My food philosophy for PCOS is all about reducing inflammation first and keeping an eye on the scale second.
Many of my patients can even see the inflammation in their body go down, by the second week of being gluten-free and dairy-free. Their hands are less swollen, their skin is slowly starting to clear up and they feel an overall sense of "lightness."
At the core of my approach is a whole food, plant based diet which includes a balanced breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. I always encourage clients to stay "satisfied" throughout the day and never each the point of ravenous hunger. At that point, it is hard to control what you put into your body and you might reach for foods that wreak even more havoc on your hormones.
Through my extensive research to understand which foods nourish and heal the body from PCOS, I learned that food truly has the power to change our lives.
I have learned and affirmed from many different nutrition experts that the most important key for women with PCOS and other autoimmune conditions is that gluten and dairy have a major impact on inflammation.
The specific mechanism that links gluten and your hormones are in your adrenal glands. These glands keep stress in check and produces your hormones, progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. When we're constantly inflamed by eating gluten, we put too much stress on them.
The adrenals go into overdrive and produce cortisol, putting the sex hormones in the back seat. Not only does gluten mess with hormone production, but it also messes with our gut. The proteins in gluten are like splinters digging into the lining of your gut, allowing for food to leak into the blood stream and cause inflammation.
Dairy also wreaks havoc in your body, especially with your hormones. The additional source of estrogen from dairy affects you more than a non-gluten sensitive individual. By simply eliminating gluten and dairy, all of these symptoms are entirely reversible. Within a week you'll feel better again and within a month you may even get a regular period.
The best thing you can do for yourself at this point is throw out gluten and dairy. Substitute gluten grains such as pasta, cereal and bread with brown rice, quinoa, and even buckwheat. Slowly shift from cows milk to coconut or almond milk and put the cheese and ice cream back on the grocer store shelf.
You may find it challenging, trust me I understand, I've been doing it for five years now. It does take some time to adapt and you have to give yourself that leeway before giving up. Be patient and consider nutrition coaching to guide you on your journey.