A few weeks ago, I told you about going gluten-free, lactose-free, and soy-free. I wanted to give you an update on our progress (my daughter and myself) and give you a few amazing tips if you’d like to try this eating plan for yourself.
Making the choice to remove these three compounds from our diet was based on health.
My daughter has (finally) received a diagnosis that explains unexpected (and unnatural) weight gain, facial breakouts (no matter the products she’s tried), irregular periods, and a few other uncomfortable (and even embarrassing) symptoms.
All part of having PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). As I originally explained, PCOS is a hormone imbalance that makes your body freak out.
Experts estimate about 10% of the female population within childbearing years (shockingly, a group I still belong to) deal with PCOS every single day. Millions of women have been diagnosed but millions more may not understand what’s happening with their own bodies and might not be getting answers from their physicians.Did You Know: 10% of the female population within childbearing years are diagnosed with PCOS. #pcosdiettipsClick To Tweet
The most commonly reported signs of PCOS
- Irregular cycles
- Heavy menstruation
- Weight gain
- Skin problems
- Appearance of skin tags
- Atypical hair growth
- Discoloration around your neck (like a ring)
For my daughter, this struggle to get a doctor to see her and hear her has taken a decade. All this time, her pediatricians and then specialists didn’t listen to how active she is or how carefully she chooses her diet.
Going Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, Soy-Free Wasn’t Doctor Recommended
Even with the PCOS diagnosis, there was no advice regarding food choices – only to maintain a specific number of calories (which she’s done diligently). No one checked her for allergies or food intolerance. No one suggested eliminating (or adding) specific foods.
Again and again, the only take-away from every appointment since she was ten was to exercise (she already was), watch your calories (she did to the point of obsession), and lose the weight (she could not, no matter what she tried).
We did our own research out of pure frustration. She’d tried going vegetarian, paleo, and several extreme diet strategies that weren’t sustainable. Vegetarian foods actually made the problem much, much worse. She worked out as if she was training for (another) marathon. Nothing helped. Nothing made a difference.
She never lost a single pound. Not one. Instead, she continued to gain.
After reading the stories of other women with PCOS, we found a common theme. Some had severe food intolerance to lactose, others a terrible reaction to soy, and more still found that gluten aggravated their symptoms unbearably.
Together, we decided to try a different tack. We were going gluten-free, lactose-free, and soy-free across the board for one month to see if it moved the needle even a little.
She maintained the same gym routine, slept the same number of hours, drank the same ounces of water daily. She took no medications (prescribed or over-the-counter).
The only change was diet.
For the first time in my daughter’s life, she saw results. In four weeks, she lost 12 pounds. To some out there, that might not seem like a whole lot but I promise you, when you have never in your life lost one pound, losing 12 was magical! Also, her skin cleared up!
Originally, my plan was to do it to support her. I never dreamed I would lose weight, too. I don’t exercise, sleep enough, or drink water yet dropped 10 pounds myself.
All of those pounds were the result of going gluten-free, lactose-free, and soy-free.
We did not count the daily calories, remove salt, or cut back on actual sugar (we don’t consume much and never artificial sweeteners).
I don’t know why it worked. I honestly don’t.
I also don’t know why none of her doctors thought to suggest it. All this time, her hormones were messed up, her body struggled to digest these foods, and no one ever said, “It has to be gluten or dairy or soy.”
If we hadn’t done the research, we never would have known.
The Diet is Working (and 100% Sustainable)
At first, we worried about what would be left to eat without these three compounds that flood much of our food supply. Things have soy that you wouldn’t believe!
Amazingly, we discovered so many options that helped keep us from feeling deprived.
Rice and corn are allowed. That gave us corn tortilla chips and salsa (with about 6 ingredients) as well as “skinny” tacos on corn tortillas with everything we love but sour cream and cheese. Every fresh fruit and vegetable is on the “yes” list (that makes things so simple for sides and snacks). We found soy-free peanut butter, mayo, and allowable crackers (that helped with lunches).If you're looking for a sustainable, healthy, and successful lifestyle change try cutting gluten, soy, and dairy out.Click To Tweet
We even stumbled on several frozen treats made from coconut milk or cashew milk, that could be topped with a bit of chocolate syrup for a feeling like you’re “cheating.”
The Down Side
Most vegan or vegetarian options are out for us. They’re packed with soy.
Going gluten-free, we figured there would be tons of bread options but almost all of them have soy so we’ve gone without any baked goods for over a month.
Giving up dairy was probably the hardest part because we love yogurt and cheese.
We both work from home and that makes most days easier to stick to our guns but restaurants are a struggle if we’re out (and haven’t eaten) because most cook with soy and their foods contain gluten and lactose. We refuse to be those customers who butcher what’s on their menu (we’ve seen the stress of wait staff at other tables) so we eat at home.
Our one saving grace was finding out Chipotle foods contain zero soy (there’s one vegan meat that has it). Simply cutting off the cheese and sour cream from our burrito bowl meant it was on the diet. Treating ourselves week three was like a dream come true!
Where we live, there aren’t a lot of people like us so we’re taking it one day at a time. We’ve been forced to order a couple of things online (coconut oil aminos that have a soy sauce flavor) and find an organic grocery for non-soy mayo.
A couple of setbacks. A cheat day over the holiday weekend we immediately regretted (skin breakouts within an hour and too much time in the bathroom).
We’re learning as we go, adapting to cooking more (and a lot more dishes), and adjusting to finding out things we’ve always loved having an ingredient we cannot consume anymore (such as our flavored tea bags that have soy).
Still, it’s easier to stick to going gluten-free, lactose-free, and soy-free when you have a tangible reason. Those 12 pounds changed my daughter’s life. They lit her from the inside out. Once my excitement for her calmed down, I processed my own progress and felt giddy.
We’re going to keep going. We’re doing this.
It’s work. It can be frustrating. It works. If you have PCOS, stay tuned for more updates on our journey. If you’ve been fighting for years to lose the weight…this might be what you need.
I’ll keep you posted! Happy eating!If you’ve been fighting for years to lose the weight try cutting out dairy, soy, and gluten. You'll be amazed! #pcosClick To Tweet
Shayne McClendon is an author and positivity practitioner. Shayne believes love crosses all boundaries, social castes, races, genders, and belief systems. If you are lucky enough to find soul-deep love, you should fight for it. Life-certified, reader approved.