Conscious Eating During Pregnancy
When we talk about nutrition and diet during pregnancy, there seems to be this idea that what we eat during that time directly makes the baby. It somehow gives the impression that the body is a network of pipes that connects the baby inside to the food outside, or it is a processing centre for the baby. The baby cannot take away all nutrients from the mother’s body if she lacks nutrition. A healthy diet and good nutrition is an everyday requirement for each of us, and what we add to our body before, during and after pregnancy builds the baby.
Understanding the basics of nutrition during pregnancy ensures a healthy baby and a healthy mother, but it can also be seen as early learning for the mother for later food for the child. Such an understanding holds good for a lifetime of healthy eating.
Food is fuel
Food is the fuel for the energy that our body needs to function. The energy capacity of the body is measured in terms of calories. To keep our bodies working, we need a certain amount of power and among other things food fuels this power.
This power may be used to grow, repair, and maintain the body, or it may be needed to keep the internal functioning going or be required to get through daily activity. And, of course, the making of a new human being has its own power needs!
Certain foods work as a catalyst for different internal processes. They might help in assimilation and digestion or in balancing your hormones. Pregnancy is a time of significant hormonal choreography.
The process of tasting, chewing, swallowing, and digesting food has its significance. If it were only about adding nutrients to the body, popping pills would be so much simpler, and save us time and effort and kitchen space at home.
What you eat: The Bigger Picture
There is a distinct relation between food and mood. The experience of our life is just as dependent on food, as survival is. Why else is a food business a good business?
What is truly interesting in terms of scientific understanding is that the food we eat changes our body's pH and has a fundamental effect on our genetic expression. During pregnancy, the quality of this environment will change the baby’s genetic expression.
Different foods create different environmental profiles for the genes to be read and expressed. This new breakthrough is epigenetics, which reinforces what we have traditionally known about food and health.
What we eat, how it’s grown, how it’s cooked and processed changes what it brings to us in terms of goodness. Everything we add or take away from the food will change its interaction with the body.
Choose consciously healthy snacking options for the first trimester
1. Sweet Potato
One cup of sweet potato has 4 g of protein and 7 g of fiber. It is a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.
Sweet potato is popularly served as a ‘chaat’ with lemon and spices and salt to taste.
A slice of watermelon has less than 50 calories and is rich in vitamin B, C and A. It is 92% water and is a great snack for women with morning sickness.
While you may see popcorn as junk food, the salt and butter count for calories in popcorn. Popcorn is whole grain –corn. It may not be the highest on the nutrients list, but it is a healthy way to get fiber and some protein, folate, manganese, and magnesium into the diet. Bland and light popcorn is a great snack for women having morning sickness.
More Goodies For Morning Sickness In The First Trimester
Ginger, Lemons, Mint
Served as drinks like lemonade, mint tea or lemon ginger tea, or as a part of raw or cooked food, ginger julienne in lemon, can help hydrate, soothe the digestive tract, and help digestion in the first trimester.
Ginger helps in controlling nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and also aids in food digestion. It can also assist in soothing pain in the body, like backache and leg cramps, which happen during pregnancy.
Lemons and other citrus fruits are relatively safe and nutritious to eat during pregnancy. Lemons, in fact, are high in important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that support maternal health and the development of offspring.
Morning sickness frequently leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth during the first trimester. Until the ninth month of pregnancy, some women endure nausea. Fresh mint leaves are a terrific method to keep nausea at bay while also warding off that strange scent and taste in your tongue.
Last but not least, eating consciously means not just being conscious of what you are eating but being mindful of quality. The food imbibes its growing field and what went into nurturing it, just like your baby does.
So choosing organically food, low on processing allows you to imbibe not just what the food offers but also to what mother earth provides you as a blessing.
Eat with awareness and thought of what you and your baby receive with every mouthful of food.
Divya Deswal is a childbirth educator, Doula, and RCST working with Zaazen Wellness – a pre and postnatal wellness centre, functioning out of Phoenix Hospital in New Delhi. For more information on the services and classes offered at Zaazen, please visit their website.
The food suggestions made in this article are from ‘The 100 Healthiest Foods to eat during pregnancy’ – Johnny Bowden & Allison Tannis.
When you are looking for better food options, make sure to buy from healthy, organic stores. I Say Organic is one of the best sites that gives organic fruits and vegetables online along with some healthy varieties of rice. You can also find dry fruits, beverages and much more here at one place and that too of best quality.