What is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)?

P.C.O.S.   It’s a simple acronym for a complicated medical condition.  If you’re a follower at my former blog (me. myself. and food.) this is likely not the first time you’ve encountered these four letters.   PCOS is a health condition that is top of mind for me, especially since receiving my PCOS diagnosis 6 years ago. The more I educated myself on this endocrine disorder, the more fearful I was (i.e. of not being able to get pregnant and other health risks), yet the more determined I became to understand and overcome it. I studied and experimented with different dietary and lifestyle changes, and in just a few months I reversed PCOS.  The proof?  Well, my ovarian cysts disappeared, and more importantly I got pregnant (TWICE!).  And as you know, I gave birth to two amazing little girls (note:  PCOS is often an underlying cause of infertility). A few years ago while I was studying at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, I did a short presentation on the basics of PCOS which I wanted to share with all the ladies in my life.   The more I speak with women the more I realize how common this condition is becoming, and given the odds (1 in 10 women have the disorder), there’s a good chance you have a friend, sister, cousin, colleague, etc. with PCOS…or are dealing with the diagnosis yourself. So I am going off topic today, taking a break from the mommy mantras, nutrition tips, and healthy recipes. Instead, here’s a short and sweet presentation on this not-so-sweet condition.   If you have a loved one with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) feel free to pass this along.  And if they need help figuring out how to...
Why you shouldn’t compare yourself to other moms

Why you shouldn’t compare yourself to other moms

I live in Leslieville, a popular neighbourhood in the southeast corner of downtown Toronto - an area which deserves to be called “Strollerville”.   If you live here or have been here, you know why I say that.  There are strollers and babies and mothers everywhere. When you are a mother yourself, that is a blessing and a curse. I am always out and about with my babe (or babes) in the stroller so I often pass other moms with their babe (or babes).  The difference being that those other mothers always look so damn good!  The kind of moms you see pinned on Pinterest wearing that adorable outfit, with their hair well polished, skin glowing, and smiling.   They are the moms chilling at the coffee shop or leisurely walking down the street while their well dressed children are fast asleep in the stroller. On the other hand, I am the mom in unmatched gym clothes (who likely hasn’t made it to the gym), hair in a tousled pony tail with stains on my shirt, avocado in my hair, and spinach in my teeth.  I am precisely illustrating my appearance today.   I’m usually speed walking past those other strollers trying to get home with my crying child (who also has food on her face and is missing a shoe). I see those other mothers and wonder what they are doing differently.  They look beautiful and blissful.  I look like I just rolled out of bed (well, because I did). Something tells me I’m not the only mom who gets caught in the comparisons.  It’s a dangerous place to be because it’s easy to see the...

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

While my husband is leisurely strolling the streets of Greece with his camera in one hand and a souvlaki in the other, I’m stuck (I mean ‘I’m happily’) at home with my tantrum-throwing toddler in one arm, and my 20 minute napping baby in the other, while trying to prepare meals…for 11 straight days.  He owes me BIG TIME!   I’m thankful for this versatile dairy-free Cauliflower “Alfredo” Sauce on days like this when I’m running short on veggies. I’m also thankful for my wonderful father who gave me my two hands back and is watching the girls while I write this post.  I think my fellow moms (especially those with picky eaters) are going to love me for this recipe.  Particularly if you’re one of those moms who is having a heck of a time trying to get your child to eat vegetables. I wouldn’t say that cauliflower falls at the top of any toddler’s list of favourite foods (or any adult’s list for that matter).  Cauliflower is not the most appetizing in appearance (white = blah) nor is it easy to eat, or all that tasty on it’s own.   That’s my perspective based on experience, however you might be that lucky mom with that toddler who loves cauliflower. Hooray for you and him/her because, despite it’s lack-luster appearance, cauliflower had a slew of nutritional benefits including: Vitamin C (To keep the immune system strong and fend off colds) Vitamin K (To build strong bones.  Studies show that those who are vitamin K deficient have a greater risk of fracture) Fiber (To keep those bowels regular with 9 grams in just 100 calories) What I like about this recipe is it’s flexibility.  You can toss it with...

Black Bean Brownie “Birthday Cake”

What are the odds that my 2.5 year old has no interest in desserts, cookies, or anything sweet (other than your odd spoonful of coconut milk ice cream).   On the other hand, both Keith and I have a sweet tooth.  I’m not sure who she takes after, but I hope my little one’s disinterest in sweets isn’t just a phase.  Regardless of her preferences, I try not to label any foods as ‘bad’ or as ‘treats’, because kids will start to show a preference for those ‘treats’ that we withhold.  Every week or two I experiment with putting a healthy spin on desserts that are toddler and ‘picky eater’ friendly.  And when it’s my husband’s birthday, I have no qualms about bringing a little sweetness into our lives.  Like this Black Bean Brownie “Birthday Cake”! This year I decided to get creative with a protein-packed Black Bean Birthday ‘Cake’, which ultimately became this dense (and not esthetically pleasing) ‘Brownie’.  It’s a sad looking cake in these photos, but remember, I’m a Nutritionist not a Food Stylist 😉   This is where I ask you not to judge a book by its cover.  But I do recommend grabbing a BIG glass of coconut milk to sip while sinking your teeth into this. Black Bean Brownie ‘Birthday Cake’ (dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free) The recipe was inspired by a Chocolate Chili Cookie over at My New Roots, one of my favourite vegan bloggers.  The reviews suggested that this had more of a cake-like consistency, so I decided to be the guinea pig and attempt a cake.  The verdict:  it doesn’t look like a cake, nor does it taste like one, but it still satisfied the sweet tooth. The Coconut Milk Frosting was adapted from Flax...

4 reasons why moms need sleep

I was never a big sleeper, but now that I’m a mom of two girls under the age of three I would give [almost] anything to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Last week my 4 month old, Naomi, was going through a sleep regression which meant I was getting less than 5 hours of broken sleep.   One night was manageable, however a week of consistent sleep deprivation caught up with me.  I couldn’t function, nor did I want to. You know what it’s like right?  Being a mom is a 24/7 job so you need to be ON  All. Day. Long.   You can’t just randomly decide to take a nap at 10:15am because you feel like it. The reality is that 54% of moms are sleep deprived, meaning they are getting less than 6 hours of sleep every day.  As you’ll soon find out below, this is not a good thing for any mom or anybody. Sleep when the baby sleeps? I’m sorry, but I have to call BS on this advice which I tend to get from parents who had little ones years ago.   I love you all but I think you forget what napping was like.   Let me refresh your memory. I spend about 10 to 20 minutes getting my baby down for what I hope will be a two hour nap (ha!).  Then when I lay my head on the pillow ever so delicately trying not to make a sound, I hear her whimper.  Back at it again.  Once she’s down I know I have a 20 to 45 minute window to get some sleep; so then it becomes a race against time.   I lay there telling myself “Hurry. I must...