The Dawleys

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Common Pregnancy Questions

Throughout my pregnancy, I have been asked many questions (although not as many as I anticipated) about my vegetarianism. While family have not asked me these questions, I realize that you still may have the same questions that friends and coworkers have, but may be hesitant to ask. I figured this blog post would be a good way to show some of the questions (and my answers).

How will you get enough protein without meat? Where do you get your protein? It's very easy for me to get more than the recommended daily amount of protein, even during pregnancy. Protein sources include beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers and other mock meat, soy milk, and whole grains such as bulgur or sprouted grain bread.
Is it safe to be vegetarian during pregnancy? A veg diet is healthy during all stages of life and is supported by the American Dietetic Association.
Won't you become anemic? Even meat-eaters can become anemic during pregnancy. There are plenty of iron-rich vegetarian foods such as tofu, beans, green veggies, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, and vegetables (particularly some of my favorites like sweet potatoes, kale, and broccoli). And by eliminating caffeine (which blocks iron absorption) and including foods high in vitamin C with those iron rich foods, I am able to absorb more of the iron I eat.
Where do you get your calcium? Nondairy milk, yogurt, and cheese. Tempeh, almonds, and green veggies are other good options. Cow's milk is not the only source of calcium. And when you think about it, cow's eat greens (if they're lucky enough to graze) and those that are fed feed (which is the case with more than 90% of our milk supply) are given calcium supplements. But if an animal as large as a cow can get plenty of calcium from grass, then it makes sense that we should have no problem getting enough calcium through different leafy greens.
Don't you have to take special supplements? The only nutrient that is not readily available in a vegetarian diet is vitamin B-12. This is because B-12 is found on bacteria and bacteria grows on meat since in reality it is decaying flesh. Vegetables have a small amount of B-12, but since we wash our vegetables, they are not a dependable source. I get my B-12 from fortified non-dairy milk and through my multi-vitamin. The good thing with B-12 is that the body stores it. Most people have a supply of B-12 in their bodies that will last several years.
People are meant to have meat. Humans can't survive without it. (This comment came from a biologist at work.) Carnivores cannot survive without meat. Humans are not carnivores. We cannot chase after animals and kill them with our teeth and nails that are very weak in comparison to a carnivore's. We have to season and cook our meat in order to safely eat it. Carnivores eat their meat raw. We also have extremely long instestines compared to carnivores. They are able to quickly digest meat in a matter of hours, while meat sits rotting in our intestines for days (which ultimately leads to a lot of diseases). For centuries, humans have been able to survive without meat and get the adequate nutrients needed for survival.

These are the biggest questions I've been asked and hopefully I haven't bored you too much! I promise to post about something more interesting next time. :)


The Book Family said...

I'm proud of you, Carrie. I'm proud that you stand by what you believe in and that you're so knowledgeable about it!! Honestly, I've never wondered any of these things - I trust that you know exactly what you're doing and that you would never do anything that would be harmful to Ella!! I love you, sweet sister!! <3

p.s. I'm still chuckling at the biologist who thinks we can't survive without meat. For some reason I would think a biologist would know better!! :) Remember, only a few more weeks and you have 12 glorious weeks off!!!

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