Pregnancy Nutrition (vegan)

I was a tad nervous when I told my OBGYN and the nurses at the hospital that I was vegan - I’ve done a ton of research and I know it’s healthy (the World Health Organization agrees!), but I still wasn’t sure how they would react.

At the end of our first appointment, the nurse started going over everything I couldn’t eat. She was going on about no deli meats, no soft cheeses, no hot dogs, etc. (everything that I didn’t eat anyway). I told her that I was vegan (just so we didn’t waste her time with the list of things that I wouldn’t eat anyway), and she said, “Oh great! This will be so easy for you. The only things you can’t have are unpasteurized juices and sprouts”. I asked her if there was anything I should watch nutritionally since I’m vegan, and she said she couldn’t think of anything, and it was actually better because I was likely eating more fruits and vegetables than the average person anyway. I was so happy!

The same thing happened about a month later when we met with the OBGYN for the first time. He was so unfazed and we didn’t even talk about it and further.

Even though my blood work came back great, I still wanted to make sure I was on track so I started using an app called Cronometer. I LOVE it, and I actually used it occasionally before I was pregnant. You can use it on your computer or phone, and it’s a nutrition calculator (rather than a calorie counter). I enter in what I eat every single day and I can track to see how I’m doing. I try to hit all the targets everyday, but I’m more concerned about the overall trend rather than the day-to-day. I normally hit between 90-100% of my targets every day which is great!

I noticed that even though the doctor didn’t have any concerns, my calcium was consistently lower than 100% for the day. This actually ended up being an easy fix - I just add a cup of almond milk to my green smoothies and I’m covered (most store-bought ones are fortified with calcium). I’m glad that I was tracking this, or else I wouldn’t have known!

Like any other pregnant woman, I’m taking a daily prenatal. There’s a ton on the market, but it felt important to me to get one that was natural and made with real food. I found one by MyKind Organics, that I really love. It’s made with ground up fruits and vegetables, so you’re getting everything that you need, but it’s from natural sources.They’re made from 30 organic whole foods (like blueberries, blackberries, green bell peppers, ginger, red cabbage, kale, etc.) They’re more expensive that other ones, but I decided it was right for me. (They have one that you can take three times a day, or once a day. I do the once a day ones!). You’re supposed to start taking a prenatal before you even get pregnant, so since it was a process for us to get pregnant I ended up taking them for more than 8 months before we even got pregnant haha. You’re supposed to take prenatals before conception, during pregnancy, and while you’re breast feeding so we got a bundle of them since I’m going to be taking them for a while! They are large, but I got used to them super quick. I also just noticed that it’s suggested you take them with food… I need have (I take it right before bed), and my stomach has been perfectly fine!

Even though the expression is “eating for two”, you’re actually only supposed to have an extra 300-350 calories per day. Between a green smoothie (the one that I add almond milk to), and the occasional toast (see below), I find I’m good! I’m not limiting my calories AT ALL, and I’m eating when I’m hungry and making sure that the majority of it is nutritious food.

I normally ate pretty healthy, so the only things I added to my diet (other than the prenatal) are ground chia and ground flax. They’re both high in Omega 3s, and I add a tablespoon of ground flax seed to my oatmeal every morning (once my oats are nearly done, I just add it in to the pot and mix it in. I don’t even notice that it’s there.)

If I have a snack, I’ll have toast with peanut butter and jam and mix in a tablespoon of ground chia seed to the jam (my trick is to spread the peanut butter on the toast, and then sprinkle on the chia seeds. Then I spoon on the jam and mix it around the toast so the chia seeds become part of the jam… I hope that makes sense haha).

I weirdly find it fun to enter in all my foods and to try to hit 100% of my nutrients every day… :)

Questions? Let me know! Later on, I’ll do more specific “what I eat in a day while pregnant” posts. If you’re interested in snippets of what Im eating in the meantime, I share a lot of that on my instagram :)