If you tuned in yesterday, you might have read Part 1 of my Guide to PCOS, in which we discussed what it is, how insulin is involved in disrupting the hormonal process, and the limited treatment options that convention medicine provides.
To finish up, let’s now talk about a few steps you can take to attack the cause of PCOS directly.
PCOS: Please Cut Out the Sugar
Remember what I said earlier about insulin and its effect on the FSH and LH hormones that are so important in regularizing a woman’s menstrual cycle? Since this is at the root of PCOS, it needs to be where we start treatment. So, the first step will be to immediately get the patient on a low-glycemic diet that cuts out refined sugars and sticks to only complex carbohydrates. (I.e., replace the white bread with the sweet potato!)
You’ll recall that complex carbs break down more gradually, allowing blood sugar and insulin levels to increase and decrease more steadily—and therefore avoiding the spikes that refined sugars induce. I usually like to say that PCOS stands for Please Cut Out the Sugar. Yes, dear one, that is the only way! In order to have a chance at recovery, it is imperative that you put the crack pipe down.
Ditch the Man-made Chemicals
But, while sugar might be a big player in the development of PCOS, it’s not the only one in the game. In today’s society, we are forced to navigate a veritable minefield of chemicals, both synthetic and natural, that have a mighty impact on our hormones. One of these man-made chemicals that’s been in the news recently is Bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been proven to produce estrogen-mimicking reactions in the body. This chemical is used in plastics and can be found in virtually every single household in the United States!
At this point, you might be thinking: “I don’t eat plastic so why should I be concerned about BPA?” But you don’t need to eat something in order for it to get into your system. Our skin absorbs good things, like vitamins from the sun—but it will also absorb bad things like chemicals from anything it comes in contact with. This is how nicotine and birth control patches work. Any chemical that comes in contact with your skin, whether it’s BPA from a printed receipt (yep, that filmy paper is chock full of the stuff!) or triclosan from hand soap, will get absorbed and dumped into your bloodstream. Just picking up a plastic cup can allow chemicals like BPA to be absorbed into your body. Yikes, right?!
One way to cut back? Avoid canned goods and pre-packaged foods. Recently, I heard of one woman whose blood levels tested off the charts for BPA. After months of investigation, it was discovered that the high concentration was due to her frequent consumption of canned foods and microwavable dinners. The BPA had leaked from the linings of the cans and plastic containers into her food, wreaking havoc on her poor hormones once it was ingested!
Another source of harmful chemicals to watch out for is perfumes and other beauty supplies, which I cover in one of my previous posts. When your hormone system is as sensitive as it is for people with PCOS, it’s imperative to reduce the impact of these kinds of chemicals as much as possible.
Eliminate Phytoestrogens from Plant Foods
Man-made chemicals aren’t the only ones we need to be cognizant of, though. Nature has its own minefield, and soy is one example. This “health” food, highly touted for its nutritional value, contains a natural chemical that mimics estrogen, sending our hormonal system into a frenzy. These chemicals are called phytoestrogens, or “plant estrogens.” It is believed that the reason some plants evolved to include phytoestrogens was in order to control the fertility of the herbivores that eat them—a kind of Darwinian self-preservation strategy of making their predators infertile so there would be less of them to worry about. Ha, Mother Nature is a smart one. But this illustrates an important point, which is that nature does not always have our best interests in mind!
We need to understand which plants, grains, and proteins have the best medicinal value to help regularize the imbalanced hormonal system of someone suffering from PCOS. Thankfully, there are a lot of good yummy natural things out there that can help people with PCOS get on the road to recovery—but when your hormonal system is fragile, broad-brush diets like “low-carb,” Weight Watchers, HCG, or Atkins just aren’t comprehensive enough to steer you clear of the many pitfalls out there, both man-made and natural.
PCOS is Naturally Treatable
To sum everything up, despite the representations (or, ahem, misrepresentations) made by many in the medical industry, PCOS is 100% a curable condition. With a focused approach that targets the root cause of the disorder—rather than the “pills/surgery” approach to treating the symptoms—people suffering from this condition can beat it, as long as they are willing to change their diet and lifestyle. Once it is understood that a poor and unbalanced diet filled with refined sugars and processed foods is the underlying source of PCOS complications, then the cure becomes obvious.
Initially, after learning how the choices they made in the past had affected their hormones throughout the years, many of the women I have helped recover from PCOS experienced a sense of regret. But this feeling only usually lasts for a second, and is quickly replaced with a feeling of self-empowerment and hope. If old habits were the contributing factor, then new habits can be the cure. Taking back the power to control their own recovery lifted their spirits and replaced helplessness with determination. I hope that more and more women follow in their footsteps and choose to take hold of their present condition, and with their own hands, shape their future health and happiness. 🙂
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