Sunday, July 25, 2010

How I got here

I have PCOS, Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. This is an endocrine disorder where your ovaries produce tons of cysts and your entire endocrine system is out of balance. It is closely tied to Insulin resistance and thyroid issues. PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in the nation, affecting almost 10% of women in the United States. It has some additional fun side effects to the infertility including male pattern facial hair, chest hair, a difficulty losing weight, some fun gastrointestinal side effects, and fatigue. My husband has very low sperm motility and those two things combined made doctors think it was pretty much impossible for us to conceive. And according to medical science it was.

After we decided not to pursue any more fertility treatments, ever, I started to really concentrate on finding health for my body. I was specifically looking to cure, or at least calm the effects of, PCOS with my diet. After a lot of research as well as trial and error I discovered more things about my body and food tolerances/intolerances. First, like most women with PCOS, I am gluten sensitive. I am not intolerant nor do I have celiac. However gluten does tend to slow my digestion, give me gas, and destabilize my blood sugar. One of the first major dietary changes I made was to eliminate wheat and other glutens from my diet on a regular basis. I still milled my own grain, and my kids still eat fresh bread, but it wasn't working for my body anymore. I didn't look for hidden gluten, nor did I give up the occasional treat, but bread and gluten heavy products were no longer a part of my regular diet.

And as soon as I made that change I started to drop weight.

The next thing I looked at was fruits. Fruits are an incredibly healthy food, and should be a major part of the diets of most people. But I was experiencing major sugar highs and lows over even something simple like a nectarine. The first thing I did was eliminate fruit all together, and that wasn't my brightest day. I love fruit, and am much more likely to get my nutrients from fruit than veggies. So I started to make sure that my fruit intake was limited to only times when I was consuming protein too. For breakfast I'd have eggs with pesto and 1/4 of a grapefruit. No more stand alone fruit, but instead I would have my fruit with a balanced meal and I would eliminate the sugar highs and lows. Since I was not eating many grains it was important that I still get carbohydrates, but in a balanced way.

I vastly increased my protein intake also. I was eating 80 or so grams of protein a day. Eggs for breakfast every single morning, and red meat for dinner every night, except a couple of days a week of fish. I do not like Chicken well, nor do I feel well when I eat it, so I don't. I think that most food aversions like this are indicators of foods that are and aren't good for us.

The final dietary change I made was to drastically increase my intake of cruciferous vegetables. These are veggies from the cabbage family, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc... I would make sure that I had something from this family every day of the week. More often than not it was cole slaw, since I'm also a big fan of a high fat diet.

Over the course of changing my diet I lost 20 lbs and started to ovulate on a more regular basis. My cycles were about 40 days in length. The longest I'd gone in the past without a cycle was almost three years.

And that, is the story of how I started to ovulate based on dietary changes, and got pregnant very unexpectedly.


Tara said...

Thank you for sharing! I hope this gives some hope and inspiration to other women with PCOS.

I am so happy for you...for the better health, weight loss and the new baby. :)

Renee said...

Thanks, this is very interesting! (If you ever care to share how you eat your eggs every morning without getting tired of them, I'd love to know ;o)

Erin said...

oh eggs :) One day I would have them fried in coconut oil with pesto. The next I would sautee some onions and spinach and add eggs and cheese. Then I would make a quiche. Then I would make very very eggy crepes and roll up some berries and cream cheese (or rather my own homemade yogurt cheese)

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing your story. What a miracle it is.

BethGo said...

I was eating a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie while I read this. Uh oh.
With that said, I have also noticed that my mind and body are much clearer when I cut out gluten, it's just hard to do.
Good for you for sticking to it.
Very inspiring.