I’ve been in my pyjamas all day. They have Christmas ornaments all over them. This is particularly embarrassing because everybody knows it’s Epiphany.
I was trying to figure out a way to blame being in the same pair of jammies since 6pm yesterday on my dietary challenges, but I can’t. I’m simply a lazy layabout in poorly themed PJs.
I just got off the phone with my amazing aunt. She’s super smart and she’s a nutritionist. I asked her if Jason and I could really be as affected as we’re feeling after only a few days of eating crappy food. I’ve been concerned I’m feeling awful because I expect to feel awful. Surely my physical and emotional state can’t be compromised this much after only three full days of eating simple carbs and refined sugar. I actually went to bed crying last night. She assured me that it is absolutely possible and expected. And since I’m still breastfeeding Isaiah, my nutritional stores are becoming even more depleted because baby always comes first.
Isaiah is like a parasite. A parasite whom I love. When I was pregnant, I spent the first four and a half months hunched over a toilet. I’ve sometimes thought about creating a coffee table book about all the places I’ve puked: garbage cans in the TTC, the Calgary International Airport, the Pacific Ocean, the sidewalk in front of the McDonald’s at Queen and Church, City Hall, the forest at Maple Lake during Jason’s baptism, etc. I felt worse than something my cat dragged in. I felt like something my cat dragged in, ate, barfed up and then ate again. I became so dehydrated that I had to go to the hospital multiple times. I lost weight. I joked to my midwife that had I known having a baby was such a successful method for weight loss, I would have gotten pregnant ages ago. She didn’t get the joke.
But I was concerned. I was concerned that the tiny person, whom I loved even during the period when he more closely resembled a cocktail shrimp than a human, wasn’t receiving everything he needed to thrive because I couldn’t consume anything except the occasional soda cracker and tiny bowl of cottage cheese. My midwife told me not to worry and that although I was feeling awful, the fetus(!) was taking everything it(!) needed from my nutrient stores and was fine. Just like a parasite.
And then Isaiah was born and we entered into a new phase of our nutrient dependent relationship: breast feeding. Breast milk is a really remarkable thing. Breasts and babies have this James Bond like secret code. A mother is able to produce milk that has the specific nutrients, antibodies and caloric content her baby needs. It changes over time. It is a dynamic, living fluid. And just like when I was pregnant, Isaiah’s nutritional needs come first. If I am not getting all of the vitamins I need to keep Isaiah healthy in my diet, my body starts pulling from my nutrient stores so Isaiah will always have enough. Amazing. Exhausting.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today about how parenting and breastfeeding connect with Do the Math and our Food Bank Diet Challenge. I’ve read a lot of studies about breastfeeding, and all of them talk about how mothers with more education and from higher socioeconomic classes are more likely to breastfeed their babies. Women with little education and who struggle to make ends meet are more likely to use formula (which, in my observation, is readily available from food banks and social service organizations – Nestle is more than happy to get as many babies hooked on formula as possible). This discrepancy is usually explained with the assumption that women with more education are more likely to know about all the awesome benefits of breastfeeding.
However, may I humbly suggest that it would be almost impossible to effectively parent while suffering through the nutritional starvation that would inevitably come about as a result of eating nothing but the food I’ve been consuming this week? Add to that the nutritional drain of breastfeeding an infant (and the emotional stress of financial instability) and it all becomes absurd. I eat relatively well, take my vitamins and drink my VegeGreens everyday. Still, by the time Isaiah goes to bed, I’m beat. I mean, I’m a messy puddle of mud on the couch. Sometimes, I just sit and stare around my apartment for half an hour wondering if it’s bad enough for the City to come and remove us a la Hoarders because of all the clutter. This week…let’s just say I haven’t invited anybody over for tea (besides, I don’t have any tea to spare anyway!).
Speaking of tea, we found some coffee beans hiding in our cupboard that we had completely forgotten about. I have no idea how old they are – certainly more than a year – but coffee beans don’t really go bad, do they? More coffee means Jason won’t go through withdrawal which means I felt safe in brewing a cup of tea for myself this morning. English Breakfast. Not usually my favourite, but today it tasted divine. I sat there drinking it while I watched Isaiah pull all the books of the bookshelf. They are still sitting on the floor where they fell.
We had some leftover pasta from Monday night’s dinner sitting in our fridge. It was really awful the first time and I didn’t have high hopes for a second round. But when I looked in the cupboard, I realized I had to eat it. We only have so many meals left in our cupboard. I tried to pawn it off on our kitty, Coffee Table, but he wanted nothing to do with it. So I ate it. It was awful. I was hungry again within 45 minutes. I made more pasta – the only food item we seem to have an abundance of. I couldn’t believe I was making myself more pasta. I put in half a can of tuna and gave the other half to Isaiah. I felt pretty sluggish and gross for the rest of the afternoon.
While making dinner (macaroni and cheese with hot dogs), I became curious as to whether cooking the hot dogs first would enhance their flavour. It was a disappointing experiment.
After eating no fresh vegetables for four days, this tomato was AMAZING! Jason and I each had half a fruit. Isaiah is allergic to tomatoes, which is the only reason we’re getting the these at all.
Since I had some tea this morning, I was willing to share my lime with Jason. Drinking water out of our wine glasses only added to the experience.
Here’s the food report for today:
1 packet of instant oatmeal
Pasta with tomato sauce and canned vegetables (originally there were kidney beans in there, but Isaiah needed some protein at lunch so I sucked rinsed the tomato sauce off the beans and gave them to him)
Pasta with tuna
Macaroni and Cheese with hotdogs and half a tomato
Water with a slice of lime
Ok…I’m off to bed. Something happened to the interwebs and I ended up having to write most of this blog twice. I thought Tumblr had autosave. Oops. I assure you what I had written before was better. 😉
In case you were wondering, I’m still in the same pajamas.