Most women think of pregnancy as a total departure from normal life, like it’s some kind of nine-month-long excuse to wear fat pants. But all those pints of ice cream and pepperoni pizzas will probably come with a side of hemorrhoids, varicose veins, swollen feet, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Not to mention the impact on your baby.
That’s because filling your diet with nasty foods is the quickest way to derail balance in your body. If your system is busy doing damage control after mealtimes, then it’ll be too short-staffed to get to the really important stuff like making a cleaner, safer, healthier place for your baby to live.
Meat, dairy, and processed foods are tracking toxic sludge through your baby’s house. They’re clogging your arteries, raising your blood pressure, and pumping you full of cholesterol, toxins, hormones, and antibiotics that you don’t need.
Nasty Food #1: Meat
Unlike true carnivores (think big jungle cats with big, pointy teeth), whose short intestinal tracts allow for much faster input-output when we humans eat meat, it gets to spend time on the 98.6-degree-Fahrenheit lazy river of our insides—up to 72 hours, to be exact. And what’s it doing in those 72 hours? It’s rotting. That’s three days that a decomposing piece of flesh is sharing a bunk bed with your baby! Yes, it’s being dealt with by your digestive system, but while that meat is taking days and days to break down, it’s leaching a noxious cocktail of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, pollutants, bacteria, and viruses into your body.
Fish isn’t much better. The tons of garbage floating in the oceans slowly break down into snack-size particles for little plankton-eating fish. And when those little fish become dinner for the big fish—which we in turn eat—they’re passing on not only mercury but also organochlorines, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other environmental toxins that are known to be major offenders in fertility, increasing the risk of endometriosis and altering hormonal function.
Yes, omega-3 fatty acids (found in some fish) are good at lowering the risk of heart disease, improving blood vessel function, and improving the overall health of people with diabetes, but we can also get these health benefits from omega-3-rich sources like walnuts, chia, hemp, and flaxseeds, without any of the fishy stuff.
Nasty Food #2: Dairy
Dairy, like meat, is full of unwanted surprises. With the approval of the FDA and USDA, many farmers use growth hormones to rev up milk production and antibiotics to treat the frequent infections cows get from being tethered to milking machines three times a day with no fresh air, and feed them livestock grains that are doused with any number of purposely life-killing compounds.
I know milk seems like a healthy staple of our diet—I mean, most of us grew up drinking a glass with dinner. But the truth is, most humans never tasted any milk besides breast milk for almost all of human history. Cow’s milk is a fairly recent addition to a majority of our diets, thanks to industrialized agriculture. Besides, no other mammal quenches its thirst for the milk of another species.
Nasty Food #3: Sugar
Sugar is bad for the baby house and bad for you. It causes inflammation, can lead to diabetes, and is linked to cancer. But let’s think about the most obvious point of all: Sugar makes you feel like garbage.
If you’re caught in the sugar-craving hamster wheel, consider this: Refined sugar is really bad for the baby house. The Nurses’ Health Study found that eating too many simple carbohydrates can lower your chance of getting pregnant. And if you do manage to get pregnant, according to a Norwegian study, continuing to consume large amounts of refined sugar puts you at an increased risk for high blood pressure, which can endanger the baby.
Plants are not without their unprocessed sweet rewards, and after you give your poor taste buds a break from the white sugar assault, you won’t believe how utterly satisfying something as simple as a bowl of ripe berries can be.
Nasty Food #4: Processed Food
Believe me, I know the allure of a quick-and-easy meal or snack snapped off the grocery store shelf. But food that comes in a box or bag, that has a mile-long list of ingredients, and that can sit unrefrigerated for days is not the “kind food” we’re talking about.
Yes, there might be whole grains or even kale listed on the side of the box. But chances are, during its factory-processed life, those good bits were souped up with hidden sugars and fats and a scary mix of preservatives and additives that are suspected to be carcinogenic, contributors to obesity and heart disease, and seriously detrimental to the health of your developing baby.
If you’ve gotten to the end of this article and are freaking out about a lifetime spent eating these foods take a deep breath, deliciousness awaits you – trust me!! The human body is incredibly resilient. It wants to heal and be healthy! By beginning to make cleaner, kinder choices now, you can give your body the opportunity to be the amazing little machine it was meant to be.
Check out The Kind Mama for more information & seriously delicious recipes.