Faileo Pregnancy

Hello blog, my old friend; it's been a while. Please don't take it personally. It's not you, it's me. I'm pregnant, you see, turning inwards, and thought synthesis has not been much in evidence as a result of the minor queasiness and moderate exhaustion that caused/causes. Drafted posts languish in the lineup. Tabs left open to link to get closed after days and days of just sitting there. Late-night writing frenzies are a distant memory as I've been known to go to bed immediately after my toddler at night and wake when the mailman rings the next day, long after the others have left. Bless my husband for his fortitude in that!

I haven't been able to post any WWBE photos because I couldn't stand the smell of cooking for a while there, and so we ate nothing photo-worthy. This was the last pretty dinner I made before the Queasy Express rolled in: some kind of firm white fish pan fried and served with arugula and cashew pesto over (probably) mashed parsnips, mashed carrots, and caramelised onions. It was even more colourful than this lamplight photo suggests.

It took the better part of a month before I felt like cracking out the camera again. This was turkey strips in a sweet pepper and tomato sauce over lettuce. Not fancy, not massively flavourful (c'mon, iceberg lettuce?) but real.
Last night was not too bad: pork chops with cabbage, apple and raisins. I got the recipe here but made a few adjustments: longer marinating time to be more in line with WAPF reccommendations (though I didn't manage 24 hours), and adding half a small shredded cabbage (pre-blanched due to the goitrogenic effects of crucifers) to what would otherwise have been an applesauce topping, in order to clean out my crisper a bit and bulk up the meal. It smelled delicious, it tasted good, but when plated it's just 14 shades of cream and brown, so there's no photo.

So how's a paleo pregnancy? I can't tell you, because I crashed and burned after suffering through a few days of horrible nausea before realising that hunger made the nausea worse and strong food tastes or smells would put me over the edge. I made a huge batch of chicken stock and was driven out of my kitchen by it for three days before my husband had to throw it out. Just thinking about eggs would do me in. A nasty fart would send me running for the loo. We call it the Bionic Nose effect of pregnancy, and it may be evolutionarily protective and all, but it's not nearly as entertaining to either of us as the Titty Fairy effect. So bread and butter with jam, oatmeal cookies (soaked and made with molasses), grilled cheese sandwiches and the like have been on my table in the last few months. I even ate a pack of Oreos! In my (feeble) defence, a pack in Europe is 4 tubes of four cookies each, and it lasted me a week. I have not felt the need to repeat the experiment. Sometimes hot fried food seems appealing but only for a moment; as soon as I really think about it, the ew response to the franken-ingredients and rancid oils wells up and I'm saved from another bad choice.

Interestingly, my "eat whatever" diet never got totally out of hand and I quickly found that excessive sweetness, while it may dig me out of a blood sugar hole in the form of a mini Mars bar or handful of fruit-juice gummy bears, is not appealing to me. I am using it to meet a need in the same way that I swill magnesium citrate to calm my stomach. I basically try to follow the WAPF pregnancy diet recommendations hybridised with paleo, using the Brewer Diet as a fallback, so few grains (but properly prepared as much as possible - I admit to flunking this one), lots of veg, trying to get offal and seafood back in, plenty of sat fat, and a focus on food quality. Paleo Parents, The Primal Parent, Healthy Guts and Growing Up Paleo notwithstanding, reproductive health is not a strong suit for paleo and the other flavours of ancestral health have more recorded history to offer in this regard. As the buff young guys get past purely wanting to look good naked, I hope more research and experience on fertility and reproduction will start cropping up around the paleosphere. There's certainly a need for it, and we're seeing more and more 'how to feed/raise cave children' posts, but advising women especially on how to eat and move while pregnant is a high-risk activity.

Back to the magnesium: transdermal magnesium oil or Epsom salts are not available to me here, so I use the oral MgCit powder, and I do find that a spoonful or two in lemon tea or water throughout the day will keep that lurking nausea away. In combination with a good probiotic at least twice a day, this also prevents the other source of feeling crappy during pregnancy: constipation. For those who have not been pregnant, or whose gestational side-effects were not digestive (yay for you!), "morning sickness" or "nausea and vomiting of pregnancy" (NVP) is an icky sickness that may come and go or may linger all day. It may have the as-seen-on-TV effects, or it may just make you feel ever so slightly green. I personally do not tend to shout groceries but I do suffer from enduring ickiness, and have found that keeping my blood sugar stable (which doesn't mean up!) and taking the Mg sorts this out. In her Beautiful Babies ecourse, Food Renegade has an explanation of why this is, and why many women are driven to avoid the protein they desperately need in early pregnancy and replace it with crappy white carbs that only serve to further strip their bodies of minerals. If you're a Real/ancestral foodie in or approaching your chilbearing years, it's worth it to enroll in one or both of the Food Renegade course or Chris Kressers Healthy Baby Code. They're an invaluable source of information far more helpful than your neighbour's auntie or the sponsored brochures in the ObGyn's office.

The good news is that I'm past the first trimester and into the "blooming" phase, wherein I'm fattening up but otherwise don't feel or look pregnant at all (as long as I take the above precautions) and can get on with enjoying this iteration of normal life. Hopefully that will also mean I'll get through some of my draft post backlog, but I make no promises - pregnant person's prerogative!

What did you or your nearest and dearest struggle with most in the first trimester? How did you solve it? Did anybody else hate pregnancy announcements, and need weeks to screw up the courage to tell their parents they were expecting?


  1. What a wonderful read first thing this morning! I'm thrilled. Pregnancy with Cooper (born 2 months ago) was hell compared to pregnancy with Jake (born 2 years ago this April). With Jake I was nauseous and vomiting a bit in the first 12 weeks. Then like a lightening bolt to my system, I was done with it and the following 30 weeks were normal except I overate. With Cooper, vomited every single day for the first 144 days. How did I solve it? There was no solve, it was just deal with it. Work around it. Live with it. Feel like the worst hangover ever for 5 1/2 months. Food likes and dislikes were always changing. Smells turned me one way or another. One thing that didn't change though was the need for a latte first thing in the morning, every morning.
    Congrats. What a blessing.

    1. I generally drink coffe black but have found that, either because gluten-intolerant people often react to coffee or just because my system doesn't need the jolt, I can't "do" coffee right now. But I am gratified to discover that the occasional cappuccino - yes, with milk - does me no harm. Just in time for sunny cafe afternoons :)
      See, even when I'm feeling shite (yesterday degenerated badly) I hesitate to mention it because I know people like yourself who had it soooo much worse! If there's a next time, try the Mg and let me know if it helps - it's worth a shot, right?