Yes, I'm 9 months pregnant and haven't consumed any animal products. My baby is dancing around in my belly, happily growing on a 100% plant-based diet.
The first thing my midwives (and the Internet) stressed to me was that I need to focus on getting adequate protein and iron. So here's what I did.
Protein & Iron Sources During Pregnancy
- Hemp seeds-- in and on everything. Soups, smoothies, beans, rice, salads. 3 TBS has 10g protein and 20% of the RDA for iron.
- I added plant-based protein powder to my morning smoothie. My favorite is Vega Protein Smoothie in Choc-o-Lot. 15g protein, 20% iron.
- Granola, when I'm craving something sweet. Preferably with a healthier sugar alternative, like maple syrup.
- Almonds! I like to bring these with me when I'm out and about, in case I get hungry. 1/2 cup has 15g protein and 15% iron.
- Beans. 1 cup cooked black beans has 15g protein and 20% iron.
- Dark leafy greens in my morning smoothie. I've been doing this for years, so I just had to be sure to keep it up during my pregnancy. Greens have a surprisingly large amount of protein and iron, as well as other vitamins and minerals. The most important part of any diet, in my opinion.
This has changed throughout the last 9 months, but some of my favorites have included:
- Lentil Vegetable Soup. If you're feeling lazy and want a quick, healthy meal, I highly recommend Amy's soups. The nutrition label is pretty impressive, and the cans are BPA-free!
- Gluten-free spaghetti with organic sugar-free marinara sauce. I try to avoid corn-based pastas, and instead prefer rice and quinoa. After searching far and wide, I've settled on Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Spaghetti. It's affordable and it tastes good. *Confession: I've eaten this every day this week.
- Rice and beans with homemade sauerkraut. Simple and affordable. Not to mention, sauerkraut is amazing and fermentation is fun.
- Lemon roasted vegetables. My 2015 favorite: Brussels Sprouts. (Lemon makes everything taste better. It really does.)
- Gluten-free banana nut pancakes. A protein-packed variation of this recipe.
- Avocado wraps, with veggies, sprouts and more sauerkraut. In a gluten-free brown rice tortilla. This one is my favorite and you can find it at Whole Foods.
With this diet (plus the occasional pizza and fries--whoops), I've gained a healthy 25 pounds and can honestly say that this pregnancy has been a breeze.*
*knock on wood, I still have a few weeks left.