I am a massive foodie, so it comes as no surprise when I say the Pregnancy Diet is one of the hardest things for me throughout pregnancy. What made it even more difficult was that I was doing it according to the Chinese Way. (Which means there is even MORE stuff that I cannot eat.)
Why I chose to follow the Chinese Way
I went into this pregnancy with a "better be safe than sorry" attitude.
Even though it has been tough, I stuck with it because I do believe in the theory of Chinese Medicine and I think it will all be worth it at the end. I have plenty of friends who did not go down this route and had perfectly healthy babies. I am just more comfortable doing it this way, even though it is harder.
I think a lot of it has to do with my personality, as I tend to self-blame when things go wrong, so I rather do everything in my power to ensure that it doesn't. So even if something goes wrong (touch wood), I know I have already done everything in my ability to ensure the best possible future for my child. This is not to say that other mummy-to-bes who aren't following this food restriction list is not doing their best for their future child. This is only my belief and point of view, and I am definitely on the cautious side.
What is on this food ban list?
This list is given to me by my Chinese doctor, I have done my best to translate most of the ingredients into English, but some of them I just can't find the English name for it. Here is the translated food ban list. (I didn't do the translation for the Chinese herbs, as the names are too technical and you won't be able to find them in a normal supermarket any way. If you want to know more about Chinese herbs, I would suggest going to a shop that specifically sells them.)
As you can see the list is substantial, definitely a lot more restrictions than the food restriction list from your Western doctor. The reason is, according to Chinese Medicine food are split into different categories such as: "Neutral", "Nutritious", "Cold", "Hot", "Wet and Hot" or "Harmful". (Some other article categories them slightly differently, but this is how my Chinese doctor describes them.) You will find there is a lot on the list that Western medicine will recommend or are considered safe, while Chinese Medicine is a massive No-no. Here are some examples:
Western Medicine: Mangos are full of vitamin A and C and is a good source for fiber.
Chinese Medicine: Mangos are considered to be "Hot and Wet". They believe this is bad for your baby's skin development inside the womb.
Western Medicine: Lobsters are great for protein and Calcium.
Chinese Medicine: Lobsters, are considered to be very "Harmful" during pregnancy. This is because lobsters live on the ocean bed and eat up all the dirty stuff from the sea, so the Chinese believe that this is bad for the fetus's skin development and can cause skin allergies.
Western Medicine: This was surprising for me too, especially when Western doctors highly recommend eating lots leafy greens.
Chinese Medicine: Pak Choi is considered "cold", they won't recommend it during pregnancy and even after the first week after giving birth.
The above are just a few examples of the different point of view and philosophy between the East and West. I know for some of you who are reading this will think it is the most ridiculous thing you have ever read. (Trust me, I spent the first 34 years of my life feeling the same.) However, as Chinese Medicine did help me conceive, my perspective towards Chinese food therapy has changed. Maybe it is a bunch of old wives tale and superstitions, or there is truth behind it. I chose to follow this, as I am very much an all or nothing type of person. I feel if I choose to believe in following the Chinese Medicine way, I might as well do everything they tell me to do after all is it only 10 months of my life. Is this something you would consider trying?
If you are interested to know more about Chinese Food therapy, here are some other website that talks about Chinese Medicine food categories and the reason behind them:
Things to bare in mind
If you do decide to go down the Chinese Medicine root, I would highly recommend you see a Chinese Doctor first, as all our body is different. The above list is only a guideline on what they would recommend; there are exceptional cases if your body is particularly "Hot" or "Cold". There are items on the list above that are considered safe to eat, but my Chinese doctor would recommend that I say away from it because of my body type.
I hope you find the above blog post interesting. If you would like me to write more on this topic, please leave me a comment below.
Sending you love & positive thoughts,