Low Carb Eating – It Doesn’t Have to be Boring

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Generally speaking, when people hear the word “diet” they don’t have very positive thoughts.  Images of all their favorite foods with a big red “X” crossing them out….or climbing onto a scale and dreading the number….or bland food day after day….or meals full of just veggies….etc.

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I have been on a diet for the past several months.  Because of the fact that my Mom is Type 2 diabetic and my sisters were both borderline gestational diabetic, my Mom sent me a kit so that I could be monitoring my own glucose levels.  Sure enough…long about beginning to mid second trimester I realized that I was dealing with high blood sugar.

*sigh*

NOT fun.  Especially when you’re pregnant.  And craving food.  Like Doritos.

After the initial breakdown, I buckled down and started trying to find ways to eat to keep my blood sugar under control.  At first it was extremely overwhelming and I thought I would never be able to enjoy eating again.  At least until the end of the pregnancy.  But I have discovered that there are a LOT of super yummy meals that I can make that are low in carbohydrates.

Having high blood sugar does not mean that you can’t enjoy your food or that you can never have sweets again.  And that is good news for me!!

So for anybody with gestational diabetes or just wanting to cut down on carbs….here are some of the recipes and things that have worked for me the past few months!

If you are dealing with blood sugar issues, of course make sure that you don’t just take my word for it.  Everybody’s body responds differently to foods, so just because these work for me doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you.

Not only are these recipes (generally) under 10 carbs, they tend to be easy to make and not require a lot of ingredients.  If I look at a recipe and it has a huge list of ingredients……I immediately close it.  Too overwhelming.  😉  I also don’t give a second glance to the recipes that require “odd” ingredients or those super healthy things that cost an arm and a leg.  (Although I do hope to start slowly working some of these things into our budget and diet!)

Please note that most people will generally need to supplement with side dishes or between meal snacks to get enough carbs throughout the day.

  1. Stir Fry Vegetables with Cashews – One of the first recipes I discovered.  The recipe says that it has 20 carbs.  When I make this, I leave out the pak choi (or cabbage if you want to substitute) and mushrooms.
  2. Grilled “Smothered” Chicken – 5 carbs per serving.
  3. Crockpot Chicken Tacos – 4.8 carbs per serving.  I ate mine without tortillas.  Supposedly HEB has low carb tortillas with only 4 carbs…but I have yet to make it down there to find them.  Be careful with “low carb” tortillas.  I got some at Walmart with that label and it was (if I remember correctly) 14 carbs per tortilla.
  4. Green Enchilada Chicken – 6 carbs per serving.
  5. Salsa Chicken –  6 carbs per serving.
  6. Salsa Verde Chicken Wraps – The recipe says it’s 50 carbs per serving…but if you look at the ingredients, a large portion of that is tortilla and avocado.  Again, if you have the low carb tortillas that will cut down.  And I am allergic to avocado so that was easy for me to cut out.
  7. Rotel Chicken – 3 carbs per serving.  This wasn’t bad…but not amazing.  The only ingredients are chicken and Rotel.  It’s great for a night when you don’t really feel like cooking and want to just throw something together.  But you might need a dipping sauce.  (Perfect for us, because my husband loves dipping almost anything in Ranch dressing anyway!)
  8. Crockpot Creamy Italian Chicken – 7.1 carbs per serving.
  9. Baked Meatballs – trace carbs per serving.  This was my first time making meatballs from scratch…super easy and fun!
  10. Cheesy Beef Bake – 6.55 carbs per serving.  The Pilot loved this one!
  11. Tuna Patties – 1.91 carbs per serving.
  12. Cheesy Bacon Chicken Breasts – 0.2 carbs per serving.  Recipe calls for bacon bits…I just used real bacon.
  13. Low Carb Taco Bake – 3.7 carbs per serving.  One of my favorites!
  14. Low Carb Mexican Beef and Spinach Casserole – 7.2 carbs per serving.  Another one The Pilot really enjoyed.
  15. Hawaiian Pizza Stuffed Peppers – 8.5 carbs per serving.  This was kind of fun.  It actually tasted like pizza….but without the crust.  Honestly though I didn’t miss the crust at all.  I did substitute real bacon for Canadian bacon.
  16. Quick Low Carb Dinner – Sausage, onion, and green beans
  17. Amy’s Chicken Parm – 5 carbs per serving
  18. Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Cream Cheese – 3.5 grams of carbs
  19. Low Carb Crock Pot Italian Buffalo Chicken – trace amount of carbs
  20. Low Carb Dinner Balsamic Chicken and Peppers
  21. Flower Power Eggs
  22. Basic chicken salad – canned chicken, mayo, green onion.  Mix together.  Yum.

What about when you just want dessert like a normal person?  Here are some recipes I have found…

  1. Low Carb Cheesecake – 3.4 carbs.  If you think of it as cheesecake, you might be disappointed.  But if you are just wanting something yummy to satisfy a sweet tooth….this is good!!
  2. Tony’s Quick and Easy No Bake Cheesecake – 5 carbs.
  3. Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies – 3.65 carbs
  4. Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprints – 1. 8 carbs
  5. Primal Fudge – Now this one does have “odd” ingredients.  Coconut oil, almond butter, and raw honey or maple syrup.  I included it on the list though because it’s SO good.  I first had it at my sister’s house…..and when I came home and tried it I thought my ingredients wouldn’t matter.  Yeah….the difference between raw honey and “regular” store bought honey….HUGE carb difference.

Or if you want a smoothie for a snack?

  1. Strawberry Raspberry Pineapple Smoothie – There are actually several smoothie recipes on here but the only one I have tried (so far) is the one I titled.  Obviously….this is fruit filled and fruit does have sugar and carbs.  When I made this, I waited about an hour and a half after eating a low carb lunch and it was fine for my glucose levels.
  2. Low Carb Green Smoothie – 5.5 carbs.  Perfect for a hot summer day!
  3. Almond Raspberry Smoothie – 11.6 carbs

In a way I’m sad this pregnancy is almost over because after the Wingman is born I won’t be “forced” to eat low carb.  (I do definitely plan to keep a bunch of these recipes in my repertoire, though!)  I’m just now finding such a wealth of recipes!  It took a while to get into the swing of things, but now I’ve discovered so many recipes, tips, and tricks.

I have some other thoughts regarding low carb eating but will save them for another post.  Hopefully these recipes will encourage anyone who is trying to reduce their carbs for whatever reason!

-Bonnie

Joining up today with Titus 2sdays at Timewarp Wife and Hearts for Home at Graced Simplicity!

Graced Simplicity

Pregnancy Update: Week 36

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IMG_3688The Wingman is now gaining about an ounce a day, weighing
around 6 pounds.  He is about 18 1/2 inches long.  His skin
is becoming smooth and soft and his gums are now hardening.
His liver, kidneys, circulatory system and immune system
are in good working order.

It’s so crazy to realize that my estimated due date is only four weeks away!
Which means six weeks maximum until we meet our little boy!
This pregnancy has certainly flown by!

My amazing husband put our jogger together.  It and the car
seat are both sitting in our entryway.  Every time I walk by I
think about how we’ll soon have a baby!!

The Wingman gets the hiccups a lot.  And I think I finally figured
out what his little hand/arm feels like.  I never recognized
a body part until yesterday.  It was amazing!

I can’t wait to see The Pilot be a Dad!  He is so excited
to meet The Wingman  It’s the sweetest thing.

We were able to get some maternity photos taken
two weeks ago.  They turned out great and I am so
glad we were able to capture this pregnancy on camera!

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Dear Wingman,
We are unbelievably excited 
to meet you.  Only a few more weeks!!!  Now 
when you move I think about how I can 
soon cuddle you in my arms and kiss your face.
I’m praying that you will grow strong in the Lord
and in His wisdom.  We love you!!
-Mommy

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Super Mom vs. Epidural?

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“Don’t try to be Super Mom.  You don’t need to prove anything.  You can go for the epidural.”

This was said to me toward the beginning of my pregnancy.  I was a little taken aback…a little confused…and at the time even a little offended.  Super Mom?  I wasn’t trying to prove anything by desiring a natural birth.  What did this person mean?

Since then I have had many people encourage me and other friends to get the epidural.

Now, hear me on this.  I am planning a natural birth.  For me, this includes not receiving an epidural.  But do I think there is anything inherently wrong with an epidural?  Nope!!  They are not wretched, sinful inventions designed to ruin a woman’s birth experience.  Do I think women who use them are in the wrong or somehow less of a woman?  Nope!!  Birth is an intense process even with an epidural.  A friend pointed out…no matter how you have your baby…you ARE Super Mom!

So why am I not going with an epidural?  Personally, I think that knowledge is power.  For me the issue isn’t if a woman chooses to get an epidural or not, or has a hospital or a home birth…or even gets a C-section.  For me the issue is being aware of all the options and what is involved so that each woman and each couple can make an informed decision, whether that’s an informed “yes” or an informed “no.”

Here are a few things I have discovered while researching epidurals.

During labor, there are many many hormones that are going crazy in the mother’s body.  (In fact, it is some of her hormones that start labor in the first place!)  God designed these hormones to keep labor progressing, to keep the mother’s adrenaline up, and even to help with the intense bonding of mother and baby during and immediately following birth.  It’s pretty incredible.

An epidural messes with these hormones.  It cancels out much of them.  Because of this, epidurals are often known to stall labor.  Yes, the pain has gone down, but with it some of the progress in labor has also slowed or even stopped.  Studies have shown that epidurals also increase the woman’s overall time of labor, because the drugs are interfering with the mother’s natural labor hormones.

So what are some of the risks that can come from an epidural?

Everything that goes into the mother’s body and blood stream is directly transferred to the little one.  What are some of the effects an epidural can have on baby?

Here is another great article that succinctly discusses some of the risks of an epidural to the baby.

Interestingly enough, studies have shown that women who received epidurals were more dissatisfied with their birth experience than women who received no epidural.

The World Health Organization has said, “epidural analgesia is one of the most striking examples of the medicalization of normal birth, transforming a physiological event into a medical procedure.”  (Quote taken from this article by Dr. Sarah Buckley, who cites her sources at the bottom.)

There is much much more that could be said on the topic, but this will suffice for now.

Do I think that I am Super Mom?  Not at all.  In fact, I’m going to share something with the blogosphere that really makes me nervous to share because it is so personal.  Guess what?  Sometimes I get rather terrified thinking about the pain that is about to come my way.  This is going to be the hardest thing I will ever go through.  But to me…it’s worth it.  God created and designed my body to do this.  I know that He can and will get me through this birth, no matter what happens.

Again, please do not come away from this post feeling judged.  My goal is not to guilt trip women into coming over to “my side” of the issue.  My goal is simply to share part of the journey we have been on as we have been researching and making birth decisions.  My goal is simply to share information to help others out.  I have found that most women are not even told the possible risks and side effects to hospital/medical procedures.  I believe every woman has the right to know what is going on in her body, what all the options are, and what the pros and cons are.  Ultimately, as with all life decisions, the final decision is between the woman, her husband, and God.

God bless.

-Bonnie

Pregnancy Update – 32 Weeks

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The Wingman is now about 16.7 inches long, weighing
approximately 3.75 pounds (measurements/weight
from The Bump and Baby Zone).  His toenails, fingernails,
and hair have been growing!

I can definitely tell that he has been growing, as he has
now discovered my ribs.  His movements, while still
absolutely adorable, now sometimes cause me to catch my breath.  I
can’t believe that it’s already been 32 weeks!
My countdown app says 56 more days until my
estimated due date!

Last week I was out in CA for a visit.  The ladies from my old church
there threw me a baby shower.  It was so special and
so sweet of everyone to come and literally
shower me and The Wingman with love!  Quite a few ladies also
chipped in to purchase our jogger/car seat set and
that should be delivered in a week or so.  I can’t wait!

I have found myself thinking even more about what
this sweet boy will look like.  I can’t wait to see every feature
of his sweet little face!

I have really been blessed with a pretty
easy pregnancy.  God is so good.  Even with the back pain,
sore ribs, low blood pressure, and working with
high blood sugar, He is so faithful.  All of this is worth it because
of this precious answer to prayer growing inside me.

Recently we have been around several adorable young
people.  Some of what they have to say about pregnancy
and our baby is too cute.  I have to share
some quotes!

From our little neighbor:
“Does he poop in his pants?”

M: I want to see him.
Me: He’s still in my tummy.
M: Can you hold him up?

“If you scream, will it wake him up?”

The Pilot’s little niece:
(She kept wanting to see the baby
and feel him and know where his head was, etc.  One time
she reached up my shirt and felt the band of my
maternity jeans)  “He’s wearing a diaper!”

“Aww, he’s so cute!”
I agree.  😉

Random children at the San Antonio riverwalk:
(As we were walking by…)
Boy: This earthworm is having babies!
Me/The Pilot: Wow!  How exciting!
Girl: (sees my belly) Like you?
Me: Yep!
Girl: How many?
Me: Just one.  In July.

So cute!!  I love the things kids say!

Lately I have been trying to
pray more for The Wingman.  I have really been blessed by the book
Praying Through Your Pregnancy (don’t agree with everything
they say in there, but the prayer topics are so helpful!)
and The MOB Society (Mothers of Boys) Facebook page (same
disclaimer as above book).  I also got a copy of The Power of a
Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.  I look forward to reading that!

My husband and I are still working at Shepherding a Child’s Heart.
It’s hard to find time for us both to read together, but
we are working our way through it!  I am also still reading
Wild Things.  I want to finish it, but so far I am pretty sure
I do not recommend it.

On our To-Do List for the next few weeks:
-Take maternity pictures
-Pack hospital bag
-Research vaccinations

Dear Wingman,
I can’t believe we are getting
so close to meeting you!  Tonight I pray that you
will have a heart that is soft toward the Lord.  That you
will love Him and be in awe of His works.  Thinking
about raising you is both humbling and overwhelming…
but I know that Daddy and I are not on our own.  You
are God’s child, created in His image.  He will be the One to 
guide us and guide you throughout each of our lives.  I love you!
-Mommy

Pregnancy Update – Week 28

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Our son is now about 14.8 inches from head to heel, roughly
the size of an eggplant.  (This eggplant is more the length
of his head to rump as he is now folded up more.)  He weighs
about two and a quarter pounds.  His eyes now have
eyelashes and he can blink his eyes.  His brain is
developing millions of neurons and he continues to
add body weight.

We are officially in the 3rd Trimester now!  I can’t believe
how quickly time is passing.  My coundown app
says that there are 84 days left…12 weeks to the due date!

I still feel great….although the pregnancy hormones (which
have tended to come and go) have certainly been making more
of an appearance recently.  For the most part, I am still able
to get sleep at night.  Those pesky leg cramps have visited
a few times, however.

Every day I generally have between one and two hours
where I can easily get things accomplished….then I just feel wiped out.
It’s hard work making a baby!!  He’s been moving a lot more the past
few days, which always makes me happy.  He does a lot of squirming,
a lot of tapping, some kicking, and every now and then some huge kicks!
He has yet to discover my ribs….hopefully I still have a little while before that?  🙂

I seriously have the sweetest husband ever!!  He is so loving and caring.
He never complains or says anything when he comes home and
the kitchen isn’t sparkling….again.  He doesn’t mind when
I ask him to bend over and pick up something I dropped
because I don’t bend as well anymore.  He helps me cook dinner and
he gives me frequent back rubs.  I love him so much!  He is going
to be an amazing Dad!!!

We are absolutely in love with the Wingman’s name and absolutely

in love with him!!!  I can’t wait to see his sweet face
in only a few months!!

While we didn’t pick his name based on the name meaning,
I was curious as to what it meant.  When I looked it up, I
discovered a few meanings.
Brave in War
War Strength
Guide
I pray that our son will be brave in fighting spiritual battles.
I pray that he will put on the armor of God and be
ready to make huge impacts for the kingdom
of God.  I pray that as others see him, he will be a guide
that points others to Him.

We also completed the Wingman’s nursery….

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Currently I am reading Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys
by Stephen James and David Thomas (I’m participating
in an online book club) and Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.

Dear Wingman,
Typing your name almost brought tears to my eyes.

I love going into your room and thinking
about you sleeping in that crib.  I love looking
at the pictures we have on the wall and being reminded
of what an answer to prayer and what a precious miracle you are.
God has big plans for you, my son, and I can’t wait to see
what they are.  Thanks for moving so much!  I love
feeling you move.  I love YOU so much!!
-Mommy

Book Review: Redeeming Childbirth

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It took me a little while, but I finally finished Redeeming Childbirth by Angie Tolpin.  I posted briefly about it before (see comments) and I feel that my thoughts are only slightly more concrete now after completing the book.  Bear with me as I try to type things up and keep it a reasonable length.  😉

Would I recommend this book?  Yes and no.

Yes, because it is definitely thought-provoking and challenging.  I have never heard anyone speak about birth in this way.  “We need to be careful not to compartmentalize birth out of our spiritual lives, but instead glorify Him by how we birth our children.”  (page 89) “This is the foundation of this book – to encourage you to surrender control and your will to the Lord in regard to childbirth.” (pg 221)  Sure, I have heard people say that if you are a Christian, all things fall under His jurisdiction.  But I have never heard anyone talk about birth specifically being submitted to Christ….or how to submit that birth experience to Christ.

Throughout the book, Angie covers topics like fears in pregnancy, who to invite to your birth, how to go about making decisions for your birth, etc.  Each topic is discussed in relation to completely surrendering to God.

One of her main points was that the church needs to come together on the matter of birth.  There ought not be this huge divide over “hospital births” vs. “home births.”  In the church, we are all part of the same Body, we are all sisters in Christ.  There should be no judgment.  God can just as well be present at a birth in the hospital as He can at home….not at all as God’s “second choice” but because God’s plans for each woman and each birth are different.  At first I was somewhat surprised by how she talked about this divide in church.  I didn’t see it to be anywhere near as big a problem as she seemed to.  But as I went through the book I saw more and more how much  judgment there is between the two sides.  People who are pro hospital judge the other side, because they are hippies, or not willing to take advantage of medical advances, or risking their lives or their babies lives.  People who are pro home birth judge the other side because they are just following a system or risking their lives or their babies lives.  There are many assumptions made on both sides and many judgments.  This ought not be.

(Side note: I loved how she talked about the home birth vs. hospital debate.  In her section on fears, she covered the question of where you should decide to give birth.  She asked the question, “Are you making your decision out of fear?”  Are you afraid to give birth at home for x, y, or z reason?  Are you afraid to give birth at a hospital for x, y or z reason?  She then talked about how Jesus died to free us from fears and we should never be making decisions and living in bondage to any fear.  That decision is made through seeking God, looking at your situation, and educating yourself on the issues at hand.)

Another main focus was that on Titus 2 mentoring.  Angie feels so deeply that God has beautiful plans and purposes for birth…plans and purposes that are so rarely seen and talked about…that it is her passion to show women how birth can look so that they in turn can show others.  Birth is about honoring God.  It is about proclaiming Him and His design for our bodies, for our parenting, and for our eternal heritage.

On the other hand, however, part of me would not recommend this book.  I must state that there were quite a few typos and grammatical errors, which I know does not necessarily detract from any truth in the book.  It was very distracting at times, however.  In many cases, she was also quite repetitive.  Topics that seemed to be covered pretty well in depth were re-addressed later, not seeming (to me) to add much more to the thought.  But putting those minor distractions aside, there were also several instances where I had to pause and think about some of her Scripture references.  I do believe that several times verses were taken out of context.  On a few occasions, it also seemed that the author was becoming more “touchy feely” about Who God is and how He acts.

A few times she talked about pain in childbirth as if it was a sin to cry out during painful contractions.  While I agree with her points that pain is compounded when you focus on it, and if your mind is focused on things above, it can’t very well be focused on things on the earth…I do not believe that it is wrong to have intense intense pain during birth.  Or that it is wrong to cry out or scream.  (I’m not entirely sure that she was saying it was a sin…but I was definitely confused by what she was saying.)  I guess the question is…where does your mind go during that pain?  After that pain?  Is it concentrating on how terrible it was?  Is it telling you the lie that you can’t go on?  Or are you rejoicing in God’s mercy that it is over and you are one step closer to meeting your child?

Personally, I was very challenged by several things.  Through her book, I was able to really work through some things…such as releasing my desire to have a midwife (which…might be a whole post in and of itself), letting go of specific fears I have, asking God’s forgiveness for my judgmental heart toward our doctor and nurses, and really seeking Him in regard to our birth plan.  I realized how much I was trying to wrap my hands around “my birth.”  I wanted to control.  Some things really scared me and I wanted to make sure that the scary things didn’t happen to me.  I came to realize two things.  A) This is not my birth.  This birth and the whole experience belongs to God.  He is the One who gave us this child and He is the One who will bring me through labor and delivery.  B) I can’t control.  God is in charge.  God has a perfect plan.  I can plan all I want, but it must be surrendered to His will.

Bottom line: Several of the sections were absolutely amazing for me to read.  Several sections….I struggled with.  I debated almost the whole way through if I would keep the book after I finished reading.  I have decided to keep it, as the sections that were helpful were REALLY helpful.  But it is not a book that I would recommend to just anyone.  I think there would be a select few that I would recommend the book to, and those would be people that I know would read very carefully, truly holding it up to the light of Scripture.

This book has given me so much peace about birth.  I am excited to experience labor and delivery, even though I know that it will likely be way more painful that I can even imagine.  And I really look forward to sharing what I have learned with others.  This IS such an important issue and I want to see God glorified…in my birth and in my friend’s births!

-Bonnie

Pregnancy Update: Week 24

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2013-04-01 19.36.47Today I am 24 weeks.
Our wonderful son is getting close to a foot long and weighs a little
over a pound.  His brain continues to develop and his lungs
are beginning to grow the different “branches” that will allow him
to breathe when he is born in a few months.

He continues to move quite often, and I absolutely love it!
Some days he is extremely active, other days not as much.
I like to talk to him when he moves and tell him how much
I love him.  I’ve also started playing music more often, as
he can likely hear quite well inside the womb now.  I
get excited when he gets the chance to hear music about our God
and sermons on Sunday.

Now that my sweet husband is home (YAY!!!) we have about
four weeks to get busy working on the baby’s room.  We picked
up paint chips, I’ve been browsing Pinterest and Etsy, and we have
started pricing baby furniture/necessities.

Our base here is awesome!  Today I got a call that my baby bundle
was ready to be picked up.  Every new mom is given this bundle…
in it was a package of white onesies (hmm…a Pinterest project seems
to be coming to mind), hand warmers, bibs, sleepers, two receiving
blankets, burp cloths, two sets of crib sheets, and two
hooded towels.  SO blessed by this generous gift!!

I also made a couple purchases myself…..

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Daddy’s Co-Pilot

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Mommy’s Prince Charming

Awww!!!!!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Finished reading “The Thinking Woman’s Guide to
a Better Birth” by Henci Goer…still working through “Redeeming
Childbirth” by Angie  Tolpin as well as “Praying Through Your
Pregnancy” by Jennifer Polimino and Carolyn Warren.

Dear Son,
It is so exciting preparing for your arrival.

I can’t believe that we are more than halfway
to meeting you…only a few months!
You bring such a smile to our faces when you kick 
and move.  I can’t wait to see your precious face
and see if you have your Daddy’s eyes or your Mommy’s
hair.  You are such a perfect, precious gift.  We love you!
-Mommy