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Raw Food Diet, Missed Periods and Fertility: Q&A

Posted Oct 04 2012 9:01am
Written by Tera on October 4, 2012 – -



 By Joanna Steven

After checking out my book, Well Rounded – The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Raw Food Pregnancy, a reader asked me the following question:

My question concerns missed periods and raw foods. I’ve heard people talk about your cycles lessening or stopping altogether while on a living foods diet, and I have experienced this firsthand. I am not 100% raw yet, but I’m pretty healthy (no probs or major health issues ever), so I would like your thoughts/experiences with how that could play a role in conception. Also, I am wondering if my missed periods could actually be a good thing, that maybe I could be storing up eggs that would otherwise be released, and perhaps the living foods diet is actually helping with future conception probabilities later in life?

Thanks for your feedback, and I’m really enjoying your book!”

Also, someone else asked the following question:

I was on a raw vegan diet, and lost my period. It came back after I started eating a Paleo type diet. What do you think happened?

Thank you both for your questions!

When I first started studying the raw food diet, I was amazed that some people thought getting a period was a sign of toxicity. The belief was that if you are toxic, your body detoxes through bleeding monthly, and a clean, pure body does not bleed at all. The uterine lining simply gets reabsorbed internally with no external shedding.

To me, this theory does not make any sense. If it were true, toxic animals would also get a period, and clean animals in the wild would not bleed (especially animals that are very similar to us like chimpanzees — yet they do get a period). But in reality, some animals bleed, and some don’t, and it has nothing to do with diet. Female dogs will apparently bleed on any diet, and female cats will not bleed even if they are fed the most perfect feline diet of muscle, organs and bones.

So, what happened on the raw vegan diet? I don’t know what the 2nd person ate exactly, but I assume that her fat intake and/or caloric intake was very low. Women need more fat than men, and they need high quality fats which can be hard to get if you don’t know what you are doing (which really is not your fault, there are so many raw food theories out there that things can get very confusing!)

Raw women absolutely need to eat healthy fats to both nourish themselves but to also nourish their baby if they get pregnant  I would never go without my DHA supplement, and I use fatty nut milks as carriers for choline and other important nutrients. I eat soaked nuts and seeds often (especially walnuts for the omega 3 fatty acids) if I am skimping on the nut milks, coconuts (for medium chain fatty acid and other fatty acids), sunflower seeds (for vitamin E), almonds (for calcium and other minerals), hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds (for iron, zinc, and more). I routinely use coconut oil, which I also use as moisturizer daily. I have olive oil in salads every single day. I also consume grass fed butter, pastured eggs and and dairy/coconut kefir. I still had a monthly period and did ovulate for sure as I took my temperature every morning to be sure I was fertile prior to getting pregnant (note that the animal by-products are not necessary if you cover your bases in other ways).

That being said, there are a few more things which could have led to your loss of period. Low caloric intake is common in new raw foodists, since the sudden increase in fiber makes them feel full and they mistakenly believe that they are getting enough nutrition — but fiber has no nutrition. It’s also fairly easy to be low in zinc as well, which could lead to a variety of metablic problems. And there could be other, hard to determine reasons. A friend of mine was very careful with her raw vegan diet, but she started ovulating every 3 months, and then not at all. On the other hand, Angela Stokes got pregnant on a raw vegan diet which she has been following for years and years, and she gave birth to a very healthy baby in less than 2 hours. Everybody’s different!

Going on a diet different from what you’re used to can lead to health issues; for this reason, I don’t recommend diving into anything (raw vegan or otherwise) without doing some research first. Once you’re comfortable with the most important concepts, you can then experiment and see what works for you! I personally found that a high raw diet was the best for my health, as it gave me incredible energy, cleared up my skin, eliminated my mood swings and anxiety, and more. It’s a diet I definitely recommend you look into, but I also think you should get into it knowing quite a bit about nutrition first.

As for whether or not the eggs are stored up for later, I am not sure. This could be nature’s way to save up conception for a time when the person is healthy enough to carry a baby to term, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a good way to go, because you could be harming your body at the same time with poor nutrition. I personally don’t think a missed period is a good thing, especially if you are not ovulating. I would recommend you learn about Basal Body Temperature and taking your temperature in the morning, charting it, and seeing whether or not your are fertile. I have heard of women who never had a period yet still ovulated, and still got pregnant, but I would first make sure you are indeed fertile before assuming the missed period aren’t a sign that something is going wrong.

Joanna Steven is the director of the Raw Mom Club. She’s also the author of Well-Rounded:The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Raw Food Pregnancy and The Milky Way – The Optimal Guide to Breastfeeding on the Raw Food Diet.

To learn more about Joanna, access our free online community of thousands of raw food enthusiasts doing their best to raise healthy families and help their kids enjoy a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also interact with Joanna at the Raw Mom Facebook Page!




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