Before we get started, I want to suggest that those who are really interested in making these changes wait until the end of the series to begin. There is quite a bit of information I want to bring to you, and it is going to take several posts to get it all out. Please read them all, as they will all have good information, and will build upon each other.
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is an all too common condition affecting women. It is characterized by the abnormal growth of small cysts on the ovaries, caused from the inability to ovulate. While the cysts are benign, they represents a hormone imbalance. This disruption of the normal flow of reproductive hormones can cause:
If left untreated, those with PCOS are more likely to develop:
PCOS is the most common cause of infertility and reproductive disorders in the US. At last estimate (that I have read) 1 in 15 women is diagnosed with PCOS. PCOS is often difficult to diagnose, and in many cases the only symptom is irregular menstruation.
Diet and Managing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
The most common treatment method given to women is Medication! Rarely, sadly, is any other form of treatment considered, especially diet. More women that I can count come into my office with stories of Birth Control Pills, Clomid, Metformin and others. These medications do serve a purpose, don't get me wrong, but more often than not they cause women to feel worse and can actually make symptoms worse by depleting nutrient reserves necessary for normal hormone function.
I came across this study awhile back that I found helpful:
A research study done by the Research and Clinical Center for Infertility compared diet and lifestyle modification against common western treatments of Clomid (for ovulation) and Metformin (for insulin resistance). The study took 343 women with symptoms of obesity and infertility with PCOS and assigned them to 4 different treatment groups. 1) Clomid 2) Metformin 3) Clomid + Metformin 4) Lifestyle and Dietary Modification. Results were that those who received the dietary and lifestyle modification had an increased rate of pregnancy as compared to those who only received medical treatments. Clomid group - 12.2%; Metformin froup - 14.4%; Clomid + Metformin group - 14.8%; and Dietary and Lifestyle group - 20%. Lifestyle group also had a significant reduction in waist circumference, total androgen and lipid profile.
Why is this? Because diet and lifestyle is the foundation of health. You can mask and force certain bodily functions with medications, but if you do not change your daily routines of diet and lifestyle, the condition is never fully treated, only hidden under the cloud of chemicals.
In all cases, diet must be changed. I have never seen a client with PCOS eating a healthy diet….sorry, I haven't. Most are craving sugar, eating processed foods, and including dairy (we will talk more about this later), all of which make symptoms worse. Many are really trying, don't get me wrong, but most are either cheating too often, or are having a hard time navigating and establishing the necessary changes.
Basic Principles of Managing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) with Diet and Lifestyle
So now that you are aware that diet MUST BE CHANGED IN ALL CASES, let's begin.
These are MY principles. These are the rules that I have established for my clients with great success. They are based in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Modern Nutrition, and Research. This is a basic list, and I will address these in upcoming posts in more depth.
Breakfast #1: Baked Eggs with Spinach and Prosciutto
Super easy breakfast that can be changed up by changing the veggies used. Can be a great way to use leftover veggies. What I did this morning was grease a small dish with oil, added the raw spinach (could use frozen or pre-cooked, I like the crispiness of the cooked raw), and torn prosciutto, topped with two eggs and seasoned. Baked at 400 until eggs were cooked to desire.
I was going to add nutrition data on here, but honestly I don't believe in counting calories. Quality and nutrient density matter much more. What I will do is add the GI and GL for each of my meals.
Lunch #1: Cilantro Lime Slaw with Crockpot Pork Carnitas
Snack #1: Cinnamon Apple and Cashew Butter
I really don't feel I need to write down a recipe for this, it's just 1 apple sliced, sprinkled with Cinnamon, and 2 Tbsp Raw Cashew Butter.
Dinner #1: Oven Fried Chicken Legs with Cauliflower Puree, Asparagus, and Raspberries
PCOS Nutrition Part 1: Basic Dietary Principles
PCOS Nutrition Part 2: Avoiding Dairy
PCOS Nutrition Part 3: Sugar
PCOS Nutrition Part 4: Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load
PCOS Nutrition Part 5: Building Your Meal
PCOS Nutrition Part 6: Understanding Hormones
PCOS Nutrition Part 7: Fat Soluble Vitamins
PCOS Nutrition Part 8: Increasing Dietary Fats
PCOS Nutrition Part 9: Top 10 Foods for PCOS
PCOS Nutrition Part 10: Tips for Implementing the PCOS Diet