Confession: I have, with wild abandon, violated nearly every dietary rule concerning pregnancy in the modern age.
For someone who gets ill at the mention of most foods, I certainly do get a thrill from fantasizing about those foods I crave. Much as it was with Maggie, my cravings tend toward carb-dense breads and red meat. Rare, mooing, bleeding meat, when I can get it. Steak. Ribs. Burgers. I want it all. And on top of that, I want a bunch of food I can’t have. And I eat it.
In Maine, I gorged myself silly on Moe’s Italian Sandwiches fresh from Portsmouth, loaded with oil and each one had extra salami. Deli meat: check.
In Florida, Tom took me to Bern’s Steakhouse, a Tampa institution and home of the most fabulous meats you could ever hope to see. I had a filet mignon, rare, preceded by nearly a quarter pound of steak tartare. That’s a quarter pound of seasoned raw meat and some onions. I’m salivating just thinking about it. And for dessert? We had a cheese platter. Soft cheese and raw/undercooked meats: check.
In Cambridge, MA I stuffed myself senseless on organic sushi (all salmon, no high-mercury fish). Sushi: check.
In Harrogate, they freakin’ LOVE their goat cheese. I ordered a 10″ pizza loaded with the stuff. And, figuring it was fine if it was cooked to a hot temperature, I ate the whole thing. Every inch.
Let’s not go into too much detail about the raw oyster brunches, venti-size coffees, the Diet Cokes, and Kona Longboards I had before I knew I was pregnant. Let’s also not get into detail about the lattes I’ve had since I found out.
Now, get it straight: I’m not telling you to go out and eat all those things and that it’s okay. I don’t want to get sued by your listeria-ridden asses. Don’t sue me, please. This is not an endorsement to throw out the advice you get from your own doctor or midwife.
That said, *my* midwife said, “Eat what you like. Just be sensible.” And I am. No more raw oysters; I’ll eat mussels properly steamed to a safe temperature (the ones that Maggie doesn’t steal off my plate, that is). No more steak tartare or beef carpaccio; but I’m not giving up my rare steak or my roast beef sandwiches. We’re too far inland for me to trust sushi and the majority of my cheese cravings tend toward the perfectly safe trappings of fresh mozzarella, so it’s not like I’m slamming down tuna sashimi with chevre chasers.
Right now I’m ascribing to the Ayun Halliday diet lined out in Dirty Sugar Cookies. Yes, she did land in the hospital with a case of listeria in her 8th month, but this truism remains even with that warning: “Intuition told me that I wouldn’t make the finish line without regular infusions of beer, coffee, and ice cream.” I don’t have much taste for beer, but a small coffee goes a long way to ensuring that I don’t fall asleep on the couch while my toddler merrily burns the room down and is well within the US and UK regs for caffeine consumption.
In short, I’m eating small, healthy, balanced meals with sensible snacks.
But I’m doing it my way.