The DeLish Bite

Lindsay Evans blogs about food, entertaining and her favourite recipes for Green Living.

A pregnancy diet based on real food is basically what it sounds like, eating whole, unprocessed, unrefined and REAL foods. Eating real is essentially eating traditionally, the way our grandparents and ancestors did. And, it involves purchasing raw ingredients and cooking home meals, whenever possible. The idea behind this way of eating is to consume as much real food as possible, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, poultry and eggs, whole dairy products including cheese, yogurt and milk, nuts and seeds, legumes, and of course whole grains including breads, pasta and rice. The idea is also to AVOID overly processed and ‘fast’ foods. Like I said before, this does not mean that you cannot treat yourself while you are pregnant, you can! Just try to choose real food options such as good quality ice cream made with natural products and good quality dark chocolate. In a new (and somewhat controversial) book, Real Food for Mother and Baby, author, Nina Planck explains why many modern ideas about pregnancy and infant nutrition are wrongheaded and why traditional foods are best. Planck’s advice is well researched, and based on the notion that whole foods are best for mom and baby. Planck suggests that pregnant women need meat and salt, not iron supplements. She is also an advocate for good quality fat and protein, not for a diet based on strictly vegetables and low fat dairy products. She suggests that there are 3 main nutrients (among several more) that are essential during the 3 different trimesters to assist your growing baby: Folic acid, zinc and iron in the 1st trimester when the fetus’s spinal cord is being developed, calcium and protein in the 2nd trimester when your building your baby’s muscle and bone and fat (Omega 3s and 6s / DHA and ARA) in the third trimester, which has 3 main purposes: To act as an energy reserve for when milk comes in, to insulate your baby’s growing body and to continue essential brain development. Planck’s advice is reassuring and thoughtful (even as she casts a skeptical eye on conventional ideas about pregnancy) and she shows you how to keep your baby healthy on good, simple, traditional food. One thing that I cannot say that I agree with is her suggestion that unpasteurized foods are safe to eat – remember to always check with your OB or midwife before making any radical diet changes. And, although this book is not about eating sustainably for the environment, her advice is right in line with that way of thinking too.