Sitting today at the halfway point of our twin pregnancy, I am excited to share with you the meals I ate while going through the first trimester. The first trimester is from ovulation to the end of the 12th week (the beginning of the 13th). During this time, many researchers have found woman actually feel better on a vegan diet than on a standard carnivore diet. It has been found meat and cow’s milk can actually cause women to get morning sickness, something I did not have to worry of since I am 100% vegan. My meals were focused on nutrients, not gaining weight. It is not essential to gain weight during the first trimester, even when having twins.
My body went through a ton of changes but I did not get sick nor did I gain weight. My only real symptom was fatigue, considering I am carrying twins, this is completely normal and expected no matter the diet. I was always full and had energy in-between naps. So I guess this is a sign my body accepted and rejoiced in the nutrients going into my body at this time. Hopefully if you are pregnant or looking to just eat healthier you can find inspiration with these photos.
Breakfast usually was a mixture as shown in this photo, daily. This is tons of spinach 55g, a few tomatoes, tofu, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and turmeric. On the side I had Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Wheat bread. If you have not tried Ezekiel, it’s essential since it digests easily in the stomach and has around 5g protein per slice. It contains almost no fat or sodium. This is my favorite brand, especially since twin pregnancy can cause a higher increase in blood pressure naturally, so reducing sodium is a wise choice. On the side, I had a Deva Prenatal Multivitamin.
Wintery Beetroot and Lentil Salad was the perfect option for me since I knew kale and lentils were some of the most nutrient rich natural foods on earth for pregnancy.
This is rather a Buddha Bowl but made super easy for my meals. The rice is premium Japanese rice, homemade salt free black beans, carrots, broccoli, and corn. Not shown is Trader Joe’s Sodium Free Hot Sauce. (The link is for the photo, I believe it is $1.99 USD per bottle in the store.) Normally I would eat this for lunch and something dinner too, I would have a few bowls when super hungry.
Tempeh I believe is one of those forgotten Japanese protein powerhouses. It is made from soy but one should not fear soy, just don’t eat it 50x a day everyday. There was once a research study done that was found to be inconclusive, one that wrongly stated soy had too much hormones, especially for men. It’s amazing what deep pockets can do in research. As my OB/GYN states, eat everything in moderation and since Japan has the lowest breast cancer rates in the world, eat it without fear. So this meal contains 1 serving of tempeh, 1 cup of rice and broccoli. I believe I had a second serving of rice after this dish. We BBQ’d our Tempeh plain but feel free to add BBQ sauce or hot sauce if you desire.
If you are following along with my other twin pregnancy blog post you will already know I am having issues eating a large amount of fat, it just disrupts my stomach or makes me full too fast. Eating larger portion and or multiple meals is key to getting enough calories in a twin pregnancy. This dish is something I have made for years but have really been enjoying the 1st trimester, at least once a week. Now we are in our second trimester, I still find myself having this at least once a week. Simply make your preferred rice as the pkg suggests, I make mine in a Japanese rice cooker. Then heat up or sauté some frozen vegetables, or fresh if you have enough, and some freshly chopped leafy greens. For this dish I believe I used a combination of mustard greens, turnip greens, kale and swiss chard. For added protein I will add tofu, tempeh and/or mushrooms. We like to add S&B curry powder (non- msg) and it is complete. If your stomach is sensitive, go without the curry powder and eat it plain. Mix the rice and veggies together in a bowl.
Leafy greens were and still are a main attraction in my diet for this pregnancy. Each weekend I would return home from the grocery store and prep my greens for the week. This not only saved time but I could also gauge how much I had eaten throughout the week. I would buy at least 4 different kinds of leafy greens, sometimes organic and sometimes not. After washing each green I would chop them up and place them in these XL plastic containers. Note: plastic containers are food safe if you are not heating anything up or placing them in the sunshine. There would also be at least 1-2 bags of spinach in our house each week too but that does not demand chopping. Each meal I would toss in a ton of leafy greens and I know my babies were going to be getting enough each meal.
This is something I also ate before getting pregnant. This is about 2-3 servings of hash browns from Trader Joe’s Frozen section (100% potatoes) and I place them in the toaster oven for about 5-10 minutes. Then I sauté or heat a ton of mixed greens such as swiss chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens, etc. Normally I would not use a seasoning because the mixture of greens had enough flavor but if you are new to greens I would suggest finding a mixed seasoning that contains no salt.
Again, a plentitude of leafy greens mixed with some tofu for extra protein. There are a lot of vegans I know who do not add tofu however as I am having twins, I added as much healthy protein as possible to assure our babies were growing during this first trimester. I tossed these in a iron skillet (yes, it adds iron into your diet) and ate it plain or with sodium free hot sauce.
This looks boring and very green but don’t worry, it is very tasty. The key to adding a lot of taste is either by adding a variety of leafy greens and/or adding sodium-free/msg-free seasonings to the mixture. Personally, I love Trader Joe’s Sodium Free Hot sauce which is basically just some vinegar and hot peppers. For this dish I added a layer of fresh romaine lettuce, topped with some warmed up leafy greens, tofu and some lentils. There are a few bell peppers also because the key to getting your body to intake iron from your leafy greens is vitamin C, bell peppers are loaded with Vit C. On the side I would have served rice or quinoa, not shown.
This is something I whipped up very fast since I always have sweet potatoes (Murasaki Purple in this photo), quinoa, lentils and leafy greens prepped at the start of the week. I also added some sliced bell peppers for vitamin C to help absorb the iron provided by the other items and some sodium free hot sauce.
Just to show you how addicted I was in my first trimester to this combination, this was my breakfast in the morning. I had rice, quinoa, lentils, and some leafy greens. I mixed it all together and I would eat this in the morning – maybe twice in the morning depending on how hungry I was that day. Then I would add a mug of hot rooibos tea (no caffeine, although 200mg is okay daily) and some hot sauce. There’s no rules to what one must have according to the time of day, just healthy, vegan ingredients.
And finally, for this 1st part of what I ate while in my first trimester, I had Christmas cookies (since it was Christmas). These are all homemade vegan Christmas cookies, minus the candy canes. There is nothing wrong with having something you love as long as you don’t go crazy all day long. I never subtract anything from my pregnancy or normal diet, minus animal by-products.