When we started out with our first child the first thing we started to ask is what is a healthy pregnancy diet? That was over eight years ago and now after four kids and a lot of research we have learned a lot. Before having children we didn’t pay much attention to diet and nutrition or even food safety however it is amazing how having our own baby to care for makes us think differently. We discovered there is a ton of information on the topic of what a healthy pregnancy diet is and we had to ask how good the information was. When we consider the rising number of miscarriages, birth defects and even infertility issues that are so common today it makes us wonder if the information is correct.
Who is right?
All the information on health and wellbeing is enormous and overwhelming so how do we wade through it all and find the truth about a healthy pregnancy diet? We quickly learned that there is a lot of conflicting views and what was most interesting was that the information from the conventional mainstream medical experts didn’t agree with what good science and research was showing. We began to seek information from independent peer reviewed research groups that didn’t have ties with corporate sponsors and government agencies. We wanted an unbiased review as much as possible. Keep in mind everyone is bias so we have to look at several studies to see if certain patterns develop and those patterns usually point to good information. As time and understanding began to develop we found a few good places that had trustworthy information. One of the best sources is the Weston Price Foundation because they are a nonprofit organization that has been studying food and nutrition for nearly eighty years. They have studied many cultural groups from around the world and have seen the difference between cultures with vibrant health and compared them to the health problems of the modern industrial societies. I am not going to get into the deep details of the science here but if you want to see it you can go check it out for yourself. I write all this to share that we don’t take health and nutrition lightly and we want the best for our family and since you are here I imagine you do to.
This isn’t about religion but about truth and it is important to follow the Creator’s design and see that all we do lines up with how God designed things to work. If we think about the amazing concept of a baby being made we can’t say that life happened by chance any more than the computer you are using was made by chance. Everything including life was made by someone and everything is designed to work in a certain way.
We didn’t get the right information on a healthy pregnancy diet until well after our first baby was born but as we followed the healthy principals we saw improvements In each child as they came along as well as improvements to our own health. We now know that a healthy pregnancy starts before conception for both men and women. A healthy pregnancy diet starts with an understanding of we are what we eat so If you want a healthy baby it starts with healthy food.
Is your food nutrient dense?
Healthy food is determined by the nutrition value and the sad truth is that most of the food we eat today is nutritionally dead and often the way we prepare food makes it even more depleted. Food for vibrant health needs to be nutrient dense and that can only happen when the food we eat is grown in nutrient rich soil and not processed in a way that damages the nutrients. We have found the only way to make this happen is to grow our own or eat locally from growers we can watch and see how they are growing their/our food. We have learned to eat seasonally because the best food is food that is grown fresh and in season. If you are like us this means totally changing the way you eat and buy food. Seem a bit out of reach and overwhelming? Start small, look around you in your community, and check out some farmers markets. Once you start being aware of buying food locally you will find there are more sources than you thought, but you do have to make sure the grower is focusing on clean nutrient dense foods. Ask the growers/farmers if they use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Looking for organic certification isn’t a bad thing but don’t just rely on that alone as some of the best farmers don’t even have certification as they rely on the quality of their food and the accountability from their customers to keep them in check.
Don’t curse at me yet until I explain what I mean by fat! This is a difficult subject that is hard to discuss because our society has been dwelling on a lie for over 60 years that saturated fat is bad for us and that we need to cut out as much fat as we can from our diets. I want to be clear about this as the science and research has overwhelmingly proved this as false. The simple truth is that we need good quality fat to be healthy and above all a developing baby needs a good amount of healthy fat to form and grow properly. A chubby baby is a happy healthy baby but it doesn’t just stop at babies as growing children need quality fats in their diets. In our society we have substituted healthy fats for sugar and processed food that our bodies can’t utilize and we store them as unusable fat on our bodies. Weston Price Foundation has a ton of information on this and they even have a baby gallery of folks that have given their babies the quality fats they need and the babies are very healthy.
What are quality fats?
Once we got on the right track and started consuming the right kinds of fats we noticed a big difference in our own health and the health of our babies and growing kids. And get this, we actually found it easier to lose weight! So where do you find the right kind of fat to eat for a healthy pregnancy diet you ask. I will give you a quick list to get the idea.
- Grass fed and grass finished meat and dairy. It is vital to seek meat and dairy that is raised on fresh grass when the seasons allow. Cows get their best nutrition from fresh lush green grass and that nutrition is passed on to the meat and milk. If at all possible consume as much raw (unpasteurized) dairy products as you can like raw milk, butter, and cheese because these will have the highest nutritional value. However be sure the cows are grass fed and pastured as much as possible. If the cows are grain fed in a barn then that milk needs to be pasteurized.
- Pastured chicken meat and eggs. Chickens allowed to forage for plants, bugs, and seeds will produce the best tasting meat and the eggs will have large dark yellow or even orange yolks
- Unprocessed oils such as coconut and olive oil. Stay away from processed oils that are hydrogenated under high heat. This will mean items like conventional vegetable oils and shortenings as well as margarine. Look for unrefined or cold pressed oils.
Genetically modified organisms (GMO)
What does GMO foods have to do with a healthy pregnancy diet? Just about everything. This is a huge subject and I encourage you to learn about the effects of GMO foods from sources without ties to the commercial food and agriculture business. Look for answers to these questions.
- If GMOs are safe why are the biotech companies spending millions of dollars to stop mandatory labeling of GMOs? If they are safe just put the label on the package.
- If GMOs are good why don’t they show us the studies that show there is no difference from animals fed GMO than those not fed GMO food.
What independent peer reviewed research shows overall is that animals fed GMO food in the labs nearly all develop tumors and become infertile. They can rarely get a group of mice eating GMOs to last more than one or two generations. So what does this look like in human terms? We are seeing cancer and infertility cases grow at a fast rate each year. Connection? maybe or maybe not but the fact is if we alter the genetic code of plants and animals how can it not have an effect on us.
Don’t give up!
I have only given you the main areas to look at in regards to a foundation for a healthy pregnancy diet and my prayer for you is that you will continue to seek wise information from trusted sources that want to help you and not their bottom line. There is a lot of good resources to help and if I could only use one I would pick The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care from the Weston Price group. This is the most comprehensive and informative book we have found. It covers everything with great detail and easy to follow guidelines.
We would enjoy hearing from you about your comments or questions in regards to a healthy pregnancy diet so leave them below and we will respond. Happy parenting and God bless!