Former vegan in her 30s claims her plant-based diet brought on early menopause
A former vegan has spoken of how her plant-based diet brought on her early menopause.
Virpi Mikkonen, 39, began suffering from telltale hot flushes and missing periods during the start of 2018, when she was just 37.
Mikkonen, who is known as Vanelja to her 165,000 followers on Instagram, has written four cookbooks based around plant-based eating.
But she had to modify her diet after a blood test showed her follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels had shot up to the point associated with menopause.
Perimenopause, the time when menopause symptoms begins to occur, usually starts later, in a woman’s forties.
READ MORE: What to expect during menopause
“It was a huge thing to think, this is where my fertility stops,” she told the Mail Online.
"You think you’re still young and then suddenly the doctor says, 'You are in the menopause! You have to start taking HRT!’”
After seeking advice from a Chinese medicine specialist, she was advised to start eating animal products every day.
Mikkonen has now incorporated bone broth, chicken and eggs – which she used to refer to as “miscarriages of chickens” – into her diet.
However, she insists her experience wasn’t just down to her vegan diet, but the combination of her eating habits and her stressful lifestyle.
"It doesn’t work for everyone. It didn’t work for me.
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"The problem was not being vegan, per se, it was the vegan diet and my stressful lifestyle.
“I was working a lot, I had produced four books in two years. It was crazy. No wonder I had burn-out.”
Mikkonen says her periods have now returned, and she feels much healthier.
“It’s amazing. I feel energetic, motivated. I’m sleeping better, the hot flushes and aching in my body have stopped,” she said.
Earlier this year, a vegan influencer fell under fire after fans allegedly found footage of her eating fish.
Spotting she was being filmed, the influencer tried to hide the fish she was eating.
On Mendoza’s Instagram profile, her fans were quick to hit up her comment sections with fish emojis and ‘fake!’ cries, while others trolled her personal Facebook page accusing her of exploiting the vegan lifestyle, and damaging its reputation.