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Q&A: Food Aversion & Pregnancy- How to Replace Those Vital Nutrients

Question from 11 week pregnant surrogate, April:

"I am in the first trimester and am having trouble eating. I can eat fruit, no problem, but that is not going to keep my body going. We just bought protein powder, so I have been drinking that. I don’t want to eat junk [food]. I get so hungry that that is where I end up. But, I know it’s not good for me and I don’t want that crap and the weight along with it. Here is the question: What is the basic food that I can live off of? It should only be for a couple of weeks longer because I will then be in the second trimester and I hope my [appetite] will come back. Thank you for your help.”

This is an excellent question and one that many women face, especially during the first trimester. It is a bit scary, when you know you’re growing a little life (or two or three) and you just cannot seem to force anything down.

First of all, try to not be too concerned. Evolutionarily speaking, there is a reason that food aversions occur. According to “Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy in an Evolutionary Perspective” by Dr. Paul W. Sherman, PhD, and Samuel M. Flaxman, BS:

“…nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is an intricate

mechanism that probably evolved to serve a useful function:

protecting the pregnant woman and embryo from

food-borne infections and toxins.”

So we can all rest assured that our bodies know precisely what it’s doing and why. However, what can we eat (or drink) to try to give the innocent life or lives inside of us, the very best start possible?

As each one of us are different and have different likes and dislikes, take this blog as a jumping off point. Ideas and suggestions, folks, that’s it. Not a literal, “this is the only solution." Please refer to your OB in the event of serious questions or concerns.

So, let's try smoothies. Specifically, Green Monsters. The “base” of the Green Monster is, well, green. Spinach and kale, to be exact. Spinach and kale are simply amazing! They are mild in flavor (especially when blended with a plethora of raw fruits) and they are virtual superheros of the leafy green world!

Spinach is an incredible source of protein as well as being packed with vitamins A & K. Not to mention iron- spinach is a wonderful source of iron. Iron battles anemia, gals.  Spinach also lends itself to cardiovascular health and improved brain functioning. To top it off, spinach also contains over twelve individual flavonoid compounds that all work together as cancer-fighting antioxidants!

Now, onto the “big boy”:  Kale. Kale is known as a Superfood. Why is that? Well, this is why: Kale is rich in vitamins A and C, B6, manganese, calcium, potassium, and copper. One cup of kale contains 192% of your daily value of vitamin A. Don’t worry, as I am talking about plant based vitamin A (not synthetically, lab-made vitamin A that you’ll find in tablets), you cannot overdose on it. One cup of kale also contains 90% of your daily value of vitamin C.

Oh yeah, one more tid-bit about the underknown and underappreciated kale: It, too, is a natural cancer fighter. The organosulfers (an organic compound that contains sulfer) in kale are highly effective in its own personal fight against cancer. These cancers, just to name a few: Breast cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer.

Once you have your protein strong base, the sky is the limit for the rest of your smoothie! Add whatever you want to add or what you feel your body needs. One day, you can add bananas, apples and oranges. The next, perhaps strawberries, peaches, blueberries and mango.

I also like to add vegetables to my smoothies. When I feel my body really needs something “extra”, I’ll toss in some cucumbers or broccoli.

Now, if there is one thing that I suggest you put in your smoothie, its Chia seeds! Chia seeds are an Aztec Superfood. They are a nutritional goldmine! They also happen to be loaded with fiber and if there is one thing we need during pregnancy, it’s fiber!! I add three teaspoons of Chia seeds to every smoothie and it certainly helps keep me regular. Also, Chia seeds increase energy- true story!

In between your smoothies, try some crackers, easy to digest cereals (Cream of Wheat is an excellent source of iron and is easy on the tummy). You can also carry around a snack bag of Cheerios or carrots, 100% dried fruit, snack bars and just a good, old fashioned apple or other preferred piece of fruit are other ideas. Lastly, drink lots and lots and lots of water!

Most importantly, surrogates, remember- Pregnancy is not a “I can eat what I want because I’m pregnant” free for all. Quite the opposite, actually... Before you put that food into your mouth, remember that you’re responsible now for more than just your own health. An innocent little life (or lives) is depending on you to make good, healthy choices. Don’t let them (or yourself) down.

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