Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month

I can't believe that 9 months have passed since I gave birth to my daughter. She has officially been out of my belly as long as she was in (aka OALASWI).

She's crawling around, pulling herself up to standing, has two baby teeth, is starting to babble, loves eating finger foods, and is always getting into mischief!

As for me, I'm still trying to stick with the eating habits that I followed while I had gestational diabetes, but breastfeeding makes me so hungry....and not just hungry for anything, I'm hungry for carbs! So right now I eat more carbs than I did while pregnant, but I try to pick healthy whole grains and fruit. It's always in the back of my mind that I should control with my sugar intake. I don't drink pop, I don't put sugar in my coffee, and I can't even fathom eating an entire candy bar (although I will indulge in a mini Halloween candy now and then).  I'm down to 117 lbs now, which is actually lower than I like to be, but that's pretty normal for me while I'm breastfeeding. This baby is just sucking the fat off me, which is fine by me, it looks cuter on her anyway.

This special 9th month for Ayla is also a special month for diabetics. It's Diabetes Awareness month! In honor of this month, American Recall Center asked for my input on what I wanted people to know about diabetes. I told them that the number one thing I wish people knew about diabetes is that it can happen to anyone. People often think that being overweight and eating too much sugar causes it, but there are a lot of factors that contribute to diabetes, many of which are out of a person’s control, such as genetics, family history, or ethnicity. Sometimes people have no apparent risk factors and still end up with diabetes. To see their post with contributions from a variety of diabetic bloggers, click here.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits

Hi everyone! Here's an update on us. Ayla is now 11 weeks old and doing wonderfully. She's sleeping so well at night already, sometimes up to 10 hours! I feel great too. I've managed to continue incorporating diabetic eating habits into my daily life, even though I'm no longer diabetic. The fact is I could become a diabetic at any time because of my history of gestational diabetes, so I'm taking preventative measures now. I'm eating small portions in regular intervals, having protein with every meal, limiting the amount of carbohydrates I eat, and choosing complex carbohydrates instead of refined sugars, white bread, etc. I haven't gotten into any heavy exercise yet because of the c-section, but I've been going for walks every day with the stroller, sometimes multiple walks in a day. I give a lot of credit to this diabetic lifestyle for dropping my pregnancy weight so quickly.

2 weeks postpartum
That's me 2 weeks after giving birth, 125 lbs and 5'9". I've lost a few more pounds since then, so I'm about 122 lbs right now. Of course not everything is exactly as it was before I was pregnant, I'm still working on toning up, but at least I'm back into my size 2 skinny jeans. I say that's not too shabby for a mother of three!
Seriously, you don't need to be diabetic to benefit from the habits I've mentioned here. Everyone can be healthier by doing this.

Here are some of the things I've been eating.

Voluminous oatmeal. This is a tip I learned from Chocolate-Covered Katie. Use 1 to 1 1/2 times the amount of water you normally would when cooking your oatmeal, then cook it and let it sit overnight. They become double the size of regular oats so it seems like you're eating a lot more oatmeal than you actually are. How great is that??

Coconut flour chocolate cake in a mug, for those late-night cravings. I like to top it with a small scoop of chocolate frozen yogurt. Yummy!
I also love these "All for One" Chocolate Chip Cookies. I usually just make mine as one jumbo cookie in the microwave, and I top it with a little vanilla frozen yogurt.
Coconut flour is so awesome, I'm addicted. I've been enjoying these coconut banana pancakes too topped with Greek yogurt.

Also, because you know how I love pancakes, I used Bob's Red Mill Low-Carb Baking Mix to make pancakes this morning. Recipe here.

I'm loving that mix so much and so do my kids. I made muffins with it the other day and Cole couldn't stop raving about them.

Check out my Low-Carb Pinterest board for more great ideas (link is on the right-hand column).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Daughter is Here!

39 weeks
Here I am the day before my c-section, still hoping the baby might magically turn in time, but it wasn't meant to be. Fortunately, everything went well and we welcomed our beautiful daughter Ayla into the world on February 8th.

She weighed exactly 8 lbs and measured 20 inches. So she was not a gigantic baby, although a fairly good size for being a week early. They checked her blood sugar and it was borderline low so they tested a few more times throughout her first day to make sure it was okay, and it was. She's now almost a month old and doing amazingly well. I'm doing great too. My recovery has been not too bad, and I've lost almost all of the 25 pounds that I gained while pregnant. I've been trying to go easy on the carbs, although I did get my husband to bring me a pack of Timbits while I was in the hospital, and my kids brought me Valentine's chocolates too. Hey, I had to indulge a little after being deprived for several months!
It's been nice blogging about my experience, and I hope it may help others who are coping with gestational diabetes. If anyone wants to share their experience and continue this blog now that I'm done, please let me know.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The end is near...

It looks like my journey with gestational diabetes will come to an end this Friday. This baby is breech and so we've scheduled a c-section for Feb 8th. I'm still hoping she might turn before then, but it's looking more and more unlikely. This may be my final post before retiring my glucose meter, but I do plan on continuing to follow the basic principles of the diabetic diet. This includes eating small portions often, staying away from refined sugars, limiting simple carbohydrates, and eating lots of fibre and protein. Because I've had GD, I'm at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life, so it's in my best interest to follow these guidelines now. Having said that, I'm still going to make my husband go out and get me a ridiculously indulgent dessert of some kind to eat in the hospital after the baby is born. I think I deserve it!

I have some more recipes to share with you that I've really enjoyed. The first is coconut flour waffles, topped with quick berry sauce and no-sugar-added syrup.

I love this recipe because it's a single serving, because the boys are getting tired of being subjected to my various low-carb concoctions. They just want plain old waffles and I don't blame them! So I made regular waffles for them and the coconut waffle for me. I ate that whole plate of waffles and my blood sugar barely went up at all! I felt so stuffed afterwards too.

Another recipe I was very impressed with was this almond berry muffin recipe from The Comfort of Cooking.

I altered this one a little bit, by adding a couple tablespoons of Xyla for more sweetness, using unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of regular milk, and I added a tsp of almond extract. I used 1 cup almond meal and 1 cup all-purpose flour. I worked it out to be about 16g carbs per muffin. Not bad! Plus they're high in protein. I thought I would get the whole batch for myself, but it turned out that the whole family loved them. We ate them all up pretty quickly.

I've been pinning quite a few low-carb recipes on pinterest lately, so if you want to take a look at other recipes I've found, check out my board.

Monday, January 28, 2013


I'm now 37 weeks pregnant and just starting maternity leave. I'll hopefully have a little more time to blog now, at least until the baby comes. I've been doing fine with this diabetic diet so far, but I'm certainly missing breads and sweets. I found this great website called Your Lighter Side, which has a ton of low-carb recipes. Some of them are quite ingenious, like these Oopsie Rolls. They have less than a gram of carbs per roll and they actually taste good! They're perfect for burgers and sandwiches and just about anything else where you would use bread or buns.

You can experiment with different spices or make them sweet with a little sweetener and cinnamon.
I tried one with butter, cinnamon, and xylitol on top, microwaved it so it was soft and warm, then rolled it up and cut it like cinnamon buns.

Practically 0-carb mini cinnamon rolls? Yes please!

As far as sweeteners go, I try to limit my consumption of them especially while pregnant, but when I do use them I prefer xylitol because it doesn't have an aftertaste, or not one that I notice anyway. It's an all-natural sweetener that doesn't affect blood-sugar. I like to sprinkle it on my oatmeal or put a little in my tea. I also tried it in these chocolate chunk peanut-butter swirl cookies, also from Your Lighter Side. It calls for 1/2 cup of splenda, but I used 1/4 cup xylitol and 1/4 cup brown sugar. I also used regular chocolate chips. They were amazing!

They're like brownies in cookie-form. They have coconut flour in them, which is very high in fibre, a good source of protein, and low in digestible carbohydrates. It's perfect for diabetics and those on gluten-free diets. I've also used it in Zucchini Bread, yet another recipe from Your Lighter Side. I didn't like that one quite as much because I found it a bit soggy. Maybe I just didn't bake it long enough, I'm not sure. I'll definitely be baking more with coconut flour though. I wonder if it would be good in pancakes?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Finding What Works

It's been about 2 months now since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so I've gotten pretty familiar with what works best for me and what doesn't. For breakfast on weekday mornings when I don't have a lot of time, I usually eat cereal. I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk in my cereal because it has no carbs, unlike cow's milk which has about 15g per cup. I like the vanilla flavour better than the regular unsweetened kind which has a funny taste to me. I try to stick with cereals with under 30g of carbs per serving, while keeping in mind that serving sizes vary. Special K is pretty good, and so are Cheerios. Slivered almonds have become my best friends. I throw a handful of them in my cereal for added protein. I also like to sprinkle chia seeds on top because they're high in fiber.

Strawberry Special K with sliced almonds and almond milk

We occasionally eat out, and I always find it a bit tricky to choose from the menu because I'm never quite sure how many grams of carbs are in a meal. I ate dinner on the ferry to Vancouver Island last weekend and had a bowl of tomato-based clam chowder with a small multigrain dinner roll. Sounds ok, right? Wrong! My blood sugar was 10.2! I don't know what the heck they put in that clam chowder but it clearly had a lot more carbs than I had estimated. Another night we went to the Spaghetti Factory. It's pretty tough to find something on the menu that's not too heavy on the carbs. After all, it is a pasta place. But I decided on garlic roasted chicken with linguini. I ate all the chicken and had about half of the linguini. Afterwards we went bowling, and I think that helped burn off some of the sugar because my blood sugar was actually too low (low 4s!). So it's easy to under or over estimate the amount of carbs when eating out, although I've discovered that the best thing for my blood sugar and for my taste buds has been lettuce-wrapped burgers. Most places have no problem lettuce-wrapping any burger from their menu. I've had them at Red Robin, White Spot and Fat Burger, and while they're a lot messier than a regular burger, they're just as tasty! I eat fries on the side (usually not all of them), and my blood sugar ends up being in a good range (mid 6s). Sometimes I'll have a diet pop while I'm out too, because water gets pretty tedious. It's not the healthiest of meals, but it's a nice treat once and a while.

Lettuce-wrapped burger at Fat Burger      

Another meal that I really enjoyed (and one that's a lot healthier than burgers, fries and pop!) was this no-noodle Lasagna made with zucchini slices instead of noodles. I normally don't like zucchini, but in this meal it works. I've written a post about it at Food and Whine if you want the recipe. It's delicious! It's so low in carbs that I can enjoy a little bread with it, or a little dessert afterwards.

My blood sugar levels have been so good that the diabetes specialist has cut down my testing to every second day, but the nurse from diabetes education was concerned about my ketone levels and lack of weight gain. I've tried to work on that by adding an extra meal right before bed. My favourite bedtime meal is oatmeal. Typically I take 1/3 cup of rolled oats with 2/3 cups of water and add 1/4 cup of diced apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon and Splenda. I top it off with a couple tablespoons of Coconut Breeze Boring Porridge. It's a gluten-free porridge that's low in carbs and high in fibre. I microwave my concoction for about 90 seconds, until the oatmeal has cooked, then I add a splash of almond milk and a spoonful of natural peanut butter. I look forward to this every day! It's such a comforting meal before bed and since I've started eating it I've had no ketones the next morning, while still maintaining a low blood sugar level before breakfast (low 4s).

Apple Cinnamon Coconut Peanut butter Oatmeal

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Christmas

I was worried that Christmas would be difficult with gestational diabetes, but I managed pretty well. In some ways I think it's actually better that I can't eat too many sweets or carbs because I usually eat way more than I should over the holidays and feel gross afterwards. This year I felt really good! I'm looking good too, if I do say so myself. My belly is getting nice and big and round, while the rest of me is pretty much staying the same size.

30 weeks
So here's what I ate over Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my parents watched the boys while Tony and I did some last-minute Christmas shopping and then went out for lunch. I had a steamer bowl of clams and mussels in white wine broth with whole wheat rolls. I forgot to snack much that day because we were pretty busy. I was going to do a fondue but decided against it since we weren't even home from the church Christmas pageant until 6pm. So when we got home we just had appies (or "pickies" as my Newfie relatives call them) and watched Christmas movies.

We had sausage, cheese, pepperoni, crackers, veggies and dip, and everyone's favourite- bacon wrapped water chestnuts. They're amazing! I didn't have too many of those because they have a lot of sugar in them. I wasn't really paying that much attention to how many carbs I was eating that day, and it turned out I wasn't eating nearly enough carbs because I had large levels of ketones the next morning (oops!).
Christmas morning we had steel cut oats that I had put in the crockpot the night before, so they were hot and ready for us to enjoy as soon as we got up. Steel cut oats rank lower on the glycemic index than regular oats, so I thought they would be a good breakfast for me. I ate them with sliced bananas, peanut butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon and Skinny B cereal. Alas, I think I put a little too much of it in my bowl because my blood sugar was a little high (8.1). But it was Christmas morning so I didn't worry too much about it.
After we opened presents we had brunch, which consisted of scrambled eggs, sausages, hashbrowns and multi-grain toast.

It was lovely, and my blood sugar was great afterwards. It was low enough that I enjoyed a little of my mom's homemade fruit bread that afternoon.
For Christmas dinner, we made the usual turkey, stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables. I ate what I would normally eat (well, I maybe went a bit easier on the stuffing!).

Again, my blood sugar was great! I was able to enjoy a tiny sliver of cheesecake for dessert. It was so delicious and I savoured every little bite.
So that about sums up what I ate for Christmas. I really didn't have to sacrifice too much, it was more about being mindful of my portion sizes. I should really eat this way every Christmas!