Pregnancy & the Autoimmune Protocol (surprise!)

If I have any luck, I’m not down to zero followers, and maybe I have a random one or two lurking here or there. But you may have noticed it’s been pretty quiet on this naturally-in-progress front. That’s because some other things have been in progress! Like a BABY!

photo credit: wikipedia

After the holidays I was planning on doing a post on how I survived through the holidays without straying off the autoimmune protocol (I was way proud of myself!), but instead, I had a few unusual symptoms that led me to take a pregnancy test, and voila: preggo.

What’s this mean for me and the autoimmune protocol?

So, that naturally changed my course a little bit. At first, I was able to continuing eating as I had been, and was including some super nutrient-dense foods into my diet. Salmon, dark leafy greens, fresh berries, and then about a week after I found out my news, the aversions began to hit, and the cravings swung in full-force. I was having an AIP mental crisis and really didn’t know what to do. While I had told my functional medicine doctor the news of the pregnancy, I was afraid/embarrassed/ashamed that I had already “given in” to some of my non-AIP cravings. There just was nearly no way around it, lest I wanted to throw up from an empty stomach or deal with major nausea and gagging… which sounds better?

Eating food I wanted to eat was helpful, and gave me energy, but eating really bad food day after day for a couple of weeks took its toll. And by bad, I mean, takeout, or quick and easy restaurant fare (not necessarily just non-AIP foods). By week 10, I decided to scale back on the easy fixes and try to strike a more moderate approach.

Where I am now

Believe it or not, I started to write this post mid-March and am just now catching back up to update you guys. I’m 22 weeks now, and am looking at a late summer (late August/early September) arrival.

I’ve come to a place mentally where I’ve stopped shaming myself for not being perfect on the protocol. I think in some ways the guilt and negative self-talk can be just as detrimental to your overall health as an imperfect diet. For now, I’m focusing on taking my supplements, resting a lot, lots of outdoors time (which has been easy to accomplish during a beautiful spring in Florida), and maintaining other support systems that are helpful to me. My diet is 80/20 somedays, and 50/50 other days. I’ve done some anecdotal internet research to find out I’m not alone in my AIP struggles while pregnant, and that’s reassuring. I think if I suffered from a different set of symptoms, my resolve to stick closer to 100% would be different, but my particular autoimmune disorder bothers me at a different level than some. What I do know is I have some tools in my arsenal to help me should things progressively worsen, and I know my functional medicine doctor will see me at the 3rd trimester and after delivery to help me navigate the potentially massive hormonal shifts that can occur.

What I’ve been craving

Italian sub sandwiches — There’s hardly anything redeeming about these sub sandwiches from an AIP perspective, but I can confirm they are indeed delicious. As a good friend pointed out, at Jimmy John’s, I could always get them lettuce-wrapped for less guilt 🙂

Seafood — I never feel guilty about this! Lately I’ve been enjoying lots of salmon and shrimp, which is great because I’m still a little iffy on eggs occasionally and these foods are some of the most nutrient-dense and help with so much brain development in a growing baby.

Sauteed shrimp with Zoodles (zucchini noodles) — inspired by @WholeLIfeFullSoul on Instagram

Fresh fruit — watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, berries, again, no guilt

A pretty decent breakfast // my steadfast smoothies were giving me some indigestion so I’m switching it up for now & trying new things

Ice cream — Publix grocery stores sell an awesome organic variety of vanilla ice cream (yes it’s dairy, but it’s organic and has a pretty clean list of ingredients). I do want to investigate making my own fruit sorbets, however.

Popsicles — Cold treats are just … top-notch especially as the weather heats up. I intend to make some AIP-friendly ones sometime soon 🙂

Asian-inspired food — I think this was spurred by following Dora from ProvincialPaleo on Instagram. Wow, does she have amazing & inspiring recipes! I wish I knew how to cook like her! Trying some of her suggestions has led to some yummy new creations in the kitchen, and an expanding of my repertoire!

With my other two pregnancies I craved Mexican, but I’m just not feeling it at much this time around! I’m trying to listen to my body and what it wants while also exercising moderation. I know our bodies change with the season as well and I feel the influences of spring and summer in what I want to eat.

I’d love to hear from any others who have done or struggled with the autoimmune protocol while pregnant. What was your experience, what did you crave, what were you averse to, what was most supportive? Please comment below, and thanks for sharing!