Hey everyone I’m Vanessa or Nessa to my friends and the founder and creator of The Pregnancy Pantry. I’m a mum of two, a wife and a total self confessed nutrition geek. I studied journalism before doing a 180° and going on to study catering, before eventually branching out and discovering my true passion as a Certified Plant Based Nutritionist and Wellness Coach specialising in VEGAN Nutrition & all things pregnancy.
Over the past few years
I’ve noticed a huge amount of conflicting information out there surrounding pregnancy and veganism and primarily what I discovered is that it centres around whether it’s possible to sustain.
Which is why as a Certified Vegan Nutritionist I want to make sure you get the right advice from someone who has successfully navigated their way through a plant based pregnancy. I think these past few years has seen a huge change in the way we see food, which is an incredible step forward and with more and more of us now becoming conscious of the foods we eat, whether that be food that is more sustainable, and ethically farmed or just making the decision to consume a greater range of fresh unprocessed foods.
I think we’re all heading in the right direction. I do think that avoiding the consumption of animal products delivers a far greater impact than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.
Is a plant based diet healthy?
A diet that consists of less red meat has been associated with a reduced risk of many diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. When you make the decision to follow a well balanced plant based diet, there is a definitive reduction in the amount of saturated fats and salt and an increase in high fibre foods containing heart healthy unsaturated fats that are found in nuts, olive oils and seeds. A healthy well balanced diet may also help in reducing many of the pregnancy symptoms we suffer from such as nausea, heartburn, leg cramps and constipation.
I have always been conscious about not creating a website that puts too much emphasis on the foods that you shouldn’t be eating during pregnancy – as I think you’ll agree that once pregnant we get hit with a barrage of advice and we are constantly reminded about all the foods we shouldn’t be eating. Many of which are sadly misguided. Instead what I focus on is a more intuitive way of eating.
Eating intuitively is about taking an approach to health and food that has nothing to do with diets, or meal planing, control, or restriction but is all about learning to get in touch with the body.
By focusing on our natural cues such as hunger and learning to recognise when we are full, we learn to trust our bodies abilities and our relationship with food. And in turn, by doing so – open up the potential to find enjoyment in food.
However many of the safety guidelines surrounding pregnancy are standard practice and pregnancy certainly isn’t the time to be taking risks. The Pregnancy Pantry is about a celebration of healthy plant based goodness, nutritional advice and guidance which includes a wide range of free downloads, recipes, and articles to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional quota from the lead up to pregnancy and throughout each trimester.
As a Certified Vegan Nutritionist I’ll be here to support you every step of the way.
I’m passionate about what I do and I believe we all have an important role to play in the preservation of our planet. We all make an environmental impact on the earth and our lifestyle affects how significant that impact is.
If we are to secure the future of our environment for our children then I believe we have a moral and ethical obligation to switch to a lifestyle where less animal products are consumed and to give our children and the planet the opportunity to thrive.
Why I made the decision to give up meat
Whilst I am a vegetarian and have a vested interest in veganism and plant based living, my intention of this site is to educate on the fundamental benefits of reducing the volume of animal products that we consume.
I’ll put my hands up and say that I haven’t always had a healthy interest in food and particularly in my teens and early twenties, I wouldn’t have thought twice about chowing down on a bacon egg and sausage sandwich, a gallon of coffee and working my way through a family sized packet of biscuits after a heavy night.
Even during my first pregnancy eight years ago, I treated my body like a garbage bin. That’s not to say I didn’t follow the pregnancy guidelines on what not to eat during pregnancy but I did consume a lot of high saturated fats, meats, cheese, full fat milk etc.
My first pregnancy was horrendous.
I put on four stone, suffered chronic digestive problems, hip pain, backache and pretty much spent nine months miserable, with no energy and a body that was screaming out for vegetables and goodness.
Fast forward four years and my ethos surrounding food and how beneficial eating the right foods can be really helped me to finally experience a pregnancy where I felt incredible.
The second time around
Becoming pregnant for the second time massively forced me to reassess my lifestyle and what message I wanted to convey to my children about the foods that we eat.
I reduced the amount of refined sugars I was eating, rediscovered my love of baking and got creative in the kitchen and producing sweet treats that were sweetened naturally. It was around this time that The Pregnancy Pantry was born and my love for this site catapulted me into a world of blogging.
My decision to go one step further and become vegetarian was primarily down to health and the hope that cutting meat out of my diet would have an increased benefit to my energy levels and that it would clear up a digestive system that had started to become a little sluggish. Plus after watching a few documentaries, I knew my decision had been made and that there was no going back.
I had no idea at the time just how beneficial it would be.
A vegan lifestyle
Is probably the single biggest way to reduce our impact on planet earth, not just the greenhouse gasses but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.
An individual can reduce their carbon footprint by whopping 73% percent by just cutting meat and dairy from their diet which is a way bigger impact than just buying an electric car or cutting back on air travel.
As a writer; I love to write articles that draw from personal experience and my journey into motherhood, overcoming obstacles along the way and finally learning to accept change and the cold hard fact that sometimes life throws you a giant curve-ball that you just can’t dodge. So, whilst the site is predominantly centred around plant based nutrition; you’ll also find a range of articles focusing on lifestyle and wellbeing and a wider spectrum of pregnancy.
Common opinion of a plant based pregnancy
Needs a serious overhaul. No doubt you’ve heard about all the foods to be avoiding – friends, doctors and family members will undoubtedly have offered their well meaning advice and opinions and for those recently new to a plant based lifestyle you may well be wondering how to to dodge the inevitable question of “Now that you’re Pregnant – where are you going to get your main source of iron and protein from if you don’t eat meat”?
Unfortunately, that question just loves to do the rounds, so you may struggle to avoid it. HOWEVER, let’s get a few things straight before we go on. A plant based eating focuses on eating foods that are primarily plant based, which includes not only fruits and vegetables, but nuts, seeds, pulses, legumes, whole grains and beans.
It doesn’t mean that you’re vegan or vegetarian and that you don’t eat dairy. So whilst this site offers up a ton of information and support on safely following a vegan pregnancy – its main goal and purpose is to introduce you to the benefits of including more plant based foods into your lifestyle.
The good news however for the vegans out there is that 2020 was in fact the year that everyone of the top UK supermarkets offered up their own vegan range and every one of the top UK restaurants and food-to-go outlets changed their menus to include at least one vegan or plant based offering. If you’re looking at ways to ensure you can safely follow and navigate your way through a plant based pregnancy – click for more info here
Disclaimer: The information shared on this website is based on my own personal experience which is intended to educate and inform the reader. This is not a prescription and nothing in the website constitutes any form of medical advice. If you require medical advice relating to a particular health problem, please consult your own doctor, midwife or healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for you.