The Dukan Diet by Pierre DukanThe Dukan Diet got me pregnant. I am wholly convinced of this “fact,” for a variety of reasons, both scientific and personal, albeit liberally spiked with a tumbler full of magical realism.
Of course, it’s important to take into consideration the cold, hard facts of the situation. The backstory involved is nothing too tawdry, just a regular girl planning a major overseas trip to visit friends and family she hadn’t seen in twenty years. Most of the time I was okay with my body, but I faced two weeks and a majorly hyped family wedding in hot, rocky Greece, where the womenfolk force-feed you delicious food until you are so stuffed and bloated that wandering out into the heat is akin to crossing the desert on a religious mission (in terms of effort). Beautiful, dusty brown and blue Greece, where the beaches blind, no one is fat, and I was planning on wearing a swimsuit for approximately 87% of my trip. Also, I was literally flying out on my 30th birthday. Needless to say, there was a lot of planning and wanting to be perfect and whatnot.
This was last August. Let’s rewind a couple of months to the previous June. In a catch-up email with a friend, she informed me that she was starting the Dukan Diet and to wish her luck. My ears (eyes?) perked up and after several black holes of Googling later, I decided to try it out, too. If you don’t know anything about Dukan, it’s a low-carb diet similar to Atkins, but more intense and arguably more efficient in that it’s also low fat. The diet, created by the Svengali-ish Dr. Pierre Dukan, is hugely popular in France and has been creeping its way over here (after stopping in the UK and other European nations, much like the Bubonic Plague) due to the excellent PR of being Kate Middleton’s way of getting ready for THE wedding. And, you know, she looked pretty skinny.
I had tried Atkins like ten years ago, for maybe three days and gorged myself on bacon and thought about suicide. However, in this post-collegiate era of my life, I reasoned that I wouldn’t take the alcohol detox so roughly and besides, I would have a buddy to compare notes with and complain to. Someone that would understand. It turns out I would have two buddies! After some more careful thought, I deduced that this situation would require a lot of cooking and preparation and moral support and money to buy meat. My live-in man is wonderful in many ways, yet cook he is not. So I was SURELY not going to be cooking two different meals every day. After a little bit of pleading, I convinced him to do it with me and set a time limit to make it more palatable – we would diet together for one month. After that, we could gorge on fresh baked bread and lamb and gyros (and did you know pretty much all French fries in Greece are not frozen? They are, like, hand cut potatoes) on our well-needed and well-earned vacation.
Now that I have detailed my food and vacation history, let me divulge a very personal fact. I was completely convinced that I was not going to have babies. Not that I didn’t want any, in some neglected corner of my mind routinely ignored because you know, television, books, and fun - I totally did, but I thought it was physically impossible.
(In fact, at my first appointment with the scary-like-a-Catholic-Filipina-nun Dr. McCarthy, the good doctor looked at the chart sent over from my regular OBGYN and deadpanned “It says here that you were worried you couldn’t have babies! You were wrong! Ha Ha Ha!” Then she gave me the once-over and told me that, you know, I didn’t have to gain too much weight. This from a tiny woman who had somehow sourced orthopedic platforms.)
Because of this belief, we were really, really lax about the old birth control. We had talked about it, like if anything happens, we would just have the baby. But I don’t think we really thought anything would happen.
DUKAN: The details of the diet run the range from mild to rather grisly. We plugged away at it for three weeks, scarfing down meatloaf made from beef, from ground turkey. We tossed back meatballs made from beef, or ground turkey, or from a MIXTURE OF BOTH when I was feeling crazy. We ate chicken, and eggs, and crock-potted beef butt. You’re allowed low-fat dairy on Dukan and I still haven’t been able to eat non-flavored Greek yogurt since that dark time. Tip: you can mix in sugar-free packs of Crystal Light or whatever chemical-laden water flavor-er you like. It turns the yogurt neon and it still tastes gross, but not as gross. Yeah, at this point I was starting to think that this wasn’t too healthy. Dukan is split into phases. The first is the Attack phase, where you can only eat lean protein and nonfat dairy. This lasts from 3-11 days; depending on how long you can take it and how much weight you want to lose. Then you switch to the Cruise phase, which allows more of the same plus some allowed veggies (that first salad was like God in my mouth). You Cruise until you have met your goals. Then, you Maintain.
One day, after I had been on the Cruise phase f or about three weeks, one of my best friends visited before moving to NOLA. A cheat day was planned. We went out; much vodka was consumed. MUCH. You get way drunk when there are no existing carbs in your system. The next morning I puked up bits and pieces of these gross meat muffins I had made the night before and seriously, it was like waves of crazy illness plus restless leg syndrome plus wanting to die – it was CRAZY. It was the DT’s. So I fucking went to Dunkin and bought two bagels and ate them in 30 seconds and it was like the minute the MDMA starts to work. That was the end of Dukan. That was June. Fast forward through July.
One week before the big trip I found myself standing around at a friend’s wedding, fighting off irrational abject misery. I sniffed the vodka soda in my hand and couldn’t bring myself to take a sip. I was suffering from some severe bloating that I attributed to post-low carb bread binges. I was so tired I couldn’t see straight. I did not feel right. (I had missed my period. But, I mean, I was infertile.) The test was POSITIVE. Positive. I was going to Greece in a week. I was turning 30. All I wanted to do was lay my weary head down and have someone sing that chariot song to me.
(Fast forward to now. I love being a mom. Yeah, I wanted to drink cocktails on a boat in the Mediterranean, but whatever. The fried zucchini fritters made up for it. Turns out, there are tons of Harry Potter themed onesies on the Internet.)
No, this is a story about how Pierre Dukan got me pregnant. My idea of naming her Agatha (first name) Christie (middle) (since this was such a MYSTERY) was roundly vetoed. It’s not a whodunit. Wedunit, obviously. But still.
FACTS: The consumption of meat, especially the non-organic kind, alters your hormones. Evidence of this abounds online and I’m sure in legitimate paper articles, too; animal flesh contains hormones because they produce them, and in some cases are fed them (or injected them, or what-have-you; gross). Altering your hormones therefore changes your chances of pregnancy, which is fundamentally a hormonal process. Much of my crazed research indicates that women trying to become pregnant, or wishing to maintain a healthy pregnancy, should steer clear of hormone-laden foodstuffs for this reason. I, however, believe that since I may have had issues getting pregnant pre-Dukan, the massive amounts of meat I was consuming created a perfect hormonal storm that allowed the demon seed to finally nail it down. Those little fuckers won that day. They are still winning now.
I in no way intend this to be super-scientific. You know how just sometimes you have feelings about what’s going on in your own body? It’s like that, with maybe a little bit too much Garcia Marquez going on. I don’t endorse vegans that are having difficulty conceiving to go ahead and make carnage happen. I really just think that the hand of God, or Pierre’s even, maybe, reached down (or around) that one fateful night and guided the process – I kind of consider it a kind of spiritual (or European) threesome.
(The kicker? I never read the book. Also, any and all weight loss was negated because pregnancy.)
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