Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A meatless pregnancy

I know I'm going to have to write about this sooner or later: my state of being vegetarian while pregnant. So far nobody has voiced an objection; Mom has mentioned it, but only in an "I-can't-feed-you-oxtail-soup-so-we'll-have-to-use-seaweed-instead" sort of way, and Eric's only concern is making sure I get enough protein when all that's been sounding good to me lately is fruit and crackers. (So far, peanut butter toast has been my great friend, plus the occasional oatmeal with Craisins and walnuts or almonds. Cheese is decidedly iffy, but I've had a little bit here and there. When I get my appetite back I'll be able to work my usual beans/lentils/whole grains/nuts/seeds/dairy combinations. Incidentally, multi-grain Wheat Thins taste much better than Saltines and work just as well.) I think they both realize that I've been a vegetarian for thirteen years and I pretty much know what I'm doing by now. I'm not sure how my in-laws feel about it, since they're not used to having a vegetarian around, but presumably they're not violently opposed or I'd have heard about it.

I've been looking online for stories from other women, other pregnant vegetarians. There are a couple, but not many. There are stories about vegetarians who craved meat during pregnancy (so far looking very unlikely for me) and stories about non-vegetarians who couldn't stomach meat during pregnancy. There's lots of advice, mainly: it's perfectly healthy IF you're careful and plan your meals meticulously...notwithstanding that meat does not automatically equal healthy and many non-vegetarian women, I suspect, could benefit from meal planning as well.

I considered talking to my doctor about it, but from what she said during my first visit to her I don't think she knows any more, or even as much, about a vegetarian diet than I do. I told her we were going to start trying for a baby and asked how she felt about my being vegetarian during it; she said, "You eat cheese and eggs, right?" I nodded, and she said, "Then it's fine."

The thing is, it's perfectly possible to have a healthy vegan (no dairy or eggs) pregnancy. (Ask the ADA.) I'm not going to unless L.E.O. forces me (perhaps he/she will inflict a vegan diet on the masses in the first days of world conquest to instill fear in his/her followers?), but I wouldn't be afraid of it either, just watchful about vitamin B-12. I can get that, protein, iron, calcium, DHA/omega-3 fats, zinc, and all the other things the general public fears are missing from a vegetarian diet, and I can get them in sufficient quantities to keep both me and my parasite going. (And of course I take a supplement.) I'm perfectly well aware that I need a balanced diet, possibly more so than some non-vegetarian women, and I know enough about nutrition to get it.

I'm waiting to see whether anybody wants to argue with me about it. Bracing for it, marshaling my arguments. I'm almost hoping for it, so I can prove I know what I'm doing...but if people just assume it, that's fine too.

8 comments:

Holly/Ken said...

I was one of those people who couldn't be in the same room with meat when I was pregnant, and Kyla turned out just fine. Ironically, she won't go near meat now either.

Jenny said...

That's good to know. She did indeed turn out just fine. :)

James said...

Vegetarians are small and frail, it might be better that he/she gets a good start with meat considering some of the genes he/she has. Argue that!

Jenny said...

Vegetarians are not small and frail. Have you gotten a good look at me recently? :)

Dad said...

I'd love to argue, I learn a lot, but we trust you!!

Jenny said...

You could just ask instead of arguing. :) But I'm glad you trust me.

Angie said...

Bottom line is you know what healthy is, don't let anyone else try to tell you what you need to do or not do, my advice is to ignore most peoples advice on pregnancy, except for mine of course:) I know someone who ate almost nothing but chef boyardee for 4 months of her pregnancy, and there is nothing healthy about that. You mentioned in another blog that the doctor gave you crap for losing weight, I lost weight too, I lost over ten pounds, they weren't happy about it, but everything was fine, I just kept telling them that it was because I was eating so much healthier, which was partly true, but I like you suffered 14 weeks of nausea, maybe it is in the Snyder genes.

Jenny said...

Chef Boyardee? Ew. I have a friend who's been eating mainly cereal throughout her pregnancy, and that seems bad enough.

It must be those Snyder genes. :)