Continuing our natural methods of controlling PCOS symptoms (The same disclaimer from Part 1 applies… I am NOT a doctor and all that jazz!!!)!
3) Diet: Diet is probably the most important aspect of naturally controlling your PCOS. There are always going to be fad diets that come out, claiming to be a sure thing, but in my opinion the ones that work the best are simple, easy to follow and make alot of sense! I know it’s become trendy to refer to these types of diets as “lifestyle changes” but thats actually what they are, and that is why they WORK! The word ‘diet’ conjures up thoughts of hard work, temporary results and food deprivation. Using the term ‘lifestyle change’ instead,gives you the feeling of a more positive, permanent outcome. The most successful lifestyle changes focus on long-term weight-loss and maintenance with the ultimate goal being good health. Here are a few that seem to be working!
- Low- GI: Using the glycemic index to create meal plans is a great way to ensure balance. The Glycemic Index is a great tool for choosing which foods will help control insulin spikes and drops. It also indicates what the portion size for each food is, which is a great help to people who like numbers and are counting their calories and carbs. Your goal is to pick foods that have the lowest GI. Almost every food imaginable is on the list so you aren’t required to give up anything, you simply have to balance things out properly and eat the right portion sizes! Remember that only foods that actually have carbohydrates are on the list though, so things like meat, eggs, fish, wine, and alot of vegetables are NOT on the list… they still have calories, just little to no carbs.
- Balanced-Plate method: (This is what Hillary Wright’s PCOS Diet Plan is based on… its definitely worth the read, so go get it!!!) The balanced plate method is probably the easiest ‘diet’ you’ll ever find. It works in combination with all of the other plans I have listed here. The premise is SIMPLE! Your plate should be divided into 3 sections. Half your plate is reserved for veggies (non starchy veggies), a quarter of your plate goes to your carbs (and starchy veggies) and the last quarter is for your protein. This is in stark contrast to what our current North American plates tend to look like. We place protein as our main meal component and then add the veggies and carbs as our sides. By rearranging your thinking a little you will quickly be able to get rid of alot of unnecessary and dangerous fat and calories on your plate. MAKE YOUR VEGGIES THE STAR. Veggies have almost no carbs in them, and few calories so you can eat alot more of them. Of course, your veggies are subject to how you cook them and what you cook them in, so make sure to pay attention to what you add to them before deciding that a heaping plate of spinach cooked in cream with bacon is a good idea 😛
- Gluten-Free diet: Gluten allergy and sensitivity is on a rise. More and more people are reacting to this little miracle of the baking process. Gluten basically comes from the the yeast and flour in a dough combining. Its the sticky glue that keeps your breads and baking together. Alot of women are turning to a gluten-free diet because it gets rid of alot of unecessary carbs and sugar from their diets. For people who aren’t gluten senstive or allergic to gluten though, there is mounting evidence that completely removing it from your diet unnecessarily could actually create a sensitivity to it. I know there will be people who will argue that, and I’m am not saying that this actually DOES happen, just that there is evidence available to show it does. If you are looking to get rid of the extra sugars but aren’t allergic to gluten, I think a better option is to just GET RID OF THE SUGARS! Things like whole grains and sprouted grains are an essential part of everyone’s diet, and by being gluten-free you may be eliminating these from your diet. So, definitely get rid of anything made with white flour, and limit your consumption of baked goods and pastries, but its ok to keep some whole grain and sprouted grain breads in your diet for sure!
- Clean-Eating Diets: There are more and more clean-eating advocates popping up, and that makes me HAPPY 🙂 People like Tosca Reno (Eat-Clean Diet series of books) are bringing back natural, wholesome, HEALTHY foods. There is no calorie counting (although for those who have alot of weight to lose, its still a good idea to keep your portions in check!), there is no strict meal plan, and there are no fancy gimicks. This is as simple as it gets… eat clean food. Thats it! Sadly, its easier said than done for most of us. We’ve become so dependant on pre-made, packaged foods that we’ve forgotten how easy it is to make things for ourselves. Its become so ingrained into our society that we’ve stopped questioning what we’re eating. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the back of the package of apple slices you picked for your child from McDonalds (because its better than fries…)? Doesn’t it concern you that APPLE isn’t the only ingredient listed? Pre-packaged food is laced with preservatives and toxins. Yes, they may be ‘edible’ by someone’s standards BUT they were never intended to be consumed on a daily basis. Many of these preservatives wreck havoc on our already sensitive hormone balance, throwing us off even more. So what is the solution? Instead of buying packages of pre-sliced apples, just eat an apple! Even making small changes, like opting for real oats to make oatmeal instead of the instant packages, can make a huge impact! Small steps lead to giant leaps, and your body with THANK YOU 🙂 Here is an idea to get you started: make one meal a week a “100 kms meal” (or for Americans, a “100 mile meal”). What that means is that for one meal a week, choose only ingredients that have come from within 100 kms of your house! For my husband and I, this is usually our Saturday meal. We scope out local farmer’s markets for all the freshest, most organic foods we can find. Once your in the swing of 100kms meal night, you could then move into something like “meatless Mondays”. You’ll find once you start, you won’t be able to stop! And although it may take a little more planning here and there, it is NOT more difficult or more expensive! As a matter of fact, eating clean, and as organic as possible has actually SAVED me money! The actual Eat-clean Diet by Tosca Reno has more info on balancing meals, choosing the right foods. So go read the book and be inspired 🙂 (Can you tell this is my personal preference for diet management?!)
4)Alternative Therapies: I’m just going to say a quick blurb on alternative therapies, but I will elaborate in another post once I do a little more research! I haven’t tried any of these YET but I keep hearing about them and plan to try them out. There are a couple alternative therapies that I keep hearing about over and over again.
- Acupuncture: So many women have been telling me that acupuncture has saved them from their PCOS symptoms. It has gotten their balance back, allowing their hormones to work properly again. I have not done alot of research on acupuncture yet so thats all I’m going to say, but I definitely thought it was worth mentioning since its been brought to my attention so many times.
- Chiropractics: Yes, apparently your Chiropractor does more than just crack your back. Who knew? I didn’t, thats for sure. After speaking with a few women and doing some very (VERY) quick research online, it looks like alot of Chiropractors also offer nutritional advice and help with all kinds of ailments, from infertility and PCOS, to headaches, and indigestion. Before choosing a chiropractor it’s important to make sure they are registered (you can check with the Canadian Chiropractic Association or the American Chiropracttic Association) and if possible, speak to some of their patients for feedback. You definitely want to pick a chiropractor you can trust and one that knows about PCOS and fertility problems.
- Homeopathy/herbalists: There is alot of info (and I mean ALOT) online about homeopathic/natural cures for PCOS. I won’t dive too deep into them, but suffice it to say that this is one area where consulting an expert is key. Although something is natural, that doesn’t mean it isn’t be dangerous, so please talk to your doctor before trying any herbs or supplements. You have to make sure that you are taking the right herbs and supplements and that they are not interferring with any medications you may take. Also, please beware of websites selling you miracle herbs and supplements and natural fertility and weight loss programs. I’m not saying that they don’t work, I’m just saying be careful! Personally, when I see something advertised but you have to buy their product or pay a registration fee BEFORE you get all the info, I am wary. Again, I’m not saying that they aren’t legit because I’m sure SOME are! I am just cautioning you to use proper judgement! Talk to your doctor about the program, get any and all medical and herbal ingredients before you shell out money to them so you can make sure it is safe, and go with your gut instincts! Remember, there is NO overnight miracle cure, so if something sounds too good to be true, than it probably IS!
Well, that about wraps up another long post! Thanks for reading, and take care everyone 🙂
I’m Happy, I’m Healthy, I’m Fertile, ttfn, xo