After I wrote about my experience of struggling with PCOS, I got many messages from women all around the world talking about their struggles in handling the problems associated with Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome. While interacting with them I realised the blatant need to tackle this lifestyle disease. Each woman I talked with had different symptoms and has gone through a variety of medical treatments. But the bottom line continued to remain the same: The lack of cure or a permanent treatment for PCOS is frustrating every one of us.
I don’t promise to magic away all the problems, but a positivity attitude will take us a long way. There are some dietary habits that when combined with proper and adequate exercises can help things along. The internet is full of PCOS friendly diet plans and exercise routines. I too tried to follow a few diet plans but with my job, commute, and other responsibilities it became a bit of a hassle (not to mention that the diet left me feeling dizzy, coz it was heavily inadequate for my daily schedule).
So ladies, please don’t do this and follow diet plans or exercise routines off the net (some of them might be good, but it’s safer to verify them with your doctor first). Don’t starve yourselves. Find diet plans that will suit your bodily requirements, consult your doctors and focus on being healthy. The key is to have high-fibre, protein-rich, and anti-inflammatory foods and spices. And most importantly stick to your local cuisine and fix your meal timings.
After consultation with my doctor I have made a few changes in my food intake and thankfully am still sticking to it (though I have to agree, I do tend to eat my share of random junk food once in a while).
Here’s my diet plan: It’s a very generic one, so you too can follow it.
- A glass of warm lemon water (you can add honey to it too) on waking up.
This helps in detoxification of the body. It makes for an effective liver tonic that aids in improving its function by “flushing out” the toxins from the body. It also helps melt fat and clears up acne (this I don’t know, but drinking warm water surely helps in facilitating bowel movements).
- A cup of warm milk laced with jaggery (cane sugar) and rajgira (amaranth).
Jaggery with milk boosts immunity, purifies the blood, helps attain a healthy metabolism rate, is effective in reducing weight and most importantly helps reduce stress which is one of the causes and symptoms of PCOS. It is also good for relieving menstruation pain.
Rajgira is high in protein and other essential amino acids and along with that is gluten free and tastes good too. That’s a win-win morning drink for you!
- Few dry fruits. I eat almond and black raisins (soaked) along with a date and a dry fig or walnut. All these have numerous nutritive values and are generally good for your body.
Dry fruits are to be followed by a healthy breakfast. My doctor advised me to have typical Indian staple food and avoid heavily ‘westernising’ my diet (which is a trend in India these days). So my breakfast consists of Poha/Upma or Idli/Dosa or Khichadi, Kheer or Sheera. As I said earlier, it’s best to stick to your local cuisine.
- A healthy portion of salad (generally cucumber, carrot, sprouts) or a fruit with curd/yogurt/buttermilk*.
It is advisable to consume whole, unprocessed and unrefined foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and lentils, whole grains, fish, and unsaturated fats.
- Doctors generally advise to steer free of dairy products but mine said it won’t be a problem since milk, curd or buttermilk has been a staple diet of Indians for ages and won’t be an issue when consumed in small adequate quantities. So in case you are planning to follow this diet, please consult your doctor first.
- Avoid Junk food and try to have balanced and filling meals.
So for your lunch, you can have two chapattis (Indian flat beard made in wheat flour*) along with a good serving of sabzi (veggies cooked in spices and oil) and rice (preferably brown unpolished rice) with dal (lentil soup). Try to include spices in your food like turmeric, cinnamon, fenugreek, and ginger which are anti-inflammatory and are believed to help with insulin resistance.
*Gluten has high amounts of carbohydrates and a fairly high glycemic index. It causes a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and insulin levels. Remember that a significant rise in the insulin levels will have a direct effect on your testosterone levels. So it’s best to avoid wheat and go for gluten-free substitutes like bajra (pearl millet), jowar, ragi (finger millet), rajgira (amaranth), singhada atta, white poha (flattened rice flakes), kurmura (rice flakes)and sabudana (sago), etc.
My mother generally mixes soya bean, bajra, and nachani flours along with wheat flour when making chapattis.
- A light dinner of half portions of what you had for lunch or just salads, sprouts or fruits and buttermilk will suffice.
There’s a phrase in Marathi which sums up a perfect diet aptly. When roughly translated it means “eat portions of food befitting those of a king in the morning, like a common man in the afternoon and like a beggar in the night”.
Of course, just following a diet is not going to suffice. So make time for exercises as well. A combination of weight resistance, core training and cardio exercises for 30-40 minutes every day (or at least thrice a week) will definitely speed your weight loss process. Also, a half an hour walk every night after dinner will help in digestion and ultimately in weight loss.
I’m following my diet plan so far but am yet to regularise my exercise routine. Hopefully, with my new ayurvedic medications, diet and exercise routine, my next periods will start soon.
Keeping my fingers crossed…
© 2018 Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
All Rights Reserved