Confused about what to eat? Here are some tips from our moms. We know this could be much more extensive, but we want to keep it simple to start.
How much should I eat when pregnant?
We have heard the expression," Eating for two." Often we are tempted to use that to justify eating whatever we want, whenever we want, and that can lead to an overconsumption of sugar and carbs that increase the risk of diabetes and unhealthy weight gain during pregnancy. (We know, we have been there at 11 pm with a Trader Joe's loaf of Banana Bread for the third night in a row!)
The fact is that when we get cravings, our body and the baby are craving NUTRIENTS. The best way to give your body and baby nutrients is with organic whole foods.
This means certified organic foods that are as a whole, or close to how it was grown, as possible.
A banana is a whole food. Banana bread is processed. And a banana-flavored Starburst is a highly processed candy that we would not even call food.
We do not suggest eating banana bread or processed foods, but we suggest you reach for the whole foods first.
Drink clean water and eat frequently (snacking is a must!) to keep energy levels up and nutrients consistent.
What should I eat?
Organic is of utmost importance to consume as much as possible. Here's why:
Organic means the produce is non-GMO. GMOs are genetically modified organisms that are genetically engineered and patented in a lab. They are engineered to:
- have the pesticide built right into the soy or corn, killing the corn rootworm.
- be herbicide-tolerant so the entire crop can be sprayed with Roundup or other toxic chemicals, and the crop will live, but the weeds will die.
- have a desired trait such as a non-browning potato (the potato still rots, we just can't see it).
Harmful synthetic herbicides like Roundup, Dicamba, 2,4-D, and Atrazine are also not allowed in organic production. National Organic Program (NOP) approved pesticides are allowed but are nearly as harmful as pesticides in conventional food and often use natural sources such as fish, neem oil, chrysanthemum, or Bacillus thuringensis, a toxin from caterpillars that dissipates after four hours.
Most experts suggest avoiding fish due to high levels of mercury or other contaminants. Certainly, coastal countries that have existed for generations eating seafood daily disregard this advice and often have very healthy children, so it really depends on the quality of seafood and the source. The problem is that the level of overfishing ( which has a massive impact on the destruction of ocean life) and chemical contaminants are hard to determine. If you eat seafood, we suggest reducing your intake and eat smaller fish like sardines to lower risks of mercury exposure.
We recommend eating Regeneratively Grown Organic food as much as possible to not only provide more nutrient-dense, safe food to you and your baby but to reduce the impact on the soil and reduce climate effects. Regeneratively Grown Organic practices include low to no-tilling (reducing erosion and keeping more carbon and nitrous oxide in the ground) and managed pasture-grazed animals, reducing the use of toxic petroleum-based fertilizers and chemical nitrogen fertilizer ( that release the most nitrous oxide, which is 300X more harmful than carbon in the air). If you do not have a Regenerative Organic farmer near you, we highly recommend Doudlah Family Farms, who ships directly to you and offers a generous Health Share Bundle. Find out more here.
If you eat meat, we would recommend Regenerative raised organic meat sources as well. The majority of meat in America ( which people generally eat too much of, it is not necessary with every meal or even every day) is raised in Confined Animal Feeding Operations, which have inhumane treatment, close quarter conditions, and use more antibiotics that can build up resistance and harbor disease. As much as possible if you eat meat, we suggest seeking out Regeneratively raised organic sources. We suggest asking local farmers at farmer's markets, your grocery store, or on FarmMatch.com if their products are Regenerative Organic.
Dr. Brewer's Pregnancy Diet recommends a diet emphasizing high protein - 60 grams of protein first half of your pregnancy; 80-100 grams during your second half - all organic, of course! DO NOT worry about weight gain. As long as you are eating healthy, whole foods, weight gain is not important. Healthy fats are necessary for the proper growth and formation of the baby. "Eating for two" means in QUALITY, not necessarily quantity. You need an additional 300-500 calories a day.
Please note Moms Across America supports the concept that everybody is different and may require different types of food, minerals, and vitamins. We encourage you to get a full panel blood test to determine your mineral and vitamin levels, as well as heavy metal and hormone levels, to best determine your specific diet and supplement intake. And to always eat organic, no matter what you eat, as much as possible.
Feed Your Body, Grow Your Family - Pregnancy Program outline
Supplements & Vitamins: Our moms/midwives suggest taking these supplements every day of pregnancy:
- Prenatal Vitamins with 800 mcg of Folate (Mega Food, Baby & Me, or Garden Of Life Raw) throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding
- 1,500 mg Calcium with 750 mg Magnesium,
- 5,000 IU's of Vit D3,
- Drink 1-2 cups of Pregnancy Tea,
- First 38 weeks of pregnancy, also take - Concentrated fish oil (Nordic Naturals),
- From 38-40 weeks, take: "nonfish oil" form of Omega 3 & 6 like Flaxseed Oil,
- During the last trimester, also take - Floridix Herbs & Iron Supplements or Alfalfa or Chlorophyll (to build red blood cells),
- From the 36th week until birth, 1,000 mg of Evening Primrose Oil morning and evening,
- From 37 weeks until birth, the Evening Primrose Oil morning dose is taken orally, and the evening dose is inserted vaginally at night before going to bed.
- Slow releasing Iron
For the supplement health solutions we have vetted and recommend as affiliates (you support our work and your family!) visit our Health Solutions Store!
The God-Awful Glucose Test During Pregnancy
Did you know that the horrid orange drink they make you drink to test your ability to process sugars is made of ingredients that are most likely GMO, synthetic chemicals, and dyes? YUCK! And unhealthy!
Glucola ingredients are: Water, Dextrose (derived from GMO corn), Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate, FD & C Yellow #6, and FD & C Red #40
We are delighted to be able to share a unique solution developed by a Moms Across America supporter and registered nurse!
Glucoganics!! The only 50G sugar beverage certified USDA ORGANIC and designed for the glucose tolerance test. Glucoganics is packaged in glass and does not contain additives, preservatives, dyes, or natural/artificial flavors. It is lab-verified to contain 50G of sugar and is produced in an FDA-approved facility.
They are available for purchase and for sharing with your OBGYN at www.glucoganics.com.
Top 5 Tips for Mom:
- Whatever you eat the most of - switch those foods to organic first.
Some of the most important foods to eat organic, in priority of avoiding GMOs, glyphosate and pesticides are:
Soy, Wheat, Oats, Beans (garbanzo beans/hummus), Peas, Berries, Kale, Spinach, Potatoes, Corn, Sugar, Eggs, Dairy and Meat
- Avoid synthetic dyes, preservatives, and unknown fillers.
- Avoid "Natural flavors." That could mean too many things that are unknown and potentially harmful.
- Avoid processed sugary foods, drinks (no soda!), and saturated and trans fats found in highly processed and fried foods.
- DO eat good fats such as avocado oils, organic nuts, and seeds like hemp, flax, walnuts, and cashews (if you are not allergic). If you at meat or fish, find clean grass-fed pasture-raised meat sources (local if possible from a CSA or share) or fish that has been wild-caught, not farmed.
Recently tests have shown that many baby food manufacturers know their products have high levels of heavy metals and are selling their products anyway. We think it is better to make your own.
Do's - Here are a few simple steps for making your baby food:
- Wash, peel, and boil the vegetable or fruit until soft.
- Drain and either mash by hand or use a food processor or blender until a smooth paste.
- Add spring water or reverse osmosis filtered (fluoride-free) water if food seems too clumpy, and mix.
- Serve or pour into ice cube trays, cover, and freeze for later use.
- To use, remove from the ice cube trays, put them into a glass container a few hours before use, and allow them to defrost. Room temperature baby food can be used. Or warm slightly by putting the glass container in boiling water.
- Do not microwave. Microwaving kills essential nutrients and creates hot spots in food that can burn the baby's mouth.
- Please do not use any rice products, especially not brown rice, even organic, until food producers figure out how to get arsenic levels down. It is best to avoid feeding it to babies. If you use rice as they get older, do soak the rice overnight first, rinse it off thoroughly and then cook. This washes off much of the arsenic and phytic acids that block the absorption of nutrients.
- Avoid root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and yams, as they can absorb heavy metals from the soil.
- Do not add any spices (especially cinnamon) or food coloring.
You can also buy a portable baby food grinder and bring it with you to organic restaurants and grind up the food you eat for the baby. It works!
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Aurelie Catherine Cormier Needham, MA