the pcos podcast

Ep008 | The PCOS Podcast

PCOS Podcast Show Notes

How Does PCOS Develop?

  • When there is an imbalance in the hormones (chemical messengers) in your brain and your ovaries.
  • When a hormone called LH (from the pituitary gland) or when your levels of insulin (from the pancreas) are too high extra testosterone production occurs by the ovaries.
  • The body may also experience insulin resistance (the inability to properly use insulin) causing blood sugar levels to go up which may in the long run increase your chance of developing diabetes and/or heart disease.

What Does PCOS Present Itself Like?

  • Symptoms may be mild at first and include such things as unwanted changes in physical appearance (facial and body hair growth, acne) weight gain or the inability to lose weight, irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, or depression.
  • Most women will also grow many small cysts on their ovaries. While the cysts themselves are harmless the hormone imbalance they cause isn’t.

Cause, Treatment and Family History

  • The cause of PCOS is not fully understood but genetics appear to play a large role. There is a higher risk of developing PCOS if women within your family have had it or have experienced irregular periods or diabetes.
  • Diagnosis procedures such as an investigation into personal and family past health, a physical exam, ultrasound, blood pressure testing, blood sugar and hormone level testing may be done by your doctor.
  • Treatment such as regular exercise, healthy foods, and weight control may help reduce symptoms and prevent long-term health problems. Your doctor may also prescribe birth control pills to reduce symptoms.

Nutritional Tips for PCOS

  • Women with PCOS may find that eating well can help manage some of the long term complications of this condition.
  • Losing anywhere from 5-10% of your body weight can help with weight-related health conditions.
  • While there is no specific nutrition plan to prevent or treat PCOS, one that is low in saturated fat and high in fibre is most beneficial.
  • Choose foods with smaller amounts of healthy unsaturated fats such as avocado and nuts. Oils such as canola and olive are also a good addition.
  • Increasing your fibre intake can also help maintain blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. High fibre foods include fruit (berries, pears, figs), vegetables (spinach, broccoli, squash), whole grains (oats, brown rice, quinoa), as well as nuts and seeds (almonds, flax). Try to avoid tropical fruits that contain a higher amount of sugar such as pineapple and oranges.
  • Along with fibre, protein is also a healthy option as it makes you feel full longer, causing you to eat less. Try to have some sort of protein with every meal such as chicken, fish, etc
  • Foods such as white rice, pasta, regular soda, candy or salty snacks are high in sugar, salt and refined flour and should be avoided.
  • Try to get at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week. Start with 10 minutes and work your way up to longer
  • times as your body adjusts. Even if weight loss does not occur, exercise can help control your blood
  • sugar and cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes in the long run.



Fertility Podcast | Foods for Fertility

Ep006 | Foods to Boost Fertility

Podcast Show Notes

It’s important to note that taking a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400mcg of folic acid is key for boosting fertility and preparing the body for pregnancy; and as I say in the podcast, fertility is created well before the thought of trying for a baby is even considered.

  • Healthy Fats

You know by now that I believe strongly in the benefits of healthy fats, which is fantastic because fat sources from nuts, seeds, cold water fish and vegetable oils are beneficial in boosting our fertility. Avoid trans-fat found in partially hydrogenated oils, these are link to increased infertility- the dreaded I word.

  • Vegetable Protein

In North America we eat too much meat- not good for our eggs. Reducing meat intake and increasing intake of beans, peas, soybeans and tofu leads to better quality eggs and improved fertility.

  • B Vitamins

Whether you supplement or choose to garner your B vitamins from Mama Earth, getting a full range of B vitamins is essential to creating a fertile ecosystem to sustain life. Look to leafy greens like kale, spinach and parsley, in addition to oatmeal, quinoa and other whole grains like brown rice. The importance of a getting a broad range of B vitamins cannot be overstated.

  • Whole Milk

Want ice cream? In the podcast I give you permission to go for it, it’s good for your fertility! Whole milk products are shown to promote fertility, likely because of the fatty goodness- our little eggies love fat, so feed them! But if you struggle to digest dairy, this will not help you foster good fertility, so skip this tip.

  • Say Goodbye to Soda

Plainly put, water is best when trying to conceive. Sugar, found in abundance in soda, has been shown to promote ovulatory infertility, meaning it fucks with the ability to ovulate correctly- bad news. Skip the sugary drinks and get friendly with government juice aka water.

Whether you are preparing for baby today, or if a baby is not even a twinkle in your eye, creating kick-ass fertility starts from the first bite of food you take in the morning and doesn’t stop until it’s time to retire to your resting quarters at night, feed your body well and your eggs will thank you!


The Super Guide to Superfoods

The saying “you are what you eat” has never been more true; what we eat affects every cell of our body, and as a holistic nutritionist AND chef my mission with The Vitality Kitchen is to show people how to harness the power of real, whole food.

This info graphic is all about super foods, because superfoods are just that, SUPER!

Enjoy the info graphic and have fun infusing your summer meals with these wonderful superfoods!



Summer Heat Relief with Raw Food

raw food

It’s summer in Edmonton and she’s still sweatin’ hard- like too hot for clothes hot; but I know that in 5 months time when we are in a deep freeze I will long for these days, so I’m keeping my kvetching to a minimum.

This morning I woke up at the crack of dawn to extol the virtues of raw food on Breakfast Television Edmonton, because when it’s hot out cooking is the last thing on my mind- and I’m sure it’s the last thing you want to do too.

I covered all the basics of raw food basics, because despite what you may think, raw food isn’t just rabbit food that lacks flavour and depth- oh no! Raw food is dynamic, flavourful and healthy when done right.

It’s important to note that eating raw food comes with some housekeeping rules. Because raw food generally is a plant based way of eating, it’s important that you meet your protein requirements, so foods like hemp seeds, chia seeds and nuts are an essential part of a raw diet; and FYI fruits and vegetables do bear a little bit of protein, so if you consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, in addition to seeds and nuts, then you’re good!

The idea behind raw food is that eating cooked food means that we are eating nutritionally inferior food than if it was raw; because the heat of cooking kills off vitamins and nutrients. I will, however, refute some of that logic, because foods like tomatoes are best eaten cooked, when the lycopene can be released and absorbed by the body; but alas, there are sacrifices to be made.

What is Raw Food?
Well, to be considered raw food nothing can be heated above 118F, so food can still be warm but not piping hot; so raw foodies must become SUPER familiar with blending, dehydrating and food processing. So, yes, raw food can be simple, but in a great many ways it requires more work from you- but at least you aren’t heating up the house.

Pregnant? Consider Cooking Your Food
It’s also of utmost importance that food is washed thoroughly because no heat is being applied and tasked with killing some foodborne pathogens; washing food and being sure that cross contamination hasn’t occurred is key. This is also why I don’t suggest pregnant women do solely raw food; I have other reasons why I believe pregnant women should avoid a 100% raw food diet, but potential pathogens is number one.

My Opinion
I believe that a raw food diet has a place and time. In 30+ degree weather raw food is welcome to most, because the diet is cooling and hydrating, due to the large volume of fruits and vegetables. However, in the winter when temperatures dip significantly, I think cooked food offers a level of grounding in the system; which is why I believe that everyone must listen to their bodies. Trying new things is always a suggestion of mine, but don’t be pigeon held into a certain way of eating; mix and match certain principles and find what works for you.

She’s Sweatin’- Let’s Have Salad!
Today I prepared a lovely summer salad that is raw, cooling and oh so delicious. If you’re a hot child in the city like me, then this salad is for you.


Green Salad with Sesame Miso Dressing

  • Cucumber, washed and peeled with vegetable peeler
  • Arugula, washed


  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp tahini (or soaked and sprouted raw sesame seeds)
  • 1 ½ tsp tamari sauce
  • water, as needed

Combine the cucumber and arugula in a bowl and set aside.

In a blender, combine all the ingredients for the dressing; blend until smooth and toss with the salad. Enjoy!

Postpartum Nutrition

Today I celebrated my birthday by waking up at the crack of dawn to share what I know about postpartum nutrition and wellness on CTV Edmonton.

Having a baby is a HUGE effort that must be carried out by the female body and with this large task comes extra nutritional requirements.By neglecting nutrition, new moms can feel tired, listless and even increase their chances of postpartum depression; besides, who would pass up an opportunity to eat MORE food?

New mothers are healing from labour and delivery and breastfeeding mothers are not only healing, but making nourishment for their babies; and an undernourished mother cannot fully nourish her baby.

The following information is for the mama’s to be and new mama’s out there!

  • Protein

Protein is essential to all cellular development, it’s what our bodies use to regenerate and rebuild cells; and since you are building a human being at the cellular level, taking in adequate sources of protein is essential.

  • Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are the body’s energy source; as we burn calories retrieved from complex carbohydrates we give our bodies the energy it needs to thrive. And as you enter into your third trimester and beyond, energy is ever so important

  • Healthy Fats

There was once a time when all fat was labeled bad, but now we are coming to understand that not all fat is made equal; high quality sources of fat, such as avocado, coconut oil and olive oil, help with the development of cells

Healthy fats are also important for brain development, and as your baby is growing a brain inside of you, giving your unborn baby the tools to effectively develop is essential.

  • Water

Water is important for everyone, not just those gestating; and when we are dehydrated our blood gets thick and viscous; making it far more challenging to carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. You blood is carry life giving nutrients to your baby and if you are under hydrated then your body isn’t able to effectively transport the nutrients your baby needs. Drink water, and lots of it- end of story.

Smoothies are the best because they are a fantastic way to infuse lots of nutrients into your body without a whole lot of effort. PLUS smoothies can boast all the aforementioned nutritional components; such as healthy fats, protein, complex carbohydrates and water.

Man, woman, child- regardless of where you are at in life, cool down, and fuel up with smoothies this summer:)

Avocado Berry Smoothie
Serves 1

1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 small avocado
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 handful spinach
1 1/3 cup almond milk (or coconut water)

Blend all ingredients till smooth, and serve.