There are certain things that truly annoy me in life. Laziness. Apathy. The FDA. Adults that like Justin Bieber.
>And complete and utter nutritional misinformation.<
The latter of which I run into a lot.
Scott and I are planning on getting knocked up sometime in 2015, so lately I’ve been typing “pregnancy” into Pinterest and seeing what comes up. What comes up time and time again are graphics of what women should avoid during pregnancy. They often include:
- excess caffeine (yup)
- booze (duh)
- fish (wtf?)
- raw oysters (for the most part, wtf?)
- sushi (not necessarily)
- raw milk (again, wtf?)
- raw egg yolks (seriously, I can’t take it)
These are some of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. Of course, you want to eat pastured egg yolks, wild fish, sustainably sourced and preferably local oysters, grass-fed & organic milk, etc. To read more about what you should eat during pregnancy, read THIS book.
They also include what women should eat during pregnancy:
- soy (AYFKM <– I just made this up, it’s “are you effing kidding me?”)
- low fat dairy (I shudder)
- whole grains (ehh)
- yogurt (oh, you mean the GMO laden yogurt sweetened with aspartame?)
It just drives me nuts. People have this completely backwards. Instead of promoting real, whole, organic and properly sourced foods, people are downing them. They’re encouraging women to choose processed foods devoid of nutrition. They’re encouraging women to choose GMO laden, artificial, overly processed garbage. Not only does this affect the mother and how she feels throughout pregnancy, it can potentially harm the baby, encourage a difficult birth and almost ensure postpartum issues.
So here is my list of foods to actually avoid during pregnancy:
A researcher from the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research who is also the director of the Molecular Embryology Laboratory indicates that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, can cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in fetuses, even when accounting for lower doses than what is ingested from sprayed crops.
Genetically modified organisms have been linked to infertility, cancer, increased tumor growth, gastrointestinal issues and even autism. You can read more about GMOs here and the link between autism and GMOs here.
Over 90% of the soy in the US in genetically modified. That alone is reason enough to avoid it, but many people are still unaware that even organic soy is an extremely unhealthy food. For both men and women, soy can inhibit fertility. A study from Harvard discovered that men who consumed the equivalent of one cup of soy milk per day had 50% lower sperm count than men that did not consume soy, even when factors like smoking, diet and exercise were accounted for.
In addition to this, soy inhibits protein absorption (which is necessary for pregnant women) and increases the need for vitamin B12 and vitamin D – both of which are necessary for a healthy fetus.
Soy is high in phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen in the body. This can lead to endocrine disruption as well as infertility. And in general, soy is a highly processed food that is rich in phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of mineral like zinc, iron and magnesium (yup, you guessed it, all of which are necessary for a healthy pregnancy).
What was once touted as liquid gold that would do everything from lower cholesterol to save the world is now being recognized as the industrial sludge that it really is. Vegetable oils are mainly made up of soy, corn, canola and cottonseed oils, all of which are some of the highest GMO crops in the United States.
Think of how oily a kernel of corn, or a soybean is. They aren’t. But there’s an excess of them in this country so the genius marketers came up with a plan to fool the American public into thinking these oils are a healthier alternative to organic butter, lard and coconut oil. They aren’t.
The oil (or lack thereof) in these plants is largely extracted using hexane, a neurotoxin. The oils undergo extreme processed like high heating, bleaching, coloring and they even do some weird things to make it smell better. What results is an oil so high I’m omega-6 fatty acids that one tablespoon will inflame the hell out of your body.
This seems like a given but we always seem to have this idea that pregnant women are given a pass for eating whatever the hell they want. On the contrary, being pregnant should make your more vigilant about eating well. It’s NOT okay to eat junk food during pregnancy.
Majority of the junk food in the US is riddled with GMOs, vegetable oils, sugar and refined carbohydrates. It feeds harmful bacteria in the gut. It causes inflammation. It is devoid of nutrients.
This is your baby. Feed it well!
Commercial/CAFO Meat & Seafood
CAFO, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are where most meat in the US in produced. Animals are confined in small quarters, often defecating on themselves and fed GMO grains.
Cows are not meant to eat grains. Chickens are not meant to eat grains. They are not meant to be confined to tiny quarters.
Because of these things, these animals are pumped full of antibiotics to keep them from developing the diseases and sicknesses they should be developing due to their conditions. Then you eat them. Yum!
Opt for grass-fed, pastured and wild animals.
Commercial/CAFO and Low-Fat Dairy
Aside from the reasons listed above, low-fat and inorganic dairy is a highly processed food devoid of nutrients. Most dairy is ultra-pastuerized to kill off any potential bacteria, which ends up killing off any potential benefits of dairy in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, I do encourage dairy during pregnancy if the mom can tolerate it. I just encourage grass-fed, local and raw dairy. Raw dairy is actually extremely safe due to the natural beneficial bacteria that fights off any pathogens. I’ve been drinking raw milk for six years and have never once been sick from it.
Artificial Sweeteners, MSG, Carrageenan Other Processed Foods
Normally I’d think these things would go without saying, but they are common ingredients found in processed foods that so many women think is acceptable to eat. McDonald’s fries, Taco Bell, frozen pizza, junky cereals, candy bars, ice cream, etc. because you have a craving? These are the things that are unsafe to eat during pregnancy. Not whole foods.
Use your head. Eating organic, local and safely produced foods. Avoid foods with a ton of ingredients or any of the ingredients listed above. It’s all much simpler if you don’t even eat food with ingredients labels like organic vegetables, meats, dairy, seafood, fruits, nuts, etc. Just eat real food and take care of yourself and your baby.