Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Notes From the Pregnant Kitchen

One of the reasons I love my midwives is because they are so very attentive to my diet and nutrition. In my first trimester, before I switched over to their care, I felt pretty queasy most of the time and seemed to only be able to eat ramen noodles, cereal, peaches, and nothing. Then, when my appetite eventually returned, I was all out of whack. During an appointment, the midwives (There are 2, if you're wondering. It's not a giant team or anything.) asked me about my usual diet. Most of my answers were met with polite responses, though I could see the concern in their eyes. They had me keep a food journal for two weeks, then come back for another visit.

When it came time to review my journal, there was a great deal of silence, punctuated by brief comments or questions. "Not a lot of protein at breakfast... What's a McFlurry?...Oh dear what happened Saturday?"

The conclusion was that I wasn't way off, but I definitely needed some help. One of the biggest problems was that it took me 5 days to get one day's worth of vegetables. I didn't think this could possibly be right, but that's because I didn't know just how many vegetables they were expecting me to eat.

6 servings A DAY. Not fruits AND vegetables. Just vegetables.

Do you know that commercial for a fiber supplement where a woman sets her alarm to wake up and gnaw on a broccoli crown while sitting in bed? I pictured me doing that to fit in these 6 servings. But challenges are good. And I don't want an unhealthy, fat baby. So I was going to need to find a way to get into it.

The remedy: weekly trips to the farmers market. Whereas I'd casually dabbled before -- picking up a few odd items for somehow $55 and letting them all rot in my fridge for a week -- now, I'm a pro. I can be in and out of there in 15 minutes, and only spend about $20.

The produce all tastes better. And the farmers seem so kind. And for the last two weeks I've gone after a yoga class that concludes with 15 minutes of meditation so it makes for a whole mother earth, space case morning. In short, it's all much more exciting this way.

So here is what I've been most excited about eating lately: Heirloom tomato bruschetta and sauteed kale.

For the bruschetta, I chop up 2 - 3 large tomatoes of various colors. Then I add 3 cloves of garlic (which is slightly nuts; 2 is plenty but I just love garlic), then a sprinkle of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It's so easy and so flavorful. In this batch I threw in a little fresh basil, but I have to say I think I preferred an earlier batch without it. Basil may be one of those random flavors that makes me gag these days.

I bought some sourdough bread at the market too since they were out of Italian. I think it added a nice flavor. I toasted the slices in the oven under the broiler.

The kale, admittedly, came from Vons. I think it's not locally in season right now. It IS extremely trendy, however. I didn't think vegetables could be "in" but kale so is. I'm reminded of a line from Modern Family. Mitchell comes home from the farmers market and says to Cam, "Guess what the new spinach is. Kale" "(Gasp) No!" "I know, it's not ready to anchor a meal."

I sauté mine in some sesame dressing to make it taste not terrible. The nice thing about this is the little ridgey edges get crisp. This was a vegetable the midwives mentioned about 400 times for all of its benefits so FINE I'm eating it. As well as the even-lamer swiss chard.

But hey, it's all for a good cause. And by that, I mean of course to counteract my astounding new addictions to both candy and ice cream.

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