Happy Herbivore Blog

A Post for the HER-bies: Menstruation & Womanly Issues

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: AdviceFAQ

[Editorial note: We took to calling this blog post "Fallopian Tube Friday" at HH HQ. It's weirdly catchy, right? BUT we figured for those who get these posts in their email or RSS feed we might want to make it less... weird and perhaps give it a better title for the search engines to gobble up!]

I'd like to jump into this post by saying, while I try not to be the queen of TMI, I do think it's... unfortunate? (I'm not sure which word sums up my emotions here) that so many topics are... off limits.

Sure I like a good fart joke, and I agree we should probably not talk about bodily functions at the dinner table, but I do think it's unfortunate that society doesn't want us to talk about certain things.... like menstruation.

Shhh...

Even commercials for products surrounding this very natural monthly occurrance are a bit ridiculous if you ask me. I mean who really wants to jump on a trampoline in white pants when they have cramps?

Where's the commercial where you're sitting on the couch with a heating pad eating chocolate? OR crying over a Cheerios commercial? (*raises hand*)

Just sayin'.

I think it's important to talk about our experiences and concerns, and that we can do so without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable.

I was embarrassed by my period for years. Not just in those early years (where pretty much existing was embarrassing...ahhh tweens) but even into my mid and late 20s.

It wasn't until my late 20s that I ever had a conversation -- a real conversation -- about my menstruation with a friend of mine. (I'd talked to my doctor, but that wasn't the same).

Prior, there had been things like "ugggh I hate cramps!" and perhaps some talk about various brands of tampons. Though nothing more than superficial chatter.

I remember being embarrassed, at 30, to ask my friend if she liked her Diva Cup. I sent her an email out of shame. I couldn't face her.

How ridiculous.

Sometime last year I was talking with one of my assistants. We were researching the contraception post at the time and somehow our periods came up. That was the first time I ever really talked about it, and in detail. AND I only shared my story after she shared hers.

I remember feeling relieved in knowing I wasn't alone. That so many things that happened to me (such as frequently soaking through my pants, ruining countless pairs of underwear, and having to wear black out of absolute fear) were not only my horrors.

Around this same time I was reading a Chelsea Handler book, and anyway, there is a story in this book about Chelsea finding her own cervix and embarrassing herself at the doctor's office. Of course this made me curious, so I went off on a safari to find mine. I freaked myself out with my discovery and called two close friends in a panic and begged them to go find their cervix so we could compare notes. One friend had given birth the year before and had no idea she could reach her own cervix. At this point, all of us on a group call said in unison, HOW DO WE KNOW SO LITTLE ABOUT OUR BODIES? SEX ED FAILED US!

From that moment forward I've tried to be more open, or at least try not to treat topics like menstruation as taboo (though respecting there is certainly a time and place for such discussions). Now that many of my friends are pregnant and having children, I find the doors are opening up a lot more.

I remember one friend calling me, she had a doozy of a birth where all kinds of things one might consider embarrassing happened, and they were gross, but that's nature. That's birth, and I remember her saying "I'm so glad I could finally tell someone. I knew you wouldn't care."

Admittedly, I was kinda curious.

Point to my rambling: I want to have a discussion, a real discussion about these things. And I know one is sorely needed because I get so many emails about periods and other bodily functions (you can read about flatulence and elimination too). I feel so touched that you trust me and feel comfortable with me, that's how it should be. We should be able to talk to each other about our womanly things....

AND to jump in: Going plant-based totally changed my periods.

I used to have long, exceptionally heavy, and painful periods. My periods were also irregular for a really long time, which I talk more about in my contraception post.

Going "vegan" helped a little, but going on an oil-free, whole foods, plant-based diet was a game changer. I now have light, short periods, typically without any kind of symptoms (gone are the days of severe cramps that left me unable to move). My moods overall are more stable, but most noticeably during that time of the month.

In complete open honesty, I often forget I'm even having my period now -- such a change!

Dr. McDougall has a great article about women's health (including menstraution) and why a plant-based diet can help with the so-called "curse" (and why diets high in animal products make the curse a curse).

I also wanted to let other women to chime in with their experiences:

"I have much lighter periods (three days total). Also, after childbirth I had a lot of pain on the first day of my cycle when I was not plant-based. Since going plant-based the pain has gone away completely."

"I have awful PCOS and insulin resistance. I was on clomid and metformin to conceive my second because I had one to three cycles a year. It took 2 1.2 year before I conceived with her. when she was 9 months old I switched to PB diet and got my cycle that month after nothing for 3 months prior. The day before she turned 11 months I found out we were expecting! Completely without the help of fertility drugs. All I changed was my diet!"

"My periods have been so much lighter and less painful since going plant-based, plus this time around I was able to get pregnant on my own (PCOS) vs. with help the first time when I was not plant-based."

"I don't have PMS since I have changed my diet! Yay!!"

"I used to have awful cramps even as a vegetarian. Once I cut dairy out of my diet and went full vegan I don't get cramps at all to the point that I get surprised every month when my period shows up. It's pretty amazing!"

"I used to have very irregular periods (every 3 months or so) with severe PMS- cramps, mood swings, heavy bleeding and spotting that lasted for weeks each time. Now I'm regular, mild to zero cramps, shorter periods and milder mood swings."

"I had PCOS and now since losing weight and going WFPB my cycles are regular. I've also noticed no cramps! It's great. I used to go months without a period which would actually cost me a fortune because I'd worry that I could be pregnant, since my cycles were so unpredictable - I'd spend money on tests all the time."

"My periods became lighter and shorter going plant-based! Sometimes my periods are as short as 3 days now! Still have cramping but it's less painful now."

Please share yours in the comment -- or ask a question! You can do so anonymously too!

Herbie of the Week: Stacy (Her Health's Already Improved After 3 Months Of Being Plant-Based!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Stacy!

Stacy is another great example of how quickly one can experience the many health benefits after switching to plant-based diet.

Since ditching meat and dairy products three months ago, she's lost 20lbs without even trying and is already seeing her health improve, including her fibromyalgia!

Here's Stacy's experience in her own words...

Being one of the biggest lovers of bacon (I'd even want to eat the bacon roses people posted on Valentine's Day, which I don't think is actually edible), I NEVER thought that I would be someone who would be able to switch to a plant-based diet. After I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives in August of 2013, it changed my life! That day I decided to cut out all meat due to my health problems.

Surprisingly, the transition going from a huge meat eater to no meat at all was much easier than I thought it would be. In fact, I have found that cutting out the gluten in my diet has been MUCH more difficult than cutting out meat. I am feeding myself plenty of protein so I am actually not finding myself to be hungry.

In Forks Over Knives they talk how people who eat meat are more likely to experience more health issues over time. Now let me tell you a little about my health history. I am 25 years old, and I have had my fair share of health issues: pre-mature birth, febrile seizures, Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, acid reflux, sleep apnea, arthritis, obesity, depression, fibromyalgia, tardive dyskinesia, binge eating disorder, oculogyric crisis, and anxiety disorder. BUT it is GREAT news because I have seen stories about people who have turned their life around by eating a plant-based diet and I am determined to do the same! I am also super excited because I hear so many success stories all the time on HappyHerbivore.com that it really gives me a lot of hope!

Confession: I still ate dairy until December 2013. In the beginning of 2014 I did some research about how dairy is a pro-inflammatory. I have recently been struggling with a lot of inflammation from my fibromyalgia and someone told me that it will make a huge difference if I cut dairy out of my diet...so I did. The inflammation has decreased a tiny bit, and I have confidence that cutting out dairy was a smart choice. I have also been (attempting to) cut gluten out of my diet because that makes a huge difference in my body. I even got my husband, who loves his steak and chicken wings, to try recipes off of HH and he liked them!

It has been a little difficult to find a variety of options when I go out to eat. Since August, I have found a few restaurants that offer gluten-free, vegan meals. Some of the foods I enjoy when I go out to eat are vegetable pad thai, vegetable fajitas, veggie bowls at Chipotle, and vegan BLT. Some of my go-to meals at home are oatmeal, spring risotto, homemade shooting stars, raw vegan breakfast bars, and vegetarian white bean chili.

One of the greatest parts of this journey so far has been my weight loss. My body is stubborn and in the past it has been almost impossible to lose weight. I started at 201lbs, and without even really trying, I am down to 182lbs! That's a big deal! What it's really telling me is that our bodies were made to digest the food God made naturally, not the food that is altered by mankind.

So that is my success story. I am really happy that I found HappyHerbivore.com, not just because their logo is completely adorable ;) but because it is a great way for people to show just how amazing the human body can react to a plant-based diet!

Thank you Stacy for sharing your story with us!

Portobello Verde Tacos, Mediterranean Quesadilla, Mexican Rice Soup & More!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: MealPlan

Enjoy a healthy taste of spring break with this week's meal plan!

Transport your tastebuds to a warm, tropical isle with our Pina Colada Smoothie, Spicy Mango Quinoa Bowl (indi.), and Caribbean Black Bean Soup (fam.).

But the spring break fun doesn't stop there!

The plant-proud party in your mouth continues with all new recipes like the Portobello Verde Tacos (NEW!), Miso Lime Sweet Potato Dip (NEW!), Mexican Rice Soup (NEW!), and MORE!

Miso Lime Sweet Potato Dip

Individual Highlights

  • Portobello Verde Tacos (NEW!)
  • Tropical Taco Salad
  • Sweet Potato Pudding (NEW!)
  • Mediterranean Quesadilla (NEW!)
  • Spicy Mango Quinoa Salad
  • Mexican Rice Soup (NEW!)
  • Miso Lime Sweet Potato Dip (NEW!)
  • Pina Colada Smoothie
  • Caribbean Black Bean Bowl
  • Curried Red Lentil Soup

Get this meal plan now.


Portobello Verde Tacos

Family Highlights

  • Sweet Potato Pudding (NEW!)
  • Veggie Club
  • Mexican Rice Soup (NEW!)
  • Pineapple Quinoa Salad
  • Caribbean Black Bean Soup
  • Portobello Verde Tacos (NEW!)
  • Miso Lime Sweet Potato Dip (NEW!)
  • Thai Basil Delight
  • Mediterranean Quesadilla (NEW!)
  • Ceci Spaghetti

Get this meal plan now.

Mexican Rice Soup

Testimonials

"Just spent $60 for all the ingredients for 7 BF, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners. HH meals ain't no joke!!"- Angela E

"I am obsessed with your meal plans! I've lost 30lbs in 4 months! I thought I would feel deprived and hungry, instead I am always full and happy. It is so much food! Plus all of my food is so darn PRETTY!! People at work ask me about my food all the time and compliment me about it. It's exciting every week to see what new things I will be trying. I also notice that I've saved a lot of money on groceries, which I thought would not be the case. Thank you for individual meal plans! They are a life saver!!" - Charis L

Get the current meal plan today.