Pastured Animals Make for Healthy Food
Pastured animals are healthy animals. They live similarly to how they would in nature, in term of being outside getting sunlight and fresh air, eating green grass, and having space to roam. In addition to being humane for the animal, this way of animal husbandry makes for food that is significantly higher in nutrients and healthier for you. Grass-fed animals are much high in essential fats and fat-soluble vitamins vital for fertility and a healthy baby.
You actually want to consume bacteria
During the course of many generations, before we had refrigeration, we cultured many foods including milk to make yogurt and kefir, and cabbage to make sauerkraut and kim chee. This good bacteria is essential for our health, digestive function, immune system, even our fertility.
Cod liver oil is your friend
Cod liver oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for baby’s brain development. Many women are concerned about fish consumption and avoid or limit fish during pregnancy. These fatty acids are often in short supply in the modern diet, so it’s important to take cod liver oil to make up for this. Cod liver also contains vitamin A and some vitamin D important for the bones and immune system.
Pesticides are chemicals that mimic hormones and can have a huge cost to fertility. In studies, people in areas with high pesticide use had more infertility, premature births, and children with fine and gross motor delays.
When you need to make a choice between organic or not because of access or budget, see the list put out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Choose only organic for those with the most pesticides (on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen”), and consider conventional for those on the “Clean Fifteen” when necessary.
Maximize every bite
In order to consume and absorb the large amount of nutrients required for pregnancy, it’s important to eat as many nutrient-dense foods as possible. Don’t fill yourself up with empty calories.
Water and Fiber
Adding fiber to your diet can help you avoid problems like constipation and hemorrhoids. Eat foods rich in fiber such as green vegetables, sweet potatoes, and salads, as well as beans and some whole grains. Abundant water intake and good hydration are important for pregnancy. Water flushes waste products from cells and aids liver and kidney function for mother and baby’s waste. Proper hydration is important for adequate breast milk production and flow.
Take a prenatal supplement
This is a good “insurance policy.” However, it is still best to get as many key nutrients as you can from whole foods. Nutrients from food are more easily absorbed than supplements.
Cut the Caffeine – really
You’ll find I’m not dogmatic about anything and I usually try to be pretty flexible, but caffeine, any way you slice it, is really best avoided. A 2008 study by Kaiser Permanente showed that “women who consumed 200 mg or more of caffeine per day (two or more cups of regular coffee or five 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soda) had twice the miscarriage risk as women who consumed no caffeine.” Stick to naturally decaffeinated beverages like pregnancy tea blends, rooibos tea, and hot water with lemon and blackstrap molasses (for a bit of iron and vitamin C).
Important Nutritional Components for Healthy Pregnancy
Fats: Nutritious and balanced fat choices such as omega 3, 6 and 9 are essential for brain growth and development of babies. Trans-fats and hydrogenated fats should be reduced or eliminated, but essential fats consumption should never be restricted during pregnancy and nursing.
Protein: Proteins are the building blocks for mother’s muscles, teeth, and bones – and also vital to normal growth patterns babies, and for production of immune system antibodies.
Carbohydrates: A well-balanced diet with carbohydrates from complex, whole food sources such as vegetables, grains, fruits is important to ensure adequate intake of fiber, nutrients, and energy.
Minerals: Minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc are critical to the health of a pregnant woman and her baby. Iron supports the increase in blood volume needed in pregnancy. Calcium and zinc are key to bone growth and maintenance and healing.
Vitamins: Vitamins, like minerals, are also critical for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Most of us know folic acid can help prevent certain birth defects. Vitamin A aids cell growth and repairs and aids visual function – natural food forms of vitamin A absorb better than supplements.
AVOID additives and toxins in foods and your home
MSG, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, nitrates/nitrites in cured meats such as ham and bacon, artificial sweeteners, mercury in fish, contaminants in water, and pesticides in produce and animal products. These substances are harmful to mother and baby.
In addition to toxins in foods, there are many other toxins in the home to avoid. Many women have no idea that the substances cleaners they use, body care products they wear, and vapors they inhale would or could be harmful. This is essential during pregnancy because the baby is most vulnerable when he is developing and has no detoxification system of his own yet. These chemicals that are eaten, inhaled, and absorbed can cause damage to the baby, including causing miscarriage. Avoid paints, solvents, and perfume, even many body care products.
Benefits for mom and baby of holistic nutrition during pregnancy:
- Lifelong impact on the health of your child by building a strong physiological system from the beginning, during gestation.
- Minimizes the challenges of morning sickness, constipation, anemia, heartburn, and gestational diabetes.
- Lowers some of the risks of low birth weight, susceptibility to infection, birth defects and miscarriages.
- Increases daily energy level, feelings of well-being, and help reduce fatigue.
- Positively affects labor. Women who get proper nutrition are less likely to deliver early than women with poorer diets – deficiency in zinc and essential fatty acids have been correlated with preterm labor.
- Promotes healthy weight gain.
- Better postpartum recovery. A well-nourished body recovers faster, and healthy pregnancy weight gain comes off more quickly.