Trim Healthy Mama & My Family

chicken saladAbout six months ago, my husband developed the signs of diabetes (insatiable thirst, frequent potty breaks, difficulty recovering from a candida-like rash breaking out all over his body, and rapid weight loss after having gained over the past few years), but due to finances, we were unable to send him to his doctor.  Finally, having saved for a visit, he was able to go a few weeks ago.  The doctor confirmed what I knew was the major problem – diabetes.  They also confirmed my suspicion that he had high blood pressure.  Armed with the "official" answer, he agreed to let me change our eating habits and follow a program I'd heard about a couple years ago – Trim Healthy Mama.

Since we began, just barely three weeks ago, he has lost about 15 lbs.  His blood sugar has stabilized, with a fasting at his doctor appt @ 279 to now an average of 89.  And his blood pressure which was 142/86 (high risk for hypertension, because it has been recorded as this high each time he's visited over the past six years) to 107/75 (low risk).  He feels great, but we're still tweaking exactly how much he can eat, since he often still feels hungry after some of his meals.

I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which puts my body in an insulin resistant state and not only helps to increase weight, but also keeps weight glued on me.  The terrible diet we were eating in our home had skyrocketed my blood sugars and continued to push the limits of my pancreas, as it overdumped insulin to keep my sugars level.  Everything in me ached, I was beginning to gain even more weight than I'd ever had on my 5'2" frame, my hormones were completely out-of-whack and I was completely miserable.  So… when we started this diet, I experienced some rather annoying issues.  (All clean-up from my bad eating habits.)  My face broke out.  I hit a wave of exhaustion unlike I've experienced since I was pregnant with our daughter and my cycle, which has always been radical, is still adjusting itself.  BUT… I've lost 20 lbs and my face is finally beginning to clear.  I'm feeling better every day and things are beginning to right themselves.  Yay!!!

Trim Healthy Mama

Trim Healthy Mama, started by two lovely New Zealand turned Nashville sisters, is easy to follow.  You don't feel deprived or without.  As it says on the back of their newer book on the plan, "Counting Calories is out.  All the food groups are in.  Becoming trim and healthy doesn't have to be difficult or painstaking anymore."  

You eat a variety of foods grouped into meal types.  There are "S" = Satifying Meals, which many would consider low carb/Paleo/Primal meals.  There are "E" = Energizing Meals.  These have up to 45g of carbs.  There are "FP" = Fuel Pull Meals.  These are both low in carbs and fat and can be added to either meal or eaten separetly as a snack or full meal.  As your weight (and health issues) stabalize you can add other types, like "Helpers" and "Crossovers" to your meals.

Don't get hung up on the meal types, because while they have a few "rules" they're easy to understand, honest.  Each of the two plan books also have recipes and meal/full day examples so you get an idea of how to incorporate meals.  Like they said, no more counting calories.  That doesn't mean they have a calorie limit set and you just follow, they truly mean, no counting calories.  Of course, that's not an endorsement to overeat.  You're body will know when to stop, IF you listen.  A person, being honest with themselves, can tell the difference between mouth hunger (wanting to continue the taste) vs. stomach hunger.  Its often that inner child that has to be told "no, you've had enough".  Mine is cranky and tends to pout, but she's getting better each meal.  laugh

I highly recommend Trim Health Mama for anyone who wants to lose weight and/or has health issues, who doesn't want to give up a food group.  The plan is extremely adaptable to those with food allergies too, like for those who must eat gluten-free.  And just because you CAN have 45g of carbs in an "E" type meal, doesn't mean you HAVE to.  If you're super sensitive to carbs, you don't have to incorporate as many.  Its a testing ground, between you and your body.  See what works for you and stick to that.  The great thing is that as a body begins to heal, it allows for greater latitude.

Find your trim! ~ Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett


















It’s My Ovaries Stupid!

 The book, Its My Ovaries Stupid!, by Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet is chock full of information for women!  It really opened my eyes to all the different things that can happen with regard to our ovaries.  I wish that I had come across this book years ago, but at least I stumbled across it at our used bookstore.  Even more, I wish that this book was mandatory reading for ALL gynecologists and endocrinologists.  There would be much fewer women out there suffering for so long with such serious problems!


Here's what Her Place says of the book:

Sometimes it seems as though the only women’s health issues that get any sort of attention are breast cancer, pregnancy, and menopause. But in her groundbreaking book, It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet describes many of the rarely acknowledged, pervasive health threats to young women:

  • Premature Ovarian Decline (POD)
  • Premature Ovarian Failure (menopause in the young)
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Early puberty
  • Endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease and heart palpitations
  • Osteoporosis
  • Insomnia, fibromyalgia, and fatigue
  • Mood disorders
  • Weight gain

All the above problems are on the rise, robbing younger and younger women of life, fertility, and vitality.

Why is this happening? What can you do to protect yourself? How can you get tested? And what treatments are available?

Many common products and environmental toxins are endocrine disruptors that can profoundly disrupt hormone function, even in childhood. These products include:

  • Pesticides
  • Plastic food wrappers
  • Aspartame
  • Soy supplements
  • Food additives

Adding to the problems posed by endocrine disruptors are lifestyle factors, such as stress and dietary fat.

Your life, fertility, and long-term health may depend on on the information contained in It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!. Dr. Vliet draws on the latest international scientific research and her more than twenty years of clinical experience to show the negative effects of endocrine disruptors and poor lifestyle choices on the body. She answers crucial questions for young women who want to take control of their health: For instance, whose job is it to care for the ovaries — beyond their function in reproduction? And why do women have trouble getting help for “hormone problems” that appear to be linked to their monthly cycles?

It’s My Ovaries, Stupid! will help you understand your symptoms, get reliable tests, obtain treatment, and improve your health. The book also examines the controversies surrounding hormone replacement therapy and discusses some of the latest and best options for the treatment of thyroid problems.

Remember, it’s not stress, and it’s not all in your head. It’s your ovaries!


Table of Contents

  1. When Ovaries Go Awry: Women’s Lives, Women’s Stories
  2. Your Ovaries: an Owner’s Manual
  3. Your Ovaries and Their Life Cycle
  4. Ovaries at Risk: Surprising Toxins in Your Diet
  5. Ovaries at Risk: “Gender Benders” and Endocrine Disruptors Around You
  6. Ovaries at Risk: Toxic Effects of Cigarettes, Alcohol, Marijuana, and Other Drugs
  7. Ovary Shutdown: The Toxic Role Of Stress Overload and Sleep Deprivation
  8. Lifestyle Habits and Cultural Issues—Unexpected Stress for Our Ovaries
  9. Ovaries at Risk: Unusual Effects Of Viruses and Medical Illnesses
  10. Ovaries at Risk: Unrecognized Problems from Surgery, Medications, and Herbs
  11. Ovaries Out of Balance: Patterns in Women’s Lives
  12. Ovarian Hormones and The Brain: It’s Not Just Stress or Your Imagination!
  13. The Perils of Pcos, Obesity, Syndrome X, and Diabetes
  14. The Many Faces of Infertility: Overlooked Factors
  15. The Ovaries and Your Other Body Systems
  16. Balancing Ovarian Hormones for Optimal Health
  17. Test-and-Treat Strategies for Optimal Thyroid, Adrenal, and Glucose-Insulin Balance
  18. Starting Your “Clean-Up Campaign”: Get Rid of Ovarian Disruptors You Can Control
  19. Create Your Own Path To Optimal Energy and Health

Publisher: Evans and Company, New York

Number of pages: 503

© 2003


And a review of the book by Publisher's Weekly (via Amazon) says:

Despite the flippant title, this book offers a serious and comprehensive look at hormone dysfunction in women of all ages. Vliet, founder and medical director of HER Place Women's Center, believes that many women suffer needlessly because they are not being treated properly. According to the author, a variety of illnesses-depression, panic attacks, heart disease, diabetes, fertility problems-are related to hormonal dysfunction. Drawing on medical research as well as work in her own practice, Vliet (Screaming to Be Heard) provides a complete guide to ovaries, explaining how they work and what happens when they don't work properly, along with surgical and other treatment. Included are questionnaires so readers can self-diagnose and prepare themselves before visiting a doctor. Also particularly helpful are sidebar definitions and schematic diagrams showing the connection between hormone and illness, such as "How Stress Sabotages Your Health" and "Chemical Disruption of Thyroid Pathways." This is a detailed and sophisticated book, complete with a glossary of medical terms. Readers wanting spoon-fed simplified explanations of their "aches and pains" will find this book daunting, but women who want to become more knowledgeable and assertive patients will find it indispensable.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

PCOS Makes You Crazy?


Does PCOS make you crazy?  I've certainly had my rounds of uncomfortable mood swings.  Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a master manipulator of a girl's hormones.  And not only is it confusing to the girl who has it or the family who has to deal with this emotional roller coaster, but doctors don't often help the situation.

You see, PCOS is a syndrome or a disorder, not a disease.  A syndrome is a set of symptoms that are lumped together and called a particular something, much like Fibromyalgia, which means "a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas." – Google definitions

PCOS – Do I Have It?

In order to be diagnosed with PCOS you must have two of the three main symptoms.  This video does a great job of explaining the basics of the disorder.

My Wife's Gone Crazy!

Husbands and boyfriends often are baffled by the disorder and think their wives/girlfriends have just lost their minds.  This can be an extremely difficult time for the relationship unless their equipped with some knowledge as to what's going on.  PCOS Girl does a great job of explaining how to help your girl as she navigates through these emotional and physical changes.  She isn't going crazy and she isn't growing a horns, despite how she might be treating you.

So Your Girlfriend or Wife Has PCOS…. Now What

by PCOS Girl

"I want to welcome all the guys who might land here in hopes of understanding a little bit about PCOS and their partner. Kudos to you for taking the time to search, research, and understand PCOS. I like you already!

"PCOS stands for Polycystic ovary syndrome, but polycycstic ovaries are only one of many symptoms of this endocrine disorder. PCOS affects over 5 million women in the US alone!"  [Read more…]

There Is Relief!

Don't allow PCOS to be a show stopper.  There is relief.  While everyone says there's no cure for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, I refuse to agree with that statement.  I've seen a few people completely cured of their symptoms with diet.  If what they're saying is that you can't ever be "cured" to continue to eat whatever you want, then, okay, I agree with that.  Interestingly enough, the "low carb" approach is only a reliever of symptoms and doesn't allow the body to fully heal itself.  However, I've seen some interesting healing going on in the raw foods movement.  Perhaps because when you eat mostly raw and mostly vegan, your body has the opportunity to stop having to concentrate so heavily on digestion and work on healing itself more completely.  Just a thought… and one I want to work out in my life.

13 Ways to Stay Stuck in the Stew

You're miserable with your life.  You feel stuck in the stew and you can't seem to see a way out.  Depression is a leading cause of not living our lives.  There really is a way out though!  I'll share with you my list of reminders.  A sort of reverse staircase to the sunshine.

I wrote this list as a motivator to get me out.  I was stuck, completely immobilized.  For a long while.  Back in March of 2009, one of my precious sisters died of leukemia and left behind a family of four children.  There were several deaths of friends and family prior to her passing and another the summer of that year.  By the end of 2009, I'd hit a depression so hard I wasn't clear I had any reason to live.  I mean, I was never feeling suicidal and I knew, intellectually, that I had reasons to live, my own family, my God, but… life was extremely difficult to navigate.

I'll be completely honest too… I'm not there yet.  I am still not living my life to its fullest.  But, this list has been a great motivator to pull myself out of my gloom and start living again.


Right here, right now… I must warn you.  THIS WILL NOT FIX YOU OVERNIGHT.  I'm still moving forward and things are improving, but its an ongoing struggle and there are days I have a complete setback.  Then, I pull out my list again and remind myself that I can choose to stay stuck in the stew or I can move.  Even if its just one thing.

Stuck in the Stew

My Top 13 Reminders

  • Don't change your habits (food, financial, physical, mental)
  • Hide from life
  • Hold on to fear, anger and resentment
  • Ignore the red flags
  • Keep picking the same things (or people) over and over again – different wrapping; same insides
  • Let fear rule every decision
  • Let others talk you down
  • Let your inner voice talk you down
  • Live in the past
  • Live in the 'what-ifs'
  • Never pursue your dreams;  Always keep them as dreams.
  • Never take the leap
  • Never try anything new

This list, odd as it may be as motivator, has served me well, because it reminds me as I look at it that I have these choices that are laid out before me.  I can do all the things on the list or I can challenge myself to do the opposite.  And I can make the choice to move, because I've been doing those things on the list already and they aren't working for me.  The alternative islife

My Top 5 Cold Remedies

ticked-checkboxYou're sick… Your head is pounding, you have a fever, your nose is stuffy, your throat is burning like the Chicago fire of 1871!  What do you do?  How will you make it when you feel so miserable?  Check out my top 5 cold remedies.  These work great for me and help making having a cold tolerable, even if I do whine the whole time.  Yes, its true.  Don't judge me.

My Top 5 Cold Remedies

1.  Orange Juice by the gallon

Okay, so maybe not the gallon, but a lot of it.  I drink as much orange juice as I can comfortably take in, because of its vitamin C content and its cool and soothing properties on my throat when its flaming.  Other good sources of vitamin C are strawberries, pineapple and kiwi.  There are some vegetable that have high levels of vitamin C too!  You can blend any of these fruits and/or veggies and freeze them as homemade popscicles as another delicious, pain relieving, way to get vitamin C.  Or you could take a Vitamin C supplement, but… it won't provide you with any other form of nutrient or the calming effects of cold liquid. 

2.  Echinacea tea

I make a whole pot of this tea, steeping two tea bags in the pot for 10 minutes before discarding.  The tea can taste a bit "grassy", so if you don't particularly like that flavor, you can also add a tea bag or two of your favorite herbal tea, like Apple Cinnamon.  Yum!  Echinacea is known for helping to support and build up the immune system.  A good thing when your lovely white blood cells are working extra hard to attack and destroy the germies that have invaded your body.  You can find Echinacea tea in various forms right on the grocery store shelves with other herbal and black teas.

3.  Water, water, water

I love the healing properties of water as it cleans me both inside and out.  I try to drink a lot of water every day anyway, but I push myself not to slack off when I'm sick, even though my throat is usually begging me not to swallow, but water is so important in moving the toxins out of us.  Dehyrdration is not something I wish to add to my already miserable and achy self.  I will also get up and take a shower every day even though I feel like just staying in bed and not moving.  I've never been one who really liked to just lay in the tub and "soak", but a shower I can handle.  But, by all means, if you love baths, go for it!  There's something about being able to wash off all the sickness that's sweating out of me that just feels so wonderful.   

4.  Pamper yourself

If possible, take time off work, your body will thank you and so will your coworkers.  Spend time doing nothing.  My husband and daughter are very capable at taking care of themselves and taking care of me.  I love that they do and that I don't have to ask them, but this wasn't always the case.  Accept help!  Believe me Mama, the world won't crumble all around you if you don't sweep, don't do the laundry, or don't do the dishes for a day or two.  And if your family is hungry, they'll find a way to eat.  Let it go and get well!

5.  Sleep!  Lots of it!

This one can't be stressed enough.  In any given night, I can't go without less than 7 hours of sleep.  My body will not function properly if I go without the right number of hours each night, but sleep is an even more important element when I'm sick.  For instance, Saturday, when I was running a fever and was as miserable as I could be, I slept pretty much all day, with a few short hours here and there where I tried to interact with my family.  Sleep allows our bodies to reset themselves and fight off disease.  If they're awake longer than they should be, our systems don't get the ability to go into repair mode.  Check out this article on How Sleep Keeps You Healthy, Helps You Heal.

So… there you have it.  My top 5 cold remedies.  These are what work for me.  What things do you do when you're sick?  Please share with me below.  I'd love to hear what works for you.

Celiac Disease on the Rise?

I work at a medical lab, processing specimens, and tonight I was struck with how many Celiac disease screens we've been doing.

glutenWhat is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder.  Its thought to affect 1 in 100 people and its believed that over 2 million people are undiagnosed here in the United States.  Each time a person with this disease ingests gluten, an allergic reaction occurs.  The body doesn't know how to accept gluten, seeing it as foreign and poisonous matter, and sends an attack. However, what's being attacked is the villi, the small finger-like protrusions in the small intestines.  These villi are what absorb nutrients.  So when they're damaged, the body becomes deficient in all manner of vitamins and minerals.

What are some of the symptoms?

In addition to the mal-nutrition, those affected often experience severe abdominal pain and these other very serious complications, if left untreated:

  • Long-Term Health Conditions
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Early onset osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • Infertility and miscarriage
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Central and peripheral nervous system disorders
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers (malignancies)
  • Gall bladder malfunction
  • Neurological manifestations, including ataxia, epileptic seizures, dementia, migraine, neuropathy, myopathy and multifocal leucoencephalopathy

​​​(adapted from "What Is Celiac Disease?")

Does everyone who has gluten sensitivity have Celiac Disease?

Not all people who have gluten issues have Celiac Disease.  There is something new on the rise, that doctors are now terming "Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity".  They currently don't have enough information to make it an official diagnoses or to afford it any statistics, but it is recommended that if you suffer symptoms similar to Celiac diease and have been ruled out as having it, but you show symptom improvement by eating a gluten-free diet, then, you can be considered as having non-celiac gluten sensitivity and you should seek to continue the diet.

What should you eliminate in your diet to feel better?

Several diets that are currently in the news have eliminated gluten and therefore remove the symptoms derived from eating this sticky substance.   A raw food lifestyle, a paleo or primal lifestyle all eliminate gluten from their diets.  Gluten, a type of protein, is found in wheat, rye and barley.  Even having these grains, sprouted, can cause a reaction for one who has this disease.  

As with any disease, a person needs to decide for themselves what does and doesn't work.  Don't take someone else's word for it, try it for yourself.  Long life to you!

Cancer and Raw Foods

The big "C".  Its frightening when you or someone you love is diagnosed with it, in one of its many forms.  The traditional remedies for cancer are surgery, radiation, chemo therapy, laser therapy, hyperthermia, stem cell replacement (like bone marrow transplants), transfusions, and well… its too late, so guess you're gonna die.  According to the American Cancer Society, there are more treatments on the rise, every day.

It makes me sad to think that they don't advocate raw foods, which time and time again, has proven to facilitate the bodies ability to remove cancer on its own.  Worse, in my opinion, is a person's fear of the disease and their attachment to the medical community.

My sister, who died in 2009 of leukemia, was one such person.  I remember begging her to switch to a raw diet, after she had already endured full blood transfusions and chemo treatments.  She wouldn't do it.  Repeating the doctors' diet rules.  Insisting that their rules of no raw fruits and vegetables was the way to go.  She went on to have a bone marrow transplant and many more transfusions.  More chemo treatments.  But, the leukemia continued and worsened, until it finally consumed her.  My heart still breaks thinking of the pain she went through, the children she left behind, the family who misses her.

I fully believe that the raw diet would have made a significant difference in healing her and perhaps she would have been with us today.  But, even a raw diet can't change the mental state of someone, or rather, their paradigms.  This is also a big component of beating any disease.  Ultimately, though, we must seek the Great Physician, who heals and has made a way for us to heal ourselves.  Without going to Him (YHWH), we will never fully recover, even if the cancer has disappeared from our bodies.

Kris Carr, a woman who had stage 4 cancer, was able to put her cancer in complete remission, to the point that the tumors shrank to almost non-existent.  She still has them, but they are not growing and she eats a raw food diet.  Watch this interview about her experience.

PCOS Awareness

I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). The disease is one of the endocrine system. It wreaks havoc on your whole body. A great many people think its only a disease of the ovaries, but our body’s systems are so interconnected that having cysts on the ovaries creates mild to extremely severe problems in other systems.

My diagnosis didn’t happen until after I was thirty! I’ve struggled with horrible menstrual cycles, migraines and extremely profound mood swings since I was nine years old. Many of my symptoms could have been prevented if PCOS had been more widely known. I’m spreading the word! If you have PCOS, please stand up and shout! Get the word out!