Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's Wheatgrass Wednesday!

So I'm now on my wheatgrass kick - I'll be sharing a little bit as I learn more. The more I read about it, the more amazed I am.

To be honest, my first wheatgrass encounter was not good...not at all...I had my first wheatgrass shot in a green drink while grocery shopping at EarthFare this weekend. I almost barfed. Their green drink is served room temp which totally grossed me out. However while I was shopping I found awesome little frozen wheatgrass cubes. They're about $15.00 for 20 little "cubes" - you cut them out and gently thaw them in the sealed tray in warm water then I add to my Dr. Oz Green Drink in the mornings. No offense Earth Fare, but Dr. Oz's Green Drink kicks your green drink's A$#. (You can get the recipe - here)

One thing to note, if you buy these, you need to try to drink your wheatgrass within 15 minutes or so to preserve all of the nutrients. I haven't been brave enough to try the wheatgrass on it's own. Looked up more info and wanted to share for your knowledge. Good for everyone - even those not TTC (trying to conceive - come on you guys, did you really read my acronyms post? I told you there would be a quiz later! :)) If you missed it, you can read "here" Drink your wheatgrass today - keep yourself healthy and well.

The history of wheatgrass:


The consumption of wheatgrass in the Western world began in the 1930s as a result of experiments by agricultural chemist, Charles F. Schnabel. Schnabel conducted his first experiments with young grasses in 1930 after experimenting with various mixture of feeds that would increase chicken health and egg production during winter months. After trying various mixtures of vegetables, grains, etc., in his chicken feed, he found no differences in chicken health or egg production and nearly gave up. Noticing that hens searched out the young nutritious cereal grasses when available, he included dehydrated wheatgrass and oat grass with their feed. Schnabel was amazed to find the cereal grass mixture boosted the chicken's health significantly. He stated in his research, "even a child can see the bloom of health in the grass-fed hens." Additionally, the grasses increased egg production by150% per hen.

Schnabel was so fascinated with his discovery that he fed his family with dehydrated grass. That was the beginning of the human consumption of grass. His family consumed grass for eleven years and he reported that none of his children suffered from serious illness, not even with tooth decay.

Schnabel started promoting his discovery to feed mills, chemists and the food industry. "Two large corporations, Quaker Oats and American Diaries Inc., invested millions of dollars in further research, development, and production of products for animals and humans. By 1940, cans of Schnabel's powdered grass were on sale in major drug stores throughout the United States and Canada."

Charles Schnabel is the person who coined the statement "15 lbs. of wheatgrass is equal in overall nutritional value to over 350 lbs. of ordinary vegetables." In the 1940's, wheatgrass and other cereal grass tablets were the best selling "multiple vitamin" and mineral supplements in the nation.


In the beginning of 1940's, Ann Wigmore continued to contribute to the popularization of wheatgrass. When Wigmore was a child, she watched and learned the power of natural healing from her grandmother, who helped heal the wounds of World War I soldiers with grasses, herbs, and plants.

In the 1960's Ann Wigmore "re-discovered" wheatgrass and was able to cure her own 'untreatable' colitis through her consumption of wheatgrass, raw greens, blended seeds, and grains. Within a year, she was cancer-free and began researching the healing properties of grasses, and began to focus on the healing properties of wheatgrass. Wigmore claimed that her wheatgrass diet could cure diseases. She shared wheatgrass with several sick friends and each recovered from their sickness. She went on to found the 'Hippocrates Health Institute' based on the principle "Let Food be your medicine," and treated countless people with serious health conditions. Wigmore died in 1993, but her Creative Health Institute is still an active institute.

In the 1940's, a man by the name of Charles Kettering (former Chairman of the Board of General Motors) donated money for the study of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll was studied intensively by medical doctors using FDA required standards i.e. double blind studies, etc. (There are currently over 40 articles written up in medical journals about the healing effects of chlorophyll.) These medical doctors found that chlorophyll was a great healer and used it as such for quite some time.

In 1931, Charles F. Schnabel discovered that grass achieves its peak nutrition when grown to the jointing stage. This is the point when the plant stops being a vegetable and starts reproducing. This point which for the most part is achieved in 3-7 weeks depending on the growing conditions, enables the prodigious root system of this plant to develop and pull minerals up from the soil. Immediately after jointing, there is a dramatic decline in nutrient content. Almost all bottled grass powders are grown this way. Although the Wigmore style, 10-14 day old greenhouse-grown, fresh squeezed grass juice is the grass of choice used at the healing centers for treating illness, the bottled dehydrated juice powders reign as nutritionally superior. They have more protein than meat, fish or eggs, more beta carotene than carrots, more calcium than spinach and are rich sources of vitamins A, C, and K, chlorophyll, RNA, DNA, antioxidants, nitrosamines and a full complement of amino acids and trace minerals.

Information from:

Secret Language

So I've introduced you to a few of the acronyms that us infertile myrtles use to describe our experience, procedures, feelings, etc. Here's a more comprehensive list so hopefully you can start understanding this cryptic language :)
  • 2WW = 2-Week Wait - this is the worst one. It's the period of time between "IT" and when Aunt Flo (AF)does or does not make her appearance.
  • AF = Aunt Flo (menstruation - unwelcome visitor)
  • AO = Anovulation - this is part of my diagnosis. For some reason I'm anovulatory - combination of exercise induced, being moderately underweight and incredibly active as a young'un (darn you ballet classes!), and PCOS in one ovary, blocked tube for quite a while on the other side, my acupuncturist says "you have a very complicated case indeed" - thanks for the comforting words...just stick the needles in me and let me hang out with my Chinese music please...
  • AWOL = A Woman On Lupron - this is a med that you take which basically shuts your hormones down completely forcing you into menopause. Giving your body time to "rest" and giving your doc total control over your hormones when you start back up.
  • BBT = Basal Body Temperature - I've never been into tracking this. Doc says that by the time you detect a temperature change, you've already ovulated, so it's too late to do anything with it. Definitely not effective tracking mechanism for someone with all of my issues and irregularities.
  • BCP = Birth Control Pills
  • BD = Baby Dance - i.e. sex, IT, doing the deed, or as Marvin Gaye so eloquently put it, "Let's Get It On". This sounds well and good until you get a call during the middle of the work day while TTC and says that according to your 7am bloodwork results it's time and not pass go, do not collect $200...get your booty home 10 minutes ago!
  • BFN = Big Fat Negative - I'm WAY too familiar with this. It sucks.
  • BFP = Big Fat Positive - maybe some day!!!!
  • BW, b/w = Bloodwork - I'm a human pincushion, needles have no effect on me anymore.
  • CD = Cycle Day - Cycle Day #1 starts with AF's arrival...
  • CM = Cervical Mucus - you can look this up on your own...
  • COW = Curse of Womanhood (menstruation) - not so much a curse for those of us who are AO (see above)
  • DPO = Days Post-Ovulation - self explanatory
  • DPR = Days Post-Retrieval - self explanatory
  • DPT = Days Post-Transfer - self explanatory
  • ENDO = Endometriosis - I have this - had surgery to remove as much as possible, however it is known to come back, the only way to know is to go in and have the surgery again.
  • EPT = Early Pregnancy Test
  • ET = Embryo Transfer
  • FET = Frozen Embryo Transfer - my doc actually supports FET, he says it gives the woman's body time to recover after all the stimulation meds and gives the embryo's a more nurturing environment to implant. We'll see. He does 90% fresh embroy transfer b/c most of us infertile myrtles are impatient and want to do it "right now". Also the Attain Fertility plan covers up to 3 fresh and 3 frozen transfers, so you're required to try fresh first go round.
  • FSH = Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • FTTA = Fertile Thoughts To All - sending to some special ladies who should hopefully be receiving good news soon!!!!!
  • FV = Fertile Vibes - ditto
  • hCG, HCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin - a hormone secreted early in pregnancy. It helps maintain high levels of progesterone which is critical for the success of preganancy. hCG is also the hormone detected by urine & blood pregnancy tests. I took this (via muscular injection) prior to my IUIs - it helps the mature follicle release. It can also cause a false positive on your HPT (see below), so you're not supposed to test until after the 2WW
  • HPT = Home Pregnancy Test - love seeing pics of these on my friends' blogs and facebook pages with BFP's!!!!!
  • HSG = Hysterosalpingogram - have had 2 of these. 1 unmedicated (yowza!)...1 with valium....valium makes everything all better :) I highly recommend the medicated HSG over unmedicated. You lay on an x-ray table while they shoot die into both fallopian tubes to detect potential blockage. I had a blocked tube which they cleared on the 2nd HSG.
  • ICSI = Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection - this is part of IVF where they actually take the sperm and inject it into the egg in the petri dish rather than relying on the two to combine on their own.
  • IF = Infertility - ugh, hate this label
  • IM = Intra-muscular (WRT injections) - awesome
  • IUI = Intra-uterine Insemination - 3 strikes and you're out for us.
  • IVF = In Vitro Fertilization - our next step. Tons of meds to stimulate follicles (i.e. eggs), then they retrieve the eggs perform the ICSI and wait a few days to see how many grow and how many (if any) pass away :( Then they place the growing embryos (up to 2 per my doc's instructions) back into the uterus and pray that one or both implant.
  • LSP = Low Sperm Count - not an issue for us
  • MFI = Male Factor Infertility - not an issue for us
  • OHSS = Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome - during IVF there is a chance that your Ovaries may become overstimulated and this can result in a hospital stay. Extremely painful.
  • PCOS = Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - one or both ovaries produce too many small follicles which prohibits any one follicle from fully maturing and releasing (i.e. ovulation). I have this in one ovary which partially explains my why I am AO
  • PG = Pregnant - hopefully someday???? soon???? :) :) :)
  • RE = Reproductive Endocrinologist - Dr. Katz at REACH is my RE...we think he's great! :)
  • TESA = Testicular Sperm Aspiration - YOWZA! The Italian is SO thankful that he doesn't have to deal with this....OUCH!
Alright, there will be a quiz later!

Loss for words...not in a bad way

First, I'll apologize for the extended absence. I've honestly been at a loss for words over the past month. And not in a bad way - I just haven't had anything to say (interesting or not) on the topics of fertility, TTC (trying to conceive for people who don't have to worry about this stuff - us "infertile myrtles" have acronyms for everything - I'll post about that later), work, life in general, etc. Too much going on with work to even think about IVF, infertility or the fact that I am rapidly approaching "Advanced Maternal Age" - i.e. 35.

We decided to postpone our IVF plans - want to give the Italian some time to settle into the new job. Luckily his boss knew about our IVF plans before he accepted the position so they'll definitely be willing to work with him on his travel schedule when the time comes. I also need some time to get things situated at my job. We're a man down on our team, so I'm anxious to get that position filled so I can go back to working 6 days a week instead of 7 :)

So we're thinking October or November for the actual procedure. I can't remember if I posted or not but his insurance does NOT cover infertility but we're ok with that.

So I'm still drinking/eating my "Green Drink" - I had some extra this morning so I made the Italian drink a little and I honestly thought he was going to vomit. He said "I don't know whether to drink it or chew it...ugh". He's right (the taste is fine, it's 100% the texture that bugs me), but it does get easier with time and it is a great way to get some extra organic veggies in!

I'm looking into wheatgrass shots as well. Earth Fare has them for $1.99 per shot and I've read that whea grass is really a miracle food - not specifically for fertility but for overall health in general. I figure that whether we get preggers or not, I might as well try to be as healthy as I possibly can be. You can read more about the benefits of wheatgrass at the following website:

To all my friends who have recently announced their pregnancies, you should start drinking wheatgrass immediately! :)

I tried to buy wheatgrass and blend it in my blender...don't waste your money it doesn't work. I even watched YouTube videos of other people blending it then straining out the juice (apparently our bodies can't digest the actual "grass" - so you just have to get the juice). I've even got a pretty good Cuisinart blender, so I was surprised when it didn't work. I'll just buy pre-made at EarthFare....I heart EarthFare!

Promise I'll update more frequently. I'm still researching when I can, so I'll post updates on that info as I come across it.

And finally, I'm asking for prayers for 3 very special ladies who are in the midst of their IVF cycles RIGHT NOW! Praying for BFP's (Big Fat Positives) for all of you!!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Green Monster

I've developed a great little support group of girls from various circles of my life and we're all going through this sort of at the same time. It's awesome how we all found each other and is so nice to have friends going through the same thing. My girls were kind enough to share a natural tip with me - Dr. Oz's Green Drink. (see photo and yes, it really does look that disgusting). I'll include the recipe at the bottom of this post for those who are interested. This miracle "drink" (if you can call it that) is FULL of antioxidants and fiber. Warning, I would be reluctant to call this a "drink" - it is THICK (hence the spoon in the glass). I treated it more as a chunky soup and choked it down that way. The flavor was not bad at all - it was a texture thing for me. Anyway, it's definitely HEALTHY and if I'm willing to pump my bod full of hormones and chemicals, I'm certainly going to give this a shot as well! I will tell you, I drank about 6-8 oz this morning at 7am and still am not hungry at 2pm...that is not normal for this likes to eat! Dr. Oz apparently drinks this regularly in the AM - love me some Dr. Oz!

Anyways, I will be lagging a little behind my girls on the IVF schedule due to some exciting new developments at the Randazzo Estate. The Italian was actually recruited for a new job (he wasn't even looking for a new opportunity - when does that happen in this economy). Well not only does the job include a SUBSTANTIAL pay increase, but there is a chance that their insurance plan will cover some or all of the IVF costs....SAY WHAT????? We'll find out early next week about the insurance, so we decided to be good stewards of all that God has given us and wait until we find out before we schedule our next steps for IVF. It's hard not to believe that God is shining down on us favorably for some unknown reason right now.

Anyway, I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted anything. I hate to say it but I have thoroughly enjoyed the last month - no shots, no pills, no counting's been a welcome break! Work has been crazy enough - we're at peak wedding season, so I can't imagine having been on my injection regimine and trying to keep up with everything at work! Time is flying by and I'm realizing that I'm getting closer and closer to being of "advanced maternal age" - that's such a lovely term that they give to expectant mothers 35 or older. Awesome. Oh well, if I'm lucky enough to get preggers soon, I'll rock the title proudly! Peace out friends - chat soon!

Dr. Oz's Green Drink

2 cups spinach
1 -2 medium cucumber (approx 2 cups)
1 stalk celery
1/2 inch ginger root (or 1 teaspoon)
1 bunch chopped parsley (approx 1/2 cup chopped)
2 apples, cored
1 lime, juice of
1/2 lemon, juice of

Optional ingredients
raw carrot
unsweetened fruit juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend completely. Do NOT use a juicer as it will remove the pulp and all the nutrients contained within. I had to chop things up before blending and it took a lot of manhandling the blender in order to get it all mixed up. The texture will be THICK, but you should blend until smooth (no big chunks). Next time I will add a little water or a few ice cubes to loosen it up a little bit.