Guest Blogger: The Sweet Life – Pregnant and Vegan

25 May

This is a first for VBU! a blog post about being a vegan mother. Please welcome Sarah, author of the blog The Sweet Life. Here she is in her own words, “Hi, my name is Sarah. I am a classically trained pastry chef who has been a vegan for almost 6 years. I aim to show even the most skeptical people how truly delicious vegan food tastes. Coming up with the perfect pastry cream or chocolate mousse is what I’m all about…well partially what I’m all about. I am also a new mom to a strong, healthy, vegan baby girl and every day she remind me why I choose compassion for the animals, for the earth, and for our community. My blog is an eclectic vegan resource for newbies and veterans alike.” Visit The Sweet Life Facebook page. Please welcome Sarah!

my extremely healthy, usually happy baby
By the time I got pregnant I had been a vegan for five years. Everyone knew me as vegan and the questions of “why” and “what do you eat” had long since past. So when I got pregnant a year ago I was surprised at the constant question, “Are you going to have a vegan pregnancy?” The question startled me every time because I hadn’t thought about it any other way. In fact I believed (and still do) that the vegan diet was the healthier choice for my fetus. Most questions were just curious, some cautious, but a few down right caustic.

“Do you know what you’re doing to your unborn child?” Their eyes would say. “How can you be so selfish?” And, “what kind of mother are you going to be?”

Was I being selfish? Or perhaps just naive and clueless? I spent a lot of early prenatal appointments talking to my doctor about this, making sure I hadn’t just been reading one-sided literature that would severely harm my child.

My wonderfully open-minded doctor helped me regain my confidence and with a little extra attention on my diet I birthed an extremely healthy, usually happy baby.

This is what I did: 

Raspberry Vanilla Protein Shake
1. Protein: A pregnant woman needs 75 grams of protein a day! That is a lot. In order to start off right I made sure to eat at least 30 grams for my morning meal. I did this through soy protein shakes I would make in bulk for the entire week, protein bars (I fell in love with Larabars  and started making my own version), and lots and lots of tofu and beans.

2. Calcium: I made sure to buy calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice, ate calcium  chews (until I got so sick of them I had to hide the bag), and ate a lot of dark leafy greens. Did you know 3/4 cup collard greens as more calcium than 1 cup cows milk?

3. Supplements: Taking supplements was a new practice, but a very important one. I took (and still take for breast feeding) Rainbow Light Prenatal One, a fantastic vegetarian prenatal that only needs to be taken once a day, B12 (very important pregnant moms!), and Iron. I can proudly say my iron levels stayed great throughout my whole pregnancy).

4. Read. I spent a lot of time on websites and in the backs of cookbooks determining my nutritional needs and planning out how to fulfill them.There are many great resources for vegans during pregnancy. The Vegan Survival Guide by Sayward Rebhal, one of the first books dedicated solely for pregnant vegans, is a great resource I came across after giving birth. I found it important to stay well informed both for myself and my concerned friends and family.

5. Support. I was very fortunate to have a doctor who supported my veganism but I have heard stories of people defending their decision to their health care providers and not receiving their support. It is so important to find a nurse, midwife, or doctor who will work with your lifestyle choices and believe in the inherent health of a vegan diet.

6. Cravings. When the cravings came, I quickly found foods that would satisfy. The grocery store two blocks away carried vegan scones and I spent a lot of my days off stocking up. At home when I craved something sweet and chocolatey I had fast go-to recipes like my no-bake cookies. There was also a time I ate a lot of processed fake meat. Aware of all the foods available to me and with reliable, fast recipes there was never a time I was unable to satisfy a craving.

And in the end…

I had a great, though not without struggles, birth and a beautiful baby girl…wanna take another look?

As my journey continues I learn how to have a vegan baby who will grow into a vegan toddler. I’m sure there will be lots to share. And maybe next time I’ll tell you what I did with my placenta. 🙂

Do you have any vegan pregnancy thoughts or stories?


7 Responses to “Guest Blogger: The Sweet Life – Pregnant and Vegan”

  1. An Unrefined Vegan May 25, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Fantastic, interesting and inspiring post.

  2. evervescence May 25, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    Great post and wonderful suggestions. I did not have a health care provider that supported my being vegetarian when I was pregnant with my son over ten years ago. Knowing what I do now, I would have found another doctor. She also didn’t support my birthing plan, which I found out the hard way, during delivery. I love hearing great stories about women who stood by what they believed in and had happy, healthy, pregnancies and babies! Thank you for sharing your experience.

  3. Rachel in Veganland May 25, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    I am so inspired by your post, Sarah! I am very much looking forward to a vegan pregnancy and raising a vegan baby one day! What types of literature did you use as you were planning your meals during pregnancy? I’ve heard of several great books and would love to hear about the ones you read!

    • sarah@thesweetlife May 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      I’m so glad you have that in your future to look forward to! I read the Vegan Sourcebook that covers a lot of things, but it has very good charts of the necessary vitamins and nutrients for optimal health. And then it shows different food options and combinations that will give you what you need. I can get back to you with some of the other things I skimmed through but that book was the most helpful for me.

  4. The Savvy Sister May 25, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    What a cutie! Thanks for your positive post about what can be a polarizing subject. I was a vegetarian, not a vegan at the point of my pregnancies, but even then I would get the “Your baby needs meat!” comments, so I can just imagine what you had to put up with.
    You sound like the kind of soft soul that turns those conflicts into a gentle lesson about veganism 🙂

  5. Veggiewitch May 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Awesome! ♥

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