From the moment we find out we’re pregnant, our lives begin to change. Despite the excitement and joy of knowing our baby is on the way once the hormones start kicking in, we can become moody, disconnected and super tired.
These feelings are usually exacerbated once the baby arrives because we are so busy taking care of our little one who is so dependent on us, and at the same time we are sleep deprived. Because having a new born is such a challenging time, it is vital that we obtain the best possible nutrition, especially if we are breast feeding.
There are some simple things you can do to help you regain your energy, lose unwanted baby fat and improve the quality of your breast milk so that both you and your baby can be healthier and have a stronger immune system.
Breastfeeding is very demanding for a new mom so it’s important to be giving your body all the best nutrients you can, to ensure your health and the health of your little baby. Some women find that breastfeeding can actually cause them to lose too much weight, while others find it difficult to return to their pre-pregnancy weight. Most important is to ensure that you are eating the right types of foods, and drinking plenty of liquids.
Water, Water, Water … Giving your body enough water when breastfeeding is critical to success. It’s easy to get dehydrated without even being aware of it, and being dehydrated can make us extremely exhausted.
To ensure that you get enough water, get in the habit of filling a glass of water to drink while your baby is nursing. Breastfeeding moms should shoot for around 2-3 quarts of water per day. It is critical to replenish the lost fluids, otherwise we will become exhausted. Sometimes the simplest things can make all the difference.
Cutting Back On Calories During Breastfeeding, No’s No’s…
Not such a good idea for many reasons. It is understandable that as a new mom weight loss is on your mind, but the problem with cutting back on calories during breastfeeding, is that is will leave you feeling fatigued and without the energy necessary for optimal milk production. Your need for most vitamins and minerals is greater while you are breastfeeding, but as long as you are getting most of what you need, your energy levels should stay balanced, and you should be left feeling clear headed, and alert.
The reason we become so tired and lethargic when our bodies lack what it needs is because for each cell needs specific nutrients to function properly. And having those nutrients means our bodies will be able to remain balanced, leaving us with more energy.
Breastfeeding requires many extra nutrients, and below I have provided a list of highly nutritious foods/snacks that will help ensure your body is being replenished with high quality, nutrient dense foods.
Iron, Calcium, and Protein Rich Foods…
Beans/Legumes: Mung Beans, Lentils, Garbanzo beans, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, Navy Beans are some of the most nutritious beans. They are loaded with protein, iron, calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, manganese, folate, zinc, and B Vitamins.
Because beans carry so many great vitamins and minerals, they can really help restore your body with much of what it needs. Many pregnant women develop anemia either during or after pregnancy, and beans are great for blood building, due to the high amount of iron and other nutrients.
Another great tip is to soak your beans overnight before cooking them, making it easier for our bodies to break them down and take in all the nutrients. When you soak beans overnight, the phytic acid (outside of the grain) which makes the grain difficult for our bodies to digest, gets broken down. Sometimes we feel a loss of energy after eating legumes, because our bodies are working extra hard to break them down, so this simple technique of soaking will help greatly!
A brief description of Phytic Acid: Phytic acid blocks the absorption of not only of phosphorus, but also other important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. It also negatively affects the absorption of lipids and protein. Likely one reason this is true is because phytic acid also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food such as pepsin (which helps break down protein), amylases (convert starch into sugar for digestion) and trypsin (also used in protein digestion).
Grains: Quinoa, Millet, Buckwheat, and Amaranth are some of the healthiest and easiest to digest grains. Filled with potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron and much more.
Wheat is not high on the list, and for many reasons. Many more people today are becoming gluten intolerant, and there is a reason for this. Our bodies aren’t really able to properly break down wheat, it is very difficult to digest, and tends to stick to the walls of our intestines. This slows down digestion and can cause grogginess and loss of energy. Our body has to work extra hard at breaking it down, and we miss out on other prime ingredients that our body actually needs. So next time you go to grab bread, say “no”! There are plenty of gluten free options, because so many people are suffering with gluten intolerance.
The same goes for soaking, it is highly recommended to soak your grains, just like your would soak your beans. Simply soak them in water the night before.
Raw Nuts and Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, and Brazil nuts are best. They are amazing forms of protein, and some of the most nutrient dense nuts/seeds you will find.
The reason raw is so important is because all the nutrients are still intact. Once heated through pasteurization, you lose most of the vital nutrients. Because they are in their natural form, your body will be able to break down the protein properly, as well as all the other important nutrients in the nuts and seeds. They balance out blood sugar levels, which leave you feeling that much needed energy to care for your little angel.
Fruits: Berries, Apples, Strawberries, Papaya, Oranges, Kiwi’s, Grapes, Peaches, and Banana’s are super foods that are filled with so many great vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin C is crucial because it helps bring oxygen to our cells. I’m sure you’ve heard of antioxidants? Well antioxidants, basically means oxygen rich, and oxygen is what our cells thrive on and makes us feel energized! Fruits carry an extremely high amount of antioxidants.
I always recommend you buy organic. Fruit contains many pesticides, and herbicides, and this can be extremely harmful for your health and the health of your baby. Avoid ingesting chemicals as much as possible. If you can’t buy organic, next best step is to make sure that any fruit without a skin is bought organic. Sometimes the skin helps protect the fruit from the chemicals.
Organic Veggies: Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Collard Greens, Brussel Sprouts, Squash, Tomatoes, and beets are on the top of the list for the most nutrient rich veggies. Green leafy veggies are high in readily absorbable calcium and provide one of the best forms of calcium for our bodies. Loaded with Iron, zinc, copper, selenium, potassium, and many more great vitamins etc.
Did you know that your body is able to absorb more calcium from green leafy veggies than it is from milk? So don’t let anyone tell you otherwise because the best source for calcium is from greens. If you think about it, where do the cows get their calcium? The grass! Minerals from the earth!
Of course veggies are high on the list because they are the most nutrient rich foods we can eat. Foods that are grown from the earth have such amazing healing powers, and help assist us in weight loss, and increased energy.
Eggs: Organic, cage free, grass fed, hormone free eggs eaten in their whole form is highly beneficial and another great source of protein.
Why it’s So Important to eat the Whole Egg …
If your wondering why can’t I just eat the egg white, I’ll tell you. By throwing out the yolk and only eating egg whites, you’re essentially throwing out the most nutrient dense, antioxidant-rich, vitamin and mineral loaded portion of the egg. The yolks contain so many B-vitamins, trace minerals, vitamin A, folate, choline, lutein, and other powerful nutrients.
In fact, the egg whites are almost devoid of nutrients. Even the protein in egg whites isn’t as powerful without the yolks which balance out the amino acid profile and make the protein more bio-available. Plus the egg yolks from free range chickens are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain all of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as all the essential fatty acids (EFAs)
Wild Fish: Salmon, Trout, Tilapia, Scallops, Flounder are a few of the lower mercury fish. They provide a lot of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium as well as a range of other vitamins and minerals that benefit you and your baby.
“Fish is rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals…”
Just make sure not to eat fish too often. Twice a week is recommended, and no more than 12oz. Stay away from high mercury fish such as Tuna, Swordfish, Shark, Tilefish, Orange Roughy, and Marlin.
Organic Grass Fed Free Range Chicken:
Grass fed meat in general, has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). It’s richer in antioxidants; including vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C and does not contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.
Being a new mom you want more than anything else to be feeling good, mentally and physically, so you can care for your baby as well as maintain a good connection with your partner, and eating the correct types of foods will help you achieve this.
I hope you put this information to good use, and most importantly remember that it is not lack of food that is making us feel so exhausted, or preventing us from feeling our best, but rather eating too much of the wrong kinds of foods.
Another great benefit you will get from eating nutrient rich foods is that your baby will get the best quality breast milk. This will help build his or her immune system, and you will find that your baby will be a lot less likely to suffer with colds and other commons sickness.
Breast-feeding leaving no extra time to cook, or prepare food?
There really isn’t a lot of extra time to make food as a new mom, so I am going to give you a recipe that is super simple. Just throw the ingredients in the blender. Sometimes drinking your food can be a great replacement when you don’t have the time or energy to cook.
1 Scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder (Pea Protein or Plant Based Powder is Great)
1 Cup of Ice
1-2 Tsp. Cinnamon
Optional: 1 Tbsp. Cacao Nibs (Whole Foods Market)
1 Scoop Nano Greens (Veggie/Fruit Blend)
You can get it here -> http://www.nano-greens.com
Throw it all in the blender, blend it up, and enjoy!
Nice and Nutritious!