What would you eat in the months before TTC? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 02-15-2009, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I and my fiance are thinking of "stopping preventing" sometime soon this year so I have been thinking I need to try to get myself as healthy and robust as possible starting like now
Apart from cutting out all alcohol and probably caffeine because of its water-soluble-vitamin-leaching effects (though that morning cup of coffee is soo good in the winter...) I don't do much else besides try to keep up my already healthy diet (and by that I mean as few processed foods as possible). I also drink occasional nettle, raspberry, or dandelion leaf infusions.
I don't eat much meat, particularly because organic meat is expensive. Since it's winter and I live in the subarctic, the only semi-fresh plant foods at this time are roots and cabbage so my diet in this season does not include a lot of fresh leafy veggies (though I do do sauerkraut so that helps a bit). Lately I've been mostly subsisting on sour rye bread, butter, yogurt, and eggs with the occasional bean dishes and frozen-berry smoothies and I know I have to step up the meal variation to get all the vitamins and minerals I need. I don't have any diet restrictions except for laziness also, the more calories the better
I am also undecided about prenatal vitamins. I would really prefer to get my vitamins from real food as I am doubtful about the benefits of putting artificial vitamins into my body. Anyway, that's another discussion, which already has many threads of its own, which I am slowly visiting, so I would ask you to please not recommend prenatal vitamins as a source of nutrients (not saying I'm definitely not taking them, I'm just specifically trying to concentrate on food here).
So, tell me your nourishing, building, vitamin-filled, preferably winter-food-selection-oriented food suggestions! What would you eat to prepare your body for conception and pregnancy?
Thanks! :

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#2 of 15 Old 02-15-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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this is a good post I hope you get some good suggestions. so I can :

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#3 of 15 Old 02-15-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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Can you get some dark greens that are more cold hardy? I'm thinking kale, collards, mustard greens, etc. They are really nutritious and have tons of vitamins/minerals and are especially important during pregnancy as well.
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#4 of 15 Old 02-15-2009, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should probably clarify: there are fresh veggies in the store, but most of them are either grown in a greenhouse or imported and lifeless looking, so I try to avoid them. However, they are edible, plus frozen veggies are cheap and abundant, so it's not like I'm confined to roots and cabbage. So don't be scared away if you have a not-so-seasonal suggestion!
And also, this thread is not just for suggestions... I'm also curious what people personally felt was important to include in their diet pre-conception (besides/in addition to prenatals).
o'smom: the dark green veggie season is pretty much over in november here but I make dandelion infusion and eat the dandelion leaves after and frozen spinach is available, so spinach soup at least would be an option... thanks for reminding me!

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#5 of 15 Old 02-15-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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Grass fed raw butter. Lots of it!
In traditional societies they reserve the butter for newly married couples who will be reproducing soon. It's the best thing for you!

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#6 of 15 Old 02-15-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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Before I got pregnant with #2 dh and I took high vitamin cod liver oil and grassfed butter (Kerrygold). I also ate a lot of bone broth stews for minerals. Bone broth and root vegetable stews are great for the winter. I really like beef bone broth that simmered for 1-3 days. Cabbage is great sauteed with butter and onions. We eat that often here.

Here is a cool website about preconception foods--

http://www.preconceptionhealth.org/p..._nutrition.htm

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#7 of 15 Old 02-15-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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I will also be watching this thread
Husband and I decided I stopped the pill, that was last month. I still sometimes feel like I need to take it since I took it for so long at the same time every day. I guess that will later pass.
Everybody is different but this is what I am doing. Daily I eat a fresh spinach and strawberry salad with balsamic vinaigrette then organic yogurt with crushed walnuts, several times a week I eat bok choy and have seaweed. Avocados several times per week along with generous portions of mushrooms. I was already eating very little meat, no lunch meat, and when I eat meat once or twice per week it is either fish or lean chicken. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables both steamed and raw and in smoothies as well. And eat whole grain (rice, pasta, tortillas, etc.) except for white rice for sushi, which I am trying to wean us off of since we found out we really love short grain brown (a lot!). I also seem to eat celery and nut butter often. I eat often, several small meals.
And I am exercising and getting a lot of vitamin D.

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#8 of 15 Old 02-15-2009, 09:01 PM
 
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Oh yeah I also don't drink much caffeine. Just small amounts in green tea. No soda, fast food, and very little if any processed foods.

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#9 of 15 Old 02-16-2009, 03:29 AM
 
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I think it would be good to add rec clover to your infusions, it's a fertility herb as well and fits the nettle/rrl combo well. i'd also drink it daily (or try to, I forget, too) you could also add flax seed oil to your smoothies for omega3 fatty acids. flax seed is also supposed to give you more fertile cm. you can replace some of your coffee with green tea (also good for cm, supposedly). also, you need to add more fruit, I think, just in general, and i'd also cary more with the veggies. there's nothing really good from Germany in winter either so I eat imported. not ideal, but I'm not eating sauerkraut all day long

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#10 of 15 Old 02-16-2009, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newcastlemama View Post
Bone broth and root vegetable stews are great for the winter. I really like beef bone broth that simmered for 1-3 days. Cabbage is great sauteed with butter and onions. We eat that often here.
Oh my, bone broth and root veggie stew sounds delicious!!! I will have to make some soon : The cabbage sounds good too... if only I could get my fiance to eat it
I have heard of that green tea and cervical mucus connection... I suppose it would be better than coffee anyway...
oceane, yes, more fruits and veggies would be good... I hear you on the sauerkraut though I've actually always liked it (thanks dad who spent time in Germany as a teenager...). I did just get some organic clementines from Italy that were actually fresh and juicy! Too bad they cost an arm and a leg... What on earth did people do when seasonal eating was mandatory?
I just went to the store and got ingredients for our meals for the week, which I'm going to list for your vicarious food enjoyment pleasure : gratined fennel with whole wheat pasta, spinach soup (planning to get some deeelicious sourdough whole grain bread from the market hall tomorrow to go with it ), salmon and frozen veggies in creamy curry with brown rice, and lentil stew with (canned) tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. For breakfasts we have eggs, yogurt, oats, milk and dried apricots, and lunches will come most likely from the state-subsidized university cafeteria (which means fresh veggies from the salad bar too). For snacks there's the ever-present sour rye and (small-dairy, cultured) butter, cheese, some roasted sunflower seeds, greenhouse cucumber and of course sauerkraut. Think I have to get some more fruit though in there though...
Mmmm food... writing that made me hungry, got to go eat something now

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#11 of 15 Old 02-16-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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As long as you aren't ethically opposed to eating meat, it is worth trying organic liver once per week. Organic chicken liver is cheaper per pound than chicken meat. It is loaded with natural B vitamins and folate (like 2x the RDA for folate per serving)...essential for conception and pregnancy.

It took me awhile to get use to the taste of liver. But if you find a good liver pate recipe it is delicious on bread with butter. Also www.uswellnessmeats.com has delicious grass-fed braunschweiger (which includes liver) sausage which is only about $1 per serving.

Also, plenty of fat. If you currently get lowfat yogurt switch to whole milk.

Keep up the good work with eggs and butter- that's a virtual whole-foods multi-vitamin.

Good luck!

Happily married to DH for 6 years, in process to foster-adopt 3 children DD4, DS3 and DS2. We may be bringing half brother age 9 one day as well! We are not infertile, we just have decided that since there are precious children who need homes there is no need for us to have biological children.

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#12 of 15 Old 02-16-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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bioflavenoids are really good for ovulation- natural sources are buckwheat, citrus and peppers.

protien is really important, and soy can be good for ovulation, although too much is contradicted in pregnancy due to the estrogen it converts to. 1-2 servings a day is what I'm doing.

flax is really good for progesterone- so trying that is a good idea.

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#13 of 15 Old 02-16-2009, 11:34 PM
 
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To the OP, it sounds like you are eating fairly well already.

I'm still learning but I think this is what i would eat:

Lots:
Whole Raw Milk
Pasteured Eggs
Liver
schmaltz, tallow
grass-fed butter
fish, particularly oily fish such as salmon (not much tuna and other high mercury fish though)
cultured dairy (yogurt, keifer, creme fraiche, piima, buttermilk)
fermented fruits and veggies, fermented condiments
bone broths
red meat
fresh or frozen veggies (particularly greens)
fresh fruit
roe (fresh frozen or dried)

some:
soaked or sprouted whole grains grains
chicken (I eat a lot more chicken than beef, when it should be the other way around)
soaked beans (from dried, not canned)
kombucha (since I already drink it, there wouldn't be a heavy detox rush during TTC or pregnancy)
cod liver oil
olive oil
soaked nuts

little:fermented soy such as tamari or miso

very very little: white flour, natural sweetners such as honey or maple syrup, unsoaked grains, pasta, tofu

No: caffeine, refined sugars, processed foods, vegetable oils other than olive, soft drinks, fast food, junk food, anything from the middle of the supermarket that isn't an "ingrediant" such as grains, nuts, spices, microwaves, unfermented soy products

I beleive that the WAP diet for pregnant and nursing mothers is very similar to a good preconception diet. http://www.westonaprice.org/children...ormothers.html

Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing
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#14 of 15 Old 02-16-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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Just quickly:

If you aren't into prenatals, just take folic acid by itself. My understanding is that it's essential for preventing a number of birth defects, and that other nutrients in prenatals are not as essential. Also, after conception the baby depends on the folic acid stored in your body, not what's in your immediate diet, for a few crucial weeks. So it's good to be taking it in advance. Or if you want to get folic acid from your diet as well, then that's one thing to be really anal about... really make sure you are getting the necessary quantity.

Otherwise: whole grains, healthy fats, lots of legumes, and of course whatever fresh (or good quality frozen) veggies and fruits you can get ahold of. Pretty much the same things that make a non-ttc person healthy
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#15 of 15 Old 02-17-2009, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolelynn View Post
As long as you aren't ethically opposed to eating meat, it is worth trying organic liver once per week. Organic chicken liver is cheaper per pound than chicken meat. It is loaded with natural B vitamins and folate (like 2x the RDA for folate per serving)...essential for conception and pregnancy.

It took me awhile to get use to the taste of liver. But if you find a good liver pate recipe it is delicious on bread with butter. Also www.uswellnessmeats.com has delicious grass-fed braunschweiger (which includes liver) sausage which is only about $1 per serving.

Also, plenty of fat. If you currently get lowfat yogurt switch to whole milk.

Keep up the good work with eggs and butter- that's a virtual whole-foods multi-vitamin.

Good luck!
Yeah, actually I was thinking of making my own pate because it looks really easy and would be a lot cheaper and healthier than the store kind (which is loaded with preservatives, yuck!)
Thanks for the fat advice I don't *do* low fat, not only because of the obvious detriment to health and lack of nutrients but because people who think they can improve on a perfect food by taking out its most delicious and nutritious part annoy me so it's nice to hear from like-minded people for once. Low fat is big in Finland. You know in one preschool they actually started giving the kids skim milk??? Unbelievable :

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebirth View Post

flax is really good for progesterone- so trying that is a good idea.
Hm, this is interesting to hear because "they" generally advise pregnant women to avoid flax for some hormonal reason, though if it raises progesterone you would think that would be good for avoiding miscarriage? I do already add ground flaxseed to my yogurt most of the time... mmm, nutty...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxie View Post
Just quickly:

If you aren't into prenatals, just take folic acid by itself. My understanding is that it's essential for preventing a number of birth defects, and that other nutrients in prenatals are not as essential. Also, after conception the baby depends on the folic acid stored in your body, not what's in your immediate diet, for a few crucial weeks. So it's good to be taking it in advance. Or if you want to get folic acid from your diet as well, then that's one thing to be really anal about... really make sure you are getting the necessary quantity.

Otherwise: whole grains, healthy fats, lots of legumes, and of course whatever fresh (or good quality frozen) veggies and fruits you can get ahold of. Pretty much the same things that make a non-ttc person healthy
Yes, I do take a B vitamin occasionally that has way over the RDA of folic acid. It does seem like you have to be pretty anal to get the right amount of it from food, even if you do eat a lot of lentils and rye bread like me... This is something I am still debating. I was discussing the prenatals with my mom recently and was being kind of a nazi about not wanting to take them, but then she pointed out that she was more worried about me than my possible baby, because the baby would take what it needed from my body, leaving me with possible deficiencies. Not that I wouldn't take prenatals for the sake of the baby alone, but it sort of added another perspective. Nobody really adds that mothers can easily end up depleted after a pregnancy. So yeah, I really don't know yet. My mom is overly reliant on supplements for my taste but I think she might be right here. Not to turn this into a PV discussion, but are there any other anti-supplement minded people who took prenatals?
Magelet: thank you for this list. It's nice to have things in categories like this. I generally agree with your ordering.
Unfortunately, grass-fed meat and butter is out for me right now, as there just isn't any grass in Finland in the winter however, I read that the organic cows eat dried grass and clover in addition to grain here so maybe that helps...
Yay for cultured dairy! I love piimä (which is actually just Finnish for cultured sourmilk). And they even have a full-fat version with acidophilus/bifidus it's not organic though... The dairy products are generally excellent here, though the only raw milk product I've been able to find is some soft goat cheese. Which is delicious though expensive, and I'm surprised the E.U. regulatory nazis haven't legislated it out of existence yet.
Yeah the meat is slightly problematic too... Pretty much the only organic meat available in Finland is ground beef and some occasional pork, plus some exorbitantly expensive whole frozen organic chickens imported from France (one of which we plan to buy and make a week's worth of meals from soon, including some bone broth). However, conventional meat here is a whole other thing than conventional meat in the States... How would you feel about eating liver or making bone broth from a conventional cow, but one that had not ingested a very large amount of pesticides, had probably had some access to grass in its lifetime, and that was probably not totally overloaded with antibiotics? Livers don't collect toxins, just process them, right?
Anyway, sorry for the long post... Thanks for all the input!!! : I love talking about food so this forum is really fun for me

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