Paleo in a Pinch

Pregnancy and Paleo

Guest post written by former CrossFit Coach and expectant mom, Madison May.

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Rewind back 7 months ago… pre-heart burn woes, pre-learning how to sleep in any position besides on my stomach, pre-overwhelming hormonal joy that can suddenly subside to tears without warning. 7 months ago I had energy to cook a Paleo meal, Paleo treats, along with the occasional classic, family recipe, gluten and sugar laden pie. I wouldn’t even call my efforts “80/20” as the Paleo peeps call it, but more of a mindful Paleo lifestyle at home, with a caveat to eat what I wanted when we went out or over to a friends house.

After discovering my pregnancy (YAY!), I suddenly found myself ravenously hungry, with the simultaneous symptom of feeling like I’d run a marathon every single day. Needless to say, the last thing I felt motivated to do was plan, prep, and cook a wholesome Paleo meal. My priorities shifted from having the highest quality, most nutritious foods possible, to having something healthy, fast, and EASY. I’m talkin’ easy peasy mac-n-cheesy (literally, that’s been a staple…).

My relationship with food has had to adapt to my new condition. I never experienced “morning sickness” (THANK YOU SO MUCH preggo Gods, iron stomach, and little baby!), but I still found myself with slight aversions and those infamous persistent cravings that nag my sweet tooth like a seven year itch. Much of my attempts to stay as Paleo as Possible (my new motto, by the way), have been supported and kept in check by my kind and loving husband’s contributions to cooking. And by cooking I mean kicking BUTT in the barbeque arena. At dinner, I am lavished with great quality succulent meats, wood fired to perfection, accompanied by a green veggie, doused in olive oil and baked until tender and utterly appetizing. It’s simple, but it works, and it’s keeping me on track and our diet from getting crazy out of control (i.e. mac and cheese and toasted cheese sandwich overload, because those are my kryptonite’s in pregnancy).

For breakfast I eat the same thing every morning now. Boring to some, but I call it consistent, reliable, and again, say it with me: EASY. Eggs and bacon, lots of water, and maybe a little bit of avocado or onion on top if I’m feeling really fancy. Is it knock your socks off flavor explosions in the mouth every morning? Not exactly. Does it suit my constantly fluctuating energy levels? Heck yes! Is it relatively healthy and consistent with my dietary beliefs? I’d answer that with a resounding YES!

Overall, I think cravings, emotional roller coaster rides, and energy dips and drives are all preparing me for the realities of parenting and motherhood. If my goal was to be as perfect at parenting as I once strove to be with my diet, I’d surely drive my husband, child, and myself absolutely batty. There’d be little room for deviating from the plan. I can see it now: I’d be cooking my fingers to the bone with a little one on my hip, and a burning concoction on the stove top, fire alarm ringing, and at least three glasses of wine down the gullet. My stress cultivated drinking habits accompanying my attempts at cooking 100% Paleo would surely negate my efforts, although it may make me a hoot to be around in the early evening. Late evening would be a different, story involving crying salty tears into an empty glass… but alas, I digress.

What I like about my new approach to Paleo is that it is flexible and forgiving. It’s not how things will be forever, but it works well right now. “As Paleo as Possible” it is for now, and as a result, baby and I have been healthy and I can easily say happier than ever before. I have the background knowledge and experience with Paleo to lean back on and guide me as my moral food compass, while cultivating the compassion for myself to do what I intuitively feel is best for my body and my baby at any given moment. Sometimes that looks like a gluten bomb snack, but the more happy I am and content with my decisions instead of letting guilt interfere, the more I find that Paleo has become a habit for me that will likely last a lifetime. I just hope that eating well is a habit that is inherited by my small child… along with the occasional nagging sweet tooth that we can satisfy together over an indulgent butter cream frosted cupcake.

By, Madison May

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