This is my first post here, so please be gentle! I've been nearly 100% vegan for 5 years, and I've dabbled in raw foods that whole time. At the beginning of this year, I decided to go 100% raw (I've since fallen off the wagon a couple of times, eating cooked vegan and some eggs, which I'll explain later.) Overall though, I'm doing pretty well most days at staying HCRV. There are a couple of things I REALLY struggle with though...
I found out I was pregnant for the second time just two weeks after going raw. I also have a 14 month old son, who I'm currently breastfeeding. When pregnant with my son (I was cooked food vegan at the time), I got intense cravings for eggs before I even knew I was pregnant. This wasn't a case of just something I missed from before I was vegan, it was something my body desperately needed. Every day I would wake up and eggs were the first thing on my mind. It was all I could think about all day long. I tried and tried for the first several months of my pregnancy to figure out what my body needed. I increased protein and fats from all different sources but the craving for eggs still stuck with me. I had to have them. I ended up finding eggs from a chicken rescue that I was comfortable eating, so I ate them for the rest of my pregnancy.
I did a lot of research into why I needed eggs so badly. I found that during pregnancy, a woman's cholesterol naturally skyrockets, and that if the mother doesn't have high enough cholesterol levels during pregnancy, the baby is much more likely to be born with a small head and die shortly after birth. Now, I know that people don't normally need to ingest dietary cholesterol and that our bodies make all we need. My only logical conclusion though was that for some reason, my body wasn't making adequate amounts of cholesterol to nourish my growing baby during pregnancy. I feel that the body really does tell us what it needs, and this wasn't a risk I was willing to take.
Now that I'm pregnant again (about 6 weeks along), I'm craving eggs intensely again. I have eaten about half a dozen in the past week, and my husband is going to the farm to get me more tomorrow. I am in no way advocating eating eggs during pregnancy. I hate the fact that I have to eat them, I feel like I have a pit in my stomach when I eat them, they make me super tired, I get really smelly gas, and I desperately want to get off them and go 100% HCRV. However, I will not risk the health of my unborn baby if my body, for some reason, doesn't produce enough cholesterol naturally to nourish him/her.
So, does anyone know what fruits/vegetables I can eat to raise my cholesterol naturally? Or, has anyone else been through something similar and have an idea of what else this craving could mean?
My second dilemma is protein. I know, I know, "you get plenty of protein from a HCRV diet", "As long as you eat enough calories, you'll get plenty of protein", "fruits and vegetables have the perfect ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats", etc, etc...Why is it then that when I input my food intake into cron-o-meter, set for my weight, my pregnancy, and HCRV, I'm not getting NEARLY enough protein for a pregnant mother. And my protein requirement only comes out to be about 60 grams per day, which is even less than the 75-100 grams per day my homebirth midwife says is essential. On days I don't eat eggs, nutritional yeast, or hemp protein powder in smoothies, I'm VERY low on protein. I usually get 2,000-2,500 calories per day (I find it extremely hard to eat more than this, and I'm still meeting the requirements that cron-o-meter recommends for me.) Here's what a day usually looks like for me...I know it is far from perfect. I know that I have some food combining problems I need to address, especially in my smoothies, but right now it's the only way I've found to pack in enough greens and calories. :-/ I'd appreciate any feedback you guys have to offer!
16 oz. green smoothie made from:
frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, raspberries...)
sometimes a bit of raw almond milk
2-4 bananas (I find it extremely difficult to eat more than this. I start to feel sick.)
4-6 cups seasonal fruit (right now, it's oranges)
5-10 fresh dates
16-32oz green smoothie
Green salad, sometimes with other shredded veggies on top, sometimes avocado
(Trying to come up with healthy dressings so I can get off the oil/vinegar)
Frozen fruit blended into an ice cream (I realize fruit at night isn't ideal...but it keeps me from craving junk food desserts like I used to eat every day.)
Taken from this vegsource raw forums, this is what Dr. Graham has to say on protein levels: "Typically, with each progressive month of pregnancy the woman eats roughly 100 extra calories daily.
The 10 grams recommendation that you state is an average, and does not apply throughout the entire pregnancy. When eating 100 extra calories per day during the first month, it is likely that you will only take in about 2 extra grams of protein. But by the end of the pregnancy, you could easily be taking in 20 extra grams when eating 1000 extra calories."
Other than that, listen to your intuition and do what's right for you and your baby. Frankly, I couldn't keep down most foods during my pregnancies so your diet looks divine!
Congratulations! I wish you a happy pregnancy and a healthy baby!
The National Institute of Medicine recommends only 60 grams of protein during pregnancy. Some other sources recommend 70 grams, but I've not seen a recommendation as high as what your midwife is recommending!!!
I don't know much about the cholesterol thing, but I'll let you know that I'm also pregnant and eating eggs freely right now, even though it's not ideal on this diet. I'm also transitioning though - only started a few weeks ago. For right now, I'm just trying to get my ratios down closer to 80/10/10 and add in way more fruit and greens. My diet is far from perfect, but like you, I've had to resort to some 'forbidden foods" in order to meet those protein requirements and I'm not far enough into this lifestyle yet to feel comfortable ignoring that...
just my two cents!!! Congrats on your pregnancy!!!