April Habit: Have a Baby ;) and a March Habit Recap

We're not really doing an official April Habit but instead it will be a month of learning new routines. We're expecting the first week or two postpartum to be challenging or we're at least expecting very little time, very little energy and very little patience. I have a feeling I will be focusing on feeding the baby and recovering and... that's it. 

Our doula and a couple of other resources have a list of household responsibilities that someone will need to take care of those first few weeks home from the hospital. They recommend discussing this all in advance to help prevent disagreements, resentment, or stuff slipping through the cracks. Agreed! Normally I do most of our household chores but Greg has been taking on more with this pregnancy and we have a pretty good idea where each of our strengths lie. I'm also expecting to be able to do very little. We've planned it all out, including lining up some help and we feel pretty good about it. Feeding us is one of the most important tasks. (Well, maybe after staying on top of bills.)

Reflections on my March Habit: Postpartum Meal Planning
My goal for March was to have a few easy meal plans with shopping lists ready to go, a few casseroles ready to freeze and a meal service or two tested out with accounts ready for our orders. I have succeeded and then some! We have set up, planned and prepared four ways to get meals on the table so it's one major thing we don't have to think about for a while.

1. Freezer Meals: For the last few weeks, we've been making extra servings of dinners and a few breakfasts. I then wrap them up, label them including cooking instructions, and stick them in the freezer. Our freezer is now FULL of single serving (well 2 servings) meals that mostly just need to be popped in the oven. We have 15 of them! (On top of the planning and a little more cooking involved, the other big step was to first clean out our freezer. I spent the first week planning to use up anything I didn't want stocked in April. Greg had a list of things to eat including a few tartlets :D.) These meals are mostly comfort food, items like homemade marinara and bone broth, stuffed shells, taco fillings, GF blueberry muffins... things that freeze and reheat well. 

2. Meal Train!: Greg and our friends M&A are setting up a Meal Train to have a meal or large snack delivered by a friend once a day! We're grateful to be getting fresh food and excited to have the support from our friends. These meals will be fresher and more of a surprise for us.

3. Takeout: Caviar, Sprig, Munchery: We also spent a few days this month signing up for and trying out some meal delivery services. As ex-New-Yorkers, this task was kind of depressing. When we first moved back here, the only places that would deliver were a Thai place and a pizza place... not even the good one. The options are getting better but it's still not one of the best ways for us to get food. We can only blame our hill so much. Anyway, we have accounts with Caviar, Spring and Munchery and plan on using them regularly to supplement the above. These meals will be easy, hot and like restaurant food.

4. Basic Meal Plan w/ Grocery List Ready To Go: My last task this month (working on it today!) is to write up a light meal plan for the first week along with an easy grocery list of fresh ingredients from Good Eggs. I'll have all the staples on hand already. We're expecting to eat four smaller meals a day so that leaves one meal a day we'll need to prepare. Greg thinks he'll be able to assemble an easy breakfast (yogurt and fruit) or lunch (sandwiches) once a day. As soon as we get home from the hospital, we'll have options penciled in and a grocery delivery list ready to order!

Sometimes when I think about it, this all seems a little silly: to put so much effort into planning for a time that will be full of unknowns. It feels right though. I'm reading The Road to Character right now and I reread Eisenhower's quote: "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." I know we'll be grateful for this work and for the support. <3

+ This may or may not be my last post for a while. If Peanut takes a little longer, I'm going to try to share our nursery next week. If not, I'll do that and get back to posting when our baby-led hiatus ends. xo

March Habit: Postpartum Meals and a February Habit Recap

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!)

BREAKFAST: I was able to handle some fruit (with nuts or seeds) first thing so I would enjoy chia pudding, coconut almond or yummy oat pancakes (!), or a raspberry almond bowl, all unsweetened.

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.