So for those of you who do not know yet, I'm actually in my thirty third week of pregnancy. This coming Friday I will be 34 weeks along in gestation. The above shot is a 4D ultra sound of Baby Brock at 28 weeks gestation. Wow, this pregnancy has been a wild ride! While we are ecstatically happy and excited, there have been lots of ups and downs. This little pumpkin is so loved already!
One question I've been asked repeatedly is since I'm going through this pregnancy naturally, living a holistically healthy lifestyle that is extremely different than the way I went through my other two pregnancies, what am I doing differently? How am I supporting my body systems and the baby? I will share all I've been doing in segments so the blog articles won't be too long. For this entry I'll start with foods that can be positive options and delicious. Your choices might look different than mine and that's perfectly fine.
What am I eating?
Truth be told, the time to start eating well is two years before pregnancy states Sally Fallon Morell, president of The Weston A. Price Foundation and author of The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care. Dad to be's diet matters just as much as Momma to be's as well. It's no surprise to those of us in this crazy, nutty, crunchy world of food that what is eaten daily is most definitely a different picture than of what a regular (SAD) Standard American Diet is composed. For anyone just beginning their health journey who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, I hope this article will assist you in making good supportive yummy choices. Do what's right for you.
One food focus that is unanimous among most doctors allopathic and naturopathic and certified nutritionists that it is extremely important during pregnancy to consume enough protein. According to the American Pregnnacy Association, pregnant women need at least 75 grams of protein daily. Some sources say 100 grams. Confirm what is best for your body with your health professional. Protein is really important for baby's natural development. I notice I feel so much more energetic and less nauseous when I eat enough protein especially for breakfast not too long after I awaken.
Some of my favorite protein sources are farm fresh eggs from pastured chickens without soy in the feed, sheep yogurt, avocados, organic pastured turkey bacon, quinoa, organic ground turkey, wild salmon ( although I've not really had a taste for it as much during this pregnancy), wild mahi mahi, grass-fed cow hydrolyzed collagen in my smoothies, hemp seeds, raw soaked and dried nuts, sprouted organic rice and organic beans together, and buckwheat.
*For convenience when I just can't get out ingredients and bring myself to make anything, my husband keeps a few packs of Hilary Eats Well frozen veggie patties in our freezer. I LOVE to cook, but let's be honest, making the little human wears us out! These patties are truly awesome for 1) being a frozen food that is yummy and 2) for health value. These patties are gluten, soy, egg, dairy, rice, nut, and corn free...so they kick the major allergens out of the park. They are even cooked in coconut oil, not a bad for you polyunsatured fat, which is typically the case in packaged foods. I just pop them in the toaster oven. They can be found at Whole Foods Markets and Earthfare Markets. I typically eat them on top of organic lettuce either in a bowl broken up to top a salad with avocado, or using the lettuce as a wrap. If these stores are not near you, you can order them here.
Folate, Fiber, and Magnesium
A second food focus has been folate, fiber, and magnesium. I grouped these together because of one reason: plants. Before pregnancy and during the first trimester, folate is a very important component of the daily diet especially for spinal development as well as promoting normal growth throughout the body. Folate is found primarily in plants foods, although eggs do contain some. I opted not to take a pre-natal vitamin since my folate in-take was strong, and that's typically the main reason pre-natal vitamins are recommended. After a dietary assessment, my midwife was in agreement with this decision. You should do whatever makes you and your medical provider feel comfortable. I will talk more about supplements in another article.
Quinoa, if you can eat it, is an awesome multitasking food. I mentioned it up in the protein section, because it is a complete plant based protein. If you are vegetarian, I'm sure you have it in your pantry. Since it is a plant food, it is rich in fiber as well. It also contains calcium. I like the versatility of it. I have several articles on quinoa recipes. I like to replace pasta with it. See if you like this recipe below:
Italian Quinoa (Makes enough for a family of four)
2 Cups Uncooked Quinoa, (This will fill a semi-large pot when cooked up, and you will have some left over)
4 cups Filtered Water (for cooking quinoa)
2-3 Tbso Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil
10 Asparagus Spears, chopped
3 Handfuls Organic Baby Spinach
1/2 Large Sweet Onion, diced or sliced, whatever shape you prefer (or any onion you have at home)
1/2 Bag Frozen Organic Bell Peppers (maybe 2 cups or so)
1 28oz Jar Bionaturae Strained Tomato Sauce
1 Tsp Dried Organic Basil
1 Tsp Organic Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Himalayan Salt
As much organic fresh ground black pepper as you want
Put the quinoa and water in a semi-large pot. Put on high to bring to a boil, then turn down low, stir, and cover until cooked.
In a large skillet put the oil, onion, asparagus, and bell peppers. Saute until softened a bit, then add sauce, basil, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper on low. Finally add spinach. Stir a around and cover to simmer for about 5-8 minutes.
In bowls add a few scoops of quinoa, then top with vegetable sauce. Feel free to add organic Italian chicken sausage, chicken breast, a white wild fish, or even crumbled hard boiled eggs for extra protein if you'd like. Top with shredded Romano cheese, soft goat cheese, or nutritional yeast.
Fiber, only found in plant foods, contributes to our digestive health. Magnesium, a much needed daily mineral, which most people are deficient in, also can only be consumed through plant foods. Enjoying a very plant based food regimen is important to me. Plant based doesn't have to mean no animal foods. I define it as making sure a majority of what I eat is covered in a plethora of plant foods to ensure multiple nutrients. I try to cover half my plate in plant foods, or snack on plants through out the day. Sometimes a whole plate of food is too much, so I'll break it up. That's okay too. Just eat well for you.
Tip: At the beginning of each week I like to bake several organic sweet potatoes, I let them cool, and they get stored in the fridge or freezer. You can make a fast meal out a of a sweet potato with toppings or adding them to other dishes. Right in the toaster over it can go with some grass fed butter or organic unrefined coconut oil and Himalayan salt. The sweetness can also help curb the sugar monster.
An easy and tasty way to ensure folate, fiber, and magnesium intake is up is through green smoothies. I drink several a week. Smoothies create an all encompassing great, easy to make, quick meal. Adding half an avocado makes them so creamy smooth. I try to alternate my greens in my smoothies for maximum nutrients and not to overdue certain foods. I've taken advantage of pre-cut/washed leafy greens like kale and spinach. A little work taken out of the prep-time for food makes a big difference when your body is again making a little human, which tends to make us Mommas sleepy. I always do a quick swish in some filtered water and Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak just to be sure though. You can purchase that wonderful, safe, pre-made veggie soak here for 24% off.
I've liked making jar salads too. This is an easy way to take food on the go. Jar salads are fun to put together and you can include a variety of foods in the jar. I always try to include fermented veggies in my salads or on the side of my plate. They support my digestive and immune systems, add a unique flavor, and provide that folate, fiber, and magnesium! What a food multi-tasking bargain!
Organic frozen fruits and veggies in your freezer makes meal time much more pleasant during pregnancy as well. Do not feel bad about this either. Get the foods in your body that you need, the best way for you. you can make healthy meals this way. Keep it organic, since conventional frozen foods, even plain veggies and fruit tend to have unnecessary additives on top of that pesticide load that is bad for you and baby. While I will agree fresh is best not sitting in a plastic bag, at least heat is not involved.
During this pregnancy sleep has been a delicacy. I wake just about nightly and usually hungry. My husband makes sure we always have a bag of organic frozen dark cherries from Costco. Cherries are not too hard when frozen so they won't harm tooth enamel when chewing and they are a super natural source of magnesium, a mineral you need when trying to get back to sleep. Magnesium can promote good rest.
Never ignore true hunger when pregnant. Although the eating for two scenario has been confirmed to be a myth, you do need to eat some more. Listen to your body, even those cravings. Now if the cravings are not for normal, healthy choices, consider talking to your health professional for better options. My cravings during this pregnancy have been refried beans (these can be made in a very healthy way at home), blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cantaloupe.
My third focus are lots of healthy fats. Our brains and even more so babies brains need them for safe and healthy development. My favorite fats are avocados, organic unrefined coconut oil, 100% grass-fed butter, raw goat cheese, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic raw nut butters, and some organic red palm oil. I try to eat an avocado everyday. Eating enough healthy fat can help with unhealthy sugar cravings. High quality farm fresh eggs from pastured chickens actually are a dual food in offering not just significant protein, but healthy cholesterol, another term for fat. I've eaten eggs practically everyday in the second and third trimesters. Even though during most of my first trimester I couldn't even hear someone say the word egg. Don't hormones make our bodies do funny things?
A favorite snack of mine are sliced organic granny smith apples and raw almond butter. I also like almond butter on organic ribs of celery.
Did you know fats are good for the digestive system too? Many days a week I take some organic unrefined coconut oil on a spoon. I was vigilant about this in my early first trimester when I was constipated for almost one whole month (which by the way I've NEVER been in my life...just awful). Sometimes I'd mix it with my boiled organic prunes (never want to see a prune again, just saying). Healthy fat can encourage movement in the intestines as well as coconut oil specifically can assist in maintenance with beneficial gut flora, which I need.
Hope you enjoyed seeing what I've been eating to support my body. This list didn't cover everything of course. Are you pregnant? What have you been eating? Have you had any cravings? Reply in the comment box. I'd love to hear from you!
Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC
Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.
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