I'm a newbie to the Paleo way. In my first month of eating Paleo (I actually am eating a hyperlipid diet, so I do high-fat dairy), I noticed my cravings for sugar really fluctuated during the month and were very strong over a few days.
I was wondering whether this is due to my menstrual cycle at all. Has anyone else experienced waxing and waning sugar/carb cravings, and mapped them onto their cycle at all?
My cycles have been MUCH easier since going primal/paleo. I still get unbearably hungry for a couple days a month, and mild cravings for sweets. But overall, cycles are much, much better. Been p/p for about a year.
I'm definitely much more hungry in the days leading up to menstruation. If I try to ignore the hunger and eat a normal/usual amount, then there are strong sugar cravings. If I feed the hunger with protein or fat, the sugar cravings are much less. So, for me at least, the sugar cravings are the consequence of not feeding the hunger.
I've been p/p for almost two years. My cycles have greatly improved. I've started IF (14 hours a day with 2-3 meals in the remaining 10 hours) three weeks ago and adding some daily magnesium supplementation (quite honestly, this wasn't really well planned as I just thought I'd use up what I had left sitting around because it makes my drinking water taste a bit lemony which I like in the summertime), and I was actually caught off guard with my period this time around. I wasn't really paying attention to the dates and didn't have most of the usual symptoms this time.
The drop in serotonin in the days preceding a menstrual cycle are what causes the carb/sweet cravings and irritability. Low serotonin is necessary to induce ovulation, but that doesn't mean you can't do something about it! Do yourself a favor and eat foods high in tryptophan such as dark chocolate, eggs, pumpkin seeds, meat and potatoes. Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin and having a steady supply of it will hopefully keep you from binging on unhealthy SAD foods.
I have not by any means gone totally paleo, but I have really reduced grains/wheat/processed crap/vegetable oils etc... and greatly increased high quality fats.
My pms symptoms were greatly eased. I would get mild cravings for sweets, but eating more fat often did the trick. I just had to be conscious to choose brie over licorice. ;) I think my mood swings improved greatly, as did the PMS headaches.
Your menstrual cycle (on a SAD diet) kind of messes with your already messed with hormones, I understand that it's different for anyone what effect this has. (Some get grumpy, I get teary. I get cravings, some dont). But whatever the effect, it should improve after some more time eating paleo. Paleo will normalize your hormones, thus normalizing it along the length of your cycle.
If it doesn't improve next month then you might want to drop some of that dairy. (I'm fine with butter but things like yoghurt can mess with me.)
I had some small uterine fibroids that were causing some heavy cycles and after about a year, the fibroids were not detectable during my routine check-up and my cycles are much, much lighter. I am taking my savings on feminine hygiene supplies and putting it towards grass fed meats.
Sugar cravings aren't related to menstrual cycle. I got sugar cravings when I was SAD. and sad. After I stopped eating sugar, I generally stopped craving it. I don't really crave anythinng really. Just the occasional drink. Not related to menstruation.
My general hunger level is influence by my monthly cycles. I tend to get very hungry about 2 to 4 days before. THen about 1 day before or maybe the same day, I lose much of my appetite and that continues for several days. This was more pronounced when I ate more of a SAD diet and seem less pronounced now that I am eating paleo, but there is still a pattern there. However, it seems to work out fine in the long run. I just eat more for a few days and then less for a few days.
I've read that female metabolism takes a little jump the week before our periods, which can account for the jump in hunger. I get more hungry than usual that week, but i don't have specific cravings really. I'm just more hungry. I'll just eat a little more during that week. I've always been that way, and the extra munching during that week has never caused a weight gain. I've only been Paleo (plus some milk in my coffee once a day) for 3 months. My current cycle has been terrible. Just more PMS, bloating/water retention, and (this is normal for me) a dip in my athletic performance. I'm hoping my cycles improve as I say primal/paleo. I've tend to cycle over the year with my periods being awful (like this time) to not-so-bad, to Wow I feel Great and OH there's my Period and have none of the usual warning signs.
Hormones can make us do/feel weird things. It's just the greatest, huh?