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Long Time Vegetarian Diet, Pregnancy Preparations

Eating organic foods and cutting out processed foods is a good start

I have just tipped the thirty mark and heading towards pregnancy preparations. I have been on a vegetarian diet for more then 15 years.

I need help with daily vitamin supplements I should be taking, not only because I am on a vegetarian diet, but getting just a little older each day and thinking about pregnancy preparations.

I'd like to eat better in general. Hope you can help. - E.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice

Dear E.,

If you've been on a vegetarian diet for 15 years, and you're in good health now, you should be in good shape for it.

Obviously, you want to make sure that you are in good health now, by getting a thorough physical checkup, with blood tests for deficiencies such as Vit. D, Vit. B12, iron, iodine, and folic acid.

I'm not a big fan of daily dietary supplements, because I think we can get most of the nutrients we need from a healthy plant based diet. All-in-one vitamin supplements can become a poor substitute for a nutritious diet - as in, I didn't eat any veggies today, better take a pill.

Vit. B12 and Vit. D may sometimes be scarce in vegetarian diets and need to be supplemented - but get tested first. Omega 3s are important, and found in flax, chia, hemp and walnuts, and smaller amounts in other plant foods.

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A key factor in vegetarian nutrition is eating organic foods. If you haven't gone organic, this would be a good time. I'm a very strong advocate of organic food!

My experience, and that of many vegetarians I know, as well as the research I've seen, indicates that organic food often has higher levels of nutrients, as well as better taste. The big plus is that you're not eating herbicides and pesticides. See the article What is Organic Food and Why Should We Eat It?

Other things that might help to improve your health in preparation for pregnancy:

  • Herbal Dietary Supplements specifically for de-toxing, such as MAPI's Elim Tox
  • Herbal preparations such as those recommended by noted herbalists Susun Weed (The Childbearing Year) and Rosemary Gladstar (The Complete Family Herbal)
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  • Exercise, such as walking, swimming and yoga practice
  • Drinking plenty of water (be sure to add trace minerals to R.O. water)
  • Eliminating processed foods, soda, caffeine, sugar, alcohol from your diet

Recommendated Reading:

Happy, Healthy Vegetarian Pregnant Or Breastfeeding Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Vegetarians & Vegans The Childbearing Year, by Susun Weed Vegetarians, Are You Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Vitamin D: What Is It, Why We Need It, How To Get It

I wish you a blissful pregnancy and motherhood! Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

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