Diabetes, Babies and Nutrition…This one has a point for anyone

May 1, 2013By 0 Comments

It’s a good day in my house when ICatFridge5 remember to check my blood sugar before 11am.  It’s a blurry eyed and weary day when I look down to see that I’ve forgotten to wipe (ehem, lick) the blood from my last finger stick and it is now on the swaddle of the snoring baby that I am holding onto.  Lovely, blood on my baby.  It’s a great day when my baby takes nice long peaceful naps and I can not only cook a healthy dinner, but I can also take the time to eat it.  It’s a really bad day when I look at myself in the mirror and can’t tell if the bags under my eyes look worse than the infusion site I haven’t changed in 5 days.

I am learning.  I am learning how to be a mom, and a middle-of-the road diabetic, not too hard on myself but not completely negligent either.  I have been just starting to slowly catch up on sleep now that my little one is about 10 weeks old and very slowly starting to give me more time in between nursing sessions at night.  I have been wanting to write a helpful nutrition blog, something that pertains to summer coming upon us and how we can nutritionally take advantage of what the season has to offer… but instead I find my brain fighting its way out of the fog that has been sleep deprivation and adoring my beautiful little girl all while preparing to go back to work in two weeks.

So, what I thought would be helpful is a quick post on what I have learned about balancing nutrition and health to best manage my erratic diabetes control during this crazy time in my life.  This can pertain to anyone going through anything that seems to tug them away from their diabetes control for longer than they would like.  Diabetes is like a good drink (can you tell I miss my hard alcohol?), it’s one part blood sugar checks, one part insulin management, and one part nutrition.  If you really let any one of those go by the way side for too long, it doesn’t matter how good you can handle the other two… you’ll end up slumped over.

I now have a little bit better of an understanding of the excuse many give, “I have no time to prepare meals, eat healthy, watch my carbs let alone count them… etc.”  For me, cooking and grocery shopping is actually a release.  It makes me feel normal during a time when I am all out of sorts and my priority is to feed my baby before I feed myself.  Cooking and planning meals is something my husband and I enjoy doing together, and we appreciate the time it takes to put them together.  So I have made sure not to sacrifice this part of our routine as often as I can, even through the exhaustion and piles of laundry.  I have learned that if you make nutrition and cooking a priority, just as anything else in your household may take , you can fit it in and make it work.  Once you do this, your blood sugars will follow suite.

Nights when I am able to get a good balance of protein, be it a simple chicken dish or steak tips on the grill thanks to the warmer weather, along with a good serving of veggies, I know my blood sugars will thank me before bed, as will my slowly disappearing bags under my eyes due to the iron replenishment.   Nutrition runs more than your blood sugars, and you need to remember that.  It runs you energy, your mood and ultimately how good you can be for those around you.  And if you ask my husband, he will tell you that when I’m hungry I’m a bear, when I’m high I’m a bear, and when I’m hungry and have a high blood sugar… I might as well be at the zoo.  If all you have in your house to curb your hunger are quick snacks like cookies or chips, then you will eat them out of pure ease, and you will only leave yourself feeling empty and energy depleted hours later, only to go back and cycle for more of the same empty calories.  Your energy will suffer and so will your blood sugars, which will only rollercoaster up and down.  I am guilty as charged with doing this.

Non of us can be the perfect diabetics every day.  But by making small goals, and keeping nutrition at the very top of those goals, the rest will in fact fall into place.  I feel best on days when I am able to fuel up on whole grain toast for breakfast, with a greek yogurt for a mid morning snack (sometimes I will throw a few chocolate chips in my yogurt to satisfy my need for sweets), and then eat a healthy sandwich with protein and whole grains for lunch, nuts or a filling fruit like a banana (packed with potassium and B vitamins, great for a nursing mom) for a snack and then lean protein and veggies for dinner.  Days when I am in a rush, or the cabinets are empty because it’s time to get to the grocery store are days when I notice my energy is lacking, and my blood sugars pay a price.  I snack on whatever is left over, which may include something salty or sugar because I just need a quick ‘fix’ before the next diaper change, or when there is nothing in the house to eat for lunch and I can’t get out to get something to eat and end up just eating a breakfast bar, I feel depleted and tired.

Make it a priority to keep yourself away from the cycle of empty food days.  The energy you put into making a grocery list, or cooking a meal will pay you back ten-fold when you reap the benefits of making healthy eating a priority!

Filed in: Pregnancy and T1DUncategorized

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