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Food for a Pregnant 'hound

I know there are a lot of knowledgeable moms on this board!

I'm expecting, and finding some of the rules a little difficult to cope with. I am particularly vexed with the anti-listeriosis rules, such as no raw dairy, no soft cheese, and no deli meats. I'm also having trouble in restaurants. I actually got food poisoning yesterday from a restaurant meal. Which is terrifying.

I am keeping it as organic as I can. I am taking my lunch to work. I am drinking tons of water. I have cut out all artificial sweetners and caffeine.

But jeez, I just want a turkey sandwich or a goat cheese omelet!

What are 'hound moms' experiences with "the rules," and what did you find helped you out with morning sickness the other wonderful GI side effects of pregnancy?

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  1. I didn't follow the rules except being careful about fish, so I can't help there ( not saying you shouldn't, I just didn't and all was well).
    But lemon juice in cool but not cold water when I awoke really helped with morning sickness. I drank a glass a few times a day and it was amazing. I kept some lemons in my desk at work and squeezed them fresh as needed ( this was 23 years ago) but now I would use the organic squeeze bottle lemon. I am told lime works too.
    And congratulations.

    3 Replies
    1. re: magiesmom

      My wife did the same thing with lemons, but she added a healthy amount of grated ginger and let it sit overnight on the counter. She would strain it and add some ice or sometimes she would warm it up.

      1. re: AdamD

        That makes sense as ginger is good for GI things. But when I was pregnant it made me gag. pregnancy is so unpredictable that way.

      2. re: magiesmom

        I use ginger and lemon juice in hot water to calm my stomach, which is always upset because of my pregnancy. Works great and is good for you.

        I haven't eliminated anything except alcohol and raw fish from my diet. Also, I stay away from 'junk' food, i.e. fast food or anything with lots of dies and preservatives, but I don't usually eat stuff like that anyway so its not much effort.
        My snack/quick foods are raw fruits and veggies, whole grain breads, vanilla yogurt, reduced-sodium cheeses, wheat pita chips with hummus, and dried fruits.
        Breakfast foods: oatmeal w/ honey, fresh fruit, eggs any way but fried, homemade bran muffins, wheat french toast w/ honey
        Lunch/Dinner: homemade black bean soup, avocado subs, steak w/ sweet potato, broccoli with wheat pasta, rotisserie chicken breast, turkey chili, turkey or beef burgers
        I have enough variety to keep me fairly happy - and I try to find new 'healthy' things to add to my list all the time. Of course, you can't stick to the rules 100% of the time, so I will indulge in something during parties or holidays - plus leftovers after. ;)

      3. roast and slice the turkey yourself...or toss a couple of slices in the micro or a saute pan and heat them thoroughly. That should take care of the cooties you don't want.

        And talk to your doctor about the rest of it...I found my doctor a lot more flexible than the official guidelines.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sunshine842

          I'll second this. You can easily make your own deli-style lunchmeats at home. You can get good results if you brine the cut first, sear off, wrap in foil, and bake in a moderate oven (depending on the meat, obviously).

        2. I don't remember following any rules, other than no raw fish or oysters, or alcohol. For that 'rockin' the rowboat' feeling, keep a package of water crackers or saltines with you.

          1. I can relate - I've already told my husband the first meal he's bringing me is a italian sub with lots of onions and vinegar - oh how I've wanted one. Oh, and a sam adams winter lager.....

            For me, I avoided deli meat - mostly because right as I got pregnant there was a huge recall of meat they found listeria in, so I decided even though my dr. had said nitrate free was fine, I wasn't taking any chance. the above reccomendations of making your own are good, but I totally miss salami!

            No sushi and watching the amount of fish I ate was easy (not a big sushi fan in winter anyway). As for cheeses, I'm not a fan of blue, but love goat cheese. And as long as it's pasteurized, I was told it was ok. I'm in Jersey, and since it's illegal to sell unpasteurized cheese, I haven't cut back on any of that. (Just read the labels to make sure it was pasteurized).

            For my morning sickness, I lived on carbs. It wasn't that bad for me, and I believe that naseau and hunger are similar signals in my brain, so I pretty much kept hydrated with water, also drank lots of gingerale, and kept all sorts of crackers and granola bars on me at all times. I ate something every two hours or so and followed my cravings, but trying to keep my veggie intake high.

            I've got 4 weeks to go, and have started dreaming about deli sandwiches - hang on in there, enjoy the time and use it as the excuse to eat ice cream for breakfast (I only did that once, I swear). Congrats and good luck!

            1. I'm also pregnant with my first (30 weeks) and my doc told me that alcohol/caffeine in extreme moderation and soft, pasteurized cheeses are fine. No need to deprive yourself of everything. You'll just end up miserable.

              As far as the nausea goes, none of the natural remedies worked for me. I wound up in the hospital three times until I discovered the wonderful world of Zofran. My nausea went from 100% to virtually nothing. I really can't recommend it enough. And if one more person told me to try saltines, I was going to punch him/her in the face. ;)

              1. I eat vegetarian plus fish, so I never had to cope with the deli meat issue.

                I definitely avoided unasteurized cheese, but regularly ate pasteurized soft cheeses.

                With morning sickness I ate crackers in bed before getting up, ate small portions of whatever seemed appealing/I could stomach, and avoided strong smells, which were a big trigger for me.

                1. I was sick to a point at the beginning where I was so hungry but so nauseous that I just couldn't even bear to open the pantry for a cracker. I kept packets of melba toast in my bag and on my desk at work- it helped a lot. If I was feeling up to it, I would put a little bit of raspberry jam on a cracker or two. I couldn't even tolerate coffee- which I drank a ton of- even the smell would send me leaning over the garbage can. Water helped also- I drink maybe 10 or 12 glasses a day and it settled my stomach.

                  I love cheese.. but pretty much everything I've wanted to buy has been pasteurized. One or two cheeses didn't specify that they were pasteurized, so I skipped them. In a restaurant, I'll ask to see the label from the feta or another cheese- most places are nice and will bring me out a label.

                  Deli meat was not something I ate often pre-pregnancy, but I guess it's the "can't have it so I want it" type of thing for me. Husband is eating a turkey sandwich now.. and I would love a bite! Not much longer to go though...

                  My doctor told me to stay away from sugar subs and artificial sweeteners. I've never been a big soda drinker, but he told me 1 or 2 cans of diet soda per week is the maximum. Used to use a splenda or two in my coffee, but I switched to decaf coffee with one sugar.

                  Another thing that may help your morning sickness- MILK. Doctor wanted me to take calcium but I hated the chalkiness of the tablets. He suggested I drink a glass or two of skim milk with or without a splash chocolate syrup. Now I go thru at least a gallon of skim milk a week. Definitely helped with the queasy feeling and it fills me up.

                  Regarding restaurants... it was much tougher in the beginning for me. Nothing would appeal to me on the menu and I would freak out if an ingredient in the dish wasn't described on the menu. I've sent back salads for having undeclared onions and pasta for having tomatoes in it. Waiters would sometimes get a little snippy with all my questions, but I tried to handle it nicely. I bring my own breakfast and lunch to work every day. Dinner I cook at home. If we dine out the weekends, we frequent the same handful of places that have large menus, good food, and don't upset my stomach.

                  Not much longer to go for me.. and all I want is a tuna/avocado roll!!! Hope this helps...

                  1. First off, I was a big "cheater" and was not at all overly worries about the pregnant food "rules".

                    The biggest deal with soft cheeses if if they are unpasteurized. I ate soft cheese often but I made sure they were pasteurized. I can vividly recall an amazing meal of morbier on toasted artisan bread with half a glass of Kendall Jackson Chardonay. Mmmmmmmm. (I know there's alll kind of controversy about even having a sip of alcohol while pregnant but I had Dr' approval)

                    Also, listeria is most common with meats fresh cut in a deli. If you get packaged deli meat like Foster Farms or Oscar Meyer etc. there is far less concern. I ate turkey sandwiches like once a week.

                    I found that the more fiber I ate the better I felt and less constipated I was. So I ate a lot of spinach, kale and all kinds of veggies. Also, you've got to get a lot more protein than normal and I didn't have a lot of interest in meat. So I at a ton of beans and other protein combos.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Emafer

                      I've been told that it's soft cheese, and not just non-pastuerized cheese, because although that wheel of brie may have passed inspection in the warehouse, there is no telling how long it has been since it made it to the cheese counter. I am using this as an excuse to try new hard and semi-soft cheeses, though,

                      One more observation- why does everything seem so darn salty?

                    2. For nausea, try sucking on Jolly Ranchers. My doctor recommended them to me and it was the only thing that helped. That, chocolate milk and carbs. There were days in the first trimester when I would have macaroni & cheese with a side of white rice. What can I say, it made me feel better.

                      I was not crazy strict with rules, but used common sense. I ate sushi, mostly california rolls and cucumber rolls, and shrimp that was cooked. No spicy tuna rolls.

                      I went to Paris when I was 5 months pregnant with my first child and skipped the cheese. I figured why take a chance of getting sick so far from home. I ate a lot of red meat in the beginning, but always has it well done -- not because of pregnancy, but because I like it that way anyway. I couldn't stand the thought of chicken throughout both of my pregnancies.....

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: valerie

                        So I'm not the only one who can't stand chicken!! Prepping and cooking it, not problem. But when it comes to eating it... I just want to gag.

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          The chicken thing is actually pretty common. I couldn't even go near it!

                      2. My baby is 23 years old but I ate any & everything I wanted back then (Dr. didn't tell me not to) and had no problems with catching anything. I was not a raw fish/meat person so this didn't concern me but I ate all the deli meats/cheeses (not into the goats cheese) and loved soft spreadable cheeses. If your local deli is clean & sanitary and they practice safe food storage, you won't have any problems. All these "rules" nowadays are mostly here in the US and IMO are overexaggerated. You don't see the same rules in other countries; for the most part, the women eat the same as before pregnant and yet the babies come out fine.

                        As far as morning (and sometimes evening) sickness, one thing I loved especially while pregnant was Italian ices. I'd stop in and get one on the way to work and on the way home for months. The fruity coldness seemed to settle my stomach. Room temperature ginger ale helped and my daughter swears by ginger caps.

                        1. Salted pretzels and gingerale (real gingerale) saved my stomach on more than one occasion....

                          1. Deli meats can be eaten if you nuke 'em a bit, or just slice them at home - the medical community is paranoid about food poisoning, so they draw a pretty bright line. At lot of that "line" has to do with stuff that is sitting out at temperatures in "the danger zone" - 40 to 140deg F - e.g. feta cheese and lunchmeats at a salad bar.

                            But you can eat cooked turkey at home, and turkey breast sliced thin doesn't suddenly make it less healthy if you are eating at home and you are set up to avoid any cross contamination. Slice your own cheese, you should be fine.

                            Hmm... goat cheese in an omelette - not sure, as you would be bringing that up to temperature as part of cooking?

                            I wouldn't freak out over everything organic.. heck, organic as a formal name is such a mis-used term these days. Wash all your greens.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: grant.cook

                              salad bars, and deli cold lines, for that matter, are refrigerated below 40 degrees. it's up to the individual to make the call, but at a clean place with good equipment & good turnover of ingredients, i would not have a problem with these items.

                            2. I'm in my 3rd trimester. I found that peppermint tea helped with my morning sickness.

                              I've been playing "better safe than sorry" for the most part with the food rules.

                              Deli meats are OK if you nuke them. I admit that every once in a while I slip though. I don't eat a ton of deli meat so it hasn't been a big hardship.

                              I've been avoiding raw fish - only cooked sushi for me :-( And, of course, no high-mercury fish

                              Generally speaking there is a lot of goat cheese which is pasteurized these days. You should check before discounting them completely.

                              I'll up your list one and state that I've been trying to avoid nitrites as well - which I find extremely difficult to do.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Ladycale

                                No nitrates for me as well. Doctor told me to avoid hot dogs.

                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                  Eh- didn't do hot dogs and sausage with nitrates anyway at home, so no big whoop. Except- I will now no longer get bacon I didn't purchase myself, and if I go to a ball game I guess am brown bagging it.

                                  1. re: julietg

                                    Not much of a big deal for me either, since hot dogs are something I rarely eat. But at the end of the summer when everyone was scarfing down hot dogs... damn I really wanted one!

                              2. Fiber is your friend. I learned to love lentils and ham and bean soup.

                                And in hindsight, I wish I ate more Omega 3's and colorful veggies. I was focused on avoiding things that would make baby sick, rather than focusing on eating healthful, nutritious things to make baby thrive.

                                Enjoy your pregnancy and cook as much as your sore feet will allow, it's not the same cooking with an infant, for me at least. I miss just getting wrapped up in my kitchen and food and putting all of myself into creating something delicious. Now, with the baby, I have to keep one ear cocked and with my attention diverted, cooking just isn't as much of a passion as it used to be. Plus, I tend to burn and mess stuff up! I LOVE my baby and wouldn't trade him for a Viking kitchen and free Whole Foods for life, don't get me wrong. And I'm sure as my 7 monther gets older and more self sufficient, my kitchen passion will return.

                                Good luck to you!