Today is officially week 8 of this “magical” pregnancy experience (excuse me while I swallow back some vomit), and all I can say is that I am sick and tired of eating, of wanting to eat but not knowing what to eat, of thinking the pain in my stomach is hunger but not sure, and of food-related things in general. In case you were wondering, today’s post is dedicated to all things food in my first trimester. So, here we go.
Before I dive into all the weird quirks I’ve experienced just in the last few weeks, allow me to shed some light on my typical experience with food and routine. Unlike my husband, I loathe routine. It bores and aggravates me. I think this may be one of the many reasons that teaching at the college level is so appealing to me. Every semester offers a different schedule, and even each day of the week in a given semester may be different. Like this semester, I teach 12:30-3:15pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I teach 12:13-1:45pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Blessed Friday, I have the whole day to myself (usually). But last semester, I taught only two classes, still Monday-Thursday but at completely different times. Other semesters, I’ve only taught on two days of the week with the other three days to myself.
Now, when you add food to the anti-routine thing, it gets even more interesting. I love most food when I’m not pregnant. I’ve never been a picky eater–ask my parents–and even if I don’t like something, I just see it as a challenge to overcome. That’s how I came to like cooked spinach and collard greens… I made myself try a little every time they were made at family gatherings, and although it took me about 20 years to come around, come around I did. That being said, I like to mix things up. Maybe for a couple weeks, I’ll be all about eating bagels with peanut butter and jelly. Then, the next two weeks, it’ll be Greek yoghurt, fruit, and granola. Then, still, a month later, I’ll prefer homemade fruit smoothies with a granola bar. Or toast with fruit. Or eggs, if I have the time to make them.
In essence, repetition and routine drive me bonkers. Variation is key to my very existence, whether that means my work schedule, my diet, or even the color of my hair these days.
And then I got pregnant.
I’ve been receiving a lot of solicited and unsolicited advice these days on all things food and drink. Some suggestions are great–yes, watermelon sounds delicious, and adding protein powder to a milkshake is a brilliant idea. Other suggestions sound repuslive–no nuts (too dry), no more ginger ale (too sweet in a way that a milkshake isn’t–don’t ask; logic doesn’t follow here), hot tea or anything warm for that matter makes me want to make a cringing face at you, etc. However, one thing seems to be consistent through all the different kinds of advice I’ve been receiving: these things (saltines, ginger ale, ginger tea, etc) are helpful for these women seemingly continuously throughout their first trimesters. That is not how any of this is working for me.
Allow me to give you an example. Last week, the only thing that settled my stomach was a banana. I must have eaten twelve bananas last week alone, not counting the other fruit intake (strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries). This week, I couldn’t care less about bananas. It’s been all about grapes. The last two weeks, I couldn’t get enough pickles. This week, I bought two jars, just in case, and I’ve only eaten ONE pickle! The horror!! Two weeks ago, ginger ale ruled as king in my stomach, but this week, it’s all about the orange Gatorade (makes me think of orange Jell-o) and cranberry juice along with the usual water intake. When my stomach is upset, I turn to some lightly lemon-flavored seltzer.
Last week, I ate chicken and beef without a problem. As of this past weekend and still a thing this week, I’m basically a selective vegetarian, subsisting off hummus, falafel, and refried beans with the occasional prepackaged ham sandwich. Also, the terrible fast-food “beef” that doesn’t really taste like beef is just fine. But a chicken pita? Nope. I’ll take all that chicken out. A bite of John’s bacon and sausage bagel sandwich? Nope, I turn my nose up to it. So, the real dilemma has been figuring out how to get enough protein in me so that I don’t start feeling weak and ill by the time the end of the day rolls around. Here’s a rundown of all the things I packed for today’s “lunch,” which I’ll be eating over the course of, well, all day on campus:
- hummus and carrots
- string cheese
- peanut butter and honey sandwich
- ham and cheese sandwich
- grapes (already gone)
- Gatorade (refillable bottle = water transportation device later)
- cranberry juice
- lemon seltzer water
For dinner, I’ll probably stop by somewhere to get a protein smoothie or shake and maybe grab a Payday at Grand Central. Because I can eat nuts if they’re delivered in caramel. Of course.
Anyway, this is all to say that my body and my little Rage Monkey are putting typical Carla habits into overdrive. My loathing of repetition and routine mixed with my love of all food has made so that approximately every 4-5 days, my body decides that a completely different kind of diet is necessary. Remember those pickles I no longer want? Maybe in three weeks I’ll crave them again. THERE’S NO WAY OF KNOWING.
What I have discovered: all things dairy work amazingly well for me, especially at night when my “morning” sickness decides to rear its ugly head (although I have yet to vomit from such sickness so far… John says it’s because I simply refuse to… I don’t know about that); most fruit is perfectly welcome; raw veggies, I have nothing against if I can dip them into hummus; plain white bread is delicious and wonderful peanut butter delivery devices; and basically anything that is dripping in moisture, like prepackaged honey cured ham, which is one of the only meats I’m willing to eat these days.
Also, I have the best husband in the world. He spoon feeds me ice cream in bed when I feel like dying, even though he’s in the middle of tax season and getting less sleep than I am. ❤