Meet FreeLee the Banana girl.
She’s 34, she’s from Adelaide, and she has over 77,000 Facebook likes and almost 221,000 YouTube followers.
The social media personality is also making headlines this week — because the self-proclaimed diet guru has made some startling online claims that have made a lot of people very, very angry.
‘Menstruation is toxicity leaving the body’
In one controversial video on her popular YouTube channel, FreeLee — who’s dedicated to promoting a high-fruit, vegan lifestyle — appears to boast about losing her period.
“As soon as I came onto the raw lifestyle, within a month I lost my period. It went away for nine months and then I fell off the wagon and I started eating a high-fat, vegan diet and my period came back,” she says in the video, as the Daily Mail reports.
“Now some people say it’s bad and unhealthy and you need your period but is it? All I can go on is my instincts and my feeling at the time that it felt good. It felt right, and at the time I think it need to happen for my body to balance out,” she says.
“There are a lot of different opinions on this and I don’t claim to have all the answers. What I do believe to be healthy is a light flow…. and not painful,” she adds.
“I still believe that largely menstruation is toxicity leaving the body. So a lot of women are having these heavy painful periods because they have a toxic body or a toxic diet, and the body’s trying to eliminate that toxicity and get it out.”
But her message has been criticised by experts and commenters alike — with the CEO of the national peak body for eating disorders warning that viewers should ‘avoid listening to untrained advice.”
CEO of The Butterfly Foundation Christine Morgan tells Mamamia today: “Excluding food groups or putting your body through any sort of nutritional deprivation can cause harm.”
“A woman’s body is designed to work in a certain way and has a natural purpose that powers you through your day-to-day life. Anyone who promotes or endorses behaviour that is going to adversely affect the natural workings of your body is irresponsible, and should be ignored,” Ms Morgan says.
“Restricted, sporadic or the complete cessation of your menstrual cycles is a clear indicator that your body isn’t functioning correctly. Depriving your body of the nutrition that it requires can affect your menstrual cycle,” she says.