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6 Surprising Foods to Avoid Whilst Pregnant

The laments of pregnancy

By Melissa GonzalezPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
Photo by Peemapat Jomswang from Pexels

The first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant in January of 2020 was to purge my house of alcohol. My family was grateful. We gave them the news along with the booze. I wasn’t about to throw away full bottles of whiskey, wine, and cider! The second thing I did was research. Between the piles of papers and brochures my doctor gave me and the stack of books family and friends recommend I read, I was able to compile quite a list of foods to avoid and a few alternatives and work-arounds for when those cravings just need to be satisfied.

This is just a partial list based on what I found the most surprising. If you’re not sure about whether or not something is safe for you to eat for your particular pregnancy journey, always check with your doctor!

1) Tiramisu. Some doctors will tell you the alcohol content in homemade tiramisu is fine. My doctors vetoed anything with more alcohol than vanilla extract. Traditional tiramisu recipes also include raw eggs. If you can be 100% sure that the eggs are pasteurized and you’re comfortable with the amount of rum in the recipe, you can probably go for it. Or, to be on the safe side, try a different Italian dessert, like cannoli or ricotta cake. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite!

2) Cookie dough. Yes, I know the cravings are real. Sometimes you think you want to make cookies, but you really just want to look at baby clothes and eat the entire bowl of cookie dough raw. Do not give in to the temptation. It’s those dang raw eggs again. Plus raw flour can also contain E. Coli. If you simply must have raw cookie dough, there are store-bought versions that are safely edible. Or you can still make your own using heat-treated flour and either make absolutely sure that your eggs are pasteurized or substitute the eggs for a different ingredient like milk or applesauce.

3) Raw sprouts. A whole lot of bad bacteria, including E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria can get into sprout seeds and grow with it. The only way to be sure that your sprouts are safe is to cook them to at least 165° F (they need to be steaming, not just lightly cooked). If you need the crunch on a sandwich, opt for crisp lettuce instead. Just make sure it’s been washed.

4) Some homemade dressings and mayo. Homemade dressings can sometimes be made with raw eggs. Caesar dressing is the biggest culprit to come to mind. Homemade mayonnaise is also made with raw eggs. Again, if you can be 100% sure the eggs are properly pasteurized, it might be ok. Or you can stick with the shelf-stable store-bought variety. It might not taste quite as good, but you might rest easier.knowing that you’re sacrificing a little flavor for your baby’s well-being.

5) Liver. Or anything made from liver, like pate, liver sausage, even supplements made from oil, such as cod liver oil. This is a too-much-of-a-good-thing scenario. We need vitamin A, right? And baby definitely needs it for development. But there are two forms of vitamin A - retinol and carotenoid. Bear with me; I am not a medical professional and I do not fully (or at all) understand the biological processes behind vitamin absorption and conversion. All I know and can regurgitate in a limited space is that the retinol form builds up in your system and can harm the unborn baby. The carotenoid form, usually beta-carotene, is the kind found in vegetables like carrots. It’s also the kind that should be found in pre-natal vitamin supplements.

6) Kombucha. I had just jumped on the kombucha train when I found out I was expecting. It was on the list my doctor printed out of things to avoid. As of July of 2020, no studies had been done regarding the safety of kombucha during pregnancy. It might be ok, it might not. Most kombuchas have almost enough alcohol to be classified as alcoholic. It’s probably best to avoid it until more studies can be done. Which sucks, because ginger lime kombucha is amazing for nausea. If you want to replace kombucha with other herbal teas, check with your doctor first. Some herbal teas can have unexpected consequences for you and baby as well.

Obviously, this is a short list. I could go on for multiple pages. If you throw gestational diabetes or any other diet-based complication into the mix, then the list grows exponentially. Thank god for the recipes and support you can find on the internet! If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, your doctor can give you way more detailed information. The most important thing to remember with pregnancy diets is that you should feel good. Your baby is super important, but so are all aspects of your own health. Sometimes, you just have to eat the chocolate. And the pickles. And the carrot ice cream. I swear it’s a thing.

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    Melissa GonzalezWritten by Melissa Gonzalez

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