Thursday, April 19, 2012
So I thought I'd write a bit more about what my plan is to lose weight, try to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of PCOS, and hopefully get pregnant.
At the age of 38, with no children, and having tried for some time in my early/mid thirties, I don't have huge hopes of getting pregnant, but I'm going to do my best to improve my health, and who knows.
I am aiming to eat 1200 - 1550 calories a day, although so far I'm finding that around 1100 - 1200 seems to be the natural amount I am eating. It's early days yet though.
My main dietary change is to reduce the carbohydrate content of my diet, and eliminate almost entirely refined carbs, like white flour and sugar, and potatoes. I think potatoes might be the hardest thing, as I do love mashed potato. (Irish genes!)
Having read a fair bit now about PCOS, and also diabetes and prediabetes, it seems that this is the best way to help restore my blood sugar and hopefully prevent diabetes. Maybe I'm being too optimisitic there, but heyho.
So I'm aiming to eat less than 100g of carbs a day. No more than 45g at any one meal, and the lowest carb meal to be breakfast, as for some reason that's when your blood sugar can be most affected.
I'm not going wild with fatty foods though. I'm trying to limit my saturated fat intake to within SP guidelines, and consume mainly monounsaturated fats. Only Olive Oil so far.
Protein to be kept within SP guidelines also. Also to consume protein with carbs - do not eat carbs by themselves. This reduces the gi of the overall meal, and lessens blood sugar spikes.
Additionally I'm not a fan of weird substitutes for foods, like cooking sprays, or artificial sweeteners. If it's not a wholefood, in its natural state, or composed of things I'd normally have in my kitchen, then it can take a running jump.
I really believe health comes from getting back to a more natural way of living. I don't like all the new products that have arrived in the UK in the last few decades, all seemingly to help us lose weight. We weren't that fat as a nation when they arrived, now we are the fattest nation in Europe.
So, anyway. My diet mainly seems to be focussing on pulses, vegetables, some fruit, lean protein, small amounts of good dark chocolate, some grains - oats and rye so far, and I will probably try barley and buckwheat as they are both supposed to be good for PCOS. Barley is lovely, so it would be great if I could get that into my diet.
I'm eating a lot of eggs. Which I was a little worried about at first, but having done a bit of reading, I think will be fine. Another whole, perfect food, that has been demonised in the past.
I won't beat myself up if I go astray occasionally, I might allow myself a day off slightly more relaxed carb intake once or twice a month, but I'll monitor that to see if it has terrible results or not.
The other main way I'm tackling the PCOS is through supplements. This won't be of interest to people unless they also have PCOS. But I've read so much about quite simple products, that are either normally present in a good diet, but are hard to get nowadays because of the poor quality of our overfarmed soil, or are present in foods in low quantities naturally, but in higher quantities will help rebalance the hormones, or the knowledge of these foods/herbs has dropped out of common awareness.
This might seem like a lot of supplements, and yes, it is. But they are all in there for a reason.
Chasteberry. To rebalance and normalise the function of the pituatory gland.
Pregnacare Conception - To provide a good basic multivitamin and mineral, plus a few extra goodies such as L-Arginine and Cysteine.
Saw Palmetto - Regulates androgens, hopefully will reduce some of the less... flattering elements of PCOS. (hair in unwanted places)
Licorice Root - Also reduces androgens.
Garcinia Cambogia - Is said to metabolise carbohydrates, which should help keep blood sugar low, as well as increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce appetite.
Zinc - I was quite alarmed by my low zinc intake, even with consuming products relatively rich in zinc, so I've included a specific supplement. It is supposed to help improve hormone action, including insulin, and control the appetite.
Chromium - This encourages formation of glucose tolerance factor, which makes insulin more efficient. It also helps control cravings and hunger, and levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood.
Calcium - Helps with egg maturation and follicle development.
Co Enzyme Q10 - This also helps with carbohydrate metabolism, as well as blood sugar control.
Magnesium - Another mineral I am deficient in, which is linked to insulin resistance.
Milk Thistle - A herb, it supports liver function.
Soya Lecithin - A source of D chiro inositol. I have problems getting hold of D chiro inositol in the UK, but lecithin seems to be helping some people. Studies of the inositol have been very favourable, helping some women to ovulate normally, and infertile women to become pregnant. Google it if you haven't heard about it, it seems very positive. Unfortunately it's hard to come by as a straight forward supplement, as currently it seems to be only produced in south east Asia, and the main stockist is in the USA. Fortunately though, it is present in some foods naturally, as well as lecithin, which is also in lots of foods.
Carob, chick peas (Garbanzo beans), buckwheat, lentils are all natural sources of this compound, which I will be aiming to include in my diet as much as possible.
Other foods to include -
Cinnamon - reduces insulin resistance
Barley - lowest gi carb
Sesame seeds - high in B6, calcium, magnesium, zinc
Poppy seeds - high in calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc
Salmon (wild, only once or twice a week due to mercury levels/foetal sensitivity) - high in vitamins D, B3, B6 and magnesium.
Wheat germ - B6, zinc, magnesium
Sunflower seeds - B2, B6, zinc, copper, magnesium.
Kale and broccoli - calcium
So, that's it for now. Oh... and exercise!! Mustn't forget to do that too.