What to eat before and when you are expecting...
Eating for two starts long before you are actually pregnant. The way we eat today will affect the baby we make tomorrow, as it takes about 3 months for eggs/sperm to fully mature and be ovulated/ejaculated and made into a baby. Eating for fertility and healthy babies is rooted in a variety of nutrient dense food. The core of it is to eat real, nourishing, fresh food that really feeds the body. Today we have many food choices that are really just food like substances that aren’t really nourishing to the body. When eating ask yourself these questions: Is this meal really giving my body the nutrients it needs? and Would I want my baby eating this?
The first step for most is adding in more nutrient dense food, if we fill our bodies with the good stuff there is less room and craving for the junk. We want a good mix of vegetables, good healthy fats, fruits, seeds, and meats. We want foods that fill us up while keeping a stable blood sugar, help our liver detox excess estrogen, and supply the essential vitamins and minerals we need. It is best to choose organic when possible; check out the Dirty Dozen List to see foods that retain high amounts of pesticides that you definitely want to go organic.
For an active women we need to be getting in at least 2100 calories a day. I hate counting calories and don’t expect you to count every calorie, but that translates to about 3 full meals a day. When we eat less than this our body goes into protection and survival mode and out of reproduction mode. We need to be getting enough good calories so that our body feels safe enough to ovulate regularly.
So let’s look at some foods and why they would be good to add into the diet:
Dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, beet greens, chard, etc) Rich in vitamin B and chlorophyll and powerful detoxifiers.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts) Help the liver detox excess estrogen, but best to eat them cooked as not to have a negative impact on the thyroid.
Onion, Garlic, Chives immune boosting flavor enhancing goodness
Seaweeds and Algaes great for iodine and balancing the thyroid hormones
Citrus Fruit (lemons, limes, grapefruit, orange) sweet treats that are healthy enough to eat daily as the have anti estrogenic effects and fight breast and uterine cancer.
Dark Berries (blue, elder, black currant) some of the highest antioxidant berries and high fiber.
Fermented foods (kefir, sauerkraut, etc) good source of health bacteria for the gut, aids digestion while boosting the immune system
Chia Seeds are high in omega 3 and are superior to the flax seed when it comes to anti-estrogenic properties
Coconut Oil is a good healthy fat for cooking and topical skin care, there is not much this oil is not good for!
Olives and olive oil have beneficial effects on estrogen while lowering blood cholesterol, good source of vitamin E. Use organic extra virgin, and only at room temperature (not for cooking)
Turmeric the wonder spice/ herb that is good for just about everyone, we would all be healthier if we added some curry to our menu.
Organic Animal meat, dairy, and eggs (beef, lamb, wild game, poultry) remember we eat what our food eats, so make sure you opt for animal that was pasture fed and not treated with hormones, steroids, or antibiotics.
Organic Organ meats, are some of the most nutrient cuts of meat we can eat, great for building blood and iron reserves.
Fish and seafood (anchovies, sardines, scallops)good source of DHA and EPA, best to eat wild vs grain fed GMO fish farm fish. Be mindful of mercury levels, avoid King mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, ahi tuna, and bigeye tuna.
So with all that great food to add in and all the color and variety to the diet we can eliminate all the stuff we don’t need. Things like sugar, wheat, alcohol, and processed vegetable oil which happen to be some of the most inflammatory food available. Meals should be flavorful, colorful, and nutrient dense. Avoid eating excess bread and pastas that are filling without the benefit of many nutrients and color. When making a baby we want to create a warm nurturing environment so avoid overly cold beverages and foods (no ice!) Try to eat most of your meals warm, it is easier for the body to digest foods at body temperature.
Supplement wisely with whole food based vitamins, herbs and minerals avoid synthetic commercial vitamins. Bring in a list of what you are taking now and we can go over it and make sure you are taking what you should and eliminate the unnecessary stuff.
Exercise / Move your body daily, moderate exercise is best, walking, cycling, yoga, stretching. Leave the marathon running and strenuous activities for another time.
Remember to drink plenty of water and now is the time to eliminate caffeine (sorry but its true) coffee, soda pop (regular and diet), and any energy drinks should all be removed from the diet. If your caffeine intake has been high first start tapering down your dose so that you do not suffer from headaches from caffeine withdrawal. Fresh filtered water, herbal teas, or water with lemon or lime are great to sip on throughout the day.
Lastly, enjoy your meal. Put down your cell phone, move away from the computer, turn off the TV sit down and think about eating while you are eating. Being mindful goes a long way to reduce stress and make healthy babies. Enjoy every bite, because once your baby comes you will barely remember what a quiet meal is like!!
If you are expecting or wanting to be expecting give me a shout out, I would love to share with you a plan to get ready for that baby!
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