Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Best Pregnancy foods

What do you do when you are a total foodie, think, breathe, sleep food every day, then suddenly wake up feeling queasy at the thought of eating anything, the smell of your usual favourites sends you running to the loo and all you can stomach is dry biscuits and toast? Welcome to my latest acquaintance; morning sickness. Yes, I am growing a wee bubba inside my body and whole lot of changes are taking place, physically, mentally and gastronomically! Having strong ethics and ideals that I thrive by when it comes to food, having another being tell you otherwise when it comes to my usual morning sweet porridge or smoothie, or afternoon slice of raw chocolate cake came to somewhat a surprise! Not being able to stomach anything sweet was a first for me, and  actually something I felt quite grateful for when I look back. My usual sweet cravings have diminished hugely since being pregnant, though I am assured this is not the same for every one! Cravings can begin right from day 1 when you are pregnant, as your new little person grows into its home for the next 9 months. Changes on all levels are to be expected, and for those women who haven't been health conscious before of have less healthy diets, the coming of a child inside can kick start you into thinking about what you choose to eat every day. Now I know many women find it hard to even think beyond what piece of bland cracker they will next try to keep down, and frankly eating anything remotely healthy is a big achievement. But if you can make a few little changes in your diet to make sure that you and your baby get the best of the foods available to you at this time, then I urge you to make this choice now! Being pregnant for me has made me even more aware of what I eat every day. This doesn't necessarily mean that I eat what I previously thought to be the healthiest foods for me. As my body changes, my needs change and my diet has changed quite alot over the past three months. It is vital that expectant mothers source enough nutrients for their growing baby and the toll they can take on their bodies. Popping a folate pill once you find out isn't enough to give you the best start to your pregnancy journey. This is the time to enjoy feeding your new baby, before it is even born! Everything I eat now I eat with love in knowing that my baby is getting the best that I can give it, even if these are sometimes quite different to foods I would choose for my self as a singular person. So what are the best pregnancy foods??
Foods for healthy conception are not as talked about as what you should be eating once you have planted the seed, so to speak! Basically, its a good idea to do a dietary cleanse before thinking about trying to have a baby,, as once you are pregnant, any kind of detox should be avoided, and good, balanced healthy eating should be the main priority. I fortunately did a week of mainly juicing and salads about a month before conceiving, then started eating lots of foods high in DHA and folic in the months before. You want to make sure you are getting lots of essential fatty acids through fish, eggs, hemp and/ or chia seeds. Foods high in folic acid are important pre-pregnancy, see the folate filled foods below.
My Top pre-pregnancy foods  have to be fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir, as they are packed full of folic acid and good bacteria, creating a healthy environment inside your guts for you to receive the best of the best nutrition in the months to come. Eating lots of fermented foods also means you are less likely to experience problems such as constipation and bloating when you fall pregnant, common symptoms of pregnancy.
Morning sickness
There seems to be nothing you can do to avoid it; you either get it bad or get away with it! I know the healthiest women who have suffered bad from morning sickness, what ever remedies and nutritional advise they take. So the best you can do is sip on things to relieve nausea: Ginger and citrus teas are good. And eat what ever you can stomach. Eating little and often is the best thing you can do to avoid sicky pangs. I found it was only when I let myself get really hungry that the strong nausea would hit in.
Folate filled
Folate (Folic acid) is vital for the normal development of the fetus and preventing spina bifida and other neural tube defects. It is recommended that you supplement with 800mg a day throughout pregnancy and pre-conception, but also bump up your intake of folate filled foods in your diet to get your dose of this super nutrient. Eat in abundance leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, avocados, bee pollen, citrus fruits, pulses and seeds.
O-mega foods
Foods rich in the 'good' fats especially Omega 3 are super during pregnancy, helping build healthy brains and supporting your own needs whilst your baby sucks on your sources of essential nutrients. Oily fish is well known for being one of the best sources of the Omega fats, although there are lots of plant sources too. Try adding ground flax or chia seeds to your breakfast, in breads or crackers or sprinkled on salads. Flax oil is one of the best sources of Omega 3, and is best added to smoothies or dressings. Walnuts are the best nut to go for, and it is also present in soy beans, so good quality tofu will add to your intake. I liked enjoying fish a few times a week, as well as my usual high intake of seeds and nuts.
My First trimester daily diet
This is a typical days eating during my first trimester:
First thing: Lemon hot water
Breakfast: Two poached eggs (from our friends down the road), 1 thick slice organic wholemeal toast with raw butter/coconut oil, silted spinach.
Snack:cold watermelon slices
Lunch:  Bowl of cooked quinoa, steamed asparagus, homemade sauerkraut, 1/4 avocado, sprouted mung beans
Snack: 1 teaspoon bee pollen and 1 slice bread/ raw cracker with pesto and avocado
Dinner: 1 wild salmon fillet, new potatoes, steamed seasonal veggies, olive oil.
Throughout day: lots of lemon balm, nettle and fennel tea.

My Pregnancy smoothie
This smoothie is packed full of folate (bee pollen), protein (almonds and chia seeds) and omega 3 (chia seeds, all essential for growing a little human! It tastes the best too.
1 cup Almond milk (homemade is best)
1 frozen banana
1 handful fresh or frozen berries (i am loving freshly picked blackberies and blueberries at the moment)
1 tbsp bee pollen
1 tbsp chia seeds 
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and drink!

                                             Mum-to-be Tea
                                               Lemon balm
                                        spearmint leaves
If you can find these herbs fresh, then pick, put into boiling water for 10 minutes and drink. Otherwise, you can buy all them dried as loose leaves and make a blend of equal amounts. Lemon balm and mint are so easy to grow at home, I'd encourage everyone to make a space for them in theor garden or in pots. As for nettles,  Find a good, clean patch and get using them! They're an amazing superfood which grows right on our doorsteps, full of iron, chlorrophyl and vitimins. Drink to your hearts content throughout pregnancy to boost your iron intake, keep caln and settle tummies.

O-mega mumma
An omega 3 rich snack to see off hunger pangs and keep you full of good fats to hep your babies brain development.
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1/2 c Almond/hemp milk
4 soaked dates
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tbsp bee pollen
Make the almond or hemp seed milk if you don't have any ready made. Add the dates to the milk with the scraped vanilla bean and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl with  the chia seeds and stir well. Leave top soak for at least half and hour until the seeds have swelled and absorbed the milk so it resembles and tapioca  pudding. Top with bee pollen and eat!

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