about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.



Pregnancy Cravings & Vegetarianism.

There are a few common things that most everyone associates with pregnancy.  Among them are things like morning sickness, stretch marks, fatigue, and of course – cravings.

I don’t know that I’ve experienced any real “cravings” so far, but there have definitely been times where something sounded good, and suddenly it was the only thing I wanted.  Maybe that’s a craving, maybe that’s just a very limited appetite – I’m not sure.  But either way, one thing is definitely for sure – my appetite and diet has changed drastically in the last 13 weeks, and I’ve found myself eating things that would never normally be a part of my weekly grocery trips.

Most of what I have been wanting has been carbs and citrus, and I’ve tried my best to get those in the most healthy way possible.  Pregnancy “cravings” are so typically associated with un-healthy things like fast food, entire gallons of ice cream in one sitting, and packaged junk, and I think because I don’t regularly eat any of that, my body doesn’t crave what it isn’t use to having.  That said, Casey and I were taking a nice walk the other night – one of the first spring nights where it was still warm in the evening, and you could tell families and friends were all gathering outside for dinners in the yard or drinks on porches.

I have mentioned before that my sense of smell is ridiculously keen these days, and as we walked and talked, I couldn’t get past the delicious smell of backyard barbecues and summer grill-outs.  Suddenly I reaaaaaaally wanted a burger and fries.  It was all I could think about as we continued our walk, and smells of nearby grills continued to fill the air.

And so we changed our route home so that my adoring husband could run into Safeway and grab a big bag of potatoes and a new bottle of ketchup so that my perfect springtime meal could be a reality.

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I have heard and read many stories about pregnant women suddenly being overcome with cravings for things like McDonald’s or Steak N Shake.  I don’t personally believe that a craving is a medical necessity to eat or have something, but rather a strong want or desire.  Sometimes it is okay to fill those wants, and other times I find that they can be satisfied just as well with a little extra effort to do things your own way. 

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Delicious oven-roasted yukon gold potatoes.  Still starchy and full of carbs, but so much better for both me and my baby than jumbo fries from the drive through.

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And I assure you this veggie burger was far better than anything I would have gotten outside of my house – complete with organic swiss cheese, pickle slices, a sesame seed bun, and ketchup and mustard to finish!

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And of course, a few extra pickles on the side.  I guess what I’m saying is that while of course it’s okay to treat yourself here and there, it is not okay to use pregnancy as an excuse to throw nutrition out the window.  In fact, this is the time to make sure you are eating your best!  After all, you are truly eating for two. 

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I’ve been somewhat surprised by how many times I’ve been asked if I plan to remain a vegetarian throughout the duration of my pregnancy.  For me, eating a vegetarian diet is about so much more than food – it’s about health, ethics, and the environment.  If anything, being pregnant has strengthened my resolve to try to make choices that make a difference.  And while I will allow my children make their own choices about vegetarianism (once they are of age to do so), I will hope that my example of health and compassion will be one that leads them down the same path.

Just as families grow and change, I expect that in the coming years my values and ideas about food and health with grow and change as well.  The one thing I know will be a constant is that I will try to be a healthy role model for my children – both before and after they are born.

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139 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food     at 4:15 pm

wonderfully said!

I’m glad that your appetite is picking up good luck with all of your packing and preparation! :)

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Runeatrepeat     at 4:16 pm

I think all bets may be off when I get pregnant! I have no idea what to really expect, but if I want certain foods I will enjoy the cravings guilty free. I say that now, but who knows…

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Sarah for Real     at 4:18 pm

Amen!

I do not have children yet, but I can only guess I will have the same perspective when I’m pregnant. If anything, I will eat MORE healthfully when I am pregnant than I do now.

I do not agree with women who use pregnancy as an EXCUSE to pig out on garbage. The end. :)

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Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty Reply:

Agreed! Wouldn’t you want to supply your baby with the best nutrition possible?

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Katy @ MonsterProof Reply:

I wish you the best of luck, but I was an extremely healthy eater, who has not been successful at continuing an “ideal” diet. My son is developing perfectly, and my weight is right on track, but having had extreme morning sickness both 1st and 3rd trimesters, I would like to suggest that sometimes you have to eat what will stay down.

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Sarah for Real Reply:

Sorry Katy, I wasn’t suggesting I’d be eating an ideal diet or that anyone who doesn’t will have malformed children. I’m so glad your son is a healthy boy and that you are a healthy mom! I was referring to pregnant women who over indulge in unhealthy foods (like the fast food Emily mentioned) that they would otherwise deem inappropriate.

I understand that many women, just like Emily have trouble keeping things down. I think she’s doing a wonderful job of trying her best to find what is healthy that she CAN eat and I hope to do the same.

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Korinne Reply:

Sarah for Real – you are an insensitive and self righteous jerk. You have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant. If a pregnant woman has cravings for something that you deem “unhealthy,” how dare you judge her if she chooses to indulge in them. JERK.

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Sarah for Real Reply:

The blog won’t let me reply directly to Korinne, but I really want to so I’ll do it here.

It’s not ever my intention to judge anyone for their food choices, as I hope they will not do with mine. Food is a very personal decision and I respect that everyone is different. I hope you would respect that I can have my own opinion on how I will eat when pregnant.

I chose my words carefully when I said that I “do not agree” with women who “over indulge” in unhealthy food. (Notice I said OVER indulge.)

Emily has done an excellent job of explaining how she was craving a burger and fries, but instead went home to try and satisfy her craving in a more wholesome way. I am in agreement with her on this and take it as a good example of what I hope to accomplish when I am pregnant.

I stand by my food choices and my words since I have not maligned anyone. I do not care what you or anyone else eats. I just might not agree with you and I have the right to do so.

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R @ Learning As I Chop     at 4:19 pm

I wondered the same thing about meat. I’ve also heard that taking pre-natal vitamins in advance can help curb cravings as well.

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Madison @ Espresso and Cream     at 4:20 pm

Love your attitude about the whole process and your commitment to vegetarianism and healthy eating more now that you are pregnant. One of my personal pet peeves is when women act like health during pregnancy doesn’t matter when, like you said, it’s even more important than ever before.

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Maria     at 4:21 pm

I am pregnant too and keeping my vegetarian diet. I’ve had a lot of questions and looks, but I am sticking to it. A vegetarian diet is healthy for me and the baby. I just watch my protein intake. Food in general has been rough, I am 16 weeks, but I hope it gets better soon:)

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Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin     at 4:21 pm

Awesome post, Emily! When I first read that you were craving a burger and fries I thought I was going to fall over if I saw a real burger on here! Whew!

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Lauren     at 4:22 pm

Your determination to stick with the healthy eating is awesome. I’m sure you will be a great health role model for your kids!

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Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner)     at 4:23 pm

I LOVE your focus on nutrition for you and your baby!! You listened to your cravings and still managed it healthily!! :D

Funny you should talk about that! I literally JUST read an article saying that Natalie Portman has given up veganism for her pregnancy, partly because of her cravings! So I SO admire you for sticking to your beliefs!! :)

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Ellie Reply:

I really admire people who have strong convictions that they practice in their lives. But that said I don’t think there’s anything more admirable per se about staying a vegan forever. I may just feel this way because I’m not a vegan or vegetarian but I think the idea that staying vegan forever is morally better than changing up your diet for pregnancy or any other personal reason is kind of a holier-than-thou attitude.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I am sure there are vegans that are upset with her decision. For me personally, I have been eating a lot of eggs and dairy while pregnant, so I can sort of see where she was coming from. I’m also not sure what her reasons were for going vegan in the first place, so it’s hard to know exactly what her decision process was without more information. I imagine she made the decision she felt was best for her and her baby, and I respect that.

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Melissa     at 4:23 pm

Hi! Congratulations, Emily. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, we all wish the best for you and the husband!

Just a thought, I would be careful about saying, “After all, you are truly eating for two” because as you’ve shown with the fruit photos, the baby’s not really the size of a second person, and overeating/obesity is a serious problem for pregnant women (not the mention all of America).

Let’s just hope I remember that when my time comes :)

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Freya Reply:

I don’t think she meant eating portions for two – more, eating the correct nutrients for two? That’s how I took it :)

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Melissa Reply:

I agree- she’s a savvy lady, like most of her readers. But coming from the world of maternal/infant health where we have to be *so* careful with our words, just seeing that made me want to say something, just in case someone who wasn’t aware was reading.

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Freya Reply:

Of course :) I didn’t mean it as a criticism. And you’re right, overeating during pregnancy does seem to be a big problem! :s

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Emily Malone Reply:

It’s a good point! I can see how it would be easy to over-eat during pregnancy, when you feel you have an extra excuse.

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Katie KS Reply:

When you can barely keep food down, I don’t think overeating is serious problem :) … In seriousness, I’m sure there are women who do overeat during pregnancy, but among those I’ve known way more have lost weight or had trouble gaining than have overeaten. Sure, not everyone has the same willpower as Emily when it comes to cravings … but even if someone does give in and eat a lot of ice cream for example, it probably doesn’t happen every day! And a lot of people who do gain a lot of weight have other health issues to begin with – the gain is not necessarily related to overeating.

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Freya Reply:

I think in terms of overeating, I’m taking it to mean cases like Emily wrote – huge gallons and gallons of ice cream or something. Obviously if you can’t keep much down, anything is better than nothing! But just eating endless amounts of junk ‘cos I’m pregnant’ probably isn’t the best option :P

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yes! I meant eating nutrients for two, definitely not portions! But with that said, I have honestly been amazed at how many pregnancy sites have entire sections of websites dedicated to “pregnancy and obesity.” It is clear that it’s a huge issue, and not one to take lightly. I have read that you really only need an extra 300 calories per day to feed the baby – basically an extra PB&J or smoothie!

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Katie KS Reply:

I guess I always thought it was people who started out as obese and were pregnant, not people who got obese WHILE pregnant. But I admit I haven’t read those sections, since I tend to have the can’t eat much issue … There are big issues if you start out your pregnancy obese (diabetes for one). And I know that the 30 lb typically recommended weight gain is not the same if you start out 100 lbs overweight.

I have a hard time eating big portions of much of anything – heartburn ick! I have to eat every 2 hours or so but most of the time that is like a cheese stick or a yogurt. “Junk junk food” (greasy chips, huge fast food portions, giant sundaes, etc usually sound horrible to me while pregnant personally!)

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Alaina     at 4:23 pm

Those pictures are now making me crave a Morning Star veggie burger. :-P

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Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen     at 4:23 pm

When I was pregnant, all I wanted was STRAWBERRIES :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I am drinking a giant strawberry smoothie right now! :)

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Kristen     at 4:24 pm

One thing I have definitely been craving are “burgers”. But I think I am craving the ketchup, mustard, and pickles more than anything – oh, and the fries! But, I usually make it at home, or use it as a treat when we go out. I was actually asked the question today about whether or not I will feed my child meat. My husband is NOT a vegetarian, but I don’t plan on feeding my child meat. If he does, or a family member/babysitter does, fine. I want my child to have the choice just like it was my choice, but I personally will not be feeding my child meat (unless medically necessary).

As for eating healthier during pregnancy, I always swore up and down that I would be so incredibly healthy, but as I’m sure you’ve found out, sometimes you just can’t stand the sight of things, which makes it hard to eat healthy. My entire first trimester, I couldn’t even look at spinach without gagging – or really a salad for that matter. I wanted carbs – so I tried to get my veggies through sandwiches and such. It’s a lot harder since you body is wanting to add a lot more fat and protein to help fuel you and the baby. But, yes, I think it is definitely possible to eat healthy while pregnant, maybe just a bit harder.

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Hilary Reply:

I have also been craving many lovely grilled burgers (of meat). What has helped me tremendously is to GET ENOUGH IRON!!!! I can’t stress it enough. It’s helped me with my cravings big time. I loathe my stupid prenatals with a passion b/c my gag reflex is on overdrive but the iron is so worth it.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Agreed! I’ve been eating lots of lentils for iron, and it’s helped me stay feeling good!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Exactly – it was the pickles and ketchup that I really wanted. The burger was secondary! I agree that sometimes it’s hard to make the best choice when you feel like crap, and I STILL can’t look at salad (or tomatoes!). But I’m doing the same as you – trying my best with smoothies, whole grains, and whatever I CAN keep down!

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Stacey     at 4:24 pm

You make a great point. The body is not going to crave things that it is not used to having! We also make our own “fries” at home, and if you ask me, they are much better than any fast food joint ;)

And you are SO right- being vegetarian (or vegan!) is about so much more than just eating a certain way. My ex-boss was a vegetarian and influenced my decision to go meatless. Her daughter, at the age of 9, also wanted to go vegetarian because of her love for animals. I think it’s great that she let her come to that conclusion on her own :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I love that!

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Em@alifetoBraggabout Reply:

I don’t agree with this. I NEVER ate fast food before becoming pregnant – I despised fast food and everything it stood for and avoided it like the plague. Yet somehow since becoming pregnant it is really one of the few things I can manage to keep down.

A friend of mine who is 3 weeks further than me went through the same thing and she happened to be a health nut as well. I get that I’m being anecdotal here but I think it’s assuming too much to make such a blanket generalization such as above.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just feeling super guilty after reading this post considering the meal I just ate. But I’m trying though!

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Stacey Reply:

You shouldn’t feel guilty about your choices! Everyone is different :) I’ve never been pregnant, but I am sure it does crazy (beautiful) things to the human body. I can’t really speak personally on pregnancy cravings..but as far as human cravings, I do agree with Emily about the body not craving what it isn’t used to.
For instance- I haven’t eaten a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s since my third year in college, and when I get cravings now, it’s usually not for a cheeseburger but something I eat often and love :D

My best friend is pregnant and she used to loathe tomatoes and now it’s all she wants to eat!

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RhodeyGirl Reply:

I actually completely disagree. I am pregnant and craving (and eating!) foods my body is not used to eating at all! For example, just today I drank a huge glass of skim milk when I haven’t been able to even look at a glass of milk in over 10 years. Same thing with cheeseburgers. I hadn’t had a real cheeseburger since college, yet I’ve had 2 already in the last 4 months. My body isn’t used to those foods, yet it is really craving them.. and I am satisfying those cravings without guilt :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

But skim milk is good for you! My diet has definitely changed, and I’m eating things I normally dont like bagels, lots of potatoes, etc. I’m just trying to pick the healthier versions of those things so that I still feel like I’m getting some nutrition. I am also on a big milk kick right now. :)

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Rachel @ Fit Fun and Fabulous     at 4:25 pm

Awesome post! I also have zero plans in eat like crap when I become pregnant. Neither me nor my baby needs any of that junk. It makes me feel sluggish and tired. I’d much rather help pregnancy exhaustion by fueling my body (and my future baby) with energetic, healthy, wholesome foods.

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Lisa     at 4:25 pm

I was a vegetarian for 12 years and it wasn’t until I started running that I CRAVED meat! Like insane cravings. I tried to resist it, but it got worse. Then I tried tricking my craving by eating “fake” meat. Didn’t work. I finally gave in and I’ve been a meat eater ever since. And I love it! My body must have craved the protein and iron once I started running a lot. That’s the only thing I can guess. (Plus when I was a vegetarian I was also really anemic–even when I tried to eat iron rich food and take supplements.)

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Namaste Gurl     at 4:26 pm

So well written, Emily. I love how genuine and descriptive you are about sore subjects, such as this one. I, too, believe that pregnancy is not an excuse to not still live a healthy lifestyle. You couldn’t have said it better :)

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Freya     at 4:27 pm

I’m glad you wrote that last bit of this post – when I read the title of the post before actually reading, I thought you were going to say you ate a load of meat or something. I’m probably primed cos I just read an article about Natalie Portman throwing vegaism out of the window cos she’s pregnant, so I’m really relieved that you’re sticking by your ethics!
I couldn’t agree more with what you said – it’s all fine to have cravings..but surely eating healthily when you’re pregnant is THE most important time to do so!? Good on you :)
(plus , your meal looks 10 x better than any greasy take out would!)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I read that today too!

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Krystina (Organically Me)     at 4:28 pm

Beautifully said. Your meal looks delicious AND healthy. :)

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Sana     at 4:30 pm

You are going to make a beautiful veggie baby!!!

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Lisa     at 4:31 pm

Beautifully put!! I wish you the best of luck thru your pregnancy! You will feel much better knowing your baby is getting the nourishment it needs from your healthy, conscientious food choices. Enjoy your many healthy cravings!!

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Laine     at 4:37 pm

Your cravings are your body’s (and baby’s) way of telling you what it needs. The same as your aversions were telling you what it didn’t need!

It’s good that you recognize this with regard to eating “it is not okay to use pregnancy as an excuse to throw nutrition out the window. In fact, this is the time to make sure you are eating your best! After all, you are truly eating for two” And while simple carbs and citrus aren’t exactly nutritionally sound, they were what got you through and what your body wanted. Just remember to cut yourself the same slack if you start having cravings and worry that they may be outside the norm of your nutrition plan.

(Although, please stay away from McDonalds! No baby in the world wants that stuff! Their mom just hasn’t figured out how to make awesome veggie burgers and homefries!)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I still have guilt about how restricted (not by choice) my diet has been thus far, but I’ve tried to pick good things like whole grains, fruit, etc. instead of just saltines all the time. No McDonald’s for Baby Malone – no worries! :)

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Louise     at 4:40 pm

I found out yesterday that I am pregnant. I had zero food issues until I took the test. Now, I am super queasy. I am also craving carbs, especially potatoes.

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Emily Malone Reply:

CONGRATULATIONS!!! How exciting!! :) Potatoes are my friend.

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Louise Reply:

Thanks! I’m still in a daze about it, but happy. Today is the husband’s birthday and I can’t bring myself to cook. Under the circumstances, I hope he doesn’t mind takeout!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I am sure he will understand. Best birthday ever!! :)

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Jayna @ Healthy Living Bites     at 4:41 pm

Personally I don’t care if people are vegetarian or not while pregnant- it is their choice, as long as they are meeting their own nutritional needs, more power to you! Just a word on cravings- they generally represent some nutrient the body is missing. For instance a chocolate craving could mean you need more magnesium. A meat craving could mean you need more protein, or if it’s red meat (and bloody sounds good) it could mean you need more iron.

For anyone reading this, it might help to think about cravings in this way. So maybe if you’re craving something you can think about what NUTRIENT you are craving and find a healthier way to get that nutrient :)

And yes, your description of having something sound good then that turning into the only thing that will satisfy is right on the craving thing! With my daughter it was orange juice- with ice in it!

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Emily Malone Reply:

That’s how I look at it too! It’s about the nutrient, not necessarily the specific way of getting it – there are so many options!

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Ashley Reply:

LOVED this comment from Jayna. I’m not pregnant but totally agree! ;)

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Margaret     at 4:47 pm

Thank you for showing how to handle cravings in a healthy way and for sticking with your vegetarianism! You’re a great role model for kids and adults alike and I think all of the above was very well said. All the best!

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Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews     at 4:51 pm

Looks like a great meal! I crave foods like that all the time and I’m not pregnant : )

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Erin @ The Grass Skirt     at 4:57 pm

Thanks for sharing this! I read today that Natalie Portman was vegan but while pregnant, she is vegetarian due to her cravings.

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Chelsea     at 5:08 pm

You may change your tune a little bit in the 3rd trimester ;) I was like you until the 3rd trimester and then I had awful cravings for Taco Bell, Jack in the Crack, and KFC. I hadn’t eaten at those places for like 10 years but I HAD TO HAVE IT a few times in there and I totally caved and it was totally worth it. My baby was/is 100% healthy and I gained a totally healthy 35 pounds while pregnant. I obviously didn’t eat that way every once in awhile is A-OK!

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Chelsea Reply:

That is supposed to say “I obviously didn’t eat that way every day but every once in awhile is A-OK!”

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Emily Malone Reply:

I definitely agree that every once in a while is fine – as long as it doesn’t become a habit! :)

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Julie (A Case of the Runs)     at 5:16 pm

I have cravings often, so ohhhh I’ll be in trouble one day. I was craving those cakes with jam in the middle for the past few days, but then mysteriously, that craving went away after I had a small Odwalla drink.

I also agree that it’s surprising that people would wonder if you’d eat meat again. I don’t think you would… and there’s always a sub!

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Jules     at 5:19 pm

Funny, I was just reading an article about how Natalie Portman has changed her eating habits from vegan to vegetarian since becoming pregnant, because she has been craving eggs and dairy.

My OB told me when I was pregnant for the first time (14 years ago!), that cravings are a SIGN of what your body needs. Not necessarily what you actually need. I had been a vegetarian for 7 years through high school and college, and when DH and I moved in together for the first time, I reintroduced fish and poultry into my diet here and there. But I still never went back to the red meat. Then, all of a sudden I was pregnant and dying for a roast beef sandwich! Not the healthiest choice, but my body wanted iron and protein, and this was its way of telling me. Back then I was young and didn’t know a lot about nutrition, so my diet was lacking in these things, despite the fact that I thought my mostly vegetarian diet was healthy.
When you have these “cravings” make sure you consider the nutrients in the food you crave, and seek out those as well as the flavor. For example, a dairy craving could be a need for more calcium!

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Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing     at 5:19 pm

<3 <3 <3 this! I want to pass it on to all my pregnant friends…hmm. Definitely putting this in a post this week so no one misses a great reflection! Love it Emily :)

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Chelsea Raynes     at 5:24 pm

Great post. I can’t believe anyone would ask if you’d remain a vegetarian during pregnancy. If you find that your craving red meat it more than likely means that your in need of iron or protein. I recently read that Natalie Portman has given up her vegan ways during pregnancy, but only for things like eggs and yogurt not meat.

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Gabrielle     at 5:38 pm

I know if I dig a little further into your blog I could find the answer but I’ll ask anyway:

Is Casey a vegetarian too? For some reason I thought he wasn’t but then I noticed in a lot of your recent posts that he hasn’t been eating meat.

Simply just curious.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yep, Casey and I went meatless together a little over 2 years ago! :)

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Abby     at 5:56 pm

I love this post! :) So glad you’re sticking to your beliefs! That veggie burger and oven fries look a million times better than McDonald’s ever would!

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Heidi @ Food Doodles     at 5:57 pm

Awesome post! I wish I could pass it on to a friend of mine. She’s not quite 20 weeks and just totally giving in to whatever she wants. I remember her telling me to eat more and more and more because I was “eating for two”. No thank you! Nutritionally it’s good to think of you’re eating for two, but not calorie-wise! I do think some cravings are because of something your body needs, but there are always healthier alternatives. When I craved junk food and fast food I upped my fat intake and that seemed to help and at least I could choose a healthier source than a fast food place. The first time, I thought the craving thing wasn’t going to happen to me and then I realized I was giving into my cravings without even knowing it. I craved oranges with my son and ate them every day!

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Marci     at 6:04 pm

That burger really looks like the real thing! I thought it was stock art. I agree that your body doesn’t crave what it doesn’t know. I also wonder if my friends who say they crave grits or strange things are just giving in to temptation. Like I might say I want ice cream after dinner and not cake or cookie, but I’m not going to eat any of those. But what do I know…

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Anne     at 6:23 pm

Happy to hear that ! You’re so an example !

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alison     at 6:35 pm

I never had strong pregnancy cravings at all. I do remember really loving refried beans, but I didn’t make my husband drive to the store in the middle of the night for them. Oh, and there was the 2pm bowl of cereal every day, but nothing like in the movies!

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Jamie     at 6:38 pm

I gave in to too many cravings when I was pregnant with my son and gained almost 50 pounds. I had some emotional triggers for this eating as well but that is besides the point. You are making a much better choice to not give into the cravings in the first place. It took me almost 3 years to get back under my pre-pregnancy weight!

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Emily Malone Reply:

That’s what I’m afraid of – I think it’s a very slippery slope, and “once in a while” can easily turn into “once a week.”

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Meagan     at 6:48 pm

That looks good. I am glad you are speaking out about pregnancy over eating. All you really have to consume is an extra 300 calories a day. It’s unneccessary to “eat for two”

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Libby     at 7:02 pm

I’m so enjoying reading about your vegetarian pregnancy. I didn’t become a vegetarian until after both of mine so did in fact crave things like McDonalds (seems to crazy to me now) and chocolate ice cream. My kids were obviously bought up eating meat. One is a fussy eater so stopped eating it early on, the older one (now 12) just recently switched to vegetarian – though was obviously eating mainly vegetarian at home. She actually even tried being vegan for a few months but found it very hard when away from home – the town we live in not vegetarian friendly, let alone vegan friendly. Anyway, I think it just shows that kids to learn through example and being taught about the real cost of food.

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AnneWF     at 7:03 pm

Good for the two of you! I find it interesting that my children’s favorite food groups are what I was “craving” when pregnant with them. My daughter is a big time meat eater, that was all I wanted with her. My son is big on carbs and likes raw onions on so many things. Funny how things work with our bodies and how it affects our children. Did you read about Natalie Portman? When she became pregnant she switched from veganism to vegetarianism. Not because of the needs of her baby but because of what she feels her body wants right now. Hmmm…

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gabriella @ embracement Reply:

I read that article today and I actually know people who have done the same in their pregnancies. I guess if you’re craving dairy and everything else sounds disgusting you might need to make that change in order to eat anything at all in some of the beginning months.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I did! I am sure there are vegans that are not happy about it. I personally have eaten a LOT of eggs and dairy so far, so I can see where she is coming from.

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gabriella @ embracement     at 7:06 pm

I’m really glad you wrote this post. I sometimes find it really unappealing when people use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever, whenever they want. The fact is that food is nourishing your growing child and if you’re feeding them crap…they’re most likely not getting what they need. That being said, though, I now a lot of vegans who switched back to being vegetarian when pregnant because they felt they needed diary products. I think diet changes are all part of the immense amount of changes your body is going through, but it is not an excuse to let healthy lifestyles go to hell. You’re the only one responsible for that growing little baby, it’s even more of a reason to take your eating more seriously.

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Em@alifetoBraggabout     at 7:36 pm

This post makes me sad. I feel like a horrible future mother because I just gorged on a huge combo meal from Popeyes chicken. I really want to eat healthy right now but sometimes the cravings just consume me and I have to give in. Just the thought of cooking grosses me out and makes me gag, and unfortunately my husband is off playing Army so I don’t have anyone to cook for me. I have to get food in me somehow :(

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh no! I was in no way trying to make anyone feel guilty at all. I am sure you are doing your best, and like I said time to time eating what you want is fine. I’m just trying to pick the healthier choices of what my body is craving, and I DEFINITELY don’t feel like cooking either! I make a lot of sandwiches, smoothies, etc. Whole wheat bagels and light cream cheese are my favorite!

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Em@alifetoBraggabout Reply:

Oh gosh I hope I didn’t make you feel bad! I’m so sorry if I did. I completely understand where you’re coming from and I wrote a similar post not too long ago about fulfilling my cravings in a healthier way. I’m just feeling horrible about what I just ate since I NEVER eat this way. And some of the comments don’t help with the whole “when I’m pregnant I will never eat crap”. Good luck with that – I really wish them the best, I do. I know I tried my hardest to resist. It’s just a lot easier said than done, right?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Trust me, I have a lot of guilt as well, even has hard as I am trying to make good choices. It is REALLY tough when you can’t keep anything down. Now that I’m feeling a bit better, I’m trying to make up for the last few weeks of crackers and ginger cookies!

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Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out     at 7:45 pm

You’re absolutely correct, Emily.

I was an unhealthy eater before pregnancy and then tried to get healthy during those 9 months. Pregnancy hormones and junk food withdrawals? Haha.

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Annie@stronghealthyfit     at 7:46 pm

Amazing post! So well-written :-)

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine     at 8:03 pm

Loved this post! It’s interesting to hear your perspective on pregnancy cravings, since we eat pretty similarly. To be honest, I’m nervous to get pregnant because of the queasiness and cravings- I’m horrible at dealing with nausea! I think your way of fulfilling cravings is great, though. There’s probably nothing harmful about eating fast food every once in awhile while pregnant, but if you can come up with a wholesome alternative that still gives into those food desires, then why not?

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Lauren     at 8:07 pm

I don’t usually comment, but I had to tell you that I thought this was a really articulate and well-written post. All the best with the remainder of the pregnancy!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Lauren! :)

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Lisa     at 8:08 pm

Chocolate milk and orange juice were the two things I craved, both of which I never consumed in large quantities prior to pregnancy. It doesn’t end with pregnancy though – breastfeeding cravings were pretty intense too!

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jen     at 8:47 pm

before i got pregnant i was not vegetarian. not even close. even now i guess i would be a flexitarian as i occasionally eat meat. during my pregnancy i couldn’t stand meat. the smell, the taste, anything about it. however, the day before i went into labour, 6 weeks early, i had a huge craving for steak. i almost missed my baby shower cause i didn’t care and i needed the steak now and dragged my sis and mom to a steakhouse while people arrived for my shower. seriously! the next day i went into labour though and my odd behaviour seemed to make a bit more sense. maybe my body was saying i was short on something like iron which i needed for the delivery? who knows but my 6 week premature came out healthy and strong and didn’t even go to the nicu and i had the strength to get through the delivery myself.

another odd thing is i am allergic to peanuts. however, my peanut allergy went away while i was pregnant. this is actually pretty common i found out from my doc (they told me 1/3 of peoples allergies change/1/3 stay the same/1/3 get worse). i had peanut butter pretty much all through my pregnancy. maybe a craving from the lack of protein in my diet? however, the second i stopped breast feeding it came back and is worse. i miss peanut butter chocolate ice cream. sigh.

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Emily Malone Reply:

WEIRD about the peanut allergy! I’ve never heard that before. And hilarious about the steak. You went into labor right after your baby shower? Hope you got everything you needed – so crazy! Glad you have a happy healthy baby. :)

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Dee     at 9:12 pm

you are such an inspiration!

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Gina     at 9:24 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for the past two weeks or so, and I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE it, and you are the cutest pregnant woman ever!

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Emily Malone Reply:

So glad you are enjoying the blog – thank you! :)

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Stephanie     at 9:26 pm

I LOVE love LOVE this post. I’ve always said this. I’ve never been pregnant but I’ve watched pregnant women eat like crazy and fill their bodies with unhealthy foods. If my baby needs 500 extra calories a day am I going to make those calories donuts? HECK NO.

I’m bookmarking this for the future when we decide to have children. :)

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Heather     at 9:45 pm

Very nicely said!

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bitt     at 10:03 pm

I agree that a craving does not mean it’s a medical necessity. A lot of people take intuitive eating a little too far. So happy you are staying vegetarian. Having a baby with both parents on the same diet will help; I notice when parents differ it can get tricky for the child.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I agree – I don’t know how people do it when couples eat so differently! Casey and I are really adamant about being on the same page for ALL things regarding to parenting. None of this “go ask your dad” type of stuff. We are a team.

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Carin     at 10:04 pm

Hi Emily! I’m vegetarian too and remained so throughout both of my pregnancies – despite sooooooo many adverse comments about it, relentless questions about “staying” vegetarian whilst pregnant and stories of people who “were” vegetarian until they fell pregnant etc. etc. I was never tempted to eat meat but my cravings definitely leant towards carbs, especially in the first trimester! After that, I really enjoyed fruit and veg. I made sure that I ate eggs and tofu as I was aware of protein requirements.

I’m bringing the kids up vegetarian (they are now 2 and 4) and always say to them “You can eat meat if you want to, but you know what meat is, don’t you?” My daughter says “It’s dead animals!” and obviously that’s accurate and can’t be argued with! I thought that it was important to be honest and bring them up vegetarian, rather than give them meat initially, then explain and ask them to make a decision. At least this way, they know that they can survive well as vegetarians and – as a bonus – see vegetables as ‘normal food’ and are not picky or fussy eaters!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think that’s a great attitude towards raising veggie kids! When I read Eating Animals, the chapter about explaining to his son about the difference between food and the family pet was REALLY influential to me. I always think of it that way now. Our kids will be raised to love our pups, who are absolutely part of the family. To me they are no different (or more intelligent) than pigs or other creatures. But we will obviously let them make their own choices when that time comes too. I am glad to hear they aren’t fussy eaters – I am SO hoping to have vegetable-loving children!!

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Ashley Reply:

Such an interesting part of the book and really eye opening. And yes, I am reading all of your comments.

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Sara @ Baking and Wine     at 10:42 pm

I didn’t read every comment so I’m not sure if someone mentioned this or not but often times true cravings are actually a medical necessity. You crave certain foods while pregnant because your body needs the extra nutrients from those foods. Even though the craving is for a certain nutrient though, people often use it as an excuse to eat an entire unhealthy meal, when you’ve shown there are many ways to get the nutrient you’re craving, besides eating a fast food burger. A home made burger would do the trick and be much better for you. Or, whatever hypothetical thing it is that you’re craving.

That being said, and I’m speaking from current pregnant lady experience haha, not everything that we want while pregnant is an actual craving. We just decide it sounds absolutely delicious and use pregnancy as an excuse to eat it, which is okay on some occasions. But, as your discussion up there showed, saying “eating for two” is a huge faux pas. And one that I really can’t stand because, as smart as many of your readers are, there are a lot of other people in the world who see that and think they can literally eat double portions of everything. As you said, 300 extra calories is all you really need and that should really only be one extra snack per day.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about pregnancy that people don’t bother to research and I think it leads to a lot of women having very unhealthy pregnancies. That unhealthiness doesn’t just fade away as soon as we have the baby either, so it’s definitely important to try to stay as healthy as possible during the pregnancy, just like you would before and after, because all three of these states of being effects the others.

Sorry for the novel, haha! I probably need to just write my own blog post about this. :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I definitely agree with you – it’s about the nutrients, not the food itself. And I think “eating for two” is a veeeery slippery slope. I’m still only 13 weeks, and I am sure this will change, but so far I haven’t even really had an additional hunger yet. If anything, it’s the opposite!

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Jill     at 11:38 pm

Emily,
I love your blog!
I am about 2 weeks behind you (11 weeks) with my 2nd pregnancy…(I have a boy who is 2 1/2 already), and I love reading about your experience! With my first I craved very similar things to you…lots of carbs (mostly I wanted cereal) and citrusy/juicy things. So far, with this one, I haven’t had too many specific cravings…yet!
p.s.I saw that ‘Mama Pea’ from PeasandThankYou posted the new recipe sorter page thing that you and your husband created…Recipage…and I just wanted to tell you I think it is awesome! Well done!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Congrats to YOU! How exciting!! And thanks for the Recipage compliments – we are glad people are enjoying it! :)

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Allie     at 11:56 pm

Yum! I think your dinner looks better than anything you could ever get at a fast food restaurant and of course I agree with it being better all around. Funny to think that people would even ask you about your vegetarianism, it seems rude to ask something like that.

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Amy @ThenThereWere     at 7:28 am

I slightly disagree, I agree with the premise and the idea of getting ‘healthy’ versions of what you are craving and totally don’t have an opinion either way about the ‘vegetarian or not vegetarian’ thing.

However, the craving you describe to me was more a ‘I smelt x and it made me want x’ – just like walking into a store and smelling fresh bread so suddenly wanting bread with real butter and strawberry jam {yummy}. Except obviously your sense of smell is crazy at the moment.

To me a pregnancy craving is when you want something all the time. Nothing else will do. And I do think that these cravings can be linked to nutrients your body needs. So when I was first pregnant I was thirsty all the time, normally I’m probably a bit dehydrated. At the time I was vegetarian and didn’t know I was pregnant but had been thinking about ham and steak all the time, there was no reason for it, but I thought about it at least once an hour and was envious of other people having them. Turns out I was majorly low on iron and about 5 weeks pregnant.

So I would think more about the nutrients giving into that craving would give you and look for how you can get them from foods that you are comfortable eating.

Amy x

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Emily Malone Reply:

See I don’t think I’ve had any of those “I MUST HAVE THIS” types of feelings yet. Maybe they will come later? Who knows. So far they have definitely been more of a “you know what sounds really good…?” I am with you on the dehydrated thing though. Once I feel dehydrated I need water NOW!

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Amy @ThenThereWere Reply:

Totally makes sense, I think the only reason I had them so early was because I was iron deficient. Swings and roundabouts. But I think our bodies are so clever that there is probably a reason for ‘real’ cravings.

Amy x

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Lee     at 8:00 am

I love this post! I am not vegetarian but I eat mostly meat-free meals and people are constantly asking me if, when I have kids, I’m going to feed them meat. I realize this isn’t what your post is about, but I assume people ask you that too. Do you find that tough to deal with?

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Emily Malone Reply:

I have strong feelings about what I believe, but I still haven’t found the best way to word it where I feel people would understand my position. So YES, I find it difficult to answer. But I don’t find the decision difficult at all!

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Gena     at 8:25 am

I think it’s insulting, too — to me, someone asking me that is like someone asking me if I’d start to steal or cheat while pregnant. Um, no — pregnancy won’t alter my ethics! Good for you for staying true to your values.

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Elizabeth@The Sweet Life     at 8:59 am

It’s really fun to get a glimpse of your life this way! Thanks for sharing so thoughtfully, as always.

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey     at 9:16 am

Incredible post! I am totally with you that you don’t normally eat “junk” food, so your body realy won’t crave it!

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Kaci     at 9:40 am

Well said!! =)

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Brooke @ Veggie Table     at 9:48 am

I love this post and totally craving a veggie burger and tater fries right now! Also, CONGRATS on getting the house in Seattle – so exciting!

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kristina (downhomevegetarian)     at 9:57 am

Wonderfully said! I so appreciate your thoughts on vegetarianism and pregnancy. Even though I’m not pregnant, I a lot of family and friends ask if I’ll continue when I do decide to get pregnant. Sometimes there is nothing better than a delicious veggie burger! I had Morning Star Spicy Black Bean burgers last night.

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M     at 10:22 am

Hey Emily,
Read this in the paper the other day and thought you might find it fascinating :)
It’s about a vergetarian mum and her kids
deciding one day they wanted to eat meat….
hope you check it out!Wonder your thoughts?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/young-children/children-health/how-one-vegetarian-mom-learned-to-let-her-kids-eat-meat/article1975025/

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Katy @ MonsterProof     at 10:24 am

I thought you said this well, but some of the comments are a little offensive! I was a vegetarian that when I became pregnant, really only wanted meat, and it was pretty much all that stayed down the first trimester. So, yes, I was eating it. It has decreased now that I am in my 3rd trimester, and I find it much easier to find other options, thank goodness. But, for all the people that are saying that I “threw healthy eating out the window” or have used it as an excuse to “eat garbage” are sorely mistaken. I have had trouble with anemia in the past, and truly believe that my body was probably trying to up my iron intake. Merely because I started consuming meat does NOT mean that I started eating junk food 24 hours a day. Have I eaten some crap? Certainly, but I would say my diet is still very balanced and that my son is being provided the nutrients he needs in a responsible manner.

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Kim @ girlevolving     at 10:50 am

I’m 21 weeks pregnant and haven’t had a “craving” yet – at least not in the dramatic way they’re often portrayed. Things just sound really really good and I think about them a lot. :) And, like you, I’m adoring carbs all the time. I think sometimes cravings get used as an excuse to binge out unnecessarily.

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Amber K     at 11:01 am

That is so awesome that you are sticking to your ethics. I don’t know how I will be when I get pregnant, but I think I’ll do what I think is best for myself and for the baby at the time.

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Ali     at 11:01 am

I’m vegetarian and pregnant too (a few weeks behind you). I liked this post and look forward to more! I’m somewhat concerned about getting enough protein. Around 2 in the afternoon I get so hungry! What do you think about protein bars? I don’t like how much sugar they have. I was snacking on nuts, but right now I can’t stand the thought of them!

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Shannon @ My Place In The Race     at 11:13 am

Great post! That burger and fries looks crazy tasty :)

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Ashley     at 11:37 am

Gosh I loved this post!!! I have a lot of the same feelings, especially about kids making their own choices when they are of age. Chris and I were actually JUST talking about that a few days ago. I love that you’re sharing so much of your experience and your opinion + feelings. Definitely makes it extremely interesting to read when you put it all out there. Love you friend!

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Desi (The Palate Peacemaker)     at 11:43 am

Emily! Loved this post. :) Random question… How did Casey bake those potatoes exactly? They look incredible and I really want them now…. When I roast potatoes, they never come out looking to crispy and browned! Yum! Thank you!

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C     at 11:55 am

Vegetarianism is not the only way to show your concern for your “health, ethics, and the environment.” I think its a bit convoluted to say this when a lot of the food you prepare, although vegetarian, comes from a package (your vegetables included) and processed (cereal grains, flours, etc). I can play the vegan marathoner card (ran 4 marys as a vegan, 2 as a vegetarian) and I’ll attest to the benefits I thought I reaped. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with vegetarianism, but there is a growing movement of people who value animal well-being: pasturing them on on natural, non-grain diets, for one. I don’t know, this is a vegetarian blog… but you lost the weight because you adapted healthier habits, not just because you became vegetarian.

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Bobby @ boymeetscake     at 12:33 pm

While perusing yahoo! this morning, I read that Natalie Portman (one of the more prominent vegan-ites) gave up veganism during her pregnancy due to the intense cravings.

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Tameika     at 3:12 pm

Good for you Emily! I am so enjoying following your pregnancy. Such great insightful and informative posts. I mean they always are! But these speak to me more. I guess because my husband and I are beginning to think about starting a family ourselves. And I’m thinking of how to make it a healthy pregnancy when the time comes. Thanks again!

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marie     at 4:41 pm

Good for you! I had a hard time my first pregnancy keeping away from fast food by the time I had the second I was able to cook more of these kind of foods at home and was happy to know that I was feeding my baby healthier foods. Thanks for sharing all your pregnancy ups and downs its fun and informative to read!

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Erin     at 7:17 pm

I think soon you’ll see (if you haven’t already) that anytime you post something about what is right for you that people will be offended because what is right for them is different. Something about the “cult of motherhood” and feeling judged for any and all decisions you are making… From my experience I ate very differently when I was pregnant with my kids and I gained exactly the same amount of weight (despite extreme, requiring medication morning sickness with the second). Everyone does what works for them! So glad you’re figuring that out!

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Emily Malone Reply:

So true! Pregnancy is such an individual experience, and I hope to be able to just show my journey through it all. If I have learned anything so far from pregnancy, it’s that you truly can NOT judge anyone else’s choices or decisions – we all feel and experience things so differently! I have heard this only gets worse when you have a newborn… We’ll see! :)

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Monica     at 10:07 pm

Wow, this is such a great post. So many things I needed to be reminded of. ;)

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Gabrielle     at 5:57 pm

Kudos to you for sticking to your convictions!

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Haley     at 9:46 pm

It’s great that your continuing to stress & encourage maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. It’s difficult at times in my job at the OB/GYN to watch patients throw all sensible eating & exercise habits out the window. In the same breath, a patient will moan & groan about the exponentially increasing number on the scale and then turn around and tell me that they’ve downed almost an entire cake the night before! It is possible to suppress pregnancy cravings and the more women do suppress them, they happier they’ll be after that baby comes!

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What I'm Eating at 21 Weeks Pregnant | Being Pregnant     at 3:37 pm

[...] a pregnant vegetarian, one common concern is typically protein intake, but I don’t seem to be having any trouble [...]

Eat Veggies Now...Your Kids Might Prefer Them Later | Being Pregnant     at 7:52 pm

[...] As a vegetarian, I already eat plenty of vegetables, greens, and grains.  But after reading this article I feel even more compelled to make sure I’m eating a good variety of foods and flavors.  Who knows, maybe if I eat enough beets and quinoa I’ll end up with a few more foodies under my roof! [...]

Choosing a Pediatrician - What Should I Look For? | Being Pregnant     at 12:58 pm

[...] sure we find doctors who are supportive of our vegetarian lifestyle.  Since we are choosing to raise our children as vegetarians as well, we need to make sure that our pediatrician will be supportive of our decision.  Hopefully since [...]

Lauri (Redheadrecipes.com)     at 11:40 am

Too funny–> I’m about 9 weeks pregnant and I was totally craving McDonalds the other day (which would normally gross me out and I haven’t eaten there in YEARS), but instead of giving in and buying a big mac+fries, we made organic grassfed burgers and homemade baked fries at home. Totally ‘fixed’ the craving and I didn’t feel gross for eating it!

I’m sure I will give in to cravings every now and then over the next 7 months, but not every day or every single ‘bad’ craving that comes along. Everything within reason/moderation.

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