Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Sustainable Pregnancy Diet?

Last weekend marked our halfway point through my first pregnancy. (20 weeks of 40, for those of you unfamiliar with human gestation, don't worry, sometimes I still count to five months like the goats...sigh)
It has been a pretty uneventful and easy period of time so far for me and my body, compared to the horror we both expected, and we are GRATEFUL. No real sickness, no roller coaster hormones, no bizarre side-effects. The most notable attribute being the round ligament pain I experience in the evenings after, say, running four miles, take an 8 hr off-trail horse back ride, and mucking out the chicken coops. Who doesn't get sore from those things normally anyways, right?
Although my physical and emotional well being has been pretty smooth sailing so far, I have had a few spiritual 'Green Guilt' battles along the way. What is Green Guilt, anyways? A newly coined term I learned from my ecological engineering professor, it is the feeling you have when you know something you are choosing to do isn't the best choice for the environment. The more you get into sustainable lifestyle choices, the worse they weigh on your conscience. And I have definitely had a few issues.
First off, during my first 12 weeks of pregnancy, known as the first trimester, my eating habits took a harsh U-turn for the WORST! Normally a wild game and vegetable girl, I could not tolerate either. With a freezer full of freshly harvested elk, venison, and our farm raised chicken, this was quite dismaying. Not to mention the garden was really kicking out loads of fresh goodies during those months, July through September...I couldn't even bring myself to weed, let alone harvest. My grief was palpable.
Not only had I spent countless hours nurturing these plants from seed to maturity, time seemingly WASTED, but what type of example was I setting for this new life trying desperately to grow inside of me?
What happened to the self-reliant healthy diet I loved?
Pounds of fresh peas, spinach, lettuce, and scallions stared at me in through the kitchen window.
Alot of the goodies went to waste, as Ed could only eat so much and the food preservation girl was lying face-down in the couch cushions.
The word WASTE was big on my mind those months, and I did not enjoy it.
Adding to the frustration of the garden and freezer, I was left with nothing at home that I wanted to eat. Unfortunately this was not an option, so I headed out to the grocery store and was met with my second WASTE challenge: packaging.
OK, so we put behind us that I was not going to eat meat or vegetables, so what WAS I going to eat then?
I cruised the aisles. Macaroni and Cheese, from a bag inside a box. Boxed Ice Cream, with hydrogenated oils, and boxes. Spaghettios, with food coloring, from a can. Cereal, with loads of sugar, more boxes. Fruit roll-ups, with loads of food coloring, and MORE packaging. Plastic, foil, AND cardboard, in fact. GREAT. I wanted to cry as I loaded my cart.
At least I brought my own bags. (Annoyed snort.)
It was a rough go for a month or so. With no energy to bake or cook actual, from scratch, meals, and even less of an appetite to eat I did create, I made do with horrible processed foods, and felt the climate warming up as I chewed each strawberry fruit roll-up.
Have I even mentioned the amount of money I spent on these groceries during that time period? AWFUL.
Packaging and processing equals money, so essentially you're paying alot more to F up the environment at a faster rate? UGH, maybe I just wouldn't eat anymore....
And this too, shall pass.
It did.
Around week 11, I had the urge to eat some tomatoes. I started to sneak spinach into my sandwiches. I nibbled a banana. Some cooked broccoli? Smother it with cheese and hand it over! Chicken? You should try Ed's butter fried chicken fingers! I'm pretty sure in his last life he was a southerner! Things were certainly looking up.
By fall, I had hit month 4, my first trimester was in the distant past, and I stepped into the untamed rain forest that was once my organized, impeccably garden. I harvested a ton of cabbage, onions, carrots, spinach, brussel sprouts, and tomatoes. It felt good. Maybe if I hadn't have been pregnant these crops would have already been picked during summer and we would not have benefited from a fall harvest, right?
There was a good side to everything, I supposed.
I eventually stopped with the packaged, processed food buying, and got back into the swing of whole foods. Our bank account thanked us, as did the environment.
It should, however, be noted that I have not been able to yet stomach elk or venison still, but thankfully it's safely frozen away, for when the moment returns!
Here's to the arrival of winter at Jack Creek.
Have a great week everyone.

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