On eating for two
28 Comments Karen HamiltonJuly 6, 2009
My husband and I have gotten to the age where the urge to nest has kicked in. After three years of wedded bliss and eight years together, we are now itching to add to our new family — a decision that our family and friends have been long awaiting, it seems.
We are therefore pleased to announce that we are indeed expecting! Our little one should grace us just in time for the Olympics. My food habits have consequently experienced an upheaval in the past few months that I have been unable to divulge until now. So allow me to share my thoughts on this new diet of mine.
Oh, alcohol. Top of the leaderboard of pregnancy taboos and one of the toughest for me to give up. I was prepared to call it quits for the length of each gestation, but I didn’t realize that breastfeeding women also had to turn away from it unless they wanted to befuddle their newborn child. Sigh – sobriety looks like a long, lonely road.
Since I had never developed an addiction to coffee or tea, reducing my intake of caffeine is less of a sacrifice. However, it does drastically reduce my enjoyment of my greatest guilty pleasure: the seductress that is Coca-Cola.
I’ve been coping with my cola abstinence by infusing juice with carbonated water: a fizz fix without the elation of that refined sugar rush.
Raw meats and seafood
My first impression of this dietary restriction was that I’d be saying goodbye to raw fish (which is a hard enough thing to say farewell to). Unhappily, all the pregnancy resources at our disposal are ixnaying anything that is not fully cooked through, including deli meats, smoked delicacies, and even steaks cooked to medium-rare perfection. What an unpleasant surprise to find that I will have to chew my way through well done cuts for the next six months. Grumble.
The plus: the changes in my body have actually lessened the effects of my lactose intolerance. The drawback: now out of reach are my favourite, oozy, creamy, raw-milk cheeses. Not all is lost; I can still enjoy pasteurized cheeses as well as any that have been melted or turned into fondue.
Sifting through fact and fiction
Eating right without needless culinary sacrifice is my goal, but it has been frustrating to wade through the old wives’ tales and medical recommendations to determine what is truly dangerous to eat throughout one’s pregnancy. Eat lots of watermelon; avoid watermelon at all costs. Eat eggplant to reduce bloating; eat eggplant and risk inducing labour; Japanese women don’t have a problem eating sushi when pregnant; seafood should be kept to a minimum and certainly not eaten raw…you see how it can be a trial?
Added to the sea of misinformation is a lack of literature surrounding the nutrition of non-Western foods. Since I have been craving mostly Asian foodstuffs, it has been difficult to determine if I should be avoiding or favouring particular ingredients that are commonly used in my parents’ pantries. Since this is our first time at it, I’m taking more precaution than I probably need to. Better safe than sorry.
The one thing that everyone seems to agree on is to eat organic. Not a problem for us – we eat organic whenever possible, so this is already a habit in our household. The surprise was how great the consensus was. I thought only the “hippie” pregnancy books, like my copy of The Complete Organic Pregnancy, would advise this practice, but all the pregnancy literature that I have come across has advocated organic. Too many chemicals in commercial livestock and produce that could affect the baby, they say. It’s a wonder that anyone is still allowed to eat processed foods given such dire warnings.
The impact on Tiny Bites
With a restrictive diet such as this, I naturally will not be able to participate as heartily in the exploration of food and drink in the next little while. But that doesn’t mean that you, dear reader, should suffer along with me. Here’s what we’re going to do for you:
- Get caught up. I’ve snacked my way through plenty of yummy eats in the past two years and have never had enough time to share some of my favourite places and products with you. Now that I’m unable to partake in certain fare, I now have further reason to share these places with you, since you will help me to live vicariously through your bellies.
- Limit the mommy talk. No one likes a smug pregnant woman, so I will limit my baby babble on this here food site. If that subject matter actually interests you, I am planning to revive my personal blog and personal Twitter account for such parental rambling.
- Expand the team. I’m extremely excited that two of my favourite people have joined Team Tiny Bites! You will hear more about them very soon. I won’t go into further detail here, since each merit proper introductions. Their contributions will go far in helping me to explore foods and places that I can currently not venture into.
Phew! We’ve been keeping this secret for a long time so I’m glad to get you up to speed. Hopefully you will understand the reasons behind changes that you will see on Tiny Bites over the next year and still find the info we will present to be valuable and entertaining enough to keep coming back.