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Ayurveda Dietary Recommendations

It was mentioned previously how important agni is to process the fuel that is given to the body, but equally important is the quality of food that is consumed. The general quality of the diet should be as sattvic as possible in order to sustain purity of body and mind, as well as create ojas Food should be warm and moist to encourage the abundance of rasa dhatu that is needed for the increase of blood during pregnancy, the production of each dhatu in the mother and fetus, as well as the preparation for lactation. Food should have prana, or life force. When food is not fresh, it is tamasic, and will introduce the quality of stagnancy into the physiology of the mother and fetus. The diet should be light in order to preserve the agni which is naturally dimmed during the many processes of pregnancy, and to enable the food to be easily digested.

Special focus is given to the mothers cravings. It is said that she should be given anything she desires, within reason, and that she craves what her body and the foetus are requiring. It is also very important to remember to include all six tastes in the diet to ensure that foods containing high concentrations of each of the five elements is incorporated. For this reason, the mother should not eat simply according to her constitution. Because the baby is of a different constitutional makeup than the mother is, emphasis should be placed on a very abundant and various diet. All colours of food should be included for this reason as well  The diet should be vegetarian to ensure a sattvic quality, but in a vata person, extra emphasis should be placed on unctuous, warm, protein/iron-rich, and grounding foods. Ghee is one sattvic food that should be taken regularly by expectant mothers. In addition to creating ojas, ghee increases agni, . The specific food recommendations to focus on during each month of pregnancy are as follows:

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1st /2nd/3rd Months: Sweet taste, lots of liquids, fresh fruits, fresh fruit juices, cold drinks, milk, and raw butter

4th / 5th Month: Add meat broth, especially from wild animals, rice, wheat, milk and raw butter

6th Month: Same as above, but include ghrita cooked with gokshura

7th/ 8th /9th Months: Boiled milk and rice

Some other foods that are sattvic and very nourishing to the fetus are dates, raisins and blanched almonds. Kitchari, grounding vegetable like yams and carrots, whole grains/breads, and warming spices are beneficial as well . It is important to satisfy hunger, but in order to sustain a healthy agni, meals should not be too large. In Ayurveda, three meals a day is the rule of thumb, not eating more often than every 4-5 hours or until the previous meal is digested. However, for pregnant women, it is advisable to eat smaller portions due to the stomach being compressed, and to eat a little more often to sustain energy.

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