Crazyhippiemom’s Weblog

Just an urban hippie with a kid in tow, sharing a little eco-friendly, holistic info with the world.

The Preschool Chronicles – Month One September 25, 2008

It has been almost a month since my 2 year old has been installed in preschool.  I use the word ‘installed’ quite on purpose, due to the fact that he was probably not very pleased about being left there…in fact, I’m sure he wasn’t.  The tears of shear dismay and pleading, rather begging, “MOMMY, MOMMY!!! NO!!! NO!!!! MOMMY!!” still replay quite vividly in my mind.  Well, I won’t relive the awful scene as I placed his diaper bag (no he’s not yet potty trained) and his carseat in the respective designated areas.  I’d rather focus on the last three weeks as a whole.  For those of you currently awash in the abyss of your toddler’s first preschool experience, read on and know that you’re not alone.  For those who have already mastered the preschool years, please provide some sort of insight; a survival guide or something to help us novices out!

The Germ-Fest

My vegan son is the epitome of health.  No fillers, no additives, no Big Pharma candy…no, no, no.  Nothing that had a mother, nothing made in a factory, you get the point.  The little man hasn’t had a cold in well, I’d say forever, but he’s only 2 and that would be a little unbelieveable…it has been at least 6 months though. So you could imagine my surprise when on the second day of preschool, he arrived home with the sniffles.  Now everyone I spoke to about this momentous event said exactly the same thing, “Oh yeah, when they’re in preschool, their noses never stop running!”  Why is this something we are unable to fix?  Why must their noses continually run?  Why are they passing germs around like…the plague!  Okay, I overstate.  But honestly, why is the everyday, run of the mill preschool a germ-fest?  I’m venting, bare with me.

My son’s a genius, why don’t they realize that?

I know every parent says this about their child, but mine really is a genius.  Okay, whatever.  I spent an enormous amount of time branding the ABC’s and 123’s into my sons head so he could start preschool to sit down and watch Sesame Street all day? I don’t think so!!!!  Alright, alright, maybe not all day, but really, shouldn’t they be cultivating each child’s potential with sensory learning tools and all that other jazz? 

He eats like an anorexic super-model

Is it just me or is my son refusing his favorite meal…that would be white rice.  Actually, he’s refusing everything I put in front of him.  It seems almost impossible that he can maintain his energy levels with just the morsel of food he’s been eating. 

Much more clingy than usual

This one I can kind of figure.  He may be having some abandonment issues.  Therefore when he sees his parents, he holds onto us with all his might.  I’ve been reassured that this will pass as he becomes more acclaimated to his surroundings.

Alright, so these are the changes I’ve noticed over the past three weeks.  As is my custom, I’ve done a little research to try to understand the ins and outs of the whole preschool thing.  Here’s a list from the experts to help ease my (and your) concerns.

What parents can do to ease the transition:

  • Talk to the preschool teacher about your concerns
  • Stay for a class
  • Practice appropriate preschool behavior while at home
  • Reevaluate maturity level and preschool readiness

This is definitely a process for all of us and I’m still researching it myself.  What are your thoughts?  What has worked for you?  Enlighten us.

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Water Is Your Friend August 17, 2008

I applaud the water bottling companies for their ingenious attempt to “make-over” water! Yes, my friends, you may not have noticed it, but water is being made over, right before your very eyes. Recently, I’ve seen the sleeker, more eco-friendly bottles, some with cool blue hues to attract a more discriminating consumer, others with a more minimalist approach – clear bottle, scarcely worded labels – you catch my drift.  But why do I applaud them? Because they are in the business of selling perhaps the most therapeutic and health-preserving remedy known to man – Water.  Okay, call me naive for actually believing that the companies are in it for your health. There’s a lot of profit in selling plastic bottles! But I wish to just ponder for a second, in my warped reality, about the millions of potential soda purchasing teenagers who were lured into picking up a shiny bottle of water instead. Call me nuts!

So, let’s talk about water – the mystery and the magic! I overstate (as is my custom) for effect. We’re actually going to be discussing the benefits of water, why drinking it as often as possible could improve your health (obvious) and extend your life (these statements have not been approved by the FDA).  In a nutshell, water transports nutrients and hormones to vital organs.  It also gets in there and gets rid of all the stuff that shouldn’t be there. Yippie!! It hydrates and aids in digestion. It’s truly the miracle liquid. It does quite a few more things for the body as well…

  • Removes toxins and waste from your body
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Improves energy
  • Keeps skin healthy
  • Improves brain function
  • Reduces risk of heart-attack
  • Improves immune system

To maintain optimum function, being well hydrated is necessary. It is not always easy to drink the recommended 8 glasses a day, for some, even 4 or 5 glasses is hard.  This was a challenge for me as well, so I implemented a few strategic “inspirations” that kept me on track and may work for you as well.

  • Carry water with you everywhere you go – preferably in a glass bottle or container (like a Perrier bottle)
  • Keep a glass or bottle of water next to you when you’re sitting for extended periods of time – like at your desk at work
  • Set your “water” alarm to remind you to drink your water at set intervals
  • Add lemons or mint leaves to your water to make it more appealing
  • Eat water-rich fruit such as melons

It goes without saying that water is the end-all-be-all when it comes to health management. It purifies, hydrates and refreshes the body in ways no other liquid or solid can boast. Water does it all, because indeed, water is your friend!

 

The Water Birth May 15, 2008

You know that warm, bubble bath you prepare for yourself when the day’s been rough and the kids are acting up?  You know how you just sink into that glistening, sudsy tub and let you cares run away like gazelles on a pasture?  You know how your mind is just whisked away, into some far away land where the air is warm and the drinks are cool?  Well, a water birth is kind of like that, but without all the suds and gazelles and cool drinks.  It’s contractions and waiting and contractions and waiting… it’s pretty much labor in a tub full of warm water! But oh the benefits…

Waterbirth International states that, “support in water is one of the most beneficial things that can be offered to a woman in labor.”  Apparently the warm water calms and relaxes women during this stage of labor.  And who wouldn’t want to be calmed and relaxed at this stage of labor???  There are plenty more benefits too:

  • Facilitates Mobility – The woman can easily adjust to any position that suits her with minimal or no help.  She is in control of her birthing experience.
  • Speeds up labor – NEED I SAY MORE!!!
  • Reduces blood pressure – A relaxed mom is a healthy mom.
  • Provides significant pain relief – NEED I SAY MORE!!!!
  • Reduces the need for drugs or intervention
  • Encourages an easier birth for mom

Preparation 

Any woman considering a water birth is encouraged to seriously do her homework.  Water birthing is major business and it is imperative that all parties involved (mom, dad, doula, midwife, etc.) are fully knowledgeable about what they’re about to get into.  Here are some steps to preparing for a water birth:

  • Examine your motivations and expectations – will this be a comfortable setting and situation for you? Are you comfortable with being in a tub full of water partially clothed?  Are you modest, not-so-modest, an exhibitionist????? Whatever the case, make sure you have visited your feelings thoroughly.
  • The Tub – you have one of two options: rent a tub ($350-$400) or use your own (which might not be as adequate as the birthing folks would like, but then again, they’re not shelling out $400 to rent you a tub either!  The tub should be big enough to sit in comfortably and deep enough for the water to come up to armpit level.  Make sure the tub has been cleaned with any eco-friendly cleaner and rinsed thoroughly. The doula or midwife assisting will provide you with any other specifics.
  • The Water – the water should be pure enough to drink (not that you’ll be drinking it!).  Water temperature should be between 95-101 degrees F.  Adjust the temperature to what feels best for you.
  • The Birthing Room – No you’re not doing this in your bathroom! The room should be big enough to facilitate the midwife and her equipment as well as a host of visitors who have come to witness your little miracle. JK.  But really you need to have space to do this thing, confinement is not an option.
  • Edibles – You can drink (water, that is) all you want. You may also eat light, easily digestible foods.
  • Get in the tub – only when your contractions are coming in significant intervals. Adjust you position to whatever suits you.  Just be comfortable.

The birthing process with water births, like any other type of birth, varies.  Labor can stall or progress at lightning speed.  If you find that your labor isn’t progressing, get into the tub, or conversely, if you’re in the tub and labor isn’t progressing, get out of the tub.  The change in environment usually jump starts labor.

The Birth

Once the baby is born, he can be removed from the water.  Many mothers like to reach down and pick their baby up immediately, while others like to let the baby linger a little longer (no more than 30 seconds).  The baby will begin to breathe as soon as his face emerges from the water, until then, the umbilical cord does the ‘breathing’.  The placenta can also be delivered in the water, however this must be discussed ahead of time with your birthing assistant.

Some rightfully cautious persons have suggested that there could be risks involved with water births, however over the 30 years, as water births have risen in popularity, no risks have been determined.  Water birthing is as safe as or more safe than the traditional methods.  A growing number of obstetricians, as well as midwives and birthing centers believe that water birthing reduces stress during labor and delivery which, in turn, reduces fetal complications.  Water birth is definitely a viable option worth considering. 

 

 

Make Your Ends Meet – Money Saving Ideas April 26, 2008

If things continue going the way they have been, we’ll be sitting around in a few years saying, “Remember when gas was $4.00 a gallon? Ah, those were the good old days.”  But until we make that inevitable statement, we’ve got to find ways to put a lid on that siphon attached to our wallets.  There used to be a time when I didn’t mind paying a high price for the things my family needed.  Nowadays, I find myself averaging if we can go another week without running out of toilet paper (just picture that one); or negotiating between shampoo and shower gel (I got the shower gel and used it as shampoo as well as body wash).  Bottom line – times are tough and money is tight!  

It became evident that the stress of my financial situation was overpowering my usually rational thought  process, when I nearly beat my farmer’s market grocer with a stalk of celery after he told me it was $3.00 a bunch.  It was time for an intervention.  Like I said, times are tough, and people get crazy when times are tough.  I have instead decided to implement a few money saving tricks into my lifestyle, that have so far been working and keeping me from an assault & battery charge.

  1. Public Transportation – I’ll admit it.  I drove a MEGA gas guzzler and every time I put my foot on the peddle, I could feel my wallet shudder, not to mention the emissions!  So, I parked that sucker and opted in to the transportation reimbursement program offered at my job.  They pay for parking or bus passes.  I evaluated my situation – gas was a significant drain on my finances (upwards of $400/mth) so utilizing public transpo really did the trick for me.  It also gave me some extra sleep time on the way to work.  
  2. Farmer’s Market – Oh the joys of NOT having to pay almost $50.00 for one bag of groceries.  I always carry only $40.00 with me to the market.  With this $40.00, I get the following items: 2 bags of raw almonds, a week’s supply of broccoli, celery, spinach, cauliflower and carrots.  I also get some flowers (they usually die within the week), a week’s supply of pears, apples and grapes.  Then, I pick up lunch – yes, without exceeding that $40.00.  Obviously, for a person like me (Vegetarian/Vegan), the farmer’s market is like heaven, but looking at the cost of meat these days, you might want to consider becoming V/V.
  3. Buy in Bulk – I’m pretty much a minimalist, but when it comes to kids, you’ve got to have their stuff on hand, otherwise you’re screwed.  I started using an online baby store called Diapers.com, where I can buy just about anything for my son and have it mailed directly to my door.  Hooray, they just launched their ‘green section’, this is the area in which they’ve assembled all of the eco-friendly products for tree-huggers like me.  After comparing calculations for buying in bulk or otherwise, I realized that I’ve been saving about $5.00 per purchase.  Also, if I spend over $50.00 (which I ALWAYS do – have you seen the price of diapers lately?), I get free shipping.  

As another means of trying to save, I subscribe to an online newsletter called Dollarstretcher. com.  The ezine is filled with helpful hints (sent in by real people) to get you on the saving track.  I’ve scoured several of the installments I’ve received over the past months and have reprinted them here.  Check them out and if the shoe fits, by all means, try that sucker on.

  • Homemade Mixes – A great way to save time, money and eat healthier is to make your own mixes for cookies, pancakes, quick breads or anything you bake in the oven. I save the 32-ounce yogurt containers I buy and then I put a piece of masking tape on the cover to label the mix. I measure all dry ingredients into the containers (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, etc.). I alter my recipes, substituting with healthier flours (soy, pea, whole wheat, buckwheat). Once a month, I create the mixes we’ll use for the month. It is such a time and mess saver, and we don’t use store mixes, which can get expensive.
  • Frugalize’ your gift giving – Instead of buying yet another toy that will be forgotten, give kids “gift certificates” good for lunch with dad or mom, miniature golf trip, batting cages trip, etc. Make it something your kid always wants, but you feel is a splurge.
  •  Cheap Mattress Protector – If you have a child who is toilet training or just needs a mattress protector, why not buy a shower curtain at about $2 instead of the terribly overpriced “store bought” protectors? They work extremely well with no leaks and are also fully washable.
  • Don’t buy plastic zipper bags – Don’t waste your money on food zipper bags. Many items purchased at the grocery store come in zipper type bags, including deli meats, tortillas, cheese, raisins, frozen items, etc. They can be washed and used again and again. It’s a good ideas to use an anti-bacterial spray, too.
    For items that do not have to be completely airtight, use produce bags, bread bags, cereal liners, etc. These are also great for freezing meats into smaller portions and then placing all the contents into one larger zipper bag.
  • Cheap Chips – We love to eat tortilla chips with our homemade garden salsa, but cheap chips are often greasy and unhealthy. The low-fat baked chips are way too expensive for us! So we get white or yellow corn tortillas in a package of 36 for about $1.50, cut them each into eight triangles (this can be done quickly in a stack and with a pizza cutter) and spread them on cookie sheets. I sprinkle them with water to make them crispy, add seasoned salt or whatever other seasoning we have around, and then bake them at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. These chips are very low fat, high in fiber and taste great! Best of all, they cost much less than the national brands of baked chips.
  • Shower Moisturizer – I take an inexpensive pump container of body lotion (after about half is gone) and then add some baby oil, shaking it up very well. Then after showering, while still in the tub and before toweling off, I rub it all over myself. Then I “pat dry” so that most of the lotion mixture stays on. It works as well as expensive shower moisturizers and also leaves your towels smelling great! Also, it doesn’t make the bottom of your tub slick like straight baby oil due to the much thicker consistency of the lotion.
  • Make the salad yourself – When shopping in the produce department, I usually buy bagged pre-washed salad to save time and money because it is just the right amount for a family of four. This week I compared prices and the cost of a bag of leaf lettuce was half as much and would make twice as much salad. By dividing it up after washing, we can have salad for two meals and save on the cost. Also those carrots that are “mini” are much more expensive than the carrots that need to be washed and peeled. Now we can have our greens and save some green too!
  • Free Mailing Packaging – I save the extra tough plastic-like mailing bags from packages that I receive in the mail and turn them inside out to reuse. They look like new and are free.
  • Discount Student’s Instruments – When my son was taking clarinet at school, I determined that I didn’t want to rent one and I didn’t know enough about the instrument to make a wise choice of buying one. So, I called the company that provides the rentals for the schools. They were happy to sell me a refurbished clarinet for far less than the cost of a 9 month rental. The staff there knew what the school’s requirements were, the kind of instruments the teachers wanted the kids to use, and were very forthcoming. I saved a lot of money by purchasing that used instrument on my own rather than going thru the school’s rental program.
  • Children’s Party – For your child’s next party, consider having a “book exchange” instead of gifts. Here’s how it works. Each child who attends the party brings one wrapped book (age appropriate of course). At the start of the party, all of the books are put into a bin. Then, when the party’s over, each child gets to choose a book to take home as his or her party favor. We tried this for our daughter’s fourth birthday party recently and it worked great. The parents all loved the idea because they didn’t have to worry about what to buy for a gift. And it freed us up from having to buy or make goody bags, which usually just consist of candy and/or cheap plastic toys anyway. At our party, everyone remembered to bring a book. However, I’d recommend placing two or three wrapped books in the bin yourself in case anyone forgets to bring one.
  • The Eating Out Bank – I recently started my own “Stop Eating Out” plan. I used to stop at Starbucks and get coffee and a sandwich every workday. Then at lunchtime, I drove to various fast food places for lunch. No more. I started bringing lunch, embracing the concept of small meals with the right amounts of protein, starches, veggies, and sweets for my sweet tooth. When I do this, $5 goes into the piggy bank. So I’m sort of “paying myself” to not eat out! And I think I’m eating healthier, too.
  • Homemade Non-Stick Spray -I bake a lot. Instead of buying expensive cake release or nonstick spray I make my own. It’s just equal parts of flour and shortening plus a little bit of vegetable oil to make it more spreadable. I usually use one cup of flour, one cup of shortening and two tablespoons of oil. I mix it up and store it in an airtight container. Just brush it into your pans. The results are great.

If you have any other money/time/sanity saving ideas, please leave a comment letting us know who you are and what your tip is.

 

The Squatting Birth April 9, 2008

I’ve heard it described as “the most beautiful moment in life”.  I’ve seen grown men cry just reliving the memory.  But, for those of us who truly know, childbirth ain’t no walk in the park!  This natural life occurrence has got some blood, sweat and tears associated with it – and they’re not all tears of joy either. The last thing in the world any mother wants is a prolonged labor and/or delivery.  Some women opt for planned births (scheduled C-Sections), others choose managed deliveries (epidurals & other drugs) while others go for the au naturale.  Which coincidentally, will be part of our discussion today.

When choosing an all-natural birth (pregnancy, labor & delivery), pregos must plan, plan, plan. Planning and preparation for your all-natural delivery is more than important, it’s vital! Extended labors and deliveries are, in part, due to lack of planning for and understanding of the birthing process.  Gravity is your friend and it’s best to use it wisely.  

The squatting birthing technique is something that may seem a little… well, un-everything you were told birthing should be.  We’ve been fed the hospital scene where mom is rushed in on a stretcher, hubby is right by her side, holding her hand and the stretcher is rushed into the delivery room… where she lays on her back pushing and pushing, breathing and breathing… hubby is doing his best to help her remember her lamaze class instruction – 3 quick breaths and hold, 3 quick breaths and hold.  Then, miraculously, after about 5 minutes of breathing, pushing, anguished glances, and a commercial break, the beautiful, cooing baby emerges from moms forcepped legs.  Did you get all that?  Well forget it!  It’s all wrong… not really, not in every situation, but for chicks who want to get in and get out, squatting is the way to go.

The history of squatting goes back hundreds of years, maybe thousands.  There have been ancient art created to depict women squatting during birth.  Artfully crafted birthing stools and chairs have been built to assist mothers.  Where are they now?  Why haven’t we heard of them until now?  IDK.  Ask modern medicine  and Big Pharma- but that’s not what this post is about.  Let’s get ready for our squatting birth…

First, the benefits of squatting include:

  • shortened second stage of labor (the pushing phase)
  • Reduced need for forceps during delivery
  • Reduced need for episiotomy
  • Shortens the depth of the birth canal
  • Increased pelvic diameter

Preparation During Pregnancy:

 

  • Walk daily (low-intensity 30 minute walk)
  • Squat often – this will strengthen your legs for when you need to squat during birth.  A 30 minute daily squat session in intervals of 5 squats for 6 minutes each seems reasonable to me.
  • Seek out and employ chiropractic care (see my post Chiropractic Care – A Must for Babies & Moms-to-Be )

Now, let’s discuss what to do once in labor.  Squatting should be exercised during contractions.  Once the contraction begins, the mother should be helped into the squatting position for the duration of the contraction.  When the contraction ends, she should resume the most comfortable position for her, giving her time to relax before the next round of contractions start – usually 2 minutes of contractions to 5 minutes of relaxation.

It is important to know your options when utilizing the squatting technique.  Some hospitals or birth centers provide squat bars (to support the mother’s weight to give her legs a rest), birthing stool (also supports the mother in a squatting position… it’s U-shaped stool the mother sits on), there are also specially made beds with attachments that extend and retract for a more comfortable squatting “experience”.

The squatting technique has been shown to truly reduce the length of the birthing process, and who wouldn’t want that??? Besides Big Pharma who wants to drug the hell out of you to get bigger payouts for the drugs they poison you with (do you sense a little animosity?) We all want shorter, healthier, less dramatic births and squatting is by far, the best way to get there.  Seek out doulas or birthing coaches who can provide you with more in-depth information with regard to squatting during birth.  Trust me on this one, you’ll be so glad you did.

For more information on squatting births check out birthingnaturally.net.

I’d like some feedback on this post if you don’t mind.  Whether you love it or hate it or in-between, send me a comment.  

Thanks.

 

 

Herbivore Nation – Toddlers (1-3 years) April 1, 2008

 Toddlers are a picky breed! They are especially discriminating about the foods they eat (look, texture, taste).  They require familiarity with any specific food and such food needs to conform to their immediate developmental phase, otherwise, you may end up scraping your well-planned & cooked meal off the dining room floor.

Vegetarian/Vegan (V/V) parents should give their children a variety of foods that provide enough calories and nutrients to enable them to grow normally.  Offering toddlers a diet filled with a variety of fruits, veggies, and whole grains helps them to learn healthy eating habits.  This type of diet (fruit, veggies & grain), will be high in fiber and low in fat… the sort of eats that protect against bad cholesterol, cardiovascular issues and unhealthy weight gain.

Toddlers’ eating preferences are not to be taken lightly and can become somewhat of a challenge for parents trying to maintain a V/V lifestyle.  Because of their developmental stages and subsequent picky eating preferences, it may be difficult for toddlers to obtain enough calories, vitamins & nutrients.

When preparing meals for V/V children, parents need to ensure that their children get adequate amounts of particular vitamins and minerals.  Below is a list of common deficiencies V/V children & adults have:

  • Vitamin D: dairy products, calcium-fortified orange juice, adequate amounts of sunlight
  • Vitamin B12: dairy products, eggs, and vitamin-fortified products – cereals, breads, & soy/rice drinks
  • Calcium: dairy products, dark green leafy veggies, broccoli, chickpeas, & calcium-fortified products – orange juice, soy/rice drinks & cereals
  • Protein: dairy products, eggs, tofu, dried beans, & nuts
  • Iron: eggs, dried beans, dried fruits, whole grains, leafy green veggies, and iron-fortified cereals and bread
  • Zinc: wheat germ, nuts, fortified cereal, & legumes

The major principle of planning a V/V diet for children, especially toddlers, is creativity.  Parents must think outside the box if they plan to successfully implement the V/V diet for their toddler.  It’s easy to get into a rut, but a balanced combination of nutrient-rich foods, will not only ensure all your child’s nutritional needs are met, it’ll keep them guessing which delicious meal you’ll be coming up with next.

Suggested Diet Plans for Toddlers

Breakfast

  •  Scrambled Tofu
  • Whole Wheat Bread w/ any organic nut butters
  • Cantaloupe (raw)
  • Blueberries (raw)
  • Walnut (raw)
  • Soy milk (enriched)
  • Banana (raw)
  • Raisin Bran

Lunch

  • Orange (raw)
  • Lettuce 
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Vegan Chili
  • Black Bean & Sweet Potato Salad
  • Grapefruit

Dinner

  •  Quinoa (cooked)
  • Spaghetti (whole wheat) w/ Marinara Sauce & Vegetarian Meatballs
  • Broccoli (lightly steamed)
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Brown Rice & Lentils

Check out more recipes at http://www.vegkitchen.com.Raising a V/V child can be an exciting, rewarding, and challenging experience.  Although there are many things to consider, it can be a perfectly healthy lifestyle, especially for your toddler.  He’ll need his parents as his healthy eating allies while you all strive to maintain that V/V diet.  No one needs to tell you that the nay sayers are out there.  There will always be those who believe you are doing your child a disservice by removing “fun, kid foods” (i.e. junk food, sodas, fast food) from his diet.  There will always be those who think that you’re a kill-joy when it comes to parties and social events.  Remember this though, starting your child on a healthy eating regimen in the early stages will ensure a long and healthy life.

 

Herbivore Nation – Pregnancy March 26, 2008

Alright Fertile Myrtle, now that you’re officially knocked up, there’s one item of business that takes precedence: eating like yours and your baby’s life depend on it!  This does not mean inhaling everything on the food chain.  Simply put, pregnancy is a time when it is vital to maintain a healthy diet for your safety and the safety of your developing fetus.  Although your doctor, family, co-workers, friends, and perfect strangers will all have differing opinions regarding the best approach to maintaining a healthy diet, ultimately you are the “decider”… sorry, just had to put that one in there.  One diet that is naturally high in the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need, is the Vegan Diet. Yes, Vegan. Nope. No meat.  None.  Okay, I know it’s a little unconventional, but trust me, you can get the whole kit-n-kaboodle with a Vegan diet.    I’ve outlined some suggested foods and intake guidelines to help you along.  No matter what stage of pregnancy or type of diet you have (herbivore, omnivore, carnivore), you can benefit from just implementing a few of the choices.  Even if you prefer to throw an animal or two in there, you’ll still come out on top because you’ll be full of the natural, organic, plant-based good stuff.  Alright already, somebody yank me off my soapbox!  Here are the goods…

Breakfast Options

  •  1/2 cup of oatmeal w/ maple syrup/dried fruit or apples and cinnamon
  • Whole grain cereal w/ soy milk
  • Fruit smoothies (limit to twice a week due to high sugar content)
  • Slice of whole wheat toast w/ fruit spread
  • Whole wheat bagel & banana
Lunch Options
 
  • Veggie sandwich on whole grain bread w/ avocado, lettuce, tomato, & onions
  • Veggie burger on whole wheat w/ mustard & ketchup (throw some veggies on for extra nutrients)
  • Baked potato w/ broccoli & tofu sour cream (non-dairy)
  • Falafel sandwich w/ humus or tahini
  • Split-pea soup
  • Steamed collard greens
Dinner Options
 
  • Whole wheat pasta w/ marinara sauce
  • Stir-fried tofu w/ mixed veggies & brown rice
  • Spinach lasagna
  • Vegetable stew
  • Sweet potatoes
Snack Options
 
  • Popcorn w/ nutritional yeast
  • Dried fruits
  • Grapes
  • Nuts
  • Trail Mix
  • Whole grain crackers w/ organic peanut butter
A few things to consider during pregnancy…
 
Weight Gain – Your physician will certainly be concerned about your weight especially AFTER you tell him/her that you’re maintaining a Vegan/Vegetarian diet.  It is a legitimate concern, the weight you gain during pregnancy impacts your baby’s size & health at birth.  However, with a variety of fruit, vegetables and legumes on your side (or rather, in your tummy), you will gain weight moderately and proportionately. 
 
Calcium – If you’re not drinking milk, how are you going to get calcium???  As if the only source of calcium is cow’s milk! NAWT!  Superior calcium sources include blackstrap molasses, broccoli, collard greens, almonds, soybeans, calcium-fortified orange juice & soy milk. So there!
 
Iron – Anemia is prevalent in pregnancies across the U.S., not just vegans’ or vegetarians’.  Although iron supplements are highly suggested, vegan pregos should add iron-rich foods to their diet: whole grains, dried beans, green leafy vegetables and tofu. 
 
Protein – Oh yeah!  Now this is the Big Kahuna! If you don’t eat meat, how are you going to get protein??? Here’s how: lentils (soup), tofu, soy milk, & bagels.
 
Folate – Vegan diets tend to be high in folate, but just for added measure: enriched bread, pasta, cold cereal, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, & orange juice.
 
These are all just suggestions.  During pregnancy, as we all know, especially in the first 3 months, if you can keep it down, eat it!  There’s no set rule (except of course drinking or smoking).  Be creative with your food choices, as much as you can and enjoy every minute of your pregnancy.  With all this in mind, remember that the only start your baby gets is the one you give him! So try to make it a healthy one.