Chia Seeds

Remember those silly commercials for Chia Pets? The awful terracotta, simply add water-and-watch-it-grow ridiculousness that somehow we all had at one time? Yeah, I had a Garfield Chia Pet that I loved.

Did you know that you can eat the chia seeds? Did you know that they are amazingly good for you? Originally the seed comes from Mexico and Central America. They were consumed as a main staple because of their amazing benefits. So why have we forgotten about them?

A Tablespoon of chia seeds contain about 40 calories, but those calories carry an important nutritional punch. They contain fiber, protein and omega-3’s. You can use them in so many different ways, from adding it to baked goods, smoothies to soups and stews. They quickly absorb water and swell, they are fun in your mouth (almost like tomato seeds) and they fill your belly so you don’t have to eat as often.

Chia seeds also might be beneficial for a PCOS diet because it offers so many good things in such a little package. Of course consult with your dr to decide if it is a good addition to your diet.

Chocolate Chia Seed Energy Bars

These bars are wonderful in so many ways because they contain lots of proteins, fibers and healthy fats. In addition they are perfect for simple take along snacks, and can satisfy that sweet tooth without refined sugar.

Soak the dates ahead of time to help ease the load on your food processor.

Ingredients
1½ cups pitted dates
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup slivered almonds (unsalted)
1/2 cup coconut (unsweetened you can find these at health food stores)
optional: sprinkle of salt

Instructions

Purée dates in food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla and almond extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add the almonds and coconut; pulse until nuts are well incorporated into date mixture.

Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and press mixture into 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. If desired, you can even out the edges by trimming them with a knife. Wrap tightly in wax paper, and chill overnight.

Unwrap block, and cut into 8 bars. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (if using). Re-wrap each bar in wax paper and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.

A little rant:

As a pregnant woman who knows that my body does not effectively process sugars and carbs I try to make sure that what I put in my body is good for me and good for my baby. I occasionally have a soda, or fast food chinese or a piece of cake. I do, I have and I will again. I am not a saint. But I am keenly aware that I have a better chance of developing gestational diabetes. I have chosen not to take the glucose test, as I do not believe that dumping all of that sugar into my body at one time is healthy. I would never put my body or baby through that. My dr. and I have agreed that I will have my glucose monitored for the rest of the pregnancy. The mothers group that I am part of is currently going through their glucose tests, and failing. Which in turn brings my palm to face. Seriously? If you know that you have a greater chance for developing gestational diabetes, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to avoid that? Fast food, sweets and pasta are not good for you and not good for your baby. Stop eating that shit. Now. I started this blog because I wanted to document my struggle to eat right and deal with my body as it pertains to food, weight and PCOS. It has gone the way of a surprising PCOS fertility success story. I started overweight, I admit this and own it. I was 20 pounds over weight, and during this pregnancy (I am 28 weeks now) I have gained a total of 9 pounds, that’s it. I do not use pregnancy to eat whatever I want when I want it, I do not use pregnancy as an excuse. If you are currently a pregnant woman with a history of PCOS and find yourself failing your glucose test, please take responsibility for what food goes into your mouth and the decisions you make.

You’d be a great mother…..

As a young woman, I didn’t go through that boy-crazy stage. I skipped it. I certainly was not interested in girls, but I wasn’t really interested in boys either. I just didn’t care. I remember watching all of my friends go through this magical transformation and wondered why I didn’t feel that way. I used to make up crush’s I had on various boys just to fit in. I remember “liking” one boy and having my friends torment him until he asked me out. I was mortified. I didn’t care for him at all, I had just made it up.

 

After thinking about it, I believe it was a coping mechanism. My mom had abandoned my sister and I when I was the ripe age of 12. Right at that point when you start to develop into the woman you will become. I had no one to teach me how to be a woman, I had no one to look up to. My mom had been sleeping with multiple men for years without my dads knowledge. But I knew. I knew I didn’t want to be like her, and sex meant being like my mom and liking boys was the first step towards sex.

 

So I never wore makeup, or worked hard at looking cute. I never cared if boys noticed me, I didn’t care about going to dances or on dates. Going to school was a means to and end, not a social feedbag. I took care of my sister, I raised my sister through her teen years. I was her model for womanhood, as flawed and clueless as I was. I assumed the role of mother. I didn’t have time for boys, or sex or the development of that side of myself.

 

I was not able to go to an out-of-town college, I stayed home to take care of my sister and work to support her. One day I was hanging out with my friend, her boyfriend and some of his friends. One of the boys looked at my friend and said, “You are so beautiful!” I chimed in with, “Hey, what about me? ” and he said, “You’d be a great mother.”  Which I suppose is a compliment of sorts, but it hurt, it stung and has always lingered with me. I would never be the girl anyone thought of as cute, or pretty or sexy. Just motherly, which isn’t to say that is a bad thing, but I never was cute, or pretty or sexy. I skipped that whole phase of personal development. This week the students at school asked me if I had any kids. (I haven’t told them yet) And I smiled and said, “no, not yet….why?” thinking they were on to me…. They replied, “Oh we were just wondering because you seem so mom-like.” Every year someone in my class remarks that they wish that I was their mom, or that I would make a great mom. I have had a really hard time accepting that as a compliment, probably because it stung so much the first time anyone said that to me, and because I always assumed I would never be a mom.

 

But here I am. 3 months pregnant, and “you’d be a great mother ” is a compliment I am going to have to accept and cherish.

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

I am sorry I haven’t written a helpful post in such a long time. I am finally starting to be able to eat ‘real food’ again, and things are starting to appeal to me. But it has been a long couple of weeks of yogurt and graham crackers. The baby is doing fine. We had our 12 week ultrasound on Friday and J. was able to see the baby for the first time. I have never seen him so excited.

I haven’t been very good about eating a low carb diet, as the only thing that I could stomach were simple carbs, bread, fruit, crackers, rice, noodles etc. But now that I am feeling better I am interested in fish and chicken, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. So I am transitioning to making better choices for me and baby.

Today I had a tuna salad. I have read quite a bit on pregnancy and high mercury levels. A pregnant woman should monitor mercury heavy foods and avoid ingesting too much. To say that in another way, you don’t need to cut these mercury heavy fish out of your diet, just eat them in moderation. Guidelines state no more than “12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly”

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables (from Martha Stewart)

  • 4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) baby romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups (2 1/2 ounces) baby spinach
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons (3/4 cup)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 ounces radishes, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 6-ounce jar tuna packed in olive oil, drained, oil reserved for dressing (I like Tuna in Water)
  • FOR THE DRESSING
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (reserved from tuna)

Directions

  1. Make the salad: Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together mustard, vinegar, shallot, lemon zest and juice, water, salt, and pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified.
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing, and serve immediately.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

A song for the motherless mothers

Both my husband and I come from homes where our same sex parent was destructive and then absent. His father was physically abusive and later abandoned the family. My mother was emotionally abusive and later abandoned my sister and I. And whether we choose to acknowledge it or not this plays into our baby-making decisions.

There seems to be an abundance of articles and support for women that have lost their mothers in death, but so little support for those who’s mothers chose to leave their daughters. I can’t say that I wished my damaged mother would have stayed as we were probably better off without her, but you never lose that feeling of not ever being good enough.

So having children of my own, rattles me to the core. What if I just like the long lines of mothers on both sides of my family, I am less than adequate and do more harm to my children? Couldn’t it have been said that both of my grandmothers swore to never be like their mothers, and my mother swore never to be like her mother, and……

So here is to all the women out there who struggle with self-worth. Who’s mothers chose men, drugs, alcohol, sex, and selfish ambitions over their daughters. You are most lovable and worthy of all the lovely things life has to offer.

Here’s to settling into you feelings of rejection and abandonment, your loneliness. These feelings might not ever go away, but you can learn to sit with them and listen to the lessons they have to offer you and your future children. Do not deny yourself the time and space to feel these feelings deeply, it is only with your acknowledgement of these feelings that you can truly process.

I stilldon’t have a very close relationship to my mother. I told her that I was pregnant and she replied with a text, “oh wow! I AM VERY EXCITED! I am speechless. I’ll say congrats to you both and hope all goes well.”  I haven’t heard anything from her in over 3 weeks. The feelings of rejection and abandonment never go away, in fact sometimes they seem magnified.

To Drug or Not to Drug…..

I went for a follow up appointment today. Just your run of the mill, here is the medications you can take, here are some pamphlets and magazine articles to read, to do’s, don’t do’s and on and on. At one point the lpn  started to explain that at some point in the future I will need to take a glucose test. To which I think I might have audibly snorted. Glucose? I can already tell you that my body does a shit job of glucose management. So I asked her if there was anything that I should be doing to control my pcos…she scrunched her nose and said she didn’t know but she would go ask the ob/gyn. She returned a moment later with a smile and told me that no, there was nothing that I should be doing. I know in my heart that I need to do my own research, but sometimes it is just easier to listen to what the professionals say. So I relaxed a little bit. Maybe 15 minutes later on my way home the phone rings from the dr’s office. The lpn calls me to tell me that she realized I had been on Metformin and was going to encourage me to go back on it, at least until the 12 week (which is 3 weeks away).

 

So now I face the dilemma. Do I go back on Metformin? This means being sick because of the meds and being sick from pregnancy. It means dumping chemicals into my blood stream and into the blood of my forming baby. The effects to the baby have not been studied fully, some drs’ say stop as soon as you figure out you are pregnant, some say take it until you are 12 weeks and some encourage women to continue to take it throughout the whole pregnancy. What will happen if I start taking it again after being off for 3 weeks, will the change in blood sugars disrupt the fetus?

 

And if I don’t go back on to Metformin, will there be a higher chance for miscarriage? I already feel in these past few weeks I have lived a life-time with this little bean. And if I do lose it, I will always wonder….what if I had just taken the drug?  I can’t imagine losing it, I have already devoted enough ill feeling, low energy days to the cause. Will I develop gestational diabetes and need to take insulin?

 

Anyone with any advice is welcome to chime in, in as far as I have read it seems the general consensus is to take the metformin as the benefits outweight the risks. But we live in a drug crazy society, where the answer to everything is to take a pill, and I just can’t get behind that philosophy. I am sure that diet has a lot to do with it, and lately being unable to eat anything but high carbohydrates I have certainly fallen off the plan.

 

My intuition tells me to not take the drug and modify with a healthy diet. My dr. says otherwise.

Bean at 7.5 Weeks

On Wednesday I noticed a slight pinkish discharge, that was not accompanied by cramps, but thought it best to call the Dr. anyway. The office was so nice and accommodating. They called my previous dr. and arranged to get my records, they fit me in at 3pm, and had me in an ultrasound by 3:15. I never said that I was overly worried or distressed. They just took care of it like I was an important person.

The ultrasound went well. I am almost 8 weeks nows. There was a heartbeat and everything looked ok. I do not have a bacterial infection so that doesn’t account for the bleeding. I had blood drawn, which went remarkably well to which I attribute the increase in blood in my body. I have another appointment next week to go over the blood work. I am constantly worried about losing the sea-monkey and I am trying my best to use CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) anytime I catch myself dwelling on miscarriage. I imagine in my minds-eye a large glowing pink lotus that houses this tiny creature. The lotus pulses with the beans’ heartbeat. I realize that I have very little  control over whether this is successful or not and try my hardest to be in mental place of loving stability.

I feel like shit though. I thought early on I was going to make it though the next month with very few symptoms. But it seems to get a little bit worse everyday. The best way I can explain it is, It is like having a perpetual hangover. I am always a little bit sick, nothing sounds good to eat, and when I do eat something I feel terrible afterward. Last night I thought I wanted Noodle Soup of the Asian variety. So I thought a nice bowl of Udon Noodles would cheer me up, I even thought I might be able to sneak in a bit of vegetables if it was mixed with noodles and broth. The noodles were good, the broth was good, the vegetables didn’t work out, and I ate the bite of crab they include in the soup and I almost lost it. Note to self: no crab. But afterwards, oh dear. I threw up a little in my mouth (i’m sorry, gross but true) and couldn’t get comfortable the entire evening. We watched Hugo, and at 10pm on a Friday night I went to bed.

Today I woke up and had corn chips for breakfast. I was awake for a couple hours and cleaned the kitchen, then had the incredible urge for a nap. I slept for two hours in the middle of the afternoon.

Cravings: Graham Crackers with Nutella, Corn Chips, Asian Noodle Soups

Yogurt

It is getting more and more difficult to update this blog with information and neat recipes. Just thinking about eating makes me feel a bit ill. Cooking seems like a monumental task. The last time I made anything in the kitchen was last week. I have food  in the fridge that I can’t bring myself to cook, let alone eat. I didn’t really mean for this to be a pregnancy blog, that is not my intention. It (the pregnancy) was a by-product of following a good diet of whole foods and managing my PCOS.

So, let me introduce you to something that I have been able to eat….

Noosa Yogurt

This company is  local and makes yogurt from milk from our local dairy. It is hands down the best yogurt I have had. So good in fact, the dairy is now delivering it to our door and I have already signed up. It is classified as greek yogurt, but it transcends the other brands I have tried. It is a little high in sugar, but it does have a nice amount of fat and protein to counter the carbs. Did you know that you can have a moderate amount of sugar as long as it is paired with fat and it balances it out? 4 oz of yogurt has 9 grams of protein, 14 grams of sugar, calcium and vitamin a.  So although my diet has had changes, and not all of my favorite foods are appealing anymore, this is something I love.

Recently the company was featured in RealSimple Magazine.

Also, as an aside I have not been paid to promote this product, I just love it that much.