach in a smoothie, lentils in lunch or kale in a stir fry. Meat isn’t a necessity, but if you do feel especially tired around that time of the month, get a blood test to ensure you aren’t iron deficient and then adjust your diet accordingly.
“Once the period stigma is reduced here, we can start to play a bigger role in countries where those with periods are marginalised and humiliated, and I feel that social media influencers will have a huge role to play in that”
5) Instagram is full of pictures of perfect bodies but very few girls speak about the way their bodies look and feel on their period? Why do you think that is?
I think you’re right, but I am also seeing that changing over time. There have been increasing numbers of campaigns to remove the stigma around periods, and I feel like slowly but surely things will start to change. Once the stigma is reduced here, we can start to play a bigger role in countries where those with periods are marginalised and humiliated, and I feel that social media influencers will have a huge role to play in that. Did you know they’re talking about allowing menstrual leave in Italy? Or that people are campaigning to have a period emoji? I think that would be great!
6) Recently, well-known vegan social influencer, Free Lee the Banana girl made a claim that periods were a sign of our bodies’ “toxicity” and advocated a diet that could stop periods from taking place altogether. What are your opinions on this?
FLTBG also said that the reason a cancer patient died was chemotherapy so really we can’t be believing much that she says. If her statements didn’t have the potential to be so damaging they would be almost laughable. People will say anything to make some money, and you can only hope that the women reading it will have brains enough to understand that what one social media influencer says isn’t necessarily the law, or even true. Influencers should be held accountable for the statements they make, especially when they have the potential to mentally and physically harm so many.
7) What is your favourite meal when you are PMSing? Come on, don’t say you don’t get cravings! (Then again, Flora is super-human, so we wouldn’t put it past her)
Miraculously I don’t get cravings (we told you). Or at least my cravings last the year round and aren’t especially strong at any time (except for winter and exams). Having said that, I do try to fuel my body properly on a daily basis, including treats every day, especially chocolate! I love 70% – 95% dark chocolate at any time of the month and would thoroughly recommend everyone adds a daily square or two to their diet – it does wonders for happiness.
8) What are your plans for the upcoming summer months now that you’ve finally finished university?
I’m so excited to be able to relax finally – I’ve been revising up to 13 hours a day for the last 6 weeks and it’s definitely taken its toll! I’m just excited now to be able to chill and spend some time with people I haven’t been able to see much over the last month. A holiday is definitely needed so we’ll see where that takes me! And most of all it’ll be nice to be able to spend some time on me, for the first time in a while.