How can eating habits support Pre-Conception through Post-Pregnancy?
Thinking about having a baby? In a world full of noise on what and how to eat, finding clarity on optimal health for you and your future child starts now.
Baby, you got this!
“Back to the future” of food is a simple concept drawing from traditional diets and cultural food practices that connect us to our modern-day eating habits. According to Dr. Weston A. Price, primitive diets “prepared their food so that the minerals were more available and easier to assimilate. By contrast, today’s efficient foods, starting with the way we grow our food and the method of preparation, further minimizes the nutrients in our foods and reduces bio-availability.” The most surprising finding of Dr. Price was the “very high levels of fat-soluble vitamins, in the diets of healthy primitive peoples.” These diets contained ten or more times the levels of vitamins A and D than the American diet of his day. Today, as the wellness industry takes on trendy catchphrases in eating; let’s remember the simplicity of real food vs. highly process denatured foods like boxed cereals, crackers, sweets, or low-fat yogurt. Let’s dig into four concepts to remember during this exciting time in your life.
1. Grow Your Garden
It’s never too early to start nourishing yourself – both men and women – when preparing to become parents. Fertility is dependent on the quality of a nutritious diet and the health of our functioning bodies. This is the time to evaluate not only what you eat but how and if you’re absorbing proper nutrients.
2. It’s In The Details
Yes indeed! We don’t necessarily need a degree in nutrition to understand the importance of macro-nutrients in proteins, carbohydrates, or healthy fats or the obvious need for increasing calories. Instead, it’s time to think about micros to maximize our nutrients in our food. If we zero in on vitamins and minerals, our nutritional lens of what to eat comes into focus.
Preparing oatmeal in bone broth, enjoying lentils in the soup instead of pasta, or snacking on almond butter and apples vs crackers or chips provides more opportunity for nutrient-dense meals. It’s not because whole grains have lower vitamins and minerals but rather it’s likely they replace more nutrient-dense foods(1). These are all examples of optimizing quality food choices in your everyday routine. Taking the opportunity to educate yourself on the importance of cholesterol, blood sugar regulation, and the role of digestion, Preconception counseling is the perfect vehicle to understanding mineral absorption and basic cooking techniques to round out a foundation for a lifetime of health for you and your baby.
Bone Broth Breakfast Oatmeal
- 1 cup of oatmeal
- 2 cups bone broth (Bonafide Provisions is a good brand or homemade)
- 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups pure filter water
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, cumin, sea salt, and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of ghee (or more, if desired)
Top with an organic pasture-raised egg, arugula, herbs like parsley or basil, or any other seasonal produce of your preference. Soak oatmeal, water, and apple cider vinegar in a small pot overnight. In the morning, mix in bone broth, and the remaining ingredients; be careful not to burn it. Turn off the stove and add ghee. Then enjoy this rich, satisfyingly healthy goodness.
3. The Value Of Real Food
The power behind real food can help you avoid complications during pregnancy. At times we can’t control outcomes like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, or pre-term labor but we sure can eat our way towards more favorable odds with nutrient-dense foods.
To reduce complications, I educate expecting women about the five foundations of nutritional therapy. Digestion, sugar handling, essential fatty acids, minerals, and hydration are the pillars to optimal health that are supported by real food. For example, women experiencing hypoglycemia will benefit from controlling their high blood sugar by focusing on healthier fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds that are protective against gestational diabetes. By focusing on the benefits of better digestion to absorb valuable nutrients like zinc, iron, B12, and B6 – nutrients abundant in meat, poultry, and seafood – helps to prevent pre-term labor. Although we can’t have complete control over the outcomes in pregnancy, these are a few examples of the value of real food during pregnancy.
4. Postpartum Depression
It’s usually not on the radar when planning for a baby but as a mother of two, and having experienced this period in my life; building a baby, supporting breastfeeding, and healing your body takes serious nutrition. Pregnancy can easily deplete your body of nutrients so it’s wise to nourish yourself during pregnancy for a healthier and quicker recovery in mind, body, and spirit. Think about eating specific nutrients to replenish iron and collagen, while increasing vitamin C. It’s the co-factor that crosslinks iron and collagen to help the health of your joints and ligaments to re-adjust while also healing your skin from surgical wounds. What a time to relish in one pot wonders of easy-to-digest soups and stews made from grass-fed meats and oily fish like wild salmon, with broccoli and lemon for added vitamin C.
There you go! I hope this inspires you to take action into learning more about the value of incorporating properly prepared, real food into your lifestyle to nourish both you and your baby.
“Life in its fullest is mother nature obeyed” – Dr. Weston A Price