(S)ustenance

I went back to the doctor a few weeks ago because I was having PCOS symptoms again. They had pretty much disappeared during my pregnancy with Evvie, but as she got older and my body started to regulate itself again, I was seeing some of the same old issues.

PCOS can affect you in 3 major ways: infertility, immediate physical symptoms (weight gain, hair loss etc), and the possibility of long term health issues (diabetes, heart disease, cancer). Although Drew and I are not planning on having any more children, it is really important to me that I have control of my health and that I take action in the ways that I can.

My doctor put me on three different prescriptions to regulate my insulin levels and hormones, encouraged me to take certain supplements, and praised me for taking control. But he told me the two very biggest factors to preventing any PCOS related damage was sticking to a specific diet and getting adequate exercise (30 mins of cardio 5 days a week and 15 mins of strength training 3 times a week).

The PCOS diet is low glycemic and is very similar to the anti-inflammatory diet , only with less pasta and fruit. Specifically, I need to completely cut out starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, refined sugars, and white breads and pastas. I’ve known this for years, but I relaxed on it while I was pregnant and nursing, and never quite got strict about it again.

In addition to following the PCOS diet, I decided about a month ago to go back to being a vegetarian. I very rarely ate meat anymore as it was, and I generally didnt enjoy it when I was eating it. I will talk more about why I chose vegetarian in a later post, but for the last few weeks, I had been lax on that as well (mostly with bacon. ohhh, sweet bacon).

So finally I said enough. Enough pretending these foods are ok to put in my body. Enough putting things off, enough waiting for the “right time”. I just needed to get on it. So to kick things off, I decided to do a cleanse with my friend, Amy. It isnt about losing weight or depriving myself, it is more about reprogramming my body to crave healthy foods and to get past the desire for all the things I need to cut out all at once.

Our cleanse is actually very easy and gentle. It’s called a “juice cleanse”, but there is no fasting or limiting to liquids. Each day you drink herbal tea, a protein shake, 100% fruit juice, LOTS of water and you can eat as many raw fruits as you want, and then fewer raw vegetables. But that’s it. So for an example, here was my day yesterday:

wake up: herbal tea
breakfast: protein shake & grapes
snack: pear & juice
lunch: fruit salad, carrots & celery
snack: banana & juice
dinner: green salad with tomatoes & cucumber dressed with lemon juice
evening: herbal tea

The one thing we noticed: we were never hungry! The second thing we noticed (after today) we are craving not fried foods or desserts, but cooked vegetables! Right path indeed! It’s still not any way FUN. It’s actually way too sweet for me, and it requires a LOT of planning and packing. But it’s almost over, and I think I’m accomplishing what I wanted to!

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