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Is Staying Vegan Possible When Pregnant: 4 Best Tips for When You Are Struggling

Last Updated: July 5, 2024

When you become pregnant there are so many different changes that go on through your emotional mind, mental mind and physical body. Let alone the fluctuating hormones that can be extremely difficult to keep up with. 

Let alone knowing a definition of who you were before you were pregnant and coming to realize that because your hormone fluctuations and food aversions are all over the place, you may be craving foods that you normally wouldn’t like a type of meat, or dairy product. And other times, you not even or ever crave meat or dairy product. 

Now, keep in mind while reading this article that this may not be true for everyone depending on the upbringing up of their childhood and lifelong journey. I say this because I was once told from an Ayuvedic and Holistic Wellness Dr Rajeev Marwah  that if some one grew up vegan from little on, they may never actually crave meat or dairy. But on the other hand, if some one grew up on meat and dairy and converted over to a plant based lifestyle of veganism later in their 20’s or any age, their pregnancy may look different than some one with an upcoming of veganism since their body never had the opportunity to experience the meat and dairy. He also explained this to be true when someone is recovering from an injury within their body.

No matter where you are at on your journey and you found this article, just know there is something in here for everyone regardless of how you were brought up if you are struggling with foods, or other aspects that are tough when you are along your pregnancy journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Staying vegan during pregnancy is possible and healthy with careful planning to ensure adequate intake of key nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and protein.
  •  It's essential to respond to your body's needs and cravings without judgment, even if that means occasionally consuming non-vegan foods to support your and your baby's health.
  •  Embrace the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy with self-compassion, avoid self-shaming, and seek support through healthcare providers, community, or personal practices like meditation to maintain overall well-being.

Is it Safe to Eat Plant Based While Being Pregnant

Studies have been conducted to show that it is not healthier to eat one way or another when it comse to pregnancy. So, whether you are eating a vegitariant diet, vegan diet or omnivore diet it is safe either way. 

However,  studies have found that eating plant based diets maybe at higher risk for vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies. So, keeping up with nutrition and have a strong sense of important vitamins, minerals and the foods you receive those minerals from is a key factor to add into your awareness when being any style of plant based like vegan or vegiataian.

Which Nutrients are Most Important on a Plant Based Diet

Getting the proper nutrition during pregnancy is key. Yet also can be difficult rangining from knowing what foods to eat, what supplements to take, how much caffeine you can have, and this whole list can go on. Below is a chart that has common plant based sources based on the nutrients needed in a pregnancy diet from this study. Though, sometimes, eating can be difficult, especially if you are experiencing low energy levels, low moods or even depression. Personally, I love Performance Lab line of vitamins to help me supplement areas that I am lacking. 

Nutrients 

Common Plant Protein Sources

Protein

Beans, nuts, seeds, but butters, lentils, peas, chickpeas, quinoa, tofu

Iron

Soybeans, lentils, spinach, molasses, prunes, raisins

Folic Acid

Green leafy vegetable's, beans, peas, lentils, wheat germ, bananas, avocados

Iodine

Iodized salt

Vitamin B12

Soy milk, tofu, nutritional yeast

Calcium

Soybeans, navy beans, quinoa, mushrooms, nuts

Vitamin D

Fortified orange juice and plant milk

Zinc

Beans, chickpeas, lentils, seeds, oats, quinoa

Omega 3- Fatty Acids

Walnuts, soybeans, canola oil, tofu

What if I Crave Meat or Dairy Products

The important thing to do while being pregnant is to keep eating even if your mind set is struggling. Everything in the body is connected so if your nutrition is low, you then allow your mental mind and energy levels to fluctuate and it may become a whole downhill spiral.

If you are in the world of plant based diet, veganism or vegetarian, and crave meat, the best I can say is not limit your body on what it needs. Remembering that you are growing a tiny human in there. If you decide to eat the meat, you can give the meal grace, thanking it for all the nutrients it will provide as fuel before you eat, and only eat what you feel comfortable with even if that means not finishing a sandwich, meal or eventually picking out the meaty or dairy pieces in the dish you have.

If you are really struggling with craving meat, and don’t want to eat meat, there are other ways to get the nutrients you are craving by doing some research into the vitamins the meat supplies naturally and what plant based items allows you to receive those same doses that you body is craving.

How to Overcome Struggles of Pregnancy Naturally

Overcoming struggles can be so difficult because on end of the spectrum you may feel alone, or like your feelings don't matter and that you may be overthinking something because you already have heightened emotions. If this is you, STOP. Take a breather with me, inhaling in for 4 seconds, holding for four seconds, and exhaling for 4 seconds. Go ahead, and repeat these rounds a few times. 

Did you do it? - Well done

Because your feelings are valid, what you are thinking is valid and it's not all about figuring out the why's and how's all the time. Most of the time, it's just settling into the act of making yourself without feel selfish and not worrying about life for a little while so you can go dark to become even brighter when you return back to your natural state of abundance and mindset.

  • Don't forget to reach out to your provider to let them know what is going on. Reaching out for help and talking about this is important so then they can equip you with the right resources, tools and service.

1. Practice Self Acceptance 

Let’s face it, when you are pregnant your body goes through all these different changes. One thing that has helped me is practicing self-acceptance towards my body image, food cravings, pregnancy and not falling a victim to my own depression. 

One of the most important things you can do is accept where you body is at right now. Not where it was at, but where it is at. All the pieces to the meaning “right now” to you. And letting go of the responsibility for how your body is knowing it is not your fault that you can’t do as much, or that you crave something different than you usually would, or look a certain way. Your body is going to hold a capacity for your pregnancy and max out when baby is ready to come out to the world to give the best life and home it possibly can for this little miracle you are bringing into this world.

Practicing positive affirmations whether you are saying them out loud to yourself looking at your eyes in the mirror, taping affirmations to your water, or simply playing a track of 8 hours to program your mind subconsciously while you sleep, every effort counts. There are so many different themes out there on YouTube. So, whatever area you feel you are struggling it will exist, I promise! And if it doesn't comment below the theme you are working on and I will personally make one for you. You are never alone.

2. Avoid Shaming Yourself

There a neat book about Shame by Brene Brown's I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power. Brown defines shame as the intense painful feeling or experience of believing that you or some one else is flawed and unworthy of being accepted or belonging. So naturally, we are wired to feel shame because it keeps us in line with society and seek acceptance from others. Yet when shame is present, it withdrawals that acceptance and connection possibly affecting all areas in your world, especially if you are actively aware you are shaming yourself or subconsciously doing it.

There are different ways you can shame yourself or even others from name calling, teasing using sarcasm, eye rolling, or even expressing disgust. Nonetheless, this behavious makes your feel superior to some one or even to yourself which then makes it hard to communicate and take responsibility for your own feelings and actions. 

So, the goal here is to use and tune into your empathy, your ability to understand how it is being yourself in these shoes you walk knowing you are a different person right now from where you used to be. Practice the art of pausing and use phrases that are warm, light and airy towards yourself. This way, when you communicate with yourself through talking to yourself in the mirror or even journaling, you will have a kinder approach, almost like you are talking to your best friend, or even parenting your own inner child.

3. Seek Help

Seeking help isn’t always the easiest, but necessary so you don’t fall too deep into a hole where you struggle even more to get out.

Knowing someone or finding someone who can help with giving energy work, sharing recourses or even just sympathizing with you is necessary to some of the stages of healing. But ultimately, it comes down to what you do on a personal level to help change and warp your mind set to get out of the funk that you are feeling. You can always reach out to the national pregnancy hotline to get in touch with someone in your area, talk to your provider, see a therapist, get a massage or chiropractic work. There are many different avenues you can explore for help other than just writing it out in your journal. Getting out how you are feeling is most important so that energy doesn't stay stored within your tissue memory and you will have a better recovery for after birth knowing you already overcame certain obstacles and those areas, will be less predominant or not even show up since you've already worked them out.

4. Meditation 

Meditation isn’t for everyone, but I have personally found an effective meditation that helps with my mindset and soothes baby. It’s called the Kirtan Kriya. You can think of a  Kriya meaning a set of actions. So, this is not your typical sit there quietly meditation.

Plus, research has shown that twelve minutes of this meditation can improve cognition and memory function, and helps to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Which, if you are pregnant, and experiencing brain fog, this simple, low activity meditation is for you

How To Perform Kirtan Kriya

  • Posture: Sit in Easy Pose cross legged on the floor, or sitting on a chair with a straight spine, and a light Neck Lock. Place your wrists are on the knees, arms and elbows straight, start with the hands in Gyan Mudra, having your thumb tip touch your pointer finger.
  • Mantra & Mudra: Chant Sa, Ta, Na, Ma. With each sound, alternate through four mudras: On Sa, touch the first (Jupiter) finger; Gyan Mudra (knowledge). On Ta, touch the second (Saturn) finger; Shuni Mudra (wisdom, intelligence, patience). On Na, touch the third (Sun) finger; Surya Mudra (vitality, energy of life). On Ma, touch the fourth (Mercury) finger; Buddhi Mudra (ability to communicate) with each repetition of the mantra taking 3-4 seconds. Chanting in a cycle, from first being chanted out loud, then whispered, and finally repeated silently, before the whole sequence is reversed. Talking to the natural languages of your consciousness.
  • Eyes: Close your eyes down gently and meditate at the center of your forehead, your third eye.
  • Music: You can choose from the length of time you desire.  Either 12 minutes or 30 minutes

It is said by 3HO that while using this sacred mantra with the primal sounds of Sa Ta Na Ma, each time your thumb touches a finger tip you are sealing off the ego and alternates the electrical polarities in the brain causing a balance in the electromagnetic projection of the aura.

Tip: If you find your mind wandering during the silent part of the meditation, go back to whispering or talking out loud the mantra doing this as much as you need to keep your mind focused on your third eye and stating the mantra out loud.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Maintaining a vegan diet during pregnancy is certainly possible and can be healthy, provided you pay close attention to your nutritional needs. The journey of pregnancy is unique to each individual, with varying emotional, mental, and physical changes. Though, it’s crucial to listen to your body and respond to its needs without judgment or guilt.

A plant-based diet can offer all the essential nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy, though it may necessitate more careful planning to ensure adequate intake of vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and other critical nutrients. If cravings for meat or dairy arise, remember that it's important to nourish your body and growing baby in the best way possible, even if that means occasionally deviating from a strict vegan diet.

Self-acceptance and avoiding self-shaming are vital during this time. Embrace the changes your body is undergoing and practice empathy towards yourself. Seek support when needed, whether through a trusted healthcare provider, a supportive community, or personal practices like meditation.

Ultimately, a balanced approach that prioritizes both your well-being and the nutritional needs of your baby will help you navigate the challenges of pregnancy while staying true to your values and dietary preferences. Remember, every pregnancy is different, and what matters most is your and your baby's health and happiness and always consult with your personal care provider. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to eat plant-based while pregnant?

Yes, it is safe to follow a vegetarian, vegan, or omnivore diet during pregnancy. Ensure you get enough vitamin B12 and iron.

What are the key nutrients for a plant-based pregnancy?

Protein, iron, folic acid, iodine, vitamin B12, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, omega 3's.

What if I crave meat or dairy products while pregnant as a vegan?

Listen to your body. If you crave meat or dairy, eat what you need. Plant-based alternatives can also provide necessary nutrients.

How can I naturally manage pregnancy struggles?

Practice self acceptance, avoid shaming yourself and seek help.

Can you recommend a meditation for pregnancy?

Kirtan Kriya practicing between 12-30 minutes using the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma with proper finger mudras.

About the author, Cass

editor

Hi! My name is Cassandra, but feel free to call me Cass. I consider myself lucky because I got to marry my best friend, I love cats, journal every day and live a plant-based lifestyle.

I am here to talk about all my favorite niches that I eat, live, and breathe, passionately about between Reiki, Chakras, Meditation, Breathwork, Kundalini Yoga, and Aromatherapy through the lens of being a plant-based groovy bio-hacking energy worker finding the best and most effective ways to keep it natural.

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