Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eating homemade, eating healthy

There is a growing movement, at least in the US, to eat more 'natural' foods.  This includes less processed food, more whole grains, more organic products, etc.  Many people think that since I am a vegetarian (and have been for my whole life), I must be into all of these things, too.  Truth be told, organic really isn't my thing.  Are there merits to this 'natural' way of eating?  Sure.  Am I going to take on all of these habits and the extra expense that comes with them?  Nope.

That being said, I am changing my cooking and eating habits, and the hyperemesis is largely to blame for that.  While I was pregnant I could eat very few foods, and I noticed that some things in particular were sure to come back up.  But then I found that the more pure the food was, the fresher, the freer from preservatives and additives, the more likely it was to stay in.  The two biggest examples were apple juice and chummus.

I spent my pregnancy pretty much chronically dehydrated, though I only went in to the hospital for IV hydration when I got really really bad.  I probably should have gone more often, but even just getting there was such a nightmare, not to mention that I would come home and just continue vomiting.  So finding liquids that would stay in was at the top of my list of priorities.

Apple juice seemed like a likely candidate at some point, so we bought some.  Mind you, at least in Israel most of the things labelled 'juice' don't necessarily have much relation to the real stuff, but N. went out and bought me a bottle that was labelled as 100% juice (I'm pretty sure he must have spent half of those eight long months going back and forth to the grocery store, trying to find me something that would stay in).  Needless to say, this '100% juice' did not sit terribly well.  Why, you might ask?  Well, it could be the added ascorbic acid or the other couple of things that were in it, if you actually read the ingredients.  My juice was not pure.

We finally decided to move up to the refrigerator section, where there were bottles of juice that only had juice listed in the ingredients.  And you know what?  It worked.  That stuff was like magic.  Pure apple juice, and it stayed inside my belly where I got needed hydration and calories to keep the babe growing and myself from fading away.  There were about two months at the end of my pregnancy where that was all I could drink, so it took me a year after giving birth to be able to drink it again at all.

The chummus was more obvious.  If you pick up a package of chummus from the store, there's a list of around 20 ingredients.  If you make it yourself - six.  My mother-in-law makes her own chummus so that was how I found out that I could tolerate homemade and not store-bought.

Before all of this, I had never really thought so much about the amount of extra things that go into your normal, everyday food.  Sure, I wasn't buying those super processed foods that are clearly terrible for you and I was trying to steer away from things like MSG, but I wasn't really thinking about seemingly harmless foods.  It takes an overactive stomach to realize that things aren't as innocent as they seem.

Now I make from scratch a lot of food that we were previously buying ready-made, and you know what?  We're much happier that way.  Aside from being healthier, yummier, and cheaper, it also opens up more options for me in the event that my next pregnancy continues on this trend.  So am I an 'organic' person, buying only 'natural' foods?  No, and I don't plan to be.  I plan to be as healthy as I can on our very limited budget, and trying to keep out of my body things that shouldn't be there.

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