When it comes to eating, my philosophy is pretty simple: Balance. I know I mock vegans in some form almost every day (mostly because every vegan I’ve ever met is obnoxious and judgy), but if that’s how you want to eat, go for it. It doesn’t bother me. It’s your body. Eat what you want.
However, I do have a problem with vegan health bloggers spreading dangerous misinformation. Case in point.
Some vegan health bloggers are trying to convince their audiences that periods are toxic and stupid. Because of that, they’re proposing “extreme diets” to help women eliminate their periods, which the bloggers say serves as a sign of “toxicity.” The logic is, “toxic” foods cause periods, but if you go raw vegan, you’ll be cleansed and lose your period, which is the desired result.
Unfortunately, “thousands” of women have bought into it and are proudly reporting the absence of their periods.
Vegan vlogger FreeLee the Banana Girl, from Australia, made headlines in the past for scarfing down 51 blended bananas and surviving on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate vegan diet.
In a YouTube video posted in 2013, she claimed she lost her period for nine months after switching to the extreme diet and cutting out meat, dairy and junk food.
“A lot of people are like ‘that’s unhealthy’ and ‘that’s terrible.’ But is it? It felt good. It felt right,” FreeLee said of losing her period. “I just instinctively felt that I was still ovulating because I felt so good. I still believe that, largely, menstruation is toxicity leaving the body.”
“So a lot of people are having these heavy periods and painful periods because they have a toxic body or have a toxic diet,” she added.
Doctors are coming out and warning women about this practice and reminding them that periods are a natural biological function.
“This is a very dangerous idea and displays a complete lack of understanding of female biology and the human body in general,” gynecologist Jen Gunter said, according to the Daily Mail.
“Periods are not bad or filled with toxins. This trend is alarming because it comes from someone who clearly has no understanding of periods or even biology in general and is just another form of body shaming,” she added.
She’s right. This is trend is totally rooted in “body shaming” (and trust me– I HATE to use that term).
Convincing young girls that their periods signify toxicity????? What kind of message is that supposed to send? It’s practically encouraging young, insecure girls to develop an eating disorder.
Miliany Bonet, a 19-year-old who runs the Raw Vegan Living blog, also praised her vegan diet for eliminating her period for months because it was ‘detoxing’ her body.
She said to Broadly: ‘If a woman or young girl decided she wanted to stop menstruating or lighten up her heavy periods, then I would recommend a raw foods diet to help them with that.
‘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.’
This might be TMI, but I’m going for it. I’ve struggled with this. I’ve never been obese, but I lost a good 20 pounds after I graduated from high school. I went through a weird stage where I was extremely strict on what I ate (mostly fruit and virtually no fat), and I obsessively worked out. Years later, I’m still finding balance. I love working out and I try to eat OK most of the week, but due to this, I’ve lost my monthly friend for months at a time, and I know it’s attributed to eating too low fat and working out too much. I believe it’s called Exercise Induced Amenorrhea.
But here’s the thing: It’s NOT healthy. Any doctor will tell you that. Low estrogen isn’t necessarily a good thing and can ultimately lead to other problems, like osteoporosis.
“Being at a low weight and restricting intake for a significant lengths of time can have other serious side effects – low blood pressure, osteoporosis, organ failure, infertility, restricted growth among others,” Dr. Gunter said, according to the Daily Mail.
No one should be encouraging young girls to screw up their bodies that way. It’s not fun. Take it from someone who has struggled with this.