Monday, August 22, 2016

Pregnancy and Food, Food and Pregnancy

*This may seem like funky timing because it was an essay that didn’t make the cut for an upcoming book project. Enjoy =]

They go together like peanut butter and jelly. And also like peanut butter and tabasco sauce. Peanut butter and meatloaf. Peanut butter and peanut allergy.
Never in my life have I thought more about food than I have while pregnant. And I’m a food addict.
A large part of my pregnancies have been spent thinking about what to make for dinner.
In the beginning I am thinking about all the things I do not want: Eggs, meats, vegetables, fruits, cheese, nuts. This leaves rice, pasta, bread. I spend many first trimester nights wondering how I can trick my husband into thinking this bread is different from last night’s bread.
I forced down another bite of rice and then worried over whether or not my baby was getting all the protein/calcium/fiber/iron it needed. How many servings of leafy greens are in this green smoothie? I wondered as I pinched my nose shut.
The food aversion stage (basically) dissipates and I am overwhelmed by information about not-safe foods.
First I heard sushi was out. Then I heard vegetarian sushi or cooked sushi, like a fried Golden California Roll, were okay. I don’t like sushi so I ignored both pieces of information.
First I heard soft cheeses like feta were out, then I heard that most come pasteurized these days and to just double-check labels.
First I heard tuna was out, then I heard chunk-light-packed-in-water-and-harvested-in-the-US was safe.
I craved frozen yogurt during my first pregnancy so we went out to get some on an almost weekly basis. Then I heard, like a month after my baby was born, that all soft-serve ice creams are a no-no.
Cold-cut lunch meat, which I normally never want, is suddenly so desirable to me around the middle of each pregnancy.

Adjectives can make or break my day during pregnancy. Certain words can make me repulsed by my favorite foods or desperate to eat something I normally won’t touch.
Creamy. Crunchy. Sticky. Crispy. Moist. Flaky. Fluffy. Succulent. Tender. Juicy. Thick-cut. Slow-roasted. Gooey. Tangy. Caramelized. Flambéed. Melting. Sour. Sweet. Salty. Savory. Decadent.
Stop it. Just stop. Especially you, succulent.
Sticks and stones can break my bones. Words can keep me awake all night craving your stupid tender, juicy, crispy fried chicken. They can also make me throw up.
I think we should all agree to use very bland words to describe foods just in case a pregnant woman is nearby.

Acceptable food descriptions from now on:
“Can I start you with any appetizers this evening? Our garlic breadsticks are not gross.”
“This smoothie is delicious! Very smooth and smoothie-like!”
“You have GOT to try this perfectly cooked meat. It tastes good!”
“I recommend our vegetable soup It tastes like soup made of vegetables. Divine, really.”
“You have to taste this! It tastes so healthy!”
“This is deliciously bland! It is both tasteless and odorless. Positively delightful!”

Acceptable Instagram food posts from now on:
-Smoothies that are pinkish in nature.
-chocolate squares
-slices of bread with nothing on them
-rice with absolutely nothing in or on it
-plain, lightly-salted popcorn
-vanilla ice cream with no toppings

I am talking to restaurant owners, waiters, foodies, everyone with Internet, everyone at the beach, everyone in a coffee shop, everyone inviting anyone over to their house. Now we are all on the same page. Good.

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Thanks so much for your comments! I always read them, don't always have time to answer quickly. Sorry about that!