Monday, July 18, 2011

Gestational Diabetes and How it Put me on the Path to GFG

While not a recipe post, I do think this is important.  The beginning of my GFG lifestyle began with Gestational Diabetes.  About 15 months ago, at about 24 weeks pregnant, my OBGYN gave me the shock of my life!  Usually, they say, GD affects women who are a bit older, overweight, and have gained a huge amount of weight as a result of their pregnancy.  There also many stereotypes out there about what kinds of diets these women have.  Not knowing much, besides the fact that my mother had GD with me (which they did nothing about in those days) I was completely petrified, scared shitless, and totally stumped.  My OBGYN proceeded to scare me to death with a plethora of terrifying stats and figures, and sent me on my way to a Diabetes Specialist, and then a nutritionist.  I got my little glucometer and a handful of pamphlets and off I went, trying to figure out this "new" and confounding way of eating.  So you mean, I need to eat protein?  Like, regularly?  How much?  When?  Why?  I shouldn't eat carbs by themselves?  What is a carb?  What's the difference between carbs?  What about sugar?  Is it ok from fruit?  Why does it matter how I combine carbs and proteins?  How does fat affect glucose levels?  What is glucose?  And WHY ME???  I have my own theories about that, which I'll get to later.

All of the sudden, I HAD to think about food in a completely different way.  Nutrients need to be eaten in certain combinations, at certain times, and in certain amounts, for optimum health, especially if you have difficulties managing your blood sugar, like I do.  Now, this all seems like common knowledge to me, but then, I was totally flummoxed by all the rules and numbers I was supposed to learn.  Serving sizes, portion sizes, time between meals and snacks.  I had been accustomed to eating pretty much what I wanted, when I wanted.  I had been eating what I always assumed was a pretty healthy diet, and I never overate.  Low-fat, complex carbs, lots of fruits and veg, and the occasional sugary treat.  Not a whole lot of protein.  But protein has fat, AHHH!

For several weeks, I won't lie, I was completely miserable.  And terrified that every bite I took was harming my baby somehow.  I obsessed over my numbers and cried if it was over 105.  I thought endlessly about the health of my baby and why, why, why did this happen to me?  I counted carbs and proteins like it was my job, and tracked every morsel, calorie, and bite to a T.  I felt like I was in prison.  I made the mistake of thinking I needed to eat exactly the number of grams of proteins and carbs that were in my stupid little pamphlet, until my stomach felt like bursting.  I had never eaten so much in my life!  And you know what, one week later at my checkup- I had lost weight.  While pregnant no less.  I had thus far gained 14 pounds, and only gained maybe another pound or two the next 12 weeks.  I was eating tons and tons.  I eventually got accustomed to the diet, sort of, but it was a diet of restriction and limits.  All I could think of was, don't eat this, don't eat that, can't eat this, can't eat that.  I should have been thinking about why carbs were effecting me so adversely, what it meant, and how to create a healthful, well-rounded, and beneficial diet for myself.  Many months later, after reading and researching quite a bit, I now realize that humans just weren't made to eat the enormous amounts of grains and refined carbohydrates that now typify our diets.  And some of us have a predisposition towards lesser pancreatic function, and ingrained inability towards poor blood sugar regulation.  In generations past, when people got much more exercise, and ate much less grains, you'd go your whole life without ever knowing it.  But today, eating carb after carb, grain after grain, for years on end, it will end up catching up with you, if you're predisposed. 

But it's ok!  Like many things, my blood sugar problems have been a blessing in disguise.  I am more educated on the subject than I ever thought possible, and I am totally fascinated by how much what we eat determines who we are, what we do, and how we feel.  It's amazing.  You really are what you eat, it turns out. 

After months of feeling sluggish, bloated, faint, dizzy, lightheaded, and scared of my own blood, I now feel healthy, balanced, regular, and relieved.  I know what's going in is clean, healthy, and making me strong full of vigor.

I'm not saying everyone needs to go GFG.  It's certainly not for everyone, nor is it particularly necessary.  For someone who has no problem processing carbs, you may decide to never go grain-free, and certainly never go Paleo.  But limiting your grain intake will reap great results as it pertains to your overall health, and certainly your weight.  Keep your grains to a minimum and instead incorporate healthy proteins and good fats.  Leafy greens and colorful fruits.  And have fun experimenting in the kitchen with items from the GFG shopping list!

Grains aren't evil and they won't kill you.  But if you want to feel lighter, cleaner, healthier, stronger, and BETTER, limiting or eliminating them will do WONDERS.

My darling Baby S was born right on time, a very healthy and scrappy 5lbs 14oz!  I know that with my next child, most likely I'll be getting back on the GD treadmill, with the blood tests, stress tests, and strict food tracking.  But this time I'll be ready, and I'll already be eating a healthful and low-carb diet full of healthy lean protein, vegetables and fruit, and healthy fats.   Not everyone who has GD is overweight or obese, and even if you are, you can deal with it easily if you just understand what's happening.  Cutting out grains may seem overly strict, but you'd be amazed how much better you feel and look, in a very short time! 

2 comments:

  1. interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you



    Gestational Diabetes

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  2. Hi Kousalya! Thank you so much for reading! I would love to provide more details- do you have any specific questions for me?

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