Spearmint is emerging as the most promising herb in controlling facial hair growth in PCOS. Does it work? If yes, why does it work? Watch my new video on YouTube!
Tough Questions on Weight Loss Answered! How long Does it take to Loose Weight with Yoga and Ayurveda?
Losing weight is one of most sought after health fix. Be it PCOS, thyroid imbalance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis or myriad of other illnesses- weight loss may be your best shot at getting healthier. Easier said than done, as weight loss is not easy in any of these illnesses. Yoga and Ayurveda have emerged as the go-to solution for weight loss, especially in these challenging disorders. However, we all should know that there is so much more to Ayurveda and Yoga than just weight loss benefits.
The most common question that clients ask is ” how long will it take me to lose weight if I start Yoga and Ayurveda?”. Tough to answer I would say. Weight loss depends upon :
- Your body type- For example, people with Vata and Pitta body type lose weight much faster than Kapha Body type
- Nature, severity and chronicity of your health problem
- Diet and lifestyle changes- Weight loss is much faster when you opt for healthier diet and lifestyle that complements your body type and Yoga routine.
How soon does the weight loss start after adopting Yoga and Ayurveda ?
If your weight loss plan is designed with the above three factors at its helm, weight loss should start within the first two weeks. However, some of you may still need support of additional Ayurvedic medicines, if your health issues are severe and chronic.
What is a good rate of weight loss?
As we are discussing Yoga, Ayurveda and healthy weight loss options, realistic goal should be losing 2 kg per month. Weight loss may be much higher (3-4 kg/month) for some of you, however on an average 2 kg/month is much tangible goal for most.
How soon can I reach my weight loss target with Yoga, Ayurveda and diet?
This is tricky as it depends on how much weight you need to shed. For a target of 10 kg weight loss, 6-7 months should be a realistic time span, provided you are focused and committed to the plan. Non-gimmicky weight loss, especially with Yoga and Ayurveda, takes time, commitment and patience both on part of the client and physician.
Will I gain back the weight if I stop Ayurvedic medicines and Yoga?
Your weight loss journey with Yoga and Ayurveda is also a learning process. During your weight loss process, you will learn exactly what works and does not. It will enable you to make smarter decisions and better choices when it comes to your health. This is what will help you to keep the weight off.
Also, as Ayurvedic medicines (which are prescribed correctly) create permanent changes in your metabolism, weight loss should continue even after completing the course of medicines.
Yoga practice should never be stopped. Ideally, Yoga practice should be done at least 4 consecutive days of the week for a minimum of 45 minutes post weight loss . Remember that weight can pile on very quickly if your diet and lifestyle choices are poor.
What Ayurvedic Medicines can I take for Weight loss?
Ayurvedic medicines and supplements that can be taken for weight loss are Neem, Triphala, Aloe vera juice, Varanadi kashaya, Garcinia cambogia etc. Note that the exact dosage and duration of medications has to be decided by an Ayurvedic physician before you start any Ayurvedic supplements. Also, a full body check up- including markers for kidney, liver, cardiac disorders, hormone profiles, vitamin levels etc. are a must before starting any weight loss plan.
Each individual is unique and so is their PCOS! Not all women with PCOS have weight issues. PCOS can affect both thin as well as obese women. Not all women with PCOS have menstrual irregularity. Also, while some may have delayed or scanty periods due to PCOS, other suffer form heavy bleeding and prolonged period in PCOS. Although insulin resistance triggers the hormonal imbalances in PCOS, not all women show high levels of insulin or high blood sugar in their blood work!
Although, many women suffer from facial hair/ hirsutism, not all have high levels of testosterone. Just the way we manage all these varied presentation of PCOS differently for every patient, planning meal plans also needs customization!
Creating your own meal plan for PCOS is very simple and a great DIY activity. Here are 5 simple rules that you can follow to design your own PCOS meal plan.
- Identify your problem areas: Understanding your PCOS is the first step to designing
any meal plan. Which of the following is affecting you:
- Weight gain/ difficulty in loosing weight
- Hunger pangs, food cravings , binging or lack of appetite
- IBS, constipation, acidity or stomach bloating and gases
- Body aches, pains, muscle spasms
- Menstrual irregularity- heavy bleeding/scanty bleeding, delayed periods/periods occur too often
- Stress, moods swings, PMS, depression/anxiety, sleep disturbances\
- Lack of energy, exhaustion
- Hair loss
- Facial hair
- Pre-diabetic changes (HbA1C- 5.7-6.4%, Blood Sugar higher than normal)
Shortlist which of the above areas affect you. Based on your list you can start working out a meal plan. You may need the guidance of a professional in case you are not able to understand this area on your own.
2. 5 meals a day:
To ensure hormonal balance in PCOS, eating every 3-4 hours is a must. This eating pattern helps in regularizing insulin functions and ensures steady blood glucose levels- which are a must! Giving long gaps between two meals or skipping meals fuels hormonal imbalances and weight gain in PCOS.
5 points to remember are:
- Have your breakfast within 45 minutes of getting up. This ensures optimum insulin functions. This habit also helps get rid of lethargy and exhaustion, which are triggered by insulin resistance.
- Portion of every meal should be eat 3/4 of your capacity. This helps in regularizing hunger and intake. Also, it helps in preventing overeating.
- Have your dinner as early as possible. Metabolism and digestion slow down after sunset. Hence, in PCOS where metabolism and digestion are already at their rock bottom, early dinner is a must.
3. Keep it simple:
Keeping your PCOS meal plan as simple as possible, is the key to make it a sustainable and doable meal plan. PCOS meal plan needs to be deigned based on your ethnic eating habits which are familiar with.You can include super foods which are not a part of your ethnic eating habits. However, major portion of your meals should be foods which you and your body is familiar with. This make sure that you don’t have to learn special or complex skills or recipes. If you have to start learning too many new skills in kitchen, this is where most people give up on meal plans. Also, designing a meal plan which is way out your comfort zone in also makes it less sustainable and less mentally acceptable to many women.
- Choose recipes which have less than five ingredients and take no more than 20 minutes of cooking time
- Choose one pot meals that are loaded with whole grains and veggies
- Keep it economical! You don’t have to go broke in order to manage your PCOS. Budget your monthly grocery and food expenses to keep your meal plans economical. Use those coupons, in store offers and sales to get value for money while you shop for groceries
4. Wholesome is the rule:
Every meal, be it breakfast, snack , lunch, evening snack or dinner; make sure to include wholesome ingredients. Organic, locally grown foods, super foods, whole foods and seasonal foods are the once which will help you get rid of PCOS.
5. Final steps for designing PCOS meal plan:
- Make a grocery shopping list with with all the healthy food that are available in your area.
- List down 7-8 each of breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner and healthy desert ideas. Find recipes which are easy and print them. Make a binder book of these recipes and keep them in your kitchen for easy reference.
- No meal plans work without planning! Every Saturday plan your next week meals based on your recipe book and your grocery list and stick to it.
These are some pointers that can help you get organized with your PCOS management. Remember it takes at least 90 days to form any good habit. Do not give up on your PCOS meal plan unless you have tried it word to word for three to four months.
To make your PCOS meal plan work , include a healthy exercise and Yoga routine to go with it. Also, see your doctor regularly in case your require medications and regular check ups.
Have you been ignoring a nagging lower back pain? Ever dismissed a constant yellowish, greenish or watery vaginal discharge as ‘nothing serious’? These nagging issues which most women prefer to put on the back burner, could be pointing towards a common, yet serious condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease a.k.a. PID!
Pelvic inflammatory disease is one of the most common and preventable causes of infertility in women. It is an infection of the upper genital tract most commonly due to sexually transmitted diseases. Ayurveda offers safest, long lasting and best solutions for PID by eliminating root causes of inflammation in the body.
You can suspect PID if you experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Dull pain lower abdomen and pelvis (area below the navel)
- Lower back pain
- White, yellow, green or watery vaginal discharge many a times with foul odor
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding in between periods or after intercourse
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent fevers with chills
- Painful urination or difficulty while passing urine
Your Immune system and PID:
Harmful bacteria are always present in the vaginal tract. Yet, they never lead to diseases due to the costant vgilance of strong immune system. Microorganisms can lead to a full blown infection only when our body’s defenses are poor or weakened due to faulty diet and lifestyle. Treating PID with conventional treatments like antibiotic therapy will help control symptoms. However, they cannot prevent PID from recurring. Strengthening your immune system is the most crucial aspect and the largest benefit of treating PID with Ayurveda. Tips from Ayurveda to strengthen your immune system are:
- Eliminate causes of inflammations: Avoid food which trigger inflammation like red meat, fat rich food like cheese, refined sugar, refined flour, overtly spicy and food.
- Include foods which boost immunity: Include plenty of bitter and astringent vegetables like asparagus, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, fresh coriander etc. Spices and herbs like turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander,fennel, mint, parsley etc. help in strengthening immunity.
Ayurvedic herbs effective in PID:
Ayurvedic medicines help in PID by balancing digestion, boosting immunity and reducing inflammation. Ayurvedic medicines that can be used in PID are:
- Ashoka (Saraca indica)– Ashoka is popularly used in the form of Ashokarishta in Ayurveda. It has powerful
anti-oxidant properties and helps in reducing inflammation in PID. Owing to its astringent qualities, Ashoka works as a uterine tonic and boosts the health of reproductive organs. Apart for PID, Ashoka can also be used for regularizing menstrual cycle in PCOS.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa)– Turmeric, a highly effective Ayurvedic herb and popular Indian spice is extremely beneficial in PID. It’s antimicrobial properties are at par with anti-biotics. Hence, turmeric helps in bringing down infections and also strengthens immunity in PID.
- Dhataki (Woodfordia floribunda)– Use of astringent herbs like Dhataki is commonly seen in Ayurveda in the treatment of various gynecological disorders. Dhataki is an ingredient of classical Ayurvedic powder combination Pushyanuga churna, often prescribed in PID. Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of Dhataki surely make a must-use herb in PID.
- Daruharidra (Berberis aristata)– Daruharidra helps in reducing inflammation of reproductive tissues in PID.
Due to its anti-microbial properties, it helps in controlling the infection. Daruharidra is used in Ayurveda in the treatment of several conditions like IBS, colitis, eye disorders etc.
- Nagakesar (Mesua ferrea)– Fragrant flowers of Nagakesar are used in Ayurveda in several Gynecological conditions. Nagakesar has astringent qualities and helps in reducing muscle cramps, vaginal discharge and infections in PID.
These herbs work well for women suffering from recurrent attacks of PID. However, complications of PID like tubal blockage and infertility require detailed consultation and prescription medicines by a qualified Ayurvedic physician. Also, any patient experiencing severe abdominal pain, high grade fever with vomiting etc. in PID should see a doctor immediately as it may require emergency treatments.
Disclaimer: Advice given above does not replace treatment or medical advice and is for information purpose only.
Yet another year is almost coming to an end. It’s time again to form practical, critical and essential New Year resolutions. Especially if you are suffering from PCOD/PCOS, your new year resolution should be on the lines of -putting an end to the suffering (either due to inaction or wrong treatment decisions) and actively managing your life and health with Ayurveda!
I meet, see, observe and help a lot of women and my patients with PCOS. Complicated nature of PCOS, amount of time, patience and efforts it takes to bring it under control, often leads to quitting or avoidance!
Women suffer by surrendering their fate to PCOS, rather than managing it successfully with Ayurveda. Resorting to oral contraceptive pills, discontinuing Ayurvedic medicines and therapies as they do not give instant results, non-commitment to diet and lifestyle changes are the common issues that I see in my practice.
A lot of women with PCOS contact me regarding Ayurvedic management of PCOS. Very few get on board actively when I explain them the simple, yet effort-intensive nature of the Ayurvedic treatment for PCOS.
Ayurvedic PCOS management is thorough, as it involves modifications in diet and lifestyle based on every woman’s unique body type (that is assessed individually). It does require efforts and commitment both on part of the patient as well as the Ayurvedic practitioner. Importance of such diet and lifestyle modification is for achieving:
- Long lasting effects in PCOS management
- Improved quality of life
- Sustained weight loss
- Enhanced fertility
- Good psychological welbeing
- Prevention of complications (Diabetes, heart diseases, infertility etc.)
Ayurvedic management of PCOS is highly effective and far sighted. It prioritizes the health of women with PCOS and pro-actively protects it for years to come. Ayurveda does not limit itself by only regularizing menstruation. Irregular menses is only the tip of iceberg, compared to the massive hormonal and metabolic imbalance of PCOS. Also, Ayurvedic medicines and therapies are safe. They do not come with serious side effects like lowered fertility, obesity, deep vein thrombosis etc. which are commonly experienced with contemporary medicines. All that Ayurveda needs is a determined patient, positive mind-set and a commitment to get healthy! Ayurveda is what PCOS requires!
As this year ends, do not put your PCOS issues on the back burner. PCOS issues are not the ones which will resolve with time- they only get complicated! Do not suppress the symptoms of PCOS with easy medications- they will come back with 10 times the severity!
Take an early New Year resolution, move a step ahead from being a defeated thinker to a successful doer! Manage you PCOS with Ayurveda – Stop suffering and start living – not just for next year, but for years to come!