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“How Can I Be Sure I’m Getting Enough Protein During a Raw Food Pregnancy?”

Posted Jun 09 2012 6:57am
Written by Tera on June 9, 2012 – -

by Joanna Steven

When I released my eBook Well Rounded: The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Raw Food Pregnancy,I asked people for questions and planned to release a separate, free eBook with the answers. Few questions were actually sent, and I hope that the great feedback I got from readers means that the eBook answered any questions they had regarding healthy raw food pregnancies! I decided to answer the handful of questions I did receive right here on the blog. If you personally have a question that was not answered, contact me! I’ll be happy to help. A reader asked:I am taking childbirth classes and this particular course really stresses getting 80-100 grams of protein. I am finding that hard to do on a raw, vegan diet. I just don’t want to load up on protein powders. I am also having difficulty getting salads and lettuce wraps down, is it ok just do green smoothies to get my greens in? Thank you!
You’re right, many people including Gabriel Cousens recommend 80 grams of protein per day, especially in the 3rd trimester. It’s also true that:

  • there’s protein in everything,
  • raw foodists can get enough protein in their diet,
  • mainstream dieters get too much protein,
  • and they get it from the wrong sources.

But, we still need to pay attention to our protein intake when we are farther along in our pregnancy, because getting enough is crucial to the fetus’ development, it helps our body expand in a healthy way, it gives us energy, it might help us prevent tears and episiotomies during birth, and will help us heal faster after the baby is born.

So, let’s go back to the first 2 points above.

Yes! This is true.
Buuuuut, you still need to eat enough food if you consume ingredients which are low in protein, even though they contain some. For example, fruits contain protein. But you’d need to eat several pounds of them every single day to get enough, and most of them aren’t even complete protein!I am well aware that protein combining is a ridiculous concept, but if you eat foods with only certain kinds of amino acids, you’re going to be lacking in some other amino acids which your body cannot make. My point here is: eat a variety of foods, and don’t stick to a single food group, like fruits.

A resounding YES to this one. However, just like everyone else on this planet, we need to eat enough protein to get enough protein. As I said, Dr Cousens, a long time raw vegan MD, recommends that pregnant women get at least 70-80 grams of protein per day. I’m ready to bet that people who don’t pay attention to their diet and don’t eat a variety of foods every day don’t exceed 40 grams.Yes, it’s easier to absorb in a raw form, but you still need enough, your body won’t make up what’s missing through magic. What you want is, in adequate quantities, protein from potent superfoods such as hemp seeds, leafy greens (yes, I see them as a superfood), etc. And while you don’t want to load up on protein powders, using them sometimes can be great. I used Sun Warriorprotein quite a bit in my 3rd trimester and I felt it was a great addition to my diet.Here’s a protein packed smoothie I often made in my 3rd trimester; it provides about 30 grams of protein.


  • 6 T hemp seeds,
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 5 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Optional: some cinnamon would be very good. I also made it with 1 1/2 T cacao powder and 1 T bee pollen. It was lovely.
Place all the ingredients in a blender except for the banana, and let them soak a few minutes for the dates to soften. Blend everything with the banana, and add a couple of ice cubes if needed for a cold drink. Fills a 20 ounce glass, serves 1.
In the first trimester, getting enough greens can be tough. If you can down green smoothies, more power to you, get a lot of your greens this way. But, you may want to try other new, exciting ways to get enough greens. A good salad dressing can make you love greens again.Around the time I thought I would give them up, I made a salad dressing with jalapeno peppers, olive oil, red wine vinegar and Celtic sea salt. I completely fell in love with salads again, and would have them as a 3 pm snack topped with hemp seeds.Toppings can also add great texture and variety. I love soaking cups of sunflower seeds for 6-8 hours and then dehydrating them overnight. They become deliciously crispy and easy to digest, and I love to add them to my salad greens. Other ingredients I love include sun-dried olives, dulse seaweed, mashed avocado etc.And, sometimes, greens can take the form of a seemingly naughty, yet very healthy treat. Massaging kale leaves with a tahini dressing and dehydrating them until crunchy will give them the crunch of potato chips, while still keeping all their wonderful nutrition intact. Kale chips are some of my best allies in the raw food diet, and I make them whenever I have the chance.

When I was about 5 months pregnant, I decided to pick enough kale from my garden to fill 5 trays. I then cut the kale into wide chips, massaged it with equal parts of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, and sprinkled about 1/4 teaspoon of salt on it. After 5 hours of dehydration, my salt and vinegar “chips” were crunchy and ready. I sat down in front of a movie, and before I knew it, I had eaten the entire batch by myself!

And finally, let’s not forget ethnic foods. Most of these foods are fairly new, but ancient civilizations have been eating greens for a very long time. Now may be the time to try time-tested recipes such as tabbouleh (Lebanese parsley salad) etc.

My point here is that it’s not always greens we can’t stomach, sometimes it’s the monotony of always eating the same thing. Greens can be jazzed up, or if needed, completely hidden.

Well-Rounded: The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Raw Food Pregnancy Joanna Steven is the director of the Raw Mom Club. She’s the author of  Well-Rounded:The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Raw Food Pregnancy and is currently preparing to release a hot new book on breastfeeding on a high raw food diet. To learn more about Joanna, access our free online community of thousands of raw food enthusiasts doing their best to raise healthy families and help their kids look a cucumber in the eye.

Joanna’s book, Well-Rounded, is the first guide ever released to support pregnant or wanting-to-be-pregnant women on the raw food diet. Learn more here.

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