Soup Sunday with ECP: and the how-to guide for a healthy vegan pregnancy

I did a very odd thing yesterday. That’s perhaps not something that would surprise you, but I mean really odd.

I nominated yesterday as a duvet day. No work. No emails (ok, a few). No phone calls. Bliss.

And for the first time this week, I made myself something cooked.

And that was partly why I ended up doing the thing that was odd.

It was very yummy, loosely based on Margarita’s recipe from the second-to-last Soup Sunday.

I ate it while watching a few more episodes of “Come Dine with Me”, my long-standing number one guilty pleasure (joint first with Booja Booja Hunky Punky Chocolate ice cream).

And then I felt tired. I mean REALLY tired. No doubt, after nothing but raw food for a week, my insides were saying “this is way too much like hard work”.

So, at around 4.30pm, I decided to have a little nap, which is unheard of for me in the day-time, unless I have a heavy cold or flu (woman flu, the proper one).

Only thing was, I didn’t set an alarm. So I woke up shortly before midnight. I had a little wander round the house, checked Eric was ok, and then went back to bed again.

And I slept again, almost immediately. Until 7.30am.

Now, I’m not just blaming the cooked food. And it was definitely worth it, just for a change, you understand. And I must seriously have needed to catch up on some zzzzs. But it just goes to show how much more energy it takes to digest cooked food, doesn’t it?

Whenever any of us used to go out for cooked food away from Hippocrates, we’d all be hitting the snooze button at least a dozen times the next morning. And until then, I thought it was only a few bottles of Malbec that could do that to you.

Anyway, while I was sleeping, this week’s Soup Sunday superstar was busy beavering away.

I’m very pleased to introduce to you a friend of mine, aka ECP, Spanish by birth, and a classmate on the Hippocrates Health Educator program a few months ago.

Positively blooming, at around 4 months, at Hippocrates
ECP: Positively blooming, at around 4 months, at Hippocrates Health Institute

Unlike most of us (I hope), she has steadily piled on the pounds since she returned home. What’s more, she’s completely happy with that.

And that’s because in a few weeks’ time, this feisty lady will be introducing Thomas to the world. Yep, throughout the course, she was pregnant. Still is. And she’s blooming.

But before we hear any more about her bonny bump, I need to tell you a bit more about the lady herself.

An associate professor of Economics at New York’s State University, ECP teaches macro-economics and finance. And as you’d expect, ECP’s vegan.

She’d been a vegetarian since enrolling on Hippocrates’ three-week Life Transformation Program in 2008. But then she took things a stage further when she took the Health Educator Program by ditching the remaining animal stuff.

“I became vegan to try to improve my hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) condition during the pregnancy and it improved a lot,” says ECP, who lives in Long Island.

“I’ve also felt great throughout my pregnancy and the baby has been growing beautifully. There was absolutely no issue with being vegan and pregnant at the same time. I was juicing and eating sprouts, of course.”

She continues: “When I arrived at Hippocrates for the Health Educator Program, I was vegetarian, not vegan. But after talking to Dr Anna-Maria Clement, who has raised all four of her children on a vegan, raw diet – and carried them all as a vegan – she convinced me that this was the right thing to do.

“This was reinforced after my thyroid issues became much better; I got a noticeable boost of energy after becoming vegan. Both Anna-Maria and Dr Brian stressed the importance of having blue-green algae as part of the diet, as well as oils rich in omega 3, such as hemp seed oil, with salads.”

ECP’s mind was made up. But as you can imagine, a number of her nearest and dearest were concerned about whether a vegan diet would be able to sustain the healthy development of her baby.

“Many friends and family advised me to quit the vegan diet because of the danger that the baby would not get the right nutrition, and that we would both be lacking in protein and iron.”

Still blooming!
Life’s a beach. For now, at least…

And here’s what she continues to tell these naysayers:

  1. The fact that animal protein is needed for survival is a myth. I stress the irrefutable link between animal protein and disease.
  2. Pregnancy is the best time to get on a vegan diet, because if you eat the right way, it is full of nutrition and enzymes, especially if part of it is raw. However, it is important to have a balanced diet and to eat lots of sprouts so that you and the baby get the right nutrition.
  3. You also have to add some supplementation, like the pre-natal vitamins and iron. But this is something that non-vegans also do during pregnancy. By doing this, you will go through the pregnancy better than ever. I have experienced this myself.
  4. I have been working and exercising every day, even now that I am in the last month of pregnancy. In the first trimester, you do not feel like eating so much and many woman feel like eating crackers or chocolate and this is where the green juices come in handy, as well as the green salads. Both will be easy on the stomach and will give you the right nourishment. If you crave sugars, you can eat organic fruits for breakfast to get rid of any sweet cravings.
  5. I will definitely switch back to a vegetarian diet if either my bloodwork is deficient in anything, or if the baby is not growing well. But as ever, my bloodwork is very good, and the baby is growing beautifully. He is just the right size, not too big and not too small. I specifically asked the doctors if they saw any problem with me being vegan but they said my blood results were very good.

And as for after ECP’s Big Event?

“Dr Anna-Maria and Dr Brian say that the most important thing to do for your baby is to breastfeed for as long as you can, up to two years of age,” she says.

“This will give the baby a personalised immunity that you can NEVER get with formula milk. They also recommended for the baby not to have any vaccines on the first day of life, when the baby has no immune system, and they recommended me to look into homeopathic vaccines as an alternative going forward.”

ECP’s chosen recipe is a great one to prepare her for impending motherhood, as it’s one of the most comforting and nurturing concoctions on the planet. And here it is, minus a photo (let’s be honest, lentil soup isn’t the most photogenic substance on the planet, now, is it?)

And: Bonus: It’s cooked! (After last night, I won’t be trying this one until I need to catch up on some sleep).

ECP’s Vegan Lentil Soup

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 tbsp coconut oil

Sprouted lentils – 2 handfuls per portion

1 onion

3 gloves of garlic

1 ripe tomato**

3 bay leaves

1 potato*** or sweet potato (sweet potato is better nutritionally – ed)

1 carrot

¼  of a cabbage

1 red bell pepper

1 leek

Pinch each of salt****, cumin and/or turmeric – (as a healthier alternative, use tamari instead of salt – ed)

 

Preparation

  1. Warm up the coconut oil on a low heat and add in this order: minced onion, minced garlic, minced tomato, bay leaves, minced potato, minced carrot and the remaining vegetables cut into small pieces. Mix well with the olive oil for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the sprouted lentils, and add cold, filtered water until both the vegetables and lentils are covered well (for the water, I usually add 4 times the amount of lentils).
  3. Cook until the lentils are done in the regular pot. Spice to taste. You can use salt (or tamari – ed), cumin, turmeric or any other spice of your taste.

** Not Hippocrates approved. Why? Because in line with the rules of food combining, tomato is a fruit and so should not be eaten with anything other than fruit. This is a treat!

*** Not Hippocrates approved. Why? I think I went to the toilet in the middle of a lecture when this was covered, but Dr Clement said they are toxic. And being a member of the nightshade family, this isn’t really surprising. Stick to the sweet potato option instead.

**** Not Hippocrates approved. Why? You won’t find a grain of salt anywhere on the Hippocrates campus (unless someone has smuggled it in the lining of their suitcase). It’s a mineral robber and it causes hypertension. So just use tamari instead (about a teaspoon per pinch of salt).

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by George

I’m George Dryden - a slightly-off-the-wall-but-in-a-good-way journalist, blogger and almost-raw vegan. In April 2014, I graduated as a Certified Health Educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute, in Florida, USA (more about George)

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