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Does Eating Right Cause Irregular Periods?

Robyn Openshaw - May 24, 2009 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

I just read a highly controversial, really interesting article on Debbie Took’s raw food blog, about the possibility that when a woman eats a vegan, high-raw (mostly raw) diet, she may have irregular periods, very light and infrequent. Evidence is given and a number of professionals are quoted, that indigenous women don’t menstruate like modern Western women do, and that Western women who change their diet also change their menstruation. The question is asked, why are so many who are serious athletes or who eat a superb diet . . . not menstruating?


Because this has been my personal experience as well, I am fascinated by the theory. You have been taught over a lifetime that a period of heavy bleeding once a month is normal and healthy. So this may shake your testimony of that standard “wisdom.”


Although I do always see the obvious, regular signs of ovulation, I rarely have a period; when I do, it’s almost nothing; and the horrific cramps of my 20’s (when I ate a lousy diet) are completely gone.


I offer the link here, as well as a few paragraphs from the article following it, to offer alternative viewpoints and get you thinking–not to suggest this is the hard-and-fast truth:


Periods: They May Be Normal, But Are They Healthy?

“Health researchers and writers Leslie and Susanna Kenton found their periods changed after switching to a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables:

‘Women on an all-raw or high-raw diet often report that menstrual problems such as bloating, pre-menstrual tension and fatigue improve greatly after two or three months. For some of them the improvement is so dramatic that they are not aware of their periods until they arrive. This is something we discovered ourselves and at first we thought we were unique. Then we spoke to numerous other women who said they had had a similar experience. Heavy periods become lighter – a period that lasts six or seven days can be reduced to as few as one or two. In some women, particularly those who do not eat meat, dairy products or large quantities of nuts, periods even cease altogether.’

Bellgene Chung, who healed herself of cervical cancer, and believes raw food helped her do that, has researched menstruation and diet:

‘Menstruation (bleeding) is NOT a necessity following ovulation…We have been conditioned to believe that menstruation goes hand in hand with ovulation…Most women, including myself, experience menstruation because they are not truly clean on the inside…Menstruation is the body’s desperate attempt to free itself from toxins, and many females experience PMS in addition to the needless bleeding. Abdominal pain (cramping), headaches, fatigue and irritability do NOT signify an optimal state of health, yet most of us brush these symptoms off as the norm. If you feel such symptoms, this is how your body is communicating that it wants you to change what you are doing; we must listen to Nature’s messages…Presently, on a mainly raw diet, I do not even realize that I am menstruating until I feel moist and decide to take a peek’.”

Mull over whether, like so many other things in our education provided by the medical profession, our education was erroneous that irregular periods are something to fear.

Posted in: Health Concerns, Whole Food

14 thoughts on “Does Eating Right Cause Irregular Periods?”

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  1. Wow, that was interesting. Something to think about, for sure.

  2. I have read about this before and all I can say about it is: “Bring it on!”

    My periods have been very heavy for many years, so I’m looking forward to changes as my lifestyle changes. I must say that my PMS symptoms have all but disappeared on a mostly plant-based high raw whole foods diet, so I can well imagine that the nature of my periods will change as well. My journey is all about balancing my hormones and getting fertile, so I notice all the changes!

  3. Anonymous says:

    My experience with whole foods and menstruation has more to do with menopause than having periods. I was having regular periods each and every month at age 56. Age 56 is rather late in life to be having regular periods and I was tired of them. I started having them at age 11. Needless to say, I was very interested in what Dr Campbell had to say about indigenous women and their menstruation. They start their periods later than those girls in the west (age 17) and their periods end earlier in life (40’s). I had been having periods for 45 years, every month, unless I was nursing or pregnant!

    At age 56 I started on a whole food diet, eventually turning to a raw food diet and that is when I immediately stopped having my monthly periods! I thought that maybe I would have them sporadically until they stopped completely. But, NO. They quit completely when I was eating raw and haven’t returned, at all. What a blessing!

    I really believe that whole foods/raw foods DO effect our menstruation.

    1. Olena says:

      Hi! Could you give me the reference of where Dr Campbell has written about indigenous women’s menstruation please? Thanks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow! As a male, that was VERY interesting!

    Thanks for the post!

    There is SO much propaganda out there!


  5. Anonymous says:

    Everything I have read about this in the past has made no distinction between the cessation of menstruation and ovulation. I took this to mean that women on these diets were infertile, which to me sounded very unhealthy.

    The fact that this does distinguish between the two makes a huge difference to me and understanding that ovulation and fertility can still continue while menstruation ceases completely changes my opinion.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have a related question, which I’m not sure I’ve asked before.

    What forms of birth control do you feel are acceptable from a “GreenSmoothieGirl” point of view (not necessarily Robyn’s personal/moral views)?

    (My ideal form of birth control would be none – to just live and let life happen. But I had to go back to work 3 weeks after my last baby was born. To me, that is unacceptable, and it would be better to prevent more babies than have that happen again.)

    My guess is that from a GSG point of view, all hormonal methods, including localized ones like the NuvaRing and the Mirena IUD are out. I assume that the copper ParaGard IUD would also be out, since it releases copper and is a foreign body. I assume that vasectomy would not be ideal, since it interrupts a natural body system.

    What is the GSG perspective?

  7. http:// says:

    I would avoid the pill, yes, all hormonal methods. I don’t actually know much about birth control but have never used the chemical ones after age 22, since even though I didn’t have a well developed health philosophy or much knowledge at the time, I didn’t like what the pill did to me hormonally).

    I’d choose a vasectomy over bringing unwanted babies into the world OR chemical means.

    Condoms are as effective as anything.

    If they don’t bother you.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    This was very interesting article.

    I know that I suffered for a very long time with my TOMs but now that I have ditched all the chemicals in/around me, and started eating better and exercising more I have seen great improvement. I am psyched that with even better nutrition I could make them almost non-existent!

    I agree with the birth control. When I was in my twenties I tried to take the pill…never could remember to take it and hated how i felt when I took it. Then I tried the Depro shots…now I look back and say ” What were you thinking?!?!” Of course I felt horrible. They shot me full of enough whatever to cover 3 months at a time….I am just glad I did have enough common sense to realize that it was the shots that made me absolutely miserable, and I discontinued them. After that I just went with it… but then it took me 9 more years to have my third child, a little boy, by my husband now. I don’t know if he was having fertility problems, or I had some left over effects, but we tried for so long that we just had come to terms that it wasn’t going to happen. Then we got a wonderful surprise!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmm! There must be another way to teach our daughters to be safe. For me at 42 not wanting any more, and now single – its a daunting task to contemplate even getting into any relationships knowing that babies can easily occur. So the question is what safe ways are there to teach our daughters?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am a vegan and I always eat very healthily. I ride horses, and I run daily with my dog, but I have VERY heavy periods…… Why is that?

    1. Mel says:

      Vegan and raw are very different. Hwre they are talking aabout a low fat high carb vegan diet, that is plant based. Vegans can be junkfood vegans. Another thing to consider is the chemicals you might be around. If you use storebought cleaners that have chemicals, if you use a hormonal birth control or if you are eating vegan junkfood this could be why. I was vegetarian when i was young and a teenager and back then i had horrible periods but now that im eating vegan plant based and switching to home made natural cleaners my periods have become soooo much lighter. Im now starting to notice that they are getting furher apart now as well.

  12. KJ says:

    This is very interesting:D
    I honestly feel the same thing; from the past 13 years since I had my period (I am 28 btw :/) I always have an extreme pain a week before my period. The first is painful lumps around my breast then pain in my lower abdomen. In my first to second day, I have terrible pain in my lower back. I feel like I’m delivering a baby, I swear!
    Then two months ago, I decided to change my diet, because I wanna be fit and healthy. I eat a lot of fruits, nuts, low carbs diet really. I avoided oily foods, meat and heavy carbs. Then lots of running and water. I don’t drink soda and any beverages. Not an alcohol drinker nor smoker. So I am 100% into healthy intake.
    My period is very clean and light, it looks so fresh like I got cut from my skin haha. I don’t feel any pain at ALL, as in NADA. it’s amazing. I know it’s because of the food.

    So women, change our diet and live a healthy lifestyle.

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