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!