Congratulations! You’re expecting! This is simultaneously one of the most joyous times in your life as well as being one of the strangest, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Pregnancy brings changes to your body that you didn’t even know were possible, remember you are making a person and that makes demands on your body. The Paleo diet fits comfortably in the complicated world of gestational nutrition, weird cravings, and aversions you’re likely to experience.
Paleo Diet and Pregnancy Nutrition
You can easily meet your nutritional requirement during pregnancy with Paleo friendly foods. Let’s start with some of the nutrients you should pay special attention to while pregnant:
Iron: You need to increase the amount of iron rich foods you eat during pregnancy,as this will help prevent anemia. The Paleo diet encourages eating red meat, and red meat is rich in iron and that is most easily absorbed. Iron-rich veggies like spinach are also part of the Paleo diet so eat lots of those too.
Fatty Acids: Good fats from avocados, cold water fish, and nuts all help with fetal brain development. Studies have shown that getting the right amount of fatty acids during pregnancy is good for the baby after delivery, the length of colds and other illnesses are shorter and less frequent.
Protein: During pregnancy women require at least 80 grams of protein every day. The right amount of protein can help lower the risk of preeclampsia as well as help with morning sickness. There are all kinds of foods that are rich in protein that are Paleo friendly: meats, eggs, seafood, nuts and vegetables like kale which is very high in protein are all excellent sources.
Folate: Folate helps with neurological development in the baby and prevents birth defects like spina bifida, folate can be found in lots of Paleo foods. Eating avocados will give you folate and some healthy fats, and you can also find folate in leafy greens, broccoli, mangoes and citrus.
Calcium: There is a common misconception that Paleo doesn’t provide adequate amounts of calcium but that is simply not true. Some who do follow Paleo still eat dairy products and can get calcium from there. If you choose not to consume dairy there are still plenty of sources to get the right amount; leafy greens like collard or mustard greens, kale, bone broths, and fish with bones like canned salmon or sardines.
Dealing With Cravings and Aversions
Pregnancy is such a strange time because foods that you hated before now you can’t get enough of them, and whatever was your favorite food last week you can’t even look at this week. One of the most common aversions during pregnancy is to protein, usually meat, and especially in the first trimester when morning sickness is the most prevalent. Don’t worry, work around it as much as you can get protein from vegetables or whatever source you can. Don’t beat yourself up about it and aversions usually pass after the first three months.
Cravings are something that nearly every pregnant woman has and if what you crave is Paleo friendly then by all means indulge yourself. If you find yourself craving something not so healthy, try and wait it out. Yes, that is so much easier said than done. Another alternative is to try and find a suitable substitute with maybe the same flavor or texture. If the cravings have you falling off the Paleo wagon, don’t be too hard on yourself because tomorrow is a new day.