Saturday, 23 May 2015

Healthy Tips for a New Mom or Busy People

Being on maternity leave has been a blessing and such a crazy learning experience.

I have thought about writing so many things since giving birth to our son, Willy, but between becoming a new mother and doing freelance graphic design work I haven't had as much time.

The hardest thing in the beginning for me was not being able to eat as healthy as I would have liked. I had so many antibiotics during my labour and delivery and then drugs afterwards for my high blood pressure that I had a lot of cleansing to do. We were blessed with a baby who liked to sleep from 10 weeks on so I was getting sleep, sort of, but it also took me six months to feel like myself again. I'm sure my adrenals still need a lot of work though.

So tips on having healthy meals in the fridge for new moms, or just busy women in general? Here is my list that keeps me grounded, and healthy, even through the busiest of times:

1 - Always have 2 types of fresh greens in the fridge : then you have a base for a smoothie, a juice, a salad, a sandwich, a pasta dish or any side dish
ie: spinach, hummus, tomato sandwich
ie: smoothie - spinach, banana, blueberries, chia seeds
ie: quinoa penne with tomato sauce on a bed of sauteed kale!

2 - Make meals the night before, no matter how tired you are : even if it's cutting up carrots that you can snack on during the day it will help, especially if you're a new mom or need a healthy snack just before an office meeting!

3 - Carbs are not the devil, so sweet potatoes solve every craving - salty and sweet, and can be so many parts of meals that they will never go to waste!

4 - Bananas and avocados are ALWAYS in our kitchen : for my husband, for myself and for the baby especially if I need a quick snack on the go or just to make a yummy smoothie for the 3 of us for breakfast :)

5 - Having frozen homemade soups will always help : spend one day a week making a soup and a dish for the week and make enough to freeze, which also doubles as baby food!

I could go on with many more tips but these are the ones I live by right now - let me know if you have any suggestions too :)


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

35 weeks…no complications yet a cesarean is mentioned...

Type 1 Diabetes has been part of my life for the past 27 years, so saying I don't really know what life is like without it, is an understatement.

On becoming pregnant I was a little worried the moment I found out because I didn't feel as prepared as I wanted to be - but as we know, you can't plan for everything in life, even the tiny miracles :)

My pregnancy journey has been amazing. Honestly, I was never sick, I wasn't severely exhausted, I had lots of energy and felt positive and blessed the entire time. Yes I've had a couple of emotional moments, literally a couple, and weeks where I felt a little less energetic as usual, but overall I have literally loved being pregnant.

Besides the slight swelling of my ankles in the last couple of weeks and the hip pain that wakes me up about every two hours, I'm still doing very well.

My blood pressure is normal, my blood sugars are great, I'm measuring completely normal and still feeling the same as I did (minus my workouts and outfits) pre-pregnancy.

So it's frustrating when today at my weekly doctor's appointment, my OB tells me how amazing I'm doing but in the same sentence mentions a planned cesarean due to his concerns about shoulder dystocia (as he's backing out of the room I might add). The baby is still measuring on the bigger side (his abdomen) but he is still only in the 78 percentage which isn't crazy big by any means.

The reason they measure the baby's belly for diabetics is:

Babies born to diabetic mothers are often larger than normal. This is because blood glucose passes directly from you to your baby, so if you have high blood glucose levels your baby will produce extra insulin to compensate. This can lead to your baby storing more fat and tissue.

This pregnancy has been a blessing for my husband and I - a complete miracle, a complete surprise, and a complete natural event. Everything has gone so well, and still is, so it is hard to hear someone say, in so many words, well…just to be careful let's say you might not be able to deliver this baby, even though nothing is actually wrong...

I guess I wanted to write this post to express my frustrations. Yes I have T1 Diabetes, but nothing about my pregnancy has been high risk. I can't be under the care of a midwife, which I have accepted, but it doesn't mean I don't still believe in natural childbirth. I live my life as natural and holistic as possible, and it is this part of me that I feel makes me who I am. 

I'm not saying that I would ever do anything to put my baby, or myself, at risk. But I need hard facts…I need a reason to why this planned cesarean "might" have to be the only option for me. I'm not against cesareans, but I also need to feel that the decisions being made are for my health and the baby's health - not for convenience. 

I respect the OB I'm working with immensely, but if he wants to convince me this is the route we have to take that's exactly what he's going to have to do - convince us with hard facts, statistics and reasons related to my health and the baby's health specifically. 

Unfortunately for him I'm not going to be an easy sell - especially with the residents I've seen through this pregnancy who just assumed I was having a c/s because well, that's what we do with diabetics.

So wish my husband and I luck with this new development and whatever is meant to happen will, that's the one thing we agree on completely - the universe has it's plan and as long as everyone is safe and healthy that's all that matters!


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Updates from Ultrasound + Appointments

So after my appointments at the clinic this morning I have some updates:

Baby size - he's a little on the bigger size, 78% for size which isn't terrible for a diabetic but is slightly on the bigger size. His head size is perfect for the due date, tummy is a bit bigger than average but again nothing crazy and he is just under 5 lbs - which sort of scared me but they said it's fine and even said ultrasounds are never perfect with the weight of the baby.

Apparently he has big cute cheeks - can't wait to pinch them!

My Stomach size - I'm measuring at 33 weeks (which is sort of my guess anyway) but my OB says I'm 33 weeks on Saturday so it's only a few days difference.

Blood Pressure - 118/78 so I am VERY happy about that

Weight - I've put on roughly 25lbs now but I am still wearing normal clothes (other than maternity pants of course) and don't really feel that much different other than my tummy of course which is like a basketball haha - they said the slight swelling I have around my ankles is normal and just to watch to make sure it doesn't move up my legs or happen anywhere else

Diabetic Numbers - they were very impressed with my numbers and the fact that I did all the adjustments in the last month (joys of a clinic when they forget about you at your last appointment)

I have a requisition to have thyroid, iron, A1C and proteins checked two weeks from now.

OB Updates - I have to go for ultrasounds every week now, my OB said they are bio-physical not just growth ultrasounds so whatever that means (still have to google that)

They are quite happy with everything, which makes me happy (not that I've been nervous, I haven't at all) and just tell me to keep up with my monitoring and exercising and healthy eating.

The only thing I have to watch is for low blood sugars, because that will indicate something is wrong with the placenta and if that happens I am to come into the hospital immediately.

The thing is with Diabetics, especially Type 1's, is that the hormones the placenta is producing on it's own now fight with the insulin and so my sugars rise even when I'm just sleeping - nothing crazy because my control is so good but into the 7's usually instead of how they were in the 4's and 5's for the majority of the pregnancy.

Again, they won't let me go past 38 weeks, so sometime around June 14 I will be induced (if I haven't already gone into labour naturally)

I've been reading a really great book by Deepak Chopra called: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and it's really supported a lot of the ideas I have surrounding pregnancy and childbirth which is great - even if I might not have the most natural childbirth, there are still things I can practice which is all I want in the end :)

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

33 weeks and symptoms (finally) arise...

So I'm 33 weeks this week and have had some interesting symptoms arise that I feel are worth sharing whether you're a pregnant diabetic or not:

Plantar Fasciitis (I think) - sometimes I'm getting this burning in my heel once I've stood for a long period of time, not really after walking or exercise but more when I'm standing still with little movement. I have a really high arch so probably adds to this type of thing developing. (need to keep on eye on it especially because of diabetes)

Sweaty Feet - ok, my feet are sweating all the time, seems not so crazy but it is when you're just sitting at work with sweaty feet!

Swollen Ankles - some days are better than others, my legs aren't swollen at all and my feet haven't swelled that bad either, it's literally a ring around where my ankle ball is located - like an ankle bracelet without the bling!

I think that is also why my calves seem extra tight - trying to stick to my yoga routine and walking and the gym but may need to add in even more stretching and more elevation and icing!

Hip pain - only when I sleep on my sides (which I can only do obviously) so I flip a lot in the night, which is still easy to do thankfully but I basically wake up with what feels like a knife in my hip and have to sit up, stand up, and then it goes away….I do some hip stretches as well - quite funny at 3:30am.

New Diabetic Symptoms:

NOTE: a lot of my pre-pregancy symptoms have cleared such as my sciatica, the marks on my shins from my diabetes have vanished and everyone claims there is no cure so this proves to me that obviously hormones and amazing sugar control are the cure! I also haven't had a headache since I've become pregnant - go figure!

I'm taking a lot more insulin now…which I'm not ecstatic about, but, I would rather have more insulin in me than have higher sugars which effect the baby even if it means slightly more weight gain for me.

For example, normally I'm about 1 unit an hour all day - and 1 unit per 10 grams of carbohydrates. Usually 1 unit brings me down 2 mmol as well.

Now I'm at 1.15 units per hour roughly all day and through the night, and 1 unit per 5 grams of carbohydrates - which is the most I've ever taken. Now 1 unit brings me down about 1-1.5 mmol.

My sugars are steady around the 5, 6, 7 marks - which I'm ok with….through most of the pregnancy they were at the 3.5-6 mark so I've gotten them under control again even when I'm rising through the night with the hormonal effects.

So all in all I am still feeling really great, but noticing changes….which if you know pregnancy, every week is different and a new experience!

I do have to say, lululemon is amazing - I'm still wearing all of my yoga gear very comfortably so cheers to stretchy workout clothing!!!!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Healthy Snacks - Pregnant or not!

There is no doubt that people have cravings when they're pregnant - I can't say it's a new thing for me as I've always had random cravings based on the time of year or just what I see in the store or at the farmers market.

This week I have been craving dill, blueberries and greens - I swear I will be a die-hard greens fanatic forever!

Here are some snacks I want to share for all those mamas-to-be out there and just for those of you who are trying to make healthier changes, or keep your healthy choices going strong!

Healthy Snacks - Pregnant or not!

Celery with Almond/Cashew Butter
• side note: I thought I loved almond butter but oh do I love almond/cashew butter

Apple slices with Almond/Cashew Butter

Apple Slices sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with a bit of honey (if you're not diabetic ha)

Sliced Apple full rounds so you can get one thick top and one bottom, spread almond butter on both insides, then sprinkle with your favourite granola on either top or bottom and make a sandwich!

Rice cakes with avocado a squeeze of lime, sea salt and pepper - I can easily eat 4-5 of these

Bell Peppers, Carrots, Celery and Cucumbers with hummus

Mary's rice crackers with hummus and cucumber slices

Fresh pineapple, blueberries and raspberries cut up into plain unsweetened Greek Yogurt

Frozen raspberries, mangoes and bananas blended up to make your own sorbet!

I know this isn't rocket science but these snacks are SOOOO easy to make, remember and indulge in!

So happy snacking whether you're at work, on the couch or on the go! :)

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

29 weeks + a pic just because

Even though writing a post at the 30 week mark may sound better, I thought an update might be in order - and a photo of my progression!

I'm just short of 29 weeks and still feeling great...actually, still feeling quite normal other than a few hiccups, and not just from the peanut! I am still walking at the same pace and have to remind myself to slow down a bit - climbing stairs are now harder than usual and I lose my breath quite easily!

Blood sugars are getting a little wonky - not really during the day, but mainly at night and through the night while sleeping. I'm only waking up once in the night to pee -  I hear these stories of people waking up all the time, thankfully that hasn't happened to me yet.

Around this time some women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant only) and are experiencing the weird sugars just like I am. For the most part my control is still great, I'm just having to take more insulin which isn't ideal, but for the health of the baby is it VERY important.

Thankfully, I have a pump and it makes this process a lot easier!

I haven't had many food cravings - more fruit than usual, mainly pineapple and mangoes - but that's pretty typical for me in the spring anyway. I'm eating a lot of apples and oranges as well which as we know are healthy snacks, especially with a little almond butter.

Still loving salad - don't think that will ever change with me haha

Last week I had two days of intense exhaustion, weakness and some dizzy spells, so having my iron checked tomorrow!

Aversions - none. Nothing through this entire pregnancy has turned me off, although, my appetite has been quite low and I'm having more problems finding something to eat.

Still working out as much as possible - if I can't make it to the gym I walk as much as possible to work, on lunch and after work usually for a total of 5-6km. 

I'm doing yoga at home on and off but not as long - more some basic sun salutations and stretching.

Today the baby was stuck in my rib I think - I actually couldn't stand up and then felt him kick and the pain was released - very weird feeling. I forget that I don't have much room in my middle so moving quickly while at my desk or turning suddenly can bring on this!

The baby is head down and to the right - or so my last ultrasound showed - and I feel him a lot on the right side, very far in fact, up into my ribs on the right and out in front like right behind my naval - whenever I put my hand to my belly he goes there - it's so cute and fascinating.

Sleeping is ok, was having sharp hip pain in the night but now just have a small pillow between my knees and everything is fine - I still roll over a lot though back and forth and had some weird shin splints last week - probably from the gym or walking in new boots!

Still fitting into most of my normal clothes - or, baggy blouses and stretchy tops that I already owned, as well as all my lulus and workout clothes - thankfully that stretch really helps haha!

Here is my most recent pic from Saturday - maternity jeans but normal tank, top and sweater :)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Day 4 - Thursday, March 6 Meals

7am: Ezeikel muffin with almond butter and blackberry jam

9am: 1/2 cup of oatmeal with cinnamon and almonds

*had a bit of an emergency from noon until 3:30 so I didn't get to eat anything…was a long day 

4pm: small apple and Kind Bar granola bar - almond/coconut

*my brother came for dinner so we took him out for sushi

7pm: Sushi dinner: had some avocado/yam rolls, a few california rolls, some yam tempura, sweet and sour soup, mango salad, seaweed salad

Needless to say my day was a little "off" yesterday, didn't get much exercise other than my 2km walk to work, and my meals were not on par with my usual meal plan…but, c'est la vie!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Day 3 - Wednesday, March 5 Meals

7am: Green smoothie - banana, spinach, pumpkin seed protein powder, spirulina, frozen peaches, frozen raspberries, chia seeds and fresh ginger

9am - organic americano, small freshly made cinnamon bun (I couldn't resist haha)

11am - handful of raw nut mix

12:30pm - 1/2 pumpernickel veggie sandwich - arugula, tomato, avocado, mustard, cucumber on pumpernickel bread

3:00pm - 1/2 cup of homemade carrot, ginger, cumin soup

4:30pm - small organic apple

7pm - (husband surprised me with a delicious dinner) baked chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and spinach, wrapped in prosciutto with greek salad (onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, fresh herbs, olive oil and lemon AND garlic mashed (organic red) potatoes

10pm - small bowl of air-popped popcorn


Sugars were perfect all day: 3.8-4.6, after dinner I was 5.5 and then before bed 3.9 (so had the popcorn) and at 2am I was 5.1 - no rising in the night this time. No hip pain at night anymore but I do turn over quite a bit. The gym really is helping with sleeping and my overall feeling. Prenatal yoga is great and I am still practicing when I can, however just the slower cardio on top of the walking I already do daily is really helping the way I'm feeling - for the 4 days I was on "rest" I started to feel swollen (even though I really wasn't, I just felt that way) and fatigued…so it really proves that the exercise I was doing for the first 5 months, and that I'm doing now is really benefitting me in every way!


Exercise: 2.5km of walking to work, 20 min on the stationery bike, 20 min walking at a slight incline on the treadmill and then set of wide-legged squats with 3 different sets of arms with 8 lb weights, I've dropped from 12-15 lb weight to 8 and do more reps of each exercise.