May 1, 2022
What is PCOS and why are so many women struggling with it today? PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome and is one of the most common hormonal disorders found in women from puberty to post-menopause. It is the leading cause of infertility and it can have many different symptoms. Today we are discussing what those symptoms are and the common causes of polycystic ovarian syndrome. The first steps in helping women overcome PCOS and infertility is to help them see the impact that their eating habits have on their hormones, so we’ll also cover nutritional solutions to help realign hormone balance and find relief from symptoms.
Similar Podcast Episodes:
Hello everyone. This is Teresa, one of the dietitians at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Before we start today's podcast, I have a question for you. Do you struggle with sugar cravings? And when I say sugar, I also mean bread, chips, crackers, cereal, and other processed foods. If so, we have something special planned for our Dishing Up Nutrition listeners. Starting May 16th, we will be offering a free five-day online challenge called “How to break up with sugar.”
During our free five-day challenge, you will learn the science behind sugar cravings while taking on daily attainable challenges that lay the critical foundation for a sugar breakup. You will have access to a private Facebook group, daily Facebook live events hosted by me, and exclusive daily challenge resources sent directly to your inbox. If you're ready to take control of your sugar cravings, sign up for the five-day challenge by going to weightandwellness.com/challenge. That's weightandwellness.com/challenge. I hope you will join us May 16th through the 20th for this free online challenge to break up with sugar. Thanks for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and enjoy the show.
JOLENE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I was thinking this morning that it is pretty amazing that for the past 18 years, we have had Dishing Up Nutrition on this radio station each and every Saturday morning.
BRITNI: Oh, that is amazing.
JOLENE: 18 years; definitely ahead of our time when it comes to radio shows and now there's that opportunity to have it as podcasts as well. It's wonderful. And that message of eating real food and not processed food has been the message that we love to share. We really do want to sincerely thank all of you for listening. We appreciate your support. And we too, we really do have a passion about sharing how real food can make you happier and healthier. The nice part is that we really never run out of topics that we're willing to share, especially since nutrition is always changing.
So this morning, the topic of choice is going be about a condition called PCOS. So let us introduce ourselves. I'm Jolene Carlson, a licensed nutritionist, mom of four kids, and a previous career of teaching high school for 20 years before I moved into this wonderful career of nutrition. For me, my story around what we're talking about today kind of goes back to my struggles with weight gain, prediabetes and insulin resistance, as we'll learn today has a lot to do with PCOS.
BRITNI: It does.
JOLENE: Today, you probably heard her voice. We have the lovely Britni Vincent, who is also a registered and licensed dietitian, a mother of three children under the age of three. Let's just call her superwoman. And Britni also has a lot to share about PCOS and how it's affected her life. Good morning, Britni.
BRITNI: Good morning. Yeah, I, you know, I was diagnosed with PCOS; I had to do the math, but eight years ago now.
BRITNI: And it, it kind of, it was a, a fluky, fluky reason that I got diagnosed because I always had regular periods. And as we're going to talk about today, one of the really common symptoms of PCOS is irregular periods. And so basically what we found out is I was not ovulating and all of my lab values were out of range. And so my doctor, you know, I, I did some research on my own and I was like, oh wow. You know, my symptoms and my labs really coincide with PCOS. Do you think this is what I have? And her response was, yeah, probably, but you don't need to change anything. Whenever you want to get pregnant, we'll just put you on a pill.
JOLENE: Mm-hmm. Such a common response.
BRITNI: It is.
BRITNI: Yep. And needless to say, I've never seen her again.
JOLENE: Time to find a new doctor.
JOLENE: For you anyway. Yep.
BRITNI: And I knew at some point I wanted to have kids and I wanted to figure this out and put, put the time and energy into it at that time so that when I wanted to get pregnant, it hopefully wasn't a struggle.
BRITNI: So I found a different doctor who verified the PCOS and then I just committed to making lifestyle and, and nutrition changes to rebalance my hormones. And it has no doubt been a journey, cause it takes time to rebalance hormones. It really does.
JOLENE: That's such a great proactive story. And it just really shows that because you knew yourself best, which is always the case with people, you knew that there was something off that you kept trying to pursue what was going on. And obviously it did work as now you're a mom of three young children, as we mentioned; recent birth of twins.
But it's just such a, a good story of knowing yourself and then advocating for yourself and your care and, and working with a team that understands what your concerns are and then taking those steps to change. And like you said, sometimes that takes a while.
My story was much more hindsight. Like I, I believe I had PCOS when I was diagnosed with insulin resistance, irregular periods. I was told to be on the pill, all those typical, you know, things that happen. And I was in my early twenties and just didn't know what I didn't know. And luckily for me, I was able to change those signs and symptoms through food. So we keep using this acronym, PCOS, which probably to define it for our listeners in case you don't know, PCOS is polycystic ovarian syndrome. Okay. So of course it's affecting many, many women and it's one of the most common hormonal disorders found in women affecting five to 10% of women.
And I, that may or may not seem like a lot, but when that stat was kind of taken into numbers of the amount of women in the world, how much is five to 10%, we're talking about 1.6 million women.
BRITNI: That's a lot.
JOLENE: So yes, maybe that gives you a different perspective of how many it is. So it's more common than we may realize. And in addition to that, many of us are probably suffering or showing sign and symptoms and might not even know it.
JOLENE: Right. And, and it could affect women from puberty to, you know, perimenopause to even post menopause. Like you, Britni, it's the leading cause of infertility. And that's when people typically start to seek out answers or like, why am I unable to get pregnant? Or why do I have infertility? Can you tell us more about the, the infertility and hormone piece of PCOS Britni?
BRITNI: Yeah. I have so many clients who, you know, like you said, they are struggling with infertility, so they seek out answers and then that's when they get the diagnosis, which is so unfortunate because then, you know, they feel extra pressure to, to make these changes. And it's just a very stressful time. So I hope, you know, there's women listening that might realize, oh wow, this could be what's happening with me.
JOLENE: And like you said earlier, Jolene, you know, you, you know your body best, so seeking out answers now. So again, if, if you do want to get pregnant in the future, you've already done that work. And what we're going to talk a lot about today is how complex PCOS is. It's a hormone and an endocrine syndrome and it has many different symptoms. And so that is also why it can be difficult to diagnose because it really does manifest differently in every woman. And usually PCOS is a condition where the ovaries produce excess amounts of the androgen hormones, testosterone and DHEA. And we typically think of those as male sex hormones, but women, we need them too.
BRITNI: We don't produce them as much. And, you know, having too much of them can create problems.
JOLENE: Yeah. It's just basically, I mean, it's basic, but it's simple but complicated like many things in our body. Right? But it's really just, it's a hormonal imbalance.
JOLENE: But it's not just a hormone imbalance. It's an imbalance in general. So that's why it shows up in so many different ways. You use the word syndrome. I love that. Another word for syndrome is kind of like spectrum. So if you think about all these different ways that PCOS can show up for people, yes, hormonal is definitely one of the major ones, but as we're going to talk about today, there's a lot of other things that can be indicators that you might be suffering from, from PCOS or just metabolic disorders in general. And the name polycystic ovarian syndrome describes the cyst that can form in the ovaries, which does happen.
JOLENE: For some people, but not all people. Okay.
JOLENE: So again, paying attention to the fact that when we talk about PCOS, we look at it as a syndrome or a spectrum where the signs and symptoms are very varied by the individual. Okay. So we want today to make sure that, like you said, Britni, we can hopefully have women that are listening and they know what they're feeling. They, you know, they know they're having things that are going off for their, they don't have balances that they might desire, and maybe this reaches them that they can start to have this conversation with their nutritionist, their dietitian, their doctor, and get help earlier than later.
BRITNI: Absolutely. Well, you know, I think it is time for our first break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today, we're discussing the common causes of PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. We're also pointing out some of the common symptoms of PCOS. After the show, if you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to send us an email at email@example.com or call us at (651) 699-3438. And we'll address your questions and concerns. That's firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-699-3438. We will be back.
JOLENE: Can you guys believe that Mother's Day is just around the corner? It's already next Sunday, May 8th. If you're still wondering, what do I get my special mom this year; we have a perfect gift to honor moms. We put together a real food cooking package that includes a cooking class with chef Marianne, Dar’s Weight and Wellness cookbook, a wooden spoon with our logo and a real food shopping list. This entire bundle is only $45. Treat your mom to a special gift this Mother's Day and call us at (651) 699-3438 to order.
BRITNI: What a great idea.
JOLENE: Yeah, that sounds fun.
JOLENE: If my family's listening, you can do that for me.
BRITNI: There you go. Make it easy.
JOLENE: But yeah, that sounds like a really fun package. So Britni, before break, we were just kind of talking about the syndrome of PCOS. It can mean so many things, and that's why we're here today is to have this conversation.
JOLENE: And you have a really great way of explaining how there's different types. Can you tell us more about that?
BRITNI: Yeah. So there there's different types and causes of PCOS and in, through my own personal journey, I've spent a lot of time reading and, you know, modifying things myself. And for me personally, I have identified, I believe my type of PCOS is called the inflammatory PCOS. And so for me, my symptoms were oily skin, acne, dark excessive body hair, which is really not fun.
JOLENE: Never fun; not what most of us want, right?
BRITNI: I had two ovarian cysts rupture, and, you know, my labs did reveal I had excess androgens, high testosterone, high DHEA. I had really low progesterone, which meant I wasn't ovulating. And, you know, at, at that time in my life, when I about what was causing inflammation? Stress: I had a, a very stressful job at the time. My sleep schedule was super wonky and irregular. So sometimes I'd be up at 4:30 in the morning for work. Sometimes I could sleep in.
BRITNI: Which is not, not healthy to have a different sleep schedule every day. And I had a really imbalanced gut. I had had so many antibiotics over the years for ear infections, acne, and at that at the time in my early twenties, I had chronic UTIs. And then I was, I was getting reactive hypoglycemia and I didn't recognize necessarily that's what it was till later. But my blood sugar would get into the sixties, a couple times even into the, the forties, which makes you feel very, very poor.
JOLENE: Yeah. Those ups and downs would just be hard on you.
BRITNI: And so the, I really, again, focused on reducing that inflammation in my body through the diet and lifestyle changes. And I'll share later today what I personally changed to, to rebalance everything. And again, as I mentioned earlier, it takes time.
BRITNI: So go into this knowing that it's a marathon, not a sprint, I mean, really anything, rebalancing anything in the body takes time and commitment but hormones especially do. So, you know, I just talked about the inflammatory type of PCOS, but the most common type of PCOS or cause is insulin resistance. And when you have insulin resistance that means your cells don't use insulin normally, and you're not able to carry the glucose in the cells as efficiently.
So then your body continues to make more insulin. Well, the problem is, as the tissues in the body become insulin resistant, your pituitary gland and ovaries remain insulin sensitive, meaning that they don't have any issue carrying the glucose in the cells. So this can eventually lead to that increase in androgen production and low progesterone causing that anovulation or lack of ovulation and, and this is really at the root of the majority of women that have PCOS. So it's, it's about turning around that insulin resistance.
JOLENE: Yeah. And you say so many things that just made me really think about how often it does come back to that. And anybody that's been listening to us, listening to us for those 18 years knows that we've mentioned that maybe a few times how important that blood sugar regulation, insulin resistance is.
And I also like that you said it's a marathon or, or, you know, another word is a journey. And really that journey is never done. Because we're always trying to optimize and figure out our bodies as they change. Obviously with hormones, that's going to change for us as women, you know, every year, decade of our life. So it's a constant evaluation, reevaluation process, and then figuring out how we can best feed our bodies. And then, because inflammation is such a great way to look at it in the way that we're looking at the root cause, which we like to do.
JOLENE: You know, signs and symptoms of PCOS defines PCOS. And those are, those are the things that show up. But to really treat it, we have to figure out the why for each of these women. And that's what we do.
JOLENE: For you it was inflammation. For many women, it's probably inflammation if we really get down to the root cause. For me it was insulin resistance.
JOLENE: I didn't have the diagnosis, you know, officially of PCOS but I can certainly, like I mentioned earlier, look back and realized that I was having some of the same issues, which eventually did lead to cysts on my ovaries. It just wasn't connected necessarily as a PCOS thing. It was, you know, a random like, oh, you have a cyst that they found when I was pregnant. And like, we should keep an eye on that sort of thing.
You know, so again, it's, it's, it's so hard because this can present in so many different ways. And if today we can just give all of you listening the power to understand, and the education, that there are so many ways that this can show up
JOLENE: But you can at least start to ask these questions and find out more. So you can, you too can be proactive and go on this journey of health. Right?
BRITNI: So, Jolene, I think you have a client story to share about PCOS right?
JOLENE: Yeah. This one is a, a good one, because it, it does show like sometimes for a lot of people, this shows up like in their late teens, early twenties. And so do have a lot of young women. And sometimes we think that it's only unhealthy people or overweight people, but we have a lot of people that are healthy weights and athletes, you know, that can experience some of these signs and symptoms.
So my client she's a college student, a college athlete, and she didn't understand in spite of being of course, very active, you know, she would spend one or two hours in the morning working out; same in the afternoon to just, you know, retain her standard of her, her sport that she was doing, but she was still gaining weight around her stomach. You know, she just felt like all of a sudden she went from being able to eat whatever she wants to having that extra stomach weight gain, which is a sign for a lot of us.
And then it got to the point where it was uncomfortable to, you know, zip up her pants. She always felt bloated. And then the acne came and I'm sure many young women out there are resonating with the story.
JOLENE: And then some of the painful periods, irregular periods, so on and so forth. And what we found out with her is that basically she started her day, because she was working out, she would go between workout and classes, you know, she would down her, you know, nice sugary coffee or have her muffin on the way or just something that was just really high in sugar for her.
JOLENE: Okay. We all have a different tolerance for carbohydrates. Right? But for her, that just ended up being too much. And so she basically in addition to the inflammation from all of her exercise and stress probably, and hormones, she eventually was becoming insulin resistant. So just like you said, for her, that was kind of her problem. And so we addressed it by her diet, her food, finding out what her carbohydrate threshold was for her.
And then really for her too really, healing gut was a big deal. You know, if we could fix her gut and kind of stop some of the inflammation there, that had kind of that effect on the rest of her body as well.
BRITNI: Can you just, you know, quickly give a couple of examples of things that she modified, you know, you mentioned like she would grab a muffin or maybe a Cliff bar quickly.
BRITNI: What did she do instead in the morning?
JOLENE: So that's where we started with her was breakfast, you know, and especially with being active in the morning like that, we just really needed to make sure she was getting those good nutrients, that good balance that we always talk about. And so really protein, fat, vegetables were her friend for breakfast.
And then trying a really reduce at least for breakfast for her, that carbohydrate intake, to make sure that she started out her blood sugar in a very stable way. So she could be better supported the rest of the day. And then once she was able to do that, she started to feel better. Right? And then we could start to change maybe some of the other tweaks throughout her day for balance.
BRITNI: That's great.
JOLENE: But for her, the big one was, was of course breakfast.
JOLENE: Especially after being active.
BRITNI: It's a really smart place to start for anybody. You know, it's time for our second break already. Do you struggle with sugar cravings? Well, starting May 16th, we're going to be offering a free five-day online challenge called “How to Break Up with Sugar.” During our five-day challenge, you're going learn the science behind sugar cravings.
JOLENE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you enjoy our podcast and enjoy the information we share, please write us reviews so others can see how this information helps you. After 18 years, we have many loyal listeners. And again, we thank you for following us and listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Our podcasts are information packed and hopefully life changing. So please share, and let's help make everybody able to have this very important message that real food heals. Britni, before break, we were talking and trying to get across how complex PCOS is. And it's hard to do in one show because it is that complex.
JOLENE: But you, you know, you talked really well about the inflammatory type, which you experienced. And then I kind of talked about the insulin resistance type that I experienced and shared a client story. But there are still more things that can show their ugly face as PCOS. So do you have some other examples of some of the signs or symptoms.
BRITNI: Yeah. So some other, some major signs and symptoms, those irregular periods, excessive body or facial hair. I, I mentioned that. The oily skin, acne. PCOS is the number one cause of female infertility.
JOLENE: Wow. That's a big statement.
JOLENE: That is a big statement.
BRITNI: Yeah. And this symptom is kind of surprising: about 64% of women experience depression or anxiety that have PCOS. So that is very common too. Some women experience elevated cholesterol. Those metabolic labs you had mentioned earlier; prediabetes; that can be a common diagnosis with, with PCOS as well, because of, again, that insulin resistance connection.
JOLENE: So, really, to kind of going to your point about being an inflammatory disease, any of those inflammation markers, if those are, you know, elevated or red flags, that too can be some signs and symptoms. You talked about the infertility and pregnancy complications.
JOLENE: And again, I’m just going to say it cause it's so important. So PCOS you said is the number one reason for infertility.
JOLENE: That's amazing. But women with PCOS are also more likely if they do get pregnant or when they do get pregnant to have gestational diabetes, which has some of its own complications and concerns as well as hypertension and/or high blood pressure.
BRITNI: And women with PCOS experience a higher risk for uterine cancer and autoimmune diseases. But 40% of women with PCOS also have an autoimmune condition, specifically Hashimoto’s. The thyroid condition is very common in women that have PCOS. And you know, so lifestyle factors: often lack of insufficient sleep, a diet high in refined foods and low in nutrients. All of those things can contribute to PCOS and is often associated with those insulin levels being too high.
So we understand the cause. And what we do is we work, work with women to make those lifestyle and dietary changes to rebalance your hormones. It's possible. As you said at the beginning, Jolene, it's possible, you know, I ended up having three beautiful children and I've seen these, these hormones rebalance in so many women.
And I, I do want to mention there are some women that, that have come in to see me and they've already had children. And so PCOS is less on their radar because they're kind of thinking, well, I've already had kids. I don't have to worry about this, but as we're talking about today, it is a systemic syndrome. And so it is often still at the root of lots of other symptoms and, and imbalances going on in the body. So even if you are past childbearing age, we still need to address the PCOS. And what we want to think about is, again, those specific dietary changes that we can modify for you.
JOLENE: Yeah. And both you and I talk about this all the time, as well as the rest of our staff, but that's what we love about our job is we get to, you know, take these things, listen to clients, and then figure out how we can best help them, which is almost all the time going back to that root cause.
JOLENE: Because when we say these signs and symptoms, we've seen, we've said symptoms like thyroid, insulin, diabetes, autoimmune, hormone, infertility. And we know that there's specific doctors you can go to for each of those things.
JOLENE: The difference is that we know that they're all connected.
JOLENE: Right? And so the best approach isn't to put band aids on. Cause we can't treat one without affecting the other. Right?
JOLENE: And so we like to use the approach of let's get to the root cause. So we can have the systemic effect treating all of those other systems or signs and symptoms. Yeah. And, and the first place to start, like always, you know, for us, is going, you know, is with changing those eating habits. So we can really, like you said, Britni, establish balance again, that hormonal balance and metabolism balance.
So when we go back to our real food message, that's really figuring out, kind of like I mentioned, with my example client, what is a person's carbohydrate threshold or tolerance? Because it's different for different people and not only how many carbohydrates, but the types, you know, make a difference for certain people. And that's what we're here for is to help people understand that. But just as important then is well, what do you eat? Right?
JOLENE: And of course we always go back to and understand that that balance of the, the proteins, the fats, the vegetables, and getting a lot of your carbohydrates from those vegetables is really going to support that balance and especially your hormones.
BRITNI: So in my experience seeing many clients that have PCOS: cravings. They have, they really struggle with cravings because they are insulin resistant and they're so sensitive to carbohydrates. So, you know, first that awareness of where are these carbs sneaking in? You know, we've been talking about the processed foods, the breads, the pastas, you know, the sugary coffee drinks; all of those absolutely.
You know, for some women eating too much fruit or too many grains is too many carbohydrates for them and can still continue to contribute to that insulin resistance. And so if you are one of those individuals that are struggling with cravings, maybe you need to practice a hard no for a week or two. So just say no thank you to the pancakes. No, to that sweetened iced tea. No to the chips. No to that leftover Easter candy. And then all of a sudden those cravings will magically disappear and then it becomes a lot easier to make these real food choices if you're not constantly having those cravings.
JOLENE: Yeah. We were talking before the show, Britni, about as hard as it feels sometimes to do that hard no, it also will be the most rewarding, not only in how you feel, but you really get to see the difference in how you feel. And we always say that. It's like, once people know what it's like to feel good, it's hard to go back to when you didn't feel good or when you felt bad. Right? So yeah, that hard no, for, you know, one week, two weeks, 30 days, whatever we can do will really help you see what is actually feeding that inflammation for you.
And I like that you said that sometimes even fruits or grains, I mean, those are, those are real foods. Those are, you know, good foods for some people.
JOLENE: But somebody like me, who's really insulin resistant, I have to be very careful with fruit and how much I have, and for sure what I eat it with, if I don't want it to have a negative effect on how I feel. So again, it's very individual.
BRITNI: It is.
JOLENE: But understanding that, and then understanding that by doing these tests where you have hard no’s of good rid of things for a while, that might be those triggers will give you that deep understanding about your body and what makes you feel good.
BRITNI: Yeah. So I, I thought I'd share a little bit about what I personally modified to rebalance my hormones. And then we're just going to continue to, to talk about what we have seen, what type of eating works best with women with PCOS. So for me, you know, at the time I was already gluten free. I had figured that maybe, figured that out maybe a year previously, so I made sure to be a hundred percent gluten free. I eliminated dairy as well. Because dairy is, can be very inflammatory both for women with PCOS but for many people.
JOLENE: Well, when you think about dairy it only comes from cows that are producing milk, correct? So just like for humans, we can produce milk. Think about your hormones at that time. Okay? So if we're talking about hormonal imbalances, there's a whole lot that can be going on with extra hormones from dairy products for some people.
BRITNI: Yeah. And some dairy can actually increase an insulin response because dairy contains something called insulin like growth hormone. And so for me, I, I eliminated the dairy. I focused on a lot of healthy fats, which we're going to expand upon. And I lowered my carbohydrates even more. And at the time I, I had come a long way. Talk about a process, you know, it is, this has really been a process over years for me, but I used to grab a bar in the morning. And at the time it was like a hundred calorie bar.
JOLENE: Oh, yes. I remember those.
BRITNI: Cause I was still in that low-calorie, low-fat mode. And then it might be followed up by a sandwich and then pasta for dinner. I used to eat so many carbs and over years I dwindled that down. And at the time of my diagnosis, I wasn't eating those processed carbs, but I was still eating too many carbs for my body. It was creating inflammation. So I really focused on those non-starchy veggies instead, and upping that to increased fiber as well and, and making sure to get enough protein. So I, I made those changes in myself. And again, that made all the difference. We, after a year of making those lifestyle and dietary changes, we retested my hormones, and everything was within the optimal range.
JOLENE: And that was without you going on any birth control, hormone therapy.
JOLENE: That's so great to hear.
BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. So it is time for our last break. And then when we come back, we're going to talk more about this action plan of what to do if you have PCOS. You know, today, we focused on hormonal health of women, but let's switch gears and talk about the hormonal problem of prostate inflammation. It's reported that 50% of men by the age of 65 will have an enlarged prostate. This means he may need to get up several times a night to use the bathroom. I think we've all heard that from men.
And an anti-inflammatory diet, just like what we're talking about today, actually, plus the supplement Prostate Pro, has been shown to effectively reduce prostate inflammation. Prostate Pro contains key nutrients to help reduce prostate inflammation. For the best results we recommend a nutrition consultation, and we'll talk about diet modifications and proper supplementation, including that Prostate Pro. We will be right back.
JOLENE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before break Britni gave the alarming statistic that 50% of men by the age of 65 will have an enlarged prostate. And she talked about a great supplement we have called Prostate Pro. In addition to that supplement, we love to work with men to help them establish healthy eating habits that treat that inflammation that contributes to their prostate health. Please sign up for a consultation so you can get help with reducing signs and symptoms of prostate, of an enlarged prostate. And you can get some recommendations to eat food that helps you heal. Call us at (651) 699-3438 to set up an appointment and get started. So Britni, just to kind of bring people back.
JOLENE: We always like to just do a little bit of a, a review. So we, you know, kind of can bring this all together. So far we've talked about the many, many ways that PCOS can show up in people and, and talking and trying to let people know that there are lots of ways and that it's very individual. And then we talked about one of the main reasons is because it's a syndrome. And so that means it affects all body systems. Therefore, it can show up in all body systems. And if we get more to the root cause; we were talking a lot about inflammation and blood sugar.
JOLENE: As being very key things that we can work on with people to help prevent some of these signs and symptoms. And then finally, before break, we were able to start to get to some of the ways that we can help people use food and lifestyle habits to help improve these signs and symptoms in PCOS.
BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. So insulin resistance is at the root cause for most women with PCOS. So it's all about reversing that insulin resistance, and then those hormones will start to rebalance and those symptoms will, will go away. So what, how do we need to eat to reverse insulin resistance? You know, I mentioned healthy fat. That's so critical. So healthy fat would be olive oil, olives, avocado, avocado oil, raw nuts or seeds.
BRITNI: Butter as tolerated. What am I missing?
JOLENE: Fatty fish.
BRITNI: Yep. Coconut milk and coconut milk, coconut oil, shredded coconut. So this healthy fat is critical because that really anchors our blood sugar. When you have insulin resistance, you're going to need to reduce carbs. So consequently, you need to then up that fat a little bit. And then fat makes hormones.
BRITNI: Fat helps to make hormones. So the healthy fat every single time you eat is, is really key.
JOLENE: Yeah. I like to explain to people when we talk about blood sugar or even that insulin demand, you know, so every time you're demanding that work from your pancreas, it's almost like you're overworking it. Right?
JOLENE: And really fat is the only macro or food that doesn't ask anything of your pancreas.
JOLENE: So if you think of about it as it's kind of giving your body that rest and repair that it needs to be able to rebalance. And if you give it enough rest by repeating this again, and again, you know, like you said, it doesn't happen in one day or two days, but it will happen. Your body will respond with a healthy metabolism and its insulin response will start to normalize again.
JOLENE: So super important to realize that fat has no effect on your insulin response.
BRITNI: Mm-hmm. I'm so glad you, you brought that up. And then, you know, naturally we need to reduce those carbohydrates to reverse insulin resistance.
JOLENE: Which have a huge effect on your insulin response, right?
BRITNI: Yes. So that means primarily focusing on those non starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, green beans. I mean, the list goes on and on.
JOLENE: So many.
BRITNI: So you can eat as many of those as your heart desires.
JOLENE: They're freebies.
JOLENE: And then adding the fat to those makes it even delicious.
JOLENE: You're able to do both at the same time.
BRITNI: Yep. And then that protein is also really critical. So trying to get, you know, about three to four ounces of protein at every meal. And protein sources would be animal sources, ideally organic, grass-fed, free range, pasture raised; all of that. So that could be eggs, hamburger, chicken, turkey, fish.
JOLENE: They're all great.
JOLENE: And don't be afraid to, you know, I'll use this as a pun, but get a little wild with your meat. Sorry, I had to go there; and try some of those wild meats.
JOLENE: You know, some of the wild game. If you haven't tried things like venison or elk or, you know, bison; obviously there's lots of birds like pheasants.
JOLENE: You know, but they all have these beautiful arrays of nutrients.
JOLENE: And different amino acids that can really just feed you and feed your brain.
JOLENE: You know and help stabilize those hormones and, and, and, and that insulin response.
BRITNI: So we're trying to get protein, healthy fat, and veggies every time we eat. And then for the majority, if not all women with PCOS, they’re really going to benefit from eliminating gluten and dairy. And if you're, if you're eating a lot of processed carbs first, just focus on…
JOLENE: Let's start there.
BRITNI: Getting rid of those and then you can always do a test down the road of eliminating that, that gluten and dairy. And like you said earlier, it's not until you a hundred percent eliminate something that it becomes very apparent of how something is affecting you.
JOLENE: And it, and that is something that happens quickly. You know? I mean, it, it, obviously the effect becomes more multiplied the longer you do it, where you can see the benefits, but there are things that you can tell pretty quickly, you know, in the right or wrong direction when you're eating foods or not eating those foods and how you feel.
BRITNI: So let's talk about what would this look like in a day?
JOLENE: Yeah. Yeah. That's what we like to do is give people practical ideas. So for breakfast, and this is, is this, I'll just share my personal example because, you know, for me, like I said, I have a low carbohydrate threshold. So I know that if I start my morning with carbohydrates, even the good kinds, that it just kind of throws me off for the day. So I really do focus on protein, fat in the non-starchy vegetables for breakfast.
So I like to actually as I'm making breakfast, I roast a pan of vegetables at the same time. So I just have them. And right now, like cabbage and carrots have kind of been my, my go to. They’re delicious. And then those are easy just to throw on my plate. And then over that, you know, I can add a couple fried eggs, you know, for some protein. And then usually I just pick an extra meat you know, whatever we have in our freezer. Right now, we have a lot of venison. So I like to maybe cook up some venison. Sometimes I do it as a ground meat. Sometimes I do it, you know, as, as a steak. So that's an example for somebody that needs to keep it at a lower carbohydrate threshold.
BRITNI: Sounds delicious.
JOLENE: What do you do, Britni, for breakfast?
BRITNI: You know, sometimes I do eggs. Sometimes I might do more of a hash.
JOLENE: Oh yes. Hashes are great.
BRITNI: And you can find now like shaved Brussels sprouts or combinations of shaved Brussels sprouts and kale and cabbage already chopped, which is great. It saves so much time. So I might sauté that up with some sausage, some spices and some coconut oil or, or avocado oil. And then I always make extra.
JOLENE: Yes. Always have extra. So you can grab at any point in time.
BRITNI: Exactly. I like that.
JOLENE: It is important to know that you always have the ability to have access to that food, especially when those cravings come up. So you just know you can go in your fridge and you know, something's easy as leftovers to pull out and eat when needed.
JOLENE: And then I think just the rest of the day, that balance is so, so important. You know, proteins, fats, vegetables; get most of your carbs from those vegetables. You stick to that, you're healing and you're reduce on inflammation.
JOLENE: Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It is a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today. Have a good day.
BRITNI: Thank you.