During the first days of your period, you might be a walking, snarling stereotype, curling into a ball on the sofa, crying during dog food commercials, and snapping at anyone who even considers moving your half-chewed tube of cookie dough. (No, I do not need a fork, but thank you for asking. Again.)
But there's a difference between stereotypes — even the ones that we fully embrace every 28-ish days — and misconceptions about what really happens when a woman has her period.
The women behind Clue, a period tracking app for your smartphone, recently asked ladies around the world to share the some of the myths and misconceptions that they'd heard about menstruation, and the results are a combination of strange behavioral restrictions, eyebrow-raising taboos, and some just flat-out weird stuff. (Like the Malaysian belief that if a woman doesn't wash her pads before trashing them, she'll be haunted by ghosts.)
A number of these period-related tall tales involve what happens if women touch or prepare food during that time of the month. We've shared some of these myths below, along with their country or countries of origin. (Don't worry — none of them even hint at your cookie dough habit).
7 Period-Related Food Myths from Around the World
- In the United States and United Kingdom, menstruating women who touch vegetables during the pickling process will cause the vegetables to go bad.
- In Colombia, you're advised not to drink cold beverages, because you'll get cramps.
- In India, you shouldn't enter a kitchen or cook food for anyone else.
- In the Dominican Republic, you shouldn't drink lemonade. (But so help them if they try to stop me from listening to Beyonce's Lemonade.)
- France and Argentina have oddly specific fears about dairy products, insisting that if you make whipped cream or mayonnaise, they'll curdle.
- In Italy, your dough won't rise and everything you cook "will be a disaster." (Apparently, I have been a menstruating Italian woman for my entire adult life.)
- In Japan, you shouldn't make sushi because your period gives you an imbalance in taste.
Again, these are just myths and have absolutely zero basis in fact. When you're having your period, you should still do whatever you want and cook whatever you want, for whoever you want. Although India's idea of staying out of the kitchen entirely sounds pretty good too.