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 

Pregnancy-friendly natural sunscreen

sweat pink fit approach got bumped
My favorite poolside companions: #sweatpink trucker hat and Block Island Organics Sunscreen

As a person who has always fallen somewhere on the pale-to-transparent spectrum, I use a LOT of sunscreen. I apply probably every hour or more when I’m out in the sun. When I got pregnant, everyone started warning me about how much more the sun will affect you, and how you have to stay away from chemical sunscreens.

I haven’t changed many of my other cosmetic products due to concerns about chemicals—I figure the tiny bit of concealer I use is not an imminent threat to Alien—but given the sheer volume of sunscreen I slather on at such regular intervals, I figured I should probably look into a natural sunscreen for pregnancy.

I’ve tried mineral sunscreens before, and have always strayed back to my chemical friends. Physical sunscreens (like the kind made with zinc) have always been too thick, too opaque, too hard to apply.

I took Block Island Organics sunscreen for a spin this 4th of July weekend, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s got all the right buzz words: natural mineral sunscreen, made in the US, vegan, eco-friendly formula, and no parabens, dyes or fragrance. If anything’s not going to hurt Alien, this is it.

 

But how did it hold up to my previous, not-so-amazing experiences with natural sunscreens?

It bucked all the bad-news trends I remember from having tried natural sunscreens before.

sweat pink fit approach got bumped

It went on smooth—really smooth, actually—the amount pictured above ended up taking care of not just my legs and feet but also my shoulders, and rubbed right in with a translucent, lightweight cover. No pesky white streaks too stubborn to smooth out.

sweat pink fit approach got bumped
Hooray! No white residue in sight.

Once it dried, my skin felt soft, not greasy or residue-covered.

I only stayed outside for an hour and a half (that sun really gets to me these days!) but I came back inside with not a sunburn in sight.

I did notice, maybe because I didn’t put it to any tests like swimming or sweating, that the Block Island sunscreen has some real staying power. It took a dedicated scrubbing with a loofah to get it all off, which makes me confident that on my more active days this summer, it will easily stand up to swimming and towel drying and all the other fun stuff I (hopefully) have in store!

I’m tempted to give their skincare line, especially their moisturizer, a try. If they can make mineral sunscreen this light to the touch, I imagine the moisturizer feels heavenly on parched skin.

Block Island Organics was kind enough to offer a 15% off discount code just for you! Use the code alyse at checkout for 15% off. That’s on top of any other specials they have running!

I received complimentary product from Block Island Organics. All opinions are my own, and I so appreciate you supporting the brands who support my pale lifestyle.

Mad Lib for Puritan’s Pride!

Yesterday was amazing. I felt almost normal, and did more stuff in one day than I’ve done in the last several weeks combined. I moved most of our sweat pink warehouse to its new home.

fit approach sweat pink

I cooked. That cooking involved vegetables, green things, brown things. The only white thing was cauliflower. YES, I ate vegetables! I even ate some ice cream, just to see if I could handle sweets.

Answer: yes. 

sweat pink 1millionminutes

I took the dog out, multiple times a day. Up until now, my gracious husband has been letting me get away with one or zero times a day.

I’d really like to go back to yoga this week. I didn’t want to push it yesterday, didn’t want to jinx the amazingness. I’m considering it today. I’ve been reading up on all the modifications you’re supposed to do, now that lying on my stomach feels a little uncomfortable.

Or maybe I’ll go to the gym for all of 10 minutes.

In any case, to celebrate this newfound feeling of alive-ness, and because of the PRIZES, I’m participating in this week’s #1MillionMinutes blog prompt. Check it out:

This week Puritan’s Pride is offering a prize to EVERYONE* who completes this blog prompt mad lib! Want to get in on the fun (and the prizes?!) Copy and paste the mad lib below, fill in the blanks with your own answers, and make sure to share your link on the #1MillionMinutes page to get rewarded!*

puritans pride sweat pink

I’m so JAZZED [adj] to fuel my #1MillionMinutes goals with Puritan’s Pride! All summer I plan to hike, yoga, and fuel[verb] my way to a healthier, fitter me, and I’ll need help staying hydrated and fueled during all my outdoor [adj] adventures!

I will make sure I stay on track and will rely on  healthy protein powders [noun] to keep me well fueled before, during and after workouts, and my trusty water bottle [noun] to keep me hydrated!

I’m most excited to try Whey Protein powder in vanilla (product) and Pre-workout igniter (product) from Puritan’s Pride because they look like they’ll help me stay strong pre and post workout! (adj).

One supplement I’ve never tried but am curious about is Ribose [noun]. I think it might make me extra strong during intense workouts![adj].

Bring it, #1MillionMinutes! I’m ready to go!

* Prizes available to U.S. and Canada residents.

Woah, cue the crankypants

Fair warning: random trains of thought crossings ahead. 

You guys. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The last 36 hours have not been super awful. As of the time I’m writing this, I’ve left the house on four separate occasions today, and it’s only noon. Big fucking news.

fit pregnancy first trimester
Playing at the dog park. This counts as exercise, right?

I’m still nauseous, still taking naps.

pregnancy napping naps
This guy is always willing to take a nap with me.

But yesterday I introduced a new food (and a new color!) into my repertoire:

pregnancy first trimester diet
I couldn’t wait – had to take a bite before taking the picture. #ImmediateGratification

Avocado. One of my favorite foods pre-pregnancy; haven’t eaten it in two months. Until yesterday, when avocado toast with loads of salt was bomb.com.

I’m also starting to show. Not enough that the average stranger would notice, but I notice. It’s what a good friend of mine calls the awkward beer belly phase. I’m just thicker through the middle, with a little protuberance at the bottom.

I just entered my second trimester, according to some accounts. I just hit the 12 week mark. But pregnancy is 40 weeks, so I’m counting up until 13 as first trimester. Math, people. Just do it. That also gives me a few more days to really start feeling better so I can swing into *real* second trimester with tons of energy and joy.

Speaking of joy, that’s been the hardest part of the last couple days. I am so inexplicably and irredeemably cranky. My poor husband has been a champ putting up with it. I can barely stand to be around myself.

Also, we found out the sex this week. It makes all this business about growing a little person so much more real. No, I’m not telling yet. Soon.

Now to muster the energy to restock my avocado supply…

Benefits of not exercising

manduka yoga

It’s been 6 weeks since I did any kind of exercise, unless you count my one pathetic squat jump at Fitbloggin’ last weekend. Even though walking from my bedroom to my kitchen feels kind of like exercise, given all the huffing and catching my breath it inspires, it’s been pretty rough not feeling well enough to move around and sweat. I’ve always depended on exercise as a reliable way to brighten my mood, relieve stress, work through problems, and give me more energy. Not having access to the magical cure-all of a good sweat has been really hard, especially lately.

 

I watched Tangled with my godchildren last weekend, and I had a flash of solidarity with Rapunzel: I’m living in a high rise for the first time in my life, and I can’t help but feel I’m in my own little lonely tower. I’ve been feeling kind of isolated, disconnected from my community, my new city, and my favorite activities. I thought I had turned a corner last weekend, and was really hoping it would stick and that I’d start getting my life back, but I had a major relapse coming back home. So tired. So nauseous. And getting pretty down about this slide back into symptoms.

I’m doing my best to change my outlook, and muscle through this last week (hopefully?) of first-tri symptoms, focusing ever so hard on the light at the end of the tunnel. So I created a list of all the benefits of not exercising—AKA why it’s a GREAT thing to be a couch potato for two months:

  • Your pedicure lasts forever. Mine is a month old and, as long as you don’t look too close, it’s still completely passable.
  • You don’t have to wash your hair as often! I always try to stretch hair as long as possible between washings. Not sweating doubles the length of time I can go between. Here’s to half as much blowdrying!*
  • Way less laundry. No daily pile of sweaty workout clothes to deal with.
  • Way more time to get stuff done. I gained a ton of time moving here because I was no longer commuting 2+ hours / day. Now, I’ve recovered another 90 minutes to 2 hours (or more, when you count the blowdrying!) thanks to my not-leaving-the-house-ever situation.
  • All pajamas, all the time. My normal M.O. is to put on sweats immediately when I get home from work / wherever. I would always prefer to be in sweats than real clothes. Now I basically live in lounge clothes. Kind of embarrassing when I open the door for Instacart or package deliveries, but whatever, I’m pregnant.

 

* That’s a lie. I also have not blow dried my hair in about a month. Why bother, when it’s just me and Tigger, napping and lounging?