Many people don't know much about PCOS or that it even exists (probably because it's a hush, hush 'lady problem'), so if you don't know about it, here is a realllyyyy quick run down - one of the main concerns of PCOS is that it can result in menstrual disorders that can lead to infertility and endometrial cancer but for those of us who worry about how we look, the most annoying aspect can be that it results in hormonal imbalances and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to some pretty unattractive symptoms like weight gain (can also include insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes), bad skin, too much or too little hair, lethargy and so on.
As for curing PCOS, the outlook in terms of the medical route is pretty sparse (aside from treating symptoms separately), but things should never be that easy right? It's been proven that the best way to help PCOS is through diet (and exercise) as although PCOS is generally a genetic condition, it is also often actually caused by poor diet– in fact, decreases in body composition improves fertility, menstrual regularity (therefore removing the prognosis of endometrial cancer), hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance, lipids, acne and general quality of life. But even if you find it hard to actually lose any weight, improving your diet will still help to dramatically improve your symptoms (a lot of people are even able to become symptom free if they stick to it). Personally I have found that the best diet for PCOS is a sort of Paleo-esque diet, which (if you are like me and don't like jumping on diet bandwagons) can be boiled down to something really simple:
Cut out all processed foods – this means bad drinks like coke (all other soft drinks too), alcohol and coffee, sugars, carbohydrates, and all grains (no more pizza or sandwiches on white bread now!)
Only eat meat (little red meat), vegetables, nuts and seeds (quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat)
The prospect of removing things like bread and coffee from your diet and replacing them with vegetables and nuts sounds a bit terrible and I thought it would be too hard for me – but honestly if you say to yourself 'no, I am going to do this' it really is surprisingly easy. And one reason why I think I found it easy when I first started was because I also paired it with taking heaps of Complex Green (which I will talk about in a minute). But before I talk about greens, I want to mention that for most people the one thing that can be really hard is cutting out grains. So my suggestion is, if you find it impractical to completely cut out grains, try cutting them out for at least two weeks to give your body a good kick start, then you can slowly start reintroducing only certain grains back into your diet (these are pseudograins and non-gluten grains) – make sure that you only have hemp, flax, chia, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat.
The thing that will make a big difference in whether or not you can stick to the diet is alkalinity.
I have talked about this before in previous blog posts (here) but to reiterate; being too acidic (which is the opposite of alkaline) is what causes disease, weight gain and most significantly perhaps, cravings for unhealthy foods. Almost everyone is too acidic - unfortunately, modern diets and lives are full of acidic pot holes such as poor digestion (and digestion issues), not drinking enough water, antibiotics, lack of exercise, eating late at night, sugar, coffee, alcohol, stress and so on. Because it is almost impossible to avoid some of these pot holes over our whole lives, I honestly believe that the best thing to do is ensure that you are constantly balancing your Ph with something like Complex Green or Triple Green which both have intense alkalizing and detoxifying focuses in the design of the formulas. Every ingredient in the formulas have been handpicked due to their long proven alkalizing effects – making the body less acidic by drinking greens up to four times a day in this case (in water is best because water itself is alkalizing), is the key factor for me, in keeping myself on track with eating well. This is because keeping yourself alkaline actually wards off cravings for things like carbs, sugars and caffeine. It also actually helps you maintain the diet in the long term as once you become more alkaline your 'palette' changes and suddenly things like pizza and bread honestly don't look so great and you find yourself craving what you should be eating!
I also want to just quickly say that cinnamon deserves a special mention in in relation to PCOS. It is included in both our complex green and berry formulas as it has an effect in reducing fasting glucose levels and cholesterol, which obviously can be hugely important for many PCOS women.