I haven’t done a vegetarian update in a while, and some of you may be wondering how I’m doing with being vegetarian (or pescatarian, more accurately) while I’m pregnant. The quick answer is, so far so good – my midwifes (midwives?) have all been supportive, my appetite is good and overall I feel good.
The biggest issue has been making sure I get enough of certain nutrients. I need lots of protein, so I’ve been eating a hard-boiled egg with lunch every day. I was worried about iron being a problem, even before my pregnancy, so for a while I was taking extra iron supplements in addition to my prenatal vitamins. My iron levels were great, but it resulted in clogging up my system pretty badly, so I had to stop the extra supplements. Now I’m just making sure to eat plenty of leafy greens to keep my iron up – the iron from greens seems easier to digest. We put spinach in just about everything, and Trader Joe’s has a southern greens blend that I love sauteed up with onions. We also eat salads once or twice a week, and we’ll often top a salad with a vegetarian chick’n patty or burger, which helps with the protein count too.
One of my new favorites is almond butter. Trader Joe’s has one that includes omega 3′s and flax seed oil, and while it has a little less protein than peanut butter, it also has less fat and sodium and more of pretty much everything else. And I think it tastes better than peanut butter too. We whipped through our first jar of almond butter in less than five days.
At this point in my pregnancy, the baby needs a lot of omega 3′s and calcium, so I picked up some extra supplements of those. The Viactiv-style chocolate calcium chews are tasty and easy to eat during the day. For omega 3, we got a bottle of kids’ gummy vitamins – they were cheaper than the grownup version and included more grams of omega 3′s, and they taste like candy. On our vacation last week we also ate tons of fish, with almost every meal, so hopefully baby is getting plenty of material to work with.
I have been having some trouble with beans. My system seems more prone to digestive issues now that there’s less room in there for digesting, and I was getting gas so bad that my belly would be visibly larger a full day post-beans. One of my pregnant friends suggested the obvious – and Beano seems to be helping. Sometimes I’m amazed at my ability to have a problem’s solution in my house, stored right in the dining room even, and not think of it.
No crazy cravings yet. My thought on cravings is this: if I am desperate for a hot dog (or some meat loaf, or whatever) and can’t stop thinking about it such that it’s obviously a hormonal thing, I’m not going to deprive myself of that thing. I don’t plan to start eating meat again, but I’m willing to be flexible depending on what my body wants, and that includes onion-flavored jello or whatever. Honestly, I think onion jello would be less gross to me than meat at this point, but if my body’s craving it and it’s generally accepted to be food, I’ll eat it. Overall, though, I’ve been really happy with my decision to continue not eating meat and keep up healthy eating habits even while my body has extra nutrition needs.