An Ayurvedic Diet for Pregnancy
‘You are what you eat’, while this phrase is extremely valid for day to day life, it multiplies ten fold when you are nurturing a baby in your womb. Being mindful of what enters your body, mind and soul is wildly crucial. Ayurvedic practices during pregnancy is believed to bring solace to the mother, in turn providing a healthy and nourished womb for the baby.
A Sattvic Diet is an Ayurvedic diet and focuses on foods that are essential, natural, energy giving and easily digestible for the mother and the baby.
There are three Gunas, or mental temperaments, that a person can fall into, which are Sattvic, Rajasic or Tamasic.
A Sattvic person is one who is calm and composed, and are known to be visionaries. Rajasic individuals are energetic, angsty and uneasy, whereas a Tamasic person is lazy, uninspired and ignorant.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that the parents’ frame of mind plays a factor in the guna of the child. If the mother is in a state of tranquility during her pregnancy, the baby grows to be a Sattvic person.
The Satva path has two aspects to it- the physical and spiritual aspect.
A Sattvic diet is imperative for the healthy growth of the baby in both of these aspects.
It helps in the development of the organs, brain and tissue cells of the baby. It also strengthens the immune system. Some Sattvic foods are:
Ghee from Cow’s Milk
Ghee, made from cow’s milk, is one of the most prominent Sattvic foods. Rice and ghee is considered the food of the Gods. It is an ancient Ayurvedic staple.
Fresh Organic Fruit
Mostly, organic fruit is included in the Sattvic diet. Some fruits like apples, bananas, berries, grapes, melons, oranges, peaches, and plums are considered to be extremely Sattvic. However, some fruits are excluded like tomatoes and avocados. Fruits are considered symbols of generosity and spirituality.
Honey, maple syrup and sugar cane juice, used in moderation, is acceptable to use in a sattvic diet. It is important to avoid processed white sugar.
If you like vegetables, you’re in luck because most vegetables are considered Sattvic, with the exception of hot peppers, mushrooms, garlic, potatoes and onions. Vegetable juice is an effective way to have them. Vegetables like beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green leafies, sweet potatoes, and squash are considered extremely Sattvic.
Nuts, Seeds, and Oils
Fresh and pure almonds, hemp seeds, pine seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts and flax seeds are all excellent for a Sattvic diet. Soaking these overnight might makes them easier for your body to digest. Avoid roasting and salting these as it might negate their Sattvic value. Oils should generally be taken raw but some oils that can be used in cooking are coconut oil, sesame oil and ghee.
Legumes are an extremely rich Sattvic source. The smaller the beans the better. Legumes such as mung beans, split peas, and lentils, are easier to stomach but you can also enjoy chickpeas, aduki and organic tofu.
Herbs are used for medicinal and spiritual purposes.
Some common Sattvic herbs are:
Ashwagandha – Used to combat stress, fatigue, and lack of concentration.
Bacopa – Used to reduce anxiety and strengthen memory.
Calamus – Used as a sedative and to relax muscles.
Gotu kola – Used as a medication enhancer.
Gingko – Used to combat disease from the body, including issues with the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Saffron – Used to bring balance in doshas.
Tulsi – Used in medicinal teas.
Hot and spicy food, uncooked leafy veggies, under cooked beans, processed food and leftovers should be avoided during this period, as they are a part of the Raja- Tama diet, and will bring distress to the baby and make it vulnerable to other health issues.
Pregnancy is a challenging time in a woman’s life. Ayurvedic practices have been proven to make it a smoother, more fulfilling journey by helping you attain physical and psychological well being.