Freelee the Banana Girl seemed so excited to tell her YouTube following how she lost her monthly period.
It happened “when I first came to a 100 per cent raw vegan diet,” the popular Australian health blogger said in a 2013 video called “How I lost my period on a RAW VEGAN diet”.
“And as soon as I came into the lifestyle, like, within the first month, I lost my period. It was gone.
“And I was like, ‘Yes, get out of here. I don’t want to see you ever again. Don’t come back now, you hear?'”
She was happy to be rid of all the nastiness that make many women hate their periods – the heavy blood flow, the cramps, the depression.
“At the end of the day if you’re having a heavy period, then get on a 100 per cent high carb raw vegan diet as soon as you can,” she said in the video.
But some physicians are not happy that vegan and raw food bloggers such as Banana Girl are telling their online followers that extremely tweaking their diets will release them from the “curse” of painful periods.
Some bloggers claim that heavy periods are a sign of toxins in the body.
“A non-menstruating body indicates the body is clean,” raw vegan blogger Miliany Bonet recently told Broadly, Vice’s women’s interest channel.
“If a woman or young girl decided she wanted to stop menstruating or lighten up her heavy periods, then I would recommend a raw foods diet to help them with that.
“The industry has done a great job of brainwashing too many women into thinking that if they do not get their periods on a monthly basis, that something is wrong with their body and hormones.”
Bonet, who is 19, runs the Raw Vegan Living blog.
There is no scientific basis to the idea that a period indicates the body is shedding toxins, Lauren Streicher, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told Shape magazine.
“A menstrual cycle is natural – the purpose of it is to achieve a pregnancy. That’s it. Period,” Streicher said.
Obstetrician-gynaecologist Jen Gunter, author of The Preemie Primer, also pushed back against the notion that periods are toxic.
“This is a very dangerous idea and displays a complete lack of understanding of female biology and the human body in general,” Gunter told The Daily Mail.
“Periods are not bad or filled with toxins. This trend is alarming because it comes from someone who clearly has no understanding of periods or even biology in general and is just another form of body shaming.
“Dieting to get rid of your period is unhealthy and anyone promoting this should be ashamed of themselves and take a first year biology course.”
Followers of these bloggers challenging conventional thinking about menses are receptive to the idea of ditching their periods.
Several commenters, for instance, on a 2015 YouTube video called “I lost my period on a vegan diet”, wrote how they, too, hadn’t had a period – or had lighter periods – after switching to a vegan lifestyle.
“After eating a well-balanced vegan-diet for one year, I have not had my period for a year,” wrote one woman.
For many women, however, not having a period is a medical problem, Jacques Moritz, an obstetrician-gynaecologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told Self magazine.
He said many of his patients see him because they’re not having periods on a regular basis. “Aiming for no periods makes no sense,” Mortiz told Self.
Missing a period can put a woman at risk for bone loss and other problems, including an abnormal buildup in the lining of the uterus that “can become cancerous down the road,” Streicher told Shape. “There’s nothing good about not getting your period.”