Tuesday, March 25, 2008

For the Love of Food

Pregnancy does strange things to a person, not the least of which is what it does to the appetite. For the most part I haven't had a whole lot of appetite for the past few weeks, and what appetite I've had has been soothed by a rather strange assortment of foods. Oh the cravings!

The first few weeks I was pregnant I was on a fairly restricted diet of food I could put down and keep down. I ate basically the same thing every day for at least 4 weeks:

Breakfast: Cheerios and a glass of skim milk
Snack in the Car: Saltines and cold water
Morning Snack: Cottage cheese and canned fruit
Lunch: plain baked chicken breast, cold for the first 2 weeks and then hot mixed with white rice and soy sauce
Afternoon snack 1: carrots
Afternoon snack 2: Cheese stick
Drive home: Saltines and water
Dinner: varied, this was the time of day I was most able to tolerate food
Dessert: yuck--sweets do nothing for me
3am snack: graham crackers or gingersnaps with milk

I ate a ton of canned fruit at this time. I'm not sure what it was about the canned fruit, but I was really digging it. I would go to the grocery store and return with cans of peaches, pineapple, pears, madarin oranges, and tropical fruit cocktail. I couldn't get enough. I had no desire at all for fresh fruit--just canned.

The next food craving phase was macaroni and cheese. For 2 weeks I ate macaroni and cheese almost every day. I think of all the different mac and cheeses that I tried, I like the take out from Whole Foods the best. Au Bon Pain's was too soupy, the local place near work was too dry, Boston Market's was a little artificial. Whole Foods mac and cheese has breadcrumbs on top and is made with white cheese which is a huge plus in my book. I'm always suspicious of orange cheese I guess because we never ate it growing up and going to school in Vermont we usually had local cheese which was white too.

In the same time frame as the macaroni and cheese phase, I discovered that I really like lemonade, but I have to water it down or it's too sweet. Even better than watering it down is mixing it with iced tea. It's still my beverage of choice.

Now, throughout this whole pregnancy I have craved beef. Not hamburgers or meatballs, but real meat that you have to cut with a steak knife. The most prevalent form this meat craving has taken is steak tips. Now, I don't know whether steak tips are just a Massachusetts thing or whether they suddenly came into vogue in 2002, but when I moved to Boston in that year it seemed every restaurant I went to (unless it was an ethnic restaurant or a fine dining restaurant) had steak tips on the menu. Basically steak tips are chunks of beef (usually sirloin) that are marinated and grilled. These days they are heaven on a plate to me.

There is a wonderful butcher shop near my house and D has stopped in a few times to get their steak tips. They have a variety of marinades, but we prefer the steakhouse marinade. These tips are expensive, but they are so good they are certainly worth paying for, especially since we only eat beef about once a week (except during grilling season when it goes up to about 3 times a week). The tips are lean and tender and have excellent flavor. Last night D made steak tips from the supermarket (the good one, not the bad supermarket) and they just weren't nearly as good. They were much fattier and didn't have the same wonderful beefy flavor and texture.

Oh, and you know what other beef is really good? The sirloin from the Whole Foods prepared food counter. I'll stop by there after work and choose some prepared salads from the salad bar and then go to the prepared food counter and ask for 4 slices of steak--usually comes to about 1/4 lb. The lady doesn't even look at me as if I'm crazy and for that I love her...but not as much as I love that beef!

This week I'm on to salads and I loathe chicken. I just ate way too much chicken in the beginning and now it has no appeal. I still have no sweet tooth. There's half a pint of Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream in my freezer and it's been there for at least 3 weeks. This is unheard of for me! I have lost weight in the past 4 weeks and I swear it's because I probably eat about 300 fewer calories per day just because I don't eat any chocolate or desserts. I did have a few jelly beans on Easter, but there's a Lindt dark chocolate bunny that isn't even calling my name...same thing with the Cadbury Creme Eggs. It's sad really.

This last point I want to discuss has nothing at all do to with food, but it does involve pregnancy, sort of. Mercury, the cat, has started to develop boobs. Seriously. She's got bright pink nipples and the hair on her stomach around her nipples is very thin. When she lies down on her side, it looks like she has boobs hanging out. I have never seen this before in the 5 years I have had her. Her belly isn't any plumper, but her "waddle" of belly fat does seem to be hanging down lower. The thing is, she's fixed...or at least she's supposed to be. When I adopted her from the shelter she still had the stitches from her spaying, and they gave her a little tattoo in her ear to designate that she'd been fixed. I'm hoping it's just her hormones acting up--after all, this is her first spring in the suburbs where there are other cats for her to come in contact with. The poor thing has probably been mounted by the neighbors' cats and doesn't know what's happening to her!


ChefSara said...

Wow, that's actually a pretty varied diet for a first trimester. For 4-6 weeks, every meal or snack was either cereal & milk, bagel with cream cheese, mac & cheese, grilled cheese, saltines, or ritz crackers. Seriously...cheese and carbs. It's all I could eat! Though I later did go through a canned peaches phase where I couldn't get enough!!! And my sweet tooth did come back around week 14-15, though it's not nearly as strong as it was pre-pregnancy.

It's so weird what all these hormones do to your body!!

Anna said...

Henry is made of

1) Milkshakes (chocolate or vanilla)
2) Paul's Pasta Fettucine Alfredo
3) watermelon (cold)
4) canned peaches (cold)

and nothing too dry or too warm.

And I, too, lost weight on that diet!

hikebikekayak said...

Commenting on this late - but I know how you feel! Only, I seem to be the opposite of you. I can no longer eat beef (of any kind) and I now crave sweets (where before I didn't much care for them). I was stuck in bed most of my first trimester, not able to eat a thing. I know what you mean about canned fruit - can't get enough of those canned pears (heavy syrup thank you very much). Mmmm, i'm going to go open a can now! Enjoy the next few months...i'm here to tell you, the 3rd trimester is all they say it is.