You can also consider another source of organic protein that may be less expensive than beef: soy. In fact, if you are a tofu, edamame, or soy-milk lover already, Dr. Greene recommends going green here for sure. That's because 80 percent of the soybean crops grown today are genetically modified, which means the genetic code of the food has been altered in a lab to make it more weed- or bug-resistant. Dr. Greene says the problem is that no one really knows yet what impact genetically modified foods will have on our health and our farmlands. Stick with organic in this case and you avoid the potential risk.
Finally, think about switching to organic milk. It's one of the top organics on Dr. Greene's list simply because pregnant women (and later, children over age 1) need to consume so much calcium, which is readily available in many dairy products. And though the FDA maintains that all types of milk are equally safe, choosing organic means saying no to a whole chemical system of agriculture - an important step given that many environmental toxins are stored in the fat that so many dairy products contain.
A less expensive option: Look for milk that's growth-hormone-free (also known as rBVH-free or rBST-free).
Wondering if there's anything left you don't have to think about? Eggs. Egg-laying hens aren't given growth hormones (like chickens raised for food), says Swinney, nor are the eggs likely to be exposed to antibiotics. The birds stop laying if they are sick. Who knew?
For New Moms
You might expect the nutrition advice for new moms to be the same as during pregnancy, and certainly the above suggestions still hold true. But there are a few more recommendations to keep in mind, depending on whether your baby is drinking breast milk, formula, or a combination.
If you're breastfeeding: Because the only DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid that's especially important to brain and vision development) your baby gets in his diet comes from your breast milk, eating DHA-rich seafood like salmon is super-important for you (experts recommend you shoot for 300 to 500 milligrams of DHA a day, and a serving of salmon packs that and more). But sometimes it seems as if you need a food science degree just to know which types of seafood are best. Between all the concern surrounding the contaminants many fish are exposed to, the fact that there's no organic classification for seafood, and the reality that some fish are healthier when they're farmed and others when they're wild-caught, it's enough to make you skip the fish counter altogether.
Don't give up yet! There are a few things you can do. As far as how much and what type to eat, here are a few guidelines: You can safely down 12 ounces, or two servings, a week of wild salmon (not farm-raised), tilapia, shrimp, catfish, cod, and haddock. As for the ever popular tuna, however, opt for the canned "chunk light" variety and limit yourself to one can a week. You want to avoid "white" and "albacore" tuna, along with big fish like swordfish, shark, grouper, and fresh tuna (for more details, visit OceansAlive.org). You can also look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo, which certifies where the fish came from (farmed or wild).
The other important food category nursing moms should consume lots of is vitamin Arich red, orange, and yellow fruits and veggies. "In fact, one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby is to
double your daily intake of colorful foods; have two servings at every meal and one at every snack," says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy. If you choose to skip the organics, look for produce that says "vine-ripened" or "tree-ripened." They'll have more nutrients, which promote better health, Somer notes.
If you're bottle-feeding: You're already spending a small fortune on regular formula. If you're using a type with added DHA, you're spending even more. If you make the jump to an organic version, you may wonder if there will be anything left in your food budget for yourself. Fortunately, a decision has been made on this one for you: Most of the sources we consulted agree that it's more important that your baby have a DHA-enhanced formula than an organic one, so spend your money on that if you can't afford both. And if plain old formula is what's in your budget, that's A-OK, too.