Saturday, 14 March 2015

Paleo Pregnancy Diaries: 6 Pregnancy Superfoods To Include in Your Diet





As you may be aware I am currently 17 weeks pregnant with my second baby (my son is 11 and half so it is following a long gap!)

I really cannot believe how fast time is going by. I still feel like I am only getting used to being pregnant but I am almost through my 4th month already!

My body is really changing now, I started to show a little from 14 weeks but my bump has really grown in the past few weeks. I am still fitting into my normal jeans and am still managing with layering normal tops and using a belly band but I expect I will have to invest in a few maternity pieces very soon.

The past week or so has been very exciting - I am feeling lots of movement already which is so lovely and reassuring. I had started to feel what I thought were little flutters for probably the past 10 days but I wasn't sure. Then last weekend I knew it was definitely the baby moving and could even feel it move slightly from the outside. It is very light movement from outside of course but the fact that I am slim I think makes it easier to feel movement.

We also found out the gender this past week too which was very exciting. My son came along with us to the gender scan too which was lovely. It was so fun guessing what it was - my husband thought girl, Nathan thought boy and I remained unbiased and on the fence! One of them was correct anyway ;) Very happy to have chosen to find out and we are doubly excited now.



What I have been feeding my bump! 

In terms of nutrition I have been eating very healthy throughout the week whilst allowing myself the freedom for treats at weekends if I want them. I have really been enjoying lots of salads with evoo and avocado - I seem to be really craving healthy fats right now. Interestingly I am not really enjoying cooked vegetables at the moment. We generally eat a lot of root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and turnips as well as broccoli, kale and green beans. I am not really enjoying them so much but I am loving raw vegetables such as salad leaves, spinach, cherry tomatoes (craving these!) and sauerkraut! Of course I am still eating the cooked vegetables but they are not as appealing as usual to me! I am finding soups made with bone broth an easier way for me to boost my vegetable intake for the day.

For me there are a number of foods I have been making sure I have been plenty of in my diet as well as some which I am ensuring I include which may surprise you.

My Pregnancy Superfood Must Eats:

 

Eggs - Eggs are a Paleo diet staple and are a fantastic food to consume regularly during pregnancy. Egg yolks are rich in choline which is vital for the development of the baby's brain. It is crucial for the development of neurons which are laid down from day 56 of pregnancy to three months after birth, as well as the connections of these neurons. Without choline these neurons cannot be connected and inadequate intake of choline during this window of development can not be made up for at a later time. Regular egg consumption, and therefore regular choline intake can have a beneficial effect on brain health and nervous system resiliance in the entire lifespan of the offspring.

To ensure adequate intake of choline, consume 2 eggs per day.

Eggs also provide a great source of Vitamins A, D, E and K as well as biotin, iron,zinc and selenium. Eggs should be free range.



Butter -  Butter is a rich source of important fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which are all needed for development of brain and body, as well as minerals such as selenium, copper and zinc. It is rich in cholesterol (a building block of all those extra hormones you are now producing to maintain and support pregnancy) as well as being important for brain development.

Butter is also helpful in gut healing - it is a source of arachidonic acid which also supports immune function and brain function.

Raw Dairy - Yes you read right - I have been eating raw dairy. Not alot of it but I have been consuming it when I can get my hands on it. I know current guidelines recommend avoiding raw dairy in pregnancy and I would never recommend a client consumes it without properly researching it themselves. However I truly believe it can be an important addition to the diet of the healthy pregnant lady.
The recommendation to avoid raw dairy is based on the chance of developing an infection known as Listeria monocytogenes, a food borne pathogen which can lead to illness and fetal death. However one US study showed that there are ten times more deaths from listeria from deli meats than from raw dairy.
Raw dairy has numerous benefits including factors which strengthen and support the immune system. as well as being a great source of fats and cholesterol. It is also higher in fat soluble vitamins CLA and omega 3 fatty acids. The calcium is also better utilised by the body in the raw dairy rather than the pasteurised. Maasai tribes of Africa hailed raw dairy as an important fertility foods only allowing men and women to marry after spending several months consuming raw dairy.
Any food which is handled improperly can cause illness - included pasteurised milk for example so source of raw dairy is of course extremely important if you are going to include it. It needs to be from a reliable dairy farmer who is very keen on raw dairy farming practices and hygiene. Never buy raw dairy from a farmer who doesn't drink his own raw milk! Soft unaged cheese should be avoided - raw or pasteurised.
As I said above I would never tell a client to consume raw dairy without properly researching it themselves and making that decision themselves but for me I am happy to include it in my diet.

Bone Broths - Homemade bone broth is a gelatin rice food which is a superfood I encourage all to take, but most importantly including in the diet of pregnanct ladies and those trying to conceive.
It is wonderfully healing food which helps provide healthy bone and collagen in both you and your growing baby and heals and seals the gut improving your immunity and preventing development of autoimmune disorders. It can also help the digestion of meats. It is rich in glycine - an amino acid which is crucial for fetal growth, the development of placenta and removal of toxins.

Read more about the benefits of bone broth here as well as a recipe for making it at home.


Fermented Foods - Fermented foods include vegetables, fruits and dairy which has been preserved in a process which involves bacteria working primarily on sugars and starches to produce lactic acid a natural preservative. As a result these foods are rich in enzymes, lactic acid and beneficial bacteria which are very important for digestive health, immunity and overall good health. Good bacteria in mother's gut will help replenish the bacteria of her birth canal and even in her milk ducts which in turn will be passed on to the baby during birth and breastfeeding. This bacteria helps to modulate and trigger the babies immune system from birth and is therefore very important that the mother works on improving gut health prior to conception as well as maintaining it during pregnancy by consuming fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement.

To read more on the benefits of the sauerkraut and a recipe to make it at home go here 


Organ Meats such as Liver - Liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and unfortunately is a food often omitted from the diets of the pregnant woman due to concerns over Vitamin A toxicity. However Vitamin A is crucial for fertility and is tough to find from any other source in the diet. It is also a fantastic source of highly absorbent iron and B12 as well as zinc and folate. As we know, folate is very important in pregnancy but is often not readily available to the body in the synthetic folic acid state often found in prenatal supplements. While it is abundant in spinach and other green leafy vegetables, these foods are also high in oxalates which can block the absorption of other nutrients so consuming liver once a week is a good way to boost these levels.
Try as a pate or mixed into burgers.

So there you go. These are the foods I have been ensuring I have been adding plenty of in my diet, as well as of course including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds and plenty of other healthy fat sources such as wild oily fish, avocados and EVOO to support baby's brain development.
I have been concentrating on removing refined sugars and having healthy balanced meals and regular snacks.

So far my pregnancy has been very healthy with no sickness. I have also been keeping active, getting out for regular walks and fresh air.

To read more on including these types of foods and their benefits I recommend reading "The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care" by Sally Fallon and Thomas Cowan

If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and would like some help on cleaning up you diet and adding in these nutrient dense foods call me on 0877184523 or email theirishpaleo@gmail.com