I have to admit, I could do much better when it comes to my diet. Diet as in the kinds of food I habitually eat as opposed to “diet” as in a special course of food to which one restricts oneself to lose weight. An important distinction when pregnant. So I’ve been thinking, the habits I have now will be the habits I have once baby comes. Do I really think all of the sudden I am going to change my lifestyle under the stress of being a first time mom? And I wonder, will my baby inherit some of my not-so-great eating habits? Like many soon-to-be moms, I have this vision of being one of these families that eats clean, healthy real food. But if I don’t do that now, will I magically do that in four months?
In a New York Times article Bad Eating Habits Start in the Womb, Kristin Wartman cites that researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center (right here in Philadelphia) have identified “several sensitive periods for taste preference development. One is before three and a half months of age, which makes what the mother eats while pregnant and breast-feeding so important.” Similarly, in a Huffington Post UK article , Krysty Hazell discusses the CNRS Research Institute findings from a decade-long research project focused on a selected number of pregnant women and new mothers. They found that eating habits can be picked up from the womb.
The health of my child and setting the mechanisms in place to lose the baby weight, what other motivation do I need to eat right? If this isn’t motivation enough, nothing will ever be. Which brings me to one of my pregnancy goals. I am creeping up on the six month mark, leaving about four months to make a change.
The 100 Days of Real Food pledge (about 14 weeks) will bring me almost to my due date. How perfect.
The idea is to cut out processed and refined foods. I attempted and did not successfully complete the Whole30 last year, which goes a step further – no grains, diary and legumes. I think the Real Food guidelines might be more manageable allowing diary and whole grains, especially with combating those pesky pregnancy cravings and making sure I get the nutrients baby needs. Below are the basic daily “pregnancy diet” guidelines outlined by Penn Medicine that I will keep in mind during my real foods quest:
- 2-4 servings of fruits
- 3-5 servings of fresh vegetables (including at least one serving of a dark orange vegetable, two servings of dark green leafy vegetables, and one serving of citrus fruit)
- 6-11 servings of of enriched, whole-grain breads and cereals
- 4 servings of milk, cheese or yogurt
- 2-3 servings (2 oz each) of extra-lean meats, chicken without the skin, fish, eggs or cooked dried beans and peas
- 8 glasses of water
My plan is to start TODAY focusing on only eating real foods but go full force next week on the 100 day challenge, taking it in 10 day increments based off the 10-Day Pledge. With the holidays coming up, I’m sure this won’t be easy. But if not now, when?