Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Natural Treatments for PCOS

Healing PCOS naturally

I recently gave a presentation on PCOS as part of my schooling for holistic nutrition, so I thought I’d share the results of my research with you. Just as a side note…even though I’ve been out of college and in the “professional” world for years now, I still get nervous when presenting in front of others…like mega nervous! I can’t even eat anything the day of a presentation because I almost feel nauseous. I get butterflies in my stomach and my hands get all clammy. But the moment I stand up in front of the crowd and start talking, I feel perfectly fine and usually do a pretty good job. Crazy, right? Hopefully it’s something I grow out of eventually!

Anyway, back to PCOS. As a reminder, this information is not to be taken as medical advice and you should always discuss your condition with a physician before proceeding with any treatment. This is only meant to be shared as a culmination of research and reading I’ve done on my own, and my own opinions.

PCOS is a tricky syndrome, and as I did my research I found myself going in circles at times, concluding that women diagnosed with PCOS often have to do their own homework to get to the bottom of their condition. Even the name polycystic  ovary syndrome is misleading, as the “cysts” seen on an ultrasound as part of a PCOS diagnosis are not really cysts at all, but semi-mature follicles that never released their egg due to improper hormone levels. In fact, you don’t even have to have these “cysts” on your ovaries in order to be diagnosed with PCOS. Ovarian cysts are a completely disease process from PCOS. Following the Rotterdam criteria (which is the standard for diagnosing PCOS), a woman must have a least two of the following traits in order to be diagnosed with PCOS:

1. Irregular or lack of ovulation

2. High androgen (testosterone) levels, either by observation or by testing

3. Enlarged ovaries containing at least 12 immature follicles each

Continue reading

Posted in health, nutrition, school Tagged , , ,

Product Review: Michael Todd True Organics Skin Care

Months ago I received a gift from a friend who knows I love organic skin care products. It was a discovery kit from Michael Todd Organics, and I was super excited to try it. The kit contained mini sizes of products specific for your skin type, but it looks like they’ve redesigned the kits so the one I have is no longer available in this exact configuration. There is quite a bit of buzz on Youtube about these products, and I’ve also seen several Living Social and Groupon deals for them.

Before I get started with the review, I want to mention one thing about this company. While they do use some organic ingredients, these products are not USDA certified organic. Some of you are looking for true organic products, and if that’s the case, you won’t find it with Michael Todd. I still think the products are a MUCH safer option than most commercial skin care products, but they do still use ingredients like phenoxyethanol (which is banned in Japan) and sodium benzoate, which are man-made chemical preservatives. Just wanted to throw that out there….

Honey and Oat

So, the first product I tried was the Honey and Oat Gentle Deep Pore Cleanser. By now you know that I’m in love with Nutriganics Foaming Face Wash from The Body Shop and I’m probably on my 20th bottle of the stuff, so it takes a lot for me to start using a different face wash. I will say this product is quite nice. It’s fairly concentrated so a little goes a long way, and it produces a slight lather (not quite as much as I like, but still good) which makes it easy to work all the makeup off your skin. The scent is mild and very lovely, with a slight citrus aroma. It did a great job of removing all of my makeup (I did the cotton pad test afterward to check) without making my skin feel stripped or dry. A nice product, indeed!

Continue reading

Posted in beauty, natural, organic, product review, products, skin care

Trying something new: shopping at goodwill

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a pretty frugal gal. I’ve always been a saver, love buying things on sale, and live for BOGO free deals. So yesterday when my 86-year old grandma asked me to take her shopping at Goodwill, I thought it would be a great opportunity to look for some bargains since I had to drop off a donation anyway. In the past I haven’t spend much time shopping at Goodwill, but I’m a frequent donator, clearing out my cupboards and closets several times a year and dropping goodies off for some other shopper to snag.

We arrived at about 5 pm and the store was fairly empty. My grandma was looking for some plates and Christmas items, so we started in the housewares department. They had a huge Christmas decoration section with 3-4 aisles of wreaths, trees, wrapping paper, and home décor items. I was impressed! Within a few minutes of wandering the aisles, I had to go back to the front of the store to grab a shopping cart! I found some great items that I just couldn’t pass up. Here’s what I found:

Goodwill chair

This adorable little chair was only $5.99. It looks like something you’d see in an antique store or one of those shops that refinish old furniture in shabby chic style. It even had a tag on it, so it may have been brand new. The yellow upholstery on the seat is in flawless condition and will coordinate beautifully in my guest room. Something like this would easily cost $50-75 elsewhere, so I was stoked!

Continue reading

Posted in deals, saving money

Why eggs are one of the best foods on the planet

Do you recall being told at some point in your life that you should not eat eggs because they’re so high in cholesterol? Do you order egg white omelets when you’re at a restaurant because you think they’re healthier for you? Or *heaven forbid* use egg substitutes when you’re baking at home? Well, I’m here to tell you that unless you’re allergic to eggs, you should be eating lots of them….yolks and all!

Eggs

As far as I’m concerned, eggs are one of the most perfect foods on the planet. Specifically the egg yolk. Think about it: the yolk of an egg is intended to give a baby chick all of the nutrients it needs to grow into a healthy chicken. That means that it’s loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Here’s just some of what you can find inside glorious eggs:

  • All of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for your hormones, neurotransmitters, muscles, and more
  • B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12), which contribute to skin health, keeping stress at bay, boosting your metabolism, and keeping your hormones balanced
  • Vitamin A, which supports your vision and immune system
  • Vitamin D, which helps prevent osteoporosis, supports mood stability, and regulates insulin activity
  • Biotin, which keeps skin healthy and helps your body efficiently use sugar
  • Essential fatty acids, which are crucial for healthy cell membranes and beautiful hair, skin, and nails
  • Zinc, which supports your immune system an balances blood sugar
  • Magnesium, which keeps your bones strong, enables energy production, maintains nervous system balance, and has a calming effect on the body
  • Choline, which helps reduce inflammation in the body and supports neurological function

Continue reading

Posted in food, health, Nutrition, organic

How to detoxify your body and clear up your skin

If you’re like most people, the word “detox” conjures up images of chugging foul-tasting green concoctions, starving yourself, sweating like crazy in a sauna, or spending hours on the toilet. Or it might make you think of those pricey spa retreats where all of your meals are prepared by a gourmet chef and you spend your days getting massages and facials in between yoga sessions on the beach. Whatever your preconceptions are about detoxification (also referred to as cleansing), I’m here to explain to you what it means to detox, why you should do it, and how to get started.

Detoxification for clear skin

First off, what are toxins and how do they end up in your body? A toxin is a poisonous substance that has the ability to cause damage or disease in the body. And the truth is: they’re everywhere! Toxins are in the foods you eat (in the form of pesticides, artificial colors and flavors, MSG, preservatives and many other additives), the air you breathe, the water you drink and bathe in, the medicines you take, the cleaners you use in your home, and the products you put on your skin. They’re completely unavoidable. The CDC even releases an ongoing report on human exposure to environmental chemicals, and it’s over 700 pages long! So, if you’re being bombarded with toxins all day every day, how are you still alive? Well, your body has the amazing ability to process toxins and remove them from your body before they’re able to do you harm. Your liver, kidneys, colon, skin, lungs, and lymphatic system all work together to sort through, process, break down, and eliminate toxins so they don’t hurt you. Your body is detoxing 24/7/365. Brilliant, right? So, what’s the problem, you ask? Where you can run into trouble is when your body is not able to process the toxic load due to either impaired function of your detoxification organs, or simply taking in more toxins than your body can handle. When toxins aren’t being eliminated efficiently, your body will start to show signs. Fatigue, acneic or dull skin, weight gain, headaches, insomnia, irritability and mood swings, and intense cravings are just some of the indications that you need to detoxify your body.

When “doing a detox,” your goal is to give your body a boost in two ways:

1. Reduce the amount of toxins you put in it. As I mentioned earlier, unless you live in a bubble and only eat organic food and drink mountain spring water, you can’t completely avoid exposure to toxins. The goal during your detox is to eliminate as many toxins as you can, which will give your body a break and allow it to metabolize and eliminate the toxins already in your body. Some things to avoid during a detox would be:

  • Tap water (drink filtered water only)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Processed food
  • Sugar
  • Gluten and dairy (which are hard on the digestive system)

Continue reading

Posted in health, Nutrition

Skincare product rave: Acure Organics Seriously Firming Facial Serum

If you’ve seen my Youtube video about facial oils, you know I love to use these silky, potent elixirs on my skin to keep it moist, supple, and wrinkle free (yes, I’ve been worried about wrinkles ever since I was about 12 years old!). Oils and serums aren’t packed with all the fillers that traditional moisturizers contain…you’re only getting the good stuff here! Even if you have oily skin, a facial oil will keep your skin balanced, moisturized, healthy, and more youthful.

I recently discovered a new one that I just HAD to tell you about. It’s by a lovely company called Acure Organics, and they’re committed to offering skin and hair care products that are free of nasty parabens, animal testing, gluten, silicone, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, and phthalates. I purchased this product at my go-to online store for all things natural and organic, Vitacost.com. At around $20, I thought it was a very reasonable price for a USDA Organic product.

Continue reading

Posted in beauty, organic, product review, skincare, vitacost

Go get your Groupon!

Oh happy day! One of my favorite deal sites, Groupon, is offering a deal for The Body Shop again. If you watch my Youtube videos, then you know I love the Nutriganics Foaming Face Wash….I’m seriously on my 19th bottle (or something like that!). So it’s time for me to go stock up. With this deal, you spend $10 to get a voucher for $20, which can be combined with sales and the Love Your Body 10% discount if you’re a member.

So here’s what you need to do: If you’re not signed up for Groupon, go do it! You should find The Body Shop deal pretty easily, but hurry, because it only goes for a few more hours. And do you wanna know what else is awesome? You can use Ebates to save an additional 3%. Ebates is a way you can earn money back on all your online purchases. I use it ALL the time to shop at my favorite stores like Nordstrom, Sephora, Amazon, and Vitacost. Might as well get a little something back for all that online shopping! AND, if you use my little linky to sign up for an Ebates account (which is FREE!), we’ll each get a $5 bonus when you make your first purchase.

Ahh, stacking coupons and discounts…one of my favorite simple pleasures!

Posted in deals, products, saving money

Pumpkin seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch

Whether you call them pumpkin seeds, pepitas, or punkin’ seeds (if you’re my mom), these “little seeds of squash” should be something you consider adding to your diet. I was relatively unfamiliar with pumpkin seeds until I started my nutrition education. In a class I recently completed, we were asked to record a one week food journal in order to perform a diet analysis to assess the nutritional health of our diets. Through this exercise, I learned that my typical diet was sadly lacking in vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and several other micronutrients. While researching foods I could add to my diet to address this deficiency, I noticed that pumpkin seeds kept popping up on all the lists. So, I immediately went to the bulk section of my local health food store and filled up a bag. Ever since, I’ve been sprinkling them on salads and snacking on them between meals.

My lunch today: organic mixed baby greens, avocado, goat cheese, roasted vegetables, hardboiled egg, pumpkin seeds

My lunch today: organic mixed baby greens, avocado, goat cheese, roasted vegetables, hard-boiled egg, pumpkin seeds

Continue reading

Posted in health, Nutrition

Wet sock treatment

I did something weird last night: I slept in cold, wet socks. Why on earth would I do that? Well, I had never heard of such a thing until the past week. In the class I’m taking, we were discussing methods of hydrotherapy (mineral baths, neti pots, etc.), and the topic of the wet sock therapy came up. I was intrigued and decided to do a bit more research.

 

This holistic and naturopathic treatment is intended to boost the immune system and fight off the onset of flu or colds and other infections. By putting icy cold, wet socks on your feet, your body reacts by increasing circulation to warm your feet, which stimulates the immune system and can help relieve congestion in the upper respiratory system. It also has a sedating affect and helps you to sleep, believe it or not! If you start to feel sick, worn out, or you can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep, this treatment might be worth trying. I’m pretty anti-medicine and like to treat myself holistically whenever possible, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve been feeling a bit worn out lately, and thought a little immune system boost couldn’t hurt. :)

Here’s the protocol I followed:

1) I took a hot bath with Epsom salts and eucalyptus herbal bath oil from Kneipp (so soothing!).

2) After drying off, I soaked a pair of thin cotton socks in ice water and wrung them out until they were just damp.

3) I put them on my warm feet. Eeek!

4) I covered my feet with thick wool socks. Ahh, that felt better.

5) I immediately went to bed.

The results? Well, first off, I slept like a baby. I’m a pretty good sleeper, but last night was pretty epic. I turned in early, so I got a full 8 hours of sleep. But more than that, I had a deeply restful, rejuvenating, crazy-dream-inducing sleep. I normally hate sleeping with socks on, but for some reason, I felt extra cozy and warm last night. My feet weren’t cold at all. The amazing thing is, when I woke up, my feet and the socks were bone dry. How could that be?

I don’t have a cold, so I can’t say whether this reduced congestion, but I’d certainly try it again. It’s so easy and harmless, and I have to say, I feel pretty fantastic today.

DISCLAIMER:

I am not a physician, and this is only my account of trying a natural remedy. If this is something you want to try, do your own research and consult with your physician if necessary. Certain people may not want to try this treatment, such as those with circulatory disorders, diabetes, or those with certain types of cancer or HIV.

Reader feedback: What are your favorite home remedies?

Posted in health

10 things I’m loving: Autumn edition

Awhile back a posted about my favorite things about summer, so now that autumn (or fall, depending on what you like to call it) is in full swing, I thought it was time to delight in all of the glorious simple pleasures of the new season.

1. The color of the leaves right now. Of course this has to be #1. Autumn brings vibrant hues everywhere you look, and it makes me so happy.

2. Burning candles. I stocked up on some new scents of the season at Bath and Body Works when they were on sale. I’ve been loving Cider Lane and Cinnamon Sugared Donut.

3. Facial oils. Due to the cooler weather and less humidity in the hair, my skin is already starting to feel dry. I love this balancing facial oil from Suki because it smells awesome and nourishes my skin beautifully.

pure facial moisture - balancing

4. Downton Abbey. OMG. I’m late to the party on this one, but I recently discovered this show (thanks to Megan from The Detoxinista) and I’m utterly obsessed. How could a show about rich aristocrats and their servants be entertaining, you ask? For me, I love the history, the gorgeous period costumes, the love stories, and the fact that it’s relatively “clean.” And the granny’s witty comments crack me up! I finished watching the first two seasons, and now I’m re-watching them because I love it so much. Yeah, it’s that good.

5. Meyer lemons. These babies are back in stores, and the flavor is amazing. It’s like a slightly sweeter lemon, and just thinking about it makes my mouth water! I’m looking for more ways to use these in my cooking because I love them so much.

Meyer Lemons

[Photo from BunkyCooks]

 

6. Being a student again. As I mentioned in this post, I’m going back to school for holistic nutrition. It’s been tough juggling reading and homework with a full-time job, but I enjoy the subject matter so much, it doesn’t feel like work!

7. Colorful pea coats. If I could, I would have a pea coat in every color. I especially love these from Lands End. When it’s cold outside and you wear a coat everywhere, you have to have cute coats, because people can’t see what you’re wearing anyway! I already have red, bright pink, charcoal grey, and chocolate brown, but this baby blue one is calling my name.

8. Eating healthy. I’ve really been working on my diet lately. I’ve almost completely cut out dairy, and I’m eating tons more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. I’m even down to only 1-2 cups of coffee a week! I’ve been doing a lot more juicing, and I love the way it makes me feel. It can be expensive stocking up on organic produce, but I’d rather cut back in other areas of my life (buh-bye impulsive nail polish purchases!) and feed my body the best possible nutrients. Health is everything!

9. Darker nail polish. Speaking of nail polish, I’ve been digging through my stash and pulling out colors I haven’t worn since the beginning of summer. Dark burgundy, navy blue, and grey have been on my tips lately.

10. Flannel pj pants. When I’m at home, I pretty much live in flannel pajama bottoms. Last Christmas I got some from Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret (they come in long lengths, so I don’t end up with capris after I’ve washed them a few times) and I can’t get them on fast enough when I get home in the evenings. They feel so soft, comfy, and warm. They make me happy!

Reader feedback: What are you loving your life right now? What simple pleasures are bringing you joy? I’d love to hear!

Posted in favorite things, happiness, home, simple pleasures