Our HMHB coordinator Chelsea is pregnant… with twins! Follow along as she navigates her pregnancy while trying to honor her intention of having a healthy, happy pregnancy.
The Best Intentions
I started a Whole30 the day I found out I was pregnant. I had been tossing around the idea of starting a Whole30 on April 1 whether I was pregnant or not, because I needed a reset. My healthy habits around eating had relaxed, and I knew that Whole30 nutrition would be great for my health and wellbeing, whether I was pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant.
I got a positive pregnancy test on April 1. (Yes, April Fool’s Day is a great day to find out you’re pregnant.) I didn’t get morning sickness with my first pregnancy until about 8 weeks in, so I thought, This will be great! I’ll eat Whole30 for the first four weeks of my pregnancy and then take it from there.
Throughout the first two weeks of my Whole30, I had some carb cravings but was able to stay compliant. In our Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program, Steph outlines several strategies for healthy first trimester eating, so I incorporated some of those into my routine.
Early on in my pregnancy, my stomach felt better when it was full, so I ate frequent, smaller meals throughout the day, but made sure they included at least two of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat). I also had a daily smoothie that included a scoop of collagen peptides for protein, coconut milk for fat, one cup or less of fruit, and some green veggies. I felt really good about the choices I was making.
For a few weeks during my first pregnancy I relied on gluten-free bagels with cream cheese and hash browns from McDonalds. By the end of those nine months I was eating banana splits multiple times a week and did not care one bit.
It wasn’t until after that pregnancy that I discovered the Whole30. It changed the way I understand nutrition and eating. I wondered how my changed, Whole30-inspired lifestyle would affect how I made food choices during this pregnancy. This time, I didn’t want to fall into unhealthy eating patterns again, because I know how badly I feel physically and emotionally when I do. I’m armed with more knowledge now. I also wondered if maybe, just maybe, eating Whole30 would help stave off morning sickness.
Morning Sickness Strikes
As it turns out, this twin pregnancy hasn’t been anything like my first. Week 6 of my pregnancy rolled around and with it came food aversions, nausea, and a general lack of appetite. One day, just over two weeks into my Whole30, all I could think about the entire day was rice from Chipotle. I knew it wasn’t just a passing craving because I tried all of my strategies to combat cravings. I made sure I had satiating meals that followed the Whole30 meal template, and I distracted myself with engaging activities, but I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I also know from previous Whole30s and Reintroductions, that rice isn’t really a problem food for me. I eat it occasionally in my Food Freedom.
That night for dinner, I made the conscious, deliberate decision to end my Whole30, and I ordered rice in my burrito bowl from Chipotle. This was the first time I had ever ended a Whole30 early, but I don’t feel guilty at all. I know (from working my Food Freedom) that eating rice mindfully is a choice that I can make, and I didn’t fail at my Whole30 because I ended it after two weeks. I felt proud that I had spent those two weeks providing my babies and me with the best nutrition possible.
And you know what? I ate rice on a Friday night, but it didn’t send me on a spiral. I still woke up on Saturday morning and ate a compliant breakfast. I said “no, thank you” to ice cream and ate grapes while the rest of the family indulged. From my past Whole30 experiences I know that dairy and gluten are my major no-nos as far as feeling negative effects in my body, so I’m going to avoid those even though I ended my Whole30.
Finding a Path Through It
Since then (I’m 12 weeks now), I’ve struggled with eating. The food aversions are real. I go through most of the day only thinking about what I DON’T want to eat. However, I’m making it work, using some of the strategies that Steph outlines in blog posts and in the HMHB program. I’ve been adding collagen to my coffee or tea in the morning to get some extra protein in, and still doing the same with smoothies. When the urge to eat something healthy hits, I go to the store right then to buy it. Luckily my neighborhood market is less than a 10 minute walk from my house.
I’m focusing on what sounds good (cucumbers, strawberries, bone broth, plain rotisserie chicken), and letting the rest go for now. I’m still avoiding sugar and drinking tons of water, but I’m not obsessing over the perfect meal template or adding a few non-compliant foods (oatmeal, gluten free crackers, rice).
I know that later in my pregnancy when I feel more like myself again, I’ll be able to focus on eating the way I want to. Right now, I’m just trying to honor what my body is telling me. I know that the journey to Food Freedom is long, and this is just one step along the way. For you mamas who can relate to what I’m going through, just count your small victories and let the rest go. Give yourself grace in this season when you’re doing the important job of nurturing a new life within you.
This is what I love about our Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program. We’re real women with real life circumstances and we’re all different. If you’re a mama who does Crossfit throughout her pregnancy, we’re right there with you cheering you on. If you feel so sick you can barely stand up, we’re there with you, too. The advice that Steph gives is manageable, non-judgmental, and empowering.
The mamas in our private Facebook group are collaborative, helping one another troubleshoot through common pregnancy struggles. We are building a community of mamas who value whole food nutrition, nurturing self-care, and community connection, while understanding that balance is necessary, and perfection is not. If you’re looking for this kind of support during your pregnancy, join us!
Chelsea Long is the Content Coordinator for the Healthy Mama, Happy Baby Program. She lives in San Diego with her husband and son. In addition to her work for HMHB, Chelsea is a yoga teacher, writer and meditation facilitator.