Thursday, January 14, 2016

Eating a Vegan Diet while Breastfeeding

This is a post I wanted to make for a looong time...

... about a year ago, I wrote a post about eating a plant-based diet during pregnancy (you can find the post here). You can actually find a lot of information about what to eat during pregnancy on the net, also loads of info about a vegan diet during pregnancy, but for some reason the period of breastfeeding is less popular. Its harder to find information about that actually- as if it is less important! I think it is AT LEAST as important what you are eating during the period of nursing as what you eat during pregancy. So here are some info about this topic. 

First of all: it is absolutely easy to get all the vitamins, minerals, all the protein and all the calcium you need, when you are vegan and breastfeeding. It is actually much EASIER than when eating an omnivore diet. Because when you eat meat and dairy this automatically means that you eat less fruits and veggies and since meat and dairy is less nutrient-dense than fruits and veggies you get less nutrients (on an equal amount of calories). That said, let me go into the details :) 

Breastfeeding is very exhausting for your body! You need loads of energy (food) and loads of nutrients to make sure YOU get enough of everything. Your baby will take what it needs, it comes first - so make sure there is always enough left over for you! 

Eat 300-500 calories more than before pregnancy. Of course you do not have to count calories. Just always eat in abundance and you will get the right amount! Never restrict yourself, always eat until you are fully satisfied. And do not be afraid of gaining weight: as long as you eat healthy foods you can eat as much as you like and you will not get fat. Look at me - I often eat up to 3000 calories a day and I do not think that I am a fatty!? 

When you eat healthy (low fat, plant-based) you will loose your pregnancy weight automatically because your little one will suck it all out of your body, dont worry. My current weight is below me before-pregancy weight (-2kg) even though I eat really a loooooot... but my baby also drinks a lot ;) 

Now there is this craze about proteins and that you may not get enough on a plant-based diet. One question: have you ever heard of someone with protein-defiency? No? Well, it will be difficult to find someone because only when you go hungry for weeks, you risk to become protein-defienct. Here is a quote to explain further:

“When your caloric needs are met [by eating whole foods], your protein needs are met automatically. Focus on eating healthy natural foods; forget about trying to get enough protein. Your protein needs increase in direct proportion to increased caloric  demands and your increased appetite. Guess what? You automatically get enough. The same is true during pregnancy. When you meet your caloric needs with an assortment of natural plant foods, you will receive the right amount of protein- not too much and not too little.” -Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Eat to Live

The same goes for calcium by the way - more and more studies prove that too much calcium (loads of dairy products) actually harms the body and we get right the perfect amount when we eat a diet based on fruit and veggies. 
Iron? Not to worry about, as long as you eat ENOUGH! The key to getting enough nutrients really is TO EAT ENOUGH! Now you may say that I am crazy and that you learned your whole life that you should eat less!? Well, just think about it - the more good food you eat the more nutrients you get, the less you eat the less you get. When you decide that you want to eat only 1300 or so calories per day than better make sure that those are superfoods only so that you get your nutrients. In case you do not only want to eat superfoods, just make sure you eat enough during the day, loads of veggies and fruits and you will get everything you need. During pregnancy, during the nursing period and beyond :) 

This said, I have a few recommendations for you, representing the way I eat during nursing period (and beyond):

1. Eat vegetables in abundance! 

Your veggies are life! Make sure to eat loads of green veggies such as salads, kale, broccoli, spinach, swiss chard, etc. etc. they are extremely nutrient dense. One great way to get your greens is by making green smoothies! Just blend your greens in a high speed blender with your favorite fruits and voilà; you have a nice healthy snack! 

 2. Eat Fruit in abundance! 

Fruits are the highest quality source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients! Plus they are super sweet and yummy. Have you tried to make a whole meal of 1000 kalories from fruit only? Its fun and yummy! You can find loads of inspo on the net. 
However, I know that those of us living in the northern hemisphere have a hard time to find an abundance of fresh and ripe fruit in Winter. This is why I recommend for anyone who feels its difficult to get hand on an abundance of fresh fruits (which is the case in Germany):

3. Add nutrient dense juices and super foods!

In Summer its easy to eat loads of fresh and ripe fruits but in Winter it is difficult here in Germany. Its important to eat your fruits fresh and ripe to avoid bloating and problems with the digestion, but except for apples, bananas, oranges, and a few others, you will have a hard time to find ripe fruit during the German Winter. This is way I like to add Barley Grass to my daily routine. I wrote more about why I LOVE barley grass back here. I also like to add a little bit of nutrient dense juice to my water. Juice from e.g. aronia, acerola, cranberry or sea buckthorn have loads of vitamins and minerals plus they add some flavor to my water ;) As with the barley grass and with everything else, quality is very important to me. I get my barley grass from Jomu and I love the high quality demeter (organic) NFC juices from Voelkel. Please do not misunderstand me here - I do not recommend drinking loads of fruit juice! I recommend adding small amounts of high quality, carefully pressed, nutrient-dense deliciousness :) 

4. Eat enough calories!

This really is so important! When you are breastfeeding you. need. to. eat. enough. Really! When you loose too much weight at once during nursing period, the toxicants stored in your fat will go directly to your milk and, hence, to your baby. Toxicants are always stored in fat, so be careful about it :) 
Further, as I wrote already above; you can only get enough nutrients and energy when you eat enough. Dont worry about your shape, it will come back automatically when you eat healthy! 

Plus - make sure to always supply vitamin B12! The baby will not get any of your stored B12 reserves through the milk but only the one you actually EAT! 

Wow, what a long post! It was so much fun to write! A huge thanks to Voelkel for the juices and to Jomu for my much loved barley grass! I am such a lucky women, I am! :) 
By the way, most of you know, but I still would like to repeat, that I only recommend sustainable, organic brands here on my blog. And I only recommend products that I really USE in my everyday life and that I really like!   

Now, this said, I guess this post is a wrap :)

Sending muuuuuch love!  


  1. I think it';s very important to find a balance with your meals) I am vegetarian, but I don't feel lack of anything)

  2. Such an interesting and helpful info! Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Amazing post! Interesting topic to talk about :)

  4. Liebe Larissa, ich kann mir vorstellen, dass dieser Post für sehr viele stillende Mütter, die vegan leben, sehr hilfreich ist! Und ich stimme Dir zu, dass mit Deiner Ernährung die Versorgung des Körpers mit Vitaminen besser gewährleistet werden kann, als bei jemanden, der fleischreiche Nahrung zu sich nimmt. Du machst das alles einfach sehr gut!
    Noch einen schönen Abend :)
    xx Rena
    International Time-Related Giveaway: Bad News and More

  5. Thank you for this comprehensive post! It's great to hear you addressing the myth of protein-deficiency...Even as a vegetarian I get sick of hearing it ;)

    Christina ♥

  6. Such a nice post, thanks for sharing. I tried to be not vegan but vegetarian when I was breasfeeding my baby but I couldn't!

    Walking Freckle

  7. Very interesting post, from the start of New Year we eat more and more fruits and vegetables. I always try to have at least 5 portions of them, but I highly recommend buying those ones in season, cos others are not so tasty and I dont think so good for you as the season ones. I often use frozen ones, cos I think its a great option during winter. Now I maily eat root vegetables, all kind of cabbages, citruses, bananas and stuff like that - I really feel good:) But as you can see on my blog I eat every type of natural food in moderation, it works out for me:) Have a great weekend, hugs:)))

  8. mmm this is amazing post! Great

    have a lovely day! Adela Acanski

  9. Interesting post, Larissa. Thx for sharing.

  10. Great post and amazing pictures :)...thx for sharing!

  11. This is such a great post, thanks for the info!


  12. Ich bin ja keine Mutter, aber ich esse auch sehr gerne vegan und habe den Beitrag gerne gelesen :-)
    Liebst, Melina

  13. This is a great post! I love how when I eat vegetables I never feel bloated or super stuffed and sick like I do when I eat a lot of breads or dairy products. You really can't go wrong with fruits and veggies :)

  14. My cousin is expecting , and she is a vegan staying in New york. This post is so meant for her right now. Great info, I have yet to try barley grass, never tasted it. Barley water I have. Have heard its packed with nutrients, and I can consume it generally too.
    Happy weekend love :)

  15. Great and interesting post, I'll keep in mind! ^-^
    Have a nice Saturday!

  16. Great post dear!

  17. It was interesting to read about protein! And seriously it's great that u lost all ur pregnancy weight with ur lifestyle approach!

  18. Thanks for these tips dear! I'm trying to eat more healthy this year...

    Mónica Sors




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