Tuesday, October 30, 2012

IBCLC Re-Certification for Katie, the boob whisperer!!!

There's an awesome lady, who has helped me SO much with breastfeeding both Eliana and Evangeline. She came to the house when Evangeline wasn't even a day old and took calls from me for weeks after that. Most of the time I was in tears or close to. I call her the boob/baby whisperer because she seems to have the special gift to get nursing back on track in just about any situation. I've never met anyone like her in my entire life :)

A group of us are starting a small fundraiser for Katie to pay for her upcoming IBCLC re-certification. Taking the cert again means she'll be a board certified lactation consultant for another 10 years and will continue to serve, help, and bless mothers for free. She has helped HUNDREDS of us in Kitsap County and beyond. Think if everyone gave just $2. It would add up fast :)

We have three months to fund raise for her as we're hoping to have all the needed money by the end of January. Our goal is $400. Totally doable, right? I think it'd be rad to have it by the end of the year.

You can write a check to Katie Dunning, give cash to me or Katie or Dr. Niran Al-Agba, or click the 'donate' button below to give via Paypal/credit/debit. Please visit our fundraising website and feel free donate there! Go HERE FOR THE FUNDRAISING WEBSITE.Thank you!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Weight of it All

This photo is amazing. That is 30lbs of butter next to my beloved Paula Deen. As you probably know, news broke a while back that the butter-loving Paula Deen was having issues with her diabetes. A diet and lifestyle change followed the major negative press (poor Paula!). She made the cover of People Magazine after losing 30lbs, which is shown in the photo in the form of blocks of butter.

I love Paula. I always have and always will. After reading her biography several years ago (I want to read it again), I decided she is rad, super successful, hilarious, and I'd totally hang out with her given the chance. 

Paula and I have a few things in common. Most notably right now, we both had health issues and decided to make some positive changes and take care of our bodies.

As I wrote on my blog, I had some ovarian issues in July. During that time I also experienced my first miscarriage. During an ultrasound to look for the baby, I found out I had a large benign tumor and also TONS of large cysts and it really shook me. I mean, it's just not even fair that someone who already has PCOS, a miscarriage ALSO gets a tumor. I didn't do anything to deserve it and I'd already had one heck of a hard year. The tumor news amongst losing the baby made me feel really sad. I cried about it all and was frustrated that once again, my body was letting me down. The thought that I might never carry a baby successfully again broke my heart. 

After a couple days of being really bummed....that's an understatement, I woke up one morning with a big thought. The kind of big that makes you realize God is throwing you a lifeline. It was this, "maybe I should actually take care of and care about me for a change. Maybe I should take this bad news and use it as fuel to do whatever I need to do to be healthy."
I immediately felt motivated and like I could turn my sadness into drive. I started reading more about PCOS diets, chatting with friends who were successfully fighting their PCOS, and was really at the point that I wanted to change enough that I was willing to actually make the changes.

For me, this meant no pasta, bread, tortillas, white potatoes, crackers, candy, sugary drinks or juice, and basically no refined sugar. Sugars from fruits and veggies are OK, but not in juice form.

I remember a friend telling me she was doing this a couple years ago and I thought she was crazy. I mean, who gives up pasta? Is that even sustainable??? lol

The other BIG part of it all other than giving up carbs and sugars, is the importance of eating a lot of protein. 80grams a day is ideal, no less than 60grams for sure. Eggs, whey protein powder, salmon, chicken, turkey burgers, steak, beef, lunch meat, etc. Protein is key!

A lot of PCOS'ers give up dairy. I'm currently not one of them :) I drink milk and eat yogurt and cheese. For me, still eating dairy makes this something I can do long term. It majorly broadens my snack options and makes making meals for the whole family much easier. When I can find it at a good price, I buy unsweetened coconut milk and use that for my protein shakes. I use Show Me the Whey powder from Central Market as I avoid soy. Soy contains estrogen- not good for PCOS'ers who are already having hormone issues. Weston Price has done extensive research on soy. To read more about the soy-hormone issue, go HERE . So anyway, I avoid soy, which is tricky as most protein bars, especially the cheap ones, contain it. And soy isoflavones...the ones used in most protein bars, are actually the waste product of soy. I mean, think of super cheap hot dogs and the waste meat used. Pretty much the same thing. Not good! To read more on soy isoflavones, go HERE .

I started my food lifestyle change on July 19th. I hoped I'd see results quickly, but I had no idea as my body doesn't have a great track record of losing weight. When Eliana was  1 1/2 years old I took to walking 6 miles 5x a week (the hills in Manette). I did it for 3 months and I lost a whopping 8lbs. Then I was so pissed that I wasn't losing weight that I quit. I didn't realize that my body wasn't going to lose weight if I still have spaghetti or a baked potato or a quesadilla. I just didn't really get it. After the crap hitting the fan in July, I got it.

It's been three months. I've lost 33lbs. Some days I feel amazing and really proud of myself. Some days I feel frustrated that it's coming off slower as I get smaller and that I still have weight to lose. But I'm pressing on and seeing the plateaus as challenges and not allowing myself to give up even when I have 2 weeks of not losing anything. It seems like it ebbs and flows. I'll be stuck for 2 weeks and then BAM, lose 3lbs.

I haven't been this size in a very long time, like 8 years probably. I am 99% sure my wedding dress would be too big. I have more energy, I feel good about myself, shopping is fun again, and I don't feel invisible anymore. It was a shift in my thinking and way of life to put importance on myself again. I hadn't done that in way too long. My energy and time had to change a bit....to make room for me. It was an adjustment on my whole family. Trying to balance thinking and cooking and living for my health with also still doing all my motherly and wifely duties. Then there's the emotional side of losing weight. We can bury ourselves physically and emotionally under fat and baggy clothes. When those come off, things come to light and we either work through them or there's a good chance all that weight will come back on.

For me, with PCOS, I could gain back the 33lbs REALLY easily. If I were to eat 'normal' for one month....pasta, bread, desserts, etc. I would likely gain it all back. That's scary and frustrating, but it's my life.
I try not to impose my choices on other people. Craig still loves ice cream and brownies and the kids still eat pasta and tortillas. I just don't and that's OK.

The first couple of weeks were really hard. I felt super cranky for one thing. Then I read a study about how eating sugar releases serotonin, which is a brain chemical that makes feelings of contentment and happiness....and it was a light bulb. I was probably self-medicating unhappiness with eating sugars! ACK! And then you factor in that I have PCOS and my body doesn't know what the heck to do with sugars (and CRAVES them) and it just made a big fat mess for me. Literally. So I kept on and hoped the crankiness would subside. It did. Probably after the sugar remnants finally made their way out of my body and I no longer CRAVED them like breathing air.

A lot of people ask what I've been doing. I have heard the best compliments from people and that really encourages me. "You look like the Diana I knew 10 years ago." "Your skin looks so great and you look so healthy!"  This is all no doubt related to the kinds of food I'm eating. I feel like when I eat protein like crazy and truly don't eat the rest, I see a major change in not only my weight, but how I lose weight. It comes off in the places it should. My bra cup size has decreased by two full sizes. That is a hallelujah! I mean, I still have huge boobs unfortunately....but they aren't as huge :)

I was at the Gap with my mom the other day and tried on a darling coat in an XL....it was huge. So I tried on the L and it was great and not even snug (although about 2 inches too short). For me, being 5'10" and having a very large chest, fitting into a size L with room to spare, is pretty stinking awesome. I can wear juniors jeans and I'm almost (soo close!) into a single digit pant size. Also notable, my feet have shrunk a whole size.  I had to buy heel inserts for my Merell heels because I cannot bear to part with a $100 pair of super comfy stacked heels.

I've basically had to completely redo my wardrobe. I've sold almost everything on Ebay and have been going to Goodwill and sales at Kohls and Target to get things. Even my underwear is too big, but I'm waiting for the next Victoria's Secret sale :)

So, here' the gist of my changes:
Carbs should be max of 60 grams per day.
Protein minimum 60, goal is 80 grams.
Calories 1600-1800  (although I don't count).
Avocados are great.

Coconut oil is the best oil for cooking with.
Eat whole foods:
Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, etc.
2 tbsp of flaxseeds per day...that is huge for PCOS women.
Dark green veggies.
Only 1-2 servings of fruit per day. berries, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, and citrus
all other fruit is too high in sugar.
64 oz of water per day.
Supplements to take: fish oil, Ovablend, and Femrebalance, multi vitamin, and kelp.
Braggs apple cider vinegar helps lower sugars and helps with weight loss.
Organic cocoa powder and stevia for sweetening things (avoid artificial sweeteners).

I found the supplements to be cheapest on Amazon. Ovablend and FemRebalance are awesome and specifically made for people with PCOS.

There you have it!

I feel better than I have in years. The surgery was SO needed and helped me a lot. Being tumor free and mostly cyst free is a huge plus. Adding to that the diet changes and weight loss, wowza! 
I'll be 30 next July. Which kind of freaks me out, but it's a fact. Imagine being 30, a woman, and never in your life having had a period. That was going to be me! BUT, this woman has had her first ever not-caused by any sort of medication or residual clomid, period. Unbe-stinkin-lievable. Tells me for sure that my body is liking the changes and it encourages me to keep on. Who knows, maybe I'll someday get to have a baby without any fertility meds :)

***UPDATE 5/7/13 on the first ever period- I actually conceived that cycle and am expecting a baby boy in early August 2013!!!!

There aren't a ton of pictures of me from the last 8 years. Sadly, that's on purpose. I've been miserable and hated the way I've looked. This is really hard for me to do....as it's embarrassing, gross, and just plain awful...but this is a picture of me on July 4th, 2012: 

Hard to believe I seriously looked like that. This was me a couple weeks ago, in my favorite coat from 10 years ago: 

And this was me yesterday:

Thank you, dear friends, for encouraging and supporting my journey. I will keep on keepin' on!

~ Diana

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Am Solavei!

I just watched this video for the first time, it's great and only 3 minutes: http://vimeo.com/50091899

Solavei is here and real and making a difference in people's lives. You only want the cell plan and don't want to sponsor others? Ok, that's fine! You don't have to! If you do, that's a bonus. Are you on the opposite end of that and want to make it a business? That's great, too! What you want Solavei to be for you, you can do.

Solavei is unlimited talk, text, and data on a 4G network with no contracts. I've had Solavei service for coming up on 2 months. I am pleased with my service, I LOVE having a smartphone, and my service is FREE. Why? Because I told some friends about it. I told a lady I used to work with that she didn't have to settle for paying At&t $250 a month when she didn't even use any data! Solavei is about offering a solution to friends and family and giving them the option to save big money.  $49 a month is a great price for a great product. On top of that, for every 3 people you sponsor (tell them about it, help them enroll) you make $20 a month. You enroll 6 people? That means you're making $40 a month, so your bill is only $9 (plus tax).

Or, you don't tell anyone about it....still only $49 a month. This is a win-win situation! If you are interested or want to learn more I encourage you to contact me or visit my Solavei site at www.solavei.com/dianafrazier . You can even bring your own phone, which is what I did. Want to check if your current phone is compatible? Go to www.solavei.com/dianafrazier to do so.

THROUGH OCTOBER: Enroll and get your first month FREE as well as a free SIM card if you bring your own phone. This is a great deal!!!! Jump on it!


Oatmeal Streusel Topping for Pie

This topping recipe is perfect. Seriously. I've made a lot of different toppings and this one is really the best! I use my canned apple pie filling and that makes it a cinch to whip together a pie. And admittedly I pretty much always, ok more than pretty much, use store bought refrigerated crust. For some reason I hate the Pillsbury crust. It tastes very shortening-y and flavorless, so I find the store brand ones are much better. Someday I'll make one from scratch and then you can read that blog.

Anyways...this is the streusel that takes the cake is better than cake!

Delicious and easy Oatmeal Streusel for Apple Pie


3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
3/4 Cup rolled oats
1/2 Cup butter

In a medium bowl combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, brown sugar, and oats. Mix thoroughly, then cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle streusel on top of yummy filling already in the pie crust. Bake for approx 35 min at 375.
* If you are making apple pie with raw, uncooked apples, you'll need to pre-bake your pie for about 10 min before putting the streusel on and baking or you'll end up with mighty tough apples.

**you know how to make sure the bottom of your pie isn't doughy???? Bake it on the bottom oven rack. You're welcome :)

~ Diana
Gorgeous and oven ready ^^^^
Mmmmm, bubbly goodness!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cajun Frittata

I made a new recipe tonight, from Central Market's Recipes, and it was a huge hit! As usual, I modified it a little and this is what I did:

Cajun Frittata
Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup apple, cut into 1/4 inch dice
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (you can also use ham)
6 large eggs, whisked with 1 tablespoon  water until fluffy
2 1/2  teaspoons Cajun seasoning (available in Central Market bulk foods); or your favorite Cajun or Creole seasoning
 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400degrees F. Melt butter in a 10-12inch, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add yam and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes or until yam is almost tender. Add bacon and apple and cook for 5 minutes (at this point my skillet was dry so I added 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil).
Whisk the Cajun seasoning into the eggs, pour over bacon mixture and shake pan to evenly distribute. Sprinkle with both cheeses. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn oven to broil and cook for about 5 minutes more (watch closely as it can burn quickly), or until bubbly and golden on top. 
Remove from oven and serve.

This recipe turned out beautifully for me, and even served out of the pan easily. I used a stainless steel large skillet and it worked fine in the oven. I served biscuits and jam alongside, for my carb-loving fam.

Delicious, full of flavor, and got the vote of "something mom should definitely make again."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Barbie Cake- take two :)

Guess what I'll be doing tonight at approx 7pm? Yup! Making another Barbie cake. Last year I did THIS. My dear Eliana is up for yet another birthday.....she'll be 4 tomorrow. 4 is making me kind of sad. It's that number that is for-sure-no-longer-a-toddler. It's also the age Jacob was when I met him. And he's 12 now, proof that the years really do fly by!  To think that I'll blink and Eliana will also be 12 freaks me out!

For her birthday party tomorrow night she has asked for fettucini alfredo and a Barbie cake. I have 3 cake mixes all baked and chilling in the fridge and once she's in bed tonight I'll get to work.

For now, I'm working on decluttering my kitchen counters. I swear, they are the catch all for EVERYTHING. It just builds up and builds up and then pretty soon my only cooking prep space is over the sink. I'm not kidding. This ol' house is great, but there isn't anywhere that is an office space or craft space or 'place for paperwork', so it piles on the kitchen counters or the dining room table. Yeah, I have to clear that thing off, too. On top of that the laundry area is in the cold, unfinished basement. So clean laundry gets brought upstairs for folding and ....yep, ends up on the dining room table.

Then sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by the clutter and don't do anything. Doesn't help, of course, but it's true. Craig and Jake are both 'collectors'. They collect piles of stuff all over the house. Jake doesn't want to put things in his room because then he has to go all the way up to his room to get it. It is a bit of a trek.  And, like me, Craig has no place for organizing and storing things. We don't even have a garage. So, piles it is. Ugh.

Etsy piles. Ebay piles, Canning piles. Kid's crafts piles. Mail piles. And on it goes.

Wish me luck on Barbie-caking tonight!
~ Diana

Monday, October 1, 2012

Easy Crock Pot Apple Sauce

Who knew making your own apple sauce was SO easy?

I learned how to make it last fall and am now making it again as our trees are full of apples and the neighbor is sharing his, too. I currently have two crock pots simmering full of apples. One with Diana's Crock pot Apple Butter and the other with Easy Crock pot Apple Sauce. I also have the dehydrator full of apple rings....my first time ever using the dehydrator that I bought used from a friend. It's gonna smell amazing in here in the morning!

So, how do you make applesauce at home?

Step 1: Peel, core, and slice apples. I use a Pampered Chef corer/slicer (actually my dear hubby does it for me). If you have an immersion blender then you don't need to peel the apples. I will have one someday....

Step 2: Fill your crock pot with all the apples. They 'shrink' as they cook, so don't be afraid to really fill it up! I use a 6qt crock pot, so it holds a lot of apples.

Step 3: Add any extras you want. You can put in a couple Tbsp of apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice . If you are using tart apples, you can add in some 100% apple or white grape juice at this point to naturally sweeten your applesauce (a 1/2 cup should do). Vanilla is also yummy added in. Or just leave the sauce in it's apple-y wholesome unedited state. I personally prefer to not add any sugars :)

Step 4: Turn on low for 5-7 hours.

Step 5: When the apples are super soft, mix with a wooden spoon until desired smoothness (I kind of like it a bit lumpy). If you didn't peel your apples, now would be the time to use your immersion blender.
(this was made with the skins on, so it's darker)

BAM: It's ready to eat! Applesauce is awesome over pancakes, as the sauce on a dessert pizza, mixed with rosemary and poured over pork chops, and eaten straight out of the jar like the Sports Candy it is....this is where all the parents of young kids start laughing. Not sure why? Click on the link :)

**If you'd like to can your apple sauce I would suggest a 30 min hot water bath. But overall, follow the canning instructions that came with your canning pot. Apple sauce cans SO well, but you can also freeze it.

~ Diana, The Vintage Farm Girl