How to get protein when you have meat aversions

How do you get enough protein when you don’t eat meat?

This is a question our vegetarian and vegan friends get asked all the damn time, and I don’t know a single plant-based person who isn’t sick to death of explaining quinoa and lentils to curious carnivores deprived of access to common sense or Google.

When you’re pregnant and not eating meat—whether by choice or because of extreme aversions to flesh in all forms— it’s the same story, only with a few fun twists.

First, everyone and their unqualified coworker cares about what you put in your mouth, like all of a sudden when you became a vessel for new life you became public property to be fondled and judged indiscriminately for all of your choices.

Second, there are professionals asking you how you’re doing, diet-wise, on a near weekly basis, and in my experience most of them have extremely high standards for the amount of protein they want you consuming. I’ve heard quotas between 80-100 grams of protein per day while pregnant. As a point of reference, that’s:

  • 13-16 eggs (6g per egg)
  • 6-8 cups of black beans (12g per cup)
  • 10-12 cups of quinoa (8g per cup)
  • 4-5 scoops of protein powder (20g per scoop)

In other words, A LOT OF FOOD.

Third, if you have meat aversions or are experiencing pregnancy nausea, you probably also hate quinoa and eggs and black beans and other typical, healthy, non-meat sources of protein.

What’s a well-meaning, potato-chip craving pregnant woman to do? (Besides, of course, posting pictures of beautiful salads you’ll never eat to Instagram to prove what a #fitpregnancy you’re having. All’s fair when you’re cooking a human, folks).

I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to crack this code, mostly so I could get back to my potato chips without further interruptions. Here are my four ninja ways to get protein into the kinds of foods you’re likely willing to eat, especially during nausea-time.

Sorry, plant-based friends, these involve sneaky animal products; you’re on your own for getting up to that 80-100g threshold.

This seems like a good time to insert my eternal disclaimer: I am not qualified to tell you how to be healthy, during pregnancy or not during pregnancy. Ask someone who is. 

Add collagen to your beverages

Whatever it is you’re drinking, add collagen. I find it works really well in lemonade and limeade (two drinks I could reliably stomach during first trimester). There’s no flavor change, and you turn your empty-calorie drink into 11 grams of protein.

how to get more protein when you have pregnancy meat aversions

Now that I’m able to drink coffee again, I have been adding collagen into my coffee, and that is similarly tasteless and effortless and also makes my hair ah-mazing.

how to get protein when you have pregnancy meat aversions

If you’re getting most of your hydration from non-water sources (I certainly was during first trimester, when water was right up there with raw chicken) you could easily hit your 80-100g goal on just boosted beverages alone.

Progress toward your goal: 10% for each drink.

Cook your rice in bone broth

There was a period of time when steamed white rice and soy sauce was all I could muster, and it drove my husband crazy that our baby’s earliest development was fueled by nutritionally vacant calories and sodium.

I called it survival.

We compromised: he made me rice in bone broth, and as long as I didn’t witness it, I could douse that rice in enough soy sauce that I never knew the difference. Based on my casual googling, I *think* a cup of rice cooked in bone broth has ~9g of protein. That’s about twice what you’ll get from rice cooked in water.

Progress toward your goal: 9%

Whip some collagen into your cream cheese or potato soup or other white semi-solid food

My first pregnancy, bagels and cream cheese were my jam. During the first few weeks of my second pregnancy, I only ate potato soup. Specifically, this potato soup:

how to get protein during pregnancy meat aversions

Needless to say both foods are on my no-fly list now, but they are both excellent vehicles for a dose of collagen. Just stir or mix a scoop, or a handy travel pack, into whatever soup or spread you’re able to stomach, and boost the protein by 11g.

It also works great in yogurt, if you’re into that.

Progress toward your goal: 10% for each boosted white food

Make homemade gummies, or get someone to make you some

Photo: Fitful Focus

Sour or gummy candy was surprisingly helpful for me with managing nausea, especially on the go; even just a quick sugar boost or something to suck on would get me through some rough moments. There are tons of easy, DIY home-made gummy candy recipes out there on the internet; this one from Nicole looks especially delicious. And because they include gelatin, they have protein in them!

Progress toward your goal: 5% for ~15 gummies (not much, but hey, candy)

 

And there you have it. If you strategically combine these tactics over the course of the day, you can get away with eating whatever you can keep down, and also supplying your baby with the amount of protein your caregivers recommend. Plus, of course, all of the other health benefits of collagen, gelatin, and bone broth: healthier and stronger skin and nails, healthier and more flexible joints, and improved athletic performance. Those are all major side benefits to the very basic goal of getting enough protein, especially during a time in your life when your rapidly changing body seems to serve up fresh surprises and betrayals with every new day.

I will say, too, that my sudden reliance on collagen for protein has my skin and hair looking radiant. Especially for winter.

If you’re ready to hop on the collagen wagon, you can save 20% at Great Lakes Gelatin with the code GLGLife20, valid until 3/15/18.

This post is sponsored by Great Lakes Gelatin in partnership with Fit Approach and the #SweatPink community. All opinions are my own. I so appreciate your support of the brands who partner with my first baby, Fit Approach. Thank you. <3 

Skip the hassle, eat more sushi

I try to lead a pretty healthy lifestyle: to eat well, exercise, all the good stuff. But one area where I typically fall short is in seeing the doctor. I try to avoid it as much as possible, entirely because of all the hoops you have to jump through in order to spend 5 minutes with her: parking, waiting rooms, sitting on hold to make the appointment in the first place … I mean, what a drag.

So you can bet my on-demand, delivery-loving self was 100% on board with trying out Everlywell, which basically eliminates all the rigamarole associated with getting labs done. No scheduling a doctor’s appointment to get a lab order. No finding a lab close to you. No traveling however far and finding and paying for parking and waiting in some drab waiting room for 30 seconds of action. No waiting to hear from your doctor about your results. No traffic or parking or waiting rooms or online scheduling or clipboards full of cramped forms to fill out. YESSS.

I tried out the DHA test for breastfeeding mothers, because Mac’s brain development is (shocker) really important to me. So is eating sushi, so I could only see getting good news from this test: I was either giving Mac enough DHA for optimal brain development, or I needed to eat more sushi. (Or both, I mean, why not?)

The test shows up so perfectly packaged, with super simple, clear instructions. I took this test in my pajamas, without having to load the whole kit & caboodle & toddler into the car.

The breastmilk test requires just a few drops of milk. I had packed away my pump over two months ago, and I wasn’t about to bring it back out—I’m retired—but luckily a simple manual expression did the trick. I waited till Mac got the pipes flowing, then expressed a few drops into the smallest glass I had, which happened to be a wineglass. #partytime

What I didn’t anticipate was just how upset Mac would get by those few drops getting rerouted from her belly. She let me know just how unhappy about it she was. But after I’d used the pipette to drop my milk onto the little sample card, I gave it to her to play with and there was once again peace in the kingdom.

She also got to play with the cute little bandaid container included. Since my test required no blood, those went straight into the diaper bag for future emergencies. (Thanks, Everlywell!).

From there, you just pack up in the included envelope, slap on the included shipping label, and drop it in the mailbox. It literally couldn’t be easier.

Five days later, my results were in my inbox. I loved getting to see easy-to-understand charts instead of a cursory phone call from the doctor’s office with a bare bones “everything was normal” summary of results.

Unfortunately, everything was not normal… my DHA levels are below recommended.  🙁

I guess that means more sushi… or, since I’m currently in Hawaii, more poke.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Besides guzzling more fish, I’m taking my results to my next doctor’s appointment so I can make an action plan and make sure I am fueling Mac’s brain every way I can.

Want to be the boss of your health, from home, in pajamas? Cool. You can try this DHA test for 15% off with the code ALYSE15.

Or, if you’re not breastfeeding, Everlywell has a whole other suite of at-home tests, including food sensitivity, metabolism, sleep, fertility, and so much more. You can save 10%  on any (or all!) of those with the code FitApp10.

At-home testing is the way to go, for real. Who doesn’t love delivery??

This post was sponsored by Everlywell via the Sweat Pink community. All opinions are my own, and I so appreciate your support of the brands who support me and Sweat Pink?

Is your refrigerator running?

You know what’s super fun to come home to after a week away? A dead refrigerator.

You know what ups the fun factor even more? You have to wait 5 days for the repair person to even show up.

And then … everyone’s just a little sniffly and hoarse. My baby sounds like she’s spent her entire life on two packs a day. We could all use a little TLC and a lot of Vitamin C.

We stocked our cooler with a few essentials (milk, beer) and are otherwise making it work with takeout, non-perishables, and the (occasionally mysterious) contents of our freezer, which, praise be, is still functioning.

It turned out this was the perfect time to really commit to a new, not mysterious section of my freezer: my Daily Harvest meals. We’d received them shortly before we left town, and I tetris-ed them into the freezer and quickly got distracted by downloading every Daniel Tiger episode I could find, in the misguided hopes it would keep my tiny adventurer occupied on the flight.

The smoothies are the perfect complement (alternative?) to takeout pizza and breakfast tacos, because, hello, nutrition. I gravitated first to the Mango + Camu smoothie (immunity! That’s exactly what we need!), and whipped it up so we could all try and partake.

It’s so easy. SO, so easy. I’m a big fan of the easy part. Also, tons of ingredients that I would either buy a big thing of and then only use once and lose at the back of my pantry and have to toss years later when I rediscovered them, or that I didn’t know existed (I’m looking at you, camu).

Look how pretty – green confetti!

You either dump the smoothie back into the cup, which has an integrated straw hole (genius, I’m telling you, genius) or pour it into a wine glass because everything tastes better in a stemless.

I liked it. Mac liked it.

My husband drank most of it. That’s a big fat endorsement from someone who is still convinced that french fries are vegetables.

Another crowd pleaser was the Pumpkin Overnight Oats, and by crowd, I mean Mac: she destroyed that bowl of oatmeal.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t my thing, but I am chronically boring when it comes to oatmeal. I like it with some almond butter and nothing else. Maybe some hemp hearts if I’m feeling wild that morning. But, objectively, the pumpkin overnight oats were really good. If you are a normal human and enjoy healthy, delicious flavors in your oatmeal, you will like these.

My favorite smoothie so far is the Blueberry + Hemp one. What can I say, I’m a berry kind of gal.

 

Also, they manage to incorporate kale + spinach without it tasting yucky. That’s a good recipe right there!

Want to try Daily Harvest for yourself? They were kind enough to give me a code to share with y’all: FitApproach will get you THREE free cups!

It’s good, y’all. A great way to (easily!!) spice up your meals, even if your refrigerator needs chasing. 😉

I got to try Daily Harvest for free! #ILoveMyJob . All opinions are my own. If you try it for yourself, I hope you’ll let me know your opinions, too. 🙂 

 

Show your mama some love

Hey hey, it’s mother’s day!

What are you getting for that special lady in your life? I know, it’s a dumb hallmark holiday, but you bet I’m taking advantage. I’m writing this post to help you find mother’s day gifts that don’t suck. NO BATH BOMBS, husbands. NO BATH BOMBS. And also to assist my own husband in finding me the perfect gift. I don’t want him to stress out too much.

What can I say, I’m a giver.

Time alone

Take the baby and give her some time to herself. To do … whatever.

Yoga. Binge on Netflix. Stare blankly into space.

My dream life.

Sleep. Sit at a coffee shop and slowly sip a latte and leisurely read a book. Pee alone. Cook or do laundry without ‘help’. Literally, whatever.

Note: This is the gift I want most pretty much all the time, but this won’t work for all mamas. We all have different comfort levels around how soon and how long we can be away from the baby. You probably know where the mama in your life falls on the spectrum; if not, ask her partner.

Time with you

If your mother is not a NEW mother, meaning if you’re not a baby, give her the gift of your presence. Take her to lunch, take her for a massage, most importantly, BE NICE TO HER.

Or, if she recently became a grandma, give her the baby and GET OUT OF THE WAY.

 

Instant MILF Milk Bath!

Ahah I know, I just said don’t give her bath stuff. But, there’s an exception to every rule. Becky sent me these (delicious, hilarious) milk baths and the sheer joy I experienced reading the names and descriptions was as good as that soak.

Donate to a political candidate that won’t punish her for being a mother.

I’m a little enraged by all this healthcare business. All I can say is, take care of mothers by literally helping to make sure mothers get taken care of. If you don’t have the cash money to give, then use your voice to speak up for women and mothers.

Shit Tote

Because we’re just up to our elbows all the time. Might as well throw some rainbows behind it.

There you have it, my no bullshit guide to mother’s day gifts. Sorry for all the shouting. I don’t know what came over me.. oh, no wait, I do, I wrote this on the same day this tweet came true:

Once I simmer down, I’ll be back to share the story of my first mother’s day, which involves public nudity and urination committed by an adult.

Let’s get outta town

I just got back from our first-ever yoga retreat in Sonoma, CA, and you guys, it was everything.

I’m still riding a high from a whole weekend spent with my people in the beautiful sunny wine country—and yes, from my first weekend away from Mac.

I got to spend so much quality time with people I love, from our team:

To college friends:

And sweat pink sisters!

I did a bunch of yoga, hiking, and HIIT & Flow.

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten this sweaty and this sore, and it felt oh-so-good to really dig in for an active weekend.

How cute is my Momentum Jewelry wrap?

I wore my Momentum Jewelry wrap all weekend like a watch. Every time I’d glance down at my wrist, it was the perfect reminder of what time it was: time to EMPOWER and INSPIRE.

I grew a ton in my practice: I hit peacock (yay!). For the first time EVER I managed to jump back into chaturanga from crow pose. That felt like a major breakthrough moment – and all it took was just hearing it described a different way. I felt like I’d unlocked a new skill that had been lying in wait for me.

I have yet another pair of pants I’m obsessed with (thanks prAna!).

These are the most comfy. Seriously. It feels like you’re wearing nothing, and they’re so pretty. Our whole team, without coordinating it, ended up picking the same pair.

We range from 5’1″ to 6′ … and size 0 to… ??? and these pants fit us all beautifully!

Except Liz, who got to be a stand out from the crowd in a different pair. 😉

Save 25% off prAna using the code POWERPRANA at checkout (valid until 4.15.17).

I’m obsessed with my Handful bra. It’s the softest, silkiest, most flattering sports bra ever… and look, they seriously look good on everyone!

And the FOOD. Oh, the food. We were treated to 3 full, healthy, fresh meals a day at the ranch, and of course, we brought along extra snacks to share with everyone because, um, we were working out a bajillion times every day. We made three flavors of protein balls AND protein muffins with Designer Protein and Amazing Grass (recipes on the Flex & Flow blog!):

How cute is our fabulous chef??

Chocolate peanut butter protein perfection.

Save 40% on Amazing Grass with the code SWEATPINK2017 at checkout.

We also had lots of yummy flavors of Boulder Organic soups to snack on and enjoy.

Soup turned out to be just the thing because I came down with some weird stomach bug while we were there – the chicken quinoa kale soup literally saved my life the first night at the retreat.

I also came home with a whole new arsenal of favorite, natural skin care products.

I gave myself a little spa experience with the frank body scrub – it’s made from coffee, ’nuff said.

Sunscreen is so, so necessary for me. I’m grateful for chemical-free options like Goddess Garden!

Use code SWEATPINK for 20% off Goddess Garden (valid through 3.20.17).

I ended up layering sunscreen: I’d slather on Goddess Garden, then top it off with Sweat Cosmetics, a mineral powder with SPF 40.

You can’t be too protected… and the Sweat Cosmetics helped keep my skin tone evened out and less shiny during all our sweaty activities. I’m not really a person who wears makeup while working out… but when you’re taking this many pictures, it becomes necessary to at least give yourself a little pre-filtering help. Plus, it’s such an easy, lightweight, non-greasy way to add some SPF to your day. I’ve been using it every morning before going outside just as extra protection.

Use SWEATPINK for 10% off Sweat Cosmetics! 

Stomach bug and all, I came home feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, more ME than I’ve felt in a long, long time. I was so happy to see my family after a few days away … not least because I’d had a little breast pump snafu and needed my baby like WOAH …

If you’re on the fence about a retreat / fitcation away, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a vacation you don’t need a vacation from when you come home; you come home feeling stronger, more rested, more relaxed, and happier.