I Changed My Diet, and My PMS Symptoms Went Away Immediately

Up until recently, my diet consisted of a lot of whatever I felt like eating at any particular moment. To me, food is tied to emotion—allowing for an excuse to indulge when I’m happy or sad, stressed or relaxed, hungry or just bored. Each feeling granted me the opportunity to gift myself with food, whether it was a celebration or a spiral. I acquiesced my sluggish, inflamed reaction to a processed and refined diet with an explanation in my head that food meant too much to me to deprive myself. I ate fried, glutinous entrées with abandon and spent all my money on delivery Chinese food. Now, I’m not here to tell you I love those foods any less. Food is still important to me, and that’s not going to change. Plus, indulgence is vital because balance is the real goal. But after a while, my body seemed to have had enough. I’m a few months away from my 30th birthday, and I suppose what they tell you about growing older is true: You can’t do the same things anymore and expect the same results. People have been talking up healthy foods my entire life and, unfortunately, the rumors are true. It's not a farce. The food I was eating was making me feel terrible, and that had nothing to do with weight. When it came down to it, I had to start taking care of my health.

That was around the same time I discovered Kacie Carter and Caitlin Sullivan, two women who own an L.A. restaurant and are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to nutrition and feel-good habits. I asked them for some guidelines as it pertains to food and overall health. You should give it a read; it’s been genuinely transformative. Then, I began to figure things out on my own terms. For me, that was cutting out processed foods (think most things that come in a package), refined oils and sugar, and cutting out gluten. It sounds intense, I know, but I'm not as strict about it as you'd think. I don't check to make sure sauces don't have gluten, and I'll eat natural sugars. What it is, though, is an overall shift to thoughtful eating and awareness. My diet now mostly consists of cold-water fish like salmon and cod, well-sourced meat, healthy fats like avocado and eggs, and tons of healing veggies including greens, mushrooms, and the like. I substitute butter and refined oils for ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil. I've never felt better. The thing is, these foods taste good. It's just making the decision to eat them over all the other stuff. 

Among positive developments like more energy, better sleep, and less bloating has been one huge payoff: My PMS symptoms have vanished completely. See, over the last year or so, I've felt a significant shift. I used to get the occasional cramp or breast soreness, but this was different. For two weeks (the week leading up to my period and the six or so days I menstruated), I would bloat up, feel excruciating cramps, have unbelievable soreness, and generally feel awful. I talked to an Ayurvedic doctor about the changes and he suggested I get my hormones checked. "If something feels different in your body, something's up," he told me. But then, the symptoms disappeared a few weeks after I altered the way I was eating. It was a shocking but welcome change, and I've genuinely never felt better. In order to better understand why this was happening (and make sure it wasn't some sort of placebo thing), I reached out to experts in the field. Below, nutritionists, doctors, and hormone experts explain exactly what was going on and why this outcome isn't a surprise.