The Problem With Vegan Bloggers Teaching Women How to Stop Their Periods
Missing your period once — let alone for an extended period of time — is rarely considered a good thing by doctors unless you’re hoping to get pregnant.
The “normal” reproductive process is often altered by a variety of negative factors, including stress, rapid or sudden weight loss and polycystic ovary syndrome.
But recently, some vegan and clean-eating bloggers have been uploading blog posts with the claim that changing one’s diet in order to achieve a lighter or nonexistent period is a healthy option for people who menstruate.
“Many girls who lose their period often worry and try numerous things to get it back,” says Miliany Bonet of the popular blog RawVeganLiving in one of her viral blog posts titled "Is Losing Your Period a Sign That Your Body is Healthy & Clean?" In the post, Bonet goes on to imply that most of what people are taught about menstrual cycles are entirely inaccurate and that society has wrongly marketed menstruation as a healthy occurrence.
When Broadly interviewed Bonet for a profile on vegan bloggers who believe in changing their diet to alter the menstrual cycle, she further emphasized her strong beliefs against society’s views on menstruation.
“The industry has done a great job of brainwashing too many women into thinking that if they do not get their periods on a monthly basis, that something is wrong with their body and hormones,” says Bonet.
Back in 2012, vlogger Freelee the Banana Girl released a controversial YouTube video called “How I lost my period on a RAW VEGAN Diet,” in which she expresses her belief that menstruation indicates toxicity leaving the body. In her own words, “A lot of people are having these heavy, heavy periods and painful periods because they have a toxic body or have a toxic diet.”
But experts insist that heavy periods are not a result of any sort of toxicity in the body, but rather potential signs of more common causes such as infections, endometriosis or an IUD.
Lauren Streicher, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told Shape magazine, “There is no scientific basis to the idea that a period indicates the body is shedding toxins.”
Experts agree that diet can definitely affect menstruation, particularly a diet that is low-calorie or vegan might reduce flow. In comments reported by HelloGiggles, women’s health expert Dr. Jennifer Wider states, “Increased fruit, vegetable, and water consumption can… regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce symptoms of PMS.”
But the complete absence of a normal period — amenorrhea — is something that ought to be addressed by a doctor, as it might be a sign that something is seriously wrong with the body.
Originally published on HelloFlo.