After years of looking pregnant when I was actually just bloated, I’m proud to finally have a real baby belly! I’m 17 weeks along and things are going very well. The biggest challenge at this point is continuing to get enough nutrients as the baby grows.
My iron, sodium, magnesium, and calcium levels have all dropped slightly below normal, which isn’t terribly surprising. When the diet doesn’t contain adequate nutrients for mom and baby, they go to the baby first. And if the baby needs more, it’ll take a little extra from what mom has stored in her body.
So I’ll have to work a little harder to enhance the nutrition in my diet. In part that means more blackstrap molasses, more NaturalCalm, and some extra Orgain. But it also means adding more variety to my diet…or, in other words, breaking out of my food rut.
Like most people with GP, I sometimes fall into a routine with my food, eating the same mini-meals and snacks day in and day out. It’s easy and “safe.” Orgain, MacroBars, potatoes, bananas, nut butters, tried-and-true smoothies and fresh juices…having nutrient-rich staples you can rely on is a good thing. Lack of variety is not.
For all GPers, pregnant or not, a varied diet is the key to getting the all of the nutrients the body needs to function properly. The best way to enhance the variety in your diet is to eat GP-friendly foods in a rainbow of colors each day (see pages 77-79 in Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis for more about the GP-Friendly Rainbow).
I’ll be honest: this is not always easy. Even for me! Sometimes I worry that if I give myself an inch, I might take a mile. Never stop experimenting…never stop eating. Ever feel that way? Sometimes it happens. I overeat or try too many new things too quickly and end up more symptomatic. But I’ve found that most of the time, if I practice moderation, make smart choices, and don’t worry so much about what may or may not happen, I do just fine.
The other issue with venturing beyond your staples is that it takes extra thought and effort. Sometimes, especially when you’re tired or low on energy, it’s easier to stick to your staples than it is to actually think about what you’re going to eat. Especially when you’re fixing it just for you.
That’s why I try to make preparing a variety of food as easy as possible:
- I use my slow-cooker to make baked white or sweet potatoes.
- I make hard boiled eggs in the oven.
- I prepare big batches of recipes, like soups and purees, and freeze them in individual serving sizes.
- I shop and cook when I have the energy, so that I have food ready for when I don’t.
- I try to make my mini-meals something that my husband will also eat, usually as a side dish with his meal.
Tonight I made Roasted Red Pepper Mashed Potatoes for dinner, a recipe which exemplifies ease, moderation, and “color.” Potatoes are a staple for me, as they are for many GPers. Though they’re rich in potassium, they’re lacking in color. Adding roasted red peppers is a small change but a nutritionally significant one — they’re packed with vitamin C! As for making things easy, I made the potatoes in the slow cooker, pureed the peppers in my Vitamix, and fed it to my husband alongside his pork chops and peas. We both loved it!
The full recipe is featured in this month’s newsletter. Definitely give it a try. But don’t stop there. Keep experimenting, slowly and deliberately, with other GP-friendly ways to eat a rainbow of colors each day. Pregnant or not, food ruts aren’t nutritionally sound or terribly satisfying. Taking small steps to incorporate more variety into your diet can go a long way toward improving your overall nutrition…and that’s a big part of living (well!) with GP.