Primal Mom’s Review and an inspired Blueberry Pie

This week I finally got my hands on Peggy Emch’s new book Primal Moms Look Good Naked.  After reading it from cover to cover, I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed this book. It’s both well written and beautifully organized. It offers primaly-focused suggestions for many of the common complaints in pregnancy, such as constipation, sagging skin and heartburn.  Peggy shows her readers how many of the physical complaints and ‘complications’ of pregnancy are easily prevented or minimized with good nutrition from a sound paleo/primal diet that includes lots of collagen containing and nutrient dense food sources. Primal Moms also offers its ‘readers some sound nutritional guidelines and a great section all about postpartum exercise, which includes photos (which most new mom’s will appreciate…there isn’t much time for reading once baby arrives!). I really love that Peggy encourages gentle movements with a focus on core stabilization exercises that help women regain strength after pregnancy and birth. Overall, I think this book is a fabulous read that has a place on my office shelf; however, I do have a few reflections I want to share after reading the book.

I sometimes feel like our society in general places too much emphasis on the ‘physical aspects of pregnancy’. Peggy believes, and I agree, that there is no reason that we can’t “look good naked” after giving birth. A balanced diet of nutrient dense foods can certainly help your body adapt to the physical changes during pregnancy, but I fear that the definition of looking good naked isn’t inclusive of all different shapes and sizes of women.  For many women, even eating a squeaky clean paleo diet, hydrating like crazy, resting, exercising and take all the right supplements won't prevent stretch marks, cellulite, scars and sagging skin. Are women with these ‘marks of pregnancy’ not beautiful. Do they not still 'look good naked'?  Remember this post

75%- 90% of women get stretch marks during pregnancy. Your risk for getting them is 50-70% determined by genetics and ethnicity. Sometimes, you just can’t eat enough fermented cod liver oil to out-smart your genetics! How do we support women to feel good about having some stretch marks and a bit of extra junk in the trunk? Do these women not still look good naked? Can we not celebrate the miracle of motherhood and honour the metamorphosis we undergo, as we become parents? Just sayin’

Inspired Blueberry Pie

All that being said, I’ve come up with a most splendid recipe that you can incorporate into your diet to help support your body’s collagen production and skin elasticity during pregnancy and beyond. It incorporates the use of grass-fed gelatin, which I first learned about from reading Nourishing Traditions and literature from the Weston A Price Foundation.

Gelatin helps support our bodies in a number of ways:

  • Supports joint health
  • Great for skin elasticity, nail growth and hair
  • Some say it helps with cellulite
  • Aids in healing the digestive system
  • Helps to regulate hormone function, specifically estrogen dominance, which may contribute to infertility.
  • Is a source of amino acids Proline and Glycine, which are only found in fibrous tissues of animals and can be lacking in the standard American diet (SAD). These amino acids are natural anti-inflammatories, aid in skin elasticity and help support immune function (which is naturally compromised during pregnancy). One study even says it helps with sleep quality, which we all could use more of!
  • I only use well sourced Great Lakes Gelatin  and recommend it to all my clients. 
Before

Before

This recipe also utilizes WILD BLUEBERRIES, which aside from being absolutely delicious are also a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. In fact, some research suggests that the antioxidant content of wild blueberries picked from a northern climate may be up to 7 times higher then those of conventionally grown berries. A diet rich in antioxidants can help aid in placental development. So get picking!

Check out the link on my growing recipage for the fabulous recipe. It’s low in sugar and is appropriate if you’re following the Autoimmune Protcol. I recommend serving this pie with some grass-fed whipped cream or coconut cream whip. So delicious. Enjoy!

 

After

It's been a busy sort of week!

It's been a busy sort of week. I'm back at work after my regularly scheduled 3-wks off. Needless to say, it's been a bit of a madhouse!  Luckily I made a big batch of Nom Nom Paleo's 'Damn Fine Chicken' (minus the fish sauce..cause I'm allergic) and it's been saving my life! While I'm working on my next post, in which I answer the question, "How many Carbs should I eat in Pregnancy?", here's an awesome little cartoon I stumbled on. It describes just how I feel...sometimes you gotta be the alpha-cavegirl, slay the wooly mammoth and just get the job done! 

 

Reader Question: First Paleo-Friendly Baby Solids

I recently received a question (love your questions BTW!) from a passionate grandmother who was wondering what her daughter should start feeding her paleo baby as a first introduction to solid foods.  As a response, I've briefly summarized the 'chat' I have with all my clients about how to introduce solids into your babies diet. 

Canadian Paediatric Society, WHO and well as me, Meg the Paleo Midwife,  all recommend exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age and continued breastfeeding for as long as possible. You know your baby is ready to supplement breastfeeding with some solids when he/she can meet the following milestones: 

  • Can sit up and lean forward
  • Can communicate to mom and dad that they are full (e.g. turns head away)
  • Can pick up food and put it in their mouth and are usually interested in what's on your plate
  • Has good head control
  • Infants need a diet rich in iron and healthy fats (mostly from cholesterol)  for growth and cognitive development (BIG BRAINS).  At  6-months, babies nutritional needs increase considerably and are usually unable to be met by breast milk alone.

    In North America particuarly, for the past 50 years, the first recommended solid foods were iron fortified rice cereals (aka pablum).  I'm not too sure exactly why we started doing this. The ability to digest carbohydrates (besides lactose) usually comes later in digestive development around the age of two and I've never heard of a traditional culture feed their babies grains as a first introduction to food. This was likely clever marketing on the behalf of cereal companies.

    Recently, the Canadian government has recognized that whole food sources of iron are a better start for our babies and now recommend starting babies off with meats, beans, legumes and other "whole" protein sources. That being said, I am in no way recommending starting your baby off on tofu! Some things the government dieticians get right and some things they get so terribly wrong (aka Canada Food guide). 

    It is well known that the best way to absorb iron is via heme- iron, which is only found in animal sources such as meats, eggs and fish. In most Aboriginal communities, the first foods that are introduced include meat, fish and eggs. Introducing paleo friendly meats and animal protein early also helps your cavebaby's digestive system learn to produce adequate stomach acid, and sets the stage for good digestive health. 

    So what should you feed your paleo baby?

    The new Canadian guidelines state that babies should be offered iron rich protein sources twice a day and that the amount of food offered should be guided by the your babies hunger and satiety cues. That's pretty much bang on. The Weston A Price Foundation also has a fantastic guide for introducing solid foods. 

    Meat should be well cooked and pureed (think the Baby Bullet) and ideally mixed with breast milk which will provide supportive enzymes and fats which will aid in digestion and protect their immune function as these "foreign foods" are being introduced into the developing digestive system. Babies foods should be organic whenever possible, as their systems are extremely vulnerable to toxins and could place additional stress their developing liver. 

    Try foods a few times. Most mom's I talk to say it takes at least three or four times of trial and error with a new food before children will accept them. Remember, new tastes and textures take time to adjust to. After the third or fourth introduction, your baby should start to recognize them as familiar and will either accept or reject the food based on their individual tastes. The best strategy for developing "non-picky eaters" is to avoid making a big deal out of the food rejection,  just move on and offer something new. 

    Here's a quick list of nutrient rich paleo friendly foods to keep your little cavebaby happy and healthy: 

    • Grassfed Liver (think homemade pates)
    • Bone Broth
    • Egg Yolks
    • Pureed grassfed beef
    • Pureed Dark Poultry meats
    • Avocados
    • Yams (best offered later in development and fermented if possible to aid in carbohydrate digestion. Find the recipe here ) 
    • Coconut oil
    • Grassfed butter
    • Fermented cod liver oil (start with the unflavoured kind)