Disclosure: I was given a paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I just finished the book Real Food For Pregnancy by Lily Nichols, a Registered Dietician/Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She is a researcher and author and her bestselling book Real Food For Gestational Diabetes has influenced nutritional policies around the world.
When I was asked if I was interested in reading this book for a review, my first thought was, what perfect timing. My transfer with Olivia and subsequent pregnancy with her was incredible (minus wanting to puke 23 of the 24 hours in a day), but this time around, now that I’ve been through it, I wanted to focus more on myself and my health. This book has been such a great resource for that.
Real Food For Pregnancy focuses on eating real, whole, nutritious food during your pregnancy, but what does that mean? Why are some foods perfect for pregnancy and some not? What the heck does iodine have to do with your pregnancy anyway?
Nichols does a great job debunking what many of us think we know about pregnancy nutrition. I’m still trying to convince my dad that real full fat products are far superior to low fat or fat-free, and Nichols explains the concepts behind whole foods in a down to earth way that makes this book entertaining to read, instead of just another pregnancy guide. Not only does she break down her book by sections for nutrition, but she also gets into the other aspects of pregnancy: exercise, stress management, common complaints, and one on the postpartum period. She has a section on nausea and vomiting that I was fascinated by, but that could also be because I wanted to hurl constantly with Olivia and hallelujah! I now feel like I can put a plan in place in my first trimester to try to help with some of the worst symptoms.
Overall, I feel prepared. Going through infertility, nothing is a guarantee. Eating the best foods possible isn’t going to make or break me getting to bring my baby home. But experiencing pregnancy once before, I feel like I’m ready to go into this (hopeful) second pregnancy with more knowledge about what I’m putting in my body (except for gobs of Goldfish crackers). With my last pregnancy, I didn’t have a great understanding of the MTHFR mutation, and dutifully took my Folgard prescription prescribed by my doctor. This time, I’m on a folate supplement, and thanks to Real Food For Pregnancy, I have a better handle of why folate is superior to folic acid, and how I can come at this again from the best possible place. Yes, there is even a section on this horrid little gene mutation and how you can advocate best for yourself. I also found the sections on preeclampsia super helpful since this is always in the back of my mind.
So here are 5 reasons I came up with that you yourself need to read Real Food For Pregnancy. And keep scrolling to the end, because you have a chance to win a copy for yourself!
5 Reasons To Read Real Food For Pregnancy
You’re thinking about getting pregnant or are currently pregnant.
Well, duh. Why else would you pick up this book? But for real. This book is packed with little tidbits you’re going to want to highlight. What I especially found interesting reading this book, was that it gave me a glimpse into what I want to do differently this time around if I end up getting pregnant again. As in, I love eggs, but now that I know that two eggs meet about half a pregnant woman’s choline requirements for the day, I’m that much more motivated to actually focus on eating them in pregnancy. Hey, I never even know the importance of getting enough choline in pregnancy before reading this. The author also put aside my fears of eating runny egg yolk because you guys, with Olivia, sometimes all I wanted was a fried egg, over easy on toast with avocado. Reading this section was like a good friend holding a slice of cake in front of me whispering, “More. You know you want more. And it’s healthy…..”
The thing is when we go through something the first time, we’re floundering in our own incompetence. It’s the second, or third time around where we go, Hey. I want to do better. I want to eat more damn eggs, and really understand the foods I’m putting in my body, knowing, especially as my pregnancy progresses, that my baby is benefitting from the foods I eat.
You think you have a good understanding of nutrition.
Remember what I said above about trying to convince my Dad that fat-free, low fat, chemical-filled foods are pretty bad for you? OK, so I knew those things, but some of the things Nichols says in her book blew me away and made sense at the same time. One of those being skin-on chicken. How many times are we told in recipes to remove the skin off chicken to make it healthier? Turns out, real food means real food, so that fatty chicken skin should stay on. That real food is meant to be eaten in its original form. Which means skin on. It means eating the whole egg, and not egg whites. I could die happy. I also really like eggs.
This book taught me that I underestimate what I think it means to eat healthy foods to fuel my body and provide the best nutrition for my baby. And seriously, Nichols is making me reevaluate trying liver in pregnancy. I never realized how incredible this organ is and she gives you some tips on making it edible if organ meats aren’t your thing. (More on that below.)
You are at risk for certain pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
Nichols has a whole book dedicated to gestational diabetes and if that’s something that’s a risk factor for you, I definitely recommend reading that book. For concerns such as weight gain or loss, preeclampsia, and hypertension, this book is a great resource for the foods and supplements such as vitamin D, magnesium, and probiotics that are the best to combat these complications. So much of pregnancy is out of our control, but anything we can do to lessen any issues that may arise helps.
You like to geek out to interesting facts.
Chapter 3 is dedicated to all the foods that help build a healthy baby. This is also where I learned the health benefits of liver and eggs and full-fat dairy products. Did you know that some data has shown that omega-3 fats are more absorbable from raw fish than cooked fish? Eating wild-caught instead of farmed fish can avoid the exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Oh, and healthy saturated fats like lard, butter, and coconut oil are good for you and you should cook with those rather than man-made cooking oils. The nerdy health professional in me found some of these fascinating because it goes against everything I learned in health class in high school.
You like to make things easy.
Nichols includes a seven-day meal plan of real foods that was really helpful even though I’m not currently pregnant. There are also 27 recipes in the appendix and some of these include GASP liver. And there’s a chili recipe that uses it and I’m actually thinking about trying it if I get pregnant which is saying a lot, but apparently, done right, you would never know it’s in there.
So the fact that there’s a meal plan and actual recipes to try is helpful. Because when we’re pregnant and exhausted, we don’t want to have to think too much.
Would I Recommend This Book?
Definitely. Reading is my favorite pastime, but self-help books aren’t usually my thing. I found this book captured my attention because it was stuffed with all sorts of new things to learn. I’ve already marked it up and have sufficiently annoyed Chris with, “Oh my gosh, listen to this! Did you know—?”
||| Giveaway Time |||
Lily Nichols and her team have been gracious enough to offer a print copy of the book to one lucky reader! Enter by visiting the Rafflecopter link below! Winner will be contacted by me via email next Sunday morning (October 14th)! Open to U.S. residents only.