Thursday, September 8, 2011

Turkey-Lettuce Wraps

Last year, while visiting Toronto, I ate at an Asian restaurant with some friends and we ordered chicken lettuce wraps for an appetizer. They were AMAZING. When I got home, I scoured the internet for healthy versions of this recipe, and came across this one from

Here is the recipe straight from Eating Well: Five-Spice Turkey Lettuce Wraps, that page also has the serving sizes and nutritional information. I tweaked it a bit. I used 3 tbsp of Hoisin and skipped the water chestnuts and peppers, as I don't like them. But feel free to add any veggies you'd like!!

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup instant brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder, (see Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, mint and/or chives
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ginger; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder and salt; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
  3. To serve, divide lettuce leaves among plates, spoon some of the turkey mixture into each leaf, top with herbs and carrot and roll into wraps. 
And here is also a little tid-bit that I found rather fascinating:
"Often a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns, five-spice powder was originally considered a cure-all miracle blend encompassing the five elements (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, salty). Look for it in the supermarket spice section".

 I also like to put Maggi's Sweet Chili Sauce on my wraps as well, it's sweet and spicy, just as the name suggests but is 100% optional.

In my picture I also have some green beans. I bought a spice packet for Szechuan Green Beans by the company Simply Asia. The directions said to cut the ends off 1 lb of green beans, put the beans in the bag provided, mix the seasoning with 1/2 cup water, pour over beans, and microwave for 6-7 minutes, then let stand 5 minutes.

The beans tasted really good BUT I had no idea when I bought the package that it came with a steaming bag. I am very anti-microwaving anything plastic, especially because of BPA and links with PCOS (read an article about that here.). I think if I try this again I will find a different way to steam my veggies and THEN add the sauce.

Here is an article, also by Eating Well, about microwaving plastic containers. They say that it's safe! I learned something new! Read it here!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasty Spicy Turkey Penne with Basil and Tomato Sauce

Hi ladies, here is my first recipe for you all :) This is what I made for dinner this evening.

1 jar Basil Tomato Sauce (I used Prego)
1 box whole grain penne pasta
1 lb Extra Lean ground turkey
Onion powder, garlic, crushed red pepper flake (all to taste)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (OPTIONAL)

Boil your whole grain penne as the package instructions say to. Brown up the ground turkey in a skillet, drain the very small amount of fat that will come out of it, pour the jar of sauce on the turkey and add your spices to taste. I usually make my own sauce but I find this is the only jarred sauce that I like. The crushed red pepper adds a little kick to it and I really like to add red wine vinegar to all of my tomato sauces. Those of you brave enough to do that will have to let me know how you like it :) Then I just pour the sauce over the drained noodles, mix, and VOILA!

If anyone tries this please tell me what you think in the comments! Show me pictures if you'd like!

Pill Cutter/Organizer

So since I am looking to break apart my Metformin and take 500mg with each meal, I needed a pill cutter as well as an organizer. I found this great one at Walgreens for $7.99. It is a weekly pill organizer with a pill cutter attached to the end, and each day of the week + the cutter is detachable! That way you don't have to lug the whole thing with you, you can just take your Day of the Week with you in your purse or pocket! Here is the link to buy it at Walgreens.

Introducing: Pucciola

Thought I would introduce the girl behind the blog.

My name is Natasha, I am 23 years old. I recently graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in History and German. I am currently in my 1st semester of Graduate School, where I am studying to get my Masters in Library and Information Science. I don't want to be a librarian when I grow up, per-say, but the degree will be nice for looking for a job. What I DO want to do, is I want to be an Archivist. An Archivist is a person who works in an archive, we scan pictures and documents, photograph artifacts, transcribe documents, etc, and make it available online so that people who are doing research of the subject, they can find all our documents and go through them without actually having to hold the document itself.

I also work at a library at the moment as a Media Intern. I handle all the DVDs (also a few VHSs), CDs, Audio Books, video games, CD ROMs and cassette tapes.

I have a dog named Indie 
and 2 rabbits, Pucci and Viola.
I also have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I was diagnosed with it at 20 years old, as well as pre-diabetes. I currently take Metformin to sensitize my cells to insulin, Spironolactone to keep my hair from falling out, and birth control to control my periods and pain during menstruation. I started this blog because I am trying to live a healthier lifestyle so that I can lose anywhere from 50-80 lbs. I don't have a time-frame that I would like to lose it by, but the cruise I am going on in December sure is a good motivator! 

My plan is to #1 eat healthier. Try to eat less carbs and more whole fruits and veggies. #2 exercise. I joined a gym yesterday and am a little nervous about starting here but I will update on it as I go! #3 to break up my metformin and take 500mg with each meal and 1 snack. This has proven to be really hard for me because I usually don't eat 3 meals a day. I wind up starving and pigging out during the 2 meals I manage to eat, and that's not something I want to do anymore.  

I hope that all of you can find this blog inspiring and I hope that you take your health seriously and be your own advocate. Your doctor isn't typically going to lie awake at night wondering how you are feeling, or if there is anything that he/she can POSSIBLY do for you. Nor is he/she going to do anymore PCOS research unless you bring something to his/her awareness! 

Going Bento?

How many of my readers love Asian food? I DO!! It's my all-time favorite type of cuisine and for those of you who share this sentiment, we are lucky because Asian food, in most cases, are very easy to make into a healthy version. That is if it isn't already healthy!

My boyfriend have been toying with the idea of eating out of Bento Boxes. Originally coming from Japan, a Bento Box is a small lunchbox that you need to be creative to hold any amount of food in. 

I came across this blog: Just Bento and it really got me thinking. And got me hungry as well! This website is packed full of yummy asian dishes (and some non-asian) from all across the board. There are some with meat, some are vegetarian, some are vegan, some are completely gluten free. Since I know there are so many ideas of what is good and bad for a PCOSer to eat, this website kinda touches the bases of any kind of lifestyle.

The reason I like the Bento so much, is that its portion controlled. You can only hold so much food in one of those things and you need to make choices like, "is this one piece of chocolate worth the room it is going to take in my lunchbox and ultimately I wont have room for something else?" You can also put anything you want in it! Don't like asian food? Don't eat it! Put pasta, mini-hamburgers, salad, tuna sandwiches, etc etc inside of one of these bad boys!

Don't want to look crazy eating out of a tiny lunchbox? Check out this more Americanized version on Amazon

Check it out and let me know in the comments what you think!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

121 Year Old Woman Found Living in the Amazon

I found this SUPER interesting and wanted to share with everyone. Notice this woman's diet! Local meat, fruit, veggies, but not so much grain. No wild grain growing in the Amazon it seems!

Click here to read this article!

And so it begins...!

It's about time I updated this blog, eh?! Sorry it has taken me so long. I just started grad school yesterday... YEAH, scary business.

The first thing I would like to do, is re-post the plan that Kelli devised and posted in the PolycysticOvarianSyndrome facebook group.

I have been given permission from Kelli to re-post, word-for-word:

"As discussed ladies here is a guideline to refer to, but PLEASE NOTE Now you ladies know I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR, but I HAVE successfully lost and kept the PCOS weight off for over 3 years and I have done A LOT of research (everything I could get my hands on) about our disorder. And I am hearing that many doctors are prescribing metformin to be taken at bedtime for PCOS. I FIRMLY believe this will NOT work for PCOS. Because our pancreases do not function as a diabetic pancreas does. I also do not believe the XR version of metformin makes sense for PCOS....and here is why: A diabetic needs long term insulin sensitization because their pancreas is producing little if any insulin so the medication is used to maximize their body's use of what little bit of insulin they make on their own, but with PCOS, we MAKE plenty of insulin our cells simply refuse to use any of that insulin to let sugar in to be burned for energy rather than stored as fat. So a PCOS suffer needs the sensitization EXACTLY at mealtime. I do not even believe in a PCOSer taking the regular metformin only in the morning, or only at night, I recommend the metformin be taken BEFORE EACH AND EVERY MEAL THAT GOES IN YOUR BODY, regular metformin for us because we ONLY need the sensitizing to insulin when we take in food and our pancreas is really pumping.  

After coming to these conclusions through much research, combined both off the internet and through books, yes ladies real actual BOOKS with hardbacks, and paper in them, believe it or not they are STILL made!  Anyway I then headed to see my endocrinologist armed with a new "plan " I had developed that I thought made a lot of sense and I wanted to test it to see if it may help speed up the weight loss that metformin is known for helping SOME PCOSers with.  I shared my new "plan" with my doctor and she agreed that it makes perfect sense, to try it and we would keep my blood sugar levels checked via glucometer daily and see what happened.  I mean what could it really hurt at the time I weighed 283 pounds at 5' 3" tall and a heart attack was as likely as anything else so why not try this!  

So here is my "plan" which over three years after successfully loosing the weight I am STILL on this plan because PCOS is not curable, certainly treatable, as I have proven, but I will ALWAYS be insulin resistant so I will always need the plan. Since PCOSers need the insulin sensitization exactly at meal time and my endocrinologist (Dr. Andrea Hayes) believes the "magic" dosage for PCOS to be 2000mg a day, I decided I needed this spread throughout my day to affect every morsel that went in my body, every calorie, every carb, every fat gram, anything digestible period.  

So, here's how it goes:
Three main meals are eaten daily, breakfast lunch and dinner.  WITH the first bite of each of these meals I took 500mg or regular (NOT XR) metformin.  In between these 3 meals I rarely got hungry but if I did, a LOW carb or carb free snack was in order.  Then at bedtime the last 500mg were taken.  Why at bedtime?  Well, I found that when meytformin is taken with high carb, very fatty, or heavy greasy and fried foods it is VERY hard on the tummy, diareahha became my worst enemy.  I also found taking it on an empty stomach did the same thing.  I also found that large doses too close together did the same thing.  So that last 500 at bedtime was close enough to dinner for my tummy not to be completely empty and even if it was, I was asleep, so I basically outsmarted the diarrhea, lol.  

Now there are several important things to note.  I know many of us complain that we do not have time to eat all day Long or are not in the habit of eating more than twice a day, however if you are going to do this plan you have to commit to it like you would ANY diet.  The word diet in and of itself does not necessarily mean low fat or low GI foods.  Diet is just a word for the all inclusion of what we put in our bodies on a daily basis, modern society has simply adapted it to be used to refer to weight loss often.  So back to committing.  When you start this plan you are COMMITTING to several things:
1. You will take your metformin RELIGIOUSLY 4 times a day and ONLY with meals other than the dose right at bedtime.
2. If for some reason you cannot get your meal in, and you have normal blood sugar, skip that dose of metformin because you could cause a hypoglycemic blood sugar crash.
3.  You will get a glucometer and keep track of your blood sugar at least 3 times a day, not for fear of diabetes, more to be sure you are not going into hypoglycemia and to be sure you are eating enough grams of sugar because if you are following this plan correctly you will notice your cravings for sweets cut down if not disappear after about two weeks.
4.  You are also committing to portion control.  On this plan you do NOT deny yourself anything you crave, however, if what you are craving is so high in fat , sugars, carbs, or calories, that the portion size looks like something you would feed your hamster, well those are your consequences for choosing that food item.  You eat what you want but you DO NOT stray from portion control.  Remember if you are a sugared soft drink person, this means that 20 oz bottle of soda is actually two and a half portions....not one.  Aren't they clever with their packaging?
5. You do NOT weigh in more than once a week, and you weigh at the same time of day on the same day of the week.  Weighing daily will only raise and dash your hopes sop repeatedly that you will give up.
6. You will live an active lifestyle......WHATEVER that means for you, if working out and exercising like a mad woman are your thing, hey go for it, but they were NOT my thing.  However you also cannot sit like a bump on the couch watching the TV expecting pounds to fall off, take the dog out and play with it, take the stairs at work everyday vs. the elevator, park at the FURTHEST spot from Targets front door instead of fighting for the closest.  If you are not into exercise simply make your life active in OTHER ways, that's all I did.  I hit way too many gyms as a fat girl, when it started rolling off with my plan, I refused.  I just made some lifestyle changes where I was no longer a plain old couch potato.
7.  You are agreeing to patience.  Everyone's body is different I have seen people see results with this in as little as the first month and as long as ten months, it all depends on your body chemistry, your food and activity choices, and how RELIGIOUSLY you stick to taking that medication YOU CANNOT forget PERIOD!  

It did take 10 months before my weight really started rolling, but I didn't make huge food or lifestyle changes, just small ones, but the biggest thing was I STUCK TO THE PLAN.  After month ten and the first 20 pounds came off, it literally rolled off my body, so quickly that sometimes I skipped entire sizes before we could get to the store to buy me smaller clothes.  


Kelli Leah Wohlgemuth © 2011 - This "Plan" is the intellectual property of kelli Wohlgemuth.  Any use of this plan is for members of any group she has allowed access and is not to be used in further publishing by book, internet, blog, TV, magazine, newspaper or any other way without express written consent from Kelli Leah Wohlgemuth."