do I still get pms as a vegan?
It was in January 2014 that I first started a vegan diet, six months after I stopped throwing up my food after binging on large quantities of processed junk in college. Even when I was binging and purging I was eating a mostly vegetarian diet. I called myself a “flexitarian” since I would eat meat when I went home for dinner at my parent’s house on the weekends sometimes. So I was eating meat a few times a month. And I still ate lots of feta cheese from the dining hall and lots of pizza. Three egg omelets in the omelet line and baked goods from the dessert bar. Not all organic. Filled with animal products. Tasty as hell, yes. But taking a toll on my body. And inevitably, my mind and spirit.
It’s hard to put into words how happy I have become since being vegan. I guess describing my life flipping a 180 would be the closest thing. Though, mostly an internal 180. On the exterior, I always tried to appear as though I was doing great. No, I wasn’t hungry even though I only ate 1/3 of my dinner. Yes, I had energy, even though I just spent two hours exercising at the gym. Yes, I was confident and in charge and a good leader, despite the fact that I felt fat and worthless after “binging” on 1200 calories. Funny thing is, that’s how many calories I usually have for breakfast now that I’m vegan. My exterior is improving too, since I’ve lost weight naturally without starving myself or overexercising. I am more amazed each and every day at how much food I can eat and still lose weight!
Anyway. There are many amazing benefits to being vegan other than not pretending to be happy and living large. Those are simply side effects once you switch to a plant-based lifestyle (especially if you’re coming from a history of disordered eating. Which in America, let’s face it, is extremely common). One of them regarding menstrual cycles ~ for those of us who have vaginas!
I love this picture because I believe it represents the every human brain all of the time: not just ladies on their periods. Whenever anyone is under-carbed they can get pretty nasty and irritable. And of course meeting our physical needs are heightened during our pre-menstrual days. Emotions, hunger, sadness, happiness… One second we’re walking through the park, and the next we’re riding a roller coaster.That’s what out-of-whack blood sugar will do.
PMS and blood sugar levels have a lot to do with each other. If we aren’t getting enough glucose into our brains, we’re going to be tired, foggy, “hangry”, easily upset, dramatic, lethargic and unmotivated among many other things. Keeping blood sugar levels stable with the right kind of energy is essential to physical and mental well-being. After all, our bodies and our brain work in synchronicity with each other; therefore, if the body is upset, the brain will of course suffer.
h e a l t h y body h e a l t h y mind h e a l t h y spirit
Since becoming vegan, and eating in abundance, I don’t get easily agitated anymore. I don’t get so tired that I don’t want to move or go anywhere. I don’t get upset easily and feel like crying at all of the never-ending obstacles that are inevitable in life. There will always be hurdles to jump over. Our patience will always be tested. We’ll continue to be put on the spot and apply our abilities in different situations. And each one, each time, is another opportunity to practice what we’ve learned thus far in our own life journeys.
Veganism means carbohydrates, for many. A high-carb vegan diet is what I’ve found to work for me. Others opt for the higher-fat vegan diets, with fancy raw food chef/artists making nut cheeses and using lots of oils. Meals like this work for me once in a while but I start to suffer if I don’t get my carbohydrates in. Carbs make me happy. My brain loves them. They bring me great energy. And it feels amazing to indulge in something that I was afraid of for too long.
So how do we avoid PMS?
Keep blood sugar levels stable by eating enough calories that our bodies need.
Eat calories from the right sources. Fruit, starches, oats, potatoes, rice, pasta. Vegetables! Nuts & seeds. Beans! Legumes!
When I eat animal products I swear the crying dead animals cry through my body when I ingest them. I felt physically awful when I ate these products and had pent up fear, low confidence, low energy, bad skin and had body odor. If you wash your dishes with fat, they’re going to be slimy and greasy. If you wash your dishes with something clean, they will be clean. Our bodies are the same way. Some people who aren’t purists say everything in moderation. The way I see it is, I want to feel good and look good and smell good all the time. And never feel the way I felt for almost twenty years. And while it wasn’t all bad, I still always imagine how well my body would function in this moment if I’d always been vegan.
So here’s to no regrets. Here’s to loving my journey and taking each day as it comes. I love sharing my experiences and progress with others and am always happy to answer any questions people may have. Good luck on your journey, whatever it may be. Maybe a journey to becoming vegan… It definitely didn’t happen overnight for me!