Plant Based Pregnancy

The Crucial Steps to take when following a Plant Based Pregnancy

Plant Based Pregnancy

The varying types of plant based diets

There are two types of vegetarian diet, both exclude meat, poultry, game, fish and shellfish and by products such as animal fats, lard and suet as well as gelatin. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will tend to eat dairy products and eggs in their diet while lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products and exclude eggs.

Vegetarians can obtain sufficient protein from plant foods such as cereals, nuts, and pulses and also from the milk and eggs that they eat.

Iron supply can sometimes be a problem as the body not as easily absorb plant sources of iron but we’ll get to that bit a little later.

Demi vegetarians or “flexitarian” include little or no meat but tend to include fish and it should be relatively easy to achieve a balanced diet with little risk to nutritional deficiencies. pescatarian diets exclude all meat products but will include fish in their diet.

It’s a personal and individual choice for everyone.

A few years back Veganuary began and many people were opting to exclude meat and dairy from their diets for the first month of the year.

Since the cause started back in 2014 the number of people following a vegan lifestyle in January has more than doubled.

We have become more aware of the impact of agricultural farming as well as the damage and harm that eating certain meats and dairy products can have on our body.

It goes without saying that vegans avoid all animal and animal bi-products. Whilst many will adhere to avoiding everything that has any form of animal product in it. Some are not as strict or some may not be aware that some products that you would expect to be vegan aren’t.

For instance did you know that shellac nail varnish is actually made from the secretion of the Lac insect found in India and Thailand.

During pregnancy It is essential to ensure we’re getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals as without proper planning – these can be lacking in a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Plant Based & Vegan Recipes

Plant Based Pregnancy

Healthy Vegan Brownies

These are quite simply the tastiest, healthiest, chocolaty vegan brownies you’ll ever try. Plus I bet you can’t guess the secret ingredient.

Plant Based Pregnancy

The Best Lemon & Berry Vegan Cheesecake

This cheesecake is on a totally different level. Despite being called a ‘cheesecake’ no cheese curd, soft cheese, eggs or cream were hurt in the making and thankfully the typical crust made with crushed digestive biscuits and butter doesn’t make an appearance. What does make an appearance is a list of ingredients that contain such an abundance of plant based healthiness that you’ll be hard pressed to categorise this dish as ‘dessert’

Plant Based Pregnancy

Super Easy & Healthy Pancake Recipes

There’s something super indulgent about pancakes for breakfast and when they’re this good and healthy you’ll want to eat them everyday. Stack em, fold em, drizzle them in maple syrup! I could go on and on…

Plant Based Pregnancy

Despite the health benefits of eating a vegan diet

Sometimes it’s not automatically healthy.  There are multiple benefits to cutting meat and dairy out of the diet and too many benefits to even mention when including healthier plant-based foods into the equation. 

However, it’s not just about cutting out the meat products but ensuring we include a wide range of healthy foods too. 

Some people may be vegan but their diet may well consist of a high level of junk and processed foods. For example, vegan options such as cookies, biscuits, cakes, ice cream, sweets and crisps. And whilst many may think that choosing the vegan version of these foods is the healthier option they’re still massively lacking in minerals and vitamins.

Foods rich in protein

Which, for many non-vegetarians will often assume can only come from meat and dairy sources. However, foods such as tofu, beans, lentils, pulses, nuts and eggs all include adequate amounts of protein in the right quantity.  

Milk and dairy

Such as milk, cheese and yogurt, or for a vegan diet non-dairy alternative. These are often fortified with vitamins and minerals. And whilst meat, fish and dairy are good sources of a number of essential nutrients, many of these nutrients can be found in foods that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Vegan Cheese and Meat

Whilst it’s possible to get vegan versions of cheese and meat, they are not nutritionally beneficial in any way.  To enhance their taste and make them feel like the real thing they’re loaded with additives, salts and flavourings. The healthier choice would be to source protein rich plant-based foods.

The same applies to dairy free milks, whilst these are beneficial and contain numerous vitamins and minerals, they often contain high levels of sugars so try to opt for the unsweetened versions.

Vegan sweeteners such as maple syrup, molasses, date syrup and agave syrup are all are vegan but still need to be consumed in moderation as they’re still likely to increase the risk of obesity heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So treat them the same as you would for other sugars.

Common mistakes often made by those new to a plant based lifestyle

One of the biggest concerns for vegans is not getting enough proteins. Many vegan protein bars are loaded with refined sugars and corn syrup.  The protein used is often ‘isolated’ which means that it has been extracted from plants and this extraction process can strip the protein of the nutrients that were present in the first place.

Simply put, there’s really not much benefit to them in terms of the nutrient value that they offers.

Another problem with a vegan diet is that when people decide to switch to a vegan lifestyle is. that they just transfer their existing habits into vegan form.

Instead of eating a meal of sausages, mash and peas they’ll just switch this to vegan sausages.

Real meat sausages contain iron and protein and the vegan version is likely to be lacking in the same nutritional profile. Instead opt to make healthier choices by looking for a plant based option or a high protein meat substitute such as Seitan.

Some groups of people need to consume more protein. Older adults, athletes’ bodybuilders and those recovering from injury or those that are physically active. 

Many western diets tend to get their protein from meat and the general thought is that we seem to equate protein with meat without considering the protein value of other foods.

Plant Based Pregnancy

Instead of “Eating for Two” Nourish for Two

Whilst you do not need to eat for two which is a pregnancy myth, you do need to increase your calorie intake as your pregnancy progresses.  This is because you need to provide nutrition to both yourself and for your growing baby.

During pregnancy you need to consume the following additional calories, depending on your lifestyle and BMI at the start of your pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different, so just remember what may be normal for your friend, may not be suitable for you.

2000 calories each day during the first trimester (or the same as normal, depending on their lifestyle)

2200 calories a day during the second trimester (200 extra a day)

2400 during their third trimester (400 additional calories per day over their normal level)

To illustrate how easy, it is to achieve the additional calories with vegan food here is a list of vegan snacks that contain 200 calories

  • Cashew Nuts 36g
  • Walnuts 15 halves
  • Brazil nuts 6 whole nuts
  • Dark Chocolate 3 squares
  • Coconut Milk 35ml
  • Avocado half a large one
  • Black beans 60g
  • Baked Beans 130g
  • Whole-wheat Bread 3 slices

As you can see its easy for vegans to meet the additional calorie needs through standard vegan food. There are plenty of vegan foods that are calorie dense enough for 200 – 400 additional calories per day to be easily achieved.

Although it is possible for women to safely follow a vegan diet during pregnancy and or lactating, it is of the utmost importance that a qualified doctor is consulted to implement it safely.

Some countries have banned babies and toddlers from following a vegan diet due to the extreme risk it poses when taken lightly and when adequate medical instruction or proper nutritional planning is not followed.

Plant Based Pregnancy

The Key to a Healthy Balanced Diet

Is NOT to ban or omit any foods or food groups but to balance what we⁠ eat by consuming a variety of foods from each food group in the right proportions for good health.⁠

When plant based or vegan; obviously this doesn’t necessarily apply to us as many major food groups are removed. ⁠

The five food groups of a healthy plant based diet would look more like this: ⁠

• Fruit and vegetables ⁠
• Breads, grains and cereals ⁠
• Milk and dairy products ⁠/ non dairy alternatives
• Nuts, Seeds, Pulses ⁠
• Drinks / water/ herbal teas/ juices ⁠⁠

If you’re just plant based curious, there are plenty of things you can do for optimum health. ⁠Eat more plant based foods, including at⁠ least five portions of fruit and vegetables⁠ a day.⁠ Value your food. Ask about where it comes from and how it is produced.

Don’t waste it.⁠ If you do eat fish remember to choose fish that is sourced from sustainable stocks, taking seasonality and capture methods into consideration.

Moderate your meat consumption, and enjoy more peas, beans and pulses, tofu, nuts, and other plant sources of protein.⁠ Include milk and dairy products in your diet and/or seek out plant based alternatives, including those that are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals.⁠


Plant Based Pregnancy

In the year 2017

The Belgium courts sentenced a couple to serve time in jail following the death of their baby whose organs had decreased to half their original size.  It turned out that the couple ran a health food store and would feed their baby milk alternatives which caused the baby to develop severe mineral deficiencies.   

According to some experts young children can follow a vegan diet, however in such circumstances it is important for the parents of such children to be well aware of the deficiencies this diet can induce.

They need to have a proper understanding to make compensations. 

Dietician’s argue that nutritional needs can be met through the inclusion of the right foods in the diet. 

When well planned, vegan diets can be nutritionally complete offering many health benefits. 

Vegan diets also present one opportunity for families to teach children about nutrition and healthy eating principles from an early age. 

Because adequate nutrition during pregnancy is the most crucial factor for development, the effects of a vegan diet on babies during pregnancy are more serious. 

Therefore, in such circumstances, it is advised to plan properly and get medical advice to lessen these health risks.

Make sure you get plenty of fresh fruits, frozen fruits and vegetables in your diet.

There’s a reason we say eat the rainbow.

More often than not we end up eating the same fruit and veg over and over meaning we don’t get a full range of colours.

Phytonutrients are the chemical compounds produced by plants and vegetables that give them their rich colour.

They do this to protect themselves and ward off predators. Phytonutrients are packed full of powerful antioxidants and the aim is to get a broad range across the colour spectrum.

Eating them raw when it’s safe to do so, not over cooking and eating the skin and outside is the BEST way to ensure we are getting those crucial phytonutrients.

As well as the upside of getting our daily dose of vitamins and minerals we also get the added benefits of phytonutrients with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

They may also enhance our immunity levels whilst repairing damage to our bodies from exposure to toxins.

Beetroot is a great example of this. Beetroot detoxes the liver and when our liver is functioning well our body is better equipped to balance our hormones. Phytonutrient rich foods across the colour spectrum of red, orange & yellow include tomatoes carrots and peppers.

As well as squash, sweet potatoes, peaches and mangos. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, bok choy, broccoli, swiss chard, and romaine lettuce.

Enjoy as many gorgeous delicious colours that you can.

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