Life With PCOS: Gluten-Free Or Not? What You Need to Know

The gluten-free diet is all the rage. 

  • TV commercials
  • Magazine articles
  • Radio ads
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores

All chiming in to let you know of their gluten-free options.

It sounds interesting, but could going gluten-free be good for YOU?

Are you wondering if there’s a chance it could provide some relief from your PCOS?

If so, you’re in the right place.

This guide will explain what you need to know about how a gluten-free diet affects PCOS.

Table of Contents

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a hormonal and metabolic disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age.  

It attacks the ovaries and is characterized by:

  • Ovarian cysts (poly-cystic means “many cysts”)
  • Higher than normal levels of male hormones
  • Irregular menstrual periods

When a woman has PCOS, tiny fluid-filled sacs can be found growing on her ovaries.

And, while each sac contains an egg, these eggs are never able to mature to the point of triggering ovulation.

This lack of ovulation alters the hormone levels in her body, which causes her to have fewer periods than normal.

PCOS Symptoms

If you’re diagnosed with PCOS, you may experience the following:

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty in losing weight
  • Excessive hair growth on your face, back, chest or buttocks
  • Thinning of the hair on your head
  • Male-pattern baldness
  • Difficulty getting pregnant

How Does Diet Impact PCOS?

Does what you eat affect your PCOS?  

Let’s take a look.

Studies have shown that PCOS is a state of inflammation within the body. 

Due to this fact, women who have been diagnosed with PCOS are going to want to stay away from foods that could cause even more inflammation. 

PCOS is also linked to insulin resistance, which not only makes it extremely difficult to lose weight but also increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

So avoiding anything containing processed sugars is a MUST for those with PCOS.

Is Gluten-Free Good for PCOS?

Could gluten be bad for women with PCOS?

A 2013 study shared “the beneficial effects of gluten-free diets in reducing inflammation and insulin resistance.” 

And since those with PCOS are more prone to having a gluten sensitivity, if you’re 

suffering from PCOS, gluten-free options might be something to try.

Disadvantages of a Gluten-Free Diet for PCOS

Let’s face it.

Going gluten-free is all the rage.

But, heads up.

Not all the gluten-free options out there are actually good for you. 

Particularly when it comes to PCOS and gluten.

Many of the gluten-free products on the shelves are loaded with added sugars, excess carbs, and other unhealthy ingredients.

For this reason, you’ll want to be sure to take the time to educate yourself and choose your gluten-free options wisely.

An unhealthy gluten-free diet can also cause deficiencies in critical vitamins and minerals.

So if you’re opting for gluten-free you’ll also want to keep a close eye on making sure you’re getting plenty of:

  • Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B12
  • Calcium

To be honest, going gluten-free can be a big change for some women and may seem a bit overwhelming.

It can help so much to find a friend to walk with you on your gluten-free journey.   

I also encourage you to join Chiavaye’s online support group to help spur you on.

5 Tips For Gluten-Free PCOS Success

Now that you know PCOS and gluten don’t jive, you may be left wondering just how to eliminate gluten for PCOS.

Here are a few tips to help you in your quest for gluten-free PCOS success:

Tip #1: Keep it Natural

The easiest way to go gluten-free is to focus on eating foods that are naturally free of gluten.

  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

Not only is each of these foods gluten-free, but they’re also super-healthy for you.

Just choose one of these protein sources as a perfect starting point for creating your meals.

Tip #2: Know What You’re Eating

Another terrific tip for gluten-free PCOS success is to train yourself to scrutinize each and every product label. 

What should you be on the lookout for?

Here are the culprits:

  • Wheat
  • Oats (unless processed at a gluten-free facility)
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Barley

Each of these grains contains gluten, so you’ll want to stay away from any product listing them in the ingredients.  

It’s helpful that these ingredients are frequently highlighted in bold print on labels.

Tip #3: Know Your Grains

No wheat? What’s left to eat?

Have no fear.

Plenty of grains are not only naturally gluten-free, but they’re super-tasty, to boot.

Give these a try:

  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Teff
  • Tapioca
  • Amaranth

And if you’re a from-scratch girl, you’ll find it easy to sub gluten-free flours for the wheat in your favorite recipes.

Tip #4: Learn How to Eat Out

If you’re worried that giving up gluten for PCOS means you’ll never enjoy another night on the town…

Think again.

In years past it was a little tricky to find gluten-free fare when out-and-about. 

But one of the benefits of the recent influx of gluten-free diners is that many restaurants now have gluten-free options listed on their menus.  

Take a look at some just a few of your many options:

  • PF Changs: Lettuce Wraps, Street Noodles  
  • Olive Garden: GF Zuppa Toscana Soup, Grilled Chicken Parmesan  
  • Chipotle: Chicken Bowl with Guacamole 
  • Cheesecake Factory: Pasta Carbonara, Shepherd’s Pie, Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Panara: Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup, Mediterranean Bowl 

Who says you have to feel deprived on a gluten-free diet?

Tip #5: Substitute

Does giving up gluten for PCOS mean you have to give up the foods you love?

Nope. Not even close.

Let’s take a look:

Spaghetti and meatballs.

It’s been your favorites since you were a little girl. Especially when it’s your grandma's secret sauce.  

You know, the one that takes a “pinch of this” and a “pinch of that” and simmers all day long.

Obviously, regular wheat pasta is out when it comes to PCOS and gluten.

But did you know there are some really tasty gluten-free pastas that are made of:

  • Brown Rice
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Sweet potatoes

Taste-test, choose the one you like best, and feast away.

And there are plenty of options for gluten-free

  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Cookies

There’s truly no need to feel the least bit deprived when it comes to PCOS and gluten.

Can An Endometriosis Diet Help Those With PCOS, Too?

Endometriosis has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I can assure you, there’s no one thing that works for every woman.

But I can confidently tell you that following an endometriosis diet for your PCOS will have a positive influence on your health.

Since endometriosis and PCOS are both inflammatory conditions, following a diet specifically formulated for endometriosis can go a long way towards helping you find relief from PCOS. 

PCOS Relief from Chiavaye’s Endometriosis Diet Protocol

I created my Endometriosis Diet to be free of foods that cause inflammation, such as:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Soy

And I’ve made it extra-easy for you…

Here’s my pre-planned grocery shopping list plus recipes for a week's worth of meals.  

What are you waiting for?

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