The Part-Time Vegan
Posted on December 27th, 2015
My pregnancy journey really showed me the importance of what you put into your body. My first trimester I started a semi-exclusive relationship with sugar laden snacks, a morning plate of cinnamon raisin bagels covered in reduced fat butter (a big no no), sodas, chocolate digestive biscuits and a few midnight trips to Subway (my husband later held an intervention to stop this kind of behaviour). After gaining 8kgs in the first three months, feeling tired, sluggish and constantly lethargic I made drastic changes. My food became totally natural, anything packaged or processed was kissed goodbye, dairy in all forms took an exit stage left and sugars were limited to fruits (and the occasional naughty nibble).
Now at seven months postpartum, my diet is slowly becoming exactly what I want it to be. I am eating the way that I want my daughter to eat and appreciate, I’ve made conscious steps to learn what’s in my food, make my food from scratch and learn about where it comes from. What I’ve found that works for me is loading up on greens, vegetables and some fruits. I have spent the past few weeks eating vegetables cooked in a small amount of vegetable stock with a half cup of quinoa and my cravings for sugary junk has gone out the window. Believe it or not I actually look forward to eat this for dinner. If I’m desperate for something sweet I’ll make a big smoothie which is made up of 70% greens (followed by lots of ice, a splash of orange juice for sweetness, almond milk and maybe two or three slices of peach to satisfy the naughtiest of cravings).
Here are the basic food principles that I follow which have made a huge difference in my energy levels, skin, hair and helped me to lose the extra baby weight at a manageable pace which as gotten me back into my skinny jeans.
1. Always Organic
If you could really see what was put into our food you would ALWAYS choose organic. It may be more expensive but if you stick with food that’s in season the cost shouldn’t be that much more (you will also save money when you remove anything that’s packaged from your grocery hauls). It’s especially important to choose organic where food has a thin skin, think your greens, apples, berries etc.
2. Never Restrict Yourself
If you’re hungry then EAT. Don’t ever starve yourself, you’ll end up going on the mother of all binges within a matter of hours and send your metabolism into overdrive. By eating little snacks throughout the day you’re constantly stoking your internal fire and keeping things moving. I love fresh salsa with vegetables, banana or apple with a large glob of almond butter or a chopped up avocado sprinkled with chilli flakes.
3. Ditch the Dairy
I could go on and on about how bad I think dairy is but I’m not here to ram my views down anyones throat. All I know is that my body doesn’t feel right at all when I’ve had dairy. I champion unsweetened almond milk over cows milk any day of the week and make a point to ask for absolutely no dairy in my food at restaurants. Of course the rogue piece of cheese or lick of butter aren’t going to kill me; I haven’t yet become militant about this but I try to steer clear of this as much as I possibly can.
Gone are the days of the daily takeout or evenings spent shacked up in a restaurant eating to my hearts content. I like to make sure that I make as much of my food as possible from home and prepare for it. In order to make life as easy as possible (especially with a seven month old baby) I have found a few recipes that my husband and I love and I make these weekly. This makes grocery shopping fairly mindless if I know what I’m making and also results in a HUGE cut in wasting anything in my fridge. I also like to prep breakfast the night before and whip up a batch of overnight oats (recipe coming soon). This makes my 6:45am wakeup time that much easier if breakfast only needs to be warmed up.
5. Research Your Meat
I’ve cut out animal products from my diet a fair amount. Fish has always been my meat of choice (make sure it’s wild and not farm raised) and I make sure to eat this a few times a month (avoiding anything high in mercury like tuna). Other meat has rarely touched my plate, other than the giant turkey on Christmas day. Having said this, we made sure that this was free-range, organic, grass-fed and not laden with hormones or fed antibiotics. It’s important to really know where your meat is coming from, what the animals are fed, the conditions that they are in. Eating battery chicken is not only disgustingly inhumane but it’s filled with nasties that would make a stomach or iron turn upside down. The antibiotics, hormones and animal feed itself is an encyclopaedia of what not to eat. If you can learn anything from this post I would urge you to find out where your meat is coming from.