The Carb Curb

I adore a thin, chewy, stretchy pizza base cooked in a wood fired oven sprinkled sparsely with prosciutto, rocket and mozzarella. Sweet, gooey, sugar laden rose pink hued cubes of turkish delight. Thick, toasted sourdough bread spread generously with real butter. Slippery, slurpy noodles lazing in a warm bowl of beef pho…

Carbohydrates, glorious carbohydrates! Those comforting carbs…they just seem to be able to cuddle me in a way that no other food could. Every meal was only complete when there was a whole bowl or plate of them. Empty and unsatisfying without.

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But alas, my joyous run of uninhibited carb over-indulgence came to a screeching halt when I was pregnant with Soccer Boy. Gestational diabetes struck.

At the Diabetes Centre at the hospital, I was one of 6 pregnant mums politely nodding hello to each other. The nutritionist did her little talk about how our bodies can’t cope with the extra demand for insulin production resulting in high blood glucose levels, blah blah blah. That we could manage our gestational diabetes by monitoring blood glucose levels blah blah, adopting a healthy eating plan and performing regular physical activity, blah, blah, blah. Of course, I knew that I got this, with my healthy food and occasional exercise. How hard could it be?

She then went around the room asking each of us in turn about our diets. I nodded in sympathy with the other mums. Chapatis? Yes, of course you can still eat them. How many? 3? Oh, just have half. Of one. Yep, I thought smugly, three is definitely way too many. Half is perfect. Toast? No, not 4 slices, just 1 thin slice. If it’s a thick cut, have half of that. From my pedestal, I smirked. Who has 4 slices in one sitting anyway? That’s just gluttony.

And then she took out a small bowl with what looked like 3 spoonfuls of rice in it… I stared… um, how much did you say that I could have? One? Like that is, like, I mean, like that’s one serve you’ve got there in that bowl? In that silly plastic bowl, my carb allowance shrank by 70%. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the mum who ate too much toast give me an uncharitable look of sympathy.

So it turned out that I was eating the right things, just in the wrong proportions. Way, way wrong proportions. Apparently lots of carb, some more carb, just a bit more carb, lots of meat, more meat and a token vegetable, no matter how fresh, in the one sitting wasn’t the way to go. And I needed to spread my meals throughout the day. No more 3 large meals, just 6 smaller ones every 2 -3 hours.

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With effective management of gestational diabetes you’ll reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy and the birth of your babies. That darn nutritionist knew how to press my buttons.

So I withdrew from the restaurant scene (silly hidden carbs everywhere), and set my energy into writing a food diary for the nutritionist and started carb counting with military precision. Luckily Daddyken was reasonably patient. Can we have dinner now?

What? Oh, yes, in 23 minutes.

But everything’s cooked and ready.

Yes it is, but we’ll eat in… yep 22 minutes. I had my afternoon snack an hour and 38 minutes ago. It hasn’t been two hours yet.

I was determined to carb it up after Soccer Boy was born. And so after he came out fat and healthy, I totally eased up on my carb counting. But dang it – I found that I could no longer stomach the amount of carbs I used to inhale in my pre-Soccer Boy days. I just felt bloated, heavy and even unhealthy.

Five years on and I’m still working on trying to eat more vegetables and finding a good balance with the food that I eat and cook, although I have managed to curb my carb intake. Especially for the sake of the Cherubs, I try to minimize the amount of salt and sugar I add to our food, serve more whole grains and limit junk food to a bare minimum. But it’s hard when the Cherubs tell me what their school friends are eating (chips and Tiny Teddies) at recess, while they get apple or cucumber. And it’s particularly tough when they come home from a party with a lolly bag… have you ever seen a grown woman wrestle a lolly bag from a child?

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So you’ll find that the recipes I post will have been tampered with – usually the salt or sugar will have been reduced. Oh, but I’m not shy about fat in my food. No carb in that : )

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One thought on “The Carb Curb

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