I have it… and 1 in 5 of you will have it too

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder affecting Australian women.  1 in 5 women have it but a shocking 70% of women have no idea.

PCOS can cause acne, weight gain and excessive body hair.  Most women are too embarassed about seeing a doctor about any of these conditions so they are left untreated.  PCOS also carries an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer and it also a leading cause of infertility.

Unfortunately, when women do end up going to the doctor, their symptoms are treated individually rather than investigating the underlying problem.  Personally, I went to the doctor several times spanning over a few years trying to get to the bottom of my weight problem.  Instead of looking into any possible hormonal issues I was advised to try Xenical (a horrible weight loss drug), exercise more and eat less.  Eventually a doctor advised I see a nutritionist and it was only then that the nutritionist suggested I get tested for PCOS.

PCOS is a confusing syndrome.  Not all sufferers have cysts on their ovaries and some women who do have cysts do not have PCOS.  In Australia you must have at least 2 of the following to be diagnosed with PCOS:

1. Infrequent or absent periods

2. High blood levels of male hormones or visible signs of facial hair, acne and male pattern balding

3. Ovarian cysts which show up on an ultrasound

If you have any of the above it is important that you see a doctor as they can offer you treatment which will in turn lead to a better quality of life and prevention of future diseases.

A few common theories around what causes PCOS are insulin resistance (which I have a mild case of) and high levels of male hormones.  Importantly, not all women who have PCOS have insulin resistance nor do they all have high levels of male hormones.  Another cause could possibly be genetics.

Sadly, 50% of PCOS sufferers are overweight or obese.  Overweight PCOS women rather than thinner PCOS women are at a greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndromes.  Therefore it is especially important to reduce body weight (hence my my own weight loss journey!).

Evidence has been reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine that if a women sheds fat (in particular around her middle) she significantly lowers her insulin resistance and therefore may start ovulating as well.  Losing just 5% of total body weight decreases insulin and testosterone levels and can improve excess hair and acne.  Also it will give fertility a mighty boost.

It’s not easy though.  Many PCOS women report that after dieting solidly and working out regularly they lost minimal weight in comparison to what their non-PCOS counterparts would lose.   This rings true with me as well as according to the diet and exercise regime I follow I should be losing a lot more weight at a much quicker pace.   This is because insulin promotes fat storage in the body.  Unfortunately, experts say that there isn’t enough evidence that PCOS makes losing weight harder but I would like to invite them to live a day in my shoes and see what they think after that! There has been recent evidence though that fat tissue (which secretes hormones that influence metabolism and appetite) acts differently in PCOS women regardless of their weight.  Hopefully this will lead to further discoveries in this area.

After many failed weight loss attempts I finally signed up with a good trainer who is knowledgeable in the field of womens health.  She suggested I stop taking the pill.  This seemed to be a good first step as slowly the weight started to shift.  It’s not at a fast pace but I believe the key to keeping weight off for good is to do it slowly.

PCOS is extremely frustrating no matter what your symptoms are – infertility, weight, acne or excess hair – however with the right diet (low GI, fresh and whole foods), medical support and adequate exercise you could reveal the key to happier and more fulfilling life.

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BDazzled Update #1

Day 1, 3 applications in, of my teeth whitening experience.

This morning I didn’t drool as much as last night however tonight was a different story! I had to keep a mug nearby to catch the drool! Ew. A mug of drool. You wouldn’t want to confuse THAT with water!

I do think my teeth are a little brighter already (pic below). They do feel a little sensitive tonight though but it’s not a painful sensation, just a slight throb. Might start using sensitive toothpaste during this process!

Ahhh, shine my pretties! Whiten and gleam, my little ivory jewels! Soon you will shine like pearls!

Lemon pepper spiced pork with cheesy aoili pasta

This is one of those meals where you come home and think, “What am I going to make with this stuff that’s sitting idly in my fridge?”. I had some pork and salad ready to go but I always like to ensure a balanced meal with a serving of good carbs.

I added aoili to my mash the other week so thought it might go well with pasta too! And I was right! I used Paul Newmans Own aoili but you could make your own if you’re feeling adventurous (and have time!).

Ingredients

Pork fillet
Lemon pepper seasoning
Garlic
Chilli powder
Salt and pepper
1 Cup of cooked pasta (I used rigatoni but I think little spirals or penne would be best)
Tablespoon of aoili
1/4 cup of grated light tasty cheese
Parsley (fresh is best but I used a little dried parsley)

Season the pork with a little lemon pepper seasoning, a pinch of chilli powder, salt and pepper and a little grated garlic. Cook for approx 3 – 4 minutes a side in a lightly greased pan.

Mix the aoili, cheese and parsley in with the cooked pasta until combined well and cheese is melted.

Serve with salad or vegetables. Voilà!

BDazzled? I hope I'm dazzled!

I’m obsessed with white teeth. I admire them on friends, I admire them on TV and magazines and then I look at my own beige-ish coloured teeth and feel less than dazzled. I feel undazzled. I feel I cannot be the glowing picture of health that I so want to be with such undazzling teeth. Who would you listen to for health and fitness advice? The girl with gleaming pearly whites or the girl with the stained yellow teeth? Yeah, I thought so.

So when the opportunity to purchase the BDazzled teeth whitening system at half price came up, I lept at it eagerly. No this wasn’t a second hand deal (ew), it was from a reputable site called ozsale.com.au. Visit at your own peril, it’s addictive. You have been warned.

My kit finally arrived in the post today (late!) and I was so excited to get it home and try it out. I watched the YouTube clip, I read the booklet and I scoured the site. I was ready. Oh how I was ready. I would have done it right there in the office but decided that was a little too weird. Even for me.

It came in a neat little purple zipper case with 3 normal teeth whitening tubes, one booster tube, teeth moulds, a little plastic case for the teeth moulds, syringe tips, an instructional DVD and booklets.

The instructions state that you must dunk the teeth moulds in boiling water first, insert into the mouth and then use sucking motions to mould the guard to your teeth. This was a little difficult at first because of my notoriously small mouth (yes yes I’m fully aware that I’m a verbal big mouth at times! Don’t even try to crack that one!) but I soon got a pretty good mould of my teeth and was ready for the next step.

Now, for the first 2 days you are supposed to use a booster which is an express whitening tube to prepare for the teeth whitening process. You then move on to the normal treatment tubes. So, as directed, I squeezed a small amount into the upper and lower teeth moulds and inserted them into my mouth. Immediately I start salivating like a rabid dog but apparently this is normal for the first few days. Just don’t leave the house with it on as you may be shot with a tranquilizer dart.

The instructions say that you complete this process for 30 mins, twice a day for 2 – 3 weeks.

I take the mould out when the 30 minutes is up and a bucket load of saliva expells from my mouth. I do really hope that settles down because it is totally gross y’all.

I see a slight difference after the first go, nothing to write home about (“Dear Mother and Father, I did not notice much of a change in my first go at teeth whitening. Just thought you should know. Love always, your daughter.” No. This is exactly what you would NOT do) but I am excited to see what happens over the next few days.

I’ve added below a pic of my before teeth (with added nostrils).

I’ll keep the blog updated as I notice changes!

Healthy chicken parmigiana

Here’s a simple and healthy version of chicken parmigiana that I am sure you will love!

Ingredients:

Chicken breast, trimmed of sinew and excess meat
Spinach (fresh, frozen or baby)
Grated light tasty cheese
Tinned tomatoes, drained and rinsed
Italian dried herbs (or whatever you like – fresh parsley or oregano would be nice!)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees (190 fan forced).

Make a pocket in the chicken breast and hollow out with a sharp knife. Stuff the chicken with a few spoonfuls of spinach and cheese. Seal the pocket shut with a couple of toothpicks.

Tear off a square of aluminium foil. Place the chicken on the foil and top with a couple of spoonfuls of tomato. Sprinkle herbs on top. Fold the foil over and seal the edges by rolling them.

Place in oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

You could even add olives, capers and artichokes! Just place them on top of the tomatoes before sealing the foil.

Serve with vegetables or salad or slice the chicken and serve on top of rice or pasta.

Enjoy!

Jeepers, creepers! Where'd you get them peepers?

I don’t know about you but I am constantly on the lookout for how I can get clearer and brighter eyes. With my work consisting of being on the computer all day I find my eyes are tired and look dull when I want them to look vibrant and bright!

The eyes are a great indicator of overall health and vitality and, as the old adage goes, they are the window to the soul.  So I set out to investigate ways I can make my soul look better!

Here’s what my thorough research yielded [insert Law & Order sound here]:

Stress, overwork, worry and anxiety can put a strain on the eyes, their muscles and their nerves leading to dull looking eyes.  You can cause physical strain to the eye when you read in bad light, spend prolonged periods of time on the computer or watching too much TV (there is a ‘too much’ TV?  Say it isn’t so!).  It is important to perform eye exercises daily to loosen the strained and contracted muscles around the eyes.

Excessive intake of sugar, protein and starch can also cause dull eyes so it is important to keep an eye (boom tish!) on your intake of these.  Natural, uncooked foods are the best type of diet for the eyes.  Include plenty of fresh fruit like oranges, apples, grapes, peaches, papaya and pomegranate and lots of green vegetables like lettuce, cabbage and spinach.  Root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions and beetroot also are great for the eyes and nuts (portion controlled for those trying to lose weight), dried fruits and dairy products will keep your peepers poppin’.

Guess what you shouldn’t have too much of if you want pretty peepers?  You guessed it – processed, sugary, sweet foods such as cakes, pastries, white sugar and jams.  Also, eliminate caffeine, alcohol and recreational drugs for the brightest of eyes.  Vitamin A is the most essential vitamin for they eyes.  You can find it in cod liver oil, whole milk, butter, egg yolk, pumpkin, carrots, green leafies, tomatoes, mango, papaya, orange and melon.

A female adult should have at least 2,310 (IU) of vitamin A daily. People who use their eyes for long hours in front of the computer or reading require more of this vitamin.  You are probably not getting enough vitamin A if you have dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea, dry hair and skin or night blindness.  Also, if you have dry, itchy eyes that tire easily are normally a warning that you may be vitamin A deficient.

See here to find out how to get more vitamin A in your diet: http://www.ehow.com/how_5111405_enough-vitamin.html

Natural relief for the eyes

  • Dampen a tea bag and place it in the freezer for a couple of minutes then place on the eyes for instant relief or place a spoon in the freezer for a few minutes and place the bowl of the spoon on the eye for the same effect
  • Bath the eyes in lightly salted warm water can help to brighten them and relieve puffiness
  • Adequate sleep (at least 7 hours) will ensure your eyes are not puffy or bloodshot and will keep nasty dark circles at bay