Wednesday, September 1, 2010


What did you eat or avoid during pregnancy? I find it kind of ironic that just a few months after starting a blog called "Emily Eats Everything," my diet became restricted in all kinds of interesting ways. Bacon is in the subtitle of this blog, and now it's off-limits because of nitrites. (Nitrites, by the way, are apparently horribly poisonous and also breathtakingly delicious. Luckily I am able to find and indulge in nitrite-free bacon and pepperoni occasionally, thanks to Central Market and Trader Joe's.) Here are some of the items I'm avoiding during pregnancy:

Processed meats containing nitrites
Lunchmeats (even the all-natural ones)
Large fish
Unpasteurized dairy, which vexingly includes all gruyére cheese
Undercooked meat
Undercooked eggs
Most herbal teas
Anything cooked by my friend Irish's friend, who thinks that basting nearly-cooked meat in raw chicken marinade is delicious.

Okay, now I'd be avoiding that last one anyway. But two things have surprised me about the pregnancy diet so far: 1, I can still manage to eat really unhealthfully and often do, and 2, I'm pretty much a damn semi-vegetarian again!

That's the relapse part. I was so delighted to have rediscovered good quality (grass-fed, organic, sustainably and humanely raised) red meat and especially pork in the last year or two, and now here I am avoiding it. I can still eat red meat, but the other night I had my first pregnancy aversion. It wasn't coffee or bourbon or something I'd LIKE to have lost my taste for*, no. It was filet mignon.

Filet mi-freaking-gnon. We buy our fancy beef from US Wellness Meats, and let me tell you, they sell a top-notch filet. We've had it once before, and ordered two more last month for a special occasion. So a couple nights ago I made baked sweet potatoes, roasted popcorn kale, and two big, gorgeous steaks. I cooked mine to 145 F, to be safe, let it rest well, and sat down ahem, in front of the TV,. One bite and I thought the meat must have been bad. Turns out I can't handle any hint of undercooked beef anymore, and really? If you have to cook your beef to death? Not so much worth eating the beef.

So I've relapsed completely. Yesterday I had a PBJ english muffin for breakfast, vegetarian double-mushroom soup for lunch, and a truly transcendent bowl of palak paneer from a local Indian restaurant for dinner. The day before it was cereal with peaches, my biweekly tunafish sandwich, and and the beginnings of that same mushroom soup.

But! I'm not being entirely forthcoming with that list, am I? Doesn't sound so much like the unhealthy diet I was describing does it? Well, let's just say that dinner the night BEFORE was about a pound of curly fries and a couple fatty bites of ribs from the county fair. And there has been one other small relapse too: yesterday I had a single, blessed shot of regular espresso. That worries me more than the fries, by far, since caffeine is a miscarriage risk. But all the doctors and studies say a little occasionally is fine, I'm well into the second trimester, and this little baby is a fighter, so when I'm going to treat it like that tunafish sandwich - only one, only once a week or two.

Now that I'm really and truly showing, I'm sure I'll be getting more long looks and "advice" when eating in public. Maybe on this post, too. But for now, I'm happy with my healthy/unhealthy diet, and looking forward to a half a glass of wine in my future.

*No, I haven't had any bourbon while pregnant. But I sniffed a couple bottles from our liquor cabinet to see if nature would be kind and make them repellent to me. It wasn't, they weren't, and I think Baby loves good gin, tequila, and whiskey, in that order.