CHATHAM, NJ – When Chatham native Devon Loftus saw how a piece of decadent chocolate cake brought out such an emotional reaction from one of her friends, the wheels began turning in her mind.
"It was just before my wedding and my friends wanted to have a night out," Loftus said. "My soon-to-be husband, who is a chef, made me a chocolate cake from scratch. It was super decadent. We went silent as we ate it. No one spoke for 15 minutes. My friend said it was best she had ever eaten and that she didn't know if it was because she was about to get her period, but she almost cried. I thought, 'What an awesome compliment.' I told her later, 'We'll just bring you a piece every month.'"
The next day, Loftus decided to research the science behind what happens to a woman's body when she gets her period. After study and consultation with a nutritionist, the 2007 Chatham High School graduate is nearly ready to launch Moon Cycle Bakery, whose mission is to help individuals "redefine their time of the month."
"I always loved analyzing," she said. "I love taking things apart and seeing why something affects something else. That has always fascinated me. I also love to help people."
Chatham native Devon Loftus explains her mail-order "Moon Cycle Bakery" that will soon launch its website.
"On an emotional level. Nutrition has always been a big part of my life, but I don't have a background in it, so the first person I went to is Katie Lemons, and she had an interest in women's health," Loftus said. "We created treats that taste really good, but also promote healthy hormone balance."
The idea behind the baked goods that Loftus makes from scratch is to replenish the hormonal balance with healthy treats designed specifically for a woman's time of the month. It's a guilt-free plan because what is being offered is healthy.
"When people crave things while on their period, they feel bad about it because they want things that you're told are bad for you," Loftus said. "There is a stigma attached to it. You shouldn't fill your body with chocolate or carbs.
"When we crave chocolate, that's because our magnesium is low. It needs to be replenished. Your estrogen also drops right before you get your period and your serotonin and dopamine levels plummet. You get sad and cry and carbs replenish the serotonin and dopamine."
Loftus and Lemons have come up with recipes that replenish those needs in a more healthy way. For instance, she uses "cacao," a purer form of chocolate than the processed kind used in chocolate bars. She also includes a mix of complex carbs.
"It makes you feel better because your body is craving that magnesium," Loftus said. "If you went and had a Kit Kat, you're not going to get that satisfaction because it's just not there."
The treats she will be making for sale by mail at the Moon Cycle Bakery include a Raspeberry Black Bean Brownie made with primrose oil; Chocolate Cups sweetened with ginger and honey, and Matcha Coconut Bites.
Loftus now lives in the state of Washington, but her parents, Ben and Tracy Porrino, still live on Watchung Avenue, where she grew up.