Tuesday, December 3, 2013

You've Heard of Low-Carb:This is Our Version of Low-Carb

I have re-worked this post to reflect what we ate while doing Keto, but what we learned from that experience.

First, I learned that eating Keto is not sustainable for the long-term or with a large family.  Eating Keto requires food from scratch all the time.  Who has that kind of time?  Not me!  So, learn to be good at moderation.  Most people spout the maxim, "Moderation in everything," but are not actually good at moderation. You know what I learned from doing Keto and then going off Keto?  That I am great at self-denial, but not so good at moderation.  It made me ask what was wrong with me that I cannot be good at the 80/20 rule of eating 80% health, 20% fun.  So, this time around, we are looking at 15g carbs at breakfast and for each of three snacks, 30 g carbs at lunch and at dinner, just like when I was eating for gestational diabetes.  We are trying for less carbs than that at each meal (we would love to be at max 50g most days of the week), but we are happy with those numbers.

Do your own research to find out what is best for you as far as calories and macronutrients go.  Even though I believe that not all calories are created equal, I do know that if you do not get enough calories, your body will go into starvation mode.  I choose to get most of my calories from fat and protein, not carbs because I believe the research that shows the link between diabetes and cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  I am re-learning how to eat.  For a third time.  Hopefully this will be the time we get it right!

Second, I learned that Candida feeds on glucose in our intestines, but when we have leaky gut, and candida is in our blood stream, that candida can feed on ketones in our bloodstream.  I almost cried when I found this out-I thought that with four months of no sugar/carbs, that I was starving the candida in my body.  It turns out that I was feeding it with a less efficient fuel.  No wonder I still craved carbs-the yeast wanted glucose, not ketones, for fuel.  I now take a probiotic to work on my leaky gut. I am done with sugar cravings!  It is amazing to feel like I used to when food had no hold over me.

Third, I am off all soda.  On Keto, I would drink diet soda or fresca because I craved my Coca Cola and because the soda would fill me up quickly when I didn't have time to make myself a meal or because I needed something sweet or I was tired of nuts and cheese for snack.  I learned that soda, even diet, fills our stomachs up and prepares them to receive greater volume.  This wreaks havoc on following hunger cues.  After going off Keto, I thought I would enjoy a Coke every now and then.  Wrong.  Within days, I was back to 3 Cokes/day.  So, now I drink only water, or carbonated water.

Here we go:

Breakfasts: 2 egg omelet (or scrambled) with 2 pieces of bacon and 2 ounces of cheese, same omelet but substitute with breakfast sausage,Maria's low carb shake, 4 pieces of bacon.  Basically, you eat eggs every day.  I just started adding pico de gallo into my eggs and love this!  I like to use low-carb wheat tortillas to make a breakfast taco.

Snacks: Detour less-sugar protein  bar, cheese cubes, 2 T natural peanut butter & celery, celery sticks with laughing cow cheese wedge, 1 serving cashews or almonds.  The pb has 4 g carbs and the nuts have carbs, so don't eat them in the same day. 1 serving of plantain chips or most healthy tortilla chip I can find and guacamole.  It's my goal to eat more cucumbers with ranch for a snack.  You have 15 g carbs-look at snack crackers or other foods you like and see what you can get for 15 g net carbs.

Lunches: salad with any kind of meat, bun-less bacon cheeseburger without ketchup or mayo, leftover meat and vegetables, or lunch-meat and cheese roll-ups. I eat a lot of taco meat and chili over lettuce for lunch.  Sandwich meat and cheese on low-carb tortillas, sandwiches on a lettuce wrap.

Dinners: meat (grilled, roasted, bbq [without sauce], baked, pan fried) served with 3 vegetables.  Choose from sauteed vegetables, including shredded brussel sprouts, spinach, cabbage, or broccoli.  Steamed green beans (check your portion size) [Look for microwaveable Cowboy green beans from HEB], bacon garlic roasted cauliflower.  I live on zucchini and yellow summer squash.  Asparagus, grilled rainbow peppers, or a salad.  (Check your salad dressing for sugar and g of carbs.)

Things I do not fix: (just plan on 3 non-starchy vegetables at dinner, or 2 and some fruit)
corn, peas
white potatoes,rice
peas, soy beans, sugar snap peas
quinoa, other sprouted grains
beans (I might add beans to chili & my kids get beans with mexican food, but I don't eat them.)

Misc info:
Google the dangers of too much soy-avoid soy as often as possible.  Atkins has a great app with recipes and a meal tracking function.  Remember to go full fat on dairy (cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, hard cheeses), cook with cream or heavy whipping cream.  Check labels for carbohydrates, subtract fiber and sugar alcohols.  If you do not increase your fat intake, you will be starving.  I cook with butter and bacon grease and sometime olive oil cooking spray.  Pure olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray is the only spray to use.  Sometimes I cook with coconut oil, but not often. HEB also sells reduced sugar Hershey's syrup, reduced sugar ketchup, sugar-free syrup, and sugar-free whip cream in a can.  Watch out for too many sugar alcohols because they give you the taste of sweetness and make your body crave more sweet things.  You will need greater and greater amounts of the sugar alcohol sweetened treats to be satiated.  Malitol is particularly bad this way.  Xylitol and Erythritol are better choices.  Agave-it's the pits. Do your research and stay away from it.  Stevia and Splenda.  People have their opinions about these.  They usually love one, and hate the other.  I will use both.  In moderation.

A Tangled Birthday

We (meaning our entire family) threw a Tangled-theme birthday party for our two-year old niece, Lilee.  She loves this movie!  You can find all kinds of decorations on Pinterest, but in the end, we only decorated with pink and white streamers which were left over from our family's Thanksgiving Eve minute-to-win-it party and a princess mylar balloon. Sadly, our only real decor nod to the movie was in the form of light purple plates and yellow-gold napkins.  Ain't nobody got time the day after Thanksgiving for making paper lanterns, Mucky Duck signs, creepy life-size yellow yarn braids seen here, or cakes made to look like towers.   Instead we wanted to focus on what the kids would do at the party.  Pinterest is always short on those details.  We needed to entertain littles and teenagers, so we had to be creative.  Here is what we came up with:

1) Lilee dressed in a Tangled nightgown so that she was both ready to dance and ready for a quick exit to bed after the party. Target and Kohls have night gowns with Rapunzel on them, but I can't find the cute one Lilee wore.  I'm sure the Disney store has beautiful night gowns as well.

2) We divided the kids into two teams to build castles out of megablocks.  You could also do towers.  Either way would obviously fit the movie.  We used an older version of this.

3) We catapulted marshmallows into the castles, along the lines of catapulting Flynn Rider into the castle.  Teams got points for hitting the castle.  It ended up being a little like the Tangled version of Angry Birds.  I bought the catapults on Amazon, but you can also find it here.

4) We played the Tangled soundtrack and watched Lilee dance.  She loved this.  We could have done nothing else, and she would have been content.  Most people ate dinner while she was dancing.  I considered having our resident blond ballerina, Ainsley, dress as Rapunzel and dance with Lilee.  I couldn't figure out how to get a teenager-sized Rapunzel costume without dropping some serious cash.

5) After dinner, we turned out all the lights and "helped the floating lanterns stay in the air."  Read: keep the glowing balloons from hitting the floor.  We used regular white balloons with yellow glow bracelets in them so that they glowed in the dark.  I used bracelets because they weren't as heavy as a glow stick and they were less expensive.  We (meaning our nephews Tyler and Drew) made fifteen "floating lanterns."

On Pinterest you will see pictures for "pin the frying pan on Flynn Rider."  I don't like that part of the movie, so we did not try hitting anyone with a frying pan.  I did consider doing some velcro darts at a target with Flynn Rider's wanted poster on it, but that would have been too old for Lilee.  Finally, I like the idea of using paint pens on mini canvases from hobby lobby to tie into the art theme.  However, I would never give a two year old a paint pen.

My next party, Zach's 10th (!) bday, will be a Minecraft party.  I am already trying to figure out activities for the party because it will be here before I know it.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Too many thoughts for FB, part ii

Too many thoughts for facebook.

1)  Gotta love Texas.  Some Congressman submitted an amendment to the continuing resolution that says that the government cannot fund Obama's golf until the White House begins giving tours again.  Right on.  Have you ever looked into what it takes to get a tour of the White House?  I am fairly certain you cannot just show up.  I think you have to contact one of your Congressmen and they send you the tickets for a specific time and date.  All of those people who planned tours as part of Spring Break trips to the Capitol will  be out of luck.  This leads to the next comment:

2) The sequestration effects have been planned to be as visible as possible, as painful to every day Americans as possible, and to look as little like Obama's fault as possible.  What kind of President and elected officials do this?  Our's apparently.  TSA employees receive more in one year for uniform allowances than a Marine gets in his entire career.  We couldn't cut that amount down to prevent a furlough somewhere?  Anyways, I am completely in favor of the sequestration happening.  And I hope it bites Obama in the butt.

3) The week before Finley arrived I felt amazing.  I was ready to be done giving myself shots of insulin.  I was ready to eat whatever I wanted for two days (that has stretched into 3 weeks, with probably only 1/2 of my meals being clean eating).  I was ready to meet this baby girl.  At that point, though, I realized that I was in such a great place, and that I was fixing to ruin it.  I felt great, I had energy, I had time, I could come and go whenever I pleased (thanks to kids in school and two great girls to babysit whenever I need), and I had this amazing pregnancy super power of being able to sleep anytime, anywhere.  And now I have kid projects, carpools, kid tests, teacher conferences, MCAS prep, Audrey now has 40 min of homework 5 nights a week, dance competitions, and doing this all with a baby who wants to eat every 2 hours around the clock.  I did make dinner last night.  And I have my lunch planned for today.  But I seriously don't have the time or energy to make myself breakfast ever.  I am reminded of where my bad eating habits have come from: years of no sleep.

4)  That said, Finley is the sweetest, most beautiful baby I have seen in almost seven years.  (Well, maybe I have seen a cute baby or two since Audrey was born.  Likely they are related to me.)  I love to sit and hold her.  I love to watch her make faces in her sleep.  I love to take pictures of her.  I love to watch her sisters and brother hold her and interact with her.  Zach has recently been saying, "Didn't you just feed her?" (Yes. Yes I did.)  I love how Audrey says that not every time Finely cries does she want to be fed because sometimes she is just being dramatic.  I love when my older girls hold her when she starts fussing-it buys me a few more minutes to finish whatever it is that I was doing.  I love Finley's newborn cry.  She gets so mad.  She might think that she is going to starve.  That maybe her stomach might be exploding because an empty stomach doesn't feel good.  In reality, though, Finley has a very soft newborn cry.  That I hear right now.  Off to find the Fin-a-droid 3000, as Zach calls her.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Gestational Diabetes, Part III: What I eat

Five quick thoughts on how I feel that I forgot about last night:
  1) I tend to have gall bladder pain so that I can feel my gall bladder swell and it kind of burns.  I haven't had any gall bladder pain since I changed my diet, and I eat the rich food that people with gall bladder pain are told to avoid.
2) I also suffer from heart burn during pregnancy so that I typically carry around the bottle of Tums in my bag.  With a few exceptions, I haven't had heart burn since I changed my diet either.
3) This probably isn't related to my diet, but maybe to my hydration, but my blood is thinner than normal at this point.  My fingers have gotten to the point that when I prick them, they don't stop bleeding immediately.  I usually have to run them under water or put pressure on them to get them to stop bleeding.
4) My face has been breaking out more than usual in the past year and a half.  Once I changed my diet, my skin cleared up.
5) I can go much longer between meals than I normally do, pregnant or not.  There are days when I eat breakfast at 0630 with Neil because I am hungry.  That is usually when I have had lighter foods the day before, especially at dinner.  There are other days that I do not eat breakfast until 9.  When I was in the hospital for monitoring the baby after we were rear-ended (she was obviously fine), I had to go 8 hours between lunch and dinner.  (When they finally brought me something to eat, it was a turkey sandwich on lame wheat bread, fruit juice, a fruit cup, and a pint of skim milk. It was all "healthy" and low-fat, but I couldn't eat any of it.  I ended up eating the sandwich on only the bottom slice of bread and giving everything else to my kids.)

One important thing to remember when eating for gestational diabetes is that if you are going to remove the calories that usually come from carbs, you have to replace them with something.  If you don't replace those calories the correct way,  you will feel like you are starving and you will crave carbs.  It will be more difficult to eat the correct way because eventually you will break and have to eat something that fills you up.  And once you eat a carb to fill you up, you will crave more carbs.  From the same hospital incident, I decided to eat an almond croissant from Au Bon Pain since I luckily  couldn't check my bs that night bc of the timing.  The next morning, I woke up craving french toast.

Another important thing to remember when eating for gestational diabetes is that fat slows the release of the sugar into your blood.  This results in a decreased blood sugar level after eating.  It turns out that fat is your friend.  It is not the enemy that you have been told it is for the last twenty years. (Insulin is actually the culprit for many, if not all, of the problems you have been told are attributed to fat.  It turns out that there is research going on right now at MD Anderson where they are testing a diabetes drug on cancer patients.  Not to be too technical, but the drug does something to the insulin, and it is slowing the spread of whatever cancer they are studying.)  One example of this is that 2% milk has the same number of carbs as skim milk, but gives me a lower blood sugar level.  Another example is having a croissant: the fat from the butter must work on the carbs in the bread because I can eat a croissant and have ok (not fabulous) results.  That is a worthwhile treat for me!  Finally, I can have a cinnamon roll with eggs and bacon, and be fine. I cannot eat a cinnamon roll on it's own.  Not even half of one.

The Paleo diet involves full-fat, high-protein, and no carbs, legumes, or dairy.  We did a month of Paleo last February-March, and we could see the benefits after a week.  Neil and I have many friends that live on Paleo.  They have all lost weight, and are in great physical and cardiovascular health.  Most people who do Paleo combine it with rigorous exercise.  The low glycemic-high protein diet is high-protein, not low-fat, and allows for low glycemic index carbs.   Research in the past few years has shown that this diet is especially successful at weight maintenance.  I have seen it work in friends.  The ones who lose weight on it have probably less than 30 g carbs/day.  I don't even know what the papers the nutritionist gave me said I could eat, but I do a combination of these two diets.  I would also say that diet isn't not the most accurate word because this is more of a lifestyle change than a strict plan for eating to lose weight that I normally associate with the word diet.

Breakfasts:  If I have a zero-carb breakfast, then my carbs come from milk.  If I have carbs, I just have water to drink.  (15 g carbs, unless I have a croissant or cinnamon roll as a treat, which is extremely rare, but a great treat!  It still stays below 30-35 g carbs.)  Also, learn to avoid sweet things, including fruit, at breakfast.  If I eat fruit, it's at lunch, and it's only berries.
1 Croissant (!) with a few pieces of bacon (I happen to love Costco croissants warmed in the microwave.)
2-3 scrambled eggs with an ounce of shredded cheese, served with either a few pieces of low-sodium bacon or browned breakfast sausage, and 6 ounces of 1 % chocolate milk or 8 ounces 2% white milk (This is what I eat the most often.)
2 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 1 Pillsbury cinnamon roll (!)
4 pieces of bacon and chocolate milk (When I am in a hurry.)
French toast made with 2 slices low-carb wheat bread and a serving size of sugar free syrup (you could add sugar free whipped cream and butter)

There is no breakfast cereal, granola, or oatmeal that I can eat, with milk, that fits in my carb allowance.  

Lunches: I understand that a range of 0-45 g carbs is not very specific, but if I had a croissant for breakfast, I wouldn't want many carbs with lunch.  On the other hand, if I wanted to splurge, lunch is the time to splurge.
2 Trader Joe's Low-Carb Wheat Tortillas with mayo, lunch meat or bacon, cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo. (Sometimes I might add homemade guacamole, especially if I am having lunch meat.  This increases the "healthy" fats that will keep me full.)
2 slices low-carb wheat bread served with lunch meat or bacon slices, mayo, cheese, and lettuce.
(I might add 1/4 c blackberries, some baby carrots, and some sweet potato chips to make a meal.  Sometimes I just have the wraps/sandwich without everything else.  Both the blackberries and carrots are carbs, so I usually trade the sandwich bread for the fruit/vegetables.  Nice, I know.)
Lettuce Wrap BLT (Make a blt but in lettuce wraps instead of bread.)
2 sliders, 2 slices of cheese, lettuce, ketchup for dipping (I live on this meal at home.)
2 Grilled Cheeses (!) with low-carb bread and 2 slices of cheese, each (Again, I usually just have one, but I have been known to trade the full amount of carbs for lunch for two sandwiches rather than have fruit or carrots.  Refer to the whole 12-yr old palette thing.)  
Salad.  It's on the bottom of the list, but it's not because I never have this. I throw leftover taco meat or even a hearty chili over the salad.  I don't use dressing, but add shredded cheese and sour cream, sometimes pico de gallo or guacamole to the taco meat.  I also happen to live on this at home.

Dinners: Remember that I can have 0-50 g carbs for dinner, but that I try to stick to 30.  Basically dinner is some kind of meat and at least two different vegetables.  My kids might get white rice or pasta, but I won't have any of either of those.  
Salad (same as at lunch)
Steak, pork chops, grilled chicken, ribs (all grilled, no bbq sauce) served with 2 vegetables/or a salad (This is what we live on, for the most part, for dinner.)
Taco wraps (make burritos, but wrap in lettuce rather than a tortilla)
Pork chops and gravy (I use cream of mushroom soup and serve this with rice for my kids, but I just go light on the gravy and have no rice.  I serve it with a salad and vegetables.)
Sliders (same as at lunch)
Meatball Wraps (When my kids have spaghetti and meatballs, I put the meatballs, some extra marinara, and shredded mozzarella into a lettuce wrap, or sometimes just over torn lettuce.  Basically, I throw everything I can into a wrap.)
Homemade Chicken Nuggets: google any recipe, but swap the flour/bread crumbs for almond meal. Yum.  
Pot Roast: Put  roast in crockpot with can of cream of roasted garlic and can of golden mushroom soups (maybe 1/2 can of each), lipton onion soup mix, and lots of carrots (you could add diced sweet potatoes).  Cook on low for hours.  Serve with green beans.  Done and easy.  I just take it easy on the gravy.
White bean chili: My family loves a white bean chili that I make.  I make it exactly like I used to except that I omit the corn.  My kids eat it over fritos.  I don't.  The only carbs in it are the carrots (minimal amount of shredded carrots from the mirepoix) and the white beans.  

You could (and should) have fish, but I only prefer freshly caught fish straight from the farmer's market, so I don't have it often in the winter.  

Vegetables for dinner:  (Vegetables to avoid-peas, corn, any potato other than a sweet potato)
1.  Sautéed vegetables: Cut up slices of bacon, sauté in pan over med-high heat, add spinach, shredded green cabbage, shaved or chopped brussel sprouts, add seasoning.  Sauté until desired doneness.  I sometimes add garlic or onion powder, salt and pepper, but you could add any seasonings you prefer.  
2.  Sauteed broccoli: See the test kitchen recipe for how I make it.  I think you can google it.
3.  Roasted butternut squash/carrots: Use either baby carrots or pre-cut butternut squash, put into a casserole dish, place a few pats of butter around the dish, and sprinkle a tsp of maple sugar all over.  Bake at 425 until desired doneness.  After 15-20 minutes, stir the vegetables to toss in the liquids in the bottom of the pan.  Check regularly.  Sorry for being so specific.
4.  Roasted asparagus: Snap off rough ends, lay on jelly roll sheet, sprinkle with grapeseed or olive oil, salt and pepper,  and toss with your hands.  Bake at 425 for no more than 20 min, but after 10, check every few minutes until they reach desired doneness.  The longer they bake, the smaller and crispier they will be.  This is especially delish served with crumbled feta over the top, but I can't have feta.  You could substitute for shaved parmesan.
5.  Sweet potatoes:  You can make mashed sweet potatoes just like regular mashed potatoes.  I like to add a tsp of maple sugar (found at Trader Joe's)  You can serve a baked sweet potato like a regular baked potato, with butter, cheese, and crumbled bacon, sour cream, chives.  Yum.  You can also peel and then slice sweet potatoes lenth-wise, toss in olive oil, add salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of cumin and paprika, to make fries.  Finally, peel and chop width-wise, so that you end up with circles.  You can roast those the same way as the butternut squash.
6.  Green beans: I put green beans in the crockpot with chicken broth, onions, and bacon, and cook on low for a few hours.  Easiest vegetable ever.  
7.  Spaghetti Squash:  I don't make this often because it is incredibly time intensive, but if you need pasta, this is the thing to have.  Google a recipe-probably martha stewart makes the easiest to follow recipes.  Serve with a no sugar added marinara sauce and turkey meatballs.  You can just read the label, not actually buy a no sugar added jar of sauce.  And you can buy frozen meatballs or make your own.  Just read the label for the meatballs.  
8.  Squash:  You can sauté sliced summer squash and zucchini in olive oil, add salt and pepper.  Done.  Or you can mix cream of celery soup (1 can) with pico de gallo and shredded cheese, and pour over sliced squash in a casserole dish.  Add salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 until bubbly.  You will want to go light on this because of the carbs in the cream of celery, but it's a yum way to eat squash.  

A note about salads: Full-Fat Ranch has fewer carbs than the healthy raspberry vinaigrette dressings we have been told to love.  That said, you can easily make your own salad dressings.  Just google it.  I don't eat a lot of salad dressing because I prefer something that adds taste like pico, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, or queso, or even the marina sauce from meat balls. Stay away from Craisins!  They show up in everything, but are full of sugar.  Substitute fresh pomegranate seeds.  They are delish and low-carb.  I add celery, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers to salads.  

A note about portions: Unless it is a carb, I don't look at portion sizes.  I eat until I am full.  If it is a carb, of any kind, including fruit and carrots, I am very conscious of portion size.  When you stop eating carbs, and fill up on vegetables and protein (and fat), you actually need fewer calories to meet your caloric and satiety needs, so your stomach shrinks and you get full faster.  Without being hungry.  Ever.  It's awesome.  If you are worried about cholesterol, eating this way creates cholesterol that is too big and fluffy to stick into the little cavities in your artery walls, so it passes on through without building plaque and causing other harmful cardiac problems.  

A note about low-carb food:  If you buy food that says "low-carb" on the label, it is filled with other things that aren't that "clean" that are an attempt to add taste, etc.  If you buy "gluten-free" foods, they still have carbs.  Rice flour can actually be worse for you than regular wheat flour.  You won't have the reaction to the gluten, which is good, but it will still mess with your waistline.  (Ask the friends you know who go gluten-free and end up gaining weight...)  Even sugar-free candies, that are marketed for diabetics, have too much sugar for my diet.  If you do a low-carb, low-fat diet, you will starve, your body will probably start conserving energy (and probably water, at the very least), and you will not maintain that for long.  Better to go without the carbs and eat until you are full with vegetables and meat.  You need the protein and fat for satiety.  If you just eat turkey and chicken, you will find that you are still hungry. If you buy "low-fat" foods, they are filled with carbs to add taste that makes up for the missing fat.  It's better to just eat as clean as you can.

Things I eat and buy, or don't:  I tried making corn chowder, this meal that I thought was so healthy because it was low-fat and full of vegetables.  I even used butternut squash instead of potatoes.  It raised my blood sugar higher than I have ever had it.  Practically 170.  The only corn I can eat is the 1/4 spoonful from Chipotle.  Maybe it has to do the GMO's in corn.  Regardless, stay away from corn at all costs.  There is some humus that I can have, but I can't have very much.  On the other hand, I can have quite a few tablespoons of spinach-artichoke dip and 5-layer dip from Trader Joe's.  I would rather have that.  I can have the frozen Chimichurri rice from Trader Joe's.  I usually only have about 1/4 c, but it's better for my blood sugar than white rice.  And more filling.  It's nice to put with a taco salad or fajita wrap.  I eat pinto beans on occasion and refried beans, too.  But not often and not in large quantities.  Just enough to add some flavor or fullness to a meal.   I have a recipe for a sweet potato soup that is similar to split pea soup.  It is paleo friendly, but generally lacks enough fat to overcome the carbs in the sweet potatoes.  I am going to try it tonight made with heavy cream.  I'll let you know. I eat Cashews and almonds, roasted and salted, for snacks.  I eat Costco Sweet Potato chips, sometimes.  They are fine on my blood sugar.  No other sweet potato chip or fry is as clean.  This has oil and salt.  Every other sweet potato chip has some kind of flour, if not sugar.  I made a salad with grilled chicken, clementine slices, pomegranate seeds, shredded mozzarella cheese, lettuce, and light on the lite poppyseed dressing.  It was delish, but made my blood sugar sky-rocket.   Cheese has no carbs in it.  I now have cheese on everything.  Well, maybe I try to have moderation, but I eat more cheese now that in the past few years.  II cook in butter (love grass-fed Kerry Gold Butter) or bacon, or healthy oil (grapeseed or olive) or coconut oil.  I generally don't use canola, or whatever, oil.  That's mostly for baking, and since I am anti-baking at the moment, it doesn't happen often.   I do use a canola cooking spray for convenience, although I do have olive oil in a self-pumping mister, so that I can cook with that.  

Snacks:  I needed more snacks at the beginning.  Some days I might only have one snack a day.  I seriously eat less food than I do when I am not pregnant.  As in, it's now almost 10am and I haven't eaten yet today because I'm not hungry.  But you should never starve yourself-your baby needs to grow and you need calories.  Eat whenever (really, whenever, as in every time) you are hungry, just choose well.  Some days, especially if I wasn't hungry the day before, I need all 3 snacks and have huge meals.  And always drink lots of water.  For so many reasons.  But you will eat less and be less hungry than if you ate carbs and no fat all day long.  

6 baby carrots, cucumbers, celery, etc., with ranch dressing, if needed
cashews/almonds (I have a handful every day)
4 graham cracker squares with peanut butter on each square (I live on this)
Fiber One bar (yum for when you need a treat-i needed them more often earlier on, but haven't had one in at least a month-the fiber cancels out a lot of the carbs; not good for blood sugar as a breakfast bar, though)
Nature Valley Protein bar (has fewer carbs than fiber one bar, better as a breakfast bar, but not great, croissant is better on bs, actually...that is awesome)
cheese cubes
2 cups white cheddar popcorn from Trader Joe's
Haven't tried this, but sugar free whipped cream with blackberries
16 wheat thins with Alouette cheese square
Quesadillas: I can have a low carb wheat tortilla with cheese in it and I can add refried beans.  But I can only have 2.  I tried having 4 the other day.  My blood sugar wasn't bad, but still in the high 120s.   
Diet hot cocoa
1 Trader Joe's Mini Dark Chocolate Bar
Reese's Pieces or Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Minis(!) Just look at the label, see how many you can have and still be within your carb allowance.  It's nice to not have to check your bs after a snack!  That said, I haven't had these in weeks, and it was only when I really needed something sweet that didn't taste low carb.  I think it's the fat in the pb that helps.  I can even have a few peanut m&ms.  Really-a few, like 3, but sometimes, worth it.  Atkins makes indulge candies that are made with sugar alcohols.  They aren't as good as the real thing, but great for if you are going to a movie.  

Going out?
McDonald's sausage and egg biscuit, eating only half the biscuit.  (I usually chose to eat the smaller half.) 
Five guys little bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, mayo, and ketchup (I eat only the bun from the messiest side of the burger.  I might have 5 fries if I have no bun at all.  I usually eat this with a diet coke, and I am full.)
Big Mac (I know you all probably hate this, but I don't. And I eat this with no buns at all, with a diet coke.  I don't do this often, but it's good to know when you are in a hurry and need to eat.  I cannot do a Whopper with just one bun, but have not tried it with no bun.  I can do a Wendy's cheeseburger with one bun, but my bs is on the high side of the range.)
Chipotle salad: lettuce, steak, pinto beans (have fewer carbs than black beans), 1/4 spoonful of corn salsa, shredded cheese, no dressing
Moe's salad: lettuce, taco meat, pinto beans, diced cucumber, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and queso for dressing.  (Love a diet where queso is approved! That said, I ask for just a little sour cream and I generally just dip my fork into the queso, not pour an entire few ounces of queso over my salad.)
Chick-Fil-A(!): An 8 piece nuggets is 1 carb exchange, or 15 g carbs, a small fry is 2 carb exchanges, or 30 g carbs, with a diet coke.  (It made my whole month when I got to have CFA.  I knew that I could technically have the entire meal, but 1) I could not bring myself to eat more than 4 fries, and 2) the fries did not taste as good as I remembered them, so they weren't worth the carbs anyways.  After eating this, my bs was 95, which is phenomenal.  Next time I am going to try a 12 piece nuggets and steal 1 fry from my kids.  This has been my favorite discovery.)
Anywhere else you eat, order meat (probably not lean meat of any kind so that you feel full), vegetables and a salad with a sugar-free dressing, or ranch.  Now you see why I never go out to eat for a sit-down dinner, especially when Neil can grill a steak better than most restaurants, short of Ruth's Chris, and he can give them a run for their money.  The trick is the igrill and high-quality meat, but that's another story for another day.

One last thought: You cannot save up carbs from the day and eat them all at once.  Carb loading is actually never a good idea.  Marathon runners can get away with it, but it's not as if your body knows,"Hey, I better store these for the right kind of energy for the big race tomorrow."  They get processed just like all carbs you consume.  However that is.  All I know is that it involves insulin, your cells, and nothing good.  It's better to derive your energy from fat and protein.  Especially fat.  Who doesn't want that?  My thighs would be better if that's where my energy came from.  But when you eat carbs, your body won't use fat as an energy source first.  So, if I skip a meal (bad idea) I cannot make up the carbs I missed out on.  However, sometimes I eat a late breakfast.  Like today.  I ate breakfast at 11.  (The life of a sahm.  All I do is eat bon bons and watch my picture shows while I lay in a hammock, you know.) So I basically skipped breakfast, but what I will do is eat a snack in a few hours if I get hungry, eat lunch at 2, probably not eat an afternoon snack, and then eat dinner at our normal time of 7:30.  This way, I still get to eat all the carbs I'm entitled to, and am not missing out on what the baby needs to grow. 

Ok, that is all I can think of for now.  There are probably more dinners and more vegetables than I have listed, but this is a good start and representative of what we live on right now.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Gestational Diabetes, Part II

The first thing you should know about how I eat with the gestational diabetes is that it is influenced by our month of Paleo last March.  The second thing you should know is that, while how I eat might not fit the USDA food pyramid and it might seem counterintuitive, I have lost fifteen pounds since Thanksgiving.  Early on I lost quite a few pounds each week.  This was mostly water weight, but has also been in my face, arms, lower legs, and waistline.  It's hard to avoid being big at the hips and thighs when you are pregnant.   At this point, my weight either goes up by two pounds, down by two pounds, or stays the same between appointments.  So, regardless of what the nutritionist and the USDA says, how I eat works.  And it works well.  This blog post is mostly general thoughts on how I eat.  Next post will have actual food lists and menus that work for me.

On exercise:  I did cross fit before I got pregnant and until I was eight weeks along.  After that I was too sick to do much of anything, especially cross fit.  I was sick longer with this pregnancy than any of my others, so I wasn't able to return to cross fit until I was sixteen weeks.  After that, I did cross fit three times a week until I was twenty-four weeks.  At that point, I had to stop due to having contractions.  With the exception of what I do around the house and grocery shopping, I have not "exercised" since then.  It is probably the longest period of time that I have ever gone without working out or playing sports since I was four.  And yet I have lost fifteen pounds without feeling starved or deprived and without ever being hungry.  I am sure that my body would be more tone and stronger if I was at the gym every day walking or doing the elliptical, but I'll do that later.

On carb allowances: The number of carbs I eat affects my blood sugar levels after I eat.  It is best (for everyone, not just those with gestational diabetes) to avoid a huge blood sugar spike.  I eat fewer carbs than I am allowed by the nutritionist, and I generally look at a range of grams of carbs for each meal and snack rather than sticking to a specific number.  Sometimes I eat zero carbs at a meal, or few enough that I don't even count them.  I have gotten to the point that when I have a meal with essentially zero carbs, I don't even check my bs.   Sometimes I eat a ton (relatively speaking) of carbs-those are the meals where I definitely check my bs.  I experiment quite a bit with what I eat, in what context (meaning, what else I eat it with), and how much of it in order to see how it affects my bs.  In addition, there are meals that one day will be fine and on another day will raise my bs too high.   I count grams of carbs, minus grams of fiber and any sugar alcohols.  If there is a food that does not have a label-like fruit-I either google it or look on a carb-tracking app.  The only time I have used the carb exchanges on labels is when I wanted Chick-Fil-A.  I only went to the nutritionist once, but some people go every time they have an endocrine appt.

On tracking:  I stopped tracking my food once I figured out what worked and what did not.  This took about two weeks. Until then I would write down everything I ate and the portion size. I would then keep track of the bs level 1-2 hours after eating.   This allowed me to see what individual foods and what meals would keep my bs within the acceptable range.   Most blood sugar monitors will store a ton of readings, so I don't even bother writing them down anymore.  When I would get to my dr appts, I would just go through and write the ranges down for the dr, or I would do the same when I emailed her in between appts.  I have gotten to the point where I only take my fasting bs and then whenever I eat a meal where I am unsure how a meal will affect my bs.  It could be that my endocrinologist left the practice last week, so I feel like I have less accountability, or it could be that I know what I need to eat and what I shouldn't eat.

On how I feel:  Since I changed my diet, I have more energy than I have had in years, actually.   I have less swelling in my feet, face, and hands (even at 38 weeks) than with any of my other babies, and, while I still get emotional, my emotions are less of a roller coaster than they have been in the past few years.  My belly has been huge since early on in this pregnancy, and people frequently ask me when I am going to pop.  On the other hand, many people tell me that from behind they can't tell that I am pregnant.  That is always nice to hear, but I do think that when you have a huge belly, it makes your backside and hips look smaller in relation.  That said, the week before I started my new way of eating, I couldn't button my coat over my belly and I could barely use a belt up high on my ribs.  Within a week, I could not only zip and button my entire coat over my belly, but I could use the belt.  Now I can draw the belt through the buckle a few inches.  It's nice to have a waistline.  I do not like to take pictures of myself, but I might take one when I go into labor to show the difference between this pregnancy and Sydney's.  I will be about 10 pounds heavier this time than with Sydney, but I look like a different person.  I think, though, that once I have the baby, my hips will be back to looking wide.  That's when the real work begins.

On cravings: I do not feel the need for caffeine like I normally do.  Sometimes my body tells me that having a coke would make me happy, but I do not crave a coke like I normally do.  I have learned to drink diet coke, diet pepsi, and diet dr pepper, but I do not have a soda every day.  I drink Fresca and flavored water and lots of regular water.   I do crave Simply Orange orange juice.  And oranges and clementines.  I don't usually even like oranges, but a juicy clementine sounds so yummy right now.  Sadly, I have the palette of a 12 year old.  I love oreos and powder sugar donuts and chocolate milk and candy and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  And fast food.  It's pretty unfortunate.  I do have 1% chocolate milk on a regular basis, but none of the other treats.  I felt pretty grouchy early on thinking that I would have to go without sweets for so long.  But I found an ice cream where 1/2 cup is only fifteen grams of carbs.  And I found a  mini Trader Joe's dark chocolate bar that is only seven grams.  And diet hot cocoa that is four. I ate these more in the first few weeks.  I don't really crave sweets any more, but I keep a stash of these treats on hand so that I don't feel deprived.  I haven't even touched the ice cream.  I did try a "low-carb" eskimo pie that has sugar alcohols, but it is also low-fat and that means less creamy, more icy, ice cream.  It's not worth the carbs to me.  Another food I crave is french toast.  I love french toast.  I have low carb bread and sugar-free syrup so that I could make myself french toast if I ever felt the need.  I tried it once, it was ok, but not great on my bs, and it didn't taste as good as I wanted it to.  I haven't really craved french toast since then, but I have the stuff on hand so that I don't feel deprived.

On eating out:  I do eat out, but generally it is only someplace where I can have a mexican food-ish salad or a burger sans top bun and fries.  We tried going out to our favorite restaurant in early December.  It was incredibly depressing not to eat the bread and to order steak tips with green beans and a salad.  I can have that at home without missing out on the best bread ever made.  Neil and I eat at Chipotle and Five Guys when we go out on a date.  I also have been known to grab McDonald's when I am running errands during the day.  Interestingly, I generally love McD's breakfast (see the 12 yr old palette comment), and I tried that successfully a few times early on.  But I have not had that, or felt the need for it, since early December.  Last week I not only tried Chick-Fil-A, but also Moe's, and it was nice to have some new foods.  I can have one slice of a locally made thin crust pizza made with crushed tomatoes for the sauce, but I cannot have two.  I cannot have a slice of pizza from Costco or Dominoe's because my blood sugar is too high afterwards.

On the post-baby food honeymoon:  I have been given two(!) days after I have the baby to eat whatever I want before going back to eating this way.  (BTW, you could classify this as low glycemic index, high protein.  Or modified Paleo.  Either way, it is full-fat, high protein, high vegetables, low carbs.  It is actually easier than Paleo, in case you are a fan of Paleo.)  My list consists of multiple fountain cokes (or a glass-bottle mexican coke, but no plastic bottles or cans.), pizza, homemade chocolate chip cookies, orange juice, bread from Not Your Average Joe's, and I am adding pancakes and french toast.  Although I can't wait, I just know that I will feel like garbage after eating some of those things.  It kind of scares me to have them because I don't want to have to reset my body or overcome cravings again.  But I figure two days is better than the two weeks I originally asked for.  And maybe all I'll need is just a taste.  In fact, the other day, there was one golden oreo left, it was dessert time, and I can have one of those.  I took one bite, and it tasted like metal.  I threw the rest of the cookie out and spit out the bite in my mouth.  Not only did it taste gross, but it wasn't worth the carbs.  Maybe that's how I will feel about the foods on the honeymoon list.  I hope so.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gestational Diabetes: a blessing in disguise, Part I

I had a feeling over the summer that I would have gestational diabetes with this pregnancy.  I didn't even know what gestational diabetes really meant, what caused it, or what it entailed, but I just knew that I would fail the glucose test.  Fast forward to the last week of November when I failed the glucose test.  Sadly, I found out right after I had just finished a huge shopping trip at Trader Joe's to buy their delicious holiday treats.  I immediately texted my friend Juliana who had gestational diabetes with her most recent baby.  I needed to find out what to do!  Not eat any of those treats was the answer.

Gestational diabetes is caused by the placenta releasing a hormone (insulin-like growth hormone) that causes your body to resist the actions of insulin, so that the insulin your body makes does not adequately get rid of the sugar in your blood.  Normally, your body produces more insulin to overcome the effects of these pregnancy hormones, but sometimes it does not.  That is when you end up with gestational diabetes and higher than normal blood sugar levels.  Gestational diabetes isn't as much of a problem until the baby starts growing rather than forming, in the late second and early third trimester.  For example, after two rounds of testing, I was already 30 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed.  The problem with gestational diabetes is that it leads to complications with the baby.  The baby might be bigger than it otherwise would be, and this leads to increased risk for c-sections or other complications with delivery.  In addition, after birth the baby might have blood sugar  that is too low because it has too much insulin produced by the mother and still circulating in its body, but not the blood sugar from the mother.  Finally, the baby is producing it's own insulin to combat the high blood sugar in it's body.  This is problematic because insulin is linked to being overweight.  That is the most troubling complication for me.  The OB can induce labor early to avoid complications due to size, and the pediatrician can give the baby sugar water in a bottle if their blood sugar is too low after birth.  But producing too much insulin in utero sets your baby's body up for insulin resistance later in life and a subsequent tendency to obesity.  Yikes.  Who knew?  It turns out that insulin is this evil genius hormone in your body.  Insulin is the Dr Doofenshmirtz of hormones because it is evil, but vitally important.  (Although I happen to think that Dr D is not actually as evil as he would like to think he is.)

My first appointment for the diabetes was with a nutritionist.  She told me that I could not gain any more weight for the rest of the pregnancy.  That seemed impossible for someone who usually gains the most weight in the last few months of pregnancy.  She also said that I could eat 205 grams of carbs a day, divided into 3 meals and 3 snacks.  30, 50, 50 for meals, and 25 for each snack. My friend Juliana was told 15 for breakfast and 30-45 for lunch and dinner, and 30 for each snack.  I actually stuck with Juliana's numbers rather than my nutritionist's recommendations.

My next appt was meeting with the nurse practitioner for a class on how to test my blood sugar. I do not have a good history with needles.  I passed out every time I had to have blood drawn until I was sixteen.  And when I was in the hospital with Audrey, I nearly passed out every time they stuck me.  Neil was there putting the oxygen mask on me each time.   I did think I was going to pass out when I had to practice pricking my finger that day.  It turns out that it is better to prick the side of your finger rather than your finger tip because there are less nerves there.  Sometimes your fingers don't bleed easily, and then you have to squeeze your fingers pretty hard to make yourself bleed enough to trigger the monitor.  Sometimes I would have to ask Neil to squeeze my finger while I pricked it.  Dry skin makes it harder to draw any blood, so you have to turn the dial on the monitor and make the needle go deeper.  I generally rotate sticking my thumbs, index, and middle fingers.  For the first few weeks I only pricked my left hand so that I could use my dominant hand to use do the needle.  Once I got the hang of it, I could use either hand, I rarely had to squeeze my finger, and it stopped hurting.  Another important thing to remember is to actually wash your hands before pricking your finger every time.  Right before Christmas, we were helping the kids ice sugar cookies.  I didn't think I had any icing on my hands, so I didn't wash my hands before checking my blood sugar (bs).  My blood sugar was 500-something.  Obviously, I had a sugar coating on my fingers.  After washing my hands, I tested again, and the number was fine.  There have also been a few times when I have gotten readings that I knew were either too high or too low, so I would test again.  As for the blood sugar montioring kit, I carry it with me wherever I go.  If I know I won't actually need it, I will leave it in my car.  You just have to be careful with the temperature because the monitor won't work if it's too cold.  The testing strips are light and temperature sensitive.  They have to be kept in these specially lined old-school film canisters.  When I finish a pack of testing strips, I use that container as a sharps container on the go.  Each evening, I empty the trash into a container that held some delish TJ candy that I didn't get to eat-basically it is a plastic food container with a lid.   That way I am never just throwing the used lancets or testing strips into the trash.  This also allows me to check my blood wherever I am.  I check my blood sugar in the car all the time.  I check it at church.

I did not think that there would be a huge co-pay for my diabetes supplies because they are required, so I just took the Rx to CVS.  Unfortunately, I had neglected to check whether this specific monitor was on Tricare's formulary; it wasn't.  Seventy-five dollars later, I knew that I would have to change monitors once my supplies ran out.  The new monitor that my insurance will pay for is just as good, but it is more difficult to get the used lancet out.  You have to pinch something to release the lancet, but my finger nails are too short.  I have actually pricked myself again trying to get the lancet out, and, one time, the lancet went flying.  So I have to actually use a set of pliers to pull the lancet out every time.  They are retractable, so I just carry those around with me now, too.

My third appointment was with the endocrinologist who just wanted to see my vital signs and a listing of my bs numbers.  It turns out that my fasting bs was too high.  This is the number that is not affected by diet, but might be lowered by exercise.  Unfortunately, I cannot go out and exercise at 9 PM every night.  It's just not feasible.  The dr wanted my fasting bs to be lower, so I was put on nightly insulin injections.  The added insulin while I am fasting displaces the pregnancy hormone (insulin-like growth factor) when it's time to bind to an insulin receptor.  The insulin then is able to do its job rather than having the pregnancy hormone thwarting things. (Thanks, Neil, for the explanation.)  I sat down with the nurse practitioner again in order to learn about these injections.  When she helped me do my first shot, I again thought I would pass out, but I managed to hold it together.  Amazingly, the shot did not hurt at all.  There are insulin pens that hold the medicine and the shot all together, and there are the traditional syringes and vials of insulin.  Of course my insurance pays for the old-school vial and syringe.   The NP kept telling me to store all my sharps in empty coffee cans, so I was glad that my insurance would pay for two legit sharps containers.

The first night that I had to give myself an injection, I had forgotten about buying rubbing alcohol pads for wiping my leg and the vial.  The next night, I had the rubbing alcohol, but could not make myself do it.  I waited until the third night, when Neil was home from a work trip to have him do it.  I was surprised when it hurt!  We started on the outside of my thighs because I happen to have gross baby-induced varicose veins on my inner thigh.  (TMI, I know.)  After a few nights of Neil giving me my injections, Neil happened to have had a long few days at work and fell asleep at 5PM.  I had to give myself the shot, and I could not do it.  I was sweating, and praying, and googling "how to give insulin injections without hurting."  Finally I just did it, and I was surprised to find that it hurt less than when Neil did it for me.  I think his reply the next morning was something to the effect of maybe now I'll give myself the injections.  The injection sites really never bleed, and if they do, it is just one drop. The internet suggests wiping the blood with the alcohol swab, but that seems painful to me, so I would just swipe it with my finger and then wash my hands.  It's a good thing blood does not make me pass out because I am looking at blood all the time.

 I developed a good system over the next few nights and the shots weren't that bad.  Unfortunately, the added insulin only helped for a few days before the dr would increase the amount of insulin that I needed.  I started at 6 units/night and eventually worked my way up to 26.  It turns out that there is a huge difference between how it feels at 6 units as compared to 26.  One night, after I had reached 26 units, I hit the muscle while I was giving myself a shot.  It really hurt.  The next night, I really could not give myself a shot because I was so worried about the pain.  I asked Neil to do it, and that night it killed!  It brought tears to my eyes, and I'm pretty sure I accused him of jabbing me in impatience rather than being careful.   It turns out that we hit a nerve, and that it sometimes just happens.

After that I had a real mental block to giving myself the shot, but I knew that I would need to get over it.  I would sit for 30 minutes, trying to give myself the shot.  I found some water bottles that had frozen in our mini fridge and used those to numb the spot on my leg.  That helped.  Eventually, after a few weeks(!), I got over it, and am able to give myself the shot without any problems.  It turns out that when you have a lot of insulin to inject, it is less painful to inject it a little at a time rather than all at once.

Another trick was to start using my inner thigh.  As I lost weight, my outer thighs had less fat to pinch.  This is always a good problem to have!  Luckily, my inner thighs have plenty of fat for pinching.  It hurts less when the spot is fatty.  Some people with actual diabetes give their shots on their bellies, the fatty part of the palm of their hand, or have someone use the fat part of their tricep.   I rotate spots each night so that it hurts less, but that is more important for people with actual diabetes. Injecting in the same spot over time results in the insulin creating a fatty deposit at the injection site.  (Who knew that insulin makes us fat?)

For the most part, I checked my fasting bs every morning, checked one hour after I finished eating meals, and sent a bi-weekly email to the dr/np.  Some mornings my bs was low enough to make me feel weird.  My fasting bs has never been dangerously low enough to worry about going into a coma, but enough to make me feel dizzy or like I am going to pass out.   Sometimes I just feel jittery. As I have gotten rid of all the sugary stuff in my house, it is hard to find something that will bring my blood sugar up quickly.  I keep thinking that would be my chance to have a coca cola, but cannot bring myself to keep one in the house because I will want to drink it.  I tried eating a gummy lifesaver, part of a snickers, a chocolate-covered mint jojo (I saved a few from xmas so that I could have them after the baby was born), and a croissant.  It took two hours to feel less jittery, for my bs to go up, and I felt disgusting after eating all that.  Now if my fasting bs is below 70, I just have a nice-size glass of chocolate milk and make myself breakfast. That usually makes it better.

The dr suggests having a spoonful of peanut butter five minutes before I give myself the injection because I think it is supposed to help with too low bs, but I have only done that once.  It is hard to retrain myself to think that eating pb out of a jar is okay.  The dr also said that peanut butter is good for bringing my bs up quickly, but I have not tried it.

Here is the technical aspect of all of this:
1.  On food labels, you can subtract grams of fiber and sugar alcohols from the carbs for the net carbs. Also on food labels, a carb exchange is 15 g of carbs.  I don't care about the other exchanges.
2.  I generally stick to 15 grams of carbs for breakfast. (Sometimes I allow myself more, and sometimes I have no carbs at breakfast.)
3.  I generally stick to 30 g of carbs for lunch, dinner, and all snacks.  I usually only have two snacks.  I rarely have three, but if I do, I have dessert after my kids are in bed when I can relax.  Sometimes I have no carbs at all for a meal or for a snack, but that is not usually all in one day.  It is very rare for me to have 40-50 grams of carbs like the nutritionist suggested.  I usually have 15-25 g for each snack.
4.  My fasting bs would not go down below 100 without insulin.  I could not get my fasting bs to go down past 90 until my insulin was at 26 units. The target is 70-80 with an absolute max of 90.
5.  My 1-hour bs target is 110-120s with an absolute max of 140.  Sometimes I forget to take my bs one hour after eating, so I take it at two hours.  At that point, my bs needs to be below 110.  It always is.
6.  As the baby grows, and the placenta grows, the placenta secretes more and more of the insulin-like growth hormone.  That is why my insulin needs have increased every few days.
7.  Conversely, 50% of women experience a decreased need for insulin as they come within a few weeks of delivery.  I feel like something in this experience is finally going my way because I am one of those women!  In the past week, I have decreased my insulin to 24 units, my fasting bs is in the 70-low 80s every am, and sometimes less than 70, and my bs is staying lower after meals.
8.  I have to check my bs and take my insulin until I am in active labor.  

I have a list of foods that I have asked Neil to provide for me in the hospital after I have the baby.  I figure that I have never asked for a push present, so this is an ok trade, but Neil has nixed driving the 30 minutes to Sonic for a Coke with Sonic ice. My next blog post will be about what I eat and when, my weight loss, and what I'll do after the baby arrives.  And how Chick-Fil-A was on my post-baby food honeymoon list, and how it's not anymore.  (Another thing that is going my way!)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Too many thoughts to cram on Facebook, or I was frustrated but felt much better after writing

Ok, so I haven't written on my blog in 18 months.  Honestly, I have not had the time with school and the kids.  Or, really the inclination to write about a difficult year and a half.  I'm still not ready to write about that, so instead I want to write about the things I see going on around me that are driving me nuts.

1) Richard Trumpka is one of my all-time least favorite people in the world.  Maybe next to the former head of the UN, Kofi Annan.  I prefer the new the new head of communist China to these two. Anyways, when it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Trumpka released a statement about how 9/11 was a memorial for Labor.  Um.  No.  It's not.  So when a long-time friend posted on fb a political cartoon that commented on all the bad things that happened because of 9/11 (think Abu Ghraib), I commented that maybe they should put a picture of Trumpka holding a picket sign with a closed fist on it since he had inserted Labor into the 9/11 narrative.  Maybe that makes no sense.  Especially if you hadn't read what Trumpka said about turning 9/11 into a story about Labor.  But my friend's response, to the effect of- Be quiet, Sarah, and let the adults have a conversation- was just the beginning (and also end) of some incredibly hurtful and  patronizing remarks that ended a long friendship.  As I was the first girl he ever asked out.  As in we took piano lessons together in 5th grade. I cried for days after this because, without being friends of fb, it is honestly as if this friend has died.  All because of stupid Trumpka.  (Oh, and my friend was apparently having "a Monday" so he couldn't be blamed for making that comment to me.  Incidentally, I kept waiting for Neil's righteous indignation that someone was being mean to me.  Maybe Neil was glad to be rid of my friend because that indignation never came.)

So, fast forward to Trumpka deciding that Mitt Romney and crony capitalism are to blame for the mass extinction of Twinkies.  Hey, four years later, we are still blaming Bush 43 for the economy, so we can blame Romney for pension and health care costs.  Unfortunately, Trumpka failed to mention that when the greedy capitalists at Hostess had to file for bankruptcy twice before, that it was venture capitalists who supplied the funds to keep the company running and the employees in a job.  This time there are no venture capitalists out there to save the day.

It turns out that some of the unionized employees were willing to come back to work, but not enough.  So the ones who hated those greedy capitalists failed all of their colleagues because they wanted more money.  They are the reason the company is closing its doors 50-something days before Christmas.  But Mitt Romney is the greedy and mean one?  The one who doesn't care about poor people?  These people were striking because the company stopped contributing to the pensions.  That stinks, but in this economy, really?   In my opinion, these families can blame Richard Trumpka.  They can blame Obama because he is pro-union and his wife is anti-Twinkie.  And hopefully the next time some union boss tries to get their employees to strike because the greedy man is making money off the backs of Labor, those employees will think twice about being greedy in this economy and will stay at work so they can feed their families.

That is the first thing that bothers me.

2)  The second thing that bothers me is the reaction to Romney's comment about how Obama gave gifts to a section of the population and they voted for him.  GOP all over the country are jumping down Romney's throat because the comment is mean and divisive.  Too bad Romney's statement is true.  I have some educated liberal friends who voted for Obama because they want social issues and the environment addressed and because they want poor people to be given things to help them.  They believe that liberal principles are compassionate and the way to end unfairness and alleviate suffering.  Great.  I have no problem with someone who votes on principle like that.  I much prefer that to the Obamaphone lady; she represents some of the worst excesses in our country and, honestly, she makes me ill.  No one can defend her comments.  

The poor, the youth, and women voted for Obama, and apparently reflect a shift in our country's demographics.  That said, if these groups voted for Obama on liberal principles, one could ask, "which principles are those?"  Larger safety net?  Through bigger government?  Save the environment?  Through bigger government?  Stay financially solvent?  Through higher taxes, meaning bigger government?  Protect states' rights to legalize marijuana (and manufacture it, license it, and sell it)?  Through bigger government?  Give women free birth control and abortions?  Through bigger government?  Health Care?  Student Loans?  The list can go on, but all of these principles boil down to bigger government, or an increased role of government, and increased spending aimed at certain populations.

So, it turns out that Obama is really Obamaclaus, ending unfairness and suffering by throwing money at a problem, and thereby receiving votes either from the people who receive the gift or by those who think it will make a difference.

Samuel Adams once said, "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom — go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!"     

3)   The last thing that bothers me is no one cares that Obama wanted people to vote as the best revenge.  No one is asking, "revenge for what?  revenge against whom?"  I guarantee you it is not 'vote as revenge' against a poor black single mom.   It is revenge against the Man for every injustice ever perpetrated against anyone.  So basically Obama was saying, "Vote for me because I will stick it to the Man for you."  That's not divisive?  Warning: if you even closely resemble the Man, you are screwed.  But we should ignore those comments, as in "Move along.  There is nothing to see here," because Obama ran on hope and change and moving forward.  And kindness and compassion.   And unicorns and rainbows and lollipops.  And Obamanomics, as defined by the idea that 'you didn't build that-the government gave it to you.' Or conversely, according to Obama's logic: 'If you want something built in your life, get in line because the government will give it to you."

To add some balance: the thing outside of my family that I am truly happy about: Johnny Football.  I have said it before, but "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."  That is what I think of when I watch that kid play football.  Even this well-respected Defensive "guy"(for lack of the actual technical term) from LSU commented that while Manziel is a quarterback, he still leads the SEC in rushing yards.  I don't care how the Aggies do the rest of the season; it has been nice to just be part of something exciting in college football for once.  And, you know, the fact that more people in the state of Texas tuned in to watch the A&M v Alabama game than all of the Longhorn network for the entire season combined, that isn't so bad either.  I know, I am such a hater.  I cannot escape it.  Too bad even Mack Brown agrees with me about the Longhorn Network.  According to Brown, it is at the root of all of his problems this year.

And happiness #2: the last Twilight movie was so much better than I expected.  Somehow I hadn't planned on watching Taylor Lautner undress, albeit in a pg-13 way...Anyways, the cinematography was amazing and the opening credits were breathtakingly beautiful.  Neil kept teasing me about seeing a movie for a book I have read a few times. I responded with, "I thought they might change the ending."  I about died when I realized I wasn't far from the truth.  And, honestly, I loved the movie because it boiled down to the hope of millions of people that their families are forever, that true love is real and it endures, that children are a blessing to be cherished and should become their parents' closest friends in the end.  This wish is deeply seated in our hearts. The makers of pop culture do not realize that when they make movies like "Inception" or tv shows like "Lost" that they are echoing this most basic truth.  Even the Ritz Carlton knows this and models its entire business around how strongly people desire an "idealized version of Home."  What is heaven, if not that?