The Flaming Vegan

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Surviving A Meat-Free Pregnancy
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Surviving A Meat-Free Pregnancy

This isn't an article to tell you how to have a healthy, meat-free diet during pregnancy. There are already many resources on the internet to help anyone interested in eating vegetarian how to be healthy.  Many of us already know the best sources of protein, calcium, and other nutrients we need to be healthy.  If you feel unsure, or something comes up that requires changes in your diet, such as gestational diabetes, you could also consult with a nutritionist or dietician.  The purpose of this article is to help vegetarian/vegan women survive being around other people during pregnancy.

Parents are judged.  Often.  By lots of different people.  After all, someone who has never met you before clearly knows what your child needs better than you do, right? This judgment begins the second anyone finds out you are even expecting to become a parents.  I bring this up because one of the many annoyances of pregnancy and parenthood is being judged by random people you see throughout the day.  This could be family, coworkers, acquaintances, and even strangers.

The scenario normally unfolds something like this:

You are eating your lunch of homemade hummus, veggies, and whole-grain crackers at work.   Your coworkers come in, fast food hamburgers and fries in hand, and begin to chide you for denying your unborn child precious nutrients found in meat.   If you're like me, you quietly thank said coworker for their concern, and politely inform them that your doctor/midwife is happy with the pregnancy.  If you're like how I wish I could be, you would thank them for their concern, and impolitely inform them that they could mind their own business while clogging their arteries.

The strategy for dealing with the well-meaning but annoying know-it-alls varies from person-to-person.  During my pregnancy, when someone would tell me what I have to eat, I would just nod politely and thank them for the input.  I never felt the need to defend my choice.  I knew I was being healthy.   Plus, it's easier to just move on, and pregnancy is too exhausting for heated debates!

Another option would be to say that meat makes you nauseous.   For many pregnant women, this is actually true.   I've found, too, that nothing shuts someone up like the threat that you'll puke on them.  This threat is really only effective when you're pregnant (or sick), so take advantage of it. 

The final option would be a direct or confrontational approach. A response I enjoy goes something like this:

"Wow! You can tell everything about me and my family from this one short encounter? What a gift! Don't waste it here! People need you! Go! Go! Help those in need!"

The unfortunate result of this scenario is that you come across as the jerk. On the bright side, this person may think twice before doling out unwanted advice in the future.

Most medical professionals agree that you can have a healthy, meat-free pregnancy.  If your medical professional doesn't agree with this, you should probably start interviewing other medical professionals.  Unfortunately, we don't always have the option of finding intelligent people to surround us in real-life.   We have to learn how to deal with idiots without letting them ruin our day.


*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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  1. Veganara
    Vote no 3. This is a really great blog, well-written, amusing and very good points made! I think your responses to "well-meaning" people are perfect! I agree that it is best not to get into arguments with people if you can avoid it. What nutrients are in meat that you can't get from a vegan diet??? Maybe only vitamin B12 , and you can take a supplement for that. Also probably an iron supplement too, but I am sure you know all that already. All pregnant women need to be careful what they eat and drink, so really being vegetarian or vegan is no different in that respect. You might be interested in my latest recipe, Repro Ratatouille; please check it out and vote if you like it. :-)
    1. VeggieMama
      Thank you very much! Yea, B12 is the main thing missing from a vegan diet (besides saturated fat and other crap), but I'd assume most vegans know that. I'm looking forward to checking out your recipes. Thanks!
    2. SnakeWitch
      Actually, there are some sources of B12 that are found in nature. Nutritional yeast, spirulina and seaweed are three of them. Spirulina is powdered seaweed, actually, and is available in supplement format.
  2. SnakeWitch
    You say that you wish you were more direct with your responses in real life, but this article is quite a raw explanation of how you feel - and I like it! I agree with you. But, there are ways to say something that puts people in their place without being too overly rude - such as: are you my new doctor? Do you think I didn't verify this before doing it? do you sincerely believe I would willfully harm my unborn child? I've never been pregnant but I see and hear how this is an issue, and I, for one, know I would have to defend it almost once an hour here in Colombia, if ever I choose to stay here during a pregnancy. voted! When you have the chance, please read my new article, Committing to Detox, and vote if you like it!
    1. Veganara
      Do you mean because you constantly have to defend your veganism in Colombia anyway Annie? I am sure they are not very progressive in that respect! Even here in Britain, which is a very liberal, progressive, tolerant sort of country, vegetarians and vegans get quite a lot of harassment from "well meaning" people. I am sure it is the same the world over though, just one of those things we have to put up with. I am committed to putting up with the hardships of this lifestyle if it helps to save animals and the planet, I am sure the rest of you feel that way too. Re the B12 debate again, have those sources you mention like nutritional yeast been proved as reliable? I must check this out.
      1. SnakeWitch
        I can tell you for a fact that spirulina and seaweed are definitely reliable sources of B12 because I see it everywhere in those little local juice shops, online, in veg news, etc... As for nutritional yeast, I can't fully guarantee, but do check it out. I will, too, on my end. I'm sure it is. As for Colombia, I find that the level of discrimination against vegans to be utterly disgusting. When even vegetarian restaurants refuse to accomodate you, it's awful. There are tons of places I refuse to eat in now because not only did they not like that I was vegan, they went so far as to serve me the miso soup without the tofu, then have the nerve to say that they can give me bacon instead. UGH! I don't even like vegan bacon! Others will add a good dose of cow's milk in it. Others yet, just say that it's not available that night or that their menu is 'under construction'. As for finding vegans, they are few and far between. Vegetarians abound, though; this, at least, is starting to be accepted (although they are still much more stigmatised here than they are in developed countries and veggie-friendly places like India).
        1. Veganara
          Vegetarians abound? Well, that is encouraging - we now just have to get them to take it that one step further! I am very surprised and dismayed that even vegetarian restaurants refuse to accommodate you! Veganism is seen as much more "extreme" and hard-core, I suppose, not just in Colombia. Do you have a Vegan Passport? Someone wrote a blog about that a while back, was it you? I am wondering if showing them that might help (but maybe you already do, and maybe it doesn't!) A friend of mine gave me one of those recently, and I am very impressed with the way it is written; they explain the principles behind veganism on the title page, to show when you go into restaurants. It explains the ethos, politely asks them to make a meal with no animal products, and it is translated into a lot of different languages. I intend to always use that when I next travel, but I can foresee that it won't always work, there will still be discrimination!
    2. VeggieMama
      Thank you! You're right- there are lots of ways to handle people's questions. I think this was mostly just a cathartic exercise for me. Can't wait to read your work!
  3. Kelita kellman
    Great post... I can totally relate. Its funny I wrote a similar post not too longvago. You have my vote :)


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