National Infertility Awareness Week

NIAW-CMYK

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, I have been thinking all week about how to write about this and to start this conversation. As a woman who has been recently diagnosed with PCOS, I have not yet dealt with infertility. I was blessed to have had my daughter before I developed PCOS, however, my doctor has told me that conceiving a second child will be difficult, if not impossible, but she did not say it was completely out of the question.With a lifestyle change of diet and exercise we could have a chance. Of course, my husband and I are holding onto hope that we will be able to conceive another child.

Since my diagnoses, the possibility of being infertile has not been something that I have really opened up and talked about. I guess, since my husband and I are not actively trying for another baby, and have not been given the definitive answer of “you are not going to able to conceive a child”, I feel like am not able to have a complete understanding of this devastating situation. I will be honest, I am scared. I am scared of the hurt. I am scared of the loss. I am scared of the toll this could take on my family.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The theme for this years NIAW is “You are not alone”. I take solace in this statement and I hope every couple who has dealt with infertility, or who will one day come to it, will feel some sort of comfort in knowing that they are not alone. In a situation that feels so hopeless I pray that these couples and families find hope and comfort in the communities that they are a part of and know that God has a time and a plan for everyone and everything.

infertility awareness week

“You are not alone”, to me this theme not only sends a resounding message of hope and comfort, but also one of courage. Courage to speak out and tell your story of infertility. Sharing you story is the first step to finding and developing the support system that will help you through dark times.

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association has these points for the basis of this years theme:

  • 1 in 8 couples will deal with or have dealt with infertility, you are not alone.
  • Do not let infertility leave you feeling isolated.
  • You are not alone on this journey, find a support group in your area.
  • No one with infertility should walk alone.

To find out more about infertility, and National Infertility Awareness Week, please visit http://www.resolve.org/

 

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Healthy Desserts

Healthy Desserts

Alright, it is time for my weekly Wednesday round up! This is something I would like to start doing every Wednesday to share with you guys what I have found around the blogisphere and pinterest. Here is a little secret… I am on Pinterest All. The. TIME!
I love looking at recipes, DIY projects, stuff for my 18 month old to make out of toilet paper roles,and much more. I eat it up! So, I figured I could share with you my top 5 pins for the week.

Oh and you can always pin with me by following me here.

This week I have decided to go with some of my favorite dessert pins. I have been fighting my sweet tooth all week, and drooling over these pins is helping me get through it!

First up we have Flourless Fudgey Peanut Butter Brownies from Creme De La Crumb.
These Brownies look so freaking amazing, I think I am going to make a batch this weekend! I mean, peanut butter AND chocolate, how can it get any better? Just look at them!
flourless-chocolate-peanut-butter-brownies-9
All yummy chocolate peanut butter goodness and no yucky gluten!
You can find the recipe HERE.

Next up we have Apple cinnamon Quinoa Bites from And They Cooked Happily Ever After. (Which is just the cutest name for a blog BTW!) I recently wrote a post about a few super foods for women who have PCOS and cinnamon was one of them. Well, this recipe includes cinnamon and the great wonder food, qunioa which is mega healthy and packed with protein. Plus they look like golden perfection!
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You can find the recipe HERE.

On to Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies from Amys Healthy Baking. I love oatmeal cookies. They bring me back to childhood! Remember the little Debbie oatmeal cookies with the cream filling? So yummy, but so not healthy! Well these little babies are made with fresh oats, gluten free flour and fresh grated carrots, YUM!
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You can find this recipe HERE.

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast, and on Saturday mornings I like to get up and cook breakfast for the hubster, our baby girl, and myself. I think this Saturday I will be making this French Toast recipe from Blonde with Bangs.  This Delish Breakfast dish is only 240 calories and uses egg whites, almond milk, and cinnamon (super food, ya’ll!) to keep it healthy!
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Get this recipe HERE.

And Finally, we come to the Nutella Energy Bites from Gimme Some Oven. I am sure I probably don’t need to explain to you my love and appreciation for that hazelnut delightfulness that is Nutella. In short it is A-Freaking-Mazing! Here, Gimme some oven combines Nutella, coconut, Chia seeds (another super food), with a few more healthy ingredients to make a yummy little bite that packs a healthy energy punch!

Nutella-Energy-Bites-1

You can find this recipe HERE.

Well there you have it. My top 5 healthy dessert Pins for this week. I encourage you to take a look at all of these recipes, and let me know if you try any of them!

Don’t forget, you can find these and more great pins when you Follow me on Pinterest.

Ranch on Everything!

Homemade Clean Ranch Dessing

 

The title of this post says it all, I freaking love ranch dressing! I always wished that I lived in that magical land that they show in the hidden valley commercials, where there is a babbling brook of ranch dressing flowing throw this Utopian society where you dip all your foods in this magical zesty goodness. I want to find this hidden valley, take me to the valley!

Moving on, since the beginning of my PCOS/Clean eating journey I have realized that although tasty, ranch dressing is not the best condiment for me. It is high in calories, as well as fat, and not the good fat. There are all sorts of weird ingredients in this stuff that I have never heard of and can’t even begin to pronounce. Take a look at this label found on the hidden valley webpage.

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If you can’t zoom in on that, let me just tell you; Meltodextrin, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), “Artificial Flavors”, and good ol’ Carboxymethycellulose are not things you want in your body! (Side note, my laptop does not recognize these words, when I click on them to find the correct spelling it reads “detrimental”, I think that says it all!)

Looking at all that I decided I NEEDED to find an alternative, because a life without ranch is a life I don’t want to know. 🙂

             Homemade ranch dressing           homemade ranch dressing

I started with a single serving cup of chobani greek yogurt and added some almond milk to thin it out. I whipped that together and then looked to my herbs and spices to make it yummy.

   Homemade ranch dressing  homemade ranch dressing   homemade ranch

I chose my spices and dumped them in the yogurt and almond milk mixture,and whipped it all up! I then poured the mixture into a mason jar and shook it like a Polaroid picture!

homemade ranch dressing

Once the mixture was well shaken, I let it refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Then I cut up some veggies and enjoyed! Now, you need to know that although this tastes yummy and is somewhat close to what ranch tastes like, it will not fool anyone. Food corporations add things like MSG to our food to make it taste better, we need to retrain ourselves to like what is naturally good for us. Even though this doesn’t taste like hidden valley, I know that I am not putting harmful chemicals in mine or my families bodies and that is pretty awesome!

Homemade Clean Ranch Dressing:

5.3 OZ Greek yogurt (One Single serving cup)
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 TSP. Salt
1/4 TSP Pepper
1/2 TSP Dill Weed
1/2 TSP Parsley
1 1/2 TSP Onion Powder
1/2 TSP Garlic Powder
1/4 TSP Thyme

*Note* You can adjust any of these spices and herbs to your taste! Enjoy and let me know what you think!

SUPER FOOD!

When you have PCOS it is hard to know what foods are helping you and what foods are hurting you. In general, I have found it’s best to go with a low gluten, low glycemic diet. I also make sure I don’t get to crazy with the dairy products.

When I was first diagnosed with PCOS in January I took to the internet to see if I could find a few natural ways to help alleviate some of the symptoms that come with living with PCOS, such as hormone imbalance, bloating, vitamin deficiencies, high glycemic levels, ect..I found several informational sites that gave me some great information on what to eat and what to stay away from. The lists varied here and there but I have found some commonalities and would like to share them with you in hopes that they may help you in your day – to – day battle with PCOS.

  • Chia Seeds-  I am going to start with my favorite super food, Chia seeds. These little suckers are teeny tiny but pack a HUGE punch!  They contain 20% more protein than any other seed or grain and contain a very sizable amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to lower testosterone levels, which is something that we “cysters” need help with. They are a great source of Iron and calcium and help prolong hydration to help keep you fuller longer. No wonder “Chia” is actually a Mayan term for “strength”! Sprinkle these babies in a smoothie, over yogurt, or drop them straight into your water bottle.
  • Coconut Oil – If you have not yet jumped on the coconut oil band wagon…you need too! Coconut oil has so many great uses, that I literally would have to write another post to talk about all of them. In a nut shell, coconut oil has been proven to help regulate thyroid function, assists in aiding insulin resistance, promotes weight loss, and contains “good fats” your body needs. You can take 1 tbs of coconut oil a few times a day or use it in your cooking to saute veggies, or drop some in you favorite smoothie!
  • Cinnamon- I don’t know about you, but I love fall! One reason I love it, is because of all the cinnamon flavored food items I get to eat! Well, if you have PCOS you may want to consider cooking with cinnamon all year round. Cinnamon has been proven to lower glucose and cholesterol levels. It helps reduce insulin resistance and may help boost fertility. Also, in one study I read about, women with PCOS who took a cinnamon supplement daily, had more than twice the number of cycles than women who did not take the supplement in a 6 month period. Sprinkle this delish seasoning on your favorite gluten free toast or go to your local vitamin shop and look for a cinnamon supplement.
  • Sweet Potatoes-  Sweet potatoes are so yummy, and they are actually pretty good for you! Sweet potatoes help lower your glycemic index and are very high in B6 vitamins. B6 vitamins can help reduce symptoms of depression and increase energy levels, both of which PCOS women have trouble with. They also contain quite a bit of vitamin D, which also plays a vital role in energy and mood levels. You can pop one of these in the oven or microwave and top with you favorite healthy spread, maybe skip the brown sugar. You can also make a mash or you use them in your pancake mix! ** Just a PSA: BEWARE OF THE RESTAURANT SWEET POTATO FRY! These tasty little fries are usually fried in fat and oil which counter acts all the good things they contain. Make your own at home in the oven with some sea salt and coconut oil!
  • Avocado- I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE avocados! Now, some of you may be a little concerned about the fat contents in avocados, and if you are, I am proud of you for being concerned. However, you are wrong. Yes, avocados contain a very high amount of fat, but it is the “good” kind of fat that our bodies need. It is called “monounsaturated” fat and it can help lower your cholesterol and keep your hormone levels in check. They also are a great source of Vitamin E! Mash some avocados with lime juice, cilantro and tomatoes for fresh guacamole. You can slice them up and use them in a yummy egg scramble for breakfast, or just cut one open and drizzle some sriracha on that beast and go to town!

There you have it. My top 5  SUPER FOODS for managing PCOS. These are also great for anyone in general, even if you aren’t technically a “cyster”. Our bodies are meant to last for a long time, so we need to take care of them as best we can!

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Just a quick pick me up!

pcos inspiration

I am working on an informational article for this blog at the moment that will go up tomorrow. I am researching some PCOS super foods that are useful in balancing hormones. Lots of research and notebook paper, I feel like I am in high school again!

This morning, I thought I would take a quick break to re focus myself. I really forgot how much work research can be! I wanted to remind myself of the hope that needs to drive every post I make. Hope that one day maybe PCOS will not be a source of sadness and worry, but merely an obstacle that can be quickly conquered by our medical professionals.

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This is one of my favorite quotes that I try to look at everyday. It is a reminder that every great story has an obstacle that has  to be overcome, and in all the great stories they do with such strength and valor. I hope that today you are reminded that your struggle is just part of a story that will turn into something tremendous!

pcos

Flower Power

Dyed coffee filter flower

 

YAY! YAY! YAY! It’s my first DIY crafting blog post, and I am super pumped about it!
For this post, in honor of spring, I have chosen one of my most favorite crafts – coffee filter flowers!

Dyed coffee filter flowers

These flowers are beautiful and extremely easy to make, plus they last a really long time! I am the kind of person who loves to have fresh flowers everywhere around the house, but these particular flowers are perfect for making wreathes and garlands. You could make a pink flower garland for a baby shower, or dye a few different colors for a lovely spring center piece. The possibilities are endless!

 

Alright, let’s get started. First, you will need some supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Coffee Filters
  • Floral tape
  • Floral Green Wire

For Dye:

  • Food Coloring
  • Plastic Container

Coffee filter flower supplies

 

Once you have your supplies, if you want to dye your flowers you will need to do that first. For the wreath pictured above I used yellow and red food dye. You will need to set aside 4 filters for each flower. Take your containers and add a little water. Just enough to cover one filter. Then add 2 – 3 drops of food coloring of your choice. Feel free to let your creativity flow with this part! Mix colors, or dip the tips in one color and the end in another. Don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you want solid colored flowers take 2 of the 4 filters and fully submerge them in the colored water for just a few seconds, then set them out to dry. I recommend adding another drop or two of color to the water to do the remaining filters for your flower. I found it gives the flower more depth if the inside filters are a little darker than the outside.

Coffee filter flowers

 

Once your filters are completely dry, take your 4 filters and fold them in half, then over, and then over again. It should look like this:

coffee filter flower

Then you will need to cut 3 different patterns around the edges. The first will be a fringe pattern, like this: Coffee filter flower

 

Then a zig-zag pattern, and finally, a scalloped pattern. You should have 3 folded filters that look like this:

coffee filter flowers

 

For the 4th filter do a second scalloped pattern. Then snip the ends of the triangle off the bottom of the folded filters to make a tiny little hole in the middle. Now, you will need your floral wire. I cut about 9 inches off the spool and twist the end around a pencil to make a small coil at the end. Set that aside and layer you filters, one on top the other in this order : two scalloped, one zig-zag, then the one fringe. The holes should be lined up and you can just stick the little coil through the middle of your filters.

coffee filter flower

 

Then fold your flower in half around the wire, and then over just like you did before.

IMG_1102edit coffee filter flowers

Now take your your “stem” and wrap it a few times around the bottom of your flower.

coffee filter flower

Grab your floral tape and cut a piece twice as long as your stem. (It is easier to cut this piece in half because the tape gets sticky and a little funky to handle.) Stretch the tape to activate the adhesive then start at the top of your coil and wrap tightly all the way down and then back up the stem. Be sure to wrap a little extra around the base of your flower to keep it secure.

coffee filter flower

Voila!

Now, you can put this lovely little flower in a vase, or make a few more and use the wire stem to attach it to a wreath.

coffee filter flower

I went to michaels and purchased a grape vine wreath and simply wrapped the wire stem around the vines and stuck some fake leaves in there to add some green. I did not have to glue the flowers because the wire keeps the flowers attached really well, which is great in case I want to use the wreath for something else. I love options!

coffee filter flower wreath

I really hope this inspired your creativity, and lightened up your day a little. I have found that in my battle with PCOS, it helps to take myself out of the PCOS world and do something creative and fun.

Have a wonderful day and happy crafting!

Gluten Free Banana Zucchini Bread

Gluten Free Banana Zucchini Bread

If you know me, you know that I have a horrible sweet tooth! This is something that makes eating clean and healthy a little tricky. I also love anything that has a cake like consistency, whether it is actual cake or a dense moist bread, does not matter to me. This also presents a problem with the big bad Gluten monster.

This weekend I discovered brown rice flour and quinoa flour, both of which are gluten free! I made some qunioa tortillas this weekend and they were pretty good. I will be making a post with that recipe soon, but I am still perfecting the recipe. Also, quinoa flour is hella expensive, so I am going to get out my trusty food processor and see if I can make some myself. I will let ya’ll know how that goes! (Yes, I said ya’ll. I am from the south so bless my heart, I will not apologize! 🙂 )

Gluten free banana zucchini bread

So, Monday I wanted something sweet and fluffy for breakfast. I got out an old recipe for zucchini bread. The original recipe is not gluten free so I thought, “why not use my new brown rice flour?”. So I replaced the flour it called for with brown rice flower, and decided to mash in my last banana in the fruit basket we keep on the counter to make it more “breakfasty”. I also replaced the Olive oil with coconut oil and apple sauce. Olive oil is a not so friendly food for those of us with PCOS, so try to branch out to other oils. Coconut is my go to, but grapeseed is also great!

gluten free banana bread

I’ll be honest with you, I was worried that it would turn out kind of funky, because I have not worked with brown rice flour before. I was pleasantly surprised! This bread was moist, fluffy and absolutely delicious! I cut a slice right from the oven, with steam rising up, and dropped a dollop of earth balance spread on top. It was so yummy, I can not even put it into words! The absolute best part is that my 18 month old also ate a whole piece! She is the most picky eater I have ever met, so I know its good if she gobbles it up. Also, hidden veggies! That makes me one happy mama. 🙂

gluten free banana bread

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Makes sure you come back next Wednesday for a new clean, PCOS friendly recipe! I will also start posting DIY projects and informational articles on PCOS every Monday! Have a great day!

Gluten Free Banana Zucchini Bread

1 Large ripe banana
1 Large to medium sized zucchini

1 Cup Brown sugar
1/4 Cup  Coconut oil (Melted)
1/3 Cup Applesauce
2 Large eggs
1 1/2 TSP Pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 Cup Brown rice flour
1/2 TSP Baking powder
1/2 TSP Baking Soda
1 TSP Cinnamon
1/2 TSP Nutmeg
1/2 TSP Dry Ginger
1/4 TSP Salt

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8 1/21 -4 1/2 meatloaf pan*, set aside.
In a large bowl, mash your banana and grate your zucchini. Then add in your brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
Slowly, while stirring add the flour, then the rest of the ingredients.
Pour into greased pan and set in the oven. Cook for about 45 min. to an hour. When the top is a nice golden brown, it is done.

Slice and top with butter or drizzle with honey and enjoy!

* You can also use this recipe for muffins. You just have to cut your cooking time to 20-30 minutes.