The foods to avoid during pregnancy are the foods you avoid on the Paleo diet, altogether. Processed foods, vegetable oils, refined sugar, and glutenous grains are inflammatory and rob your body of nutrients, making them especially harmful when you’re pregnant.
The general advice that says to shop only on the outer edges of the supermarket apply here.
Except for coffee, of course. You can venture in to the vortex for that. We don’t want to go too crazy.
There are so many foods that are included in a Paleo diet. Once it becomes a habit, the things you should avoid won’t even draw your attention anymore.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
• Refined Carbohydrates and Processed Foods
Industrialized foods are your enemies. Boxed convenience meals, just-add-water side dishes, and crunchy snacks in crinkly bags are items that wreak havoc on human health.
They contain chemicals, sweeteners, and oils that not only cause weight gain and increase your risk of disease, but also affect the health of your baby.
Epigenetic factors are outside influences that affect gene expression. Foods can have positive or negative effects on your baby’s genes that extend to future generations. This means that healthy choices you make today may benefit your grandchildren, too!
• Vegetable Oils
Abstaining from processed foods makes it a bit easier to keep away from vegetable oils. They are in practically everything that comes in a box or a bag.
In order to make vegetable oils, seeds are pressed and heated to high temperatures. The polyunsaturated fats that are contained in the seeds are meant to protect it during the winter. High heat transforms PUFAs into trans fats that are toxic to humans.
On top of all that, they are deodorized and bleached using chemicals that include hexane. Well, if the oil is organic they don’t use hexane, but other compounds are used to take away the pungent smell and to make it look pretty.
Vegetable oils are exceptionally high in omega-6. Our ancestors ate foods that were balanced in omega-6 and omega-3. These days, the average person consumes 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3, which is highly inflammatory.
Research shows that this imbalance can lead to disease. When omega-6 is decreased to about two to four times as much omega-3 in the diet, health risks are reduced significantly.
Olive, coconut, and macadamia nut oils are great alternatives to vegetable oils. Grass-fed butter, lard, or bacon grease are also good choices for cooking.
• Refined Sugars
Evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, table sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are all concentrated forms of sugar outside of their natural elements.
Paleo peeps have differing views on fruit. Their beliefs range from no fruit to as much fruit as you want and everything in between.
People vary in their abilities to metabolize carbohydrates, and for those of us who struggle with weight-related metabolic problems after years of following conventional wisdom, carbohydrate restriction can be helpful.
• Grains and Legumes
A plant’s natural defense system consists of toxins meant to harm its predators. These toxins rob your body of vital nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Now more than ever, these minerals are important for you to hold on to.
If you really love your grains and beans, you could follow those who lean more toward the Weston A. Price model by sprouting or fermenting them. These processes remove most of the plant’s anti-nutrients, but you can never be sure how much.
The exception, of course, is gluten. Gluten-containing foods to avoid during pregnancy are anything made with wheat or its derivatives. A lot of sauces and dressings contain these wheat proteins for thickening.
Nuts also contain anti-nutrients. For this reason, you shouldn’t make a habit of eating a whole lot of them every day. Keeping some on hand for sudden hunger, but a cupful as a snack every night could rob you of too many important minerals.
© Liz Davis 2012 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy