Eating Tips for Vegan PCOS

Having turned vegan in January 2018 and only being recently diagnosed with PCOS, I was surprised to discover how popular this condition is in women and how little information there is about it.

For those who don’t know much about PCOS, it stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome and is a disease which causes the follicles in the ovaries that are responsible for hormone release and balance to go crazy.

Symptoms (not everyone will get all of these): Hair loss, depression, insulin resistance, pelvic pain, mood swings, acne, headaches, high cholesterol levels and possible infertility and diabetes.

I must stress that everyone with PCOS is different – not everyone will get all of these at once and the severity differs too. It is because of my symptoms that I was diagnosed with PCOS and unfortunately do have a cystic ovary but trying to stay positive as it doesn’t necessarily mean I am infertile.

However, struggling to find out what food can make my symptoms better and I want to do this completely natural without going down the medication route.

TIPS:

  1. WATCH CARBS AND GLUTEN

White carbs – processed and refined carbs are the worst things to feed our bodies with PCOS as they cause our blood sugar levels to spike therefore causing bloating, imflammation, water retention etc. Choose rye bread, spelt and wholewheat pasta, sweet potatoes, bran flakes, barley, wild rice instead.

Fruit – I have fruit smoothies almost every morning for breakfast and if I don’t I have fruit in other ways for breakfast. If you choose fruit that is low in sugar then eat a little more, if you choose fruit high in sugar then eat a little less.

Legumes – There are loads of different types of legumes out there but the main ones I eat are chickpeas, black beans and lentils. They are super high in fiber and protein and are low in carbs. Some beans may disagree with you though so try them and listen to your body.

Gluten free carbs – Going gluten free is the best thing for PCOS warriors and I am still getting to grips with it but don’t go for pre-packaged gluten free products as they are made with lots of starches and thickeners. Starches are a high GI and should be used in moderation. Go for the most natural option like buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes.

Sweeteners – Maple syrup, coconut sugar are good in 1 or 2 teaspoons every day.

 

2. RAISE PROTEN INTAKE

Breakfasts should contain a decent amount of protein as it keeps you full and won’t spike your blood sugar levels and combine with healthy fats. I always make sure to add some sort of nuts, healthy fats, protein into my breakfasts packed into a box ready to eat on the go or at work.

My top breakfasts:

  1. Berry Nice Choconut Smoothie – Cacao powder, frozen berries, banana, apple, coconut oil, coconut milk, hemp seeds and peanut butter.
  2. Turmeric Fineapple Smoothie – Almond milk, turmeric, peanut butter, biscoff spread, pineapple, apple, hemp seeds and coconut oil.
  3. Stewed Apple Yoghurt – cooked cinnamon apples, coconut yoghurt, flaxseeds, peanut butter, maple syrup, banana and grapes

 

3. SOY, SOY, SOY! The isoflavones in soy affect the hormone release and long term can have a negative impact on ovaries with PCOS. I personally, eat a very minimal amount of soy (only in my 1 cup of coffee per day) and in any vegan meats which could be once a week. Fermented soy products like miso, tamari and tempeh are actually beneficial.

 

I hope you find this useful – let me know and I will carry on blogging about PCOS and being vegan 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

{Vegan} Soy Candles.

What you need:

  • Jars/containers
  • Ready made candle wicks with tabs
  • 1kg soy wax flakes
  • Essential oils of your choice
  • Wick holder
  • Glue gun and glue sticks

 

Method:

  1. Clean your jars and dry thoroughly.
  2. Use glue gun to stick the wick tabs to the bottom of the jars. Make sure dry.
  3. Pour out 4 cups of soy wax in a heat proof bowl and microwave for 2 mins until melted. Do not burn! Tip: 4 cups of flakes = 2 cups melted wax
  4. Let wax cool a little bit then add 50 or more drops of essential oil.
  5. Pour wax into jar or container.
  6. I dropped in rose petals at this point and watched them settle while the wax dried.
  7. Leave to cool et voila! So easy!

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My Top 5 Vegan Snacks

Hi guys! I am going to share my top 5 vegan snacks (and sorry I don’t have photos of them) below. Let me know if theyre your favourite too!

  1. Hippeas. Cheese & love flavour. You can buy them in Holland & Barratt for £1.19 for a small snack size bag or get a large bag (my personal fave) from Asda for £1.99! They are actually really cheesey tasting and I find I do miss cheese flavoured things… (not necessarily cheese though! Weird).
  2. Dark Chocolate Coated Ginger. From Holland & Barratt you can buy little nuggets of dark chocolate crystallised ginger. We love them!! Good to settle your tummy too. They cost £2.69 for 250g bag. We snack on these a few nuggets at a time after dinner then fold the packet up and put them away! Theyre quite fiery so doubt you could eat the whole pack in one sitting.
  3. Smoothies. For a morning snack that is a bit healthier, I whizz up banana, spinach, almond butter, almond milk, oats, a squeeze of agave and chia seeds. I always feel like its a great start to my day and since being vegan we have had a lot more smoothies! Its a sure fire way to make sure you get raw goodness in your bodies quick! Delicious too.
  4. Oreo’s. These are always a good idea in a vegan’s world! Crush them to make a base for a sweet pie, crumble over nice cream or simply finish the whole pack in one! Oops! Asda are selling them for 50p. Can’t go wrong with that.
  5. Nuts. Our cupboard always has an endless supply of nuts and dried fruit so I tend to make granola out of it. See my Easy Granola recipe for more! I shop in Grapetree and H&B for big bags of nuts.

So I hope these inspire you a bit and even if you are not vegan… you never know you might accidentally be eating vegan more than you think.

Easy Granola

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Toasted coconut flakes
  • 2 cups Oats
  • 1 cup Chopped pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1 cup Chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup Chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp Ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of ground nutmeg

 

Method:

  1. Pour the oil, syrup and extract into a mixing bowl.
  2. Tip in the dry ingredients except for the dates, coconut and spices and stir well.
  3. Pour mixture onto baking tray and spread evenly. Bake for 15 mins.
  4. Then add coconut, dates and spices and mix. Bake for another 10-15 mins.
  5. Your house will start to smell amazing by now, then take out and enjoy topped onto smoothie or yoghurt.

Coconut bacon!

Coconut bacon bits

What you need:

  • Coconut chips (I use Urban Fruit)
  • A good glug of liquid smoke (mine is from Waitrose)
  • Drizzle of maple syrup (optional)

Method:

  1. Turn oven to 180 degrees fan.
  2. Lay the coconut chips on a lined baking tray and spread evenly.
  3. Shake over the liquid smoke and maple and get your hands stuck in! Make sure every chip is covered.
  4. Bake for 15 mins or until golden and crunchy.
  5. Flake over any dish to make it truly luxurious! You won’t miss real bacon that’s for sure!

Easy as pie!

Top things to do with the mighty chickpea!

Aside from the fact that I am loving the word ‘aquafaba’ at the moment, which is the water or juice in canned chickpeas… the actual chickpea is extremely versatile, a part of a vegans staple diet and just all round good for you. See some ideas below for what you can do with a can of mighty chickpeas.

– Chickpea, carrot and courgette fritters: Great for a snack and really easy to whip up! I serve mine with a generous amount of houmous (which takes me to my next point). Check it out from my ‘recipes’ section.

Houmous: There are loads if varieties of houmous/hummus/houmus or however you want to spell it. Whip up a couple of cans of chickpeas in a blender with some tahini, garlic, olive oil and herbs and you have a simple houmous to have with literally everything and anything.

– Spicy chickpea korma: Chickpeas really bulk out a veggie or vegan curry and give max flavout too. Use 1 can of washed chickpeas to make this curry found in my ‘recipes’ section and let me know what you think!

I hope I have inspired you a bit to enjoy a veggie starter, accompaniment or meal one day. Leave a comment or let me know somehow what you think!

Vegan Breakfast Ideas

I have been having similar breakfasts during the working week since I went vegan in January, BUT I wanted to share a couple of other ideas (for work and on weekends) for those who are interested:

Peanut Overnight Oats (serves 1)

Ingredients:

1 cup oats

1 cup dairy free milk alternative

1 tsp crunchy peanut butter

1 tsp (homemade) jam

1 tsp chia seeds

Method:

Mix everything together in a jar and leave in the fridge overnight. Enjoy the next morning. If it looks too stodgy then add a bit more milk!

 

Vegan Cooked Brekkie (serves 4)

Ingredients:

250g white mushrooms, halved

1 massive avocado

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

bread of your choice, sliced

2 cans baked beans

200g falafel (enough for 3 or 4 each)

Method:

  1. Start roasting the cherry tomatoes in a fan assisted oven at 180C, then pop in the falafel to warm through too.
  2. Add the chopped mushrooms to a frying pan with spraying oil and keep frying until golden.
  3. Add the bread slices to the toaster (make sure you time everything well!)
  4. Empty baked beans into a microwaveable bowl and blitz for 3 or 4 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, slice the avocado and plate up.
  6. Plate everything up altogether and enjoy!

 

Blueberry French Toast (serves 2)

Ingredients:

2 slices of white bread

1.5 tbsp. maple syrup

75g blueberries

1/2 tsp cinnamon

50ml dairy free alternative milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp golden caster sugar

grapeseed oil for frying

Method:

  1. Slowly heat maple syrup and blueberries in a frying pan. This should start to thicken up.
  2. Mix the milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a small bowl.
  3. Dip a slice of bread into the milky mixture, shake off excess and fry the bread in a new frying pan with the grapeseed oil. Until both sides and golden.
  4. Spoon over the blueberry mixture and enjoy warm!

 

Banana & Peanut Butter Bagel (serves 1)

Ingredients:

Plain bagel/or bagel of your choice, halved

1 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter

1 tsp chia seeds

1 ripe banana, mashed

Method:

  1. Quite simply, toast both sides of the bagel and spoon over the peanut butter and sprinkle with chia seeds.
  2. Top with the mashed banana.