Diet & Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Today, in this modern world of Western medicine and technology, we have experienced a drastic rise in diseases that were unheard of several decades ago. One such disease that has been growing exponentially is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS is a disorder that affects a woman’s endocrine system (reproductive system being the system that shows the most symptoms). This condition causes symptoms that can include excruciating menstrual cycles, painful ovarian cysts, infertility, weight gain, acne, male baldness patterns, and facial hair.

30 years ago, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) was fairly unknown and diagnosis was almost nonexistent. Today, statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that around 10% of women are affected. That percentage is most likely lower than the actual number of women suffering from PCOS, as only those struggling with infertility or experiencing painful or difficult symptoms seek medical attention.


What changed?

In brief, the amount of chemicals to which we are daily exposed in our environments, and, especially, our food has increased dramatically. The advent of chemical processing and refining has changed our food supply. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is primarily composed of genetically modified crops and hormone-laced meats, as well as chemical preservatives, flavor enhancers and other industrial residue.

PCOS is a disease caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. Women are not born with it or genetically predisposed to PCOS, but, rather, develop it over time. By continually exposing our systems to the chemicals that are the foundations of the SAD, we alter all of the systems in the body. From digestion to reproduction, from metabolism to brain function, these man made foods poison every cell of our body.

PCOS affects the endocrine system, manifesting itself primarily in the reproductive organs. The endocrine system is in charge of regulating a plethora of functions such as metabolism and reproduction. It is also crucial in maintaining weight, the menstrual cycle, the ability to fight viruses (thanks to the work of the thyroid). Even the growth of our hair and nails is facilitated by the endocrine system.


What’s Happening?

I like to describe the endocrine system as an orchestra: all of the musicians work together to create a beautiful song. When everyone is in tune and playing the same song, the orchestra produces harmony and melody. But once one instrument goes off key or starts playing at a slower pace, the entire song sounds terrible. Some musicians will start trying to play louder to mask the discordant player. Others will lose their rhythm and also start to play off key.

When we fill our bodies with the foodstuff that are pillars the Standard American Diet, we alter one or two or all of the instruments in the endocrine system (other systems too, for that matter). The other glands and organs adjust to compensate for the alteration. The body is no longer in harmony.

One of the areas of the endocrine system out of harmony with PCOS is the hormone insulin.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and it is in charge of shuttling glucose away from the bloodstream and into the cells, liver and other muscle fibers. Glucose needs to be carefully regulated in the body and, at any given time, only a minuscule quantity can be circulating into the bloodstream (glucose = sugar and is extremely toxic in quantities that go above 80-100 ml/dl). Moreover, glucose also helps nutrients enter the cells.

Often with PCOS, the cells become resistant to insulin, which raises blood sugar to dangerous levels and also prevents the nutrients we ingest and synthetize to enter the cells. Every hormone works like a key made to fit a specific lock (receptor). In the insulin resistance stage, the body usually manufactures plenty of insulin, but this key is unable to open the lock and enter the cell.

This triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin, as glucose accumulating in the blood is extremely dangerous. In the long run, chronically elevated insulin levels alter not only glucose metabolism, but also the production of the sex hormone androgen.

Now we have a combination of insulin resistance with excess androgen, causing the endocrine system to compensate for the change, a process called homeostasis. Ultimately, the orchestra may fail to produce harmony. Rather than causing unpleasant music, we have many of the PCOS symptoms.

The main culprits for this insulin alteration are:

  • Too much sugar;
  • Refined carbohydrates;
  • Processed food;
  • Hormone residue in dairy and red meat.


Diet as Treatment

Typically, modern medicine treatments consist of diabetes prescriptions to address insulin resistance and hormonal imbalance. While well intentioned, it only adds other variables and does not remove the stressors of the struggling endocrine system. The end result of this medical Band-Aid is that the endocrine system is manipulated further from the original harmonious system.

It fails to treat the endocrine system as a whole unit.

For sustainable health, diet adjustments offer effective, long-term solutions. To start, we need to remove all the foods triggering the insulin imbalance.

Some of my clients hear this statement as a death sentence for the foods they love, such as cake, pastries or ice cream. But please know that this is a temporary adjustment. We need to reestablish healthy blood sugar patterns on our journey to treating PCOS.

For clients who are determined to restore their health, we implement a diet that restricts sugars, refined carbohydrates, dairy, and conventionally raised red meats. We build in nourishing components such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli. These items are particularly good for the liver, as they provide the body with much needed compounds that help with detoxification.

Like most meaningful things in life, this is easier said than done. It will take commitment.

Once we have a clean slate, we slowly work to reintroduce elements back into a healthy diet. Yes, in moderation, you can even occasionally have that slice of cake. It’s more likely that you will feel so good that the cake is no longer appealing.

During the reintroduction period, we can evaluate if there are certain foods that trigger a reaction. The final diet works to address unique elements to the individual to put their body back in harmony.


Committing to Good Health

Tackling your symptoms in a meaningful more sustainable manner will not be easy. The Standard American Diet is oftentimes how we are raised. From TV ads to the fast food joint down the street to the processed food lining the aisles at the grocery stores, it’s built into all areas of world. Odds are that taking the first step to committing to better health will be one of the more challenging experiences you go through this year.

It will also be an extremely rewarding experience.

Whether your PCOS is manifesting in painful ovarian cysts or your biggest struggle is failure to conceive, taking the initiative to address your PCOS head on will change your life in the most marvelous ways. Overcoming the full aspects of PCOS will take time, but within the first weeks, you will immediately regain energy, have less painful menstrual cycles, begin losing weight, and reduce acne.

The long-term effects will bring you closer to fertility and remove all PCOS symptoms from your life.

By partnering with me on your health journey, you can reach your goals faster. Together, we can build a full health plan that fits into your life. I build a customized diet for you based on your symptoms, your history, and your goals. More importantly, I walk with you throughout the process. From eliminating foods in the diet to reintroduction to bringing in the nourishing aspects of food to the diet, I am here to help you realize better health.

To schedule your free 15-minute consultation, contact me today.

Increasing Fertility: Household Items to Watch Out For

In our modern world, there are countless ways to come into contact with toxins and chemicals, substances that are damaging to our health. As you work toward preparing your body for conception, or as you actively try to conceive, it is important to cleanse the body of harmful substances. This will help increase your fertility as well as prepare a healthy environment for your baby to grow in.

Typically, when individuals think of removing harmful substances, they limit their search to items found in the pantry. Moving toward healthier eating is a very important step, but is only half the equation.

You absorb as many toxins through your skin as you do from the foods you eat. These are so many items that you come in contact with throughout the day. From washing your hands to getting dressed in the morning, you are constantly exposing your body to potentially harmful substances.

If you have struggled with infertility or have not been able to conceive despite actively trying (to conceive) for at least 6 month, it is important to look at your lifestyle and see if toxicity (toxin exposure) could be a piece of your fertility puzzle.

Here are several important places in your home to evaluate.

In the Bathroom

In the bathroom, look for items that take a chemical formula to create. These are items such as toothpaste, perfume, makeup removers, sunscreen, shampoos, and soaps.

As with all the products you use on your skin, evaluate the ingredients. If you need a degree in chemistry to understand what they are, they do not belong on your skin.

Some of the toxic ingredients you will read on the label of these kinds of items are sulfates, triclosans, fragrances, and parabens. Each of those ingredients negatively impacts the body. For example, parabens have been known to spur reproductive difficulties.

When reviewing products in your bathroom, don’t neglect reviewing your different cosmetics. Makeup contains some of the most toxic substances in your bathroom.


There are several brands that create natural non-toxic alternatives for the products you use every day. The key is to be aware of the harmful effects of traditional products and actively look for other options.

Additionally, you can explore complete alternatives. One example would be using coconut oil instead of lotion. This is extremely healthy for the skin and effective at moisturizing.

For your cosmetics, there are natural makeup lines coming out that are more affordable (and much cleaner) than MAC Cosmetics. For example, Gwyneth Paltrow currently has a line so safe you could eat it. Odds are that it’s not something you would consider eating, but it’s a good reminder that if it’s not safe enough to eat, it doesn’t belong on your skin.

In the Kitchen

The biggest offender in the kitchen is your nonstick pots and pans. In order to create the smooth and easy-to-use surface on the pans, manufacturers coat their products with a chemical rich layer. The main component of this chemical layer is Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This particular chemical has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, women who struggle with infertility have been shown to have higher concentrations of PFOA.

Have you ever had a pan that started out nonstick but over time lost that characteristic? The chemical layer slowly transferred to your food. In short, you ate the nonstick components. Yes, that is the PFOA.

The other item to watch out for is your plastic Tupperware.

There are seven types of plastic. Each type is classified by a number, which corresponds to the different chemical makeup. The ones to watch out for are number 1 and number 7. These particular chemical makeups are shown to decrease sperm count and reduce the number of eggs.


Replace nonstick pots and pans with cast iron, aluminum, or ceramic options. Cast iron pans can actually be beneficial for women because it adds iron to your system. Women tend to need more iron, particularly when pregnant.

Look for Tupperware options that use plastics 2-6 or opt for glass food storage options.

Under the Sink

You likely store your different cleaning supplies under the sink. Products like bleach, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, polishes, and other cleaners are full of toxic components.

Think of them as poison. That’s why your parents put the little green poison control sticker on them while you were growing up.

While you won’t necessarily be applying them to your skin, especially if you use rubber gloves cleaning, you will breathe in the fumes as you use them.

The other cleaning product to consider is laundry detergent. The chemicals in detergent are transferred to your clothes during the wash cycle. You then transfer the chemicals directly to your skin as you wear them throughout the day.


There are several great natural options to the typical chemical-rich cleaning options. In lieu of bleach, choose essential oils. Bicarbonates and apple cider vinegar are strong enough to clean things like calcium deposits in the bathroom or even your oven.

If you are looking for a more traditional cleaner, look into companies like Seventh Generation who focus on environmentally friendly and non-toxic products.


There are two ways we absorb water. The first is through enjoying your ice-cold glass of water in the afternoon. The other is during your hot shower or bubble bath. Many people use water filters on their drinking tap. This still leaves you vulnerable while showering.

Especially in a hot shower, your open pores can absorb more water than you drink in a day. If you live in an area with poor water quality, then you are absorbing all the pollutants directly through your skin.


Call your water department to determine the quality of your city’s water. Most likely you will be surprised to learn how it is far from desirable.

Depending on your budget, you can either explore individual water filters for your tap water and showerheads or a house water filter. While a house filter will be a more expensive option upfront, often it saves you money in the long run. Individual water filters need to be replaced every six months. A house filter will not need to be touched for fifteen years.


If you are like most couples planning to add a new member to the family, you will be gearing up for a remodel or creating the baby’s room. There are several different aspects to a remodel that are extremely hazardous to someone trying to conceive, as well as an expectant mother.

Paints and varnishes release toxic fumes. New furniture, curtains, and even carpets have flame-retardants they release into the air. These chemicals can cause miscarriages and reduce sperm count.


For furniture, look for used options. These flame-retardants stop outgassing over time, so older items will be safer to bring into the home. If you still want to paint the home or add new carpet, then use low VOC paints, use the time the house is being painted as an opportunity for a short getaway. Allow for the home to air out before returning. 

Start Slow

This is a very long list, which can be overwhelming if you try to implement it all at once. It would also be very costly. Instead, start by identifying items in your home you want to replace. When you eventually run out, start replacing items with healthier alternatives.

By changing your purchasing habits, you will start to recognize and look for the safer and healthier options.

Working With an Expert

Changing lifestyle habits can be a lot to take on alone. That’s why I am here to help. I partner with you to look at all areas of your life and identify solutions to creating a healthier environment. This applies both to increasing natural fertility as well as creating the safest environment for your baby to grow.

Often times I help couples find natural solutions to IVF. Other positive byproducts of removing these hidden toxins in your life are enjoying better sleep, improved digestion, lusher hair and nails, and overall better vitality.

Just as you wouldn’t want to bring a guest into a dirty home, you don’t want to create your child in an unhealthy or even toxic environment. Together, we can ensure that your body is a healthy and beautiful place to allow your baby to grow in.

Schedule your free 15-minute consultation today.

Baby Bumps: How to Lower Your Baby’s Risk of Autism

As expectant mothers we have a vital opportunity to create a safe environment as our baby grows. Once you find out that you are pregnant, you start to make positive changes: you start taking a prenatal vitamin, you increase your folic acid, you cut out alcohol and maybe your morning coffee as well.

These are all positive steps. However, creating a clean environment for your baby to grow in requires more than simply adding a few vitamins.

Several years ago, it was thought that these steps were enough to ensure a successful pregnancy. Now we know that whatever the mother is exposed to, the baby may be exposed to as well. As an expectant mom, you need to incorporate a holistic approach to your overall health. This protects your baby from numerous hazardous chemicals that we are exposed to as part of modern life.

Many expectant mothers these days are concerned about autism.

The rate of autism diagnoses is drastically increasing, reaching epidemic proportions.

While science has not pinpointed an exact cause, the latest research is shedding light on some important factors. Several studies seem to indicate that there is some genetic predisposition, but that environmental factors play a large role in whether or not those “autistic” genes are expressed.

An important finding of one of the studies was that 98% of the autistic children evaluated tested positive for the MTHFR gene mutation. The MTHRF plays an important role in producing enzymes that allow the body to process folic acid and Vitamin B9. When this MTHFR gene mutation is “turned on” or expressed, it limits the body’s ability to adequately process important nutrients and proteins.

When the parents of these autistic children also had genetic testing done, only around 30% had the same mutation. This suggests that something (likely environmental factors) during pregnancy or immediately following birth caused the MTHFR gene mutations to turn on.

Now it is important to ask, “What turns these genes on?”

Environmental causes can be vast: environmental toxins from exhaust fumes, fire retardants, chemical dyes, industrial cleansers and processed foods, etc. You can’t control every variable in your life, but there is a lot you can do to provide a clean environment in which to nourish your baby.

As an expectant mother, this can be pretty daunting. The good news is that there are things you can do to create as pure an environment as possible for your baby, minimizing the environmental risks that are associated with autism.

As a Nutritional Therapist, I focus on all aspects of the parents’ health and lifestyle. Much of my work is concerned with removing toxins from the environment, especially the food and water that we eat and drink. There are so many ways that toxins can enter your body, thus undermining the baby’s natural development and increasing the potential of activating genes associated with autistic expression.

I always start with diet, the cleaner the diet the better. For example, eating organic foods removes or greatly reduces exposure to dangerous pesticides. The closer to nature you eat, the less you will encounter those ingredients you can’t even pronounce in processed foods.

Dietary changes go hand in hand with removing other sources of toxins. Many times, these are unexpected; think of all of your lotions and potions, the new car or furniture smell. New furniture can be very harmful for pregnant women and babies because of all the chemicals sprayed on them, such as fire retardants. Overall, we work towards creating the most healthful and natural environment possible.

This can be overwhelming if you have to do it all by yourself. Pregnancy doesn’t leave time to make small changes; it is important to commit from the beginning. This is why working with a Nutritional Therapist can help make these goals more obtainable. Together we can make a plan that will help you create the healthiest environment for your baby.

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation today to discuss how you can experience the best pregnancy and ensure a beautiful beginning.

To learn more about the studies mentioned, check out the reports:

Gestational Diabetes – Part 5

In case you missed it:
– Part 1 What is it and how to test
Part 2 Let’s talk about diet 
Part 3 How to navigate the supermarket 
Part 4 What to eat when suffering from GD 

Supplements To Manage GD And Tips To Fight Cravings

There is very little research done on pregnant women because, as you can imagine, it is unethical to conduct tests on pregnant women. There are though several supplements that have been used for years on pregnant women and are regarded as safe.

My advice is to work with a professional who will help you find what your body needs specifically. A practitioner trained in disorders of blood sugar metabolism will be able to support all three organs of blood sugar, gently and safely for you and baby.

If you were to use food as medicine, I would recommend eating organ meats 2-3 times a week. Organic liver is a powerhouse of nutrients that will help your body regulate glucose levels. If you dislike liver, you can take it in forms of desiccated liver tablets.

Another good supplement to take is chromium picolinate. Chromium is a key mineral that helps the body better & more efficiently utilize glucose.

As far as herbs are concerned, you really need to be cautious and only work with a practitioner who is knowledgeable in herbalism, as too many herbs are contraindicated in pregnancy and can be very dangerous to the fetus and to bring the pregnancy to term.

An herb that is safe to use is cinnamon bark standardized pure extract. Another safe herb is Gymnema Sylvestre. This is a great herb to manage blood glucose level; it is also a great herb to help you curb sugar cravings. A little trick for you mamas, and everyone out there, if you have a sweet tooth, what you can do is open a capsule of gymnema and sprinkle it on your tongue. It will numb your taste buds so the next time you take a spoonful of whatever sugary treats you want to eat, it won’t taste sweet anymore. If you are unable to detect the sweet taste, you may not want to eat it after all. This is a little trick that can often help.

As far as cravings are concerned, a spoonful of coconut oil with a little bit of honey or a spoonful of coconut oil with a spoonful of almond butter will do wonders! The fatty acid and the little sweet taste of the almond butter or honey, will curb the cravings fast.

Remember that cravings are often a sign that the body is missing some nutrients. That is how our physiology evolved.

It takes time for your taste buds to cleanse and time for your body to switch from running on sugar to running on fatty acids.

Ideally, a woman will want to switch to a healthy diet prior trying to conceive. But of course that is not always the case. Please know that a good practitioner will work with you and help you manage your GD, but you need to know that you may experience some cravings. They are a natural part of transitioning to a better diet.

In normal circumstances, I would help a client implement baby steps, changing just one or two things a week, and she would be able to eat a great diet in just a few months. The baby steps would add up, so that the transition would not be overwhelming, but unfortunately, when we have a diagnosis like Gestational Diabetes, most often, the choice is between a radical changes of diet or take medications like insulin or metformin. While it can feel like a lot to make changes faster and almost overnight, a good diet and a good supplement will ensure that you’re building a healthy baby.

The conventional GD diet can be brutal… I can only think of all those women out there who are eating the wrong kind of diet who are drinking diet soda pop because it has no sugar; women who are told to eat sugar-free Jell-O. These foodstuffs do not build healthy babies.

Gestational Diabetes – Part 4

In case you missed it:
– Part 1 What is it and how to test
Part 2 Let’s talk about diet 
Part 3 How to navigate the supermarket 

What To Eat When Suffering From GD

Let’s see what kind of carbohydrates a woman suffering from Gestational Diabetes should eat. When we hear the word carbohydrate, we tend to think about grains, breads, cereals, bagels, and we forget that fruits and vegetables are also carbohydrate foods.

When the diagnosis of GD is made, women are advised to keep their carbohydrate intake below 15 grams per meal and they are counseled into counting carbs. Unfortunately this advice does not keep into consideration biochemical individuality and what works for a one woman, may not work for another.

There are some women who can manage their blood sugar while eating a little bit of whole grains or starches, when these foods are paired with fats and proteins. For example, they can eat a wonderful grilled salmon with some roasted Brussel sprouts and a little side of quinoa, and their postprandial blood sugar would measure just fine.

But there is a percentage of women out there who were diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes who cannot handle even that small quantity of grains and starches. That is when it gets difficult to manage the diet, because these women need to get enough carbohydrates from plant matter without “getting sick” of veggies and we know that is the struggle that many women have, especially when food aversions set in.

My advice is to eat cooked veggies in a way that is tasty.

Working with a practitioner experienced in GD is also a must. I have several clients who can eat starchy vegetables in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes or winter squash but they cannot do rice. Working with a clinician will help you find the best diet for you based on how your pregnant body responds to foods. It will take a little bit of trial and error because we have to figure out what your body can handle.

Women who can handle some whole grains, will want to eat grains that have been soaked & sprouted. They will want to consume the grains as a side dish, instead of having a bowl of pasta.

How a healthy diet for the management of GD looks like? Ideally your plate should be half filled with low glycemic vegetables dressed with plenty of healthy fats (pastured butter, unrefined coconut oil, EVOO), which allow the body to assimilate the wonderful fat-soluble nutrients that are contained in the vegetables.

We need to eat foods that won’t spike blood sugar. Low glycemic fruits: berries, apples, coconuts and tomatoes, and low-glycemic veggies. If you crave a banana, have only half and eat it with some nut butter. The fat & protein in peanut butter will help modulate the blood sugar response. If you would like some pineapple, it at the end of your meal! The enzymes in the pineapple will help you digest your meal, and eating on a full stomach will help prevent blood sugar spikes.

The rest of your plate should he composed of healthy protein (grass-fed, organic, pastured, try to get the best quality you can afford) and healthy fats.

Gestational Diabetes – Part 3

In case you missed it:
– Part 1 What is it and how to test
Part 2 Let’s talk about diet 

How To Navigate The Supermarket

Remember that during pregnancy you are building a human being “from scratch”. To build a healthy baby you need to consume high quality proteins and fats. I would like all of my pregnant clients to eat foods as they come in nature, as close as they can get to their natural state.

One trustworthy principle I always tell my clients (pregnant and not) is to remember that real food doesn’t come in a box.  Real food is what you find along the perimeter of a supermarket, the fruits and veggies, the dairy, the fish, the beef and other animal products, the eggs, the butter, the olive oil.

When we enter the aisles of the supermarkets, we generally find shiny packages that “scream” to be low fat, low cholesterol, low this, high in that, those foods have been processed, they have been stripped and refined, and then they have been enriched with a handful of synthetic vitamins & minerals that have no place in our body. Our body does not know how to use them and our baby’s body doesn’t know how to use them either.

Let’s start with this, real food doesn’t have a label. But if you do eat something out of a package, look for a food that has 5 or fewer ingredients, ingredients that you can pronounce. Make sure that you do not need a biochemistry degree to read a label. Such food has no place is your pregnant body.

If you buy a packaged food, check the label and look at the grams of sugar. Particularly if you are diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, the food must have 6 grams of sugar or less. But remember, every carbohydrate is converted into glucose in the body. So if you look at the label & it has 0 grams of sugar but 40 grams of carbohydrates, you have to know that those 40 grams of carbohydrate will be converted into sugar. So, per this example, if a food label lists 0 grams of sugar but 40 grams of carbohydrates, you probably don’t want to eat it & you want to look for something that has 15 grams of carbohydrates or less.

Another thing to pay attention to when eating out of a box is portion size. A portion of Pringles is a small handful of chips. But some people can easily get to the end of the can without even realizing it. So you are probably getting 4, 5, 6 times the amount of macronutrients that are listed on the label.  In addition to this, by law, manufacturers are allowed to list 0 grams of trans fat even though a portion size may contain up to 0.5 grams of trans fat.  Nobody eats 5 Pringles, so by the time you are done with your can of Pringles, you’ve eaten 3, 4, 5 grams of trans fat. Trans fats are a poison that we all should aim at avoiding, especially when we are expecting.

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