Everyone knows that pregnant women are susceptible to the weirdest cravings. So as soon as people began to find out that I was pregnant, they all started guessing what I would crave. 90% of the time it was some kind of meat they chose to bet on. "Chicken wings, fried chicken, barbecue chicken, steak... " The list went on and on.
Then there was my doctor and other "concerned" individuals who felt certain that I needed to eat some kind of meat to have a healthy pregnancy, Anemia often being the greatest concern.
So how did I get through an entire pregnancy as a vegan? Was it difficult? For me, it wasn't. I have been vegan/ vegetarian my entire life, so I knew i wouldn't have a problem with craving meat. That being said, I did want ice cream alot. Luckily there are so many options out there now for those who want that specific treat. There are dairy free ice cream bars, nutty cones, and dairy free ice cream of all flavors. It was a pregnant vegan's dream come true.
The questions most people asked were: "But didn't you become anemic? Did you get all of the vitamins you needed?" The answer was that no, I did not get anemic, and yes I got all of the nutrients I needed. I just did what I was accustomed doing. I ate a well balanced diet! This meant lots of fruits and veggies and a good multivitamin. The funny thing was, I couldn't take a multivitamin with iron, but was able to keep my iron levels up by just eating well.
And what about calcium? Coconut milk was my favorite source of calcium along with green leafy veggies in salads and cooked daily. Remember, dairy is not the only source of cacium. In fact non- dairy sources of are much higher in calcium and are more readily absorbed by the body.
Soemthing I would often do is buy lots of fruit, chop it up, and eat those foods daily as a snack. It was sweet and nutritious, and the perfect size for snacking. I don't generally drink fruit juice as a rule, but it was good to keep some blueberry juice around as a great source of antioxidants (not to mention it's delicious and promotes healthy brain development).
When you're pregnant, keeping your immune system in tip top shape is critical. Though your immune system is vigilant when you're carrying baby, it's still relatively easy to get sick when your body is under some degree of stress.
So here they are ladies, some main pointers for staying as healthy as possible while you're gestating:
- Eat a healthy well balanced diet which is comprised predominately of fruits and vegetables.
- Look for a great food-based multivitamin to ensure you get all your required nutrients
- Drink lots of water. LOTS and LOTS. It's not like you'll need any help going to the bathroom, but it helps to reduce constipation and ensures that you and baby stay hydrated.
-Most importantly, its ok to indulge in healthy treats. You're pregnant, so the urge to eat more treats than usual will come. Just make healthy sensible choices!
Being pregnant and a vegan is a beautiful thing. For me it was simple-- eat like I always did. Well, okay, maybe a little more.