It’s fall, and you know what that means: warm sweaters and fuzzy socks, spiced candles that smell good enough to eat, and pumpkin...everything pumpkin. From pies to pudding to pancakes, we can find pumpkin in all of our favorite cold-weather comfort foods. However, traditional comfort foods full of white flour and processed sugar can wreck havoc on imbalanced hormones and can be especially stressful for those living with PCOS.
Whacked out hormones can contribute to excess facial hair, painful and irregular periods, and cystic acne, among other symptoms. But, that doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of painful or embarrassing symptoms. Why? Because all symptoms—yes all!—can be controlled through a healthy diet, thus eliminating the need for prescription drugs to feel and look better!
Below I share pumpkin recipes that I’ve tweaked just a little to make them healthier. In general, you'll see that all sugar has been replaced with maple syrup or stevia, grains are substituted with nuts, and milk and cream are swapped for almond milk and coconut cream. You can use these tips to turn any of your favorite recipes into healthier versions that taste great. I hope these recipes inspire you to start cooking and to understand that eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to be hard.
Spiced Pumpkin Pudding
Coconut oil, to grease the baking dish
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or more to taste - it helps balance blood sugar!)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large pasture-raised eggs, slightly beaten
1 16oz can coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the coconut milk and whisk or beat on low speed until blended.
- Pour the pumpkin pudding mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Place the baking dish in a larger pan and add boiling water to a depth of about 1 inch.
- Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- If desired, serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon, chopped pecans, and coconut whipped cream.
Prepare the coconut whipped cream:
- Put the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight.
- Open the can without shaking it or turning it upside down.
- Carefully spoon out the top layer of opaque white milk and put into a mixing bowl.
- Use a hand beater or an electric mixer to beat coconut milk into soft peaks.
- To sweeten, add a dash of stevia or maple syrup, if desired.
makes about six 6-inch pancakes
1 1/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch clove
1 cup almond milk
6 Tbs canned pumpkin puree
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 pasture-raised egg
- Whisk almond flour, maple syrup, baking powder, spices, and salt in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together almond milk, pumpkin, melted coconut oil, and egg.
- Fold mixture into dry ingredients.
- Grease a skillet with coconut oil and bring to medium heat. Ladle out 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.
- Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side. Serve with pure maple syrup.
Randi Cestaro is the proud mother of two boys, a holistic health coach, and PCOS nutritional expert who is passionate about helping women suffering from PCOS learn how to use food medicinally to find freedom from their PCOS symptoms. She is available for in-person consults in Manhattan and Westchester, and online for women outside the New York City area. Visit her website at PCOS Diet Plans.