Saturday, June 21, 2014

Run It Forward

      Carol Sue and I met in a class at the local community college. Years ago. We clicked instantly, they way you know that this person is truly a friend.  We enjoyed getting to know each other and had it not been for Facebook, we may have drifted apart as life went on. Facebook has kept this incredible woman in my life.  We have watched each others lives unfold, always keeping in touch.  She and her husband where even guests at my wedding. She has seen my transformation both physical and mental. Carol Sue is someone I know I will have in my life regardless of where we end up.  So when she asked me to run her first 5k with her, there was no way I was saying no.  

       This 5k was on an up and down track, starting out uphill. We ran side by side. We never stopped.  We even exchanged a few stories and giggles.  I am extremely proud of my friend.  She showed her inner strength and determination.  I am honored and humbled to be the person she asked to run with her and support her.  It felt like paying it forward to every person who encouraged me and helped me reach my goal.  Individually we are amazing, but together we are unstoppable. 

     We finished the 5k side by side.  Carol Sue was met at the finish line by her family, cheering her on and ringing a cow bell.  I was incredibly happy for my friend.  To have been there to support her, push her, and remind her that she is a bad ass was the greatest gift my soul could ask for.  It is my mission to help women empower themselves and enrich their lives.  We ran, never stopping, and no one asked us how much we weighed or what size we wear. In life, what matters is the love and support we give each other and the knowledge that we are greater than a number!

    This run was called The Recycled 5k. Instead of new printed t-shirts and medals, they used left overs from pervious races. I loved this idea! Nothing goes to waste. When we crossed the finish line everyone was handed a medal. All of them different. I was handed the Labor of Love medal.  Symbolic. Thank you universe for the opportunity to encourage a friend to be her best.  Thank you for the lessons in my life that have made me who I am today; a person who inspires others to tap into their inner bad ass.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Hair Loss Exposed

      I am open about my hair loss due to PCOS. I used to have thick curly hair. I now have about a quarter of what I used to have. I tried to make my long hair last as long as I could but one day, I just could not look at the hair in my hands any more. I called my hair stylist, a trusted friend, who worked her magic and gave me my signature pixie cut.  

That was about 3 years ago. Since that time I have tried products to help my hair grow;

     I tried Rogaine for a year.  What a pain in the ass. Twice a day I had to put this liquid on my head and pray that it didn't run into my face or down my neck. With my hair being as thin as it is, any liquid on my head destroys my style and until I wash my hair there is no saving it.  I hated this stuff. It did nothing but remind me that my hair is falling out and I have no control over it. That purple bottle embarrassed me every day.  I was petrified of going bald. I still am.  When my supply was used up I didn't get more. In the year I used it nothing changed so I saved my money. 

     The next year I tried the Keranique Hair Care line. Nothing.  I used it religiously everyday for a year. I followed the directions to the letter. Nothing. I used the styling products that came with it. I used the scalp goo that is made to speed up the growth. Nothing. My scalp enjoyed the nice tingling feeling. That tingling feeling that makes you think something is happening. When I reached the end of the bottles my heart sank, this product was not my miracle cure. 

     After two years with no luck and a continuing loss of hair, I gave up on products to rub on my head.  I also decided I would try a wig during the goo experiments. I missed my long hair. I purchased a long layered wig that looked close to my old hair style. I wore it all day feeling pretty again.  When I got home I was overcome with embarrassment and ran into the bedroom and would not let my husband see me.  I eventually came out, tears streaming down my face.  Somewhere I had lost my feeling of pretty and just felt awkward. After a good ugly cry I concluded that I liked myself better with short hair.  The wig turned into therapy for making peace with my new look. The nonreturnable wig sits in my closet. It has been a long time since I have put it on. I use it for costumes and that is all. 

     The worst part about losing my hair is not losing the length; it is being able to see my scalp. Wind is not my friend. It would take me some time to perfect my style with products to cover my scalp, only to go outside and have it windblown to hell. I used to be incredibly self conscious until I found a Joan Rivers product.  This powder saved me. I randomly found it on QVC while channel surfing one day. I saw Joan Rivers and stopped, thinking What in the heck is she peddling on TV? I was meant to see her that day. This product covers my scalp, does not come off until I shampoo my hair (not even on my pillow case!!), and looks natural. I no longer obsess about my hair because with this powder I don't see my scalp.  

     My fear was having brown lines running down my face at the gym. Nope. I workout hard. I work up the sweat to prove it and have never once had the powder come off!! It's amazing I use it to fill in my eyebrows now.  It's about $45 and lasts me 2 months. WORTH EVERY PENNY!! 

     Most days I have made peace with my hair's fate. Since changing my diet and eating for my PCOS the hair lose has slowed down. On the days I cry and curse my hair I let myself get mad and cry. I feel better afterward. I am allowed to be angry; however I will not let myself stew in it.  I talk openly about it without shame. I am not able to control this, why should I be ashamed of it? 

     I was caught off guard when this picture popped up from the event I went to Monday night to promote my blog. My first reaction was embarrassment. I thought I would die. I wanted to contact the photographer and beg to have the picture taken down. I felt humiliated by my exposed scalp. I was mad at myself for not catching it before I left home. At first.

     I stared at myself in this picture. I stared at my truth. Before I could build up hateful inner monologue I made myself make a list of everything that is awesome about this picture. There is an educated driven woman in this picture. I am promoting my blog to spread awareness of PCOS and promote body positivity. For me to go out, by myself, and talk to strangers is not something I used to do. My passion overpowered my anxiety and I am extremely proud of myself for that.  I must practice what I preach; self love, kindness, and acceptance of what I cannot change. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Time Is Not My Excuse

A comment was made to me regarding my ability to make healthy meals and desserts. The gist of the comment was that I have more time than most others so I can make healthy foods.

Time is an excuse and it is not mine. I live a life like everyone else. I keep a calendar to keep everything straight. Time is not the reason why I cook healthy food; MAKING the time is why I cook healthy foods! Keeping the right foods stocked in my kitchen is the  reason why I eat healthy. 

MAKING the time to educate myself about how to care for my body and PCOS. MAKING the time to find recipes. MAKING the time to go to the grocery store. We all go to the store. I am just picking out different items. I shop at regular grocery stores and maybe once a month will go to a Whole Foods. It take me no more time to make a sugar free chic pea cookie dough pie than it would a boxed cake mix.

It is NOT that I have more time. It is making the time a PRIORITY!

If I make eating healthy foods look easy it is because it is easy! When I shop I buy healthy items. When I cook, I cook these healthy items that I got in the store with the same amount of time as everyone else. I do not use time as an excuse. <3

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Truly Delicious Healthy Jam

What do you get when you mix fresh apricots and chia seeds? 

You get this....
Apricot Chia Seed Jam

I should also mention it is sugar free, no pectin, and omega 3's!! 

Some may be asking what are chia seeds? These sesame looking seeds pack a punch of nutritional benefits.  Click here to read about the benefits of chia seeds. This superfood is also highly recommend for women with PCOS as it helps to regulate sugar levels. Click here to read about how chia seeds help with PCOS.

I was given a bag of fresh from the tree apricots. I have chia seeds on hand. I had an idea. 
I'm making jam!

8 cups chopped apricots
3 cups coconut sugar
juice from 1 lemon (not pictured)
1 tbs cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup chia seeds (add at the end)

Mix all ingredients into a big pot and heat on medium. Stir to mix well and prevent burning. The coconut sugar gives it a rich brown sugar look.  Let simmer for 30 minutes.

When time is up turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds. I used an immersion blender to smooth out the jam.  As the jam cools it will continue to thicken. 

My house smelled amazing at this point and my husband started to hover.  Next step is to can the jam. I follow basic canning directions. 

The final result is a comfort food tasting jam that I cannot wait to top my oatmeal with in the morning. Zero guilt and many added health benefits.  This is a great way to get my family to eat "Mom's healthy foods" without them blinking an eye. 

I love knowing I have made good, healthy, nutritious food for my family. I have several jars on hand.  This jam can be used mixed in with oatmeal, on toast, crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,....on a spoon!