What a summer it’s been! Marriage in July, 1.5 months later I learned that I was pregnant and due in mid-April. A baby is definitely going to be a life changer…. at first I was only concerned with the scheduling matters for 2012 projects but quickly I learned that the body changes really affects my productivity, leaving me frequently exhausted after simple tasks, minor exercise, and pretty much being nicknamed “Sleeping Beauty” since the summer. Well, I’m 20 weeks along now (5 months) and here’s the big diet changes to my lifestyle so far.
After having been on a fitness diet for the last 4 years, I had to get my head around a “baby bulking” diet – 0.5 lb/week weight gain the first 12 weeks and 1 lb/week weight gain every week thereafter until I hit 40 weeks. That meant that plain oats with water, frequent salads were not keeping me sane the first 4 months as my head felt like it was going to explode from the low caloric content. I literally crave carbs and fat like I’ve never felt before. Ever woke up dreaming about a toasted bagel, drenched in BOTH cream cheese and butter? Yeah, 3am fantasies here….
I tried to consciously keep to the estimated 300 cal. per day as prescribed by the baby books I’ve been reading but what I learned is that my body was sitting at a lower than average body fat level and so I’ve had to bump up my calorie intake from my fitness diet by 500-1000 calories a day to keep up with the required weight gain and body cravings. With my regular tracked weigh-ins, I’m on track with 14 lbs gains over the last 20 weeks.
What I’ve been chowing down on/avoiding during this time:
FOODS TO AVOID
2. All listeria food risks: lunchmeat, hot dogs, unpasteurized cheeses, frozen yogurt (the machines have room temp milk around the edges)
3. Sushi (this one I’m quite sad about)
4. Caffeine – no sodas, coffees, etc for me. Energy level now cut in half…
5. Any beverage with calories. This includes juice, sodas, sports drinks, alcohol.
6. Raw or undercooked foods: I’m a big fan of carpaccio, steak tartar, etc but alas I’ll stick it out for 10 months in order to keep risks to a minimal.
7. Processed foods to a mininum
I know a lot of pregnant women don’t make such a strong exception as I have. For me, I look at this as a risk game. A fetus is 30x more likely to get listeria than a normal person and even if the mom isn’t dreadfully sick with food poisoning, it’s still enough to kill the baby. If I can handle a fitness model competition diet, my will is strong enough to stick it out for this baby. Additionally, I hear a lot of mom arguments that “I’ve eaten/drunk such and such and my kid turned out just fine.” Great! I’m happy for you!! But “fine” is not enough for me, just as getting a 75% in school was fine or good enough. I want my kid to have 100% opportunity to reach their full potential and not be hindered by desire to eat copious amounts of Ahi sashimi or canned tuna.
Had to just get that off of my chest, it’s been bugging me for sometime now how some moms will justify their “breaking the pregnancy food rules” with the excuse that their child was born fine.
Ok, back to the diet regimen that I’m on. I’m not going to lie, I eat what I want in full fat while respecting the rules above. If I want a bowl of pasta without protein in it, I go for it. My protein consumption has definitely lowered since being on the fitness model diet mainly because the thought of protein repulses me, except if it is suddenly in front of me and already prepared. Then I’ll eat it. Cake, chocolate, muffins – I’ll enjoy this as well in small quantities if I crave it as well. Hey you don’t put on a 1 lb/week by eating rice cakes!!
Because my pregnancy appetite is voracious, I’ve created a few habits to keep me within a reasonable check:
FOOD STRATEGIES THAT HELP ME CONTROL OVEREATING
1. Clear broth soups like Pho, chicken noodle, etc.
2. Three (3) pieces of fruit a day (I like honey crisp apples, grapes, oranges, raspberries, blueberries). When I was on the fitness model diet, I stuck to things like Granny Smith apples or grapefruit so now I’m really enjoying the little extra sweetness!
3. Enjoying an About Time chocolate protein shake mixed with skim milk when I need a quick, sweet chocolaty treat. About Time Protein is a very special product on the market because it’s the cleanest protein available. What does this mean? It’s free of all of the chemicals, preservatives, artificial coloring and flavoring that is typical in every other protein powder on the market. I knew that these factors were important in any product but it didn’t really hit me until I became pregnant – my baby is eating this too and growing it’s basic functions based on the quality of my nutrition! So, you get the point on why I’ve become even more keen about these qualities.
4. About Time Bars in Oatmeal and Carob Coconut. Same concept as the protein powders – super clean, preservative free, tasty and convenient. I stocked up on 4 boxes in my fridge and I’ve always kept a bar or two in my purse in order to avoid the vending machines when a craving hits. My stock ran out faster than expected since my husband has been dining on my snack stash as well. I take it that they taste as good as his usual Big Colossal Protein Bars. LOL
5. Costco case of bottled water in the truck of my car. I’m CONSTANTLY thirsty. Never been so thirsty in my life… blame it on the baby who needs my body to have up to 50% more blood volume and frequent recycling of her amniotic fluid. Like in normal dieting, thirst is often mistaken as hunger and so the best bet is to have a big cup of water before addressing the hunger pains with food.
6. Boiled eggs in the fridge. I used to chuck the yolks but now I’ll enjoy the whole egg if a snack urge comes on. I like to dip my eggs in a salt/pepper mix. Yummy way to get my protein and wonderful vitamins/fat via the yolk.
VITAMIN STACK (I like to shop at Costco for my supply because of the awesome bulk pricing)
1. Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA. The foundation of a pregnancy. If you’re used to taking a performance Multi Vitamin, you’ll notice that a prenatal has much lower Daily Recommended content but very high folic acid, Iron and DHA levels. Folic Acid is known to prevent spinal bifida defects. Iron is required for the increased blood volume produced. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is shown to improve baby cognitive abilities and reduce post martum depression.
2. 600 mg Calcium + D3. Not enough calcium in the prenatal and calcium is key to building bones (for the baby).
3. 240mg Vitamin C gummy. Keep your immune system strong during this taxing time. Pregnancy is a real drainer!
4. Nutrasea DHA oil. I take a 1/2 tsp. daily to supplement my DHA intake up to about 500mg/day, which is in line with the research studies on the acceptable level of DHA intake. I consulted Dr. Layne Norton PhD, Nutritional Sciences, about the DHA upper limit while pregnant and he suggested to not surpass 1g/day and 500mg/day is medically proven to be effective, as he is not a fan of “more is better” mentality.
5. Lindberg Probiotic 2 billion 4-strain blend. Probiotics help your digestive system work better and I’ve found that because my pregnancy progesterone hormone levels are significantly slowing my digestive process down, the probiotics are my friend during this time.
I want to note that I’ve cleared my supplement stack by my OB/GYN as well and suggest that anyone considering my stack during their pregnancy to do as well.
There you have it. About 20 more weeks to go until I get to meet my little one. I’ve been fortunate to have had a relatively symptom-free pregnancy so far, some nausea but no morning sickness and that’s it. Knocking on wood but my ultrasounds, blood work, and other samples have come back without issue.
Please feel free to share my post with anyone that you feel my benefit!