Friday, May 18, 2012

Another positive (ladies-only) side effect of Paleo/Primal

pmsIf you have read any of my other posts, you'll realize I'm a woman. I'm 29, so I'm still in my reproductive years. Put two and two together, and you can guess that I have a week out of every month that I reeeeally don't look forward to. Guys (and squeamish women), you can go ahead and stop reading now.

Ladies, there's more after the jump.

Okay, are they gone? Alright! Let's talk about periods!

Let me set up the story for you: Last year, I had an IUD placed. There are currently two choices available in America: Paragard and Mirena. I chose Paragard because it was cheap (my insurance covered it 100%), it lasts a long time (10 years), and it doesn't have hormones like Mirena. Considering the reason I wanted an IUD is because the hormones in my pills were making me moody and tired, Paragard was a no-brainer.

My OB-GYN warned me that due to the fact that Paragard is made of copper, my periods might be heavier and I might have more cramping for a few months, just until my body got used to it being there. I smiled and nodded, thinking I'd just have to spend a little more time with Mr. Heating Pad and I'd be fine.

Well, no.

I was in SO. MUCH. PAIN. It felt like someone wearing golf cleats was stepping on my back. I actually had to buy "ultra" tampons. I didn't even know they freaking made "ultra" tampons. I had to wear "overnight" pads for the first time in my life. I popped Midol like nobody's business just to get through the day, and I felt a little anemic by the time everything was over. Luckily, my cycle's on the long side and I only had to deal with this every 5 weeks. No fun.

When my husband and I first started discussing going Paleo/Primal, I read a lot of testimonials. I was inspired by the stories of weight loss, more energy, better skin and a more positive attitude. But in one or two women's stories, I read about something else that really appealed to me: lighter periods with less cramping! What? Sign me up!

I didn't know for sure whether I'd experience those positive effects when Aunt Flow came to town, but I sure hoped they did. Well, my monthly visitor showed up the day before yesterday, and let me tell you, it's true!

I had some cramping the day before, but nothing like I've experienced in the past year. They were uncomfortable more than anything. The day it started, I had to take one dose of Midol. That's it. My flow is also lighter, too. No need for "ultra" tampons or overnight pads.

I haven't been nearly as cranky as I usually am. I was a little snippy, but it was easier to dial it back and regain control of my emotions. I'm sure my husband and son appreciate that. And while I was previously exhausted all day long during my time of the month, yesterday I had tons of energy. I took the dog and the baby for a walk, I ran errands, we played outside, and I felt great. I finally pooped out after making dinner, but that was pretty good, in my opinion.

 And let's not forget the PMS cravings! I used to know when my period was going to start because I would get really pissy and demand a hot fudge sundae from McDonald's. That was the ONLY day each month that I craved one.

This month? I had one piece of Dove dark chocolate last night and the night before. That's it. I haven't been eating sweets much otherwise, so I gave in, and I was happy with one tiny square of chocolate.

It's things like this that convince me Paleo is really how we should be eating. Think of our ancestors. A hunter-gatherer woman would've been at a huge disadvantage every month if she was in excruciating pain for 5 days and bleeding everywhere (sorry for the mental image). She couldn't stay in bed with a heating pad and a bag of pretzel M&M's and cry. She had to keep her kids safe, she had to find food, she had to travel with her tribe. Why would evolution make women suffer for a total of about 2 months every year? It doesn't make sense.

Yes, I am aware the cramps are caused by the uterus contracting to shed its lining. I understand the physiology of a woman's reproductive organs. But the excessive symptoms most modern women experience? I think in many cases (not all), eating like a cavewoman could prevent them. Score one for Paleo!

Image via pixel pro photography south africa/Flickr

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