This week we turn the topic of attention to all the great low-carb moms and future moms of the world who might be wondering how exactly they should be eating while pregnant and what to feed their child once those little bundles of joy say hello to the world. It’s such an important topic that I’ve asked not just one but two bona fide experts on this subject to help answer your questions about it. Nutritional wellness expert Maria Emmerich has long been providing amazing low-carb nutritional recipes and advice on her “Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal” and she was featured in Episode 376 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show.” In November 2011, she adopted two beautiful baby boys from Ethiopia and has seen firsthand what it’s like feeding children well. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of her brand new June 2012 book on how to feed kids well called The Art of Eating Healthy – Kids: Grain Free Low Carb Reinvented (Volume 2).
Another excellent guest expert joining us is Valerie Berkowitz from the “For The Health Of It” blog who was featured in Episode 251 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show.” Not only does this registered dietitian who worked with the late, great Dr. Robert Atkins in his complementary medicine clinic recommend healthy low-carb living for her clients, she herself has given birth to several babies following strict adherence to the Atkins Lifetime Maintenance plan. With Maria and Valerie on hand for this week’s show, we’ll have a lot of wisdom to share.
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Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:
TONY ASKS: My wife and I are going to try start a family next month. We have read and heard about the warnings from taking Paleo or low carb too far and how it may inhibit fertility. Even the Paleo doctors recognize this as a possible problem and recommend making sure you get enough safer starches. Some go as far as going to recommend some regular potatoes or white rice.
DAYTONA ASKS: I have heard that it is not a good idea to go very low carb during pregnancy because it sends a signal to the fetus that “food is scarce” and therefore changes the child’s epigenetics in a negative way (e.g. predisposed to storing fat). Is there any basis to this? If so, how does a mother juggle her own need to be low-carb with their child’s needs?
LEANNA ASKS: I would like to know if there are any nutrients or supplements that I should amp up in my diet if I am trying to conceive.
LAURA ASKS: I am 32-year old T1 diabetic and have been following a slightly modified Bernstein Diabetes Solution plan for the past two years, meaning that I eat between 20 and 45 g of carbohydrate per day. This keeps my sugars in excellent control most of the time. I low-carb to control my diabetes, not to lose weight. I have one son who is three years old and I was not on a low-carb diet during that pregnancy. My son is very healthy and I had no complications with the pregnancy despite the frequent blood sugar swings and lows that come with the hormonal changes and eating a higher carb diet.
My doctor at the time stressed the potential for brain damage in the fetus when the mother eats a low-carb diet. Note that when I was pregnant with my son, my sugars were well-controlled according to my A1c levels but I did have daily swings and tons of lows, which really tuckered me out. Since starting the low-carb diet, I feel so much better, more energy, stable sugars,and don’t plan to ever go back. That said, this past year I have had two miscarriages. I am wondering if the low-carb diet could have played a role in those miscarriages. Would you please comment on your recommendations for diabetics – most of what I have read online seems to recommend the maintenance or a non-ketogenic phase for low-carb dieting during pregnancy. However, anything above the 45g of carb for me tends to screw with my blood sugar control.
My gut feeling is that it would be more important for me to tightly control my blood sugars than to avoid ketosis, but I’m not 100% sure about that. What is your opinion?
Feeding a baby:
LAURA FROM OTTAWA ASKS:I just had a baby 6 weeks ago after a (mostly) low carb pregnancy. Right now my baby is on a combination of mom’s milk and formula. My question relates to when the baby is 4-6 months and starting on solid foods. My understanding is that human milk has a certain carb content that might be higher than what a low-carber might eat. Is there a requirement for babies of a certain age to have some carbs in their diet? I wasn’t planning to feed him cereals, bread, potatoes, pasta or any of that junk. Is that wise?
JOE ASKS: My son and daughter-in-law are vegans (for philosophical reasons) and have a healthy 7-month old boy. What would you recommend, as vegans, for particular foods/supplements they’d need to include in his diet after they wean him? They are open-minded and in fact raise chickens so they can eat free-range eggs every day. I think that’s the main departure I’ve heard of for them from the strict vegan diet.
ZACK ASKS:I have a 2.5 year old. What is a good rule of thumb in terms of caloric intake and/or macronutrient ratios? Obviously he isn’t going to be eating as much as I do, but I want to make sure he is getting enough meat and fat based on the amount he does eat.
Feeding older kids/teenagers:
TAMMIE ASKS:I have a question about pre-teen female children approaching puberty. What foods are important for her changing hormones to keep her balanced, avoid acne, etc.?
DAWN ASKS:I am transitioning to a low-carb diet and am TRYING to include my two sons who are 12 and 13 years old. My main problem is trying to break them of the habit of cereal in the morning. I do work outside of my home, and so making a quick breakfast is imperative, as I oftentimes don’t time have to cook before we leave the house at 7:30AM. Also, I am trying to eat about 50 grams of carbohydrate, I would think that is way too low for growing children, but what is the amount of carbs that is correct for children this age?
SUSAN ASKS:I have two teenagers (15 and 19) with acne. Eliminating milk has helped enormously, though we still eat some cheese, not every day. Reducing gluten has helped somewhat as well. We juice daily with mainly green veggies. I have added vitamin D, probiotics and omega-3 oil. The redness is pretty much gone and it looks far less angry, but how do you make it go away? Is there more to the story here? They have both seen that when they eat like a typical American teenager, by the next morning the acne is back in full-swing. But even being really good does not make it go away completely. Help!