Friday, November 30, 2012

Finding Ways to Indulge

So things have been going pretty well this week. I saw a diabetes specialist the other day and she said I could cut back on testing to just 4 times a day instead of 6. So I can skip before lunch and before dinner, since those numbers have been quite low. She doesn't think I'll need insulin, as long as my levels don't increase substantially from where they are now. I've been pleasantly surprised at the kinds of things I can still eat. For one thing, I really like cereal at breakfast but it can be high in carbs and low on protein, so not the best choice for a diabetic. However, I've been able to get away with it by mixing my favourite cereals with puffed wheat and using unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of regular milk. It's still low on protein so my sugar levels are a little higher than with a higher protein breakfast, but still under where they need to be.

I also love chocolate, and I've found that the Lindt dark chocolates are pretty reasonable carbwise. Only 15g of carbs per 3 squares. If I'm having a chocolate craving, I have one square and I'm good. It's particularly yummy with peanut butter spread on top (and a good way to get a little protein!).

I also love the orange flavoured bar; it reminds me of those chocolate oranges you get at Christmas.

With so many Christmas goodies that are starting to emerge this time of year, it's nice to still have a little treat here and there. It's all about portion control. I found these ginger snap cookies, which are under 20g of carbs for 6 cookies. I like to pair them with a glass of unsweetened almond milk. Who knew I could still enjoy cookies and milk?

I've also found that I can handle a fair bit of carbs as long as I work out on my elliptical afterwards. I had a small bowl of tortellini for lunch one day but no exercise afterwards, and my blood sugar was too high. Then I tried the same meal (actually ate an even bigger portion this time) but got on the elliptical for about 5 minutes. When I tested, my sugars were in normal range! That was after just 5 minutes of exercise. So maybe this gestational diabetes things won't be so terrible over the holidays. I just need to be mindful of portion sizes and make sure to exercise a little bit. I think I can manage that.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Balancing Act

Saturday mornings I usually stuff my face with pancakes, so it was tough to limit myself to just two but I managed. I'm going to pick up some almond meal and make low-carb pancakes next week so I can eat more of them. This time I really savoured the pancakes I had instead of just scorfing them down without thinking, which is actually a good thing to learn how to do. Then I ate another one for my mid-morning snack. They were whole wheat buttermilk pancakes with ground flax, mashed bananas and blueberries. I used E.D. Smith's No Sugar Added syrup, sweetened with sucralose. It's not the same as maple syrup but it wasn't bad. It made a perfect Saturday morning treat. I also had coffee with non-sweetened vanilla almond milk.

My after-breakfast sugar level was just right at 6.5. Not too high and not too low either

The rest of the day continued with good levels, even after I went out for dinner. I went to a Japanese restaurant with some grilfriends and I ordered edamame beans, tofu salad and sampled a couple sushi rolls. My after-dinner level was 6.7. Perfect! Unfortunately I had medium levels of ketones this morning, which means I probably didn't eat enough carbs. My pre-meal levels were quite low so I'm thinking I can add more carbs at snack-time and maybe fit in a couple snacks after dinner so I can get enough carbs.

This morning I tried oatmeal. It was the Quaker Light Sweetened Apple Cinnamon instant oatmeal. The package says only 21g of carbs. I added chia seeds, natural peanut butter and milk, and I drank coffee with milk. I'm hoping that was at least close to 40 g? My after-breakfast level was 7.2. Not too far under the max of 7.8. I was just sitting on my butt at the computer for an hour after breakfast instead of doing any exercise, so I'm sure if I had actually moved around like on weekday mornings it would have been lower and I could probably have handled more carbs.

So it's definitely a balancing act that requires some trial and error. I think I'll get the hang of it though! I have done it before so I'm confident I can do it again.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Getting Started...

Yesterday I met with diabetes educator at the hospital and she gave me some helpful suggestions about my diet (apparently I don't eat enough carbs or protein). I also got a new glucose monitor. Then I went to the drug store to pick up the rest of my supplies.

Apparently I have to get a doctor's note in order to have coverage for glucose strips (like I'd just test my blood for fun??). So I guess I'll be asking for a note when I meet with the endocrinologist next week. In the meantime I had to fork out almost $100 bucks just for strips- yikes!

I was actually a little excited about my glucose monitor, it's much sleeker than my old one and the lancets are more delicate so less painful on the fingers.

I'm supposed to test 6 times a day- before and after each meal. I also have to test my urine for ketones first thing every morning. I need 40-50 grams of carbs at each meal and 15 grams for snack.

For dinner I wanted to see how many carbs I could handle. I had a chicken burger on a Thintini bun (33 grams of carbs) with yam fries and mixed veggies.

 I may have overdone it on the yam fries because my blood sugar after an hour was 9.2! It should be under 7.8. So I worked out on the elliptical for 10 minutes and tested again. It was down to 6.2. Much better. So I know exercise will really help bring it down if needed.

Today has gone pretty well, but my numbers have actually been too low. We'll see how dinner goes tonight. I'm making minestrone soup and cheese biscuits.

Update: Cheese biscuits were maybe not a good idea! Blood sugar was 8.8 after dinner. Oops!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I have GD? It can't be!

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had never even heard of gestational diabetes. When it was time for the glucose test, my doctor told me it was just a routine test and not to worry too much. She didn't think it was likely that I had gestational diabetes because I had no risk factors for it. I was young, not overweight (in fact I've always been slighlty underweight), and I had no family history of diabetes. So I went to the lab and drank the disgustingly sweet orange drink and had my blood drawn. I left the lab thinking that would be the end of it. Then I got a call a few days later that my glucose levels were on the high side, so I was sent back to the lab for the 3-hour test. I remember feeling annoyed to have to waste an entire morning in the lab drinking more gross orange drink and having my blood drawn every hour. I was sure it had to be a mistake and that this time my results would come back just fine. Unfortunately that didn't happen. I got another call, this time from the diabetes clinic at the hospital telling me I had to come in to meet with a dietician and a nurse for diabetes education. Apparently I failed the 3-hour glucose test which meant I had gestational diabetes. I was shocked and scared. I didn't know anything about diabetes except that there were a lot of needles involved and that didn't sound like fun. I wallowed in self-pity for a while, but after I begrudgingly went to the diabetes education and learned how to test my blood sugar and count carbs, it didn't seem quite so scary. In fact, I found it fascinating to see how eating different foods would affect my blood sugar levels, and how much just taking a short walk around the block could help keep it under control. Pretty soon it became part of my daily routine and not as big of a deal as I had first thought it was. I was able to keep my blood sugar under control with diet and exercise, without needing insulin. My baby was born at 7lbs at 38 weeks and had no issues. The next time around was very similar. I was hoping that maybe the first time was a fluke and that I may not end up being diabetic with my 2nd, but the gestational diabetes returned. Again, the baby had no problems. He was a little bigger than the first, weighing 8lbs 7oz, but only because he was born 3 weeks later. I'm hoping this time everything will go as smoothly as it has in the past, but every pregnancy is different so only time will tell. I'll be trying to blog regularly here so you can follow along with me and see how I'm doing.