Sunday, 12 May 2013


I had a monster of a menstrual cycle this month.  I've noticed over the past 2-3 months, since my husband declared that he wants a divorce (by email... classy!), that my PMS is much worse too.

This new cycle, I finished bleeding a day quicker than usual but the weird thing is that I had a really super heavy bleed during the night, in fact I was up 3 times during the night and felt like total, utter crap the next day and couldn't leave the house.

Well it pushed me to finally do something about it (and I am now in a better financial position too) so I had an appointment at a clinic of a very well known Dr/Naturopath.  I was unable to see her (the waiting list is 2 months!) so I was able to see one of her colleagues the day after I called to make an appointment.

It was a long appointment, about 1.5 hours, but so worth it.  It feels like I finally have people on my side who understand me and are pro-active in their treatment.  Where other Drs will write a script for the Pill and shove you out the door before you can blink, these women are being incredibly thorough.  I have referrals for blood tests and ultrasounds and I have been instructed to cut out all wheat and dairy.  Dairy isn't really a problem for me as I don't eat much of it anyway.  Wheat is my weakness, however.  I love bread and pasta!!

Along with all the other things they have recommended cutting out, I have pretty much deduced that the kind of diet (I hate that word) I am now following is along the lines of Paleo/primal.  I read about Paleo a few months ago on a blog by a woman who has PCOS.  I have been googling images and Youtube videos of people who have been doing Paleo and looking at their before and after pics, I have to admit I am really inspired by what they have achieved!

Something the Dr recommended was that, rather than weighing myself to measure my progress, I should find an old (ie smaller!) item of clothing and try it on once every couple of weeks.  So this morning I pulled on a pair of Australian size 12 jeans that easily fit me 5 years ago... umm... yeah....  they got past my knees and most of the way up my thighs and the waist stopped short of my crotch.  Rather than get upset about it, I had to laugh at myself because I looked so ridiculous!  I have taken a photo for my own reference, don't worry, I won't scar your brain for life with any photos.  But I need proof for myself in a few months time when those babies will just glide right up my legs and button up around my waist with ease and no need to hold my tummy in.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Look after yourself

My previous post discussed a kind of stress called Chronic Stress.  This is the stress that is always with us, it can last for days or weeks or months or years.  A loved one who is very ill, not having enough food or money, concern about our job security, worrying about whether we are good enough parents to our kids (or, as in my situation, the fear of possibly never being a parent).

Chronic Stress is the type that will cause weight gain.  By having constantly elevated levels of cortisol, it is sending a message to the body that we are in a type of Famine, and to prevent ourselves from starvation our bodies gain weight.

Anything you can do that is fun or produces a pleasurable response is a perfect remedy because it releases seratonin which is the "feel good" hormone.

These last few weeks have been incredibly stressful for me because of the breakdown of my marriage.  I have some awful moments of despair and darkness, but then I realise that there is still life beyond this and I need to take care of myself and do everything I can to launch myself in a new and exciting direction.

I started a Floristry course at my local college this week and I am already feeling the excitement of what I will achieve by the end of the year.  In class on Thursday everyone was sitting very quietly, totally absorbed in their work (ie. concentrating reeeeaaallly hard hahaha!) and time just melted away...  I realised then that I was "in the zone" or the Alpha brainwave state that anyone can be in when they are doing something relaxing or creative.

What do you do for relaxation or fun?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Cortisol and Weight Gain

For the majority of women with PCOS, trying to lose weight is a real issue.  I know it is for me, it has been a problem for many years.  I have always carried extra weight ever since puberty began just before my 12th birthday.

The first place the extra fat began to accumulate was on my belly.  And guess what I have discovered these last couple of weeks?

High cortisol levels cause belly fat!

Okay, so what exactly IS cortisol?

Cortisol is the stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland in response to anything that the human body perceives as a threat (whether that threat is real or not) or anything that we interpret as a stressful situation.

Things like money worries, job losses, family issues - anything that becomes a chronic stress - will cause the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.

This is why it is imperative that we manage our stress levels.  There is no point cutting carbs or counting calories to try to lose weight if you are stressed out, your body is going to fight you all the way.

Try to look at it this way.

Jon Gabriel describes these chronic stresses as a type of FAMINE response.  Our bodies, our adrenal glands, our brains....  they don't know the difference between a real and a perceived threat, but they react exactly the same way.

Facing a job loss or financial loss produces the same kind of stress as not having enough food to eat or anything that feels like it is LACKING from your life.

So how can you reduce cortisol?

Increase the following nutrients by adding foods or taking supplements :

Omega 3 fatty acids (eg fish oil)
B complex vitamins
Vitamin C
Green tea (L-theanine is the active compound that helps to reduce cortisol, so if you don't like the taste of green tea you can buy green tea or L-theanine in capsule form)

Add in new lifestyle habits:

Relaxing activities
Music therapy
Improve your sleep
Regular exercise
Stabilize your blood sugar (adding green leafy vegies is a great way to do this!)

All of the above are proven techniques to help you lower your stress hormones and reduce belly fat.

If you are new to meditation, here is a fantastic website that can help you get started:

One Moment Meditation

I am up to Day 3 and it is amazing how quickly one minute goes by, just by closing my eyes and focusing on nothing but breathing.  Time just seems to go by even faster each time I try it!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

I officially hate summer

When I was in my teens and younger years I loved the extreme weather.  Loved the summer and equally loved the winter!

One thing I have found to be really refreshing on hot summer days is this drink:

  • one cup of coconut water 
  • the juice of half a lemon (it's got to be fresh, not bottled lemon juice)
  • a scoop of ice cubes.  

That is it!  Honestly it is one of the best discoveries I have made!

I don't enjoy coconut water on its own so that is the reason I add the lemon juice (as well as lemon juice being a wonderful alkalizing substance for your digestion).

Coconut water is also extremely healthy, it replenishes energy because it contains electrolytes, the same stuff that is found in "sports drinks" (which aren't exactly healthy because they contain added sugar and food colouring).

A new direction

I have been back in Australia visiting my parents as I have been living in the UK for the last 3 years.  I thought I was just here for a holiday for 3 months.

Ten days ago my husband of 7 years sent me a very gutless and cowardly email to tell me that he wants a divorce.

There's no point going back to the UK now, my marriage is definitely over and my husband wants to live a self destructive lifestyle.  I am honestly so tired of the fight I have put up for so long to try to save our marriage.  I wish I had had the sense to leave 2 years ago.

I am 38 years old and I hold very little hope of meeting someone and having a baby now.

I will keep up this blog though as it is more about the issues we Endo and PCOS sufferers have and I will always be exploring different subjects and natural treatments.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


One of the horrible hormonal challenges I face with PCOS is carb cravings.  So I am known to pig out on chocolate and sweet biscuits and desserts when the cravings are at their worst.

Rather than stress myself out and restrict the chockies, I have allowed myself to have them while my body does its thing and releases weight.  I am TRUSTING my body to take care of me.  It knows what it is doing!

For the past week or so I have been eating sensibly but NOT cutting carbs or counting calories.  I have nourished my body every day with a deliciously healthy smoothie and mostly eaten healthy meals.

If the cravings hit me I would just go with the flow, turn my boat down stream.  If I wanted a handful of biscuits I had a handful of biscuits.

This morning I weighed myself and to my great surprise I have lost 1.7kg (3.7 lbs).

Without dieting, without slogging it out to burn carbs.

My body has simply started to release the weight it no longer needs.

My poor eyes nearly jumped out of my head!  I had to step off the scales and let them reset, then I weighed myself three more times just to be sure that it wasn't a mistake!

I really believe in the healing power of food and especially the healing power of coconut.

xo Belinda

Sunday, 6 January 2013

(I've got a lovely bunch of) Coconuts!

Coconut oil has had a pretty bad rap for years because it contains saturated fat.  Saturated fats are actually really good for us!

However, I have been doing my research, there is a ton of information all over the internet about the nourishing and healing benefits of coconut oil.

It turns out that we have all been deceived about the saturated fat in coconut oil being harmful.

Coconut oil is composed primarily of medium- and short-chain fatty acids. The medium-chain fatty acids are broken down and used mostly for energy production - thus they produce energy NOT FAT

They have no negative effect on blood cholesterol, in fact MCFA's have been proven to INCREASE the good cholesterol (known as HDL) and help protect against heart disease!

Saturated fats are not vulnerable to oxidation and free radical formation like unsaturated fats. Saturated fats remain stable even when heated to normal cooking temperatures, and coconut oil is by far the safest oil to use in cooking, though you must ensure that you use temperatures - the easiest way to know you are cooking the oil at a safe temperature is to avoid letting the oil smoke. 

In fact the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil give it unique properties and make it the healthiest oil of them all.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oils are oils composed of 100% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These are derived from coconut or palm kernel oils. Coconut and MCT oils are used in hospitals to treat malabsorption syndrome and burnt or severely ill patients, among others. 

Coconut/MCT oil has been an important ingredient in baby formulas and especially in treating premature babies. PREMATURE BABIES!!!  This is because coconut oil contains lauric acid which is converted to monolauric acid, the same stuff found in a mother's breast milk.

The MCFAs in coconut oil are lauric acid (48%), caprylic acid (8%)and capric acid (7%). However, coconut oil contains "a complete set of MCFAs", "provides a balance of several fatty acids rather than just two" and is a completely natural product.

South Sea islanders, whose traditional diet consists mostly of coconut products, are extremely healthy - those who have stuck to this diet, that is, and who haven't begun to consume Western junk food.

MCFAs from coconut oil can "kill bacteria and viruses that cause influenza, herpes, bladder infections, gum diseases and numerous other conditions". It acts as an antioxidant and protects the heart and arteries from injury "caused by bacteria, viruses and free radicals". Heart disease rates in India tripled when people were advised to stop eating coconut oil since it caused heart disease (!?) and instead started to consume margarine and processed vegetable oils. Fungal and yeast infections can also be cured by coconut oil.

Coconut oil contributes to healing innumerable disorders, including digestive and nutrient absorption disorders, Crohn's disease. osteoporosis, gallbladder disease, viral infections, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, liver disease and prostate enlargement. It provides valuable nourishment for new-born babies.

I bought some extra virgin coconut oil from the health food store recently and have already used it as an oil for a stir fry and also in my smoothie (see previous post for the recipe).  I only used a tablespoon of oil each time as I wasn't sure how it would taste.  A few days later and I have been able to increase my intake of oil to 3 tablespoons a day.

The verdict?  It was absolutely fine in the stir fry (Chicken Pad Thai), I couldn't taste the oil at all.  I can, however, taste it in the smoothie but it is quite subtle and therefore easy to drink.  I did try taking the oil by itself, just to see how it tasted...  I don't recommend it unless you are a real fan of coconuts!  I wasn't quite prepared for how strong the taste is.

I have also been using coconut water in my smoothies or just on its own with a squeeze of lemon juice.  The pure stuff has an acquired taste but not terrible by any means.  I have also tried a canned version of coconut water but it tasted really sweet.  I think the culprit was either added Vitamin C or the coconut water was from a fresh coconut.

I will be reviewing a book about the benefits of coconut oil very soon.  Stay tuned!