Pregnancy & Parenting

Why you should avoid certain foods in pregnancy

“We could eat whatever we wanted when I was pregnant!” This is one of the most annoying things I hear older women say to my pregnant friends (I’m not sure if my friends find it annoying, but I certainly do!).


What could have happened to change things from being able to eat and drink whatever you like during pregnancy, to now being given a long list of things you should avoid?

It’s called experience, learning, research and knowledge.

Yep, we’ve learnt a lot in the last 30 years!

But because our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, neighbours and well-meaning strangers like to contribute their two cents, a lot of women are now confused and overwhelmed when it comes to eating right during pregnancy.

The main thing to remember is that most of these dietary recommendations are given to protect you and your baby.  Avoiding certain foods during your pregnancy reduces your risk of harming or losing your baby.

Soft cheeses, for example, are known to be breeding grounds for the bacteria Listeria which causes symptoms such as fever headache and diarrhoea. In pregnant women it can cause miscarriage, still birth or premature labour. Pretty good reason to avoid soft cheese for nine months I reckon!

Deli meats, BBQ chooks,  pre-made salads (and pretty much cold, pre-made anything), raw eggs and poultry are other common culprits for listeria and food poisoning. These bugs are destroyed by heat so if food is properly cooked it does not pose a risk.

Alcohol is known to cause foetal alcohol syndrome which results in children having growth and learning difficulties. It is not known how much alcohol it takes to produce this syndrome, so alcohol, whether it’s one glass or one bottle is best avoided.

So you see, these recommendations have been put together with a prevention mindset and really, when you’re presented with a glass of champagne, piece of soft brie, or ham sandwich during your pregnancy all you need to do is think “OK I know the risks, is it worth the few moments of deliciousness?”

And when well-meaning women say “ohh they didn't stop you eating cheese in my day, it's ridiculous!” you can suggest that perhaps the reduction in stillbirth since then can be attributed to these recommendations. Or you can just ignore them and save yourself the debate!

Here’s the list of the foods that I give to my
clients to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Soft cheese e.g. brie, camembert, feta, ricotta
  • Precooked (cold) food e.g. BBQ chicken, deli meat, pate, smoked salmon
  • Raw meat and seafood e.g. sushi Shellfish
  • Raw egg including mousse, homemade mayo and ice cream
  • Fish likely to contain high levels of mercury e.g. shark, swordfish and tuna
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine e.g. coffee, energy drinks, soft drink
  • Junk food e.g. lollies, chips, fast food

Not quite at the pregnancy part yet?

If you're wondering what you need to do to start preparing for pregnancy, pick up a copy of the Holistic Fertility ebook written by acupuncturist Kim Gatenby.

Kim will step you through how to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy. Get It

Immune Health for Children

We’re well into winter in Australia and the past week has been wet and cold in Sydney. Perfect conditions for catching colds, coughs and flu!

School aged children and little ones at day care are prime candidates for these viruses. You don’t have to sit back and wait for them to strike. We’re always hearing that prevention is better than cure so lets boost your child’s immune system and prevent them from getting sick this winter.

I am offering acute immune boosting consultations for children and adultsat my clinics in Dural and St Leonards. These appointments are quick 20-30minute check ins to get a little bit of medical history and formulate the best treatment plan. Acute appointments are also great if you or your child are already suffering from cold or flu as we can reduce symptoms and shorten the duration.

Immune boosting treatments often include herbal medicines such as Echinacea, Elderberry, Olive Leaf and Ginger. As well as vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and Zinc. These can be prescribed in liquid, tablet of powder form and children are usually very good at taking their naturopathic medicines (often better than adults!).

As well as herbs and nutrients, there are also things you can do at home to ensure your children have the best natural defences. Here are my 5 tips for children’s immune health:

1. Enjoy a nutrient dense diet – It is best to go for seasonal fruit and vegetables because you have the best chance of them being fresh and richer in nutrients. If you’re buying produce that is out of season it has most likely been in cold storage and hanging around for quite some time so a lot of the nutrients will be depleted. If you can, go for organic or local farmers markets to get the best quality, nutrient dense food. Autumn and winter seasonal fruits include pears, mandarins, apple, tangelo, orange and kiwifruit. Vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, broad beans, peas, avocado, pumpkin, carrot, parsnip, sweet potato.

2. Get adequate sleep – A healthy immune system requires proper rest and
rejuvenation so make sure your little one gets plenty of sleep. Stress (even from lack of sleep) will lower the immune system so ensure your child has a regular bed time even in school holidays.

3. Remember hygiene – Washing hands before eating food is a must as children love to touch and feel everything they see. Minimise risk of infection by ensuring your child washes their hands before touching something that’s about to go in their mouth. But try not to be too paranoid about washing them constantly, disinfecting everything and using hand sanitizer. Little bodies need to come in to contact with some dirt to help build the immune system but proper hygiene is essential.

4. Freshen up your home – Let fresh air into the house during the day. Open windows and doors to allow the air and sunlight to naturally clean and disinfect your home.

5 Play outside – Make sure you child gets out in the sunlight and fresh air to play. Vitamin D is essential for immune health and running around will increase circulation and oxygen supply to increase vitality, energy and immunity.

Want to learn more? I recently recorded a podcast with acupuncturist Kim Gatenby where we talk all about immune health so if you’d like to get a bit more info you can download the podcast here.

And last but not least please please please Don’t send your kids to day care or school when they’re sick. This is for the greater good of everyone! If adults stop going to work sick and children stop going to school sick we can really reduce the spread of germs. Unfortunately we’ve been marketed this idea of popping pills to dry up our runny noses so we can keep going with our daily tasks but this really doesn’t help anyone. If you or your child catch a cold its because your immune system is low and you really need to stay at home and rest.

To book your immune boosting consultation call or email me today Ph: 0405 123 852 Email: