Feb 23, 2021

How I reversed PCOD?

A few days back, I had posted a note on Instagram that I have reversed PCOD. There were many questions on how I did it, what diet I followed etc. 

PCOD is a lifestyle disorder. So all I did was corrected my lifestyle. As simple as that. 

Please note I'm neither a gynaecologist nor a nutritionist. The points shared below are from my personal experience. Please do your due diligence before you embrace any change.

Here's a compilation of a few questions (real and imaginary) that came up related to PCOD reversal.

(1) What diet did I follow?

I didn't follow any popular diet per se. 

First and foremost, I completely stopped all forms of packaged/processed/junk foods. This one change by itself contributed to 50% of my PCOD reversal.

I'm a vegetarian since childhood. And I continue to eat the same way. I did a few tweaks/changes to the ingredients that have helped me tremendously.

  • Switched from white, polished rice to millets and traditional rice varieties.
  • Increased the quantity and variety of vegetables in my meal plate, giving more importance to native, local vegetables and greens.
  • Switched from white sugar to cane sugar/jaggery/palm jaggery. I'm also extremely mindful of the quantity of these alternative sweeteners I consume
  • Switched from iodised table salt to pink rock salt and sea salt
  • Stopped eating all maida-based and bakery products.
  • Reduced the amount of wheat in my weekly diet. Reduced intake of chapathis to 1-2 times a week.
  • Stopped using refined oils in my cooking. Switched to cold-pressed oils.
  • Limited my milk tea consumption to 2 cups a day
  • Stopped having instant coffee

(2) Will changing diet alone suffice?

Not sufficient. It is not only about WHAT we eat. It is also about WHEN we eat and HOW MUCH we eat. The following habits are something I highly recommend:

  • Stopped mindless snacking throughout the day and I stick to 3 proper, home-cooked meals
  • I follow at least a 12-hour circadian rhythm fasting
  • I eat only when I feel hungry
  • I finish my dinner by 7 PM

(3) What changes did you make in your cooking methods?

Cooking methods play an important role, especially the vessels we use to cook/store food, the way we cook vegetables, etc.

  • Stopped using plastic plates, bowls, spoons, and water bottles. Switched to ceramic and stainless steel
  • Stopped using non-stick cookware. Switched to iron cookware
  • I prefer to steam cook the vegetables so that the nutrients are retained. No overcooking of veggies
  • I pressure cook rice and dal. Yet to explore the open pot method or starch draining method
  • I prefer freshly cooked food. No reheating leftovers for 2-3 days. No freezing meals.

(4) Will these food-related changes alone good enough to reverse PCOD?

These changes will help to control the symptoms, but for complete reversal, we also need to look at all other aspects of lifestyle, other than food.

Other aspects that have helped me include

  • Regular Yoga practice 4-5 times a week
  • Staying physically active throughout the day
  • Exposure to Sunlight - 30 min in the morning and 30 min in the evening
  • Sleep between 10 PM-6 AM on most days
  • Oil bath once a week
  • Giving rest to my body during my monthly cycle (No Yoga, no strenuous cooking)
  • Spending time consciously on gadgets/screens and being mindful of my content consumption

(5) How do stress and thoughts impact PCOD?

Stress impacts our hormones in a big way. In the past few years, I have learned to slow down by understanding my priorities and keeping my goals and to-do lists to the minimum. It isn't easy given the fast-paced lives of today. But it is essential to reassess our priorities and focus only on a few goals that matter to us.

(6) How long should I do all these?

Lifestyle changes are for life long. Once we embrace these positive changes, there is no going back. Reversal doesn't mean that PCOD will never make a comeback. By continuing with these lifestyle changes, I hope to keep PCOD (and other lifestyle ailments) at bay forever.

(7) This seems like a long-drawn process. Are there any shortcuts?

NO, NO, NO....there is no easy way. Shortcuts or quick hacks will never work for lifestyle ailments. It has taken me around 7 years to make all these changes. The more we have gone away from nature, the more effort we need to put in. Be willing to put in the required effort. 

The above lifestyle changes have worked for me. Please do your due diligence and understand what works for your body and your life situation. Design YOUR lifestyle.

Related posts:

10 habits to keep PCOD under control

10 more habits to keep PCOD under control 

5 points to keep in mind when starting your PCOS reversal journey

Feb 17, 2021

Thank you and Goodbye, PCOD!

 From 2004 until 2020, my abdomen ultrasound scan report would have the phrase "bilateral polycystic ovaries".

My 2021 scan report says "Ovaries appear normal" and no mention of polycystic ovaries. Yes, I have successfully managed to reverse my PCOD condition. So thrilled about it!

The only intention of this post is to give hope to those women who are diagnosed with PCOD.

Yes, PCOD can be reversed ONLY through consistent lifestyle changes. 

It is certainly possible WITHOUT any medications/pills and WITHOUT any extreme diets/workout routines (Unless you consider quitting packaged/processed/junk foods as an extreme diet!)

This reversal journey has taken me around 7 years to understand and consciously make changes around food, activity, exercise, sleep, digital wellness and stress management.

In the past few years, I have shared my journey and lifestyle changes I have made through my blog and Instagram posts. I have written two long-form articles on the habits to keep PCOD under control (My blog -> Handpicked articles section). Do check them out if you haven't taken a look already.

10 habits to keep PCOD under control

10 more habits to keep PCOD under control 

Last but not the least, a heartfelt gratitude note to PCOD for coming into my life and teaching me a lot of valuable lessons on nutrition, health, wellness, and lifestyle.

Feb 16, 2021

The Oil bath Ritual

 Saturday mornings in the 80s used to be like this at my home. My grandmother would apply generous amounts of warm sesame oil on my scalp and let it soak for around 30 minutes. I would be playing outside, exposed to the Sun while the oil was getting absorbed. After she got the hot water ready, she would call me. She would then apply a paste of shikakai paste all over my hair and then wash it off. Though my eyes would be tightly shut, invariably the shikakai paste would get in my eyes and cause a burning sensation. After the hair bath, she would put a piece of sambrani (loban) on top of hot coal. The fumes would immediately start coming and she would cover it with a bamboo basket. I would then keep my head on top of the inverted basket and the hair would slowly dry, thanks to the hot fumes. And the aroma used to be so divine and relaxing.

I have recreated a similar ritual in the past 2 years. Every Fri/Sat I have been following this oil bath ritual. I warm a few tbsp of cold-pressed sesame oil and massage all over my body and my head. After leaving it for 10-15 minutes, I wash my hair using a herbal hair wash powder. I don't use any soap/bath powder so that the oil gets absorbed through my skin. This whole routine takes around an hour but worth the time investment. 

The oil bath is effective not just for the hair but for the whole body. It nourishes the skin, cools the head, and relaxes the mind in general. 

How this has benefitted me?

  • Hair has grown longer
  • Hair fall has considerably reduced
  • I love the calm, cooling effect on my mind and body
  • Skin dryness has reduced
  • The frequency of migraine/headaches have reduced

If you spend too much time in front of laptops/gadgets/books, I highly recommend adding oil bath to your weekly habits.

An oil bath is usually recommended twice a week but even if you can allocate time for it at least once a week, you will be able to reap its benefits.

P.S. I quit using shampoo sometime in 2015 and switched to herbal hair wash powders. I wrote about this in detail in an earlier post

Feb 14, 2021

Being environment-agnostic


Whenever someone asks me how to quit junk foods, my first suggestion would be "Out of sight, out of mind. Don't stock them up at home".

Imagine a pack of chips lying inside your snacks cupboard. You are not into the habit of reading nutrition labels yet. You are not aware of the information that packaged foods are harmful to your health. You will be tempted to munch on that pack of chips when you open that cupboard.

Once you learn to read the nutrition labels of junk foods and how such ingredients impact our body, you will eventually stop eating them. Once your taste buds get used to real, natural foods, the taste of junk foods would be so unappetizing that you wouldn't be tempted to buy them when you are inside a supermarket.

Many years back, I used to be so addicted to Lays chips. But now, when a pack of chips is placed right on my table, I wouldn't be tempted to open it. The presence of that pack doesn't tempt me in any way.

Similarly, with uncomfortable relationships, the "out of sight, out of mind" strategy works. When this person is not living under the same roof as yours, you wouldn't be thinking about him/her, you would move on with your daily routine and you would be flowing freely.

But when that out-of-sight becomes your everyday sight, the uncomfortableness grows, you get triggered, you feel negative emotions. Are these emotions addictive? Maybe.

But we need to realize this.

If you hold anger, remorse, or resentment towards someone, that person doesn't get impacted in any way. They continue to lead happy and peaceful lives. They might get good sleep, they might feel relaxed. BUT it is YOU who would be losing out on all those important factors. So learn to let go of such emotions for the sake of your well being. 

Question yourself - Is it your EGO ensuring that you hold onto those emotions for longer? Is it self-pity?

Aim to reach a state where even if they are right next to you, you wouldn't be impacted. You will continue to be who you are, you will continue to flow freely. Their presence, their words, their actions, and inactions wouldn't bother you. Think of that Lays chips pack lying on your table, untouched. Similarly, all negative emotions will be far from your mind, untouched. You would be environment-agnostic. Your happiness and peace will be with you always regardless of how the environment around you changes. I understand it is a far-fetched goal. But worth aiming towards.

This is more of a self-reflection post that I wrote for myself. Sharing it here, so this might help others with whom the underlying message might resonate.

P.S. Please note I'm only referring to uncomfortable relationships. This strategy doesn't apply to toxic/abusive relationships.

Feb 9, 2021

Sacred space

What's a sacred space? Is it a place of religious importance? Is it a corner in our homes where we do our prayers?

Along with these spaces, two places need to be given sacrosanct importance - our body and our mind.

"Treat your body like a temple" - we might have heard of this phrase. One of the interpretations of this phrase implies that we need to be more aware of the food we put inside our bodies. 

As I pondered over this phrase, I wondered whether we give the same attention to our minds. 

Do we treat our minds like a temple? 

Are we aware of the inputs we feed our minds - written content, visual media, audio, verbal interactions?

Are we aware of the thought trails (remember the thought rabbit hole!) and where they lead us towards?

Are we aware of the repetitive thought patterns?

Do we pause and understand a thought, feeling, or emotion?

Do we take dedicated time to process our thoughts and the triggers behind them?

Do we take a step back and dissect why we reacted the way we did?

I wasn't doing any of these until 2019. Over the past year, I have started to do a lot of questioning in myself - questioning my thought, my emotion, my reaction towards a certain trigger, etc. This is possible only because of the solitude time I have allocated for myself during my walks and other chores. This is possible only because of consciously reducing distractions and culling my content consumption patterns.

Earlier, if an uncomfortable thought or a trigger comes up, I would reach out for a distraction, mostly my phone or scrolling through an OTT platform/Youtube. But now I process my uncomfortable thoughts as much as possible. I don't segregate them as good vs bad thoughts (seeds vs weeds). I rather prefer to ask myself why I'm feeling this way, in a self-compassionate manner without being self-critical about myself. As I ask "Why" more and more, I realize that some of these thoughts are triggered by childhood conditioning, beliefs set in my early years, the subtle messages etched deeply, the kind of information I've been consuming over the years, and most importantly, the EGO in a big way.

Gaining awareness is the first and most important step. Without this clarity, the same thoughts and our reaction patterns keep repeating on auto-pilot mode.

"Treat your mind like a temple" - it is a much more challenging process as compared to the body, in my personal experience. But we can keep that goal in mind and work towards it. 

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