Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What causes the darkened skin patches (Acanthosis Nigricans)?

What causes darkened skin patches (acanthosis nigricans) and what can be done to lighten them?

The exact cause is not known, but acanthosis nigricans is often seen in association with endocrine disorders such as insulin resistance and PCOS. This is a darkening of the skin ranging from tan to dark brown/black that commonly appears on the back of the neck, armpits, under breasts, in the groin area, and sometimes on the elbows, knees and hands. The skin is usually velvety or rough to the touch. It may look as if it is dirty and could be scrubbed off. Acanthosis nigricans cannot be cured, but individuals may see improvement if hormone balance is restored or weight loss is achieved. Some prescription medications such as Retin-A, 15% urea, alpha hydroxyacid, and salicylic acid may reduce discoloration.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm a Tea Totaller

I am a big tea drinker. I drink at least one cup of tea every single day at work, sometimes more (depending on how cold it is in the office!). I don't like all the caffeine in coffee, and honestly don't like the taste, but I enjoy a good cup of tea and it also helps me get my water in for the day. I love going to my Mother In Law's house because she always has a large variety of flavored teas for me to choose from.

So, when I found a site called Full Bloom Tea and saw the beautiful hand tied Artisan teas that actually "bloom" before your eyes into amazing drinkable floral bouquets, I knew I had found the perfect Mother's Day present for my Mother in Law!

They have 3 choices of Mother's Day Specials going on right now in which you receive a glass tea pot and a collection of tea blooms starting at $29, or you can add two glass tea cups for the $49 gift set.

I watched the "Let Love Bloom" video demo on the site and saw how the tea bloom twisted, turned and appeared to bloom into a beautiful floral bouquet in the glass teapot! They were not only beautiful, but from what I have read, they contain the finest rare Silver Needle White Tea leaves which are rich in antioxidants and they are infused with beautiful dehydrated flowers. Each bloom can actually be re-steeped up to 3 times then can be put in a clear glass or vase with clean water and enjoyed for a few more days.

Check out the beautiful selection of Tea Blooms available. I don't think I could choose just one, so I'll have to get an assortment! I know that this is one gift my Mother in Law will really enjoy! She loves flowers and she loves tea! It's the perfect match!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Do PCOS Women Have Low Vitamin D Levels?

Vitamin D deficiency appears to occur frequently in women with PCOS, and may be a contributing factor to some of the biochemical abnormalities seen in this condition.

In a study of 13 women with PCOS, five were found to have obvious vitamin D deficiency and three others had borderline-low vitamin D status.(1) All 13 women were treated with vitamin D2 at a dose of 50,000 IU once or twice a week, and also received 1,500 mg of supplemental calcium per day.

Of the nine women with absent or irregular menstruation prior to vitamin D treatment, seven experienced normalization of their menstrual cycles within two months and the other two became pregnant. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding also resolved within two months in both cases in which it had been present.

Other studies have shown that some women with polycystic ovary syndrome had sub-optimal levels of vitamin D.(2,3) Low vitamin D has been clearly linked to insulin resistance and obesity.

In other words, the heavier you are and the more insulin resistant you are, the more likely it is that your vitamin D is too low.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Blogtipping. . .

Please mark your calendar to go blogtipping with me on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - the anniversary of the first Blogtipping Day!

Blogtipping Definition: Blogtipping is where you publish a blog post in which you link to three unsuspecting blogs and offer three compliments and/or one helpful tip to each blogger. (Or adapt those numbers to your own preferences; the principle of selflessness is what matters most here.) Blogtipping is a refreshing and useful surprise that can start a blogger's month with a huge smile!

The first calendar day of each month is a new Blogtipping Day. Who will you sneak up behind and tip next time? :)

So come back on May 1st to see who I've Blogtipped! I'll be posting who I've Blogtipped with links to their sites. For each of my 4 blogs, I will be Blogtipping three other blogs that are similar to my blog, so I'll actually Blogtip 12 blogs on May 1st!

This is who is planning to join me on Blogtipping Day. Can I add your link? Just let me know!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Low Carb Brownies

It's so hard to give up all sweets. Sometimes you just need to each chocolate! Here's a great recipe for a Low Carb Brownie that is delicious!

Low Carb Brownie
1 cup ground almonds, well sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups Splenda or granulated Maltitol
1 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 extra large eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9" x 13" cake pan. Stir together almonds, baking powder, salt and Splenda; set aside. In a microwave bowl, on high, melt the butter and the chocolate, stirring frequently. Add the Splenda, the beaten eggs and vanilla; beat until well blended. Stir in the dry mixture, mix well, then stir in the pecans. Pour into the prepared pan, spread evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check at 15 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool on wire rack, cut into 48 squares.

Note: 1.8 net carbs per square. Makes about 48 servings.

Monday, April 16, 2007

1 Million Steps

Becca and I are members of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), a weight loss support group, at our church. We were challenged by the Area Captain in February to make a goal of taking 1,000,000 steps from the beginning of February through the end of July.

Sounds impossible, doesn't it? But actually it's not at all. It's very doable if you break it down into daily goals!

I figured there are 181 days from the beginning of February through the end of July and then divided it into 1,000,000. That meant I needed to take 5,525 steps a day to reach my goal!

I started out February averaging about 6,000 steps a day. That would help me reach my goal of a million steps, but in reality, that is not burning enough calories to help me lose any weight. So, by the end of February, I was up to averaging about 8,000 steps a day. In March, I took it up a notch. I decided my goal was to hit 10,000 steps a day as many days in March that I could. I hit that goal every single day except for 5. So for 26 days in March, I had over 10,000 steps each day!

For April, I decided to kick it up another notch! My new goal for April is to take at least 12,000 steps a day! So far, I've been averaging about 13,000 steps a day!

If I would have set a goal of taking 12,000 steps a day from the beginning of February, I would be on track to take 2 Million steps by the end of July! Unbelievable, isn't it?

How many steps do you take a day?

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) our body burns to maintain itself. Metabolism is essentially the speed at which our body's motor is running.The speed at which our body burns calories is called the metabolic rate.

The metabolism is based on the number of calories we burn throughout the day. Our body constantly burns calories to keep us going whether we are eating, sleeping, cleaning etc.Once the daily business of breathing, eating, moving and other activities are met, any unused or surplus calories get stored, mostly in the form of fat. This means that if you take in more calories than you use, you will gain weight.

People with a lower percentage of body fat (i.e. muscular) have a higher metabolism than others that are less muscular because muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat.

Some people have a slower metabolic rate and have a harder time staying slim. A slow metabolism actually causes to store fat. The slower the metabolic rate, the greater the weight gains.

Some natural metabolism boosters are chili, mustard, green tea, water, dietary fibers and foods that are complex carbohydrates and proteins. Keep in mind however, that foods can increase your metabolism only marginally. Only lifestyle changes can make a dramatic effect on metabolism.

Be physically active. In an activity like walking, bowling, dancing or playing golf, the energy you expand is greater if you have more weight to move around. A 140 pound man who walks 3 miles in an hour burns 220 calories as compared to a person of 110 pound, who burns only 180 cal going the same pace.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What blood tests should be done to diagnose PCOS?

Much of the blood work that should be done in diagnosing or ruling out PCOS is the same as a basic fertility workup; however, there are a couple of additional tests for insulin resistance that should be added, as well as some cholesterol screening to evaluate general health status because of the future risks associated with PCOS. A good basic screening would include:

  • Fasting comprehensive biochemical and lipid panel;
  • 2-hour GTT with insulin levels (also called IGTT);
  • LH:FSH ratio;
  • Total testosterone;
  • DHEAS;
  • SHBG;
  • Androstenedione;
  • Prolactin and
  • TSH

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Who should diagnose and treat PCOS?

Any type of doctor familiar with PCOS might make the diagnosis, but the disorder is complicated and may be best treated by a specialist. If you are having difficulty getting pregnant, you should see a reproductive endocrinologist, while long-term management by an endocrinologist should be considered.

A general practitioner or an OBGYN may treat some women with the syndrome, but someone who specializes in endocrine disorders may be more familiar with treatment options and recent studies on PCOS.

With my daughter Becca, our OBGYN immediately referred us to an endocrinologist. She felt that Becca would get much better care than she could offer with someone who specializes in PCOS, which an endocrinologist does.

If you suspect you have PCOS and you are not getting the answers you want from your Primary Care Physician, make an appointment with your OBGYN.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Exercise Necessary for Loss of Belly Fat

Exercise is necessary for the loss of belly fat in diabetic women according to a new study from Syracuse University. Thirty-three women were divided into "diet only" and "diet plus exercise" groups. Since diabetic women have metabolic problems similar to PCOS women, the study results are relevant.

Either diet alone, or diet plus exercise, caused an average weight loss of 9.9 lbs in three months. However, only the diet plus exercise group had a loss of visceral fat, which is the belly fat that surrounds internal organs.

This study suggests that you can lose weight with diet alone. But if you also want to significantly lose abdominal fat, you'll want to add regular exercise to your diet program.

Teens and PCOS

Here is a great website for teens that are dealing with PCOS. PCOTeen

This site has an email list for teens where they can get support and help from other girls who also have PCOS. PCOTeen's latest program is ProjectHeart (Helping Educate And Reach out to Teens). ProjectHeart is designed to let teens know that they are not alone in their fight against PCOS and its affect on a young woman's body.

These are great resources for girls who are experiencing this for the first time.