When you’ve just had a baby, you’ve got a lot to think about and do. Your main focuses are feeding and looking after your baby and getting some sleep. Yet, despite everything else that we’ve got going on, many of us worry about our weight and getting back into our pre-pregnancy jeans. You might also worry about boosting your fitness levels and increasing your stamina.
To start with, it’s crucial to give yourself a break. Concentrate on your baby and your health, eat well, drink lots of water, and give yourself grace. Get as much rest as you can, and remember, it took you ten months to gain your baby weight, it’s okay if it takes just as long to lose it. Don’t rush yourself. Your body has been through considerable stress. Not just giving birth, the whole of your pregnancy has been tough on your body, and it deserves a rest.
But, as soon as you are feeling able, and your doctor has given you the all clear, exercise can be a great idea. Don’t worry about your weight, and don’t push yourself too hard, but getting a little exercise can be good for your health and your mood. It can give you a little much needed time on your own, and it can help you to get some rest. So, how do you manage this with a baby in tow? It doesn’t have to be as hard as you might think.
If you want time to exercise, you might need to get a little more organized. Order diapers, shop in bulk, get into a routine as soon as you can, and get your partner helping out as much as possible.
When you’ve got a young baby, walking is the best way to exercise for two reasons. Firstly, it’s relatively easy on your body. Doing more steps each day helps you to burn more calories, works your muscles and helps to boost your fitness levels, without pushing your body too hard. Secondly, you don’t need to find time on your own. Put your baby in their stroller or a sling and take them out with you.
There are so many workouts on YouTube. Many of which are aimed at new moms. Try yoga and gentle pilates if you want to relax, stretch out and work your muscles. Or have a go at a gentle aerobic routine if you want to get a cardio workout. Start with 10-minute videos, make sure you stretch and increase the length of your workouts when you are able.
If you don’t fancy any proper videos, simple stretches while holding your baby, or dancing around the kitchen with them can be a great workout.
Join a Class or Club
Have a look for new mom exercise classes at your local gym or community center, some of these offer creche services. Alternatively, look at notice boards or social media accounts for your local park. Many play host to moms and strollers groups, where new moms walk and stretch together with their babies. This is a great way to meet new people, get some fresh air and get back into exercise.
If you have kids, you’ll likely agree it can be a big challenge to get them to eat their meals. Many times, they change their minds on what they want to eat or they spend the lunch hour chatting, and they will either leave the food or throw it away during the day. But don’t fret: there are many different meals you can add to your child’s lunchbox which will make them more interesting and desirable, and here are easy recipes and tricks to try out this week.
If you want to try and use cool lunch boxes as a lure for the kids to eat their dinner this week, there are some great choices out there for them to use. One of the best out there right now is known as a Bento Box and this is a lunchbox which is filled with several compartments as well as a dip tub. What person doesn’t love dipping their food? You can separate out a snack, the main lunch, and a sweet treat and this can be a great thing for those picky eaters out there.
As we think about our own childhood lunches, do Lunchables come to mind? These little meals were the epitome of childhood spirit and always welcome in the schoolyard. But to step up the game a little for your kids, you can use cheese which is actually tasty, fresh ham and some real food/real ingredient crackers. It is something easy which they can make for themselves each day and it can be a wonderful option to keep them interested.
If you have a particularly young child who you are packing lunch for, you might want to lure them into eating more produce by creating pieces of artwork with them. For example, use half a tangerine and use a toothpick to place a grape to act as a head. You can then add more grapes to act as arms and legs and you immediately have a cute fruit turtle to add to their lunchbox! Take a look online for more fruit animal ideas.
Easy pizza pocket
Something which will never fail to be popular with children is pizza, and although you likely can’t pack a whole slice of pizza into your child’s lunchbox, you can make a less messy option for them to enjoy. All you will need for this is a tortilla wrap, marinara sauce, pepperoni (or any other topping) and mozzarella cheese.
Start off by cutting the tortilla wrap in half. You can then fold the half into a cone and use a mix of flour and water to seal the edges. Fill with a small amount of sauce, cheese, and topping and seal the top to form a triangle. Place in a toastie bag in the toaster for 3-4 minutes until done, pack it up and let your child take it to school!
For a fairly nutritious meal idea for your child when they go to school, a great idea would be a take the classic paleo BLT and add some extra fiber and healthy fat. You’ll need:
For this, you will want to grill the bacon or cook it in the microwave with a paper towel. Use the romaine as the “bread” slices, layer on the bacon, tomato, and avocado, press down and cut into 2 pieces. This is a healthy meal which will keep the kids satisfied for the rest of the day!
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food for kids and some of the latest options are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A simple pasta salad can be an amazing option for all kids and they will be able to enjoy a meal which is fun and filling. This is an example of a simple chicken pasta salad:
1 breast chicken, grilled and sliced
70g pasta (try lentil or black bean based pasta options)
1 tbsp pesto
6-8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp cheese for sprinkling (optional)
Cook off the chicken and a pasta of your choice. Add spinach into the chicken pan just before it finishes cooking to allow it to wilt. Combine all ingredients apart from cheese in a bowl. Place cheese into a small dip contained so that your child can add this at lunchtime.
Staying hydrated is essential for almost every bodily function. In fact, getting the optimum amount of H20 could make you heal faster, sleep better, age slower, concentrate more clearly and improve physical strength and endurance. Here’s a brief guide to help you work out whether you should be drinking more.
What do the guidelines say?
Most guides online will tell you to follow the ‘8 x 8 rule’ – which basically means eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This roughly equates to 1.9 liters of water.
How much should we really be drinking?
If 1.9 liters of water sounds a lot, you may be shocked to hear that this figure is actually too low. The body can get by on 1.9 liters of water per day, but actually, we need more than that to perform at optimum ability. The National Academy of Sciences suggests that women consume 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water per day and that men consume 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of water per day.
125 ounces equates to 15 ½ 8-ounce glasses of water per day. But don’t worry – if drinking 15 ½ glasses of water per day sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. A lot of the food we eat contains water as do other drinks. In fact, studies suggest that the average person consumes 3.5 liters of water in food alone.
It might be common sense, but worthy of mentioning, if the weather is warm or you’re active, your needs will be increased.
Are there any foods and drinks that dehydrate us?
Believe it or not, but there are actually foods and drinks that can dehydrate you.
The most serious offender is alcoholic drinks. Alcohol decreases the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormones, which causes us to go to want to urinate more. In doing so, the body loses vital amount of water that should have been absorbed by the body. If you are enjoying a drink, make sure to load up on water during or after.
Too much sugar and salt can also lead to dehydration by increasing thirst and are urge to pee. Cutting down on soft drinks and consuming fruit flavored water could prevent this, as could going without sugar in your tea or coffee. As for salt, try to avoid too many salty snacks and experiment with other forms of seasoning when cooking rather than adding salt.
What are the signs of dehydration?
Often it’s best to simply drink water once you start noticing the symptoms of dehydration.
Feeling thirsty is the most obvious one. When it comes to chronic dehydration (not drinking enough over a prolonged period of time) look out for dry skin, bags under the eyes and dark colored urine – if you’ve got all these signs, you could need to start drinking more each day.
We can neglect our health from time to time (summertime business, before school starts craze, holidays). But if you’re done with ignoring your health and fitness and want to make positive changes for the better, you’ve come to the right place. It’s definitely a good thing that you want to take action and make positive changes, but which actions should you take first of all? That’s not always an easy question to answer, but here are some options to consider.
Check in With Your Doctor & Dietitian
To start with, you should make sure that you find the time to check in with your health care team. This is always really important because they can tell you how your health is doing and how you can keep on top of it going forward giving you some new ideas. In the end, being consistent with something, like an annual appointment, can help you by benchmarking where your health is, year to year.
Tackle Any Long-Standing Issues You’ve Been Avoiding
If you have health issues that you’ve been trying to avoid and ignore for a long time, it makes sense to start doing more about them. You can get medication for alcoholism and there are all kinds of other support out there for that kind of problem. Or maybe you’ve been putting off losing weight and getting in shape for a long time now. Whatever it is great you are creating awareness and drawing attention to the issue.
Adopt a Long-Term Mentality
A short-term approach to health and fitness is why many people fail to make improvements with theirs. If you switch to a more long-term approach to your health you will achieve much more and be able to ensure that the changes you make are not ones that are going to only last a short amount of time before you fall back into your bad old ways.
Work on the Little Things Each Day
The little things that you do each day are often the things that have the biggest and most important impact on your health going forward. When you work on things like making sure you drink water each day, protect your skin better and walk as much as you can rather than taking the lazy option, you’ll start to move in the right direction and become more healthy.
Set Goals to Work Towards
Having goals that you can gradually work towards over time is massively important, so if this is something that you don’t currently do, you should think about making that change. The stronger the goals, the harder you’ll work to get there and you’ll give yourself the focus you need to make improvements to your health and fitness. So start setting ambitious yet realistic goals today.
Getting fit and staying healthy should be one of your top priorities in life. Nothing matters more than your health, so why cut corners or take risks with it when you really don’t need to? Making the changes discussed above will help you to feel better and healthier each day.
As Dr. Hyman bluntly puts it, ” Here’s the not-so-sweet truth. We are killings ourselves by consuming truckloads of hidden sugar.” Sugar is dangerous, yet, the average person consumes 3 pounds in a week. That’s equal to 152 pounds in one year, and “healthy” dieters aren’t exempt either as it’s in everything from bacon to a salad dressing. That goes for fruits and vegetables too. Even cavemen and women had a problem with the white stuff.
But, before you try to cut it out or replace it, here are four things to understand.
Sugar Is Everywhere & It’s Sneaky
Saying “I’m going to cut out candies and sweet stuff” and believing the job is done is flawed. Sugar lurks in surprising places and this includes meat and vegetables. In fact, I had major culture shock when I moved back to the USA after living in Australia for 2 years because I couldn’t understand why we needed corn syrup in sausage links and more.
Review labels, and be a detective when reading the ingredient list. Avoid high fructose corn syrup and products with sugar in the list. Also, be aware that the food industry is sneaky and they have 50+ different words for sugar. As well, target the things which are harmful, such as fructose.. Organically found in foods like honey and berries, it was believed to be healthy yet studies show in abundance it leads to an increase in fatty liver disease. It also boosts the production of ghrelin which increases your appetite and encourages you to eat more.
There Are Three Ways To Look At It
You see it as a small, white grain yet sugars come in all shapes and sizes. So, it makes sense to treat it with broad strokes rather than narrow ones. Overall, do not eat a carb (fruit, grains, legumes, starchy vegetables) naked. In doing so, the carbohydrate-rich food digests more slowly when a protein or fat is combined with it, making it more gentle on blood sugar levels and can aid satiety. So for example, it’s better to eat an apple w/ nut butter than an apple solo. Also, check out whether it’s chemical or non-chemical and take a look at the info on the packet.
Alcohol Is Complicated
There are more cons, than pros, when it comes to alcohol, and all in all, moderation and responsibility is key when consuming it. Yet, when reducing or eliminating alcohol, you are likely unaware of what happens when you stop drinking as the body creates extra insulin. So, it’s smart not to give up cold turkey for the sake of your diet. Instead, gradually wean your body off alcohol to prevent any unwanted hiccups or do your research and source high-quality wines, that don’t have fillers or sugar. Wine is one of my favorite consumable pleasures, so I find a way to make it fit with my lifestyle and goals.
It’s important not to see it as an impossible challenge. The sugar element of a real food diet is difficult yet doable, and it’s because of healthy substitutes. Raw honey is one of the most popular, but there is also Stevia which is made from the plant of the same name and a lot healthier. Compared to regular sugar, it’s 45 times as sweet yet contains none of the additives.
Whether you think it’s healthy or not, you should always understand the facts first.
When it comes to your body, you will always be in charge. You are always in control of what goes into your mouth and how much time you carve out to sleep. And yes, I do empathize, because we live in a world of abundance and food choices can seem hard to control. But they don’t have to be.
Grow awareness of what is best for your body and be willing to do the immediate hard thing (avoiding that second glass of wine, or what have you) for the ease later, like enjoying clothes shopping or the likes.
To start with, you really need to know what your body needs from YOU. You need to slow down and listen to it and your intuition. Often business dulls this inner voice. And understand the benefits each ingredient can have for your body. Or how some things harm you (for myself and many clients, gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy are major problems). So reading up on nutrition and even different supplements, like some of the brands I offer to clients or youngevity 90 for life, is the best place to begin. Because when you know what your body needs, and you read the labels on the foods you buy, you can start to make smarter nutritional choices.
Something that can make a huge difference to how you feel and your waistline, is listening to your hunger and measuring out the right portions. If you are always overeating, then you know that it’s going to lead you to feel sluggish, guilty, and put on weight. So start to control your portions instead and log a few days worth of your caloric intake to learn how much you are eating compared to your needs. I want to emphasize, that the volume of food we eat is important, but we should not become or be calorie-obsessed. Focus more on being calorie aware.
A really quick win is always going for nutrient density. If you want carbs, and you know that fruit has more nutritions that grains, go for that. It’s the same for things like sweet potatoes over chips. Legume-based pasta (like black bean or lentil pasta) over regular pasta. If you choose carefully here, you can make massive improvements without realizing it.
Listening To Your Body
You should also make sure that you’re always listening to your body. Because if you need certain foods or vitamins and you need to stop eating at a certain point, your body will be trying to tell you. So listen to it and always assess your emotions when you want to eat past satiety, or when you have a specific craving for something. You may not need to eat, and you may be wanting food to dull or prolong the feeling.
When you sense hunger, identify if it’s emotional or physical hunger? Are you craving something specific? Or will you be willing to eat a simple baked white fish and vegetables? Are you even truly hunger? Often we mistake hunger for thirst, and above all, crave eating when we really need more sleep.
Cooking From Scratch
And finally, something that will really start to improve your health is choosing to cook at home (here are some shortcuts). Sure, that premade meal seems easier. And that takeout tastes nice. But both options are not the best when it comes to your nutrition. They can have poorer quality in the nutrients and include excess salt and sugar, which can lead to overeating. But when you’re cooking from scratch, you know exactly what goes into the meal. No MSG, GMOs. No bad ingredients. You are choosing what you are adding into the dish, and you know what you’re feeding yourself.
Each January do you tell yourself you are going to stick to a specific health goal, but find clothing a little snug come Valentine’s Day? Aside from your best efforts, do you find yourself mindlessly eating at 3 pm, in the evening after the kids go to bed or your day winds down?
Have you purchased a program, done Weight Watchers (or the likes), did a gym challenge or Whole30, without sustainable practices in the long-run?
What if this year was different? What if you had the props and advice to be in control of your desire to reach for food or finish your plate? What if you had a go-to practice to calm your mind and self-talk? What if you didn’t have to diet to lose weight? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s not, and often it’s not what we eat, it’s what is eating us and so much more.
Explore the solutions this January 27th, and join Kit and Kelly for The Mind-Body Wellness Retreat from 1-4pm to embark on this New Year by eating well, weighing less, and enjoying more, with self-care, a healthy mindset, and education of how to eat, while ditching dieting.
At the Retreat we will:
teach evidence-based strategies with proven results to help you eat properly, engage in self-care and compassion, ditch dieting and engage in mindfulness
graduate deprivation and grow a better understanding of your appetite.
recognize if your hormones are out of balance and how to improve them
how to tune in to hunger and reduce all the thinking around food through visualization techniques
what and when to eat to lose fat.
Come comfortable, even in yoga clothing (although we will not be doing yoga), and get ready to adopt a new mindset to help you be the best version of yourself this season and the years to come.
Light, wholesome foods will be served to wrap up the retreat.
Kit is a licensed acupuncturist, certified clinical hypnotist, and wellness coach. She incorporates mind-body strategies to help her patients and clients achieve sustainable, optimum change. With over 16 years of experience, Kit now specializes in weight, pain and stress management. Learn more about Kit: bexleyacupuncture.com
Kelly’s holistic private practice helps clients beyond their plate. As someone who has had type 1 diabetes for 25+ years, she uses her education as a Registered Dietitian and experiences to be a detective for her clients. Kelly specializes in autoimmune disease, blood sugar control, gut health, and hormone balance. She is the co-creator behind the 8-lecture course “Healthy Cuisine: A Wellness Guide for Diabetes,” and the author of, “What is the Deal Paleo and Primal Eating.”
Structuring the food you eat is not an easy task. With all of the temptations in the modern world, along with the boredom which can come with this process, it can be easy to find yourself slipping out of the good habits you’ve built far too quickly. Of course, this isn’t such a big problem when you’re simply trying to lose weight or get fitter. For those who need to diet to maintain good health, though, this part of your lifestyle may not be a choice. Here I will be exploring some tips to help you to start picking the right lifestyle and way of eating and sticking to your plan.
Choosing The Right One
There is a wide range of different factors which go into choosing the type of diet you want to adopt and make your own. It’s important to make sure that you’re not choosing a diet which you’ll hate or struggle with from the beginning, but you also need to think about other aspects of your life, ensuring that you’re considering the whole picture. If you need help choosing a diet, your doctor or dietitian may be able to give you some suggestions. Below, you can find some examples of the factors which should go into your choice.
Food You Enjoy: Everyone has a unique preference when it comes to the food they like. If you force yourself to eat food which you don’t enjoy all the time, it will be very hard to keep yourself on the right track, with the temptations around you being increasingly alluring. A diet doesn’t have to be a super-strict regime, though, and you’re allowed to get some pleasure from your food.
Provides Medical Benefits: There are a lot of medical conditions out there which can benefit or even require special diets to make sure that you don’t go downhill. Companies like Nu Image Medical can help you with this process, giving you comprehensive meal plans and other tools which will make it easier to stick to it. Of course, though, you have to remember to focus on other aspects of your health, too.
Matching Your Activities: The food you eat and the exercise you do throughout the day go hand in hand. The more you move, the larger your appetite. While I do not advise clients to be calorie obsessed, it can be insightful to be calorie aware. It’s helpful being aware of how many calories stack up in average meals and snacks, but not consumed to track every calorie you eat, every day. There are loads of calculators around the web which can be used to get an idea of the level of nutrition you need.
Planning For The Long Term
Once you’ve chosen a lifestyle you want to adjust towards, it’s time to start planning for the future. Going through this process will help to keep you on the right track by taking away your choice. If you have already set yourself for the diet you’ve been struggling with, it should be much easier to keep using it, even if you find it a challenge. There are only a couple of areas you need to plan for, and you can find some information surrounding them below, though it may also be worth doing some of your own research to make sure that you’re getting all the help you can find.
Fill The Cupboards: When you know what you’ll need to be eating each day, it will be a lot easier to plan all of your meals out. Once you’ve done this, filling your cupboards with all of the food you’ll be making is the best route to take, rather than shopping each day to buy one meal at a time. Not only will this help to stop impulse purchases, but it will also make it much harder to find excuses not to stick to your diet.
Set Some Goals: Along with filling your cupboards, setting some reasonable goals for yourself will also be a good idea. These should go long into the future, with plenty of milestones along the way, giving you the chance to motivate yourself by reaching small targets, while also giving you an idea of how well you’re doing. You can easily set a high standard at this stage which will push you further than ever before.
When you’re working on new health goals, keeping yourself on track can be a delicate balance. While too much tasty food will often result in relapsing, having none whatsoever will also make it harder to stick to the rules, making it crucial that you find a way to reward yourself which works well for you. Some people will want to have the occasional treat, but others will prefer the idea of rewarding themselves with an activity. The sky’s the limit when you’re giving yourself something you’ll enjoy.
Take A Reality Check
Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to give yourself a reality check. In a lot of cases, the reasons you’ll be dieting are far more important than your desire for the food you like, and this should be enough to keep you going. If you have a medical condition which could be made worse with the wrong food, for example, it will be very much in your interest to stick to the boring diet. This is where you can use your goals as a true reference for your success, as a reality check can also be very positive.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of sticking to your new lifestyle. A lot of people struggle with this sort of work, but work at a pace that is unique to you.
Health is precious, which also includes feeling good, day in and day out, so protect it.
Drink water – divide your weight by 2, and drink this calculated number in ounces.
Don’t sacrifice sleep. Aim for 8+ hours a night. We need more sleep in the winter. Can you tell?
Journal daily. Jot down your feelings and a list of gratitude.
Track habits, not your calories.
Remember food is fuel by honoring physical hunger. Emotional hunger feels real but is for a very specific thing/craving and comes on strong. Real hunger is a quieter sensation and much more manageable. Do you let yourself feel real hunger?
If you want to dig deeper, let’s touch on the hard stuff…
Goals around this time of year are to either lose weight or maintain weight. You must step back and realistically evaluate what makes sense for you. Once you make that decision, commit to a plan (and below will help you with that).
Empowerment and affirmations – can you count on yourself? Even if you feel like you cannot, fake it until you make. Choose an affirmation to repeat to yourself daily, to turn this thinking around. “Of anyone in the world, I can count on myself.”
Your best tool to ground yourself, to improve your health, mindset, even sleep, is a blank notebook/journal. If you struggle with this, invest in the “5 Minute Journal.” There is even a version of this for kids. You can make this a family affair.
Collect any data you need to get to know yourself better and collect facts that will help keep you motivated – I highly recommend taking the Gretchen Rubin quiz to uncover your tendencies in adopting new habits, do a finger prick food sensitivity test (I offer a test from KBMO Diagnostics), journal your food to see if you have episodes of mindless eating, weigh/measure your body, use tape measurements weekly (if you have a hard time separating the number on the scale to your worth). You are worthy.
Understand your mind and your demons. How do you talk to yourself? Do you have any internal beliefs that you are not enough, unfit, incapable, etc. Understand where these thoughts have come from (perhaps childhood). Next, separate these voices and beliefs from yourself, yet embrace them at the same time. These voices are part of us and will be around forever. View these voices as a much younger, child-like version of yourself, that needs parented and advised to view the situation in a more mature way. These voices/beliefs can be viewed as benign, but just like holding a piece of paper, it’s not heavy. Yet, if we hold a piece of paper for days and years, it weighs a lot. Don’t sweep these voices under the rug, and learn to not dull the feelings from them with food.
Find a way to self-soothe that isn’t food. Around the holidays we are exposed to a lot of good and stressful emotions. When we learn to feel our feelings and create an outlet for them, we practice self-care.
Learn and then use the Thought Model (below) – to gain confidence in reaching any goal you have, health-related or not.
Thought Model – 5 Steps – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The Circumstance – facts of what happened (not boss yelled at me. Boss told me I was doing a bad job). This is neutral facts.
Thoughts. Step back and think about what you’re thinking. Do a thought download or on paper or phone/computer. Understand the buzz in your head. Let it out. Do this for 5 minutes straight; you will surprise yourself what all you try to cover up. Do it on whatever topic you want. About your job, about your weight, about your child, whatever is consuming you.
Emotions – a situation creates thoughts, thoughts fuel emotions.
Actions – emotions lead to actions. Our thoughts create our results.
Results – if we thought differently about something, we’d feel differently, we’d make ideal actions and get the results we want. Let me paint your. Few examples below.
Circumstance (facts) – I have a body, a business and I am alive
Thought – I’m plugging through, good enough
Feeling – Unmotivated, resignation
Action – I’ll continue doing the same thing
Result – No growth in my life or health, and business is stagnant
Circumstance – I have a body, a business and I am alive
IMPROVED Thought – Just a little more (compassion, effort, awareness, pushing myself past my comfort zone).
Feeling – Empowered, purpose, motivated
Action – Step up workouts, craft a plan, look at ways to improve/grow business, more attention to nutrition
Result – Moving everything to the next level, I am stronger physically and mentally, I am more confident
There is never a time when you are not responsible for how you feel. It is not what happens to you, it is what you believe about what happens to you that causes your feelings.
Circumstance (fact) – The picture of my body in the mirror
Action – Squeeze into clothes that are too tight because I refuse to buy a bigger size, mentally beat myself up, go and eat a bunch of processed foods.
Result – Continue to gain weight, feel uncomfortable in my clothes, emotional pain/suffering
Circumstance –The picture of my body in the mirror
IMPROVED Thought – This is my body
Feeling – Awareness, neutral feeling, curious
Action – Find clothes that fit and flatter my current body, keep working towards my goals
Result – Clothes I feel good in, less emotional pain, wanting from a place that feels good
The best way I often find to change my thoughts is asking myself good questions. Ex: What if losing weight was easy? What would I do? What if being diabetic was easier or more fun? How would it be? Our brain will seek solutions and we will gain empowerment.
Recipe: Real Food Fried Apples
These are delicious and do not require any additional sugar as the natural sweetness from the apples is enough. This is a great alternative to more decadent desserts, such as apple pie, but far more forgiving on health. Lower in sugar, lower impact in spiking blood glucose levels, more favorable on gut health, energy levels and wellness goals.
This was originally posted on my type 1 friend’s site, Caroline Potter, when she was pregnant and going through the changes in diabetes for each trimester. Enjoy.
Please welcome Kelly Schmidt to the Flourish blog today for an encouraging and informative Q & A about Type 1 Diabetes and pregnancy!
From Caroline: One of the most beautiful parts of my very difficult pregnancy has been connecting with so many of YOU—I can’t tell you how encouraging your comments, prayers and emails have been to me and the saying “it takes a village” has come true to life!
Managing not only a difficult pregnancy but also the effects of Type 1 diabetes has been exhausting and most days far too draining to want to talk online I wanted to bring on my beautiful friend and fellow Type 1 mom, Kelly Schmidt, RD, LDN, to chat all things Type 1 pregnancy. She is a beauty inside and out and such a wealth of knowledge! Kelly has been such an encouragement to me and I know you will love her!
**Please note, this information can also be helpful to those with gestational diabetes or blood sugar issues in pregnancy. This is not medical advice.**
Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy Q & A
Pregnancy can be such an emotional time, but then you add the extra emotions of being high risk and managing the ever so changing and complicated task of having Type 1 diabetes. What is your encouragement to expecting moms to manage this time of both joy and anxiety?
I am grinning as I write my response as I so easily remember the moment I found out I was pregnant. I first told my husband and then ran for my phone and called my mom with fear. I was scared to eat, exercise or cause any movement in my blood sugars with a growing fetus inside me. But then I realized there are many babies born to mothers with diabetes and I was going to be okay.
Embrace each moment and know there is a higher plan, and to tap into that inner strength and intuition and do the best you can in taking care of yourself. Round up your medical team and even social media support. I found extreme value in connecting with other women who were in the same stage I was during the initial weeks of pregnancy. While my CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) was rather awesome, I really benefited from connecting to other type 1s and I even made a Pen Pal from across the country. We had our first baby just weeks apart, but it was very beneficial to exchange notes of what foods were working for stable control and noting when crazy increases happened with our basal/long-acting. To say the least, Type 1 Diabetes allows us to have an automatic connection with one another. Don’t hesitate to seek a tribe. In the least, I’d be happy to connect.
How can meal timing and consistency play an important role in managing blood sugar levels?
I approach a client who is newly diagnosed with diabetes and a woman who is newly pregnant with diabetes in a similar fashion, and with this, consistency is one of the most important things to implement to feel good and to learn what works and doesn’t work for blood sugar control. There is an incredible value to eat at the same times and with consistent portions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It was key to have a soft plan of batch-cooked meals for the week, and by no means, did they need to be fancy.
Especially in the second half of pregnancy, insulin need to manage Type 1 diabetes can greatly increase. Some days I feel like I am just pumping myself full of insulin and I don’t love that feeling. What is your encouragement to women who also don’t like that feeling but also know that balanced blood sugar is best for both mom and baby?
Do whatever you need to do to keep blood sugars in range. If you are worried the excess insulin will put on weight, understand your wellbeing and baby’s well-being is most important, and the weight will come off. IT, Will. Come. Off. Cross that bridge when you get there, and put your best health first.
Also know, as the weeks go on the amount of time needed for a pre-bolus goes up as does basal/long-acting needs. For example on pre-bolusing, first trimester you may find 15 minutes is needed before eating, 2nd trimester moves towards 30 minutes, and 3rd trimester it indeed may need to be 45 minutes. By third trimester it’s common to be on 3x as much basal as well. The amount of insulin isn’t the worry, keeping blood sugars in range is.
How can hydration affect your blood sugar in a negative way?
A 2011 study from Diabetes Care, found when adults who drank only half a liter of water (~two glasses) or less each day, they were more likely to develop blood sugar levels in the pre-diabetes range, versus people who drank more water. While we already have diabetes, this study is important, because it highlights how other hormones, such a vasopressin increases with dehydration, telling our kidneys to hold onto water, and this can influence higher blood sugars. As well, water/hydration, helps insulin do its job. And lastly, if wearing a CGM, being properly hydrated can help our it work be more accurate.
Beyond water, those of us with diabetes, are at risk of losing our electrolyte balance as our blood sugars move up and down. Sea salt, mineral water, and a diet abundant in vegetables can help counteract this. Please note, the use of table salt/iodized salt is not recommended. It can stress our thyroid, among other negatives in the body. Pure, unrefined sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, and Celtic salt, are all great options. Last note on salt, if you are eating mainly a whole food diet, low in dairy and grains as well, you will need to salt your food more. If you are craving salt, listen to that as a sign you need to sprinkle a little more on your food, as well as, making sure you are getting enough rest. When our adrenals are working hard, they can also stimulate salt cravings. Proper hydration can take effort, and it’s handy to always have a water bottle on you (preferably glass or stainless steel).
How can hormones, blood sugar and insulin need change postpartum—both immediately after delivery and in the months that follow?
I had a pump on both times I delivered, and I knew coming to the end of my third trimester, I needed to plan new rates. With my CDE we agreed on a total basal for after delivery and it was about 10% lower than my pre-pregnancy insulin needs. Everyone is different, but it’s common for that basal to be even lower than that, and I had to change my insulin immediately, right after holding and bonding with my child.
In the following months, there were some jumps in my insulin needs but insulin needs vary from one mom to the next. I know a few friends with type 1 – and when they nursed they needed to eat something simultaneously to prevent a low. I didn’t have that so much, but my rates were very low for the first 3 months, and went up, as my baby’s milk needs grew less. When I introduced solids (which I did at 10/11 months), my insulin needs dramatically went up.
I feel like we as Type 1 diabetics have been taught that only food influences our blood sugar, but I personally notice that stress—both physical and emotional—greatly influences my blood sugar. What are some great ways to minimize the stress and some calming activities you enjoy?
Walking is magical. A fast-paced walk can lower blood sugar 1-2 mg/dl per minute, and I took advantage of this when I knew I didn’t take my insulin early enough before eating. I still utilize walking even not pregnant. It can help catch a high, pick up the pace of insulin or mobilize a carb immediately. I remember when we lived in Chicago and all I wanted when pregnant was a little gluten-free pizza, and just 1 triangle slice sent my sugars up. So on that Friday night, I just walked up and down my stairs for 10 minutes. Also don’t be scared of highs, just work to correct them quickly. A high BG won’t hurt baby, a constant high is where the risk comes in.
Hydrate, hydrate, deep breaths and then hydrate. Both water and breathing (plus prayer or meditation) make everything better.
Flip the script. I delivered both of my kids in Chicago and especially with Teagan, the care was horrific (sorry for the transparency NorthWestern). I was informed falsely I had ovarian cancer, then I was provided the wrong genetic results, then given results scaled against a non-high risk female, and was tossed around 10 different doctors. I wanted to go bonkers and leave the practice when I was 20/30 weeks but was nervous no one would want my high-risk case. But to say the least, I treaded through the stress and remained as calm as possible because baby feels it all. Every challenge is an opportunity and our response is more important than the circumstance.
How can you balance knowing your own body and trusting your “gut” with also trusting your medical team in a high risk pregnancy?
Be your best advocate in labor. I controlled all my insulin/CGM/Blood sugars during labor, which was not preferred by the doctor or nurse staff, but they honored my interest and my blood sugars were steady through each. Declan was even a 36-hour labor! All of us with diabetes have a different case— the solution to blood sugar control is not the same for one person to the next.
If you want to focus on labor without thinking of blood sugar control, pass the responsibility to your team.
Exercise is a fabulous way to help naturally lower blood sugar. Both in pregnancy and not, I have noticed walking greatly lowers my blood sugar! What are some great pregnancy safe exercises that will help balance blood sugar and not spike it?
As mentioned, I loved walking, but I also incorporated other exercises into my care. I fell in love with water aerobics and got certified as an instructor when I was 27 weeks pregnant, but I also really enjoyed yoga. I always informed the instructor I was pregnant and asked if they were aware of modifications.
Yes, some higher intensity exercise do raise blood sugar—for me barre classes, HIIT training, and heavy lifting all required and still require taking insulin before a workout.
What are your favorite real-food sources of carbohydrates?
Right now I could have fresh raspberries all day long. Overall the foods I am listing are chosen, not 100% on flavor, but on flavor and easy on my blood sugars. I have a gentle gut and some carbs spike me far more than others. For example, sweet potatoes spike me far more than white potatoes. Usually, it’s the opposite for others. My favorites include lentils (love lentil pasta), berries, cooked onions (odd, yes), Brussel sprouts, green beans, and plantains.
Do you have any supplements or vitamins you find helpful for managing Type 1 Diabetes during pregnancy?
Diabetic or not, a good probiotic is so important to take care of our gut while our hormones transition, but also to prevent a positive Strep B test, which is found in 1/3 of pregnant women. If we are positive for this test in the USA, we must put on antibiotics at labor. This isn’t the worse thing, but it’s beneficial to do what you can to avoid it.
Additionally, a high-quality fish oil is great for the baby’s brain, but also supportive of preventing postpartum depression.
Methylated B vitamins—type 1 pregnancy’s have higher folate needs, and methylated folate is far better than folic acid. Folic acid can even be harmful.
Magnesium can help with insulin sensitivity, muscle comfort, bowel movements and more.
*I always make recommendations specific to client needs and please consult your medical professional before taking anything.*
What is your best encouragement to managing Type 1 diabetes and pregnancy?
Test like it’s a part-time job. This is obvious, but the pre/postprandial checks are crucial, and with my second child, I went on a CGM around week 16. It was amazing, and once I did it, it proved to kickoff a good streak of optimal A1Cs. With the CGM I realized my hormones went nutty as I went to bed at night. I remember my line graph on my CGM climbing from 9pm-11pm. I eventually got aggressive with my insulin and prevented this high from happening.
Be bold with insulin. Use your diabetic intuition of when to dose more insulin than what is calculated to bring a number down or cover a food. Once the baby comes, you will have a motherly instinct and I tell my mom diabetic clients to use that instinct with their diabetes too. I understand my diabetes better than ever after having kids.
Calculate insulin needs for protein. The way I do this (and I am sure you have heard of this): add the protein in a meal and divide it in half and finally add in the carbs. That number is what you use for measuring your insulin needs. Example meal: a 3 egg, veg omelet. An egg has 6g of protein, so 6 x 3 = 18. Take that 18/2 and you get 9. So 9g plus whatever carbs are in the veg, so we can pretend it’s 5. So total “carbs” to calculate insulin needs is 14 grams.
Don’t read too far into the “no-no’s” for pregnancy ie. no shellfish, wine, soft cheeses, etc. Every country, as I am sure you know, has different suggestions. Practice using your instincts here. Full transparency, I enjoyed a few glasses of wine with each pregnancy as it was thoroughly enjoyed and gentle on my blood sugars.