Guess Who’s Back?

Imagine you’re a food blogger. Food – and where it comes from – is important to you. You are keen to explore how to get back to what’s simple and fresh, flavour-wise and health-wise. You love to eat. You’re a foodie.

Now imagine that, all of a sudden, the once-magical smell of onions caramelizing in butter makes you feel nauseous, and heavily spiced favourites like channa masala give you heartburn. After 7:30 p.m. there is no longer room for food in your stomach, and first thing in the morning you need a ginger cookie to calm the intestinal turmoil…which works only sometimes.

You’re pregnant. Isn’t it magical?

I’ve been MIA for the better part of a year because food went from being one of my greatest pleasures to an enemy to be conquered. And drinks, well, those were even worse. My insides rebelled every time I sipped on liquid, including (and especially) water. I became a robot: eating to provide sustenance, not enjoyment. To placate my tumultuous insides.

Dramatic? Yes. And I try not to complain because I know many women have it much worse than I did.

However, even on a good day I couldn’t cook or prepare food without gagging. Half the time I couldn’t even be around it; even grocery shopping and taking photos were out. At mealtimes I basically plugged my nose and downed the hatch because unfortunately, we all need to eat.

Bowl of Macaroni and Cheese

This shameful food photo is one of only about a dozen I took in 2014.

Being food-incapacitated presented challenges to my body and my psyche. Here I was, trying to get processed pseudo-food out of my diet and replace it with ingredients that are more natural and wholesome. Trying to take control of my diet. But then my body betrayed me.

All of a sudden, I was restricted to food I could prepare without gagging, and what other people fed me. And beggars can’t be choosers. That meant I managed to make myself Kraft Dinner when my husband was out one night, and that my sandwiches (mostly peanut butter and apple butter) were made on the fluffy white bread he brought home from the market. I kept my blood sugar steady (and the nausea at bay) with granola bars and peanut butter cups from the work candy jar. (Full disclosure: I kept that work candy jar fully stocked so I would never be far from a little something sweet should the need arise.) I’m pretty sure my baby (a healthy, beautiful baby girl if I do say so myself) is built mostly out of stomach-soothing ice cream cones from the little shop downtown and blood-pressure-stabilizing Lay’s Kettle Cooked dill pickle chips.

Eating an ice cream cone

Now that she’s a month old I’m ready to get back into the kitchen and onto the wagon. I’m lucky to have 8 more months of maternity leave; my priority during this time will obviously be my little Popcorn (nicknamed for the way she smells!), but being home more during the day means I can experiment with some new slow-food cooking techniques (dare I say more beans from scratch and homemade bread?) and build real food more fully back into my life again.

Popcorn is growing faster than she ever will again in her life and she’s doing it on a breastmilk-only diet. Milk made from my body and the food I eat.

Now if that isn’t motivation to eat well, I don’t know what is.

 
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