You can never have too many superfoods on your menu. This is a label given to foods and ingredients that are particularly healthy in one way or another. For those living a vegan lifestyle they’re wonderful options to have, and it’s always fun to learn a new one. That said, they can be a little tough to keep track of, or at least easy to forget.
Here are five tasty and versatile superfoods to keep on your radar.
The biggie when you are (and aren’t) pregnant – protein! A lot of people tend to ask me how I am doing without eating meat during pregnancy, and I always have the same answer… I mean, fine! I did have some cravings in the beginning of my pregnancy but nothing that a substitute mock meat product couldn’t fix. To be quite honest, when I went to my first doctor’s appointment and we discussed my diet, she was really pleased. She ran through her checklist and warned me to be careful eating too much red meat and fish, and then quickly corrected herself to say – oh, never mind! Really – the doctor actually tells you to avoid most meats. She told me to load up on whole grains, veggies, and protein – and yes, beans and lentils and couscous all count for protein!
I am not a doctor and do not claim to know what is best for you (or anyone!) but I know that I feel safe and comfortable with my own plant-based diet during pregnancy. I am getting all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that I need (alongside a standard prenatal routine) and yes, that includes protein!
So today, I wanted to share some of my go-to plant-based protein sources throughout this pregnancy, as well as some recipes that can help you reach your goals. I aim for 70 grams of protein per day. I may not always hit it perfectly, but I do the very best I can.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how deep my love runs for coconut oil. I’ve discussed it here before, and I stand by every word. So naturally, I turned to coconut oil during my pregnancy and researched ways that it could benefit me.
I know my body, and I know that I am prone to stretch marks. Honestly, I sprouted very quickly as a child (I was the tallest in my class in 3rd grade) and I have my fair share of (thankfully faded) stretch marks from sudden growth spurts/weight loss/gain/etc. So I really wanted to do my best to avoid them this pregnancy – as best as I could! I realize that stretch marks are inevitable for some people, but if there is anything I could do to minimize the risk, I’m game. Almost every woman I spoke to about their experience gave me the same answer: coconut oil.
Since it’s recommended that pregnant women get about 60-70 grams of protein a day, I’ve been doing my best to monitor my intake. It’s not hard to hit that goal, but it definitely takes some planning when you are busy running around, working, having food aversions, etc.
One way to make sure I get started on the right foot has been making protein-packed smoothies for breakfast. Not only are they filling, but I load ’em up with some of my favorite plant protein sources (soy milk, chia, peanut butter, etc.) This has been one of my favorite recipes so far, so I thought I’d share! It’s a simple recipe, but we all love simple – especially when the majority of my energy is going to this baby making thing, you know?
With almost 30 grams of protein, I proudly present…
You don’t have to be vegan or even vegetarian to eat more plants. No matter what your diet is, incorporating more leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables in your diet is going to ensure that you are getting all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs to function healthily and properly. I mean, it doesn’t take a scientist to know that you put into your body will not only affect what is happening inside, but on the outside as well. Your skin, mood, and aura will be brighter – I found this out quickly after I transitioned into a plant-based diet.
Since then, I’ve cut out processed foods (except for the occasional treat), white sugar, and even have gone oil-free for a bit. I can assure you – I feel best when I eat a plate full of prepared vegetables. So today, I am sharing a few reasons why you should be eating more plants.
I already had a couple people come to me with this question, so I wanted to share my prenatal vitamin routine for those who are plant-based/vegan/vegetarian and who see kids in their future. One wouldn’t think that vitamins could be an issue, but it’s true – there are a lot of vitamins out there that use animal products. Sometimes, even just the protective gel around the vitamin features animal-based products. Because of this, it took me a little longer than usual to choose prenatal vitamins.
I started taking prenatals about 3 months before I actually got pregnancy. I did this for a few reasons: 1) I wanted my body to get used to this new vitamin before the morning sickness arrived, and 2) they say it helps with pregnancy to build up the nutrients. A lot of your baby’s development will happen the very first few weeks of pregnancy (before you may even know!) and it is so important to make sure the nutrients are there.
Now – disclaimer, I am not a doctor. I am just a blogger sharing my experience with prenatals. I took these to my own OBGYN to get the go-ahead based on my own health. You should always consult your own doctor before assuming.
As I start to write this, I have to laugh because no one knows (aside from immediate family) that I am pregnant. By the time I wrap this up and do post it, you’ll all be in the know. It feels like it is so far away (8 more weeks!) but I have a feeling that it is going to fly by. I absolutely cannot wait.
I wanted to give updates week-by-week for anyone who is interested in this sort of this. My blog will not be a pregnancy blog by any means, but still – a lifestyle blog that will capture what is happening in my world at the moment. Pregnancy will take up a portion of that, and eventually raising a vegetarian/plant-based baby. I can see this blog evolving as my own life continues to, and I think that is beautiful. I hope you guys stick around to evolve with me, too.
So, in an effort to capture the little details of my pregnancy journey, I’ll try to jot down key points here. I’ll try my best to do this for each trimester. Okay, here we go!
NOTE: This pic was taken during week 8 – I promise you’ll see some bump pics next time. I need to get better at recording them!
So, I am the person who asks, “have you been taking your elderberry?!” during the winter months. I got this habit from my mom, and now I’m a believer. If you’re thinking… what the hell is that? That’s totally fine – I’m here to give you the 411. If you’re an avid Walking Dead fan like me, it may ring a bell. Remember when Hershel (bless his heart) used elderberry tea to save lives during the swine flu breakout at the prison? YUP. And you bet your ass, I was SO EXCITED WHEN HE SAID IT!! I turned to Joe immediately – DID YOU HEAR HIM? ELDERBERRY!!
If you still have no clue what I am talking about, it’s okay – I’m ready to explain.
Smoothies are my favorite way to pack in all the nutrients I can. Mainly, my go-to is chocolate peanut butter + banana, but I will usually try to sneak in something better than just that… whether a tbs of chia seeds or some flaxseed oil – and sometimes, spinach! I thought I’d share six of my favorite smoothie superfood add-ins with the health benefits that stick out to me. There’s plenty more, too. Research research research!
I’ve shared maca benefits and smoothie recipes on the blog in the past, but always expressed a love/hate relationship with it. But, more recently I have been craving the nutty flavor. It is definitely unique, and at first it kinda made me gag, then it was tolerable, and now I am at peace with it. Strange how your taste buds work, right? But honestly, I am glad I am coming around because I really always wanted to love this stuff.
I’m actually trying to include a teaspoon of maca into my smoothie every day for the next month or so to see if I notice any difference in how I feel. Mainly, to help balance hormones, promote fertility, and boost energy.