Pregnant Vegetarian 6: Doctors and Nutrition

Zoe Gets Off Her Soapbox And Back In The Produce Section

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Well, I had to get a new Obgyn. Thanks a lot Corporate America. My employer changed insurance companies and now my former doctor is out of network. So, off to the new doctor, and a rehash of the I’m-a-vegetarian conversation.


Apparently, Obgyns do not have to know much about nutrition. My new doctor said I looked healthy and that having been a veggie for so long, I probably knew how to feed myself just fine.

She was doing so well! But then she went on to say that I just needed to make sure I got enough protein (Argh!), and to make sure I ate my greens for iron – like spinach. (Doh! Stop while you’re ahead!)

I don’t know how nutritionally hip you are, but I thought it was semi-common knowledge that spinach is a lousy source of Iron. Oh, it has plenty of iron, but it won’t share much with you. Its good friend Oxalic acid keeps the iron and the calcium all tied up. Ok, you can improve the outcome by cooking and pairing with vitamin C, but really, why not just eat some kale and not worry so hard about it.

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So, anyway, I won’t be seeking nutritional advice from the Doc.

I’m totally disappointed over doctors’ lack of nutritional knowledge. Especially the Obgyns I have encountered. I mean, healthy pregnancy is majorly linked to good nutrition. If I ran the world, pregnancy care would include nutritional consultation as a standard. (foaming at the mouth)

Right, well, I said I was getting off my soapbox, so I guess I should quit campaigning for Queen of Everything and get back to the really important stuff – food!

I have been on a fruit and veg rampage ever since I got pregnant, and it’s only getting more ridiculous. Remember how I grudgingly shared my giant bag of grapefruit with Bryan only because I knew I could get more? Well, recently it’s been blueberries, twelve pints of ’em in a month, and I think Bryan snagged a handful for his yogurt. Once.

I’m still playing well with others, but obviously the sharing is not going so well.

I can’t seem to leave the produce section without at least one head of broccoli, and a huge collection of fruit. I entertain lustful fantasies about late spring, when fresh, cheap fruit is bursting out of bins at the grocery store and leaping into my cart…Watermelons, cantaloupe, juicy mangoes, fat grapes, local peaches….(drool)

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And then there’s the garden fantasies – grazing crisp sweet peas straight off the vine! Nom!

In June, when the wild black raspberries are ripe and the blueberries are coming on, I may just lose it entirely. You’ll find me waist deep in brush, stuffing my face with berries and growling at the other wildlife.

Recently, I read a book that inspired me to take a look at the nutritional data on the foods I have been so in love with. It is called: Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide, by Sayward Rebhal. I won’t say a lot about it, as I’m going to be posting a review of it soon, but I will say it has a good section about food sources for important nutrients.

So I got curious and looked up my cravings on Nutrition

Broccoli seems to be a good source for practically everything. A serious super food, in fact. Makes me feel smug about eating it. Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese, and also have a fair chunk of omega 3s: 85.8 mg per cup! Grapefruit has a ton of vitamin C and vitamin A. Cherries are a good source of vitamin C.

Plus, they all have small amounts of other healthy stuff, like iron and other minerals, and they offer plenty of fiber – important for fart prevention.

Now I don’t feel ridiculous about my food cravings. In fact, I feel rather proud of them. I think rather than asking the doc for food advice, I’ll just go with my gut. Seems to have served me well so far!

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5 Responses to “Pregnant Vegetarian 6: Doctors and Nutrition”

  1. Savvy Veg says:

    Thanks Laura, really interesting study!

  2. Laura says:

    Actually, the difference in iron absorption between kale and spinach is not statistically significant–both are good sources of iron.

  3. Liz says:

    I found your site and wanted to chime in on the doctors who know nothing about nutrition. My son had really low hemoglobin and the hemotologist asked what he ate. I replied beans and kale and her response was “well he really should eat more spinach and drink orange juice with it.” Like you, I was banging my head and never went back.

    I made it through three vegetarian pregnancies with only a bit of head banging about nutrition.

  4. Excellent post! FYI most medical schools have one over-lunch meeting on nutrition if that that is why I chose a NMD program. Good luck with the pregnancy. I’m been raising my 18mo old vegan and that gets a lot of raised eyebrows.

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