So you just found out you are pregnant. I’m sure you are in the same emotional boat as I was. I like to call it a little pregnancy cocktail… happiness and excitement with a big splash of nervousness. No wonder simple things like what you’re going to eat have become a conundrum. You’re already aware that the organic movement is full speed ahead, but really, what’s the difference right? Is it worth the extra money?
During the next few months, it is very important to feed your body all the necessary nutrients to develop the healthiest baby. But it is just as important to avoid any toxins whenever possible. As a holistic health coach and a mother of two, I would highly recommend following the dirty dozen rule, the Environmental Working Group’s list of the most contaminated produce. But being healthy doesn’t mean having to break the bank by going organic all the way. There are plenty of foods we can enjoy safely. One good rule of thumb is that produce with a thick skin that can be peeled away is okay to have.
So for those days that you’re feeling a little fuzzy, we’ve cleared your plate a little by making the organic/non-organic choice on some vitamin-packed foods.
Must Have Organic:
Organic Grass Fed Dairy:
Conventional cows typically consume grains, and corn is the main grain. It is suspected that up to 85 percent of corn is genetically modified. Grass fed dairy is a great source of calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B, E & D. Dairy is important for the development of the baby’s bones, teeth, muscles and nerves. Dairy also lowers the risk of preeclampsia and pre-term labor. Organic eggs, specifically omega 3 eggs, are vital during your pregnancy. The difference between regular organic eggs and omega 3 eggs is that the chickens are fed flax seeds and therefore lay eggs that contain omega 3. Omega 3 aids in the baby’s neurological and visual development. It has also been found to reduce the risk of allergies in infants. Eggs are full of choline, which is vital for the baby’s brain development and prevention of any neural tube diseases, as well as vitamin B.
Corn might not be the most nutritiously dense food, but it’s in more foods than we think. We’ve already established that up to 85 percent of corn is genetically modified, and genetically modified foods are not only dangerous for us, but also for the developing baby.
Kale (and other leafy Greens):
If you’re suddenly finding it difficult to go near meat because of your heightened sense of smell (like me when I was pregnant), leafy greens — primarily the trendy kale — are a very important food to consume. Kale has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. It is also high in vitamin C, which helps in the development of the baby’s collagen, cartilage, tendons and skin. Kale is high in folate, the natural version of a folic acid which lowers risks of neural tube disease. It also lowers the risk of preeclampsia and is high in potassium, which helps prevent common pregnancy leg cramps. One of the main reasons to choose organic is because leafy greens grow closer to the ground where bugs also happen to live. Conventional farmers, more often than not, spray them with tons of pesticides that can not be washed away. Thankfully, there are plenty of organic farmers that refuse to compromise the quality of our food by using toxic chemicals.
Safe non-organic foods that have been found with no little to no traces of pesticides:
Asparagus is a wonderful food eat…and it’s safe! It is hardly treated with pesticides since bugs don’t fancy this lovely veggie. Plus it grows so quickly it needs to be picked ASAP! Asparagus is full of folate to aid the baby’s brain and neurological development. It also a natural diuretic that helps cleanse the kidneys. Don’t give up paparagus post partum — ti aids in milk production and fighting off baby blues.
Conventional avocados are okay because of their thick skin and since they too are rarely treated with pesticides. Avocados have monounsaturated (GOOD!!!) fats. This is the type of fat that is an excellent source for the baby’s brain development. Avocados also have folate and potassium, and have actually been found to help relieve as well as prevent morning sickness thanks to vitamin B6. During my own pregnancy, I ate one or two avocados a day (they were the only thing I could eat in the morning).
Sweet Potatoes may not have thick skin, but they too are hardly treated with pesticides. These yummy root veggies are jam-packed with folate and potassium. They are high in fiber which helps with constipation often found in pregnancy. Sweet potatoes have vitamins C, B2, B6 and biotin (which helps with cell growth, lowers the risk of metabolic disorders, and promotes hair and nail growth). Sweet potatoes also help in regulating blood sugar and insulin.
Following these basic tips will help you create a solid foundation for the health and development of your little one. After all, who said eating for two couldn’t be fun and nutritious?
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