Sunday, July 19, 2015

Food Matters

I am a big believer in food as our first medicine. This is especially true when it comes to hyperemesis.

I'm linking you up to two podcasts - one interviewing an OB and the other a Food Scientist.  Both of these interviews wind up overlapping in their suggestions for the ideal diet for a woman dealing with, and more specifically trying to prevent, HG. In short, they recommend a high fat/moderate protein/low carb diet. As a quick picture, this would be similar to eating "Paleo." They are fantastic, interesting interviews. Please give them an ear.

This site has an interesting note about women who are more prone to HG. One study showed that women who regularly ate seafood and allium vegetables (onion, garlic, etc) prior to conception had significantly lower rates of HG. Additionally a Norwegian study of 51,000 HG cases found that they "were more likely to have diets high in carbohydrates and added sugars, particularly soft drinks." The first study truly fascinates me as foods from the sea are a traditional fertility food, with societies often seeking out and feeding special foods to their women of child-bearing age.

In the years before my first pregnancy I was probably more like a vegetarian except that I ate a little meat (hello vitamin B deficiency!). About a year after my first birth I really began to be more in line with the Weston A. Price mindset, adding more fat and meat. Nourishing Traditions has actually been one of my favorite books since my sophomore of year of college (even when I wasn't eating much meat). Gradually I realized I have a wheat and dairy allergy, so I took on more of a Paleo flare. Then, exactly a year ago, I started the GAPS diet with my daughter. I do try to eat eat seafood once a week.  Now, I've never been religious about any of these, I do believe there are times to celebrate, let go, and not worry about food (within reason, of course). But the majority of the time, my food eating habit is very...whole.

I don't say that to toot my own horn, but rather to track my diet along with the advice I am hearing. I still have some adjustments to make in these months before conception (lowering excess carb intake, especially at night, and increasing good fats even more). I read that some women were basically healthy before pregnancy, had HG, and then after pregnancy continue to have health problems. I would say I had the opposite. I would not say I was healthy before pregnancy - I frequently suffered horrid stomach aches, gastrointestinal distress, anemia, low energy, heart burn, constipation, and was under acute chronic stress for three solid years. My body was in rotten shape. Fast forward after my first HG pregnancy, after increasing protein and fats, I have very rarely suffered from stomach aches, anemia has not been an issue, and, well, I could use some better "stress" coping techniques, but it's no longer chronic. Food mattered. 

Ideally, I would get all the nutrients I need from eating whole foods, but if I have an underlying condition that prevents proper absorption, my body might not function optimally. So I'm wondering if a nutritionist might be helpful at this point. We'll see. I'm enjoying learning at any rate.

::EDIT:: I did the very low-carb diet devotedly for two weeks. I'm currently questioning whether going that route is good for me, someone who's already been more or less low-carb for about 2 years. A friend also sent me this interesting article about fertility and carbohydrates. So I'm still trying to figure out the balance that's right for me.

::EDIT:: I read another article talking about monolaurin and candida. It mentions how a low carb diet is actually bad for candida. It's common thought that foregoing carbs will starve the candida, however, candida also thrives off of ketones. So if one is in a state of ketosis (such as what a very-low-carb diet would do) it can actually cause the candida to have an outbreak! I did experience an eruption of itching spots on my elbows during my vlc diet, which I now think was candida-related. I am glad to have learned this! Finding the right balance for my body's needs is my goal. So more carbs and fruits are being added back in, however, with more attention to their being paired with fats and proteins (peaches with creme fraiche anyone?!).

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