Common Pregnancy Myths Busted - Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar
There are a lot of stigmas attached to pregnancy in the Indian society. Breaking myths and raising awareness about the simplicity of such a glorified phase of a woman’s life is celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar in her new book, ‘Pregnancy Notes’.
The book is a thorough guide about the A to Z of pregnancy diet. The best part about Rujuta is her endorsement of ‘eat local, think global’, while outlining steps for an easy-to-follow, healthy lifestyle.
Rujuta comes from a humble Maharashtrian background and has shaped her career over a span of more than 15 years, having been a nutritionist to Bollywood but also offering nuggets that the average Indian woman can use, to be healthy every day.
The Big DEAL
"Not very long ago, young married women would visit a gynaecologist to get advice on how to not get pregnant before they were ready. Now we visit them to know how to get pregnant before it’s too late. Women, somehow, now more than ever, feel that they are on some kind of deadline, and that if they don’t pop a baby now, it may be never.
The truth is that we are living longer and we are also getting fatter. All of us are, but more so the urban woman, the one with access to education but not playgrounds. With access to jobs, but no free or me time.
Also read, some Homemade Pregnancy Test ideas.
The big DEAL — our Diet, Exercise, Activity and Lifestyle (alcohol, smoking, stress, sleep) is making us fatter than what our mothers were when they were our age, and more prone to this condition of diabesity. It is the marriage of diabetes and obesity, and we are getting there through the route of insulin resistance.
We may not be exactly obese, but we sure feel heavy in our bodies. We may not exactly have diabetes, but we sure have painful or irregular periods, breakouts and that invincible sweet tooth. Essentially, all signs that we are not regulating our blood sugars as well as we ought to, and that our insulin sensitivity needs a bit of a push.
This push comes from making long-lasting improvements to your diet, exercise, activity and lifestyle. No shortcuts here; the plan has to be something that is long term, irreversible almost, because once the baby pops out, you can’t push it up the vaginal canal. Grossed out? But it’s a fact.
The Upanishads say that food determines both the fertility and protection of progeny. And yet, amongst the things that we undervalue, is the role of food in our reproductive health. In fact, that’s exactly why I decided to write this chapter.
We obsess about what to eat once pregnant, or what we should do to lose weight post-pregnancy, but pay very little attention to food before we get pregnant — and that really is the game-changer.
Here’s a breakdown of what you must do with your diet, exercise, activity and lifestyle to help you get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy.
The thing is, without good food, your hormones cannot be in a state of balance. Your hormones decide your sex drive, fertility, and this in turn defines how easy pregnancy is going to be and how quickly you can knock off the weight you have gained.
Essentially, eating right today can make it extremely easy for you to both get pregnant and get back in shape post it, but you must act now. Now can be anytime, but surely a year before you get pregnant.
And, as step one, ditch the obsession with losing weight. I know, I know, the advice you hear first when you visit your gyny is to lose weight as it is supposed to increase your chances of conception. Sorry, but that is not quite how it works.
The only thing that improves your chances of conception other than good sex, is insulin sensitivity. And to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance, you will have to take the brave path of increasing your lean body weight. And what you eat plays a big role in that.
So here are the top five diet tips to improve insulin sensitivity and make getting pregnant easy:
#1. Reduce intake of packaged products:
Essentially, don’t eat anything that has a nutrient label on the packet. Be it cereals, milk or just biscuits, no more packaged food for you. Especially the low-fat versions of yogurt, cheese or even ice cream. Similarly, stay away from sugar-free products, whether it’s a cupcake, cola or simply a grain-free croissant (whatever that means).
Read this, if you are Travelling While Being Pregnant!
The thumb rule is that if it’s selling on the basis of a single nutrient or ingredient — on the presence or absence of it — then stay away. E.g. gluten-free, low-fat, high-protein, etc. — if this is why you are buying it, then you have fallen for a ploy that is milking profits off the current villain or hero of the weight-loss market, leaving you poorer in both your wallet and health.
Btw, have you heard the latest? Gluten-free is now linked to Type 2 diabetes. So much for you believing that it is the cause of your thyroid, obesity and flatulence. Get real, take the effort to educate yourself on the basics of food.
#2. Eat according to the season:
Recently I published a document online (available for free download on my FB page and website), which lists the fruits, vegetables, grains and pulses that one must eat while they are in season.
Today, with everything being available in the market all the time, the millennials have lost the wisdom of what to eat and what to avoid depending upon the season. Remember, you get everything year round because it’s frozen in some large cold storage. So, make that logistical move from mall to a small market and patronize the stuff that is in season. Other than tasting better, it will also improve your chances of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Improved diet diversity is good news for the intestinal mucosa, probiotic bacteria and insulin sensitivity.
#3. Introduce a pickle/chutney in main meals:
These may not be taught to us as sources of Vit B12 in schools or even nutrition colleges, but it is exactly these essential fat-packed side dishes that help us assimilate and even make our own B12.
You can choose from peanut, til, coconut chutney to mango, mirchi, mushroom pickle based on your taste buds and the region you live in. One tsp of pickle in breakfast or lunch, and two-three tsp of chutney in lunch or dinner provides the body with a dose of essential fats, herbs and spices that are cleverly mixed to improve insulin response.
Besides making the meal interesting, it lowers the glycaemic index of the overall meal, thus allowing insulin to respond optimally. This optimization of insulin response could well be the reason why the body craves for pickle during pregnancy, at least that’s what our Hindi movies teach us.
#4. Learn to set curd at home:
Better still, find a husband who can do it for you. From the diverse strains of gut-friendly bacteria to the essential amino acids and B vitamins, dahi is the magical food that you can’t afford to miss.
The probiotic yogurt in the market is no match for home-set curd. The home-set curd is also a good antidote to breakouts and sweet cravings during PMS and it will help keep acidity under control once pregnant, especially during the first trimester. Have a bowl every day and have it with a meal for best results.
#5. Know when to stop eating:
Follow the Mental Meal Map (also available on my website and fb page). Act as if you are in a cafe? where there is no Wi-Fi; well, that’s the route all hi- cafe?s across the globe are going. They want people to spend time with themselves or have meaningful conversations and simply focus on the food that they are eating, while they are at the cafe?. It invariably leads to people feeling satiated with half the portion of what they typically eat.
Half price mein double mazaa. This is also the agenda of the Mental Meal Map, where you first visualize how much you want to eat and then start with half the amount. The trick is to eat it in double the time you typically take. It means smaller morsels of food enter the stomach, thus improving the micronutrient assimilation and insulin response.
This process can be repeated if required, but the key is to be without gadgets during meal times. This was one of Kareena’s well-kept secrets (when she says she eats everything), till she shared it on our live chat.
This also allows for natural fluctuations in the appetite based on the season, the company you keep or simply the phase of the menstrual cycle you are in."
To know about pregnancy diet tips and a whole lot more, read Rujuta Diwekar’s new book ‘Pregnancy Notes’ available in stores and online. Rujuta has had 5 best selling books in the past and has a huge fan following on social media.
N*****I want to know wat we can do to become easily pregnant without medicine
A*****I also need tips to reduce belly fat and for stretch marks.
J*****Hi to all. I am a new member to this community. I am a post graduate in Engineering and worked for two years. Now I am planning to start a Tuition centre for school students. It is for higher classes. I am nervous to start a new business. Can u give me tips to get success.
R*****Hello mam can u plz recommend me some good products to use after delivery for fair n dull skin n healthy looking skin
S*****Can u give tips relating to after pregnancy belly recd. And stretch marks