True story: to freak me out and annoy me, my husband used to awkwardly rub my belly and in a disgustingly creepy voice whisper to me, “I’m gonna put a baby in there.” It was the worst. But now we’re actually planning on getting knocked up in 2015. I’ve talked a lot about preconception diets, how important they are, how I plan on doing one before I get preggo, etc. Actually, we both are doing a preconception diet. Don’t forget that dudes need to do this too! It’s just as important for the husband to take steps to detoxify as well as nourish himself to be able to make a healthy baby. It takes two to tango ya’ll, in more ways than one.
Why You Need To Do A Preconception Diet
When Dr. Price traveled the world studying indigenous cultures, he discovered that they prepared for pregnancy from three months to a year prior to actually becoming pregnant. Sacred foods like butter, fish eggs, liver and egg yolks were specifically reserved for couples planning on becoming pregnant (we’ll get to why this is later). As Kristen Michaelis describes in her book, Beautiful Babies, it takes ninety days for the woman’s egg to mature prior to being ovulated and it takes the man’s sperm 72 days.
Because of this, a preconception diet should be followed for at least three months before trying to become pregnant (bonus: doing this makes becoming pregnant a whole hell of a lot easier).
Not only does doing a preconception diet increase your fertility, it helps build a healthy baby.
Many women and men forget that babies are built using the nutrition our bodies give them. Lack of beneficial gut flora can lead to autism, lack of folate can lead to spina bifida, lack of omega-3s DHA and EPA can lead to brain abnormalities, lack of B12 can lead to nervous system issues – you see where I’m going with this. A study from University of California–Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute,
Mothers of children with autism were less likely than those of typically developing children to report having taken prenatal vitamins during the 3 months before pregnancy or the first month of pregnancy… Periconceptional use of prenatal vitamins may reduce the risk of having children with autism, especially for genetically susceptible mothers and children.
Proper nutrition prior to pregnancy doesn’t only benefit the baby, it also greatly benefits the mother.
Getting adequate amounts of magnesium (this needs to be taken prior to pregnancy so it can build it, magnesium rapidly depletes from the body) can prevent morning sickness. Fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K along with the collagen found in bone broth can prevent stretch marks and varicose veins. The fat-soluble vitamins also reduce cravings and promote a more balanced mood.
My Preconception Diet
First, I’m doing a pretty intense detox for the month of January. No booze, no sugar, no grains, no dairy. I’ll be using targeted supplements to clean up my gut, remove toxins and up my beneficial flora. You can find the details of that detox HERE. Here is a list of food that I eat every day. I am going to especially focus on these foods prior to and throughout my pregnancy.
I eat eggs every day, especially the yolks! Eggs are rich in healthy fats like omega-3s as well as choline and vitamins A, E, D, and K.
I take a tablespoon of coconut oil every morning. This is for a few reasons, but one is that I don’t normally eat until noon. I’m just not hungry, so eating coconut oil during this time when I’m technically doing a small fast helps my body clean itself out. Not to mention the fact that coconut oil is antibacterial and antiviral.
Red meat is the bomb for those trying to get pregnant. Contrary to popular belief – it’s actually a health food. You just have to make sure it comes from grass-fed sources. I eat pastured beef or lamb every day. I especially love lamb. Red meat is rich in minerals like iron and also full of vitamins A, E, D and K. Plus, it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – which helps prevent cancer.
The liver is the most nutrient dense food on earth. It is so full of minerals and vitamins that you have to be careful NOT to eat too much – though that’s likely not a problem for anyone. I mean really, how many people actually love liver? Luckily, I love me some good pate, so it’s been easy to incorporate into my diet. I’m eating about 1/4 lb per week.
If you can tolerate dairy, it’s a great option to add to your diet. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats. If you incorporate yogurt and kefir, you’re also adding a hefty dose of probiotics to your diet, which can help prevent autism.
Like red meat, fats have been unnecessarily vilified. There is literally no legitimate evidence that a diet rich in healthy fats causes any health issues. In fact, there’s a whole lot of evidence demonstrating how beneficial fats are. The body needs fat. Our hormones are driven by fat. Our brains rely on fat. Roughly half of all cells are made up of saturated fat. Which is why it’s so important to eat fat before, during and after pregnancy. It even helps with morning sickness and postpartum depression.
You can find me munchin’ on pastured butter, olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, egg yolks and even pastured lard (which is rich in vitamin D!).
When I say healthy carbs, most people immediately think of whole grains. Whole grains are not only difficult to digest, they’re full of phytic acid – which binds to minerals and prevents them from being absorbed. What I mean when I say healthy carbs are carbohydrates that are easy to digest, contain low levels of phytic acid and will not spike your blood sugar:
- white, sweet, purple potatoes
- white rice (if you can digest it well and don’t eat it in abundance)
I regularly eat fermented foods, but I’ve been incorporating them much more sine adapting to a preconception diet. In addition to yogurt and kefir, I also make my own fermented foods including salsa, dill and red onion salsa, sauerkraut, kimchi, beets, jalapenos, pickles, etc. I’ll ferment just about anything.
I make sure to have at least a half cup of fermented foods with each meal.
I’ve started to eat many more greens than usual. I still hate kale but have incorporated more spinach, collards, beet greens, etc. into my diet. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Just about every morning now I drink a detox smoothie. In general, I don’t recommend smoothies because most people get carried away with them, replace meals with smoothies and add too much sugar. Check out my detox smoothie recipe HERE.
Cod Liver Oil (found HERE)
Probiotics (I recommend THESE)
Foods I’m Not Eating
Read more about foods to avoid while pregnant HERE.
Photo courtesy of http://www.hopewellnessinstitute.com/blog.