Well now that it’s been “officially” announced via Facebook, I feel okay talking about what’s been going on here with regards to eating and how this pregnancy compares to my last.
First things first: GAPS. We found out we were pregnant just 3 days into the GAPS diet. I had really wanted to get all the way through this healing diet before we had our next kid so I didn’t have to worry about grains or dairy being an issue, but God had different plans! I was able to keep up with the diet for about 3 weeks and got almost all the way through the Intro Diet, and then I just couldn’t take it any more. I started feeling nauseated at the smell of meat cooking, and one day just caved and had Chipotle chicken bowl (no rice, just sauteed veggies, chicken, salsa, lettuce and guacamole). It tasted wonderful, and hey, I could get it all down! And then that afternoon I went and ate another bowl. Ack!
I know Chipotle is usually the “healthy” option for most people, but I’m sure it’s all cooked in vegetable oils that are heated at high temperatures, which means the oils have gone rancid (don’t cook with vegetable oils, not even olive oil. Only coconut oil won’t go rancid at high temperatures). Something in the food definitely set me off and I had to go potty almost immediately.
It might be helpful here to explain a little bit of my pregnancy history. Our first pregnancy went off without any complications…except extreme pregnancy sickness. In the first few months I couldn’t keep anything down other than coke, oreos, BK fries and Totino’s Pizza Rolls. And I could only keep those things down after about 5 pm! No water, no broth, NOTHING other than those foods. You can imagine that with the nausea, shit food and realizing that I’m not giving my kiddo the best nutrition possible, I wanted to find ANY solution (no natural solution worked). My German doctor (this was all in Germany) would only give me medicine for motion sickness, with the suggestion that I come in and get an IV put in my arm and stay in the hospital for a few days. Really? I just wanted something to help keep my food down! I had heard about Zofran and that plenty of women had taken it without any side effects for the duration of their pregnancy, and had a healthy baby. After pulling some strings with friends, I finally got an Army doctor to proscribe me Zofran. I don’t like using medicine, but if it allowed me to eat REAL food, then hey, it was better than an IV and fries! So even though I struggled with nausea and vomiting all 40 weeks, if it prevented me from eating, I could take Zofran and be just fine.
Fast forward about a year and I’ve gone through some huge dietary changes: I went off dairy (dairy intolerance is typically connected with celiac disease), went off grains (were causing me to be depressed), and even starches (they bloated me). I had started consuming chicken liver almost weekly, started taking Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil, and gotten on Bio-Kult, which is the highest quality probiotic available.
Now that you know my history, you can see why I was a little nervous about making sure I got both high-quality food, and food that I could get/keep down. I try to stay on the GAPS diet when I can (kinda like Paleo, but everything prepared at home, with fermented dairy allowed), but if there’s nothing in that diet that sounds edible to me, I’m going to get out some sourdough bread and make toast so I can have some ghee, coconut oil or liver pate as the spread. I’ve also had sushi a few times too, and some simple organic corn chips (both rice and corn are grains, and not allowed on GAPS). If I make myself feel badly about this, I’m just going to be miserable and probably won’t eat much. So I give myself some grace. When the nausea stops I can be better about GAPS, but until then, I’m going to have to be okay with some compromises.
Pregnancy sickness is rather common these days, and extreme pregnancy sickness (Hyperemesis Gravidarum, HG) is getting more and more common as well. You have to wonder: what did women use to do in years past? Didn’t they have to be productive on their farms and care for lots of children? How could they have survived pregnancy sickness? All great questions. The answer? They didn’t get sick. You heard that right: pregnancy sickness is a new thing. This can only lead me to think that it’s our diet and other toxic external factors that have made this happen. Yes, you’ve heard that “it’s hormones,” and “it’s a growth spurt in the fetus,” but what really affects your hormones is food. And really, why would a growth spurt make you sick? Because both hormone function and baby’s growth demand good health to function properly, and if your nutrient stores are low, things just don’t work as well. I understand that I’m probably very alone in this opinion, but people who eat liver, lots of fat and lots of happy animal products generally don’t have issues with pregnancy sickness (speaking mainly of traditional cultures here).
So why am I, a super healthy eater, still having problems? Well, a little research told me that there’s a high correlation between celiac disease and HG. Why would this make sense? Well, in a celiac, when gluten is consumed, it actually stunts the cilia in your intestines that are supposed to absorb the nutrients (in technical terms, your villi gets stunted, so the enterocytes that have digestive enzymes on their hairs–microvilli–don’t have the surface area to do their jobs properly), and most of your food goes out undigested. After years of damage (I was undiagnosed for about a decade), not only have you damaged your gut, but you’ve effectively been starved of nutrients for most of that time.
All that said, I currently only have slight problems with nausea. Last pregnancy, there were full days where I had to lie on the couch, unable to read or get on any device with a screen. Now, I’m able to function with my 13-month old just fine, eat 3 meals a day, and only vomited after eating some bad take-out. What does that say to me? I’m healing my gut and refilling my nutrient stores! And the interesting thing is that I always have the least amount of nausea on the days after I’ve eaten liver! This is all very exciting.
I know this was a super long post, without any pretty pictures, but this stuff is important to me. Maybe it will help someone find information linking celiac disease and hyperemesis gravidarum. Or maybe it will help you understand how incredibly damaging celiac disease really is. If you think you might have a gluten intolerance, go off it for 2 months (it takes that long to get out of your system), and see how you feel after you reintroduce it. It could be that last thing that helps you lose that weight, or helps you sleep, or gets rid of your depression. As a side note, if you have Hashimoto’s Disease (auto-immune induced hypothyroidism), it’d be worthing going off gluten too, because Hashimoto’s Disease and Celiac Disease are often linked.
What’s been your experience with intersection between pregnancy sickness, celiac disease and GAPS?