When I became pregnant with my first (and ok, second) child, I dutifully did what many other American women do – I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, took my prenatal
horse pills vitamins and did everything my OB said I should.
During my third pregnancy, I wised up. I fired my doctor, really educated myself on pregnancy and birth and learned that good nutrition is key to a healthy pregnancy.
In her book, Beautiful Babies, Kristen Michaelis, creator of the popular Food Renegade blog, explores why proper nutrition is crucial for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is more than just a book on what to eat, though, it’s an essential resource for anyone concerned about the effect food has on their health.
It’s the book I wish I had before I got pregnant. Heck, I wish my Grandma had it available to her when she was having kids. It’s full of wisdom, research and experience that points to the necessity of a real food diet.
Here are some of my favorite topics:
1. Processed Foods to Avoid
I think everyone needs to read this section, whether they’re trying to get pregnant or not. It is full of information that details exactly why a real food diet is best for yourself and your children.
She explores the problems with industrial meat and dairy production, vegetable oils and refined sugars. Kristen doesn’t stop there, though, and offers nourishing alternatives for each.
2. Taking Care of Your Gut
Good digestive health is crucial to your well-being. Our gut is our primary line of defense in our immune system. Beautiful Babies covers not only why it’s important to have a healthy gut, but how to improve your own gut health.
3. Eating For Fertility and Pregnancy
Traditional fertility diets begin 6 months to one year prior to conception. This primes your body for pregnancy, enhancing fertility and allowing you to navigate the first trimester without common ailments like morning sickness. Kristen explains exactly what to include in your diet to get your body baby-ready.
4. Natural Remedies for Pregnancy
Most pregnant women are given a list of “safe” medications to use for ailments during pregnancy, with no natural alternatives.
Thankfully, Beautiful Babies includes natural remedies that are safe to use during pregnancy for things like: allergies, insomnia, heartburn, headaches and more.
5. Natural Childbirth Options
While many view birth as a painful, fear-inducing, medical event, Beautiful Babies offers a different perspective. Kristen offers a safe, natural way to reduce fear and experience a natural childbirth (even in the hospital).
Any pregnancy book would be incomplete if it didn’t cover breastfeeding as well. Kristen discusses breastfeeding basics like getting the proper latch, troubleshooting problems and how to ensure a good milk supply.
If you aren’t able to breastfeed for whatever reason, Beautiful Babies also includes recipes for safe baby formula that will nourish your baby.
7. Baby’s First Foods
Did you know that grains, like rice cereal, are difficult to digest, especially for babies? This makes them a terrible choice for baby’s first foods. What do you do instead? Beautiful Babies recommends foods like egg yolks, avocados and even liver.
The second part of the book also includes several real food recipes to help you get started.