A fellow IF blogger was lamenting the frustrations of trying to stick to a PCOS diet...and who can blame her! While suffering through the frustrations of IF, to be told that you shouldn't eat your "comfort foods" can feel even more like a slap in the face. But I wanted to share the recommendations and restrictions that my RE shared with me in a packet during our first appointment. These aren't "my" guidelines--they were put together by him (and I'm happy to share his name privately if anyone wants more information). Take these guidelines with a grain of salt (no pun intended). I'm not perfect, and I admit that I don't follow these guidelines to a T, so please don't feel that I'm being "preachy". Rather, I'm just trying to share a resource that you can choose to apply or ignore as you feel fit (again, no pun intended).
1. Eat a diet that is primarily from vegetable sources. Fresh vegetables and fruit should comprise the bulk of your diet, with weight given to vegetables, less fruit. Also, white potatoes and corn are NOT considered vegetables in this diet plan (apparently too starchy).
2. If you can tolerate dairy produtcts, 8 ounces of whole organic milk (or whole-fat yogurt or cottage cheese) should be consumed daily.
3. Eat only whole grains: wheat, oats, flax seeds, rice barley, etc. Do not eat white bread, white rice, tortillas, cookies, cakes, or anything made with refined flour. (There are now lots of options for whole wheat breads, pastas, and tortillas).
4. Eat foods rich in Omega 3 oils: salmon, sardines, walnuts, free-range eggs, grass-fed meats, flax seed, etc. These foods should be consumed at least three tims per week. A serving of meat or fish should not be larger than a deck of cards. (I sprinkle flax seeds into just about everything now).
5. Use high quality essential oils in your cooking and on salads and vegetables: olive oil, butter, avocado oil, walnut oil, peanut butter, almond butter, avocados, olive oil mayonnaise (made with olive oil, eggs and vinegar). All of the above are best in their minimally processed state. Try to find them in the organic section if possible. Do not use margarine in any form.
6. Sweet sources can include: fresh fruit and small quantities (one teaspoon) of honey, maple syrup, and molasses. Do not consume artificial sweeteners, sugar, or corn syrup.
7. Learn to cook--it is the best way to eat healthy and know what is in your food.
8. When you dine out, eat the simple things on the menu and choose a portion size that is appetizer size or a child's portion. Good choices are poached fish, dinner salad, steamed veggies, fresh fruit platters, etc. Don't eat the bread and avoid the starchy sides (ask for more veggies instead of potatoes or rice). Sparkling water with lemon and/or lime is a nice treat.
9: Note: If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will need supplements of the following: Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Vitamin D, Iron.
1. Don't ever eat fast food. There is nothing worthwhile you can eat at a fast food restaurant, the only exception would be vegetable-only salads where you bring your own dressing of olive oil and vinegar.
2. Don't consume alcohol.
3. Don't drink soda or sport dirnks or energy drinks in any form (even diet soda). All of these "foods" are filled with chemicals and things that leach calcium from your bones.
4. Don't eat any product that has either High Fructose Corn Syrup or Modified Corn Starch in the ingredient list. These two items should be considered poison to your body and that of your children. (This is hard--so many foods that I considered "staples" have HFCS in them...bummer).
5. Don't purchase any food item that has ingredients that you cannot pronounce or you do not know what the ingredient is (that pretty much eliminates all of the processed foods that are full of chemicals and preservatives).
6. Don't eat processed meats: bacon, lunch meats (bologna).
7. Don't drink caffeine (coffee, tea)--choose the non-caffeinated option. Watch iced tea and other drinks that we forget have caffeine. Reduce the caffeine gradually to avoid the caffeine headache. Non-caffeinated coffee is fine, but choose the water-processed rather than chemical-processed version. (If you're a tea person, the "Refresh" tea at Starbucks is minty and caffeine-free).
8. Don't eat fried foods.
I know...quite a list! Imagine the disappointment on my husband's face when the doctor got to the part about the potatoes. My husband was born and raised in Montana cattle country, and seems to believe that mashed potatoes go with every meal--and he even thinks that I make better mashed potatoes than his mom! Poor guy...he's had to adjust with me.
I should also mention that these are his guidelines for all his patients--not just those with PCOS. In addition to a healthy diet, he also recommends that we do 60 minutes of cardio a day (even walking is good enough for him), along with 200 crunches a day. He suggests that we do this sort of activity 5-6 times per week.
Again, I'm not perfect with this list. But I really have tried to put these guidelines into practice in some capacity. Please don't think that I'm bragging--I'm rather simply attesting to the benefits of said nutritional plan...but I lost 20 pounds in the four months between loss #2 and loss #3. I hadn't gotten on a scale during that time because my intent was never to lose weight--I simply wanted to get (and stay) pregnant (note: the "get" part worked...it's the "stay" part that we're still working on). I'm more than happy to share some of the meals or recipes or substitution suggestions that I enjoy--just let me know.
On that note, I'm going to bake a whole-wheat reduced-sugar banana-walnut bread (of which, I admit, I'll probably eat more than half). I'll also call that my blessing for the day as well--there's nothing better than the smell of bread baking in the oven!