You Can’t Munch This

“I can’t eat that.”

It’s a phrase I’ve spent two decades struggling not to have to say.

Yes, I have Type 1 diabetes, but I also have this shit (mostly) under control. So bring on the ice cream, and the marshmallow peeps, and the pizza and the cereal. Just please bring them with an accurate carbohydrate count and a few measuring cups. And maybe a food scale.

But now I’m pregnant (in case you forgot), and I’m finding it hard to maintain my cautiously rebellious relationship with off-limits foods. Which foods are off-limits for a Type 1 diabetic who happens to be harboring a tiny fetal passenger? It might be easier to talk about what’s not forbidden:

  • Water
  • Cashews
  • String cheese

It’s possible there are a few additional foods to choose from, but from my experience, the above three seem to be the only safe bets — especially when you consider the dangers posed by high blood sugars, low blood sugars, listeria, mercury, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and any other threats announced by the paranoid sadists at American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

In times of yore (read: six months ago), I’d avoid a post-restaurant-meal high blood sugar by ordering something low in carbohydrates, but high in excitement: an ahi tuna salad with avocado and glass of wine. Perfect. But now the tuna’s out to destroy my unborn child, and the wine’s right there to back it up. It’s the same deal with meat and cheese plates, sushi, caesar dressing, turkey sandwiches, sprouts, brie — even SALAD IN A BAG, people!


Food that’s deemed safe for pregnancy tends to scare me on the diabetes front. After forcing down some quinoa salad or even a cup of yogurt, I can rest easy in the fact that I’m not directly poisoning my child, but the obsession over the blood sugar kicks in. Did I count all the carbohydrates correctly? Will I be under 120 in an hour? Am I dropping too fast? Should I have had more protein? Would a square bolus have worked better? How will all of this look when I upload it and print it out next week?

I’m trying really hard not to spend this entire 40 weeks freaking out, or complaining — or freaking my husband out with all of my complaining. I just want everything to be okay, and at the same time, I’m struggling to hold on to as much of my non-pregnant, semi-normal life as I can.

Only 170-something days left, and then I’ll be welcoming our little Wojcik into the world with a stick of pepperoni, a tub of raw cookie dough, and a big glass of champagne.

9 comments on “You Can’t Munch This

  1. Erica says:

    Pregnancy and diabetes does equal much fun on the food front. Hummus, rotisserie chickens, peanut butter, I think that is what I have lived on. Oh, and no diet coke, maybe my number one pregnancy craving. I feel your pain!

  2. The whole pregnancy and food thing just boggles me. Keep in mind that all it took was one woman eating bagged salad and having a child with two heads to cause the sadists to recommend that women with child eat no bagged salad. Even though hundreds of thousands of women ate bagged salad while preggers and had children with only one head. Before all these warnings, women drank, at sushi, and did a myriad of other “off limits” things and had normal kids. Even plenty of T1s had babies long before meters were available. Was it risky? You betcha. But many survived and had healthy babies. As long as you keep your BGs in relatively tight control you and your baby will be just fine 🙂 What obgyns don’t tell you is that fetuses (or feti?) are actually far more resilient and protected in there than we often assume.

  3. Ashley says:

    Everything you said in this post sounds so familiar! We had our first baby in January, and I was diagnosed with t1 in August 2010. It seems like EVERYTHING is off-limits when you’re pregnant, and having a pancreas that’s gone kaput makes that doubly (or triply) so. I was incredibly stressed out about everything I put in my mouth during the first trimester, but I learned to relax a little after that. My OB assured me that eating deli meat wasn’t going to make our baby have a third limb, and the nurse said it was fine to indulge in a couple of cans of Diet Coke each day. I also stressed out majorly over my BG numbers (and they did get much harder to control towards the end); however, I was able to keep my A1c under 6.0% for the entire ride even though I had a lot of individual numbers that weren’t stellar, and we had a beautifully healthy baby girl at the end. I know how hard it is not to worry every second of the day about how your body is affecting your little one, but you just might find that you learn to let go a little as time goes on like I did! I blogged throughout my pregnancy, so if you’re interested, you can read my posts @ starting in June 2011. Best of luck, and try not to stress out so much that you forget to enjoy this time…pretty soon you’ll be on the rollercoaster ride (BG #s included!) of parenting =)

  4. Oh man – I read this entire post going between cringing and laughing out loud. Sounds like you are keeping a good attitude about it (even between the freaking out and complaining). And really, that’s good news – you are my hero for having a sense of humor about it and not freaking out all the time (which is more in my wheelhouse, haha). Hang in there!

  5. Karen says:

    Pregnancy is the worst. Damn good thing you get a cute baby out of the whole miserable deal.

    And dude. My eating is STILL not back to normal b/c I’m breastfeeding. I have my debauchery planned for L’s first birthday. I’m going to eat ALL THE CAKES. And scarf it down with a beer in one hand and merlot in the other.

  6. Beth says:

    OH NO, not bagged salad!! WTF?? I live on that stuff!….(I’m not pregnant, but still…!)

  7. Lisa says:

    Hi Jacquie,

    Thank you so much for blogging about your experience with diabetes, especially now that you’re expecting a little one. For me, one of the hardest parts about being diagnosed with diabetes last summer was how difficult it was going to be to have children. I really look forward to hearing more about your experience. Thank you for the inspiration!

  8. lovehatediabetes says:

    You could always spice up your water with Crystal Light 🙂 Yumm!

  9. BAGGED SALAD?!?!! that too? oh no.

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