Monday, July 15, 2013

Baking Buns! And some changes...

So, over the past 5 months I've been baking something pretty special. I've hinted at it a bit ("more to come on that later...") but wasn't ready to share the recipe until now. So what's the recipe? It involves love, patience, and 9 months of baking....

Yep, I'm preggo! There's a bun in my oven. My husband and I are so excited, happy, and let's be honest, a little freaked out!

Read on for more of my experience with food and pregnancy, if you are interested!

Of course, with pregnancy comes a whole slew of changes: changes to how I feel, what I want to and can eat, and of course changes to my body. And it's been vastly different by trimester.

I remember a while back reading posts by another vegan blogger, The Happy Go Lucky Vegan, about how she developed vegetable aversions in early pregnancy. What? I thought. How is it possible to get nauseous from vegetables? I couldn't comprehend or relate to it... until the exact same thing happened to me. I was about 7 weeks into my pregnancy, and I remember asking my doctor if it was normal to not have any nausea. I mean, you see all these movies and expect that all pregnant women just puke every morning. I hadn't had any issues so far. And then, like some kind of ironic twist, just a few days after my doctor telling me I must be one of the lucky ones (and that, yes, it can be normal to not experience nausea- not all women do)- BAM. Non-stop, all day queasiness. Why the heck do they call it morning sickness, anyway? Pregnancy myth #1 debunked: morning sickness doesn't just happen in the morning. In fact, my worst nausea was at night.

It was almost an identity crisis. I mean, WTF, I love veggies; I love fresh, healthy food. And all of a sudden, I was literally gagging at the sight of broccoli, kale salads, pretty much anything green that wasn't a pickle (Pregnancy myth #2 supported: Yup, pregnant chicks love pickles). I had to throw out multiple fresh kale salads. For shame! And all of a sudden, I hated hummus. WHAT? Hated hummus? The stuff I could eat all day any day? Yep. The only thing I could get myself to eat was saltines, and even then it was like they were falling out of my mouth because the thought of food alone made me want to hurl. At the same time, of course I knew I needed to eat and nourish my body, so it was a struggle to force things in.

Here are some of the tricks I used to sneak veggies in when I was feeling nauseous:
  • Hiding spinach in flour tortillas
  • Adding corn and peas into plain ramen noodles
  • Having smoothies with Vega One and/or buying sweet vegetable juices and smoothies
And of course, taking a prenatal vitamin ensured I was getting at least the bare minimum of what I needed when I wasn't able to eat much!

Interestingly, I recently read in a book a friend recommended- Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies- that there may be a biological reason behind my aversion to vegetables and bitter greens. Specifically, many of these foods, like kale and broccoli (two big offenders in my first trimester nausea days!!) contain phytotoxins that could be harmful to the fetus during early development, so it's actually protective to have this aversion. Who knew?!! So, here's something I learned: if you don't feel like eating something during pregnancy, don't force yourself to.

Instead, here are some foods I have loved throughout my pregnancy:
  • Generally speaking- carbs, soft breads.
  • Watermelon. 
  • Red seedless grapes. 
  • Oranges and grapefruit. 
  • Ok, really any fruit- strawberries, blueberries, apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines- I'm lucky it's summer ;-) Turns out, getting ample vitamin C is very important during pregnancy, so I definitely haven't been slacking in this department. 
  • Smoothies- another good way to get in plenty of nutrients in an option that feels like a sweet treat. 
  • Cereal- for most of the first trimester, I stuck with my pumped up oatmeal (or orange-flavored oatmeal), but then I caved to cravings and have gone back to mixing multiple different whole-grain cereals (like granola, Kashi go lean, and Life) with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Cereal has always been a favorite meal of mine, and I'm not gonna lie, there have been a couple nights during this pregnancy where I ate it for dinner. ;-)
  • Veggie sushi- avocado cucumber maki is my favorite! And seaweed is the only vegan/vegetarian source of DHA, an essential fatty acid for brain development.
  • Pickles. Of course.
And these ones not so much in the first trimester, but more so after the nausea passed and I started to feel a little more like myself again:
  • Tofu salad - it's so easy to throw together, and adding a shake or two of nutritional yeast or chia seeds to my tofu pickle & pea salad or easy tofu crunch salad recipes is a great way to get more nutrients.
  • Avocado toast: whole wheat toasted pita with avocado, fresh basil, and a squeeze of fresh lemon, sprinkled with a little sea salt.
  • Dark chocolate sorbet. Hey, I'm pregnant. I can have an indulgence or two ;-)
All that said, when my nausea was at its worst, all I could think of possibly wanting to eat were some "comfort food" items from my childhood. So I did go back to eating vegetarian during this time- ie, I added back in a few dairy items. Yes, I felt guilty and weird "breaking vegan." However, I mainly felt like if there was something I actually felt like eating, anything I could stomach, I should go with it. Traveling in an un-vegan friendly foreign country during part of this time, being exhausted, and being somewhat new to veganism also probably weighed in on my adding back in a few dairy items to my diet. While a few of my friends have assumed I went back to eating vegetarian because I thought it was better for the baby, that is not at all the case. I think a vegan diet can absolutely be healthy and completely nutritious for a growing baby and pregnant mama. Luckily, I've returned more to my normal self now that I'm in my second trimester and the nausea has subsided. (It was a complete triumph when I started liking hummus again!) I've happily gotten back to eating mostly vegan, especially with meals made at home, but I can't completely claim that label for myself right now; I'm in more of a middle ground between vegan and vegetarian at this point.

As for whether we will we raise our child vegan or vegetarian, who knows what food preferences my little one will come out having. But hopefully, I can help shape them into healthy, thoughtful ones. I'm actually really excited to bake and cook with my little one in the future, and to teach them about healthy foods. I'm going to take this whole amazing experience as it comes, see what works for us, but try to continue to be compassionate, knowledgeable, and of course healthy as we go.

And yes, I plan to continue posting purely vegan recipes here!


  1. Wow, how exciting! Congratulations! Good for you for listening to your body and eating what you feel is right for you and the baby at the time. Sorry to hear about your sickness though!
    Also, congratulations on your smoothietude win!

    1. Thanks and thanks!! Very exciting. ;-)


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