Pregnant Vegetarian Caving In To McDonald’s Burger Craving Sparks Debate: It’s crazy

Tran Hanh
June 10, 2024

Footage of a pregnant vegetarian woman giving in to her craving for a McDonald’s hamburger has sparked debate on social media.

In a clip posted to TikTok under the handle @kennahags, a 21-year-old mom-to-be who lives in Florida films herself as she approaches a McDonald’s drive-thru, and orders a hamburger with medium fries.

And, as she drives her car to the collection window, she asks herself: “What did I just do?”

Food cravings are not unusual during pregnancy. In a survey of 2,000 women who’ve given birth within the last six years conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Vitamin Angels, 89 percent of respondents said they had experienced at least one type of food craving during a pregnancy.

A pregnant woman eating a McDonald's hamburger.
Screenshot from a video of a pregnant vegan woman eating a McDonald’s hamburger. The 21-year-old vegetarian mom-to-be had a hankering for meat so decided to see what would happen. TIKTOK/KENNAHAGS

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Specific food you could only get in one place (35 percent), junk food (33 percent) and food they don’t normally like eating (30 percent) all proved popular among the new moms polled.

This woman’s situation is a combination of all of the above, although it’s still a little more complicated than that. Speaking on the clip, the expectant mom explains that she stopped eating meat five years ago but had been having a “mental battle” with herself over the past week because “the baby has just been craving meat.”

The woman says that, at first, she refused to give in but there is something about a McDonald’s that is “so good.” She says: “I convinced myself it’s not real meat so maybe I will be OK. Though she admits to being “nervous” ahead of taking her first bite of the burger she then proceeds to eat it, telling viewers “I friggin’ hate being pregnant.”

“I feel like I am committing the biggest crime,” she says. “I am so shocked I am doing this.” She then tells viewers it will be a “one-time thing.”

Though she says she is “so disappointed” in herself, the video did eventually find its way to TikTok where it has been watched over three million times.

Debate has long raged over the pros and cons of being vegetarian during pregnancy, and some critics claim the approach deprives the unborn child of key nutrients. However, the scientific evidence suggests otherwise.

A 2019 review of the scientific literature available, which was published in the journal Nutrients, concluded that while unmonitored plant-based diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as proteins, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, omega-3, and vitamin B12, well planned vegetarian and vegan diets are entirely safe during pregnancy and lactation.

That didn’t stop some users commenting on the TikTok video from accusing the mom of failing to properly plan her diet, despite the lack of any evidence to support such claims. “Your body is craving iron,” one user wrote with another agreeing: “Check your iron levels, Normally when you crave meat it is due to lack of iron.”

Others were critical of her choice of food. “Burger King has non-meat options!” one user wrote with another urging her to get “spinach” instead. There was some sympathy though with one woman admitting “cravings are feral when you’re pregnant” while another appeared to have little patience for her dilemma, writing: “It’s just a burger. You’re fine. Feed that damn baby.”

One woman, meanwhile, claimed to have gone through something similar, although there was one key difference. “This happened to me when I was pregnant,” she said. “I felt so much better after incorporating meat. Before I ate the meat I had to take iron. I never went back vegetarian.”

In any case, this has proved to be far from an isolated incident with @kennahags posting another video, more recently, eating what appears to be a Big Mac.

Newsweek has reached out to @kennahags for comment.

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