>What’s that smell?

>A very good reason why I love working from home:

(Low GI) Berry & cream cheese muffin, made by S. for me
* 1/2 plain flour swapped for wholemeal * Smidge of yellowbox honey instead of sugar *

I was diagnosed as a gestational diabetic a little over a month ago. This means that I’ve had to keep very close tabs on my diet and portions to ensure that I stay within the recommended blood sugar levels (BSLs); otherwise, if my levels are all over the shop, or stay too high, I’ll be prescribed insulin shots for the rest of the pregnancy. On top of that, I wouldn’t be able to stay with the midwife-only care that I had for my first pregnancy/baby, and would be transferred into hospital obstetrics care. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but I’d much, much prefer to stay put.

Insulin and care-model change in the last month or so of the pregnancy – how unattractive would that be?

So unattractive that it’s enough to prompt me to:

  • Cut out all rice for the moment. Have discovered that cracked wheat/burghul is a fab-o substitute and, weirdly, I’m even preferring it. It’s strange to have had rice as a staple part of my diet for decades, then to cut it out totally (literally, I was chugging along eating rice like a fiend, got diagnosed, read some low GI guff that same day, and excised it from my diet from then onward) and not to miss it. I thought I would go into rice withdrawal, as I do when I’ve travelled for extended periods on a budget (and tend to subsist on sandwiches or cereals…).
  • Cut out all potato. No matter how small a portion of potato I eat, it seems to affect me a lot. The hardest part about this one is giving up hot chips. With the icy winds starting to set in for autumn and winter in Melbourne, my cold-weather vice has always been scarfing down a bowl of hot chips every once in a while, preferably with an aromatic, full-fat aioli to accompany it. Woe.
  • Only eat half the amount I think I want to eat at just about every meal. This was quite difficult to do initially, given my family’s religion is feasting and we believed very much in the centrality of food in socialisation and bonding. For a few reasons, S. and I chose to eat semi-vegetarian (or sometimes vegan) several times a week; this was rather challenging for a few folks (esp my mum).
  • Expend energy on thinking about every meal I have. Having had some closer than preferable encounters with medication-happy registrars at the diabetic clinic I regularly have to visit, I’ve decided not to wear my ranty-pants about over-medication, lazy and unproven protocols, and passive-aggressive doctoring. I figure I only have a short time to go, and I’ve successfully controlled my BSLs thus far, so I just have to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. Having to think about everything I might eat, and how to configure meals, was all a bit tedious and irritating in the beginning, mostly because I’d never really given that much thought to what I ate. I didn’t eat badly, just not thoughtfully.

There are some pros to the changes, though, and some of these include:

  • Being forced to be more aware of how abysmal and non-existent my ‘exercise routine’ is, and making good changes. You’d think that I’d have realised by myself that the aim of “trying to go for a walk every once in a while” doesn’t really cut the mustard, metabolism-wise. I’m taking regular (short [I am super-waddly right now]) walks around our neighbourhood and that’s been a revelation in many ways. I’ve always liked where we live, but travelling around it regularly on foot gives me a new appreciation for its layout, moseying vibe and the level of communal care that’s taken.
  • The strongly recommended meal portion reduction is accompanied by the encouragement to eat 6 (smaller) meals a day. This usually works out as 3 meals (b’fast, lunch, dinner) and 3 ‘snacks’ (am tea, pm tea, supper). I love eating 6 times a day! I was previously a non-snacker, and only had 3 squares. Chances are I’m eating approx the same food per day, just spread out more evenly through it. Actually, that’s probably not quite true. I am eating a much healthier diet, and almost never having junk food is no bad thing. I read on a gestational diabetes information site (that was otherwise super-useful and sensible) that one could probably have a McD’s 1/4-pounder as a ‘lunch’ that balanced the things you were meant to include…er, I just don’t think recommending eating any kind of McD’s is a good option for people who have health issues. Is that old skool?
  • Expend energy on thinking about every meal I have. I’ve had a very valuable and gradual learning curve about food, types of carbs and sugars since the diagnosis. It never hurts to be more aware of these kinds of things, I suppose, and I’ve gotten much faster at processing whether something is OK to add to my current (somewhat restricted) diet. The diabetic nurse earnestly intoned to me that one should think about this as a ‘lifestyle change’ rather than a temporary diet, and I know what she’s getting at, but…yeah. Another plus is that, with the ratcheting up of label-reading that I’ve been doing, trying to reduce our grocery-list ‘food-mileage’ is something that’s floated up in priorities (yes, a tangential benefit but, what the hey). Found out that most of the ‘homebrand’ organic canned food comes from overseas – I was appalled, but maybe I shouldn’t have been? We’ve also been making a lot more of our own things (esp baked stuff like bread, muffins, biscuits, cakes), and consuming way less than we were before. All Good Things, no?

4 thoughts on “>What’s that smell?

  1. Book Boy 18/05/2009 / 9:30 am

    >OMG how did you manage to give up the chips??I remember sharing many a plate of chips with you;-)Funny you should mention rice, cos when i was in hospital eating all that trad meat and potatoes meals i missed my rice so much.So now i’m overdosing on this now – sorting heading the other direction from you;-)BTW does this mean you can return to chips after pregnancy?

  2. tseen 20/05/2009 / 5:40 am

    >Giving up chips has been a bit of a killer, actually. It’s the one food I’d definitely relapse to if I was given the ‘all-clear’ about Type 2 diabetes after Sprog 2 is out and about (I should be back to ‘normal’ after baby’s born). I think I don’t miss rice because my substitute (cracked wheat) is very rice-like in texture, and I quite like the extra nutty flavour that it has, too. Plus it is totally compatible with all the dishes I used to have with traditional rice anyway! I requested my fave beef’n ginger stirfry from my mum the other day and it went beautifully with the sub!

  3. emily 04/06/2009 / 5:45 am

    >yum.take it easy!hope all is going well! i remember when I was pregnant, someone (could have been a doctor, random homeless lady..can't remember) told me that sleep was a good way of regulating one's insulin levels. take it easy!

  4. tseen 07/06/2009 / 5:12 am

    >Hi Emily – Yeah, that sleep thing tends to get a bit elusive as time trudges on, as you probably know! Have worn a track in the floorboards to the bathroom. 😉 Still – such a short time to go before the chaos starts again!T.

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