Meet Mary-Jo: Your Guide to Navigating PCOS
As a Registered Nutritionist with a Masters in Nutrition Science, Mary-Jo specialises in PCOS and hormonal health. But what truly sets her apart is her own personal experience with PCOS – she intimately understands the challenges and emotions that come with this condition. We had the pleasure of speaking to Mary-Jo as she shares her wisdom, practical advice, and strategies to help you take control of your health and well-being. Get ready to be inspired and equipped with valuable tools to navigate your PCOS journey!. Let's dive in!
MYOVA: Hey Mary-Jo! It's so great to chat with you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
MARY-JO: Sure! I'm Mary-Jo, a Registered Nutritionist with a Masters in Nutrition Science, specializing in PCOS and hormonal health. Having experienced PCOS myself, I understand the turbulent impact it can have on our day-to-day lives. My goal is to help women with PCOS understand how it affects their bodies and, most importantly, what they can do about it.
MYOVA: Brilliant! What advice would you give someone recently diagnosed with PCOS and feeling overwhelmed by all the information available?
MARY-JO: Firstly, being diagnosed with PCOS can feel like a whirlwind of emotions, and it's okay to feel overwhelmed.
Start by empowering yourself with knowledge about the condition, the symptoms, and the different management strategies. Next, build a strong support system - confide in close friends, your partner, or work with a specialist who can lighten the load.
Remember, PCOS doesn't define you; it's just one small part of your story. Take small steps towards a healthier lifestyle that feels sustainable to you, such as incorporating more movement or increasing your fruit and vegetable intake.
MYOVA: Sound advice and all true! Can you give us three simple habits to help manage PCOS?
Regular meals and snacks: Eating within a consistent eating window of 3-5 hours is crucial for stabilizing blood sugar levels. Skipping meals or going long periods without eating can disrupt hormonal balance and contribute to common PCOS symptoms like sugar cravings, fatigue, irregular cycles, and weight gain.
Protein power: Many women don't consume enough protein, despite its importance for hormonal health. Including a lean source of protein with each meal, including breakfast, helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes satiety. Controlled blood sugars are key to reducing PCOS symptoms. For example, you can swap your typical toast and jam for wholegrain toast with low-fat cottage cheese, pecans, and a honey drizzle for a more balanced breakfast.
Adding more colour to your plate: Ensuring you consume enough fibre and reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of fruits and vegetables is easy by incorporating a variety of colours in your meals. Fiber supports PCOS by stabilizing blood sugars and helping to reduce excess hormones like testosterone. Leafy green vegetables and dark-coloured vegetables like beetroot and red cabbage are particularly beneficial.
MYOVA: Mary-Jo, Christmas is approaching! How can we keep our health on track during this busy season?
MARY-JO: Great question! It can be overwhelming with many social outings during this time. It's important to enjoy the festivities while staying mindful. Establish non-negotiable habits that you can maintain throughout the busy period.
Here are a few examples:
Stay hydrated: Drinking water will help counter the effects of festive drinks and processed foods. It supports digestion and overall well-being.
Eat balanced meals (most of the time): Indulge in your favourite holiday dishes while keeping them balanced. Consider adding an extra portion of green vegetables to your plate or share the fries or dessert with others.
Keep active: Prioritize movement during the holiday season. You can make it a social outing by catching up with friends while engaging in physical activities like walking, workouts, or dancing. This will make you feel better and support energy and digestion throughout the busy period.
Practice mindful eating: Savour each bite, paying attention to your fullness and hunger signals. Eat until you feel satisfied to avoid feeling too full and overeating.
MYOVA: That all feels manageable! Can you share a quick hormone-happy recipe with us?
MARY-JO: I love curries for a warming bowl of goodness in the winter months. Here's a quick recipe for a chickpea and cauliflower curry that is super simple to make and packed with fibre to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Fry an onion, two garlic cloves, and a red chili in olive or coconut oil.
Add a tablespoon of curry powder.
Next, pour in vegetable stock, light coconut milk, a drained tin of chickpeas, and a head of cauliflower chopped into florets.
Simmer for 15 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
Finally, add a large handful of spinach and let it wilt for 3 minutes.
Serve the curry with wholegrain rice or quinoa.
MYOVA: I'm salivating! Finally, where can the MyOva community go to find you?
MARY-JO: You can find me on Instagram @mj.nutrition_ or visit my website at https://mjnutrition.ie/ I offer various freebies, including a PCOS Masterclass and a PCOS Guide and Recipe book. Feel free to connect and explore the resources I provide!