Monday, April 16, 2012

"Can you actually BE vegan when you're pregnant?" and other interesting questions

When I told the Man of Science that I was going to write a post about what I was eating as a pregnant vegan he said, "So your post will say, everything within arms reach that isn't nailed down?" I laughed. And then I pretended to eat the dog.

Currently, I'm on a supermega version of my usual Hobbit eating schedule. Waking snack, first breakfast, second breakfast, early lunch, late lunch, afternoon snack, predinner snack, dinner, dessert, after dinner snack, bedtime bowl of cereal. Then I fall asleep, exhausted, covered in pets.

To be honest, I was pretty sure that I would get a bunch of flack when it came to my choice of diet paired with pregnancy. I thought that the whole not-eating-meat-dairy-and-eggs would be one of those things that people would get all up in arms about, like breast feeding into the preschool years or piercing your infant's ears. I expected opinions.

I have been pleasantly surprised. I've had a few questions about how one has a healthy vegan/vegetarian pregnancy, but no one has called the Children's Aid Society on me or anything. I've also had a few requests for a blog post about my experience with vegan pregnancy, so that's what this will be. (If that kind of thing doesn't interest you, please go watch this blooper reel from my favourite TV show on earth, Parks and Recreation. Or at least watch the part around the 6 minute mark where Amy Poehler keeps saying that she's "fart and smunny" and Louis CK can't stop laughing.) I think the easiest way to tackle it is to just go through what I'm eating on a typical day and add in some explanations of my choices. I'm no doctor, but I have spoken to a naturopath, midwife, and regular doctor about my diet and taken heed of their recommendations. So here's what I ate today.

When? Monday, April 16th.

What Did I Do? Drove two hours away to work in Petawawa, Ontario for the day. Did two work visits, one at a nursery school, one at a daycare for toddlers and preschoolers. Took a ten minute break in between to eat lunch in my car in the parking lot of a Rexall drugstore. Drove two hours home. Sat on the couch with my mom for a few minutes, made dinner, wrote this post.

What Did I Eat?

Waking up: two saltine crackers from the tupperware container I keep beside the bed. This keeps me from feeling woozy from hunger when I first get up.

Breakfast: smoothie made from a frozen banana, enriched unsweetened soymilk, a big spoonful of almond-cashew butter, a tsp of cinnamon, 2 tsp of 369 oil. The soymilk and almond butter provide the protein, and the enriched-ness of the soymilk gives me calcium, vitamin D and a whole bunch of other stuff I need. the 369 oil is good for the baby's brain development and my dry pregnancy skin, and the cinnamon makes it tasty and helps to regulate blood sugar. Also I take a pre-natal vitamin pill which contains folic acid and vitamin D. I haven't been taking additional prenatal vitamins because the iron in them makes me feel really pukey and my blood tests have shown that my iron levels are just fine.

In the car: one maple pecan ProBar, half a water bottle's worth of water. I am thirsty all the time, especially in the morning and late afternoon.

At my first work stop: a handful of almonds on my way in, and an apple after I sat down to do my work. I can't eat nuts in daycare centres because they are always banned due to allergies, so if I my only snacks are nut-based I need to eat them before I go in and then wash my hands immediately. I like almonds, but I find them dry, and an apple cures that nicely.

Lunch in the parking lot: Leftovers from last night's dinner, soba noodles with tofu and broccoli in tahini sauce. A handful of chocolate covered cashews. I've been craving sweet things, but my blood sugar problems are magnified, so if I eat something sweet, I try to make sure it's combined with protein.

On the way home: Lots of dried apricots (the midwife's recommendation to add to my iron stores), almonds, plus handfuls from the bags of pretzels and lentil chips I keep in my car. I finished my bottle of water and started drinking a small tetrapak of coconut water that I had in my bag. Coconut water has become one of my favourite things in my pregnancy diet. It is good for me, doesn't mess with my blood sugar, and hydrates like crazy.

At home before dinner: Giant glass of water with lemon squeezed into it. I am always thirsty and tired when I get home from work, and the lemon water is easier to drink. I also occasionally feel nauseous this time of day, and some cold lemon water often helps quell that.

Dinner: Lemon lentil carrot soup, with whole grain bread. I was feeling a bit sick of tofu tonight, I have been eating a whole lot of it lately because it is such an easy protein and because I've been too busy/tried on the weekends to make seitan or soak and cook beans. Agave-sweetened coconut ice "cream" bar for dessert. Cup of mint tea.

Before bed: Some delicious, unsweetened oat cereal from the Barbara's brand with more of that enriched soymilk. More water.

This kind of diet is working for me now, but may need to be adjusted as I get pregnant-er. Apparently babies like to steal all their mother's nutrients away, and it only gets worse as time goes on. So far so good, though.



Valerie said...

Thank you so much for posting this! :) I am hoping to have a fully vegan pregnancy so it helps to hear someone else's account. It sounds like you're eating fabulously, and lots of nuts especially! :)

Julia said...

I had a vegan pregnancy. Easy peasy! Just take a good prenatal and DHA/EPA from algae. Yaay!

the [sugar] apothecary said...

Totally loving these posts. And proud of you for taking such great care of yourself and documenting it all to share! You look wonderful!

Cherry said...

Enjoying reading your blog :) I'm vegan and 35 weeks pregnant, good to read about the experiences of others

Janet R said...

I'm not pregnant yet but you've inspired me with your post! Totally awesome and you gave me tons of ideas! Thank you so much! All the best to you!

Janet R said...

Great post! Very inspiring!!

Jade said...

OMG I didn't even realise you were pregnant! That's how behind I am in reading blogs! Congrats and I hope you're finding your pregnancy easy enough. I'm not vegan but I am vegetarian and ate veggo the whole time (except for once when roast lamb smelled too good...but then I felt sick) and there were no issues. I now have a healthy vegetarian daughter who LOVES all the food I give her! So close to writing an essay so I'll stop here :-) xx