Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pregnancy and Protein (mexican mahi w/ rice & beans)

According to Dr. Tom Brewer, a pregnant woman is to eat 80-100 grams of protein a day. This is an incredible amount. A steak fillet has about 30 g of protein, imagine eating 3 fillets a day!? Of course, I know a little better. Everything has protein in it, just not complete proteins, so by eating a good variety of food you are more likely to put together complete proteins, so that you don't have to rely on the beef. Perhaps you have all heard that rice and beans make a complete protein, meaning that between the rice and the beans you get all 9 essential amino acids (and way less saturated fat than beef, just drizzle with some olive oil or eat it with avocado for some good healthy fat).

Unfortunately, in order for Dr. Brewer to make his pregnancy diet accessible, he has broken it down to eating a lot of eggs, meat, milk, and cheese. This as you can imagine, is tough for a vegetarian (technically I am a pescitarian, I eat fish) or for someone who doesn't feel all too good with all that animal protein. It is frustrating to me as a health counselor as well, because I feel like this sort of ignorance around food is what got our country bogged down in epidemic proportions (no pun intended) with obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure! As a waitress I would always notice when pregnant women would make grand gestures to avoid having wine poured in their glass, but then turn around and order a glass of milk (layden with hormones, pesticides, and anti-biotics). Not that I am condoning (or opposing) the occasional glass of wine for those during gestation, but I don't agree that milk (non-organic, factory farmed milk) is the better option.

Where am I going with all of this? Well, in our birth class we are to track our protein intake and report back, using our food journals. A piece of bread is considered a whole grain and worth 2 g of protein, and 1 ounce of Fritos (yes Fritos, I'm not even kidding) are also worth 2 grams of protein (I really shouldn't be complaining, but rather enjoying Frito freedom...ick). I guess I am frustrated because I want women and mothers to be more aware. Here is a natural birth birthclass, and the doctor who writes the diet branches out little with food, I suppose the women in the class don't neccesarily need to follow it so closely. For me it has gotten the point across just how much fat and protein my growing baby needs, and although the sources I choose to get that from, may not be represented on our sample food journal chart, I can still rest assured that I am getting sufficient amounts. I now will go forth having faith that the other women in my class choose to do the same.

So for all of you here, a protein packed dinner, soooo delicious. I would eat this every night if I could. Perhaps I should! Mexican rubbed mahi mahi with rice and beans.

Not the best picture, but the first step to delicious rice and beans. Cook onions and garlic (1 onion, 2 cloves garlic) till soft and then toss in some diced olives. Chilis or any other kind of pepper would be good to add here too.

Add the rice (2 cups cooked) and 1 can of pinto beans (be sure to rinse the beans).

I rubbed the fish down with "Nantucket Off-Shore" Pueblo Rub that we got for x-mas from Wholefoods. It is a dreid combination of minced garlic, ancho pepper, cumin, minced onion, cocoa, red pepper, Mexican oregano, and cilantro. It has great flavor and made this fish a little spicy, like blackening seasonings. Then topped with lime slices and baked for about 10 minutes.

While the fish was cooking I diced up neccessary fixings. Carrot, tomato, avocado and lime.

Served with a side of arugula tossed in olive oil and some shredded cheese (Dr. Brewer would be proud). Oh my, what a delicious meal. With or without the fish, a perfect protein.