The hormones of pregnancy are a fascinating thing honestly – I mean if growing a human inside you isn’t a mind f%$^ enough … the various changes you go through certainly are. And one of those changes is the change in your food tastes. This has been a fascinating experience for me for sure.
Vinny and I live a Banting (Low Carb High Fat) Lifestyle which we love (you can read more on my Banting Blog here) … our typical breakfast is bacon and eggs cooked in butter with a bulletproof coffee. Neither of us typically eats lunch (because the fat keeps you full) and then we eat a dinner of protein, veg and a healthy dose of fat again. We love it, we’ve never felt healthier, we’ve both lost a lot of weight and kept it off – so it’s the way we will always eat. We are definitely planning to raise our child in a Banting home – certainly sugar and processed-carb free and we are not planning on weaning our child onto cereal but rather real food.
So early pregnancy has been a food revolution for me. The first thing that happened is I could no longer go the whole day between breakfast and dinner without eating. At midday I’d be ravenous and need a lunch – and stopping work to prepare something to eat for me is not a small ask. So snacks are the solution – I make sure I have cheese, olives, gherkins, seed crackers, yoghurt, etc. stocked up to grab and nibble on. The next thing that happened is I went off eggs (our brekkie staple) so I’ve been substituting healthy low carb smoothies (double fat yoghurt, nut butter, berries, etc.). I have definitely craved more carbs in my first trimester – I’ve never been much of a fruit eater and suddenly I wanted fruit. I haven’t had bread in years and suddenly I wanted toasted cheese sarmies. You get the idea. My policy is to as far as possible substitute healthy alternatives for any unhealthy cravings – but to allow myself cheats on weekends or when we go out. So yes, despite still largely sticking to a healthy banting lifestyle I have had pizza, pasta, rice, bread and some fruit … all things I didn’t touch much of in the previous 2 years!
I’m fortunate that I haven’t experienced much nausea – but what I lacked in nausea I have made up for in appetite! I feel like I’m constantly hungry – no matter what I eat! I said to Vinny the other day, “I’m so tired of being hungry!” … sometimes it feels like all I do is eat and sleep. But I guess you have to listen to your body and do the best you can at growing the Jumping Bean.
I’ve had a couple of unusual cravings … marshmallows for one – I cannot pass a checkout isle in a shop without buying a packet of marshmallows which I generally consume immediately in the car. Thankfully Vinny does the shopping in our household so it’s not often I find myself in the shops or scoffing packets of marshmallows – I’d be the size of a house otherwise. What I’ve done recently is buy sugar free jelly and make those figuring my body wants gelatin for some reason so that’s a “healthier” option.
Another unusual craving I’ve had is sardines – I eat a whole tin at a time on a slice of banting bread with loads of vinegar, onion and parsley chopped in. It’s something my mom gave us as kids (not on banting bread) and I never loved it then so it was quite funny that it suddenly popped into my head and I couldn’t get enough of it. Lots of healthy omegas there so I definitely indulge that craving!
Things I’ve gone off include eggs, biltong (one of my staples – I’m heartbroken over this one!) and steak (because I can’t bear anymore than medium rare! I’d rather have none!). The eggs hit me hardest because we eat them every day for brekkie and they are so good for you! I persevered for a few weeks but had to force them down – it’s hard to explain they just taste different.
I find it fascinating that your body naturally starts rejecting food that is “risky” for you during pregnancy. The body is an amazing thing if you listen to it.
And again we are all so different. I’ve read that a lot of women go off spicy food, well none of that this side … I can’t get enough Jalepeno poppers wrapped in bacon, or curry or biryani (a frequent weekend cheat).
The other thing I find fascinating is the “urgency” of the cravings or hunger. Like if I’m hungry, I’m desperate and I have to eat IMMEDIATELY … anything … but I need it NOW! Having spent 2 years not really feeling hungry … it’s a bit overwhelming – and I really need to get myself more prepared when out because I’ll often find myself on the road or out at lunch time and suddenly being ravenous. I’m just so un-used to being hungry that I’m totally unprepared which means I find the nearest (usually unhealthy) thing! So I definitely plan to stock my bag with little packets of nuts for in cases.
What did you crave? Did your eating habits change much?