November 8, 2012

Kosher Lasagna, and pregnancy eating

First, an update on my blog decision: after some thinking, I have decided to start a second blog for writing about my pregnancy and, eventually, parenting. While my updates here will still involve being pregnant, of course (it's the biggest thing going on in my life right now), they will be more related to weight, diet, and exercise. My other blog, Kosher Lasagna (which you can also follow on Facebook if you would like), will have more of a focus on the other aspects of pregnancy, and especially about our decision to raise the baby Jewish. I needed the separation for my own clarity, but feel free to follow along there, too, if you would like -  especially if you're a parent! We need all the advice we can get!

Second, let's talk about what I've been eating.

Since finding out that we're expecting, my eating has shifted a little, both in quantity and in content. There are some days when I am very hungry, and I listen to my body and feed it accordingly. There have also been days when I have little or no interest in food, and still, I eat accordingly. The days when I am very hungry seem to come several in a row, then are followed by a return to normal habits. According to the baby books and websites, the increased hunger is almost always explained by where I am in my weekly progress - as the baby hits a growth spurt, my body reacts accordingly.

As far as content, the changes in my diet have been frustrating. Especially during the first 10 weeks, my stomach was incredibly sensitive, and practically nothing appealed to me. In the first few weeks, my weight jumped - not surprising, since I went from a well-balanced diet and running 3-4 times a week to eating crackers almost exclusively and no longer being able to run (my last attempt, around Week 8 I think, was disastrous ... very narrowly avoided making an awful morning sickness scene in a park. Running scrambles my guts too much right now, unfortunately). Other things I ate in the first 8-10 weeks:

  • Larabars - but only the lemon ones (any other flavor, especially the chocolate/cookie type ones, gagged me - and still does)
  • Greek yogurt - I still prefer Fage Total brand to Chobani, as it is less sweet; I switched from 0% to 2%

I struggled a lot with water intake, as even that gagged me for a while - I went from three or four 32 ounce bottles a day to barely finishing one.

Since the worst of the morning sickness ended, I've been able to diversify beyond Goldfish crackers, though I still have several strong food aversions. One of my favorite salad toppings, raw broccoli, actually gagged me for the first time since I was a little kid. Meat and eggs are mostly still gross to me - if someone else prepares it, it can be okay, because I think the smell of cooking it has a lot to do with it. I ate tempeh and seitan (vegetarian/vegan meat substitutes) for a few days but the cost just isn't in our budget right now. I've done alright, though, getting protein in the Greek yogurt I usually have for breakfast. Hummus is good too, but it can't have any flavor - my mind misses my favorite kalamata olive flavored or garlic lovers' ones from Trader Joe's, but my stomach will have absolutely none of it.

Another possibly surprising food aversion I've had is peanut butter, one of my previous big trigger foods. I can't stand the smell of it, and the thought of eating it makes me gag. I told Matt, and he offered a very thought-provoking suggestion: what if my eating disorder is beyond mental, and my physical body knows that this is what it craves in times of stress? It could be possible, then, that my body is making me averse to something it knows I would likely binge on and potentially hurt the baby.

I thought it was brilliant, and honestly wish there was more research being done on eating disorders. I'd be interested in seeing what other folks in recovery thought about this, specifically the experience of other pregnant women - if they, too, became averse to foods that once triggered binges. I spoke with one girl, who said she'd read an article once that suggested that the foods women crave during pregnancy are related to nutrients they may be lacking - so a woman craving ice cream could not be getting enough calcium. It's an interesting idea, for sure.

As far as my own cravings, I've only had a few strong ones. The first was avocado, which was interesting because so many strongly flavored things were unappealing to me at the time. Lately, my cravings are fresh fruit (especially cold grapes and oranges) and cottage cheese. I've been having that instead of Greek yogurt the past few days - just as much protein, so that's good. It's not great sodium-wise, which I need to be extra mindful of, but as far as cravings go, I'm glad it isn't much unhealthier.

I guess I always pictured cravings to be different - I would want my favorite foods all the time, and I would eat them with the justification of pregnancy. And I *did* like cottage cheese before, but it wasn't something I would think I wanted to eat every day if I could. That would've been peanut butter, for sure!


Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I started eating really healthily with my 1st pregnancy. Salad almost every day for lunch, which I ate at work, Sam's Club. Well, I had a very strong aversion to the smell of the meatballs cooking for the meatball subs. My mind put the two together and I couldn't eat salad for years. I did not, however, ever have a problem with gorging on Easter candy. I'll be following you over there, too!

Miss Carrie Ann said...

Wow! Never thought of that before but I had very similar aversion to trigger foods! I actually constantly lost weight for about the first six months if pregnancy because almost nothing sounded good. I did have some cravings for trigger foods in the later months, but still it wasn't the same as it was before or even after being pregnant.

Sarah said...

The meat/egg aversion is extremely common. Not a single woman in my family could handle raw meat when they were pregnant, and most of my friends can't stand meat/eggs either. There's a part of me that thinks this has to be something primal, for some reason (bacteria/parasites?), since so many pregnant women experience it.

Will the Temple consider Nugget Jewish even though you, the mother, aren't? I'm honestly just curious, as all of my reading about Judaism regarding converting when I was in a serious relationship with a Jew. I've never read about a baby born to a non-Jewish mother and a Jewish father. Is there some kind of ceremony they do to welcome the baby into the Temple?

Bailey @ Onederland or Bust! said...

Looking forward to following both of your blogs! I'm not a parent, but I'm very interested in following your story. I hope to be closer to my goal weight when I get pregnant and perhaps I'll learn some tips from you :)

I've heard that some women crave dirt or chalk, which means they are severely lacking iron (I believe it's iron?)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Exciting times! I don't remember foods that I craved (except coffee w/ my 3rd pregnancy!) but I still have aversions to foods that didn't agree with me - there were these pita chips that really stick in my mind. Gag. I can't even look at them in the store now (21 years later!). I also had certain smell aversions - certain men's deodorants, for instance. My hubby changed his but I worked with a guy who still wore it and I would have to cover my mouth/nose when he was close or I'd start gagging! :) Couldn't ask him to change his deodorant!

Anonymous said...

I remember hearing first about the cravings representing nutrients that your body needs when my best friend got pregnant in college. Her strongest cravings were for spicy Mexican style food and chocolate milk. Her daughter now loves spicy foods.

With her son, she craved a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and those are his default favorites to eat (not that he turns down much food in general). My experience with her and her kids made me wonder how much influence what the Mom eats while pregnant and/or breastfeeding has on the child's developing tastes in food later in life.

Unknown said...

Hi Mary! Did the baby books and sites explain the different grow spurts? It would be awesome to know how exactly is your baby's progress and what part of the body is developing in a given week :)

Unknown said...

What Matt said? That IS brilliant. I never thought of it that way before, but it's definitely something to ponder.

That Loud Redhead said...

I really enjoyed reading your take on pregnancy and cravings/aversions. I've lived it twice, but it's interesting to read it from your perspective and see differences and similarities to my own experience. Looking forward to hearing more of your journey!!