It's been a while since I've written in this space but I've made some discoveries, or one major one, rather, and I'd like to share my experience in the case that someone out there may be reading. Perhaps this might provide some information that they've been looking for.
In previous health updates, I shared my frustrations with hair shedding, spotty skin and painful menstrual cycles. I'm happy to report that after a lot of trial and error, I've figured out the reasons for the spotty skin and painful periods. The culprit? Soy.
This discovery both thrilled me and saddened me. I love soy. I love tempeh and I love tofu and they were a big part of my diet. Which is probably why they were wreaking so much havoc-- I had a lot of the stuff. There is a lot of conflicting research out there, soy has a positive effect on hormones, soy has a negative effect on hormones. It never occurred to me to eliminate it.
Since the summer, I experienced a lot of breakouts on my lower back, breakouts that wouldn't really pop or go away as well as a lot of breakouts on my neck. It eventually became something that I was extremely self conscious of. In addition, I was having periods so painful that I had to take off work. I was bed bound and nothing helped. No amount of hot water bottles would relieve the cramps. Periods like these are highly unusual for me. I had ultrasounds done, blood tests. Everything came up clean. I was stumped.
I had taken to eating my grape nuts with soy milk, every day pretty much, and one day, I had this epiphany. What if it was the soy? I started doing some research and as mentioned, I came up with lots of different opinions. I asked my gynecologist if it could be a cause, and he had no comment on the issue. I decided I would try it. I eliminated the soy milk and stopped consuming tofu. I have to say, my skin started clearing up immediately. My lower back and neck, while scarred are now completely smooth and the best part is, the last two periods have been really really smooth and I must say, normal. It might be too soon to tell, but I'm going to keep laying off the soy and see how things continue. It's hard to keep eliminating things from my already vegan diet, first nightshades, now soy, but I think I'm getting closer and closer to understanding what works and what doesn't work for my body.
As for my hair.... This is the last piece in this very complex puzzle of mine. It has been frustrating and depressing me for nearly two years. I have lost pretty much half of my hair. Not only is it thinning but it is visibly thinning. I can not express how sad this makes me. I no longer think it is due to a vitamin deficiency. The last six months have been stressful for me, it might have caused more damage, but that can't be the initial cause. The latest step that I've been taking is to two fold. Firstly, Im tracking all of my calories on cronometer, to make sure that I am getting enough calories. Sometimes it feels like Im eating a lot but really, I barely hit the 2000 calorie goal on a daily basis. I go most days without eating a proper dinner. I might very well have been starving my body without even knowing it. That has to change. Secondly, I'm going to focus more on getting a good balance of macros- not just carbohydrates but fats and proteins. I've been on the McDougall plan for a long time and being an all or nothing person, it's hard for me to eat fat at this point as it makes me thing I'm doing things wrong or that I'll regain weight. On the other hand, I believe that all of our bodies are different, and no two bodies run the same. I may need more protein and/or fat to thrive than other people. And that is just going to have to be fine. I'm going to keep the oil at bay but I will incorporate more avocados and such and see how things go from there.