This question has come to the forefront of my mind with the addition of a baby to our family. After a severe bout with hypoglycemia in my mid-20s, I became convinced that food was medicine. At a time where I was so sick and fragile, food was the only way out of the waves of nausea and fainting spells that plagued me. And having a careful constructed diet with fairly pure food choices and an exact number of carbs and proteins with each meal brought me back to health. I stayed on this food plan for a year and then the uniformity of my meals— oatmeal, pb&j on whole wheat, grapes, and nuts to name just a few of my breakfast and lunch staples– resulted in massive food allergies that presented when I went into anaphylactic shock during a road race. My new food priority was consuming food that wouldn’t consume me in hives, anaphylaxsis, or anything else that risked my health in a different way than the hypoglycemia had.
Years later, I fell mostly off my pure food diet, although I always return diligently to its premise when it is convenient for me—I am starting to feel run down, I have a big trip or presentation coming up and want to be at my best, etc. But I am not diligent to this premise all the time, and now I am the mother of a baby boy who is dependent on me to get it right. I want to make sure that his food—from our earliest days together—is medicine for him—making him strong, robust, and ready for this world. Monitoring my son’s nutrition now feels like some of the most important work that I can do for him, perhaps one of the most important foundations that I can lay down. I am intimidated about doing this and doing it well but I am also buoyed by a sense of purposefulness that understands that food can be life giving, healing, and harmonious if I make choices that allow it to be.
A first step was planting our own vegetable patch in the little family garden that we have begun to celebrate baby’s birth parents. The plants are growing wildly, and I’m excited to see what late July and August bring in terms of food. I’m also picking up a book this week that Fighting Windmills recommended. Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods by Nina Planck should be a real help as I navigate the land of solid foods with baby (even though the first 2 themes of the book are ones that I can skip over). Got any other suggestions for the rookie mom who wants to do right by her kid?