It’s Been Awhile…

Yep… I dropped off the face of the blogging world but I am currently trying to make a comeback! 

For anyone who has read my last post Thailand was amazing…. that type of paradise that you only read about but there’s hot lady boys and ping pong shows. If you haven’t been there go, seriously go there now it’s amazing.Thailand however was not good for my diet.. I was incredibly sick and bloated while I was over there. I think the timezone stuffed with my body clock and nothing ever really sorted itself out. So while I was halfway across the world I vowed to go and see a nutritionist when I got home and that is exactly what I did. 

I went and saw a lovely lady in Auckland who is a dietitian at Mission Nutrition. She has put me on a low FODmap diet which has worked wonders. I don’t eat any fruit (apart from berries) and some vegetables are out of bounds BUT it is working. I haven’t seen my stomach this flat and non-bloated in months. For those of you who are slightly unsure what a fodmap is, it’s (crudely speaking) a diet that is low in all kinds of sugars. The letters FOD stand for short chained carbs that are found in a lot of common foods which are believed to cause excess gas and liquid in the intestines so by omitting these foods it is supposed to help. 

All said and done it’s still difficult (whinge I know) but having to bring your own meal to a restaurant is something that I find extremely awkward. I’m sure that this will get easier over time and I’ll feel less embarrassed about it but for now I find it hard. 

I am going to stick with this diet although I have been granted a few days of leave from it every now and then which is awesome!

If you want to read more about FODmaps – http://ibs.about.com/od/ibsfood/a/The-FODMAP-Diet.htm

Here’s to a less bloated belly and a welcome back to the blogging world

 

xx

That Itchy Vagina

…and by itchy I am meaning candidiasis, also known as thrush.

Thrush is a medical condition in which a fungus called Candida albicans overgrows. This fungus is normally found in the vagina but when other bacteria called lactobacilli stop doing their job properly it overgrows causing a yeast infection to occur.

It is estimated that three quarters of all women will, at some time during their lives, experience a thrush infection. Some of the symptoms include itching, burning and pain during urination and/or intercourse. I am jealous of that one quarter.

Perhaps now you are wondering why I am ranting about this but YES I have it, again. They believe that it can be caused by many different factors such as illness,  medications or stress. The key word in that sentence is MANY which means that anything can bring this ridiculous condition on. As I am currently on practicum I have experienced all three. I have lost count of the amount of colds and sore throats I have had over the past eight weeks and have gone on new medications to try and assist my bloating.

Treatment has been difficult. I get recurrent thrush and am currently take a fluconazole tablet once a fortnight to keep it in check. Now I have been trying to wean myself off these tablets as they can be harmful to your liver and up until now I have been fine. As I can’t get into see my doctor until next week I am relying on anti-fungal creams to help lesson the symptoms as these no longer get rid of it for me.

As far as prevention I have tried most. These included:

  • Wearing less tight clothes
  • Always wearing a liner with underwear
  • Eating acidophilus yoghurt
  • Avoiding perfumed and coloured soaps and bubble baths

None of these seem to make much of a difference.

My big advice is to eat healthy, stay active and get as much sleep as you can! Don’t get run down and listen to your body and take a break when you need it

 

x

Natural Remedies: Coconut

OK so I am currently on a small coconut buzz at the moment I can’t get enough of the stuff; Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour… pretty much anything that starts with coconut I want it and I want it now. So I decided that maybe I should actually see why this stuff is good (or not good) for me…

Coconut has been classed a wonder food because of the multiple health benefits that it has:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Improve digestion
  • Fight off viruses
  • Regulate hormones
  • Lose weight
  • Increase metabolism

All of which are extremely important for the side effects that both endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome have and well I’m willing to try anything that means I don’t have to go back and have more surgery.

Besides from all of these benefits it actually tastes amazing. I have taken to stirring it through my porridge and chucking it in my juices in the morning to create a different taste om nom nom. Something that I used to make all the time while completely sugar free was chocolate, yip sugar free chocolate. In a bowl mix together coconut oil, dessicated coconut and cocoa – tastes exactly like coconut rough (need I say more).

So I can probably safely say that my coconut buzz isn’t going to end anytime soon especially with my new found knowledge of how good it can actually be for me.

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Natural Remedies: Magnesium

Magnesium is a key mineral in human metabolism and can be found in many healthy foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 chemical reactions that occur in the human body and because of this it is extremely important that we are getting enough in our daily diet but unfortunately it seems that the average person isn’t getting an adequate supply.

I started taking a magnesium supplement after having a talk with a natural health professional about natural things that I could take that might help stop or prevent many of the symptoms that I was having with my endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Magnesium is able to control inflammation. A lack of magnesium has been linked to unwanted increases in the inflammatory process. It is also able to help maintain blood sugar levels something that is very important with PCOS. An added benefit of magnesium is that it can help reduce the feeling of fatigue. Magnesium is needed for cell reactions that take place in the body that allow energy production to occur – without it we can’t produce it.

So far I only have good things to report from taking a magnesium supplement and would definitely recommend you to look into it if you have endo or PCOS

 

x

The Benefits of Exercise

Having endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) means that I am constantly on the look out for ideas that others have found worked and one that kept popping up was simply getting out there and doing some exercise.

Research has shown that doing medium-high intensity exercise like running and cycling can help lesson the symptoms. Regular exercise helps to reduce estrogen and prostaglandin level – two hormones that are released during our cycles. Yoga and Pilates can also be used to stretch the pelvic tissues and muscles that can be bound together by endometriosis, not only that but it helps to reduce stress which can also aggravate inflammation in the body more.

With PCOS exercise has been shown to help with our insulin sensitivity and cholesterol. When we exercise the glucose (sugars) are taken from the blood and moved to the muscles, this lowers the need for insulin at that time. When we are able to effectively manage insulin then we are able to manage the testosterone in our body, the cause of our PCOS symptoms.

Exercise and Me

Now I am a slight exercise nut. I admit that it is probably a slight addiction but the benefits of getting out there and being regularly active are just too much to ignore. I try to do some kind of physical activity at least 5 times a week. I mix this up with both high intensity aerobic exercise and strength training as well.

My best advice when jumping on the exercise train is to simply start and stick to it. Find something you enjoy doing! I started off doing a lot of classes that were offered at the gym like step and pump. These classes meant that I was surrounded by like minded people that helped motivate me to keep going and helped when I had no idea where to find equipment. I also bought Jillian Michaels DVD, “30 Day Shred,” which allowed me to do a 20 minute workout at home.

Any questions you have about my workouts feel free to ask

 

x

You Have Hair Where?

I have hirsutism.

For those that don’t know, hirsutism is “the excessive hairiness on women in those parts of the body where terminal hair does not normally occur.” Yep, so pretty much if you were to name any body part I will most likely have hair there.

I first become aware of the fact that ‘maybe that’s not supposed to grow there’ when I was around the age of 15. Fortunately my mum was very compassionate and has been a rock for me throughout my hirsutism roller coaster. She has paid for waxing, has sent me to specialists and has supported me when I decided to undergo IPL.

My specialist

When I was 16 I went to see a specialist who suspected that I may have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which has now been confirmed. I was told a raft of information about how it will make it difficult to have children, that excessive hair growth is side affect of PCOS and that it’s only possible to treat the symptoms. At the time I agreed to go on pills (Cyproterone acetate) to try and help decrease the amount of new hair growth. Unfortunately I was never told about some of the side affects such as dry skin which only caused more problems which I didn’t realize until I went off the pills before surgery!

I am now off the drugs and am dealing with the knowledge that excessive hair growth is going to be with me for life.

Self-Confidence

With summer on the way this is something that is constantly at the forefront of my mind. Over the warmer months when I’m surrounded by girls wearing hardly anything with hairless skin I find myself wishing that I was like them. I pour money into waxing and most days I’ll be epilating everywhere as well. After all of this I’ll be checking my skin in mirrors making sure I haven’t missed a couple of black hairs somewhere.

It’s like you get stuck in a rut… it consumes your thoughts and steals your time.

I have planned a holiday to Thailand over new years. I am ridiculously excited to be getting out of New Zealand and partying up a storm before I (hopefully) begin a full time job of some sort but then…

  • Will my epilator pull me up at customs anywhere?
  • Should I just shave everything while I get over there?
  • What if I get ingrown hairs?
  • Shaving rash
  • I have to remember to book a full body wax just before I go
  • If I wax everything will that be all good for the two weeks that I’m over there for?

I’m hoping by the time I get over there I’ll just stop caring (fingers crossed).

Alone…

I think because hirsutism is something that no one is very open with it makes you feel really alone. All the support groups I have been able find have been online blogs when really all you need sometimes is someone up in your face that you are able to just laugh about it with, go to the beach and realize that you are with people in the same boat.

Despite waxing and destroying all evidence that I have hirsutism I still feel like people know. That they look at me and can see that I have it. Sitting in a bikini on the beach is one of the hardest things for me to do even with my love of lying out in the sun.

Something inspiring…

While looking through online support groups I came across this post on hirsutism.blogspot.co.nz

YOU KNOW YOU’RE HIRSUTE WHEN…

– You shave your collar bones!
– you wish you were as hairy as your brother
– you only have time to wax/sugar one leg in a day
– you know what its like to nick your back with a razor (did that tonight!)
– you spend more time checking out women in bathing suits and short skirts than men
– your chest hair is impressive – but you’re a woman
– you’ve had ingrown hairs on your bum

I laughed and was happy that someone else was able to add some humor to this subject.

Helpful Sites

http://www.keratin.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=8

http://hirsutism.blogspot.co.nz/

Going Sugar Free…

I must confess…I am a sugarholic.

If it has chocolate, caramel, berries, lemon or cream in it then I want it in and around my mouth please. I grew up surrounded by family and friends, who like me, are pudding fiends. Pudding became almost a nightly occurrence with the idea that if I put something fruity with it then all the bad bits will be balanced out. Deep down I know that this isn’t the case but I needed to justify my need for sweet foods somehow.

So I had, what I am now calling, an A-Ha Moment.

I read a book called ‘Crazy, Sexy, Diet’ by Kris Carr.

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This book made me take a good hard look at my own diet and realize that perhaps I could make a few changes. I decided on that day I would go sugar free for 21 days. I accepted this challenge and now 19 days later I have stayed on track and haven’t put any refined sugars in my body.

Why?

PCOS is linked to insulin resistance meaning that it can alter the way your body is able to process and deal with sugar, which can lead to diabetes. Although I am not a diabetic filling my body up with refined sugary goodness only causes my blood sugar to spike and drop quickly which influences my hormones, weight, mood and energy. Despite knowing this for a very long time I chose to do nothing about it, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that this attitude is ridiculous. We only get one body so we better treat it well.

What does sugar do to the body?

Once I jumped on the sugar free bandwagon I decided to look further into what sugar actually does to our bodies.

Turns out it is releases an opiate-like substance that activates the brains reward system. We take it, feel good so we want more. Other substances that do this are things like heroin…

Refined sugar has absolutely no nutritional value. It makes our digestive system more acidic which causes vitamins and minerals to leach from the body. It depletes essential nutrients like potassium, calcium and magnesium all things that we actually need. It suppresses the immune system, impairs liver function, affects aging, and contributes to dental issues.

After gathering all this information… getting rid of it was starting to seem like the best possible path to go down…

The challenge

Before starting I got myself ready, I stocked the pantry and fridge full of things that I knew I would be able to eat and hid/got rid of/gave away anything that I might have been tempted by. What shocked me was how many products actually contain hidden sugars – breads and sauces especially.

I did have a few withdrawal symptoms, cravings particularly. I found that the only way I could combat them was with fresh fruit and failing that go and destroy my body with an excessively long gym session.

I have the most amazing partner who has been so supportive throughout this whole challenge. He listened to me whine about how much I want chocolate, dealt with my withdrawal mood swings, went on special supermarket trips on his way home from work to get me grapes and pineapples and helping me bake sugar free foods. He made this whole process so much easier for me by simply reminding me why I decided to undergo the challenge in the first place. Most of my friends were just as awesome. I was posting pictures of the foods I was baking on instagram and I’d get messages about how good they looked and they’d link me to sugar free recipes that they had found on the internet. My best friend even changed our normal routine dessert night for a healthy dinner.

Now

So with only two days left on my sugar free challenge I feel a lot better. I have more energy, my skin is looking better and I’m not having any mood swings. Now I see going sugar free as a lifestyle choice, something that I want to continue to do for the foreseeable future. I don’t doubt that at some point I will have refined sugar but I no longer puddings in my life. I also am not going to treat refined sugar as a ‘treat’ or ‘reward’ again.

My Advice

Surprisingly instagram was one thing that I could not have done without, that app was a sugar free haven for me. Not only did it provide a great procrastination tool during lectures there is over 100, 000 pictures with the tag #sugarfree. Not only were there food porn pictures but comments that contained the recipes and links to amazing raw-organic-sugar-free-cooking blogs that only gave me more options to create much needed chocolate replacements. Some of my favourites are:

  • chilai13
  • my_healthy_habit
  • eatmoveinspire

Support is key. Insure that you surround yourself with people who believe that you can do this and are willing to help you with it when you are struggling.

Do it! Afterwards you feel great knowing that you have accomplished something that at the beginning seemed almost impossible