When “Bones” star Emily Deschanel spoke about keeping a vegan diet throughout her pregnancy in the August issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal, it got people talking. Speculation about diet choices during pregnancy seems to be fair game for media and the public, but what’s really important and what we advocate for is how important it is to be healthy and this starts before even becoming pregnant.

We think it’s great that people are talking about this, as being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight throughout pregnancy is so important to avoid problems later on, like childhood obesity and diabetes, and to avoid potential complications during birth.

Women who are Vegan or Vegetarian CAN have a healthy pregnancy. We recommend following the guidelines in our book.  The sources of iron needed for pregnancy are attainable through either of these dietary regimens.  For example, one cup of spinach has twice as much iron as three ounces of beef. Adequate protein can be achieved by eating spinach, soybeans, split peas, baked beans and by eating nuts or peanut butter.

Remember that a woman only needs 300 extra calories a day to allow the fetus to grow.  These diets may also help women from gaining too much weight by reducing the amount of processed high calorie foods that people eat in a non-vegan or vegetarian diet.

“I still have to defend myself because people don’t understand it. As a pregnant woman especially, people will say to me, ‘You must eat meat and dairy.’ You really have to tap into your self-esteem whenever people try to convince you you’re making the wrong choice,” Deschanel said.

She isn’t alone. Many Vegan celebrities are going public with their opinions and advice for other pregnant Vegans, like actress Alicia Silverstone who has been blogging on her “Kind Life” website about how to have a healthy vegan pregnancy and subsequently, a healthy vegan baby.

The diet a woman chooses in her pregnancy is her personal choice, and as long as she gets the proper amounts of protein, iron and vitamins, we support that choice entirely.