Why didn’t anyone tell me that what I eat in pregnancy does matter? I don’t have an intro to this excellent post by Donielle, of Naturally Knocked Up, other than to say I’m fascinated! (And to say, I’m not quite there yet, but we’re working on it bit by bit.) I’ll share more thoughts on my own pregnancy diet next week.
My strongest belief is that God truly has a hand in the health of our babies. Before, during, and after pregnancy. Sometimes, even when we do everything right, our little ones place in glory is ready for them before we’re ready to see them go.
God’s will trumps all.
But there are some things we can control – like the food we put in our mouths.
Over the past five years, with infertility struggles in the beginning due to my PCOS (poly cystic ovary syndrome), to becoming pregnant and following the modern advice during my first pregnancy, to following completely different advice during my second, I’ve become very passionate about food.
Why you ask? Well, the one thing I wish someone would have told me when I first became pregnant was how much food affected not only my body during pregnancy, but the baby’s body for years to come.
Now, I’m not a doctor or medical professional, but I have spent hours upon hours researching and reading, finding out exactly how food fits into my life. Finding out exactly how our bodies are meant to function. And it’s all about nourishing our bodies.
One in six couples now struggles with infertility, about 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage, some women are unable to breastfeed due to lack of supply, babies are born with allergies and asthma, and a record number of children are now being diagnosed with things like autism, ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities and many are chronically sick. It is my belief that some of this may be due to the fact that we’ve veered so far away from the food that God has intended for us to eat.
Back when I first became pregnant, I followed all of the conventional and modern wisdom my doctor had to offer. I drank only skim milk and ate low fat yogurt, I ate healthy and fiber rich cereal, stayed away from spicy foods, and stocked my cart with boxes touting the “health” of the food within. But I was also horribly crabby, tired All. The. Time. and had constant headaches, nausea, and heartburn!
The foods that currently stock our super market shelves may feed our bodies, but do little to actually nourish it.
Because it’s not real food!
Real food is:
- Unadulterated and unprocessed
- Free from preservatives, flavor enhancers, and artificial coloring
- As close from the ground as we can get it and grown without the use of chemicals
- From animals that are humanely treated and fed what their bodies need – grass!
- Prepared in a way to glean the most nourishment from it – the same way our ancestors did
I wish someone would have told me…….
How good fat was for you
During pregnancy specifically, our bodies need a lot of good fats from good sources. Good whole milk, (preferably raw, but at least lightly pasteurized and non-homogenized) lots of eggs, butter, coconut oil, and wholesome fats from fish and animals are essential to growing a baby. They nourish the baby and provide nutrients essential to proper brain development and neurological function as well as building proper bone structure. (did you know that narrow jaws and crooked teeth are due to lack of these essential nutrients?) Above and beyond all food science, studies, and experts, the fact is that God provided these foods in perfect form! He did not give us cows that produce skim milk! He gave us perfectly good and wholesome fats that are full of fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.
How bad processed food was for me
And not just the stuff we easily admit is unhealthy like chips, pop, and frozen pizzas. But things like the “healthy” frozen dinners, cereal, and flavored yogurts. Anything processed goes through some form of heating which kills enzymes, and the processing destroys many of the nutrients. Our bodies also have to work extra hard to digest processed foods which lead to using up stores of vitamins and minerals. You know…the stuff that helps build a healthy baby!
How good probiotics were for me
Not only do probiotic foods help keep your immune system in top notch shape, they also populate and prepare the baby’s gut. In doing so it helps the baby absorb nutrients, fend off illness, and avoid disorders associated with a ‘leaky gut’. (autism, ADD, behavioral issues, and depression)
How simple adding nutrients could be
When we were struggling with infertility and when I then became pregnant, we were eating the standard American diet. We bought plenty of fruits and veggies, but then everything else was from a box or bag. Why make bread when you can just buy it? Why make soup when it comes so conveniently in a can? Make your own beans? Never! Those come in cans too.
But by making more from home, you can easily increase the nutrient content of your food. Making bread is fairly simple once you have a recipe, a few minutes of active working time, and 3 hours at home. Plus it tastes soooo fabulous. Homemade broth should be a pantry (ok freezer) staple as it’s chock full of vitamins and minerals and super easy to make. And you can absorb more nutrients from beans when you prepare them yourself! (fyi – did you know that beans are high in vitamin B and can help stave off morning sickness?)
I hope I was able to give you all something to think about! Making just a few changes within your diet can allow you to have a healthier pregnancy and healthier baby. I’d love to hear your thoughts about a pregnancy diet in the comments!
Thanks to Amy for letting me guest post today! It’s so comfy over here, I may just stay awhile. My passion beyond my family is food and natural health and since I could go on and on about eating, I’ve also posted my 10 Essentials for a pregnancy diet over at my blog today. I’m also launching an eCourse on July 12 all about how to prepare our bodies for pregnancy. So whether you’re on your 10th kid and just want some great info on how to ensure better health, or you’re struggling with infertility, you’ll find a one of a kind, multi-media course that will walk you through preparing your body step by step.