Disclaimer – I did receive this book for free in exchange for my review. However I am not being compensated for this review and it is my own opinion.
When I first heard about the books Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes by Lily Nichols RDN, CDE, I was pretty excited to read them. They went on my Amazon wish list immediately. So when I was approached about doing a review of the book in exchange for a free copy, I was ecstatic. I absolutely love the book. She supports so much of what I teach my clients on how to eat for pregnancy. This book is so packed with great information that I sat down with a highlighter and Post It notes to mark things that I wanted to remember or to share here.
Ms. Nichols doesn’t just tell you her opinion of what you should do, she backs it up by citing her resources. She is very thorough. There are sections on all the important nutrients to get, information on supplements, foods that help with common pregnancy complaints, and what foods and toxins to avoid during pregnancy. There are even sections on exercise, lab tests important during pregnancy, stress during pregnancy and even what changes to your diet need to be made once the baby is born. She includes a sample menu plan to help you get a better idea of how to implement her ideas. She points out that the majority of doctors don’t emphasize nutrition enough, because only 25% of accredited U.S. medical schools require a course on just nutrition. Ms. Nichols does recommend a good quality prenatal vitamin, but stresses that a nutrient-dense diet is more important.
In the beginning part of the book, Ms. Nicols can get pretty sciencey, I feel like some of the information may go over the heads of or cause people to ignore good information because she is not talking in a manner that interests everyone. While she is correct in encouraging women to eat organic, GMO free, free range, and grass fed, the repeated advice to do so can be discouraging to those on a limited budget. I do like that she does encourage you to focus on eating organically the dirty dozen if you can’t afford everything organic. In the postpartum chapter, Ms. Nicols also points out that her key message is “inclusion, not exclusion”. She writes that it is more important to eat any food than to go without if you can’t eat perfectly.
Ms. Nichols defines what exactly is “real food”. She addresses the concept of “eating for two” while pregnant. The reality is that you only need an extra 300 calories per baby per day while pregnant, but your needs for certain nutrients increases more significantly. The emphasis is on quality vs quantity. Ms. Nichols also stresses mindful eating. She says this, “Mindful eating means listening to the signals your body sends you about food and honoring what it has to say. So mindlessly overeating or consciously underrating are equally unhealthy and unsustainable.”
I definitely recommend this book to every pregnant woman. It has so much great information that I would like my clients to know. Clients, this book will now be available in my lending library. Let me know if you are interested in borrowing it. I hope that one day she writes a book for those of us not having babies. Have you read this book? What did you think?