Blog #4 – Food Aversions and Cravings
So I’ve finally stopped vomiting at 28 weeks! Woohoo! Sadly, most of my aversions to certain foods persist, and I suspect that having vomited such a wide variety of foods down the toilet hasn’t helped with this. But I’m now getting my appetite back, and as the 3rd trimester hits, I’m feeling hungry much of the time.
Trying to satiate this hunger when many foods still turn my stomach isn’t easy. But I’ve found that softer foods are much easier to swallow, and maybe that’s because there is an element of reflux and indigestion to my symptoms. Everybody is different, so I can’t suggest what you might find more appetising if you are experiencing food aversions, but I find that soya yoghurts with soft fruits and jellies (some of the ready made pots are vegan) go down well, and while the yoghurts are fortified with vitamins and minerals, the fruit can help to keep a pregnant bowel moving! Pasta, noodles and potatoes are great for when I want something mild in flavour but filling, and soups have kept me going on many a lunchtime. There a lots of nutritious, vegan soups available on the supermarket shelves these days. but I would definitely recommend a lovely partner who has recently upped their soup-making game!
I think the cravings can be harder to deal with, however. Particularly when those cravings are non-vegan. Towards the end of my 1st trimester, I had an overwhelming desire to eat fish. I wasn’t eating much, and I wanted simple, comforting food which was nutritious. I recalled the soft flakiness of poached, smoked haddock, and felt like I had to eat it there and then. I even almost talked myself around to it by thinking about the protein and omegas I would be getting in lieu of the food and vitamins I couldn’t hold down because of the sickness. One aspect of veganism that makes these thoughts difficult to deal with is that vegans are often a proud bunch. This made it hard to discuss these thoughts with other vegans, as I really didn’t want to admit my brain had even gone there. But I knew my mum would understand, so I called her and talked it through. She reminded me that this pregnancy isn’t forever, and I’d have to live with any decisions I made afterwards. She also talked about relieving the cravings by eating foods that we used to eat with fish. So she suggested I try boiled potatoes and a parsley sauce. I did, and it worked! I also found a lovely blogpost by another pregnant vegam who had struggled with cravings (https://vegfamily.com/not-so-vegan-pregnancy-cravings/), and this reinforced for me that it is possible to get over these cravings with other comfort foods, and regularly reminding myself why I’m vegan.
Luckily, since then my cravings have been quite mild, and generally quite easy to fulfill. The only thing that’s made them a little tricky at times is the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Occasionally I’ll get a hankering for a certain ice cream or sweet, but thank goodness for the internet and food delivery sites!
Whether you are finding yourself averse to many foods, or craving lots of things you probably shouldn’t be eating too much of, the most important things is that you are getting adequate nutrition to supply the little life growing inside of you. This is why, despite it often making me throw up, I have consistently tried to take my prenatal vitamins. Even if I’m not eating all the right things, at least I’ll be getting most of the minerals and vitamins I need to bake a little baby. One of my previous blogs talks about this in much more detail (https://thevegandoctor.co.uk/2018/02/13/a-healthy-vegan-pregnancy/), but in short, you should be getting a good dose of folic acid, vitamin D, iodine, iron, calcium and omega 3. Most vegan prenatal vitamins won’t contain any omega 3, so get yourself a good DHA supplement to take alongside it. I have also found a that many multivitamins don’t quite contain enough iodine for pregnant women, and seeing as we are already at risk of this being low as vegans, I often take an extra dose of iodine every few days.
I hope you are managing well with your aversions and cravings. Keep talking to other vegans, and just remind yourself that this isn’t forever.
Thanks for reading,
The Vegan Doctor