September is an important month. No, we’re not talking about the change of season, we’re referring to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month. PCOS is a hormone, metabolic & reproductive disorder that is the leading cause of infertility. Ironically, it’s a very common yet widely unfamiliar condition; it affects 1 in 10 women and 50% of women with PCOS go undiagnosed. Fortunately the symptoms, including insulin resistance, can be managed with lifestyle and diet changes.
We asked Sugarbreak advisors Dr. Robert Graham MD, MPH, chef and co-founder of FRESH Medicine, and Carlyn Rosenblum MS, RD, CLC, registered dietitian and CEO of MTHR Nutrition, a concierge nutrition counseling service for women, what recipes they recommend for their clients with PCOS.
Of course, PCOS presents differently in everyone and there is no one-size-fits-all diet. But, with insulin levels in mind, here are our top 3 PCOS-friendly recipes that everyone can enjoy.
- low sugar
- low glycemic index
- nutrient dense
- free of refined carbohydrates
Pregnancy Superfood Salad
Serves 4 | 20 minutes
- 2 cups of brussel sprouts, shredded
- 1/2 cup of Hellenic Farms fig salami, sliced
- 1/2 cup of Kite Hill (dairy free) ricotta
- 2 tbsp of raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice or white balsamic
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper
- Mix the oil, lemon juice, honey & salt and pepper until fully emulsified.
- Massage dressing into brussel sprouts and place in fridge for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.
- Before serving, top brussel sprouts with sliced fig salami, ricotta and pumpkin seeds.
Creamy Chickpea Curry with Sweet Potato
Serves 6 | 30 minutes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoon ground curry
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground garam masala
- 1-2 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 medium sweet potatoes about 4 cups, peeled and cubed into small pieces
- ½ (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 (15) ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 (13) ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 4 cups spinach
- ½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For platting: cooked brown rice, garnish: cilantro, chopped peanuts or cashews
- Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add spices to allow them to bloom (amplify the flavor of the spice) for 1 minute and add the onion, garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 minutes.
- Add the sweet potatoes, stir to combine and allow the sweet potatoes to cook for 5-7 minutes until a bit soft, but not fork-tender. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, and chickpeas. Cover the lid and turn the heat to high until boiling then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be fork-tender at this point.
- Add the coconut milk, spinach, green peas. lime juice and stir until combined and creamy and the spinach is wilted for about 5 minutes. Serve with brown rice, chopped cilantro, chopped nuts and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Serves 4 | 10 minutes
- flesh of 2 large ripe avocados
- 1/4 cup regular cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup dutch cocoa
- 3-4 tbsp milk of choice (almond, cashew,
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- pinch of cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or sweetener of choice to taste)
- Garnish: pinch of sea salt, fresh berries
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely creamy and smooth. If too thick, thin out with a little more milk.
- Chill and serve, garnish with fresh berries and pinch of sea salt.
As a complex condition that may result in hormonal irregularities, insulin resistance, inflammation, and more, PCOS cannot be cured but it can be managed with a healthy diet and exercise.
Want to learn more about PCOS? Check out our expert Q+A with OBGYN, Dr. Joy Cooper, MD, MSc.