Pregnancy Nutrition: How Do Your Pregnancy Cravings Affect Your Baby’s Development? -with Dr. Joey Shulman


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(with Dr. Joey Shulman, mom of 2, Nutritionist, Author) Cravings…we all get ‘em. McDonald’s fries, bacon (wait…you’re a vegetarian when you’re not pregnant?), grapefruit, ice, buffalo flavored anything, sweet tea, spicy Thai…what’ll it be (or was it) for you? 

Fulfilling our pregnancy cravings can be ridiculously therapeutic. But do we turn it into an excuse?

Dr. Joey Shulman gives a gentle smack down in the form of “how” your cravings affect your baby’s development & “why” it matters. We all know we need to eat “healthy”…blah blah blah. But if you’re like me, that doesn’t always help when I’m staring face-to-face with my BFF in the freezer (a velvety Dove Bar) & I need a little extra oomph to send that pop-sickle packing.

A lot of us say we “want” to eat better. Listen to this lesson & get some new moves that will actually help you eat better {which helps baby develop better}.  

Nutrients help form the building blocks for your baby’s most vital instruments & organs. Dr. Shulman teaches you about one nutrient, which most preggos don’t get enough of (which isn’t included in prenatal vitamins), that helps baby’s brain development, strengthens baby’s immune system AND prevents allergies! Listen to find out what it is.

You’ll Also Learn: 
1. What pregnant food cravings mean- are our bodies lacking something?
2. What you can eat after birth to help you recover more quickly.
3. The nutritional value of breast milk- why it’s considered a “whole food” & super food?
4. What to look for in formula for the most nutrient packed formula for baby.
5. Are baby’s food allergies linked to what we eat during pregnancy? Or let’s just say… ‘Will what you eat now jack up baby’s allergies?’ 

Dr. Joey Shulman is the mama of 2 kiddos, a registered nutritionist, author of 5 books & the Founder of Shulman Weight Loss Clinics. She’s also the nutritionist for Sweatpea Baby Food. She loves to exercise, do yoga & play with her kiddos up north in Canada. 


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Pregnancy Nutrition: How Do Your Pregnancy Cravings Affect Your Baby’s Development?

Sarah:              Hi, this is Sarah Blight with Your Baby Booty interviews where we chat with real people who had real experiences so that you can have real takeaways to take with you on your journey as you become a mom. Well today, we’re chatting with Dr. Joey Schulman. She is a mama of 2 kids. She’s a nutritionists and author of 4 books, and she’s the founder of Schulman Weight Loss Clinic, and she’s also the nutritionist for Sweet Pea Baby Food, which is a line of top-quality frozen organic baby.  So thank you, Dr. Schulman, for joining us today.


Dr. Joey:          You’re very welcome.


Sarah:              So we wanted to talk about basic nutrition kind of throughout pregnancy, and then after you have your baby. What do you know now that you wish you would have known before you had your first child?


Dr. Joey:          Well, I – I mean I’ve always – I’ve known it for a long time and I continue to chat about it with as many people who will listen as the more we get ahead in research the more we know the importance of the good fats. So I was lucky enough to know this when I was pregnant, but supplementing with high-quality fish oils, eating diets rich in omega-3, it is so critical for healthy brain development in your child, to prevent allergies, and for overall immune system functioning. So I think that’s one of the key points that we have, you know, out there to moms who are expecting is the importance of omega-3 and supplementing with fish oils.


Sarah:              Okay, that’s great. And that kind of leads me into one of my questions as well which is I had someone ask me the other day about allergies, and he said that his wife, you know, loves peanuts, ate peanuts while she was pregnant, and it turns out her son has a nut allergy. Is there any link or any research that shows there is link between what we eat while we’re pregnant and allergies that our children may have?


Dr. Joey:          There is no direct research to say that if you overdo it on the food your child becomes allergic to it. So not that I know of anywhere, and I’m pretty familiar with this stuff.


Sarah:              Okay.


Dr. Joey:          So at this point, we don’t have any research to support that. It could have been a coincidence, but if there is a peanut allergy in the family, even if it dates back a little bit, you do want to be overly cautious in the introduction of peanuts and eating peanuts while pregnant, but there’s no direct research that shows that eating an overabundance of peanuts during your pregnancy will cause a peanut allergy in your child.


Sarah:              Okay, so why is it that the goods fats, the omega-3s, why did those prevent – you said those can prevent allergies. Why?


Dr. Joey:          With the essentially fatty acids, you have to think about them as the sponger, a barrier to yourself. So they’re part of your cellular membrane, so they help with immune system function, and thereby, support for healthy cells, brain cells, cells in your entire body, and when that happens, you improve your means to function, you’re better able to fight off what the body might perceive as an invader, and the help of the histamine response as well. So they have been shown to improve allergenic responses.


Sarah:              Cool. So are those things that are found in prenatal vitamins, you know, that we can buy over-the-counter or is that something extra that we need to be consuming either through food or through supplements?


Dr. Joey:          Well fish oils won’t be found in your standard prenatal vitamins.


Sarah:              Okay.


Dr. Joey:          You can buy a separate fish oil, which I do recommend, or you can also eat omega-3 rich food.


Sarah:              And what would the…


Dr. Joey:          They’re in cold water fish.


Sarah:              Yeah, fish.


Dr. Joey:          Cold water fish, nuts, seeds, flax oil, cheese seeds, fish oils, avocados, almonds, walnuts are very high in omega-3s. Omega-3 is supported by eggs or milk or even bread these days is available.


Sarah:              Okay, cool. So let’s talk about cravings for a second because I know when I’m pregnant, I have just these off-the-charts craving that I’ve never had before, and with my first son, it was citrus. Does that mean anything? Is your body trying to tell you anything by craving something so intensely when you’re pregnant?


Dr. Joey:          Well, it can. I mean the craving is a sign that you are either deficient in something or you’re bouncing on blood sugars, but when you’re pregnant, there is such a complicated time because I mean you’re literally creating a new person.


Sarah:              Yeah.


Dr. Joey:          So if you’re craving citrus, yes, your body might be saying boost me up in Vitamin C. That’s not uncommon. It’s best when you’re craving something to go to whole like raw foods or whole live foods at least to make sure that you don’t eat too many refined flours or sugars or sweeteners or things like that.


Sarah:              So what would be an example of a whole food? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but just so all of us can be on the same page, what is a whole food?


Dr. Joey:          Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, pure proteins.




                        Whole foods are something that aren’t fractionated foods. You didn’t have to manufacture them. They are found packaged or processed. They are found pretty much on the exterior of your grocery store; eggs, yogurts, that sort of stuff.


Sarah:              Okay. So it’s the stuff that as it’s grown that’s how you eat it. It’s pretty straightforward there.


Dr. Joey:          Exactly.


Sarah:              Is there anything that women can eat to speed up recovery after they’ve had their babies?


Dr. Joey:          You know what, the more you’re going to hydrate yourself, the more you can get raw fruits and vegetables and high antioxidant foods into you the better. Of course, oily foods as well like those fish oils we were talking about. They promote healing as well. So things that are prone for inflammatory; red meats, full-fat cheeses, deep friend foods, white sugars, those are the things that are going to delay healing and that’s what you want to stay away from.


Sarah:              Okay, sounds good. The other thing I wanted to say or ask you is, you know, a lot of times, you know, we hear eat healthy when you’re pregnant. You know, you’re eating for two. You know, it’s time to eat healthy. What does that mean for a pregnant woman? I mean we have cravings. We have aversions. I know for me, I’ve been a vegetarian for a few years, and the only thing I wanted to eat for a while was meat when I was pregnant.


Dr. Joey:          Right.


Sarah:              There’s a kind of – I think a lot of women are just really thrown off their normal game, even if they are typically considered themselves healthy, you know, all they want are fried, fatty foods, which sounds like, you know, the worst thing. If there’s anything that a woman should definitely eat while she’s pregnant or consumed or make sure is included in her diet, what would you say for sure to definitely include?


Dr. Joey:          Well, you want the balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. So if you’re having lean proteins and you can have some great foods of organic chicken or cold-water fish. That’s organic as well. And eggs are fantastic. But there’s no one food. I mean carbohydrates, whole grains are wonderful. Even if a dark chocolate if you’re hungry, fruits and vegetables. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that all caution are going to be thrown to the wind and then you could start making healthy food choices. It will make you feel sluggish. It can constipate you, and of course, it will pack on the weight.


Sarah:              Right. And what is the danger of packing on the weight too much when you’re pregnant?


Dr. Joey:          Well, you know, type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a risk and it will make you just not enjoy your pregnancy as much to a certain degree. It can make you feel crummy, which is the opposite of what you want to feel. It’s also harder afterwards. Your balance back after you have the baby won’t be as easy if you have too much weight to lose. So you know, there’s certain things that you want to keep on tract and diet is one of them. It can really make it or break it as far as your pregnancy.


Sarah:              Okay. What about – Let’s talk quickly about breast milk. What is the nutritional value in breast milk and how long does that last? If you are pumping it for example and storing it, how long is that good for?


Dr. Joey:          Well, breast milk’s rich in omega-3, for example, DHA and NAA, and breast milk is a wondrous liquid that automatically adjust to your baby’s needs as your baby needs more omega-3s or more fats. It also has a great digestible protein. Most formula can be a little bit harder to digest on the protein front, and it’s rich in lactose, and all of those saccharides, and those are really important carbohydrates that promote health. It’s filled with white blood cells so it does boost your immune system function and it’s far better absorbed. It’s high in iron, zinc, calcium, and the iron is a much more absorbable iron in comparison to something like a formula. It also has about, you know, in addition to being cheaper than a formula, it has fantastic enzymes that break down and help you absorb your food.


Sarah:              Okay. What about for the mamas who breastfeeding is not an option for them for whatever reason, and obviously, this is a debate on what’s better because everyone has their opinions, but for the moms who this is not an option for them or it hasn’t become an option, what things do they need to look for in formula to make the best choice as far as the formula is concerned?


Dr. Joey:          I would recommend that they get a hydrolyzed formula. Hydrolyzed means that it’s completely broken down.


Sarah:              And why do you say that?


Dr. Joey:          It’s easier for them to digest and a lot of them – You know, you want to make sure you’re doing your best to avoid allergies or colic, and if it’s completely hydrolyzed, it means that the proteins have been  broken down for them, and it’s easier for their tummy to digest.


Sarah:              Oh, in young tummy. Good to know.


Dr. Joey:          Yeah.


Sarah:              Now, I know we’re out of time, but you have a new book coming out shortly. What is your new book about?


Dr. Joey:          The new book is Metabolism-Boosting Diet, and it’s on January, January 17th, and what this is, it’s the way I practice weight loss. It’s hormonal weight loss, and it shows people – A lot of people say to me, “Joey, my metabolism is just – It doesn’t work or it’s slower.” It shows you how to boost your metabolism with food and lose the weight for life. So whether it’s 5 pounds, 50 pounds, 100 pounds, it’s a unique approach to weight loss, it balances blood sugar, keeps you at a nice high calorical rate so you’re not hungry, and also promotes digestion.


Sarah:              Wow! That’s very cool. And when is that book available?


Dr. Joey:          It’s available anywhere where books are sold or on Amazon, January 17th.


Sarah:              Okay. 2012. Very good. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Schulman, for giving us a quick low down on the things that sounds like omega-3s, fish oils are super important to include in our diets as we are pregnant and even when we’re not pregnant, right?


Dr. Joey:          Oh, absolutely.


Sarah:              Yeah, perfect. Well, if all the mamas who are listening to this, if you guys have any questions or comments or experiences you’d like to share, please leave them below this interview and we’re happy and excited to interact with you. Also, we have links to
Dr. Schulman’s websites and her books below this interview too if you want to check this out. Thanks, Dr. Schulman, for joining us. Thanks everyone. We’ll talk to you next time.

  • Lisa Weiss

    Hi everyone…I agree with you Sarah. I have the best intentions, but it helps me to know something that will help me make a different choice right when I am about to pick something not so good. I’m ok with enjoying a craving once in a while, but it’s easy to let it get away from me. This information helped me understand how my baby is growing from what I choose to eat and drinks. It’ll definitely help me walk past ‘those isles’ and fend off some impulses! Thanks Dr. Joey for the super helpful info!

    • yourbabybooty

      yes I think you hit the nail on the head Lisa. It’s all about balance. Of course indulging is awesome and we should give in and splurge–( I type this as I’m eating an apple turnover) ahem… :) but also knowing that it does matter what we put in our bodies. Have you had any crazy cravings?

      • Lisa Weiss

        Fruit, meat & ice-cream. I’m not a huge meat eater, but I’ve become one! It’s so easy to give yourself a pass to eat whatever you want with the “oh, I’m eating for 2″ idea. I won’t be doing that anymore thanks to this! So glad I listened!

        • yourbabybooty

          Wow. That’s quite a smorgasboard of cravings:) Citrus was a huge one for me (oh and Dove Bars.) :)