Healing PCOS and failing health with nutrition

Thanks to Going Primal I’m a Pretty Normal Person – a guest post by Peggy of The Primal Parent

This hasn’t always been the case, though. Let’s rewind 33 years.

I was the last of five kids. My mom was 38 when she had me, still trying to nurse my brother. She passed her low stores of brain chemicals, her nutritional deficiencies, her insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalances right down to me. Despite that, I had a fun childhood, right up until I started growing breasts at age 10 – that was not fun at all. And then I started my period at age 11 – also not fun. And I was introverted, paranoid, depressed, and suicidal by the time I was 12. All of this was so far from fun I had to go to some pretty extreme measures to experience fun as others do and to feel even brief moments of happiness.

I teamed up with the bad crowd and got into drugs and sex and all sorts of wild behavior, some of which hurt me physically and some emotionally, both of which exacerbated my already fragile state. I had bad relationships, bad job history, bad grades, and made lots of bad choices. I got into trouble with the law and spent time in rehab facilities.

But that kind of life was tiring, so by the time I was 17 I chilled out and went to college. It’s not that I felt any better I just changed my method of distraction from acting wild and getting into trouble to pouring over text books.

I was even more depressed than ever, actually, the older I got. In college, the PCOS that I had been unknowingly living with all of my life was now raging. I tried birth control pills to balance my hormones but my acne and depression hit me with a vengeance, making me even more introverted than ever.

I was just another number among the millions of Americans taking drugs for their many ills. In my teenage years I had taken anti-depressants which I found useless for anyone not lining their pockets with profits. I took many years of anti-biotics for acne, bronchitis, and sinus infections. I took birth control pills and pain killers for my headaches and incapacitating menstrual cramps.

My mind was out of control and my body was in constant pain from one ailment or another. There really didn’t seem to be any hope for my ever being normal.

Until I stumbled upon the Paleo diet.

A friend told me about celiac disease because of the diarrhea I’d been living with since I was a child. The thirty or so doctors I saw about my countless ills never figured it out but thanks to that friend I requested blood tests and got the diagnosis. I started feeling a little better – but just a little.

Since my doctor didn’t know anything I decided to read up on it myself. One book led to another until I eventually eliminated all modern foods. I started the Paleo diet in February of 2005 and was pregnant by May. I devoured even more information about wellness and illness for my new baby’s sake.

Over the next couple of years things got gradually better for me. I learned all I could about Paleo nutrition, disease, and healing and all my old symptoms were lessening in severity. I didn’t feel great, though, until just a few years ago.

By the time my daughter was 1 ½ and I had been Primal for almost 3 years already, I still had joint pain, fatigue, blood sugar and digestive problems. I discovered that I couldn’t eat many foods that most people can tolerate just fine.

Most of the women that I’ve talked to who switch to Paleo recover from their maladies quickly and fully, but some of us don’t. Some of us have more to recover from and more obstacles standing in the way. For me, it took relieving my digestive problems and pinpointing allergies before I could finally absorb the nutrients I needed to stop assaulting my adrenals, pancreas, thyroid, and everything else.

Once I finally discovered the key to a calm digestive system everything miraculously changed. I was a new person in every way. My diet is on the extreme end of Primal, but the stress my body and mind endured over the years weakened me and necessitated more stringent compliance.

While I am still very thinky, I am now extroverted and confident and can converse with the best of them without anxiety. My depression lifted completely, my energy is nearly boundless, my back and neck pain disappeared 100%, my skin cleared up, my PCOS symptoms all retreated, my digestion is peaceful and quiet, and all of the other hundred symptoms of a body gone awry (yes I actually wrote them all down) have left and rendered me a pretty normal person.


Peggy Emch has a B.S. in mathematics and a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Colorado. She has spent the last 10 years since researching nutrition, writing blogs, articles, a novel, and is currently working on her first in a series of books about the Primal lifestyle, starting with pregnancy.


Read More: 10 Natural Treatments for PCOS


Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle believes women can learn how to heal their bodies & balance their hormones through natural methods. An advocate for natural health, she has a passion for nourishing/real food nutrition and natural living. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she started Natural Fertility and Wellness in 2008 in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to heal from PCOS and overcome infertility.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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  1. says

    Except for the digestive issues, I have had all of the symptoms you describe. I just feel like a mess. I am fairly certain I have PCOS, but I’m still working on getting a diagnosis (doctors have been shuffling me back and forth). I’m especially happy to hear that it helped with your anxiety and depression. I recently had a bad panic attack and my doctor immediately put me on Paxil. I took exactly one dose. Knowing that I want to have more children, it didn’t make sense to be on a drug, especially one that is notoriously difficult to withdraw from. It also gave me a migraine. I have an appointment with an endocrinologist next month, but in the mean time I will try implementing some dietary changes. It seems overwhelming to me because I am so accustomed to eating a certain way (I LOVE carbs), I have a low grocery budget, and I need to cook for my whole family… but I know the rewards of feeling better would be worth it.

    • says


      I think everyone who has these problems LOVES carbs. It’s the high grain and sugars diet that is behind this stuff to begin with.

      Good call on not taking that drug. Drugs are just a way to mask symptoms so that we can go on making poor dietary and lifestyle decisions. Since they do not address the issue and they are riddled with side effects, in the end they do more harm than good.

  2. Virginia@supplement says

    I have been hearing more and more about this Paleo diet. I do not suffer from the symptoms described; however, I do have friends that might benefit and will pass the information on to them.

  3. Samantha says

    I am 30 and was recently diagnosed with PCOS. Apparently I’ve had cysts for many many years and was never told by any of my many health care practitioners. It wasn’t until my very first appointment at an actual Fertility Clinic did I find out I had over 36 cysts on my ovaries. I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over 2 years now and I’ve been eating strict Paleo for over a year. Playing the waiting game now and trying not to stress out about it. I’m taking the Metformin they prescribed me even though my insulin levels are normal due to my Paleo Diet. I’m hoping the meds will help rid me of my PCOS.

  4. Michele says

    What is the best way to find out if I have PCOS for sure? My gyno had mentioned it but never fully diagnosed me. I recently stopped my birth control because I no longer want to be on it for personal reasons and everything had been through the roof. My depression, anxiety, acne, feelings about myself…everything

    thank you for this article

    • says

      Usually your doctor will run some hormone tests to rule out other issues and better get a handle on whether or not it’s PCOS. They also look at symptoms as well to see if you fit the profile.