Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Handle Food Aversions and Cravings While Sticking to your Paleo Diet

Sadly, we are still talking about the trials and tribulations of the first trimester and nausea is just the tip of the iceburg. Many women, along with the never-ending hangover, experience strong food aversions and cravings. Most research chalks this up to hormones, while some believe it is a deep-seeded biological influence from the days of old that helped women to steer clear of foods that could easily be contaminated (meat, for example).

Carrots? No, thank you!
My first aversion was raw carrots. I used to snack on carrots and salsa or guacamole at my desk, but one day as I was snacking away I just had to spit them out! I could not stand to eat another carrot and I haven't touched a raw carrot since (cooked carrots, on the other hand, seem to be fine). Next up was tomatoes, followed by any and all raw vegetables. No more salad for this girl!

Soon after, I could barely stay in the house when Kevin was grilling chicken on our stovetop grill. The smell was sickening, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I could no longer eat seafood either, other than shrimp, which was the inspiration for these Green Chile Salmon Muffins.

Green Chile Salmon Muffins
My cravings have calmed down as I am moving into the second trimester, but early on they included eggs, berries, bananas, ice cold water, hot sauce and mustard. I actually think the hot sauce and mustard were more attempts to cover up the taste of all the foods I hated than actual cravings, but I certainly was eating a lot of both condiments.

More eggs, please!

A bowl full of berries? I'll take it!

So, what is a girl to do when the majority of her favorite foods make her want to run away screaming? Here are a few quick tips that should help you power through...

*Don't force yourself to eat foods that make you feel sick - Even with all of the foods that I couldn't stomach, there were still plenty of foods that I was able to eat. It is possible that Kevin grew tired of eating the same thing for breakfast every morning, but if he did, he was too sweet to ever mention it to me. I packed the same lunch over and over again. Eating something is better than eating nothing, just make sure you are eating healthy, whole, natural foods.

*Keep plenty of nutritious snacks on hand - Similar to staving off morning sickness, I found it helpful to have plenty of foods around that I knew I could eat and enjoy. It stopped me from making unhealthy choices when the cravings for not-so-good foods tried to creep in (I'm talking about you, candy corn!) as I feel that most of my food-related symptoms were heightened when I let myself get too hungry.

*Think of healthy substitutes - There was a night recently where I had a crazy craving for vanilla ice cream. Considering the fact that I haven't eaten ice cream in over a year and it would most likely make me sicker than I already am, I never considered running to the grocery store and purchasing a pint of Breyer's (okay, well maybe I considered it). I did, however, take to the interwebs to find a healthy-ish Paleo substitute. I landed on a vanilla ice cream recipe that consisted of only coconut milk, frozen bananas and vanilla bean and I was not disappointed! It was more than enough to satisfy my craving. My point is that you needn't necessarily give in to your cravings...try to find a healthy substitute that will both satisfy you and keep your body (and baby) happy.

*Remember why you are eating this way in the first place - This probably helped me out more than anything! The knowledge that I am following a healthy, whole foods diet and providing my baby with the nutrients that are essential for his or her development helped me stick to my Paleo diet and make healthy choices. It isn't only about what I am feeding my baby, it is about what I'm NOT feeding my baby. I am proud and excited that my baby has a chance at a life without foods full of chemicals and sugar and, right now, I am the only one who can determine what goes into my baby's body. That is a huge responsibility and I don't want to let my baby down.


If you would like to learn more about following a Paleo lifestyle during pregnancy, check out my first book, The Everything Paleo Pregnancy Book. I cover everything from which healthy, Paleo foods to focus on to get the most important nutrients for pregnancy, how certain foods can alleviate common pregnancy ailments, how to modify your workout plan during pregnancy and over 100 healthy recipes! The book is available in both paperback and Kindle versions through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.