It's getting real! We're finishing up the nursery basics, washing a few tiny outfits and starting to pack our hospital bag. Oh my. For March, now that I feel like I have this pregnancy diabetes diet down, we're going to a) try to relax and enjoy our last few weeks alone but also b) prepare some meal plans, freezer meals and delivery options for post-Peanut. (These last couple of habits have really been more of monthly projects than habits, but whatever we name them, it’s about how I’m spending my time for reflection and growth!)
This is a humbling time in life and I'm surprisingly open to how little we know, how little we can control and to how we have no idea what we're going to need. But food, I always need food ;) Honestly, feeding me is the best way to take care of me. My grandmother and aunt figured this out very early on and I'm sure it's one of the many reasons I treasure them so much. Feed the picky, cranky yet sweet girl and she'll be okay ;)
So, at the end of Postpartum Meals March, I'm hoping to have a few easy meal plans with shopping lists for Good Eggs ready to go (Do you have this? It's kind of farmer's market food delivery!), a few casseroles ready to freeze and a meal service or two tested out with accounts ready for our order. Let me know if you have any tips!
Reflections on my February Experiment: Gestational Diabetes Management:
Like everything in pregnancy, this adventure has taught me a lot and prepared me for the uncertainty and judgement that comes with child-rearing. I've talked with a number of diabetics and all of the nurses and nutritionists in my doctor's office. They have been comforting. I guess it's like anything else... you need to find your community and for February, this was my community.
I know a number of Gestational Diabetics saw the diagnosis as a blessing because they ate so well and felt better. I also know a few who had really difficult numbers and had to be on insulin. Because of this, I think it's really important to get tested because you really never know. I don’t really fall into either camp. I'm finally comfortable with the lifestyle change but I don't feel any healthier. I'm also so grateful to be on diet-only management but I know if I needed medication, that would be okay too.
A few things I’ve been working through:
+ I was disappointed in myself and had to remember I didn't cause this.
+ There are a lot of resources and opinions on what to eat. I listened to the advice but more importantly, listened to my body.
+ Planning and preparing the meals and blood sugar testing takes a good amount of time. It's another job, I had to allow it to be.
+ It sucks to be pregnant and uncomfortable and not be able to (sometimes) eat just what you want. It's a total bummer. (I think I pouted when my birthing class discussed their croissant and ice cream diets.)
+ I feel like pregnancy (like money and alcohol) tends to amplify your existing lifestyle and values. I had to give up my favorite workouts which was hard but instead I've been blessed with simplicity and calm through this experience. And an amazing husband! <3
So, a recap of my constraints and goal: I was told to eat 175g of carbs a day, balanced with protein, spread out over six meals. I had to record everything I ate and record my blood sugar four times a day: fasting and after each larger meal. I spent a week or so experimenting and here's what I've ended up eating most of the time: (Most of these are about 30g of net carbs each with 10-20g of protein. The links are recipes I started with, let me know if you want to know my tweaks!)
SNACK: Almost always a fried egg, some cheese and a small piece of toast or tortilla. I would maybe add bacon and/or avocado. + If I felt a headache or migraine coming on, I could actually have a small coke with this meal.
LUNCH: My favorite salad, leftovers or something out like a burger, half the bun and a salad.
SNACK: Crackers with cheese and half an apple, yogurt with fruit, or cottage cheese with fruit and these almond and seed “cookies” I made.
DINNER: Greek chicken salad with avocado tzatziki and half a pita, some steak with a grapefruit quinoa salad, or pulled pork with lots of slaw.
+ I was supposed to have an after dinner snack but usually didn't make it. This meant fewer total carbs for the day but my numbers could handle it.
+ 45g of carbs or more would usually give me higher numbers than I liked. Bagels and rice treated me worse than tortillas or quinoa. Gluten free baked items were worse for me than whole grain ones so I sometimes ate gluten and got a little sick but had good numbers!
+ I'm glad I eat meat now. It made eating out a lot easier.
The good news is that my numbers have been great so I'm down to testing only twice a day and not recording my food intake! The management still requires work (have to make sure those numbers are good for baby!) but I can be a little less diligent which makes life a little easier!.
++ I've found a few brands that were worth a little extra money for me. Three Trees Unsweetened Almond Milk and also coconut milk made anything I baked or mixed lower carb and yummy. This Icelandic yogurt is crazy high in protein and lower in carbs than even most Greek ones. This cottage cheese (even the flavored ones) are extremely high protein so even half a container worked as part of a snack. I decided to find a granola to top snacks with. This one is mostly nuts and seeds but making one is also a good option. It makes fruit and yogurt or cottage cheese less monotonous after weeks.