Long Distance Running, Plant-Based Eating, and Pregnancy

15 weeks

Two of the big things I get a lot of, “Shouldn’t you cut back on running?” and “Are you sure its okay to be a vegan while pregnant?” Here is my humble attempt to respond to both:

1)Running and pregnancy.

There are about a million and 1 opinions on this.  Some of the older literature says you shouldn’t run at all.  But then again, women were not allowed to run the marathon prior to the 1960’s  because it was believed their uterus would fall out. Um, pretty ridiculous, right?  This totally does not take what we know about our long distance running ancestors into account–men, women (pregnant, breast feeding included), old, and young persistent hunted in packs.  It was vital that the women kept up on these long distance treks, literally running down their food.  They needed the calories from the kill.  And well, as you all know, the world is populated, which means they must have pushed some healthy babies out their vaginas.  Just saying.

Other literature/people on the internet say you shouldn’t run more than a couple of miles at a time and only if you are a well conditioned athlete.  What defines a well conditioned athlete?  There’s a heck of a difference between someone like me who runs recreationally and a professional runner.  Am I well conditioned?

The more reasonable and newer literature suggests that you should try to continue at the level you were at before you became pregnant.  Every doctor/midwife/nurse I have spoken with has encouraged me to continue my running  as long as I am comfortable.  So, that I will do.  I’m not training for anything major so I’m down to about 30-35 miles a week supplemented with yoga and a new fun workout class I’m taking (that’s making me seriously sore at the moment).  I’m planning to run a 15 K (9 mile) trail race in October and hopefully a half marathon in November and then not race anymore til after baby.

If you didn’t run before you were pregnant, you probably should think about other forms of exercise during your pregnancy and work with your doctor to come up with a pregnancy fitness plan.  And fitness is super important during pregnancy! You’ll be healthier, more energized, your baby is more likely to have a healthy birth weight, and your delivery is likely to be easier.  I am hoping that I am just run/waddle my way to the hospital come the big day!

2) Veganism and Pregnancy

Yesterday I had my iron levels checked and I passed with golden stars all over the show.  The nurse said, “you must be a very healthy eater.” I told her I am a vegan. She entered into her system and it then required her to make me an appointment with a nutritionist.  She looked at all my other labs–rock star numbers.  We both laughed at the absurdity of it.  Here I am,  wonderful blood pressure, glorious blood work, healthy weight, and I have to have a mandatory appointment with someone to tell me what I should be eating.  Ha. Ridiculous.

My blood work and overall great health are testament enough–our bodies (including pregnant ones) can and will thrive when fed a well planned, intentional plant based diet.  Our bodies do not need animal products. Simple as that.

I think the most important thing during pregnancy is to listen to your body and stay as relaxed as possible  Good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and laughter, and love are what keep me sane, healthy, and happy–and goodness knows they can’t be bad for baby either!

Any other vegetarians/vegans out there that continued to eat this way through pregnancy?  Athletes/runners?


How Pregnancy has changed me (thus far)

Whose belly is that??????

My body was telling me I was pregnant moments after conception–well, maybe not moments but within days I was feeling a little morning nausea on my runs.  That I might be pregnant crossed my mind but I tried to not obsess over it and dismiss the nausea as a little bug…

When my menstruation date came and went I took a pregnancy test that read negative.  I waited a few more days and Auntie Flow still had no arrived so I took another test.  It was positive–as were the next 3.  Over the next few weeks I felt my body changing from the inside out.  Of course there was the nausea and the extreme exhaustion…and then my bra started to feel a little snug, the thought of eating spinach salad (a staple in our house) made me gag, then my pants started feeling uncomfortable, and I was craving childhood foods like my mom’s Mexican Pie and Nachos (neither or which are vegan).
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