Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A month without tears - keeping it real.

This is a topic that's frequently discussed amongst women, so why not bring it to the blogging table...its a lot of sharing for please be gentle with your comments (or I'll bite!!)

It's that dreaded PMS

I have always suffered from bad PMS. I cant deny it, I turn into an evil, tongue-slashing, fiery mess.  I start to get more sensitive, less patient, extremely irritable.... and in the name of KEEPING IT REAL here, even think mean thoughts about passersby!!! Seriously!  I can't describe how horrible I am. Every month it lasts for around 10 days but there is always one day I am at my worst... my poor hubby and the kids make themselves scarce so I can wallow in my own self pity.

And guess what, I DONT want to be like that. I hate feeling that way.

I also crave for dairy, chocolate, sugar, anything comforting.  I will actually stand in front of the fridge using massive amounts of willpower to stop myself drinking milk straight from the bottle (yes, Im dairy intolerant so that would just make me physically ill too!)

My sister in law told me, you never appreciate how bad your own pms is until you see it in your daughter... well that's going to be very scary!

BUT, there's actually a good side to this post....

A week before Christmas last year I found this awesome kiwi blog Craving Fresh, and I read this AWESOME book she recommended by Michael Pollan, called In Defense of Food, it is probably the best book about 'what we eat' I have EVER read - it will change your life. I have also bought his book, Food Rules.
I followed the links to this great blog Modern Alternative Mama and this book too, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. All of this is based on the Weston Price Foundation research. And to me - it just makes sense.
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
I have a friend who is very much into eating natural unprocessed foods so she was a great person to chat to about it (miss you Jacqui :( ).

And so I stopped eating processed grains and sugar (yeah I know, my diet is already very limited being gluten, dairy and egg intolerant!).  It was really tough at first...sugar is super hard to give up! I bought some raw honey and whenever the craving hit I would have a wee teaspoon of that...because at least it was unrefined and natural. After a few weeks it didn't bother me so much. Fruit tasted sweeter, everything tasted better!

A month later something really unusual happened.... 'that' time of the month arrived and I was caught totally off guard. I'm not one to take notice of dates etc (there's enough school stuff to remember without a red circle on my calendar!) so was a bit shocked but figured it was probably just early or something.  Then the next month arrived... hello, something was a bit off kilter...

I mean, for two months I went through my normal 10 days of misery without even noticing!! Seriously!! I didn't have ANY symptoms of pms AT ALL!

How could this be?  My doctor told me I had a really bad version of PMS, PMDD (Pre menstrual dysphoric disorder)that required me to take anti depressants for 2 weeks of the month... which I didnt.  Look it up, it means you are basically the crappiest at dealing with Pms each month. And I went from that... to NOTHING!

And then, I ate some sugar... and ate some more, and then I started putting back in more processed grains... and more (gluten free dairy free egg free cardboard bread can become addictive too!) and before you know it... I am back to square one.

So how could a few weeks without eating processed grains and SUGAR, have such a profound effect on my symptoms?

I think I am REALLY sensitive to sugar and grains. Ive already shown I can't tolerate gluten...celiacs will do that to you!  But I think its more than that.  My hormones are totally off kilter with processed, refined foods.

So, its back to cutting out those foods again because I enjoyed the 'nice' me waaaayyy more than I enjoy cardboard bread and sugar.

The downside is eating such a limited diet is very anti-social! Anyone keen to have me over to eat???? haha.... I am happy with salad!


jacksta said...

well at least now you kinda know what foods make it worse.
I think we better stick to sushi when you are around my place next!

Widge said...

I noticed I had non existent pms symptoms when I took the sugar shock challenge too. hhhmmmm

have you heard about those 30 plus supplements from the health store? I have been meaning to try them, but they are expensive. Friends I know have had awesome results with them though.

Kim Archer said...

Hey Leonie
Thanks for visiting my blog this morning and leaving a comment:) I followed the links and here I am on your blog!

And what a great first post I have just read here...I went through a healthy living program last year and one of the things was to eliminate sugar from my diet. I had headaches and felt dreadful for two weeks as the toxins left my body! BUT after that I felt SO GOOD. As you mentioned, food tasted better, and I just felt so much better.

I think it's so exciting and wonderful that by eliminating sugar and grains you have also eliminated those dreadful sounding PMS days each cycle. Well done :) and have a lovely Wednesday.
KIM Archer

Neetz said...

For some reason I haven't suffered with PMS ((yet anyway)). Perhaps it is having only one ovary and less hormones in my system or something?? who knows?? I know I would be hell to live with if I did have it!! haha.
Anyway extreme loves to you during your 10 days! And like Jacks said, at least you have a fair idea of what makes it worse.
You know what...I find it REALLY REALLY hard to imagine you in full blown Pms ... but I totally feel for you as I have a few really good friends who suffer terribly with it.
Great post! xx

PaisleyJade said...

So interesting - maybe I seriously need to look into this as my pms is horrible! p.s. sorry if my suger filled truffle sent you over the edge yesterday ;)

Karen Wilson said...

I recently read In Defence of Food too. After about page 10 I never wanted to eat magarine again.... but of course next trip to the supermarket, all is forgotten and old habits kick in. It's really hard to change habits, specially when you have a hubby who is resistent to change.

A few years ago I read Potatos Not Prozac, which is all about kicking sugar as well and upping your protien (although I never really got the potato bit). I got processed sugar out of my diet for months I think and really noticed the mood changes. I don't suffer bad PMS, but have a general mild depression. Being off the sugar meant that I was more level headed and less emotional when I struck struck stressful situations. I didn't have such major panic attacks when something didn't go right and I didn't crash so low when I got sad.

I really should look at my sugar levels again. Cutting out processed sugar and simple carbs really does make the world a better place to be!

Good luck with your diet journey.

Tanya said...

I would cook something delicious for you- love a challenge in the kitchen. I too am similar and notice a massive change when I am off certain foods, get complacent...get back to square one. Why do I repeat this pattern over and over? I think it's party the 'i feel so good, surely it's not really sugar/ gluten' (whatever) that effects me.

Little Gumnut said...

That's amazing Leonie! I often crave sugar on the first day of my period. I'll eat anything, even cooking chocolate or leftover icing.

The South African Kiwis said...

Leonie, your company is so totally worth the minute amount of extra effort it takes to find a recipe compatible with your diet!
And poor you - ten days!?! I only ever had the one day and that was awful enough!
Big hugs!

Helen said...

Going to jot down those titles and take a look, methinks. I get horrible PMT too - and I *know* I am addicted to sugar! TFS :)

Sammy said...

It's crazy the effect our diet has on us, its great that you found out what affects you.
I am going to have a look at that info- thanks!

Simoney said...

Eek! I am sucky monster when it comes to PMS!
Just yesterday I had a bit of a meltdown... I mean, I cry at EVERYTHING at this time of the month! I cried when Rory told me the neighbours kicked up a fuss about the height of our fort. i cried when I couldn't make the pancakes right on saturday morning. I cried when there were too many shoes and toys spilled down the hall and I had no energy to pick them up. Then I realised it was THAT TIME of the month!
Watch out, I said to hubby. Aunty Flo is on her way. She always makes me crabby. So, sugar huh!!??! Hmmm. Will have to look into that one!

Jolie said...

I've been told I'm PMDD as well, so I completely feel your pain. That's amazing what an impact cutting out sugar has though - good for you for doing the research, and it looks like you've found something that works!

Meg said...

I have never heard of this. Why have I never heard of this? Argh I am so with you with the grumping and the eating heaps. Going to request those books now. x