Here’s an interesting question from a Paleo Plan reader…
I have been Paleo for about a year and half and it has been the best decision I’ve made! I’ve been working out for about 3 years and started Crossfit about 3 months ago. I feel great most of the time and do it everyday. My only concern is that I haven’t had my period in a long time. I’m 18 and I first got it when I was like 13. But only had it a couple times. I wonder if you know of anything I should or shouldn’t be doing, working out to much, not enough carbs? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to effect me in any other way.
First of all, I’m so glad you found Paleo at such a young age! Man, I wish I’d known about it when I was 18. My life would’ve been COMPLETELY different!
Anyway, about your period, or lack thereof, it could be caused by a lot of things, but that’s something I would definitely get checked out by a gynecologist. It may be cysts or a tumor or something else in there causing the problem. I don’t mean to scare you – I just think it’s better to be safe than sorry.
However, I’d be willing to bet it’s one or a combo of these things:
1. Not enough fat
2. Not enough calories
3. Too much exercise
4. Too much stress
Because you say that you do CrossFit every day (I think that’s what you meant…), I’m wondering if it’s not just too much exercise. But if you’re underweight, that may be causing the problem all on its own. If you’re overweight and having this issue, then I’d lean more toward a thyroid/sex hormone imbalance, which a good holistic doctor or naturopath would be able to diagnose for you.
Anyway, I’d start experimenting with one of those things on the list at a time. I’d start with adding more fat into your diet for a month and see if it helps. I had a client who hadn’t had her period in a very long time (also an avid exerciser), and after I suggested she eat more fat, she miraculously started getting her period again within a month. Your body needs fat to make sex hormones, so it’s not surprising.
So add coconut oil, coconut milk, meat fats (tallow, lard, bacon grease, fattier cuts of meat), avocados, and bone marrow (just boil bones in water overnight and make broth for soups – it’s super easy). Add one or more of those things to your daily routine. I don’t know what your weight situation is, so if you need to gain weight, then just add the fat without taking anything else away. If you don’t need to gain weight, and in fact you need to lose weight, then substitute a couple hundred calories of fat a day for a couple hundred calories of protein and see if that helps.
That should at least help you get started. But go to the doctor, too. Just be aware… they’ll probably tell you to go on birth control pills to mask the problem, but you can just tell them you’d like to experiment with your diet before taking pharmaceuticals.
If the addition of fat doesn’t help, then you’ll need to start looking at calories and the exercise bit. You may just need to eat more or exercise less or both, unfortunately. Overexercising and undereating are a perfect recipe for adrenal blowout and thyroid issues in your future, and you do NOT want either of those things. So let’s get this figured out now!
Ok, hope that helps!