For those just starting out on a real food journey, I thought this article might be helpful. It’s a contribution I am making to a great local organization to educate and prepare women for the amazing motherhood experience. For more information and classes see: Roots Childbirth of Nashville
The Importance of Eating Real, Traditional Foods During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Real Food Pyramid Brief Overview by the Weston A. Price Foundation
“Please keep in mind that this is a brief overview and our food pyramid does not illustrate all of our dietary recommendations. We propose that a healthy diet emphasize the foods that are most nutrient dense – those containing high levels of vitamins and minerals: wild caught seafood, and the organ meats, raw dairy,eggs and meat from animals on pasture. That is why the foundation of our food pyramid pictured above includes some of these items. A healthy diet consists of whole foods – specifically, whole, raw, milk and milk products that haven’t been pasteurized or homogenized nor reduced in fat content, as well as grass-fed meat with the fat. We would not recommend lean meats or skinless chicken breast, nor a diet that is low in saturated fats or cholesterol. We propose that organic fruit be eaten more sparingly and that organic grains be sprouted or soaked before used in order to make them more digestible. We would discourage any consumption of trans fat, and margarine, however we do encourage the consumption of traditional fats from animals on pasture such as lard and butter.” – http://www.nourishingourchildren.org/Pyramid.html (Nourishing Our Children of the WAPF)
As the primary building block to a Real Foods diet, looking at where the protein is coming from is vital. The quality of the protein will ultimately determine whether that protein source will be nourishing or detrimental to mother and baby’s health. Animals fed on an industrial food model (including GMO-corn and food/animal waste products) and living in unsanitary and harmful conditions yield toxic, nutrient poor proteins (meats, dairy, eggs). On the other hand, animals living in their natural habitats, living on a natural diet (out in the pasture) yield proteins that are superior in their rich, nutrient content. For more information see: http://www.nourishingourchildren.org/Home.html.
What to Look For in Protein Sources (dairy, eggs, meat, butter):
Grass-fed (or Pastured – meaning the animal lives predominantly on green pastures)
Organic (no use of GMO corn or soy)
Wild-caught (fish are caught in the sea/ocean and not raised on a farm, fed harmful ingredients)
Get Real Milk:
As with meat, not all dairy is raised equally in nutrient content and processing. Dairy that comes from an industrial dairy is ultimately compromised in its nutrient content and devoid of most of the nourishing factors that make this such a healthy product. Industrial dairy in the US is also pasteurized and homogenized – two processes that denature the proteins and fats in the milk and render the end product toxic, rather than healthful. Please read the following article on the difference between consuming organically raised, raw dairy over industrial dairy (and also where to find sources): http://www.nourishingourchildren.org/Milk.html. If one is not able to find raw milk, using fermented, organic dairy such as cheeses, yogurts, or kefir would be the next best option.
Finding in season, local, organic vegetables is a great way to get nutrient dense food into your diet. Studies have shown that organic vegetables have greater phyto-nutrient content compared to their commercial counterparts. Also equally important, avoiding any toxins during this time only multiplies the health of the baby and herself.
Looking at the wide array of grain allergies and intolerances we have today begs a closer look at the grain products in the Western diet. Traditional cultures have always soaked, fermented, or sprouted their grains for proper absorption and digestion. Though they did not know it then, these methods also neutralize harmful anti-nutrients (this is the way the seed is designed to preserve itself from spoiling and be able to lay dormant until awakened with water and light) and toxins (one example being gluten) naturally found in most grains (and also in beans, seeds, and legumes). If you are not able to bake your own sourdough (the natural process to ferment flour) bread and grain products, finding a local source for real, sourdough bread would be ideal, or buying only sprouted breads (like Trader Joe’s brand, or Ezekial Breads). Buying grains in their whole form and soaking, then cooking them is superior to buying any already packaged flour/grain product.
Soaking Basics (for beans too):
Cover grain with filtered water (leaving about 3 inches extra water standing on top)
Add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar, or fresh lemon juice
Allow to sit, loosely covered for 12-24 hours
Rinse and cook
Lastly, a final note on sweets, salts and oils is important to touch on. Avoiding refined products makes a definite impact on the health of mama and baby. Here is a simple list of healthy options as well as those ones to be avoided.
Healthful Sweeteners, Oils and Salts:
Real Salt, Celtic Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt
Coconut Oil: expeller-pressed
Real, extra virgin Olive Oil
Sesame Oil – expeller-pressed
To Be Avoided:
Refined, white salt
Corn syrup – or any syrup other than Grade B Maple Syrup
Refined, white and brown sugar
Canola, Peanut, Soybean, Corn and all “Vegetable” Oils
LEARN MORE ABOUT REAL FOODS
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t panic! Many resources, tutorials, and videos are out there to help you make transition to a Real Foods diet.
For a great place to start go to: http://www.nourishingourchildren.org/Resources.html.