Tag: PCOS

PCOS Product Recommendations II

As promised here is my regular product recommendations for PCOS patients (or anyone who wants to eat more healthy).

The last few weeks have been challenging especially with my chest pain; however, I do feel like I am becoming more accustomed to the low GI diet and the various meds I am on.  I feel like it is part of my daily life- more normalized than than ever before.  I have gotten pretty good at finding things I can eat going out and getting back to my pre-diagnosis routine.

Maybe this is a bit sad but one of my greatest thrills comes when finding a product that works for me, helps me feel good, and believe it or not TASTES GOOD!  (It does exist!).

Here are some of my recent scores:

1. Tree Street Grains 16 Grain Pancake Mix- I love this mix. Even my dad agreed they are light and taste good. They are made in Provo but I am not sure how available they are other places. They do have a website and the prices seem fairly reasonable.  http://www.treestreetgrains.com/store/pancakes/16-whole-grain-pancakes/

2. Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave Flavored Syrups-  to go with those delicious pancakes this line of agave flavored syrups are good and totally fulfill  my need for maple syrup.  They also have strawberry and vanilla.  You don’t want to use too much of any sweetener but I’ve never had a bad insulin response to agave.

3.  Another genre of cooking that has been good to me is Mexican food. Since I can have corn tortillas, tacos, fajitas and whole wheat burritos work great.  I can even have nachos on occasion! Be careful because some salsa has sugar but some don’t. Of course you can even make your own salsa with fresh cilantro, tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno.  Yum!

One of my favorite foods has been the La Tortilla Whole Wheat Tortillas.  These are available at Costco and have 8 grams of protein per tortilla and 4 grams of fiber. They also make good wraps.

http://www.latortillafactory.com/

Another product I really liked is the Frontera Taco Skillet Sauce- They are a liquid sauce packet with fresh herbs and spices and uses agave as a sweetener. The flavors I have tried have all been delicious.  There are 7 different choices and all that is needed is meat and any veggies you like such as onion or green pepper.

http://www.fronterakitchens.com/shopping/category/products/mexican-Everyday-sauces/

4. Clif Twisted Fruit Ropes- For some reason since I started the low GI diet I have experienced candy cravings- particularly for sour candies like sour patch kids. The weird part is I didn’t really eat much candy before but for some reason I crave it bad!  Most fruit leather/fruit roll ups are bitter and didn’t do much to satisfy the sweet cravings.  These ropes are the closest thing to candy I can eat.  They have no added sugars- just fruit.  I also like that they are individually wrapped so I can easily eat just one.  There are also 6 different flavors including grape and sour apple.  It is a great item to help me boost my sugar when it is feeling low.  Save a lot of money by ordering them at http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_clif_kid_twisted_fruit/

Well, I have more but I think that is enough for one post.  Please continue to send me your product/recipe suggestions.

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Be Your Own Doctor

Today I received a reminder of a lesson I have learned many times- to always know my body and demand the treatment it deserves.

Obviously I have never been to medical school; however, my hunch is the training most doctors receive is to help them treat the widest swath of patients they might come into contact with.  In other words, they learn what symptoms to expect and what treatments to give for the majority of people.

Unfortunately my body does not behave like the majority.  If there is something weird, unusual or bizarre you can bet I will wind up with it.  I can’t just have a normal condition it is always some strange variation.

Case in point- my recent chest pain.  For over a month my chest has been achy and sore.  I haven’t felt great but not obviously sick (no cough or fever ect).  Obviously I knew something was wrong but I went to my endocrinologist and he said it was costocondritis which is a fancy way for saying a virus in the chest muscles.  He said ‘take ib profin and it should go away in two weeks.  A month later the pain is still there making breathing, exercising, sneezing, and most other things difficult.

Finally on Monday I had a meltdown (as I am sure some of you could tell from my last post) and went to my regular doctor to see if he could do anything.  He felt the painful area, examined me and then said, ‘Well, I’m stumped’.  I must admit I was very frustrated and upset (and even had an ill advised calorie binge- one slip up in 3 months- oh well! )

In desperation I turned to the internet and looked up ‘chest pain’ and found an article on web MD about how kidney problems can cause chest pain.  This alarmed me because some of the medicine I take can give a side effect of kidney problems.  I immediately called my doctor and told him I would like to test for kidney problems.  He said it was ‘a long shot’ but if I wanted it done, he would do it.

On Tuesday I went in and got the blood work done and today I got the results.  Fortunately my kidney looks fine although my serem creatinine is a bit low, which I am looking into.

However, the interesting result is that my white blood count was high and that means- da du da- I have an infection.  This diagnosis makes me  a little crazy because I asked my endocrinologist at least three times if I should have an antibiotic and he refused.   I know over-prescription of antibiotics is a problem but clearly in this case I could have saved a lot of pain for over a month if my doctor had listened to me, done this test earlier, and gotten me on an antibiotic much sooner. Not too mention I’ve had an infection growing inside my chest for over a month- that can’t be good!  I’m just glad I will start on them today so the pain will be lessened and I can get back to my regular routine.

Anyway, it was a reminder to me that nobody knows my body better than me.  I need to be confident in my symptoms and demand the tests/treatments I feel I need- even if the doctor thinks it is a ‘long shot’.  It also reminds me that I am the one responsible for my health and even with all their education, doctors today will not be enough for my freakish body to get healthy.

I have also re-learned to ignore what a doctor may describe as ‘normal’.  What matters to me is how I feel.  For instance, I don’t care if 79-90 is considered a normal blood sugar reading.  I know when I have such a low number I feel terrible.  I also never get fevers (even when I had my appendix out didn’t get above 100), and yet I know I have had fevers because I feel the fever even if the thermometer shows a ‘normal’ reading.

All that matters is how I feel and so I will continue to be a stubborn patient insisting upon ‘long shot’ tests and treatments.  The doctor’s should just be glad I don’t have kids because I can tell you I will be much more stubborn when it comes to their health! You can count on that!

Not As Easy as 1,2,3

“You know the drill when it comes to losing weight — take in fewer calories, burn more calories…”  (Reader’s Digest).

If only it were that easy for me.

For the last year I have sacrificed most of my free time and nearly all of my thinking time to the task of losing weight and getting in shape.  To this date I have gone from 313 to 262 equaling a total of 51 lbs lost or 2 dress sizes.  I am very proud of all I have accomplished especially because I can wholeheartedly say I did everything in my power to lose.

That said, there has been no end to the struggles that have accompanied each and every lost pound.  People act like all you have to do is ‘get up off the couch, work out, and stop stuffing your face.’  What they don’t mention is you might deal with a PCOS diagnosis, an extremely limiting low GI diet, scores of doctor’s visits, hours of time working out, appointments with my trainer, 7-9 medications I take each day, and the near constant aches and pains that exercising and weight lifting cause.  I must admit if I had known it would be this hard I probably would not have embarked on the journey.

Maybe for some people it is as simple as Reader’s Digest suggests but not me.  Today put the cherry on top of the sunday I can no longer eat when the doctor told me he was ‘stumped’ by my recent chest pain(his words- ‘I’m stumped’).  For about two months my ribcage and chest muscles have been achy and tender to the touch.  It hurts to breath deeply, cough, sneeze, or yawn.

I have several theories of what is causing this problem including an after-effect of my fall or perhaps fibermyalgia or a kidney problem? (I love that I am the one that has to research these theories and ask these questions while my doctor just says ‘I’m stumped!’)

As you can imagine this pain has made exercising difficult both because of the pain but also because of the restrictions in air movement.  In addition, I have had periodic heart palpitations and massive head aches.

My whole body feels haggard and sore all the time and nothing I do but place heat or massage seems to help.  How can I do that all the time? I have to work to pay for all these medical expenses!  (Btw, if one more person asks me ‘Don’t you feel great now that you are exercising?’ I think I will scream.  No, I do not feel great.  I feel awful most of the time. It is the price to pay.)

Despite the challenges I have pushed forward and last week did 5 workouts.  By the end of the week, I was exhausted, sore, tired and a little grumpy.  (I guess that made it a good time for General Conference!).  It’s just frustrating because I feel like no matter how hard I try my body keeps fighting back.

Why does it have to be so hard?  Why can’t I catch a break? I have been so good, nearly perfect, with my diet and have made every sacrifice asked of me and yet still optimum health is an illusion.  Will it ever come?

Sorry if this post is a downer.  I’m just in pain and don’t know what to do to make it better.  If anyone has heard of this type of problem before or has suggestions for part of my fitness plan I am eager to hear from you.  Thank you for all your support and I still have hope that somehow I will conquer this behemoth of a trial in my life.  I know the Lord will help me and that I will be an eventual success.  I won’t give up no matter what is thrown my way! I’ve come too far and sacrificed too much! Please pray for me, my friends.

Two Successful Recipes

As I have mentioned in previous posts it has been hard for me to find successful PCOS friendly recipes.  In fact, most of my attempts have been unsuccessful and pretty much the last two months I’ve been living off of mojo bars, veggies, fruit and other nibbling.  However, as I keep trying I am slowly learning how to cook for my new body.  I’d say out of 10 meals I have one real success. When I do find something that works it is super exciting and I want to share it with the world- that’s where my blog comes in!

Here are two of my favorite recipes:

lamb burgers with sweet potato chips and spinach salad.

Lamb burgers with Sweet Potato Chips and Spinach Salad (adapted by me from the Low GI Guide to Living Well with PCOS by Jennie Brand-Miller)

Lamb Burgers

1 1/4 lb ground lamb extra lean

1 cup fresh Ezekial 4:9 bread crumbs

1/3 cup parsley finely chopped

1/3 cup fresh mint finely chopped

1 egg

1 clove garlic crushed

1/2 tsp olive oil

Sweet Potato Chips

2 lbs white sweet potatoes (if you haven’t tried these they are so good!)

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Spinach Salad

4 cups spinach leaves

12 cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp feta

agave based balsamic dressing

Preheat oven to 425 and line baking tray with spray.

To make chips place the sweet potato, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl, and toss to coat.  Spread over lined trays in a single layer.  Bake for 45-50 minutes

Meanwhile, to make the burgers, place the ground lamb, bread crumbs, parsley, mint, egg, and garlic in a large bowl.  Use clean hands to mix until well combined.  Divide the mixture into six portions and shape into round patty.  Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the patties and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the meat is no longer pink and thermometer reads 160.

To make the spinach salad combine ingredients and toss with dressing.

Serve the burgers on a whole wheat or sprouted wheat roll with some lettuce, tomato, feta cheese and a little mayo.  I also dipped my chips in a little bit of organic ketchup which I surprisingly responded well too.  You could also use a little olive oil mayo and lemon juice or mayo and hot sauce.

Turkey sausage ragu over quinoa pasta- finally a pasta that tastes good!

Everyone knows I LOVE Italian food, and I have searched high and low for a good low GI pasta.  The wait is over!  This is my recipe and it is delicious.  I’m so excited!  This also makes a huge pot of food.  I will have leftovers for days!

Turkey sausage Ragu over Quinoa Pasta

3 Italian turkey sausage (Harmons makes a number of different kinds of sausages and turkey is leaner then pork).

1 large can of Italian plum tomatoes

button mushrooms quartered.

Frozen tri-color pepper blend (or fresh orange, green, red bell pepper)

1 small can tomato paste

1 box quinoa pasta any shape (I used macaroni)

Italian seasoning

Olive oil

Cook sausages in a little olive oil until barely pink.  Slice put back in pot.  Add tomatoes and crush with potato masher so it is chunky.  Add Italian seasoning, tomato paste, bell peppers and mushrooms.  Cook until sauce is slightly reduced and mushrooms are soft.

Follow package instructions for pasta.  You can then add the pasta directly to the sauce or keep it on the side.  A little Parmesan on the top would be good. Yum!!

This sausage and pepper mixture would also be good on a roll as an Italian hogie.

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Let me know what you think of these recipes.  I’m excited to be slowly finding things that taste good! I am developing a new relationship with food that will be better and more customized to my body then it used to be. Please share with me your recipes and product suggestions.  Thanks!!

Cookies!

Yes, you read right- this post is about cookies.  But, how you might ask, does a girl who is eating low GI and no sugar eat cookies?  Oh, it’s an exciting day my internet friends, and I’m not dreaming! Its a reality! I’m eating cookies as I write this blog. Yum!

Up until now my success with agave/low gi baking has been mixed at best.  In fact, cooking in general has been difficult.  None of the cookbooks I’ve tried have been any good and the several options on amazon seem poorly reviewed (the library amazingly doesn’t seem to have any cookbooks on the subject?).

Frustrated, I decided to try some recipes online that are featured on blogs, and so far they have been much more successful (wouldn’t you think it is the reverse?).  These cookies were my first baking recipe I got from a blog, and believe it or not they are made with whole wheat flour, peanut butter, agave, and few other ingredients.

The only sugar comes in the dark chocolate chips.  (I also used all natural peanut butter with no added sugars).  Don’t they look yummy? There is also no butter or oils!  It almost seems too good to be true, but they are delicious!  I’m so excited!

I’m already thinking about ways I could jazz up the recipe.  Next time, I will make them smaller so they aren’t quite as heavy and adding oats would be good.

I was just telling my sister that it made me sad I might not have the experience of making goodies with my children.  Now, if I ever have any, its nice to know there are cookies I can make and eat with them! It seems like a little thing but it actually means a lot.  I’ve given up so much in the last few months and it is nice to know of one less thing I have to sacrifice to the low GI alter…Hurray!

Don't they look good!
Cookies!

No-Sugar Peanut Butter Chocolate-Chip Cookies:
– 1 cup natural style nut butter. I use unsalted peanut but you could use salted if you like better (you can also use almond)

– put 2 tablespoons of water in a 2/3 cup measure. Add agave syrup to fill the 2/3 measure (I prefer dark, but light works too)
– 1 generous tsp vanilla

– 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (For wheat-free, sub barley flower, or oat.  For gluten-free sub quinoa flour.)
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt

– About 3/4 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips – or dark chocolate chips if you can’t find grain sweetened

Oven to 350 degrees, parchment paper on two cookie sheets (or butter them, or use nothing at all). Mix wet ingredients in mixer, add dry ingredients, beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Make balls with heaping Tbsp of dough, then squish with a wet fork to get the traditional pattern. I use all the dough to make 12 cookies. I bake Exactly 10 minutes if I want them chewy. (These are easy to overcook due to their color – so watch closely, and take out when they are just barely browning on top.  Maybe start with 8 mins and check the underside of one cookie, just to be safe.  For barley, oat or quinoa, you might want to bake longer.)

PCOS Product Recommendaitons

In recent weeks I have benefited greatly from the blogs of other PCOS patients.  One of the best has been the PCOS Diva written by a woman named Amy Medling.  She is an amazing example of a woman with PCOS who has learned to thrive.  Her blog is rich and full of weekly menus, book reviews, product suggestions etc.

I thought I would follow her example and begin sharing some of the great products I have discovered that help me with my PCOS.  After all, I’d like my blog to help other’s like Amy’s does and not just be a source of venting and complaining.  If I can inspire one person then all the struggles will be worthwhile.

I also want to say a thank you to the companies that make products that I can eat/use.  To them, it may be simply a business but to me it is like a gift. Finding something that works for me means a lot and each time it happens the grin on  my face is irrepressible.  Thank you!

I will try to do these product updates on at least a monthly basis and please continue to share with me your recommendations and thoughts.  Thanks so much for all your support.

Here we go:

1. Luna and Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss Ice Cream-  Look for this in the organic ice cream section of your supermarket.  There are 16 flavors and all of them have been good, but I particularly like the mint galactica (I know silly name. ).   It is made with organic coconut milk which is full of Omega 3 oils.  It is sugar-free using only agave sweeteners and organic dark chocolate (a little organic cane syrup in the chocolate).   I love it as a milk shake.  There are so few deserts I can have that I am grateful for this ice cream.

16 different flavors but my favorite is the chocolate mint

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.coconutbliss.com/

2. Ezekial 4:9 bread-This bread is amazing.  It is flourless, low glycemic and a complete protein.  I defy anyone to eat it and taste a difference between it and other whole grain breads.  In fact, I think it tastes better than most.  I must say I tried their pasta and was bitterly disappointed.  It was gummy, gritty and disgusting (so far my attempt to duplicate the flavors of Italian food have not been successful.  It is possible I just like it too much.).

The bread is available at my supermarket in the organic frozen food section.  It is highly perishable and must be refrigerated/frozen at all times.  Naturally it must be toasted to taste good (and thaw).  I am grateful to have the ability to eat sandwiches again.

http://www.foodforlife.com/our-products/low-glycemic/diabetic-friendly

3. Clif Mojo bars- One of my problems has been breakfast.  I just don’t have an appetite in the morning but it is crucial I eat something.  Thankfully I have found a protein drink and energy bar I love.  These bars are low glycemic, packed full of nuts, protein and are delicious.  I can also keep them in the car, which has helped keep my blood sugar regular as I work. They aren’t the highest protein bar but they are still enough and they actually taste good. If you go on the Clif bar website you can get 15% off your order using code CLFCB8.

http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_mojo/

 

Forgetting Favorite Foods

Today I’d like to ask you my faithful reader to envision your favorite food. Perhaps it is something made by a mother or grandmother?  A dish that even the smell makes you weak in the knees?  Now I’d like you to imagine not eating those foods anymore, ever? No exceptions, no holidays, no special treats. Then I’d like you to make this change in a little over a month.

Welcome  to my world!  As I’ve discussed in previous posts on January 31st I was diagnosed with PCOS and put on a strict low glycemic diet by my endocrinologist.  The reason why I have to be so strict right now is I am taking a powerful insulin lowering medication called metformin- 2,000 mg a day.  Some people can’t take metformin at all, or take a year to get to my dosage, so my progress is actually great, but there are side effects- particularly if I mess up and eat a simple carb or sugar. (I also take an array of supplements and other medications to help with a wide range of symptoms.  I’m like an old woman with medicine right now!)

I have learned the hard way that eating any sugar with metformin is no fun resulting in light headedness, sudden fatigue, nauseousness, etc.  Even food without carbohydrates but with sugar listed as an ingredient seem to make me sick. Artificial sweeteners also cause an even more poignant reaction so they are out.

On the plus side, when I get the eating right, I feel great!  In fact, I feel better than I ever have in my life.  I also am confident I’m on the right track insulin-wise, and am losing weight at a rapid rate.  It took me nearly a year to lose 35 lbs and since 01/31/11 I have lost nearly 15 lbs- almost half of the weight it took me a year of grueling work to lose, lost in one month!  That certainly puts a smile on my face!

The one benefit of the strong medicine is the fear of an episode has made otherwise tempting food less appealing.  (I can imagine its kind of like the pills they give alcoholics which makes them throw up when they drink.  Having such an unpleasant response makes it easier to stay on the straight and narrow!).

However, there are foods I miss. It seems like everyday I discover a food I can no longer eat (or at least can’t eat for the several years I’m on the metformin).   Even foods I thought were healthy I am learning are not good for my body.  For example, tofu is high on the glycemic index (it makes sense when you think about it- its a highly processed food!). Soy in general is not the miracle food I once believed it to be!

On Saturday we had a family function and everyone was very accommodating but it was difficult.  They had some of my favorite things including mashed potatoes, fried chicken, baked beans and pie (including lemon meringue pie, my birthday pie).  I brought some of my own salads, coconut milk ice cream, and my uncle made roasted chicken but that’s all I could eat.

Honestly looking down at my empty plate of salad and chicken felt a little sad. The hardest part is feeling like I am missing out on a full experience- food is such a rich and interesting part of life.   It’s a way of understanding cultures and bonding with friends/family.  Most of my special memories involve some type of food. Giving up all those moments is hard.

Oh well!  I suppose I will have to figure out new ways to achieve the same memories.  It’s just food after all (or so I keep telling myself).

What food would you miss the most?  If any of you have gone through similar changes I’d love to hear how you cope/transition?  I’d also be curious for low glycemic recipes/suggestions (particularly for desert and breakfast).  Thanks in advance.

this was like me Saturday except for instead of a solitary pea I had a bare plate with chicken!