Monday, June 2, 2008

Mystery & Solution

Okay, I have this morning issue that has lately been absolutely rendering me non functional. When I wake up in the morning my blood sugar is incredibly low. I cannot sleep in, not because I have to pee, which one would consider normal in a pregnant woman, but because I have to eat. When I get up for the day, I go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and then beeline to the kitchen to feed myself. If anyone gets in my way or even wants to talk to me before I get food in my mouth, their life is in danger! Anyways, I am always compensating for early morning low blood sugar, and since I got pregnant have been dealing with this on a daily basis. I eat at 11:00 or midnight every night, but still am 'faint with hunger' when I wake up at 7:00. The morning issue I'm referring to here is that, after I eat, I feel like shit. I always try to eat a protein and a fruit with my breakfast to try and boost my blood sugar short and long term, but I still feel like shit and I couldn't figure out why. Lately it has been getting worse, and I haven't started to feel better until after my morning snack, and sometimes as late as after lunch. I feel weak, 'draggy,' nauseous, cranky, and have heartburn.
Yesterday I surmised a possible hypothesis; with my protein and fruit, I was eating whole grain, complex carbohydrates. Porridge, toast, or cereal. Carbohydrates are good, but they are not good for stablizing blood sugar. A hypoglycemic event will not be rectified with crackers or toast; an apple and a piece of cheese works better. I figured that perhaps I was expending so much energy digesting these complex carbs that I was using up a fair amount of the energy I had eaten, while my body was already trying to recover from a night of not eating.
Whether or not this is physiolgically sound, I don't know. But I decided my shitty state was likely directly related to the morning consumption of complex carbs, so this morning I tried an experiment. For breakfast I had two eggs, two small pieces of bacon, an orange, and some apple juice. Protein x 3, fruit x 2, no carbs. The result? I felt AWESOME! What a relief. I went to aerobics and felt no dragging, weakness, nausea, or crankiness. Some minimal heartburn. GREAT! Only I may get tired of eggs. Peanut butter makes me nauseous this pregnancy. Who wants chicken for breakfast?? Cream cheese doesn't seem protein enough and one can't eat cream cheese with no carbs.
Anyways, for lunch I ate borscht and a piece of bread with butter. Snack was an orange. I felt good.
Suddenly, midafternoon I had an overwhelming desire for cookies. We were at my in-law's place and there is a bag of oreo cookies in their pantry. I ate five. FIVE! #1, I don't eat refined sugar in order to combat chronic yeast infections and to try and level out my blood sugars in an attempt to encourage the growth of an 'average' sized baby, #2, I don't have difficulty refusing oreo cookies. I don't even like oreo cookies. Chocolate is difficult (though I succeed 98% of the time), but not cookies filled with disgustingly sweet white cream and lots of preservatives, and #3, a slip up for me generally involves ONE item, not five.
After the five cookies, I ate some tortillas with cheese and felt better. I was weirded out by this cookie binge. And then it occurred to me: I had only eaten ONE carbohydrate serving ALL DAY! It was now 4 p.m. No wonder I ate the cookies! We need 5-10 servings of whole grain, complex carbohydrates in a day. Having cut out my carbs in my breakfast, I needed to find a way to replace them somewhere else. Desparate, my body fixated on cookies.
Mental note: breakfast, no carbs. Snack and lunch, carbs.
Will try tomorrow.

In other topics, yesterday's church service was really wonderful. We sang some wonderful songs, and our pastor wrapped up his (seriously amazing) series on the ten commandments. I've never considered the Big Ten to be interesting enough for one sermon, let alone ten of them, but our pastor is exceptionally gifted. And thoughtful. And educated.
His sermon yesterday addressed "You shall not covet." You can listen to his sermon in its entirety here, definitely worth a listen. I also highly recommend Feb. 3rd. A resounding amen to an apology to the world, from Christians, for having failed so miserably, so often, to portray Christ's love.
Anyways, the ideas behind this tenth commandment that Scott brought to light were interesting and complex, and one thing kept rattling around in my head. What is it that I covet from other people? I've been jealous of peoples' houses, and vacations, and large backyards, and nice clothes before, but not recently. And a 'desire to have' only morphs into 'covetousness' when it becomes destructive, and I've not felt that jealous of anyone in a few years.
Part way through the sermon, it hit me what I covet. I don't have difficulty with material items at this current point in time (I'm not immune), but what I DO have difficulty with is other moms. Moms who have it under control. Moms who look peaceful. Moms who patiently redirect and explain while disciplining, showing no ruffling of their exterior expression. Moms who are joyful.
Sometimes I feel patient and peaceful and joyful, and sometimes I have things under control, but I want to steal what these women have, or seem to have, all the time. I want to take it for myself, at their detriment. Barring stealing it, I want it gone in them, so I won't feel so horrible when I watch them.
Hm. Problematic.
Two things I need to acknowledge here. One, I am good enough. I'm enough, for my children. I don't always look like I have everything under control, but there is a downside to excessive control and order, and above all I love my children and they know it, deep inside their hearts. Two, other women are not always perfect, unruffled, and joyful. One moment in time does not represent them as parents, any more than one moment in time or one interaction represents me as a parent.
Will work on acknowledging both.
Throwing myself headlong into Jesus helps, for in Him I find a focus other than myself, and I also find unconditional, excessive, abounding affection for me.

I don't get why, but I'm so glad he feels this.


Dana said...

Hey Mona, nice work on figuring out your mystery! Fascinating, and something to keep in mind. We have as a culture become so disconnected with our food! I am thankful that our bodies are so amazingly adaptable that we can continue to live and even thrive despite how perverted our food has become. Despite the limitedness of many of our diets (the first time I lived in Mexico I was vegetarian- I don't know how I was able to function living on a diet of mostly quesadillas, yogurt, cereal and diet coke). Anyway I applaud you for being aware of the connection and perservering through to a solution!

We've made some really big changes in our diet to the good I think but I have been surprised to note that we don't have substantially more energy. Andrew is losing some excess weight which tells me we're going in the right direction but I think we still need to tweak a little. Keep on sharing!

Tonya said...

I have definitely coveted other women's "abilities" to look good publicly. I say it that way because, no matter how calm I can be in public, it doesn't necessarily translate to my private life. Also, I have found that the longer I am a parent, the older I get, the better I am at truly maintaining a calm and peaceful attitude. I read a book about having a gentle and quiet spirit at one point and thought "this is impossible!" I would say that right now, I maintain that most of the time. Of course, I am very good at ignoring my kids, being irritated (but not yelling), feeding them crap, etc. The point being - we are all flawed, all growing, all changing. I had to spend an entire year praying - every day - that I would enjoy my kids. I just didn't.

I'm rambling. Main point - you're doing great. 10 years from now you will look back and see that you've grown incredibly. I guess that is the biggest thing. Keep striving to do better, to allow Christ to rule more in your life. Keep submitting to Him. Keep confessing your sins to Him. Allow Him to shine in your life.

Still a little rambly. :-)

Oh - eat the protein w/ a little bit of carb in the a.m. Yogurt is great too. We like kefir also (like a yogurt drink). One of our favorite breakfasts is a fried egg w/ turkey bacon and cheese on a whole wheat English muffin. (It's even better if you saute onion and throw it on there.)

I will shut up now.

melissa said...

Yes, yogurt is great, but I can't have sugar so my only yogurt option is plain. I love plain yogurt, but it does get boring after awhile, even with different fruits. Kefir is out. They make whole wheat english muffins? Seriously, dude, where?

Tonya said...

English muffins - we buy one of 2 major brands at any grocery store - Thomas or Pepperidge Farm. I believe Pepperidge Farm doesn't add high fructose corn syrup (but don't quote me on that). The other place is Trader Joe's. Do you have them up in Canada??? One more place to look is just any health food grocery store.

Yeah, unsweetened kefir and yogurt is yuck. Have you tried stevia?

Jen & Andrey said...

I'd like to mention that apple juice and oranges are predominately simple carbohydrates so your breakfast did indeed contain carbohydrates. It is likely that the simple carbs helped get your blood sugar up faster and may be why you felt better faster. What you may need is a source of protein (and/or fiber as it also helps with blood sugar stabilization), complex carbs, AND a source of simple (nonrefined) carbohydrate. This way you have something to bring your blood sugar up right away so you can feel better and also have energy and satiety to last you a few hours. So I think juice and fruit is a great way to do that (in addition to your usual whole grains and a protein source).
Keep in mind that most juices are very concentrated sources of simple sugars and contain few nutrients so go easy on them - they act in the body very similarly to refined sugar. As far as fruit juice goes, orange is the best because of the vitamin C and folate content as well as carbohydrate and fiber (if you choose OJ with pulp). The next best would be apple and cranberry as both provide a small amount of vitamin C. Another option might be carrot juice (if you like it) - I'm pretty sure you can find it without any added sugar - look for 100% carrot juice and nothing else.
Perhaps this combination will work for you. Perhaps even drinking a small glass of juice while you are preparing your breakfast will help. A small handful of dried fruit might do the trick as well.
On the protein topic - do you like cottage cheese? It's very high in protein - higher than yogurt per serving and provides some carbohydrate as well.
And do you like oatmeal? Rolled oats have 5 grams protein per cup (cooked) and if you prepare it with 1/2 milk (just boil on the stove for a few mins) and add a small amount of honey or maple syrup and/or raisins to sweeten it - that would provide everything. And if you find it's not quite enough protein, you can add a hard-boiled egg or a few slices of cheese on the side. Anyway, just a few ideas. Let us know how it goes.