Today’s post should be a cooking lesson post, but I just don’t have it in me. Are you guys even paying attention to those posts anymore? I can’t quite tell. Not that it matters, I’m (70%?) sure that I’ll pick back up with them next month. Today I’m coming here to talk about the fact that I’m struggling.
Before you start with the whole, well yeah, you’re pregnant, go easy on yourself (or the shut up you’re pregnant, you knew this was coming) thing, hear me out.
I feel like I’m being dishonest by not sharing what’s actually going on over here. The baby and I are doing great health-wise now. What I’m struggling with is more personal, it’s my diet, my ethics, and my pocket book. All things that are all very much intertwined for me.
If you’ve been around here a while then you probably know that I have been shying away from most meat and dairy products. There are a lot of reasons for this, personal health, environmental reasons, animal rights, and farm law, being the big ones. When I do eat meat I prefer it to be wild caught, or sustainably and humanely raised. Luckily, I have a hunting husband who does his best to support these views.
Recently, it was revealed that I have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is basically when the hormones that the mother’s body is making to help develop the baby also block the action of insulin in the mother’s body. Without usable insulin, glucose cannot leave the bloodstream to be used as energy. It puts extra stress on the pancreas of both the mother and the baby, and since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat, producing a larger baby. Larger babies can cause complications during childbirth.
Luckily, gestational diabetes is manageable, with diet.
The first couple weeks I was afraid to eat anything with carbs or even fruit. I started researching like crazy but found that a lot of the information out there for diabetes is sketchy at best. Numerous studies contradict each other and some don’t really even have a good scientific base. This is where my science/engineering background really kicked in, if you can’t tell. All this confusion made me even more stressed out. Things started to make a lot more sense as soon as I got my hands on a glucose monitor and started testing myself on a regular basis.
Seriously, if you have even an ounce of worry about gestational diabetes then go get yourself a monitor. They are $20-30 at most drugstores, the strips and pricky-things (technical term here) are a cost as well, but the peace of mind is totally and completely worth it. It only took a few days of experimentation to figure out what I could and could not eat.
I’m finding that, while on paper my diet looks great, my blood sugar is so easily spiked that I have to be extremely careful with even things like brown rice! Brown rice as a small side dish is something that the American Diabetes Association says is perfectly fine. Because of this, I am finding myself turning to more meat and dairy products than I would like. Things like yogurt, cheese, and nuts have been my saving grace for snacks, but knowing that 2/3 of my snacks have animal products, that I didn’t produce myself is a little disturbing for me.
The fact is that right now my baby’s and my own health are just more important to me. So, if I have to compromise for a little while to get through this time then that’s ok. I’m still trying my hardest to stick to my guns, and buy local, humanely and sustainably raised products, which is why my grocery budget has pretty much been blown out of the water lately. I mean just increasing meat consumption can blow the grocery budget, let alone the more expensive stuff.
It really gets hard when we are out. Whether it be friends and family get-togethers or restaurants finding food that I can eat gets really difficult sometimes. I have on more than one occasion ended up eating hot dogs (no bun) and canned baked beans like they are going out of style, because at the average barbeque that’s pretty much all I can eat. My tummy and my ethics are not happy about this, but a girl has to eat. At restaurants, I’m relegated mostly to salads, while the smell of fries, and the view of risottos, and creamy plates of pasta float all around me. There are no desserts to be had, this includes ice-cream, which this time of year is a favourite.
I do feel that I am luckier than most in dealing with this issue because I cook.
At home, I have no issues whipping up a simple veggie filled meal with a side of grilled venison. Making things like “nice-cream”, low sugar condiments, and real fruit pops isn’t that out of the ordinary for me. I am getting better at bringing my own snacks and dishes to parties, and while travelling, but there isn’t always the opportunity to do this. Sometimes, things happen spontaneously and you’re unprepared. Like when a 4.5-hour road trip turns into a 9 hour one, and there’s very few rest stops with anything I can eat aside from nuts, and too many of those can upset my tummy.
I can’t imagine how difficult this is for most people who don’t cook at home every single night. Saying no to fries, and dessert on occasion is hard enough for me, but to do it every day?
I cannot emphasise enough how important I think it is that we change this trend in people not learning to cook at home. This is the whole reason I started my cooking lessons series, and a large part of the reason I started this blog, sharing recipes and getting people in the kitchen more.
I always used to scoff at people who struggled to stay on diets. It was never a problem for me to stick to a diet for a month or two with pre-planned cheat meals. I had goals, and there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a really amazing price in that light in the end of the tunnel this time, but there’s also no such thing as cheat meals, and it’s more like a 4-month diet.
I’m not going to lie to you, this has been a real test for me. I’m making it through to the best of my ability and I just keep thinking about the little guy growing inside me and how I only want the best for him. I also think about all the things I’m going to indulge in, in what’s now just a couple months’ time.