WHAT REALLY MATTERS
If there is one thing pregnancy is highlighting for me, it’s genuine health and nutrition over counting calories and macros.
It’s funny how sometimes we wait until there’s a human growing in us to make us think more about what we are eating. What’s even funnier is that SO much “diet” food is NOT EVEN HEALTHY.
We have lost touch with health, a pursuit of health, and what really matters. We have exchanged that for weight loss, smaller pants sizes, and pursuit of an image of happiness and acceptance we THINK exists, and with vanity and misconception.
See, I’ve been leaner. But I don’t think I’ve ever been healthier.
See, I’ve lost twenty pounds, but I ingested chemicals on a daily basis.
See, I’ve worn smaller pants, but I passed out from poor nutrition.
This is not healthy. This is vanity. This is dieting. And this is submission to a standard we think will make us more worthy.
And then a family member gets sick. Or worse, passes away. Or we get pregnant. Or worse, we struggle to. Or we gain back ten pounds, or worse, we gain metabolic syndrome.
These CAN be wake up calls. They MAY cause us to adjust our focus or at least realize where we have been placing it.
I didn’t grow up on soda. I certainly didn’t grow up on diet soda. And it wasn’t until I started dieting to compete that I started drinking, excuse me, chugging, diet soda. It was nothing for me to drink a two liter in two days. Diet Sunkist orange? Be still my heart. But I’m a smart girl. I know nutrition. I know health. And yet I chose to ingest chemicals, food dyes and fake sugar so that I wouldn’t eat more food. So that I would lose weight. Weight loss trumped health. For years.
That’s just one example of the tradeoffs I made.
One night, after hearing that sugar free gummy bears were essentially calorie free, i chowed down while I looked at photos of fitness models on my computer. Within an hour, out of nowhere, I couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough. I spent the next couple hours in the fetal position, going to the bathroom then laying down with cramps again. I couldn’t even straighten out. I later read the package, “WARNING: excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.” Dually noted.
But that didn’t stop me. Sugar free products made sense. No calories = no weight gain, right? And fat free? Awesome. No fat= no extra calories= no weight gain. I was really getting this thing down.
And then my mom got sick. And my sisters had babies. And now I’m pregnant. And gradually, I’ve researched more. But I didn’t need more knowledge. I needed to wake up. I needed to realize I was trading my health for a leaner body. FOR WHAT???
So now, being pregnant, it is absolutely not about a single calorie or quantity. It is more than ever about QUALITY. It’s no lie that I want carbs alllll the time. And it’s no lie I have carbs in almost every meal. I don’t track my food. I don’t count calories or macros. This is not my concern. My only concern is what my baby and I need, and don’t need.
Pregnancy is often joked to include pickles, ice cream and French fries. And I have my cravings and “foods of the moment,” but I make a conscious effort to include the foods that we need for our health and my baby’s development.
Now, you could go crazy trying to do everything everyone recommends, so I take it with a grain of salt and combine it with what I know to make the best choices I can, most of the time.
First thing I did was cut out stevia. I had eliminated artificial sweeteners and used this instead so I would add it to my tea, eat products with it occasionally, my favorite being Zevia soda. But as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I figured I wouldn’t risk it and so I cut it out.
Veggies don’t appeal like the used to, so I am limited to which ones I eat, but I try to include some somewhere each day. Sometimes it’s spinach in my cocoa monkey shake, greens in my omelette, cucumbers as my snack or salads that I have always loved.
Protein. I admit, I have barely cooked unless Dave grills. Luckily, red meat still appeals to me. Tonight we grilled bison burgers and that’s what inspired this blog. I chose bison because it’s a wild game meat and there’s three awesome things about wild game meat. It’s leaner than farm raised meat (not something I concern myself with too much but good to note). It’s free of antibiotics which can greatly disrupt our body and hormones. And finally, it’s lower in omega 6 fats and higher in omega 3. Why does this matter? We over consumer omega 6 (vegetable oils) and typically under consume omega 3, but OUR BRAIN IS MADE OF FAT. WE NEED HEALTHY FAT FOR OUR BRAIN TO FUNCTION AND RUN OUR BODY. So if wild salmon isn’t your thing, try bison! You seriously can’t tell the difference from ground beef. And since my baby’s brain is developing greatly right now, and for the first five years of life, these omega 3s are so important. But your brain needs this all your life.
Don’t ask me fat or calorie content. I don’t know.
Then, I added organic spring mix and organic mozzarella cheese to my burger. Greens!!! Phytochemicals for health! And added fiber. Protein, fat, fiber and greens in one BURGER that most of us would shy away from. I also had a side of guac with my burger, more amazing fat. I do this for me. For my brain. For my skin. And for my baby.
Another food misconception is EGGS. I cringe as people faithfully stick to egg whites. While you may be adding other fat, I’ll give that a little pass. BUT, all the good stuff is in the yolk! The vitamins, mainly choline, is in the yolk. Another necessity for your brain! Yet we skip these for 40 less calories. And to be clear, dietary cholesterol only accounts for 8% of blood cholesterol. Just because you eat cholesterol does not mean it turns into raising your blood cholesterol. So feed your brain.
FAT FREE DAIRY. Is this even food? Skim milk is blue. Fat free cheese is rubber. And they added sugar when they took away the fat. Fat wont make us fat but sugar will. Keep your fat in your yogurt. And your cheese. Please.
Ok, I’ll leave it at those because those are the highlights of what I’ve been focusing on.
BUT, Don’t think you have to be pregnant to have this shift. You can make healthier choices because you want to be healthier, not just for weight loss.
QUALITY MATTERS and it is never too late to improve your health. Every small step helps. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just do one good thing for your body. Do one thing better each day and it will add up. Count chemicals, not calories.
Because chemicals are not a fair trade for weight loss and it’s a sick world we live in to make us this they are. You are better than that and you deserve better than that.
As always, I’m open to email inquiries to work together on making shifts towards a healthier you, in body and mind.