Hello everybody! Pregnancy is kind of a bummer when it comes to food, huh? All these new restrictions, no sushi, no undercooked meats (I miss you so much, rare steaks! *sob*), blah blah blah along with all the food aversions and stomach crap that happens as a result of hormones, organs getting moved around and all sorts of other fun stuff.
My pregnancy has been especially bumpy for me in regards to my stomach and what I can eat. First trimester was all nausea and food aversion which led to some severe weight fluctuation resulting in hours spent with a nutritionist and food alarms on my phone like some sort of horrible class schedule only instead of taking courses on history I had to try and choke down food that held no appeal to me (and then hope I didn’t just barf it all back up as soon as I was done).
Second trimester was totally just a “second verse, same as the first” sort of deal with the nausea and food aversion but there was a few glorious weeks where my food aversion went away and I was able to eat food like a normal human being!
Now in the third trimester I am carrying exceedingly high which means my uterus is displacing my stomach like it has a turf war vendetta against it. This means I can eat a very small amount of food before instantly feeling so full and nauseous and heart burny that I want to just lay on the ground like a beached whale. But I can’t even do that because laying down makes it feel worse, like I’m an overly full, long-necked vase that is going to spill water if it tilts too much but instead of water it’s vomit. FUN TIMES.
But I thought it would be fun to sort of talk about what I have been able to eat while pregnant. Just to act as a sort of food journal/interesting snap shot to show how pregnancy food wonk is different for all of us!
MY FAVORITE PREGNANCY FOODS
1. ANY SORT OF SPICY FOOD.
This one seems weird because you’d think with the high levels of nausea and heartburn that a pregnant woman can experience she’d want to avoid eating things like green chile stew and chile rellenos. But get this: I have NEVER had heartburn or any of my other stomach problems when I eat spicy food. *knocks on wood* I honestly have no idea why. It was never among any of the food I barfed up either. Which is good because the thought of throwing up something outrageously spicy sounds just awful. My favorite cheap, crap way of getting my heat fix has to have been my Spicy Ramen (super unhealthy for you but it’s not like I eat it every day or even every week).
1-2 packages of ramen, the kind you cook on the stove
A metric shit ton(ne) of Sriracha (or any hot sauce of your choice)
1. Cook the ramen as you like it. I myself like to add the flavor packets to the cooking water but I use extra water so the “broth” as it were is extra watery and bland. Mmmmmm good stuff.
2. Pull the ramen out of the water and place in a bowl to the side. Cover the noodles in Sriracha. More. No, no, more. MORE. They need to look like red demon noodles fresh from the coals of hell. My rule of thumb is if when I eat the finished dish I don’t have tears streaming down my face I didn’t put enough Sriracha on there.
3. Pour just the smallest amount of the broth onto the noodles so that way it’s kind of soupy still. Add as much or as little as you’d like.
4. Enjoy! Try not to die from sodium overdose!
2. SOUP. OH GOD, ALL THE SOUP.
Soup has been a fucking blessing this pregnancy. Too nauseous to eat? Sip the broth. Feeling up to something a little more hearty? Have some potato rolls handy to eat with the soup or put some meat in there. Favorites on soup are a toss up between the lentil soup I talked about here and what I’ve taken to calling, Freezer Soup.
Random variety of vegetables, usually the kind that are frozen in bags at the grocery store
Maybe some protein
Various seasonings such as oregano, thyme, basil, bay leaves, garlic, onions, cayenne, red pepper flakes (see entry #1), etc.
Either bullion cubes or your favorite kind of soup stock
Maybe some sort of grain or legume like lentils, barley, rice, etc.
This soup is much more free form. I usually put like, 4-6 cups of water in a pot and just start adding stuff. I pick out two to three different types of veggies (my store even stocks frozen veggies marked for soup specifically so I love using these) that sound like they would go good together. Combos I have tried include sliced okra, lima beans, corn and green peppers; peas, carrots, green beans, and tomatoes… Things like that. I dunno, it’ll probably work if it sounds good. And if not well… This is why it’s probably good to start with smaller batches of soup until you get the hang of it.
For seasoning I try to work off of whatever vegetables or protein I’m adding. For protein I’ll do things like add eggs like an egg drop soup or cube some tofu or even just toss in a can of precooked chicken chunks. There are a bunch of options here too. The point is you just sort of throw whatever healthy sounding crap you have together and hope it comes out well.
I haven’t suffered any failures on this one yet but it’s probably not a helpful recipe if you aren’t particularly good at cooking. Other tips to consider is to keep in mind how much liquid your added grains or legumes might need. Lentils are a thirsty bean and while they take a pretty short amount of time to cook compared to other dried legumes they will deplete the shit out of the moisture level in your soup. Maybe that’s your thing. Maybe you like thick soup. Me, I prefer soup that’s a little more on the soupy side so I always add extra water when I add lentils. Barley and okra both can make soup a little thicker so consider that if you’re considering combining them (that soup turned out really thick but it tasted great so it worked out).
Actually if your soup turns out a little too thick you can always do what I do and have it for breakfast. With a few fried eggs on top. Just, plop, right up on the soup. I like my eggs over easy so the yolk combines with soup and it’s soooo goood. Plus you’re getting your protein plus a bunch of extra fiber and healthy carbs from all the vegetables and shit in the soup. (And before anyone asks I actually do purchase pasteurized eggs so that way I can enjoy my over easy eggs without having to risk salmonella from the egg shell.) I don’t really think it would taste as good with scrambled eggs but eh, whatever floats your boat I guess! I’m the weirdo eating a big ass bowl of vegetable soup with fried eggs on top so I don’t think I get to judge anybody.
3. FAST FOOD CRAP.
Yeah, I have succumbed to the siren song of fast food joints more than once or twice. A notable entry includes the Chili Cheese Coney from Sonic microwaved to fully cooked. Honestly this is only noteworthy because I HATE hotdogs. Like, they are one of the only things on the list of pregnancy no-no’s that I was like, “Eh, who cares?” about. LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT I WOULD CARE. I WOULD CARE A WHOLE LOT.
Towards the end of my first trimester I started wanting one so damn bad. Which is weird. I normally eat maybe a single hot dog every two or three years or so. You know, just long enough for me to have forgotten that they taste like crap and wonder why I haven’t had one in so long. It’s like a taste bud reminder. But suddenly those Coneys sounded so damn good and nothing could replace them.
So I bought one. And I microwaved it. Because I’m weird and the thing felt so tepid that I didn’t want to risk disease from something I don’t even like anyway. And I ate it. AND IT STILL TASTED LIKE CRAP. But I ate the whole thing anyway. And then I bought another one the next day and I ate that one too. I remember Matt coming in at some point, asking me if my dog was any good and I just shook my head no and said, “It’s disgusting.” And then I took another giant bite.
“Then… Why are you eating it?”
“I DON’T KNOW. I really wanted it and it’s really gross but it’s not making me sick and I actually feel better now that I’m eating it!”
I think he backed out of the room at that point.
4. ALL OF THE DAIRY.
Being lactose intolerant means I don’t really like milk. Or things that taste like milk. Or have a lot of milk in them. Ice cream has always been the exception to that rule for me and I have always eaten it with the attitude that I am eating a very delicious poison. Have I eaten too much? Is this enough poison to make me sick or can I have more? Did I eat enough food beforehand to help dilute the effects of this poison? It’s like playing Russian Roulette only if I lose I don’t die, I just ruin the bathroom for everyone else.
About a month ago I started wanting all of the dairy I could eat. ALL OF IT. It didn’t have to be like, actual cows milk but it better be close. Which is funny because I still hate anything that tastes like regular milk. So if I wanted a big tall glass of almond milk I had to put chocolate syrup in it because plain it just tasted too much like normal milk for me to choke it down.
I would eat a lot of cereal to have more “milk” (milk substitutes honestly) but a lifetime of lactose intolerance has left me with a weird built in habit where I can eat a bowl of cereal and still somehow consume so little of the milk that it almost looks like the exact same amount from start to finish. So I ended up eating a lot of cereal.
Funny enough but ice cream was the only thing I could eat by itself and of course I like the kind with actual dairy in it so it was the only thing I could eat tons of easily and the only thing that could make me sick from over consumption. But it hasn’t happened yet *knocks on wood again* so for now I get to eat as much Rocky Road as I am willing to let myself eat without having to worry about repercussions of the nausea type.
So those are the major players in terms of my food from this pregnancy so far. We’ll see how I handle all the new tiny squished stomach crap and if any of this stuff will end up betraying me.