23 minutes ago
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Hello, readers! I apologize for being away for so long. Life often gets in the way and hobbies fall to the wayside. But the important thing is that I am back to share my food experiences to the benefit of anyone who gets inspired by them :)
So I am 23 weeks pregnant today with a baby boy. Wow. I haven't posted since I became pregnant, partly because I didn't want to spill the beans too early and partly because I have just been overwhelmed with life in general: first child on the way, new house, moving, CrossFit, friends, family, etc. My goal for my pregnancy is to eat gluten-free as a rule and to follow a new dietary plan based on the CrossFit Prescription: Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.
My dietary prescription, determined by listening to my pregnant body's current needs is:
Eat meat and fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, little starch, and minimal sugar.
I love the simplicity of the items and their ordering. I make sure every meal has some protein (meat, eggs, dairy, fish, etc.) and carbohydrate (fruit and/or vegetables) and fat (animal fats and cheese, nuts and seeds, supplemented with fish oil). Minimal sugar and little starch basically are for my "cheats"--if I have a little rice or corn or some ice cream, I am not going to beat myself up over it and feel bad like a NO before them would make me feel. I will just keep them to a minimum--meaning maybe once or twice a week.
But for me: NO gluten. I want to stick to my guns on that because I know it inflames my digestive tract, mucks up absorption, and has real physical fallout, leaving me stuffy and runny-nosed, puffy-eyed, headachy, cranky, exhaustion, and voraciously hungry soon after. If my body is constantly trying to heal itself from the inside out, how can I give all that I need to give to the little one developing inside me?
Pregnancy has been an incredible experience for me. For one: NO morning sickness. I attribute that to a healthy diet and continuing to bike and CrossFit (scaling and modifying, of course). For another, I feel GREAT. Of course, I went through the extreme tiredness of the first trimester like most women, crashing at the end of every day. And now I definitely need my 8-9hrs of sleep, but the second trimester has brought more energy back. I am LOVING every moment of discovery about the amazing things my body is capable of doing as it changes and the amazing little life inside me who is so active. I also love love love that this is a time-off for body image for me. Like most women, I obsessed over my body image and now, I have no choice but to watch in wonder as my belly expands. For once in my life, I can freely call myself humongous and absolutely love it :)
I found that I really crave fruit. At first it was melons and I could eat an entire half a watermelon or whole honeydew myself in a sitting if I allowed myself. Then bags of cherries when they were in season. Now it is grapes--at least a bunch every morning. I realize that this desire for fruit is from a need of more sugary carbohydrates for quick, easy energy and for the fiber that will counteract the iron in my prenatal vitamins to keep me regular. It seems evolutionarily on point, especially since we have a bounty of local fruit and it's the summer. Guiltless indulgence is completely fine.
I find it interesting that I do not crave candy, pastries, pizza, cookies, chocolate, or breads much at all. Sure, I've tried the gluten-free pizzas, but then I found I can replicate everything I wanted by melting cheese on heirloom tomatoes and topping it with basil, pesto, or pepperoni. I've made nut flour pancakes, muffins, and cookies when the spirit moves me, but the desire is quick to pass. I realize that when I do want these foods, it's more based on fond memories and emotional attachment than their actual taste. That means that I might see them and want them, but it's based on a memory like helping Grandma bake brown sugar crusted apple crisps that warmed the whole house with a sweet cinnamon aroma or remembering yeasty freshly baked bread and how it would melt the butter smeared on top. To me right now, that butter makes my mouth water--not the bread!
My tastes for meat have changed too. I have been head over heels in love with carnitas. That and scrambled or fried eggs and cheese are about the only proteins I truly desire and crave. So it seems that saturated fats like the butter I slather my eggs in, fatty cheeses, and the crispy carnitas are what my body desires and needs, not so much other fats like nuts, seeds, or avocado. Interesting since saturated fats are SO important for growth and development and bodily function while those omega-6s can certainly cause dysfunction if you go overboard with them. Seems evolutionarily on point again.
And while I avoid other dairy because it gives me those gluten-like symptoms, I can stomach cheese and really love it, especially right now. I guess it fits the bill for a fatty protein source to my body, which seems to have priority over lean meats.
But my meat tastes have definitely changed: I used to be in love with ribs and now that taste is out the door, and the smokey BBQ meats just nauseate me. Chicken is still a hit or miss with me and while I love a good steak, it is still backseat to My Darling Carnitas. I have a crock pot/slow cooker now that makes the recipe ten times simpler for our busy days: Slow Cooker Carnitas. I'll post the recipe tomorrow since I am making it today. Here it is in the slow cooker:
Finally beverages: while I used to drink herbal teas instead of plain water as much as possible, I lost my taste for them and now rely on filtered water. This is likely another evolutionary instinct kicking in since herbal teas might have some unwanted reactions during pregnancy. I'll have an occasional decaf iced mocha with organic milk and whip from Verve, but that is at most a once a week treat (a minimal sugar indulgence) that is absolutely delicious, but usually makes me feel a little worse for wear. So water truly is the ultimate thirst quencher.
DIY Food Adventure
My CrossFit gym is embarking on a new kind of challenge, simply cooking and preparing your own food called the DIY Food Adventure. Tomorrow I'll share the prep for the week and my staple meals as food for thought and inspiration.
Here is the next installment: Slow Cooker Carnitas and Confetti Slaw.