Actress Natalie Portman famously gave up her vegan diet when she become pregnant, but does that mean you have to as well? Not necessarily.
Taking a supplement, eating a variety of different foods and careful meal planning can make achieving a healthy vegan diet while pregnant possible. The first step is understanding what your body may be missing out on.
How can I get enough protein?
Pregnant women require about 70 grams of protein daily in order to fuel their baby’s growth, especially in the second and third trimesters, but meeting this intake can be a challenge for women on a vegan diet. The simplified solution: Eat more.
It may sound like odd advice, but it makes sense if you do the math.
You will need to consume more because vegetable sources often don’t contain as many grams of protein as meat sources. For example, half a roasted chicken breast offers 27 grams of protein, while a cup of cooked lentils only gives you 18 grams.
Not getting enough protein can cause you to experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as weight loss, fluid retention (swelling) and muscle fatigue. Further, it is important while pregnant to gain the recommended weight for your body size (which averages around 25 to 35 pounds), and appropriate levels of protein help you reach a healthy weight.