I’ve talked a little bit about the cravings I have been having in pregnancy, but what I haven’t really mentioned was how drastically my eating habits have changed.
As a vegetarian, I have never really been concerned with getting enough protein. Before becoming pregnant, I ate extremely healthy – oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, a big veggie salad with olive oil instead of dressing for lunch, and a nice veggie-filled dinner, plus a few snacks in between that mostly consisted of fruit and of course dessert, because that’s something I simply can’t live without. I would always make sure I had some sort of protein source with each meal and snack in the form of nut butters, cheese, beans, or tofu. I’ve never had a problem with energy levels, eating enough (Lord knows I could stuff myself to the breaking point), or iron levels, which is what vegetarians typically deal with.
I really ate an almost vegan diet. I drank either soy or almond milk, only ate cheese on pizza, and very rarely if ever ate eggs. To me, eggs are the closest thing to animal flesh a vegetarian can consume, so I tried to avoid it at all costs.
Pregnancy is a completely different story. Natalie Portman was recently criticized for giving up her vegan diet while pregnant. You really don’t realize how strong those pregnancy cravings can become until you actually experience pregnancy for yourself (sorry guys). I was insistent on staying a vegetarian because I truly believe is a very healthy way of life, but I also feel very strongly about eating animal flesh. First of all, I found it repulsive, especially after taking anatomy with cadavers and realizing that the ribs on humans were identical to the ribs I was eating from pork. Ew, gross. But, I also find it extremely inhumane and unfair that an innocent animal is killed for our pleasure.
[I truly believe it is everyone’s own choice to eat the way they do. I have never once tried to convince Matt or any other family members or friends to become vegetarian. It was my choice to be a vegetarian, so I believe everyone else should have the choice on what they eat. I’ll step off my soap box now.]
I am still a vegetarian, however, I am much more easy going about what I am eating. I now think protein is probably one of the more important things I need in my body so I make sure that I am not skimping on it. My uncle (the OB/GYN) mentioned that I needed to be sure I was getting plenty of B12, which is something you can only find in animal products. So, I decided that my almost-vegan diet needed to turn into more of a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. I have added organic skim milk back in – no more soy or almond milk. I have a serving of cheese at least once a day, whether it is string cheese for a snack, cheese on a sandwich for lunch, or a topping for pizza, pasta, or Mexican for dinner.
I have also become a big proponent of eggs. Eggs are something I crave like whoa. I’m pretty sure I could eat them at every meal, but unfortunately, I am mostly craving poached or sunny-side-up eggs with a little something to dip my bread or bagel into. Although I did get the OK from Uncle OB/GYN, I still will only eat them occasionally, as I’m not sure it’s worth the risk to my baby. But believe you me, eggs have made there welcome way back into my diet at full force. I do however make sure to buy organic eggs because I still feel that is important when it comes to more animal products.
Along with becoming more lax on my diet, there are things that I haven’t bought, let alone eaten in years that are now regulars in my diet. Ketchup and mayonnaise are my 2 big additions. I know I have mentioned it before, but we haven’t had ketchup in our house for over a year. I just recently opened my second bottle since becoming pregnant. As for mayonnaise, I didn’t really think I even liked it until eating an amazing sandwich from Whole Foods last week. I now want a veggie sandwich with cheese, mayo, and mustard pretty much every day. At least I’m getting my veggies in, right?
In addition, my daily meals have changed pretty drastically to what I considered healthy before. Instead of overnight oatmeal that I ate every.single.day, I am now stuck on cereal – can’t get enough of it. Plus, I can’t stand the texture of overnight oats. Blech.
I have gradually introduced salads back for lunch, but it is a struggle most days. I really started eating them again because it is free at school and the only “school food” I will eat since I know what exactly I am putting into my salad. I am eating leftovers from dinner when we have them, but I am really looking forward to summer break when I can make that delicious sandwich I mentioned earlier on a daily basis.
Our dinners haven’t really changed much, I just make a lot more of it, and I make very few vegan dinners anymore. Some recipes I look at actually are vegan, and I convert them to non-vegan. Gasp. I’m sorry, but I blame the baby. I just really want REAL cheese now, not nutritional yeast and ground up cashews. Plus, I know the extra serving of dairy is good for the baby.
The only thing I continue to make vegan is any type of baked goods. And that’s just simply for the fact that I want to be able to lick the bowl after whatever-it-is goes into the oven. Plus, I would rather eat my egg in egg-form, not in the form of cookies or bread.
Most important to me is providing for Baby Bug. I want to continue to eat healthy, but I also want to make sure I am nourishing the baby with the things he or she needs. I really think I am becoming a mommy as I am starting to think more about Baby Bug’s needs and less of my own.