I had scrambled eggs for breakfast. They were veg-fed, free-range and organic, but they were still obviously not vegan. I’ve also been eating little bits of cheese here and there for weeks.
It all started a couple months ago. After more than five years of being completely vegan and loving it, I started thinking about cheese. It wasn’t quite a craving, but it slowly grew until one day in the grocery store my hand reached out all on its own and grasped a single serving of string cheese. I ate it very slowly in the car with a bizarre mixture of shame and relief, and ever since then I’ve been trying to figure out what to do.
When I first got pregnant, a few friends and family members expressed concern about my vegan diet. I did research and felt confident that I could stay vegan throughout my pregnancy. I still believe it’s completely possible to have a healthy vegan pregnancy. But it’s not easy. It takes a whole lot of beans and nuts and vegetables to add up to the 75g of protein a day recommended for pregnant women. Getting the right balance of amino acids is also a challenge because it requires such a variety of foods. Soy products are the only whole vegan proteins, and I’m not comfortable relying so heavily on them. I’ve been worried for a while about the possible risks of my high intake of soy (hormonal impact of isoflavones, high percentage GMO, etc.).
I’ve been eating some kind of protein with almost every meal and still I’ve been craving sugar, which is a sign that I may not be getting enough protein (or having a girl, if you listen to the old wives’ tales). I’m trying to listen to my body, and right now my body is saying that cheese and eggs in moderation are worth it.
I’m woefully conflicted about this backslide to vegetarianism. As with getting married, I’m making what feels like the right decision even though it goes against core personal beliefs. Veganism for me is more than just a political statement. It’s something that feels right deep in my heart and soul. Fundamentally, it’s about non-violence. It’s healthier, it’s better for the earth, and it means that no creature has to suffer for me to eat.
I can make justifications that the particular cheese and eggs I’m eating are (to the best of my knowledge) not products of factory farming. I can tell myself that at this point in my life — and especially in my baby’s life — it might very well be healthier not to be 100% vegan. But it’s still a major compromise. All I can do is take it one day at a time. Don’t expect to see me eating fettucini alfredo anytime soon.