So, I’m fairly well informed about nutrition, as I do own an organic cafe geared towards healthy eating and all, so it’s been interesting looking at the information on nutrition during pregnancy. I’ve come to realize that a lot of the information about nutrition and relaxation and what to avoid toxicity wise, etc is basically what everyone should be incorporating (or avoiding) into their lifestyle in general. I guess for most women, taking an interest in their wellness in a very conscious way might occur for the first time when they find themselves carrying a child for the first time, thus the emphasis and pregnancy diet (which is of utmost importance for baby’s sake, but should also be a priority for your sake even when you are NOT pregnant!).
I haven’t changed too much about the way I eat, other than correcting some existing bad habits such as eating more in in general (I often worked through meals and forgot to eat) and being more mindful during meal preparation and enjoyment. I have made efforts to include more greens and monitor my protein intake much more closely, but for the most part, I eat intuitively knowing I already have a firm foundation in what is healthy and nutritious for me and little one.
Alas, not everyone has this foundation, so I thought I might share my food philosophy with you, which mostly revolves around degrees of connection to people, place & nature’s cycles & intentions.
When we think about food we must ponder these questions: Who is the grower? Where was it grown? When was this grown and picked? Is this in season? What interference has this had from man in the form of chemicals, genetic manipulation, flavor “enhancers” like sugar and additives,or preparation methods that decrease the life force of the food? Were the life forms (people, animals, eco-sytem) involved in the production, manufacture and distribution treated fairly, respectfully and compassionately?
The most nutritious and delightful meal I could eat would involve a potluck dinner with friends that included food just picked out of each of our organic gardens. The garden selections would vary in color and variety, uniquely suited for the climate in my area, and harvested at the pinnacle of ripeness. These foods would be minimally prepared with love as over-seasoning or cooking would detract from the flavor bursting from nature. I would relish in the company, delight in the diversity of food my friends passionately grew for this special occasion, and the discussion would revolve around ooh’s and ahh’s as we each sampled the others harvest. It might include some farmers market or natural food store purchases like artisan organic tempeh, local raw goat cheese, fair trade organic rice and domestic organic olive oil and wine to round it out.
In some parts of the country, and in many parts of the world this is not just possible, it is a way of life. In Central Florida, where I live, we’ve got a little bit of work to do to make this an everyday reality, but we can still strive for this in our meal planning as we begin the important work of planting gardens in our backyards.
For a lot of people, including my idealistic self, making choices on a sliding scale that reaches upward is what we can ask. The closest I can get to the above scenario right now is the meal I eat weekly at the ROOTS booth at the Audubon Park Community Market which uses produce from the backyard farms of the small scale growers that bring their product to the market to sell. All meals are organic, vegan and loving made by people I know, and I am surrounded by my friends, local music is playing in the background and artisans are passionately bartering and selling their goods with the community. Or the vegan potlucks I attend which may not be homegrown or entirely organic, but are prepared with love and reflect the personalities of my diverse range of friends.
A shopping basket at your local health food store might contain bulk rice, as much produce labeled local as you can enjoy in the next few days (make sure there is a variety of colors represented for maximum nutrition diversity), organic pasta & sauce, domestic red potatoes, a loaf of bread from the local bakery, a clove of garlic and a bar of organic fair trade chocolate, for the sweetness it brings to your life and those in the small women’s co-operative who grew & manufactured it.
Paying attention to proximity (to nature, to yourself, to time, to people, and most importantly to your own body & it’s reaction’s) can help guide your nutritional needs. Of course, books can help too, if you can find the good ones. Here are some of my favorite resources, some philosophical, to guide you on your way.
- The Worlds Healthiest Foods
- What to Eat by Marion Nestle
- Books by Michael Pollan
- The Story of B by Daniel Quinn
- Local Food Revolution by Yes! Magazine
- The World Peace Diet by Dr William Tuttle
- Local Harvest Farmer Guide
, esp his Pregnancy Page
Please feel free to add your comments and recommendations.