but, but, science!

In an effort to emulate my sister’s impressive success in controlling her PCOS by eliminating dairy from her diet, I’ve cut dairy out. I’m still trying to eat high-protein as best I can, but am suffering from the absence of my afternoon greek yogurt snack. Around 3 pm, especially after a salad lunch, I need something to get me to dinner. Pea and I eat between 7:30 and 9 most nights, so a meal is still a long way away at that point.

OK, I thought, no greek yogurt. It would be nice to find something proteiny to replace it with, and I’m not going to just eat jerky. Namely because jerky is seriously gross. What about protein shakes?

Most protein shakes have whey protein, isolated from dairy. I looked up how much of the hormones I’m trying to avoid make it through the protein isolation process, and found MANY on-line, non-science articles discussing the minute amounts present, including an estimated 35 mg of IGF-1 per 100 g protein powder*, an amount “not visible to the human eye”. Every article (again, pop culture articles) concluded this amount was teensy, and not something body builders needed to worry about (the demographic most often eating protein powders, shakes, and bars).

The trouble with this analysis is that hormones are not something where the weight of the amount is the important measure. Hormones are highly efficient effector molecules, and a tiny amount might represent a major imbalance. Grams of hormones would have, I can only imagine, immediate and drastic effects on human metabolism.

Moral of my story, an idle thought lead to much internet-derived irritation. Is there a term for internet rage, like road rage? Where you don’t act on it, but are suffused with fury over the idiocy of others?

* this being the exact hormone I am trying to avoid, effectively ruled out any whey isolate in my diet. Which is ok, protein shakes are also gross, though not as gross as jerky. I am open to ideas on what I can eat though!

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18 thoughts on “but, but, science!

  1. rainbowgoblin

    Nuts are the obvious choice, if they’re high enough in protein. Celery with almond butter? I would suggest eggs (I can’t stomach it, but in principle a hardboiled egg is a good snack), but I think I remember you being a bit weird about eggs. You could also just eat an extra small meal… When I was doing high protein I used to make meatballs with onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and a can of tomatoes, and eat two or three of those for a snack.

    Reply
    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      I am super weird about eggs, good memory. I’m getting better at just adulting my way through them, but still in moderation. Meatballs packed with veg seems like a nice option for general meals as well as snacks!

      Reply
    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      oh, interesting to see the different categories of dairy in the FODMAPS diet. I can see it being helpful in suggesting ideas from a slightly different perspective. Thanks!

      Reply
  2. conceptionallychallenged

    Avocado, nuts, banana with peanut butter (or other nut butters, of course)… It depends on your taste, but I think there’s lots of options. (Though I will admit, I tried cutting out dairy. And lasted less than 24h.)

    Reply
    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      I’m not going to lie, I missed cheese immediately and it hasn’t gotten better. But… my hair is falling out and my face is breaking out like crazy, so I’m willing to see if this will help… for a limited time and then I will break if nothing is helping! Thanks for the suggestions!

      Reply
      1. conceptionallychallenged

        Hair falling out could be the drop in progesterone, I had this after losing the twins and, to a lesser degree, after every luteal phase that didn’t lead to pregnancy (and, much delayed, after having my rainbow baby). Good luck!

  3. Jenny F. Scientist

    I’m a big fan of kippered herring but you may or may not be. I’ve been a vegetarian (I was for 10 years) and you know, plants on their own are just not that great a source of concentrated protein! I’m also deathly allergic to dairy (once had a reaction to less than a microgram of dairy protein though it was in an inhaler); have tried hemp protein and rice protein in smoothies. They weren’t awful, especially with some cocoa. Somewhere called Orgain makes a vegan protein drink thing that is reputed to not be terrible (naturally, I am allergic to things in it).

    Internet rage! It’s like that XKCD cartoon but with ‘someone is stupid on the internet.’

    Reply
    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      I have never tried kippered herring. I will give it a whirl sometime, though fish and I are not generally on speaking terms.
      I have tried Orgain – they are… edible. With an aftertaste of petroleum. Which I somewhat disturbingly found I later craved. But thanks for the reminder, they are available on my walk home and might save the occasional ‘hangry’ moment.

      Reply
  4. Jenny F. Scientist

    P.S. I’m just curious about the IGF-1 thing. All the papers I see talk about whey vs. casein consumption and their differential effects on fasting insulin vs. circulating IGF-1 (here, for example,, seems to indicate that some IGF is absorbed but also hepatic production is stimulated). Though if PCOS is a concern, surely the not raising insulin effect (and therefore not stimulating the insulin-dependent hormone axis affected in PCOS) would be a sufficient reason independent of whether IGF is significantly involved.

    Oh, also this one cites cow milk as containing an average of 4-6 ng/mL IGF-1. (They also nerd on at great length about human IGF production, too, fyi.) This seems like a reasonable amount. That would work out to, let’s say, 500 ng per 3.5 g protein in skim milk and let’s assume it’s all present in whey. So no more than ~15 ug per 100 g protein powder. I didn’t check their references but they do HAVE them.

    SCIENCE!!!

    Reply
    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      Ha! Amazing. I love real references, I should know better than to read pop science articles on the internet. I still think I can’t tell what effect 15 ug/100g protein powder would have (also, how are ‘they’ getting 35 mg? nutters.).
      So the idea behind the hormone axis disregulation in PCOS and its regulation (or disregulation, I suppose) in lean PCOS is a bit of a mystery as far as I have been able to discover. I’m not insulin resistant, so a lot of the general hormonal effects that are associated with PCOS are not relevant to my conditions – insulin spikes, etc. My theory behind IGF-1 is its more direct effects on testosterone, but I will freely admit that I read about cutting dairy and the thoughts behind it years ago, thought “that’s a load of bunk in my case, as my insulin is fine” and have only embraced it once someone I know personally has achieved a specific result with that diet plan. So this is far far from the level of scientific integrity I would normally hold myself to. I’m intrigued though, and willing to admit there has been little to no real research on the lean side of PCOS, so am willing to suspend disbelief until lack of cheese breaks me.

      Reply
      1. Jenny F. Scientist

        Eh, it’s not like IVF is based in science anyways so much as ‘this is efing expensive so try all the things.’ And while I understand the fear driving it, the INSANE things my friends who did IVF have been told to do/not do by various RE and OB types are also…. let’s go with unscientific.

  5. Turia

    I didn’t cut out Greek yoghurt! All the changes in my cycle have come while eating it four-five time a week at breakfast. And the last cycle, where I cut out dairy entirely pre-ovulation, I still kept the yoghurt. I think it doesn’t have the same impact on PCOS and hormones like other dairy because of the bacterial cultures.

    All that to say, I don’t think it’s a deal breaker to keep it, especially if you are hungry and trying to keep high protein!

    Reply
    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      Oh, yes, I am still eating it for breakfast with granola. Torn between whether I should cut granola (sugary), yogurt (dairy), or both if I take this “super serious” for a month or so post-vacation.
      I will decide later. Canyons await!

      Reply
  6. Haisla

    Quinoa’s meant to be an excellent source of protein for vegetarians, so I’ve started making lots of different quinoa salads to take to work (where we have no microwave). I’ve also read that chia seeds too are a good source of protein and apparently (I haven’t tested this out) you can make a tasty, pudding-textured “treat” if you soak them in liquid.. Hmmm.. not 100% sure about that, but if you get desperate.. The sad thing is that both those items are fairly expensive. I’ve found that our shopping bill has gone up since I’ve started substituting certain things (like cow’s dairy) with alternative ‘healthier’ items.. Hope you’ll find something that’ll fill the yoghurt void!!x

    Reply
    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      I do love quinoa, and we’ve fallen out of the habit of making it since I started eating meat. Maybe a quinoa salad made on the weekend would work well as a packed snack for at least some of the week. Have you tried chia seeds? I have a granola bar that has them in it, and it is the oddest texture. Very … hydrated, for a seed. I can see a pudding style food from them, but would maybe want someone else to make it. I will check my local Whole Foods (high end hippie grocery store). If anyone has chia pudding, they will. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Jenny F. Scientist

        I’m unconvinced that anyone is able to chew up those tiny, goo-covered seeds (when whole) enough to get any of the protein OUT. Needless to say I find the texture too strange.

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