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.

12 Steps to Raw Foods


Two years ago, this month, I tried a 28-day raw foods experiment.  I won't go into details about the program I followed, except to say that it was good, but not the right one for me.  I still believe a raw food lifestyle is probably the best out there for healing purposes, but my new goal is to stop following another plan and start truly listening to what makes my body feel good and what doesn't.  That's why I recommend this book.  The author takes you step by step on a journey of listening to your own body, while she shares her experiences, her struggles, her mistakes and how ultimately she got to where she is now.

 Victoria Boutenko, co-creator of Raw Family, mother, teacher, researcher, artist and author of several books, wrote 12 Steps to Raw Foods, published in 2000.  In it she shares her experience of switching from cooked foods to a raw lifestyle, not only for herself, but her entire family.

Having grown up in Russia, her family lived on a diet of white bread, white sugar and virtually no fresh fruit or vegetables.  (Not much different from the Standard American Diet). She explains how entire family, her husband, her two children and herself, were all very ill.  She was suffering from arythmia and edema.  Her husband had severe arthritis and hyperothyroidism.  Her daughter had dibilitating asthma and her son had childhood diabetes and was on the verge of using insulin.

At this critical point in her life, she ventured to speak with a stranger and it opened the door for which she never looked back.  Victoria goes on to tell of her radical shaping of her family, which will have you laughing.  It did me.  And how in just a month, her family's health improved tremendously.  She's also very clear to point out that it wasn't easy.  Our bodies want what they're used to.  Cravings and desires for fat laden, chemical swamped Frankenfood is difficult to detox from, but it can be done.

Another equally important point she shares is what they were doing wrong.  After a few years on this lifestyle, she realized that their diet, while raw and creating health, was lacking certain vitamins and minerals only found in certain vegetables that they were not eating.

In the back of the book, Victoria shares several of her family's favorite recipes, including green smoothies, chili, fries and more.  This is an excellent read.  Informative without the snore factor of some books on diet and health.

The Importance of Hydration


Water, its what we’re made of… well… approximately 60% of an adult body is water.  We expend water in various ways, like sweat and urination.  If we are not resupplying ourselves with this life-giving liquid, we will not simply become dehydrated, but will quickly die.  As quickly as a few days.

But, there is also something I will refer to as “chronic dehydration”.  Its where a person stays on the fence, with just enough water in their diet, to keep from dying, but not to keep from suffering from many symptoms of dehydration they didn’t know were symptoms.

Some mild symptoms, those experienced when you have an approximately 2%  loss, are as follows:

  • Thirst
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Fatigue or Weakness
  • Chills
  • Dry Skin
  • Skin Flushing
  • Dark Colored Urine
  • Dry Mouth
  • Head Rushes

When you reach about a 5% loss you can experience:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiration
  • Decreased sweating
  • Decreased urination
  • Increased body temperature
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Tingling of the limbs

(Both lists are adapted from Symptoms of Dehydration.)

Anything higher than this limit can lead to serious complications and ultimately, death.

Its interesting that when I decided to write this article, I didn’t realize that one of my coworkers, who got sick at work last night, was dehydrated.  She suddenly starting losing her leg strength.  It kept reoccurring, almost like a person having dizzy spells or seizures.  So she went to the emergency room.  She returned to work today having been diagnosed with dehydration.  Its so important to keep our bodies in balance.

Hydration is also a component of weight loss.  Not simply because the more water you take in, the more your body releases (so less swelling and water retention), but also because water lubricates the entire digestive tract and keep everything moving freely.

You may experience some side effects of increasing your water intake, like more frequent trips to the potty, but these side effects are temporary and your body’s way of adjusting to its new regimen.  Don’t get frustrated and give up.  It takes time for a body to adjust.

Here’s a video regarding making water fun and more hydrating for the tongue and the body.  Enjoy!

Jordan’s tip of the day: wear a diaper on an airplane!  You’ll get that reference, if you watch the whole video.  🙂

Chemicals, Chemicals & More Chemicals

The people of the United States through the FDA, have allowed the craziest “food additives”, chemicals, into our food.  Why on earth, would we think that these chemicals were okay to put into food?  What we’ve ended up with is Frankenfood, instead of real, whole foods.

chemicalsHere’s just five of the chemicals that have made it into our food supply.  For a comprehensive list of FDA approved food additives, see the Food Additive Status List.

  • Acetone Peroxide – This additive is used in flour to help whiten flour.  It looks similar in color and substance to coarse salt and smells like bleach.  Eeew!  Interestingly enough, its a high explosive and has been used in terrorist activity.  Nice…  Acetone Peroxide is made by a chemical reaction between hydrogen peroxide and acetone.  Isn’t acetone what people use to remove fingernail polish?  The use of this product is to hurry the process along in “bleached flour”, because waiting a few months for flour to turn whiter on its own is to much trouble.  (Or rather, not profitable.)
  • Benzoyl Peroxide – This additive is also used in helping to bleach flour.  But, it may sound more familiar to you, as its in most face washes meant for treating acne, because it is help slough off the top layer of skin and pore cleaner.  Its also used in teeth whitener systems and in hair dyeing.  “In a 1977 study using a human maximization test, 76% of subjects acquired a contact sensitization to benzoyl peroxide. Formulations of 5% and 10% were used.”  (James J. Leyden, Albert M. Kligman; Article first published online: 11 APR 2006; DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.1977.tb03674.x), per Wikipedia.
  • Aluminum Stearate or Monostearate – is used as a defoaming agent in the process of making beet sugar and yeast.  It is also used in makeup and to form gels in the packaging of pharmaceuticals.
  • Aspartame – this nefarious little food additive was discovered in 1965, by a scientist developing an anti-ulcer drug.  He licked his finger to turn a page and found his finger to be extremely sweet, from having spilled some of the chemical.  In the 1980’s, it was finally given approval to be put in some dry goods.  It cannot be cooked with, as it turns unstable and smells like formaldehyde, unless suspended in fats, like maltodextrin (a corn derivative).  It has since been gradually finding its way into more and more of the food supply.  There is virtually no gum on the market that doesn’t haven’t this product in it, even though they’re not sugar free.  Yes, even “kids” gum, like Hubba Bubba.  Why?  Aspartame has 200x the sweetness of sugar.  Its a way to reduce cost and get the “same” sweetness for the product, according to manufacturers.
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) – This is a naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid, often called glutamic acid.  However, don’t let its natural status fool you.  While it sounds harmless enough and is used as a flavor enhancer in many, many foods, its got some sneaky reactions in the body.  MSG has been used in food for over 100 years, having been discovered in Japan in 1908 from seaweed.  Both the United States and Australia/New Zealand are adamant that MSG has no adverse affects to the body, but there is growing evidence to the contrary.  Some of MSG’s adverse reactions to a person who is sensitive are:
    • Headache
    • Flushing
    • Sweating
    • Facial pressure or tightness
    • Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas
    • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
    • Chest pain
    • Nausea
    • Weakness
    • (list from Mayo Clinic)

For PCOS sufferers, and all those who have endocrine problems, including thyroid issues, Grave’s, Addison’s and Cushing’s, MSG is hard on the body, because its an excitotoxin and a disrupter of the endocrine system.  MSG and aspartame disrupt the pituitary regulation of the ovaries.  (source)  They are also helpers in infertility.  (source).  Bad stuff.  So… how do you avoid these additives?

  1. Switch to whole foods
  2. If you do buy something processed, read your labels!
  3. Eat out at restaurants that clearly say they don’t use MSG (and other items)
  4. Don’t sweat the minutia

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!