8 PCOS Diet Rules - PCOS Diva
8 PCOS Diet Rules

pcos diva fruit-and-vegWe all know how to eat.

But do you know how to nourish your body?

Women who thrive with PCOS know that food is medicine. The right foods can heal your most challenging symptoms.

The essence of eating to heal with PCOS is to consume food in its most natural state.  Processed and refined foods  wreak havoc with hormone levels.  So clean eating will actually help you begin to balance your hormones.  As  insulin, cortisol, testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, and thyroid become more in balance, PCOS symptoms will be alleviated.

 

PCOS Meal Plans

Here is my list of the top 8 PCOS Diet Rules:

1. Avoid processed and refined foods such as white flour, sugar, breads & pasta. Instead eat whole gluten-free grains like oatmeal, brown rice, millet, amaranth and quinoa.

2. Drink two liters of purified water per day.  You can flavor your water with fresh citrus, cucumber, mint or berries.

3. Avoid refined sugar, high-fructose corn-syrup,  artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, MSG, trans-fats and high saturated fat.

4. Eat packaged foods with 5 or less all- natural ingredients. Any product with a long ingredient list is usually highly processed.

5. Make alcohol an occasional indulgence – not an everyday occurrence. A glass of red wine is fine once and a while, but after one glass, the benefits are reversed.

6. Eat every 3-4 hours.

7. Always combine a lean protein and complex carb at every meal/snack.

8. Pack and stash.  Take food with you. Make sure you have snacks packed with you so you have healthy choices wherever you go and don’t eat whatever is available because you are starving.

Where do you start?

I have created hundreds of  PCOS-friendly recipes to help you manage your symptoms AND satisfy your taste buds in my Seasonal Meal Plans. Learn to make your own PCOS-friendly choices and truly thrive in my 7 Day Jumpstart Program!

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  • T. Nelson

    Hi, I really enjoy your blogs. I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS for about a year. Unfortunately, I lost my job and was without healthcare during the duration. I recently started seeing a doctor again. Anyway, I run every morning and lost 30lbs incorporating exercise into my daily schedule. But I realized that I’ve recently gained 7 lbs and feel quite swollen again. I’m wondering what the cause is. I have started taking pre-natal vitamins daily for about 2 weeks now, and eating oatmeal (1 cup) for bkfst. I read your post about oatmeal today, so I’ll scratch that off the list. Because I’ve noticed my cravings for crackers and bread. Now for lunch, I’ve been having turkey and swiss wraps. ARe tortilla wraps okay? But what foods should I eat. I’m down to meat and vegetables. What can I add or delete to get the final 25lbs off?

    • Amy Medling

      Thanks for reading! Great job with your weight loss. Have you tried strength training in addition to cardio? It is really important for women with PCOS to build some muscle to help with insulin resistance. and I will post a blog soon on the topic.

      I try to stay away from wheat and dairy except for organic plain yogurt and Ezekial Bread. Did you read my post about Ezekial Bread? They make a tortilla that I use for sandwiches. However, sometimes I just use lettuce leaves for wraps. Last night I made hamburgers for my family and I ate the hamburger sandwiched between two big leaves of romaine lettuce. Also, make sure you are drinking enough water. I have a liter bottle that I fill a few times a day with filtered water, ice and 1tsp apple cider vinegar. Read my post about acv. It will help you lose weight too because it balances your PH and blood sugar. It will help with cravings for carbs too. Keep up the good work!

  • Amy B

    I’m so glad I found your blog. Thank you for doing this, I’m learning more about the right types of food. Thank you!!

  • cp

    after reading the blog i thought it said oatmeal was fine. Is oatmeal good for pcos? Thanks

    • Amy

      Steel cut Oatmeal and rolled oats are actually a great choice for PCOS because they are full of fiber. However the instant type oatmeal or quick cooking oats are not a great choice. Sweeten your oatmeal with stevia and cinnamon and some berries and you have a great PCOS breakfast.

      • Helen

        Hi Amy – have been following your website for a while now and I really love the abundance of information you share. Thank you! I actually got the idea to eat McCann’s Steel Cut Oatmeal for bfast from reading your site, however, I use the McCann’s Steel Cut microwavable rolled oats. So when you say “quick cooking oats,” would this not be a smart choice perhaps? Thanks!!!

        • Amy

          Hi Helen-
          Have you ever tried cooking your oatmeal in a crockpot so it is ready for you in the morning? I am not a big fan of microwaving. I would use regular rolled oats if you are short on time.
          Thanks for your question!
          -Amy

          • Meesh

            Hi Amy,

            I don’t microwave often, but I recall hearing in one of Sasha’s PCOS Challenge radio shows a comment about tossing out the microwave. Now that I read another mention here, I wonder if you can elaborate whether there is, indeed, a connection between PCOS and microwaves?

            Thanks, and keep up the great work! :o)

          • Amy

            Thanks Meesh! Here is a good article which talks about the dangers of microwaves – http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/microwave-hazards.aspx

  • Michelle

    Amy, great web site! Is there a rule for “moderation”? I hate the word because it’s so vague. Is ordering pizza on Friday nights then eating clean the rest of the weekend healthy? I guess I’d like to know a number of how many times per week a person can ‘cheat’. For instance, what if we order pizza Friday night, then Sunday I go to a party and eat healthy, but then have dessert? Has that wrecked my week? I am so confused when it comes to things like that. Or should I leave 3 Friday nights out of the month to make my own whole food “pizza”, then once a month order the real thing? I just don’t want to give it up completely in my life b/c then I’ll go nuts and want to rebel. 😉 In summary, I’m very confused to what amount of junk food will harm someone with PCOS. Do I need to be 80, 90, or 100% clean? Thanks!

    • Amy

      Thanks Michelle-
      Life is meant to be enjoyed. Being a Diva means you never have to be on another diet again. Eating clean whole foods 90% or even 80% of the time (figure out what works for you) means you can indulge in something you really love and savor every moment of it. A Diva always upgrades. So if it is pizza you want don’t settle for take out at your local pizza joint. Go to a wonderful restaurant that has gourmet brick oven pizza – chances are they use fresh quality ingredients. And give yourself permission to truly enjoy a slice or two with a salad. For example – I really love ice cream. I don’t buy it at the grocery store but for Christmas I purchased a Cuisanart ice cream maker and I make my own homemade ice cream and now coconut milk ice cream once a week and enjoy it on the weekend. Make sense?

      • Alexandra

        Thank you so much for this. I’ve been driving myself mad the past four months trying to be perfect, eating clean, low carb, gluten free (mostly raw fruits and veggies) — getting rid of everything PCOS related overnight. (I’m a little bit of an extremist.)

        Recently, though, I’ve started to see an unhealthy correlation between how I feel about food and what it may do to me. In my mind, any deviation from the set “safe” foods is a HUGE deal. Almost to the point where I’m afraid to eat, which is causing so much stress! Despite the fact I’m down 25lbs, I’m still not getting my period. 🙁

        *This* however, makes me feel so much better. Not that I’m going to go nuts now, but I know one slip up isn’t going to ruin my progress of healing.

        Thank you, Amy! Thank you, thank you!

  • Amanda

    Amy – just discovered your website and have been proactive with PCOS. Just recently discovered the insulin resistant part though..makes total sense. How do you deal with eating at someone’s home? I am going to my in-laws for Easter Brunch. I’m afraid of what will be served…. ham, fruit crepes, etc…don’t sound like stuff I should be eating!! HELP!! Thanks, Amanda

    • Amy

      Amanda-
      Sorry for the late response. I try to abide by the 90/10 (when I started my PCOS Diva lifestyle it was more like 80/20 but that is fine too) rule. If I am eating on track most of the time when I am in a situation where it is hard to have PCOS friendly food then I don’t beat myself up about it. If I were you, next time you go to an event where there may not be great food choices bring a large beautiful salad to share and eat that with whatever protein is available. So if you brought a salad, you would then add the ham and eggs and a taste of crepes and you would be just doing great!

  • Hi Amy,

    My name is Tonya and I was actually diagnosed with PCOS nearly 20 years ago and back then no one knew about insulin resistance. Basically back then it was said “Well this is what you have going on and there is really nothing you can do about it. There is no cure and there is no treatment, I can suggest that for the excessive hairgrowth you can shave or use nair (there was no prescription for help in slowing the growth). You could imagine at my age being told something like that and how I felt hopeless, depressed and angry. Because that was not all… I was also told that if I wanted children then I needed to be proactive then (I was getting married to my first husband and he definetly wanted children so the process began). Thankfully we did not have any luck because he was abusive and I eventually became strong enough to leave and not believe his lies that no-one would love me because I was a freak of nature. SO Here is to your web site, and the information that you provide to those like me who can finally stop listening to the past beliefs. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. By the way any advice on conceiving with PCOS, and carrying full term?

    • Amy

      Tonya-
      Thanks for sharing your story. I conceived with the help of a monitored clomid cylcle with my 2nd but got pregnant at 37 and now have a healthy 2.5 yr old girl with no fertility treatments. Adopt a healthy lifestyle like I advocate on PCOS Diva is my best advice!

  • bridget

    amy,

    what would you recommend for women dealing with the excessive hair growth on the face?

    • Amy

      Bridget-
      I think hair growth on the face is the toughest thing to deal with. Once a hair turns dark and coarse it can be reversed. I have had wonderful results with Laser Hair Removal. I know it is very pricey but it has been some of the best money I have ever spent.

  • Tish

    Hi Amy, you have no idea how happy I am about finding your website. The name, PCOS Diva is what most stuck out & made me checkout your site. Diva? Definately not a word that I had come accross when I was researching PCOS. Most of the posts I have read elsewhere have made me depressed and hopeless thinking only negative things about my lifelong disease. Im 25 years old, have been married for 4 years, and ttc the first 2 years of marriage, but at the time I didnt know i had pcos. Eventually we gave up and in result of not getting pregnant I went back to school. Now I’m 2 yrs away from my bachelors in Biology, and we have been planning to ttc after I graduate. After being diagnosed with pcos ( april 2011) & now finding your website i feel much more positive about my condition,& possibly being a mommy one day. Thank you for being so positive about pcos & for sharing all of this with us therefore showing us we too can be pcos divas!

    • Amy

      Tish-
      I am so glad that you found PCOS Diva and have embraced the philosophy! You are well on your way to Divahood! All the best.
      -Amy

  • Maria Esteva

    I have heard that stevia or splenda are no good ?

    • Amy

      I do think stevia is an acceptable sweetener but splenda is not a good choice.

  • Mhey

    Hi Amy,

    Your blogs are veru informative and helpful. Thanks for sharing such wonderful information. I have just started on a clean eating journey. However I have started noticing that I have no energy to cook and end up eating junk many times. Can you please tell me how can I first start increasing my energy levels so that I can follow the clean eating more diligently.

    • Amy

      Exercise or I like to call it Movement is really important. The more you move the more energy you will have. Also, focus on drinking lots of water and be sure to combine protein with every meal and snack.

  • Shalaya

    Hi Amy, I absolutely LOVE LOVE Your blog!!! Reading all of posts has inspired me to take my life back. I was diagnose with PCOS in 2009 but I truly feel like this has been something that has been overlooked by several doctors over the last 10 yrs or so due to my small frame. I have all of the torturous systems (“man hair”:/, absent cycle, hair thining, mood swings… Must I go on) but there is obviously a misconception about obesity being the #1 symptom, therefore was not treated up to 2009. Since then I have tried far too many birth control pills and other drugs which I don’t care to take and has given no results….At this point I am eager to start eating healthy and healing my body so that my finance’ and I can grown our family. We already have two 6 yrs ( one each from previous relationship) but we still would like one atleast together. Since finding out about my condition it have honestly taken a toll on my emotional state and the mood swings (im sure) drive him crazy lol .Somehow and came across you through researching insulite and I agree with Tish I LOVE LOVE LOVE the name ;). It instantly brought a smile to my face. I need your help because I don’t know how to cook or shop “clean” with my busy lifestyle and I am afraid that it will be too expensive which will cause me to give up…. 🙁

  • Hi Amy!

    I was recently diagnosed with PCOS (less than a year ago) and struggled at first with the new life changes. After feeling sorry for myself, I chose to get back to my healthy way of life with exercise (running, weights, sports) and cooking my own meals but the best change came from implementing ‘clean’ eating into my daily life. It has done terrific things for my mood, my body and overall health. Even still, I am still fighting off the cravings of processed foods but with time that will change. I came across your blog recently and it has reassured my pursuit to eat healthy whole foods.

    Thanks,
    Hilary

    redheadedink.wordpress.com

    • Amy

      Hilary – You are a Diva! Glad you are feeling better and glad PCOS Diva inspired you!

  • Alicia

    What is your take on fruit? I was recently diagnosed at 32, been ttc for over 4 years and have a lot of weight to lose. Dr. put me on Metformin & Provera to try to regulate cycles and lose weight. Provera made me gain weight so I am only doing metformin right now. She told me to eat low carb with no fruit. I find myself craving fresh fruit but am afraid the carbs in it will spike my insulin and cause weight gain. Any suggestions about incorporating fruit for those of us with a lot of weight to lose?

    • Amy

      Fruit is so full of fiber and photochemicals. I would stick with low glycemic berries and high fiber apples and pears. Grapefruit are good for blood sugar too!

  • nanu

    My dr. told me after ultra sound that I i have PCOS. My cycle is usually comes once in 35-40 days. But last month, i spotted(brown color very little blood use to come when i go for pee that to not touching pad) for 9 days.And again i started this month and still spotting(it is been 2 weeks).So i wondered what is the reason, is it PCOS symptom? (NOTE: i am on ttc from last 3 months).

    • Amy

      Yes irregular periods and spotting can happen to women with PCOS.

  • Mel

    Hi Amy
    What do you think about fizzy water? Since i cut off fizzy drinks and fruit juices. i grew tired of just drinking still water.

    • Amy

      I love mineral water and seltzer water. Flavor it with citrus or even a splash of juice.

  • Glee-o

    Hi Amy, i am 18 years old and i have been diagnosed with PCOS last week. i was so upset and did not know what to do. i did some research on the internet and many of them said that there is no cure for this syndrome. this made me feel even worse. i was trying to think of the bright side that having PCOS can lead me to a healthier lifestyle and that is a great thing. but i still feel bad anyway because i never heard about PCOS before and i know no one who can guide me what to do. i just found your website and really am happy to know that it is not as bad as i thought i was ;))))))
    thank you >~<

  • This is a great list. Thank you for posting but two liters of water sounds too much..

  • latinavaquerita

    I was diagnosed 5 years ago with PCOS. I had cystic acne on my jaw line and chin, facial hair developing on my chin, and an inability to lose weight, it seemed like I put on 35 lbs with no change to my diet. Exercise was not helping me to lose weight. While others lost weight easily, sometimes I would be more on the scale after 4 weeks of exercising hard. I was on Metformin, Spironolactone, Yaz b.c. pills, and a progesterone cream. For two years this worked. I lost 8 lbs that just fell off, my period came every month. But then it just stopped working even though I was exercising and eating good 90/10. I got fed up and decided I would work on negative thoughts about how there is no cure, blah blah blah. A year ago, I weaned myself off all meds and followed paleo eating, a grain free way of eating. While some people do great with quinoa, brown rice, etc., this just bloated me horribly and I think grains are not for everyone like me. 1 year later through reversing negative programming about all the bad news about pcos not having a cure and it’s irreversable, I’ve had menses every 30 days, no acne, almost no facial hair on my chin, and an ultrasound showed no cysts. All this with paleo most of the time and no meds and a better frame of mind. I have 30 lbs to lose. I will focus on just eating paleo the rest of my life 95/5 and I’m sure it will fall off over the next year. I don’t weigh myself, I just focus on each day. With all the new energy, I am naturally much more focused and active. I wanted to share this because pcos has such a death sentence sound to it and I did it on my own, it was not coincidence, mind over matter and eating the best way for my body.

  • Missy Phillips

    Hi Amy!
    I am loving the 90 day app! I wanted to thank you for speaking with me in Houston at the PCOS Symposium about my insulin resistance. I have re-looked at my diet, as you suggested, and have found that I feel so much better when I’m not eating grains! I love oatmeal and bread, but I’m giving them up so I can be a Diva!
    Thanks again!

    • Amy

      It was so nice to meet you Missy. I am glad the reduction of carbs is helping you. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach. We have to keep experimenting. I find almond and coconut flour to be a great substitute for grains in baking.

  • Tooba Adil

    Hi. I am 21, a med student from Pakistan. I was recently diagnosed with pcos. At first i couldnt accept it and felt as if my life had finished before it started. I read every research on pcos and all i could find was life long dependance on medicines. I got my hormonal and insulin tests done and they all were normal. My b.m.i was normal. My doctor advised me to lose few kgs. But it was just impossible. I wont lose a pound no matter what i do. And i thought to myself may be i doing it the wrong way. Then i found PcosDiva on facebook. Didnt have enough money to buy the meal plans. But yeah i downloaded ur app. Picked up the right foods. And i am transforming ur dishes my way. The Desi Way. I just love cooking. Only the difference is now i am cooking healthier meals. Thanx for the guidance. May God bless you.
    P.s: I now know what i am going to do after graduation. I am going to be a health coach just like you.

    • Amy

      Thanks for your comment Tooba. I loved my experience at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I studied to become a health coach. Actually many doctors do attend. Best of luck!

  • sasha

    Hi PCOS Diva,

    I love Pizza!

    So far, I’ve eaten 3 slices plus had 3 cups of coffee this week. I grow this phenomenon pack and stash, but won’t eat it because ” won’t satisfy”
    What can I do I eat fun, clean, and not feel guilty like I breaking rules every time I eat?

    Thank you.

  • Kallie

    Hi my name is Kallie, I just got diagnosed with pcos… Can I eat corn potato chips that the only ingredients are corn, sunflower oil, and salt?? I don’t have many things to eat any more and it’s very hard as a teenage watching all of your friends eat whatever they want

  • Sierra Jordan

    Hello I wanted to know if calories are located with the meal plans or if customer meal plans are made if I need to stay under 1300 cal.

  • Pingback: PCOS Diet Plan: Best PCOS-Friendly Recipes For Breakfast & Dinner()

  • Ashleigh

    Hi, Is rice pudding ok to eat or should i stay clear of that? It is gluten free but was unsure.

    • Amy Anderson Medling

      Rice pudding typically has white rice, dairy and sugar. This is not something that I would eat on a regular basis. If you absolutely love rice pudding, then have it on a rare occasion and mindfully enjoy three bites or so.

      • Ashleigh

        Ok thank you, i will have to find something else as i heard gluten free oats/porridge isnt good for PCOS either, is this correct?

  • Priya

    I am 25yrs old from last 4 months my periods got reduced to 2days from 4 days n have gained weight recently what should I do?
    Is this a problem to worry about pregnancy in future after my marriage?

  • Amber

    I really like milk and dairy products and I am not lactose intolerant but I have been diagnosed with PCOS 4 days ago so should I be having dairy or avoiding it completely? I am struggling to have soy milk as I very much dislike the taste of it what can I do?

    • Elly

      You don’t have to completely quit but you would then have to definitely moderate it. Also soy is a bad substitute with PCOS as it causes other kinds of problems.. I would opt to keep on rather using dairy than soy but moderate it quite heavily OR use nut milks (almond, coconut etc)

  • Colleen

    Hi there, SO so grateful for this website! Thank you Amy!!!! I’m 25 , got diagnosed with PCOS i think at 20, had never had regular periods, I tried the pill from my doctor that was supposed to jumpstart your period and not even a spot..I think I had even tried it a second time with the same non results. Miracualously a lady prayed for me and on my 21st bday I got my period and have had it regular sense. I’ve now been on metformen for about a year, i have a sweet toothe and am obsessed with dairy but I havent been careful with what I eat, currently on the ketogenic diet which is high fat and low carb but trying to ease my way into making it a lifestyle of low carb stuff , thank you because this is confirmation for me that it isn’t a “diet” but a lifestyle change that I see I need to accept, many of my questions have been answered thru scrolling your answers to peoples questions.. One question I do have tho is i’ve heard that with pcos its especially important to get vitamin D for our bones since we can be at risk without having a period, and just in general doesnt the body need the vitamins that come from dairy? You had said to the other dairy lover to just be careful to moderate it, im wondering like if I completely take it out altogether how can you get the benefits of dairy? (vegetables and vitamins?) and is eliminating/ lessening the dairy because of the sugar of lactose? Thank you so much

  • prathyusha goud

    hey amy!!!!
    am a patient of pcod….am confused with eating fruits or not..some say that they give u insulin spikes ,so we shouldnot take them…some say that we should eat them to get insulin spikes…am really confused..please help me out with this and also tell me what fruits to eat!!
    thankyou

  • kriti sharma

    can we eat brown rice in pcod/pcos??? as it contains sugar ??

  • jennifer mamita

    Thanks for this website and apps, I am able to share my pcos experience as well as getting advice from other woman.
    I was diagnosed with pcos the reason for having difficulty conceiving, my menstruation was 4-6 times/year… I was a little overweight back then in 2007. My husband and I tried consulting for IVF and medication treatments, but its so expensive, we stopped.
    So we tried the natural way. With the insulin resistance and threat of having Type2 diabetes, its time to think healthfully. Started not eating rice (now a little brown rice is my alternative if a crave for rice), I avoided junks and sweets. We focus on protein like chicken breast, fish and lots of vegetables. I am not so much of a fruit person, but I like watery fruit like watermelon and melons. We started having water therapy, drinking 3-4 glass of water in an empty stomach first thing in the morning, then have breakfast 45mins-1hr after drinking. Then normal low carb meals lunch and dinner. We don’t drink any fizzy drinks, coffee and caffeinated tea, alcoholic and we don’t smoke. I include in my routine folic acid daily and multi-vitamins. Then after work, in the evening, I have at least 1hour exercise everyday.
    I lose weight gradually, my mens normalise. I seldom go to see a doctor. My husband and I avoided pressure of having a baby because it gives stress for a long time that you are married and waiting for a child. We make love without thinking that we need to have a baby. We do it out of love and joy with each other. after less than 1 year I fall pregnant in 2008 and deliver my healthy baby girl early 2009.
    Now 2017, my daughter is 8, I gained more weight, pcos is still here, menstruation is absent. My husband and I want to have another baby before I reach the age of 40 so I am doing same routine again. There is hope, just need to realign our body to being healthy again. And above all, Pray. Children are gift of God. He knows your desire and He will give it to you in His timing. God bless.

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