Monday, September 13, 2010

pregnancy sickness diet plan

i've been meaning to post this for quite awhile now, but just haven't gotten around to writing it all out.  for those of you who have never been pregnant, just remember it because although you may get by with never being sick, there's a good chance you will, and it's miserable.  i have so many pregnant friends right now that i can't really keep count, and i've told many of them i would pass this along.  i've been nowhere nearly as sick this time as with my twin pregnancy, so i don't know if it would do much for you poor souls who throw up multiple times a day, but it may be worth a try.  i lived on french fries and mcdonalds coke when i was pregnant with kennedy and blakely because i couldn't think of eating anything else, so i feel blessed that i've been able to branch out and focus more on nutrition this time.  it's a vital part of pregnancy, and i'm convinced that malnourishment from not being able to keep anything down is part of the reason i developed preeclampsia during my last pregnancy.

the internet is my favorite invention ever because i'm a researcher and am probably on google about 8 times a day to type in random questions: what can i use to clean hardwood floors, what's a good substitute for capers in a recipe, what disease do you have if your neck is stiff?  you name it, i've probably asked google about it, and i love learning new stuff in my quest for information.  anyway, about 2 years ago, i was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and high cholesterol...strange when i'm somewhat of a health freak, but i have a horrible family history.  i think vanity, which originally drove me to eat healthy and begin exercising nearly 10 years ago, ended up saving my health.  i would be way worse off if i hadn't of changed my lifestyle. after my diagnosis, i spent some time researching ways to naturally manage blood sugar issues so i will hopefully never develop diabetes or have to go on medicine.  after becoming pregnant this time, i began to research the causes of nausea in pregnancy, and according to my research, it's a combination of blood sugar swings and hormonal changes.  hormones are obviously inevitable in pregnancy, but my belief was that if i could manage swings in blood sugar, i could manage the nausea, so i combined the two periods of research to come up with a pretty effective plan.  i haven't gotten by with no nausea at all (and it's still here as i mentioned in my last post), but i only threw up on days i got lazy and didn't follow a plan similar to the one outlined below.  the main idea behind it is to eat small high-protein and high-fiber combinations, and to eat atleast every 2 hours.  i know that sounds crazy, and it is SO hard to force food down when you feel like you're about to puke, but i promise if you just push through it and make sure you keep the protein and fiber coming, you will be much better off.  again, for those of you who are keeping nothing down, it may not work.  i don't know if it would have worked for me with a twin pregnancy, but for those of you with nausea and occasional vomiting, it's worth a try.  it's a lot of food and a lot of calories so you're going to gain weight, but that's an important part of pregnancy...not fun but worth protecting a growing fetus.  and the amazing thing is that research has shown that protein is the key factor in preeclampsia prevention, so fighting nausea and toxemia seem to go hand-in-hand.  i'm still dealing with nausea, but i can tell a huge difference in days when my diet is stable and high in protein and fiber.  below is a sample includes plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables (heavier on fruits than veggies because that's so much easier for me to get down), and dairy.  i'm not sure about calories, but in my opinion, as long as you're not getting too many calories from junk while you're pregnant, you need whatever you can get down.  i've worked out pretty hard so far, so i may have needed a little more than normal (not to mention, i think i just require more food than the average girl), and you may need to adjust a little if you're not exercising:

7am: plain greek yogurt mixed with 1 chopped banana and 1/2 cup chopped strawberries

9am: kashi granola bar (i like the crunchy ones), 1 cup chocolate milk (i'm sure regular would be better but it has grossed me out the past 7 months)

11am:  2 hard boiled eggs, 1 kiwi

1pm: salad with 2 cups romaine or spinach, 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/2 cup corn, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 3 ozs. turkey or chicken, whatever dressing you can handle (i think everything tastes weird when i'm pregnant, so i usually have to do some type of simple oil and vinegar)

3pm: handful of almonds, 1/2 mango

5pm: string cheese, apple

7pm: i could give good suggestions...grilled chicken or fish, a baked sweet potato, and steamed vegetables or a salad, but dinner in the beginning was always whatever brett's mom had made us to keep in the freezer or whatever he picked up on his way home from work.  by this time every night i was on the couch.  now it's whatever i cook, which is different every night and usually whatever i know brett likes (and he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy)

9pm: 1 cup chocolate milk, 1/2 cup grapes, 1/2 cup cantaloupe

middle of the night: in the beginning, if i woke up in the middle of the night, i would eat half of a protein bar (i like zone or balance bars because they're free of fake sugars) so i wouldn't wake up as sick.

i know this sounds like a lot of work, but i just try and take one day every week to chop up all of my fruits and vegetables and boil a bunch of eggs.  this makes grabbing food quick and easy, and i'm much more likely to make healthy choices when it's right in front of me and ready.  plus, i've always got healthy stuff ready for kennedy and blakely's breakfast, lunch, or snacks (and i know i'm lucky that they'll eat whatever i do, but most kids will atleast eat fruit).  i had a lot of damage to un-do in them after those first few weeks of pregnancy when they lived on processed food and taco bell.  and obviously, this diet is me being an idealist, but i most definitely haven't followed it perfectly every's just a place to start if you know nothing about nutrition or haven't entertained the idea of trying to manage nausea with diet.  if you don't like any of the foods i wrote out, choose your own; just try and get in atleast 9 fruit and vegetable servings, 2 eggs, 3 servings of dairy, and 100 grams of total protein (all recommendations of the brewer diet for preeclampsia prevention).  also, as long as you're nourishing well, i'm of the school of thought that anything else is game.  i had an aversion to sweets in the beginning, but now a day doesn't go by where i don't eat cheesecake or ice cream or something because that's just part of the fun of pregnancy (i just try to manage portions because knowing you've got to lose the weight doesn't make it as fun to gain).

hope this helps!


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