The pregnant woman should eat little but often, at regular hours, through out the day, rather than consuming large quantities of food at mealtimes. Since it is she who is supporting the child growing inside her, she requires a highly balanced diet, which must be prolonged after childbirth into the weaning period. The future mother must avoid over-eating. Moderation is the rule prescribed by the thousand- year-old medical science of Ayurveda. One should only eat when one is genuinely hungry, and leave the table without feeling bloated.
The mother-to–be should eat healthy, natural food-preferably untreated and avoid food which is overcooked or contains too much fat, sugar or seasoning. It is better to avoid meat-especially red meat, or consume very little, for meat engenders toxins in the organism. On the other hand, fish can be recommended, because it is rich in minerals. Non-vegetarians suffering from iron deficiency can eat liver and kidneys,
Vegetarianism is a common practice in India, and many people have come to us for advice concerning the foodstuffs, which contain the most proteins. We should like to reply here by indicating the foodstuffs which ‘ are richest in vegetable proteins, as well as other products vital to the health, on account of the fact that they contain minerals and vitamins.
It is important to eat cereals: wheat, maize, oats, rye, rice, whole meal bread, whole meal flower, and dry vegetables: lentils, dhal, dried peas, chickpeas, beans, Soya-beans or bean sprouts, and tapioca containing protein.
We recommend eating dairy products: milk (a complete food), curd and cottage cheese rich in calcium. Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins and indispensable to a balanced vegetarian diet. Spinach, lettuce; potatoes, celery and artichoke hearts, apples, bananas, and papaya contain large quantities of iron juicy fruits-lemons, oranges, pineapple, papaya, apples, all green vegetables, Soya and nuts contain calcium.
Magnesium is contained in regular vegetables, other vegetables with green leaves, different varieties of nuts, and non-refined cereals.
Potassium is contained in treacle, whole grains, and almonds.
Not to be forgotten are honey, non-refined sugar, figs and dates, which all provide instant energy.’
Those suffering from constipation are advised to eat apples. Grapes, stewed prunes and figs and thin vegetable soup. One should not eat fruit or drink fruit juice after cheese, because this leads to fermentation within the digestive system and provokes flatulence.
Whether or not she follows a vegetarian diet, the future mother needs to absorb proteins, calcium, iron and mineral salts, which make it possible for the skeleton and muscular tissue of the embryo to form. She should take vitamins A, B, C, D and E, for these are indispensable. They are contained in the foodstuffs recommended above.
Alcohol and tobacco are forbidden during pregnancy, and the consumption of tea and coffee should be reduced.
Sample Menus for a Single Day
Studies have shown that a person’s energy during the day is to a large extent due to what he has eaten for breakfast. This meal should therefore be nourishing and ensure the body an adequate supply of proteins and carbohydrates such as honey, treacle, cane sugar, maize, puffed rice, etc.
On rising, it is possible to eat a piece of fruit or drink some un chilled fruit juice. Breakfast consists of a cup of tea or coffee with milk ‘ or plain milk or Ovaltine, and cereals: porridge, cornflakes, a slice of whole meal bread or Ryvita, whole meal biscuits, Dar Vida or whole meal cakes with honey-a maximum of one soupspoon per day to avoid gaining weight and butter. If desired, one or two soft-boiled eggs can replace the cereals.
Vegetarians can begin the meal with raw vegetables, followed by a choice of lentils, dhal, various kinds of beans, chickpeas or Soya, all of which are rich in proteins. They can also eat fresh vegetables of the season, e.g. aubergine curry, peas and mushrooms with rice, green salad, curd or cottage cheese. The meal is rounded off by a dessert such as pudding or stewed fruit, or fruit salad.
Teatime consists of not-too strong tea with milk or lemon, milk on its own (or mixed with syrup or Ovaltine), or fresh fruit juice. We suggest eating a slice of whole meal bread, gingerbread, or one or two whole meal cakes with butter and a little honey.
Dalia in Dinner
This meal begins with mixed salad or vegetable soup, followed by a dish of cereals: wheat semolina, Dalia in Indian parlance, wheat couscous, a North African dish, an Italian pasta, wheat pilpil boulghour or polenta, according to choice, plus fresh vegetables. Those who like rice may eat pullao with almonds or lemon rice.
For dessert, one may eat curd, fresh or dried fruit, carrot halva or coconut cake. One can also make a Swiss country dinner consisting of boiled potatoes in their jackets with butter and cheese-gruyere, fribourg, or processed cheese-and mixed salad.
To take another example, we recommend eating Bircher Muesli. with whole meal bread and butter, accompanied by herbal tea-. At bedtime, one may drink a coup of milk with saffron or milk with honey. It is also possible to drink a camomile tea with a slice of lemon, lime-blossom tea, verbena tea, etc., with honey or unrefined sugar