Why Primal, Especially During Pregnancy

Eating a Caveman Diet

Authorities on Prenatal nutrition will say that the best diet during pregnancy is one rich in whole grains, and low in fat and animal protein. In fact, they may even say that it could be dangerous NOT to eat grains.

Our Paleolithic ancestors lived for thousands of years without grains – in fact, they thrived. Perhaps the most appropriate question to ask is if the Standard American Diet is safe. Infertility rates are high and continuing to increase. 1 in 7 women today have trouble conceiving, and a recent study in the U.K. predicted that number could more than double (to 1 in 3) by 2020. And that’s not even getting into the debate about obesity rates and the skyrocketing amount of weight women are gaining during pregnancy.

The main question I get when someone – especially women – discover I eat a Primal diet is:

Is that healthy for the baby? You’re supposed to have 9-11 servings of grain a day! You need the fiber!

What about fiber, vitamins and minerals?

I get my fiber from fruits and vegetables, which actually contain more fiber than grains. Your body can actually digest the fiber in these foods, whereas the bulk fiber in grains simply…pass through.

Grains have been associated with minerals deficiencies, perhaps because of high phytate levels. A diet high in grains may also reduce the body’s ability to process vitamin D, something baby White definitely needs!

There are more vitamins and minerals in meat, vegetables, and fruit than in any grain.

Here’s some scientific info: Grains are made up of lectins, gluten, and phytates.

Lectins bind to insulin receptors, attack the stomach lining of insects, bind to human intestinal lining, and they seemingly cause leptin resistance. And leptin resistance predicts a “worsening of the features of the metabolic syndrome independently of obesity”.

Gluten, found in wheat, rye, and barley, is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin. Just because you’re not celiac (highly allergic to gluten) doesn’t mean you aren’t susceptible to the dangers. Anti-gliadin IgA is an antibody produced by the gut, and it remains there until it’s dispatched to ward off gliadin – a primary component of gluten. Basically, the only reason anti-gliadin IgA ends up in your stool is because your body sensed an impending threat – gluten. If gluten poses no threat, the anti-gliadin IgA stays in your gut.

Phytates are a problem, too, because they make minerals bio-unavailable (so much for all those healthy vitamins and minerals we need from whole grains!), thus rendering null and void the last, remaining argument for cereal grain consumption.

The Primal Food Pyramid

Is a Primal diet good for baby?

Eating a nutrient dense, high fat, moderate protein diet while the baby is growing will give them all the building blocks they need to create healthy, strong neural connections and a resilient body.

Eating a variety of whole foods – preferably from organic/free-range/grass-fed/wild-caught sources – will minimize pesticide, antibiotic and synthetic hormone exposure to the baby, so that they will grow up with a strong immune system, normal hormonal profile and good fertility.

Adding bone broths, gelatin and organ meats from free-range animals will provide essential micronutrients that are often missing in the Standard American Diet and ensure the baby has strong bones and teeth.

I personally don’t see a downside to any of that!

How did I discover that a Primal diet worked for me?

Elimination.

There wasn’t any need for me to lose weight – what I had were some serious digestive issues that medicine didn’t seem to correct. Now, on the weekends when I “cheat” I realize just how good I feel on a Primal diet. Processed vegetable oils and grains just make me feel bad – even worse now that I’ve successfully taken them out of my daily routine.

But everyone is different. Paleo may work better for some, because their systems just can’t handle dairy. Luckily I don’t have that issue! How careful you are, if you can even tolerate the occasional cheat, and just how far that cheating should go, is all up to your body’s makeup.

So, am I Primal or simply Grain Free?

There are some staunch Primal followers out there who truly attempt to eat as a caveman would have. They claim that even cooking food in certain ways is not how our ancestors did it.

For me, it’s not about my ancestors. It’s about my body. If I can make a casserole, pizza, or even muffins and desserts using “primal” ingredients that my body likes, I’m going to attempt it. Why? Because those foods make me happy. Food makes me happy. And if cavemen had ovens and a way to make coconut flour, they would have done the same.

For even more info, check out The Definitive Guide to Grains.

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4 thoughts on “Why Primal, Especially During Pregnancy

  1. Not to be argumentative, but perhaps “food” for thought…as early as Genesis, I find reference to grains (Abraham told Sarah to “Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth) Gen 18. Since there was no man until Adam (and God told Adam in Gen 3: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread”), I can’t figure out when the Paleolithic ancestors lived?

    1. Not argumentative at all! I’ll do my best to answer:

      As for the grains bit – the Hebrew word for Bread – Lehem – is translated as grain, but it is also translated as food. “In the sweat of thy face you shall eat bread” – is really food. We also have to realize that grains in those days are very different to grains today. First off there were only 3 species of grains in Biblical time in comparison to the 25,000+ today. Also the grains then had much higher protein counts and very little carbohydrates. Additionally, the grains were prepared much differently than they are now – mostly unleven (did not rise), and in the past they recognized the ill effects of grains (the gluten and lectin) and would eat things with it to neutralize those effects (such as olive oil, and soaking and fermenting the grains before eating them). We do not do this today, which makes the grains much harder to digest.

      Also, the first mention of this word “grains” is not mentioned until after the fall. Adam and eve only ate fruits and plants, but grains (if we take that word as bread and not the original translation of food) are only mentioned when God is cursing them and throwing them out of Eden – so God did not initially intend us to eat grains.

      Because the concept of time is so relative, and has changed so much, since Adam and Eve and the creation of the world, 1 day in today’s terminology would have actually been the length of 8 million years in biblical times. With this, it is very easy to imagine that our Paleolithic ancestors were Cane and Able’s peers. Thousands of years, and an entire ice age presumably, would separate them from the time of Abraham and Sarah.

      I hope that wasn’t too long winded or confusing!!

      1. You explained your thoughts very well…thank you. I’m really enjoying your journey to motherhood.

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