Women with PCOS are frequently told to go on “low carb” diets to lose weight and manage health issues related to weight gain.
I receive emails from distressed women who have no clue whether or not to eat carbs, which ones are good and bad, and how to live this limiting lifestyle (especially when there are family members to cook for!).
You do not have to cut out carbs to lose weight, or heal from the symptoms of PCOS and hormone imbalance. Here’s the skinny on carbs: They were designed to be good for us in many ways (see below), yet the ones that have been “tampered” with (by large manufacturers) aren’t so good for us. Replace the unhealthy ones for the whole real food and you’re golden. You won’t feel deprived AND you’ll see good results.
Let make it easy. There are only 3 categories of food you should be thinking about; they are called macronutrients. They consist of protein, carbohydrates and fat. That’s it. Don’t over complicate your food choices by counting calories. If you stick with choosing the right foods, you’ll feel more full, lose the cravings and mood swings and be a whole lot healthier. Here’s a quick video on what to eat – click here.
When it comes to carbohydrates, there are four types: veggies, legumes (beans), fruits, and grains. When it comes to PCOS and hormone imbalance, though, the carbs you eat matters. That’s because keeping blood sugar balanced is key to overall hormone balance and women with PCOS seem to be very carbohydrate-sensitive. And actually what’s good for resolving your PCOS symptoms is awesome for anyone who wants to be healthy!
A completely gluten-free diet is very important for healing from symptoms of PCOS… and completely grain-free as well for two reasons: 1) there is a lot of cross contamination with other grains and the gluten-containing grains, and 2) grains in general turn into sugar quickly causing a huge blood sugar, insulin and cortisol (think stress) spike setting you up for a whole cascade of hormone problems.
Yes, vegetables, even broccoli, fall into the carbohydrate category. We all know broccoli is super healthy, full of nutrients, alkalizing and not likely to cause weight gain or health issues. It’s when food manufacturers (or your favorite aunt) turn that broccoli into a casserole that it becomes something less than healthy.
The fiber and “slow” sugar found in eating vegetables can provide just some of the following benefits:
- More energy
- Better digestion
- Weight loss
- Stable blood sugar levels
- Balanced moods
- Clear skin
- Less deprivation
When choosing carbohydrates, use non-starchy vegetables as your foundation. They have very few calories and are high in fiber so are fabulous for balancing blood sugar, eliminating toxins and improving digestion. You can find many of them here – click here for a list. Add in a little bit of root vegetables like sweet potatoes, or squashes at each meal and now you have some additional carbs and nutrients to keep your body full of energy.
Legumes are carbohydrates as well and can provide some benefits, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. The tend to support blood sugar balance well because they contain ample fiber and protein, but because they contain phytates, they can cause nutrient deficiencies. Be sure to always soak them for several days covered in water (rinse the water each day – this is called “sprouting”) and then rinse the water and cook them well. Here is more information on the problem with phytic acid – click here.
If you’re in the habit of eating lots of white bread, sugary cereals and fried vegetables, try to make small changes toward improving the quality of your food. For instance, I used to love eating waffles for breakfast. First, I decided to start replacing waffles with whole grain waffles. Then I learned to make delicious “paleo” waffles from cashews and coconut flour. It was slow, but the change lasted, and I have never missed eating the grain waffles. I love my nut and coconut flour waffles! Watch my video on how to make these delicious PCOS Friendly Waffles.
Examine your diet now and locate the places where you’re indulging in refined, unhealthy carbohydrates. These foods are causing blood sugar spikes (and can lead to or exacerbate hypoglycemia), low energy and mood swings, poor digestion and weight gain. Over time, refined carbs can lead to insulin resistance and other health problems.
Once you’ve discovered areas where your diet needs a little TLC, start getting creative on how you can make delicious, healthy substitutions. Nothing drastic, just start slow. You will find that it’s actually easy to make these changes and the positive impact it will have on your weight, health and overall life is huge.
If you ever want to learn which foods you should be eating for PCOS and how to naturally overcome polycystic ovarian syndrome, go to www.pcos.com.
©Insulite Health, Inc., pcos.com empowers women to take charge of their PCOS to transform their lives through a process of healing with their PCOS 5-Element System – the world’s only complete solution for helping women heal from the symptoms of PCOS and hormone imbalance.
Still wondering if the symptoms you are suffering with could be PCOS? Click the link below to take the PCOS Quiz and get your PCOS score!