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Vegetarian pregnancy

(21 Posts)
Rebeccaelizabethxo Tue 27-May-14 23:34:34

I'm really struggling to understand what a good vegetarian diet is whilst pregnant, for starters it doesn't help that I am terribly fussy; I don't like eggs, I don't like the texture of beans, I don't like lentils and I only like cheddar cheese !

Any advice would be well appreciated !

FreckleBee Tue 27-May-14 23:40:11

Hi, I am also vegetarian and although I haven't yet started TTC I'm in the preparation stages and trying to sort out my diet before conception. I'm glad you posted this as I'll be keen to hear if anyone has any advice.
Do you ever struggle with your iron levels? This is something I have struggled with in the past and I know pregnancy can increase your iron requirements!

Rebeccaelizabethxo Tue 27-May-14 23:46:41

Firstly in terms of preparation I did nothing, pregnancy was a surprise ! Yeah my iron levels have never been fantastic as I'm so fussy in what I eat, as soon as I found out I was pregnant I started taking the rda of iron. Now I'm taking a seven seas supplement with 21 vitamins and minerals in, just to make up for the lack of what I get.

Hopefully someone will be able to give us some good advice !

wightjellybaby Wed 28-May-14 00:00:48

Im veggie and some concider me to be fussy and like you OP I only like cheddar type cheese.

When I found out I was pregnant my gp found I slightly low iron and vit b12 levels he gave me iron tablets which didnt aggree with my digestive system so told me to eat more yoghurt and fortified cereals (the nestle ones with the green banner on) instead and this worked for me.

Mostly I had cravings for broccoli cheese pasta from a packet and pizza shop chips (and ate loads of both)

Now I have dd 19mth shes veggie too!

wightjellybaby Wed 28-May-14 00:02:33

Oh have you checked with your gp the vitamin tablets are suitable for pregnancy some arent good for baby.

Me2Me2 Wed 28-May-14 00:15:20

Iron that comes from vegetable sources isn't absorbed as well by your body so vegetarians are prone to low iron in pregnancy. You can up the absorption by consuming iron with vitamin c. So wash down iron tablets with orange juice. Tea inhibits your iron absorption.
For a good diet during pregnancy just make sure you get plenty of protein and vitamins. Can you cope with eggs in recipes? Like veggie cabanara, omelette, egg fried rice? Have some protein in all your meals, even if you're relying on cheddar a lot!

UKRawHealth Wed 28-May-14 00:19:24

A big green salad with spinach sprinkled with pine nuts, olives, olive oil and nutritional yeast (tastes cheesy) and a glass or orange juice is a great meal. And contains both iron and vitamin c.

Keep your cheddar cheese separate to your iron rich meals as milk products, tea, coffee and eggs can make it harder to absorb iron from iron rich foods.

Enjoy mature cheddar cheese sprinkled on a healthy meal such as wholemeal pasta with Mediterranean roasted vegetables and tomato passata.

Good sources of vegetarian iron: sun dried tomatoes, chick peas, cashew nuts, fresh parsley, spinach, pine nuts/kernels, dried apricots, brown rice, nutritional yeast, olives, pumpkin seeds, lentil sprouts (they taste sweet - not like lentil soup!) green leaves.

Whole grains such as porridge and cereals contain iron, but it is not as easy to absorb from these sources as they also contain iron inhibitors.

Get a blood test before deciding to take any iron supplements, some people have too much iron.

Good natural iron supplements are Floradix liquid iron formula or Spatone, always read the label to see if they are suitable for pregnancy.

What ever you choose to eat, always do so with relaxed and happy thoughts and enjoy your food to encourage proper digestion, essential to absorb the nutrients. wine

Rebeccaelizabethxo Wed 28-May-14 00:20:16

wightjellybaby they are specifically for pregnancy, just a cheaper alternative to the pregnacare range.

me2me2 the only eggs I used to like was a dippy egg, but alas can't have them now ! I do eat quorn so get some protein from that. But at the moment due to sickness I can't stomach much more than toast or potatoes !

UKRawHealth Wed 28-May-14 00:24:37

But at the moment due to sickness I can't stomach much more than toast or potatoes !

Potatoes are good, they contain iron, and depending on the soil they are grown in they can contain good levels of iodine. So no problems enjoying potatoes.

wightjellybaby Wed 28-May-14 00:26:19

Oh I forgot...

Cake nothing like a tasty sponge cake (hidden eggs) and if its got jam in the middle you get some fruit too smile

UKRawHealth Wed 28-May-14 00:29:03

if its got jam in the middle you get some fruit too

New meaning to "one of your 5 a day"

I like your creativity!

wightjellybaby Wed 28-May-14 00:34:57

Cake is a food group as far as im concerned!

Just as important as fruit veg dairy!

Nocomet Wed 28-May-14 00:51:16

Nuts, cashews are nice sprinkled on stir fry. My veggie dinner party dish is mushroom nut roast, nuts and an egg to thicken it.

Lits of authentic Korma type dishes contain nuts. Lots of real indian food is veggi.

Lentils and beans can be mixed with soya mince, improving the texture of both.

I like Tartex yeast pate, which my (mostly) veggie DMIL used to get because she knew I didn't like endless cheese sandwiches for lunch. Its very nice on the pumpkin seed Rivita.

Seeds are also good for vitamins and minerals.

Darksideofthemoon88 Wed 28-May-14 07:39:05

You might be surprised by your iron levels when they're checked - bizarrely, mine have been higher throughout this pregnancy than they normally are, despite me not changing my diet and baby obviously taking what she needs. Nope, I don't understand that either! grin

You say you don't like beans, but have you tried various types or is it just baked beans you don't like? What about if they come in the form of bean burgers? Or try chickpeas?

Did you know there are various types of tofu readily available now, so if you like that, you could up your intake quite vastly without feeling that you're eating the same thing every night. Smoked tofu, for example, is good in veggie carbonara, and 'soy cake' (from Chinese supermarkets) has a very different texture and is great in Oriental dishes. You could also try paneer: it's Indian 'cheese' - but don't let that put you off as it tastes NOTHING like cheese in the way that you're thinking! Depending which one you buy, it can be firm and squeaky like Halloumi, very much like tofu, or softer. Doesn't taste like cheese though so you could give it a go.

Do you like milk? If so, could you try drinking more to get some protein and calcium that way? Flavour it with syrup or froth it up with cinnamon and sugar if that helps.

Oh, and while you're feeling sick, don't worry too much or feel too guilty about what you're eating/not eating - just have whatever you can manage to keep down, and hopefully the sicky phase will pass soon.

KitKat1985 Wed 28-May-14 10:27:09

I'm also veggie. I am aware this puts me at a higher risk of being anaemic, especially in pregnancy, so I try to take my pregnacare multi-vitamin everyday. Iron is better absorbed from this (and other sources) if you have vitamin c with it at the same time (so some sort of veg or fruit source). Tea also inhibits iron absorption so I have been told to try and avoid drinking tea with meals.

I would second trying to have some 'hidden eggs' in your diet if you don't like the eggs taste, as they are a good source of protein and various other vitamins / minerals like iron. Cake, batter mixes, etc are all good sources of eggs normally. A lot of breakfast cereals also have iron etc added to them.

Protein is usually less of a challenge than iron. Milk, yogurt, cheese, quorn, tofu, nuts and seeds are all options.

I also definitely went through the 'sickness' stage and for about 8 weeks largely lived off toast, dry biscuits and dry oven chips (only could manage dry, plain foods at this point), and baby is doing fine - now 24 weeks so please don't feel guilty if your first trimester diet isn't great. A lot of us have been there. xx

polkadotdelight Wed 28-May-14 13:04:26

Ive been vegetarian for 21 years and had never been anaemic until I hit the second trimester of pregnancy. Id been taking pregnacare for almost a year (and continued to take it past 12 weeks) and eat plenty of eggs, nuts, green leafies etc. Am now on iron tablets and echo whats been said - vitamin c (I take mine with orange juice) helps with absorption and tea/dairy/eggs can hinder it.

ruth1104 Wed 28-May-14 15:10:24

I'm 20 weeks and veggie, so far not had any problems with my iron. If you're just eating toast, try some peanut butter on it (actually there are a whole range of nut and seed butters in health food shops which all contain iron and protein). And the quorn/soya stuff is a good way to get those things too, especially if you're feeling too yuck to do any proper cooking. I love pearl barley in soups or risotto instead of rice and it's high in protein.
My family used to lecture me on getting enough protein, I think they've (almost) all realised I actually eat more healthily than them! Mostly that's about trying lots of new recipes though which you might not feel like right now. Most important to take pregnancy vits and personally, I'll often have a cheesy-eggy craving which tells me I need to up my protein a bit (I do eat dippy eggs as long as they're lion stamped)

Darksideofthemoon88 Wed 28-May-14 18:30:16

Yeah, it's certainly not a dead cert, Ruth : I'm 38 weeks and haven't had any problems with my iron levels.

BornToFolk Wed 28-May-14 19:51:00

I was vegetarian all through my pregnancy and never had issues with iron. Mind you, I'm really not a fussy eater and just carried on eating what I normally would (minus any lovely squidgy cheeses!)
Do you like tofu? I recently invented a great pudding, which is basically tofu blended with cocoa powder, honey and peanut butter until it turns into a mousse like consistency. It was honestly lush! You would never know it was made of tofu. You could leave out the peanut butter if you don't like it but that would add protein too.

I made sure to drink a pint of milk a day all through my pregnancy. I craved Angel Delight so ate a fair amount of that, which helped the milk intake too!

Hampo27 Mon 09-Jun-14 22:48:49

Just wanted to mention to check the vitamin supplements people are takin are ones without vitamin A as this needs to be avoided during pregnancy. Specific multi vita (like pregnacare) don't have Vitamin A in for this reason.

amy83firsttimer Wed 11-Jun-14 07:36:59

I just can't believe all the fuss. I'm 18 weeks and my bloods all came back normal. Just eat a balanced diet. Am I unusual? Oh and I'm the product of a veggie pregnancy myself. That actually is quite unusual I suppose but I still don't really get the fuss. If you're veggie for the long term surely you should know what to eat?

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