Eat Cleaner Through Pregnancy and Beyond for Heart's Sake image 1

Eat Cleaner Through Pregnancy and Beyond for Heart’s Sake

It’s official. The line magically appeared, confirming your gravitas state. Welcome to the Club! Now, we’re off to the races. Something amazing is about to happen to you. You are going to start feeling and thinking about things that may have never crossed your mind, and the assessment of things will weigh a little more squarely on your shoulders. After all, it just used to be how that drink (or 3) or junk food binge affected you. Now, there’s 2 (or more).

The first thing that struck me when I was pregnant with my first child was what the doctor encouraged me to avoid – things like diet soda, alcohol, raw meats, sushi and other raw seafood, and highly processed food. Aside from the obvious alcohol, I didn’t really take the others seriously. I mean, what’s the big deal with a few oysters or a couple spoons of cookie dough? It turns out food safety is a huge issue. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are more than 48 million reported cases of food borne illness in the U.S. annually. Pregnant women are more susceptible to the effects so it’s that much more important to really make sure your food is well cooked. Beyond that, pesticides and artificial ingredients can cross the placenta and have an impact on your baby during pregnancy and while nursing. There are literally tens of thousands of ingredients that you may not even realize are on the ‘no fly’ list unless you’re proficient in labelese – the language of 8-syllable label terms. That’s why.

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So what did this all mean? It was time to clean up my act, starting with what I stuck in my mouth.

Here are my top 5 tips for eating cleaner throughout your pregnancy and beyond:

Purge your pantry – Go through it, top to bottom, and really read those labels. If they contain anything with the following terms, get rid of it: bleached flour, high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, nitrites, sulphites, monosodium glutamate, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, BHA, BHT, EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Tripolyphosphate and any other unrecognizable term. Forget about that emergency box of cookies, cake or fluorescent snacks you keep on the top shelf – cause you know they’ll find a way to your mouth somehow.

Stock up on the good stuff – Fill your fridge and pantry with organic fresh fruit and vegetables, antibiotic and hormone-free meats, wild caught seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and clean label foods. Just think, the more colorful (naturally), unprocessed and close to as nature intended, the better. Fill a basket with grab n’ go snacks so you always have something with you to nosh on, like fresh fruit, packs of trail mix, nut butter with crackers, protein shake packets or a low-sugar, wholesome bar.

Handle your food carefully – Bacteria and pesticides can have a negative impact on your health and your baby. Follow the 4 C’s of food safety ritually –

Clean, Cook, Chill and Cross Contamination. Wash all of your produce thoroughly, including organic. I co-created Eat Cleaner with my scientist dad – an all-natural, patented, lab-proven wash that cleans up to 99.9% of the residue water can’t. Cook your foods thoroughly to the proper temperature, chill immediately and prevent cross contamination by washing your hands and cutting surfaces often. Never cut raw foods near uncooked meats, poultry and seafood.

Dump the sugar, sugar – Sugar may be natural but it can be highly processed and addictive – more than cocaine, and can affect your baby’s health in the future. The American Heart Association recommends adult female should limit total sugar intake to less than 20 grams or 5-6 teaspoons. That’s less than HALF of what’s in one serving of some of the popular ‘sports’ drinks! If you get sweet cravings, indulge in fresh fruit or a cup of tea sweetened with organic stevia.

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Hydrate often I can’t emphasize this one more. Every cellular function in our body requires hydration and when you’re pregnant or nursing, your need to drink more shoots through the roof. Ditch the dehydrating, sugary drinks and opt for sparkling water with fresh fruit or cucumber and lime, coconut water or an herbal iced tea with a little stevia. Don’t be seduced by calorie-free drinks, either. The artificial sweeteners are on the ‘no-fly’ list. Keep a water bottle with you in your purse or diaper bag at all times. It will help with your digestion, regularity and keep that milk a’ flowing.

The best news is you’ll feel more energized, happy and heart healthy for your baby bundle. That’s priceless.

Mareya Ibrahim (aka The Fit Foodie) is an award-winning entrepreneur, chef, author, inventor, and PAM Advisor. She is the founder and CEO of Grow Green Industries, Inc, creators of patented, plant-based organic and Kosher solutions for food safety under the brands eatCleaner®, eatSafeTM and eatFreshTM ( She is a nationally recognized expert on food safety and eating clean and the author of “The Clean Eating Handbook: 31 Essential Rules for health, wellness and a fabulously fit life” and host of “The Real Dish”, a new podcast about real food, real people and real life on iTunes and Stitcher.

Learn more at Twitter: @eatcleanerfood Facebook: @eatcleaner Instagram: @eatcleaner Pinterest: @eatcleaner YouTube:

DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed by Mareya Ibrahim and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Mareya Ibrahim.  Consult with your own medical provider regarding your individual health questions or concerns.

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