Mama's Gotta Eat
I love food. And you think, "Yeah, sure you do. Everyone 'loves' food..."
Fair enough. But, really, I do love it. I love really, really good food. I love shopping for it, and growing it, and I love cooking it. From scratch, no less. The kind that takes effort. And time. BUT (and this is a huge but):
Sometimes (not in the rare sense, either) I'm not up for time in the kitchen, especially when I am carrying a child --
you know, inside my body.
It is in those sometimes when I think, "You know, just give me a bowl of popcorn and then we can all at least feel full, and I'll be happy (even if for just a minute!). Or, 'Honey, my love, love, love... please just bring us home something from the first place you pass on your way home... I don't even care... I just can't - CANNOT - face the fridge, and pantry, and stove."
So, before you read the rest of this and think, "BIG. FAT. CHANCE. " Trust me, I know. I have been way, way down there with you.
(Or maybe you don't ever go there? Nice. You'll have no trouble!) I just want you to know that I'm not coming from way up high on a pedestle of dietary perfection... I know tired. I know hungry. I know "I can't afford it." But, I also have learned:
It is so worth it.
Now, here's the thing:
If you already eat like this, then great! Here is just some reinforcement that you are doing awesome and to just keep going!
But, if you are here and you are feeling overwhelmed by reading this, that's okay! Pick one area that you think you might have the best success with and start there. Once that step becomes second nature, then find another little change you think you'd like to tackle next. DO NOT feel like you have to change your whole "food world" overnight. It will hurt, and you won't like it, and you will quit... And that is not good for you or baby. So take it slow, but do make changes in a way that will stick!
I've tried to simplify it by breaking it down into four basic areas. Here we go...
There are 4 main components to good eating that you need to make best friends with --
The color spectrum of vegetables
Whole foods - Organic when available
WATER - 3 to 4 quarts, daily
Have you heard of the book "You're Not Sick, You're Thirsty"? If you never do read it, you should at least keep the title forever in your mind. It is vital to optimal health in all people, but the detrimental effects of too little hydration show up far more quickly in pregnant women.
In pregnancy, adequate water consumption is necessary to:
facilitate the increase in your blood volume (it doubles by the eighth month!)
ward off hypertension
help prevent the occurrence of urinary tract infections common in pregnancy
create and replenish the baby's amniotic fluid
ward off pre-mature labor
flush out retained water (thanks to hormones)
and so much more!
*Bonus if you substitute your 3rd or 4th quart with our Mamababy Brew!
PROTEIN - 80 to 100 grams, daily
Protein is so undervalued in our society and that is a big problem. Meat and vegetarian sources are both vital as certain amino-acids and other nutrients are only found in certain sources. So variety is key! As with water, as important as protein intake is to us in general, pregnancy orders up an even higher demand for protein.
The benefits for high protein intake during pregnancy include:
Healthy fetal development. The amino acids that make up protein are not only the building blocks of all your body's cells -- but they are the building blocks of all of your baby's cells as well!
More stable blood sugar. Your body needs protein to provide long lasting energy to avoid sugar highs and lows that are also common to pregnancy.
The ability to fight off infections.
A defense against fluid-retention.
Less muscle fatigue and more energy.
GREENS AND VEGETABLES - half your meal portion, daily
"Women who are looking towards pregnancy and those in the midst of pregnancy have a friend just waiting to get involved: dark leafy green veggies." -Happy Healthy Living
Aside from the incredible nutrient boost, the benefits of making dark leafy greens and other colorful vegetables, too, a part of your daily prenatal diet are:
It helps prevent and resolve constipation -- one of the most common pregnancy complaints.
Lowers risk of UTI's.
Prevents leg cramps (thanks to the great balance of calcium and magnesium in dark, leafy greens)
Lowers risk of anemia (greens coupled with good protein is a great defense)
Great support for your skin. During pregnancy your skin goes through a lot! Some is hormone related and some is nutritionally based.
Eat those veggies!
WHOLE, ORGANIC FOODS -
Chemically preserved, artificial, hydrogonated, dehydrated, pesticide laden, genetically engineered, etc... food is no friend of yours. There are so many arguments and debates regarding this topic that I won't address here, but I will say: Think about it. What sounds better for you (and your growing baby)? Unadulterated food, pure and natural? Or the list beginning this paragraph? It's not hard to get good food, and it doesn't have to be all that much more expensive.
A good rule of thumb: If you can get it in its whole form... get it in its whole form. If you must buy it in packaged, if there are more than five ingredients and/or if even one of them is hard to pronounce, keep moving... don't even think twice and move on.
Eat an orange instead of drinking a glass of orange juice.
Cook a whole turkey and freeze it in small portions for easy sandwiches instead of processed lunch meats.
Buy plain whole grain pasta and make your own sauce (as simple as cooking some garlic with a pinch of Himalayan salt and butter. Yum!) instead of buying boxed "Pasta Roni."
Buy plain, whole fat yogurt and add your own touch of honey and fresh or frozen berries instead of single serving, pre-flavored yogurt.
I promise it can be simple. Just a little extra effort will go a long way to creating a healthier mamababy... and before you know it, it won't even seem like a "little extra effort" anymore, but rather,
So with all that covered, I ask that the mamas I care for eat according to our "Blooming Year Food Plan," which is my adapted version of the Brewer's Diet. (Copy is available upon request.) No need to stress about it, but do become familiar with it and be intentional about what you feed your body and your baby.
A healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby begin with great nutrition... It is never too late to make your nutrition a priority.