Originally published on October 10, 2012
By guest blogger Pooja Mottl
What if someone told you “dirt” and “pregnancy” are intimately connected? Would you believe it? Consider this: The health of “dirt” (a.k.a. soil) could have a significant impact not only on the health of your pregnancy but also on the well-being of your baby after he or she arrives into the world. Let’s explore this fascinating connection by linking the dots one by one.
The healthier the soil, the more nutrient dense your food
Vibrant, healthy soil is where it all begins. Just look back at the philosophy of organic pioneers J.I. and Robert Rodale who knew that the nutritional value of foods begins with the condition of the soil and the way that food is grown.
Every day, our precious soil is altered by harsh agricultural processes and chemicals unknown to Mother Nature. The use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, for example, essentially makes our soil “sick,” depleting it of its naturally-occurring minerals and vital microorganisms. Sick soil can’t grow food that has the maximum amount of nutrients possible. Only healthy soil can do that. “Nutrient density” is a measurement of the amount of nutrients per volume of food . If a food is giving you the maximum amount of nutrients it can per volume, it is a highly nutrient-dense food. Healthy soil maximizes the nutrient density of the food we and other animals (cows, sheep, etc.) eat. The more we respect the health of soil, the more nutritious our food
Another (often surprising) aspect to healthier soil is that it enhances the flavor in food. Raspberries taste sweeter. Milk, butter and yogurt taste creamier, richer and more indulgent . This is why the world’s top chefs seek out only the freshest ingredients from the most sustainable farms – they want their food to blow your taste buds away!
Healthier food means a healthier 9 months
Pregnant mamas have a lot to look forward to. Take it from me: I’ve had the honor of having this experience. However, during these precious nine months, optimal nourishment is the most critical for mom as she not only needs to nourish herself but also her growing baby . Whole, unrefined foods that come from healthy, organic soils are what she needs most (and we just learned how tasty this food can be!). Otherwise, if food is coming from unhealthy soils, moms may need to eat a higher volume of foods to get the same amount of nutrients. And we know what that means: more volume = more weight gain. Unnecessary pounds during pregnancy can lead to a less energetic, more “achy” three quarters of a year. Also, unnecessary weight gain, especially from refined and processed foods, can lead to gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia and increased risk of caesarian section delivery .
A healthier pregnancy, a healthier baby
There are numerous studies linking the foods that moms choose to eat prenatally and how this can affect babies after they make their arrival into the world. Pesticide exposure is a big one and has been linked to damaged brain development in babies . Growing babes need a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrient-dense foods to develop the vital organs and other body and brain functions they require. Healthy babies also benefit from a physically stronger, happier, and more balanced mama during pregnancy. So at the end of the day, it just makes sense that the healthier a prenatal experience, the better chance for a baby to end up being a strong and optimally nourished child, free of ailments and disease.
Bringing It Full Circle
That’s how the dots connect: healthy “dirt” ultimately leads to a healthy baby! It’s a linkage we don’t seem to think about, but one which is so critical to the beautiful, human experiences of pregnancy and childbirth. Campaigns to grow our food and take care of our soil as J.I. and Robert Rodale envisioned can support millions of women on their way to partaking in one of the most natural and ethereal experiences of their lives: becoming mothers. If we honor our soil, we are ultimately honoring the next generation.
Pooja Mottl is a Sustainable Chef, Speaker, Healthy Lifestyle Coach and Creator of 3-Day Resets (www.3DayResets.com) and Pooja’s Way (www.PoojasWay.com). She is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, and holds a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. She has taught cooking classes at Whole Foods Market and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Pooja has appeared on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America,” WGN TV’s “Lunchbreak,” as well as Martha Stewart Radio (Sirius XM) among other outlets