Before you skip over this article because PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) doesn’t apply to you, I just want you to stop and read the beginning because it applies to everyone.
Since starting Nutrition by Nazima several months ago, it has become the norm for healthy eating to come up in discussions. It is actually amazing to have complete strangers come up to me and let me know they have read my blog or tried out my recipes!
One thing I didn’t expect was for so many women to disclose such personal aspects of their life, sometimes immediately after meeting! I am truly honoured that so many women feel that they can trust me almost instantly. My promise to all of you that do share personal information with me is that I keep it confidential, always. So what I am about to share isn’t from just one specific interaction, but rather my reflections after meeting and speaking to several Muslim women.
Almost weekly, I have at least one woman come up to me and tell me they have PCOS. At first, I thought it was just a coincidence, but as more and more women shared this information with me I realized something. There are many women in the Muslim community living with PCOS, but there are even more people in that same Muslim community that are clueless about it.
Now, before I go into what PCOS is for those of you that don’t know, PCOS may lead to difficulties getting pregnant. This is where PCOS applies to everyone; especially everyone in the Muslim community.
Living with PCOS is a taboo subject because it is often linked to difficulties in trying to conceive. For some reason, friends, family, and distant acquaintances make it a point to start asking women that are married if they are pregnant or if they plan on getting pregnant soon. I really want to put an end to this now because guess what? It is none of your business. Regardless if someone has PCOS or just chooses not to get pregnant, it is none of your business. Asking someone after they get married “when are you having kids” is unacceptable and downright rude. Considering so many women are trying to manage PCOS and its symptoms, asking pregnancy-related questions can be painful.
Speaking from a social, religious, and human standpoint, asking someone about personal matters is unacceptable. If a woman wants to share her childbearing status with you, she will do it herself. If she doesn’t, don’t ask.
So even if you aren’t directly impacted by PCOS and won’t be reading this article, share this with everyone and anyone, not because people are intentionally hurtful but because sometimes we don’t realize the things we say. Asking a married woman when she plans on having kids is not welcome in ANY conversation.
Ok so now that’s out of the way, let’s get into what PCOS is and how it can be managed through healthy eating.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is short for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and is caused by an imbalance of sex hormones. One of those hormones is androgen, which is known as the “male hormone”. An increased production of androgen in women can lead to gaining weight. PCOS may impact your body in many ways, such as:
Changes in menstrual cycles
Difficulties with conceiving
Although you can’t completely treat or eliminate PCOS, you can definitely manage PCOS through healthy eating and exercise. If you are living with PCOS, here are 5 healthy living tips to implement into your lifestyle to help manage PCOS:
1. Eat half a plate of vegetables at lunch and dinner. Whether you like your veggies cooked or in a salad, always aim for half a plate! This is a good way to ensure you are getting enough fibre and nutrients throughout the day. Eating a half of plate of veggies is also an easy way to feel full, leaving less room for carbs.
2. Replace all sugary beverages with water. Sugary beverages such as pop, juices, and caffeinated beverages can quickly rack up your daily sugar and caloric intake. A few gulps later and you have already downed several teaspoons of sugar without even realizing it! Looking for a little more flavour? Infuse your water with berries and mint for a refreshing drink.
3. Satisfy your sweet cravings with fruit. Stock up on a variety of fruit so it is your go-to snack when you are looking for something to munch on. Not only will you satisfy your sweet cravings but you will also be packing in fibre and nutrients!
4. Replace all white flour products with whole grains. White bread, white pasta, and white rice? Get rid of it all. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy carbs! Swap your white flour products with whole grains for more fibre, which will prevent your blood sugars from spiking too fast.
5. Exercise at least 3 times a week. If you currently are not exercising at all, try and schedule in at least 3 times in the week that you can get your body moving. The easiest way to stick to an exercise routine? Do something you like! Change it up every few weeks so you don’t get bored. When you are having fun, you are more likely to stick to it!
There are many changes you can make to your lifestyle to help manage PCOS. I decided to share 5 very specific tips so that it is easier for you to pick one and start implementing it today. Once one of these tips becomes a part of your regular routine, choose another tip to incorporate into your daily life.
If you are looking for more support in your healthy living journey, join my Healthy Habits Program, a 12 week online program to transform your life through food and fitness. The Healthy Habits Program is designed to help women achieve a variety of healthy goals. The program begins on September 19th and registration ends on September 16th. If you are interested in joining me and other women during these 12 weeks, click here to read more about the program and how to register.
Are you ready to begin your healthy lifestyle journey but don't know where to start? Join me and many other women with The Muslimah’s Meal Plan!