Five Foods Women Should be Eating

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Written by contributor Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship.

“Less cellulite at 30 than 20?” My friend was ready to eat the next words out of my mouth when I told her I blamed one dietary change for my incredible loss of cellulite.

Quite often others counter my claim with a strange question: “How do you know?”

I’m sure their intentions are simply curious, but it’s a little uncomfortable to answer the obvious: “Um…I can see it.” My husband, as the only other person qualified to analyze the situation, concurs (with great joy, I assure you).

Men, I’ve noticed, do not worry about their cellulite. They also do not discuss monthly flow, experience PMS, or bear children. Although women often go to great lengths to prove that they are equal to men, we are far from “the same.”

Women’s Health Issues

When it comes to women’s health, there are many ways women have different challenges and different opportunities than men:

  • Women can bear children; men can’t. This alone opens the door to a huge list of health care topics, such as menstruation, PMS, fertility/ovulation, healthy pregnancies, and menopause.
  • Breastfeeding and postpartum care
  • Higher risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis
  • Different signs and symptoms of heart disease
  • Cellulite
  • Estrogen balance (Men have testosterone to balance, and we ought not be sharing our estrogen with them, one of the many reasons natural family planning is the green way to go.)

Considering I’m barely scratching the surface of women’s health issues, it seems clear that women ought to have some different dietary focuses than men.

Photo by veganfeast

Five Foods Women of Childbearing Age Should Eat More Often

The whole womb thing really sets us apart from men. Ladies, if you’re having menstrual cycles, trying to conceive, pregnant, breastfeeding, or nearing or experiencing menopause, make sure you’re paying attention to your intake of:

1. Eggs

Whole eggs, especially the yolks, provide choline for healthy eyes and brain development (for you and any unborn babies in your life), vitamin D for general health, and all the essential nutrients a human being needs. If you have a meal of one item, it may as well be eggs, which are nearly the perfect food for humans. Pay no mind to disillusioned health professionals who tell you the cholesterol in eggs will clog up your arteries. Whole eggs are back in style.

They won’t raise blood sugar because they’re a well-balanced protein and fat, and they even improve the look of your hair and nails. Eggs provide iron, which is hindered by calcium, so skip the milk with your omelet. Did you know Chinese women eat ten per DAY when pregnant? I shot for two eggs a day when I was trying to grow smart babies.
Photo by Andreas Kollegger

Other Resources:

*Food safety note: eggs should be consumed raw, very undercooked, for superb health benefits. However, I would only advise eating raw eggs from a trusted source with free range, well-cared-for chickens.

2. Spinach/Greens

Spinach may just be, as Popeye would have us believe, the ultimate superfood. It battles nearly every disease you can think of, but it’s especially important for pregnant women because of the high level of folic acid, along with iron, and even protein, all vital for fetal development and mother’s health. The lutein in spinach, especially when paired with eggs, is a powerful weapon against eye degeneration.

Why folic acid/folate? This B-vitamin is vital for a pre-conception/pregnancy diet; helps prevent birth defects, specifically spina bifida; builds baby’s brain; and helps avoid premature birth, high blood pressure, low birth weight and miscarriage.1 For those not looking to conceive, folic acid can help prevent strokes, heart disease, depression, and cancer.2

Photo by slave2thetea

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3. Salmon

Fish can be a tough menu item for most homes: it’s notoriously easy to cook incorrectly, is often high on the “I don’t like it” list, can be expensive, and is rife with controversy about whether it’s safe to eat or not. Wild salmon is also the very best way to get your omega 3s and DHA, which support hormones, fight depression and help mood issues.

Fish also battles menstrual pain, osteoporosis, breast cancer and negative effects of menopause. Salmon improves babies’ IQs when eaten by pregnant or breastfeeding moms. If ever there was a food for women contest, I’d give a blue ribbon to wild salmon.


Photo by Katie Kimball

That said, it is important to know how to find safe salmon. Luckily, the inexpensive stuff in the cans is almost always “wild Alaskan” and can be easily made into no-fail salmon patties. (Eat the bones, too, for an incredible calcium boost!) Now if I could just get my husband not to run screaming from the room when I open the can…

Don’t be afraid of eating fish – they have more benefits than deficits. An article from Harvard states: “Women should recognize that avoiding seafood altogether is likely to harm their babies’ brain development.”

Other Resources:

4. Full fat dairy/butter

Photo by Katie Kimball
Do you buy skim milk? Always grab the low-fat/fat-free versions of your favorite dairy products? If you’re hoping to conceive anytime soon, you may be making it an uphill battle for your womb. Research shows that women who eat low-fat dairy twice a day have an 85% greater risk of anovulatory infertility than those who go for the real thing.5, 6

When I recommend one change to someone seeking pregnancy, it is always to get rid of all the butter substitutes, margarine, and shortening in the house, pronto, and switch to real butter. You’re not only cutting out toxic trans fats and industrial oils, but you’re adding brain-boosting saturated fats. Grassfed butter in particular, although pricey, has incredibly higher levels of Vitamins D, A, E and K2.7

No matter what your gender, fat-soluble vitamins like A and D must be eaten with fat to be metabolized in the body. Your salad with fat-free dressing? Practically useless. You need to dip those carrots in a fat-full dressing in order to get the Vitamin A into your cells where it belongs.

If you’re worried that going from low-fat to “Hi there, fat!” will make you fat, you’re not alone. For our family, I can truthfully say that in nearly two years of trying to incorporate more fat into our diets, including going from skim milk to farm fresh, grassfed milk with at least three inches of pure cream on the top of every gallon, neither my husband or I have gained a pound, and his cholesterol even dropped the first year. You might also like to read Kelly’s “Does Fat Make You Fat?”.

Other Resources:

5. Liver

Photo by Kevinzim
Organ meats.

If that sounds a little “primal” or “hunter-type” to you who would rather be a gatherer and eat some berries and nuts, check this out – liver has one of the highest level of B vitamins8, 9, 10 and iron11, 12 of any food. B Vitamins give energy (what woman, especially a mom, doesn’t need more of that?), and iron is super important for women because of the quarter cup of menstrual blood we lose every month (I know, it seems like more sometimes).

“Women of childbearing age have an RDA of 15 mg per day for iron, which  doubles with pregnancy.”13 Iron also keeps energy up and helps avoid anemia.  Iron deficiency anemia affects about 20% of all women and fully half of mothers-to-be, yet only 3% of men.14 “Having too little iron can result in fatigue, hair loss and brittle nails (Oh, vanity!), irritability, weakness, lack of being able to think clearly, etc.” (Sarah of Heartland Renaissance)

The famous liver and onions might not go over well at your kitchen table (it didn’t the one time I tried it), but putting a bit of liver in with hamburgers, meatloaf, casseroles, spaghetti and soups is a great way to incorporate a cheap superfood with power-packed nutrients. Just be sure to only eat liver from organic sources, preferably local and grassfed, as factory farmed beef or chicken livers would be a net for toxins.

No?

Okay.

If you really can’t handle the liver, red meat like beef provides a great deal of iron and B Vitamins, too. If you can find grassfed beef, meaning the cattle eat only real grass or harvested hay and alfalfa, you get the most nutrients and a good source of CLA, a healthy fat that’s hard to find elsewhere, and even a high level of omega 3s. Don’t be afraid of red meat, ladies.

Other Resources:

Those among you who are very astute readers will notice I didn’t even share the secret cellulite solution. It turns out it was easier to choose ten amazing super foods than five, and you’ll have to hang tight until next month for part two of the series, 5 Foods Everyone Should Eat More of for Optimal Health (and Avoiding the Flu!), with a special emphasis on women’s health. There are two foods that fight the flu and cellulite, believe it or not!

Until then, I hope you’re as inspired as I was when I served salmon patties fried in butter and a spinach salad last night, along with egg drop soup for my fish-hating husband. I can’t tell you where I hid the liver in the meal; he might be reading!

So ladies…your turn to dish out. What foods do you hold near and dear in your diet?

Note: I asked many real food bloggers to help me out with this question, and special thanks goes to those quoted and cited in this article, along with Shannon, Sarah, Ann Marie, Donielle, and Michele.

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About Katie Kimball

An at-home mom who is passionate about food, her two kids, the good green Earth and her faith, Katie Kimball blogs about all that and more at Kitchen Stewardship.

Comments

  1. My only concern about the salmon in the can is that the can probably has BPA which is why I’ve been reluctant to buy it….Wondering if the plus of eating it outweighs the BPA?

    heather

  2. Great post and great points, Katie! We love eating . . . all of that stuff . . . but it is always a good reminder to add it in our diets wherever we can. I love the canned salmon as a sandwich spread or served up on sourdough in my smoked salmon spread.

    Making up a big batch of eggs for breakfast as we speak!

    Best,
    Sarah

    PS – Thanks for including my link!
    Sarah´s latest post: Building a Rye Sourdough Starter

  3. Thanks for the reminder that is is important to make sure these ingredients hit the plate regularly!
    Aimee @ Simple Bites´s latest post: Preserving Autumn- A Continuation of Our Canning 101 Series

  4. Love it! We eat (most of) these foods all the time! I haven’t braved liver yet, but have some in my freezer that I keep thinking I need to get out. Whenever I get pregnant again I think I will go for it…I hope. Will someone hold my hand? lol.

  5. I feel so proud of myself! I have been eating all of those, except the liver (maybe I’ll work up the courage to try it!). I’ll be general and say, I try to have a snack of fruit daily. For me it’s a sneaky way to stay hydrated (because I’m bad about forgetting to drink enough water some days) and helps give me something sweet so I don’t end up on candy-overload. I’ve bookmarked this one, so I can reread it again later!

  6. Excellent post, Katie! When we came back to the U.S. a few months back, I had forgotten how much Americans, 1. consume dairy, and 2. opt for the low-fat/fat-free version of it. Where we lived overseas, milk was very expensive, so we only got about half a liter per week. And it was the real deal, full of fat.

    It was sooooo good. Our family was so healthy because of it. (along with a combination of other food factors, of course).

    We only go for the whole milk version here in the U.S., and I always feel a little weird grabbing it off the grocery store shelf. I feel alone. :)
    Tsh´s latest post: How Expectations Change Relationships

    • Tsh,
      LOL! You’re not alone, lady! Love that you appreciated the European style of whole foods. I’m reading “French Women Don’t Get Fat” right now; I think you’d love it. :) Katie

    • We only buy whole, too, Tsh! If you don’t buy raw, Wheatsville Co-op has the next best thing; the brand is called Way Back When, it’s not homogenized, and it’s only low-temp pasteurized, from a local dairy. It’s delicious. :)

  7. I’m another who already eats the food on this list! With the exception of liver, but I wouldn’t be opposed to grinding it up along with something else. Or maybe someone else would have to do it for me and I’d just eat it, without knowing. hahaha
    Tsoniki Crazy Bull´s latest post: Silicone Tray Crayon Plans

  8. loved this! my only question is: what if you really dislike seafood? i can’t get myself to eat it. i can hardly swallow it. will taking fermented cod liver oil be good enough?
    kamille´s latest post: Whats your story

    • Kamille,
      My husband is the same way. We did just start fermented CLO as the “next best thing,” I figure. I used to be able to make a really spicy, pan-fried tilapia and he could handle it, but then I found out farmed tilapia is super high in omega 6s. Sigh. It’s never easy! I should just move to Alaska… ;) Katie

  9. Hi Katie – very informative post! We eat everything on here too, even liver, just not terribly often. Like Kate, I have some hiding out in my freezer and I haven’t had the motivation to prepare it yet. My family keeps saying they hate it (like many people), and I know there are ways to prepare it which make it delicious and unnoticeable…but we just haven’t made that leap yet. We eat A LOT of grass-fed meats of all types. Our freezer is full of grass-fed meat from our local farmer, wouldn’t eat anything else. I do love salmon, but I don’t think my two boys are all that crazy about it at the moment because for awhile we were eating it a lot and now they say they are tired of it. We do take the fermented cod liver oil though, I’ll never take anything else again after visiting David Wetzel’s plant this summer. It was enough to convince me that other products are completely inferior! :)

  10. yay! finally a good (and accurate) article on eating right! i knew i liked this site :)

    • I DO TOO! I’ve read Katie’s Page about SUNSHINE as well. I will commend her Article on my health-alerts.info Web-Site. I LOVE her Way with Words – so delightfully NATURAL and INSPIRING!!! Independent Natural Health Researcher

      PS Note: At first glance, Katie is definitely gifted and has some ‘cutting edge’ knowledge. No wonder every one ENJOYS what she has to say.

      • Pardon my rush, the Sunshine was by a different writer, I enjoyed both these articles. It’s 3.30am in the morning. Sleep is good for our health too…aye….it’s just that sometimes I work by inspiration.

  11. Danielle Espenshade says:

    You are such a tease!!!! I was sooo very thankful liver wasn’t the answer for cellulite!!! Haha! A month is a long time to wait!!!

    Anyway, love green smoothies for my spinach… real butter, real milk,no non fat stuff here… fresh eggs from the back yard! Three out of five isn’t too bad. Fish is so pricey and I’m curious about the canned BPA’a too. Yuck on the liver… ground beef!

    • Danielle (& others afraid of liver),
      I can’t say we consume it often, only because I keep forgetting about it, but you can just cook some liver, grind it up, and add it at random to ANYTHING you put ground beef in, even burgers. If you get the proportions right, no one is any the wiser.
      ;) Katie

  12. Thank you for this post, Katie! I am breastfeeding my 8-month-old right now and, although I do eat these foods (except I haven’t braved liver yet), I need to eat more of them! I just want you to know that I am about to go eat some hard-boiled eggs! ;)

  13. Great stuff once again Katie! After 3 pregnancies and nursing babies (not all at once!) having less cellulite at 30 than 20 would be a miracle! The good news is we have already made some of the changes you mentioned! Now a few more, and hopefully my miracle will happen!

  14. I’m allergic to red meat, and since I haven’t had any since March, I can’t even handle the smell of it cooking any more. Any substitutions for the liver?

    • Deb,
      Well, I think oysters and foie gras (duck liver) kick beef liver in the pants in terms of iron, and maybe B vitamins, too. Any liver will do ya! Pate, anyone? ;) Katie

      • We eat oysters all the time, so that’s fantastic news!

        Thank you for this article. I’ve been trying to get my mother to eat real butter and eggs for years, but she likes the fake stuff. BLECH! It feels like it leaves a film in my mouth, so I haven’t touched the stuff in 20 years.

  15. This was an interesting post. I especially appreciated the section on the benefits of eating real butter. I do eat animal products, but I try to keep them to a minimum for environmental reasons. Thanks very much.
    Sandra Lee´s latest post: Sunday reflection- like a flash of ligtening in the sky

  16. Great post! Thanks for the reminders. We are eating most of the 5. Definitely not the liver though… that is my one “can’t do it”. I know I am a wimp. My mom used to serve us liver and onions. Did not like it and can’t get past the memory. But the salmon is an easy one. I can get wild caught frozen salmon for just about 6 dollars per side. The fresh stuff is just too expensive and I don’t trust the quality of fresh seafood. I am just learning and changing our diet to real food … little by little. Thanks again for your great blog and information.

  17. Love this! After reading “Real Food” several months ago I switched from 2% to whole milk for all of us. I was already a no margarine person. The liver will be a tough go for our family as the hubs and I were both scarred by our mothers and their “adventures with liver” when we were kids, but I’ve gotten more concerted in my efforts to seek out grass fed beef and organic meats in general.

    And salmon and eggs and spinach have been go-to staples in my kitchen for forever. Here’s the kicker for me though…in May my doctor told me to get my act together and lose the weight already. So I got serious about doing the Weight Watchers points but I have NOT been doing it with “diet” food. I’m the rebel in my meeting! I’ve lost 35 pounds since the end of May, drinking whole milk, whole eggs, regular fat cheese, butter, steak, uncured, organic bacon. And of course, piles of fruits and veggies. No one believes me when I say I’m drinking whole milk, eating bacon and losing weight! I wouldn’t have believed it either…but it’s totally possible!! And I can see the cellulite decreasing! Can’t wait to hear what the other 5 are!

    • Christine,
      Grassfed beef is a GREAT start, and usually all that we get b/c I forget about the liver thing. I tried it once – with bacon and onions and fried super quickly is the only way to eat it “straight,” but grassfed red meat has lots of health benefits, too.

      I LOVE your weight loss story! Sweeeeeeet! It’s so awesome that you can be an example of “fat doesn’t make ya fat” for other women, too. Way to go!
      :) Katie

  18. the only question i’ve had in all of the real food talk (of which we enjoy and consume) is…what about the mercury in fish? it’s never discussed. my husband has decided that for our family, we won’t consume fish. the amounts only increase, it seems, as time goes one. any thoughts?
    kelly´s latest post: Conclusion to The Mission of Motherhood

    • Kelly,
      The article from Harvard that I quoted said that even with the mercury/PCB/etc. problems with fish, it’s STILL better to eat it than not. You do your best to get the safest fish possible – wild Alaskan salmon is generally pretty clean. Yes, you’re not supposed to eat more than a serving a week from local lakes, and stay away from the big fish like mackerel, swordfish, and a few more.

      I know mercury and all that is scary, but fish is so incredibly healthy. There are also a few reputable brands of fish oil/cod liver oil supplements that take great, great pains to ensure a safe product (Garden of Life and Green Pasture are two of them).

      An important question to ask, to be sure, and I assure you, people are talking about it. I hope that helps!
      :) Katie

  19. You had me until the liver part. Just can’t do it. :) Thanks also for the info above on the salmon. We do eat a lot of that and over the past year or so only eat wild Alaskan salmon.
    Paula@Simply Sandwich´s latest post: Sunday Simple

  20. Don’t forget Cod liver oil, as another way to include liver in your diet! But, my failsafe way of eating liver is pastured chicken livers, fried with onions, garlic and butter, then blended in the food processor with a bit more butter, and turned into a beautiful spread/pate.

  21. Great post!
    It took me a while to find a couple good liver recipes – especially working with beef liver that I have 24 lbs of! Chicken liver is almost unnoticeable in dips, other dishes, etc. But thin-sliced, breaded and fried with bacon is my favorite way. I also made a liver pate that isn’t too bad. I grated some frozen liver so I can give raw liver to my baby :)

    I also am truly amazed at all the flavors I now enjoy that I couldn’t stand prior to switching to real food. Limiting the grains, increasing the veggies, and switching to healthy meats and more fat… Wow. I never liked salmon before, or yogurt, or sauerkraut…. Still working on beet kvass :) I really encourage those who absolutely “hate” different foods to just switch to real foods and limit the grains and starches… your taste buds will lead you to new heights!
    Jen @ Oh No! I Really Do Need to Eat My Vegetables´s latest post: Naked Salmon Tacos!

  22. I’m working my way up on the milk. I’ve gone from skim to 2% recently- I actually like the TASTE of skim milk. We do use butter, olive, and coconut oil pretty much exclusively. If we had a local source for raw milk that was less than $7-8/gallon I’d think about it.
    I love salmon, especially sushi. Readers looking for a good price on seafood may have better luck at an Asian food store. Don’t be alarmed at the fishy smell of the store- its because many Asian food stores make their fish sauce on site and its made by fermenting fish.
    Not sure I could handle liver unless it was ground in with beef. I don’t know a source for organic grassfed here.
    I’ve been addicted to eggs lately- we’re talking 3-4 hard boiled ones at a time. I have trouble eating the yolks though- its a texture issue for me.

  23. Had a spinach-fruit smoothie with coconut oil today. Then had local, grassfed ground beef/ground liver spaghetti for dinner. Yum! I like making small meatballs with ground beef and liver, cooking them, freezing them on a tray and putting them in a Ziploc bag for ease of use, lunch or dinner. Trying to get my liver as the “belly bean” needs it! Even the two year old will eat my meatballs! My sister and sil are horrified that I use organ meats and always ask “what’s in this?” before eating any of my food. lol

  24. Fantastic article! Can’t do the liver though.

    Question for you. . . I have a milk/dairy sensitivity, and two of my kids do too. I wonder if this would make it more difficult for me to conceive, and if I should just drink some raw milk each day to maximize my chances?

    When I was preg with the others, I knew nothing about organic or non-homogenized, (gasp!), so I drank the regular stuff. Maybe if I went with raw organic whole milk it would make a difference. I have always had butter, and usually get the full fat other items, but have avoided dairy for a couple of months due to the sensitivity.

    Thanks for any help!
    Deb

    • Deb,
      My hunch is that if you’re getting other good sources of fat, especially saturated fat like coconut oil, it shouldn’t have a big negative impact. A great source of info for you is http://www.naturallyknockedup.com. She talks all about fertility and natural conception. In fact, I believe her eCourse will be opening back up in late October if you’re really interested in the subject. :) Katie

    • Deb,

      I have 4 sons who are allergic to pastuerized milk, it actually changes the milk proteins. But they can handle raw milk just fine, no reactions. It might be worth a try to see if they & you can handle raw. Just be sure you are not consuming any pastuerized at the same time or it will throw off your results.

      Hope that helps,
      Audrey

  25. Even as a vegetarian I think this is a great post. I do think it’s okay not to eat the meat parts of this, but I fully agree on the full fat dairy! Lots of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are important too. The more diverse the better!
    Melodie´s latest post: Understanding Nutritionism And The Problem With Infant Formula

  26. Great article, Katie! I knew those foods were good, and we eat them often, but I had no idea they were so good for women! Are you by chance working on the Top 5 for Men? I’d love to see it!

    On the liver…. well, I am getting pretty good at getting it in everything, and no one’s the wiser. I add it to most meat sauces, like meat sauce for pasta, or chili. Also meatloaf and jerky (using ground beef). As long as it is less than 20% to 25% of the total meat and I puree it in the food processor, it doesn’t overpower the flavor nor does it affect the texture.
    Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS´s latest post: Is Sourdough Really Sour And 4 Other Myths

  27. Thanks so much for this information! I am 37 weeks pregnant with my first child, and have noticed many of the benefits of these foods that you have mentioned throughout my pregnancy. I began to concentrate on adding more eggs to my diet about half-way through my pregnancy (due to info I gained from our natural childbirth classes) and was able to raise my iron levels without any outside supplements! I haven’t been bold enough to try liver yet, but I may take your advice and try to mix it with some foods we normally eat. I’m so glad to know you’re a salmon-patty lover too. That’s one of my favorite meals! I’ll be fixing them more often now for sure! :)

  28. We’ve recently been converting to “whole” real food. It’s been YEARS since I had been able to stomach whole milk but now I will never go back. I have been drinking raw goats milk and there is nothing like the creamy taste of fresh goats milk. I have even switched to putting whole whipping cream in my coffee in the morning. Yummy! I have some frozen pastured chicken livers that I need to make use of. I tried them fried but I think I over cooked them. I have NO IDEA what the texture is supposed to be like but if dry and crumbly is the norm, I will be needing to find recipes to hid them in! They smell so good cooking but the texture nearly killed me.
    I have 1 year old twins and while I was pregnant with them I had to unlearn my fat-free ways and start eating more meat. I was brainwashed by the Weight Watchers low fat mantra. In the end I carried them to term, no complications and was able to give birth at home. I attribute part of my success to my diet changes. I have lost 45 of the 55 pounds I gained so I am anxiously awaiting the sequel to this post so perhaps I can finally lose the rest! Keep the great posts coming!

  29. I like the liver capsules from Radiant Life. Add them to a smoothie.

  30. For everyone afraid of liver, I have one word for you: BACON. Oh yes. Liver and bacon together….. yum. Try it – you’ll like it! :)

  31. How do the health benefits of canned tuna compare to those of canned salmon?

  32. Susan Alexander says:

    I’m not looking to get pregnant anytime soon (though if it happens, we know it was Gods work, but I’m hoping to wait until the baby is a year old – she’s 5 months now).

    Anyway, my point is that I LOVE the full-fat milk and eggs idea, but my baby is allergic to milk and eggs in my diet, so I’ve had to cut them all out. I use a substitute butter from Earth Balance that seems to work very well in my cooking and I use egg replacer for my baking. But what can I use that will replace the EFFECTS of milk and eggs? Are there other foods with similar effects – maybe not as much, but something similar? I am really working to change my diet, but it’s hard being on such a restricted diet!

    Thanks!

    • Susan,
      Since you’re looking for healthy saturated fats in the whole dairy, you’ll want to use a good virgin coconut oil instead of your Earth Balance. Earth Balance has lots of omega 6 industrial oils, I believe, and coconut oil has amazing medium-chain fatty acids that will help you lose weight, and I’ve found it to work EXCELLENT in all my baking in place of butter. It’s also a safe oil to fry foods in.

      For the eggs, I don’t know about other sources of choline other than supplements, but Vitamin D is highest in cod liver oil and pastured, non-hydrogenated lard (both way higher than eggs, anyway) You can always use healthy, well-raised red meat and poultry for the nice balance of fat and protein. Have you ever tried goat’s milk? Many people can handle goat’s milk who cannot do cow’s. Then you can have all the full fat greatness, yogurt, cheese, etc. Again, egg whites are the most allergenic and the least healthy part, so as baby grows, it might be worth trying egg yolks alone to see if she reacts.

      Good luck tackling those allergies! :) Katie

      • Susan Alexander says:

        Thanks Katie – so you can sub directly coconut oil for butter in recipes? I’ll have to try that!

        Hmm, nervous about goats milk – I’ve heard that somewhere in the range of 80-90% of babies with a milk allergy also react to milk. And she has a pretty strong reaction (like I had one sweet potato round that had been basted with a brown sugar/smart balance mixture and she reacted to that (smart balance is mostly milk-free, but not completely)). I might try the egg yolk and see… I also haven’t tried eggs in baked goods as I freaked out when I saw the eczema and just cut them completely. LOL

        Thanks, I’m pretty nervous for what’s coming when we start solids next month – will we find new allergies? Yikes….

        • Susan,
          Working with allergies is definitely tricky and scary! You might read up on personal experiences with goat’s milk at various blogs.

          Start solids slowly, of course — I actually have a guest poster at my site yesterday and next Friday on her “real food baby”.

          And yes – coconut oil 1:1 for butter in everything I’ve tried: cookies, breads, biscuits, tortillas. The only thing it failed in, sort of, is frosting, because it melts at 76 degrees, so the frosting had to be refrigerated or it would slide off the cake!

          ;) Katie

          • Susan Alexander says:

            Hehe, I saw that guest poster – I’m waiting to see – is she going to talk about “baby led weaning”? That’s what I did with my oldest and plan to do again. I LOVED it and recommend it to everyone. :)

            So awesome, I’ll have to use my coconut oil more often! I bought some, but then never knew what to do with it! LOL

        • Hi,
          I had a baby February of a year ago. After about a week, she was puking non stop. We couldn’t lay her down to change her diaper without puking. So I slept upright with her for three weeks. In that time, I was getting professional help from a lactation consultant who was very “natural” minded (like to me). She was amazing. She went through all my family history of conditions that actually are rooted in untreated food allergies. My family had almost all of them. She advised me to get on a very good probiotic (Klaire Brand women and infant for my baby) and a very strong digestive enzyme. I also was advised to avoid soy, dairy, wheat and nuts. So I did. I did this for a year. The change was HUGE. Within a few weeks of the diet changes, my baby was a new baby. We were so shocked and so glad… such a scary time. Then my baby quit nursing at 10 months. This was crazy for me because I was still nursing my toddler. I never saw this coming and was devastated. After full time pumping for a few months (Oh the respect I have for mommies that have to pump all the time!!!) I started experimenting. Important to note: I DID NOT FOLLOW THE ADVICE TO TAKE THE PROBIOTIC AND DIGESTIVE ENZYME AS I SHOULD HAVE! When we started experimenting, I had just started the probiotics and enzymes. I noticed that when I took the enzymes and had those foods I was avoiding, my baby didn’t react at all. When I didn’t take my enzymes she would puke up my milk if I had those food items (dairy, soy, wheat (gluten) and nuts). So I kept purposefully experimenting and the results were drastically obvious. No question. So we found that my body had trouble breaking down those foods for her… So it was good for me to avoid so she was getting the messed up version of those foods from my body (and developing antibodies to those foods because of my bodies trouble with processing). Anyways, we ended up switching her to raw milk and I sprout our flour and sourdough our bread among other traditional ways of preparing food… And she is fine… The enzyme I was advised to use was Megazyme by Enzymatic Therapies.

  33. Katie, this was such an awesome post. I forwarded it to a bunch of my girlfriends. I’m with the majority here on the liver, but I like how you suggested cooking it with out things light meatloaf. I *might* be able to try that. ;)
    I’m loving cream-top (non-homogenized) whole milk from TJ’s right now. It makes me so sad that raw milk is so ridiculously expensive here in San Diego and we don’t have any dairies close enough to get fresh milk from. I’ve still yet to try it but really want to.
    It’s next to impossible to convince people how much better whole milk is, we are so indoctrinated against fat in our culture, it’s crazy!
    Nicole aka Gidget´s latest post: this moment- daddy date night

  34. I adore the fact that liver is on that list! I eat it regularly and actually really like it, perhaps it’s a little more common to eat organ meats in Europe than in the States because my husband and American friends find it absolutely disgusting (I am British, married to an American). I also threatened to serve them Steak and Kidney Pie at a dinner party recently, they were very relieved that I didn’t!

    I’m prone to becoming anemic and occasionally suffer from mild hair loss, I find that if I make sure that I eat liver regularly then I’m fine. I actually had a craving for it while I was pregnant with my son too, the body knows what the body needs!

    Best way to eat liver? With chunky British Style Fries covered in malt vinegar. Divine.
    Satakieli´s latest post: German Apple Cake The Birthday Cake

  35. I am loving this post and even read it to my husband. Luckily we eat a majority of the foods. I especially ate many eggs and spinach while pregnant! Yea! I’ve also argued many times with my husband and his family about how much better whole milk is and this post made me feel so much better.
    I have a question about grass fed meats… I grew up on a ranch and a majority of our meats come from white tail we shoot off of it… Is this the same as grass fed beef?
    Thanks so much!

    • Jaclyn,
      Wild game is a GREAT option for good meat, generally, unless your deer are eating of the crops of heavily sprayed fields, for example. It’s not “the same” as grassfed beef, but it’s in the same category, for sure. I haven’t actually looked up how the iron content compares between venison and beef, but a quick Google search ought to get you an answer on that.

      I always love when my brother gets a deer, as my Christmas gift will be MEAT. :) Katie

  36. I love the list, except the salmon…… I have never liked salmon, nor most any fish……… however, the rest of that list is in my normal diet :)

  37. Hi,

    I loved the article and all that is in it, but I am still VERY curious about the magical foods that fight against flu and cellulite. When can we expect the sequel to this? I am ready to run to the store to buy whatever it is! ;)
    Talya´s latest post: So I dropped the ball …

  38. I can vouch for the whole milk and butter! I actually feel like I’ve gotten more energy and lost a few pounds since I’ve started buying it!

  39. This post is very gimmicky. The anti-cellulite secret? What is this Ladies Home Journal? Cellulite is just another word for female fat stores. We all have it. Get over it. Eat food for the sake of health and enjoyment, not so that your husband will like your smooth thighs.

    I am very disappointed with this post.

    • Breanna,
      Dear me, I’m sorry to disappoint you so seriously. I don’t think cellulite is a serious women’s health issue; however, it’s something to which people can relate. A good writer, especially in the world of blogging and 140 characters on Twitter, uses an interesting “hook” to pull a reader in. That was mine.

      If you start to follow some of the links offered with each food, you’ll see that the depth and breadth of my suggestions go far beyond the superficial. I do believe in enjoying my food and also that it is what nourishes my health. One proof of health, however, is positive physical change.

      You’ll have to let us know what you think of part two.
      –Katie

  40. When I make mac & cheese I mix in a can of salmon or tuna. My boys love it and regularly request it over plain mac & cheese.

  41. All the food you’ve mentioned are on my favourite list. I love liver. It’s easy to prepare. I saute it with onions and a tart apple. Before putting it in the frying pan I sprinkle some flour over it. It is important to add salt after the liver is cooked.

  42. Very interesting article! I always research about improving my diet and how food affect our body and health.

    I am wondering what is considered full fat yogurt? There’s so many different kind of yogurt in the grocery stores, it’s hard to decide which one is the best. I never buy the 0% because it doesn’t taste good and it’s full of artificial stuff. But should I go for the 2%, 3%, 9%?

    Thank you for your answer!

    • Marion,
      Whole milk is usually 4%, I believe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all cows create milk with 4% fat. Our Jersey cows (we get raw milk) seem to be at about 15-20%, by the looks of the jar! ;) I tried that Fage 10% Greek yogurt, and oh, my. So delish. For me, I’d choose as high as it goes! (but at minimum 4%)
      :) Katie

  43. Yay! I’m right on track! Except for the liver…that’s going to take some coming around to. Great post!

  44. Lori Morton says:

    Woooohooooo! Eat all these things…’cept the LIVER! yuuuuuuweeeee! LOL May try some….not anytime soon tho.

    Know whole butter & milk best for us too…..eat fruits & fresh vegies alot.

    Thanks for this Site………….LOVE it!! :)

  45. Christine Farias says:

    I’m sure this article was written with the best of intentions, but I respectfully disagree.

    Eggs, dairy, salmon and liver all contribute to horrible diseases, especially in women. Animal products are NOT the only sources of the nutrients you describe. As an example, Choline (found in egg yolks) is found with comparable or higher concentration in spinach, cauliflower, and quinoa.

    To be your healthiest, explore a diet with more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains and less processed/pre-packaged foods. Research and discover how the animal products make it to your plate and lift the veil that the food industry hides behind.

    Think about this: A cow has to be impregnated, carry her calf for 9 months, give birth and separate from her baby in order for humans to take the milk that was intended for the calf.

    No disrespect to your good intentions, just a different perspective…

    • Christine,
      Nothing wrong with a little healthy disagreement.

      I’ve been reading the China Study, which vilifies all animal products as cancer-causing, and although I am reading with an open mind, I just can’t buy into it quite yet.

      You are right in that animal products must be well-raised, and I do have lots of problems with conventionally raised cattle and chickens (aka the food industry). I prefer farmers over industry, and we get our milk, eggs and beef straight from the people who raise them. Salmon also must be wild-caught to have the health benefits I’m looking for. So maybe we’re closer to the same page there as you thought. :)

      What diseases are you speaking of, especially for women, that these animal products cause? Are they the result of the hormones/antibiotics in industrial agriculture or the saturated fat or something else? I really think that animal products, well-raised, can be a part of a healthy diet along with all the other great foods you mention and minus the packages and processed foods. As far as nutrient density, though, a loaf of homemade bread with freshly ground flour can’t hold a candle to what’s in any one of these items above.

      I do need to get more vegetables, especially in these dark winter months when all I want is potatoes and bread. :)

      Thanks for some good conversation!
      :) Katie

  46. Christine Farias says:

    Hi Katie!

    Thanks for your quick response! I’m excited and inspired that you are reading The China Diet and that you’re interested in having this dialogue!! And yes, we are on the same page – we want to provide the healthiest foods to ourselves and to our families.

    In response to your question about which diseases I was speaking of, I’m happy to be more specific.

    Heart Disease: Cholesterol clogs arteries. Clogged arteries lead to heart disease. Cholesterol is found ONLY in animal products – that’s dairy, eggs, fish and meat. Eggs contain 250 milligrams of cholesterol. Chicken has as much cholesterol as beef. A plant-based diet lowers your risk of a heart attack by 85%.

    Osteoporosis: Animal protein is the chief cause of osteoporosis (followed by sodium, caffeine, tobacco and inactivity). Dairy-free countries have the lowest osteoporosis rates on Earth. Drinking milk does not prevent osteoporosis. Cow’s milk has a lot of calcium because cows eat plants.

    Breast Cancer: In countries where dairy is not consumed, breast cancer is nearly nonexistent. Breast cancer rates are highest in places where women consume high-fat, animal-based diets. The American Cancer Society recommends that we choose most of the foods we eat from plant sources and limit our intake of high-fat foods, especially from animal sources.

    My journey to a plant-based, vegan diet began as a quest to provide a healthier diet and environment for my daughter who was diagnosed with asthma after 2 unexplained bouts of pneumonia. It just made no sense to me. Together she and I eliminated dairy from our diets (after much research) and I chose to also eliminate all animal products from my diet. However, being a vegan is much more about ADDING more plant foods to your diet than it is about ELIMINATING animal foods!

    It has been a year since and I’m so happy to say that she no longer needs her asthma medication, has no sign or symptoms of asthma and is a thriving, healthy 8-year old. Coincidence? Maybe. But what I learned along the way is priceless – a wealth of unbiased nutritional information and a compassion for animals that I didn’t realize I had.

    I found a suitable article at the link below which is a vegan perspective of “humane” animal products. The author, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is a well-spoken, respectful, and knowledgeable vegan. Search for her podcast and you won’t be disappointed.

    http://www.compassionatecooks.com/word/satya_sept_06.htm

    Again, I thank you for your kind response and your interest in an opposing perspective. That says so much about your character!

    Warmly,
    Chrissy

    • Chrissy,
      What a joy that you were able to get your daughter off those medications! I do love that there’s just not one diet that works for everyone. I love your view on ADDING good foods rather than just AVOIDING the bad stuff; that’s definitely what I try to encourage my readers to do as well.

      Thank you for those links; I’m always interested in all sides of the story (although for now I’m also pretty happy with my cheese…and would be happy sharing a table with you and your veggie stir fry!) :) Katie

      • Crissy, I just wanted to share my 2 cents on what you said. I assume you have seen the infamous documentary “Forks Over Knives.” In it they shared research that it seems a diet that has up to about 20% animal products and the rest veggies, whole grains, etc. did not lead to increased cancer risk. The risk went up when the animal-based foods were the predominant kind of food in the person’s (or culture’s) daily diet. There are so many things that are good for us in animal based products, and I’m a mostly vegetarian who has realized that my body is happier when I am getting some healthy animal products. (This is my conclusion from several years of experimentation with diet: seeing issues with my healthy, trying different kinds of foods, and seeing how my body responds.) I have found personally that the 20% rule seems to be right for my personal health. So I personally do not think the problem is people eating some animal products–the issue is that we tend to eat way too much, and the wrong kinds of things. So I am purposefully adding healthy animal-based products to my diet, such as bone broth, thanks in part to Katie. : )

        There is also enough new research out there to show that cholesterol does not cause the problems you describe–that fats are not the problem, but instead inflammation in the arteries, which is caused by eating too many carbs and sugars. Another documentary “Fat Head” was a really interesting one to pit against ‘Forks Over Knives”–they come from complete opposite perspectives, and yet one can reasonably extract what is true about foods and our bodies by comparing the two arguments. I was interested to note that both films blamed too many sugars and carbs as the problem with most people’s health–and this theory I too tested on my own body, and found it to be true. As a Lenten experiment I eliminated as many sugars and carbs as I could (still allowing a minimum of whole grain, and also fresh fruit, which allergies prevent me from overeating) and filled in the space with healthy meats and fats. The bulk of my diet was veggies. I was amazed to find that over the 40 days my brain fog was gone, I had so much more energy, I was sleeping better, and I even lost weight–by eating a LOT more fats than before! So, I think if we listen to our bodies they will tell us what we need, but overall a 20% meat/dairy (but only the best of these–no junk) and 80% veggie/fruit/whole grain diet seems like a really reasonable balance.

  47. I absolutely LOVE this post and many of your other post that I have been reading through. It’s rather difficult to find like-minded thinkers who go against what the food industry and medical community are cramming down our throats .

    I started going against the grain when I discovered Sally Fallon and Weston Price. These two people, I would say from reading their ideologies on food, write about the same things you are. They have a lot of great resources for more on this topic.

    Thanks Katie!

  48. Can you provide a link to the follow up to this post, please?

  49. This website is interesting i think health is important to pregnant women even though in only 13 yrs old lol

  50. Mmmm, liver. Tasty. That’s why it’s good to be a guy :) I was hoping the 5 foods would be good for guys too, but it seems like those 5 foods are geared pretty specifically toward women. Except for Salmon I suppose. That’s good for everyone. You should come up with a list for guys too. I’d be really interested in a list like that.
    Ben´s latest post: Vitamineral Green Review

    • Ben,
      I imagine the list would be rather similar! All these foods are super healthy for any gender, any age. I only included the facts specifically related to women, but the nutrients in eggs, spinach, full fat dairy, salmon and yes, even liver, a power-packed source of important B Vitamins and iron, fill needs for guys, too. :) Katie
      Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship´s latest post: To Recycle, or Not to Recycle?

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