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It’s true, pregnancy really does have its absolute highs and lows. I think it’s important to be aware of both, and knowing firstly that everyone’s experience is different, to be open minded, to avoid expectations and to have a mantra like ‘what will be will be’ to get you through. It’s an incredible experience to watch your body take over and communicate with you like never before. When you need to rest, it will FORCE you to rest and prevent you from doing what you’ve always done and just keep going and pushing through. Because of this, to me it has been the most important time, ever, to be nourishing myself as much as I could. And trust me, this can be hard, especially when in the beginning when you may be experiencing some nausea all you want to eat is potato and gravy, ice-cream or toast and the look of greens can make you feel sick!
1. Particular foods I’ve stayed on top of
When you’re finding it hard to eat all the nourishing foods in the world because, well, the look of them may make you want to vomit, supplements can be pretty handy. Everybody is different when it comes to supplements throughout pregnancy, so I’d always suggest getting some professional help and guidance for this.
Some critical ones I have really stayed on top of includes cod liver oil for omega fatty acids, vitamin A and D, plant colloidal minerals to keep on top of all minerals, magnesium via a supplement occasionally along with baths and a magnesium spray, grass fed liver tablets (so you don’t NEED to eat it!) for B vitamins, iron, zinc, choline, vitamin A and K2.
In my diet, an abundance of greens, fats and proteins have been absolutely essential to include. Fats and proteins are needed not only for nourishment for you and the baby, though for longer lasting satiety and prevention of cravings. Greens are essential for optimal folate, vitamin K, minerals and fibre to feed your beneficial gut bacteria that are essential for you and your baby.
Towards the end of pregnancy (or much earlier on for some) fluid retention increases, therefore I increased foods rich in potassium and magnesium, reduced personal inflammatory foods which I mention below, and increased foods that decrease inflammation such as ginger and turmeric in small amounts as large doses should not be had in pregnancy.
2. Chose supplements wisely
Something to really be aware of is that not all supplements are equal. An example is folic acid, which some individuals due to genetic differences cannot convert it to the active and usable form in their body, which can create more problems than benefits for both you and your baby. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate which is naturally found in food, and I chose to get my folate through food, and it is really important to ensure you’re getting enough as a deficiency can lead to birth defects. If you choose to supplement with it just in case, I highly recommend choosing methyl folate rather than folic acid, as methyl folate is generally well tolerated by most people and can be utilised much better in the body then folic acid. Although this is just one example, it is a push to ensure you do your research or seek personalised advice before diving into something you’ve never had before.
3. I’ve stayed away from things that may cause me inflammation
A symptom of inflammation is water retention, and because I have had some water retention like most women in pregnancy, it has been critical to me to avoid anything that adds to the load! For me, these foods include gluten, corn, high sugar foods, unfermented soy, vegetable oils, and foreign additives (what some know as ‘numbers’ or ingredients you don’t recognise!).
4. Alternatives to ‘comfort foods’ have been essential
I can’t stress this enough, though if I didn’t know of alternatives to ice-cream, cakes, burgers, potato and gravy and more, then I wouldn’t have made it through as easy as I have. The Keep It Cleaner recipes have an abundance of alternatives to the old classics, along with my personal website. When a craving strikes, quickly jump in the kitchen and create the healthier version so you can continue feeling as best as you can possibly feel during this journey that already has its ups and downs and does not need any extra burden from foods that will make you feel even more inflamed, moody, fatigued or nutrient deficient.
5. Other things I have done my best to stick by
Some other really important elements you may need to consider: