Patience is a virtue, but sadly not one of mine when it came to starting a family.
I turned my husband into my dietician and personal trainer, I started picking the brains of doctors, specialists, and sourcing insights from friends and acquaintances.
So I know we are truly blessed we were able to conceive, especially considering we are both in our fabulous forties.
Which is why, like most first time mums, as soon as I realised I was pregnant, I started reading…
Subsequently, my diet continued along the path that would best give my body the ability to concentrate on nourishing our little egg into a healthy bub.
From the research my husband and I conducted, we surmised that rather than fighting to function against preservatives and other hidden hinderances, we would focus on nurturing my body, rather than pursue my diet of habit.
It had to be a ‘we’ effort, as self control and a hungry pregnant woman simply don’t exist – at least not in my world.
Not surprisingly, enter my heart-to-heart with my pesky little mates: Little Miss Gluten and Little Miss Lactose, aka the Witches of Woe.
You see WOW, have proven to be no friends to me at all. Consequently, I have shared a love hate relationship with them both since turning 37 and while I’d like to think their say over all things dietary for me in my forties is due to a misspent youth, sadly I think the truth is decidely more vanilla.
My body – for whatever reason – doesn’t respond warmly to gluten or lactose. Bloat being the main side effect followed by a fogginess that descends on me making even the simplest of tasks a little challenging.
Now what some may call baby brain – and let’s be honest, that little beast is real – the gluten haze as I like to refer to it, is a reality that can be avoided, if you’re willing to forgo the habits of western dining founded in years of poor practice rather than any health science.
Step 1: Rethinking the Weekly Shop
Now before you think this is about to turn into a ‘All hail the Paleo diet’ diatribe to which MKR’s Pete Evans would be proud, rest assured – there’s no room for that kind of crazy in these parts.
More a focus on careful observation of the variant parts contained in the highly processed foods we have learnt to keep as ‘staples’ in our pantries.
As you’d expect, gone from my pantry are the delights: Special K, Nutri Grain, White bread, raisin loaf, Pasta, flour, full cream milk, … you get my drift.
Instead, I have specific variants on the traditional with labels reading gluten free, lactose free and dairy free. So my alternative staples include: soy & linseed bread, rice bubbles, gluten-free pasta and zymil milk – small and simple adjustments to the weekly groceries and nothing too confronting for my tastebuds.
To be honest, I apply the 80:20 rule. If I’m good good 80% of the time, then I can be ‘not so good’ the other 20% :P
Which sees me enjoying a glass of bubbles now and then.
To Wine or Not to Wine – Everyone has an Opinion
As luck would have it, it was also my body’s choice, that alcohol didn’t pass my lips while I was pregnant.
Believe me, I was as surprised as anyone, that a bubble had lost all of its appeal but I was also a little relieved too.
I’d been lucky enough to have been introduced to FAS through a chat or two with the wonderful Dr Elizabeth Elliot who among other things, conducts research into foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
However, detailed information on drinking while breastfeeding – and by this I mean managing the milk production with safe (alcohol-free) feeding was tricky to come by.
While I downloaded the ‘Feed Safe App’, planning ahead and expressing milk for bottle feeds were my best available solutions.
I can hear some of you screaming judgementally, ‘abstinence is best’ (Yes, Mum!), for those of us who enjoy the odd tipple, it’s a bloody good treat post partum when you’re sick of feeling like Bessie the Cow and you just want to have an hour or so of pure unadulterated ‘me time’.
Probably. However, the way I reconcile it in my head is simple:
I eat healthily and exercise regularly (don’t worry, I’m not referring to strenuous gym sessions thrice daily, moreso leisurely walks around the block most days!) as part of my WOW management plan.
I abstain 95% of the time, so I’m entitled to have my 5% of me time now and then :)
While bloat is no longer a problem, although fatigue remains. I put that down to bub’s demands rather than an unsavoury byproduct of indulging my pesky little mates: Little Miss Gluten and Little Miss Lactose, aka the Witches of Woe.
If you’d like to find out more information on FAS, start here: Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) – Better Health Channel