Dhvani Shah is a naturopathic nutritionist, speaker and author of â€œDonâ€™t just feedâ€¦Nourish your childâ€_x009d_, â€œSuper foods for Super Womanhoodâ€_x009d_ and â€œJinahaarâ€_x009d_. She has done extensive research in traditional diet therapies and naturopathy and its relevance in modern context and is pioneering drugless healing and well being through her unique approach â€“ FIMS (Food Is Medicine & Supplement). She runs the â€œFIMS clinicâ€_x009d_ which supports a body-mind-spirit approach. Dhvani specializes in Woman and Child Nutrition by developing specialized nutrition programs, conducting workshops, formulating nutritious recipes, writing books and newspaper articles.
Itâ€™s said that Pregnancy is a womanâ€™s second birth! Rightly so, pregnancy is aÂ wonderful phase in life wherein you not only nurture your foetus, but also nurtureÂ your physical, emotional and spiritual self to the optimum. Food is one of theÂ primary sources of nourishment for the body, mind and soul. The right food andÂ nutrition during pregnancy ensures a healthy baby, prevents complications, reducesÂ pregnancy related discomfort and keeps you fit post delivery.
Follow these basic eating guidelines to make the most of your food. Afterall, yourÂ Food Is Medicinal & Supplemental (FIMS)!
1. Eat For your Body Type:Â Each one of us is born unique with a unique Body composition, structure andÂ metabolism. The key to a right eating pattern is to adapt your daily diet as per yourÂ body composition. Consult a nutrition expert and get to know your list of Focus &Â Avoid foods and try inculcating the maximum amount of focus foods in your diet.Â Refrain from blindly following myths and random food advices. Remember â€“ oneÂ manâ€™s food is another manâ€™s poison.
2. Eat Wholesome:Â Fresh, wholesome food is the best nourishment for you and your baby. HomeÂ cooked food items (including pakoras and sheera) must be preferred at all times.Â Eating natural grains/ fruits & veggies is natureâ€™s way of providing a complete set ofÂ easily digestible nutrients.
- Â Make your meal times a family affair.
- Â Fill your plate with atleast 3 different food groups
- Â Prefer freshly cooked food to stale food
- Â Do not overcook/ over process your food
- Â Use spices, ghee, oil when cooking your food â€“ they have excellent immuneÂ boosting properties & prevent body aches
- Eat culture appropriate and locally available food than opting for exoticÂ super foods
3. Eat At Right Intervals:Â The thumb rule to set an ideal eating pattern is to monitor the gaps between meals.Â A maximum of 2.5-3 hourly gap during the 1st 12 weeks and a maximum of 2-2.5Â hourly gaps during the 2nd and 3rd trimester must be maintained. Increased intervalsÂ between meals leads to an acid build up in the stomach â€“ causing acidity and overÂ eating at the next meal. Reduced intervals between meals do not provide enoughÂ time for the stomach to digest its food â€“ causing bloating and indigestion.
4. Make Food Your Medicine:Â As mentioned above, Food can be your daily dose of Medicine and supplementsÂ (FIMS). Eating the right food, in the right combination, at the right time of the dayÂ reduces the need for supplements, tonics and medicines. The right home remediesÂ can reduce bloating, body aches, acidity and other major illnesses. Remember â€“ evenÂ a potato is healthy if eaten correctly, and spinach can be unhealthy if eatenÂ incorrectly.
- Lemon, mint and cumin are excellent acidity reducing foods
- Â Sesame seeds and spinach have more absorb able calcium than milk
- A handful of nuts, seeds, dates & figs reduces morning sickness & body aches
5. Avoid Processed Foods:Â The healthiest of processed foods are unhealthier than the calorie densestÂ natural food. Confused?? Simply put; even a low fat, low calorie biscuit isÂ unhealthier than a pakora. The health quotient of food is judged by its nutrients andÂ not merely the calories. Processed foods are loaded with preservatives, artificialÂ colours & flavours, additives and chemicals. These components harm the delicateÂ metabolic balance in the body, resulting in nutrient deficiencies in the long run. TheÂ following processed foods must be avoided during pregnancy.
- Colas, canned juices, juice mixes, flavoured drinks
- Â Packeted chips, snacks, fried food, baked snacks
- Â Commercial breads, buns, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pretzels
- Â Packaged ketchup, sauces, salad dressings
Lastly, the best advice that I can give you is to be happy, eat well and make foodÂ your best friend!