Although I don’t normally subscribe to people getting lots of protein in their diets, there are two groups that I believe should get a little more – pregnant moms and growing children. How much is “a little more?” Well, that is a good question and I don’t really have an answer. But, here is how I’m handling it with my pregnancy (I’ll address growing children and protein when I have one). I’m not a midwife or a doctor or a nutritionist, so I’m taking in information from various experts I know and sources (including lots of books and online research with my MacBook), and I’m adding my own mama intuition to weave my own blanket of a plan.
I’ve been advised by some people (as well as what I’ve read in some natural childbirth books) that a pregnant mom will do well with a daily protein consumption of 75-90 grams a day (the higher range being extra recommended during the third trimester according to some experts – for baby brain development). Some of these books and experts support a vegetarian diet for pregnant moms, so I know that they “get it” at least to some degree. 75-90 grams a day is a bit high for me when I’m consuming mostly raw… unless I want to drink protein shakes with Raw sprouted brown rice powder. I do this on those days that I want to tip the scale higher for protein (it’s easy and quick). But, I don’t always want to rely on it for protein because whole food sources are healthier. On the days that I have cooked organic vegan protein such as beans, lentils, quinoa, organic tofu, etc… it’s easier to get a higher quantity. However, having one meal like that doesn’t always get my day’s total to 75 grams when the rest of my day is Raw. That being said, I also believe that Raw protein is better assimilated and better digested. Therefore, I probably don’t need as many grams as 75-90 most days since that recommended 75-90 grams is likely based on cooked protein recommendations (not much is written about pregnant moms and Raw vegan protein), and it probably takes more cooked protein to assimilate what I might get with a Raw diet. Hhmmm… but I don’t have the magic answer.
So… what makes me feel most comfortable is to have a mix. Some days I get higher protein with both Raw and cooked vegan protein sources. Some days I get whatever protein comes naturally with my Raw food intake. Plus! I consume various superfoods (I just love that word… makes me feel like a superhero, Wonder Woman – lol – I’m a kid at heart). Pretty much on a daily basis I have hemp foods. Did you know that a mere 2 tablespoons of Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds contain a whopping 11 grams of complete vegetarian protein? And, I also add Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder to some of my smoothies (2 heaping tablespoons give about 15 grams of complete vegetarian protein). Then, probably 3-5 days a week, I take spirulina tablets, wheat grass tablets, and chlorella tablets. Those pack a nice punch of protein.
So… what do you think about the protein debate with respect to children and pregnancy?