One of the biggest differences between my current pregnancy and my pregnancy with Westley is how well I feel this time. I'm sure this is mostly a matter of luck, but I know for a fact that I'm eating better now.
Before pregnancy, I kept a detailed daily food log. I recorded not just numbers of calories, but also all the stuff you typically see on nutrition labels. Yes, it's a bit time-consuming, especially since very little of what I eat comes with a label. I thought about giving it up. But continuing to keep a journal of my food intake during pregnancy seemed like a logical step towards ensuring I was getting all the good, baby-building stuff in.
One thing I discovered immediately: There is NO room for junk food.
Of course I knew this already. But when you consider the nutritional resources necessary to grow a healthy new person, refined grains and sugar truly don't have a place in a 2,100-2,300 calorie pregnancy diet.
Which is not to say that I eat perfectly these days, every single day. Another huge difference between this pregnancy and my first is the colossal sweet tooth I've sprouted!
Gluten-free Cherry-Chocolate Mousse Pie = Delicious, not nutritious.
(Hey, at least it's homemade junk food, right?)
In general, however, I stay away from sugar and anything else refined. My evening snack is typically something more like fruit (usually an apple or an orange) and raw nuts. Because nothing kills a sweet tooth like a little protein.
I know I harp on protein a lot. There are a couple reasons for this. The first is that "Where do you get your protein?" is THE question most people have about vegan diets. Getting enough protein on a vegan diet is no big deal—most of us consume more than enough—but pregnant people really do need extra protein. Ina May Gaskin recommends at least 70 grams of (vegetarian) protein a day; Birthing From Within recommends 100 grams. That's a lot of flippin' protein, folks!
For myself, eating a gluten-free vegan diet that is also soy-free (or at least low-soy), protein really is something I have to think about, especially if I want to consume massive amounts. Fortunately, I get to eat a lot of awesome food in the process.
I've written before about protein shakes and how much I love them as a kind of "nutrition insurance." My current favorite combination is two scoops of SunWarrior original blended with a cup of filtered water, a frozen banana, and two dates. Sweet, healthful, simple. But pregnant woman cannot live on protein powder alone!
Here are some things I've been eating (and loving) lately:
Forty-clove Chickpeas and Broccoli, from Appetite for Reduction. This is probably my most-used recipe from this book. It's always tasty and just so easy! I love a recipe whose instructions are basically, "Throw everything in a pan, put it in the oven, wait for deliciousness."
Roasted Brussels sprouts. Poor Rob. He's not a sprouts-hater, but he doesn't ADORE them the way I do. I've been serving Brussels sprouts at least twice a week since they showed up at the Fruit Market. They're one of my all-time favorite vegetables, and roasting makes them even better.
Chana Masala. Is this authentic? Absolutely not. I don't care. Chickpeas + tomatoes + cast iron = LOVE.
Red lentils with caramelized onions, steamed kale, and millet. (Yes, I use that one white bowl-plate hybrid for everything.) This was one of those "I don't know what to make for dinner so I'll just throw some stuff together" meals, but we couldn't get over how good it was! I cooked the lentils with a bit of turmeric and added some salt at the end. The onions were an experiment that ended up tying the whole thing together. I want to put these onions on everything now.
Serves 4 (maybe)
2 medium onions, any variety
1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
Salt and pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice onions into thin rings or half-moons. Spread onions on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and season to your liking. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, nudging them with a spatula every five minutes or so, until onions are cooked through and lightly browned.
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Also currently on the menu: