Now, I’m sure that we are all far too familiar with the doctors waiting room…
– Opening each door with your elbows –
To then be greeted by an overworked receptionist – who is managing to balance a phone with 16 callers waiting – and a queue of sneezers. Yet, you have failed to even remember the name of the doctor you are seeing.
With a sleeve covered hand you carefully hold on to your card number, as you make your way over to the waiting room.
Where you are welcomed by a chorus of coughing and ghoulish glances behind newspaper pages…
And so, the first test begins.
The seating arrangement…
As your 8am appointment will probably be 10am (the following day) – you have to be strategic with your placement.
You avoid the chocolate covered child and make your way over to the elderly gentleman – who is either taking a long snooze or is in need of some urgent medical attention.
Magazines are available to help pass the time. But as the coughs fly back and forth across the room, it seems that staring at the crammed fish tank is a safer option.
The buzzer rings. Your name is called out. You’re up!
Strangely feeling like the winner of an unpleasant tv show – you proudly walk past the losing contestants to go and claim your prize…
the news isn’t so great…
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Five years ago, this happened to our favourite sunshine soul…
Sophie was diagnosed with PCOS at age 23.
For anyone who doesn’t know / has never heard of PCOS…
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a woman’s level of the sex hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – are out of balance. Leading to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries).
PCOS can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function and appearance.
As you all know, medication is expensive.
Doctors bills are expensive.
Being ill – is expensive.
So if there was a way to avoid the doctors and give them a break – then would you want to?
Now – 28,
Sophie has naturally healed her PCOS and wanted to share what has helped her personally to feel healthy – and to no longer need to rely on medication.
Of course, we are not medical professionals. The information here is just to show how some people have adapted their lifestyle to successfully heal their bodies. If you are interested in doing the same I would 110% recommend that you speak to a doctor or a health professional first. Read lots of information / speak to a doctor / naturopath etc… and see what is out there.
Everyday – health care professionals are helping people and medication is there to help in many ways. So take it easy, take your time and listen to your body to find out what works for you. The information here is to help show you that there are options. Every body is unique, so you just need to find out what works for you personally – whether that is with medication or without.
Fall in love with taking care of yourself.
Maureen + Sophie
– Interview –
M: What were the symptoms leading up to you being diagnosed with PCOS?
S: The symptoms I had were severe acne over my face and chest, hair growth on my chest, chin, lower back and stomach area. Increased emotional awareness and a lower mood in general.
M: What did the doctors tell you about PCOS when you were diagnosed – and how it would affect you?
S: The doctors said that to ‘manage’ the condition I would first have to take a pill called Yasmin to help clear up the acne and then move onto metformin permanently, taking them twice a day after each meal. They said that it was likely that I wouldn’t be able to have children and that there was no cure.
M: What medication were you prescribed? And were there any side effects?
S: I was taking the metformin medication as prescribed daily. I was told this would manage the PCOS and help to clear up my symptoms, however if I stopped taking the medication the symptoms would come back as before. When I first started taking the metformin – I started to feel a lot better in my mood quite soon after, my skin did clear up perfectly and my hair appeared to stop growing further in the unwanted areas.
M: When was it that you first heard about a vegan diet? And why did you decide to transition to eating that way?
S: A few months after being diagnosed I came across a woman on YouTube (I can’t remember her name now) who had transitioned to a vegan diet and then went on to heal herself from PCOS, without needing to rely on any medication. I then did some further research – and found other women who had also got rid of the cysts on their ovaries and no longer take any medication. So, I started to experiment with some vegan dishes and ended up just really enjoying them and feeling good in myself. So, I decided to carry on eating plant-based foods to see if there would be any changes in the long-term.
M: When you decided to transition to a vegan diet – what foods were you eating?
S: At first I went straight into a mainly raw food diet. I ate lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, I drank a lot of water and I ate mainly cooked whole foods such as –
Steamed vegetables, potatoes with beans and home-made tomato sauce, veggie soups, brown rice pasta, e.t.c.
I cut out most refined sugar and processed foods for around 8-9 months.
M: Did you feel any different after changing your diet?
S: Yes definitely. At the start I just felt lighter and less lethargic after meals. I had a lot more energy than before and in general – I was just feeling happy eating a variety of dishes that I had originally never tried before.
M: After changing your eating habits, how long was it until you decided to start reducing your medication?
S: I decided to slowly start to reduce my medication after around 3 months, after consulting with my doctor. He did inform me there would be side effects – just as there is coming off any medication – and previous symptoms of PCOS would return – but I decided I wanted to try anyway.
M: What were the side effects of coming off your medication?
S: When I decided I wanted to stop taking the Metformin, I reduced the dosage as the doctor recommended until there were no more tablets left to take. This was definitely the hardest part as my mood dropped so low and very fast too, I would have days where I felt so emotional I couldn’t stop crying. My acne and hair growth returned as it was before.
M: What originally made you want to stop taking the medication to treat PCOS?
S: I knew that metformin was very strong and after my research found that it could have a damaging effect on my liver and other organs if taken for a long period of time. I knew that the medication was there to keep my condition at bay, meaning that I would be taking the tablets for the rest of my life. When deep down, after finding out that there were people who had actually healed themselves from the condition altogether – without needing to just maintain it, I felt like I wanted to at least try to see if my body would respond positively if I did the same. Also, metformin isn’t free – so the cost of the tablets was something else that made me want to move away from medication if possible.
M: How long was it after completely coming of your medication that the doctor informed you that some of the cysts on your ovaries had disappeared?
S: After around 12 months of eating whole foods plant-based (even with vegan treats now and then) I went for an internal ultrasound to check on my condition. There I was told by the nurse that the cysts on my left ovary appeared to have reduced in number compared to my original scan.
M: How long was it until you found out the cysts on ovaries had completely disappeared:
S: I would say in total it was around 2 1/2 years before my final ultrasound scan, where the doctor told me that all of the cysts on my ovaries had completely gone. The doctor said that the hormone levels from my blood test results were perfect and that I no longer had the condition PCOS anymore. Although my symptoms have cleared up now, there are some of the side effects from PCOS that remain, but no longer get any worse. For example, the hair growth is still present – however it does not increase at all. My acne has completely cleared up. I find my skin more in tune with my body now, more than ever before. If I eat more processed foods, I tend to break out easily compared to before. But I take this as a good sign and it keeps me in check with foods my body loves and when I may have slightly over indulged.
M: What type of food do you currently eat?
S: I currently still eat a predominantly whole food diet – lots of fresh fruit, veg, beans, rice, lentils, quinoa, pasta, potatoes e.t.c, but I do also have treats (vegan cakes, crisps, biscuits, sweets, ice cream). I think as part of a balanced diet it is good to eat well but also to allow yourself yummy treats once in a while. Life is exciting and there is so much delicious vegan food to be enjoyed too so don’t completely hold back.
M: Are you still on any medication?
M: Any advice for anyone who may be diagnosed with PCOS?
S: If you are truly determined to completely heal yourself from this condition and not sure where to start then I would suggest to go and see a Naturopath as they can help you discover food to allow your body to heal, help you mentally and examine your physical state. Reading up on whole foods and finding delicious recipes to suit you is a great way to get motivated. Do things that make you happy to help you stay focused and positive along the way. This will take time so you have to learn to be patient with yourself and give your body the love it deserves and chance to heal. Get outside, move your body, eat well, enjoy your food, find inspiration and most importantly be kind to yourself. You can do this and you will! One person I found truly inspirational is a lady called Kris Carr who is a fountain of information for health and well-being. Her blog is incredible and something I go back to time and time again to keep me on track.
‘People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.’
What your plate looks like on a typical day.
Breakfast – Oats soaked in almond milk, raisins and a banana. I also like to sprinkle a huge spoonful of flax seeds, nuts and some almond butter too.
When diet is wrong – medicine is of no use. When diet is correct – medicine is of no need. – Ayurvedic Proverb.
Lunch – Salad sandwiches are a fave, I prefer sourdough bread – with avocado, lettuce, cucumber, red onion, tomato and any extra greens lying around. Natural Peanut butter & jam sandwiches are definitely a firm favourite too.
Snacks – I love dried apricots. I also like to make my own raw bliss balls – my favourite recipe is : dates with coconut, cacao powder, maple syrup and oats. I eat lots of fruit whenever I am hungry. I’m also obsessed with coconut yoghurt at the moment and like to top it with fruit, bliss balls or almond butter.
Dinner – I really enjoy hearty dinners so something like: sweet potato & chickpea stew, veggie stir fry with Fry’s vegan chick’n strips, quinoa chilli, jacket potato with beans & salad, lentil Dahl or spaghetti bolognese with either lentils or veggie mince.
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’
Swimming is my favourite exercise in the entire world! The next up would have to be yoga. I also love to walk everywhere as much as I can, the fresh air makes me feel amazing.
Heal Thy Self
My favourite book is called ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert – super inspiring for a creative soul.
My perfect day
Reading a good book in the sunshine with a cup of tea and a lovely warm breeze.
(And of course doughnuts)
The six best doctors: Sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise and diet
(And kind thoughts)
What makes me happy
Fresh bed sheets
The smell of coffee
Breaking a sweat
Breakfast in bed
Early in the morning when everything is peaceful
Stretching my back
Long heart-felt chats
A cup of Mango & Coconut tea
-Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs
Neal D. Barnard, M.D.
-How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
Michael Greger, M.D.
-The China Study
T. Colin Campbell, PhD + Thomas M Campbell. M.D.
-Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
Caldwell B, Esselstyn, Jr. M.D.
-Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor
‘The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine. Or the slowest form of poison’
Sophie still eats a vegan diets and is still clear from PCOS. All of the information in this interview is just from one person and not intended to be followed or copied. It is just there to show one persons personal experience. If you are wanting to change your diet to try to prevent or cure any illnesses – we fully recommend that you talk with a healthcare professional first and do further research for yourself.
Many different factors can affect our hormones and I think it is important for everyone – whether your suffer with imbalances in your hormones or not – to start to fall in love with taking care of yourself.
Life is a beautiful, yet sometimes – a confusing balancing act.
So, make sure to make time to find things in your life that make your feel at peace and in love with your body.
As wonderful as waiting rooms are…
I’m sure we would all love to be spending more time staring at mangoes – and not fish tanks…
A big thank you to the wonderful Sophie
Thank you for your honesty regarding your personal experience with PCOS
Wishing you all the health and happiness in the world