Friday, December 31, 2010

Bye bye 2010...Welcome 2011!

As the year comes to an end, a new year begins...time goes on and on the way it always has and always will. So, I thought I would share some thoughts of "Notes from the Universe" as my New Year's you go!

Soon the new year starts, so now's a great time to:

1. Wipe the slate clean.
2. Focus upon what you really want.
3. Chart your course.


Well... only if you want to risk having to repeat these steps for the same wishes next year! Maybe this is splitting hairs, but here's an adventurous alternative:

1. Give thanks that life is... just as it is (and that it's been... just as it's been). Because of it, you're now "READY."

2. Define what you want in terms of the end result. Don't worry about the hows, or even the course. KNOW that what you want is ALREADY yours in spirit, by divine LAW, just focus on the certainty of this ownership, understand it, claim it, and "it will be on earth, as it is in heaven (spirit)."

3. LET THE UNIVERSE show you the way via your impulses and instincts that appear as you take inspired action. Don't worry that your first steps seem silly or futile. And if you don't know what to do, do anything! Go! Get busy! Do not insist on intermediary successes, only upon the end result.

2011 is going to be your year (it already is)!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Big 1-0

So, I know its been a while since my last post...I can blame on a lot of different things but let's just go with "overwhelmed" to describe the last few months....

Since my last update:
-I got promoted
-I finished up the last of my classes (almost)
-Lost 10 pounds

Oh, what was that? Yep! 10 pounds!! I'm about .3 lb away from having lost 5% of my entire body weight...which is pretty exciting for me! Losing 10 pounds reduces my risk of diabetes, heart disease and even I am PROUD of this accomplishment!

Also, Weight Watchers changed its program (fruits are now "free") and changed the way points are calculated, so it sort of makes it easier on me because I can enjoy "whole fat" dairy like butter and cheese--which is ultimately better for you than the over processed "fake" low fat foods. I'm still learning the new program, but so far so good!

I also found out my mom has/had PCOS...and that because of the nature of PCOS, I probably got it from her...the scary part of this is that my mom was also diagnosed with Diabetes--something I refuse, refuse, refuse to have! So, I'm taking my PCOS treatment even more seriously now. With the high insulin resistance I already have, I can't risk getting diabetes, especially knowing my family history.

I go to a new doctor in Atlanta in January....Georgia Reproductive Specialists...and NO, I am NOT trying or thinking about trying to have a baby....the doctor there is the best of the BEST for PCOS. I want to see what he says about my PCOS, my diabetes risk and potential infertility risks and what kind of lifestyle changes he thinks I should look at. I'm trying to stay away from prescriptions because they made me so sick previously, but I'm going in with an open mind...and David has been sweet enough to volunteer to go with me, so I'm a little less nervous now.

Here's some GRS info:

The really awesome thing about being so open with my PCOS journey (although NOT perfect) is that I've had so many of my friends--people I grew up with--who have PCOS or get diagnosed with PCOS and its just this connection with helps to make this journey a little more tolerable and helps me feel a LOT less alone.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Wagon!

So, throughout this PCOS, weight loss, become healthier, exercise journey there is one thing in common for every part: the wagon. Its hard to stay on, easy to fall off and a bumpy road almost certainly leads the way each day... Now, I can't say I've fallen off the wagon...I haven't. I've had a sickly week. Last week, I was so sick with what I've eloquently dubbed "the crud" it lasted from last Monday, to this Monday and I only got two days of "real" exercise in--much to my disappointment. This week I can breathe better, but I just feel weak and exhausted....but, a lovely friend came to visit a week early: TOM. Thanks, TOM.

Needless to say, I've been feeling disappointed in myself over things I can't really control. I'm not being "lazy" by making a conscious choice *not* to be active, I feel like I physically can't right now... for running the risk of getting sick again. I've made some really good food choices. Maintained my weight last week (no loss, no gain. But I'm incredibly nervous to see the scale this week. I just had to let it out. Being sick sucks. And even the few days after getting better suck. I'm working on it though.

Silver lining:
I discovered roasted okra!
-Fresh okra (sliced or whole)
-Salt and pepper

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees

So, here's to feeling better and keeping on the wagon! And not beating myself up for things that aren't in my control.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stress and PCOS...its all about STRATEGY!

Conflict is unavoidable. It's part of life.

The challenge is how we handle it. If you can find a way to successfully handle conflict, you will reduce the chronic stress that worsens PCOS symptoms.

Here are 12 ways to deal more skillfully with conflict.

1) Develop a win/win intention.

We live in a competitive culture. We want to "win". But in the competitive sense when someone wins, others lose. If one is right then the other is wrong. Being "right" does not create the best outcome. Start thinking about how good it would feel if you both could win.

2) Notice defensive behavior.

How? The first step is awareness. Observe the signs in yourself, and notice when they happen. Has your breathing become rapid and shallow? Do you feel a tightness in your stomach? Listen and be aware of your emotional responses.

Practice reframing the situation so you reduce the level of stress you're experiencing. When conflict arises, acknowledge your differences (if you must) and then move on to the things you DO agree on. Look for a common goal.

3) Focus on the present.

Step out of your past issues and focus on the issue at hand. Attempt to solve the problem and move on to create a new future together.

4) Evaluate the behavior, not the person.

"I feel it was inconsiderate for you to show up 90 minutes late without calling," is less damaging to the relationship than, "You are an inconsiderate jerk!" Explain your feeling further "I get worried when you don't call, and then I get upset."

5) Be specific.

It's not useful to generalize and tell someone "you never listen to me!" Be specific and explain how you feel, "I feel frustrated when you interrupted me just now. It's important to me that you understand how I feel."

6) Admit your role.

If you have contributed to the problem, admit it. You may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to the conflict. Own it, if that is the case.

7) Focus on a solution.

Listen non-judgmentally and without criticism. Focus on listening and understanding. Be creative enough to find a win/win solution for both of you. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

8) Use "I" messages.

"You" statements cause the other person to become defensive. A "you" message is often perceived as an invitation to fight. "You are never on time!"

You could say: "I've mentioned your lateness a few times to you. I become anxious when you are late. I begin to feel that you don't value our time together." A well-expressed "I" message is not judgmental; it just expresses how you feel.

9) Don't infer intention.

"You did that because..." "You did that on purpose..." If you are interested in knowing another's intention, just ask.

10) Set aside judgment.

Judgments shut down communication. Being judgmental prevents a win/win solution.

11) Paraphrase.

Clarify and confirm what you heard and make sure you understand it. "So what I heard you say is..." "Let me make sure I understand you correctly, you got home with the groceries before you realized you forgot to get milk." "I'm not sure I understand you correctly; this is how I am interpreting what you said".

12) Have a sense of timing.

Know when to discuss things. Be intuitive. Know when the right time is to deal with conflict. Sometimes emotions (yours or others) can impair good communication and collaboration. Sometimes it's important to cool down first. Develop a sixth sense about timing.

Conflict is a rich source of opportunity when we let it be so. Instead of shying away from conflict and stuffing your feelings, embrace the rewards that a well-handled conflict can bring. The reduced stress will help you balance your hormones and thus lessen your PCOS problems.

Monday, September 13, 2010

6 Weeks of Changing....for the better!

I'm totally ashamed that I've neglected my blog for...well, a really long time...BUT if you only knew how much time I've been spending in the gym, you would forgive me!

To-date, I have lost 5.2 pounds total--with NO medications!!! I wish I could express how exciting that is for me...after two years of busting my butt to lose, I'm FINALLY losing for good! I keep telling myself that ONE day, I will get married, I'll want to have kids, and I'll want to be the best ME I can be....and I will!

On another note, September is PCOS Awareness month! While I'm very aware of my PCOS many women are not, so here are some signs:
-adult acne
-significant weight gain (around the middle)
-scalp hair loss
-hair growth in other areas (face, arms, etc.)
-blood sugar spikes

I can honestly say that over the last 6 weeks, while I haven't been "perfect" I've never felt so good in my entire life! I'm managing my PCOS with no meds, I've almost stopped drinking diet soda entirely (not that I've ever drank much to begin with)...I ran 2.15 miles today. Last Tuesday it was 1.75... 6 weeks ago I could only do .75 and my heart rate was crazy high! I'm sleeping better. I'm more focused. And I'm so excited about being healthy!!

Oh, and here's my new favorite thing: Big Green Monster
2 cups of organic spinach
1 tbsp flax
1 banana
1/2 cup grapes
1 cup soy milk

Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Skeptic beware, you can't taste the spinach and that is a whopping 4 fruits/veggie servings!

That's the great thing about WW--I'm learning to try new things! It takes me out of my comfort zone, and its teaching me to LIVE my life and feel amazing!

Anyway, I'm done for now... I'll try to keep this thing updated more often!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I have PCOS it does not have me!

As of today I am down 6.2lbs from 4 weeks ago and earned my first -5lbs star!! I had an awesome loss, a small loss, and two gains and those things brought me to here.

For a while now I've been a part-time vegetarian--which I love! The science behind that for me is based almost entirely on my desire to get limit the hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, etc. that run rampant in our food. I'm not saying to jump on my bandwagon, but I am saying that making a conscious effort to buy local, organic, high quality foods has made a huge difference in my life and health.

For two years (and 13 medications) I haven't been able to lose one measly pound. And now I've got 6+ gone!! That's worth celebrating!! But, above all else: I'm in control! For the first time in two years, I'm doing something good for me--working hard, mind you, it isn't easy--and its paying off! I still have PCOS, but PCOS does not have me!

I've talked a lot about eating organic, especially local foods, and how that fits into my lifestyle and why it is my choice. I'm taking that a step further now by getting rid of chemicals I never knew existed, starting with cleaning products. Again, this isn't for scare tactics--and its based entirely on a personal choice to get rid of the things that make my PCOS worse. I mean, that makes sense, doesn't it?

For now, I'm trying to keep my momentum going, but realistically, it all goes back to the PCOS roller I'm not getting too far ahead of myself in "beating" the enemy, but I am in a far better position to keep it well maintained! It feels good to be where I am, for the first time in years I actually FEEL good. Not just well, healthy and happy. I feel GOOD!

Monday, August 23, 2010


[NOTE: this is not my own work, but rather, a bit of information I think is worth sharing. Also, my doctor is one of the doctors participated in this research and also determined that my own vitamin D levels were dreadfully low.]

We've spoken many times about the importance of vitamin D in helping you to control PCOS and reduce your risk of future diseases. (That's one reason why there is so much vitamin D in our d- pinitol product). We've previously reported studies showing that women who have PCOS are more likely to have abnormally low vitamin D levels.

Low vitamin D levels are associated with many PCOS symptoms as well as insulin resistance, cognitive decline, fatal stroke, cardiovascular disease, bre.ast cancer, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, osteoporosis, shortened lifespan and more.

Adequate vitamin D is an absolute necessity for anyone who wants to live a healthy life.

However, the research news is alarming.

For example, the Medical College of Georgia has just reported a vitamin D deficiency in teens.

Most of our vitamin D is manufactured by our bodies when our skin is exposed to the sun.

Georgia is a state that gets a lot of sun. So you would think teenage girls would have plenty of vitamin D. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.

The researchers found low vitamin D levels in 56% of the 559 male and female teens they tested. Thirty percent of white female teens had low levels.

An astonishing 94% of African-American teen girls had vitamin D levels that were below optimal. The health of this ethnic group could become a moving train wreck if nothing is done, starting now.

If you're a teen, ask your parents to arrange for a vitamin D test.

If you're a mother of a teen, ask your doctor to test your daughter or son for vitamin D.

Read the complete article on our website:

D-Pinitol with Vitamin D here:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The PCOS Roller Coaster

I've been absent from the blogging for a few days--sorry to the 3 people who read this! PCOS has been taking its toll on me this past week. The Ramsey Center was closed for renovations and I fell back into the lack-of-exercise lull. I've been exhausted this week. I'm still debating on getting a glucose meter for the days when I feel like this, so I know what my sugar is doing and how I feel at the same time. That's the roller coaster aspect of dealing with PCOS. Some days I feel great and some days I can barely get out of bed. But, I'm learning and not giving up--which I believe is the key to beating this thing!

I had a tiny gain on WI on Saturday, which I'm not beating myself up about. I just accepted it and moved forward! Sunday David and I went kayaking with Broad River Outpost and it was FANTASTIC! I calculated it up at 41 Activity Points for the 4 hour trip and I felt every one of them! That was a really awesome way to relieve some stress and enjoy God's beautiful creation (along with man's creation--daredevil drunken tricks--of groups along the way.) Trust me, way more fun sober--and as hard as it was to maneuver some parts of the river, drinking would be just plain dangerous!

I've done really well realistically with watching my WW plan and putting it into action. Tomorrow I'm going to make something called the Green Monster, a smoothie that is supposed to help with energy. I'm actually excited about it! Its basically spinach, milk, flax seeds, a banana and some ice. I'll let you know how it goes!

This was my quote today: You're the only person who knows what's right for you. The only one. And if you already know what that is, commit to it. If you don't, commit to nothing.

Words to live by.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...

So this week was definitely one of the most stressful weeks I've had in a while... but, I came to an understanding that it isn't the situations that stress me out, its how I respond to situations. So this week, I'll be working on making the choice to respond or "act" instead of "re-acting."

The Ramsey Center was closed this week for renovations so I didn't workout at all last week... I also had planned on walking at lunch--a whopping 5 APs--but the heat index was well into the 110+ zone and no matter how hydrated you are, that just isn't safe or smart, so I didn't do that either. I stayed OP almost every day, and used a few of my extra weekly 35, but all in all I was having a rough week and anticipating a gain....well, instead on Saturday morning I was pleased to see a lovely -0.6lb from the week prior. Small stuff, but still a big step in the right direction! That brings me to a whole 4 pounds in two weeks--a MAJOR victory in the battle against PCOS, Insulin Resistance and my weight. So rather than say "well, I ONLY lost .6 this week..." I've chosen to be just as pumped as last week! I'm not sweating the small stuff, I'm celebrating it!!

Sometimes, especially in the days where I'm feeling down or insecure, its nice to remember why I'm doing this...why I've chosen to quit all the prescriptions and take things into my own hands--the main goal of losing weight and becoming a healthier me isn't just for myself. It has nothing to do with how David feels about me... or what my friends or strangers think.... I'm doing this--fighting this battle--for the babies I hope to have some day. Granted, that's MANY years down the road...that is a driving factor. I don't know what role PCOS will play in my future, but I know what I'm doing about it right now. And right now, its what will count in the long run.

I had a great day at the lake with some of my favorite people and my puppy and I'm really looking forward to my baby brother's birthday party next Saturday and a Manley kayaking trip on Sunday....those are things to get me through the week :o) and maybe next week I'll have a 5lb star to write about!

Here's to a better week, more activity, and counting your blessings!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nervous about Week 2

Week two on my WW journey is here and weigh in is 5 days away...I'm a little nervous this week because I want so badly to be happy with the results again this week. Last week I was moderately hoping for a .5lb loss and was flabbergasted when I was down 3.4 pounds!!

So far, I've done really well on my water and even mastered a minor snafu when the DBF wanted Bojangles' (Ham biscuit and green beans anyone??? 6.5 points. Not too shabby!) Tonight we has pasta...whole wheat penne with "Norma" sauce--basically tomatoes, eggplant, basil and ricotta--which was delicious and I had saved some points to spring for the cheese!

For some positivity, I am so proud to say I accomplished a major non-scale victory (NSV) today: I said NO! When someone wanted me to take on yet another additional project, and I very politely said I just didn't have the time! GO ME!!!! I know it sounds silly, but that was a HUGE empowering moment for me!

Here's to hoping everyone has a great week!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Negatives are Positive!!

So, for the first time in TWO YEARS I've seen the bathroom scale go DOWN!! This week, I am absolutely elated to say that I lost 3.4 pounds!!!!!!! I was only expecting or hoping for a half pound loss, maybe so I was pleasantly surprised to see the numbers this morning :o)

Now, I'm off for the Farmer's Market and a trip to the vet with my Samma Lamma!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two weeks makes a habit?

So, the thought recently occurred to me that this is a great took for some of my WW buddies to get to know my journey and my share with me about their own. For the family that reads this, I'm going to start throwing in a TON of acronyms but for hilarity I'm not going to post a key. :o)

So, here is some background information (but feel free to read through my entire history if you're really bored!): in December of 2008 I was diagnosed with a condition called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome--there I gave you 1 definition) after gaining 60 pounds in a period of 5 months while exercising and eating healthy--like obnoxiously healthy. For me, PCOS affects my blood sugar in the form of high insulin resistance (think diabetes) which affects my daily life in a million different ways including periods of tear-ridden insanity when my sugar drops too low. I took 13 pills for a year and a half without feeling any better and 5 doctors later: no more pills. I'm doing it the "hard way" and learning to love myself more in the process!!

Now for some stats:
(Family--do NOT repeat this information; WW buddies (who are mostly people I've never met!) feel free to use this as it helps you on your journey too!
March 2007: 135lbs
CW: 214.4lbs
GW: 145 lbs (the doctors say 113-130 but I don't *want* that as my goal!)
WI: Saturdays (am)
Next Goal: 5% (203.6lbs)
WW: July 25, 2010

They say it takes two weeks to form a habit and I must say that after 72 hours back on track with WW my life is changed!! I have spent 4 days completely OP(on plant/points--there, I lied again!) and I can't tell you how amazing I feel. Monday night when I came home from the gym I could have sworn I had already lost 50 pounds and I was soaring! The next morning I was just sore--but I felt SO good. Today, I took the day off from workouts to give my muscles a night off, but I still went for a nice walk with Sam (doggy)and I still feel really good!

Some of my first goals were to get plenty of GHGs in and so far, so good! I've gotten all my water in, limited my caffeine and I'm even getting DAIRY--which I HATE thanks to Kroger's low-carb yogurt with 3g of sugar (2pts for peach!!).

I've even gotten David on board (David=DBF, for you WW people) and as always, he is SO supportive of me and encouraging. It just makes me feel good!

So, I think all it takes is a split second to make a decision to make a habit. When I woke up Sunday morning I made the decision to get my life back on track so I NEVER have to take those awful pills again, and in 72 short hours I'm feeling the best, happiest, prettiest, AWESOMEST(!) I've felt in many, many years and I don't even WI until Saturday--BUT realistically, the PCOS makes losing weight much harder so I'm trying not to get too excited about LOSING, just more excited about DOING!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

214 and we're not talking Valentine's Day!

So, I went to my follow up appointment with my 5th doctor in the PCOS journey and his final advice: join a gym. Thanks, buddy! Glad I'm busting my butt to have health insurance so I can PAY you to tell me that. Fast forward a little and I find out that Georgia has one of the top 3 PCOS specialists in the country, and no one has told me! Again, THANKS.

So, basically my doctors all have completely different opinions of whether I do or not, but I am currently off all 13 medications and I actually feel fantastic, so kudos to me! That is the good news: no pills. The drawback is that one doctor says I have PCOS and the other says he "isn't fully convinced" I do. Doctor #2, I feel, doesn't fully believe my story--which is frustrating--because I know I'm telling the truth, I'm not looking for an excuse and I'm not looking for a "miracle" I'm looking for a real answer.

I've now gained a whopping 79.4 pounds since I graduated high school...yep, two years...and it didn't happen "overnight" but it happened so quickly that I don't mentalize myself as being so incredibly overweight...I still mentally see myself at 135ish, but then I see my shadow or clothes and reality hits.... I call it reverse shallow-hal...

So, I've done pretty well with drinking my water and I'm doing a really good job of getting fruits and veggies, but I'm still seeing basically a ZERO change in the scale or the way my clothes fit, which makes me sad. Not angry, sad.

Starting today (!) I've joined Weight Watchers (WW) again, using just the online features this time to save money and a coworker and I are going to bust it at the Ramsey Center on campus after work on weekdays. I'm hopeful and I'm excited! My first goal is to get back into a number that begins in "1" because "2" is a number I never thought I'd see on the scale...

One thing I urge anyone who happens to read this to do: reconsider your views on people who are overweight (or have any type of special mental/physical needs). Not all who have gained weight did so by being unhealthy. I gained mine at a time when I was most active, most healthy and least lazy ever--and I'm not going to give up until I find the reason my body is telling me something is wrong. It takes a ton of courage to post this here and be honest and open about something that is so embarrassing to me, but I HAVE to let it out, and be accountable...and I know in the long run, I'm helping myself and maybe someone else!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How do You Eat an Elephant?

One bite at a time.

So, I suppose a lot had happened since my last post. Work has been extra hectic and when you partner that with school--yikes. So, on May 25 David and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary, which I have to say feels more like 10 years by now (in a good way, of course!). Also on that day I got a second opinion about my PCOS.

Basically, this new doctor isn't fully convinced either way about my diagnosis. While he has more experience with "andorgenized" women--those with PCOS-related hormonal imbalances, etc. he isn't 100% convinced that I have it based on a number of things. His recommendation: stop taking all those awful pills. HALLELUJAH! Its a pretty good thing, too, because I had already stopped about a week ahead of time because they all made me feel so awful. I'd rather be overweight than to go through life feeling horrible, nauseous, and constantly having a headache and worrying about eating every 2 hours on the dot. The results: I feel AWESOME! I do still have to eat regularly because of the insulin resistance, but overall I feel SO good! I'm sure the locally grown, hormone free foods help too! POSITIVE, in fact.

In other good news, I had only gained 1 pound. Singular. ONE. Since January. Now, that in itself is a HUGE milestone because I had basically been gaining about 5 pounds a months (I think) while TRYING to lose weight. The drawback? I'm STILL the heaviest I've ever been in my life...which makes me sad...I don't feel guilty, I feel sad.

So, this leads me to my topic: How to you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

According to all those awful websites, I'm supposed to weigh 135 pounds max. MAX? Are they crazy?! No thank you. I'd be perfectly happy in the 150s, 160s or even 175s right now, let's just be honest. I'm lucky though, because unlike millions of young women, I seek to be realistic: I love my curves, I love my figure, I love MYSELF. Who I am as a person is someone I absolutely adore. And I don't mean that to sound conceited, I just wish there were more people promoting "healthy" not "size ___" or "____lbs" as a definition of beauty. Because I firmly believe that "beauty" is just not physical. It doesn't even START with the starts with the heart. Cliches are used so often because they're TRUE. So it goes...

So, since I don't have to making taking ALL of my 14 pills a goal anymore, I created two new weekly goals and one monthly goal: drink my water and walk each day; and to lose 3 lbs by 7/15 when I go back to the doctor. I know the latter sounds very low, but you have to understand that to a potentially PCOS woman with known insulin resistance, weight loss is harder on the body than a non-PCOS/IR woman. I'm so proud of myself to be able to say that today, I drank ALL my water and walked a nice, moderately intense, route at lunch with two ladies from my office. Again, I feel GREAT. It isn't just the physical, but also the emotional. The simple fact that I know I'm doing something good for my body and my health makes me feel happy, positive and relaxed. I'm working on my elephant one bite at a time.

I think that's a lesson I need to remember as I work on reaping my harvest: one bite at a time. I'm so tempted to do a million things at once and place all these unrealistic expectations on myself: keep a 4.0, keep all my work flowing smoothly, get the promotion, exercise non-stop, eat right 100%--none of those are realistic or sustainable. One bite at a time is, so that is how I'm choosing to try and live my life from here on out.

Monday, May 17, 2010

PCOS Review - Is Chemical Exposure a Cause of PCOS?

**DISCLAIMER: the following post is NOT my own work and is posted here as a reference tool for me. For the full article (and more) visit:

Is Chemical Exposure a Cause of PCOS?

Folks, no one is talking about the elephant in the room.

That elephant is chemical pollution to which you
have been exposed.

It's scary that no one has tested all of the 80,000
chemicals in our environment to determine their
effect on your health.

No one has performed medical studies to find out
how all these 80,000 chemicals interact with each
other or how they interact inside your body, or
what their combined and cumulative effect is on
your health.

However, the medical research evidence thus far
continues to give us bad news. Here's the latest

The University of Buenos Aires in Argentina
recently completed a study of rats exposed to a
chemical called BPA (Bisphenol A). The
researchers exposed baby female rats to BPA.

When the female rats became adults, they
discovered that their BPA exposure was
associated with increased testosterone and
estrogen, and reduced progesterone.

This matches an unbalanced hormone pattern
commonly seen in women who have PCOS.

In addition, the exposed female rats had much
reduced fertility.

Also, their ovaries had large numbers of ovarian

If it can happen to a rat, can it happen to you?

Think of the rats as canaries in a coal mine. If the
canary dies, the miners are in trouble.

One recent study showed that 99% of pregnant
women had at least one urine sample with
detectable levels of BPA. That's 99 of every 100

We've discussed BPA in previous articles: Are
You Playing Genetic Russian Roulette?, Avoid
This Hidden Threat to Your Health, and Plastics
Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls.

Even though it's invisible, you can start by reducing
your exposure to BPA. Visit our site newsletter
page for details.

You can reduce your exposure to BPA and other
chemicals by cleaning up your environment, and
the food and liquids you consume.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An Empty Box Car

Today, I'm missing my Papa something fierce....its been nearly five years and it hasn't gotten any easier. All the flooding in Nashville and surrounding areas just makes my heart bleed out for all those people and the city I so intimately equate with Papa. I remember watching the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights with him, and baseball...I remember sitting with him during the Columbine tragedy and 9/11 too.... I remember going 16 years, good years, without ever eating a store bought tomato and learning you can just "cut around" the bad parts--boy we can learn a lot from that! I remember so many things he taught me, and the kind of love he shared and it makes missing him a little more meaningful...everything I needed from him, he gave me in his life. Love of country, respect, baseball, an ability to talk with strangers and a love, love, love for knowledge and conversation. Seeing Nashville in its present condition just makes me miss him because I know he would want to help, and I want to help because it would make me feel closer to him. There are so many questions left unanswered, things I never knew I wanted to know....I wish I could have more stories...I wish I could learn more about him being a "hobo" and hitch-hiking his way from Tennessee to California and back...or burying money if coffee cans...peeing off a skyscraper....throwing an alarm clock down an elevator shaft....I just miss him.

When I get where I'm going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly.

I'm gonna land beside a lion,
and run my fingers through his mane.
Or I might find out what it's like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I'm going,
there'll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I'll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
Don't cry for me down here.

I'm gonna walk with my grandaddy,
and he'll match me step for step,
and I'll tell him how I missed him,
every minute since he left.
Then I'll hug his neck.

So much pain and so much darkness,
in this world we stumble through.
All these questions, I can't answer,
so much work to do.

But when I get where I'm going,
and I see my Maker's face.
I'll stand forever in the light,
of His amazing grace.
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
there'll be only happy tears.
I will love and have no fear.
When I get where I'm going.
Yeah when I get where I'm going.

Monday, April 26, 2010

David and Goliath

And now, a note about David. My David. My David is the BEST David around. I'm sure there are plenty of them, but mine is the absolute best!

David is helping me fight my battles with PCOS (my Goliath, if you will) and the war would be lost if not for him. You see, David is one of those stark raving patient men--I know, it drives me nuts that he doesn't just go ballistic every once in a while. He gets frustrated, but not so easily and he has been so indescribably supportive over the last year.

PCOS is exhausting. Everyday I am physically and emotionally exhausted, and David, ever the trooper, doesn't complain about my complaining. He lets me sleep in, he makes my coffee in the morning, he makes sure our doggy has gone to pee and had her breakfast and he never complains. On top of all that, he puts up with the hippie grocery store, the whole wheat pasta and bread and taco shells (he even spotted those for me!)and the organic everything and he never makes a wise crack--he just loves me and supports me through my battle. That, my friends, is a huge honking deal.

For the most part, PCOS is a million little things all rolled into one, and stress is a major factor in how my body processes things and produces hormones, like insulin. So many times it seems like David has just made it his goal to make my life easier, and the best part is that I've never had to ask. Now, I don't mean to make it sound like a fairytale with me, the princess, being waited on hand and foot because we argue, we disagree, and pick at each other and nag unnecessarily, but overall, he is my rock and I wouldn't trade him for the world...or even for not having PCOS.

Having a support system, like David, is so important to the lifestyle I have to lead...or rather, that I'm trying to lead, because so many things don't make sense at first glance. Like the organics: never once has David complained or made me feel bad for switching the way we buy groceries. Or, using glass containers instead of plastics (plastic chemicals seep into your food/drink/microwave meal and add to the hormonal issues--not just in PCOS--do some research on BPA!). It isn't that he necessarily understands it all, or that he even wants to know it all, but the sheer fact that he knows its important to me, makes it important to him and that simple way of thinking makes a world of difference in my health and our relationship. He doesn't complain when I'm crying for no reason, or that he has to scoop my hairballs out of the shower, or that sometimes I just NEED something sweet--he'll take me to all three grocery stores AND wal-mart until my need is met.

Sometimes, when I'm down in the dumps about this giant called PCOS, or my job, or school, or bills, or how in the world am I ever going to _________ (whatever that day's major task is) he just lets me know that it is all going to be alright, and that in good times and bad, sickness or health--he's there. That's just a really great feeling.

Natural means nothing!

So, how many of you have ever eaten a store-bought tomato and thought, "man! this is SO much better than the tomatoes I bought from the little old man on the corner selling produce out of his truck!" ???? ....Cricket, cricket....yeah, me either. So, I started buying all/most of my produce locally grown. This means my food comes from places I can actually drive to, volunteer on, or call--and they're all made up of real people who I could meet face-to-face at anytime over the course of my day-to-day life. There are tons of "little old men" selling the freshest, healthiest, best foods my Georgia-grown dollar can buy, and I am all for supporting the little guy and the local economy!(Especially with the selfish motivation of looking and feeling better!)

See, the thing with PCOS is that its a hormone disorder....remember the insulin resistance? Yeah, that is made worse by eating genetically altered or modified foods. Now, its important to note that I did NOT want to jump on any organic, going-green propaganda bandwagon....this came down to an "I have to do this" not an "I think its cool to do this" thing. I do NOT think its cool that I have to pay more money to buy healthy, unaltered foods. Not cool at all. Especially working for the State! My salary barely affords the luxuries of Ramen noodles much less "grass fed beef"....I don't know how the people with kids do it! State workers aren't even eligible for food stamps!

Anyway, I digress. Here are the 12 Commandments of Organic Eating:
1. Meats: beef, chicken, pork-- these are all animals that are mass produced, fed grains, injectibles, hormones, etc. Animals, by default, also have a pancreas...which, by default produces insulin...the insulin then gets passed onto ME when I eat them. The hormones/injectibles add to the "junk" that gets passed on and because their diet was unnatural (cows aren't bred to digest grains, but rather grass) it basically helps in making me sicker. Same with all the other meats. It doesn't matter (for me) if I get it grilled, boiled, steamed or fried: the non-organic meats have the same effect on me no matter how they're prepared.
2. Dairy/eggs: this sort of goes along with the meat scenario. Well, actually they're FACTS, but if you can only afford a little bit of organic it should ALWAYS be meat and dairy. Simply changing these two things in the last week has made me feel oodles better!
3. Strawberries, raspberries, cherries
4. Apples & Pears
5. Tomatoes
6. Spinach & Greens
7. Coffee (yeah right, that junk is like $13/lb!)
8. Potatoes
9. Peaches, nectarines, etc.
10. Grapes
11. Celery (oops! I forgot that was on the list)
12. Peppers

Numbers 3-12 are mostly on this list because of the pesticides associated with growing "pretty" crops, however fruits and veggies DO get injected with hormones too. One easy way to tell with produce is by looking at the PLU codes. Four-digit code, 4011 for example, is a conventionally grown fruit/veggie. This means it isn't injected, but isn't organic...its "standard." A 5-digit PLU beginning with a "9" like 94011, means the food is Certified Organic. Anything else, you don't want to eat. Some start with 8, that means its been genetically modified. Stick with either the 4-digit or the 5-digit beginning with 9!

Another grocery shopping modification is no High Fructose Corn Syrup. I don't care what those commercials say about "it comes from corn....its completely natural..." that's a load of grain-fed bullsh*t, if you ask me and I want no part of it! Natural means nothing. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a clear and colorless liquid, which is synthetically and chemically derived from corn. It is commonly used as a sweetener in many processed foods because it’s cheaper and sweeter than sugar. HFCS is everywhere. It’s even in products that you wouldn’t expect it to be in. HFCS is comprised of two simple sugars: fructose and glucose. HFCS is very different than table sugar.

So, what’s the difference between table sugar and HFCS? In HFCS, the glucose and fructose are unbonded, resulting in “free” sugars. Table sugar on the other hand is a disaccharide with a bond between its glucose and fructose.

In other words, HFCS is not natural. It’s not something that you could ever make at home. HFCS takes dozens of mechanical and chemical processes to produce. If I can't make it, I don't want to eat it....and not being able to "make" it has nothing to do with not knowing the recipe! I don't have a bunch of over-paid scientists who are trying to convince the already over-weight Americans that HFCS is a-okay! It isn't. Its awful. And, PCOS research shows that HFCS--even in moderation--is a key component to causing PCOS and insulin resistance. Again, natural means nothing.

Keep in mind that I'm not trying to preach here, or force any kind of anything down anyone's throat. I am, however, writing all of this out as a reminder to myself of why in the world I am shopping at a tiny, kind of smelly, hippie grocery store and how great its going to feel in a few months when all this "crap" and unhealthy hormones are out of me. The old saying "you are what you eat" is exactly true!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Planting a Seed

The title of my blog, "Reaping My Harvest", comes from Galatians 6:9 which basically says "Keep on doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up." I got this from the Salvation Army. I wish I could say I was diligent enough to have originally found it in one of the eight Bibles I own, but I didn't; I was making a donation to the Salvation Army and there it was on their website. Now I use it as my daily reminder to do the best I can, with what I have, right now, because I know my hard work will be rewarded, even if its only in my own satisfaction of a job well done.

To make a short story long, I have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which ironically enough have very little to do with my ovaries, but way more to do my blood sugar, insulin levels, and overall health--especially things I would have never thought to be related. My specific variety of PCOS comes with high insulin resistance (IR), which basically means my body produces more insulin than it uses, and doesn't even use what it produces efficiently enough, so it tricks itself into thinking "hey, I need more!" so it continues to produce more and more insulin which causes, among other things, weight gain, acne, hair loss and potentially infertility which of course then leads to exhaustion, depression, anxiety--all things that make the PCOS worse. The majority of this blog will be PCOS related, not because I'm complaining about it, but because I have a good deal of friends and family who know I have this "P-something" and don't really understand it but want to.

In the beginning, my posts will likely be filled with lots of background, unreferenced information, because this blogging is a type of stress-management for me--another key factor in controlling my PCOS. I've always liked to write, and now thanks to the interwebz, I can write and if anyone wants to read it, they can.

So, back to the whole "harvest" thing. I've been doing a lot of reading and research lately, which is dangerous because reading makes people think...and read even MORE! I recently discovered that all the hormones, pesticides and general "crap" the FDA allows to be put in our foods (not just meat either!) are jacking with my hormones even more than the PCOS. So, I have decided to start buying as much of mine (and David's) food as locally, organically, naturally grown as possible and honestly, just knowing that I am making that one change has helped my emotional status a ton!

Now, I already knew that the standard "exercise, eat right, drink water" blah blah blah was the way to help my PCOS along with the twelve--yes twelve--pills I take (or try to take) everyday, BUT recently my doctor informed me that exercise and lifestyle was something like 70% more effective than the God awful metformin I take (which has lovely side effects like b-12 deficiency, hair loss, headaches, perpetual nausea, 'stomach upsets' and smells like rotten fish). So, I thought I would give it a try.

Now, we all know that for crops to grow you have to plant seeds and wait. Yes, there are other steps and TLC, but basically you plant the seeds ans wait. That is exactly what I have been doing: plating my seeds (being as healthy as I thought I could be, taking my pills, exercising occasionally) and waiting. Things got worse. My IR increased, making me feel worse, really messing with my self esteem and making me stress out--making EVERYTHING worse. So, what was I missing? The hard work.

Planting is hard work. Whether it is a hobby, a career or a way to feed your family: planting is not just "plant and wait." You have to work the soil, watch the seasons, study moon phases (?), remove weeds, thin out seedlings, water often--but not too much, and do it every single day. That is HARD work. I know because I watched my Papa do it every season for as long as I can remember until he passed away, but after ALL that work, everyday, we had bushels of every kind of vegetable you can imagine and boy were they delicious! That was his harvest. His hard work paid off in the meals of his family, neighbors, and even strangers. So now I know this is what I have to do: work hard to reap my harvest.

My harvest is my health and Emerson said "the first wealth is health" and I'm obliged to believe he's right. So, this is my first step in working towards my harvest. Starting right now! Not "planning" to start on xx/xx/20xx, right now. Last week I set some goals for myself like waking up on time, walking everyday, buying organically, and taking my pills everyday. I'm happy to honestly report that I did a pretty good job on those, but I didn't walk everyday--and I don't have a good reason as to why not. BUT, I forgive myself and I'm working towards GOALS, not missions, I didn't fail. I just have to learn how to make time for what is really important for me. So, setting goals, working hard, staying consistent and educated--are all part of my planting so I can reap my harvest.

The most exciting goal I achieved was discovering This is where I'm going to buy as much of my foodstuffs as possible and I love it! Totally my kind of thing, even though I'm hesitant because I don't want people to think that I'm jumping on any kind of band wagon: I'm jumping on the TRUTH! This stuff is so much better for you, and tastier, and costs about the same as in a grocery store, but keeps the profits in the Athens area, supports local farmers and benefits not only me, but them as well. I have NEVER met the person who makes the Publix milk, nor do I know the addresses of the farms from which Publix gets their greens, eggs, beef, dog treats, bacon--nothing! Locally Grown has food from growers in cities I've either actually been to or could be in within a half-hour or so from my home. That is freaking awesome!

Now, I know this first post has been long winded, but I wanted to get some of what has been on my mind, off my chest. I hope anyone who reads this enjoys learning more about PCOS and my journey with it. I'm happy to talk more or answer questions if anyone wants to know more. Trust me, with all the doctors I've seen trying to figure this thing out, I'm no longer embarrassed to talk about ANYTHING!

Remember, keep on doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. This is my way of not giving up!