It all comes down to diet. You are what you eat, they say, and these days we are discovering more and more that diet can both cause and alleviate an ever-widening list of physical ailments. When it comes to pregnancy, the late Dr. Thomas Brewer discovered just how important diet can be. He came up with what is now known as the Brewer diet for pregnancy, and claimed in his practice to see zero cases of pre-eclampsia and several other conditions among his patients who followed his diet.
The Brewer diet can be complicated to follow precisely, just like any other diet. During my pregnancies, I boiled it down to a few general rules.
- Eggs for breakfast daily. Eggs seem to contain some vitamins and minerals that are very important for preventing pre-eclampsia. In addition, having a high-protein breakfast helps level out my blood sugars over the day, important both in the first trimester (when my hypoglycemia gets much worse) and in the third trimester (when I can become diabetic if I am not careful). Eggs are so beneficial that I try to have them daily even when I am not pregnant, but I never skipped them during pregnancy. My breakfast usually consisted of eggs, fruit, and oatmeal.
- Protein at every meal. Protein is the most important building block for the body, and getting enough protein is absolutely essential for building a baby. When I was pregnant with the triplets, protein was the number one focus of my diet, with my doctors recommending that I eat a minimum of 80 grams of protein every day. By the end of that pregnancy, I had piles of meat stashed in the fridge that I would pull slices off for every meal and snack!
- Focus on red meats and dark green leafy vegetables. During my first pregnancy, I was actually craving salad, something I’d never been able to stomach eating before. Spinach, mixed greens, red meat, anything with lots of iron was appealing to me. Beef with broccoli was my favorite Chinese food. I also added dandelion leaves to my daily pitcher of iced tea.
- Salt to taste. Dr. Brewer emphasizes this rule, and I follow it. I tend to like my food saltier than others, and I no longer think twice about it. We need salt to function, we need salt for our blood pressure to function, we need salt for our heart and brain to function. Reducing salt generally is not a good thing.
This website also has more information and answers about the Brewer diet.