Trying to conceive and you’re eating a vegan diet? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the question “are you getting enough protein?” since I’ve become vegan, which has been a little over 5 years now. Ramp that up 3x since trying to conceive. I can’t help but attribute my smooth-sailing pregnancy to a vegan diet. I’ve had zero sickness/nausea and my skin is great! But trying to conceive or when you are pregnant is a different story because baby will take vitamins from you if s/he is not getting enough nutrients (vegan or not).
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind I am not a nutritionist nor do I claim to be. I am sharing my personal journey and tips that have worked for me.
All things aside from a not-so-ideal lifestyle which is a different topic, consider how and what you eat as big contributors to your fertility.
One // Take a prenatal as soon as you’re trying to conceive (TTC).
You need to build up folate in your body and this is the easiest way to do so. Talk to your doctor about this first, as you want to avoid excessive vitamins before conception. Too much vitamin A, for example, can be bad for a developing fetus. Side note: Everybody is different. Don’t freak out if you haven’t been taking vitamins and you find out you’re pregnant (that was the case for me and all is well).
Two // Eat foods rich in folate.
Leafy greens, legumes, fruit! You’re doing this for your baby now or soon-to-be baby. Use that as motivation to eat the cleanest you’ve ever eaten in your life. I cannot recommend these Zespri kiwis enough! They have more folate than the average kiwi. Folate is essential for cellular growth and development, and sufficiently high levels are needed before and during pregnancy.
Three // Eliminate potentially harmful cooking ware and chemicals.
Have you seen the movie Dark Waters? If not, I highly recommend it (based on a true story about a chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals).
Ask yourself: what’s in your non-stick pans? I like this set here. Also ditch the plastics containing BPA and other chemicals that can leach into your food. Make it a habit to reheat your food in microwave-safe dishes.
Four // Cut back on sugar.
If it helps to “brainwash” yourself so that you have motivation to cut back now, watch food-related documentaries on Netflix (I’ll write a separate blog post on that). Natural sugar from fruit is fine, I’m talking processed refined sugar like sodas, candies, chips, and your coffee creamer to name a few. Boston University School of Medicine found that when either partner drinks one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day, the chance of pregnancy decreases.
Five // Be more cognizant of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and screen time.
Six // Combine your protein sources.
Easiest way to do that is with buddha bowl. Incorporate colors of the rainbow. Rice, kale, kidney beans, chickpeas, edamame, avocado, fresh or pan-fried tofu, shredded carrots and purple cabbage. Don’t forget to top it off with a dash of Bragg’s nutritional yeast and ground flax and hemp seeds.
Seven // Watch out for too much soy!
There’s so much controversy around soy in a vegan diet. Are you supposed to you avoid it or eat it? Avoid genetically modified soys and try not to have it with every meal and you’re fine. Try to stick with fermented soy if you have that option as those are less processed.
Remember, it takes two to tango so it’s not just on you, mama. Make sure your partner is eating a clean diet and practicing these same habits so that his swimmers are strong.
What practices are you adopting? Please share them in the comments below.