As 2014 begins, often as women are making silent NY’s resolutions, I thought I would touch upon the huge topic of diets. This is just the beginning of an exploration into healthy foods and diets for those of you practicing pregnancy yoga or any women’s yoga. i have spent over 10 years studying healthy diets, and I find that there are so many different opinions out there that it can be confusing.
Diets are such a personal choice and dependant on many different variables. I believe that any food we eat should be closest to its natural source as possible, ie the less processed equals more healthy foods. It doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian carnivore or a bit of both, the more natural the food the better. When you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is always wise to seek advice from a health professional before changing your diet.
Traditional yoga diets are vegetarian and the food needs to be as fresh as possible. A typical yoga diet would consist of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains are the healthiest – lots of seeds and nuts and raw vegetables and then some cooked grains and vegetarian sauces.
An Ayurvedic diets (5000 year Indian health system) allows small amounts of meats and uses food combining to enhance digestion. Ayurveda is very good at treating digestive issues and uses herbs and spices to help digestion as well.
As a science yoga and Ayurveda believes that you should always eat so that your tummy is 1/3 full on food 1/3 full on liquid and 1/3 full on air. It makes sense not to eat until you feel so bloated and full that you cannot move. When you are pregnant it becomes even more difficult to eat alot in one meal so having smaller meals more often during the day maybe more useful.
Popular diets at the moment are less carbs and more protein. I do believe that we eat too much processed carbohydrates ie white bread, pasta, cakes etc, which raises insulin levels which leads to weight gain and other more serious physical ailments. It is healthy to reduce these types of process foods but not totally, afterall a little bit of cake or yummy white bread is ok on some days:) A rule of thumb is to eat meat or fish the size of the palm of your hand and then a large amount of vegetables and some whole grains.
Instead of telling you what diet to follow I will list a few healthy fruits and vegetables, filled with vitamins and minerals for fertility, pregnancy and hormonal health.
Berries and cherries are important as they are filled with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin c. Psorakis Market in Thornbuy has very cheap blueberries, raspberries and strawberries at the moment. I know they are not organic so make sure you wash them carefully, but they are much cheaper then buying organic. If you can afford organic, go for it!!.
Why not try “blueberries, unsweetened yoghurt and unsalted nuts” filled with beneficial bacteria, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals.
Apricots – contain vitamin c, folate, potassium and vitamin e. They are high in beta carotene (most orange fruit and vegetables are). Beta carotene helps protect the immune system. Apricots also have fibre which is important when you are pregnant as there can be pressure on the bowel with your growing baby. Fibre is also very important after the birth of your baby, to help you minimise constipation.
Salads are the prefect summer food.
Carrots can be used in so many ways and in this house we particularly love coleslaw. Just grate carrots, shred some cabbage, chop up a spring onion, add some herbs and mix together with some dressing. For the dressing you can either use a whole egg mayonaise. If you aren’t eating mayo then some organic olive oil and lemon juice and a little salt with be delicious.
Carrots are full of vitamins and minerals specifically beta carotene (vitamin A), Fibre, potassium, Lutein/Zeaxanthin, some calcium and small amounts of vitamin c and e.
Cabbage (Red) are a memeber of the brassica family and red cabbage is very high in insoles, which have been researched and found to have some protection against hormonal cancers. Red cabbage also has other properties that help protect against other cancers. It is also high in Vitamin C and is a good source of calcium and selenium.
Spring Onions (onions) also are high in protective nutrients against cancers and enhance immune function such as prevent blood clots and protect against heart disease. Onions also have anti-inflmmatory and antibacterial action that can help with common colds. Onions are also high in cromium which helps cells respond to insulin and are a good source of vitamin C and other trace elements.
Lemons are rich in vitamin C and also when combined with healthy oils, help the liver decongest.
Olive Oil (extra virgin) – is a monounsaturated fat which helps prevent cholesterol depositing on artery walls. Cold pressed olive oil is rich in plant compounds that help with inflammation. Olive oil is an excellent source of vitamin E.
If you are vegetarian and you are wanting more Iron in your diet, please eat lots of beans, lentils and green leafy vegetables.
Black strap molasses is a wonderful health food and can be found at any health food shop and is a natural source of iron, whilst giving you a sugar hit. You can add it to your cooking or just eat it plain off the spoon. I use to make my children Anzac biscuits with molasses in it instead of golden syrup.
In 2 tsp of molasses there are all these wonderful minerals and b6 vitamin and your daily allowance
Black strap molasses anzac biscuits (you can leave out some of the sugar if you want them more healthy)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sifted spelt flour
1 cup raw sugar (or 1/2 for those wanting less sugar)
0.75 cup coconut shredded
Pinch Himalayian salt
2 Tbl Blackstrap molasses
0.5 cup (110gm) butter
3/4 tsp bicarb soda
2 Tbl boiling water
Mixed dry ingredients (but not bicarb) in a bowl
Melt butter and Bs molasses in a saucepan then added the boiling water that had bicarb soda stirred in.
Added the frothy mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Put small round spoonfull on a greased tray in the 150 degrees C Fan forced oven.
Waited about 15 mins and then let cool on a tray.
Fats . There are many different theories on fats and cholesterol, so I will only write about what I know is safe and healthy. Polyunsaturated fats found in fish oils, evening primrose oil, sesame seeds, and all nuts are very healthy fats. Coconut oil/butter is also a very healthy fat and great to cook with. Omega 3’s found in fish oils are so important when you are pregnant and help your child’s brain development. Please consult a health professional about any Omega 3/6/9 supplements you can take when you are pregnant as cheap fish oils often have high levels of mercury in them. I personally takeKrill oil which I love but again check with your health professional.
In the next newsletter we will look at healthy meats and grains mportant for women’s health and wellbeing. And please remember that any major change in your diet needs to be under the advice of a medical or natural health professional.