Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

A title such as this can easily apply to a variety of things- politics, education, religion.. you name it. In this post, I am referring to health and more specifically, falling for the dictations of your doctor. "Don't drink the Kool-Aid": don't fall for whatever they push on you!

This information is meant to resonate with everyone, even while I am focusing specifically on the health and well-being of pregnant ladies, and their children-to-be. Are you a health professional, a husband, a grandparent, a mother-in-law, a yoga teacher, or just a concerned citizen? Please share this valuable information with the vessels of future humanity.

I want to share my dislike of the standard pregnancy glucose test, and inspire and encourage you to stand up against this. As with any prescription, I believe the patient has the right and even responsibility to research the prescribed drug or supplement, its side effects, and -in my opinion- its natural alternatives. You should always go to your doctor's office with the assumption that they will push pills on you, to the benefit of big pharmaceutical companies. You might say- "they have a degree," "they know how to best treat my symptoms." They don't. Please don't trust them, don't trust anyone but yourself; trust your body and that it knows what it needs. 

My personal nutrition, and experience with "Glucola":

I have always put a lot of effort into eating well- especially since I was 20. I eat natural (preferably organic, food-sourced) supplements, drink Kombucha, eat organic whole foods whenever they're available, avoid mass quantities of sugar (though I still eat some natural cane sugar, meat, bread, pasta- though I try to balance it with a good amount of greens), and very strictly never corn syrup or other popular GM foods. I do eat a lot of chocolate, though I am particular to the high-grade Swiss kind.

I am not trying to come off as a snob by saying this. Good food is necessary to fuel the body; I won't feel bad about attempting to change the diet of those around me. I am not pushing a gluten-free, dairy-free or a vegan approach; merely a balanced diet of quality food. Obviously, avoid those things that you are allergic to, but that goes without saying.

Considering how much care I have about what I put into my body, it was especially offensive when I went in to do the GTT (glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes) for my first pregnancy three years ago. I went to the appointment unprepared; I didn't know what to expect, only that I wasn't to eat or drink all night and all morning, and at 9:30 am I was to guzzle a "glucose drink," and let it sit for 2 hours, and finally follow with a blood test to measure how efficiently my body could handle that stress. When the morning of the test arrived, I already felt a bit nauseous from the lack of food and water (understandable and tolerable). Toss in drinking the equivalent of a chemical-ridden Pepsi to the mix; I felt like I was dying. That is the kind of strain that I would NEVER put my body through (even if it is just a "one time" deal), especially with a growing baby. It's important to mind what you eat most especially during a pregnancy (and chemicals you're exposed to etc.) to avoid epigenetic risk you could be subjecting the new life to. For example- a mother who eats corn dogs and donuts while pregnant increases the risk of her child being obese (not genetic but EPIgenetic). Why count out Glucola from the list of potentially harmful epigenetic factors? I myself only became aware of the phenomenon of epigenetics a couple of years ago through an environmental toxicology class. I have included an explanatory video, which you can access by clicking here.

Having FA, I have heard doctors /neurologists that are familiar with it, go on about how we have a higher risk of developing Type II Diabetes- and especially GDM (gestational diabetes) during pregnancy. As I have never had either, I don't know much about this connection. But there are undertones of it being out of our control- and not diet-related (I do not agree with this). I imagine that along with limited exercise and daily movement, a poor diet can easily stress an FA body to the point of improper insulin production. Upon further research, it seems that little is known of the connection (in other words, there is no further research)..  There is, however, an inkling that a shortage in the insulin secretion of B-cells, to insulin resistance in muscle, liver and fat tissues could be contributing factors. I say, diet is everything (and the most likely cause of the epigenetic development of diabetes), and I'm sticking with it. 

I've heard the argument- "it's a necessary safety measure to ensure that you aren't at risk for GDM. You wouldn't want to give your baby a birth defect, would you?" So what is it, drink the poison, or be an irresponsible parent? (Sense the irony?) The way I see it, doing that to yourself is the equivalent to whacking your shin with a hammer to make sure it is indeed broken.

I am not advocating that we should avoid testing for GDM. Not saying that we should eat strictly broccoli and cross our fingers that we don't develop it. I most definitely agree that GDM should be tested, just not the way our doctors have been forcing us to. I have been researching some alternatives- one being the Jelly Bean method. The test runs basically the same way, just eating 28 Jelly Beans instead of a nasty chemical drink. It's not some hippie-dippie alternative either, it's been solidly backed up by a clinical trial, and recommended by many (yes, doctors too!). "Hey, Jelly Beans are not organic." Rest assured, chemical-free fruit based ones are out there! I have spoken with my midwife about my concern of the Glucola drink. She understood where I was coming from and grasped my reluctance immediately, then told me that we could run the same test, only with organic grape juice. Really?! Why would such a drink be produced when you can do the same thing with fruit juice or 28 grams of any other sugar?! Simple: money, money, money. I think it is extremely irresponsible for a hospital to give this unreliable, horrible drink to a pregnant lady.

Unfortunately, that midwife of mine was fired soon afterwards; I suspect for her "alternative" views. I was then offered only the Glucola. So, I went to UCSF, thinking such an innovative hospital would allow me to eat a handful of jellybeans. But no, they also only do Glucola testing, the alternative being a weeks worth of finger-pricking, which I went with.

I am sharing an article by Aviva Romm, M.D.- a very enjoyable and informative read. Access here. She goes into the toxic ingredients found in this doctor-prescribed diagnostic "medicine." Dr. Romm's article is backed up by her medical degree, a clinical trial, and input from her nutritionalist colleague, so don't just take my word for it! It is the best idea to get as many opinions as possible- as well as trusting your own instincts- when your health is in question.