Friday, January 21, 2011

In Which I Lament the Loss of My Turkey Sandwiches

Pregnancy food restrictions make me realize, sheesh, simply eating with diabetes is nothing.  Yeah, you have to figure out carbs and either avoid or account for high fat, and you may find certain foods that don't work well for you individually, but you can still more or less eat anything.

Let's count out anything diabetes related first and take a look only at the four pregnancy related food restrictions that bug the hell out of me:
  • No deli meat.  At least, not unless you heat it up to the point of "steaming" first.  It's more likely to have listeria, a bacteria (that causes food poisoning) that's pretty deadly to an unborn baby.  (From what I've read, the chances of it happening are incredibly low, but the consequences are so dire that the risk isn't recommended).  By extension, cold meats that you wouldn't think of as "deli meat" are similarly restricted.  No more turkey pepperonis as my mindless, carb-free snack on the couch.  I tried microwaving them first, as I have tried with cold cuts for sandwiches, but the texture becomes way gross.
  • Big or predatory fish, including tuna, is to be avoided or limited due to higher levels of mercury (recommendations from different sources vary, but one serving a month seems common).
  • Anything with raw eggs, including Caesar salad (traditionally, the dressing will have raw egg).  The chances of salmonella is the problem here.  I still eat Caesar salad on occasion though, because I love it so very much, because I think salmonella is a crap shoot (I've heard about more outbreaks from vegetables, like spinach, than from pre-made products like dressing!), and because raw egg is in more foods than you're likely to expect.  Ever had a really high-end frosted cake, like at weddings?  You may have eaten raw egg in the frosting.  Good mayo or aioli?  Raw egg.  Eggnog?  Raw!  Eggs Benedict?  Raw egg in the Hollandaise sauce.  I won't even go into the many desserts.  Unless you're allergic to egg (or are a vegan), you probably have no clue how to completely avoid raw egg.  In the grand scheme of things, I doubt a Caesar salad with properly handled dressing is more dangerous than simply not being vegan.
  • Soda.  I'll also include caffeine in general here, but aspartame (ick!) in diet soda is also a general concern for women who didn't avoid it before pregnancy.  These are not on the universal "don't" list, and my own OB says that having one or two a day is fine (though some OBs recommend against it entirely, and any visibly pregnant woman drinking soda or coffee is probably going to get some uninvited advice!).  My biggest issue with this one is iced tea... I love the stuff!  It's my drink of choice when dining out, and I've started carrying Splenda in my pocket since not all places offer it (neither the pink or blue packets are recommended during pregnancy).  But since I start my day with a cup of tea or coffee, no refills for me.  (On the soda front, Diet Rite is a sanity saver.  It has neither aspartame or caffeine.  I keep some in the house at all times, if I can.)
There are a million other little restrictions.  Soft cheeses that aren't pasteurized (unpasteurized cheeses don't seem as common as the APA seems to think, though), unwashed produce, sushi with raw fish (understandable, though Japanese women continue to eat it!), undercooked or rare meats, etc. etc. etc...  Add to this anything that causes my blood sugar to spike (which is somewhat unpredictable these days), like pizza or white rice.  Eating "not good for your blood sugar" foods on rare occasion isn't so horrible... until you're pregnant.  (Then it's both bad for your baby and filled with guilt and stress.)

Those don't sound so terrible, right?  I didn't think so either... until I realized it counted out most of my convenient lunch options.  No deli meat sandwiches has been the biggest issue, for my lunches.  Also, the little pre-made salads you can buy in stores usually have deli meat in them.  We don't have a break room here at work, and I probably wouldn't stay if we did (psychologically, I just need to get away from work for an hour), so this leaves very few no-cooking options for me.  Combine this with the fact that I've had like, zero energy or motivation (due both to typical pregnancy fatigue and to some depression), and that results in lots of fast food lunches.  Not nutritious, but at least it means getting out for a little while, almost no effort, and not consuming something on the kill-your-baby list.

Diabetes?  It's not easy to live with, but it's not so bad on the diet front.  It didn't eliminate my convenience foods at all.  Convenience foods come packaged with a nutrition label, and I just opted for the versions that helped avoid blood sugar spikes (like whole grain Lean Pockets instead of the non-whole grain ones).  But pregnancy?  It's thrown a major wrench in my lunchtime convenience.  I have to figure out a super-low-effort solution.  Maybe zap a Lean Pocket before I leave for lunch?  Use bagged salad and veggies on Sunday to make a week's worth of little salads to eat along with my lunches?  Keep chicken salad around for sandwiches?  I have to figure it out, because I do think fast food makes me feel more like crap.

It's just awful timing.  Depression has been a major issue for me lately, and this makes me lethargic and supremely unmotivated.  I need a new game plan until I'm able to pull myself out of this emotional mess.


  1. Good God -- what a nightmare. It's too bad you can't subsist on, say, marshmallows and Kool-Aid for the next several months.

    Just think how delicious that first meal of brie and turkey pepperoni and sushi and wine and poached egg will be!

  2. I KNOW!!! I'm totally stocking up on all of the foods I love that I can't eat when I approach my due-date. I'll have a FEAST when I get home from the hospital!

  3. Just a suggestion but when I was preggo and would go to Subway I would ask them to microwave my turkey until it was steaming. They always did it for me with a smile. :)

  4. That's awesome that they were so accomodating! I'll remember that, though there's not a Subway near work. (Good for quick weekend lunches, though!)

    I feel like the microwave turns deli meat to leather (can't stand it!), but I HAVE requested hot sandwiches to be kept in the oven until the meat's thoroughly heated at a couple sandwich places. I know Subway has one of those little ovens. I've also thought about using the oven at home to heat the meat, hoping it won't be as nasty as the microwave turns it...

  5. I went to a b'day party where I think 3 or 4 of us were pregnant, and we all had deli meat without microwaving it. *gasp* I could see we were all a little hesitant, but we eventually did it anyway & nobody was tormented by listeria. In the end, sometimes you just forget the "rules" and console yourself with the fact you're not getting drunk every night or something. Listeria aside, I swear that I ate less healthy while pregnant than I ever had because I was craving sweet things, couldn't tell if my pants were getting tight, didn't feel like cooking or have the time because every night was accounted for with Dan's mom moving to town. And I was definitely depressed through at least the 1st half of the pregnancy. It got better, though. I consoled myself with baby clothes shopping once I found out the gender. I let that be what made me happy.

    I didn't have post-partum depression, and was quite surprised. Dan had already braced himself for it. But I have struggled with it as I've found that I have a low milk supply that is ever dwindling. I had these aspirations of exclusively breastfeeding and pumping until she was 2 years old, and I'm only producing like 1 ounce out of the 6 she needs at this point. I hear that postpartum depression is often brought about by not having the birth go as you planned: cesarean instead of vaginal birth, giving in and having an epidural, etc. I guess that since I was able to go all natural as I planned, I didn't deal with that. It seems that the depression comes, though, when you feel that you're a failure as a mother or you feel guilty because of xyz. You research and think that x is the best thing for your baby and then you're forced to do y instead. For some people, it's not being able to be a stay-at-home-mom, etc. I wish there was a way to just not beat yourself up for these small transgressions that aren't really that big a deal in the end. Unfortunately, all this guilt starts before the baby's even born with people telling you not to eat lunch meat or tuna fish or whatever the hell else is the latest no-no for pregnant women.

  6. Oh man. I'll lose a lot of my convenience snacks when I'm pregnant. I like to eat a few slices of cold deli meat when I'm hungry but don't feel like taking insulin.