Every once in a while, I’ll receive an inquiry from a mom to be, or a newly pregnant reader, asking if it’s safe or healthy to stay Paleo while pregnant and then while breastfeeding.
Did you know that the ‘caveman’ diet has been suggested to many women over the years by lactation consultants as a way to deal with certain breastfeeding difficulties they may be experiencing that are caused by babies inherently wanting to avoid gluten and lactose present in mom’s breast milk if mom is eating bread and drinking cow’s milk?
A recent article in Vogue on a related subject was of particular interest to me. No, Vogue has not printed anything about women and Paleo (yet! : ) but they ran a story about a couple who did their best to optimize for an easy conception as well as a healthy pregnancy whereby the woman, who happened to be an MD) focused her diet on foods scientifically proven to be conducive to baby’s development, including:
• egg yolks for choline to support brain development
• green veggies for micro nutrients
• coconut oil for its anti microbial properties and cardiac support
• Natural Vitamin D3 to aid in immune system development
and avoided foods proven to be detrimental, including:
• gluten, which, on top of all its other toxic effects, is linked to spinal deformities and teeth crowding
• soy, with its high estrogen forming compounds, which is linked to premature puberty in girls and underdeveloped testes in boys
• fake sugars, which have negative neurological effects
Very significant to note, I thought, that nearly all the items she included were Paleo, leave the whey protein she ate for amino acids, which can obviously be obtained by eating a balanced variety of proteins.
What a gift to give your baby, to bring her or him into the world after the first nine months being fed only the richest, most nutritious, pure, unadulterated food, and then follow it up with more of the same via your own Paleo breast milk!
This might even be rationale for you to go Paleo in the first place; if you’re about to become pregnant or already are, consider what you would or would not want your baby to eat and drink.
Something man made? Something processed and possibly containing any or all of the following: soybeans, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial dyes, colors and sugar, sugar, sugar? Even beyond the scope of Paleo, one can’t rationally say that these are good things to feed an innocent little being.
If you’re scratching your head and feeling skeptical, think about Nestle’s formula and their little attempt to ‘help’ moms in Africa have healthier babies by introducing formula to them, leading to the boycott of their product. There are not words to convey the magnitude of how horrendous that was, as far as I’m concerned!
Focus on fresh veggies, natural, wild proteins and good, rich fats for you, breast milk for baby until they’re old enough to begin incorporating their own Paleo baby foods and continue to bestow upon your little ones not only the gift of good nutrition, but the education that goes along with it, so they, too, can be pictures of health as they grown and lead by their own, healthy little Paleo example.