This isn’t going to become a mommy blog but since so many of you seem to be pregnant as well or will be trying in the near future, I decided to include a post about my diet. Last Monday at 20 weeks, I met with Stacey Nelson, a registered dietitian at MGH to chat about some nutrition concerns I had regarding trendy new foods like juice, kombucha and protein powders with pregnancy. I couldn’t find answers online with authoritative and consensual answers. I wanted to meet with Stacey to get some answers.
Cheese and Raw Eggs
During the first trimester, I craved salty foods. Chocolate was repulsive to me. My biggest craving was Caesar salad.
But isn’t Caesar dressing not allowed!?
In the US, most foods are in fact pasteurized including any shelf stable product made with allegedly raw eggs like mayonnaise or Caesar dressing. The pasteurization process kills any potential harmful bacteria making these foods OK to eat. Most soft cheese that are considered pregnant lady off limits are pasteurized too like goat and feta cheese sold at Trader Joe’s. You need to be careful abroad or if a restaurant makes their dressing from scratch or you shop at a specialty store like the Whole Foods cheese department or small shop like Formaggio Kitchen in Boston.
So yes, I ate lots of Caesar salad and cheese from Whole Foods and Stacey agreed that my actions were fine.
Turkey + Deli Meat
Lunch salads turned into sandwiches, no turkey. I ate a lot of chicken salad and vegetarian ones in the beginning. Once a gal who shunned dairy and gluten, these two became my best friends. I realized that they did not make my face look puffy in the morning but in fact it was alcohol! My first of many pregnancy Ah-ha! moments.
Turkey is a funny one. They say to avoid it because of the risk for listeria which is potentially deadly to your baby if you get it. Listeria is basically a type of food poisoning you get from eating foods that contain the bacteria. It primarily affects elderly, pregnant women, infants and others with weakened immune systems. Turkey is OK to eat if you heat it up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Stacey said it just needs to show to steam. This kills the bacteria. You can store it in the fridge and eat it cold over the next 2-3 days.
Stacey said that turkey at a good deli where is it high quality meat and service, sliced in front of you and then given to you should be OK. You want to avoid foods that are packaged at a plant off site and then sent to your store for pick up.
Fresh Pressed Juice
Bottles say not to drink if you are pregnant. The owner of Pressed Juicery in LA claimed she drank her juice throughout her pregnancies so you should be fine too. It’s not pasteurized so technically it should be a no, right?
If it’s bottled off site in a warehouse and shipped to a store or your house where you consume it, avoid it. If the juice is pressed right in front of you like they do at Whole Foods or other small juice bars then it should be OK to enjoy according to Stacey. Use good judgement.
Another new trendy food I love with little research in regards to pregnant women. GT’s is delicious but the bottle says it is raw. Other kombucha brands are pasteurized but many argue the process kills bad and GOOD bacteria which is kind of the point of drinking it, right? Again, if it’s raw and bottled at a facility out of sight, avoid it says my nutritionist. She said she has clients who make it themselves and are really good about the sanitation which is OK. I would not feel comfortable doing this so I am going to avoid it from here on out. I did drink probably at least 5 bottles since getting a positive pregnancy test and Little Fit is just fine. These precautions are meant to reduce your risk of getting sick so if you make a mistake and don’t get sick, most likely you’re OK!
Protein Powders and Pre Workout Energizers
Every brand is different. You need to check each ingredient to see if it is OK. My favorite Vega Nutritional Shake is a no-no due to added digestive enzymes but Stacey said the Vega Sport Recovery Vanilla is OK.
As for pre-workout energizers and mid run energy gels, most are going to be NOT OK due to caffeine. Vega I thought would be safe but it has an ingredient called Devil’s Claw that has some weird side effects according to online resources. Stick with b-vitamin boosters she suggested.
Straight brown rice protein powder or other protein powders without weird fillers or artificial sugars should be OK too but you’ll have to sweeten them yourself.
THE MUST AVOID LIST
Always avoid street food, raw bean sprouts and smoked fish. Also green unripe papaya and most artificial sugars. Avoid Sweet’n’Low. I kicked my gum habit the day I saw that plus sign on the test. Stevia hasn’t been tested enough to know for sure but in small quantities I’m still having it like in my occasional smoothie.
My Own Diet Changes
My only food aversions were salmon, chocolate, sweet potatoes and chicken teriyaki in the first trimester. I don’t really have any now that I’m 20 weeks pregnant. I began eating more carbs. Bagels with cream cheese, English muffins with blueberry jam, avocado toast and scrambled eggs were my breakfast go to’s. As long as I ate within 30 minutes of waking up, I felt fine. Lunch as I mentioned were sandwiches. Snacks were fruit, cheese, potato chips, kale chips, smoothies or other salty crunchy food in the house.
Dinner was unpredictable! I threw out so much food because I never knew what I would be in the mood for. We did burgers, buffalo chicken meatloaf, pasta, pizza, Mexican anything and steak tips. Above is a homemade “tartine” sandwich on fresh french bread with garlic and Parmesan cheese topped with basil, feta, roasted red peppers and olives with a balsamic glaze. Dessert was always fruit! Fresh mango, watermelon and cherries were my go to’s.
Basically I just eat more dairy and carbs than before… and a lot more ice cream since entering the 2nd trimester! It’s been great.
Have a food you want to add to this list for me to ask Stacey next time? Leave it in the comments.