How can I deal with pregnancy cravings for food I’m allergic to?

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Photo by SanFranAnnie, used under Creative Commons license.
I’m intolerant to gluten — I’ve been tested professionally and have the paperwork to prove it. I’ve had no problem dropping it from my diet until now… while I’m pregnant. Apparently all the baby wants in the world is wheat products — noodles, bread, pastries, etc. No junk food, just anything and everything with wheat in it.

I’m getting plenty of folic acid between food with high content and vitamins, so I can’t imagine why I’m craving this. Anyone have suggestions for combating pregnancy cravings for foods that you’re allergic to? — Rebecca

Comments on How can I deal with pregnancy cravings for food I’m allergic to?

  1. I know its not the same… but have you tried buying (or making your own) gluten free treats.
    I have a milk allergy and usually I just avoid the fake dairy products (cheese, sour cream etc) but sometime I treat myself with the soy alternatives

  2. Have you evaluated your diet for calories and protein? This craving for carbs could be a sugar-type craving in disguise. I don’t know who you’re seeing as a care provider, but unless you know about nutrition you might want to talk to them about diet. If it is a sugar craving in disguise, those are usually combated by adding more protein.

    There are some awesome gluten-free foods out there that taste as good as or better than those that contain gluten, and should satisfy that craving. Whole Foods carries some good ones, but I would also do some google searches to find recipes you can make yourself.

  3. I know it might seem obvious but maybe when having your craving focus on the fact that if you do eat it, the consequences will be terrible for both you AND baby.

  4. I am so scared that this will happen to me. I have Celiac Disease and am completely terrified that any cravings I might have when one day I get pregnant will be gluten based because sometimes (well most of the time) the gluten free versions just aren’t the same.

  5. Obviously this is something you’d want to be cautious about, but, it’s possible that if your food allergy/intolerance isn’t too severe, it’s possible that it might lessen or go away while you’re pregnant.
    My mother is allergic to apples but ate one nearly every day that she was pregnant, with no adverse effects. No longer pregnant, once again allergic to apples. Hormones can do very odd things.

    Again, obviously, something you’d want to discuss with a doctor. Which I’m not. But something to consider.

  6. Like Barbara mentioned, pregnancy hormones can do weird things to your body. I’m lactose intolerant but craved dairy products throughout my first pregnancy. I ate big bowls of cereal with real milk, ice cream, and string cheese every day with no ill effects. After the baby was born….BAM!…allergic to milk again. So weird.

    • same thing with me: my allergies – though non food- disappeared through my pregnancy and are coming back very slowly now. (my son is one)
      maybe you could get tested again under the new circumstances?
      all the best for you and baby! °°

  7. How severe is your allergy?
    My brother is lactose intolerant, but can on rare occasions eat a small serving of ice cream, cheese, or chocolate with no ill effects. If he ate a lot, or ate it often, he would get sick, but a little bit every once in a while doesn’t seem to hurt him. Perhaps it is similar with you?

  8. Not really what you asked for, but in case you can’t get the cravings to go away, here are some good recipe selections. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2009/may/26/gluten-free-baking-bread-cakes
    I bake a lot of gluten free cakes as two of my tribe are coeliac or allergic. My favourites are the chocolatey cakes that replace flour with almond (nom nom!) – but one of my friends made a great lemon cake with mashed potato!
    Apartment Therapy’s Kitchn blog had some good gluten free recipes a while back.
    Good luck!

  9. My pregnancy health books all say to try and satisfy sugar and carb cravings with protein first – that often protein needs manifest as sugar cravings. Maybe bulking up on protein will help lessen the cravings?

    Have you ever cooked with spelt flour? We make spelt pancakes, bread, muffins/cupcakes when we’re having a friend over who is gluten intolerant. I actually like the spelt pancakes better than regular pancakes and the muffins and bread come out great, just a bit more crumbly than regular flour. You can get spelt in whole wheat spelt and lighter white spelt flour which makes it easier for baking things like muffins or cupcakes.

    • Spelt is a great suggestion for someone with a wheat allergy only (myself included) – however, spelt does contain gluten.

      • Didn’t realize it contained gluten. I guess our friend has a wheat allergy, not gluten. We just know that he asked us to use spelt and we had some great results experimenting with it.

      • I have read that sometimes people with gluten intolerance do OK with spelt, even though it has gluten.

  10. In the same boat! Also gluten-intolerant, I’ve been baking cookies and brownies through this whole pregnancy (things I didn’t even want before.) I like quinoa pastas, Udi’s make a good bread (and bagels), love van’s gf waffles, and I think I’ve tried nearly every gf pizza in town!
    One thing I’ve done has been looking for the sales and trying out new mixes when I bake.

  11. I have no idea how to help, but I did find myself craving junk cereals, which was odd because I never used to eat them. I also never have migraines when I’m pregnant, but I do have heartburn.

    I think you should talk to a nutritionist to see if there is a way you may be able to eat small bits of gluten foods (with preg hormones changng you) or if something else may be the target.

  12. This! Through about week 20 of pregnancy, I was a gluten-holic. It frustrated my partner to no end to watch me eat or want to eat these foods that are terrible for me.

    Retrospectively, I see the cravings were from “morning sickness”. They did go away, and I’ve eaten super healthy these last 20 weeks (any day now!)

    My recommendation to you? Take a probiotic at night before bed, when you are least gaggy. And pump up the protein. Try and sip whole milk and chicken broth. Indulge those carb cravings with homemade pico with a side of extra-greasy corn chips or rice crackers with hummus. Good luck!

  13. Just because you are gluten free does not mean you are off bread and pastry forever. There are so many options!

    Macarons are gluten free! You can also buy gluten free cake mixes that compensate for texture with xanthan gum, which I use for GF clients. I think it’s quite good, and very few people can tell it’s gluten free (especially when drenched in buttercream). You can also make chocolate cakes with almond flour (which is actually my preference).

  14. When I had carb cravings it was always when I hadn’t been eating enough. What my body really wanted was just *calories*, but it knows that heavy carbs are the best way to get a lot of them quickly.

  15. I can relate. For me its more of a craving of freedom in eating. Celiac requires pre- planning every single thing that goes in your mouth and I really miss reach-into-the-bag and eat it days so while there are plenty of great pasta and bread substitutes out there, they may not be accessible in a midnight craving sort of way.

    • Continued…
      If you get a craving for chocolate cake there is no Little Debbie Cupcake to fill the void. You have to bake a whole cake from scratch. Gluten Free goods don’t keep well, so it will mold in two days and so you get frustrated, give up, not get cake, and crave tomorrow.
      I suggest a stash of Gluten Free goodies that are quickly prepared. I get some good bake and eat cookies from Health Hut, sure its junk food but better for me to bake 3 cookies than a whole pan.

      • Freeze it! I keep a stash of gluten free bakery cookies in my freezer. It really doesn’t take long to defrost.

  16. I’ve read a lot that cravings especially to sugar or things we shouldn’t have is usually a deficiency. B complex can help so I’ve read. There was another one and I can’t remember now…. Protein can help too! GL mama! Congrats 🙂

  17. This is one of my biggest fears with pregnancy. I LOVED gluten-ified foods pre-coeliac. Even now, years into diagnosis, I still get depressed that I cannot walk into a bakery and grab a roll (with the exception of a few exceptional GF bakeries).

    What will my pregnant self do with 3am toast and peanut butter cravings? When all I want is tortellini? Making the stuff take FOREVER. I think I should start stocking my freezer now, given that we plan on baby-making in the next 12 months. Food allergies SUCK.

  18. Wow, totally didn’t answer your question. Trawl the interwebs for excellent GF recipes (glutenfreegirl.com is fabo) and coerce a loved one into grinding flours to make your bread/pasta/etc.

    PS. for cake cravings get your mittens on ‘red velvet & chocolate heartache’. The book is all about ‘healthy’ cakes (no butter, etc) and 90% of them use rice flour & almond meal with vegetables as the basis. Sounds foul, but after forcing the first bite of my passionfruit and caramel swiss sponge roll down my dubious, anti-vege, started-life-as-a-snooty-chefs-apprentice uncle’s throat, even he had to admit that the addition of carrot was not noticed, and that the cake was, in fact, fabulous. 🙂

  19. Guys, I know everyone means well, but gluten intolerance and Celiac are not per se allergies. They are autoimmune reactions, and a severe enough reaction could lead to premature labor, miscarriage, or many other horrible effects for both mom and baby. Once you have been diagnosed, it is dangerous to try eating it to see whether the pregnancy has helped with the symptoms- especially since many of the worst symptoms are invisible without blood tests and biopsies to reveal them.
    I have Celiac, and am halfway through my first pregnancy. I live in New Orleans, with thousands of other people who would love, love, love for me to try this poboy or that gumbo, and I crave them like mad. I keep in mind, however, that the potential consequences are not worth the taste. (Especially since my ok cravings don’t generally feel satisfied after eating something I wanted.) I think in our case, it is almost more of a longing than a true craving. I know that mine are at their worst when I get to wondering about how I am going to find gluten-free teething biscuits, who the best pediatric GI doctor in my state is, or whether I have burdened my child with my disease. One little thought, and suddenly I would kill for a twinkie- I don’t even like twinkies.
    Find substitutes for the things you can, try baking the things that you can’t find premade substitutes for, and just push through as best you can with the things that simply aren’t going to work.
    For help with baking, look up the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, which lists different ratios of flours and binders for different types of baked goods. It is super helpful. They even have some great pasta recipes, and you can roll and cut it at home with a more rustic look than store-bought.
    Good luck!

    • I was also cringing at the “maybe your hormones will make you less allergic” comments. My grandma and two aunts had 6 stillborn babies between them because of undiagnosed celiac. You don’t mess around with it.

      When I was pregnant and really craving gluten, I’d buy a frozen loaf of gluten-free bread. You keep in in the freezer and whenever you want a slice, just take it out and defrost it for a minute in the microwave. Then I’d either make grilled cheese or load it down with obscene amounts of butter (no I’m not scared of saturated fats). I got the texture that I craved, a bit of carb, and enough fat to kill my appetite, all within minutes.

    • Hello,

      Are you a doctor? Who told you eating gluten could result in miscarriage or premature birth? I’d like to understand what scientific evidence you have to back up this statement?

  20. I have a friend that’s currently pregnant, and she’s strongly allergic to fish and shellfish. Guess what her baby was craving for 4 months? You got it, fish. She doubled her intake of Omega-3 (non fish oil) and nuts, which helped but didn’t totally take it away. She was a little scared at how strong the craving was, actually. Getting all the nutrients etc is a massively important part of the whole deal, and NO, if you’re allergic, don’t risk yourself and your baby.

    • Did she end up having a healthy baby? I’ve had two miscarriages and TTC again. I have no idea if the miscarriages are correlated to my own severe fish allergy and omega 3 deficiency. So, I’m working with a nutritionist and researching ways to up my omega 3 intake, in hopes to help support a healthy pregnancy.

      I’d love to learn about her story or other stories of women, who are also allergic to fish and shellfish and can’t take fish oils, who have had healthy pregnancy.

      Thank you!

  21. I had the very same problem as I am an extremely sensitive Celiac so even a crumb was out of the question as it would have jeopardized my health and my baby. Gluten free easily is a helpful website and FB page. A friend created a FB page called GF, CF, and Veggie Friends where we created a document of “Try this not that” type of things, so when someone says “I miss Oreos” we say try Kinnickinick KToos not Glutinos, or when someone say “I need Cinnabon” Julia’s bakery is reccommended. Find other GF people and when you crave something, ask them where to find a safe version that tastes like real food, with enough people you’ll find a good GF version of everything. Also for me craving carbs was a symptom of a systemic yeast infection I had, my fingers were tearing, I was nauseated, tired, depressed, and my lady parts seemed to be made of tissue paper, it was horrible. RX stuff worked and then made it come back stronger so I reduced my suger and dairy intake (for like a week, my diet is restricted enough) drank lots of water and cured it with coconut. Coconut has caprylic acid which is wonderful for and anti-fungal, I found cultured coconut milk, near the kefir at Sprout’s, esp. helpful because of the probiotics as well, but I replaced my almond milk with coconut milk(not from the can) had coconut milk yogurt, cooked with coconut oil ate spoonfuls solid from the fridge and applied it topically (it’s great for um…bedroom use) and drank coconut water which can now be found anywhere it seems. Coconut is great for you and it sure can’t hurt to keep yeast in check, try it out, and then ask other GF people to help you find a GF version of exactly what you’re craving.

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