First off I wish I could take the credit for these beautiful tofu steaks. They’re essentially blocks of tofu marinated in something like an “Emeril’s Original Essence” and then I bake them for about 20-25 minutes in the stove or about 10-15 in our toaster oven. However, they are a “deli” delight from a local whole foods type store called Rollin’ Oats and they are a wonderful store with amazing and awesome employees and owners. If you’re local to St. Pete or Tampa I highly recommend visiting them!

Anywho they are the focus protein of my beautiful little meal but kale is the Rockstar. Chef Tal Ronnen is an amazing vegan chef and inventor (gardein & Kite Hill) and wrote a beautiful and delectable cookbook called The Conscious Cook. I highly disagree with a simple 4 star review of his book though, I would say it is 5 stars all the way. Some very challenging and gourmet recipes but most I feel any vegan could make.

He has a braised kale recipe which I sort of altered to make my own. I always use Lacinato, or dinosaur kale, as I prefer the texture to “curly” kale. I take a full bunch of organic Dino kale and about 1 cup of Not Chick’n Broth (lower sodium) and I cook it on fairly high heat with the lid of my pot on in order to steam and soften the leaves. When I see it is starting to wilt I add nutritional yeast. And when I say I add it I ADD as much as it takes to make the sauce creamy. Sometimes that’s a cup sometimes two. Remember for vegans it’s a GREAT source of B vitamins. Just 2 tbsp give you a daily source and let’s be honest it tastes pretty awesome!!

So once my tofu is cooked and my kale done I top it off with a couple of caper berries courtesy of the “olive bar” at my local Whole Foods.

Easy and super fast meal and it seems pretty gourmet with the beauty of the caper berries on top!

Well I am officially 26 weeks and a few days pregnant. I can’te tell you how worried practitioners and friends are about a vegan getting enough protein. I really have to laugh in hindsight, because their panic caused me to really be worried. My hubby and I use an iphone app called “Lose it” which you can also log online at because prior to getting pregnant I was on the road to wellness and losing weight. We decided to ensure I didn’t gain too much weight while pregnant and to monitor my intake of food, calories and nutrition, we would continue to use the app.

Thank goodness for this app. I can see every meal, every food, every day how much of my key nutrients, including protein, that I eat. And most often it is 80-100 + grams of protein per day. I now have my ‘loaded weapon’ of proof when people ask “how do you get enough protein?” There are so many annoying things about people making assumptions when you are pregnant. Like touching you…NO it’s not okay to touch my stomach, as my t-shirt that my wonderful hubby got me says “If you didn’t put it in there, don’t touch it.” It’s odd, and rude to be honest. You don’t just grab someone because they are pregnant.

I also get a bazillion questions on my vitamins…well how do you get your DHA? I get it from the source, which is seagrass/seaweed…not from the fish that eat it. They DO in fact make really good vegan prenatal vitamins AND DHA! I get plenty of vitamin D from the Florida sunshine and the rest of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, I get from food! It really IS possible!

I started off my pregancy strong eating loads of kale, spinach and tons of greens and salads and fruits and veggies. Then the second trimester came…and as it progressed so did my desire for carbs, cookies, ice creams, cake, cupcakes, sweets, etc. I have a total aversion now to greens really. I still love my kale & tofu that the hubby cooks up, and in fact I think we’ll eat that tonight, but I can’t stand the idea of a salad. SO…thank goodness for the Blendtec! I just make smoothies…pack in the greens then throw in my fruit and almond or coconut milk and some vegan protein powder and BAM! A healthy fruit/veggie packed snack that I can count on to give me those healthy vitmains and minerals from my greens.

I honestly think it would be much harder to eat meat while you’re pregnant. I developed such strong food aversions in my first trimester that subsided a bit in the middle of my second trimester but have come back with a vengeance. I cannot stomach the smell of any kind of burger cooking…meat, boca, vegan, etc. Enter Hillary’s Adzuki Bean Burgers which just smell like a blend of spices since they are seasoned spectacularly and are totally plant based! Delicious!

So basically if I WERE a preggo carnivore, I wouldn’t have any real protein options since the smell of everything is off putting. I am so thankful I can enjoy tofu, seitan and tempeh! And hello BEANS and quinoa and grains are also loaded with proteins and rich in vitamins. Keeping it real with whole foods is the way to go…vegan or not!

Some people have attributed my lack of morning sickness and general great healthy pregnancy to being vegan, I attribute it to a blessing. No one knows WHAT causes some ladies to get morning sickness and others not to but I am glad I didn’t deal with it. I just can’t wait for her to be born and show everyone it is SO possible to have a healthy baby that was a vegan pregnancy AND a baby that is raised vegan with a breast feeding vegan Mama!