For many years, this mom of five was a raw vegan. When she was pregnant? Bring on the steak, eggplant parm and luncheonette home fries. Oh, and her favorite? Homemade whipped cream. Read how our resident Super-mom and yoga goddess, Taylor Wells, ate while she was preggers. (Weighing backwards was required.)
Raw Vegan Pregnancy
Taylor Wells, M.A., M.Ed., RYT
People often ask me if it’s possible and healthy to be raw vegan during pregnancy. And many people have asked me to write about it.
I have five children, ages 14, 8, 5, 2 and 2 (twin boys). With my first two pregnancies I was far from raw or vegan. I’d been vegetarian since I was 14 and when I got pregnant with Madison (now age 14). I knew that I was pregnant because I woke up in the middle of the night many times craving . . . meat and dairy. I ate it, and loved it.
I ate a lot of cheeseburgers and milkshakes during that pregnancy. I also had chronic nausea, intense food aversions, an aversion to smells, and threw up 20x/day for 26 weeks.
I did not lose weight, however, thank the Universe. I gained a healthy amount of weight (32 pounds total). (I actually never weighed myself during my pregnancy because I don’t believe in scales, but my midwives insisted. So I’d go on the scale backwards and they’d record it. Then after I’d had Madison I asked them out of curiosity what my total weight gain was.)
With Sagey (now 8), I had been previously vegetarian (I went back to being vegetarian after I stopped nursing Madison), but again found myself waking up starving for . . . meat and dairy, when newly pregnant.
For that entire pregnancy, I basically ate steak and homemade whipped cream three times a day.
I’ve heard that when you’re pregnant you crave what you ate as a child, and I did grow up in “meat and dairy country” (the Midwest). We ate steak all the time and my favorite dessert was a big bowl of whipped cream.
I believe in listening to your body, no matter what. In my humble opinion, labels are ridiculous and really about ego. The only reason I ever used the words “raw vegan” to describe my children, my husband, or myself when we ate that way for seven years (we gave up the label in July 2011) is because those two words say a lot. And if you know me, brevity of words is not my strength.
With my pregnancy with Sagey, I was nauseous 24/7, had strong food aversions, aversions to smells, and threw up 20x/day, like with Madison, but it subsided a bit earlier (at about 20 weeks instead of 26 weeks). I also gained a healthy amount of weight with this pregnancy””33 pounds.
With my pregnancy with Phoenix (now 5), I had been raw vegan for a few years, and I did not crave meat or dairy. I was 100% raw vegan the whole time because that’s just what I ended up wanting to eat. Not because it was a “goal” or a “decision” or an “intention.” I simply ate whatever I wanted and that turned out to be raw vegan.
I did not, however, eat any greens or drink any green juice. None. It disgusted me. I craved cooked food a handful of times. I can remember distinctly what I craved, which is funny to me. A turkey sandwich on white bread with mayo! (Non fish) sushi! A baked potato with rice butter! An egg white omelet! I vomited immediately after consuming these cooked foods, but that didn’t stop me, my Sisters.
With this pregnancy I had chronic nausea, strong food aversions and aversions to smells, and threw up 20x/day for about 13 weeks. I gained a healthy amount of weight, albeit less than with my girls and my “cooked” pregnancies (26 pounds).
With the twins (now 2 years old), I had been 100% raw vegan the longest at the time of conception and I only craved cooked food twice, when I chowed it down and loved every bite.
Once it was eggplant parm without the cheese (so it was essentially eggplant and tomato sauce) and once it was home fries from a local luncheonette. I passed out immediately after eating these cravings and slept through the night, waking with a pounding headache that lasted for about two weeks. It felt like I’d drunk tequila!
I was 100% raw vegan the entire time I was pregnant with my twin boys simply because that’s what I wanted to eat. Remember, this Super-mom don’t and never has believed in labels (even when I ate all raw vegan foods for years).
I could eat greens and drink green juice, albeit not as much as I usually do, had definite (raw vegan) cravings and phases of eating only certain foods, but it was all raw vegan stuff. Mangoes were a big one! I craved those the entire time and ate a lot of them.
I also remember craving a lot of “Taylor’s Fluffernutters,” a smoothie made with young coconut meat, young coconut water, and a pinch of Himalayan crystal salt. I drank about three of these a day, sometimes with cacao and sometimes not. I ate a lot of young coconut with Phoenix as well. We taught a yoga retreat at Menla in New York while I was four months pregnant with Phoenix and had cases shipped in. When we weren’t teaching, Philippe was opening young coconuts and making me smoothies.
I don’t know how much I gained with the twins because I never asked my midwives. I was so busy nursing them both five to seven times a day that I never had the time to ask her!
In my humble opinion (take what you want and leave the rest, as always), it’s all about the best ever and no restriction, whether pregnant or not.
While I was pregnant with Phoenix and the twins, people would ask me, “What if you crave some cooked food while you’re pregnant?”
I’d answer, “I’ll eat it, just like I would if I craved it while not pregnant.”
As David Wolfe explained to me many years ago when I was first on the raw vegan path, eventually, the cooked stuff doesn’t even look good. In fact, it doesn’t even look like food. And that did happen for me, with time.
Some interesting facts . . . with the twins, I never threw up. I went full term. They were born at 5 pounds and 5 pounds 4 ounces. They came home from the hospital with me (a day early). They thrived on (raw) breast milk until they started eating solid foods in addition to breast milk at about seven months old. I practiced yoga the day after I delivered via C-section. I practiced yoga and swam a mile daily till the day I delivered. And I was 44 years old when they were born.
So it all matters”“”“your intuition, what your body asks for, the food, the yoga, your thoughts”“”“and most of all, not comparing yourself to anyone else, or even to yourself way back when. Because you’re different now, Sisters, and are different every single day.
And that’s something to celebrate. Every day is your birthday, or, in fact, every moment, you are reborn.
Have the best day ever!
Taylor plus 5
Taylor Wells, M.A., M.Ed., RYT, owns Prana Power Yoga, Inc., Super-mom.com and Prana Super-mom Consulting. She is also a Boston Herald columnist and blogger, United Nations Yoga Peace Ambassador, activist,and happy Super-mom of 5 kids. She is the author of the “Best Life Ever” blog at Vitacost.com.