Craving Junk Food While Pregnant? Here’s How to Handle It.
Craving junk food while pregnant?
You’re careful about what you put in your body, but pregnancy can throw you for a loop. Food cravings can be incredibly strong, and sometimes you might even crave foods that you don’t normally eat. So how can you handle them? Do you resist, or do you give in? Craving junk food while pregnant is extremely common, and something a lot of people experience.
Here’s what you need to know about dealing with your pregnancy cravings while still maintaining your vegan lifestyle.
Evaluate what you’re really craving.
When you’re hit with a pregnancy food craving, sometimes it’s for foods that you eat every day. Other times you may desperately long for a food that doesn’t jive at all with veganism. No matter what you’re salivating for, take a step back and try to figure out what you really want. Is it a specific texture that you’re after? A satisfying crunch? Do you want something savory? Drill down to what it is that you really want, and then try to find a way to satisfy that craving with a food you can feel good about.
Ask your doctor to check your nutrient levels.
The science disagrees as to whether your cravings are actually linked to a biological need. One study found no reason for a person’s cravings, while another did find that they may be related to a nutritional deficiency. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should give into any craving that you experience, but if you repeatedly have an intense craving for a specific food, ask your doctor about whether you may be deficient in a certain nutrient that food would provide. Take supplements or preferably eat foods rich in that nutrient, and you may find that your craving starts to subside. Your craving junk food while pregnant, might a sign of an underlying bigger issue.
Find a vegan substitute for your craving.
These days, there are SO many vegan products on the market. Even if you typically stick to whole unprocessed foods, this may be the time to bend the rules a bit and indulge in a processed vegan substitute if you find yourself craving meat or animal products. However, make sure you’re mindful of the sodium content of the processed foods and don’t over-do it.
Stick to whole or fermented soy.
Soy is a great source of protein, and despite what the media would have you believe, it’s healthy for you. However, as with everything else, when you’re pregnant things become more complicated. Some researchers and doctors claim that the estrogen levels in a pregnant woman’s body are heightened already. Therefore the estrogen in soy will spike your body’s estrogen to dangerous levels. Others disagree and claim that the little bit of phytoestrogens found in soy makes no difference. I personally think the latter is true, but it’s difficult to know who to believe, so it may be best to err on the side of caution and focus on whole or fermented soy products like tempeh or seitan which have had minimal processing.
Give in to your healthy cravings.
If you’re craving foods that are healthy and plant-based, go for it! Even if it means you’re having something non-traditional for dinner because you’re indulging your craving, just enjoy it. As long as you’re eating somewhat healthy, you don’t have to follow all the “rules” when you’re pregnant.
If you’re really wrestling with a particular food craving that you don’t want to indulge, go for a walk or do an activity that will take your mind off of it. Most intense food cravings will subside after 15-20 minutes. If you’re able to distract yourself for that amount of time, you may have avoided the most difficult period of temptation.
Remember why you chose to live a plant-based life in the first place.
If you’re specifically struggling with a strong craving for animal products, focus on the reason you chose veganism in the first place. Nobody enters into the vegan lifestyle lightly, so whether your reasons were ethnically based or health-related, focus on them to help you resist the temptation.
The bottom line.
Food cravings are a common pregnancy symptom, and there’s no way to predict what yours will be. If you desperately crave foods that aren’t compatible with a vegan lifestyle, you’re not the first – and rest assured that it has nothing to do with your commitment to veganism. Nor does it mean that your body “needs” meat. Instead, find ways to get to the real root of your craving, and get creative with ways to satisfy it. Cravings might be difficult to deal with in the short term, but you won’t regret sticking to your convictions once all is said and done, and don’t forget if you are craving junk food while pregnant, there are a lot of amazing vegan junk food options out there!
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