When I discovered that I have PCOS, I started pouring over literature regarding this syndrome. I’m grateful that in just a couple weeks of my quest for knowledge, I came across this book. The only issue I see with this publication is that the title will scare off most non-PCOS readers and, as Wright highlights, “you [the PCOS patient] can gain control over your health in many ways that are not much different than what everyoneshould be doing to live long, healthy lives.”
At the start of this book, Wright sheds light on the fact that PCOS can have damaging lifelong health effects; it’s estimated to affect 5 to 10 percent of all women during their reproductive years; the cause is not clearly understood; and physical symptoms, such as hirsutism, acne, and weight gain, can be triggered by PCOS. She also goes into great detail about the connection between insulin resistance and PCOS. In short, she explains that women with insulin resistance typically have the “hallmark” signs of higher circulating levels of insulin in their bloodstream, which causes a complex set of hormone imbalances. Furthermore, she discusses how the implications of this issue extend far beyond infertility, as it can lead to type 2 diabetes and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. She notes that, “women with PCOS are two to three times more likely to develop high blood pressure and hypertension.” Understanding the nooks and crannies of her explanation regarding the connection between PCOS and these health issues may provide as much insight into your overall health and wellness as it did for me.
Given that insulin resistance can be helped through a proper diet, Wright goes into great detail about glucose, or blood sugar, and how it is broken down in ones body. She explains how refined/processed carbs break down more quickly than complex carbs, thus releasing sugars into the bloodstream more quickly (greatly exacerbating insulin resistance). Once the reader understands this aspect of the digestion process, it becomes clear that choosing ones carbohydrate source wisely is of the utmost importance. In order to do this, one needs to understand a food’s glycemic index (GI) and Wright thoroughly covers this aspect of nutrition, as well.
Wright also arms her readers with a wealth of information that betters prepares them for doctor’s visits, such as questions to ask, tests that should be run, and the awareness that many medical practitioners still lack a great deal of knowledge regarding the complexities of this syndrome. I wish I could have been aware of the misconceptions around PCOS when I first started to seek out doctors’ “expertise.” If only hindsight were 20/20.
The second half of her book is devoted to ensuring that the reader has a firm grasp on how to cultivate a more harmonious and healthy state within ones body through diet modifications. Readers learn that they can accomplish this through either the “carb-distributed diet” or “balanced plate” approach. Given that Wright is realistic about the fact that making these dietary changes can be overwhelming and downright difficult, she encourages her readers to start with the “balanced plate diet.” In short, she teaches the reader that half of ones plate should be comprised of nonstarchy vegetables, a quarter of the plate should be made up of lean protein (plant sources suffice, as well), and a quarter should be made up of high-quality starches. In the ”carb-distributed diet,” she details how to pursue a “less-processed, moderate carbohydrate diet, where carbs are spread out in smaller doses over meals and snacks, paired with lean proteins and small amounts of healthful fats wherever possible.” Regardless of the path the reader chooses, it seems that either approach paves the way for a healthier way of life.
The PCOS Diet Plan: A Natural Approach to Health for Women with Plycystic Ovary Syndrome (By Hillary Wright)