Ditch The Guilt

Household cleaning tools on a blue wooden floor

During the same weekend that I grit my teeth when the Duchess of Cambridge spoke about mother’s guilt  ( I tried to imagine Prince William ‘fessing up to the same thing – no me neither ), I read another article in the Observer by the goddess, Mariella Frostrup about tackling her insomnia. I don’t suffer from insomnia but have many friends who do and go to incredible lengths to try and ‘fix it’.

The big reveal was on its way:  what was Mariella going to attribute it to?  Hormones, the menopause, too much sugar, not enough sex… I can’t lie, I felt deflated when her answer did come.   For while anxiety and regular insomnia are synonymous with hormonal change in a woman’s 50s, it didn’t explain the nocturnal struggles experienced by younger women. On closer inspection she discovered, a picture starts to form that’s recognisable to any women who is knee deep in the mothering, marriage and career years. Read More…

How To Tackle A Common Hormonal Disorder


Q: After years of being overweight, sprouting excess facial and bodily hair, and having terrible skin, I have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by my GP. Is there a diet that can help?

A: PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder in women of reproductive age, affecting an estimated five to ten per cent. It gets its name because the ovaries look as if they are covered in multiple cysts: in fact, they are small undeveloped egg follicles.

PCOS results in distressing symptoms including acne, hirsutism and weight gain, and is a major cause of infertility. But it is frequently misdiagnosed or even missed completely, according to Marilyn Glenville, a registered nutritionist and chartered psychologist who has treated PCOS for more than 30 years (marilynglenville.com).

There is a simple diet to combat PCOS. In her book Natural Solutions to PCOS (Macmillan, £10.99*), Glenville details a regime that ‘will dramatically improve the quality of your life, and may even get rid of your PCOS ’. It is also a sensible diet for everyone.

The first principle is not to go without food for more than three waking hours, to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This is key in treating all hormonal imbalances. With most PCOS sufferers the body produces too much insulin, triggered by refined carbohydrates. This is the principal cause of weight gain and the over production of male hormones, which underlie hirsutism and acne. Base your diet on unrefined carbs including vegetables (not potatoes and parsnips) and fruit (berries,apples, pears and citrus), plus barley, brown rice, buckwheat, maize, millet, oats, rye, spelt and wholemeal bread and pasta.
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