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An Unconventional Approach to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
7
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Your doctor probably isn’t going to tell you this, he’s probably just going to prescribe some Metformin and send you on your way, but PCOS is treatable with diet and lifestyle changes! No drugs are necessary, even in the most stubborn of cases. I spent most of my life with PCOS before it was well known enough to diagnose and I conquered it myself by reading and experimenting with various health approaches. I finally achieve total success through a strict very low carb Paleo diet.

No one figured out I had PCOS

I started my period a couple of months after I turned 11. From that day forward I was depressed, angry, shy, and rebellious.

I had all kinds of other issues on top of that. I had pica (eating non-food items such as chalk, dirt, and hair). I had diarrhea everyday. My mom took me to doctors to test for ulcers but when those tests came back negative she just kind of ignored it. I had menstrual cramps so bad that every month I would rock back and forth for two days in excruciating pain. My mom didn’t know what to do for me so she gave me Vicodin and hoped it would stop. Not she, nor her sisters, nor her first daughter 14 years before me had ever experienced anything like the symptoms from which I claimed to suffer.

The emergence of cysts – a clue?
When I was 14, I went to the emergency room with 4 cysts which had ruptured on my ovaries in unison (utterly agonizing pain). But after the ultrasound confirmed that the cysts had ruptured, the doctors said I should be fine and those too were ignored.

I had other signs that something was wrong with my body. When I was 12 my hip joint fell out of its socket and I had to go to the ER to get it put back in place. They didn’t know why it happened so they sent me on my way (my hip and my shoulder continued to do this until I was 26, when I quit eating gluten).

Once I had a head ache so bad it sent me to the ER. The pain that day was worse than childbirth. The spinal tap showed nothing and so it too was ignored.

I looked so healthy despite the symptoms
I guess it might have been hard to take me seriously since I was such a pretty young teen. How could anyone so pretty and thin be such a wreck? And so, I was eventually diagnosed with mental problems. All the cramps, the diarrhea, the pain, the joint problems, the feeling of being out of control were all in my head.

By the time I was 12 it would become the job of psychiatrists to fix me, but they didn’t do a bit of good for someone whose mind suffered as a result of malnourishment and hormonal imbalances. (Even today it seems psychiatrists are mostly clueless about the connection between the mind and the body. Depression and mental problems are totally avoidable and correctable. Emily Deans is aware of this. I wish she had been my shrink.)

Acne was definitely not all in my head
When I was 17 it became outwardly obvious that maybe there really was something wrong (though no one ever did make any connections). I developed acne. By the time I was 22 it became severe and cystic. My mom now started sending me to doctors of all kinds – mostly dermatologists which are, for the most part, a waste of a good brain since all they do is treat outward symptoms and not even bother with cause. They all told me to wash my skin better and use topical products, not to eat chocolate (which I didn’t do anyway), and stay away from fatty foods.

After a while I ran into a doctor that prescribed the pill, which made my symptoms worse, and then long-term antibiotics, which never helped at all. I was handed a prescription and told to go on my way by every single doctor I ever saw. I went to probably 15 or more doctors in the Denver area in the late nineties.

More symptoms of PCOS started to surface
In 2004 my hair started to noticeably thin out and my acne became worse than ever despite the drugs I took for it. I applied Retin-A and developed terrible scaring for the first time.

I felt and looked so horrible I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Just the fact that I was so messed up was driving me crazy! I found out that I had celiac disease and started to realize that there was some kind of connection with what I put in my mouth and how I felt. This started a mission to save myself. (I had given up on doctors long ago. If anyone was going to help me it was going to be me.)

I quit my job and started reading the 8 or 9 hours my husband was away at work. I did a thousand google searches on acne and little by little I started learning enough to do other key word searches, and still others. I checked out literally hundreds of books from the library and read them all from cover to cover.

I would experiment with a diet for a few months – always with the intention of combating my acne. I read that the puss in milk causes acne (bullshit) and how the rise in insulin by sugar causes acne (not the whole story) and how reactions to topical products causes acne (bullshit) and so on and so on.

I finally got my hands on an ebook about PCOS because a Google search returned a list of PCOS symptoms that included acne. It gave me a clue about the hypoglycemia connection and how I should be limiting carbs and grains.

What is PCOS
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance. In women with PCOS the ovaries produce too much male hormones (androgens), making it difficult or impossible for the ovaries to release an egg. This leads to cysts on the ovaries and a host of troublesome symptoms.

Symptoms of PCOS

Irregular or absent periods
Pelvic pain
Cysts on the ovaries
Infertility
Depression
Acne
Weight gain
Hair loss and facial hair growth (hirsutism)
Sleep apnea
1 in 15 women have PCOS
Around 5 million women in the US have polycystic ovarian syndrome and the number is growing as our lifestyles and diets become more and more artificial.

The cause of PCOS
While there are many factors which can predispose a woman to develop PCOS such as obesity, genetics, and exposure to synthetic estrogens, insulin resistance is the root cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Insulin resistance arises from long-term elevated blood sugar levels which the pancreas tries to keep in check by releasing insulin. Over time, the cells become desensitized to it and blood sugar regulation is impaired. Eventually this can lead to diabetes.

How insulin leads to PCOS
Insulin helps glucose pass through the cell walls. When cells become resistant to insulin, the glucose must make its way to the liver to be converted to fat instead of being used as energy by the cells. This is why women suffering from PCOS often are often (but not always) overweight.

Insulin resistance leads to an excess of androgens. When the cells are desensitized to insulin the pancreas produces even more than is really needed, thinking that the reason the cells aren’t taking the glucose is because there isn’t enough insulin. Now you have excess insulin floating around in the bloodstream. This free-floating insulin stimulates the ovaries to produce excess testosterone. This prevents the ovary from releasing the egg each month (a leading cause of infertility).

Xenoestrogens
Pollution, exposure to plastics, other chemicals, and conventional beef treated with synthetic hormones can also contribute to hormonal imbalances because they contain xenoestrogens (synthetic or environmental estrogens). These environmental estrogens wreak havoc on our delicate hormonal processes by tricking the body into thinking that there is too much estrogen, causing it to produce excessive amounts of other hormones in attempt to balance it out.

The Paleo Diet Helps With Insulin Control
Like with every other modern health condition PCOS can be avoided and controlled by diet and lifestyle changes. (Genetics can predispose a person to develop the condition but genetics are rarely the cause of disease. Check out this article on Mark’s Daily Apple for more information about the relationship between genetics and disease.)

Insulin resistance is a totally avoidable and treatable condition.

After learning about grains and sugars, I discovered Loren Cordain’s book, The Paleo Diet. My health improved immediately and within 3 months I was pregnant. It was amazing that I was starting to get my hormonal problems under control but, unfortunately, a return to an evolutionary diet was not the whole solution for me.

So I started taking vitamins, minerals, and hormone balancing herbs. I stopped over-exercising. I did all the things that I read should take care of the problem. But I still didn’t fully recover – many of my thousand symptoms improved but not all of them. For years, even after going Primal, I struggled with (minor by this point) PCOS symptoms.

Controlling Insulin Can Be Complicated
“The secretion of insulin from pancreatic beta cells is a complex process involving the integration and interaction of multiple external and internal stimuli. Thus, nutrients, hormones, neurotransmitters, and drugs all activate — or inhibit — insulin release.” From Medscape.
“An extended period of physical or psychological stress, will produce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, that can interfere with the synthesis of the brain neurotransmitter, Serotonin.” From The Seratonin Connection. This is problematic because cortisol and adrenalin can instigate the release of more insulin. A lack of serotonin can cause food cravings because refined carbohydrates make tryptophan (a precursor of serotonin) more available for the body to utilize. Once we’ve indulged in sweet foods, we secrete too much insulin, starting the cycle all over again.
High levels of insulin can cause the body to dump magnesium into the urine which is needed in order to produce serotonin.
Fluctuating blood sugar levels can trigger the release of adrenaline which causes the liver to produce glucose in expectation of the brain needing extra fuel (flight or fight). This can in turn trigger the release of insulin which, when not properly utilized and left free-floating in the blood, can increase testosterone, leading to all the nasty symptoms of PCOS.
Weight training and low body weight can also increase the production of stress hormones and, consequently, androgens.
Last but not least is food allergies. Food allergies and intolerances compromise the absorption of nutrients, causing a cascade of symptoms. Even if you’re doing everything right with diet and lifestyle, if you don’t absorb the nutrients, you can’t heal. Of course, food allergies are often caused by nutritional deficiencies in the first place, but once they’ve surfaced, nutritional deficiencies continue because the body cannot absorb the nutrients it needs to heal.
I Stumbled On a Solution to PCOS
I never was checked for food allergies. I don’t know why exactly. I guess because when I learned I had celiac, I thought that was my problem. I thought my digestion was ruined from a lifetime of undiagnosed celiac. I didn’t know there could be allergies as well.

It seemed that I was sensitive to everything. So I just decided to quit eating everything that grows after having read The Fiber Menace. That book resonated with me since I had just about every digestive symptom imaginable.

I quit eating vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Within two weeks my digestion was quiet for the first time in my life and I was absorbing nutrients for the first time in my adult life. My skin cleared up completely, my arthritis, neck and back pain that had developed when I was in my early twenties was completely and totally gone. I quit going to the chiropractor because, suddenly, I was fine.

After a couple of years went by, I started experimenting with vegetables, fruits, and nuts again. Whenever I do this I get hypoglycemic, acne, irritated, bloated…

Eventually I had my IGg allergies tested and found that I am allergic to most vegetables and that those in particular cause the worst cystic acne, but ALL vegetables cause skin problems for me.

What I Do to Control PCOS
Not everyone has it as bad as I do and not everyone has digestive problems like I have had for over 20 years. Most women will find that a simple shift in the Primal direction will balance their hormones and free them from PCOS. But for those women who have found recovery as illusive as I did, it’s worth taking it a step further than what is recommended by most NDs and books. Here are the things that I do that have worked for me:

Avoid foods that I am allergic to like the plague
Don’t eat too much sugar at once – I have found that glucose doesn’t cause too much of a problem for me. It doesn’t cause wild spikes in my insulin like fructose and grains do.
Avoid fructose like the plague
Avoid vegetables, nuts, and anything fibrous
Avoid vegetable juices
Avoid vegetable oils
Avoid butter
Avoid all foods containing yeast (like aged cheeses and kombucha)
It took me years to unlearn traditional health advice, to relearn an alternative Primal view, and then to unlearn that as well. Almost all of the things I do fly in the face of tradition and alternative therapies. I know it. But when you spend years and years reading and experimenting on yourself to no avail, you start looking at things through your own special lens that you create yourself.

Basically, I am on a meat, seafood, and animal fat diet. This may sound weird or impossible but it is not unheard of. The Inuit and the Masai (two of the healthiest primative peoples that Weston Price observed on his travels in the 1930s) lived on a diet of nearly 100% meat and/or seafood (and raw milk for the Masai). Vilhjalmur Stefansson lived with the Inuits for a time and was the first notable American to live out his long life solely on meat.

The following are some of the things I do on a regular basis:

Eat organs
Drink bone broth
Eat oysters and plenty of other seafood and shellfish
Eat eggs
Take cod liver oil, minerals, and B-vitamins
Get sunshine
Exercise lightly every single day
Eat lots of fat for satiety
Don’t eat anything that will impair my digestion
Take the time all the time to pursue my dreams
Stay calm
Why Did All This Start To Begin With?
I have had an unusually stressful life. While my childhood was pretty cool, I have had pretty bad luck in general. I was the last of five kids. My mom was in her late 30s when I was born, 1.5 years after my brother. This didn’t set the stage for great health.

It was probably celiac disease and the resultant nutritional deficiencies which started the hormonal disruptions when I was 11. From there things just got crazy. I was depressed, rebellious, different, and wild. Possibly, my hormones would have naturally balanced out after puberty but year after year I found myself in one crazy situation after another. One of these days, when I write it, I will probably make millions on my memoir.

It is SO IMPORTANT to keep stress levels low. In whatever way you can achieve this, make it a priority. And parents, please monitor your children’s stress levels and strive to keep them low, even if it drives you crazy! Hormonal problems are insidious. They often start young and creep up little by little.

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COMMENTS
113 Comments
CATEGORIES
Fertility, Women’s health
AUTHOR
Peggy the Primal Parent
113 Responses to “An Unconventional Approach to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)”

Jennifer
July 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm #
Two years ago, I was allergy tested after a long time of trying to figure out “what was wrong with me” (long story). I was tested for mold/pollen/dander and told to take allergy shots. They said that after we got that under control, they would test me for food allergies too since I was a mess. In that time, I’ve been told by two different facilities that they don’t do food allergy testing in adults – if it makes you feel bad, don’t eat it. I find this extremely odd because for a long time I thought I was allergic to eggs when in reality, if I go gluten free for a few weeks I can eat eggs with no problem.

Anyway, thank you sooo much for this article. I have been fighting with doctors for years now to try to figure out why I’m so sick/in pain/crazy. Articles like this remind me that it is important what I decide to consume and I had never heard of PCOS before. Thank you for your honesty!

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Daria
July 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm #
I have been wondering if I have PCOS. However I had ruled it out because I read that it is usually accompanied by weight gain due to the insulin resistance and I have always been thin. Even when I gained weight over the last couple of years due to eating grains and having a very sedentary lifestyle I only went up to a size 6.

Reading that you have always been thin is making me wonder again.
I know that there are months that I don’t ovulate and I have cramps but not nearly as painful as you have described. I also have struggled with acne which recently got much worse after switching to a paleo diet.

On such a low inflammatory diet I imagined my skin would only clear up. The vegetables and fruit angle is very intriguing since I have increased consumption of those lately and I notice bloating after eating raw veggies especially.
Well it will be a long journey, I have resigned to that.

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Peggy the Primal Parent
July 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm #
Jennifer,

Sounds a lot like my experience. Doctors just couldn’t get to the bottom of what was messing me up. I have decided that there are doctors (guys that fix broken arms) and there are healers (people who understand the body on a much deeper level). It’s pretty frustrating to live in a society where doctors are thought of as healers when, in reality, they are not.

What you eat IS so important. That’s funny that you mention eggs. I react to eggs if I eat vegetable. If no veggies, no egg problems. Funny how that works, huh?

Daria,

Yeah. I was always thin. The biggest size I ever reached was a 5. But I also walked to my high school and then to the university every day. I had diarrhea and so I lost most of what I ate (and I ate a whole lot).

PCOS creeps up on you. I had hormonal problems for years and years before it got bad enough to be diagnosed as PCOS. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I got acne. Not until I was 22 that it got cystic. Not till I was 26 that my hair started thinning out. But I had cysts young. I had depression and amenhorrea young. Not everyone at every stage has all the symptoms…

I always thought that everything should clear up since I ate so much vegetables and kept my carbs pretty low. My acne got quite a bit worse when I increased the veggies actually. That one was really hard for me to let go because everyone seems to concur that health can be found in things that grow. I first go the idea from Weston Price actually who noted that the healthiest people he met – the Masai and the Inuits – didn’t eat plant food.

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Alison Golden
July 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm #
Peggy, I have an almost identical story to you except in my case it wasn’t PCOS it was its cousin, endometriosis. After 5 surgeries, numerous infertility treatments and life threatening illnesses on the part of my kids and a second trimester loss, I started to dig and dig deep. It’s taken me 6 years of digging, crossing the country to see doctors, expensive treatments and ultimately a punch in the side of the head (figuratively speaking because I was sooooo resistant to that angle) to look at my diet. After seeing what changing my diet has done, I believe it should be the first plan of attack for any ailment, physical or mental. If you don’t do that, any amount of expensive therapy is only going to have very limited effect (I’m talking as broad as marriage counseling or medication for ADHD here.) I am now clear of endo and it’s symptoms which plagued me most of the time for over twenty years.

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Danielle
July 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm #
It makes me so happy to read about other women overcoming the terrors of PCOS! I had such a rough time with it over the past 10 years and love that all of my symptoms have disappeared since adopting a Paleo lifestyle. We’re planning to start our family next year…that’ll be the true test. Keep your fingers crossed for me. 🙂

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Peggy the Primal Parent
July 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm #
Wow Alison. So many people are resistant to changing their diets, aren’t they? It seems crazy to me, though, how people could choose to live in misery just to keep eating their favorite foods. I didn’t care what I had to do I wanted an answer. The minute someone told me to go get checked for celiac I ran to the doctor and gladly changed my diet. And it’s been that way ever since. But everyone’s path and motives are different.

I am sure glad to hear that you finally did it though. You have become a great role model!

Danielle,

Good luck to you! I doubt you have any problems with it since you’ve recovered from the other symptoms.

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Casey
July 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm #
Hi! I love your blog and its very inspiring! I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and follow a paleo diet. I have barely gained any weight & sometimes wonder if I am doing the right thing…but reading your story gives me confidence that what I’m doing is right. My baby girl is growing well and I feel great!

I’ve also noticed that when I decrease my veggie intake I feel better. Although I don’t have PCOS. I was wondering what types of fats you eat since you do not eat butter/nuts/& I assume avocados? Do you stick to animal fats (skin on chicken, grass fed beefs, etc.?) or do you substitute with things like coconut oil, olive oils? I’m curious to what a typical eating day looks like for you. I’m not sure how to eliminate the veggies and feel full.

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Peggy the Primal Parent
July 8, 2011 at 10:16 am #
I’d say that feeling great is a great sign! 😉

I’ve read that a lot of pregnant women are averse to vegetables because the body is less able at that time to process the natural toxins in them.

I really do stick to animal fats. It took me forever to figure this out but vegetable oils don’t work well for me. I don’t eat avocados either because they make me feel as horrible as any other growing thing. Go figure.

I haven’t always done it this way. I used vegetable oils until fairly recently. But coconut oil makes me want to throw up and I’m allergic to olive oil. Within five minutes or so of consumption my eye sight goes so blurry I would need some pretty strong glasses to correct it. Then they’re back to 20/20 (I had lasik) by morning.

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Lauren
July 8, 2011 at 6:34 am #
Thanks so much for sharing, Peggy. I must share this with my sister too. I thought it was only me that feels best on meat. Now I know I’m not crazy.

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Peggy the Primal Parent
July 8, 2011 at 10:16 am #
Hey, good to hear of another meat eater! hahaha

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Primal Toad
July 8, 2011 at 9:57 am #
Lengthy article! I’ll pass on reading it all since it does not apply to me, lol. BUT, it is actually on my list of topics to cover at my blog since someone requested it.

So, peggy, I must ask… would you be willing to take this article and make a shorter version for my readers?

Thanks either way!

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Peggy the Primal Parent
July 8, 2011 at 10:09 am #
Sure, I’d be happy to! I’ll pick out the most important points and leave out some of the personal stuff. A lot of readers around here have asked for this kind of thing so that’s why it is soooo long.

I’m going to be camping in Utah and Arizona for the next week but I’d be happy to do it when I get back.

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Primal Toad
July 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm #
That’s perfect! Please take your time. I am trying to get more guests posts on my blog and I am always saying for the writer to take as long as he or she needs. No rush at all. I’ve been posting daily a while by myself and I don’t have to do as much direct marketing these days. So take your time.

Just email me, Todd @ Primal Toad . com (no spaces) when its finished. Take a month if you need it!

Have fun on your trip!

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Heather
July 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm #
Great post. I very recently had a diagnostic surgery to check for endometriosis. According to the doctor my reproductive organs look perfect. I still have a lot of problems (including a history of ruptured cysts and wow you are NOT kidding about utterly agonizing pain). I never thought I fit the description for PCOS but now your article and my all-clear for endo has me rethinking this.

Can I second the request above for a short outline of your typical daily consumption? Its hard to wrap my head around getting all my calories from meat and fat but I am more than willing to experiment with it if it makes me feel better. I’m so frustrated and I don’t understanf why my body still won’t work as it is supposed to!

Lastly, I have also had an extremely stressful life and often think I should write a book about it, I’ve been in some pretty weird situations too.

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Lisa C
July 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm #
I have some of those symptoms…weird.

I feel really thrown when I read things like this. Like, one person heals on all meat and fat, while someone else heals on raw vegan. I don’t know what is going to heal me, but I feel like I’m getting closer. I have eliminated some problems, so I don’t feel totally lost in the dark.

I have a friend who is allergic to vegetables also. She can’t have any form of sugar, either. 1 in 15 is such a high statistic, maybe I should send her this article.

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Angel
July 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm #
Great article, Peggy. Thank you for writing about your journey.

I have always disliked almost all vegetables, which until I discovered low-carb made me feel guilty. Somehow if people don’t like vegetables, it makes them look childish. I was also, though, a pretty serious carb/sugar addict, even after going low carb four years ago (constant carb cravings!!), and it’s taken this long to really get over the worst of the carb cravings.

I eliminated sugar from my diet a few months ago, and I noticed that my menstrual discomfort went from just bad enough to need some ibuprofen, to being mild enough I can go without pain relief. I didn’t feel like I was really eating that much sugar, but I guess it doesn’t take much to cause problems if you are really sensitive to it.

I think eliminating sugar was the key to dialing down the carb cravings for me. I still have carb cravings, but they are manageable. I think I might have to sometime try eliminating carbs completely to see if that finally kills the cravings.

And oh yeah, stress interferes with just about any healing process! I’ve had a pretty high-stress life too, since childhood. It’s very difficult untangling the effects of stress from other problems. It’s all just one big mess, really – but eliminating stress is a very, very important first step in healing just about anything else.

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Peggy the Primal Parent
July 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm #
Heather,

My goal in writing this article was to help women who may be suffering from hormonal conditions understand a possible cause, if not simply inspire them to keep searching. It’s good you’re clear of endo so yeah, time to look another way. I absolutely will give a break down of my day or maybe a week of what I eat. Give me a bit to put that together – I’m taking off for my vacation tonight! I’ll post it soon.

Lisa,

I tried the raw vegan thing before. It made me feel worse than any diet I had ever done. I tried it a few times too because I was just so curious about other people’s success. There are traditional people in the world who eat very little animal products (but never none). Raw vegan is unsustainable. There are nutrients that only animals and/or bugs can supply. In time a raw vegan will start to break down.

Angel,

Wow, that’s some discipline! Most people probably don’t have what it takes to endure such a constant battle. Sugar and carbs and fiber all contribute to cravings for me. I almost have no choice but to eat just meat or I’d have to use constant discipline too.

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Lisa C
July 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm #
Yeah, raw vegan is unsustainable. I just was thinking it might have some short-term therapeutic merit. But it seems people heal on paleo, too, so that’s why I feel torn… Obviously paleo is the sustainable one, but I think of how when people are ill with a virus or something, their protein needs decrease during the illness, and then increase afterward. So it makes me wonder if it would be beneficial to do raw vegan for a spell, then follow-up with high-protein paleo for a while. Does that make sense? Although I don’t know if I could even DO vegan. I think I would be starving.

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Girl Gone Primal
July 17, 2011 at 6:20 am #
From what I’ve read, I’m lead to conclude that the ‘success’ of raw diets, vegan or otherwise, is that the follower is forced to cut out processed and synthetic foods, and also severely limits or eliminates wheat and other grains. If you’re coming from a standard industrial diet, than of course you’re going to feel better. The same is true for paleo diets, but paleo diets tend to be more sustainable because they allow for more variety (less likely to feel deprived) and the inclusion of animal fat typically allows for better nutrient absorption and thus satiety.

Meanwhile, I’m so glad someone with PCOS has had success with primal/paleo diets (although possibly the average low-carb diet would help the average sufferer, given the link between the syndrome and insulin resistance) – my posts on PCO (not the syndrome, just the ovarian follicle issues) are the most visited on my blog, so clearly people are seeking information and ideas of how to treat these conditions without resorting to drugs.

Good on you, Peggy! Best of luck to you on your ZC mission – I’m glad you’re taking note of the relationship between stress and PCOS (and all health!) since all hormones work together in a much finer balance than science currently understands. I look at the way my PCO was CURED by a RISE in my stress hormone levels, and just can’t make sense of it! 🙂 I’d love to get back to VLC or ZC because, like you, I feel best sticking to just animal products, but I’m nervous about messing with my system again now that my reproductive cycle is back to normal. You say that you can’t understand how people can sacrifice their health for their favourite foods – try my example! 😉

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Peggy the Primal Parent
July 17, 2011 at 11:06 am #
I’ve always figured it’s simply the elimination of all the crap that makes raw vegans, vegetarians, etc. feel so good for a while after they start. I did the atkins diet back in like 2002 and it made me feel better too but only to some degree. All the low carb products that I was eating then kept me from really feeling good, but of course I didn’t know that back then.

I have been doing zero carb off and on for years. It’s not really a mission, it’s just been a necessity. I often try to add other foods. While I love meat more than anything else, eating just meat can get boring. 🙂

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Jennifer @ Conversion Diary
July 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm #
LOVE this post. I too was diagnosed with PCOS, and was told that I would never be able to have kids without medical intervention. Long story short, I saw a 100% reversal in my health and my fertility after adopting a Paleo diet.

Anyway, I’m delighted to have discovered your blog. I just added it to my reader and look forward to reading more!

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Pepper
July 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm #
Hi Peggy–

My name is Pepper, and I’m another one of the PCOS paleo-doesn’t-help people. Something that I’ve been thinking over a lot recently is increasing my carbohydrate consumption. (How long did you have to go zero carb before you saw results?) I lost my period 18 months ago when I lost weight, and I went LC paleo months after that. It didn’t help. My insulin resistance has been tested and my fasting insulin levels are okay. I also don’t experience symptoms of hypoglycemia.
So I’ve talked with other paleo PCOSers who say that their PCOS has been mitigated by increased carb intake. The theory is that our stress hormones and our insulin production get out of whack when we go into ketosis. I’ve noticed this problem in myself: whenever I am VLC, I wake up in the middle of the night with a lot of energy. I have read that this is due to adrenaline spikes from my body trying to produce it’s own blood glucose.
What is your opinion of this theory? I think my best shot is to keep carbs on the low side (and always natural) and hopefully keep stable blood glucose levels that way. It seems unnatural (and isn’t fun) to me to wake up in the middle of the night that way. Stress has also been a huge factor for me and dealing with amenorrhea my …