Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seeking Simplicity

I’ve been quiet lately, but I want to thank everyone who has continued to check in on me, leave comments, and send e-mails. Your ongoing support and encouragement means a lot!

So, I’ve been working on this post on dealing with the medical establishment and being an active participant for a couple of weeks now. It has languished three-quarters of the way complete for several days, yet I just can’t pull it together.

For one, I’ve never found it useful or interesting to write about not feeling well or detail a list of what’s wrong. If I can take those illness experiences and draw something larger from them, great, but short of that, those kinds of posts don’t do much.

But there’s something else going on. I’m at the hospital several times a week for tests and appointments. I’ve spent too much time on the inpatient labor and delivery floor for someone who has not yet delivered.

I have participant fatigue, people.

And if I’m this sick of the medical establishment, that definitely won’t make for worthwhile reading.

So, I’m writing about blueberries.

Yes, blueberries. Aside from a brief flirtation with clementines in the first trimester, blueberries are my biggest (and really one of my only) cravings this entire pregnancy. It’s like Christmas morning to me when my husband comes home from the grocery store and tells me it was “buy 2, get 1 free” day for blueberries. I eat them by the handful when I need a snack. I eat them on cottage cheese for breakfast or lunch. I never tire of their crisp, sweet, yet pleasantly tart taste.

They are so simple and refreshing, a one-ingredient snack I just need to rinse and eat.

And simplicity is more important than ever when you’re gluten-free and pregnant. After all, being celiac has a lot rules and restrictions, and the dietary guidelines for pregnant woman are not insignificant.

The way I look at food has changed over the past 33 weeks. There is a lot more compromise and negotiation. I started eating (some) dairy again, trading off the phlegm-producing effects for the calcium-rich benefits for the baby. I never drank juice because I don’t like consuming a lot of sugar, but now I mix cranberry or orange juice with sparkling water and know that the baby loves it because she kicks vigorously.

There is also a much bigger desire to follow the “less is more” mindset when it comes to ingredients, and the negotiations continue. For example, I was thrilled to find a popular brand of yogurt that labeled several flavors “gluten-free.” I didn’t have to scour over ingredients, check corporate statements, etc to get some calcium (and coat my stomach for the many pills). Yet these flavors also included a lot of additives and two types of artificial sweeteners, which while cleared by the American Pregnancy Association, are still things to watch.

So what’s the lesser evil?

Spend some time clicking through the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s guide to food additives, and you’ll start reading those labels more carefully.

It’s a tough balance, because I am loath to obsess over every single recommendation and guideline, and I want to enjoy healthy food, not be scared or overly limited by it.

And that’s how we get back to the blueberries. We’ve always had a household low in processed foods but that’s more important to me now than ever. It is easier to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, all-natural peanut butter (nothing but peanuts on the ingredient list), freshly popped corn on the stovetop, and lean meats, chickpeas, and other legumes than it is to navigate multi-syllabic preservatives.

Plus, if you’re watching sodium intake like I am, the sky-high sodium levels in processed foods are another turn-off.

My life is completely overrun with complications and competing health priorities right now. I don’t need to deal with them when it’s time to eat a meal.

Simplicity wherever and however I can find it is so important right now. Luckily for me, my cravings seem to get me just what I need.


Rachel said...

We've been straying further and further from the center aisles at the grocery store ourselves. The days where I eat too much processed food impact so much - blood sugar, mental health, IBS, etc - that it has finally begun to make sense why I need to avoid it.

Young Wife said...

"participant fatigue" - I like that term. :) Sounds like you're trying to stay positive. Blueberries are a great thing to crave!

Never That Easy said...

Participant fatigue is completely understandable. I'm so glad that you're (all) doing ok. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Lisa C said...

Laurie, I always love your posts. Last year I went through the stage of simplifying life (or so that was the goal) One way was to get rid of "stuff" I didn't need. When I saw myself buying a little pillow that hangs on the closet door that said "Simplify" I knew it was a losing battle. Hang in there, sweetie, and thanks for taking us on this journey!

Annie Sisk said...

Laurie, how I empathize.

Lately I've been feeling like I'm drowning in the sheer volume of crap I have to do just to be functional.

Simplicity, simply put, rocks.

Also: I love blueberries.

C. Collins said...

My wife loved blueberries her whole pregnancy. Good luck on your pregnancy.

I would very much like to invite you to be a guest blogger on our site. is a community social networking site supporting those that deal with illness their family and friends. You can email me at

Paul said...

Great for you for staying positive. Less is always more when we're weighed down with burdens. It's never easy, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't capture all of our strength and accomplish whatever tasks we need to complete.

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