A Pregnant Whole 30

The Whole 30 is an elimination diet program designed to remove most if not all inflammatory foods from the diet for a 30-day period, and then reintroduce them one by one to assess potential effects on the body. Primarily, I’d say its purpose is to identify food sensitivities, but it’s also a nice “reset” for the body which can tell you a lot about how different foods have been making you feel. It is not intended as a weight loss program, but some people have the pleasant side effect of losing a few along the way as a result of eating much, much healthier! This was not the case for me, but I wasn’t trying to lose weight.  
I found out I was pregnant on Day 3 of my first official Whole30.
The pregnancy was intentional. We had been trying for a few months, and I wanted to do more to maximize my health and my fertility. I was letting unhealthy foods creep into my diet, and I thought a fresh start with a Whole30 would be a good choice either way- improving my fertility or getting me started on a healthy pregnancy. Plus, I was curious about having a potential sensitivity to dairy after I had a histamine response to full-fat cream this summer. In hindsight, this thought process was ambitious.

I chronicled my experiences daily. It’s funny to me how, in the beginning, I wanted to keep it short and simple in just a few words. Once I get about 1/3 of the way through, I start writing more lengthy descriptions that are more “stream of consciousness.” It should be noted that the toothaches are related to recent dental work I had done as well as TMJ pain (as I would discover), which I will address in an upcoming post.
My husband did the food part of the program with me, though he allowed alcohol. It really helped to be doing it together. We planned ahead well and did a lot of shopping and meal prep, so we started off great. Here’s how it went:

Day 1: Excited, nervous, prepared (toothache) 
Day 2: Prepared, confident, proud (toothache)
Day 3: Excited, confident, tired (
headache, toothache)          
            **found out I was pregnant** 
Day 4: Confident, will-power mode, competent
            -went to 2 restaurants today- Whole30 compliant meal at one & snack at another
Day 5: Hungry, sluggish (headache, toothache)
            – ate an extra mini-meal 
Day 6: Hopeful, determined, hungry, tired (headache, toothache)
            -had to eat a little extra 
Day 7: Annoyed, short tempered, still happy with the food (headache, toothache)
            – #killallthethings

            – ate a snack
Day 8: Hopeful (
headache, toothache) 
           – took a nap
           – trying to trust the process
           – why can’t I have cheese? 
Day 9: Hopeful, Woke up feeling slightly more energized. 

           – Today is a better day (toothache)
Day 10: Woke up and got out of bed fairly easily, I was impressed. (toothache-upper right)

            -Feeling a little chubby, stomach is fluffier today. 
Day 11: Woke up okay, felt pretty good (toothache- SEVERE) 
            – Tried to eat lunch (salad) and pain was too bad, had to stop eating. 
            – Not doing well
            – Sleepy on the drive home from work
            – Needed medicine 3 times today
Day 12: In pain ALL DAY. 

            – Whole30 is stupid
            – I want pizza and pop tarts (which I don’t even eat) and donuts
            – I have no energy to cook. 
            – Tooth/jaw pain is really getting to me, cried about it. 
            – So frustrated. Whyyyyyyyyy?
Day 13: Today is definitely better. 

            – Woke up naturally (Saturday) and got up, tooth pain much duller today. 
            – Felt pretty good all afternoon 
Day 14: I feel MUCH better today! 

             – Afternoon craving for BREAD. 
             – Sandwiches, pastries, bagels. GIMME IT TO ME. 
Day 15: Took meds 3 times today, though pain was better (took 1/2 dose each time). 

             – Felt generally good with intermittent queasiness when I would get hungry (likely pregnancy related.) 
             – Definitely felt better about the Whole30 today! 
Day 16: The tiger blood has not arrived. 

             – Headache, tooth pain. 
             – Thinking it might be radiating sinus pressure. 
             – Feel a little foggy and queasy. 
             – The food is delicious today, though, so that’s helping. 
Day 17: **6 weeks pregnant** 

             – Tooth pain, headache in temples and mostly right side of skull. 
             – Finally made a dentist appointment and I’m going to the chiropractor today. 
             – I’m discouraged bc I feel like I should be feeling amazing on day 17 and yet I have this pain that’s holding me back from assessing other feelings about my health. 
             – I’ve also been intermittently queasy and nauseous, assumed to be related to pregnancy. 
             – Still want bread. 
Day 18: I think the chiropractor helped! 

             – Least amount of meds I’ve needed for a week! 
             – Still intermittent pain
             – Now I have food aversions. 
             – Tough to figure out what I want to eat that’s approved
Day 19: Super discouraged

             – Want all the bread and can’t have it- don’t want anything else. 
             – Only thing I can really enjoy is fruit right now (eating all the grapes). 
             – Can I even finish this? The forums say people have quit if they find out they’re pregnant while on it. All the people who say they’ve done it pregnant was after first trimester. 
Day 20: Woke up feeling lots of jaw/tooth pain. 
             – Took meds immediately. I now need them in the middle of the night sometimes. 
Day 21: Dreamt of cheesy tots and crescent rolls. 

             – Woke up feeling a bit better 
             – Chelsea’s baby shower today so I have to be on it. 
             – Lingering headache, def will take meds before this event. 
             – Before, the headache was radiating from the tooth pain, now it’s above eyes and on temples and I think it is pregnancy related 
Day 22: Felt like ishhhhhh today. 

             – EFAs supplement helped. 
             – Around 9:45 I thought I would vomit for sure. Ate some fruit, helped. 
             – Saw dentist today, not very helpful, made me scared by saying I could have degenerative joint disease or arthritis in my jaw. 
             – Seeing chiro again tomorrow. Made appointment with oral surgeon to check out jaw and maybe X-ray.  
             – (EDIT: oral surgeon appointment was cancelled by them because they didn’t want to take an x-ray during my first trimester). 
             – Couldn’t finish any food I started today
Day 23: Took EFAs, a banana and almond butter right when I woke up, which helped with pain and nausea. 
             – Feeling icky still, run down. 
             – Lingering headache. Took Tylenol. Just want to lay down.
Day 24: Don’t want any veggies (pregnancy related)

             – Whole30 is hard when all the food you want, you can’t have, and you are averse to many of the foods you can have. 
Day 25: Whole30 travel day- going to final NTP workshop for my certification

             – Mild nausea in the morning, eating right when I wake up helps
             – Want this to be over, but know that being around classmates will make it easier to continue eating well
Day 26: At my NTP conference, taking written and practical finals

            – Felt full of adrenaline all day, pregnancy symptoms GONE
            – Nervous wreck because pregnancy symptoms are gone. 
            – Felt great eating Whole30 approved foods (including an entire bag of grapes throughout the weekend which I don’t think is a Melissa Urban recommendation)
Day 27: Woke up with nausea again, relieved that pregnancy symptoms are back

            – Want bread, want Whole30 to be over 
Day 28: Tired and nauseous throughout the day
            – Body wants empty carbs 

I ended my Whole30 two days early due to my own poor planning. I was traveling (flying) on Day 31 and realized I could NOT reintroduce gluten and dairy and then get on a plane. I also didn’t want to continue the Whole30 while on vacation. 
I reintroduced dairy on what would have been Day 29. 

Day 1: Dairy Reintroduction- sliced turkey and provolone cheese with cole slaw  

     -Felt headaches, mild nausea and tired feelings today, but could be completely pregnancy related. 
     -No digestive upset, no extra bathroom trips, no noticeable skin changes. 

Day 2: Gluten Reintroduction- Egg salad sandwich on croissant for lunch

     – Headache in the afternoon
     – Could have been pregnancy related?
     – No digestive upset, no extra bathroom trips, no other noticeable changes aside from things that could be attributed to pregnancy

I didn’t feel the need to reintroduce anything else in isolation. I would have done it with alcohol, but am pregnant so that will have to wait! 

**Overall Takeaways:

It is very difficult to assess true reactions to this program while it is happening when one is also experiencing the changes that occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. I looked on multiple Whole30 forums for sympathy, empathy, encouragement, permission to eat exclusively fruit, etc. What I found was a bunch of poor pregnant mamas who knew their bodies well enough to say “Enough!” and try the Whole30 some other time. There were mamas who did the Whole30 during their second or third trimesters, but I was unsuccessful at finding one who completed one during the first. Technically, I didn’t finish either, since I stopped after Day 28. 

It is very interesting to me that I craved bread so heavily during the Whole30. I somehow thought that, if I was eating very “clean” during the first month of pregnancy, I would be immune to the cravings. I think this is because I know that eating empty carbs and sugar in my “regular” life (when not afflicted with this ‘condition’) causes me to crave those foods more. When I am “off sugar,” I typically don’t want it nearly as much. WELL I WAS WRONG. THIS PREGNANCY ISH IS REAL. I would not do a Whole30 pregnant again personally, though I highly respect any woman who wants to do it! I am grateful for the experience, though, because it taught me that I do NOT have control over everything and that your body will tell you how it feels and what it needs even when you are resisting it HARD! 
I do not think that my body “needed” donuts or unhealthy foods- don’t get me wrong. But I do recognize that I may have been not meeting a need somewhere that I could have managed better (even on Whole30) if I only knew what it was. Maybe I needed more naps. Maybe I needed to go to bed earlier, reduce my screen time, drink more water, or have more backup snacks that are approved. Maybe all of the above! I am a constant work in progress and I will take this experience as something to learn and grow from. And someday, I will try Whole30 again. The food is awesome and I want to feel that tiger blood that people talk about!

**EFA Supplement mentioned above: 

Biotics Research has a Mixed Essential Fatty Acids liquid supplement which is a blend of well-sourced, undamaged and high quality oils that you take by the spoonful (Ingredients are walnut, sesame, hazelnut and apricot kernel oils). I was using it as a strategy to remediate my pain because these oils are supposed to trigger anti-inflammatory prostaglandins which are related to how we perceive pain. I truly believe that they helped take the edge off my tooth and jaw pain, but it’s hard to know for certain! Either way, they are “good fats” and I knew they weren’t doing my body harm. I was in so much pain that I was willing to try anything. 

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