Baby Bites

There’s a lot going on out there in foodie land these days – a giant, mostly symbolic meat recall by Westland/Hallmark Meat Company (ahem, 143 million pounds), the OU declaring that food from a cloned animal is kosher (seriously? yep.), Martha Stewart acquiring (eating up?) chef Emeril Lagasse’s media properties – it can put your head in a tizzy.

But the thing that caught my attention today was a new blog on Fit Pregnancy’s website, “Mom Appetit: We Are What I Eat.” Each blog post details an aspect of author, Zoe Singer’s “journey” as an eater for two: soy or no soy? grazing or meals? what do you eat when you’re too nauseous to eat?

Compared to some of the zinger stories above, a blog about eating while pregnant seems pretty mundane. But reading through the posts got me (a 20-something who is not considering having kids yet, but recently acknowledged it is within the realm of possibility in the next half decade or so) thinking about the power of pregnancy on the expectant-mother’s consumer choices.

In many cases, it seems organic food becomes crucial. Eating a pesticide-drenched apple on your own is one thing, but choosing to eat it while pregnant brings up a whole different set of ethical questions. Food diversity also becomes a big concern. Pre-baby, chinese takeout or scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seems perfectly acceptable – not so once you’re nourishing a growing being. There is so much research out there about foods that are potentially dangerous or particularly beneficial for a fetus, that – if you read any of that stuff – it’s almost impossible NOT to think about what you put in your body while you’re feeding someone else.

Of course it’s possible to go overboard with these concerns – and much of the “official research” out there is contradictory and potentially bogus. But I think there’s a food lesson to be learned from pregnant women: perhaps we should all eat as if we were nourishing not only ourselves, but someone else whom we cared about.

–Leah Koenig