Disclaimer: This is my own personal experience regarding participating in Whole30 while pregnant. Please consult a doctor or medical professional before beginning any program such as this.
In January, my husband got on a Whole30 kick. He’d been stuck at the same weight for about a month and just couldn’t seem to get below that particular weight level. He hoped that eating healthy and doing Whole30 would jumpstart his weight loss more and also have some pleasant side effects as far as his diabetes is concerned.
When he suggested Whole30 to me, I was immediately ready to give it a shot. I like meal plans (I hate the term “diet”) that do not restrict my food, but modify it. I like the idea of eating healthier and incorporating more vegetables into my diet, because often our meals do not include a vegetable of any kind.
However, when I mentioned that I was starting Whole30 with Kyle, a lot of people looked at me with a funny expression. And, of course, I got the very typical response: “Why are you trying to lose weight while you’re pregnant?”
Because I am pregnant. And pregnant people aren’t supposed to diet. Right?
I did not start Whole30 to lose weight. I started Whole30 to eat better. I live in Louisiana, and January and February are Mardi Gras season. Do you know what that means? King cake. All kinds, shapes and forms. Regular king cake. King cake cheesecake. King cake cupcakes. King cake bars. King cake smoothies. Heck, we even have a king cake coffee. And I will happily eat and drink it all.
But is my baby getting the nutrients it needs when I eat all forms of king cake? Of course not.
I did talk to my medical practitioner/nutritionist, who was in favor of the Whole30 meal planning. I told her I was drinking at least three glasses of coconut milk per day, which actually has more calcium than whole milk. She gave me some healthy tips, in addition, to ensure I was getting all the vitamins and nutrition that the baby and I needed. “Eat plenty of healthy fat, especially avocados. They need fat for excellent brain development. (Eat) eggs for your veggies, raw pecans, almonds or walnuts for snacks and some type of protein at each meal.”
She also added something about the alternatives: “Developing babies do not need all the sugar that we pump into them!”
So it was with this advice that Kyle and I started Whole30. We actually didn’t last the whole month. Stress at work combined with a Dairy Queen ice cream cake in our freezer (just a hint: NEVER NEVER NEVER keep delicious ice cream cakes in your freezer while on Whole30!) was my undoing, but I discovered something about Whole30: I actually didn’t mind it.
Maybe it was because I discovered a couple of my pregnancy cravings were Whole30 compliant (I fell in love with guac and baked potatoes mixed as well as topping my scrambled eggs with salsa, guac, hamburger meat and mushrooms), or maybe because I knew my unborn baby, my husband, my two-year-old, and I were getting nutritious vegetables – or maybe it was simply because my body enjoyed clean eating, but Whole30 agreed with me.
After our undoing with the Dairy Queen cake, I jumped back on the Whole30 wagon the next day – not because I was trying to complete a Whole30 but because my body just felt better eating those foods.
Kyle and I are not really doing Whole30 now, but a lot of the foods we incorporated into our Whole30 process we still eat. In fact, when Kyle went to the grocery store last week, he thought I had given him the wrong list because so many of the foods and meals I had planned were Whole30 compliant.
Yes, Whole30 is a program that assists in weight loss. But after my experience with it, I feel like it gave me more; it gave me a chance to try new vegetables, to eat real, whole food, and a chance to make sure my unborn child and I were getting the nutrition we needed.