This avocado sardine salad is a favorite of mine, and my toddler. She loves to help me make it, but will also devour it before we get to the table if I turn my back for two seconds.
Today we are chatting protein! Or more specifically amino acids, but before we dive in let’s kick this post off with a little refresher on that 9th grade biology class: Protein is one of the dietary macronutrients and is made up of amino acids. The body breaks down dietary protein into amino acids for use as enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and hemoglobin. Of all the things amino acids do, one of their most important functions is tissue growth and repair.. (1) There are 20 amino acids that the body will use, but 9 are considered essential, meaning we need to get them from our diet! During times of illness and stress, another subcategory of amino acids appears: conditionally essential amino acids such as glycine. Conditionally essential amino acids are also indicated appear during pregnancy and postpartum!
You’re newly pregnant. Congratulations! Maybe you’re celebrating, doing a little dance, or maybe you’re still processing and letting the news really settle in. After a few important phone calls and conversations, the prenatal checklist of do’s and don’t’s starts to emerge. Less alcohol, more water. Less sugar, more vegetables. And of course, you start taking your prenatal supplements.
But here’s the question I get regularly…
“What if I’m already eating a really solid nutrient-dense diet? Shouldn’t I be able to just eat more and get everything I need from food? Do I really need to take a supplement on top of my diet?”
Prenatal supplements. So many options. So much confusing information! Wouldn't it be awesome if you could just go to Walgreens or the drugstore and snag a prenatal vitamin off the shelf and know it has all the nutrients you need?
Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Not all prenatal supplements are created equal and many don't have all the nutrients you need to support your growing body and create a tiny human!
Prenatal supplements are like an insurance policy. They are not a replacement for eating real, whole nutrient dense food, but it is an opportunity to increase your chance of getting all the nutrients you need throughout pregnancy and postpartum, especially as pregnancy aversions, cravings, or lack of resources may keep you from eating a varied diet.