Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 139: The Schwarzbein Principle

I think about blogging all the time, but as you can see by the dates, I dont quite make it to Blogger to post  these thoughts. I'm not going to promise to do better, because I don't make promises that I might not be able to keep and right now, I know I can't keep that promise if I made it.

Lately, my body is doing something weird. I'm still working out everyday and my eating hasn't changed (it's kept me maintaining for over a year) but something isn't right.  In the last month, I've started to gain weight.  Last time this happened I was binging a lot at night, so understanably, I gained weight rapidly.  But this time, there is no logical explanation that I know of.  I contribute it to two possible things:

1. I've reached that age where my metabolism takes a dump since I'm on the downside of 30.
2. My PCOS has decided to wage a greater war against me due to the extra stress I've been under.

As I write this, I'm thinking it's probably a combination between the two.

What's the plan? Several years ago, I read The Schwarzbein Principle.  It's a series of books I highly recommend if you have PCOS.  The author, Diana Schwarzbein, had PCOS when she was younger and she reversed it through a healthy, non chemical, real food diet.  I read the whole series, I even got the cookbook, but I never really had a chance to try it out for weight loss because I got pregnant about a month after I changed my eating habits. 

Needless to say, it's been two babies since I read the books and I need a refresher.  I'm going to brush up on the details so I can fine tune my eating to tackle my current issue. I'm not promising, but I'll probably naturally blog more often because I'll want to share what I'm reading.  (I tend to do that when I'm excited about something.) Especially since I know many of my readers have PCOS too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Baked Swiss Chard - An Experiment

A few months ago I talked about baked Brussel`s Sprouts and how surprisingly yummy they were.  Since then, we've discovered something even better--the leaves.

On the first batch, I removed all the loose leaves that fell off when I cut them in half assuming they would burn. By the second batch, I was in a rush and tossed everything on the pan, loose leaves and all.  To our surprise, the little leaves didn`t burn, they got crispy and tasted as good as chips!! 

When I make them now, I actually peel the outermost leaves from all of the sprouts so I can maximize the crispiness of the batch.  The youngest kids who are still not impressed with baked sprouts actually beg for the "crispy leaves." Little do they know they also pack nutrition. *snickers*  But who am I kidding? We all fight over them!!

This past week I saw a recipe for, "Baked Kale Chips." It looked super yummy based on my experience with the baked sprout leaves.  Not having any Kale around though, I decided I would substitute Swiss Chard since I have pounds of it growing outside in our garden.  I also omitted the seasoning packet since they often include MSG and other noxious chemicals. 

The experiment:
Swiss Chard with the ribs removed, chopped coarsely,
covered with olive oil, salt & pepper. (Approx 8 cups)
Bake at 300' for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. 
Crispy like a chip but packed full of nutrition.  The kids gobbled them up.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A little about PCOS.

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and it effects 1 in 15 women. I personally was diagnosed with this seventeen years ago and also know several ladies who have this. It's so common, chances are you or someone you know has it too.

Woman can have one or all of the following symptoms:
  • Acne
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
  • Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
  • Thinning hair on the scalp.
  • Irregular periods.  Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year.  Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
  • Fertility problems.  Many women who have PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
  • Depression
List from WebMD

It's not the worst thing to be diagnosed with, but it is time consuming to deal with.  Doctors don't understand why a woman gets this syndrome and they know even less about treating it so they prescribe drugs to manage each symptom.  At 20, my medicine cabinet resembled that of a grandparent. Little orange bottles of various sizes lined the shelves and it was overwhelming to not only look at but to keep track of when to take those little pills.

One day I looked at my future and I realized that the various medicines I had perscribed to me were for asthetic purposes.  At that time, I decided I would spare my liver and spend more time either in front of the mirror plucking or finding the right cleanser to control my acne.

Nearly two decades later and I still don't take anything for my crazy symptoms since they have remained topical. I am grateful for this since women with PCOS are likely to have heart and diabetic issues. I hope to continue to avoid such health issues by paying attention to my body now.

As for weight loss, PCOS does make it more challenging, but it doesn't make it impossible. Weight loss efforts can be effective if I put the focus on my exercise and eating and understand there is no wiggle room.  Gone are the days where weight just "accidently" disappeared because I was too busy to eat. I know if I eat a chemical free diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep, my body will respond as I expect it to whether I have PCOS or not.

*I plan on discussing further in future posts.