Monday, December 10, 2012

A Picture of Diet and Hormones

I wanted to take a moment to revisit this article over at Mark's Daily Apple (my favorite nutrition blog!). Every Friday, Mark posts a "success story" of someone whose health has been transformed through the use of the primal diet. This particular story is told by a woman who started as a health-problem-ridden vegan who transferred over to the Primal Blueprint Diet (note: the Primal Diet is basically the same as the Paleo Diet), and then used a very-low-carb diet to deal with some hormonal issues.

Trot on over to read the full story (it's not long), as well as the comments, but here's the brief version:

As a vegan, she says...
"At the age of 10, I decided to become a vegetarian.... I dove right in and after seven years went whole-hog vegan. Six years later, at the age of 23, I was diagnosed with an immune deficiency, had stopped menstruating, struggled with bloating and constipation, low energy, no libido, and anxiety. At 5’7″ and 135 pounds, I was by no means overweight, but I carried all of it in my belly and had very little muscular definition. The doctors I had seen (and there were many), told me the immune deficiency was incurable and they didn’t know the reason for my amenorrhea."
Transferring over to the Primal/Paleo diet...
"I started seeing an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, and the first time I met with both of them the first thing they commented on was my diet. “Maybe you should eat meat” ... I found local farms and farmers markets, and read a LOT about nutrition. Eventually I was led to The Primal Blueprint and it was exactly what I had been looking for.... It took two years of paleo to curb my regular upper-respiratory infections, but the past four years, I’ve only gotten sick twice!"
And then onto the very-low-carb diet:
"Two years ago, after seeing a kinesiologist who suggested I drop all carbohydrates and sugars to accelerate the healing process, I went zero carb. I dropped underweight, to 113 pounds, because I still wasn’t menstruating and didn’t have hormonal balance. My energy had gone through the roof, though, and my anxiety was no longer overwhelming! Then BAM, after six months of zero carb, my hormones balanced over night – my period started, I gained 25 pounds, grew a bum, went up two cup sizes, my hair curled (seriously!), and my libido came back full-force. Suddenly I was a woman. It was terrifying!" (emphasis mine)
 Anyhow, my friends, all of this long quoting has a point. (Really? Yes!) As you all know, I am researching (with myself as guinea pig) the very low carb diet to find out whether or not it can be used for HG prevention. The verdict is still up in the air, though initial results looked promising. In the above case, however, where the VLC diet was also used to heal hormonal issues (and I think we all suspect that HG might be a hormonal issue, at least in part), the hormonal healing process took six months. It wasn't an overnight thing.

Thus, my conclusion would be that the VLC diet, if it has any effect on HG prevention, should probably be used a good while in advance of conception for optimal effectiveness. It's not just a case of "get pregnant, get sick, go on the diet and feel better." Nope, I'm suspecting that it takes planning and preparation, the more the better.

What do you all think? Ideas? Thoughts? Things to throw?

Have a great night, all!

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