It goes without saying: I am not a doctor. Or an expert on pre- and post-natal health. I am simply a woman that got pregnant, and had a baby. That one time, a year and a half ago. Like many many other women in this world throughout history.
BUT... I also am someone that did totally geek out about nutrition and health for years before getting pregnant. I worked for Dr. JJ, a phenomenal naturopath (you can see our interview with her here & get her new book here), and have a love, bordering on obsession, with healthy alternatives to standard medicine practices. I have a hard lean toward holistic approaches to life's common ailments. Does my sometimes preachy tone about the benefits of desiccated cow liver get annoying for the people in my life? Absolutely. But, I can say that my pregnancy – conceiving, carrying, birthing, and postpartum – was a breeze, and that Oliver is a profoundly healthy little dude. He's never needed to take antibiotics, no common childhood maladies like ear infections, etc. And if he does get them, I am confident that there are holistic treatments that don't incur nearly as many side effects as their alternatives. So, with that disclosure, and due to the high number of requests I get from friends and family for advice on the topic, I will begin! For the first installment we will take about...
1. One year before you are planning to get pregnant (more if you can) it is time to get serious. If you are on birth control, stop. (Also, even if you're not trying, this is a really interesting look at the affects of the pill on our bodies). If you have been on birth control, your hormones are way out of whack – but that's okay, bodies are resilient, it will just need a bit of time to rebalance. Start taking a B vitamin complex with folate in it, as birth control zaps your body of this essential nutrient for fertility and baby health. I like this one. This one is good as well. Take this religiously.
2. Do a probiotic flush. PROBIOTICS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND. It's all about the gut, folks. More and more research points to the importance of proper gut health. And ladies, you pass that on to your babies, so it is important to keep up with your probiotics while pregnant and breastfeeding. But first, a flush! Get yourself some probiotics and then, take 1 probiotic every waking hour for 3 days, or until the bottle runs out. So roughly 12 - 16 probiotics a day. The reason for the flush is to inundate your body with these amazing good, happy bacteria allies. Our SAD (standard american diet) completely depletes these healthy microbes that we need to be vibrant and healthy. After the initial flush, continue taking at least one a day (I usually take 4). Also, eat yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchee and other naturally fermented food items as much as possible because they contain probiotics and you wanna stock up! All probiotics are not created equally. I like these.
3. Fish Oil. Our bodies need this. I like these. Take 4 to 6 a day. Don't pay attention to what it says on the box. It's not too much. Your brain needs it. Your uterus needs it. Your future baby needs it so it can be a genius it is destined to be. So important. I love these. Oliver chews on them like they are candy (a little weird, but I'll take it).
4. Everyone should be taking a vitamin D supplement everyday, period. But this is especially true for women in every stage of the fertility game. I use these drops, and when I am especially brave I take these. The latter is so so so so good for you and your baby and the health befits are phenomenal. But it tastes F-ing nasty and it's super expensive. Things to consider.
5. Lastly, Green Food! I have spoken about this before. But this stuff, if you can stomach it, is magical. I get mine from the Herb Shoppe or you can get it an any health food store. 2 teaspoons mixed with some water. I pop all my supplements into my mouth and chug it with green food. One fell swoop.
Also – Things to just stop doing...
Non-organic animal products (really non-organic everything, but if you have to do one thing for yourself and your growing baby no disgusting meat and cheese from tortured animals. Can I be blunt? Its almost 2016 – we know this right?)
Sugar. Sugar is everywhere for no good reason. Start reading labels. Does your health food bar have 22 grams of sugar? Just stop.
NO SODA. Not even (especially!) diet soda.
Get yourself a water bottle made of glass and keep it filled with filtered water. Get rid of all your plastic, hormone disrupting BPA bottles and Tupperware. Read this article about going green with your household cleaners and this one about cosmetics and stay tuned for the next installment about diet.