By: Jamie Wallace, CLD
We had the pleasure of speaking with Ashley Haselton regarding nutrition, specifically during pregnancy, and wow! We learned so much! While dealing with her own health issues and some infertility issues Ashely left her corporate job to pursue her passion of nutrition. She became a nutritional therapy consultant and now focuses on educating about nutrition. She is married with a one year old little boy and also teaches yoga.
Follow along to see some questions we asked and what we learned during our conversation!
What is a common misconception about nutrition during pregnancy?
“Since you are eating for two, eat whatever you want”- False. During the second trimester you only need an additional 300 calories and additional 500 calories during the third trimester. Not only are excessive pounds harder to shed, studies have also shown that the more weight gain in pregnancy can affect your child further years down the road and carry into adolescence. This is a time to think about nutrient dense whole foods.
How can we incorporate more nutrition dense food into our diet with barriers such as cost and limited time?
Doing anything is better than doing nothing. Small changes such as buying a whole chicken,cooking and using all of the parts down to the bones (bone broth) are economical. Utilize farmers markets seasonally and buy bulk from local farmers.
Some small changes you can incorporate into your everyday diet:
Upgrade your oils; switch from ones like corn oil, canola oil, hydrogenated oils and margarine that cause inflammation in the body and store in the cells and cause toxicity. These are also the oils used in processed foods.
Replace with healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, avocado oil.
Consuming fish oil and raw nuts and seeds are beneficial.
Cut out and limit sugar. Replace with maple syrup, honey, monk fruit, coconut sugar.
Eat eggs daily.
How does nutrition affect the pregnancy, birth and postpartum periods?
We play a big part in the health of our children. The biggest kickstart you can give your child is eating healthy while pregnant. Birth defects and pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes has been linked to metabolic issues in children. These things can be attributed to diet. It is important to remember that these complications can affect your birth plans and a poor diet can affect your healing process during the postpartum period. Preconception diets are also ideal to build your body prior to pregnancy.
What are signs that nutrition may be affecting our health? What are some red flags?
Listen to your body. Ask yourself how you are feeling. Don’t wait until you get an illness to hone in on what your body is telling you. Low energy, excessive hunger, extreme sugar cravings, irritability, anxiety & depression are all signs that you are not eating a well balanced diet.
What are your favorite ‘cheat treats”?
I don’t really consider it “cheating”. In my program that I teach, called Restart, the only rule that we have is “Whatever I choose, I choose it consciously, I enjoy it thoroughly and I let it go.’ Let go of any guilt with food. I feel like that is more detrimental to our health than just eating the twinkie. Some things I keep on hand is dark chocolate, 70%-85% does not have a lot of sugar. Personally, I’m a little more strict because I do have blood sugar issues. I’m really sensitive to sugar. I discovered that the root issue to PCOS was a blood sugar dysregulation and I have dealt with that. Keto ice cream is another favorite. If I’m wanting potato chips I get the chips cooked in avocado oil or coconut oil because they are not going to be inflammatory. I also love blending coconut milk with a frozen banana (or any fruit) to make ice cream.
What are the most important things to consider during pregnancy?
Balance your macros. Macronutrients are fats, proteins and carbohydrates. When looking at your plate the protein should be the size of your palm and the rest of the plate should be low glycemic vegetables. You do not need a lot of carbohydrates during pregnancy. About 90g. Limiting to one to two cups a day. Carbs like sweet potatoes and rice are ok but you don’t want that to be the bulk of your meal. Proteins coming from good animal sources, eggs, dairy, beans, legumes, ideally, about 100g of protein a day. Fats like avocado, pouring some olive oil over your meal or cooking with butter. Good fats are important during pregnancy for hormones. Try to avoid spiking your blood sugar throughout the day. Sugar causes spikes in your blood sugar which requires your body and pancreas to work harder to regulate blood sugar. Our body’s top priority is keeping our blood sugar regulated so if it is busy regulating sugar, it will do that over any other function (e.g.,growing a human). We want to eat in a way that doesn’t spike blood sugar such as pairing your fruit and healthy carbohydrates with a healthy fat and healthy protein. One other important thing during pregnancy is drinking enough water. At least 100oz of water but be careful not to go over since it can throw off your mineral balance in your body. I suggest adding a little salt for hydration like himilayan or sea salt.
What products or supplements do you recommend?
Obviously a prenatal vitamin. Look for one that has at least 800mcg of folate, instead of folic acid, which is not easily absorbed, especially women with the MTHFR gene need methylated folate.
I highly recommend cod liver oil or fish oil for high levels of Vitamin A during pregnancy. Our bodies don’t convert beta carotene Vitamin A from veggies as well as it does from an animal source. Omega-3 oils are anti anti-inflammatory oils and also help with brain development. Collagen is also a great supplement. Vitamin D is also great if you are not able to get enough sun.
For pickier eaters or someone on the go, smoothies are a great way to get in those nutrients!
We are so incredibly grateful for Ashley’s expertise on nutrition and want to thank her for taking the time to speak with us! Check out her website for her services and see what she has to offer. You will not be sorry!
Recommended resources mentioned:
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare
Real Food For Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition
Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Baby’s First Foods