Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I was a Vegan/Whole Foods Pregnant Woman

My husband is a vegetarian. Well, he was, anyway. He mostly still is, but will now have some chicken on occasion. Anyway, when I met him I was a strictly meat-and-potatoes girl. There are not a whole bunch of veggies that I like to eat - in fact, I'm pretty picky in what I eat in general. But I was having more and more indigestion and "tummy troubles" some years back and he suggested that I at least try to eat like a vegetarian to see if that relieved my symptoms. So I converted, mostly. I'd still allow myself a McDonald's hamburger treat or my absolute favorite indulgence of a steak and cheese sub every once in awhile. But I have to admit - the better I ate, the better I felt. And whenever I did fall back into my meaty ways, I would really pay for it later in terms of my stomach pains - my system obviously didn't like me cheating my new diet.

My husband and I agreed, however, that once I became pregnant I would not only eat a strict vegetarian diet - I would eat a vegan/whole foods diet (no meat or dairy and the most organic, non-processed foods we could find). We wanted to do this for the health benefits to our baby. We knew we weren't starting out with great odds for her health because of my spina bifida. So we felt it was very important to do what we could to increase her chances for a healthy existence in any way we could.

We researched and met with a nutritionist to be absolutely certain we were okay to do this. After all, we wanted to help our baby, not deprive her of necessary nutrients and minerals. But our nutritionist assured us that we were wise to choose this pregnancy diet and that, with a little extra care in choosing appropriate foods and supplements, it was a perfectly safe - even preferable - way to go.

I remained on the vegan diet until Sweetie stopped breastfeeding - about 7 months old. Since she was still taking her nutrients directly from me, I wanted to be sure I ate healthily for as long as she needed me to. Once she stopped nursing, though, I began to slip further and further from the vegetarian path. Now we subscribe more to the whole foods diet more than anything else. That is, all three of us eat a wide variety of food options, from chicken, to cheese, to fruits, veggies, pasta and more - all as organic and non-processed as we can get.

We're very proud of all the different types of foods Sweetie is willing to try and often likes. Personally, I often feel that she doesn't eat enough food, but I know what she is eating is very healthy for her.

Anyway, I was doing some research tonight and found this informative article on vegetarian diets and pregnancy at BabyCenter.com. It's got a lot of good advice and guidelines to follow if you're interested in following this type of diet during your pregnancy. Happy eating!

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