Actresses like Emily Deschanel and Alicia Silverstone are catching flak for steering clear of the moms-to-be stereotype of pickles-and-ice-cream cravings, or at least the ice cream part. They are among the celebs who don’t give up a vegan lifestyle once there’s a baby on board.
“A woman’s body—and what she puts into it—are generally regarded as fair game for public speculation. Throw in a fetus and it’s open season,” writes Mary Elizabeth Williams on Salon.com. Both vegan and veggie women in the spotlight are criticized for endangering the life of their unborn child by avoiding animal products or meat.
Many people have asked if I’m sticking to a vegetarian diet in my pregnancy, which I am. Thankfully, I haven’t had to confront the kind of vitriolic judgment veggie or vegan pregnant celebrities have; most friends are supportive.
(An exception: When I spent most of my days in the first trimester trying not to puke, my brother blamed it on the lack of meat. “Baby wants steak,” he told me. But he was joking. I think.)
When I asked, my midwife concurred with researchers and doctors: A vegetarian diet is perfectly safe for a developing baby, as long as you are careful—just as meat-eaters have to be. I get plenty of protein and probably more of the important vitamins and other nutrients baby needs. (And, for the record, little ones can do just fine on meatless meals, too, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Eric and I haven’t decided what will be off-limits for Peeper yet.)
I’ve been lucky that my cravings and aversions have (mostly) kept me on the straight and narrow. Before morning sickness really hit, all I wanted was salad. I’d make a big one with all the fixings—pear, tomato, cuke, bell pepper, strawberry, red onion, nuts, topped with this amazing dressing, which tastes a lot like Yumm sauce—and end up eating the. Entire. Thing. It got to the point where my brother-in-law suggested we name baby Kale. (Mmm. Kale.)
More recently, my veg cravings are back (among the occasional “need” for fries or a milkshake). My favorite is a lettuce-less salad of avocado, bell pepper, cucumber, onion and tomato drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Try it tonight—I promise you’ll love it, whether you’re carnivorous or not.
I’m fortunate, too, that I live in a place where no one startles when I tell them I’m vegetarian (or am seeing a midwife instead of an OB, or that I plan to give birth without medication). In many places in the country, it’s much more difficult to get by with an “alternative” lifestyle. So I’ll keep fixing my salads, keeping Baby Kale nourished and enduring the relentless stream of Portlandia jokes. That I can do all this in relative peace is just one more benefit of not being famous, I guess!