Being vegan or vegetarian can be hard even under normal circumstances -- trust me, I know. There are some things you just never lose a taste for, and some things you always crave, even though you don’t give in (oh, but sometimes I would have killed for just a nibble of Brie).
Then you get pregnant and you have all kinds of crazy cravings -- suddenly an avocado with nutritional yeast just isn’t cutting the mustard. So it’s tempting to join the ranks of Alyson Hannigan, Tiffani Thiessen, Brooke Shields, and Jennifer Connelly and temporarily set aside your veggie lifestyle.
Bryce Dallas Howard’s fear that she would lack amino acids fueled her decision to break her vegan lifestyle. Many other moms do the same -- worried about lacking proper nutrition or somehow not providing their babies with enough nutrients, they switch back to a meat-based lifestyle.
Jennifer Connelly just craved turkey, so she had it. Same with Brooke Shields and Tiffani Thiessen -- except they craved red meat. For a lot of women, it’s as simple as that: “My body wanted it, so I fed it.”
It can be more complicated for some moms. Because veganism is so often an ethical decision, it isn’t as simple as just giving in to your cravings. You aren’t just making a nutritional choice, you are actually deciding to act against your beliefs. And pregnancy adds a new angle: it’s not just your body anymore, it’s also a baby’s. So you either just fight the cravings or find ways around them, the way you did pre-pregnancy.
It’s important that pregnant vegans and vegetarians know that as long as you balance your diet, eating from all food groups, you will get all the nutrition you need -- including the amino acids Bryce was so worried about. And there are ways around the cravings, if you choose to remain veg.
The decision whether or not to change your diet is totally personal in this case. There is no scientific or medical reason to eat meat during a pregnancy. Your body may want it, but it doesn’t need it.
However, if you do decide to eat meat or dairy again, it’s really important to introduce them slowly, especially if you’ve been veg for several years. Your body can’t digest meat and dairy, so if you just start stuffing burgers in your mouth, you may spend the rest of the day in the restroom!
Where do you stand on the vegan-to-meat eater conversion during pregnancy? Did you combat your cravings or give in?
Image via Moria/Flickr