Friday, April 13, 2012

sayonara sushi- and other pregnancy diet restrictions

When I was single and living in New York City, I was lucky enough to land a job at the best (and most expensive) sushi restaurant in the country. Besides cushioning my bank account, this job exposed me to the best of the best when it comes to raw fish, and shifted my tastes from the generic, tempura fried "sushi"" to the leaner, cleaner real deal. Though it's been eight years since my Masa days, I'm still hooked on sushi, so of course, I struggled with the whole no- raw- fish- for- nine- months thing.
I dealt by going back to the fattier, cooked sushi like eel and California rolls. Sometimes I even indulged in those shrimp tempura rolls (pregnancy is the perfect excuse). 

Most people know to avoid sushi and alcohol while pregnant, but I was surprised at many of the other things pregnant women are advised not to eat. Being that I am a by the book kind of girl, I pretty much avoided all of the following:
1) raw sushi
2) alcohol (sigh)- I stopped drinking when we were trying to conceive.
3) deli meats- they can harbor listeria, a bacteria which is not harmful to adults but bad for the tiny baby in your belly.
4) unpasteurized cheese- though, before I knew I was pregnant we were vacationing in Greece where I ate tons and tons of unpasteurized feta. I fretted over this for nine months, but thankfully everything turned out fine.
5) frozen yogurt and/ or soft serve ice cream- if the machines aren't cleaned properly they can harbor listeria as well. Stick to hard ice cream.
6) rare meat- good bye steak tar-tar. You've gotta have that meat at least medium well.
7) pesticides- I tried to always eat organic. If that's not possible, buy organic for the fruit and veggies you'd eat raw.
8) raw egg yolks- ALWAYS ask your server at a restaurant- raw eggs usually appear in Ceaser dressing, aioli, mayonnaise, and in tiramisu

The following are just some self imposed nutritional guidelines for pregnancy
9) avoid fast food- I never ate it during the pregnancy. If you crave fast food, look for healthier alternatives. If you go to fast food for because it is fast, plan your meals ahead of time and always carry a snack.
10) avoid processed food- if I had no idea what was in it, I didn't want it in my body (or my baby's)
11) limit high fat foods- I wanted all my calories to be good ones. Of course I love sweets, but instead of indulging every night, I tried to limit my intake to a few nights a week.

I was lucky because I didn't crave unhealthy foods but I'm a big believer in cooking. Even if you're craving fatty things, if you cook it yourself I promise it will be healthier than the store bought version. Don't know how to cook? Check out a food blog, or google your fav recipes. And remember, a lifetime of healthy eating starts in the womb.