Advice Column, Health, Lifestyle, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby

Gestational Diabetes: What to Eat?

  • Barbara Harvey
  • Category Advice Column, Health, Lifestyle, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby

Gestational Diabetes is a hormone imbalance where the Pancreas starts making not enough insulin for both Mom and baby. It usually dissipates once the infant is born. Maintaining health in the meantime really does depend on Mom’s diet. Being a diabetic myself I want to share with you the strategies I use. This blog is to help you as soon as you get home. It will help you until you can get further medical help.

Carbohydrates are the number one issue for diabetics.  This is because the pancreas is responsible for keeping the sugar in the bloodstream even. Every carbohydrate becomes sugar in the blood. The key here is to avoid simple carbohydrates. The darker the carb the better. Because simple carbs digest very quickly in the body. For instance, sweet potatoes are better than any other kind of potato, pumpernickel bread is better than white or even wheat. Sprouted bread is great, make sure you get a name brand like Ezekiel or something from a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to be sure it is not full of pesticides.

Grains Some grains are better than others for slower digestion of the sugars in the food. The key to remember is the closer a grain is when it comes out of the ground when you eat it the better. Therefore, eating steel cut oats is better than packaged oats. Here is an article from the Huff Post of 17 yummy looking recipes. Brown rice is better than white rice. I use the following recipe for brown rice.

1 cup of brown rice
3 cups of water
1 carrot washed not peeled
1/2 onion
1 stalk of celery
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put all ingredients in a cassorle dish and cover. Bake on a cookie sheet for 45-55 minutes or until all the water has evaporated. Remove veggies before eating. Or you can cut the vegies into bite sized pieces before cooking makes a great side dish.

Sugar is the one thing most folks have issues with replacing. Sugar substitutes can be horrible. Both on the pallet and in the body. Natural ones are better. The two I interchange are stevia and monk fruit. I have developed a taste for both. Some people do prefer monk fruit as it seems to taste less bitter. For stevia I love Sweet Leaf  brand. They have so many products available it boggles the mind. They have everything from loose powder, packet, tablets, and liquid water enhancers, to flavored sweeteners for your variety of needs. I love to add the vanilla drops when I make smoothies, or a squirt of chocolate and caramel in my coffee for a treat. Monk fruit mostly comes in powder form I have tried Monk Fruit in the Raw. But, another brand some friends use seems just as good it is called Lakanto

 Milk I have learned most Diabetics have a hard time with cow’s milk. The lactose carries a lot of sugar. However, if you are going to drink cow’s milk stick with whole milk. In the skim milks they add sugar to replace the fat so it tastes better. You can try drinking other kinds of milk. Almond, coconut, goat, and cashew are the most popular. I drink Califia Farms an almond milk. I have tried most brands this has the feel of cow’s milk in the mouth, which is why I like it. Califia also carries creamers, cold brew coffees and other items. Many of which you will have to order online. I have tried coconut milk,  and have used it from time to time. However, like the oil you have to like the strong taste of coconut. Goat’s milk is another which I like but get it in a carton not canned because it picks up the tinny flavor. Consider goat milk is drunk by most of the world. Also, rice milk is an alternative. I have not tried it so I have no hints on it.

Protein is a great friend of the diabetic. Because proteins cause carbohydrates to be more steadily absorbed by the body. I suggest if you eat a carb eat protein too. Fish, meat, nut butters, cheese, and eggs are all considered proteins. Then there are beans and legumes which are considered both a carb and a protein. Quinoa is the only grain which is also a whole protein. It is a good alternative to eating rice and oats. I use the same recipe  for Quinoa as brown rice (above). Another great thing about protein is that the number of proteins in a product lessens the carb count. If the proteins on a product is at 5 grams (g) or above you can subtract one carb per each gran of protein over 5. So if a product has 15 g of protein and 25 total carbs you can say the food has 10 g of carbs.A serving of protein is about the size of your palm.

Fruits and Vegetables generally it is best to stay away from high glycemic fruits such as bananas, and dried fruits. Juice of all kinds are also not recommended. Because if the number of fruits it takes to make one glass of juice. One orange may have 15 carbs, the five oranges in a glass of juice has 45. When eating fruits reach for preferably fresh or frozen berries, oranges, apples, cherries, grapes. kiwi, plums, peaches, nectarines the list is extensive

You also want to watch for waxy and starchy vegetables. These include things like beets, peas, corn,  and white potatoes. Instead, you want to reach for fresh or frozen peppers, broccoli leafy green vegges, okra, parsnips, radishes, cucumbers, onions, rutabaga, the list goes on and on.

Important Rule for eating carbs-There is one basic rule for women eating carbs 15 g of carbs per snack, 30 per meal between 90 and 120 per day. Keep in mind this includes grains and fruits. One piece of fruit is generally 15 carbs (10 grapes). Most veggies are low on the carb count. But, if you are eating frozen check the label to be sure.

How often to eat is also important to keep your blood sugars on level. Everyone eats differently. However here are two rules of thought. Eat breakfast. Even if you only drink a smoothie your body needs the protein. If you are drinking cows milk. There is a yogurt drink called Kefir usually sold near the yogurt cups. Put 8-12 ounces in the blender. Add whatever fruit, a pinch of salt and stevia to make a good smoothie since it is cold no ice needed. My fav is strawberries with chocolate stevia. The other is eat steadily all day. 3 meals and 3 snacks or eat a snack of at least three food groups every 2 to 3 hours.

Water  Drink one half of you body weight in water each day. This will help your body process sugar and it is the only substance which cleans you kidneys. Adding some lemon, orange, lime, or other fruit in with you water can help. Remember, stevia makes water enhancers. Also, I love coconut water. It helps with blood pressure. So, make 8 oz a day one of your servings.

I hope this gives you a general guide of what to eat. Here are some other suggestions:

  1. Go to visit a dietitian and let them help you draft a more detailed eating plan.
  2. Limit your caffeine and carbonated drink intake. (If you must have a soda there is a company called Zevia which makes soda sweetened with stevia.)
  3. Drink ginger tea, and ginger ale. (Make your own by boiling a 1 inch piece of ginger a quart of water and add stevia. You can add just a touch for tea or enough to sweeten it for adding carbonated water to make ginger ale. I also like ginger lemonade. Add the juice of 4 lemons and into the ginger ‘syrup’ and two quart of water.)
  4. Sleep your body needs sleep as a diabetic your body needs sleep in order to process the sugars out of your body. Also, this is when your child grows. If you can work in a 2 hour nap with 8 hours a night. Or 10 hours a night all the better. Keep in mind you will need more sleep as your pregnancy ensues. Towards, the end of your pregnancy you will begin to feel all kinds of energetic. Curb the desire to use it for hours of getting things done. This energy is your bodies way of gearing up for childbirth. If you use it up it will be harder on your body to give birth. Also, dehydration causes childbirth to be more difficult. I suggest once you start labor drink coconut water until you can not drink and go to ice chips.
I really hope these tips help. Congratulations on your baby and as they grow I know you will do all you can to love and support them. You can do this!
Believe in Parenting

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