I felt like a failure.
No matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t get going on the healthy diet I knew I needed with this Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
When I was first diagnosed, I read everything I possibly could get my hands on. I went to the medical research journals to get the real information directly from the sources.
I talked to many medical experts in Obstetrics and Endocrinology.
I wanted to get this right.
Once I figured out the basics of a healthy diet were pretty simple for PCOS, I was all pumped up about this new lifestyle.
I cleaned out my kitchen.
I took a few cooking classes to boost my confidence.
I was ready to make some love in the kitchen.
Then reality hit.
I found the hardest thing was going from having the knowledge of a PCOS-friendly diet to actually doing it.
It didn’t matter what I wanted.
It didn’t matter I was EXTREMELY motivated.
I still couldn’t figure out what to really eat. I knew what I should stay away from.
I knew what my diet should focus on…but what should my meals really look like? How many meals each day should I eat?
The questions on how to make it work felt endless.
I am embarrassed to say this but it took me many years to figure it out.
I wish someone would have been there to hold my hand, walk me through step by step, and even to explain what they personally did each day.
And that is why, my dear Cyster, I have put together this little post for you.
I don’t want you to struggle.
I want to give you a little insight into what my days look like.
I am not a fancy cook.
I am a creature of habit and typically eat the same thing many days of the week.
But here it goes…
Getting Set Up
I didn’t get into menu planning until I decided that I was going all in on making a change for my health.
It definitely helped me organize my time and figure how to make it all work in my current lifestyle.
These days I’m not as strict as when I first started menu planning because a lot has become second nature for me.
If there is one place to start, I highly recommend creating a weekly menu plan.
The other thing to note is I am a creature of habit and can eat the same meal on a regular basis. I don’t mind cooking but I’m not very adventurous in the kitchen.
You will find some routine that will work for you.
In a few minutes I’ll share what a day of food looks like for me. It may seem exhaustive to think about making all the different meals I make in a day.
Remember, I’m a creature of habit…that is why you will find me meal prepping at the beginning of the week so I really just pull things out and warm them up if needed. I spend a lot less time in the kitchen than I used to.
So, what and how much do I prep?
It depends. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. You can do what works best for you.
I tend to wash all my produce.
Divide out the lettuce into all the containers for each day of the week.
I divide out the fruit and veggies for snacks and for smoothies too.
I find snack times the hardest to stay on track if I don’t have something ready for me to pull out to eat. So I make sure I have those all squared away.
I tend make a batch of roasted or steamed veggies to throw on my lettuce containers.
I also make a batch of soup I will use for my lunches during the week.
If I’m feeling up for overnight oats during the week, I’ll put all the dry ingredients into jars in the fridge so the night before I only need to pour in some plant based milk like almond milk.
That’s usually the extent I prep at the beginning of the week when I am doing a more “full” prep day.
Breakfast, snacks, lunches, and making sure produce is ready to go.
How much you want to do beforehand is up to you, but I feel if I don’t at least wash, chop, and assemble the produce, I won’t use it and it goes bad.
Find what works best for you. It’s a lot of trial and error.
A Day of Recipes in the Life of a Cyster
Now…what do I eat in a day?
Lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans. I stay away from dairy, meat, eggs, and white flour, enriched grains, sweets, salt, and oil.
I’m not a purest, but the more you stick with a whole foods plant based diet, the better you will feel with your PCOS.
So, here’s a look at my day yesterday. I tend to stay around 1800-2200 calories depending on my activity level. Eating so many plant based foods fill me up rather quickly so I am never feeling like I am starving.
Lately I am on an overnight oats kick. They are super simple and you can dress them however your little heart desires.
I always put fruit in them but tend to use a lot of frozen fruit because produce can be kinda sad here certain times of the year.
Here’s a simple strawberry overnight oats recipe:
Directions: Take a mason jar and fill it with ½ cup of old-fashioned oats, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 1 Tbsp vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, and top with your fruit of choice on top like strawberries. On the night before you plan to eat them, add ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk and stir. In the morning, top with some more strawberries and enjoy!
I struggled with snacks for awhile after starting a Whole Foods plant based diet. It is so addicting to reach for the traditional snack options to deal with those cravings.
I have some snack ideas over in this article here.
But since this blog post you are reading right now is giving you a peek inside a day of food for me…I’ll share this:
Yesterday, I made a small protein smoothie with mixed frozen berries, unsweetened almond milk, and some Vega protein powder (its a plant based powder). I also had a handful or 3 of whole grain pretzels.
I typically stick with soups and salads for lunch. Don’t hate me yet! I make them hearty and they keep me satisfied well into the afternoon.
By focusing on large plant based meals, you can consume A LOT of food, feel full, get lots of energy, and make everyone around you jealous by how much food you consume while still losing weight.
Yesterday I made tortilla soup which has lots of veggies, Whole Grains, and beans. This will fill you up and keep your blood sugar and energy levels stead well into the afternoon. I have the recipe on my blog here.
I also ate my sons AB&J. Almond butter is a million times healthier fat than peanut butter. It’s also important to choose a sprouted bread like Ezekiel bread. If nothing else make sure it’s 100% whole grain bread. Jelly it’s important to find a natural spread that doesn’t have things like high fructose corn syrup or other forms of artificial sugar. Go for plain fruit with maybe a citric acid to keep it fresh.
For my salad, I load on the roasted veggies and chop my lettuce really small so I don’t get all yucky-texture-from-having-to-chew-big-pieces-of-lettuce. I’m not a huge salad fan but between cutting lettuce small and loading on veggies, I actually enjoy them. I guess I’m all about tricking my picky brain.
What tricks do you have?
Mid afternoon rolls around and I don’t really hit that crash like I used to. However, I still like to get in a little something to keep me feeling level until dinner.
I went for veggies with a bean dip yesterday. I could munch on as much of that as I wanted.
This is where I tend to flex any creativity I can muster to prepare yummy plant based meals that my “meat and potatoes” hubby and two sons prefer.
Last night I made a copycat type recipe of Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl. That is probably what I miss most about moving to a small town hours away from my favorite restaurants and shopping destinations.
I fixed a Burrito Bowl and also created a little side salad with steamed veggies to go with it.
I told you I don’t skimp on food. I like to eat, but when you are eating nutrient dense plant based foods, you can eat a lot more for your daily calories. Plus you are drenching your cells with all the vitamins and minerals they crave. Win!
Here’s the recipe I followed that I found on Pinterest. It tasted pretty close to Chipotle’s…minus the chicken…click here.
Can’t forget my late night snacking. Yes, it’s okay to snack at night…just be smart about it.
I choose either air popped popcorn seasoned with nutritional yeast (gives it a more cheesy flavor) or I make my own fruit sorbet using just frozen fruit and my fancy juicer.
The thing I have finally come to realize is that none of this has to be complicated!
It’s a little challenging when you first start out…I can definitely attest to that.
Just hang in there, Cyster.
You don’t have to change everything at once.
If you are struggling, start with one area like breakfast or your snacks. Focus on trying different recipes or options for a full week until you figure out what you like and how to make it a daily habit in your like. Then move on to the next meal.
This is a marathon, not a sprint.
You don’t have to change everything.
Just start somewhere and go with it.
You can do this!
You just need to get started. I recommend starting with my PCOS Diet Cheat Sheet.