Ed’s Note: Food Finds is a review segment by our contributors — Metro Manila-based entrepreneurs, J & C. (They’re currently on the family way! Yay!)
The English speakers got it right when they referred to being pregnant as a “we” (husband and wife) rather than just as a “she”. Couples say “we’re pregnant”, essentially because the changes during this period are shared by both spouses. Wives may be the only ones who feel all the physical changes, but both definitely go through the emotional and the mental ups and downs. And if a couple goes through “morning” sickness, dealing with it through meal planning is one of the biggest challenges there is during the first trimester. (Note the quotation marks in “morning” sickness, because this is actually a misnomer. Pregnancy sickness happens any time of the day, and yours truly had their worsts during the nights.) Now that we are already on our 17th week and are starting to regain long-lost appetite, we’d like to share all of our food discoveries to first-timers out there, who like us (barely 11 weeks ago), started out scared and scrambling.
Your greatest ally in food appreciation suddenly becomes your worst enemy during pregnancy sickness… and it definitely breaks a foodie’s heart to unexpectedly dislike her heightened sense of smell. That, together with some really messed-up taste buds equals an aversion to all food with complex flavors and aromas. Hence, you’re usual first trimester diet will most likely consist of simple food, that under normal circumstances you may consider boring.
Ever wonder who buys those “tubs” of Sky Flakes at the supermarket? A lot of pregnant women do, for sure. That’s because when all else fail, crackers will get you through the day.
Feeling extremely hungry? This is your best bet. All kinds of monay (putok, star bread, etc..) are very filling. Three or four bites of those dense breads go a very long way. Also, try some bagels with a sliver or two of cream cheese. This Canadian favorite was definitely one of the very few foods that brought pleasure to C’s otherwise monotonous diet.
TIP: Try Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s bagels. We found this to be the best in town (although we’ve only tried three or four others – Wildflour Café + Bakery, French Baker, Formosa Bakery, and another we can’t remember). CBTL’s bagels are actually a cut above the others. And unless you can tolerate a strong vanilla flavor, never try Formosa’s bagels during pregnancy sickness.
If you have the energy to prepare these, then by all means toast away! Toasts have a nice flavor that crackers and plain breads lack. However, the sudden drop of energy levels duri
ng the first trimester of pregnancy may keep you from doing simple tasks such as toasting a slice or two of bread, but who knows… perhaps we’re really just lazy.
NOTE: Pre-packaged toasts are not as good as freshly made ones. The former are either too greasy or too dry.
C’s parents aside, we have yet to find someone who likes or at least doesn’t dislike the thought of eating oatmeal. C eats it simply because of its health benefits; while J only eats it when prompted by C. If you can tolerate oatmeal, then this is a good staple. This can also serve as a vessel for your maternity milk (one less problem of trying to finish that glass of foul-smelling milk).
NOTE: Ask your OB-GYN if you already have to drink milk at this stage of your pregnancy, because according to ours, new studies do not recommend it. Taking milk at this stage may increase the likelihood of allergy development in babies. Anyway, mothers can get enough nutrients for their babies from the prescribed tablet supplements. Milk at this stage is according to our doctor more for the mother than for the baby.
Boiled corn on the cob or a simple corn soup will definitely get you through some tough days. Corn definitely adds variety to your meals. Eat moderately though, because if you eat the boiled kind for 2-3 straight days, you, may like C, start to get a hint of rancid smell from the corn. If you can get hold of grilled corn on the cob (a.k.a. anagon in Bisaya), we suggest you try this. C finds the smell and flavor of grilled food to be far more tolerable than any other cooking method. If you are from Visayas or Mindanao, you can easily buy anagon near any marketplace.
Surprise, surprise! Sushi, with no raw ingredients of course, is a great meal option! It fills your growling tummies, tickles your wearied taste buds, and gives your noses some well-deserved break. Don’t forget your kalamansi-enhanced Kikkoman-wasabi dip… this will definitely cheer you up!
TIP: Try Gryn Wasabi Sushi Bar’s affordable take-out sushis. You can get a 16-piece mixed sushi for only PhP125 and a 35-piece mixed sushi for only PhP300. Not bad, right?
Boiled, baked, and sometimes even fried – yes, fried. The smell of fried food (and used frying oil) is the worst smell there is for anyone pregnant. But sometimes, you may find yourself, craving for some French fries. Don’t be afraid… go ahead and buy some. Just buy some take out. Never ever make the mistake frying them at home, lest your house will reek of grease for the whole day.
TIP 1: You can slightly bake or toast (using a regular toaster) your French fries to rid them of unwanted oil. Eating oily food tends to make you throw up.
TIP 2: Adding some tomato ketchup not just to your French fries, but also to your boiled or baked potatoes will certainly give you much pleasure.
TIP 3: Try some potato salad with less mayonnaise, more pickle relish, and topped with gulaman (gelatin).
Apples, bananas, watermelons, guavas, pineapples, mandarins, grapes – tried them; loved them. Need we say more?
TIP 1: You may want to stay away from very ripe honeydews as you may find them too fragrant.
TIP 2: Don’t forget to peel your apples and guavas – better safe than sorry. FYI, you can also peel your grapes.
Filling, tasty, and not so sweet, puto are great eaten on its own or with dinuguan. Yes, dinuguan is tolerable, even appetizing when prepared right – that is, with lots of vinegar, no garlic, and well-cleaned intestines.
TIP 1: Vinegar or acid-based dishes are usually tolerable. Most of the time, you may tolerate the smell and taste of sinigang, paksiw na isda and the likes. Note the operative phrase “most of the time”… Do not get concerned if you find your pregnancy nose and taste buds to be very fickle. It’s normal to find a certain food/dish to be satisfactory on the first day and suddenly becomes unpleasant the following day.
TIP 2: Since acid-based dishes are generally acceptable, it follows that acidic food are mostly very good palate cleansers. Manggang hilaw, burong mangga or kalamansi are very reliable in ridding those tongues of unexplained bitter taste and those noses of unwanted sniffing powers
NOTE: Don’t panic if you find the smell of cooked garlic to be off-putting. You will love them again after the pregnancy sickness wears off.
COFFEE BEAN AND TEA LEAF
Locations: multiple (all over the country); please refer to http://www.coffeebean.com.ph/location.php
GRYN WASABI SUSHI BAR
Location: 38 Kamias Road, Quezon City
Contact No.: +63-2-9626868, +63-2-9986868, +63-932-8676722
Hours: Mon @ 11am -9pm
Tue-Sat @ 9am-9pm
Sun @ 9am-7pm
Branch/es: please refer to http://www.sushidelivery.com.ph/branches/
Let our palates and our pockets be your guide,