Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers…..part 4 of 5

Today’s topic: NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY.

Remember, what you’re eating when you’re pregnant is also contributing to healthy blood, bones, tissues, and organs—or not.

It’s so painful for me to remember back to eating 7-11 nachos, Diet Coke, a Special Burger and fries (extra fry sauce!) at lunch, and Ben & Jerry’s after dinner, throughout my first pregnancy. I didn’t know any better. I assumed my body was making good fuel for my baby, out of the bad fuel I fed myself—as illogical as that is.

I imagine that’s why I not only gained 65 lbs., but it’s also why my baby developed significant auto-immune problems in his first year of life. With my later pregnancies, I was learning and implementing good nutrition strategies, and the babies were FAR healthier.

My last baby was (and still is, at age 12) completely healthy—never once a bacterial infection of any kind, never any antibiotics or meds or even doctor visits. The labor and delivery got easier, too, when I ate the right foods throughout the pregnancy and gained only 35 lbs. instead of 65!

I can’t even count how many times a 12 Steps to Whole Foods young mom has talked to me after a class I teach, and told me this:

“I’m so thrilled that I changed my diet to eat whole foods, because this last pregnancy has been my easiest and healthiest!”

I’ve had many moms tell me about major complications they had during their earlier pregnancies, while they were eating the Standard American Diet, and how all that changed when they embraced whole-foods fuel.

One mother in Texas told me that with her first 4 children, she was on bed rest, with terrible edema, and pre-eclampsia. As she told me this, she was 9 months pregnant, and beaming ear to ear. She said, “This is my first problem-free pregnancy. I’m about to deliver, and I’m so excited I learned all about whole foods from you.”

My diet now is the diet I would eat if I were pregnant again. The “pregnancy diet” is no different than the ideal diet for life.

It’s high in greens, in vegetables, and in fruits—80% of more of them raw. I also eat cooked legumes (beans, split peas, lentils), and whole grains (organic quinoa, whole wheat, rolled oats or oat groats, spelt, Kamut, buckwheat, millet—most of them sprouted before they are baked at low temperatures). I buy sprouted-grain (whole grain only) bread or English muffins or tortillas at the health food store. But I also make my own granola.

I eat nuts and seeds every day, some of them sprouted, many of them rich sources of essential fatty acids. I soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds to add to my granola.

I use coconut oil on my skin and in occasional baking, for medium-chain triglycerides. I always have a quart of green smoothie a day. Most days, I also have a glass of vegetable juice, although at many points in my life, I’ve not had the time to make juice, and now I hire someone to do it.

I choose big salads in restaurants. I don’t eat refined sugar, ever, nor do I ever drink soda, or eat processed meats, or pork or beef. I eat a 95 percent plant-based diet, and I keep refined foods or animal products at 5 percent or less.

While I was having my babies, I was learning how to do all that. It was new to me then—it is habit now. I didn’t give up sugar cold-turkey back then. I had fits and starts in dealing with my addiction.

My changes involved bucking “the system.” Lots of systems, in fact. The medical system. The social system of parties and barbecues and family events and Easter and Halloween and Christmas. The church system of keeping kids quiet in nursery and later, in class, with junk food. The family system of generations of “comfort foods” that contributed to my babies’ health problems. It wasn’t easy. But it was one of the BEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE. I’ve never looked back, and I have absolutely zero regret.

What I did HAD TO BE DONE.

So, what I’ve just described my diet being now is a great diet for a pregnant or nursing mom. It’s a terrible idea for a pregnant mom to eat a diet high in refined carbs. The baby does need good protein for brain health, and overall for building. There’s plenty of protein in nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and greens.

If you avoid those good food categories, eating a vegan diet, you’re likely to develop dental problems, blood sugar issues, and fatigue-related disorders. If you want more protein, I suggest a scoop of our whole-food, vegan protein powder added to your green smoothies.

Doctors tell women to eat lots of protein, and everyone’s first thought with protein is meat and dairy. Those are “perfect proteins,” to be sure. But “perfect” doesn’t meant “better”—it just mean it is protein the body doesn’t have to assemble from amino acids, because it matches human flesh very closely. Protein from greens, seeds, legumes, grains, and nuts is protein the body has to work harder to build muscle with. But it’s far more durable muscle mass.

Always eat protein when you’re eating sugars. For instance, if you have a green smoothie and yours is high in fruits, eat a handful of almonds, too, or a bowl of lentil or split pea soup. Or add a scoop of protein powder. I make my green smoothies as high in greens, and as low in fruits, as I can tolerate. Slow down and regulate impact on blood sugar, by eating FIBER and QUALITY PROTEIN. This is how you can, with lifelong habits, avoid insulin problems and eventual diabetes, which currently most of our population is heading toward.

Don’t undertake a major, radical detox program while you’re pregnant or in the first year of nursing. As toxins range your body, on their way out, they flush through a developing fetus, and through your breast milk, as well.

Again, don’t take my advice in lieu of competent practitioner care and counsel.

Tomorrow, we talk once again about WHAT TO DO ABOUT PICKY KIDS.

 

Gluten Free Live Granola & Breakfast

Jason, a 12 Steps to Whole Foods reader, shared the following recipes with us. They’re mostly raw, gluten free, and full of sprouted nutrition. He writes:

When I first got the recipes for the 12 steps, I was a little disappointed that the Live Granola contained oatmeal (my wife is gluten sensitive). I know many on this forum avoid gluten, so I thought I’d post the granola recipe we developed, as well as our favorite breakfast. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do! ~Jason (jayroo)

Sprouted Buckwheat Granola (gluten free)

This was inspired by a granola we found at the Ecopolitan, a raw restaurant in Minneapolis, MN. We go through a batch every week.

  • 4 c buckwheat groats, rinsed, soaked overnight, rinsed well (or soaked 15 minutes and sprouted 24 hours)
  • 2 c raw seeds (e.g. sunflower & pumpkin), soaked overnight, rinsed
  • 2-3 c raw nuts (e.g. almonds & pecans), soaked overnight, rinsed
  • 3 T cinnamon
  • 1/3 c raw honey, softened over medium-low heat
  • Optional: 1 T virgin coconut oil
  • 2 c dried fruit (e.g. raisins and goji berries)
  1. Optional: briefly pulse the larger nuts in a food processor (I leave them whole)
  2. In a large bowl, mix buckwheat, seeds, nuts, cinnamon, honey and coconut oil.
  3. Spread on dehydrator trays with mesh, teflex, or fruit leather sheets. Dehydrate at your preferred temp for 6-8 hours, mix, continue dehydrating until crunchy. The amount listed fills 4 trays in my Nesco dehydrator.
  4. Mix in dry fruit and store in a sealed container at room temp or in the fridge.
  5. Yields 10-12 cups

Sprouted Buckwheat Cereal (gluten free)

This was the first gourmet raw meal that my wife actually enjoyed and asked for again. She once told me I could make it for her every day.

  • 1 cup buckwheat groats, rinsed, soaked overnight, rinsed well (or soaked 15 minutes and sprouted 24 hours)
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • dash of maple syrup
  • optional: raw pecans or almonds, soaked overnight, rinsed, chopped

Process buckwheat, banana, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a food processor until creamy. Top with nuts. Serves 2.

 

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 3 of 7]

 

 

On to more green smoothie ingredients!

Lemon peel

Lemon peel is another ingredient I add almost daily.   I often buy a large bag of lemons at Costco, or I bring them home from California or Arizona when I visit there.   I freeze the lemon juice in ice cube trays for use in guacamole, raw desserts, and homemade salad dressings.   (Many recipes are found in Ch. 3 and 11 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods on GreenSmoothieGirl.com.)   But I don’t throw the lemon peels away!   I cut them in eighths (having washed the lemons well, first) and freeze them.   Every day I get a piece of lemon peel out of the freezer and toss it in my smoothie.   It’s a bit bitter, so it’s best when stevia or raw, organic is added to the mix to offset the bitter.

With its potent flavanoids, lemon peel has been linked by research to preventing and killing skin cancers.   As a teenager and young adult, I laid out in the sun for hours, nearly daily, from April to October.   I was always brown, but only after burning many times.   I’m more careful now, but still love the sun and never use sunscreen.   The only reason I can explain why I look younger than I am and have no skin cancer, despite being a fair-skinned redhead, is my excellent nutrition and near-daily use of lemon peel!

Sprouts

Sprouts are such an easy thing to grow, and most people don’t eat them at all.   They are living things, and they are enzyme packed little powerhouses.   When the seed, nut, or legume sprouts, all the enzyme potential is unlocked to go into that burst of energy that becomes a plant.   You have the opportunity, at that unparalleled nutritional level, to steal that nutrition for yourself.   Sprouts have the capacity to dramatically reduce your reliance on the body’s need to manufacture enzymes and consequently steal from metabolic processes.   When you eat them, you are oxygenating your body–think of eating sprouts as the very opposite of eating sugar and other toxic foods that make your body a host for all kinds of immediate and future problems.

They’re great on sandwiches, and I add them to granola I serve my children every morning.   But many people have a hard time finding ways to sneak them into the diet, and blending them into a smoothie is easy and painless.   Just add them as part of the greens portion of the recipe.  

I would not use sprouted nuts or large seeds like pumpkin and sunflower in green smoothies (unless you’re using “greened” sunflower sprouts–when the seed is grown into greens).   I would stick to the smaller seeds like clover, alfalfa, and fenugreek for green smoothie ingredients.

How much fat should I eat?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   How much fats do you take in a day? From what I gathered from your book, it looks something like: 1 tablespoon flax oil in green smoothie, 2 tablespoons coconut oil on lips and skin, a handful of nut and seeds for snacks in the afternoon.   Am I right?   I am about the same age as you.   Would the above be too much oil in a day?

 

Answer:   That’s an appropriate amount of fat for an active person in her 40’s.   (Some of that 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil may be eaten–I couldn’t put that much on my skin–and I also might use a Tablespoon or less of extra-virgin olive oil for cooking dinner, too.)

 

I might eat a few hundred calories more than the average woman my age whose weight is healthy, just because I also work out hard and am really hungry otherwise0.   I used to put everything I ate into a program called DietPower (about $35 when I bought it at dietpower.com).   By programming in my workouts AND my food, and weighing every day, I was able to establish my EXACT metabolic rate.   I learned that at 5’8″ and 135 lbs., I burn about 1600 calories a day.   (I burn more and can therefore eat more if I run 5 miles, for a 500 calorie expenditure.)

 

I no longer count calories or worry about that at all.   (Also, many whole-food items aren’t in the DietPower database.)   I find that if I don’t eat any processed foods, addictions don’t exist, and I can eat how much I want, within reason.   My friend Michelle says that she overeats anything (and uses oatmeal as an example–something she says she’ll eat four bowls of), but I don’t believe it.    Not if you go OFF refined foods for a short time to eliminate those addictions.   People not eating refined foods simply do not have a tendency to overeat legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.   That’s because they’re natural and don’t distort hormones and the other finely tuned systems in the body to create unnatural cravings.  

 

When you eat only whole foods, you are tuning your body in to its needs.

 

fall/winter planting: get heirloom garden seeds

If you garden, you should use nonhybridized, untreated, non-genetically modified seeds, known as “heirloom.”   Much of what you get at the local nursery has been chemically treated or mildly radiated to not produce offspring (so the seeds cannot be stored for more than one season).   Or their genetic components have been changed, so that we don’t know what deleterious effects that will have on our environment or our health.

I like www.heirloomseeds.com, not just because their seeds are untreated, unhybridized (many of the varieties dating back well over 100 years), and non-genetically modified, but also because they have a huge variety and good prices.   When I first read Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest, I got very excited about winter gardening.   I wanted to plant all the greens, like mache, that would grow even at zero degrees in my winter grow boxes.   But I couldn’t find mache anywhere, locally.   It, and every other variety of greens I read about in Coleman’s book, can be found at www.heirloomseeds.com.   For instance, New Zealand spinach, which isn’t really spinach, but similar, with a lot of vertical growing capacity up against my fence–and it doesn’t bolt in the heat.

If you’re going to plant this fall and/or winter, though, order now.   Heirloomseeds.com takes several weeks to fulfill orders.

For more information about how long you can store seeds, those of you who do food storage, this is a good source:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/Garden/07221.html

High-nutrition items’ price points . . . part 1 of 2

I’ve been asked for a list of prices I pay for high-nutrition items you will want to buy regularly if you’re maximizing fresh produce and whole plant foods in your diet.   These are my “staples” that you’ll notice are rather different from what’s in most pantries (or long-term food storage).

 

Buying agave or coconut oil in little 16 oz. quantities is a way to break the bank.   You may not buy everything, the first time, the cheapest way possible.   But as your GreenSmoothieGirl ways become a lifestyle rather than a “health kick,” you’ll want to find more and more ways to find the kinds of prices I pay by buying in bulk, buying from Azure Standard or other co-ops.   This list is by no means comprehensive, but it will give you an idea.

 

THINGS I BUY THROUGH AZURE STANDARD

Everything they grow themselves is organic.   Some of these are book list prices that you find have gone up—up to 50%—when you order, because printing can’t keep up with rising food costs!   Note that I pay 10% on top of these prices for shipping/handling.

 

$55 for 50 lbs. organic quinoa

$28 for 50 lbs. organic buckwheat

$35 for 50 lbs. organic millet

$27 for 50 lbs. organic popcorn

$20 for 50 lbs. organic oat groats

$31 for 25 lbs. organic spelt

$27 for 25 lbs. organic sweet brown rice (my favorite kind)

$43 for 30 lbs. Thompson raisins

$6 for 1 gal. blackstrap molasses

$47 for 1 gal. Grade B maple syrup

$14 for 16 oz. Spoonable Stevia

 

$13 for 5 lbs. of cashews, small pieces

$33 for 5 lbs. of pecans

$31 for 5 lbs. of walnuts

 

$5.50/quart of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

$5/gallon raw apple cider vinegar, or $8.50 organic (nutrition best of all vinegars)

$4 for 1 lb. cayenne

$9 for 1 lb. organic garlic powder

 

$18 for 5 lbs. organic pumpkin seeds

$8 for 5 lbs. organic sunflower seeds

$4 for 5 lbs. organic flax seeds

 

$6.50 for 5 lbs. of unsweetened shredded coconut