Archive for September 2010

Let Them Eat Cereal

September 18, 2010

I have a confession to make: I love breakfast cereal. It doesn’t matter what kind, I’ll eat them all. There’s something about that combination of cool, creamy milk and crispy yet slightly soggy cereal pieces that just makes  my day. I can eat cereal at any time of day. I find it particularly comforting for dinner or as a bedtime snack.

Unfortunately, breakfast cereal doesn’t like me.  If you’re diabetic, or just familiar with the glycemic index, you probably know where I’m coming from. The cereal tastes great until about 2 hours later when it’s pressing on my stomach walls  like a lead balloon, causing a nasty headache, a cottony coating on my tongue, and that hung-over high blood sugar feeling. Yuck.

I had sworn off the stuff for years after one final nasty experience in college. I over bolused for a giant bowl of late-morning cereal in the cafeteria, which resulted in a low about an hour later and then a nasty high that lasted most of the afternoon.  That was the last straw. I avoided the cereal aisle at the store, and stopped buying milk.

But a couple of years ago, my resolve weakened and I risked the cereal aisle again. I spent nearly an hour there reading labels, looking for a high-fiber, low sugar cereal. I settled on frosted shredded wheat. And through trial and error, I discovered a neat little secret: cereal works if I don’t add the milk. So I began a new love-affair with cereal — with dry cereal.

But this small step back towards my weakness proved fatal. Soon I was craving cereal with milk again. I tried it a couple of times, and even after carefully measuring both cereal and milk, I still faced the nasty post-cereal high. Certainly there was a better way. I explored the dairy section, looking for a low-carb milk or a milk substitute. Unfortunately, all of the lactose-free milks still had high carb counts. Then I stumbled upon the “alternative” milks in the health food section. Rice milk was out, because the carb count was still high, but soy milk (unsweetened,  of course,) might work.

I tried it. It was disgusting. And it didn’t agree with my stomach. I had just about given up my search when I noticed a new variety of “milk” in the health food section: Almond milk.

The clouds parted and the sun shone on that little box of magic. Just two grams of carb, 3 grams of fat, and 40 calories per every 8 ounce serving. And while it doesn’t taste exactly like milk, it’s pretty darn good, especially with a nutty cereal like Grape Nuts or, my favorite guilty pleasure, Cranberry Almond Crunch. I find that I need to add a little extra artificial sweetener to compensate for the lack of lactose, but my craving is satisfied and, as long as I choose a fiber-rich cereal, I can avoid the nasty post-cereal high.

As an added bonus, it’s packaged in these giant juice-box-like containers that are shelf stable for months. I keep one in the pantry and one in the refrigerator, so I’m ready whenever the cereal craving hits!

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Time Flies …

September 4, 2010

I can’t believe it has been twelve weeks since Baby Lukas was born. I also can’t believe that it has been two months since I last posted here. Where has the time gone?

Lukas is doing great. He weighs over 12 pounds and fills out his 3 months clothes. He is starting to develop those cute rolls on his thighs, cheeks, and arms. The pediatrician says that he has grown both in length and weight just as he should. He holds his head up during tummy time, kicks his legs and flails his arms in his bouncy chair, and smiles, laughs and coos most of the time. We are so proud of him!

I am also doing well. Finally. Things were rough there for a while. At about four weeks postpartum, I started to fall apart. I felt like a zombie. I couldn’t sleep or eat. I was overwhelmed and weepy. I was still in a fair amount of pain from the c-section, too. On top of all of this, Lukas developed an all-day cry, which we later discovered was due to reflux and colic. So I made an appointment with my psychologist, who suggested that I try an antidepressant. Then I started taking Zoloft. And then I gave up breastfeeding.

Both were hard decisions to make, but I realized that something had to change. I needed to take care of myself so that I could take care of Lukas. My oversupply was making us both miserable, and between my insomnia and his need to nurse every three hours, I was not getting enough sleep. So even though it broke my heart to feed him that first bottle of formula, after the engorgement subsided, the milk dried up, and my mood began to improve, I realized that this was the best answer for us as a family. When I think about it too long, I’m still disappointed that I wasn’t strong enough to do this for him. But it was a decision that needed to be made so that I could start the journey back to a healthy place, both physically and mentally.

Things are falling into place, now. Lukas and I have established a semblance of a daytime routine, and we both look forward to tummy time and bath time. My maternity leave is quickly coming to an end, and I am so disappointed that I am going to have to leave him during the day. I never thought I would be “one of those moms,” but it’s happening. I wish I could stay home with him forever. I never imagined that days full of laundry, feeding, and changing could be so rewarding. And so fun. Hard, yes, but also rewarding. Who would’ve guessed?