A Year in Food

A Year in Food

Looking back at 2013 — when pregnancy 
triggered off see-sawing changes in eating habits

By Kari Heron

Published: Fri 27 Dec 2013, 3:17 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:38 PM

This is the last Friday of 2013. If it is not painfully obvious to you, it was not to me until just now. An entire year has passed. In fact, to date, 
almost 52 weeks of eating, 361 days, and somewhere in the region of 1,000 meals — maybe a tad more or less depending on the kind of year you have had — either way, it’s safe to say we ate our way throughout the year. I cannot speak for you, but I have certainly had a most memorable year in food.

My 2013 food story began developing in late December 2012. It was during my attendance at three Christmas parties that I noticed I was beginning to have less and less tolerance for late night food and drink escapades. I thought that my hard work over the year was finally catching up on me. In the days leading up to the year, I discovered something, which put an entirely different spin on why I just didn’t have the energy to be the life of the party anymore.

We had a mini vacation for New Year’s to celebrate our first New Year’s Eve together in nine years. It was only my husband’s second in the 13 years he has been a chef because, as you can imagine, chefs are always busy on New Year’s Eve. It was a pretty big deal. We booked a lovely little hotel right by the sea and looked forward to celebrating what would be our last new year alone as a couple in what would, no doubt, be a long while. We had big plans to attend a party with fireworks by the beach. And then it happened.

Here I was, staying at one of the world’s most iconic hotel brands, and I was craving something that was not only not on the menu, but nowhere to be found anywhere in any 
of the restaurant kitchens on the property. I was dying for Ramen noodles — the packaged variety. And lemon. And ginger.

My husband, still agog with the news that he was finally going to be a dad, happily grabbed his car keys and carted off in search of a kettle, Ramen noodles, and sparkling fruit drinks. We spent our last New Year’s as a couple sipping on sparkling grape juice, while I grappled with the early stages of morning sickness. The amazing thing is that I was giddy with joy.

By Valentine’s, I had little or no interest in food. I felt perpetually sick and eating was done out of duty, not pleasure. I couldn’t dine out much because frequent trips to the bathroom would be too bothersome anywhere outside my home. I paused doing restaurant reviews as I waited for the dust to settle.

As the tide turned in March, I could no 
longer keep down my favourite drink of 
spring water. I discovered a new tolerance only for Perrier sparkling water bottled in France. San Pellegrino was a distant second. My husband now had the task of ensuring that the fridge was always stocked with perfectly chilled green bottles of the stuff.

By May, he had to take over all grocery shopping and the vast majority of meal preparation. I, who had always delighted in going food shopping to multiple locations, and meeting and talking to my favourite purveyors and artisans, just could not hack it. It was on the last of one of those trips that I disco-vered exactly why pregnant women shuffled like ducks and vowed never to scorn the act ever again. Pregnant hips don’t lie.

By July, my daily meals consisted of 
double-cream full fat milk and lots of smoothies, milkshakes and green juice as I tried desperately to put on some pounds — since I had been losing weight and the baby was very small.

By August, I was drinking lots of tender coconut from the husk, requiring my husband to drive another hour for my weekly stash from a Kerala supermarket. I also drank copious amounts of hibiscus tea as well, to help keep my blood pressure under control, and also red raspberry leaf tea to prepare the body for birth.

I celebrated my birthday with a very special meal in my hubby’s restaurant that opened that same month.

By September, I reached a record for 
water consumption, as I would drink gallons per day. I found it difficult to eat, so I tried to consume as much of my nutrition as possible via liquids. There were lots of soups, yoghurt and milk smoothies, porridge and juices in my diet.

By the time the baby came, so did my 
appetite, and I have not looked back since. I have learnt that breast-feeding a baby boy is a very brave — but highly rewarding — task. Chocolate helps me get through the days when I am restricted to nursing for hours 
on end. Instead of the nightly glass of my 
favourite grape varietal, I now wind down my evenings with a double chocolate muffin — or two — with either double chocolate ice cream or a nice big cold glass of milk. What a difference a year makes!

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