Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pregnant & Gluten Free

Whoa. Blog - it's been awhile. Too long in fact, but I have exciting news! News that'll likely change the scope and content of this blog immensely: I'm pregnant!

9 months pregnant actually, and I have to admit that while I didn't have morning sickness, my zest for cooking and creating in the kitchen kind of went away for awhile (I sure have been eating though). But during these last few weeks it's back in the form of food-based nesting.

I've been cooking and freezing and cleaning and shopping all in the hopes that when the little guy (yes guy! we're having a boy!) arrives the house will be in good shape and meals will be quick and simple re-heats from the freezer.

Here are a few of the things I've learned about being gluten free and pregnant during the last nine months:

More no-no's

It's bad enough that we already have a long, long list of foods we cannot eat as gluten free-ers, but when you're pregnant, it's advised you avoid a whole other list of food (sadly, food that is naturally gluten free), like sushi, deli meat and (unpasteurized) soft cheeses. They're all on the "do not eat" list for preggers.

Why do you ask? Well, the claim is that raw fish can carry parasites and deli meat and unpasteurized cheeses can carry listeria. A bacteria that can be very bad for mom and baby. However, if you've heard, cantaloupe was the culprit in the latest outbreak of listeria which can make a pregnant woman nuts. What can we eat?

Well, it's like anything in life: take into account the risks and live your life with that in mind.

That can be difficult to remember when you're craving something though...


I definitely understand the pickles and ice cream pregnant-woman stereotype; never before have I enjoyed the sweet and sour flavors more than I do while pregnant. What has been most surprising though is my desire for all things naturally tart, specifically cranberries. I've had cranberry juice almost daily since I found out I was pregnant and once fresh cranberries hit the market I was in heaven.

It could have been my subconscious knowing that cranberries help combat UTI's (which are more common in pregnant women) but after a little research it's great to see that my main craving helps combat a lot of other bad stuff.

But, then there's the not-so-healthy stuff I crave: carbs (no worries here because there are now many gluten-free options) and dairy. Lots of dairy, in fact, and mostly in the form of ice cream and cheese.

But, as my yoga instructor once said, "if you're craving something it likely means your body needs a nutrient from that food." I keep that in mind when I can't stop thinking about ice cream - perhaps I need a calcium fix?

High Protein

The Bradley Method is a form of husband-coached labor; it's really interesting in theory (I haven't taken the class) and includes great information about diet and pregnancy. Namely, that a high protein diet is key to a healthy birth and baby - a good thing if you already eat pretty high protein because you're gluten free.

The idea is that you want your baby to grow in utero, but not from empty carbs and fat - you want him to grow with ample amounts of healthy protein. There are many ways to get your protein fix and eggs are a common suggestion, but sometimes it's just something I have no desire to go near...

Taste Buds Change

Food aversions were pretty strong in the first trimester of my pregnancy. Just thinking about pulled pork made me want to curl up in a ball and find my happy place.

Fortunately I never had to encounter it because I was very vocal about it to family (which is strange because I normally love pulled pork) and now that I'm three weeks away from my due date I'm able to tolerate it again.

That's the weird thing that I never really thought would happen, my taste buds have changed - unless food is fatty, or salty, or sweet or tart - I'm not interested.

I'll let you know if it stays that way during breastfeeding. I hear you can get pretty ravenous...

On my next post I'll share one of the cakes that I've been making that really helps keep my cranberry craving at bay: