The Health Baby Code – promote natural fertility, pregnancy and lifelong health for your baby.

As a dietitian, I believe that a low-carb Paleo diet is best for managing the underlying insulin resistance present in so many women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and it is the approach I follow myself to manage my PCOS.

Avoiding grains, especially gluten-containing grains, legumes (beans, lentils, soy and peanut), dairy (for most people, although some people can tolerate high-fat, raw dairy), sugar and processed ingredients can help you keep you healthy.

Grains, legumes and dairy contains anti-nutrients and hard-to-digest protein that can promote a leaky gut, while the high carb content and glycemic load of flour and sugar can lead to blood sugar fluctuations and high insulin levels, which are often associated with PCOS.

These high insulin levels are often responsible for the other hormonal imbalances that result in weight gain, high testosterone levels (and the accompanying symptoms of acne, hirsutism, alopecia…), menstrual irregularities or amenorrhea and infertility.

The Paleo principles not only recommend avoiding these problematic food groups, they also emphasize the importance of opting for the most nutrient-rich and health-promoting foods. I base my diet on:

  • healthy, nutrient-rich and slowly digested carbohydrates from non-starchy vegetables
  • satiating high-quality protein from eggs, meat, fish and poultry and 
  • delicious energizing fats from ghee, coconut oil and avocado that help keep my blood sugar and insulin levels stable.

I think that this way of eating is optimal for most women with PCOS. Stress management, sleep and avoiding hormone disrupters (compounds like pesticides and BPAs) are other a big part of the puzzle.

I recently found The Healthy Baby Code, created by Chris Kresser, a practitioner of integrative medicine. I have been following his work for almost a year and totally trust his expertise. His program teaches everything there is to know about healthy eating to promote natural fertility, pregnancy and lifelong health for your future baby. I strongly recommend this program if you have PCOS, whether you are trying to conceive or not. This approach can help you balance your hormones naturally to improve your health, achieve a healthy weight and make it easier to conceive whenever you are ready for it.

The program includes video lessons, quick reference charts, meal plans, recipes, a resource guide and a relaxation audio program and covers 6 important modules: 1) Foundations; 2) Macronutrients; 3) Micronutrients; 4) Food toxins; 5) Breastfeeding & first foods and 6) Putting it all together.

If you want to better understand the link between healthy eating and optimal health, which is key to balance your hormones with PCOS and ultimately enhance your fertility, give it a try! It is really worth it. =)

If you are interested and feel ready to purchase The Healthy Baby Code please click on one of the banners on my blog. Doing so will help me support the work and the time I invest in putting valuable information accessible to you by sending a few dollars my way. Thank you!


Learn more about the Personal Paleo Code


PCOS: salivary hormones and blood sugar levels

I am back in Canada for a few weeks to visit my family and decided to take advantage of this time to try to get healthier… as always!

I had my first visit to a naturopathic doctor last month and I am quite happy at how holistic their approach is. It is so good to have every part of your body looked at and every organ considered to help you reach your optimal health.

Although my past blood analysis showed normal hormone levels, my naturopathic doctor wanted to check my salivary hormones. She also wanted to check what my fatigue was due to by checking my ferritin levels (to check for anemia), thyroid hormones (not only TSH, but also T3 and T4) and adrenal gland (by checking cortisol in am and at bedtime).

My ferritin was at 99! Higher than ever! I used to suffer from anemia and had 11-12 in the past while on eating whole grains, soy and legumes a la “regular” dietitian’s advice, up to 16 after many months of supplementing with high doses of iron! I am probably eating less iron in total than when eating fortified whole grains and taking iron supplements, but the iron is my food is more bio-available. I believe my improved ferritin levels because I eat more animal food and have decreased my phytate intake (anti-nutrient that inhibits iron absorption, among other things) by avoiding soy, grains and legumes.

All my thyroid hormones (TSH, T3 and T4) were within range.

However, my extremely low salivary cortisol levels at night (as you can see below) show that I might have adrenal fatigue.

My salivary hormones also show high testosterone and borderline low estrogen, which is pretty much typical for PCOS… I am glad I am not dealing with the symptoms associated with high testosterone levels(abnormal hair growth or hirsutism, acne, etc), but I attribute this to the fact that I am eating a clean, low-carb Paleo diet. I believe I might not be as fortunate should I have still been eating my former high-carb, high-grain diet after stopping taking the birth control pill (now almost 14 months ago… no cycle since)…

my salivary hormones (Dec 2011)

To see whether insulin resistance was involved for me (and it is for many women with PCOS), I decided to experiment with testing my blood sugar levels (see the results below).

my blood sugar levels (Jan 2012)

This is not good news… Some of my results are in the prediabetes and even diabetes range… I definitely don’t want to be following the Canadian or American Diabetes Association’s guidelines, which are definitely not strict enough if you want to stay healthy. Instead, I am comparing with what Chris Kresser recommends as optimal targets.

blood sugar target (www.chriskresser.com)

Fortunately, I can see that by keeping my carbs very low (probably around no more than 10 g per meal), I can normalize my blood sugar levels. (If you have diabetes, prediabetes or blood sugar issues, do not lower your carb intake without first talking to a doctor or dietitian specialized in low-carb diets, especially if taking medications).

My experiment clearly indicate, in my own opinion anyway, that I have serious insulin resistance problems. This probably explains why I put on weight so easily and need to be very careful about every bite I eat… During the holidays, after over 6 months of following a very restrictive diet (to control my post-infectious IBS, fructose malabsorption and SIBO), I took advantage of my increased tolerance by enjoying a bit more GAPS- and Paleo-friendly treats (cake, cookies and muffins made with coconut flour and honey, nuts and nut butter, fruits and butternut squash fries!) Although my GI system seemed to be fine with this, my high insulin levels helped my fat cells stored every one of these delicious bites…. Result: 6 lbs. weight gain in about 2 weeks. Needless to say, I have stopped coconut flour, honey, nut, fruits and higher-carb vegetables (squash, beets)…. but the weight doesn’t want to come off that easily it seems…

My plan:

  • My naturopathic doctor has recommended a detox plan for me, which I have been following for the last month and will last a few more weeks.
  • I was doing IF (intermittent fasting) to help with my weight/insulin resistance, but because of my adrenal fatigue, she prefers that I spread my food intake throughout the day.
  • To control my blood sugar levels, which will help me keep my insulin levels down and hopefully lower my testosterone levels as well, I will stick to a very-low-carb diet (around 20-30 g of carbs/day).
  • I want to start exercising every other day (something light like walking, snowshoeing and light resistance training). I have been too tired lately (probably bc of the adrenal fatigue), but I am feeling like I have a bit more energy since having started the detox. Exercising is great for improving insulin resistance, which appears to be the root cause of many cases of PCOS.
  • I will also continue doing my best to lose at least the weight that I gained during the holidays, and maybe more. Weight loss, if needed, is also a good way to improve insulin resistance.
  • Continue to aim for at least 8-9 hours of sleep (which I already do, except for when I have insomnia… like now!, which happens 1-2/week)…
  • Avoid stress or take more time to relax, play and enjoy life!

Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated!





Learn more about the Personal Paleo Code