“Girl Talk” – The Ketogenic lifestyle and your menstrual cycle

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Grilled salmon fillet fish steak with lemon on white plate
Grilled salmon fillet fish steak with lemon on white plate Designed by Freepik

HOW DID THE KETOGENIC DIET ORIGINATE?

The Ketogenic diet, a regime severely restricting carbohydrates and providing most of energy from fats, has become a mainstream way of life for many people who suffer from several chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. This regimen, which replicates eating habits of Inuit and nomad tribes in time of winter, was brought back to life by scientists and doctors wishing to treat people suffering from diabetes and Epileptic seizures.

After having been popularized by the famous Dr. Atkins in the 1990s, and then having lost
much of its lust, the ketogenic diet has gained back popularity among the athletes and the
general population alike. Today, this diet is being used for people with Migraines, Epileptic
seizures, Parkinson’s, dementia, Alzheimer’s, glucose metabolic dysfunctions (Diabetes type 1 & 2, insulin resistance) and PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome).

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE KETOGENIC DIET?

The health benefits of staying on this diet go a long way. Other long-term variants include
improved metabolic functioning, decreased medical care and expenses, being more efficient
time wise and having an easier prep and a multitude of underlying health benefits.

In comparison to high protein diets, a ketogenic diet is not only more affordable, but also
reduces food preparation time (in comparison to a balanced diet or high protein diet) . The
ketogenic diet not only helps to fix one’s metabolism but it utilizes one’s own fat storage to
work off as fuel for the body to utilize for energy. Once having reached a state of ketosis and maintained it, the ketogenic diet has anti-aging properties that increases longevity when introduced with intermittent fasting. The ketogenic diet not only is one of the most
scientifically proven diets to significantly reduce belly fat but it also helps lower insulin for
people who have genetic issues or conditions resulting in insulin sensitivity. In the long run the Keto way of life will significantly reduce a plentitude of health issues leaving one’s health to improve overall and also improving cognitive functioning and thereby reduces the tempered effects of brain for whereby a person feels confusion, has a hard time with memory and lacks focus which is all a symptom of bad habits and lifestyle choices in diet and exercise.

KETOSIS AND YOUR PERIOD

The Ketogenic lifestyle has made its comeback for various advantageous reasons however long term research in this area is limited, especially when dealing with the hormonal effects on women when menstruating. Nonetheless, hormones have a direct link to effect a woman
physiological state when facing the cycle of either menstruating, pre and post pregnancy, premenopause, etc. Let’s look at some of the factors and how a ketogenic diet can affect women while on their period.

WHAT IS PMS (Pre-Menstrual cycle)?

PMS starts 1-2 weeks prior to your period in the first half of your menstrual cycle. It is caused by an onset of a change in hormonal activity whereby adverse symptoms may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Bloating & water retention
  • Spotted acne
  • Fatigue & Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Food cravings
  • Breast tenderness

WHAT HAPENS TO THE BODY?

Before menstruation, the uterus lining breaks and sheds, estrogen levels spike and then
decrease once ovulation is reached. During menstruation, you may feel that you have a lack of energy and suffer from aches and pains. Your body experiences a surge in energy expenditure due to an increase in testosterone and estrogen production. Near the end of the menstrual phase, progesterone increases and metabolic as well as digestive functions return to normal.

This sudden and significant increase in energy demand leads to craving before, during or after their period in about 40% of women. It is estimated that these craving push women to increase their daily caloric intake by as much as 400 Calories (400 kcal), leading to an increase in body fat. Since it perceives low glucose and protein levels as low food availability, the body ceases to produce food craving signals and stops feeding from muscle protein during a ketogenic diet. Following a low-carbohydrate Ketogenic diet therefore helps women to normalize & regulate their hormones, it also helps to decrease period symptoms over time and most women find it easier to deal with cravings before the period commences. Tips to help while on your period:

  • Do not bother with your weight as water retention is likely higher than normal
  • Stay on track with your diet. Meal planning is essential and having a macro-friendly
    keto “cheat”’ as a backup plan can help you from gorging on hundreds of useless
    calories from carbohydrates.
  • Use dietary supplements: Vitamin B1 (helps to maintain a healthy nervous system, for
    those in ketosis state, you can find this in Nutritional yeast), vitamin B6 (helps to
    produce amino acids therefore increasing energy during your flow) and lastly
    magnesium (to help alleviate menstrual cramping and pain)
  • Hit the sauna (heat posed on the lower back can help to increase blood flow therefore
    alleviate back pain)
  • Hit the gym and do a boot camp session (sweating can help to alleviate cramps and
    water retention as well)

HOW CAN WOMEN GET STARTED TO FOLLOW A KETOGENIC WAY OF LIFE

The ketogenic diet can be confusing to most people as it defeats the way people were once
told how to eat by by health practitioners which consisted of avoiding health fats and eating
low fat diets. Following a low carbohydrate and high fat diet can be confusing so you would
want to keep your macronutrients at a percentage of your food consumption to 75% fat, 20 % protein and 5% carbohydrates that is sustained from the fibrous vegetable in your diet plan.

For a diet plan on the Ketogenic way of life, you can write me @ pioneerprofitness.com

About the Author

Monica Gurcha is a former Police officer for Montreal Police, she graduated her studies at
Concordia university Majoring in a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & Psychology. Monica
has been training for over 20 years delving into Martial arts; Judo, running marathons &
Sprinting, Swimming and Bodybuilding. Monica’s expertise is in frontline Crisis &
Intervention and psycho- social analyzation of mental health and psychological disorders.
Monica is also the creator of an online coaching company called Pioneerprofitness.com

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