Loni Jane Anthony, an outspoken Australian blogger, has been under fire for months for sticking to an extreme diet throughout her pregnancy. While pregnant, she stuck to eating mostly raw fruit with occasional raw veggies. Many called her regimen outright irresponsible. But since giving birth to a 8.7-pound, healthy baby boy named Rowdy back on March 2, she's come out swinging against her critics, writing that she's "living proof you don't have to become a whale while you're pregnant." Ouch.
While Anthony's particular brand of meat-free eating is not necessarily recommended or for everyone, it does bear noting that her child is "feeding like a machine," "sleeping," and "happy," according to the new mom. And as she continues to follow her strict low-fat, plant-based diet, she says she has "plenty of breast milk." All of this is most definitely a testament to plant-based diets being perfectly acceptable for pregnant or breastfeeding women and their little ones.
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The fact is that not every woman's body is the same and, in turn, should be required to subsist on a particular diet during pregnancy. What works for one woman may not be right for another. We know this intuitively, but it's easy to get caught up in the hoopla of what's recommended and what's absolutely not. All too often, vegetarian or vegan diets get mistakenly lumped under something that's ill-advised for moms-to-be ... even if that's how they've always lived!
New Jersey-based nutritionist Stacy Rothschild, R.D., who is expecting herself, says she has been "mostly meat-free all throughout" her pregnancy and "feeling great and perfectly healthy." Of plant-based diets for pregnant or breastfeeding women in general, she shares:
I think you can definitely have a healthy meat-free pregnancy, as long as you are getting significant amounts of protein at each meal and snack (10-20 grams). A true vegetarian diet is absolutely satisfying enough during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as you have plenty of protein choices and would be taking in good sources of animal protein, like low-fat dairy. A vegan diet is possible during pregnancy, however, more challenging to get everything you and your growing baby need ... [like] B vitamins, so you might need a supplement.
As for protein sources that aren't meat or poultry, Rothschild recommends "nuts, seeds, ancient grain proteins, beans, eggs, dairy, etc."
Still, not every doctor these days will support a patient's decision to be plant-based during pregnancy, but given Anthony's success story and many other women's, there's plenty of evidence to support women choosing the diet that is right for them -- and, as a result, their baby.
How do you feel about Loni Jane's diet? What about just going plant-based while pregnant/breastfeeding?
Image via Loni Jane/Instagram