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Healthy Pregnancy Part 1
Written by Melanie Waxman

 
 
 

Having a baby is a very exciting time, however it can also be an un-nerving experience and many woman worry during their nine months about the health of their baby.

To alleviate the stress that builds up during the pregnancy, plan instead to have a healthy pregnancy and guide your thoughts to the positive aspects of this wonderful experience. You can then rest assured that you have done your very best to have a healthy baby.

It is important not to feel guilty about what you might have eaten or done during the first few weeks of pregnancy. It is natural to worry and you cannot change the past but you can start to make healthy choices for yourself and your baby now.

If you are not already on a macrobiotic diet, make simple and slow changes to your diet. Begin by adding organic whole grains, vegetable protein, and fresh vegetables into your present diet rather than cutting out the old foods.

General Eating Habits

• Pregnancy is a healthy time. It is very important to eat a wide variety of foods. Your baby needs a broad selection of ingredients and nutrients to choose from.

•Pregnancy is not the time to be working on your condition and eating a restricted diet. Aim to eat in a balanced manner and this will improve your health and the health of your baby.

• Use organic, living foods every day. This includes whole grains, beans, sea vegetables, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit.

• If you are changing over to a macrobiotic diet at beginning of pregnancy go very slowly - introduce new foods and better quality ingredients over a number of weeks - add foods in rather than cut things out.

• Eat a broad diet including; cracked grains, sourdough bread, noodles, pasta, olive and sesame oil, root vegetables, round vegetables, leafy vegetables, all kinds of beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, natto, fish (if craved), all kinds of sea vegetables including toasted nori (almost daily, fruit, various seasonings.

• Use a variety of cooking styles; soups, steaming, blanching, pressed salad, raw salad, stews, long sauté, stir-fry, tempura and deep frying (once a week or so), pressure-cooking, and baking.

• Make home made sugar free desserts; kanten, mousse, sweet kuzu, rice pudding, steamed fruit, cookies and pies (less often but still make them)

• Remember to include natural sweet taste: pureed sweet soups, sweet vegetable puree, sweet vegetable tea, carrot juice, hot apple juice, amasake, and steamed fruit.

•Remember to use some gentle grounding dishes: steamed whole vegetables, stews, long sauté, and baked beans.

• Remember to keep it light: blanched, pressed, and raw salads. Make dressings with brown rice vinegar, lemon, or umeboshi. Use light pickles such as sauerkraut and dill.

• Keep it rich and nourishing: Use oil on a daily basis, use tahini or nut butters in dressings or cooking, have steamed sourdough bread, add sautéed vegetables to grain dishes or a little oil to soup, use nuts and seeds to garnish dishes.

• Use vegetable protein: Beans in stews, soups or salads, tofu or tempeh in soup, vegetables dishes or on bread, natto on rice or with broth and seitan in stews.

Soups can be varied; thick, brothy, pureed, or with noodles, grains, and beans. Have miso a few times a week. It isn't necessary to have miso on a daily basis. Enjoy daily soups seasoned with salt or shoyu as well.

• When eating out ENJOY IT! Relish every moment and every dish. Please do not feel guilty. Choose sensibly such as Japanese, Italian, Greek or Seafood.

• If you crave an extreme food like ice cream, try to satisfy it first with a healthy alternative. If you cannot satisfy it there, have a small amount and really enjoy it.

• Don't replace snacks for a meal. If you have filled up on snack food, have a small plate of a balanced meal. This will help to bring you back to balance, and keep you balanced in general.


Morning sickness
- these are some of the causes: change in hormones, low blood sugar, stress, fatigue, or change in digestion. There is a direct relationship between the liver and placenta. If the liver is stagnated there is more chance of morning sickness.

Suggestions for Morning Sickness

• Chew slowly, have smaller and more meals, increase vegetables and vegetable quality protein, avoid extremes especially sugar, spices, oily/greasy foods, baked flour, animal food or salt.
• Foods that help - sauerkraut, lightly steamed greens with lemon, tea with lemon, ginger tea, ginger in soup and other dishes, umeboshi, rice cakes.
• Make sure to rest and exercise outdoors.
• Get gentle massage especially shiatsu.
• Aromatherapy - essential oils such as lavender, lemon and peppermint.

Suggestions for Constipation

• Increase intake of vegetables. Make 50% of your diet vegetables.
• Increase green leafy vegetables.
• Cut back on salt, baked foods, refined flour, animal foods or too much grain.
• Drink warm kukicha tea. If you tend not to drink much, increase your liquid intake.
• Take kanten tea or aduki bean tea.
• Make aduki beans with sweet vegetables.
• Exercise outdoors
• Daily body rub.
• Get a massage.

Suggestions for Increasing Iron

• Eat a variety of organic living foods
• Don't eat more that 50% grain. 40% is fine. Don't forget that bread, cookies, pies, rice cakes, rice pudding etc are grains and increase your daily intake.

• Eat at least 50% vegetables.
• Have sukiyaki on a weekly basis.
• Eat a bunch of blanched watercress daily.
• Use dulse in vegetable dishes and soups a few times a week.
• Have tempeh cooked with greens, sauerkraut and dulse.
• Make carrot and burdock kinpira at least once a week.
• Make fish soup or stew with root and round vegetables. Can sauté the vegetables first. Add greens and ginger at the end. Season with miso.
• Use mochi in miso soup.
• Have sweet rice and aduki beans and add sautéed onion at the end on a weekly basis.
• Keep all seasonings mild.
• Walk out in nature every day.
• Do breathing exercises daily.
• Do the body rub daily.

Extras

Make time for yourself. You become a mother as soon as you become pregnant and your baby needs you already. This is a very important time for you to get to know your baby. This is a time to understand and observe the changes that are going on in your body. Look for ways to slow down and focus on you and the baby. If you haven't practiced meditation before, early pregnancy is a great time to start. Meditation doesn't have to be a huge procedure. It can be as simple as sitting in a rocking chair and observing your breath or quietly knitting. Walking in nature and being conscious of the contact with the earth in each step is another example of simple meditation.

There are masses of books and guides on meditation that offer a variety of different styles. You can also take a workshop if you enjoy the company of others. Chanting is also a wonderful to move and cleanse your energy.

Make time for exercise. If you have already being following an exercise program, you may wish to continue that in a modified form. The safest kind of exercise during pregnancy is walking in nature, tai chi and yoga. It is not a good idea to start any strenuous or dangerous exercise at this stage. Walking is one of the most balanced forms of exercise. Remember that even blocks of 15 minutes are as beneficial as exercising for an hour at a time. As your pregnancy progresses you may find it easier to exercise for shorter periods rather than one long stint. Try to walk as much as possible in your daily life, to work, use stairs, park your car further away from the store or walk during your lunch hour or after dinner.

Fatigue. During the first few months it is normal to feel tired. Listen to your body. You are going through huge hormonal changes during this period and you need extra rest. Take the time to nap even if it is for only 15 minutes or relax with your feet up. You may have to go to bed earlier too. Most women do get their energy back again in the second trimester.


Read more articles from Melanie Waxman and about Macrobiotic Family Health»

 

 

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