Monthly Archives: May 2011

They say 1 in 5 women in the UK or Australia suffer from PCOS with varying symptoms. I’m interested to know a natural way to manage this, and the first thing is diet. Apart from the obvious problems with fertility (PCOS means irregular egg release therefore tricky conception), 40% of PCOS sufferers will be Type 2 diabetic by the time they are 44 years of age. It has also been linked (somewhat spuriously) to heart disease and (less spuriously) to Endometrial cancer.

It seems the most important issues will be 1) Low G.I. diet and regular exercise and 2) A cycle at least every 3 months (even if it must be induced e.g. by birth control pills).

The below is taken from Katie Humphrey’s book, Freedom From PCOS :

  • Avoid sugary foods. The worst offenders are soft drinks (soda), cookies, cakes, chocolate, sweets and processed breakfast cereals.
  • Avoid foods containing sugar compounds such as high-fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, fructose, mannitol, maltitol, isomalt & glycerol.
  • Avoid ‘diet’ foods containing harmful artificial sweeteners. There is clear-cut evidence that artificial sweeteners do not assist blood sugar control. In fact, these synthetic chemical sweeteners can actually stimulate your desire for sugary foods.
  • Increase the consumption of fruit & vegetables. Ideally you should consume 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables daily. Note: Obtain organic fruit & vegetables if possible. Certified organic products are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers or genetic modification. Organic produce is a better option as your hormone imbalance may make you overly sensitive to the hidden chemicals commonly found in conventional fruit and vegetables.

    If you cannot source organic fruit and vegetables it is possible to wash all fruit and vegetables in a solution of one part apple cider vinegar to twelve parts water to remove pesticide and chemical residues. Rinse the fruit & vegetables in filtered water to remove the vinegar smell.

  • Choose wholegrains, which contain all parts of the grain. This includes: oats, corn, rice, wheat, barley, rye, triticale and millet. Limit processed grain based foods such as boxed breakfast cereals, white bread and pasta. Choose wholegrain alternatives such as: muesli, porridge, steamed rice, wholegrain pasta and wholegrain breads, including spelt & rye.

    Note: Fibre is abundant in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains. Fibre contributes to improved blood sugar control and healthy bowel function.

  • Protein foods such as fresh fish, lean red meat, organic chicken, organic eggs or secondary protein such as whole grains and legumes should be eaten twice a day to help balance your blood glucose levels. Fish is an ideal protein source as it does not contain saturated fat or hormone residues. Eat local, fresh fish 2-3 times a week if you are not a vegetarian.
  • The type of fat in your diet plays an important role in assisting with insulin reception at the cell level. Cold water fish, organic eggs, avocadoes, extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil and raw nuts and seeds are rich in essential fatty acids.
  • Are you ready to get the junk out of your body? Stop buying meals from fast food outlets. These foods are packed with calories, sugar and unhealthy ingredients.
  • Limit the intake of saturated fats that are found in red meat, chicken, deli meats and dairy foods. Avoid trans fats found in margarine, TV dinners, commercially prepared snack foods and deep fried food.
  • Ensure you eat regularly and choose healthy snacks mid morning and mid afternoon to balance your blood sugar levels between meals. Fruit, nuts, seeds, protein shakes and natural yoghurt all make healthy snacks.

Your PCOS Diet & Lifestyle Plan – Lifestyle Recommendations

Along with improvements in your diet, some changes to your lifestyle will also have an effect on reducing the symptoms of PCOS.

  • Quit smoking. Smoking stimulates androgen production, the male hormones that exacerbate weight gain, excess facial hair and acne.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol places extra stress on the liver, a major organ that assists in balancing your hormone levels.
  • Manage stress and anxiety. Stress has a major affect on your hormone balance. Do things that you enjoy and follow your passion, whatever that may be.
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking 1.5 – 2 litres of filtered water daily. This will detox your system and can reduce fluid retention problems.
  • Get Moving. Perform light to moderate exercise 3-5 times a week. Regular exercise leads to weight loss and improves your capacity to deal with stress.

“ANZAC biscuits are a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.”

WELL well well – as per my current aim to up the homemade … I followed a very basic recipe (on the back of the dessicated coconut packet!) but with a few alterations:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp boiling water
75g (approx.) butter (that’s about 1/4 of a normal size block – because it’s all we had left)
3-5 tbsp Virgin Almond Oil …

We didn’t have enough butter left and are clean out of olive oil – so given the option of vegetable oil or almond oil, I chose the latter. I did a quick google search to see if it would fly and there was general consensus that this would be an excellent substitute. The recipe had also said 1tbsp of golden syrup and 1 cup of sugar but I was loathe to put that much sugar in …

Preheated oven 150 degrees c for 15-20 mins … and if you’re a first time baker, remember to cool them on a rack after you’ve taken them out.

Result? Amazingly, delicious!! Next time will experiment with making them a bit better for you 🙂

[tags cookie, anzac cookie, biscuits, snack]

*What is upcycling?*

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

The first recorded use of the term upcycling was by Reiner Pilz of Pilz GmbH in an interview by Thornton Kay of Salvo in 1994.[1]

We talked about the impending EU Demolition Waste Streams directive. “Recycling,” he said, “I call it downcycling. They smash bricks, they smash everything. What we need is upcycling where old products are given more value not less.” He despairs of the German situation and recalls the supply of a large quantity of reclaimed woodblock from an English supplier for a contract in Nuremberg while just down the road a load of similar blocks was scrapped. In the road outside his premises, was the result of the Germans’ demolition waste recycling. It was a pinky looking aggregate with pieces of handmade brick, old tiles and discernible parts of useful old items mixed with crushed concrete. Is this the future for Europe?”

A great example of upcycling is bottle schools:

Upcycled cushion picture taken from

Tim came home with a barracouta (not barracuda!)  He seasoned it with olive oil, lemon, salt & pepper and put it under the grill – giving each side around 7 minutes (important to cook it through as, like swordfish, barracouta meat can host worms).  I sauteed the zucchini with some garlic and steamed the potatoes, all of which we’d picked up from Paul & Cynthia’s Camp Creek (organic / bio-dynamic) market garden.   Another truly King Island meal.

Homemade Granola Recipe:

3 cups (300 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

3/4 cup (75 grams) sliced or slivered almonds

1/2 cup (45 grams) raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup (45 grams) raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 tablespoon (5 grams) wheat germ (optional)

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canola oil or 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup (120 ml) pure maple syrup (preferably Grade A Dark Amber)

1 cup dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, apricots, dates, figs, and/or raisins) (optional)

Read more:

Never again will I be okay with paying almost $5 for rubbish-ridden supermarket houmous.

If you have a blender try this:

1 tin (400g) chickpeas

3-5 tbsp olive oil
Half / whole lemon (squeezed and to taste)
3-5 drops sesame oil OR 1.5 tbsp tahini OR 3 tsp sesame seeds (whatever is available)

1-2 cloves garlic (peeled & crushed)
Salt / pepper season to taste

Drain the chickpeas but keep the liquid.  Chuck it all into the blender with a tbsp or 2 of the chickpea water, then blend and add more liquid as necessary to achieve desired consistency.  Either keep back some olive oil and drizzle it over the finished dip or add more to the blender if you like it that way.  I love olive oil so I just put loads.   You can add cumin to give it a bit more spice, or parsley.  And the posh thing to do is keep a couple of chickpeas whole and add as garnish at the end 🙂

I found the tahini paste quite overpowering so would reduce the amount I add – but Tim loves it and says it’s perfect that way.  So … !

(Adapted from original recipe at