Sympathy Weight Gain and Chopped Liver

One interesting phenomenon I have run across several times in the popular pregnancy literature is “sympathy weight gain“– where the husband gains weight when the wife is pregnant.  So far, this is definitely not the case here. In the time I have been pregnant, my husband has actually lost the little mini-potbelly he’d been busy growing since we got married.  In fact, he looks pretty darn sexy these days– lean and healthy and manly in a way I’ve never seen him before, even when we were dating! The blurb I linked to may explain both the sympathetic gain phenomenon, and my own husband’s losses:  usually the wife is in charge of feeding the family. When her dietary habits change, his dietary habits change, too.  So I imagine that between first-trimester nausea (“I can’t stand the sight of food, maybe you should pick up some take-out”) and weird cravings (“hon, why exactly did you get a case of super-salty pretzels and five gallons of ice cream?”), it’d be easy for the whole family’s eating habits to suffer.

Our dietary habits have changed a lot, but sort of in the opposite direction. We now have no snacky foods around the house, because there’s no fridge to keep them in, and because the kind that don’t need a fridge are very expensive!  It’s amazing what a lack of agricultural subsidies will do to the price of junk food. No matter how much I may (or may not) crave chips or cookies, we can’t afford that stuff!  Before the move (and the pregnancy), we ate dinner separately, because I worked evenings. Now I cook dinner for both of us, every night. Nothing complicated, just your basic meat, veg, and rice or tubers. Also, we no longer have a car, so we walk everywhere. Probably, there will be weight gain for both of us, if/when we return home. But it won’t be sympathetic, it’ll just be returning-to-our-bad-habits weight gain.

One of the less exciting changes I’ve made to my diet is that I’ve started eating liver once a week. I have almost no previous experience cooking the stuff, and I really, really don’t like it. I certainly don’t try to subject my husband to this– I eat it for lunch, chopped very small and sauteed with ground beef and tons of paprika to hide the taste, and then he makes lunch with the remainder of the ground beef (minus the liver and paprika). The paprika does a pretty good job of making it palatable, and I’m slowly working up to eating a respectable serving. So far, I’ve gone from a thin slice the size of two postage stamps to a thin slice the size of maybe six postage stamps. It helps to squeeze a lot of lime juice into my glass of water.  I’m glad they sell it by the slice here, though. I wouldn’t know what to do with it if I had to buy a pound or more, like I would back home. Ick. If you know any other good ways to cook the stuff, I’m all ears. It’s not a form of self-torture or anything, I’m just trying to find ways to get the most nutritional bang for my buck, and liver is an awesomely good deal. We’re talking 10-20 cents a serving, for something that probably has more vitamin content per gram than anything else in the supermarket.  The more crowded my stomach gets, the more important it seems to make everything count more.

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Popcorn, Paunches, and Pickles

The baby is moving! I can feel it! A week or so ago I thought I felt something every once in a while, but it could have been just gas bubbling around my inert intestines, or maybe the huge pulse I have in my abdomen now.  But now I can tell it is definitely the baby moving around– the book says this often feels like having little fish inside or some nonsense like that. I think it feels like I am a popcorn popper. I get little kicks at irregular intervals: pop…..  pop pop…  POP!

I’m starting to show as well. I gained a centimeter back on my butt, so while I’m not back to normal size there yet, maybe I’ll get there someday. Meanwhile, my waist has gained 4 centimeters on my pre-pregnancy size, and my belly button is getting oddly shallow. It is usually kind of a dark mysterious cave in there.

Until now, I had not experienced any out-of-the-ordinary cravings. Aversions, yes: in the early weeks I was averse to pretty much anything that looked like food, and lived on cottage cheese and plain yogurt, because I could choke them down and they’d usually stay down. At six weeks, while visiting my parents, we were desperately looking for yogurt on the way to the airport. At the third grocery store, I was ready to cry. I was bending over with nausea, and there was nothing, nothing I could eat. All the yogurts were the sweetened kind, which would have sent my blood sugars through the roof. Finally, my husband spotted a case of single-serving Haagen Dasz ice creams. We pulled out a vanilla ice cream, checked the label, and found it had TEN GRAMS LESS SUGAR than a yogurt, and the total amount wasn’t going to make my glucometer angry. Who would have thought a vanilla ice cream would be safer than a cup of fruit yogurt?  Next we hit up the drinks aisle, looking for seltzer. All we could find was Perrier. So we headed out the door of the grocery with ice cream and lime-flavored Perrier on our way to the airport (my husband still teases me about this). Still, ice cream and Perrier was not a craving. It was dire straits. I was close to puking pure stomach acid on the roadside, and it was all I could find that would stay down.

Lately, though, I have developed… not just cravings, but some fairly odd tastes. The nausea is gone, so I don’t have to worry about that any more. I crave sour things. I made my own Vietnamese pickles last night, and I’ve had them with every meal since. They are so acid, and so good. I believe they may even have been the reason I didn’t have reflux last night, for the first time in days.  I often make chicken dishes that involve broth– which means I braise/boil a couple of chicken leg/thigh pieces for a few hours on low heat. This makes the cartilage bits and the bone-ends pretty soft. And I eat them. I’ve always liked the tendons, but I’ve never been a huge fan of the cartilage before. And I gnaw the bone ends right off, and eat them. I figure between the healing ribs and the baby, I must need the minerals. I’m not sure where the cartilage plays into that, but… my Granny always ate it, so it’s probably good for me.  For about a month I had a serious poultry/eggs aversion, but that (thank goodness!) has abated, and I can eat eggs and chicken again. I’m seriously relieved to be able to cook again.

And the pickles… they are wonderful!