So one month went past, without much effort from my part on following the diet. I ate basically healthily, but didn't end up fasting. I also didn't drink live spring water because I couldn't afford it. And the menstrual pains got worse. I waited too long for the pain to start as well, at which point it is difficult to stop it. So grounding sheets and angelica tea didn't work anymore. I was in a lot of pain, and my whole body was feeling like it had this nervous energy, which was very uncomfortable. I felt depressed and nauseous as well - these are the usual symptoms I get during menstruation. I ended up taking pain killers for the first day of the menses, and even those didn't help for a long time.
However, for some reason the menses lasted less time than usual, only four days. And from day three of menstruation, I resumed juice fasting for three days, this time with nothing but juices - no nuts for snacks, no fat in any form either - a true juice fast.
I have a few new interesting realizations to report on, which are only indirectly related to hormones. However, since these are lifestyle changes and may have some effect on my menses next month, I will note them here.
First, I got some blood work done and although the doctor thought everything was within normal limits, Dr. Mercola and other sources have more strict ranges for the ideal levels of different substances in the blood. According to these more strict ranges, I am vitamin D deficient, vitamin B12 deficient and my ferritin levels are too low, meaning that I am anemic. This is despite having a good hemoglobin level. So, correspondingly, I have started to take vitamin B12 sublingual spray supplement (more explanation here), iron-rich water supplement, occasionally vitamin D, and using a sunbed regularly. (I am not convinced that sunbeds are healthy but am also not so convinced that they are horribly dangerous. Read more here: Are UV rays good for you?)
Second, I started thinking that perhaps the headaches I started having some half a year ago, and which I suspected may have been linked to supplements, were to do with my eyes. So I got my eyes checked and sure enough, I have some astigmatism and needed glasses. I haven't had glasses up to now although the optician explained that this problem usually exists from birth, but over time the eye muscles get tired at correcting it. They are not very strong glasses but nevertheless, the world looks different! When I compare how everything looks without the glasses, and with them, the glasses make everything sharper, in focus. Without them the world is slightly blurry. Like one of the sales assistants said, it is as if I got high-definition (HD) vision again! So I really hope that the glasses help with my headaches. The first impression is that they may do. Yesterday (28th Nov) was the first day of wearing the glasses and I didn't have any headache, despite working on the computer for much of the day.
Third, I stopped taking the vitamin C and niacin for a while, because I was not eating much while on the menses and feeling nauseous. Then I didn't want to take supplements before the blood test in case they skewed the results. Only now have I returned to taking vitamin C, I took 8 grams yesterday and the same today. But it does seem to make me feel much stronger, and it seems to really help the low blood sugar feelings as well.
Fourth, regarding what I thought were symptoms of low blood sugar... I got the feeling quite strongly two days ago, towards the end of the day, I was a little tired from doing so much in the house, and my arms and legs started feeling weak and aching. I have put this feeling down to low blood sugar for a long time now, but this time I thought that perhaps it had something to do with my blood. It is an odd kind of ache - it is not a normal muscle ache, it's not in a specific place like the bones either, so a thought occurred to me that there may be something in my blood causing the feeling, like microbes, or something. So I did Bob Beck's blood electrification (using Sota Instruments device) for one hour, while drinking plenty of water and lying on the sofa, and the feeling went away. So now I will try to stick to doing blood electrification almost every day, building up to two hours per day, to boost my immune system and strengthen my body in general.
Fifth, my sugar intolerance seems to have gotten a little less, for whatever reason, even when I wasn't taking vitamin C for a while. The vit C (in megadoses) helps very noticeably and quickly, but now I can include a couple of dates in my meal or have a tiny bit of maple syrup on protein-rich (paleo) pancakes, without any noticeable problems. I suspect this is because of following a low-sugar diet for a while and also because the different supplements may be collectively and slowly be making me stronger. Or perhaps copper has stopped coming out of my body? Not sure. In any case I feel better eating tiny bits of sweet things here or there, the diet feels less strict that way and life more enjoyable.
Sixth, independent of the previous point, during the three-day juice fast I was drinking fruit juices as well as green vegetable juices. Generally I had one pint of green juice per day and one pint or a smaller glass of fruit juice with only some greens mixed in. Especially tasty was the mandarin-apple juice, as I found some nice juicy mandarins. So not much juice, more like a real fast rather than a juicefeast, where you drink as much juice as you want. I wasn't hungry at all, though, most of the time. But I did drink herbal teas: angelica, St. John's wort, hibiscus, holy Basil, and a mix of fo-ti, Siberian ginseng and liqorice. Funnily enough I like the bitter taste of angelica tea. The point I'm meant to be making here is that while juice fasting, and not eating any fat, I had no problems with the live fruit juices, in terms of blood sugar or feeling weak. Maybe one day a little, but generally not. So perhaps blood sugar regulation works completely differently when you eat absolutely no fat and all raw food? Maybe Douglas Graham is right when he says that a low-fat raw vegan (high-fruit) diet is perfect for blood sugar control. According to him, high-fat is what causes blood sugar problems and not sugar itself. I don't know, just a thought and an observation.
Seventh, my current diet endeavours have yet again a new, different focus. Watching Hungry for Change and Food Matters once again (and writing summaries) made me think about why I sometimes have cravings for junk foods and tend to overeat them, while other times - for example on a raw food diet - feel perfectly fine without. And Moein, whom I recently interviewed, said something about starches in general being a problem. So I thought, let me just stay away from all the food additives and starches for a while, especially MSG, and if I do eat them, note how they make me feel - do they create or increase cravings. So I haven't even had any potatoes or brown rice for a while... Yesterday I made stuffed peppers with quinoa! And so far it feels quite easy to eat this way, and it looks to me as if eating processed carbs, grains in general and chemical additives may increase cravings for these and other unhealthy foods.
Regarding the supplementation and herbs talked about at the beginning of the hormone diet, I will return to those once I have made sure that my headaches are not caused by supplements. For now, I will continue to keep supplements to a minimum for a while and have even cut out niacin.
By the way, as Moein pointed out, it is quite useful for many people to be able to read different people's reports on what works and what not on your health journey. So if you are publishing your own experiments online, get in touch, as we can exchange ideas and I can feature your blog on my site for it to reach a wider audience.
I think that's all my points for now. Today is the 29th November 2014, Saturday.
11th December 2014
I have now realized that my headaches were a tension headache, and not caused by supplements or eye-sight problems like I previously thought. The headaches can be easily eliminated by using hot compresses on the neck, shoulders and/or upper back, massage, using bongers on the stiff neck muscles, some careful stretching and exercise in general. I'm quite happy that I can now go back to taking supplements and herbs without worries!
I have not really been following the diet recently, and I will try to be semi-healthy through the holiday period.
I have decided, from the beginning of January, to do two diet experiments: 1) 25-Days of 100% Raw Food Diet, making it the best possible raw food diet I can think of. It will possibly be low-salt and fairly low-fat too, just because I haven't tried that before.
2) The second experiment will be a paleo-type diet, but with less meat and fat. So eliminating all grains and starches, low-carb, high in raw vegetables but also cooked food, and incorporating a little organic meat daily, together with cooked vegetable dishes. This will be the best possible low carb/ paleo-inspired diet that I can plan with the knowledge that I have now.
The reason for these experiments will be to test which one makes me feel better. Because I keep being undecided about whether all raw or some cooked is healthier, and also whether I need some organic meat or not. I have been a vegetarian for a long time but can't completely dismiss the claims that some people need to include some meat in their diets.
Both diets will be dairy, gluten and grain-free because I have established that those don't work for my health. They will also be alcohol-free and free of chemical additives.
So this will be the ultimate experiment, sticking to the eating plans 'no matter what', 25-days raw first and paleo after.
After these experiments I will be able to establish more carefully what my ideal diet is. I will write a separate diary on each diet, but update here on any hormonal discoveries. I will at the same time take some herbs and supplements as detailed at the beginning of this hormone diet plan. I will not be juice fasting, however, as I would like to establish an optimal diet that I can follow, instead of having to rely on juice fasting to heal my hormones. Of course if neither of the diets show sufficient promise in healing my menstrual pains, then I will have to establish a habit of juice fasting regularly, 2-days per week perhaps.
Exciting development on the hormone diet! It seems that a raw food diet can drastically reduce menstrual pain in as short time as 15 days, as well as the related symptoms of irritability, nausea, depression and (presumably) inflammation.
Update: The 25-Day Raw Food Challenge is now complete. The diary summary, as well as full notes, can be accessed at the link.
Over the Christmas holidays my menstrual cramps had returned to pretty much 'normal', and I had to take pain killers, etc. However, the raw food diet seemed to have an almost equally powerful effect in reducing menstrual pain as juice fasting had earlier.
I began this raw food diet on the 4th January, 2015, and my menstrual period started on day 15 of the above raw food diet trial. There was some pain, but not much. Absolutely no need for pain killers. Some of the other problems I usually have during menses were reduced as well - less cravings and less bloatedness. But I still needed a lot of sleep during this time, and funnily enough, the menses were different from usual. I got some spotting before the menses started, which I never get, and the slight pain kept coming and going a lot longer than usual.
There was tiny bit of spotting on day 11. The menses started on day 15 and finished on day 21. So the proper menstruation lasted for seven days. There was absolutely no pain on day 11 and on day 12 I got some feelings in my belly, as if the menses were starting, but no pain. Kept feeling tired all through these days. On days 13 and 14 I felt quite normal, but on days 15 and 16 there was some belly ache and I was also feeling thirsty and unable to take stress - the usual signs that my body is weak. On day 17 I felt exhausted and spiritually and mentally weak as well, but there was no pain. I also had symptoms of a cold. On day 18 I had sudden stomach pain for a couple of hours, combined with nausea and diarrhea. The pain subsided on its own as lay down horizontally and kept warm near a radiator. Lying down horizontally generally seems to be a much better position during menses than standing or sitting up - a little less difficult for the belly. But walking and moving is good too. On day 18 I was feeling very cold as well. On day 19 there was no pain but I was feeling very worn out and sorry for myself. On day 19 I only felt a little irritable and my eyes felt tired, otherwise was fine. On day 20 I had good energy all day, and on day 21 I was a little tired and had a little nausea, but this might have been due to what I was eating or detox symptoms, and not the menses.
But my body was still clearly weaker during menstruation. Anxiety was more easily triggered and I got some cold symptoms too.
The benefits of greatly reduced pain, etc., came despite the fact that the raw food diet I was eating was not ideal, despite my best attempts.
For the first week I ate too much fruit, and got blood sugar problems. And throughout the 15 days and the rest of the diet I stayed away from caffeine, dairy, all cooked foods, gluten, grains and bad quality oils. I made sure that the olive oil I had was truly cold pressed and not rancid, whereas the ones you buy in a supermarket may be rancid despite being labelled as 'extra virgin' or 'cold pressed'.
I did have some non-raw nuts, however, and wasn't sure if all the dried fruit and seeds I was eating were still live or whether they had been heat-dried. I also drank Brita-filtered tap water, whereas spring water would have been better. Check the above diary for more details.
After 25-days on raw foods, I transitioned to the healthiest possible cooked food diet I can think of. I remain dairy- and mostly gluten-free, and don't eat any grains, and also no quinoa, which proved to be too starchy for me. I have eliminated all foods that I have found myself intolerant to, and don't drink any caffeine - though I did fall into drinking fake 'grain' coffee, which has guarana and gluten-containing grains in it.
I am also experimenting with adding small amounts of organic meat, because during the McCombs Diet my menstrual pain was eliminated despite the fact that I ate a little organic meat.
I am staying away from all chemicals and additives, all starchy foods, including beans, and I also remain alcohol-, sugar-, and dairy-free.
Please return to the diet diaries for any updates on my diet experiments.
Book: 'The Vitamin Cure for Women's Health Problems' by Helen Saul Case and Andrew Saul:
Book: 'Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit' by Queen Afua:
The introduction to this diet - the supplements and foods
Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps: General information on women's hormones
Best Aphrodisiac Plants and Foods
25-Day Raw Food Challenge - diary
"Good Life Meals: Inspiration on how to eat and live healthy anywhere, while not restricting your life. My daily meals recorded. Good health makes good life!"
Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.