I am writing this story in Reno, Nevada USA, I have been here for a couple weeks visiting my family. Visits are always fun, informative and beneficial to my health. My mom feeds me wholesome good food, she loads me up on supplements and new rules for how I eat to maintain my health. Its sometimes easy to take her advice for granted because it is such a normal thing, she tells me what to do, why and how. I nod my head, try to remember everything and maybe forget about 2/3rds of what she tells me. Really though I am so lucky to have a mom that spends so much time not just taking care of herself but the rest of us too. Also now that I am in my 4th month of pregnancy the morning sickness has dropped down a lot and some of the stuff my mom has given me has also helped me a LOT with my energy levels and general feeling of wellbeing. I will try to cover some of the things she has recommended along with my own experiences:
All over the net you can find a plethora of do’s and don’ts that serve as a general guideline for pregnant women. What I have not really been able to find were actual diet plans and lists of food to help these poor women figure out what to eat. To be fair however there are some really good books out there on pregnancy diet and cooking like this one which will help you a lot if you don’t mind spending a little money. Some of the common remedies are crackers and ginger, but you cannot live only on crackers and ginger. And to be honest, I really don’t like crackers very much. So here are some of the diet solutions which have worked for me:
1. Fresh fruit: Anything your stomach will accept. I have found that apples and bananas always work. My body has rejected some fruits repeatedly like oranges and pineapple. Also after I get off the bus and my stomach is really doing flips I drink green mango and lime juice to relieve the carsickness. The best way to prepare the fruit is to make a fruit salad that you can eat throughout the day. Be careful of acidic fruits and mixing fruit, I ate apple, cucumber and blackberry juice one night which didn’t end well. Perhaps the apple and cucumber would have worked but the blackberry juice was too acidic. I also discovered that while I normally love orange, banana and ginger juice, my pregnant body doesn’t. It’s better to eat ginger in tea, in ginger candies or even just suck on a piece and chase with water. Find those 2-3 fruits that work and stick to them. My aunt in California suggested Papaya as a good aid in digestion.
2. Veggies: A great way to help prevent the up-chuck is to eat fresh or steamed veggies, especially if meat is not going over that well. I slice cucumber, sprinkle salt on it and munch on it as a snack, my body so far has never rejected it. A good lunch idea that is really easy to digest is to sauté veggies, add cooked quinoa and eat in burritos or by itself. You can make a great, tasteful, easy to digest veggie salad by cutting up cucumbers, bell pepper, tomato and carrot then adding your favorite vinaigrette dressing on top. If your body tends to reject meats at some point, like mine did for a little while, quinoa has a lot of protein and will help keep your energy up. More on that soon.
3. Sugar and Fat: This has been one of the most frustrating lessons for me. Greasy fats are pure evil when you are pregnant, and the effects are cumulative. I have had cravings for ice cream and chonchitos (wiener, cheese and bacon breaded and deep fried). In the end the price I pay is not worth it, after only a couple days in a row of eating this fried shit I wind up spending an entire day on my ass puking and being unable to eat anything but fruits and some veggies. Take my hard earned advice and check those cravings at the door. Or read this article by WebMD. If you are able to eat sugar and fat with no issues good for you but probably a bit toxic to your baby so eat in small amounts to find out what balance works for you. The best fats to eat are raw nuts, avocados, seeds and ghee. Avocado is great for making non-dairy smoothies because it will add a creamy texture and you won’t taste it.
4. Carbs, Pasta and Grains: Ok, so we know what fruits and veggies we can eat or not eat, we still must get enough carbs to keep our energy up. I am a happy quinoa eating hippy. I recommend it to anyone! Not only is it jam packed with protein (weird right?) and vitamins but it is easy for your body to digest and utilize. Just go to your local health food store or supermarket and buy it in the bulk foods or cereal section. Quinoa comes puffed (which is easy to eat with cereal, no cooking), in grain (cook it just like you would rice) and sometimes in flour or baked into goodies. This is especially good for you if you have any gluten allergies or sensitivities because it is gluten free but has similar uses. Quinoa is great fixed as a morning food with raisins, cinnamon, brown sugar and milk; or as a lunch/dinner food fried or steamed with chopped veggies, your favorite spices and even meat or you can check out these recipes. Some other great options for soon to be moms is oatmeal, pasta (easy to digest) and beans. Each person is different, so go with what your taste buds and stomach tells you.
5. Protein: For this one just follow your stomach. If you are a vegan, vegetarian or moonlight vegan (like I am) quinoa, vegetable protein and eggs are always great and easy to digest. If you are a meat eater try to eat lean beef and chicken. All the diet and pregnancy books tell us to be careful of fish because it can be high in mercury which is not good for baby, however if you get some good wild caught Atlantic fish it just might thrill your taste buds. I try to avoid Pacific caught fish because of toxic waste that has been found in increasingly high percentages in the fish samples taken by scientists. Lastly we have pork. I LOVE bacon, but do you really want to eat something that greasy while pregnant? Use your best judgment.
6. Dairy Products: I have always been a bit lactose intolerant, when I eat too much cheese and ice cream I tend to get the flu easier or even just a runny nose. As a pregnant gal it has been an even stronger reaction involving lots of visits to the bathroom to heave it on out. Goat’s milk and goat yogurt are great cow milk substitutes because on a molecular level they resemble human colostrum and are much easier to digest, read more here. If you cannot have any lactose take a cup of almonds, soak in water for 1-2 hours then blend in a blender with 1-2 cups of water to make your own almond milk. If you are allergic to nuts I will feel really sorry for you and recommend chia seeds as they should be ok, check with your doctor.
Being pregnant is a minefield of learning experiences, I am no professional and this is my first go round, I just want to share with other moms-to-be a few informative gems I learned by time spent in front of the porcelain throne and down all day in bed with morning sickness. A quick tip: when you are heading to the bathroom to puke chug some water on the way because it will cut down on the acid bile and allow your stomach to empty its contents easier. Afterwards try to drink more water and eat something neutral to replace electrolytes and vitamins lost by the up-chuck.
You will discover for yourself what works and what doesn’t, sometimes you won’t have any idea what to eat because you will feel queasy and weird. Just make sure you drink LOTS of water, avoid caffeine, limit your alcohol to a glass of wine once a month (if you must), and keep something to eat with you at all times. There is nothing as special as the feeling that your body is going to create a perfect little human being that looks like you and your spouse! Keep your head up even when you are tired, wipe the puke off your chin and keep trying!!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor but this info is a combination of advice from my doctor, my family, friends and personal experience. If you have any questions or strange reactions be sure to check with your doctor or midwife for the scoop on what works for you!
P.S. Marijuana: Check with your doctor on this one or research it on your own however, I have found that if I have to go on a really long bus trip or car ride, a couple hits will help A LOT in keeping your food down and giving you that nice feeling that is often quite absent during those first couple months. If you are having serious issues with appetite and weight loss you might need this green gem to help you reinstate appetite, especially if nothing else is working. My advice, read this article by a doctor who spent several years doing pregnancy and marijuana research then decide for yourself: