Friday, March 11, 2016

Diet ideas during pregnancy – An open letter to a daughter



My younger daughter is expecting her second baby and recently I sent her some ideas for her diet. She is mostly a vegetarian, a super-specialized medical practitioner, with education from the best medical schools in the world,  places like John Hopkins but a father always has some useful knowledge gathered through life. The letter has useful ideas for any lady expecting a baby; therefore I am sharing it here for all as an open letter keeping anything personal out of it

Dear Keya
I had written some things about diet earlier, it is repeated here with a few more details. Do try and include the following in your daily diet at this time
Spinach
Green leafy vegetables are full of chlorophyll that has a structure nearly identical to human blood and promotes healthy blood. Spinach is the most widely available leafy vegetable that is rich in iron too. Baby spinach leaves can be eaten as salad but I would avoid them at such a time because some have infection and therefore it is best to cook them. There are many wonderful recipes for spinach but seeing your busy career the simplest is just to chop and stir fry them with sliced onions and chopped tomatoes using coriander and cumin as spices. Mix in Paneer or peas to sweeten the dish. Another nice recipe for spinach is here:

To get grit or any possible pesticide out, do soak for an hour or so in a large vessel, pick off the top and drain. An iron wok/kadhai , if you can find one is very useful for any stir fried cooking at this stage. About an iron wok is here:

Paneer
Wonder if you can find paneer in your area, if not it is easy to prepare at home. Bring milk to boil and add enough vinegar to make it split in water and solid. Usually a tablespoon or two of vinegar is enough. Drain through clean muslin, hang for eight hours or so and then remove the solid paneer cheese. This cheese does not melt or stretch on cooking unlike processed cheese because it is separated at high boiling temperature.
Paneer can be stir fried with sliced onions and spices, used to make curries with sauce with nuts and cream added, a dish called Shahi Paneer. One can have it raw too. Just soak in salted water with added turmeric for  a few hours or so. Drain and keep in fridge uncovered. it tastes like a lovely fresh cheese, just raw. Finish within three days. This cheese does not have long shelf life.
Yoghurt
A cup of yoghurt at or before lunch is great but you never used to like any white foods as a child. If it is still so mix in a pinch of turmeric or a bit of ground herbs like mint to change color. One can keep ground, salted herbs in fridge for a few days at a time
Nuts
Five to ten almonds and a walnut or two a day are great daily. Avoid other nuts at this time because some like Brazil nuts have too much selenium that might harm a baby. Green coconut or even dry one is also very good. Coconut can be ground to chutney in a blender with a little salt and milk. Dry coconut needs presoaking before grinding. The chutney does not keep for more than a day even in the fridge. Do not exceed a quarter coconut a day. More details and recipe of the coconut chutney can be found here:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2013/10/good-health-fighting-alzheimers-disease.html
Fruits
Although one might have any fruit from time to time, for regular daily consumption choose from any of the three – Banana, Apple, green grapes. Strictly avoid red grapes for any possible allergy to self or fetus as also the mango for similar reasons
Sugar
Do avoid refined sugar; go for honey at this stage. The reason for this are explained here

Cooking oil/fats
Choose from – olive oil, clarified butter or sesame seed oil.  The reason for choosing these oils is here:
As you know it is best to avoid eating out or eating factory processed food (except perhaps for bread but if you can make that too yourself from whole wheat flour, that is even better) to avoid any chemicals at this stage. Any difficulty experienced in this period may be an indicator of a specific deficiency that may be developing and you should be able to discover it by consulting your doctor and increase the food required to address that, most likely it shall be found in the brief list of foods here.
With these tips you will be very well off as regards diet but as you know even more important than diet is good lovely thoughts of happiness. These increase in lovely natural surroundings, with fresh flowers in the bed room and living room, and doing good deeds for others in need such as the poor and the aged for which you might find an old age home to visit old ladies with a few lovely gifts or even a bit of medical counseling that you as a geriatric and internal medicine specialist specialist are so able to provide not just to make a living but also for free to those in need. In return the seniors will offer you and the growing fetus many blessings, useful tips and happiness
Love
Daddy

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