I have a confession to make. I’m pregnant. Not only am I pregnant, but as of today I am 30 weeks along.
This pregnancy has been exhausting. But, with only 10 more weeks to go, I am excited to be on the home stretch.
Sticking to a strict Paleo diet has it’s challenges on a normal day, but while pregnant, it can feel impossible.
I’ll focus on the following 2 questions to get you thinking a little differently about your Paleo lifestyle and pregnancy.
- What do you eat when you have morning sickness?
- Can I have______?
For the first question: What do you eat when you have morning sickness?
I have a few thoughts on this. In my second pregnancy I survived on Ritz crackers, gingerale, and orange juice to get out of bed in the morning. As I think about those foods now, I consider how they all spike blood sugar. This means eventually they’ll lead to a sugar crash, causing more nausea. My weight gain for that pregnancy was 80 pounds!
For my daughter, I gained 65 pounds, but craved salad with red wine vinegar, bacon and meat. I tried to stay lower on the carbs, but ended up eating a lot more gluten free/dairy free bread than I planned.
This time, I’m even more in tune with my body and what it needs. Early on, I discovered that juice, sugar, and sweets not only gave me heartburn, but quickly caused a lot of nausea. The moment I ate lean protein though, my nausea subsided with 10 minutes. I started to sense when I needed to eat more lean protein by how I felt. I also included homemade gingerale, lemon with soda water, and drank a lot of water early on.
My go-to lean protein sources include:
- Almond Butter
- Small pieces of chicken
- Coconut bread-homemade
- Hard boiled egg
For homemade gingerale, I peel and chop a 4-6 inch piece of raw ginger, add it to 2-4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 30 minutes. I sometimes include 2-3 whole lemons. I rinse, then cut them into quarters, squeeze into the water, then drop the whole thing in.
After you’re done boiling let cool until no longer hot (but still warm), strain liquid into a heat safe glass jar. Add 1/4c of raw honey to the jar, stir to combine, and refrigerate. I add the refrigerated mixture to equal parts soda water, and enjoy! Helps with nausea and also great for the immune system.
People always ask me, “Can I have [this not Paleo food on Paleo]?”.
The short answer is that you can eat whatever you want to eat, just know there are always consequences.
The long answer is it depends on your goals. Why are you eating Paleo in the first place? If it’s food allergies, I would highly recommend you avoiding the foods you’re allergic to. If it’s for weight loss, general health, or because you just feel better, know your “never” foods vs your “sometimes” foods.
For instance, I would consider my diet 80% Paleo and 20% just gluten and dairy free. For me that 20% could include processed sugar, rice, rice noodles (um I love Thai food), rice flour based desserts, etc. I know though, that while pregnant, sugar makes my varicose veins throb, my ankles swell, and gives me horrendous heartburn.
So, other than that one month where I ate a container of lemon frosting 2x per week, I have been very diligent to only have the occasional non-Paleo treat.
Is my 20% Paleo? No. Why do I let myself eat that way? Because sometimes I just want it, and it keeps me going.
I know there are die hard Paleo eaters out there who will criticize my experience. There are those who’ve been at it long enough that they would never consider going outside the box. I want you to feel safe here.
If you’re pregnant and struggling with morning sickness, and my ideas don’t work, then do what you have to do to survive. Follow your Paleo diet as closely as possible, because it does help with energy levels, weight loss post-pregnancy, and even morning sickness (for me at least).