Wollongong Nutritionist Renee Jennings Debunks Pregnancy Myths With New Cookbook Nurture The Seed | Review of the northern beaches
A nutritionist specializing in women’s health debunks the myths about what to eat during pregnancy with a new cookbook.
Nourish the Seedoffers nutrition advice and healthy recipes — how to make kimchi fishcakes or whether soy is good for you — for both expectant and postpartum moms.
Renee Jennings, from Wollongong south of Sydney, had the idea in her head for ten years before putting it into practice when her firstborn was three months old and co-writing it with her good friend Georgia Gregory.
“I remember when I first got pregnant and I … spoke to midwives and they gave me this packet of information that was 10 years old and so outdated and so contradictory,” Ms. Jennings said.
“Instead of getting pregnant and worrying about the foods you can’t eat, I focus on the foods you can eat.”
She said she found a lot of “anxiety” about how to eat during pregnancy, rather than feeling “empowered” to eat an abundance of good food.
One of the biggest myths, Ms Jennings said, was that you can’t eat fish because of the perceived mercury, soft cheese or sashimi.
“When I was pregnant with my second, I ate sashimi-grade fish if it was purchased from a reputable company,” Ms. Jennings said.
“But your random little sushi place where everything is on the counter isn’t a good idea.”
Meeting nutrient needs is a theme that runs throughout the book, with recipes designed to address common deficiencies like iron and folic acid. These include lucky balls, Bolognese – iron deficiency, soups, muesli, bone broth and nut slices.
It was a work-life struggle for three years to complete it, and Ms Jennings wrote of when her children napped during the day, went to sleep at night, or when her husband took them on “adventures” at the weekend.
“I wrote sometimes when they were breastfeeding when they were very young, but not after about five months because they were too restless,” she said.
“It was always a struggle to juggle motherhood while we were writing a book, so it took us three years. I was fortunate to have a lot of support from family and friends who helped with babysitting, recipe testing and proofreading.”
Nurture The Seed MSRP $59. It is available online and mailed across Australia or through Ms Jenning’s practice in Wollongong.