Two years ago, I switched to a vegan diet. Vegetarian for a year and a half prior, I decided to ditch dairy as well to resolve some reproductive issues I was having.
Within a month of saying adios to milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt all of my symptoms disappeared, including my hormonal acne and irregular, heavy, and painful periods. Not to mention, I felt the best I ever had in my life. Did you know feeling bloated is not a normal indicator of being full? I didn’t.
The benefits of a whole-foods, vegan diet cannot be praised enough. I ate vegan while trying to conceive, throughout my pregnancy, and now while I’m breastfeeding (and will continue for the rest of my life).
My pregnancy was uncomplicated and my daughter was born at exactly 40 weeks, weighing in at a healthy seven pounds, one ounce. She has consistently been in the 50th percentile for every measurement since birth. Except for height. My little string bean has been in the 90th percentile or higher since birth.
Even though my daughter and I are both extremely healthy, I still receive a lot of questions about my diet and how I make sure we are each getting enough protein, calcium, fats, calories, etc.
Plants have everything you need. They have protein, calcium, iron, and omega-3’s. I call those four out specifically because people mistakenly think you can only get them from animal sources. However, that cannot be further from the truth!
First, I eat the same thing for breakfast every single day.
Nature’s Path Organic Oatmeal
I begin by cooking half a cup of oatmeal in boiling water (but you can cook them in almond milk for added nutrients).
Once the oats are cooked, I load them up with
I cram as much nutrients as I can in at breakfast. That way I know no matter how the rest of the day turns out, I received tons of nutrients.
For my breakfast, I’ll outline some of the nutrient content so you can see for yourself just how easy it is to find protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and Omega- 3’s from plant sources.
½ cup oats: 5g
1 Tbs chia seeds: 3g
1 Tbs ground flax: 1.5g
1 Tbs hemp seeds: 3.33g
½ Tbs maca powder: 0.5g
¼ scoop of protein powder: 5g
Total protein: 18.33g
Fiber allows you to consistently drop the kids off at the pool. You know what I’m saying?
Pooping. That’s what I’m saying.
½ cup oats: 4g
1 Tbs chia seeds: 5g
1 Tbs ground flax: 1.5g
1 Tbs hemp seeds: 1.66g
½ Tbs maca powder: 2g
Total fiber: 14.16g
1 Tbs chia seeds: 8% DV
1 Tbs ground flax: 1.5% DV
½ Tbs maca powder: 1% DV
¼ scoop protein powder: 5% DV
Total calcium: 15.5% DV
½ cup oats: 10% DV
1 Tbs chia seeds: 6% DV
1 Tbs ground flax: 2.5% DV
1 Tbs hemp seeds: 5% DV
½ Tbs maca: 1% DV
¼ protein powder: 7.5%
Total: 32% DV
1 Tbs chia seeds: 2.5g
1 Tbs ground flax: 1.5g
1 Tbs hemp seeds: 1g
Total omega-3’s: 5g
Even with that heavy breakfast, I usually need some sort of snack before lunch. To hold me over I eat a banana, apple, some nuts, or all three!
See post : The BEST Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
For lunch I eat a lot. Every day I have a giant spinach salad.
On the bed of spinach, I add
- Half a cup of black or kidney beans. Beans provide a heavy punch of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Whatever vegetables I have, bell peppers, corn, carrots, mushrooms, red onions, cucumbers (which are technically fruit), etc
- If available, I toss some mandarin orange slices on it, as well.
In addition, to my salad I eat something of substance. This usually consists of rice with a Mexican or Asian dish (because I love Mexican and Asian style foods).
Sometimes these dishes contain tofu, but not always. I love tofu, but some people don’t and think they have to eat it if they ditch meat. Not true! I did not eat tofu the entire first year I was vegetarian. There are so many hearty recipes that will fill you up that do not contain a single cube of tofu.
Once I get home from work I’m hungry again, but dinner won’t be for another few hours. At this time, I make a smoothie. Smoothies are an easy way to consume a ton of nutrients. I have a very basic, non-fancy smoothie recipe:
Handful of mixed greens
1 cup of frozen berries and cherries
1 Tbs of ground flax
½ Tbs of maca powder
¼ scoop of vegan protein powder
1 cup of almond milk
I mix it all up in my blender and drink it! If you do make this smoothie, however, make sure you aren’t seeing anyone or heading anywhere right after. The berries will make your mouth look like you just drank an entire of bottle of red wine (if only…. amirite?). But, for now, I’m thankful for that one glass.
Finally, dinner varies from night-to-night, and it’s typically my smallest meal of the day. I enjoy making vegetable soups, chili, one pot pastas loaded with veggies, or my husband’s personal favorite, quinoa tacos with avocados.
We eat a lot of tacos.
As you can see, I eat a lot throughout the day because breastfeeding demands a lot. The key to keeping yourself full as a vegan while breastfeeding is planning ahead.
Carry a banana, some nuts, or another snack with you for when hunger eventually sets in, because it will.
You don’t want to be starving with an hour before lunch and find doughnuts in the break room. I don’t care how long you’ve been vegan or how much you care about animals. Breastfeeding hunger rivals pregnancy hunger.
I, also, drink Red Raspberry tea sometime during the day to aid in my milk production, and help tone my uterus after giving birth.
In addition, I continue to take my prenatal, and just in case I didn’t get enough from my food, I take plant-based calcium and DHA supplements.
That is my average day as a vegan, breastfeeding mom! It is really easy to get everything you need from a plant-based diet. As long as you consume enough calories, you’ll consume enough protein, and BONUS you cut out a lot of the crap like cholesterol and diabetes and death.
Are you a vegan, breastfeeding mom? If so what do you eat on a daily basis?
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