This blog outlines the experience I recently had with the Weston A. Price Diet and Pregnancy. The joy of a traditional foods diet is that it is simple, fulfilling, and easy to stick to. I shifted to a traditional diet a few months before finding out I was pregnant, and I kept that diet throughout my pregnancy and postpartum recovery with great results! Here is the full story! See the bottom of this blog for the complete disclaimer!
This past pregnancy was by far my easiest and best pregnancy to date! At the start, I just thought I was lucky, but deep down I was waiting on the other shoe to drop. I kept expecting the difficulties of pregnancy to creep up, and when it didn’t I worried he wasn’t forming as he should. After a very brisk labor, I sat staring at the biggest baby I had ever birthed. His cord was so thick they could barely get a clamp around it.
If you read my content much then you probably know that I love to study food, health, and all of the connections between the two. But I had never had a first hand experience quite like this. I chose to nourish my body differently this pregnancy and I fully believe it made all the difference!
I decided to write this blog outlining the components of a traditional diet that I utilized this pregnancy, and the impact those changes had. The research behind each of these choices can be found at the Weston A. Price Foundation. All that being said, here is the complete breakdown of my experience with the Weston A. Price Diet and pregnancy.
Disclaimer: As always this is not health advice; this is simply my own experience from this past pregnancy. Any changes to your diet should be discussed with your doctor or midwife. Every mama, every pregnancy, and every baby is different.
What is the Weston A. Price diet?
A few years back I stumbled upon the novel idea of a traditional diet. As someone who was raised on farms and in a rural community, it just made sense to me. While it wasn’t always the way we ate growing up, it was very much in line with what I had been taught about food. In days gone by, people lived off the land. They ate what they hunted, raised, caught, or grew themselves. When they spread their table, they knew where their food came from.
Today, we have a society ladened with health issues that didn’t previously exist. Children are being placed on daily medications at earlier and earlier ages. ADHD, ADD, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and gingivitis are on the rise. The sad truth though is that our diet is the main culprit. Our fruits, vegetables, and wheat are heavily sprayed. Convenience foods are the most affordable and packed with dyes, processed sugars, chemicals.
Weston A. Price was a dentist who set out to find the links between nutrition, dental, and physical health. He studied primitive people and the impact their diet had on their overall health. His research, though often controversial, founded the National Dental Association, a holistic approach to dentistry, and paved the way for those like Sally Fallon Morell to move forward in studying traditional diets and their impact on health.
What does the Weston A. Price diet- or a traditional diet look like?
The Weston A. Price diet is marked by nutrient dense foods like good quality meat, raw milk, pasture raised eggs, bone broths, real salt, and foods found on farms and in nature. Traditional foods are usually those which you can grow or source yourself. So if it comes from a well cared for barnyard, good- from a lab, bad. It is really that simple!
While the foods we eat are important, it also matters how you prepare them. What things are left raw, which ones need to be fermented, sprouted, or cooked a certain way. That may sound complicated on its face, but this is true for essentially every diet. The way you cook, prepare, and consume a food matters! Click here for a brief overview of what a traditional diet does and does not consist of.
Transforming to Traditional
I am so sick of fad diets. When I first began my motherhood journey, I wanted to feed my family well, but I wasn’t even sure what that looked like. In the early days, it was some odd mix of frozen meals, hamburger helper, strawberries, fish, and pop-tarts. I had some things right. My Pa killed a cow and stocked our family freezers each year, so we had access to local, farm fresh meat without even thinking about it. We are surrounded by farmers, gardens, and real food, but we also have a Wal-Mart and a McDonald’s. We ate a little bit of all of the above.
Our diet really started to shift after I noticed the impact that artificial dyes were having on our family. Once I started reading ingredient labels I started to wonder what all the other ingredients were. Once you go down that rabbit hole, it is hard to come back out. I started to feel so much restriction and suffocation from food that I felt I had two options: either find a diet that was sustainable and freeing or give up completely.
That’s when I came across the farm to table movement. We tore down our deck and built a large planter. I fell in love with seeds and gardening and the idea of homesteading. Soon sourdough smells filled the house and I scheduled a raw milk pick up. Then, I stumbled upon the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell, and my life was forever changed! It was that missing link that somehow made all the pieces fit together. The research was there, the proof was there, and I found so much freedom in feeding my family the traditional way!
So what does the Weston A. Price Diet and Pregnancy look like?
I think as Mamas- particularly pregnant and breastfeeding Mamas- we always try to think of how our diet and eating habits impact our babies. In past pregnancies, I was mindful of what I ate, but I didn’t always know what the best options were. This time around I felt much more in tune with what my body needed and how to nourish myself and my baby well!
Below are seven things I added to my pregnancy diet this time around and 3 things I chose to omit this time. These are all compliant with a Weston A. Price diet and pregnancy. Some things on this list may be advised against by your doctor or midwife, so always talk with them before making major dietary changes!
7 Additions to My Pregnancy Diet
1. Grass-Fed Butter
If you read my blogs much or if you know me at all, then you probably already know my obsession with grass-fed butter. I swear by it. It is added to my daily diet with great joy. Butter is a cuss word in the fad dieting world. It is associated with high cholesterol and obesity. But allow me to let you in on a little secret: that’s because it isn’t real butter. It’s inflammatory seed oils mixed with just enough sweet cream to slap a label with the word ‘butter’ on it.
Grass-fed butter is different. It is real and raw and beautiful- just as food should be. Real food should have a starting point at someplace other than a lab. Like the rich green pastures of rural America. A true plant based butter should begin with the cow who consumed the plant. Butter is made by separating the thick, rich cream from the milk. From there the cream is beaten, or churned, until it separates into a solid (butter) and a liquid (buttermilk). The butter is then rinsed, salted, molded, and ready to be enjoyed!
So why add grass-fed butter to your pregnancy/breastfeeding diet? Grass-fed butter is a healthy fat. It is rich in bioavailable vitamin A and vitamin K2. I’m sure we will touch on this more in a minute- but if you are in the skin care world you probably already know that synthetic vitamin A (retinol) is unsafe in pregnancy. Vitamin A is, in its natural form, an essential nutrient for growth and development. Grass-fed butter is a great way to get real vitamin A that your body can actually utilize.
2. Raw Milk
Let me begin by saying raw milk is not considered safe to consume- especially in pregnancy. For that reason, I almost left it off of this list, but the truth is I purposed to drink it daily this past pregnancy. I am not telling anyone they should, but I will explain why I did.
For one, I trust the farmer I get my milk from a whole lot more than I trust anyone at Purity or even Organic Valley. (No offense, I’m sure they are lovely people.) But buying milk from a local farm, where I can see and talk to the farmer- where I know they give this same milk to their children- where I can actually meet the cows- I trust the quality of their milk far more than anything on the shelf at Wal-Mart.
Raw milk, for those who may not know, is exactly what it sounds like. Raw. It is directly from the cow and generally only strained. Store bought milk is heated to either 145° (pasteurized) or 280° (ultra pasteurized) in order to kill any bad bacteria. Just like with antibiotics this process also kills the good bacteria. Many people with an allergy to dairy can tolerate raw milk. Why? Because raw milk contains the enzymes needed to break it down rather than relying on your body to do all the work.
Raw milk, much like breast milk, is a near perfect food. Those benefits extend to humans, not just calves. Most of us associate milk with vitamin D and calcium. The issue with pasteurized milk is that those vitamins are lost during the pasteurization process, so instead synthetics are added back in. Synthetic vitamins are not the same as those that are available in real foods, and most of our bodies cannot properly utilize the synthetic versions. Raw milk is full of healthy enzymes, probiotics, vitamins, healthy fats, and protein that are either lost or inhibited by pasteurization.
Want to know more about the benefits of raw milk? Check out this podcast from the Simple Farmhouse Life.
Looking to source raw milk locally? Check out GetRawMilk.com to find a dairy near you!
3. Beef Liver
Did you cringe a little when you read #3?
So did I. I adore meat. If I had to summarize my diet I would probably say I’m a carnivore, but when it comes to organ meat I am less than enthusiastic. So let me address why I chose to include it before I address some ideas for how.
Beef liver is a essentially a bioavailable multivitamin. Beef liver provides more than 100% of your daily recommended dose of Vitamin A. It is rich in the complete list of B vitamins, Vitamin C, D, K, Phosphorous, Potassium, CoQ10, Choline, Folate (essential in a healthy pregnancy), Hyaluronic Acid, and Chromium. But the main reason I chose to start beef liver is because I always have low iron. Beef liver is rich in Copper, which is critical in order to properly absorb and utilize iron. It is also rich in heme iron. This was my first pregnancy where my iron levels stayed consistently where they should be, and I give beef liver all the credit!
So now for the real question, how do you stomach it if you don’t like it?
One way is simply to puree beef liver and add it daily to meals like soup, taco meat, or shepherds pie. Another is to freeze it for a couple of weeks then simply cut off small pieces to swallow like a vitamin each day. (Beef liver should be frozen for 2 weeks in order to kill all the pathogens before consumption. It also will bleed a lot when you cut it, so you may want to designate a certain cutting board for liver.) But my favorite method- the one I use daily- is a beef liver supplement.
You want one that is simply just desiccated beef liver inside a capsule. Simply take 3 to 6 capsules a day. They do have an off-putting taste for a second, but the benefits are 100% worth it!
Grab some beef liver supplements in the “Shop this Post” section below!
4. Fermented Foods
Gut health is so crucial whether you are a pregnant mama, an infant, a breastfeeding mama, a gracefully aging Grandma or anyone in between. If you haven’t already read our full blog on How To Improve Gut Health for Your Whole Family, read it here! Gut health has been known to help with everything from morning sickness to boosting your baby’s immune system as they pass through the birth canal.
Fermented foods are crucial for a healthy gut. In fact fermenting food increases the overall number of nutrients in the food! Most people know how important probiotics are, but there is so much more to gut health than just taking a daily probiotic. In fact, prolonged usage of a probiotic can actually have a negative effect on gut health. Adding probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, raw milk, kombucha, kefir, and sourdough can help build a healthy gut- and in turn a healthy pregnancy.
5. Raspberry Leaf Tea
I’m not a sweet tea drinker. I know, I hate to admit it. I’m a Tennessee girl, but I have never understood the hype over sweet tea. Hot tea, however, I like! Though I am completely burnt out on raspberry tea at this point, I enjoyed sipping it throughout this pregnancy.
Raspberry leaf offers a plethora of benefits to the pregnant body and they only get better and better as the pregnancy progresses. Raspberry leaf can help curb nausea and morning sickness early in pregnancy. It is believed to help strengthen the uterus making for shorter and more effective labors. It is also associated with better natural birthing outcomes and less bleeding after birth. I personally have birthed 3 times without the influence of red raspberry leaf and twice with it, and I can safely say I will never birth without it again.
I drink it here and there throughout pregnancy, but once I hit the third trimester, I get very intentional with my consumption. I purpose to drink one cup a day until about 34 weeks and then I up it to 2-3 cups per day!
This MaterniTea is a local treasure from Synergy Herbal Works.
6. Bone Broth
Bone broth is such a beautiful whole food. Bone broth has become one of the first real foods I introduce in baby led weaning, a weekly added staple to a dish on our dinner table, and a crucial part of my pregnancy diet. You probably think of chicken soup or cold and flu season when you think of broth. And with good reason! Broth is packed with minerals, collagen, and nourishing protein. “There is actually more collagen in our bodies than muscle. Our joints, eyes, and yes- the lining of our gut are made of collagen.” (Quote from our blog: How to improve gut health for the whole family)
Bone broth is made by simmering bones, fat, skin, and other animal tissue in boiling water for hours. A good quality bone broth should be gelatinous. You can add bone broth to soups, stews, chicken pot pie, sauces, gravies and more!
7. Pasture Raised Eggs
Eggs were my main craving this pregnancy. I ate them on and with everything. I was even topping my sourdough pizzas with eggs and it was absolutely delicious! With a yard full of free ranging chickens, this certainly was not a bad craving, but the thing is pasture raised eggs are such a rich and beautiful prenatal food that I couldn’t have chosen a better thing to crave.
Eggs are rich in selenium, vitamins A, B12, D, E, and choline. Choline is essential in brain development and gene expression in a developing baby. Egg yolks, particularly pasture raised egg yolks, contain approximately 115 mg of natural choline per serving.
So what’s the difference between a cheaper store brand egg and an egg marked ‘pasture raised’?
Eggs are marketed heavily just like everything else with words like “farm fresh”, “organic”, and “free range”. But what do these clever marketing phrases actually mean and is there any difference between them?
Generally speaking ‘farm fresh’ means the eggs are brown. People usually assume brown eggs to be healthier, but the reality is different chickens lay different colors of eggs. The color of the shell has no impact on the contents inside. The real defining factor between eggs is how the chickens are kept and fed. Organic eggs means that their feed is free of genetically modified ingredients, harmful sprays, and pesticides. “Free range” implies that the chickens have space to move around with possible access to the outdoors. It is a fuzzy term at best since it doesn’t require that chickens actually have free outdoor space to roam daily.
Pasture raised is the only marketing term that carries much merit. Pasture raised chickens have access to some type of outdoor grassy space every single day. Still the best place to purchase eggs- if you don’t have chickens in your backyard- remains from a local family or farmer.
3 Things I Omitted From My Pregnancy Diet
1. Prenatal Vitamins
I would never suggest to anyone to stop taking a prenatal vitamin. Especially if you have one that works for you. I have never been so lucky, unfortunately. I have one of those fun thyroids that doesn’t tolerate iodine which makes finding a prenatal difficult. Most prenatal vitamins are not in forms our bodies can break down and actually utilize. This is why our pregnancy diet is so crucial. It is the #1 source of nutrients for our body.
There are some great prenatal vitamins out there that are derived from whole food and in quantities sufficient to support a healthy pregnancy. But I skipped those this pregnancy and for me personally, I don’t regret that decision. So what did I do instead?
You may have guessed it- beef liver! Beef liver was my prenatal vitamin this time, and as I mentioned earlier, I had great iron levels for once and my healthiest pregnancy (and biggest baby) to date! Again this is not to tell you to skip prenatal vitamins, but get to know your body. Learn what your body needs to support a healthy pregnancy and the things that perhaps you are deficient in. Then, build a diet and supplement plan around that catering to yours and your baby’s individual needs. Every Mama and every pregnancy is different and our prenatal diets should reflect that!
2. Traditional Pain Medicines
I hate pain. I suppose no one likes it, but I am a complete baby about it. Don’t let my natural birth stories make you think I am tough. I mean it when I say God takes over, because I can’t do it. Headaches, stomaches, knee pains- you name it- I can’t handle it. Up until about 5 years ago I popped Ibuprofen without a second thought. Over the past few years I have opted to only take OTC pain medicines when something was really, really bothering me. But because of the Tylenol lawsuits, I have opted to avoid all OTC pain medicines.
Here’s the thing Mama friends, we do not have to suffer or compromise. There are so many ways to treat aches, pains, and ailments without medications that often come with harsh side effects. Herbs, tinctures, teas, and rubs are so plentiful online and in health food stores. My personal favorite is Ear Oil from Herbal Blessings. (See link below!) And no, it isn’t only for ear aches. (Though I have used it to treat many of those also!) I’ve used this on my neck and temples to treat headaches, on the bottoms of feet and knees for aches and pains, and I’ve even used it on gums when I had a toothache. This is my go-to for minor ailments, but having an herbalist or a natural minded friend or doctor in your corner is such a valuable asset- whether you are pregnant or not! (And Dana, if you’re reading this, I’m so thankful for you! ❤️)
I won’t claim to have cut this out entirely this pregnancy, but I tried to be very aware of how much of it was in my diet. Generally speaking, I crave Chinese food when I am pregnant. But this time I took a pass and chose to avoid anything with high amounts of soy. I avoid soy to some extent all the time because it is commonly genetically modified and offers little to no nutritional value. In pregnancy, particularly with boys, I have become much more cautious. Early on I was 100% certain Isaac was a girl, but I chose to avoid it anyways- deeming it safest that way. I’m glad I did!
Soy is heavily sprayed, GMO, contains protease inhibitors (protease is the digestive enzyme that breaks down protein), and isoflavones that mimic estrogen in the body potentially hindering testosterone production. There is a lot of back and forth on the benefits and harms of soy, but it seems that we are increasingly finding more issues with its presence in our diets. For that reason I chose to remove it- as much as possible- from my prenatal diet.
Want more research on the effects of soy? Click here!
When I found out I was pregnant with my first baby I instantly started researching everything I should and shouldn’t do and eat. I ended up reading that you should begin preparing your body for pregnancy about three years before you actually get pregnant. Kudos to you if you did that, but three years before I had my son I was living off goldfish and student loans. I’m sure I was deficient in most everything with my first pregnancy.
Over the years, I have sought out a better way to eat. This is definitely an interest of mine, but so many ‘fad’ diets and trends just never made sense to me. I read a lot of books, tried a lot of different foods, and sampled a lot of different lifestyles. Each of them seemed to come with its own baggage.
But food should be a beautiful experience. It should nourish our bodies and make us feel good. God created food and our bodies to need it after all. All of this plant based meat and lab created food has left many of us worried about moving forward, and instead choosing to glance back.
We took baby steps to get here, to get back to the only diets our great grandparents knew. And these nourishing traditions have changed everything. So no matter where you are- planning a pregnancy, pregnant, breastfeeding, chasing around toddlers, preparing for an empty nest, or aging with grace- it is never too late to seek a diet that better nourishes your body!
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a research backed organization seeking to enrich lives with wisdom surrounding traditional farming, cooking, and eating practices. Their work centers around real, nutrient dense food and raising up healthier generations. To read more on Sally Fallon Morell and the work the Weston A. Price Foundation is doing visit: westonaprice.org. This blog is not sponsored by Weston A. Price Foundation. I am simply sharing my experience with their wisdom!
Disclaimer: This is not health advice; this is simply my own experience from this past pregnancy. Any changes to your diet should be discussed with your doctor or midwife. Every mama, every pregnancy, and every baby is different.
Shop This Post:
Let us know what your favorite health foods are- inside and out of pregnancy!
*This blog does contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I do earn a small commission off of every purchase made through our website. This is at no additional cost to you, but it is a blessing to our family!