meat

6 Tips for Grocery Shopping with PCOS

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Shopper

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) causes elevated insulin levels in the blood, resulting in difficulty maintaining a healthy weight due to the tendency of the body to store fat.  Did you know that if you lose 5-10% of your current body weight, you can help significantly reduce symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?  Don't start crash dieting to improve symptoms, but start shopping smarter!

Grocery shopping, in general, can be a big pain but if you are grocery shopping with PCOS, things can get a bit trickier. I am here with some tips to make things simpler.

  1. Fuel Up Before Shopping! This is a rule for everyone to live by: don’t shop when you are hungry. Those donut holes look a bit more tempting when you haven’t eaten lunch yet (public bulletin: there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a donut hole).
  2. Fortify Your Cart with Calcium & Vitamin D!  Calcium is an important mineral for women with PCOS since it is known to promote egg development and menstrual cycles. Almost more important than calcium, Vitamin D is key for calcium absorption, egg maturation, and insulin resistance. Some foods high in calcium and/or Vitamin D include: milk, eggs, salmon, tuna, cheese, and fortified cereals.
  3. Find The Farmer's Market.  Produce & meats pack the most nutrition when purchased local because the food items do not lose nutrition in the transportation of the food items to the grocery stores and on the grocery store shelves.  Check out your local farmer's market and research local farms near your home that sale grass-fed, hormone free meats!  Since its winter, what are the best items to look for to help fight PCOS? Kale and Turnip Greens!!!  Kale is great for any diet, but can be extremely beneficial for women with PCOS. Turnip Greens are low in oxalic acid so there won’t be any calcium absorption inhibition. Other vegetables high in calcium: broccoli, collard greens, arugula, and okra. One key tip: take advantage of all these beneficial greens and make some beautiful salads.
  4. Fight Oxidative Stress!! Eat a Variety of Colored Vegetables To Fight Oxidative Stress. Brightly colored vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants which fights oxidative stress. Women with PCOS have been found to have a higher rate of oxidative stress which leads to physiological stress.
  5. Fire Up The Grill!! Purchase Organic, Grass-Fed Meats. Grass-fed meat tends to be leaner and contain less hormones than standard meat. The livestock is also protected from genetically modified grains and pesticides which can negatively affect hormone balance and PCOS.  Lean protein sources also help maintain steady energy levels and curb cravings.  Some protein foods, like wild-caught fish, can get a bit pricey but some cheaper options include: beans, turkey, pastured eggs, organic yogurt, and  nuts/seeds. When deciding on which proteins to choose- it is better to choose protein with little to no saturated fats (items listed above, with exception of egg yolks, are great options)
  6. Figure Out Plan Ahead of Time!  There are many websites that compile a shopping list that you can print out and bring to the store and check off items you need to purchase. This makes things much simpler and prevents impulse purchases. I made one myself and I am attaching it here: Grocery List. My grocery list is based on what I usually purchase, there are modifications and write-ins that can be made to your liking! Try to make a weekly meal plan and only purchase what it planned for that week. With the shopping list printable comes a budgeting section. Prepare ahead and decide what you want to spend and try not to exceed that limit. If you find some huge deals and have leftover money, save it for a rainy day and after the end of the month see how much you saved!

Therese Bridges

Merry Kitchen - Safety Checkpoints to Ensure a Happy Holiday- Part 2

Safety Checkpoint #3

Work cautiously with meat by using separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish products and an instant read thermometer.

Cross contamination can occur if uncooked meat, poultry, and fish are placed on the same cutting boards as produce and cooked foods.  To prevent cross contamination, designate different cutting boards for uncooked meats, produce, and cooked foods.  I recommend using plastic cutting boards because cutting boards made of wood can harbor bactoria in the pores of the wood.  One effective way to prevent illness when cooking with meat/poultry/fish is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the dish. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are listed below:

  • Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Fish -  145°F
  • Pork and Ground Beef - 160°F
  • Poultry -165°F..

Safety Checkpoint #4

Avoid unpasteurized (“raw”) milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep or goats that has not been pasteurized.  If a product has been pasteurized, it has been heated to an extremely high temperature for a specific length of time in order to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. Harmful bacteria that may be present include salmonella, E. coli and listeria. Pregnant women, children, and the elderly populations are the most at risk due to a weaker immune system.  Some cheese are not pasteurized, but are considered safe because they are aged 60 days or more and are placed in a salty and acidity environment during the cheese making process which makes it difficult for pathogens to grow or survive.