Yesterday we talked about surrounding yourself with real, clean, food being the first step to a healthy pregnancy diet. So, now that you've cleaned out your fridge and pantry, lets hit the grocery and roll into step two: Make Some Switches.
Making some simple switches in your shopping cart can significantly amp up your nutrient intake by doing nothing more than buying a different product of something that you already eat anyways.
IMPORTANT NOTE: As we start to go through this list I can already picture your eyes glazing over with dollar bill signs.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
If you can buy grassfed meats once a week, once a month, once every two months, it will still make a difference. If the only thing you can afford to do is switch to grassfed milk one week out of your whole entire pregnancy and nothing more, it still makes a difference.
Don't get guilty, get practical.
1.) Switch from industrial beef, lamb and venison to 100% grass-fed.
Why? Well you know the term you are what you eat? Well you are what you eat, eats too.
By no means are you going to harm yourself or your baby if you eat industrial meats. They are still a valuable and important source of necessary and vital nutrients. However, it is also wise not to ignore the fact that grass-fed meats are far superior to their industrial counterparts and when we can, we should swap it out.
Grassfed meats contain up to 5 x’s more omega-3s than grain fed cattle and loads more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals all across the board. How can that be? Well because they’re eating grass! When moo-moo is gettin' his veggies then you are gettin' your veggies too.
Important shopping note: It MUST say 100% grass-fed on the package.
Pastured doesn’t mean grass in the agriculture world. It just means they got to stand in an open area for what could have been 15 minutes.
Don’t bother with organic, it just means that their feed was organic. Still corn and soy grain, not grass, so what good does that do? And Natural means absolutely nothing. Don’t waste your money, it's just an overpriced marketing scheme.
2.) Switch from chicken breast to chicken breast AND chicken with bone and skin in.
Certain amino acids are found in muscle others found in skin and bones. Amino acids are the building blocks of cells and cells are the things building that beautiful baby in there! So getting access to ALL amino acids is key.
De-boned chicken breast is great to cook up quick and chop for salads and snacks but just take note to mix it up. Eat the chicken right of that bone, it does a body, and a baby, good.
3.) Switch from industrial eggs to pasture-raised.
Eggs are a pregnant ladies best friend. Great at breakfast, great as a snack, great in salads. They can be sweetened in a custard, boiled, scrambled, fried, any old way that one little egg has incredible nutrition concentrations that make luscious locks, glowing skin, stable blood sugars, strong immune systems, healthy hearts, and genius baby brains to name a few! It truly is the incredible edible egg.
So why not give it the gold standard?
The omega-3’s that these little guys are so famous for come from eating grass, bugs and worms. That’s what chickens were made to eat. Inside birds don’t get that so the ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s is thrown out of whack. Hence an indoor egg can have up to 20xs more omega-6 than omega-3! A ratio that can set you up for inflammation.
Eggs are also one of the key non-seafood sources of DHA, that you and your baby HAVE to have for brain vitality.
If you cannot find pastured, look for free-range DHA enriched….that means they feed them flax and algae in their feed mix.
4.) Switch from low-fat, conventional milk and butter to 100% grass-fed whole milk and butter.
All the benefits we talked about on grassfed meats pertains to grassfed dairy products as well. We want glasses of grass, not corn and soy oil.
What about those DHA enriched milks out there? I am not a fan. The DHA that they use in those things is synthetic and more importantly has not been tested for very long so I say why waste your money on the fake stuff when you can have the real thing?!
Why whole milk? Because the vitamins you find in milk are fat soluble so you have to have the fat in order to absorb them. This is why when your baby turns one and most pediatricians give the thumbs up on cows milk they recommend whole. Fat is necessary for the brain to grow. Do not skimp out.
I know that the company Natural Valley now has 100 % grassfed milk available. I find mine at Whole Foods and most of our smaller health food groceries in town. But you can always recommend to your grocer to buy it as well! For butter I like the brand Kerrygold. It is an irish butter made from grassfed cows that you can find in just about all grocery stores these days. I even found it in Venezuela!?! On the expensive side but literaly blocks of gold. (The yellower the butter, the richer the grass the cow has eaten.)
5.) Switch from flavored low-fat yogurts to full fat plain/or greek yogurt.
Slashes your sugar intake and gives you and your baby those necessary fats and proteins. Sweeten it yourself with fruit or honey.
6.) Switch from flavored almond, rice, coconut milk to unsweetened.
Those suckers are pumped with added sugar…..none of which you need, use the straight stuff.
7.) Switch from standard vegetable oils like corn, soy, sunflower, safflower, peanut, grapeseed, and canola to oils those that are not so heavy in omega-6’s like 100% olive oil, coconut, avocado, walnut, and macadamia.
This will help bring that ratio of omega-3’s and omega-6’s back into balance.
8.) Switch out prepackaged condiments and salad dressings for unsweetened ones or homemade.
Again drowning in sugar….many being high fructose corn syrup….as well as cheap fats and too many preservatives. Bottles of crap basically.
Make a batch of dressing at home and use it throughout the week.
9.) Switch from white sandwich bread to whole wheat sprouted.
When wheat flour is refined to make white flour, the bran and germ of the wheat grain are stripped off.
What goes with that is nearly all the vitamins, all the minerals, and all the phytonutrients that wheat has to offer. That is why you see white flours enriched. Because if they didn’t put anything back in there it would kinda just be useless white powder!
When picking bread look for the label: 100 % whole grain bread. This means the bread was made with an intact kernel.
Unfortunately this is harder said than done.
Most breads on the shelf are no where near whole grain bread and, even more frustrating, smothered in marketing lingo to make you think it’s healthy when it’s really not.
Some code names for white flour are: wheat flour, unbleached wheat flour, enriched wheat flour, and the infamous “made with whole grains” aka “I partially promise you there is some in there”. Another famous one is: multigrain. Seems so great but it really just means there are different grains in there- not that they have not been refined.
Also try to look for sprouted whole grain bread.
Sprouted grain means the grain kernels have been soaked before the milling process. This allows the starches and proteins to get converted down into smaller molecules that are easier to digest, which means you have an easier time getting the nutrients out of it.
Because these breads don’t have preservatives you are probably going to find them in the freezer section of most groceries.
10.) Switch from table salt to unrefined sea salt.
Unrefined sea salt contains about 80 essential minerals and trace elements, none of which you get in regular table salt.
11.) Switch from conventional supermarket produce to local and seasonal produce.
Take note that I did not say organic.
I am not poo pooing organic. I think it’s a beautiful thing. But when it comes to where I would put my money first between certified organic or local and seasonal, I’d actually go with local and seasonal. Here is why.
It is true that foods grown in richer, healthier soil (which is typically the case for organic) do have a slightly higher mineral and nutritive value but really the difference is quite small.
And that’s why you constantly here this great debate about whether organic produce really isn’t that superior to conventional.
The real value of organic has to do with it being smarter for the earth. Less pesticides and less toxic fertilizers makes for cleaner water, cleaner air, etc. All of which still effect you and your baby!
But from the stand point of nutrition, what actually makes a bigger difference in nutrition density is how far the food has had to travel.
The longer a food sits around after being picked the more it’s nutritive density fades away. Essentially, as soon as you pick that apple from the tree, it begins to die. I know that’s kinda not a fun way to look at it but it’s the truth.
So an apple that has come from New Zealand, regardless of being organic or not, has more than likely been sittin' around for quite some time…..annnd essentially been dying for a lot longer than an apple you’d get from an orchard around the corner in the fall.
This is why local foods also boast about having better flavor. The produce is picked at its freshest, ripest, peak; not while it is still green because to get it to market doesn’t take a bagillion miles on a jet plane.
I read one time that a researcher took some oranges from the superkmarket to test their levels of vitamin C, and was shocked to discover that they had very little to zilch because they had been sitting there so long! Kinda crazy to think right?!
Take a look at this list and pick out the 3 top things that you can switch up next trip to grocery store. Share them with us in the comments below! My usual top 3 are grassfed butter, grassfed yogurt, and homemade dressings.
Now that we've got the right foods around us, tomorrow we are going to dive into ways of getting them in our bellies. See ya then!