Vegan diets during pregnancy can be safe if you’re careful to get enough important nutrients — such as protein, calcium, iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12.
We’re taking a look at 5 celebrity moms who were vegan (which means no animal protein including fish, any kind of dairy, and eggs) and vegetarian during their pregnancies.
Continue reading who stayed true to their vegan diets, and who switched to vegetarian while carrying their babies.
- Carrie Underwood:
It was tofurky for Carrie Underwood this past Thanksgiving.
The mom-to-be, who grew up on a farm and has been vegetarian since she was a teenager, recently talked about remaining meat-free during her pregnancy.
“I have been vegetarian for about 10 years now,” the Grammy Award-winning singer, 31, said. “With pregnancy, I am definitely going more on the vegetarian side, but as soon as I am not pregnant anymore I will go back to being vegan.”
“I don’t think I am craving anything too crazy,” the American Idol alum added. “I try to keep it as healthy as possible and try to take care of myself. And, you know, putting good things in!”
- Hilaria Baldwin:
30 Rock star Alec Baldwin and his wife, yoga instructor Hilaria Baldwin, welcomed their daughter Carmen in August 2013.
A strict vegan, Hilaria tweaked her diet when she became pregnant with Carmen. Her doctor advised to start incorporating low-mercury fish into her pregnancy diet. Even though she started eating some seafood, she got most of her protein from tofu, tempeh, and lots of beans and whole grains — especially quinoa (it’s loaded with iron and fiber, plus it’s gluten-free).
As for her adorable baby girl, she’s growing up vegan just like her mama.
“At home, she’ll be vegan,” Hilaria told What to Expect. “But we don’t want her to not fit in with her friends. So if she goes to a birthday party and there’s pizza, or to a friend’s house and there’s ice cream or cake, she’s more than welcome to try anything that she wants.”
- Natalie Portman:
Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman, who started recycling as a young child, went back to being vegetarian during her first pregnancy with son Aleph, now 3.
“I actually went back to being vegetarian when I became pregnant, just because I felt like I wanted that stuff,” Natalie said. “I was listening to my body to have eggs and dairy and that sort of stuff.
“I know there are people who do stay vegan,”she added, “but I think you have to be careful, watch your iron levels and your B12 levels and supplement those if there are things you might be low in in your diet.”
Vitamins aside, the star’s decision to switch to vegetarianism could be summed up in two words: baked goods!
“If you’re not eating eggs, then you can’t have cookies or cake from regular bakeries, which can become a problem when that’s all you want to eat,” she said with a laugh. “I actually wanted eggs at the beginning and then they grossed me out after awhile.”
- Emily Deschanel:
Bones star Emily Deschanel maintained a vegan diet throughout her first pregnancy and has done so for the past 20 years.
During her pregnancy (with now 3-year-old son Henry), the actress opened up about maintaining her vegan diet.
“I don’t think it’s any more challenging for me than it is for anyone else: You have to make sure you get all those essential nutrients,” she said of maintaining a vegan diet during pregnancy.
“The real challenge for a vegan is getting vitamin B12 and omega-3s; you can get those in a vegetarian supplement made from algae,” she added. “I’ve increased my protein intake with beans and brown rice, and shakes made with almond milk and hemp powder. The funny thing is, I love kale and always used to put it in my breakfast shakes, but for some reason I can’t stand it right now.”
- Alicia Silverstone:
Clueless star Alicia Silverstone became a vegan more than 16 years ago, after struggling with being an animal rights activist and a meat eater.
“I couldn’t reconcile being an advocate for animals and at the same time eating them — it made no sense,” she wrote in her book The Kind Mama. “But I quickly realized that there were also incredible health benefits and started to educate myself about the amazing health potential of a plant-based diet. Not long after adopting this way of eating, I ditched my inhaler, stopped getting allergy shots, my body slimmed down, my moods balanced, my acne disappeared and I was literally glowing from the inside out.”
Not only did she stay vegan during her first pregnancy (with son Bear, now 3), she said that her preschooler is also “proud” to be a vegan just like mama.
“I think the diet’s influence is pretty evident in that he is full of vibrant energy; he’s so smart, creative, and insanely sweet — like a magical little elf,” she recently shared. “It’s so important to me that his body be as healthy as possible so he can enjoy every minute of his life and not be bogged down by ailments. I’m so proud to say this is how his life is now, and I’ve made it my job to keep it that way.”