Spud's Favorite Foods: Part I

I've always been into nutrition to some extent, mostly a result of being a dancer. Being pregnant is a great time to really start being interested in earnest. (No, not Ernest movies, but those are fine too.)

Thankfully, I kicked my Jack-in-the-Box habit a couple of years ago. Until I got pregnant, I'd maybe go once every 3 months or so (rather than once every 3 days like in the old days). Now, of course, fast food is WAY off the list. The other habit I finally whipped was my Coke consupmtion... Coca-Cola that is. When I was dancing, I'd get to the studio every day and go right for the vending machines to purchase my Cherry Coke and Snickers Bar breakfast to eat while I stretched before class. Crazy. I don't know how I ever gained any strength or endurance. I must've been eating good lunches and dinners. I also have found a way to curb any Coke craving that may come along. Blue Sky Organic Cola Nut Soda. So good. So not bad for me... well, sugar.

So, I've pretty much filled the places of Coke and junk food with whole foods, especially vegetables. I can't get enough of the veggie tray at any party... and I usually bring it, so it will have weird stuff that only I like anyway like mushrooms, radishes, green beans, etc. I'm also a lover of beets and brusselsprouts which have sadly been given a bad rap for so many years. I think they're awesome, and beets have lots of folate, naturally occuring folic acid... critical in pregnancy. According to my wonderful pregnancy cookbook, The Well-Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook by Karen Gurwitz, beets can also help prevent anemia... something I'm dealing with now. Don't eat canned beets! They taste gross, so it's no wonder so many people think they don't like them. On that note, don't eat any canned vegetables... it's just as easy and MUCH better for you to eat fresh veggies.

The other vegetable about which I'll wax rhapsodic: Kale. Another revelation from the magic cookbook, Kale is a wonder vegetable for pregnancy it's full of vitamins C and A and calcium. I don't like milk, so kale is great for me. One serving has as much calcium as half a glass of milk, and the calcium is thought to be in a form more easily absorbed be the body, according to Gurwitz. I put kale in everything now. I was having some frustrating cramping at the start of the pregnancy, and Cindie (midwifeseattle.com) said that increasing my calcium intake could help. I started eating kale everyday and taking a calcium supplement at night, and my cramps are totally gone. Might be a coincidence, but whatever. I'm just glad to feel better.

Here are some ways to incorporate kale into meals:
  • Add to soup, even just canned soup, for lunch
    • I put a handful of kale in the pot during the last 4-5 minutes of heating the soup and put the lid on. This steams the kale into the soup.
  • Saute with eggs for breakfast
    • This is especially good with a little chopped onion and some cherry tomato halves
  • Steam or Saute as a bed for a chicken or beef entree.
    • Brendan did this for me last night as a side for our seared tenderloin with balsamic mushroom sauce
Kale is sort of a pain to prepare initially because you have to wash it thoroughly and devein it. So, I buy a bunch of it, come home, float it in water, rinse it, remove the stems and thick veins, chop into bite size pieces, and store in a large ziplock bag with paper towel. It'll keep well for 2 weeks. Then, it's easy to add to anything.

Kale is not only good for pregnancy, it's good for all women! At 25, a woman's "bone bank" closes. This bank can accept deposits of calcium until age 25, but from then on, it's withdrawals only. It follows that poor calcium intake as a young woman requires increased calcium intake and supplement as an older woman trying to prevent osteoporosis.

The last thing I'll go on about is cottage cheese. It's a great replacement for sour cream. The taste effect is similar, so it's great in soup, on potatoes, in anything that needs sour cream. I even put it in my fajitas the other day, and it was great. It has some protein in addition to, of course, the calcium.

One afternoon a week is Soup Cooking Time. This week, I made curried butternut squash soup (pureed it in the blender and everything... kind of a pain. I need to buy an immersion blender.). It is especially good with cottage cheese.

Ah, the Sickness

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