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When Cooking isn't Happening

Incidentally, Claire has taken over food photography.

Well, when cooking isn’t happening, then writing isn’t happening much either. It’s been about 3 months since my last post, which even for my often sporadic posts, is a bit of a long time! It isn’t for not wanting to. Really! This time it came down to ability and for the last couple of months I really haven’t been ABLE to.

I’m not one for announcements. For some reason, I never was. Except, now I write a blog. Granted, it’s about food, but it’s also about our personal journey with food and so I feel it’s only right for me to be honest. I’m not cooking, I’m not eating, I’m not writing. In fact, I’m in survival mode as I crawl my way into my 2nd trimester. No, I’m not using “crawling” as some kind of metaphor. I’ve spent a lot of time getting around on my hands and knees.

Some women don’t feel a thing. Others get icky, a bit nauseous, but can carry on with normal living. Not me. My kind of morning sickness is the round-the-clock, every symptom in the book, no relief in sight kind. Few people can relate. My friend, K can. So can M and S. Other than that, it’s hard to convey the reality of being completely leveled by a tiny little being the size of a bean (now it’s more like an avocado, I think).

So, that’s the explanation for my absence from these pages and from my kitchen. Thankfully, my husband is a great cook and he’s taken on pretty much everything since I spend most days curled up in fetal position on the floor. I couldn’t get him to blog for me though…

What does this have to do with food then? Well, it’s interesting because all I’ve had are food aversions (which are as important to listen to as cravings are). I dream of kale and am simultaneously repulsed by the idea of it. It’s perplexing, but it’s the truth. My kefir, kombucha and sourdough starter have been put away. The very idea of fermenting makes me cringe. My diet has consisted of whatever I can keep down which is usually carbohydrates and animal protein. Dairy is out (most of the time) as are most vegetables (all leafy greens, cooked and raw) and fish. But, really it changes everyday.

Given this crucial time of development, it would seem that nutrition is kind of important. It was a concern for me with my first pregnancy and it is again. I haven’t seen my regular (usually) balanced diet in as long as I’ve been MIA.

When I ask doctors and nutritionists alike what a woman is to do in this delicate time to make sure baby is nourished, they often tell me not to worry about it. Stay away from obvious not-good-for-you food such as processed foods, preservatives, etc, but overall don’t worry about balance. They say baby is getting everything it needs from mom. And, indeed it is.

This is why your nutrition and diet (and of course lifestyle) are so important in the months leading up to conception. You are building yourself a foundation from which your baby will grow from the size of a chia seed to a raspberry to a peach to a melon…you get my drift. Nature takes over and your body is no longer yours. (Read that sentence again!) It feeds new life and that new life will take EVERYTHING it needs from you. You may get depleted, but that little bean knows how not to. With that foundation you can rest assured that as long as you’re not bingeing on sugary snacks and fast food, your baby is getting everything it needs despite all your food aversions…even as you’re praying to the porcelain goddess, over and over and over again.

I started giving workshops on fertility and food and prenatal nutrition after Claire was born and as this blog was being born. It surprised me yet again not just how little we know about the role real food plays in our lives, but how little the medical establishment knows about it. We entrust them with our health and lives and that of our unborn children yet they don’t know what to tell us when it comes to food. The same tired advice persists; no raw fish (I saw lots of pregnant Japanese women eating plenty of sashimi), no soft cheeses (tell that to the French), no medium or medium/rare red meats (um, then what’s the point of eating red meat?), sure you can eat Saltines with a slice of kraft “cheese” on it…it’s pasteurized so it’s ok. Not to mention those are also processed.

Of course, it has to be said, not everyone in the medical establishment is the same and some know much more about food and nutrition than others, and things are changing! But, while I knew women getting all kinds of advice, being treated like their pregnancy was a handicap, my midwives (with Claire) did the opposite. They empowered me to feel even stronger than my pre-pregnant self. They encouraged me to eat what I felt was best. They let me believe that my intuition was trustworthy. That will do wonders for anyone, let alone new mamas. And, because of that experience and my professional experience, I now have the confidence I need to carry a healthy pregnancy and to birth a healthy baby in a foreign land.

I plan on cooking and blogging again and I thank you for your patience and loyalty. I am deeply touched that you keep reading and that you keep encouraging me to cook, create and write. I hope you’ll follow us along as the belly gets bigger and Guaya Gourmet gains another sous-chef.

*For information on prenatal nutrition, visit the Weston A. Price Foundation and also Nina Planck’s Real Food for Mother and Baby is a great resource.

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