Note: I am not a medical professional so the following is simply what is working for me and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice.

The Background

From the beginning, it was important to me that my gestational diabetes (GD) be managed without medication. I have worked for months to achieve a pregnancy and birth that are as free from medicine and medical intervention as possible. I was not interested in suddenly throwing all that away and popping pills to fix the problem unless, of course, it became medically necessary.

I went to see a diabetes educator and started into the testing and diet changes with gusto if not joy. The first two weeks I cut out all sugar, fruit, and almost all carbohydrates. I had the occasional corn tortilla or corn chips, and after several days without any sweets I would indulge in an agave sweetened treat at certain points in the day, but mostly I ate protein and vegetables and fats. And my numbers quickly came under control. The only number I cannot control with diet is my fasting number which is, incidentally, uncontrollable with diet. It’s something my body is doing on its own – dumping glucose in the middle of the night. 

It was great that my numbers were lower, but I was beginning to loathe this diet. My sleep was disrupted by my hunger and the need to test at specific times whether or not it was in the middle of a nap. My mood was suffering from the lack of carbs. I was having to eat the same thing all the time which is difficult for me. And the kicker was that I was losing weight. Not good.

So I met with a nutritionist who helped me map out a plan for including some carbohydrates and gaining weight while managing my numbers. I was so nervous that she would say that I had to take medication, but she was open to my goal of managing it with diet since I’d shown that I could obviously control it well. In fact I was controlling it too well. It was time to add back the carbs.

My plan

Breakfast is always the same:

  • 3-4 eggs, cooked in butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal with butter, splash of milk, and cinnamon
  • half-caf coffee with cream and stevia

Mandatory 30 minute post-breakfast walk.

Snack 1 (dependent on a good number – 2 carbs if good, 0-1 carb if bad):

  • apple and cottage cheese
  • yogurt and berries
  • chips and guacamole and cheese
  • chips and tzatziki
  • a decaf latte and an apple

Lunch (2 carbs and a protein with whatever vegetables I want):

  • salad with ham, turkey, or chicken, and chips and guacamole
  • chicken tenders with veggies and fruit
  • cheeseburger with a gluten-free bun or cheeseburger with no bun and some french fries (about 10)
  • fajitas with corn tortillas
  • hot dogs, sauerkraut, cheese, and fruit

Snack 2 (1 carb and a protein)

  • latte and cheese
  • yogurt with cinnamon
  • cottage cheese and an apple
  • slice of cheese and 2-3 cups popcorn

Dinner (2 carbs and a protein plus any vegetables I want)

  • chicken, veggies, and small serving of corn/quinoa pasta
  • cheeseburger with no bun and french fries or cheeseburger with gluten free bun
  • fajitas with corn tortillas
  • taco bowls with corn chips (no rice or beans)

Optional walk – it’s best if I can fit it in, but it’s hard to fit this in during the winter.

Snack 3 (1-2 carbs and a protein OR if post-dinner number is high, then 1/2 carb and a protein)

  • cup of milk
  • cottage cheese and an apple
  • yogurt
  • cheese and raisins

Some further notes

  • I eat full  fat dairy. I believe full fat is healthiest, plus I need to gain weight. Healthy fat does not make you fat.
  • Other healthy fats are nuts and nut butters, raw coconut and coconut oil, avocados, and olives.
  • Since I don’t have a gallbladder, I have to be careful about how much fat I eat at any given time, especially things like cream cheese and mayonnaise.
  • Eating fat and fiber with your carb will help you process the glucose.
  • Moving for 10-20 minutes is enough to lower a too high number back to where it needs to be.
  • Hummus would be a great snack, but it gives me heartburn because my stomach is nestled close up to my chin at this stage of pregnancy and that’s only a slight exaggeration.
  • For weight gain, my 2 hour post-meal number should be around 120. Lower than that means I’m not eating enough.
  • My nutritionist is adamantly opposed to agave sweetened treats,  but I’ve been able to tolerate a 1/2 cup of agave sweetened ice cream or an oogave root beer in the afternoon without problem. The ice cream is actually the “perfect” treat in that it is one protein and one carb. Having a treat to look forward most certainly helps my blood pressure stay low so I think I’ll keep indulging.
  • I use stevia in my morning coffee, which I know can be mildly controversial. I’m not a fan of the after taste, but it cuts the bitterness. I also occasionally use splenda when I’m at Starbucks. I would normally never touch the stuff, but it helps me get through my work day and at least it’s not a neurotoxin (I’m looking at you aspartame). Without it I would have a difficult time working at coffee shops and that would throw yet another part of my schedule out of whack. The one day I tried soy milk I found out Starbucks use sugar sweetened soy milk in their lattes. Who knew? My number wasn’t terrible, but it’s yet another good reason to avoid soy.
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