I hope those of you who follow my blog haven’t given up on me entirely. Yes, I have been a horrible slacker when it comes to posting new recipes. Believe me, I have ideas swirling in my head all the time — zucchini muffins, chickpea lemon dolmas, raw banana-strawberry cheesecake — but when it comes time to executing those recipes, well, I am falling a little short.
As the title of this post might convey (not to mention the above photo), there’s a reason for my “pause” from this blog. I’m pregnant. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will likely not be surprised by this news — I announced my pregnancy weeks ago over there. But that’s because it was easy for me to type up a quick post on my phone. But doing a real blog post about my pregnancy? That would take effort — something I am noticeably lacking these days, mainly due to fatigue. Also, I am a little distracted. My brain is on all things baby. Baby room, baby clothes, baby delivering. I mean, who knew there were so many decisions to make when it comes to how, and where, you want to give birth? And while my mind has also most certainly been on food, that’s where the attention to creating recipes sorta ends. I want food. I eat it. I don’t want to think about how many servings my meals make, or whether something would be better with a little more seasoning, or if my photo would come out better at a different time of day.
So, now that you’ve heard all of my excuses for why I’ve been a terrible blogger as of late, let me get into the fun stuff (for me at least, not sure if anyone else really cares…) — my pregnancy cravings, quirks, and other tidbits I thought were worth sharing here.
I am currently almost 24 weeks pregnant, due in December. According to our 19 week ultrasound, we are having a baby girl.
I can’t say there have been any super definitive, late-night “I need to have this right now” moments yet. But I have definitely had a hankering for FRUIT. Lots and lots of fruit.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved fruit. But I would normally have, maybe, a couple pieces of fruit a day and be happy to let it supplement the rest of my diet. Now? I can’t get enough fruit. I want it all the time — and I don’t care what kind of fruit I’m eating. Luckily, summer has been pretty generous with blueberries, figs, nectarines, cherries, and other seasonal favorites that I cannot stop eating.
With my fruit craving has come some “offshoot” cravings for fruity things. Mainly, fruit smoothies and especially smoothie bowls topped with — yes — more fruit (I told you I can’t get enough).
Other things I’m eating:
Being pregnant and vegan is actually not as taboo as I once thought. In fact, even the classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting acknowledges that vegan diets are totally safe and healthy for growing a baby. You just have to do a little extra planning to make sure you’re meeting all the necessary nutritional needs during pregnancy — as many pregnant women do, vegan or not.
Some important considerations:
- Omega-3s: Very important for baby’s brain and eye development. Vegan diets are commonly thought to be lacking in Omega-3s, which isn’t quite true. Though fish is widely considered a great source of Omega-3s (especially salmon), it is certainly not the only source of these important fatty acids. Good vegan sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts. I make sure I have at least one of these options each day. Smoothies are a great way to add many of these Omega-3 sources into one simple meal. Oatmeal is another great option (I add flax to mine while cooking and then top with hemp or chia seeds before eating). I also supplement with a vegan DHA supplement, which vegans tend to need more of, especially in the third trimester.
- Folate: One of the most discussed nutrient requirements for any pregnant woman, folic acid gets a lot of attention due to its importance in fetal neural tube development. Since I’ve been diagnosed with an MTHFR defect, which affects my body’s ability to break down folic acid (an actually common though rarely diagnosed condition which can lead to miscarriage), I take Optimal Prenatal from Seeking Health, which contains methylfolate, an already converted type of folate that can be readily used by the body.
- Iron: Pregnant women tend to need more iron than most, especially in the second trimester and beyond, due to increased blood volume, among other factors. Though I have read literature indicating that vegan iron needs can be met during pregnancy with whole foods, I still feel most comfortable taking a supplement, just in case (especially since my prenatal vitamin does not contain any added iron). I take Seeking Health Optimal Iron plus cofactors. In addition to this supplement, my diet is pretty high in a lot of plant sources of iron, such as kale, lentils, beans and tofu. I try to make sure I am eating a lot of these with extra vitamin C sources as well, for enhanced absorption.
- Protein: Anyone who’s been vegan for awhile can attest that the “where do you get your protein?” question can get a bit old. O.K. More than a bit old. But when you’re pregnant, it’s actually a question that is worth some consideration. Not that there aren’t plenty of plant protein sources that aren’t perfectly fine for helping grow a baby. It’s just that, one might need to think about getting more of these sources than usual. I try to make sure all of my meals contain protein sources such as hemp, soy, beans, quinoa or nuts. I like adding hemp seeds to my morning smoothies, walnuts and soy milk to my oatmeal, tempeh to my salads, and tofu to my stir-fries for added protein. And during the day, I have been known to snack on lentils or beans for a healthy, protein-filled snack. One of my favorite ways to up both my protein and iron intake is to make a lentil bolognese pasta sauce using store-bought jarred sauce, sauteed veggies, and lentils. For a creamier sauce, you can also add some cashew cream. Then, for an even more protein/iron-packed punch, use red lentil rotini or penne in place of “regular” noodles. I love TOLERANT organic, non-GMO red lentil rotini for this.
Symptoms: In the beginning, I felt nauseous from weeks 5 1/2 though about week 12. I had no vomiting, but did feel queasy throughout the day, and did not want to eat anything green — no veggies, salads or green smoothies for me. I also could not stand the smell of coffee. Luckily, the nausea and food aversions have passed, and I am back to my normal appetite. Now, my biggest symptom is fatigue. It’s not so bad right now, but I still find I need more than 8 hours of sleep these days to function.
I have also noticed that my nails are growing exponentially faster than they did.
Bumpdate/weight gain: Well, I have been really trying not to obsess about the weight. But I’ve gained about 25 pounds already at almost 24 weeks. My doctor said some women just tend to gain more, and if I’m not drinking lots of sugary sodas or eating tons of sweets (ha — she clearly hasn’t read my blog) there’s not much I can do — especially since I am staying active and still working out, albeit not as intensively as I once did.
I think a lot of my weight gain has been due to water weight as well. I have always been someone who tends to bloat and swell up easily with hormonal changes and excess sodium. I’m struggling to keep wearing my wedding ring these days because, though I can get it on in the morning, if I do anything to exert myself during the humid Michigan summer weather, my hands swell up so much that it’s hard to get my ring off at night.
Now, my bump is rounding out a bit and is even bigger than the picture on the right. And I’m sure will look even more “bumpy” in the coming weeks, when I’m told most people really start to “pop.”
The best part: You know what makes the weight gain thing much easier to handle? Hearing that my little girl is looking healthy and growing right on track when I visit my doctor. Even better? Feeling her kicks get stronger and stronger as the days and weeks go by. Most recently, dad has been able to feel her kicks as well, which is so cool, as I am finally able to share this thing that has had me feeling giddy for weeks. Literally feeling a life growing inside you is pretty darn cool.
And…that’s about it! Let me know if there are any specific posts you guys would like, pregnancy related or not. Oh, and standard disclaimer, but I am not a doctor and all medical info I’ve posted on here is simply based on my experience and what works for me. It’s not intended as medical advice.