As I mentioned in my last post, my PCOS symptoms have been getting slightly worse instead of better. Then again, I haven't been doing all I could be doing to help it. I've gotten out of the habit of exercising 3-4 times a week, and my eating habits have, on some nights, consisted of opening a can of beans and eating some baby carrots. And lots. Of. Snacking. Mostly on carbs. I need to whip myself back into shape, but it feels like a viscious cycle: I am so tired from work that I have no energy to do the things I need to do things like work out, and because I don't do the thing I should be doing like working out, I have no energy at work or any other part of my life. I won't get into any horrendous details, but if you don't know anything about PCOS (even though every woman should, since it's one of the most underdiagnosed syndromes), rest assured that it really sucks. It's been a part of my life, albeit unbeknownst to me, for probably all my my formative years and adult life. And while it has taken a huge toll on my self-esteem for as long as I can remember, I have to think it happened all for the better. If I didn't have horrible skin and an "android fat distribution" (read: no curves), would I have had more self-confidence as a teenager? Would I have been more outgoing, perhaps not one of the "artsy" kids in high school? Would I ever have gotten into the underground? If not, then I never would have met W, or a great many people who are dear to me, and I'd never be the person I am today. And I like the person I am today. In fact, I think I'm pretty awesome. So, thanks, PCOS! I try to remember that with every blood sugar crash at 10am, every unwanted hair I need to pluck, every unforeseen mood swing, and every drastic fluctuation in my weight.
All that being said, I'm finally taking things into my own hands a little more. My feeling toward my endocrinologist were lukewarm at best, and I've since decided to stop seeing him. He put my on Yaz (which was a total nightmare and was almost responsible for W breaking off our engagement, I'm quite sure) and basically told me there wasn't much to be done until I wanted to get knocked up. Which, I can tell you, is not happening any time soon, if it indeed ever happens at all. I made the executive decision to go off Yaz and back on my old B.C. (Ortho Tricyclen), but I can't wait until the day when I don't need to take anything. All these hormones are really getting to me, and I don't like it. I've cut out all the junk food, which, honestly, I didn't eat a whole lot of anyway, seeing as most junk isn't vegan. And I ordered some supplements, as well as the buckwheat farinetta flour that is so popular on all the PCOS forums. I just made some muffins tonight, using a couple of the different recipes floating around out there and making it vegan. I would never go so far as to say they are delicious, but they are edible. I believe a lot in letting food be your medicine, so I really want to give these babies a shot. I ordered the flour from Minn-Dak Growers, Ltd. in North Dakota, which, as far as I know, are the only growers of buckwheat farinetta. Farinetta flour is higher in d-chiro-inositol than regular buckwheat, and a lot of women seem to have good luck upping the DCI intake. This video is helpful for understanding all the body chemistry going on.
The original recipe used eggs, milk and more sugar and oil than I decided on. I figured dumping in a lot of sugar kind of defeats the purpose... Also, the master recipe says to fill the muffin cups all the way up, since they don't rise a lot. I don't know; my batter must have had superpowers, because mine got quite big (and I even scaled back on the baking powder!). I also had enough batter left over after filling them up to the top for another 5 muffins. I'd better get my money's worth, since that flour was on the pricey side... I also added some blueberries, walnuts and an oat topping to give them a little more character, but they still aren't quite something I would ever crave if they didn't promise significant health benefits.
3 C. buckwheat farinetta flour
¼ c. demerara sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. salt
1½ T. ground cinnamon
1 T. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground allspice
1 c. plain, unsweetened almond milk
¾ c. unsweetened applesauce
½ c. plain, unsweetened soymilk
½ c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Flaxseed Egg Replacers (about ½ c. total)
1 c. fresh blueberries
1 T. additional buckwheat farinetta flour
½ c. chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
2-3 T. old-fashioned rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. (Note: I had some batter left over after making 12 muffins.)
Add the dry ingredients (flour through allspice) to a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Whisk together the wet ingredients (almond milk through egg replacers) in a medium bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
In a small bowl, toss the berries with the 1 T. flour to coat. Add to the batter, along with the nuts, and fold in until well incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling the cups all the way to the top. Crumble the oats in your hands and sprinkle on the tops of the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Note: I don’t have any carob chips or soy lecithin, but these can be added to the recipe as well, since they are both high in d-chiro-inositol.
P.S. – Mark your calendars; September is PCOS Awareness Month! I was shocked how many other girls I know battle this syndrome (many of them quite successfully – two of them are pregnant!), so I'm all about getting the word out there. PCOS is more than just a cosmetic inconvenience; it can take a serious toll on a woman's health in the long run, so better safe than sorry. The more you know...