As a ketogenic nutritionist who works mainly with women, there are 3 things every woman should know about her body. When you work with me as a private client I spend more than one hour and a half getting a comprehensive health history. This helps me put together a holistic (head to toe) picture of your health.
The devil in the detail
I will always ask about digestion, menstruation and/or menopause symptoms because they tell me so much about your hormones and any potential issues they might be causing you to have. Almost always, women will tell me that they have bloating but they didn’t think it was a problem because “everyone has bloating”.
Unfortunately bloating has become so common that it’s seen as just “one of those things that humans get”. Bloating along with symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, aches and pains, gas, reflux, lethargy and many more have become so common that people think they are normal. They are not normal but they are common. These 3 things women should know about their body, have the potential to change your health forever.
3 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Body
These are the 3 things every woman should know about her body that are common but absolutely not normal. The myths are:
1. Bloating is normal ⛔️
NO! Bloating is definitely not normal. It has become so common that it might seem like it’s normal because so many people have it. I see women on instagram doing great work showing what normal bodies look like, how we all have stretch marks and skin folds. However when I see them saying that bloating is normal I cannot help comment every time. Yes, it’s common but not normal.
Bloating is a symptom of a gut that needs help. Antibiotic and steroid use fundamentally changes the balance of gut bacteria which can cause bloating. A diet that doesn’t suit your body can cause bloating, too much fibre or not enough fibre depending on your individual needs. Stress also has a hugely negative impact on gut health.
Bloating can be a sign of low digestive enzymes, stomach acid that isn’t working very well or an intolerance to a certain food or food group. It always needs to be investigated.
A great first step is switching to a ketogenic diet which by nature is inherently anti-inflammatory. A well formulated ketogenic diet is also deeply nutritious and packed with protein that is protective and helps your body regenerate.
It also has plenty of collagen and glutamine (from bone broth) from animal foods that help heal the gut. Many women see a massive improvement in just a few weeks after switching to a Protein Priority Keto diet.
2. PMS is normal ⛔️
NO! PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is a cluster of symptoms that many women experience. These symptoms are usually seen as a signal that your period is imminent and while yes, technically that is true, PMS is a massive red flag that your hormones are imbalanced and need to be managed.
Symptoms of PMS include (but are not limited to)
- Mood swings
- Feeling anxious or irritable
- tiredness or trouble sleeping
- Stomach pain
- Breast tenderness or pain
- Spotty skin not just on your face
- Greasy hair
- Craving for carbs or other junk food
- Low appetite or big appetite
- No sex drive or noticeable increase in libido
- Brain fog
These are all hormonal symptoms and not normal. Some women experience something called “period flu”. This cluster of symptoms can feel exactly like the real flu:
- Low grade fever
- Abdominal pain
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Join pain
This is a symptom that there is an imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is an anti-inflammatory hormone and helps control histamine. If progesterone is low, it can’t manage histamine as it normally does and you get these symptoms. Almost like an allergic reaction to your period.
PMS is your body screaming that your hormones are out of balance and you need some support to fix that imbalance. Starting a ketogenic diet helps massively because of the anti-inflammatory nature of the diet.
If your body needs help to clear excess oestrogen, keto helps this process by healing your liver. If your liver is struggling to perform all its jobs, you start to see symptoms like oestrogen dominance or low progesterone. These imbalances often sort themselves out once you start eating keto.
2. Perimenopause and Menopause symptoms are normal ⛔️
This one gets a huge NO NO NO! Definitely not normal. Menopause symptoms are actually a Western phenomenon caused by Western lifestyle and diet. Menopause is the time when your ovaries start to slow down production of oestrogen, your fat cells are supposed to take over the job. This is why many perimenopausal or menopausal women gain some fat around the belly and hips. That is your new oestrogen factory.
However if your fat cells are unhealthy from a long term diet high in seed oils and trans fats (processed food) then they can’t produce enough oestrogen or enough good quality oestrogen to seamlessly take over the job of your ovaries. So you get these life altering symptoms that can really stop you enjoying your life.
If you switch to a well formulated, protein prioritised ketogenic diet your fat cells go through a magnificent transformation. As you switch to fat as the primary source of calories your old, unhealthy fat cells empty their toxic contents.
This initial period when your body is healing can be really rough for some people but once you’re through this healing crisis, the amazing changes start to happen. The unhealthy fat cells in your body are replaced with healthy fat that can generate the proper quantity and quality of oestrogen needed and the hot flushes, brain fog and lethargy slowly dissipate.
Time to Heal Your Body
None of these changes happen overnight. Any “diet” that promises quick results is selling snake oil. It takes time for your body to adjust to the new way of eating, to renew and regenerate damaged cells and proteins being the job of rebalancing your system. Eating enough, paying attention to food quality, getting good sleep and plenty of light and hydration help speed up this process.
If you’re interested in getting started on keto, you can download my free one page Protein Priority Keto Diet Cheat Sheet by clicking on the button below.