8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS (Dr. Fiona McCulloch)

8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS: A Proven Program to Reset Your Hormones, Repair Your Metabolism, and Restore Your Fertility by (Dr. Fiona McCulloch)

pcos

A Unique 8-Step System to Reverse Your PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal condition in women. It affects ten to fifteen percent of women worldwide, causing infertility, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism, acne, and hair loss. PCOS varies from woman to woman, each experiencing her own unique presentation. In 8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS, author and naturopathic doctor Fiona McCulloch dives deep into the science underlying the mysteries of PCOS, offering the newest research and discoveries on the disorder and a detailed array of treatment options.

In her book, Dr. McCulloch introduces the key health factors that must be addressed to reverse PCOS. Through quizzes, symptom checklists, and lab tests, Dr. McCulloch gives readers the tools they need to identify which of the factors are present in their bodies and what they can do to treat them. Readers will be empowered to be the heroines of their own health stories with the help of this unique, step-by-step natural medicine system.

Dr. McCulloch has worked with thousands of people seeking better health over the past fifteen years of her practice. She is committed to health education and advocacy, empowering her patients with the most current information on health topics and natural medicine therapies with a warm, empathic approach.

Dr. McCulloch has authored articles in publications for health professionals on a variety of topics, including PCOS, thyroid health, autoimmunity, and infertility. Her popular research-based blog receives a  readership of twenty thousand per month. 8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS is Dr. McCulloch’s first book.

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This may be the first time the “blurb” is longer than my review!

I hesitated to write this review because it is a personal topic. Clearly I have PCOS (or someone close to me does but I’ll admit it is me) or I wouldn’t be reading this book. However, since it is such a common disorder for women to have and can often go un-diagnosed for YEARS, I had to write on this subject and hopefully help someone else.

My naturopathic doctor recommend this book to me when she told me that I have PCOS. It is written from the perspective of holistic medicine as the author is also naturopathic doctor and someone who has PCOS herself.

This book is very detailed and offers lots of amazing recommendations for herbal supplements. It would be a FANTASTIC resource for someone who cannot afford regular doctor’s visits, or naturopathic services, although I have to stress it should not be used as a substitute to medical supervision.

If you even suspect there is something wrong with your thyroid, hormones, or menstrual cycle, definitely go get checked for this and do some research before you go to your doc. Some of the tests are not routine which is why I had all the symptoms and still went un-diagnosed for years.

Back to the book.

It is incredibly in-depth and very “smart”. I am a decently intelligent individual, I have a university degree and a college degree. And I had trouble understanding it at times. If you have an interest in the medical sciences, this would be more helpful. I do not and definitely got lost at times.

However, I still gained a deeper understanding of this disorder and how to treat it. This enabled me to bring ideas and questions to my doctor that I might not otherwise know to ask. I was able to better understand how severe / not severe my disorder was (because there can be a huge scale with PCOS).

And the naturopathic treatments are helping. I feel better, my symptoms are decreasing and my test results are improving. My DHT level is not four times higher than it should be anymore!

Yay!

So I recommend this book if you are the type of person who is interested in medicine or were smart enough to pursue a post-secondary education. If you struggled in school, this book would probably be a waste of time and become a source of frustration, but there are other resources out there.

Additionally, I would recommend purchasing this book rather than borrowing it. I found it very helpful to highlight charts that scale blood test results so you know which category you fall in. This is great for referring back to in the future! Also, I highlighted sections I needed to ask questions about and supplements I wanted to try, to chat with my doctor about.

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(it would have been five stars if I understood more)

xx

P.S.

What are the symptoms of PCOS (to my understanding)?

persistent acne that doesn’t clear up with topical medications, birth control, etc

(especially along jaw-line/ face, chest, back)

difficulty losing weight

plus-size

fatigue

insulin-resistant or diabetic

irregular or non-existent periods, painful periods

otherwise unexplained female infertility

male-pattern hair growth

thinning of hair on head

dark spots on skin

low appetite

and many more!

 

 

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Outside the Box by Jeannie Marshall

I have just finished reading an amazing book by local author Jeannie Marshall. It has been published under two titles so you might find it by looking for Outside the box: why our children need real food, not food products  or by searching The lost art of feeding kids: what Italy taught me about why children need real food.

I had read this book originally a few years ago and picked it up under the second title thinking the author had written another one. Well, a couple chapters in it was too familiar so I checked and it was exactly the same book! Fortunately it was so good that I decided to just keep going and will probably re-read it at least a couple more times in my lifetime. It is one of my favourite books and teaches you so much about food cultures and the art of looking at food as a whole, rather than just a compilation of different nutrients and vitamins to sustain the body.

Here is the blurb from goodreads:

When Canadian journalist Jeannie Marshall moved to Rome with her husband, she delighted in Italy’s famous culinary traditions. But when Marshall gave birth to a son, she began to see how that food culture was eroding, especially within young families. Like their North American counterparts, Italian children were eating sugary cereal in the morning and packaged, processed, salt- and fat-laden snacks later in the day. Busy Italian parents were rejecting local markets for supermercati, and introducing their toddlers to fast food restaurants only too happy to imprint their branding on the youngest of customers. So Marshall set on a quest to discover why something that we can only call “kid food” is proliferating around the world. How did we develop our seemingly insatiable desire for packaged foods that are virtually devoid of nutrition? How can even a mighty food culture like Italy’s change in just a generation? And why, when we should and often do know better, do we persist in filling our children’s lunch boxes, and young bodies, with ingredients that can scarcely even be considered food?

Through discussions with food crusaders such as Alice Waters, with chefs in Italy, nutritionists, fresh food vendors and parents from all over, and with big food companies such as PepsiCo and Nestle, Marshall gets behind the issues of our children’s failing nutrition and serves up a simple recipe for a return to real food.

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Marshall doesn’t come across as patronizing or elitist – something food writers and bloggers are often charged with. She doesn’t lecture you but instead inspires you to want something more for your family, and your community. She stresses the importance of societal norms in creating a food culture and its significance to overall health.

Having not grown up in a strong food culture the likes of which is common in Italy, the entire idea behind it was somewhat foreign to me but I love the idea and it is something that I desperately want to implement with my own family. I want my kids to grow up helping in the kitchen because through this they will develop cooking skills (from shopping and storage to preparing meals) as well as social skills, budgetary management skills, and will (hopefully!) associate good wholesome food with a fond, nostalgia for family and home that will carry the habit of healthy eating through the temptations of salty, fatty, sugary foods in adulthood.

The book begins with a short history of her childhood (which is to frame her experiences as an adult and make it easier for North Americans to relate to her) and how she and husband James arrived in Rome. The chunk of the book however follows her struggles as a mother to wade through all the BS and implement the healthiest choices for her son, from the introduction of first foods, to temper tantrums post-swimming lessons because little Nico wants a sugary treat from the vending machine … experiences any mother can relate to, regardless of where she lives.

Outside the Box is so much more than just a dietary ideal though. She talks about the role of advertising, particularly advertisements to children, and the subversive role they play in driving a wedge in between parents and children. Commercials and subtler ads, such as those in a television show, work on kids. Industry wouldn’t spend billions of dollars per year in America alone if they didn’t. And I can see it in the kids in my own life, how they beg, cajole and bargain to get a sweet or salty treat. To me, a treat like ice cream or McDonald’s should’t even be a once a week thing, never mind every day, or every trip to a store.

But you can’t raise your kids in isolation. Marshall uses examples such as these to explain why it is so important to have a societal food culture to raise kids in. If your child is the only one at swimming lessons to not get a treat from the vending machine, and you are the parent constantly saying no, it affects your relationship. If none of the kids get a treat, or if the vending machine isn’t there at all, it’s no big deal. Its normal.

Imagine a culture where everyone upholds a certain standard when it comes to food so that you can be sure that the food your child eats at school or his friends’ houses will be fresh and healthy rather than packaged. Advertising food products, particularly to children, subverts such a food culture.Though the culture supports healthy habits, marketing exploits your desires and weaknesses and encourages you to do what is bad for you. The traditional food culture incorporates opportunities to take pleasure in food with feast days for religious, seasonal or familial reasons. Marketing encourages self-indulgence, and when every day is special, nothing is special. Children have little defence against food marketers, and it doesn’t take long before these intruders define the culture to suit their needs.

Marshall, Jeanie. Outside the box. pg. 81

To me, protecting your children from food marketers is as important as teaching them not to accept candy from people in vans. Someone is coming into your home, through the computer or tv, and attempting to establish a relationship with your child, encouraging them to become consumers who enjoy a treat all the time. Children see commercials as factual and authoritative, according to the American Psychological Association; they can’t ignore or reflect critically on what is presented to them. And many companies go further, portraying parents as dumb old adults who don’t understand children or fun, rather than loving individuals who have to be the bad guys and make you eat broccoli instead of that cupcake because they care about your health.

One of the sections I was most interested in reading in Outside the Box was when Nico was a baby and Jeannie was introducing him to solid foods. In North America, it is still common to introduce foods one at a time in case the baby has a food allergy. In Italy, mothers make a pureed soup broth with veggies and a little rice or pasta for their baby. It incorporates the little into eating with their family unit, as they eat at the table at the same time as everyone else, and are introduced to a healthy and savoury combination of food that continues their introduction into the traditional food culture of their region.

outside the box

By the way, I read this book as a part of my 2016 Read Harder Challenge!

It was cool to see that Marshall offhandedly includes some traditional Italian recipes in her writing, ones that I am excited to try! I highly recommend this book. Try to find it at your local library or bookstore and give it a try if you have any interest in healthy living, cooking, food justice and sovereignty, or raising healthy children.

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xx