I am in a love hate relationship right now. I love my female body for what it is capable of creating – a wee human being and an entirely new organ to feed that being: the placenta. It is amazing and I have serious respect for it. This pregnancy has been less than fun this time around – nausea for 5 months, viral infections, sinus infections, feeling depressed by my lack of energy – just to name a few. Turns out that the hormones from the pregnancy have also thrown in gestational diabetes to the mix! I have struggled with this for several weeks now, afraid to talk about it with all of you.
For the first couple of weeks I was in total denial – convinced that the tests must be wrong and the doctor’s were over exaggerating. I mean really? The girl who drinks Kale Smoothies for breakfast, runs four times a week and preaches prevention, prevention, prevention would suddenly have diabetes just because she was preggo??? What? Obviously, that was impossible…in my mind. The free thinking artist in me would not believe it – but science doesn’t lie. Testing my blood 4 times a day proved that pretty quick. Truth is, my mother is Type 2 diabetic, was gestational with me and the amazing hormones that help create this beautiful being inside of me can really mess with how my own organs work – especially given my age and previous health issues.
Once I stopped denying that this could be happening – because clearly it was – I only had to make a few small changes to my diet to control the disease. This was easy to do because I already eat clean. I learned about carbohydrates and which ones worked well for my body. And it opened me up to recreating some of my recipes to balance out the carbohydrates with more fiber – like my gluten-free vegan date square recipe that I created back in December (updated post to come soon!). The thing about gestational diabetes (or diabetes in general) is that every one person is different and what works for my body may not work with someone else body. For me, I saw the best results in my after meal levels if I had eaten Swiss chard, cabbage, raw apple cider vinegar and a lean animal based protein along with a wholesome carbohydrate in my meal.
The process of testing my blood four times a day, writing down everything I ate and worrying about getting my numbers perfect has made if difficult to enjoy the pregnancy. The one number that I could not seem to match to the doctor’s goal was my fasting number, the first one of the day. It also happens to be one of the most difficult number to control without medicine, since one would not be expected to get up in the middle of the night, have a snack and go for a walk. However, because my daytime numbers were SO good (or “perfect” as the diabetic doctor keeps telling me), I did not have to go on night time insulin as long as I agreed to continue to be monitored on a weekly basis by the specialist.
I am on the home stretch of this pregnancy now and I have been told that gestational diabetes starts to disappear and for most women is completely gone after they deliver the baby and the placenta. I hope that I am able to prevent getting diabetes later in life by maintaining a balanced healthy lifestyle – clean eating, regular exercise, good sleep habits, meditation – and of course having fun!
This recipe I created so I could have something that gave me some relief from the heat without making me feel guilty about what was in it. Turned out super chocolatey (as it should be) with only a hint of sweetness.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream & Gestational Diabetes
- 1 can Thai Kitchen full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- a pinch of sea salt
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with a hand blender for 3-5mins until all ingredients are well combined.
- If using an ice cream maker, pour mixture into chilled bucket and churn until desired consistency. Place in freezer safe container and freeze for 2 hours before serving.
- If not using an ice cream maker, pour all ingredients into a freezer safe container and place into freezer. Remove from freezer every 25mins and stir. When it gets to the consistency you like you can go ahead and eat it!